Manatee Mani (31DC2014)

A Manatee ManiThe general consensus on water marbling, the aggravatingly hit-or-miss nail art technique, is that it sucks, so take pity on the poor nail artist in your life who is soldiering away at the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge right now, because today’s theme is water marbling. The hows and whys of its suckage are vast and varied (it’s messy, time consuming, wasteful and fussy) and unless you’re preternaturally gifted at the art of coaxing intricate designs out of nail polish floating on the surface of water, a crazy act in and of itself, nine times out of 10 you’re going to have major difficulty.

So recognizing my own limitations when it comes to water marbling, I decided to forgo the struggle and make what I knew was going to be a flawed effort work for me. I started off thinking that I’d like my water marble to indeed look quite watery. The free form nature of tides and waves is a perfect fit for my highly imprecise water marbling skills, and the occasional tiny bubble, the result of insufficiently “quiet” water (really), just adds to the underwater effect. Using similarly toned colours in a few different finishes (here I’ve got a turquoise-hued duochrome and a shimmery frost over a sea blue metallic) also made things easier, as the polishes almost bleed into one another, blurring any harsh edges or glaring imperfections. Finally, in keeping with my Disney mani sub-challenge, I chose a favourite water-based Disney attraction, The Living Seas at Epcot, to inspire a bit of nail art in the form of one deranged looking manatee on my ring finger. I also added one well camouflaged hidden Mickey somewhere amongst that watery looking water marble, just to keep things squarely on the right side of my Disneyfied, make-work-for-myself sub-challenge.

A word about The Living Seas, which since the last time I visited has been rebranded as The Seas with Nemo and Friends: It’s awesome, and one of the loveliest, coolest, quietest places in the whole park to unwind as you watch fat, farting manatees for an hour and a half, much like my husband and I did on our honeymoon. Burnt out from a solid week of theme parking and finding ourselves on the wrong side of the safety warnings on Mission to Mars (actually, that was just me; my husband was fine, but I came ever so close to having to use the on-ride vomit bag – a first), we weren’t up for much more than just sitting quietly before the floor-to-ceiling windows that looked into the manatee area, calmly watching one old, heavily scarred manatee and his buddy contentedly toot and float and otherwise act like the most adorable, gentle sweeethearts in the seas. It’s one of my favourite memories from our honeymoon, actually. That and the Night of the Banging Geckos, but that’s a perverted animal story for another time. 🙂

Space Mountain (31DC2014)

Space Mountain IndoorsToday’s theme in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge is galaxies, and what better (Disneyfied) way to approach that theme than by honouring the grand dame of Disney roller coasters herself, Space Mountain? Space Mountain is a kickass ride, an indoor, in-the-dark roller coaster that’s been blasting Magic Kingdom guests into near-pitch-black orbit since 1975. On a visit with my parents when I was in university, my parents, admitted roller coaster wussies, and I all grabbed Fast Passes for Space Mountain (the “pass Go, collect $100” of Disney rides) and I rode it solo four times in a row, one walk-directly-on ride after another. Space Mountain acts tougher than it actually is (being in the dark amplifies all your other senses, which are telling you that you’re going about 60 miles an hour, although it’s probably closer to 20), but after four runs, I was feelin’ wobbly.

Here I tried to capture Space Mountain’s iconic silhouette, along with the celestially-sprinkled ceiling, blue gradient walls and neon blue guide rail framing of the waiting area. I’m particularly proud of the blue framing, which is thin and even and 99% the doing of my new detail brushes, which are so tiny and delightful! You could even say they’ve opened up a whole new out of this world of nail art design possibilities? Eh, eh?! (*groan*) Don’t worry, I didn’t laugh at that either. 😉Space Mountain Sun

Half Moon Over the Hundred Acre Wood (31DC2014)

Hundred Acres of WoodHmm, so it would seem as though I *may* have misinterpreted day 18’s theme of half moon manis in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. The half moon technique appears to be one in which you trace the little crescent at the base of your nails, widening, elongating and embellishing with polish as you go, of course, but ultimately – and quite literally – going for a top-down approach. But as you can see, I went for a more AND less traditional half moon design at just the tips of my nails, which based on everyone else’s entries seems to be a wee bit incorrect. And as much as I dislike being beholden to made-up rules regarding nail adornment, preferring to do the lone, polished wolf thing, I do like tackling a technique correctly, simply because that’s the only way you learn (sage advice for life AND nail art, friends.)

So although these nails, a half moon tribute to the Hundred Acre Wood gang (and one giant bee arse there on my thumb), are not quite in alignment with the challenge prompt, they’re cute as the dickens AND I learned a valuable lesson about reading the assignment through carefully before putting pen to paper (wait, do people even do that any more? You mean our bionic compu-arms don’t just magically divine what we wish to write when we hold our hands over a keyboard? Huh.)

As a completely perverted aside, years ago my husband and I spent an afternoon busting a gut as we sketched out the rough idea for a Winnie the Pooh-themed plushie porn called Hundred Acres of Wood. Yes, we have the combined emotional maturity of a 12-year-old boy. It is truly the driving force of our union. 🙂

Santa’s Retirement (31DC2014)

CandyCaneFiesta BottleI bought this polish, Candy Cane Fiesta from Candy Lacquer, a while ago and have been holding it in reserve in anticipation of today’s challenge theme of glitter in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. It’s THE BESTEST stuff, and weirdly reminiscent of the decor at a mini golf course in Disney World where it’s themed to look like Santa’s retired to Orlando in his off months to hang out with Mrs. Claus and the reindeers at the beach. In fact, quite a bit of Candy Lacquer’s limited edition Christmas in July collection reminds me of that mini putt course in which you can take two different runs, one through a traditionally festive-looking snow scape and another through Santa’s beachside retirement community for swinging North Pole retirees. Either way, the one time I visited, it was so much fun (and difficult; this was no slouch of a mini golf course) and being Disney, perfectly themed to within an inch of its life.

