Monday, December 17, 2012

O Tannenbaum

My friend V had a holiday party for work this past week, and she wanted some appropriately festive nails to go with the celebration. She spent some time googling images for Christmas nail art, and she decided on a Christmas tree made with the tape method.

We started with a base of China Glaze Adventure Red-Y in the standard two coats. One coat is more than sufficient for opacity, but the second allows for a more even color and gets rid of any ornery brush lines, I find. She wanted sparkly red accent nails, so we added a nice layer of China Glaze Ruby Pumps over her thumbnails, and then topped them with Cherimoya Vernis Love Potion #Mine.

Using standard scotch tape to make the tree shape, we added small strips of striping tape across the tree area, and then we painted the trees with Nubar Greener and topped it with Girly Bits Magically Delicious for that added extra sparkle of a Christmas tree. We used Sally Hansen Celeb City and a dotting tool to add ornaments to the tree and a star-shaped glitter for the tree topper.

I included an out-of-focus picture to show just how beautifully sparkly this manicure came out!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Seasonal Sparkles

What can you say about this manicure? I had just picked up a nude polish when I was at the grocery store (Revlon Sheer Petal) and so I wanted to do a french tip of some kind. I'm very much into the winter festival spirit lately, so red and green sparkles was the only way to go!

I used Zoya Karina and China Glaze Tree Hugger for the tips, and I added a layer of Girly Bits Magically Delicious across the green tips for that added sparkle. Then I used my detail brush with Sinful Colors All About You and Sally Hansen Celeb City to gold and silver flare.

I know these cuticles are horrible - the combination of Adderall which dries out body tissues and the onset of winter weather seems to mean that no amount of lotion will keep those cuticles from being ragged. I've started using cuticle oil multiple times a day since I did this manicure, so we'll see if I can keep that up for a few weeks and if it will help! I'm not very consistent, though (which could be inferred by the use of Adderall, since it's an ADHD drug!), so fingers crossed that I'll actually remember to KEEP putting oil on these poor dried out phalanges.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Week 49 - Glitter Sandwich

The theme for week 49 in The Year's Challenge was Glitter Sandwich Mani! I actually did do this manicure on time last week, but I was in San Diego and didn't have my photo editing program with me, so I had to wait to post it until after I got back. Which is why you all got to see my old mint stripes manicure (by "old" I mean I painted it maybe a week before I posted it?) last Friday instead of my pretty sparkles!

For my jelly to sandwich the glitter between, I chose Sinful Colors Daddy's Girl. I don't have a whole lot of jellies, honestly. When I started gathering nail polish, I bought a lot of shimmery polishes, because they were what caught my eye. After a few months, I realized that my nail art paint palette was missing a lot of colors, which I really needed cremes for, so I started buying creme colors. I actually avoided transparent polishes because it would annoy me that that beautiful color would take three or four coats to produce, which meant I couldn't use it on top of any other color. However, I've since learned the wonders you can produce with layering jellies, and now I WANT! Regrettably, no one has a nice listing of "which colors from which brand are translucent and which are opaque". I pretty much have to look up swatches of individual polishes and read the blogger reviews on them. One. At. A. Time. Not a fun research topic. :P

So, for the glitters! For index, middle, and pinky fingers, I used Essie Set in Stones, and for my thumbs and ring fingers, I used Essie A Cut Above. The pink versus silver glitters came out with a subtle but beautiful difference, I think! And I included an out-of-focus picture to show you how sparkly this mani was! Woooot!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mint Stripes

I have no idea what brought this idea on, but it was a great manicure. Simple and beautiful at the same time, and I got a lot of compliments on it. I was pretty happy with the way it came out. Two polishes were used: Avon Jade and China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint. Most of the nails have a base color of two coats of Re-Fresh Mint, while the accent nails started with the Avon Jade.

I laid down two lines of striping tape and painted between them with the alternate color. I topcoated then to make sure I wouldn't mess up the original coloring. Once that was dry, I put down a line of non-quick-dry top coat along the accent color line, sprinkled a little glitter, and then set rhinestones along the line in alternating color patterns.

It was a spur-of-the-moment manicure, but it came out pretty darned great, I think! Though I do apologize for not getting pictures before tip-wear had set in. I was hoping for sunshine pictures, but the sun decided to hide that day and I waited for the next...but the sun didn't come out then, either, so I took pictures in my office before the wear got even worse!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Polish Days - Get Your Bling On!

It's December's Polish Days, and this month's theme is BLING! I'm also using this as my verrrrry belated entry for the Year's Challenge, week one, numero uno, the very beginning that I started late on. ;) That week was "Make it Sparkle".

I did my best, but you can let me know what you think - did I really get my bling on or not?


