Laces Out

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I was initially going to call these Ren Faire nails, but there’s really not enough boobs on display.  Gotta have the heaving cleave!  Also brocade, gold filigreed ribbon and enough velvet to choke a team of department store Santas.  But mainly laced-up boobs, and seeing as I don’t really go in for the joke store approach to nail art, it became laces atop a velvety sort of gradient (Glam Polish’s purple Lydia edged with a tiny little bit of night blue Second Star To The Right) instead.  Huzzah!

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Mabel Manis!

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Mabel Pines, spunky animated darling of Disney’s Gravity Falls, is kind of my hero.  Aside from her enviable collection of colourful turtleneck sweaters (12 of which I recreated here in these three manicures) she’s kind and loyal, friendly and thoughtful, but also highly excitable and prone to happiness-induced spaz attacks (when she learns that Soos, the sweet-but-dopey handyman who works at her uncle’s curiosity shop, has successfully set up a date with an actual woman, she goes positively apoplectic with joy and just starts destroying everything within sight.)  She’s also completely devoted to her pet pig, Waddles, rules at mini golf, prefers the company of her dorky twin brother, Dipper, and even dorkier friends to that of most other people, is not the least bit phased by all of the supernatural goings on in Gravity Falls and firmly believes that her summer vacation will bring her her first epic romance (gnomes, mermen, puppeteers and bouffantly coiffed tent revival shysters need not apply, but a tortured teen vampire type would be ideal.)  I actually suspect that Mabel might be living all of our best lives.  She definitely has the best wardrobe, with tons more turtlenecks to come!

Fall Fun Series: The End

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Well, here we are, friends, right at the finish line of the Fall Fun Series, the casual blogging collective I joined up with at the beginning of September.  For the final prompt, we’ve been tasked with wrapping up our experience, and not just the series, but the Fall as a whole.

And mine?  Pretty darn fantastic, actually, because for the first time in many years, I felt compelled to engage with my favourite season.  In years past, I’d look around somewhere about the end of October and realize that without intending to, I had missed it all – the changing leaves, the beautiful, crisp temperatures, the spooky movies and cider and farmers’ markets. The past few years I haven’t even bothered putting up my much-loved Halloween Town, such has been my seasonal malaise (although truly, that’s more a function of the fact that it’s a total pain in the arse to store, assemble and display.)

But that all changed this year (not the Halloween Town thing; it’s still a total pain in my arse.)  And if that’s because of the series, then I’m so glad it happened, because I had a wonderful Fall, engaged in some very enjoyable activities and made a bunch of cool new blogger friends.  So what were some of the neat discoveries I made this Fall, the fun things I took part in?

For one, I apparently really like arranging my wax on cake plates.  I can’t help it; the cute little shapes look like wee pastries!

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Then, for the first time in years, I pulled my beloved – but incredibly delicate – Nightmare Before Christmas musical snow globe off the shelf where it normally lives and cleaned it to within an inch of its life (a bit of maintenance I really need to attend to more often.)  The residents of Halloween Town now positively gleam!

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Speaking of, I put out MY Halloween Town for the first time in two or three years. Then at the end of the season, thanks to some lovely weather that made puttering around on my balcony not quite the windswept nightmare it normally is, I was able to very carefully box up my little lighted buildings and pack them snugly away for the winter where they won’t get dirty or damaged or worse.  Having the town out, blinking away creepily from the diningroom table, was such a pleasure this year, but I think I’m enjoying the sense of satisfaction that comes from an organizing job well done even more.

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In the midst of the Fall Fun Series I also decided to participate in the annual 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, which turned out…totally fine.  I was expecting just complete blogging lunacy, but things worked out rather well, another little feat of organization I’m quite proud of. These Beetlejuice nails were my favourites of the challenge – actually, one of my favourite manicures, period.

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Outside of my nail art activities, I got a little crafty with it this Fall, mixing together a super easy – and very popular – pumpkin spice sugar scrub, and then a decidedly less popular take on Disney’s LeFou’s Brew, a frozen apple juice beverage topped with marshmallow foam so it looks like a sudsy flagon of ale (it was disgusting, full stop.  Turns out cold marshmallow is a big culinary no-no!)

