Tuesday, 30 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 30 - Owl Be Inspired By A Tutorial

For today I followed a tutorial by Sunshine Citizen for making owls. Super cute! This is actually a tutorial that's probably better suited to short nails, but it's still cute on longer nails.

Sunshine Citizen did a pictorial tutorial and also a video. Here's the picture:
Tutorial by Sunshine Citizen - http://www.sunshinecitizen.com/autumn-owl-nail-art/

For my base colour I chose Ciate's Iced Frappe, a warm brown-grey-mauve colour. Application was pretty good with two coats and good flow onto the nail. I then used white acrylic paint for the face and feathers, because it's so much easier to get solid white that way. (I started with white nail polish - not good.) I finished by doing the eyes/nose/outline in Kleancolor's Dark Brown.

I tried a new hand pose today... pretty satisfied with it, actually. How do you decide how to pose your hands? Do you do the same pose each time? I like to try to vary my poses a bit from post to post and keep things interesting. Also sometimes the manicure can be seen better with a different pose, particularly since my nails have a pretty deep C curve.

Monday, 29 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 29 - Inspired By The Supernatural

A nice quick easy manicure today: blackest night with a ghost accent nail. BooOooo0!

I painted my nails black (Relvon's Black Magic) and then stamped the white ghost on with plate BM-223. I passed over this li'l ghosty for the spooky Halloween nails I did earlier in the challenge because I wanted to keep it black and orange, so this haunting is overdue.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 28 - Inspired By A Flag

This challenge is a bit what? for me... inspired by a flag? I decided to do some freehand bunting, because bunting is nice and festive, and again, freehand practice.

I painted my nails white with Ulta3's Lily White, then used Butter London's Pillar Box Red, Essie's Butler Please (blue), and Face of Australia's Some Like It Hot (orange) for the flags. Ulta3's Midnight for the black rope.

I finished things off with OPI's Matte top coat - omg! So much better than my previous matte topcoat! One coat and done. I like the illustrated look matte coat gives.

31 Day Challenge, Day 27 - Inspired By An Artwork

For this one I tried to imitate a painting by Barnett Newman called Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?

Not quite the same scale as the painting! The proportions are not right, alas.

I painted my nails with Butter London's Pillar Box Red, then freehanded the stripes on with Essie's Butler Please and OPI's I Just Can't Cope-acabana. I thought about taping off the lines but wanted to practice freehanding stripes, because I want to get better at it.

Friday, 26 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 26 - Inspired By A Pattern

In a timely delivery, I got some nail mail from Celestial Cosmetics today. I was in desperate need of some new topcoat, as my bottle of HK Girl was down to the dregs, so I went to put in an order and was pleasantly surprised to see that they now sell nail vinyls! I picked up some medium chevrons, and after much deliberation I also got Carina, although there are so many lovely polishes there that it was hard to choose. When my package arrived today I was also delighted to see that I got a mini bottle of the September LE, a "turquoise green linear holographic". Very springlike. :) (If you like the shade, grab it quick! September's nearly over!)

So for the pattern today I busted out my new chevrons, grabbed Carina, and used another Australian indie polish, Picture Polish's Focus. (As an aside, how many great indie polish makers does Australia have? So many! How lucky are we?) Application for all three was excellent. The nail vinyls applied easily to the nail, were easy to reposition and to seal down, were easy to remove - A+ in general.

How good does it look? Ahh I love it!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 25 - Inspired By Fashion: Denim

Denim! Jeans are such a staple of the fashion world, and I was all set up for this challenge. Some time ago I bought Ciate's Denim Manicure kit, and I've been saving it for the right occasion. And not only is the theme for today "fashion", but tomorrow is a casual Friday. Perfect! (I always do my nails in the evening and wear them the next day.)

Ciate also fits the fashion rule in that you pay a premium for the brand name, unless you are like me and wait for it to pop up on Catch Of The Day. :D

The kit comes with a blue polish, Regatta, which quickly dries to a kind of semi-matte finish. It also has some water decal stitches, some nail studs, and some nail glue. Overall the kit was easy to use, with clear instructions, except for the nail glue. It had to be cut open and then had a tendency to go everywhere. I much prefer my other nail glue, which comes in a little bottle with a brush to paint it on. Much easier to control.

This kit was a lot of fun and I like the end result. Check it out!

