Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Thirty ~ Inspired by a Tutorial

I've never done a waterfall nail art before and I still need some practice it seems. I saw the Waterfall technique on The Nailasaurus blog last week and fell in love with it. Mine didn't turn out nearly as good as theirs did so you should totally check out their blog. I would say that I just don't have a good brush for this yet, but its a poor artist who blames her tools. So I just need practice.

To do this I used shades of purples starting with Sinful Colors "Tempest" as the base. I then thought it was too dark so I used a coat of Sinful Colors "Tokyo Pearl" to lighten it up, but it was to light so a final coat of Sinful Colors "Rain Song". It was at this point I should have realize I didn't have the patience to try this today, but I pushed through. It wasn't drying fast enough for me so I slapped a coat of Seche Vite to flash dry it. Shortly after that bubbles showed up in the base color. For the streaks I used "Tempest" Sally Hansen "Grape Race" and "Grape Escape". It was awfully dark so I threw in some streaks of Maybelline "Bold Gold" to lighten it up. Not bad, but not as good as Nailasaurus does. Seriously, they are amazing!

Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge and I have no idea what I'm gonna do for it yet! But lookie! One post every day this month! That is a first for me :D

Sunday, September 29, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Nine ~ The Supernatural

What a fun prompt! I had so many ideas for this one I wasn't sure where to start. Before I eventually settled on a Phoenix image I really wanted to do a Kitsune, but nothing I tried looked right. If I ever do a fox mani, nothing less that perfection will do for my beloved foxes. Then I thought up mummies, werewolves, witches and demons, but we are coming up on halloween so I want to save those for next month. So Phoenix it was. I tried a few different fire effects for the background but nothing turned out well so I decided to multiple stamp the phoenix from Bundlemonster BM314. At the last moment I decided to put a gold one on the ring finger. No reason, it was just fun. I think I should have added more black ones for the background, but otherwise I like it. Sally Hansen "Red-io Active" for the red background, Wet n Wild "Black Creme" for the birds and Maybelline "Bold Gold" for the one accent phoenix.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Eight ~ Inspired by a Flag

One day I'll get a chance to visit Ireland. I want to so badly. Today's prompt is "Inspired by a Flag" and while I could do the good ole USA, I do that enough for Memorial Day and 4th of July. First I tried to redo a failed St. Patrick's Day mani but it turned out just as badly as it did that first time. Then I looked at the cup of pencils on my table and was thinking about how I got the circle for my "Inspired by a Movie" mani. I wanted to play with that some more so I busted out the pencil eraser to do some polka dots. The smaller dots were made with my dotting tool. I really like it. I don't think I've ever done something quite like it. A no name orange was used with China Glaze "Starboard".

Oh as a reminder, this is what the Ireland Flag should look like:

Only a few days left of the challenge! I'm so excited, I never thought I'd get this close to finishing!

Friday, September 27, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Seven ~ Inspired by Artwork

If only one good thing comes out of this challenge, it has to be that I'm less afraid of freehanding now and more willing to practice it. I simply ADORE how this turned out and is one of my best works ever. Not just of freehanding, but of all my nail art ever! *giddy happy dance*

Ahem. Sorry.

I have a few favorite paintings and most of them are by Van Gogh. I don't know why I like him, I just do. Of all of them Starry Night is my number one favorite.

Ok, how did I do this. First off I started with a gradient on all fingers of Wet n Wild "Saved By The Blue" Orly "Blue Collar" and "Saved By The Blue" again. Next I cut down an old paintbrush to a smaller size and painted the tower in Orly "Liquid Vinyl", but I should have done the wind first before the tower. For the wind I used Wet n Wild "French White Creme" and dry brushed on the wind in a stippling motion. To dull it out (the white was a bit stark) I dry brush stippled some "Saved By The Blue" in the center of the wind line. "French White Creme" was also dry brushed in tiny circles all over for the stars with a center of Sally Hansen "Lightning". Simple techniques but it was the brush that helped out so much. Proper tools make things so much easier.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Six ~ A Pattern

Inspired by a pattern. Well I tried a few different tartans and none turned out well so I decided to redo my old green argyle. I even used the same sparkly green for it. Base coat of Wet n Wild "French White Creme". I made a big X on my nails with Stripe Rite green glitter. Next I filled in the 2 triangles on the sides with China Glaze "Tree Hugger" and more of the same green glitter. Finally I added the black lines with Stripe Rite black. Very simple but I like it better than the first time I did it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Five ~ Inspired by Fashion

I have never done a fashion manicure before even though they are rather popular in the nail art world. I had no idea where to even find the dress to mimic. So I went to my ever trusty Google Image search. I just typed in "Red Carpet Dresses" and this neat gown popped up.

