Monday, October 29, 2012

Random Plaid Mani

You know, I should know better than to join a nail art challenge that requires two manicures a week, and then ends with three days in a row. I should have known my ADHD would rear up and make me lose interest in it. I did actually manage to do last Friday's challenge, "witches", albeit on *Saturday*...but then I never got around to taking pictures of it. I'll try to convince myself to do that tonight. If I do, you'll just have to ignore the tip wear. :)

I'm clearly not going to be able to finish the last three days of the challenge, though, because I haven't finished our Halloween costumes, so I'm going to be SEWING for the next two nights! And then Tuesday night I will have to do my manicure to go with the costume, so it will not fit with the challenge. Ah, well. I need to be more honest with myself before jumping into things, I guess.

In the meantime, here's a manicure I did some time last month, because I needed something on my nails besides Halloween for a committee meeting. I rarely do a manicure to match my clothes - since I only do my nails around twice a week, I usually choose my clothes to go well with my nails rather than the other way around. :) But I had just bought this dress the week before, and I was wearing it to a committee meeting, and I thought that I could do a manicure that went well with it. I suck at plaid, but I think this one came out well enough (although admittedly it was my second try!)

First, here's the dress:

I started with a base of Nailtiques Milan, then I did stripes of China Glaze Stone Cold, and thinner striped of Liquid Leather.

I finished it off with NYC Matte Me Crazy to give it that soft fuzzy look to go with the soft knit of the dress. I'm always annoyed at the difficulty in clean-up with any red polish, but I do think the manicure as a whole came out very nicely.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"This is Halloween" Day 6 & 7 - Bats & Gradient

I didn't manage to get my bats done on time for last Friday, so I decided to combine days six and seven - bats and gradient - into one manicure for today. Mind, the gradient ended up being very subtle, but it's there.

I started out with a base color of two coats of Sally Hansen Opal Chrome, and then using a dry brush, I brushed down from the tips of the nails with Black Pearl Chrome. I then used China Glaze Liquid Leather to and a tiiiiny detail brush to draw my attempt at bats on the three middle fingers of my left hand.

I then added to the gradient on my right hand with a gradient of glitters. From the cuticle up, I have Wet N Wild, a very old bottle that I have that has no name on it, and only a sticker on the top of the lid that says 407. Then from about mid-way up to the tips of the nails I added Wet N Wild Kaleidoscope. They're both multi-colored glitter, but the 407 is tiny particles, and Kaleidoscope has larger hex glitters. Like I said, a very subtle gradient, but it is there!

I don't know why the glitter is only showing as gritty in these pictures. I'll take some more at lunch time and see if I can't get some better views for you guys. EDIT: Well, here are two pictures that do show the color sparkles a little bit, but seriously, it looks so much smoother and pretty in person.

I also added a graduated layer of Kaleidoscope on the thumb and pinkie fingers of my bat hand.

SECOND EDIT: One last update! Brianna wanted everyone to see her bats. Regrettably, she didn't choose a color scheme that makes her bats easy to see, but they are there... :)

I've included the links for both days - Day 6, October 19 - Bats

And Day 7, October 22 - Gradient!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Belated Week 40 - Animal Print Mani

I really didn't feel like doing zombie nails this week for the This Is Halloween challenge - while I think they would be awesome with a costume, I just didn't fancy wearing zombie nails to work with my regular office attire. I wouldn't get in trouble, but I would find myself explaining them to everyone who visited my office that day, and while I enjoy it when students notice my nails, I would be annoyed at feeling like I needed to explain why they were zombified. :P

I also don't do my nails just for this blog. This is a record of my hobby - the fact that others enjoy seeing my nail art is completely a bonus! But I primarily take pictures and keep a record just to show myself and others the progress that I've made from complete nail-n00b to nail artist, at whatever level of competence I may have managed by now.