(Note: the thumb is part of the picture on the packaging, not my own thumb!) 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 24 - Inspired By A Book, Treasure Island

Today's nails are inspired by the classic book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, a tale of pirates and hidden treasure. I really like how these turned out!

I started by painting my nails with Revlon's Gold Coin, then used Cheeky plate CH49 to stamp the treasure chest, the skull and crossbone pattern, the cutlass pattern, and the ships. I stamped the palm tree from N.Nail plate "B26" (available from KKCentreHK, as far as I can tell, because I bought it in-store from a general beauty store). I finished by free-handing the "X marks the spot" and the dotted path to the treasure.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 23 - Inspired by A Movie, The Little Mermaid

I knew exactly where to turn for this challenge: to Disneyland! More specifically, to the nail polish set I bought when I went to Disneyland last year - the Wickedly Beautiful set. (I note that it's gone up $5 since I bought it, so I feel like I got a retrospective bargain.) Disney has a make-up range called Beautifully Disney, and one of the their nail polish sets is for the "wonderfully wicked ladies", or evil villains. There's Mistress of Evil (Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty), Midnight Hour (from Cinderella), Just One Bite (the Evil Queen from Snow White), and the polish I used, Diva of the Deep for Ursula (from The Little Mermaid).

Diva of the Deep is a lovely dark purple with a warm reddish shimmer through it. Application of the polish was excellent, although it dried with a rather dusty finish - a bit of topcoat fixed that right up.

Since this manicure is all about Ursula, I then stamped tentacles on using Bundle Monster plate BM-401, which is much better etched and was much easier to stamp with. I love Ursula and she certainly owns the stage with her tentacles!

And here are some shots of the whole collection and its packaging. Check out how cute the bottle tops are! They also lined up with the bottle so the image faces you along with the logo - great attention to detail.

L-R:  Midnight Hour, Diva of the Deep, Just One Bite, Mistress of Evil.

L-R: Mistress of Evil, Midnight Hour, Just One Bite, Diva of the Deep.

L-R:   Just One Bite, Midnight Hour, Diva of the Deep, Mistress of Evil.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me all about it! 31 Day Challenge, Day 22 - Inspired By A Song, Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend

I really liked this prompt! I've been listening to music during some of my other manicures and waiting for inspiration, and I chose to do a manicure based on the song Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend. Here are some of the lyrics:

A kiss on the hand may be quite continental,
But diamonds are a girl's best friend.
A kiss may be grand: but it won't pay the rental on your humble flat 
or help you at the automat.
Men grow cold, as girls grow old,
and we all lose our charms in the end.
But square cut or pear shape, these rocks don't lose their shape:
 Diamonds are a girl's best friend.
Tiffany's! Cartier!
 Black star! Frost Gorham! Talk to me Harry Winston, tell me all about it!

I rummaged through my blue polish drawer and unearthed an unnamed pale Tiffany's blue by Portmans. Four coats later and I stamped some diamonds on the accent nail using Bundle Monster BM09, and stuck some little heart studs on the other nails. The silver stamping doesn't really have enough contrast but it's getting late so there you go.

As a bonus, here's Marilyn Monroe performing the song in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend from Ars Memorandi on Vimeo.

And here's an audio-only version of the cover/adaptation by Nicole Kidman from the movie Moulin Rouge:

An InLinkz Link-up

I'm pretty fascinated by the way that, so far, everyone has chosen to do blue nails. Maybe music is blue coloured? :)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 21 - Inspired By A Colour: "Electrified Web".

We've hit the "inspired by" section of the challenge, and it's definitely the pointy end of the challenge now. For today's challenge, I looked for inspiration by rummaging through my stash of as-yet-unused polishes (the 31 Day challenge has happily made quite a dent in the ranks of my unused polishes). I pulled out Revlon's Web Electrified, a bright metallic orange polish that always makes me think of spiders and Halloween. Bingo! Decision made. I grabbed my Halloween-themed plates from Bundle Monster and headed off.

Unfortunately I'd forgotten how badly those plates stamp! Ugh, they're too shallowly etched (one spider is even missing a leg!) and always difficult to stamp, so my easy Sunday manicure turned into a bit of a project. I do like the end result though. I did different designs on each hand, and kept it more generically spooky rather than specifically Halloween by steering clear of the "Trick or Treat" and "Halloween" designs.

