Holiday Wishlist 2015!

Xmas Wishlist 2015

So, I don't know about you guys, but I did a little bit of damage over the big shopping weekend. I wish that I could say that I got actual Christmas shopping done, but I really spent most on myself. Whomp whomp.

I'm one of those people that tend to just buy the stuff for myself that I want, and I have trouble waiting and making an actual wishlist for other to buy me stuff. Anyone else?

Here are some items that I may or may not be able to wait until Christmas to buy, or ask others to buy for me:

Xmas Wishlist 2015

Ooh, I've been eyeing these "fakelite" bangles from Splendette for a few weeks now. I love that they're the LOOK of bakelite, but with a much nicer price tag!

My favorites are the red and teal carved bangles, the black with white accents, and the glitter bangles (not pictured above) - some are already sold out, so I'd imagine if you want some, better grab them right away, because I'm not sure how often re-stocks happen. Also, they're from the UK, so if you're shopping for Christmas and time is of the essence, better snap on this.

Personally, I don't mind waiting, and getting a gift with an IOU coupon because something is still on order is totally fine with me in order to get a cool gift like this!

Xmas Wishlist 2015

So, Modcloth is having all kinds of holiday sales until Christmas (like this Cyber Monday sale), and I have been eyeing this Airport Greeting Cardigan for-ev-er. I should probably just put it on my Christmas wish list so someone might pick it up for me. I keep wavering between the black and the charcoal gray one, but it comes in other colors, too. I just love the asymmetrical-ness of it, and it looks super cozy.

Xmas Wishlist 2015

A Kit-Cat clock is something that I've already told someone else that I wanted, so I know I've gotta hold off from buying it myself :)

I love this cute little retro guy. I used to own one in yellow, and over many moves and life changes we lost touch. I'd like to replace the memories of that one with a new black version. By the way, Kit-Cat comes in both male and female versions, and about a zillion colors! You can even customize your very own version! Whoa!

Xmas Wishlist 2015

As though I don't own enough circle skirts already... I've been dreaming of this Lola Skirt Tea Time in the Rose Garden by Hearts and Found on Etsy. The floral border on this skirt vaguely reminds me of this Pinup Girl Clothing skirt that is no longer in production, which means that it's actually attainable to me, and at a reasonable price! I like the black background as well... the Pinup Girl version has a white background, which I would ruin with dirt in less than a day, no doubt.

Xmas Wishlist 2015

Ok, I may NOT be able to wait until after Christmas to buy these heels, because they're on eBay, and might not even be available, and I keep thinking about them (which is a sign to buy, right?) - I don't even own blue shoes, so it's kind of a hole in my wardrobe that needs coverage. These shoes are by Chelsea Crew. I own a couple of pairs of Chelsea Crew and I've been very happy with them and the quality, so I have no doubt that I'll love these in person, too.

Xmas Wishlist 2015

Lastly, this rocker has been on my bookmarks list for such a long time. I'm not sure why I haven't actually pulleg the trigger on it. Maybe because I'm not sure where I'd put it in the house (I'd probably have to get rid of one item in order to swap this out...) but I've always wanted an Eames rocker. The black color is nice and neutral and would work with a variety of interior decor styles and color schemes.

What are YOU asking Santa for this Christmas?!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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Studio Update

Hell Razor Studio Update

It's been a while since I've talked about the goings-on in the Hell Razor studio. I've been neglecting my etsy shop as of late. In fact, I completely sold out of flowers in the etsy shop over Halloween, and now I'm having to make new stock. I have one more in-person show on December 18th in Berwyn, and it's a holiday-themed craft show...

Hell Razor Studio Update

One of my resolutions for the new year (yeah, whatever, it's not time for that yet, but...) is to keep the shop updated and stocked with merch. Now that I'm not in grad school, and I feel more steady in my life (job seems all good for now, less stress, regular exercise via roller derby) I think that I can shift my focus back to online sales and this blog. I've never stopped my presence here, but I've been doing this for YEARS with much less success than others. It's time to try building the readership and customer base at Hell Razor. And I know that requires me to give more than before.