I started with two coats of China Glaze Ruby Slippers for the best winter-festival-style sparkle I've got. I used Essie Set in Stones at a diagonal, and that is a really dense glitter - this is one coat! Granted, a little spreading is needed to arrange the glitters fairly evenly, but that density is from a single dip of the brush. I added rhinestones in winter festival colors across the line between the silver glitter and the red shimmer, and voila! I've got my bling on! There's also a very subtle accent nail going on, though it's easier to see in the first picture below - I changed the order of the rhinestones on my middle finger and my thumbnail. They have a red stone in the center with white stones on the outside, while the rest of my fingers have white in the middle and red on the outside (except for my pinky nails which don't have enough surface area for the outer-edge rhinestones. :)

And of course, since it's Polish Days, there are a lot of other awesome nail artists out there getting their bling on right along with me! Check them out:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Missed Week 41 - Patchwork Mani

I skipped a few weeks here and there on the Year's Challenge that I'm going through, and one of those was the week of October 7, because I was participating in a Halloween nail art challenge that took up most of my mani time. That week's theme was patchwork, which didn't fit into the Halloween themes that were scheduled that week. I still wanted to do it, though, so here's my catch-up mani!

I started with a base of one coat of Sinful Colors Snow Me White. If any of that white were going to show up on the manicure, I would have done two coats, because one coat is opaque, but streaky. I just needed it for a bright white canvas, though, so the lighter colors I was going to use wouldn't be sheer, so the streakiness wasn't an issue and I didn't bother with a second coat.

I copied the pattern of patches off of Red Hair and Black Nail Polish, as you can see here:

I wanted to use four colors rather than three, though, so I had to plan out the variations of which color would be used where. The four I chose were China Glaze Man Hunt, Agent Lavender, Sex on the Beach, and Zoya Karina. I used China Glaze Liquid Leather for the lines. In fact, I need to buy another bottle of that because it's been my go-to black since I started nail art almost a year ago!

No matter what I tried, with flash or without, indoors or in sunlight, capturing the color correctly on this manicure was really difficult! Either the lavender was so washed out it looked almost off-white, or the dark blue was too dark to appreciate the beautiful depths of blueness that Man Hunt has! So I offer you a variety of pictures. I can honestly say that whichever picture you think shows the brightness, most vivid version of each individual color? That's the color it really is using human eyes.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Week 48 - Feather Mani

Back on track with A Year's Challenge, this week's theme is Feather Mani. I started with a base of OPI Jade is the New Black, which I just received a few days ago from my Polish Exchange Group (my receive month isn't until March, but since our October member dropped out a few months in, we decided rather than replace her, we would do an all-member exchange in October - like a Secret Santa, only ours was a Private Pumpkin!)

After the base Jade, I added a normal-dry topcoat on my index finger, laid my chosen feather over it, held it down for a moment until it stuck well, and then trimmed the edges. I repeated that for my middle finger, and then the same two on the other hand.

I added a glitter to the remaining fingers, and the other polish I used was also a gift, from one of my co-workers, who just randomly picked up a gorgeous glitter while walking through Target, because it made her think of me. How sweeeeeet! She tried to minimize the gift when she gave it to me by saying it wasn't as high quality of a brand as most of mine, at which point I stopped her and said that Sinful Colors was the second-most-numerous brand in my stash! :) And Nail Junkie is a color I didn't previously own, either, so WOW so pretty!! Two layers of Seche Vite (glitter is of course a top coat drinker, and the feathers still had textured ridges in the top coat after one layer) and my mani was beautiful!

I don't normally like using flash to take these pictures, but it's solid clouds outside so I have no sunlight to help, and while my office lighting usually takes pretty decent pictures, it was coming out very very blue. Using flash usually makes for less color accuracy, not more, but in this case? Using flash came out with almost perfect color accuracy. At least, as it shows on my monitor, these came out well.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Week 47 - Thanksgiving Day

For Thanksgiving nails, I had the idea to use water marbling to make a turkey tail. It didn't come out how my brain imagined it, but it still came out pretty cute, I think. I think I'm going to do some throw-away water marbling on a swatch stick just to practice and see if I *can* make the design I was trying for.

Anyway, most of my nails have two coats of Finger Paints Putty In My Hands topped with one coat of Pure Ice Gold Mist. My accent fingers have a base of Sally Hansen White On, and the water marbling was done
China Glaze Desert Sun, Call of the Wild, Brownstone, and Kalahari Kiss. I tried using OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys and Finger Paints Don't Make a Scene, but the Finger Paints wouldn't spread in the water at all, and while the OPI spread very nicely, NO nail polish dropped in after it would spread. At all. So I gave up and stuck with my stand-by of China Glaze which always spreads perfectly for water marbling (assuming my air conditioning is turned off and there's no breeze cooling down the water...and didn't that take me a while to diagnose what was causing it!)

With no further delay, my turkey nails!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Glittered Flowers

This manicure was directly inspired by Dressed Up Nails. She posted a series of manicures using only the China Glaze Safari colors and they were all gorgeous. It helps that I already loved the collection, since I'm a huge fan of nature/fall colors, but her nail art using that set of colors that go so well together was great. I really liked this one:

But due to my extreme nubbins, and my continuing inability to draw TINY (though I'm still working on it!), I had to shrink the design a bit. I used a base of Zoya Karina, with dots of China Glaze Brownstone and topped with I'm Not Lion.

I took a lot of pictures of this one, trying to show off the gorgeous shimmer of Karina as well as the holo sparkle of I'm Not Lion. This is one of those manicures, though, that really had a lot more gorgeous depth to it in person than I could capture in the pictures. Which may just be the fault of my amateurish camera talents.