Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Autumn Leaves - A Manicure To Welcome Fall

Here in Michigan, we've had some pretty cold temperatures (think 40's-50's) and have already had to turn on the heat. I decided to embrace the fact that fall is coming which isn't hard for me since I love fall. I much prefer the cooler weather, love the beautiful colors, and my birthday is on the 27th of this month.

I made the leaves using the leadlight technique on a decal. So basically, I laid down a nail sized square of Seche Vite on a clear plastic page protector (like you would use in a binder) and let it dry.

Using KleanColor Metallic Black (stamps awesomely) I stamped the leaf image (from THIS set) onto the top coat and let it dry.

Using a dotting tool and 4 other KleanColor Metallics (from THIS set) I filled in each leaf with color and let dry.

While I waited for my decals to dry I painted my nails with Maybelline Color Show 'Bold Gold' and topped each with Seche Vite.

When I was ready to apply the decals to my accent nails I gently peeled each one up with tweezers, positioned it on the nail, then spread a big blob of Seche Vite over it. If you use enough top coat over your decal the excess that hangs around the edges of the nail will just peel away with ease.

*I purchased all products myself*

Monday, September 15, 2014

Teal Nails For PCOS & Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

September is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) & Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2008 and it affects my life every day. You can visit http://www.pcosfoundation.org/ for more information about PCOS.
To show my support and raise awareness I am wearing teal in almost every manicure this month. Take a look at some of my favorites!
Fing'rs Heart 2 Art 'Teal We Meet Again' & Sinful Colors 'Snow Me White' topped with Girly Bits 'Hocus Pocus'
Zoya 'Wednesday' with Sinful Colors 'Snow Me White' and Sinful Shine 'Mardi Gras'
Rimmel London 'Minilicious'
Rimmel London 'Mintilicious' + Zoya 'Shelby' topped with China Glaze 'Fairy Dust'
Gelish 'Radiance Is My Middle Name' stamped with Konad White
Sinful Colors 'Rise & Shine' dotted with Sally Hansen 'Celeb City'

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The evolution of my mani cave & nail polish collection!

My mani cave is my favorite place in my house. It's currently located in my bedroom but I'm always adding to it. I lose track of time sometimes because I sit and just look at how pretty it is. I dream up all sorts of fun art & designs to try out while gazing at my racks and flipping though my swatches.

I currently have 277 colors not including top coats, base coats, or strengtheners but as I'm going to show you below, that was not always the case.
Like any collection, I started off small and added to it along the way. One day I hope to have a whole room to fill with color!
My first little rack was actually a spice rack I found on Amazon for about $15. It was an excellent beginner rack and I still use it for other things.
After we moved I had more space so I set up an old desk in my bedroom and bought my first clear acrylic rack from Amazon. They are usually just under $40 each and ship free with Prime if you have it. They hold around 100 bottles each depending on the bottle size.
 After getting a new computer desk I retired my previous one to the bedroom. It made everything much easier since the first desk was really small. I also added a second clear acrylic rack with some cute cupcake borders I found at Dollar Tree.

I started swatching my polish on swatch sticks which I've ordered from several places but the easiest is Amazon. I prefer the clear sticks because I like to paint the underside so when you flip it upright the clear top simulates a top coat without having to use any at all. To see the polish without top coat I only have to flip it over.

I also started doing my own acrylics around this time so I invested in an e-file which as you might have guessed, I also purchased on Amazon. I pay the yearly fee to be a Prime member so I might a well use it, right? Plus I live in the middle of the woods with very little shopping options.
 Once I filled the 2 clear acrylic racks and got my third, I decided to change locations. I kept my stuff in my bedroom but moved it onto a different wall in between my bathroom & closet. I much prefer the white wall over the wood paneling. If we weren't renting I'd tear that paneling off the wall because I can't stand it. We plan to move again in about a year so I'm just dealing with it.

In addition to the third rack I also purchased a better lamp which really improved the overall quality of my work. I went with a lamp that is made to simulate sunlight so it's bright & white. I didn't even realize how much of a yellow tint my previous light had until I switched.
The next major change was a new desk. I was really tired of the old one which was a used thrift store find to begin with. I tried sanding down the top and covering it with a pretty contact paper but that project was an epic fail. My husband felt so sorry for me he got me this pretty new desk!
I wanted to make sure to keep this desk in nice condition so I looked into options for protecting the top and settled on a piece of tempered glass big enough to work on. Acetone spills will melt plastic, plexi-glass, and acrylic so glass seemed like the way to go. I'm really pleased with it and it's caught several spills. Nail polish wipes right off with a little acetone.
It didn't take long to fill up the third rack and I'm going to need a fourth soon. Good thing my birthday is in a few weeks!
One of the last things I added was this little tiered shelf to display my special bottles on my desk. They do make tiered desktop displays kind of like this especially for nail polish but all the ones I found had a lip in the front of each shelf that limited how thick/wide your bottles could be. The skull bottles are quite thick/wide and wouldn't have fit so I went with... another spice rack! lol
If you'd like to know where any of the other goodies you see came from just leave a comment and I'll be sure to let you know!

