Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rococo Mani

All summer long, I've been craving sky blues. I want a truly sky blue polish, a blue that's soft and bright at the same time. I haven't found the perfect one yet, so I've been stashing any number of not-quite-perfect ones. It's a terrible affliction. ;)

The base color for this mani is Sally Hansen Smooth and Perfect Air. I stamped the pattern using Red Angel place RA-111 and Sally Hansen Gold Chrome, which is my favorite gold stamping polish. Finally, I added some pink gems for the finishing touch.

The overall design was inspired by the shapes and colors in French Rococo design. I'm thinking about starting a series of designs based on movements in art and architecture, but I've been so sporadic about posting that I'll probably wait until I'm doing it more regularly.

Like this.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Across the Galaxy Part 2

As I discussed in a previous post, I'm on a quest to find a blue polish to layer with Milani Teal to recreate Deborah Lippman Across the Universe on a smaller budget. This is my second attempt at it.

The blue polish in this attempt is Ruby Kisses Regaled Out Blue, which looked like the perfect color in the bottle. For this mani, I used one layer of Milani Teal between two layers of Regaled Out Blue. As it turns out, Regaled Out Blue is a little too opaque and covered the colors in the glitter. Based on swatches online, Ruby Kisses Blue My Mind and Deal With the Devil are also candidates for this. Since Ruby Kisses is a low-cost brand, I may try one or both of those to try to close the gap to my dream polish.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Starry Night Nails

For this manicure, I decided to try stamping in two colors at once. I've read various thoughts on how to handle this, but I basically just put each color of polish on a different part of the plate, scraped in the direction that would avoid smearing them together, and went for it.

 The base color is Cover Girl Rhythm and Blue, which I got as part of a two pack at the Dollar Tree. For the stars at the top of the image I used Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Silver Sweep, and for the grass at the bottom, I used Sally Hansen Color Quick Green Chrome. Sadly, the silver and green are so similar it's a little hard to tell the difference.

The image is from Red Angel plate RA-105. Again, I was a little disappointed to find that the details in the stars didn't stamp very clearly. To add a little more interest and cover some spots that didn't transfer well, I used my dotting tools to add some dots of Finger Paints Key to My Art to the stars. The final product reminds me a little of The Starry Night.

Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sinful Sinful Colors

As many of you undoubtedly know, there has been an incident with Sinful Colors in which they used photos from nail blogs on some of their promotional materials without permission. In fact the photos in question didn't even show their polishes. Revlon, which owns the company that produces Sinful Colors, has apologized and states that they are working with the effected bloggers. I've decided that I'm going to hold off buying any new SC polishes for a while, but in the meantime, I'll still use (and post) the ones I had before all this came up.

That said, this is one that I was really excited to get in the late spring, since I've been obsessed with sky blues all spring and summer.

In addition to the sky blue base, Sinful Colors Cinderella has some pink shimmer that was tricky to photograph. It showed up more in real life. You can just get a hint of it on my thumb in this photo.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Broken Glass Mani

When I was thinking about what to wear under China Glaze Luxe and Lush, I wanted a dark color since they seem to show the flakes best. On the other hand, I didn't want to use black just because I've seen it worn that way a lot. Instead, I decided to go with a dark red.

The base color I went with is Borghese Bella Berry. Then, I added just one thick coat of Luxe and Lush. It's thick enough that I had to kind of pat it on to avoid dragging the particles back off.

This picture's a little blurry, but it shows the colors of the flakes in Luxe and Lush better. The shape of them reminds me of pieces of broken glass, which makes me wonder what it would look like over a lighter color, like maybe a light brown or tan. I'd also really like to see a polish with similar flakes, but in blues - maybe for winter.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chain Link Mani

For some reason it's taken me forever to find the right use for the chain design from Bundle Monster plate BM12. It's been one of my favorites since I got the plates, so I don't know why I haven't gotten around to it before.