Apparently she is Kelly Rowland at the 2013 Grammy Awards in a Georges Chakra Couture gown. I really don't know much about any of that, but that is what it said on Google. I'm not sure I really captured the dress all that well, but it was the first time I have ever done this. I freehanded a simple french tip on all my nails but for the accent using Color Workshop french pink and white. I taped off the stripes with striping tape on my accent then used Orly "Liquid Vinyl" over the tape. Peel it off and you have the open mesh areas of the dress. Again I'm not sure I used enough tape to get the idea across, but I like it. Simple and elegant.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Four ~ Inspired by a Book

Ann McCaffrey. I grew up on her books. She is one of the reasons I became a voracious reader. While this is book 2 of the Harper Hall Trilogy, its also my favorite of all her books. I'm showing you the book before my nails, because they didn't turn out all that well. In the world of Pern there are Dragons and Fire Lizards which are a form of tiny pet-like dragon. Both species come in 5 colors for breeding reasons. Gold, Bronze, Brown, Green, and Blue. Well, here are my nails. Another freehanded attempt.

In my defense they don't look as bad at a distance. Blowing it up in a picture makes the mistakes bigger too. Anyway, the thumb is my gold dragon in Pure Ice "Excuse Me". Index is my bronze dragon but I don't have a bronze polish so I used Maybelline "Bold Gold" and Sally Hansen "Chop Chop Copper" to dull it. Middle is brown dragon in Sinful Colors "Nirvana". The ring is a China Glaze "Tree Hugger" green dragon. Finally the little blue dragon on the pinky is China Glaze "Blue Sparrow". The eyes on the dragons whirl different colors depending on their mood but I stuck with Orly "Blue Collar" on all of them. The outline was done with Orly "Liquid Vinyl". I love the position of the dragon on the thumb and pinky. I even kinda like the close up of the head on the ring. Index and middle I would prolly have redone. Sorry this post is late today, I really had no idea what I was gonna do right up until I did it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Three ~ Inspired by a Movie

By now you know I'm a Sci Fi Geek. When told to pick a movie, it usually comes from that genre. One of my favorite tv shows was "Firefly". When it was cancelled after just one season (damn you FOX!) the creators (yay for Joss Whedon!) made the movie "Serenity" to wrap up loose storylines. If you're not familiar with the movie, it's amazing and you should check it out from your local library. Now. It's ok, I'll wait.

Anyway, the movie is set in a very Sci Fi/Western like universe. The name of the ship the crew lives on is called Serenity. It's very gritty but the way the crew has banded together to be a family...I love it.

Back to the nails, I started with a base coat of Orly "Liquid Vinyl" and wanted a bit of a galaxy mani, but I knew I was gonna stamp and freehand over it so it had to be subtle. I sponged a little Wet n Wild "Teal or No Teal" and Sally Hansen "Chop Chop Copper" in nebulas. I then stamped over it with Claire's no name white stamping polish. I usually use Milani "White On The Spot" but the cap is stuck on it and I eventually gave up trying to open it today. In the future this universe is set in, the USA and China are the 2 superpowers of the world and their cultures have kinda combined. So on the index I used BundleMonster BM207 leaf image. As Wash (the pilot) says in the movie "I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar." On the ring and thumb I stamped BM221. I'd like to say that I knew all along that that was the symbol for luck, but I have to admit, I just googled it right now. So happy that that worked out for the movie too! The pinky is just a fun little image from BM208.

On the middle finger I attempted to freehand the title of the movie and the image that is painted on the side of their spaceship. I actually really like how it turned out! I used a pencil eraser to make a circle of white so that Wet n Wild "Saved By The Blue" would stand out better. Then used a fine dotting tool I wrote the name. Kinda. I was just gonna do some squiggly dots that could be words when viewed from a distance, but instead tried to make it look like the word Serenity a little bit. I started in the middle of the circle with the letter E but left out the crossbar in the middle of the letter. After simplifying the letters NIT and dropping the Y all together, I went back and did the R E and S. I am so happy at how it turned out and I don't usually like my freehand manicures.