So... Christmas is coming! So I've been trying to tailor my designs to be a little more Christmas and winter-y:

Hell Razor Studio Update

I'm considering making some more LED candle designs with Krampus and/or skulls on them, since they're pretty fun and not too hard to make (hmm DIY coming soon?), and I have a lot more donut bundt pans to paint!

I do have a handful of screenprinted flannels available in the etsy shop right now, with a few more to be screened and put up for sale soon:

Hell Razor Studio Update

What are your favorite types of items in the Hell Razor shop? Hair flowers? Flannels? Home decor? Let me know!

Hell Razor Studio Update

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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The Dita.

The Dita Cardigan
cardigan - Wheels and Dollbaby Dita cardigan via eBay / skirt - Pinup Girl Clothing / tights - Ross / shoes - Chelsea Crew via eBay / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing

Oh boy. I belong to this group on Facebook of lovely ladies who enjoy the same fashion styles as I do, and (I can try to blame them, but it's all me) got me hooked on the idea of owning a Dita Von Teese cardigan from Wheels and Dollbaby. The current color to pre-order is a gold metallic version, and the color before that was a dark wine/red. Neither of these were really my thing. So, like the good shopper that I am, I put an alert on eBay for the Dita cardigan, and waited. And waited. And waited.

The ones that came up either weren't my size, or sold for well over $200! Oh geez. I was pretty sure I was never going to own one. And then this light pink one came up for sale:

The Dita Cardigan

...In my size! For a price pretty close to the original retail price! I decided not to bid, but to watch, and maybe, just maybe, swoop in and bid at the end if it wasn't jacked up in price.

And I missed it. Doh! The auction ended. I totally missed the opportunity, probably I think because it ended while I was at work and I simply forgot. The weird thing was, no one had bid on it! It went unsold! I messaged the seller, told her that I was interested, and inquired if she would re-list, or do a buy-it-now for me. She opted to re-list, which was cool, but now I had to wait another 3+ days or so...

The Dita Cardigan

I placed my bid immediately, and just crossed my fingers that no one else would bid (like last time), and the eBay gods must have been smiling upon me, because no one else did bid on it, and she was MINE!

I was pretty convinced that the fact that it was pink would mean that it would go high in price and I would never actually own it. But sometimes things just work out!

The Dita Cardigan

Bonus: it arrived in the original box! Many sellers do not include the box, to save on shipping. But now I am a nerd and I store it and keep it in the original box in my cabinet.

Hey, surprised I actually wore it out in public for fear that something might happen to it! I asked my Facebook lady-friends for advice on how to style this cardigan, and the suggestion to pair it with my chocolate harlequin Jenny skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing was tossed out. Genius!

The Dita Cardigan

Because the background of this skirt is a warm brown-ish, I forget that there is also light pink and black in this pattern. It goes very well together. I was also thinking that black and white patterned skirts might pair well, or I also have a pair of Deadly Dames capris in black that I could make snazzy with this cardigan.

The Dita Cardigan

Lastly - my shoes! These are new, also via eBay. They're Chelsea Crew Lorittas, recommended by my Facebook ladies for comfort and long-wearing-ability. After road-testing them, I agree! I wish that they were easier to find, and in a variety of colors. I had to do an eBay alert for these for several months before I snagged them, too.

People have been stopping me at work lately and asking if I make my own clothes, to which I usually reply, "I wish!" and then I have to tell them that I'm just a really good online shopper. This is the perfect example.

Have you snagged any awesome items on eBay, either for an incredible price, or an item that you had been in search of for a really long time?

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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Skates and Stripes: OOTD

Skates and Stripes OOTD
shoes - vintage / tights - Ross / skirt - Pinup Girl Clothing / shirt - Target / cardigan - Sourpuss via eBay / belt - Pinup Girl Clothing
The black and white striped Jenny skirt is the first skirt I ever purchased from Pinup Girl Clothing, but I don't think I've ever posted an OOTD with it here! It's made of a heavy canvas-y material, different from the other Jenny skirts. I took it to the tailor's and had it shortened... I do love it, but I also noticed that it's the shortest of all of my Jenny skirts. Hmm.