For the main base color, I used China Glaze Stone Cold from the Hunger Games collection, which is matte on it's own. I stamped the chains with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Silver Sweep. For my accent nail, I used a background of China Glaze Icicle and stamped it with KleanColor Black. I put a coat of Essie Matte About You on everything (including Stone Cold, to make sure the chains were matte too).

I really LOVE the way this looks! Sadly, it wasn't very durable. As you can see in the picture, just showering the morning after doing my nails was enough to give me some tip wear. By the end of day two, Stone Cold was coming off in big chips. I don't have many matte polishes, so I'm wondering - are they usually this fragile?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shawl Inspired Nails

I have to admit that I often dress to match my nails, not the other way around like normal people. However, there are some exceptional outfits that require a coordinating mani.

One of my friends knitted me this beautiful, light, soft shawl. We both love purple, and he started knitting shortly before I started crochet. So, we've been learning and sharing our work as we both progress in our skills.

To go with my lovely shawl, I chose two coats Maybelline Colorama Grape Crush for the main color and added an accent nail with two coats of KleanColor Vegas Nights over one of Grape Crush.

I felt like we needed another picture of the awesome shawl. I've been seeing people out and about where I live with an index finger accent nail. I don't know why, but I feel like it looks so different when it's just two nails over!

Any thoughts? What's your favorite accent nail? Or your favorite outfit to match your polish to?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Bright Water Marble

I've tried water marbling a couple of times before, and I have to say that I still don't have the hang of it. My biggest problem is that I end up with little dots where (I assume) there was a drop of water when I pulled my hand out of the cup. I'm determined to get this right some day, but sadly, today is not that day.

Left hand

I started with a base of Sally Hansen White On, then did the marbling with one drop Maybelline Colorama Cupid's Wing, one drop China Glaze Spontaneous, and two drops Sally Hansen Blue Me Away!. Cupid's Wing is a white shimmer, but it didn't show up much.

Right hand
 My right hand ended up with an interesting striped pattern. It's not what I was going for, but it looks pretty cool - it reminds me of Easter eggs. Since the shimmer in the marbling didn't show up, I decided to add a coat of Pure Ice Oh Baby! over the top. This was a fatal error. As you can see, it bubbled like crazy and didn't really add much shimmer. Grrrrr.

I'm not entirely certain what I'm doing wrong or if this is just a matter of practice. I would love some times from more experienced water marblers about how to make mine pretty and neat.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dotted Nails

I finally got some dotting tools for Christmas, but so far, I've only used them to add detail to stamped manis and that kind of thing. So, I decided it was time to do something mainly using my dotting tools, and recreate a design by Pam of Girly Bits. You'll have to scroll down the page a little to see her original design here.

For my version, I started with a base of Revlon Autumn Berry.

Next, I used dotting tools in two different sizes to add dots of China Glaze Foie Gras, China Glaze Westside Warrior, and Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Gray by Gray.

I'm really happy with how this turned out, so I plan on doing more dot-based designs in the near future. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Douchrome Hexes Mani

Sadly, this one turned out to be a bit of a Monet, just like my last mani. I'm going to use the excuse that I was in a hurry when I did it, and I also promise that the next one's much better.

For the base color, I used Orly Mysterious Curse, which was the only one of the Dark Shadows collection that cause my eye. It looks very douchrome in the bottle, but somewhat less so on the nail.

You can see that the bluer douchrome comes out a little, but it's subtle. On top, I added some decorative confetti that I got at the Dollar Tree. They came in sets of six for $1 in cute little glass vials, so they'll be showing up more in the future. Sadly, I was in a rush by the time I was finished and slapped on my top coat, which I think is why it bubbled so badly.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sonia Kushik Fairy Princess

As I mentioned on my craft blog Athena Handmade, I've basically taken the month of June off from blogging because it's my very busiest at work. Now that things are slowing down, I'll hopefully be a little more present here. In the meantime, I have been taking some photos, so I'll start with sharing those.

I'm posting a small version of this picture first because, to quote Clueless, "From far away, it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess."

