Summer Swirl

Summer Swirls Collage

Sounds like a type of ice cream, doesn’t it?  LOOKS like a type of ice cream, maybe one of those lurid, multi-hued, bubblegum-studded monstrosities that goes by the name SuperKiddo or Diabetes in a Cone. 😉

Alas – or perhaps not, depending on your views on Red Food Dye No. 3 – this is a manicure and not ice cream.  Bit of a bummer, that, as I hear it’s supposed to be hotter than the surface of the sun today, and ice cream *could* help.  So could sitting two inches off the air conditioner.

This manicure looks so much more impressive and difficult than it actually was to achieve.  Looks like one of those horrible – and horribly messy – water marble manis that has bested me time and time again, but not!  Because these are little nail decals I made to mimic the look of a water marble, and they were dead easy.  All I did was dab five polishes (turquoise, yellow, magenta, pink and a shimmery, golden green) out onto the back of a Ziploc bag, ran a dotting tool through them to create the swirled design (you could use a toothpick or a hair pin or the head of a sewing needle, should you not have a dotting tool) and then let it dry overnight.

Summer Swirls 4

And I may have let them dry a tad too long, because the most difficult part of this manicure was prizing those little decals-to-be off the plastic bag, a nitpicky job I outsourced to Mr. Finger Candy.  I think I may have made the decals a tad too thin and let them dry too long – the whole removal process would have gone much easier if the decals were a little less brittle and a bit more pliable.  Notes for next time.

Summer Swirls 3

Application itself was likewise easy.  All I did was give my nails one light coat of one of the polishes I used to make the decals, in this case the vibrant magenta.  Then, going nail by nail, I painted on another light coat of the magenta polish before immediately laying one of the decals over top of it.  I pushed the decals down gently with my fingers, making sure to really nestle them into the edges of my nails.  I used the blunt edge of a cuticle pusher to do this, but again, you could use the slanted side of a toothpick or even your thumbnail.  Then I roughly trimmed off the excess by simply – but lightly and carefully! – running the pointed end of my cuticle pusher along the edges of my nails to separate out the waste.  When all of my nails were done, I applied two coats of a diamond hard, high shine topcoat – Seche Vite to the rescue once again – and then cleaned up the raggedy bits along my cuticles with a detail brush dipped in acetone.

Summer Swirls 5

I love these nails!  And this technique is one I will definitely be turning to again; it is soooo much easier and tidier than water marbing, and produces nearly identical results. Plus, check out these amazing macro shots I snapped.  I think the one on the left looks like some sort of insane, alchemy-based fire, and the one on the right looks like bubblegum taffy in the midst of being pulled.

Summer Swirls Macro Collage

Summer Swirls 8

A blogging buddy of mine, altercontroldelight, does a very similar kind of technique, except she really knows what she’s doing – she’s got a whole system that involves making the decals on a silicone mat, which makes SOOOO much more sense than trying to prize the delicate little buggers off the back of a plastic bag, duh!  She’s also a fan of unexpected colour combinations and cool, fluid designs, and I’m a fan of that.  Again, another note for next time. 😉

Ragdoll

Sally Collage 1

Hi there, friends!  Wonder of wonders, this is a blog post, and I have apparently NOT disappeared!  With apologies for my unintended absence, I’ll simply note that I’ve been hard at work on some renovations and upgrades to my apartment AND deep into the always fun (but also always stressful) preparation stage for our next trip to Disney, which I’m somehow only now appreciating is coming up at the end of THIS WEEK!  Holy cats, I’ve got so much to do.

But first, nails!  This is a glitter polish I made last year that was inspired by Sally of The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Here I’ve paired it alongside A England’s Whispering Waves, a deep, bruisey purple-tinged turquoise that really takes Sally’s look to the next level.  Speaking of, I’ve got to get working on MY look if I’m going to meet Miss Sally this coming weekend, which is a distinct possibility; can’t be slacking on the character meet and greets with one of my all time favourites. 🙂

Sally Collage 2

DIY Jack and Sally

Jack and Sally Bottle Collage

I thought rather suddenly to myself late last night, “I think I’ll make some nail polish.” That’s a thing people do, right, just randomly decide to make their own nail polish at 11 p.m. on a Friday?  I hope so, because that’s certainly what *I* was doing at that late hour, and it seemed pretty normal to me!

And here are the results of my midnight hour machinations, two Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired glitter bombs in the colours of skeleton and ragdoll paramours Jack and Sally.

Of the two, Sally is the far more successful polish in terms of stability and ease of application – these photos show two brushed/dabbed-on coats, and I didn’t have to fish about for the larger heart-shaped glitters one bit. Plus I think the glitter mix in Sally – inspired by her patchwork dress, asphyxiated-looking countenance and poker straight red hair – is just perfection, an unusual combination of bronze, turquoise, rose, purple, red and black hexes dotted with tiny satin hearts.  I layered this lovely new creation here over Enchanted Polish’s mystery lacquer for July 2015, a dusty grey-blue holo that looks like Sally’s…skin?  Does she have skin or fabric?  Hmm, best not linger on that question too long!