These "Inspired By" Challenges are hard, but I'm loving it. I have no idea what I'm gonna do for tomorrow "Inspired By A Book" yet. I hope I come up with something soon.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Two ~ Inspired by a Song

My favorite band ever is Blackmore's Night. I simply adore them. It's very Medieval/Renaissance meets Rock n Roll. Any bad that can combine electric guitars and bagpipes has my vote! This last week a lot of mani's have been popping up with an awesome smoke effect that I wanted to try. So I chose the song "Fires at Midnight". A base coat of Orly "Liquid Vinyl" with Wet n Wild "French White Creme" dabbed over the top with the watercolor technique to look like smoke. The fire on the index is Sally Hansen "Lightening", a no name orange, and Sally Hansen "Red-io Active" sponged to look like flames. Then just a very small amount of Sally Hansen "Cha-Ching" a red glitter and "Chop Chop Copper" a bronze-y copper glitter. I wanted the glitter to look like embers flying into the air.

"On the hills the fires burned at midnight,
Superstition plagued the air,
Sparks fly as the fires burn at midnight,
Stars are out and magic is here,
The stars are out and magic is here..."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-One ~ Inspired by a Color

Wow, this one was hard. I tried 4 different practice nails and 2 actual manicures. First, what does "Inspired by a Color" mean? We already did the spectrum the first week of the challenge, what color is left? I thought it might be a particular color, like robin egg blue or something. Looking up manicures people have done in the past for this challenge, it seems the consensus is to take the name of a polish and make a manicure inspired by that. Ok, that makes sense. I had just bought Sally Hansen "Red-io Active" and thought it would be cool if I could make a Radioactive symbol on each nail. I figured I could freehand the symbol on some plastic and peel it off and place on the nail like a decal.

I used a pencil eraser to get the circles

I used a dotting tool to draw the symbol

As a reminder, this is what the Radioactive warning sign is supposed to look like:

As I review the pictures looking for a good one to post, I guess they didn't turn out too bad. Not my best work, but not as bad as I thought when I was doing it.

Sally Hansen "Red-io Active" and Orly "Liquid Vinyl"
I also attempted mani's for Sally Hansen "Lightening", Sinful Colors "Cotton Candy", and Milani "Wild Violet". With Violet I tried the one stroke technique. I'm gonna get more practice before trying that one again, it was a disaster.

Friday, September 20, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty ~ Water Marble

This prompt made me giggle. I love Water Marbles! They are what got me into nail art in the first place and will always hold a soft spot in my heart. But where to start? With all the colors under the sun at my disposal, what to do? I really thought about my go-to color, green, but my last marble was green. As I sat at my desk my eye caught on a bag of polishes I just bought. 2 of my new colors, Milani "Wild Violet" and Sinful Colors "Tokyo Pearl", really reminded me of that very first water marble. I decided that if I was gonna redo that first mani, something had to be different. I'm still perfecting swirls instead of the classic petal style marble. I still have work to do there, but otherwise it turned out pretty neat. I did a base coat of "Tokyo Pearl" on all the nails, but Pearl didn't want to marble, so for the actual marble I used China Glaze "Ice Cap".

My original water marble, 2 or 3 years ago, my first nail art ever:

This is the traditional petal style marble using Cover Girl Nailslicks "Silver Belle" and Sally Hansen "Purple Potion". And this ends the Pattern section of the Challenge. Tomorrow starts the Inspired By portion. I'm gonna have a lot of fun with that :D

Thursday, September 19, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Nineteen ~ Galaxies

I love galaxy manis! So forgiving and spectacular! I have never decided which I like better tho, glitter for stars or dotting tool. So I decided that for all the colors in the nebulas I was gonna use shimmer polishes. Hopefully I wouldn't need to add stars that way. So I started off with a base color of Orly "Liquid Vinyl". Then I sponged Milani "Wild Violet" in random parts of the nails. On top of that went Wet n Wild "Teal or No Teal". I don't have a shimmery yellow, and I really thought the nebulas needed a lighter color, so I used Sally Hansen "Lightening" sparingly. On top of that is Sally Hansen "Red-io Active" and "Chop Chop Copper" I always love galaxy manis. I wonder if I should stamp something over it, or add stars, but for now I'm just loving it as is.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Eighteen ~ Half Moon

There is a way to do Half Moons that I simply adore. I was super proud the day I came up with this idea. Use french tip stamping plates, but instead of stamping on the tips, stamp it at the base! Not exactly a groundbreaking idea, but I loved coming up with it. I also decided to use some of my untrieds (polishes I haven't really used before) so the base color is OPI "Stranger Tides" and accent is "Uh-Oh, Roll Down The Window". An unfortunate name for a pretty olive green. Window is stamped over Tides and Tides over Window. The stamp I used is BundleMonster BM216. Fun, huh? A very simple way to do Half Moons, but it dresses it up so much more than the simple moon of color.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Seventeen ~ Glitter