See?! I absolutely love this color - it's mint green with purpley-blue shimmer - but it bubbled something horrible. I think it was because my bottle was pretty thick, so I ended up kind of pushing it around my nails instead of using a nice three stroke technique. Next time, I'm going to try thinning it to see if I get better results because I really want to wear this color and be happy with it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer Greenery Nails

One thing I love about late spring and early summer in Georgia is how green everything looks on rainy days. My back yard is a semi-intentional nature preserve, so it's full of lush greens in every shade when the world is wet. I did my nails on such a day, and this is the result. (I took the pictures that day as well, which is why they all turned out blurry.)

For the background color, I used OPI Here Today...Aragon Tomorrow. It's very dark, but definitely still looks green, particularly in the light. On top, I stamped a circular leaf pattern from Red Angel plate RA-120 with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Mint Sprint. After the fact, I think this would have looked better if I used two more similar greens. Aragon Tomorrow is a yellow based green, where as Mint Sprint is much bluer, but I was still pretty happy with the result.

You can see the base color better in this one.
How much do the seasons influence what you wear on your nails? What kind of seasonal nails do you like?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Inner Child Nails

I've been feeling a little down this week, so I decided to let my inner ten year old do my nails. Seriously, I had a bedspread very similar to this when I was that age.

The base color for this is Revlon Colorstay Coastal Surf. I've been wanting a bright blue like this for a while, but it chipped on the first day!  Boooooo! On top of that I put a coat of ELF Twinkle, which has tiny, multi-colored glitter in it that you can't really see in this picture.

Right side up
Finally, I stamped the two unicorns from Chez Delaney plate D10 using Konad Pearl White and added an iridescent jewel. In this next picture you can see the sparkles in Twinkle.

Bonus Background Cat!

What polishes does your inner child love?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pink Ombre Mani

I've seen lots of examples of ombre nails over the last year or so, but it didn't seem like I had enough polishes in similar colors to do it. My best possibilities seemed likely to be blue or purple, since I have the most polishes in those colors, but the shades are all over the place. I was surprised to find, that I had a perfect line up of pinks, even though I don't wear pink nearly as often.

From pinky to thumb (lightest to darkest), these are Revlon Scented Cotton Candy, NYC Wall Street, Color Club Gum Yum, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Presto Pink, and Wet 'n' Wild Lavender Pearlescent.

I think I probably should have reversed the colors on my middle and ring fingers, but Gum Yum is so much brighter that it sort of reads as darker than it is. In fact, it was so much brighter than the others that I put a thin coat of the much sheerer Wall Street over it to tone things down a little.

Have you tried this? What colors do you have enough of to try it?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Across the Galaxy

Today's mani is my attempt to recreate Deborah Lippman Across the Universe using less expensive polishes. I'm not often tempted by higher end polishes, which for me means anything more expensive than OPI at about $8, because I don't feel like there's enough difference to justify the price point. However, when someone else let me use her Across the Universe, I loved it. I've been on the lookout for a way to make it happen that would be a little more accessible for me.

This is one coat of Milani Teal over one coat of Revlon Top Speed Royal. It doesn't show up as well in the photos, but in person it actually looked a lot like Across the Universe. The main difference was that it doesn't have the effect that the glitter is floating in blue that the original polish has.

On the other hand, the glitter is really, really close. I think if I had a nice, dark blue jelly to layer this between, it would be perfect. A little Googling has revealed that Ruby Kisses has a couple of dark blue jellies, so I'm going to try to stop by the local independent beauty store and look for some of those soon.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Geek Nails: Coin 'n Carry Edition

Today's mani was inspired by the new biggest source of not getting other things done: Coin 'n Carry (this is a referral link to note that I sent you). The premise of the game is that you're a shopkeeper, who needs to make money and increase the popularity of your shop. To do that, you play mini-games that reward you with resources you can use to make items to sell in your shop. The mini-games are quick and fun, and the shopkeeping requires a bit of strategy. So, best of both worlds. If my blogging pace slows down, blame this. Here's a short demo video.

