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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Autumn Leaves

Starting with a base of Finger Paints Don't Make a Scene, I used several different colors to make fall leaves. China Glaze Adventure Red-Y, Salsa, and Solar Power were used, as well as just a bit of Sally Hansen Cardinal. I don't have a lot of orange cremes, it turns out, so I tried mixing Solar Power with the reds to make some oranges, but I didn't get any really orange ones. Just sort of orange-ish-shaded red. I used OPI Suzy Loves Cowboys to make the stems, though I dipped my brush in the different colors to keep the stems from being just a straight brown. It worked to varying degrees. It's not the best work I've ever done, but it still came out pretty!

What really made me laugh, though, was when a co-worker asked me, "How do you get those so perfect?!" I couldn't help it. I laughed out loud. Not only are these not perfect, as you all can see on the big photos, but these are half-hour nails, done in the morning because I was too lazy to do them the night before, but then didn't want to go to work with naked nails. Heh. Perfect. ::giggle::

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Oooh Shiny!

First, you can blame the post title on the fact that my hubby and I had a Firefly marathon on Sunday, and then watched the 10th anniversary special for the short-lived and MUCH loved show. You can tell how much it was loved by everyone except the network honchos, because as they mentioned during the special - what other concept ever went from a *failed* TV show to a major motion picture? Fourteen episodes of Firefly, and a very successful movie, Serenity. I highly recommend them to anyone who has even a slight enjoyment of sci-fi, action, or westerns. Trust me. Of course, now that he's gone on to direct what they referred to as "the third biggest movie of all time", Avengers, maybe they'll trust Joss Whedon the next time he floats a story concept they don't think can work, like Buffy (seven awesome seasons and a few awards!) or Firefly.

Now, on to the actual shinies! As you can see, my friend V's hands are gracing our pages again this week. I started with two coats of Orly Buried Alive, topped it with one coat of Essie Shine of the Times, and then used China Glaze Kalahari Kiss and a detail brush to draw the design.

This beauty was inspired by Olmi, from Pieni Kynsiblogi, or A Tiny Nail Blog. Obviously I modified it to go on much shorter nails. :) We are all very sad to hear Olmi has developed an allergy to formaldehyde resin, and if she wants to continue doing her nails, will have to replace most of her stash, as they are not 5-free (or 3-free-plus, because the main three include formaldehyde, but not formaldehyde resin, so she'll need 5-free or 3-free-plus-FR, which some brands do.)

Click on the picture to go to her blog post on this mani:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Autumn dots a-falling

You may or may not have noticed, but I have no clue how to title things. This is not a good trait in a writer. It's a good thing I don't make a living at it! Aaanyway, the falling temperatures, and falling leaves, have gotten me in quite a fall mood, so as all artists tend to do, I painted my mood across my canvas!

The base color is two coats of Pure Ice Magic, followed by dots of China Glaze Riveting topped with slightly smaller dots of Zoya Karina. And of course, you may recognize the accent nail - I put one coat of Nerd Lacquer Gorramit! over the PI Magic, and then added the same dots the other nails had, but sideways instead of vertically on the nail. Gorramit!'s yellow base tint with the variety of gold, yellow, and orange glitters, made for the perfect fall glitter accent!

There's not a whole lot more I can say about this mani, so I'll just put a cut-tag in here and if you want the picture spam, feel free to click through! :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Polish Days - MANicure

It's November's Polish Days, and the theme this month is MAN-icure. I decided to dedicate my MANi to the most important person in my life: my husband. When I first got the email describing this theme, I thought about nail art with guitars, computers, cooking...all the things he's awesome at. Maybe add in a truck and a gun for things he likes. However, I have a board meeting at work today, and while working at a University means that even my more outlandish nail art is not only allowed, but enjoyed, I do try to put on a bit more of a professional look for the monthly board meetings, since they actually are important.

So instead of doing art to represent all the cool things about my guy, I decided to ask him to choose what to put on my nails - either the design, the colors, or both - whatever he wanted. Within minutes, he actually had an exact design in mind that he wanted to see, and even ended up drawing it out for me so we were both sure I knew what he was looking for. I even swatched out four different colors of "green with a subtle shimmer" to see which one matched his mental image best.

I started with a base of three coats of Sinful Colors San Francisco, which is a lovely green jelly with a beautiful shimmer that builds from a pale green at one coat to a luxurious deep emerald at three. I then added black tips with the curved shape Chris asked for in NYC Black Lace Creme, and matted the black tips. The edge between the black and green was then lined with first Sinful Colors This Is It and then topped it with All About You.

Enjoy all the other amazing nail artists that are participating in this month's theme!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 45 - Tribal

I didn't have any posts last week, and I think that's a first in months. I did do my nails a few times - I tried to push myself to keep up with the Halloween challenge, and I did my version of "witches" by drawing wiccan symbols on one hand (I had a pentacle, a moon and sun, and a three-phase moon) and the colors of the elements on the other (earth, air, fire and water). But I never got around to taking pictures of it. And then for Halloween itself I painted my nails to match my kimono costume, but the pictures I did take came out horrible. There wasn't any art to the manicure, just a gorgeous purple with blue glitter on two of the nails of each hand, so when the pictures came out overwhelmingly BLUE and I couldn't get the color even passibly accurate, I decided they weren't worth posting.

Now I hope I've kicked the depressive phase I've been in for the last few weeks, and my nails and everything else will get interesting again, but at least for last night, I managed to get going. This week's them for A Year's Challenge is "tribal". So I looked up a bunch of Cherokee patterns (since I'm part Cherokee, myself) and drew up some designs. I also added a dreamcatcher - I have no idea if Cherokee used them or not, but *I* use them as a pagan and a shaman, so I added one anyway.

I started with a base of two coats of Fingerpaints Don't Make a Scene, except for on my thumbs, which has two coats of Nailtiques Shanghai. I used a detail brush for everything except the four dots on the thumb, for which I used a dotting tool. The colors: Milani Whitest White and China Glaze Liquid Leather for the basics (I need to get another bottle of LL, as it's over half-gone!) China Glaze Solar Power, Sally Hansen Blue Me Away!, and Nailtiques Shanghai for the yellow, blue, and reds, respectively.

And the highlight of my morning today - I came into my office to find a small package in red-tissue paper, tied with a pretty purple ribbon. This is what was inside it:

 Awwwwwwwwww! I have awesome co-workers! When I went to thank her, she tried to tell me that she was sure it wasn't a higher quality polish like I normally which point I stopped her and told her that Sinful Colors is the second-biggest-brand on my polish shelf. AND I didn't have Nail Junkie yet, so I'm very happy to have it! Again, she tried to wave away the gift, but I'm just tickled pink that a co-worker actually thought of me when she was out shopping, and picked something up for me. It was so sweet!

Lastly, here's a heads-up for you: I've reached 52 followers on this little blog of mine, which is just amazing to me, really, and I want to have a giveaway for you awesome people who think my attempts at pretties are worth your time. :) I'll need to figure out what polishes to give, and get them in hand, but sometime in the next few weeks I'll put up a Thank-You for Following giveaway for Thanksgiving.