The heavy material makes it difficult to lay nicely, I think. It gets crinkled and hangs funny. But I forgive all of these things because it is my all-time favorite of all of the Pinup Girl Clothing skirts. Close second: spiderwebs, monster print, venus flytrap. :)

Skates and Stripes OOTD

On this particular day, I designed my entire outfit around the fact that I had this new Sourpuss cardigan (scored via eBay) with ROLLER SKATES on it! Did I mention that I tried out for the Chicago Outfit Roller Derby and made it?! Well, I'm still a newbie on my probationary period, but gimme a month to get all of my requirements in, and then I'm 100% legit!

So now I need ALL THE ROLLER SKATE THINGS. Of course.

Skates and Stripes OOTD

I've been digging the shorter, cropped cardigans lately but this one was too cute to pass up. Sometimes I try belting my skirt over the cardigan. Mixed results. Not sure if it's a solution yet. I suppose I should just button this and tuck it in. That'd probably work well.

Skates and Stripes OOTD

Watch out for my crazy big eyes. Whoa.

Skates and Stripes OOTD

I did a trade with Steph for these vintage silver shoes at our last vendor event! I love them, but now that I'm looking at these photos, I'm not sure the black tights are working with them. Maybe they're more of a nude hose type deal. It's not bad this way, but sometimes looking at something later on gives you a different perspective.

Skates and Stripes OOTD

I found some nail decals from Halloween at like 50% off so I put them on even if they only lasted a day or two. They cost like a dollar, and looked pretty good for that short time. I don't make it a point to grow out my nails, but I get lazy and they grow long so I leave them. Then I break one and just cut them all down again. It's a cycle.

Skates and Stripes OOTD

Rocking my lazy day hairdo. Kind of a messy bun/half ponytail job. Megan gave me a really good trim on my bangs so they always make any hair look decent. :)

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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Heidi and Gretel Need Your Help!

You've heard and seen me express my love for Heidi and Gretel brooches here on the blog many times now. She is well-known for her adorable laser-cut brooches - most notably the Audrey II and Beetlejuice Sandworm designs! Profits from her business go to support her brother, Scotty, who is disabled.

Donna, the creator behind Heidi and Gretel, had her home broken into and thousands of dollars of items stolen from she and her husband. Thankfully, their cat, Jerry, was found unharmed. I am running a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of Donna and her husband, Christian. It's entitled "Help for Donna and Christian," and can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/donnadeer

All of the money raised in this campaign will go directly to Donna, who is too humble to ask for help on her own, so we're going to do it for her! The money will be used to replace their computers, watches, and other valuables that were stolen from their home. Donna and Christian did not have insurance, so they really need our help!

I have been friends with Donna (online) now for many years, and I live on the other side of the world. This is how I can help her and her husband out from so far away. I know that many of you want to help too, so please contribute! I will be personally withdrawing the funds, and then forwarding it on to Donna via PayPal. Just so everything is on the up and up here. Because I'm in the US, the withdraw-er has to also be in the US. But rest assured that all of the money collected will go directly to Donna and Christian. We've been in constant contact the entire time. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me.
I know that it means the world to Donna and Christian to see how much people care and want to help make them whole again. I'm extrememly excited to see how much we've already been able to raise - but there is also so much more to go in order to help them recover all that they have lost. 

Can you post a special message on your social media channels with the link to our GoFundMe campaign? Do you know of anyone with broad social reach who would be willing to help? Please share so that we can find more awesome donors like yourselves! Thank you so much!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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Turkey Meatball Soup

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Pilgrim Pin Up Photo found at Paint the Gown Red (seriously, you'll find some of the most fun pin up pictures there!)
With Thanksgiving coming up, you're going to need all the turkey recipes you can get! I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website and made it for dinner last night...It's SO GOOD. Perfect for snuggling on the couch with a warm blanket on  blustery afternoon. It's called "Contest-Winning Turkey Meatball Soup" and it's for ground turkey, but I'm sure it would be just as delicious if you substitute some roasted turkey.  photo Use 1_zpsak9szpb8.jpg
2 cans chicken broth (I actually used vegetable broth in mine)
1 celery rib with leaves, thinly sliced (I used 2)
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced (I used about 18 miniature carrots)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound lean ground turkey
1 cup uncooked egg noodles
I added a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic and a dash of salt to the pot half way through cooking (because I love garlic).