And now, on with the nails. For each nail, I chose something from one of the mini-games to stamp on. I was having trouble making my pinky design show up, so I decided to go back over it with my dotting tools. Now, it looks awful. Seriously. Don't look at it.

The base polish for all my nails is KleanColor Blue Pearl. The stamp designs and polishes are:

Thumb: Crab - Fauxnad B78, China Glaze Aztec Orange; Crown - Bundle Monster BM08, Sally Hansen Color Quick Gold Chrome
Index: Strawberry BM05, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Rapid Red
Middle: Diamonds BM09, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Whirlwind White
Ring: Lime BM04, Revlon Top Speed Emerald
Pinky: Hearts and Clovers BM 03, Revlon Top Speed Bubble and Emerald; Stars BM14, KleanColor Neon Yellow

I won't explain what games these symbols come from; you should come play and find out. However, I do want to note that there's a crown on my thumb because I currently have the month's highest score in The Claw, which involves grabbing sea creatures out of the water. The crab gives you the most points, and I attribute my success to muttering "crab grab" under my breath while launching my claw at it.

So, if you decide to come play, leave a comment or email me at the address in my profile with your shopkeeper name so I can add you to my friends. Just don't plan on beating me at The Claw!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

China Glaze Instant Chemistry

China Glaze Instant Chemistry is the last of the three Magnetix polishes that I got a couple of months ago. (You can see the first two here.)

I definitely had the most trouble getting the pattern to show up with this one and the final result is more subtle. The color is really pretty, a very dark metallic berry, so I don't mind too much. On the other hand, if you really want to see the magnetic pattern stand out (and why else would you be buying magnetic polish?), I'd recommend going for one of the other colors in this collection.

It turns out that Pull Me Close was my surprise favorite from this collection. What did everyone else think?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Geek Nails: Rue Edition

As you know by now, I recently got really into The Hunger Games. When China Glaze came out with their Hunger Games polishes, it gave me all kinds of ideas for themed manis. The first one was inspired by Katniss, and this one is based on Rue. Specifically, it's based on Katniss' tribute to Rue.

The base color is, appropriately, China Glaze Agro, the District 8 color from the Hunger Games collection. I absolutely love this color; in fact, it was my favorite from the collection. It has some gorgeous, if subtle, multi-colored shimmer that you can't really see in my photos.

The texture on this seemed like a dream going on - it could almost have been a one coat polish - but it bubbled a lot afterwards. So, I'll probably thin it a little next time I wear it.

I did the stamping with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Whirlwind White and finished off with a few flower-shaped jewels in two sizes.

My cuticles could have used a little work, but I'm happy with how the mani turned out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bits of Pink Mani

I didn't have a lot of time for this mani, so I decided to just stick with a little quick layering.

This consists of two coats of Essie French Affair topped with two coats of OPI I Lily Love You. Sadly, I don't think these two really go well together. French Affair's appeal is that it's super light and springy, but I Lily Love You made it darker. On the other hand, I think I Lily Love You would look better over something darker with more contrast. Oh well, you can't win them all.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Azalea Nails

These nails were an attempt to recreate a mani I did back before I started blogging.

I started with a base of China Glaze Laser Lime from last year's Tronica collection (the holo's a little more obvious in person), then stamped it with Bundle Monster plate BM16 and Revlon Top Speed Bubble. I used the small cluster of flowers a few time on each nail, then the full nail image for the accent nail. I did have a bit of trouble getting close to the cuticle for some reason.

So, this is the older mani I had in mind.

My manicuring and photography skills have gotten a bit better in the intervening year, but I actually like the way I did the stamping better on this old one.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Geek Nails: Girl on Fire Edition

As I mentioned in a previous post, my newest geek obsession is the Hunger Games trilogy. Sadly, I haven't been able to see the movie yet, but I loved the books. I have a couple of  ideas for Hunger Games themed manis, but I had to start with my Katniss tribute (making it a tribute tribute?).

This one was taken in full sun.

