Saturday, July 20, 2013

Skittles and Swirls

I think the primary excuse for this manicure was that I felt like using Orly Buried Alive in something. It's a gorgeous earthy brown with a deep rich gold shimmer that I just absolutely adore

So I looked through my Pinterest Nail Art board, as I regularly do for inspiration (I'm good at execution, not design - people argue with me all the time, but I know the inside of my brain, and I am not a creative person)  and found this pretty from FingerFood's entry to June's Tri-Polish challenge using red, purple, and pink.

Not doing this manicure for any of my ever-present challenges, I just pulled out my swatch sticks and picked two colors I thought would go well with Buried Alive. I ended up with China Glaze Tree Hugger and Desert Sun, and came up with this:

I used Milani Whitest White under the two middle fingers, and then added the swirls of color, followed by outlining them with Sally Hansen Celeb City, my standard silver. I felt I did a poor job on the thickness of the outlines, which is the only reason I wasn't 100% happy with the results. I've been practicing doing thinner lines since I did this manicure!

Still, it was a pretty and earthy summer manicure that made me feel like I had the outdoors on my nails all day. I really liked it. Of course, I like any excuse to wear something as beautiful as Buried Alive. :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

July Tri-Polish #2 - taped mani

It's day two of July's episode of the Tri-Polish Challenge, brought to us by the wondermous Crumpet's Nail Tarts! This month's colors are blue, blue, and green, and my polishes are Pure Ice Home Run, China Glaze Man Hunt, and A-England Dragon.

I have long admired the crisp lines of a tape manicure, but I find the tape itself to be so fiddly that I seldom have the patience for it. But it pops up in my head frequently, and you can see how often it gets pinned to my Pinterest board. I finally made myself just sit down and do it. I love the results!!

There's really not  much else to say about this manicure, so on with the pictures, and be sure to check out everybody else's Tri-Polish entries at the bottom of the post!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July Tri-Polish #1 - flowers and dots

It's that time of the month again! What? No, wait, I mean for the Tri-Polish Challenge from Crumpet's Nail Tarts!! What time of month did you think I meant? Never mind.

This month's colors are blue, blue, and green, and I chose Pure Ice Home Run, China Glaze Man Hunt, and my new favorite green, A-England Dragon! I know Home Run is kind of a turquoise/aqua/half-green-half-blue color, but it looks blue to me, and that's what counts, yes? That and it looks really good with the other two colors, and it's a new polish in my stash, which always gets preferential treatment.

Without further ado, my first manicure of the July session of the Tri-Polish Challenge!

Were there trumpets? There should have been trumpets. Fanfare of some kind, anyway. Heh. Seriously, I really liked the way this one came out. My inspiration for the ring fingers was a manicure by Radi D:

I wasn't paying attention and my flowers weren't as close to the tip as hers, and left no room for the pretty ribbons, but that's okay, because they still came out gorgeous in my opinion.

I used Milani Whitest White for the white flowers and Sinful Shine Dark Room for the black outlines. And that's really all that can be said about the manicure, so enjoy the picture spam, and scroll down to see all the other entries for today's Tri-Polish!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Framed Dragon

My most recent package from my polish exchange group actually made me squeal OUT LOUD when I opened up one of the polishes. This has been on my wishlist for nearly as long as I've had one, really. From one of the first indie polish makers (I didn't even realize they were an independent polish maker when I first got into nail art!), I received A-England's Dragon. I really did make my entire family laugh at me because I was opening up each of these pretty polishes in their little bubble wrap bags, and I opened this one up and my first thought was, "Oh, that's pretty!" and then I turned the bottle and realized it was A-England...I checked the label and squealed. Fairly loudly, I'm sure. And then I was jumping up and down like a six-year-old (I have one, so I know whereof I speak!) yelling, "I got DRAGON! I got DRAGON!!" And you know what? It didn't disappoint. In the slightest.

