Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yet another French tip

All those interview manicures we did over the last few months on V's nails were worth it - she started her new job this week! She wanted to start her first day with nails that were professional, but pretty. A French tip is always on track. We started with a single coat of China Glaze Fast Track and added tips in Orly Buried Alive. Then I used China Glaze I Herd That to draw a line between the base color and the tips, as well as draw a few subtle arcs.

I included a few more pictures just so you could see how amazing the shine and multi-colored sparkle of the holographic glitter in I Herd That. Just beautiful!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dotted French Tip - Week #2 fill-in

Good Monday, nail art enthusiasts! I will freely admit I'm being a baaad challenge member and totally skipping this week's theme. Why? I don't care for cupcakes. Seriously. I have absolutely no love for the cutesy that is cupcakes on nails. I can appreciate kawaii, but I am not a cute person. If you are, then by all means, head over to Jenna Froggy's Year's Challenge page and check out everybody else's cupcakes, but here on my hobby blog, you're getting anything that drops into Ro's weird little mind. Just not cupcakes. ;)

Instead, I'm going to make up one of the weeks I didn't do, because I came into this challenge a few weeks late. So I present to you, week #2: french tip! (Yay! I hardly ever do french tips, but I figure if I'm going to do it, might as well use it for a fill-in!)

I started with a base of two coats of Finger Paints Don't Make a Scene, then I added french tips in Orly Buried Alive. I really love this color - the rich red and gold shimmers are just beautiful. It really does bring to mind a freshly turned top soil (though you'll never see this lovely color of dirt in my front yard!)

I used China Glaze I'm Not Lion from the On Safari collection to line the separation between the base and tip colors, which allowed me to cover over those not-quite-perfect spots! Then I used a dotting tool to put dots of Don't Make a Scene on the brown tips, and I used China Glaze Prey Tell for the dots on the tan base. I tried just using Buried Alive, but the added contrast of a third color really helped the dots to pop out. Onto the DMaS dots on the tip, I added slightly smaller dots of Prey Tell, and then finally even smaller dots of I'm Not Lion. The Prey Tell dots on the base just got a smaller dot of I'm Not Lion on them.

I've gotten some surprisingly enthusiastic comments on these from my co-workers, and one of the male professors happened to come by while I was showing them, and he asked if I did them myself or went somewhere to get them done! I can't think of a better compliment than people thinking that a professional did my nail art. Well, I did have one better compliment, when a salon manager asked if I was certified (or licensed, or whatever it's called), because she'd been looking for someone to do nail art at her salon! Anyone who knows me in person would have been rolling on the floor laughing at the question. I am not, not, NOT a people person. I would have a nervous breakdown if I had to work in a service environment constantly, let alone having to touch strangers constantly. ::shudder:: No, I'll keep this at hobby level, thanks, and stick to my own nails or my very close friends.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Glittered Glass

Isn't that pretty?! I'm really happy with this manicure! I have a hard time creating light, summery manis, because I love fall colors. I have to specifically tell myself to purchase light colored polishes, because they're never what catches my eye or calls to me or makes me go, "Ooooh pretty!"

There are ten polishes on here, not counting base and top coat, but please don't ask me to tell you which is which! I started with two coats of China Glaze Innocence for a base color (and I did leave it open in spots) and then used a detail brush to draw random swooshes in the following polishes: China Glaze Dress Me Up, Sunset Sail, Agent Lavender, Reggae to Riches, and Sex on the Beach, along with Avon Ruby Slipper, an unnamed pink shimmery mini from Lisa Frank, and I topped a few of the swooshes with Zoya Chloe. Then I used China Glaze I'm Not Lion to outline all the different colors as well as outline a frame around the whole nail.