What to do:
1) In a large saucepan, bring the broth, celery and carrot to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute onion in butter until tender. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the egg, bread crumbs, parsley, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Crumble turkey over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls.

3) Add meatballs to the simmering broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until no meat is longer pink. Add noodles. 

4) Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until noodles are tender. 

Makes about 5 servings. 
Originally published as Turkey Meatball Soup in Quick Cooking January/February 2003, p27
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I love this recipe because it's tasty, SUPER easy, and the best part is it's only 193 calories per serving! Enjoy and have a happy turkey day!

Until next time,
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

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Side Hustle.

Side Hustle

We could all use some extra money, right? Especially now that we're coming up on the holiday season and black Friday sales that make it super hard to resist buying ALL THE THINGS. I actually do a lot of extra little "side" activities to try to grab some extra cash and pad my PayPal account so that when I do see something that I really want, the money might actually be there (or even a partial amount which lessens the blow).

I thought I'd go through these little side hustles and let you know which ones have worked for me, and which you might want to try out yourself!


This is a couponing/rebate app for your mobile device. When you rack up enough money, you can send it directly to your PayPal account, or redeem it for gift cards at places like Starbucks, Amazon, or iTunes. I've always stayed away from a lot of apps like these, because I feared that they were scammy, but this one is legit. I joined in June, and have earned over $120 in rebates. 

Here's how it works: find rebates (anywhere from 20 cents to several dollars), watch a short (< 30 sec) video OR learn a fact to "unlock" the deal. When you buy the item, you scan the barcode on the actual product + take a photo of your receipt to verify your purchase. Ibotta then sends your earnings directly to your Ibotta app account. 

One of the things I really like to take advantage of are the "bonuses" offered. You can build a team (via Facebook friends) and if you earn over a certain amount, you get even more money back! Or, if you redeem a certain number of offers within a certain time frame (like a weekend), you can earn bonus money. Another bonus I like is when additional earnings are offered for redeeming several deals within one category (like Chobani yogurt, or Method cleaning products). 

I love using it at Target, because I can stack up paper coupons, Cartwheel deals, Ibotta, and then my Target red card for another 5% off. Woo hoo! Does this require a little planning ahead? For sure. But it's kind of a fun game, and when I get a really good deal, it's like a shopper's high. :)

If you're interesting in joining me on Ibotta, consider using my referral code: msldeaj so we can both earn even more!


As I've mentioned on the blog before, I am a teacher, and was an art teacher for 13 years at the middle school level. I'm used to having NO textbook, and having to make all of my own teaching resources. A fellow teacher introduced me to Teachers Pay Teachers, which is a website where you can buy worksheets, tests, handouts, and even entire units of study from other teachers that they have designed themselves. 

The concept of TpT is actually a controversial topic among some teachers, so I feel the need to clarify: I do not actually shop/buy resources from Teachers Pay Teachers. I'm kind of a perfectionist, and prefer to make things myself. However, if other people want to give me their money in exchange for the things that I've made and used in the past, I am a-ok with it. Also, I am always willing to share my teaching resources/advice with other teachers, free of charge, if they were to contact me directly. 

TpT charges a yearly fee (around $60, I think?), but I have averaged about $10-$15 a month (paid directly to PayPal), so I've ended up making some money. I could definitely put more into this endeavor (haven't uploaded any new resources lately), which would result in more cash, but overall I am very happy with this service and would recommend it to teachers looking to make some side cash. It's very easy to upload your lesson and worksheet files to the site, add a description, and wait for the sales to come to you!