I love this polish, it's such a beautiful glowy orange. I also really like the other polish that I have from the Spiderman collection, a gold called 1000 Volts, so I regret not buying some of the other colours while they were in the shops. If only I had an unlimited fund for polishes!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 20 - Water marble

Water marble! So pretty when it works, so muddy when it doesn't. I managed to get some decent nails on my left hand by waiting to do them last, so you don't see my not-so-great attempts. #bloggersecrets For this marble, I used Ulta3's Lily White, OPI's Houston We Have A Purple, and Essie's Bobbing For Baubles.

I have not been looking forward to marbling, because it's so time-consuming and prone to failure. I also find that, because you need room temperature water for it to work, you really need your weather to be... room temperature weather... (I hope you know what I mean there.) Anyway, my house is pretty cold, so I microwaved my bottle of water in the hopes that it would help. It sort of did? And sort of didn't.

I also taped off my nails, because I've heard cuticle oil can protect your skin but I'm a bit sceptical. Anyone out there use cuticle oil? I'm curious.

Friday, 19 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 19 - Galaxies

Apparently I've been living under a rock, because I had never heard of galaxy nails before. A short google later though and I was all across it. It's a pretty easy, fun manicure, although you do need a fair number of polishes.

I painted my nails with Revlon's Black Magic, then used a damp sponge (it does work better than a dry sponge!) to apply OPI's Alpine Snow, Maybelline's Green Park, Kleancolor's Metallic Fuchsia, Kleancolor's Boogie Nights (the orange), Crows Toes' Indian Summer (multichrome pink/purple), and Ulta3's Blue Marlin, plus a topper of Sephora X's Shifty (holographic glitter). Whew! More Alpine Snow was applied with a toothpick for the stars.

It was so colourful! So astronomical! And yet... I couldn't help but do a cheeky little bit of stamping with Cheeky plates CH45 and CH46. Rocket ships, planets, and some alien spaceships, oh yeah. They white means you miss them on a casual look, which I love - it's like a little Easter Egg.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 18 - Half moon studs

For my more "standard" half moon manicure, I decided to take on the recent trend for exposing part of your nude nail bed. After applying my base coat, I stuck on some hole reinforcements and painted my nails with two coats of OPI's Every Month Is Oktoberfest, a nice shimmery vampy red. I then peeled off the reinforcements and used some acetone and a brush to clean up the half moons, and then a nail art brush to draw in any points that weren't sharp enough.

It looked nice, but I thought it could use a little something else, so I stuck on some studs which I got from Born Pretty Store.

I really like the finished look!

31 Day Challenge, Day 18 - Half moon (literal interpretation)

So, I took the challenge a little literally today...

I was looking through my stamping plates earlier in the challenge, and I saw these crescent moons on Cheeky plate CH46. A quick stamp over my previous manicure and voila! Half moon nails! :D

I did however want to do an actual half moon manicure, so my "standard" half moon manicure can be found here.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 17 - Glitter

GLITTER! I have such a love/hate relationship with glitter - it's so sparkly, but so time-consuming, whether you're putting it on or taking it off. Accordingly I only did glitter on my accent nail, because I didn't want to spend hours on a mani I'm going to take off tomorrow.

I painted my nails with Ulta3's Wild Berry, a dark grey polish - bit of an odd name! I can't think of any grey berries? Anyway, it's a nice colour but it was a bit runny and had a tendency to flood my cuticles to the extent that I can't get it off.

I then used some orange and yellow hexagonal glitter which I got from Born Pretty Store a while back, in a pack of 12 different colours. The glitters were pretty cheap and you get a lot of them in each little jar, which is great. I used a toothpick and some clear nail polish to stick them on, and sealed it with topcoat. You need to keep an eye on which hexagon you're picking up, because occasionally they can be a little smaller than usual or a bit unsymmetrical, but it's not a problem if you're paying attention.

With hexagonal glitter, I find that you get the best results if you don't tap the glitters too deeply into the polish - just gently place them on. I got impatient towards the end and tapped one of the hexes near the tip too hard, and it's embedded slightly - d'oh! Patience is the key, and giving yourself plenty of time.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 16 - Geometric stamping with Emily de Molly EDM09

Today's theme is geometric, a theme I've been looking forward to since I got my new Emily de Molly plates in the mail. I'm glad.also that it's been changed from "tribal" on request - props for being more culturally sensitive.