Mr. IJAH said that it looks like I used the pattern from a 1960's shirt, which I'm totally okay with, even if he meant it as an insulting tease. (We pick on each other that way allll the time. :)

On a side note, I love that I've only had a single nail break in months, even though I've run out of the Haken Nail Magic strengthener base coat that I used to get them to grow like this, and that nubbin on my right-hand middle finger broke off when the damage from the previous base coat finally grew out to the end of my nail bed. I'll be buying another bottle of the strengthening base coat when I can (my Sally's was out of it when I was last there), but in the meantime I'm using their regular Nail Hardener base coat (the pink one) and it's certainly not hurting my nails.

I just loved the pretty, sparkly, swirly nature of this manicure, and I couldn't narrow my choices of pictures down to just a few, so I'll at least put a cut-tag before spamming you with pictures. Feel free to click-through for sparkly goodness! :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Week 34: Bling!

Good morning hobby lovers! This week in the Year's Challenge is BLING! I keep wanting to do a manicure with rhinestones, but I never seem to get around to it. I can't help but be intimidated by the gorgeous rhinestone art manicures I have pinned from Sarah ❤'s Pretty Little Things, but sometimes you just have to muddle through!

You think that's enough bling? My co-workers all thought so. :) I started with two coats of China Glaze Man Hunt, from the new On Safari collection. I then did french tips in a V-pattern with my new favorite glitter, Wonder Beauty Diamond Dust. Then there was a layer of Gelous, followed by lots and lots of picking up rhinestones and bullion beads with the pointy tip of an orange stick. A final layer of Gelous to seal it all, and voila! I'm all blinged up!

Seriously, though, this is one of my favorite manicures lately. It came out exactly as I had envisioned when I worked up the design on my nail wheel, and that's something I really can't say very often. Be sure to go over to JennaFroggy's page to see who else is participating in the Year's Challenge! There's lots of gorgeous nail art to oooh! and aaah! over just waiting for your click!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lazy Luster

What is a nail artist to do with their fingernails, when they don't feel like making an effort? Pull out your newest glitter, of course, and make a gradient! :)

Please pardon the lack of clean-up. As the post title declares - I was being lazy! I started with two coats of China Glaze Jungle Queen, from the new On Safari collection. I've seen some awesome swatches of this polish showing a beautiful subtle shimmer, but alas, I did not see this shimmer myself on my nails. You actually can see hints of it in some of my pictures, especially this next one, but I didn't see it with my eyes!

After my nails were Pretty In Purple (since I'm definitely not a pink person!), I added a gradient of my newest glitter, Diamond Dust from Wonder Beauty Products. There could be no other name for this polish than Diamond Dust, because that's exactly what it looks like: thousands of tiny little diamond particles dusted across my nails! Don't you just love that gorgeous sunlight twinkle on my index finger in the picture above?! This is one of those manicures that I keep having to stop typing from time to time and just wiggle my fingers to watch the sparkle. :)

I used a very simple technique to make this gradient - I wiped most of the polish off the brush, and then put a very fine dry layer from about 2/3 back to the tip. Then I repeated it, with slightly more polish on my brush, from about midway on the nail, and finally I added a solid layer of polish on the final tip, from about 1/3 of the way back on my nail. Made for quite a bump on the tips of my nails, but it only took a single layer of Seche Vite to smooth out the surface. But as you can see here, there is a fair bit more polish on the ends of some of my nails! Although, to be fair, it looks huge in this picture, but it hardly feels like a bump at all when I run my fingers across it.

What do you do with your nails when you're feeling lazy? Leave them naked, paint with a single color, or just a simple art effect like this one?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chunky Copper Chops

I'm sure most of you who share my hobby are aware of Copious and their habit of semi-regularly offering free credits to members (and, of course, if you haven't tried them out, click here to get a $10 credit for signing up!) I managed to catch the latest $10-credit being offered to existing members, and snagged two KleanColor polishes: Military Green and Chunky Copper. The day they came in the mail, I was so enamored of them, I had to use them right away.

Aren't those gorgeous?! I started with a base color of the Military Green, and covered the thumb and ring fingers with two coats of Chunky Copper. This glitter has two different colors of large hexes, gold and copper, as well as lots and lots of medium and small copper hexes. (If any of the smaller hexes are gold rather than copper, I can't see them.) I'm not sure why the same two coats came out with such a different amount of glitter on my thumb versus my ring finger, though I suspect I was spreading the same amount of glitter out on the larger surface area on the thumb, since this difference in density held true for my other hand as well.