You can check out my specific TpT store here. My shop name is "Make Art Be Happy." Also, I do have a referral link for TpT, if you are interested in trying it out, or sharing with your other teacher friends: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Signup/referral:JenLeban

PoshmarkIn case you hadn't noticed, I have a clothes problem. I buy too much (yeah, I'll admit it), and I need to find ways to deal with this. I frequently clean out my closet and donate bags of items to my local Savers, Goodwill, or Salvation Army... but sometimes you have items that you can't bear to just give away. Usually you think "Hey this cost me good money! This could be worth something!" And you're probably right. 

Poshmark is a shopping app (like eBay, or Etsy), only you sell your (gently) used clothing. Everything that you put up for sale (and you can do it all, even photos, via your phone!) is part of your "closet," and you can follow people whose closets you really enjoy. Not only have I sold via Poshmark, I've bought items, too. There is an "offer" feature where you can make an offer for something you see and like but don't hope to pay the full asking price for. This is both good and bad. I've had some really rude people low-ball me, but I just say no. I've also been able to get a couple dollars off of an awesome new iPhone case and a super cute pink dress with bats on it. 

I love browsing Poshmark, but I haven't made a ton of sales yet - just a couple. If you do sell, your money goes into a Poshmark "account" that you can use as credit to buy other items, or you can have it transferred into a bank account. Poshmark takes 20% of anything you sell, so price accordingly, but Poshmark does cover the shipping on anything that you sell, so that's awesome. Poshmark does not use PayPal, just credit cards, so, not my favorite feature, but do-able. 

If you want to try out Poshmark, we can both earn $5 credit to buy new stuff if you use my referral code: PMSHD when you sign up!


If you're crafty, or if you love vintage, Etsy is a good choice for selling your goods. I gotta be totally honest though... Etsy is so huge, and so saturated with some items *cough*hairflowers*cough* that I don't sell much there, nor do I put the effort into listing stuff there. It's kind of laborious. I find that I have to take really good photos, edit them in Photoshop, put all of the listing info in, and then I get charged per listing + a percentage of each sale? It's not really worth the effort unless you're selling higher priced items, like high-end jewelry or high-end vintage clothing. My $15 hair flowers don't really make it worth my time. You can check out my shop (whatever little bit is actually listed at the moment!) here. 

I do keep my shop open, though, because when I do shows in person, people always ask if I have an online shop, and in the rare instance that someone wants a custom order, Etsy makes it easy for me to make that happen, and to document/keep track of it for future customers. Which leads me to my next hustle...

In-person craft fairs + events
I tend to make the most money at these events, but I am super picky about which ones I go to. I've learned that 99% of all art fairs and craft fairs are the type that I don't fit into, and I don't feel like I belong. So I wait for events around October, mostly, because people will buy my stuff as a Halloween "novelty" although I do not make them for this reason. :(

Other events that I have been somewhat successful at include: hearse shows (like classic car shows, but people bring their hearses), zombie/Halloween fests, roller derby bouts, and small indie craft events. I have found that, in general, if it costs more than $75 to have a table at an event, I am guaranteed to NOT make my money back, so I can't afford it. 

My next in-person event (and likely last for the year) will be at Wire in Berwyn on December 18th: The Veltway Music Spectacular.

Facebook Swap/Sell groups
This is a new side hustle for me... there are groups for EVERYTHING on Facebook, and a bunch of them solely exist for the purpose of swapping/selling items of a specific theme. Some to try: Pyrex, used roller derby gear, Pinup Girl Clothing (the brand), Target dollar spot stationery, Modcloth, Target designer collections, and more! Do a search in Facebook to see what you can find according to your interests, and earn some cash from your collection!

Occasionally, I will sell items on eBay. My name is artist_jen9 if you're interested. The bonus of eBay is that you can set a deadline on what you're selling. I've had good luck selling groups of my old Betsey Johnson jewelry (usually 6-7 pieces in a bundle). Once, I found a Kate Spade planner at Savers for $2 and I turned it into $60 via eBay. That was pretty sweet. 

Affiliate links

If you run a blog like me, you can use affiliate links to send traffic to websites, like ModCloth, Craftsy, or Blick Art Materials, and if people make a purchase, you earn a small commission. Each business runs their affiliate program differently. I use shareasale.com to organize most of my affiliate links. The downside is that not all businesses want to do business with you (maybe you don't have enough traffic), or some programs aren't even legal in your state (I ran into this with Amazon). Some affiliate programs accept you, but if you don't generate any sales, they will drop you from their program. 