Ooo, glitter! The joy and bane of all manicures. There simply isn't anything as fun as a sparkly polish, but getting it off again is a pain in the arse. So knowing I was only gonna wear it for a day I used the glue basecoat method. Then I painted all my nails with Maybelline "Bold Gold". The bottle is labeled holographic, but the polish is not holo. Just a good metallic gold. Then on the thumb and ring I painted a few coats of Sinful colors "All About You". On the other fingers I just painted the tips in a faux gradient that looks great with glitters. I love that the glitter has a hint of red sparkle to it. I like this, but I don't think my skin tone works well with golds and yellows. I'm too pale to pull it off well, I think a more tanned skin tone works better with it.

Monday, September 16, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Sixteen ~ Tribal Print

The word "Tribal" to me makes me think of hand woven blankets and colorful baskets. I think of earthy tones like golden yellow and turkey red. BundleMonster BM221 (and it's matching tip BM219) make me think of those patterns. I used Sinful Colors "Let's Meet" and Wet n Wild "Black Creme". I've been using this challenge as an opportunity to do things I never have, or have avoided in the past. Nail Tip stamping plates I don't usually care for because I can't get the silly things to line up the way I like. Well I forced myself to do them this time, and you know what? I kinda like the way they turned out. Not exactly as straight as I like, but better than I've been able to do before. I like it :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Fifteen ~ Delicate Pattern

Day 15! We're half way thru the challenge!

Try as I might, "Delicate Nails" had me stumped. The only thing I could come up with was an ancient map. Did that count as delicate? Thin lines and lettering? But no matter how hard I tried, none of my freehand looked at all good. Then I stumbled across some of my temporary tattoo nail art. This one in particular:

So I ended up going with the map decal. It's still nail art, but it's so easy it feels a bit like cheating almost.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

31 Day Challenge: Day Fourteen ~ Flowers

Picture found on Google Images. No idea who photographed it
but it wasn't me.
The Stargazer Lily is one of my fav flowers, but was rather tricky to replicate in a manicure. My original idea was to do a background color of some pastel and free hand the lily in the corner of each nail. Freehand has not been kind to me lately, however. I almost had to scrap the whole idea when I stumbled across one of my BundleMonster plates, BM314. Hang on, is that a lily? Woot! But wait, there is a whole bunch of stuff on this image. I just want the lily to be in the corner. How can I isolate the flower and color it in to look like a Stargazer Lily? The answer was stamper decals. Now I'm still perfecting the art of stamper decals. Some decals get this hard edge that sticks up, or don't want to lay right on the nail. It was a bit of a risk, but that's what a challenge is for. So I stamp the image, scrape away the parts of the image I don't want and color in what's left.

When making a stamper decal you kinda need to think about it from the top down. The topmost layer when you put it on your nail will be the bottommost layer when you paint it. So first is the outline provided by the stamp in Wet n Wild "Black Creme" and a layer of topcoat to protect it while you color it in. The next is the spots I added with a dotting tool using Sinful Colors "Energetic Red" and the paler pink strip in the center of each petal in Sinful Colors "Cotton Candy".

Last is Wet n Wild "French White Creme" to fill in the flower and a final coat of topcoat to strengthen the decal. Let it dry a bit and place it on your nail. Topcoat it in place. I did one and took pictures incase I messed up the other 3. Good thing I did because the first one turned out so wonderfully and the next 3, not so much.

AMAZING! I love, love, LOVE this! Oh, and a quick note about the background color. I was gonna slap on just some random pastel, but last week I read about a technique I'd never tried before called watercoloring nail polish. I'll write more about it later, but basically what I did was paint my nails with Sinful Colors "Unicorn" a pastel yellow, then put a teeny, tiny drop of Orly "Blue Collar" and Sally Hansen "In Record Lime" on one nail and with a large paintbrush (not huge, but bigger than you usually use for nail art) dab acetone over it to dilute it and make it run over the nail. When it dries it makes these subtle water rings of color. I adore how it turned out.

But then I got carried away and made a decal for all my fingers. I should have stopped when I was ahead. The next 3 didn't turn out as well and the combination of all the decals made it look too busy. You also lose the look of the watercolor below all the decals. Also the air bubble problem I've been fighting decided to show up again. No idea why, I'm not using any of the same polishes or topcoat that I did for my temporary tattoo manicure.