I added a slanted french tip in China Glaze Exotic Encounters, added a stripe in Avon Lucky Penny, and then outlined the stripe in China Glaze Prey Tell. I also used dotting tools in three sizes to layer dots of Prey Tell, Exotic Encounters, and then topped with Lucky Penny. It doesn't show up as well in the pictures, but Lucky Penny is almost exactly the same color as the copper hexes in Chunky Copper.

Look at these pictures out in the sunlight - that Chunky Copper is practically on fire and you can see it actually reflecting the sunlight onto my middle finger!

Almost every one of my co-workers who oohed and aahed over this manicure had to run their finger over my ring fingernail because the glitter was so three dimensional! Even though in reality, it actually laid pretty flat, and two coats of Seche Vite on top means the surface of my nail is almost completely smooth, but even with that, the way the light shines on the copper hexes makes them look like they're curling upward. I don't know what makes them look that way, but it's very eye-catching!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Show Some School Spirit!

It's that time of year on college campuses across America - the horde is descending upon us! Otherwise known as the students returning, of course. :) In fact, my oldest daughter is moving in to her very own dorm room at University of Kentucky this week. We did, however, have some fun-spirited arguments while she was visiting me this summer, regarding her chosen institution of higher learning versus the one I work at. Heh...

But on to the nails! It was Orientation Day for new students in V's department this week, and all the staff were encouraged to wear red to show off our school pride. (Cardinal Red is the University of Arkansas school color, after all!) So, in the same spirit, we decided to show off her school spirit on her nails!

Please forgive the quality of the pictures today - it is a very busy time at work for us, and the sun refused to cooperate to shine upon her nails when we were taking them, so we resorted to flash. Neither picture is quite color-accurate, as the reality is somewhere in between the two.

We started with a base of China Glaze Adventure Red-y from our newly acquired On Safari Collection. We added french tips in NYC Broadway Burgundy Frost (and a full nail coverage on the ring finger for accent), and then drew a line between the two in Milani Whitest White. I thought about drawing some sort of design on the accent finger...but then I decided that writing UA would go best with the rest of the manicure. Not that I'm all that good at printing letters in nail polish...yet!

As usual, red is a bitc-a to clean up, leaving cuticles to look like they're inflamed for some reason, but thankfully it's far less noticeable in real life. Go Hogs!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marbled Ice

V loved her last water marble so much that she wanted to do it again. And this time, she wanted to try it for herself! Since water marbling is one nail art technique that I do that doesn't require steady hands, she thought she might be able to do it on her own this time. But of course, she wasn't going to attempt her first solo nail art without a spotter, so she came over to my nail salon ::cough-living-room-cough:: to attempt her first masterpiece where I could help if she got stuck. (Not to mention that all the nail polish is at my house, anyway. ;)

Like much of the nail art I do, she started with a picture for inspiration. V is a big, big anime fan. Not that I've got anything against sitting down for an anime marathon, myself, but I'd just as soon read fanfiction based on the anime as watch it, myself. (It doesn't get much better than a well-written Harry Potter/Gundam Wing crossover, in my opinion...and yes, I know I'm a geek, and proud of it! :) So here's the picture V was going off of: 

Don't ask me who the characters are, as it's not an anime that I watch, and I don't try to keep track of what V's watching these days. She'll spout off a dozen Japanese names and tell me all about them like I know which one's which. The silly baka knows the only two anime I've ever watched with enough interest to remember who's who were Slayers and Gundam Wing.

So, blue, lavender, and white, with an icy look/feel is what she was going for. I pulled out Sinful Colors Snow Me White, China Glaze Agent Lavender, and Cover Girl Electric Blue for her water marbling. Most of her nails came out excellent, though a few of them weren't what she was going for, so she described to me what she wanted - lines, rather than flowers or stars - so I showed her how to manipulate the colors to get that effect, and then I helped her with the last few, but most of these nails are actually 100% her work.