So I decided to go back to my delayed participation in A Year's Challenge. I fully intend to fill in all the weeks I've missed - including the first few weeks before I picked up the challenge - but since I don't do my nails more than twice a week very often, there just isn't space on my hands to do both challenges. :) Even though I didn't participate in the zombie nails, I included the link at the bottom of the post so you can go see how amazing everybody else's were, and we'll be back to the Halloween themes on Friday! :)

Well, the theme for week 40, September 30th, was Animal Print Mani. So I started with this amazing photograph I found on photo of the day contest, titled Moving Day by Isak Pretorious:

I was just taken by the way the colors played together - the gradient from white on the belly to the orange on the back, the slightly darker orange of the spots - just beautiful. I've seen leopard spot manicures, I've even done one, I think, but I thought a gradient underneath would be just that extra touch that it needed.

There are only four colors used in this manicure, with two more for the accent nails. I started with a base of Sinful Colors Snow Me White, and then I put a big drop of white on my plastic-lid-palette alongside a big drop of China Glaze Desert Sun, and swirled them together in the middle. Using a fan brush, I picked up the whole line of polish and brushed it sideways across my nail. It makes for a lot of clean-up, but it also makes for the smoothest graduation in colors I know how to make. My paint palette is limited in its selection of orange cremes - most of my orange polishes have shimmer, like Avon's Lucky Penny or Sinful Colors Courtney Orange - but while I thought that Desert Sun was nearly the perfect color for the cat's undercoat, I needed a brighter and darker orange for the spots. So I mixed together a dollop of Primark Beauty's neon orange with a dollop of Desert Sun, and mixed them together thoroughly. That's the color I used for the leopard's spots. Then using the dotting tool with the thinnest tip I have - it doesn't even have a bulb at the end, it just tapers to a rounded point - I used Liquid Leather to make the spots around the spots. (Okay, my wordsmith brain says there should be a word for those rather than just black spots and orange spots, but I'm too lazy to go look it up right now!)

The accent nails do have the white/orange gradient underneath, but on top also has a simple gradient of China Glaze I'm Not Lion and I Herd That. I just brushed Lion up from the cuticle to fade out about 2/3 of the way up the nail, and then used Herd That from the tips about 2/3 of the way back down. I did the second coat the same way in order to make the fade a little more unobtrusive, and *poof*! I'm done!

I just love how many beautiful colors show up in these glitters. I should have taken a blurry picture just to show how amazing they shine, but I totally forgot until I was writing up this post. I can waste a lot of time just wiggling my fingers around and watching the way the glitter changes - it's like one of those optical illusion 3-d pictures that used to be on the cover of children's books (do you remember those?) where you move them around and the picture changes so that they almost look like they're moving.

Friday, October 12, 2012

"This is Halloween" Day 4 - Jack-o-Lanterns

Today marks the next installment of the "This Is Halloween" Nail Art Challenge from Lacquer Dreams! Thanks to her for coming up with a great list of challenge themes, and enjoy clicking through the links below to see everyone else's interpretation...and then add your own! :)

Without further ado, here are my Jack O'Lanterns!

Wait, what? Those are just pumpkins? Well, of course they are! The Jacks are on the other hand!

Yeah, I know, I won't quit my day job, I promise. I'm definitely not the comedian/ne in the family. Which is why my hobby is nail art, not jokes!

Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't write blog posts when I'm feeling silly. Ah, well, you're not reading this anyway - you're just here for the pretty pictures!

I started off with two coats of Nubar Forest. After waiting for that to thoroughly dry, I put a thick coat of Avon Absinthe, one finger at a time, and then used scrunched up plastic wrap (also known as cling film in other parts of the world, I believe) to dob off some of the Absinthe. I think the result made for a nice mossy or green grass background.

For the pumpkins I started with Primark Beauty neon orange, and then once that was dry I drew lines on them in China Glaze Riveting alternating with Sinful Colors This Is It. I added some stems in OPI Suzi Loves Cowboys and then added thin lines of Absinthe on them...I think that was a mistake, and I should've used another shade of brown, because the stems just don't show up well against the green background. Live and learn!

I used China Glaze Liquid Leather and a tiiiiny detail brush for the Jack O'Lantern faces, and I think I need to learn to use thinner on my palette when drawing tiny details - I can't for the life of me get my lines as thin on my nails as they are on the design in my head. :P

And Brianna wanted to join in the party this week! This is nearly 100% her work - she painted her nails (including base coat, since she asked me if she should use base and top coat and I told her that depended on whether she wanted them to last longer than overnight, and she decided that she did) and drew the Jack O'Lanterns on her left hand (she's right-dominant). I only drew the Jack O'Lanterns on her right hand. Didn't she do a great job?!