My photography skills just don't live up to the glorious beauty of this polish, so I have to share a picture from The Swatcoholic:

It really is this glorious in real life, especially in sunlight. I tried, but could not capture the beautiful shimmer or the holographic glimmers that made me wiggle my nails off and on all day just to see the sparkles.

I added some swirls with OPI Live and Let Die, and highlighted it with swirls and dots of Sally Hansen Celeb City, and my thumbnails used just dots down the center as accent nails.

Raggio di Luna's manicure here was the inspiration for the design, but I just looked through my Nail Art board on Pinterest to find a design that I could use to highlight Dragon in all its fiendishness.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spring Bluebonnets in Summer

This manicure was one of those rare, spectacular times, when I was not using anyone else's manicure as inspiration, and yet my nails managed to come out exactly as I was imagining it when I designed it!

I started out with Milani Whitest White as a base, and then used the plastic wrap method to marble on first Color Club Take Me To Your Chateau and then Avon Vintage Blue. It came out, as I said, exactly as I had mentally pictured - that beautiful bright but pale blue of the sky on a crisp spring day with a hint of white to imply wispy white clouds.

I used a detail brush to add stems of Sinful Colors Exotic Green, and then my smallest dotting tool with China Glaze Frostbite for the bluebonnet flowers. I stippled the flowers quite thoroughly rather than just putting solid dots of the lacquer, in order to let some of that white/blue from the polish underneath come through, to add texture and depth to the flowers.

I really was blown away by how these nails came out just the way I wanted them to. While I often draw out a design that I want on paper, I only paint an actual practice nail maybe a third of the time, and this wasn't one of them. I just had an idea and went to town on my fingernails, and I was so excited to watch the picture in my mind take shape on my tiny little canvases!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lavender Mardi Gras

I completely spaced on posting over the holiday last week (I had a four-day weekend for myself!) so you will get my Independence Day manicure as an archive post when I get to it. Haha! See that, keeping my pretties as ransom - you have to stick around if you want to see my red, white, and blue!

In the meantime, here's one of the manicures I did during my anti-social, non-posting period last month. I may have mentioned before that new, untried polishes don't remain untried in my stash for long? I don't put them on the shelf with the rest of the polishes until I've used them at least once, in fact, which keeps them fresh in my mind when I'm planning the next thing to put on my nails. This is the first time I used Revlon French Mix Moonstruck, and it came out beautifully!

Isn't that gorgeous? I had no plan in mind when I started this, other than just to highlight this gorgeous set of polishes. Obviously I used the lavender half as a base on all of my nails, then I used the glitter half of Moonstruck on my middle and ring fingers. All the other polishes used are China Glaze: I added flared stripes of Black Diamond and some dots around the base of the stripes on all of my nails, along with Ruby Pumps on the accent nails, and then added stripes and some dots of I'm Not Lion on all of them for that added sparkle.

I really had nothing in particular in mind when painting these flourishes, but more than one person who saw them said they reminded them of Mardi Gras, so that's where the title for the post came from. All I cared about was that they were pretty!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

From the File Drawer - 52-Week Challenge: 5/27 - Inspired by a Pattern

Here's another one of those manicures that I did on time but didn't post. The 52-week challenge that I'm not slavishly following, but occasionally use for inspiration, had "inspired by a pattern" for the week of 5/27. Given my love affair with my dotting tools, I chose polka dots!

I started with a base of Sinful Shine Dark Room, followed by a lovely coat of Max Factor Fantasy Fire, and then dotted in two sizes with Sally Hansen Celeb City, my go-to silver!

Honestly, this came out even better than I pictured in my head! I absolutely loved wearing this and my only regret is not being able to capture in my pictures just how much the fantasy fire made this manicure flash.

And today you get a bonus mani, two for one deal! Actually, I just did my friend V's nails again, and this manicure was pretty enough that it just had to be shared. I don't remember what the occasion was, but she was going to some function at work that she needed a little extra classy for, so we did some pretty sparkle and flowers. I thought they came out pretty well, myself.