Then, inspired by the enthusiasm of my Floridian blogging friends who never get to experience the beauty of a cold climate Fall, I made an effort to really appreciate the ever-changing riot of colour going off around me every day, including a stunning blue sky day trip to the Gatineau Hills for a little drive with my parents.

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I also melted an absolute ton of wax.  Apple wax, pumpkin wax, apple-pumpkin wax…and these are just the blends I thought to take a photo of!  On the plus side, my apartment smells divine.

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Then in between the wax and the leaves and the undrinkable marshmallow beverages, I celebrated my 12th wedding anniversary, enjoyed a delicious seasonal bath and spent a fantastic morning out in the country with my husband visiting the little town I grew up in. It was a very good day.

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And a very good challenge!  If the Fall Fun Series could be called a challenge, which in some respects, it very much was.  Abiding by a set blogging schedule is actually quite challenging, a delicate balancing act between generating content (also known as “living life”) and then writing about it.  It’s not for everybody, but I had a great time, and I’m thankful for the little motivational kick in the pants the series gave me to get out there and enjoy my city during my very favourite time of the year.  To next year’s series (except next time, maybe let’s try winter.  If I smell another apple or pumpkin-scented wax product, I’m gonna keel over!)

Sandra’s Fabrics

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Sod that old Jo-Ann; if a fabric like this one actually exists – it does, and it will set you back approximately $80 a yard, and you will have to treat it with the reverence and maintenance schedule of, say, baby blonde highlights on a brunette – I’m taking all the credit for it.

Want to hear something kind of funny?  I love perusing fabric sample books.  Have since I was a kid and my mom used to take me downtown to the Laura Ashley boutique for the every-two-years Redecorating of the Room (holla, pink cabbage roses!)  When I was 11 we also ventured into some of the sketchier areas of 1988 New York City to hit up the Fabric District, where you can purchase more luxury bedspreads and linens than your arms can comfortably carry (it was a heck of a subway ride back to the hotel.)  Then a few years ago my mom and I spent five hours (that’s not an exaggeration; we were there for five hours) in a gigantic fabric store in downtown Toronto, pulling swatches, co-ordinating prints, fingering the rows of ribbon.  I mean, it IS rather porny sounding, when you really get down to it!

And for years now I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous Robert Allen dragonfly print in a sumptuous raspberry red silk that I will never own because I have a cat that I love more than anything, even more than designer fabrics, and what SHE loves more than anything is getting sick on designer fabrics.  So best to keep beautiful temptation out of harm’s way, and confine those sorts of little luxuries to my nails, hmm?

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Groovy, Baby!

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I think Austin Powers would approve of this very psychedelic-looking water marble manicure.  He’d at least appreciate the not-inconsiderable effort that went into it – water marbles are a test of a nail artist’s mental and physical fortitude, and I’m definitely now spent.

And I truly don’t know why they need to be so difficult.  Or random.  Like, you’d never know that each one of these nails started off in the exact same place, with the exact same order of polishes going into the water marble.  And yet.  Story of the water marble – and yet.

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Fall Fun Series: Thanksgiving Ham

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Today’s prompt in the Fall Fun Series calls for the participants to share their Thanksgiving plans.  But I have a triple whammy going against my particular Thanksgiving plans in that 1) I’m Canadian, so my Thanksgiving is long since past, 2) I’m Canadian, so my Thanksgivings are more functional than traditional and 3) I’m Canadian, so this morning I woke up to THIS:

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Which means that Fall is now naught but a memory, and we are firmly in the winter of our discontent (oh no, run!)

But to my American blogger friends, I wish you a wonderful week in the lead-up to the big day, and Thanksgivings free of family drama, travel woes and salmonella.

Which is actually NEVER an issue when you limit your Thanksgiving meats to your manicures!  And no, I’m not going the Full Gaga on you here – just making a super awkward transition to talking about this polish, Hawaiian Ham, a homemade creation I widgeted together years ago specifically with those unidentifiable Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or Easter) ham casseroles in mind.  You know the casserole I’m talking about – the one your father’s great-great aunt has been making since the late 1950s, an abomination of a Good Housekeeping throwback containing ham, pineapple, maraschino cherries and three kinds of processed cheese?  Still, it’s gotta beat Aunt Bethany’s lime-and-cat food Jello mold!

And so on this Thanksgiving, American friends, this Ham (manicure) is for you.  I hope you have wonderful holidays, all.

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