So when this polish showed up in a recent order of nail mail positively brimming with Christmasey fun (and Mickey head glitter!) I knew I’d have to put it to good use in a manicure for the prompt I’ve been looking forward to tackling the most, glitter! Here, continuing on with the theme of snowbird Santa, I topped a beachy-looking gradient with one coat of Candy Cane Fiesta, pushing some of the hearts, stars, moons, squares, diamonds, snowflakes and candy canes (phew!) around so there were no bare patches, before adding a Mickeyfied accent nail made up of some of the oversized glitters Candy Lacquer provided alongside the polish in a wee little baggie. The end result is a weird, out of season, vaguely messy configuration of glitter, colours and concepts that I just love. Indeed, they might be my favourite nails of this challenge…so far. 😉CandyCaneFiesta Hand

GeoMickey (31DC2014)

GeoMickeyI skipped over yesterday’s theme of a delicate pattern in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, eschewing any new daintiness for a repost (on Instagram at least; sandra_fingercandy if you care to give me a follow) of a not-so-old manicure I did featuring my take on the Haunted Mansion‘s damask-with-eyes printed wallpaper. I never felt like those nails got enough love given how much work they were and how well I think they turned out, so I thought I’d give them another kick at the can while I took a day off from the Disney (I know, I know, can there be such a thing?)

But I’m back in the new swing of things with this angular mani for today’s challenge theme of geometric. I’m not sure how much Mickey looks like Mickey when he’s missing his iconic bubble ears, although I think the M-O-U-S-E still shines through. The addition of a few fingers’ worth of a red and white, hex-packed glitter, KB Shimmer’s Candy Cane Crush, helps keep this manicure squarely (heh) on the side of the geometric theme.

Cherry Pop!

TheUnlovedCollageWatermarkedThere’s no truth in advertising (or in nail polish names) if this juicy, glittery beauty from Emily de Molly is called The Unloved, because *I* LOVE it! With its chunky, mega light-reflecting glitter and squishy jelly base, I think it looks a bit like a melted cherry popsicle, and we all know how I feel about foodstuff-like-stuff on my hands.

The Unloved is Emily de Molly’s berry pink entry in their line of gorgeous, glitter-in-jelly polishes. With its beautiful mix of holo glitter suspended in a vibrant, squishy jelly polish, it behaves exactly like its sister polishes Cosmic Forces (purple), Scarlet’s Red (crimson) and Turbulence (indigo blue), amongst many others. Jelly polishes tend to be quite transparent, even when they’re offered in dark, ultra saturated colours, so two coats are just about always necessary, although I like to add a third coat to really highlight that embedded look jelly glitters take on where it looks as though the glitter is hanging suspended in the polish.

Disney Girl Challenge: Gisele (31DC2014)

Disney Girl Challenge: Gisele 2I’ve had the idea for these nails, inspired by the second dress Gisele widgets out of linens in the movie Enchanted, on the back burner for quite some time, so when today’s prompt in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge called for flowers, I knew its time had come! I’m not sure how successful I really was in recreating that dress’s ultra tiny and incredibly detailed pattern, although it’s a close enough match that I won’t quibble too much. I love how soft the pastel flowers and swirls look against the slightly off-white background, and you know Gisele would approve of the last minute addition of that acrylic bow.

And just so I stayed on the right side of my self-imposed Disney sub-challenge, I added one not-so-hidden Mickey (hint: it’s on my thumb!) 😉

You Weenie (31DC2014)

FrankenweenieDay 13’s theme in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge called for an animal print. So I suppose the metaphysical question these Frankenweenie-inspired nails brings up is can it be considered an animal print if the animal in question is not of the living or dead? Do reanimated family pets – scars and tail-losing quirks included – count? Well, I certainly hope so, because the Night of the Living Dog nails stay!

Alice in Glitterland (31DC2014)

Alice in GlitterlandIt’s glittery stripes all around for day 12’s theme of (brace yourself for the shock) stripes in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. Nearly halfway into the month I’m happy to say I’m continuing more or less apace with the daily prompts, and as tempting as it’s been to buckle on my self-imposed, all-Disney-manis-all-the-time rule, I’ve continued with that as well, churning out more Disney manicures than I thought possible (and this is coming from someone who has done, oh, 50 or more Disney-centric sets of nails?)

No Disney property utilizes stripes quite like Alice in Wonderland, and so I thought it fitting to create a mani featuring the stripes of two of the better known characters who live Through the Looking Glass, the Cheshire Cat and Alice herself. I had a lot of trouble with the stripes on my index finger, or more specifically, issues involving wonky striping tape and bleedy topcoat, which is why there’s approximately half an inch of nail polish on the tip of my index finger alone. But this is nail art AND Wonderland we’re talking about here, and does anything ever go as planned when you’re dealing with those two? 😉

Smooth(ie) Moves

Citrus Smoothie BottleI’m a Fall person through and through (pretty leaves, crisp mornings, great sleeping weather, new TV shows, Halloween, pumpkin spice everything, my wedding anniversary – what’s there not to love?) but I’m not quite ready to bid adieu to the warm weather just yet, particularly when it comes to my nails. And so I decided to do one last ultra summery mani, topping a juicy, coral-hued gradient with a fresh and fruity glitter, Candy Lacquer’s Citrus Smoothie, for one last kick at the summer mani can.Citrus Smoothie Hand