To top off that icy look, we added a layer of China Glaze Luxe and Lush over the top. It added just enough flakes to look like shards of ice across her nails, and we declared this manicure experiment a complete success!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Week 32: Needle Marble

Yet another week has gone by, and that means another theme for the Year's Challenge. Head over to Jenna Froggy's page to check out the full schedule and see a list of other blogs participating, but for now, this week's theme is Needle Marble. If you're not already aware, needle marble is a technique where you put drops of different colors of polish on your nail, and use a sharp instrument - toothpick, tiny dotting tool, or needle (hence the name, duh ;) - to draw swirls directly on your nail. I don't remember who it was, but the blogger I first saw using this technique linked to a Robin Moses tutorial for how to do it, so I'll give credit for where I learned how to do this where it's due. You can find the video at the bottom of this post. :)

Without further ado, here's what I came up with!

I had an inspiration for this manicure. I don't know how well I captured it, but I was basing it on a particular painting, Rebirth by Oni Hazarian, which is available in multiple types of prints from Fine Art America. I love browsing their website for inspiration, which you can tell from browsing my "Inspirations for Nail Art" pinterest board. ^_^

To do my best with how this beauty inspired me, I used a base of China Glaze Smoke and Ashes. The various swirls were done with Primark Beauty neons yellow, blue, and orange, Sinful Colors San Francisco, and NYC Broadway Burgundy Frost. This is one of those manicures where I think it really looks much better in person than in pictures. I did manage to get a certain depth to it that I don't think really shows up here. Ah, well. Even if I didn't capture the effervescence of the painting, I still have pretty nails!

And, as I promised, the link to the great teacher of technique - Robin Moses teaching "Marbling Without Water":

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Spiral Dotticure and a Nail Fail

As you may know from previous posts, my fellow hobbyists, I bought two of the twelve polishes in the new China Glaze On Safari Collection last month: Desert Sun and Call of the Wild. Once payday came, though, my friend V and I agreed that we needed the rest of the collection, so we split the cost half and half...and they arrived on my doorstep just a few days later! Aren't they gorgeous?

I'm sure you've all seen a metric ton of swatching posts on these polishes, so I won't bother to list off the names, but feel free to ask if you actually don't know which is which! :)

I of course wanted to do my next manicure using some of the new polishes...but honestly? I think I should have stopped part of the way through. It's a common failing of mine to not know when to *stop* when I'm doing a manicure. I've been making it a point to Pin things that show off how beautiful simplicity can be, so I'll remember it when I'm doing my own nail art. This weekend, however, I clearly forgot.

I started with a base color of China Glaze Man Hunt, which is quickly becoming my favorite blue (it pushed out my previous favorite, Frostbite, also a China Glaze.) The accent nails got a layer of Prey Tell added. I meant to do just Prey Tell on those nails, but I zoned out while painting on the pretty blue and forgot to leave those two nails plain. That was the first part of the fail - the Prey Tell just didn't look as gorgeous as it should have. Then I tried to do lace with a dotting tool...which came out pretty well, actually, though it probably would've looked better 1: in a straight line, rather than the curve I went with, and 2: if I'd STOPPED THERE. But I really wasn't happy with the way the Kalahari Kiss looked with the other two colors, though I should've. Mr. IJAH thought it was gorgeous at that point, actually. But...well...I added little flourishes in I'm Not Lion, and spread it thinly over the lace.

My 8-year-old daughter thought it was gorgeous. Me, not so much. I just couldn't like it, so I took it off. Let me know what you think, though - Hail or Fail?

Anyway, I'm very happy with what I replaced it with! Two coats of China Glaze Agent Lavender, and then dots in a swirl with two sizes of dotting tools, in Purr-fect Plum and Man Hunt, and this is the result:

The accent nail is kind of subtle - most of the nails have Purr-fect Plum on the tips and Man Hunt on the base of the nails, while my ring fingers have the colors reversed.