Now, enjoy all the pretties listed below!

Monday, October 8, 2012

"This is Halloween" Day 3 - Ghosts

Day three of our Halloween challenge is GHOSTS! This manicure has almost too many polishes to mention, though I will say that my non-accent nails have two coats of China Glaze Man Hunt, two coats of Max Factor Fantasy Fire, and a thin layer of Pure Ice Strapless. The Fantasy Fire just made the nails a bit too red to go well with the rest of the mani. I can't wait to see how this looks in the daylight tomorrow, though!

The accent nails have four different blues and two different blacks sponged for the background colors, and
China Glaze Some Like It Haute sponged across the tops for stars in the night sky.

The ghosts were made with Sinful Colors Snow Me White, China Glaze Hook and Line, and China Glaze Elephant Walk. There's also a layer of Ghoulish Glow on all the ghosts and some dots in the starry skies, though those don't show up in the pictures! :) I did try and take some pictures, but while the glow looks awesome to the naked eye, it's not enough light to show up on my camera, at least with the settings I know how to manipulate.

Thanks to Lacquer Dreams for coming up with this challenge and sharing it with everyone!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall Marbling

My friend V really, really loves water marbling. And she's extremely excited that she's gotten the hang of doing it herself. I present to you, V's nails - my only contribution to her manicure was taping her fingers before hand and clean-up afterward...though I have to admit that cleanup involving red or black nail polishes is a BITCA.

I think she started with a base color of Desert Sun, and the water marbling was done with all China Glaze: Salsa, Brownstone, Riveting, and Desert Sun. I've found China Glaze to be pretty consistent for using in water marbling - if it isn't spreading easily, then your water's gone cold. It's never the polish. Sometimes I can use Sinful Colors for water marbling, and sometimes I can't, but China Glaze will tolerate the water getting a little colder than SC will.

Friday, October 5, 2012

"This is Halloween" Day 2 - Watermarble

Day 2 in the "This Is Halloween" Nail Art Challenge from Lacquer Dreams, and today's theme is watermarble. I love watermarble, but it's so much effort and so much clean-up, and there's invariably at least one nail that has to be wiped clean and re-done from scratch, that I just don't do it very often. So honestly, I'm quite happy when a challenge prompt requires it of me!

I started with a base layer of China Glaze Hook and Line for a nice, silvery color. Then I used China Glaze Smoke and Ashes, ChG Riveting, Sinful Colors Courtney Orange ), and last -but not least- China Glaze Ghoulish Glow to make the water marble. Though the Courtney Orange isn't on all my nails, as I couldn't really see the difference between it and Riveting after it was marbled, and it didn't spread well with the Ghoulish Glow at *all*, so I stopped using it after a bit.

Ghoulish Glow comes off as mostly transparent, of course, so that allowed the silver base color to shine through. I don't have any pictures of the glow-in-the-dark, though. I'll see if I can get some when I get home from work tonight, and I'll add them if they come out at all. :) I especially like the tiny stripes I got on the index finger here!

Have you ever had a plan set out for your nail art, and then realize after half of your nails are completed that you completely forgot a step that you had intended? I did that this time. I had intended to put a layer of Nubar 2010 down before the makes such nice orange flakes over most colors! But I realized right after I dipped the first finger of my second hand that I'd completely forgotten it. So all the pictures above, and the pinky finger below, don't have it. But for the rest, you can clearly see the orange flakes on the silver, under the "clear" Ghoulish Glow. I tried for the tiny stripes again on the index finger, but I couldn't get them quite as thin.

This hand made me scratch my head several times, wondering How the heck did that happen? The huge black area on my thumb, for instance, and the fact that the pinky finger looks like I dipped it twice, which I didn't. (I did re-do two fingers on my left hand, but I took the polish off completely and started over on them!)

Go check out all these other gorgeous entries to the challenge!