The biggest downside to affiliate programs is that you often have to have a minimum of earnings (like $50) in order to receive a payout. I gotta be 100% honest with all of you, I have yet to receive a SINGLE payout from affiliate links. They mostly seem like a lot of effort for very little result - probably only profitable for super popular bloggers, which I am not. Oh well. However, if you are interested in trying out an affiliate program for yourself, visit shareasale.com to sign up!

I wrote about RocksBox a couple of weeks ago, and while it's technically a spending money website, you can actually "earn" money to spend on jewelry if you refer friends to join. I guess it's a form of an affiliate program, but I earn money in the form of jewelry credits (and you get a free month), so that's kind of cool. Then I don't spend actual money on jewelry elsewhere, so in the end it kind of saves, right?

Would you like to try out Rocksbox for yourself? I have a special referral code that gives you one month FREE. Enter jenniferlebanxoxo when you sign up at https://www.rocksbox.com/ to get your free trial! And be sure to let me know what you think when it arrives!

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Hopefully you've got some ideas for generating a little extra cash after checking out the above options. Let me know if you have any questions, especially if you decide to check any of these out!

** This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. **

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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OOTD: Sacred Hearts

Sacred Hearts Dress
dress - Golightly (Pinup Girl Clothing) via Depop / shoes - Kenneth Cole via Zappos / cardigan - thrifted / brooch - Luxulite / belt - thrifted

So, the latest development in my shopping addiction are phone apps where people sell clothing, like Depop and Poshmark (use code PMSHD for $5 free when signing up!). I found this dress on Depop, and it's an older, rarer one from Pinup Girl Clothing. I could not resist the pattern... and I had money in my PayPal account, so it was like free then, right? I think so.

I apologize for the lack of sharpness and detail in these photos, but I took them outside as it was getting dark. I was also trying to get photos taken in-between Iggy photobombs. This is real life.

Sacred Hearts Dress

In the above photos, we had to hold up our "flowers," aka leaves, for the camera. The helmet is because he was riding his bike. The sandals are purely high fashion, of course.

The pattern on this dress is amazing. One day I will probably have a sacred heart of some sort tattooed on me. I guess this dress gives me lots of design ideas! I love that it's on a black background, too, so it coordinates with pretty much everything else that I own.

Sacred Hearts Dress

I did wear a petticoat under this, but the red ruffle you see in the photos is actually sewn on the hem of the dress. I found it kind of interesting, as I probably wouldn't have added it if I was the original dress designer, but I don't mind it. I just think that if you wanted to add a little peek-a-boo ruffle via a petticoat on your own, you could. It's not necessary to add it to the hem.

Sacred Hearts Dress

I wore a red patent thrifted belt and a thrifted cropped sweater. I've been slowly replacing my rainbow cardigan collection with cropped versions, as I pretty much just wear them over dresses and skirts, and I am quite short, so the cropped versions just look more in proportion for me... you know, like a regular sweater on an average height girl...

Hard to see in these photos as they lack clear detail, but I'm also wearing my Luxulite skull cherries brooch.  OMG have you seen her holiday collection? I'm not a Christmas-y girl, but ooooohhhh... trying to resist!

Sacred Hearts Dress

The weather by me is officially getting too cold to go bare-legged for much (if any) longer. Tights season, here we come!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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Thanksgiving Fresh Flower Arrangements for the Vintage Enthusiast