I decided to try to make a gradient manicure that looks like fire and embers. Personally, I think I succeeded pretty well. I started with a base coat of China Glaze Riveting, then working from the bottom up, brushed on China Glaze Lubu Heels, ELF Cranberry, and some more Riveting.

This one was taken in partial shade.

Next, I used a bit of make up sponge to add more of the same colors and blend them. It turned out that Lubu Heels was darker than I liked so I sponged some of both of the other two colors on top to lighten it up. The end result had a depth that definitely resembles coals. I finished up with a little bit of Cover Girl Boundless Color Gold Rush to add sparks to the tips.

This one was taken in complete shade.

I loved this look so much I wore it until the tips were chipping and it was really grown out at the cuticles. It's definitely one of my favorite manis I've done in a while.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sally Hansen Girl Flower

I picked up a box of Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips in Girl Flower almost a year ago, but it's taken me this long to use them. I just kept thinking, I'll just polish my nails instead. This week, inspired by spring's early arrival, I finally gave them a try.

These were easy, though not especially fast, to apply. The box said you don't need to, but I went ahead and put top coat on them. There are quite a few of these in single colors or two color designs that could be created with stamping that I don't think I'd bother with. On the other hand, this and a few of the other multicolor designs are cool enough that I'd consider getting them again for a special occasion despite the relatively high price tag.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Accidental St. Patrick's Day Mani

Spring has sprung early here in Georgia, which is what I was thinking about when I was painting these bright green nails. Only later did I realize that I did them on St. Patrick's Day.

The base color here is Color Club The Lime Starts Here, which is one of the scented polishes they put out last spring. I have to say the scent on this one was pretty bad. It didn't really smell like lime, and it was overly sweet and very strong. On top of that I put a little bit of Orly Here Comes Trouble, then used a make-up sponge to blend in the edge where the two colors meet.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Geek Nails: Pern Edition

This manicure is one that I've been planning for a really long time. I wanted to wait until I could get just the right stamp to do it because it's my tribute to something very close to my heart, Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series.

The Pern novels are set in a distant future on a colony world that Earth has forgotten. The colonists have survived the main natural threat of their world, a voracious organism called thread, through a partnership with telepathic dragons. The world is rich and complex, with it's own politics, culture, and social mores developed over two thousand years. The series covers several periods in that history, including everything from colonization to Pern's present day.

The dragons of Pern were my inspiration for this nail art. There are five colors of dragons: gold, bronze, brown, blue, and green, and they have faceted jewel-toned eyes.

The polishes I used to represent the dragon's colors are (from thumb to pinky):
China Glaze Mega Bite
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Bronze Ablaze
Loreal Owl's Night
Maybelline Colorama Blueberry Surprise
Wild and Crazy Colors Erie

I stamped the dragon image using Chez Delany plate D10 and Konad White Pearl. I added the jewel on my thumb to represent the dragon's eye.

I started reading the Dragonriders books when I was in middle school, and they were an important part of my life from then on. I've re-read the majority of them in the last two years because they are still a place I escape to when things in my life are hard. I was lucky enough to hear Ms. McCaffrey read from one of her books and meet her briefly at DragonCon several years ago, and I'm glad that I got a chance to tell her how much her books mean to me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bright Peacock Mani

Today's mani is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts.

I started with a coat of Nina Ultra Pro Blu Blaze, then topped it with two coats of Sally Hansen HD Spectrum. Both of these polishes are a little meh alone, but together they have a foil-like finish that almost seems to glow!

The final product reminds me of Orly Sweet Peacock, which I never picked up from the Birds of a Feather collection.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Luna Moth Mani

I did a report on luna moths once when I was in elementary school because they are so beautiful. For some reason this polish combination just hit me one day when rifling through my polishes looking for something good. I was really happy with this one, but had a hard time with the photos due to some uncooperative weather.

The base color is China Glaze Bogie, which is actually a little purpler in person. I did the stamping with Sally Hansen Color Quick Green Chrome using Red Angel plate RA-119. I added the gems because they reminded me of the moon.

I'll leave you with a picture of my inspiration for this mani.