Sally Fingers 1

And then there was the vernis terrible, Jack, an infuriatingly unsuccessful venture into the less-is-more approach to do-it-yourself nail polish.  I think the inspiration for this guy is pretty clear – Jack’s black and white pinstripes, with a smattering of the Christmas bric-a-brac whose secrets Jack longs to crack.  You’d just never know that hidden amid the depths of that simple black and white glitter polish is actually quite a lot of bric-a-brac – glittery snowflakes, colourful baubles, candy canes, snowmen and even a few good sized Christmas trees.  The lightweight black and white glitter – made up of a mix of two identically-sized satin matte glitters – simultaneously covers up AND provides little to no support for the larger shapes, which sank to the bottom resolutely, and there they be.  I had to embark on a major fishing expedition to snag these very few glitters.  There was also far, far too much base in this polish – it rained down onto my work area in huge, glittery blobs, even after I had repeatedly wiped off the brush on the rim of the bottle. Jack is languishing at the bottom of my garbage can right now, so annoyed was I with his insolence. 😉  Here I layered Jack over another Enchanted mystery lacquer, this time May 2017, a dark and stormy blue that looks like the skies above both Christmas and Halloween Towns.

Jack Fingers 1

Kiss Me, I’m Delicious!

Lime Sugar Scrub Collage

Also Irish (or part Irish on my mom’s side) and totally kissable, thanks to this seasonally-hued lime sugar lip scrub I whipped up today.  It’s so criminally easy, it feels ridiculous even including a recipe, but a little instruction is always nice.  And so here’s how to make your own delicious, four-ingredient lip scrub this St. Patrick’s Day, or any other day of the week.

Step 1: Round up your ingredients – white granulated sugar, coconut oil, lime juice and food colouring.

Step 2: Gather any utensils you need for mixing – a small bowl, a silicone spatula and a couple of measuring spoons.

Step 3: Add the ingredients to the bowl in the following proportions and stir well:

7 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
One (and I do mean one; otherwise, you’ll wind up with neon green lips) drop of lime green food colouring.

(A couple of teaspoons of finely grated lime zest would be a lovely, zingy addition to this scrub that wouldn’t affect the consistency one bit; I would have added some had I any!)

Step 4: Spoon into a small plastic container with a lid (or small lidded jars if you’re giving them away, as I mostly am) and enjoy!

Lime Sugar Scrub Pic

Ah, but how does one enjoy?  Simply swipe the scrub onto your mug, buff it about for a bit and then wipe (or wash) it off, before sealing in all that lovely moisture with your favourite lip balm.  And if you accidentally ingest it?  So what?  It’s completely edible, and really rather delicious (although I wouldn’t sit down to a bowl of the stuff, you know?)

So there you have it, super kissable lips just in time for getting your Irish smooch on this St. Patrick’s Day.

Fall Fun Series: Pumpkin Spice Sugar Scrub

good-pumpkin-spice-collage

Sugar scrubs are typically the secret weapon behind any super soft, sweetly scented hands and feet, but the actual secret behind the secret weapon is that they’re ridiculously easy and inexpensive to make at home, using nothing more than completely edible ingredients mixed together and stuffed into a sealed container.  It really doesn’t get any easier than that, with the nice little bonus being total customization; the basic proportions of the sugar “recipe” stay the same, while allowing you lots of wiggle room to scent your sweet concoction exactly as you wish. Heck, you can even tinker with the proportions of the sugar/oil recipe should you prefer a grainier scrub to a more oily one.  This is one very forgiving DIY beauty product, so feel free to play around!

I typically make my sugar scrubs with white, fine grain sugar, but I thought brown sugar, with its extra hit of rich molasses, would make a nice – and definitely more traditional – base for the pumpkin pie spices.   So would you like to make some of your own?  Here’s how!

In a large mixing bowl, mix together 2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 a cup of white sugar1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or to personal taste, should you prefer your scrub spi-cay), 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg.  Add 1/3 a cup of coconut oil and mix well.  You want the finished product to look like damp sand.  And that’s seriously all there is to it!

pumpkin-spice-collage

Lidded plastic containers are the best method for storing your DIY sugar scrubs, because you can lug them into the shower or the bath with you without the fear of too much water damage, but should you be unable to stop yourself from crafting together a cute little Halloween-hued label and stuffing the whole works into a mostly decorative rubber-mouthed glass container, well, who am I to stop you (or myself)? 🙂

pumpkin-spice-sugar-scrub

With all of the other participants in the Fall Fun Series similarly up to their (now well-buffed) elbows in craft projects, there’s lots of that fun DIY spirit kicking around the collective today.  Should you wish to check out the projects that are either delighting them or driving them absolutely mad (that’s sort of the nature of homemade craft goods, though, right?) you can find a list of their blogs below.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished
Ashley at The Bohemian Sassenach
Hayley at Polished At Heart
Jessica at The Meltdown Blog
Julie at The Redolent Mermaid
Lauren at LoloLovesScents
Liz at Furianne
Stephanie at Imperfectly Painted
Sunnee at Our Sunny Life