Super Mario Mushrooms

I went into this wanting to do something I thought my husband would like. He's a big fan of video games so I went with a game we both like... Super Mario. I remembered seeing a similar idea on a nail blog several months ago but sadly, I didn't bookmark it to credit. 

When choosing colors for each mushroom I tried to go with bright basic colors. For the base colors of each nail (thumb to pinky) I used: China Glaze Papaya Punch, OPI Dutch Tulips, KleanColor Pastel Blue, Sinful Colors Innocent, & Rimmel London Sunny Days. The white is Sinful Colors Snow Me White & the black is a L.A. Colors Art Deco striper. Top coat used is Seche Vite.

I started the mani with 2 coats of each color and I topped them with Seche Vite. I make sure to give each coat of color plenty of dry time and I wait at least an hour after top coat before attempting any art on top. 

Once the base was fully dry I used the white with the brush that's in the bottle to create the faces on each nail's tip. I did this by starting in the center of each nail and pulling down a stripe from where I wanted the top of the face to the tip. From there I added the sides a little lower then the center, then slowly blended to create a smooth curve. French tip guides would be helpful with this step. 

Next I used the same white with a few different sizes of dotting tools to create the dots above each face. After this step I waited another full hour before adding the eyes. This ensures you won't dent the layer below it. 

I used an Art Deco striper by L.A. Colors in Black to draw short eyes from the top to the middle of each face. After waiting a final full hour for the art to dry I applied Seche Vite to seal in the design.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

City Skyline at Night with Maybelline Water Transfer Decals

I found these awesome skyline water transfer decals/nail tattoos by Maybelline at Dollar Tree for $1!

I made a whole scene of it by starting with a night sky gradient using Orly 'Sweet Peacock', KleanColor 'Metallic Blue' & Bonita 'Lacquer Treats'.

When it was dry I added China Glaze 'Fairy Dust' and Sinful Colors 'Queen of Beauty' to the blues in the gradient.

I applied the decals with water as directed on the package.

With a black L.A. Colors Art Deco striper I filled in any little gaps in the buildings and capped the tips of each nail.

Using Rimmel London 'Sunny Days' I dotted lights/windows on the buildings with a dotting tool.

Lastly, I added a full moon with Sinful Colors 'Snow Me White' and sealed the design with Seche Vite.

Snow Leopard Water Transfer Decals

I'm a huge fan of water transfer decals because they are so much easier to apply than wraps or stickers and they smooth out so much nicer. I always have issues with wraps & stickers peeling up but I never run into that with water transfer decals.

About a month ago I ordered several different ones to try out from China and they are all starting to arrive. They are so cheap on sites like AliExpress & Ebay if you are willing to be patient for the shipping.

I purchased these decals on AliExpress for just .26 cents!

The cutie polish I'm holding I purchased from another seller on AliExpress in a set of 10 for $11.63.

I used 2 coats of 'Snow Me White' by Sinful Colors under the decals & topped them with Seche Vite.

Monday, September 8, 2014

New Avon Stardusts in Jewel Blue, Silver Crystals, & Cherry Dazzler

 I was pretty late to jump on the textured polish train, having only tried out my first ones in July when Zoya had their 3 Free promo. I got 2 of the Pixie Dusts and fell deeply in love. So when I seen that Avon had a new texture collection at a very reasonable intro price ($3.99 each), I had to get a few. They will be marked up to their regular price of $6.99 each so I'd recommend picking some up now. You can find them on Avon.com or you can order from a local rep. if you have one. I ordered online during their Labor Day sale.
In hindsight, I wish I had gotten the whole collection but I wasn't sure how much I'd like them. I decided on Silver Crystals, Jewel Blue, and Cherry Dazzler. 

 As you can see, the colors are quite a bit different from the stock photos on their website and in the catalogs. Jewel Blue looks more teal in their photo but is actually a light sky blue. Silver Crystals looks kind of purple in their photo but is more of a smokey charcoal color in person.
Without Top Coat, No Flash
The first thing I always do when buying polish is look up swatches on Google. Shades can vary so much from looking at the bottle or an online swatch compared to actually being on the nails. Even then, lighting and flash make a huge difference. Being so new, there are hardly any swatches available for this collection. That is one of the main reasons I decided to make this post!
Without Top Coat, With Flash
The polish applies quite smoothly for being a texture. I used 2 coats of each color for the photos.
It dries to a nice sandy matte finish with loads of sparkly glitter. My hubby said Jewel Blue reminds him of Cinderella's dress. ;)
With Top Coat, No Flash
Adding top coat gives it a smoother feel and a shinier finish. It makes the colors look a little darker and almost wet looking.
With Top Coat, With Flash
Not everyone loves the feel of textured polish but if you still love the look, you can add 2-3 coats of top coat to smooth them right out.
Left: Without Top Coat - Right: With Top Coat
I haven't worn Cherry Dazzler yet but I can definitely see myself wearing this a few times during the holidays later in the year.

And hey, if anyone wants to buy me the other 2 colors, my birthday is on the 27th of this month!
Wink, Wink ;)