To start, I painted my nails with Kleancolor's Boogie Nights, a beautiful metallic orange, then stamped with Sally Hansen's Whirlwind White. It was inspired by one of my housemate's doona, a cheerful orange and white geometric design. A very easy manicure today.

Monday, 15 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 15 - Delicate Print

Day 13 - I hurried through this so I could go to bed, to be honest. Not much to say, I did some stamping for this one. Stamping is great for delicate designs.

I used Dance Legend's thermo polish 178 for this. I'm pretty warm so no thermo effect is visible, but I've loved their other thermo polishes - definite hits in winter. The polish has a nice dusty pearl effect without topcoat, but with topcoat it looks like a shimmery creme.

Stamping is Emily de Molly plate EMD09.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

31 Day Challenge - Day 14, Flowers

Come on springtime! Floriade has just started here in Canberra, so I wanted to do some tulip nail art to celebrate it. (Even though the tulips are only juuuust starting to flower - I have one just opening in one of my flower pots. Exciting!)

I painted my nails with OPI's Alpine Snow, then freehanded the flowers. For the stems and leaves, I used Essie's Going Incognito. The flowers are Natio's Raspberry for the two outside flower points, and Maybelline's Ultra Violet for the inside point, with Butter London's Pillarbox Red for the flowers on the ring finger. Despite this, all the flowers look pretty much the same shade to me... ah well!

ETA: Tulip action shot!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

31 Day Challenge, Day 13 - Animal Print cow nail art

I was originally going to do some straight-up animal print for today - a classic leopard or snake print, maybe even a giraffe print. But then I saw Holy Manicure's Cow Nails - holy cow they looked good! I knew it had it be cow print nails.

I painted my nails with Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri White Whirlwind, then used Ulta3's Midnight for the black and Fairy Floss for the pink nose. I used a brush to freehand the pink nose on (two coats), and used a dotting tool for the black spots. I drew the eyes on with a brush.

Friday, 12 September 2014

31 Day Nail Challenge, Day 12 - Stripes

I did this manicure to match a dress which I'll be wearing tomorrow morning - a nautical 50s style dress. So today's nail art features stripes and anchors. Ahoy!

I painted my nails with Ulta3's Blue Marlin, except for the ring fingers, which I painted with Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri Whirlwind White. I used the same polishes to stamp the blue and white with, and Rimmel's Rapid Ruby for the red anchors. Stamping was okay but not great. Happily my mundo de unas stamping polishes shipped today so fingers crossed they get here soon!

This is the first time I've done multicoloured stamping and I am pleased at the effect. I'll definitely have to try out some more multicolour stamping in the future.

And here's a picture of the dress, which I handily got from the internet - check out the white anchor on the pocket:

31 Day Nail Challenge, Day 11 - Polka Dots

A simple and easy manicure today - dotting tools make it so easy to get a great look!

I painted my nails black with Revlon's Black Magic, then used Revlon' White on White and Ulta3's Sour Grape and Fairy Floss to make the dots. I finished it with Face of Australia's Platinum matte topcoat from their Screen Siren collection.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

31 Day Challenge - Day 10, Gradient nails

I set forth on today's challenge full of optimism, but in the end I made the subtlest gradient imaginable. Bah! Still, it's a nice subtle look. I used a foundation make-up sponge to make the gradient and it soaked up the polish like crazy, so perhaps a different sponge would work better. A little post-manicure googling suggests that wetting your sponge first can help as well, so I'll have to try that next time.

To do this, I first painted my nails with Essie's Bikini So Teeny, then made a subtle gradient with Bikini So Teeny, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri's Brisk Blue, and Essie's Butler Please. It looked a little rough so I stamped over it with Bundle Monster plate BM-305 with konad silver stamping polish.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Day 31 Challenge - Rainbow nails

A quick manicure tonight - a skittle manicure with black frames (can't remember the proper name!). I freehanded the black outline, and it turned out fairly well for a first attempt but it's still pretty wobbly! I think more time would have helped but I want to go to bed, so a quick lining it was.

Polishes used:
Ulta3's Sour Grape (purple)
Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri Brisk Blue
Butter London's Pillar Box Red
Face of Australia's Some Like It Hot
OPI's The "IT" Color

Some Like It Hot photographed a lot yellower than it is in person - in person it's a much more vibrant orange. The perils of photographing at night under my desk lamp...