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Hello there! 
I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get anxious for Thanksgiving. I get so excited about the food and the get togethers...BUT mostly the decorating...and the food...Ok, it's a toss up...I'm actually planning my own Thanksgiving meal once again this year and was trying to come up with table decor ideas. As luck would have it, BloomNation contacted me about putting together some holiday table displays "me-style"with fresh flowers. BloomNation supports local florists through flower delivery services AND they showcase the florists'  unique arrangements in BloomNation's online marketplace. I thought I'd share a few fresh flower arrangement ideas for to help get the creative juices flowing for your holiday table display. 
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The first arrangement features interesting containers from around my house and various "autumn" colored flowers that I purchased from a local grocer. When choosing flowers for an arrangement, my rule of thumb is...if I think the colors look good together apart, then they'll probably look just as good grouped together. I am by no means a florist, so that's probably not how professionals do it, but...I don't have enough money to work with professionals. ;) I recently purchased the large pitcher new and matched it with a vintage yellow bud vase, a white vintage milk glass cup, and a vintage jadeite coffee mug to compliment the colors.
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This arrangement is meant to be more "traditional" because it's a vintage cornucopia planter...Yes! I DO realize it's black and bright green...which is why I freakin' love it! I used some purple "daisy-like" flowers (like I said...NOT a professional) with bright green centers to accent the green in the planter. However, if you're going for a less flashy, more traditional themed event you can usually find horn of plenty baskets at any Goodwill or dollar store this time of year. Pair the basket with some orange, crimson, plum colored flowers and a few small pumpkins or gourds...Presto, you're all set! This one was a little tricky because I had to cut all of the flower stems to different lengths to get them to display correctly. To make arranging less stressful I always cut the little stems with the flowers on them off of the one giant stem they come on. It's so I can work with smaller flower clusters and trim their smaller stems depending on my arrangement.  photo Kitches stuff_zpsp5owokmr.jpg
This was my kitschy kitchen themed arrangement. I'm sure many of you have a few cooking heirlooms (and / or colorful vegetables) around the house. Use them for your display this year! I used a vintage flour container to hold the flowers (ha!) along with my grandmother's kitchen timer and grater and a few red inions for a pop of color. Oh! And the platter is Star Glow. Of course, a Pyrex (or large) bowl of bright colored natural state veggies (like carrots, radicchio, bell peppers, and squash) would look fabulous as a Thanksgiving centerpiece.    photo Pheasant_zpshworlgwx.jpg
Ok, this one was meant to be my "flower minimalist / rustic" display....It looked so much better in person! It's a beautifully tarnished silver platter (picked it up at Goodwill a few years ago) with a milk glass cup filled with a peachy rose spray, 3 mismatched tarnished silver cream and sugar bowls (also from Goodwill), tea light candles, and a vintage ceramic pheasant.

I hope this helps inspire you to come up with an amazing fresh flower display of your very own this year!

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!!!!
~Steph @ Calamity Layne

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Easy + FREE Portrait Illustration DIY

GDraw Illustrations

So, this is actually a project that I have my 8th graders complete in class, but it's so freaking cool, I have to share it with you all here! You can use FREE Google Drawings web software to create your own illustrator-esque portraits, which are awesome for blog design, cards and stationery, art prints, digital avatars... and lots of other awesome things that are not immediately coming to mind. Give it time.

GDraw Illustrations

And the best part is that this is actually quite simple to do! And it doesn't need to be perfect in order to come out realistically. It's up to you how detailed you want to go with it.

I use this YouTube video in class to show students how it's done:

I love that you can take a picture right on the spot, but you can also upload existing photos, which lends itself to creating portraits of friends and family for gifts or other surprise things!

The magic is the line drawing tool called "curve," which smoothes out any shapes that you make. It gives your shapes a cool cutout style for that all-around freehand-ish drawn look.

GDraw Illustrations

The only downside of Google Draw that I've discovered so far is that there isn't an iOS app for it. But I like to use it on Chrome (via Chromebook, Macbook, or PC laptop) using a mouse to help with the fine motor skills required if you wanna get the details looking good.

The other thing to keep in mind is that shapes work on layers, so it's important to work from largest shapes to smallest shapes when tracing, so that you can select the tiny shapes without the larger ones blocking access. Then, when filling in the shapes, you work backwards, smallest to biggest. If you mess up, no biggie, because there's an "Arrange - Order" function that will allow you to move shapes forward or back as needed.

GDraw Illustrations

When you're all done, you can download your drawing as .pdf, .svg, .jpg, or .png - or you can just screen grab it, too! And from there, the possibilities are endless!

This is one of my favorite new computer tricks!

Rock On,
Jen @ Hell Razor

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