Hybrid Theory

Rosy Peony

This manicure started out life as a tribute to the fabulously frilly and floppy peony, my grandfather’s favourite flower, but somewhere along the line it morphed into your standard rose design.  But hey, look, I discovered a new varietal – the Rosy Peony!  Let’s hope these ones are slightly less ant-infested than traditional peonies, though.

Rat-a-Tatt

Tattoo Fingers 2

The story of how I came by my tattoos (two basic black stars on each of my shoulders; nothing so vibrant as these colour-blended, tat-type nails, but I love them all the same) is a fun one.

Rather hungover from the former evening’s revelry, a multi-location mini-rager in honour of my 25th year of existence, and running off the perma-high that came from being merely within the same city limits as my new boyfriend (you know him today as Mr. Finger Candy), I met my 80-year-old grandmother for an early lunch (there is no other kind for grandma types, I think) at a cool downtown eatery.  We ate fish and chips (surprisingly decent hangover food) and talked about boys, and afterwards we went prowling around the junkiest of the junk stores, my grandmother’s very favourite type of shopping.  Somewhere in there she slipped me an envelope filled with birthday mad money, and before jauntily stepping onto the bus that would take her back home, she wished me a happy birthday and told me to do something silly with it.

I’m pretty sure she meant buy a bunch of clothes or makeup, but instead I turned right around and walked into the first tattoo parlour I found, a not-at-all-junky place I had spied on our walk to the junk store, and walked out four hours later with my first (and so far only) bits of body art.  I love my stars intensely, but I think I love the memory of that day even more – it was a very good birthday.

Months later when I was shopping for my wedding dress I heard my grandmother say to my mom, as I twirled before them in a duchess silk ballgown, “What in god’s name are those things on her shoulders?!”  Heh. 🙂

Don’t Put Me On the Shelf

Shelf Nails

Well, this is a new level of random for me, a manicure inspired by the decorative rice bowls that sit on the top shelf of the left-side bookcase that flanks my television.  So specific! But accurate, as this manicure IS inspired by those rice bowls, which I purchased years ago from ModCloth, and the top shelf of the left-side bookcase is indeed where they usually reside, along with a number of other family memory-type knick knacks.

Livingroom Shelves

Here’s a better look at our entertainment/decorative set-up, virtually all of it hidden because wires and DVD cases make me ragey, but family photos and pictures of our dearly departed kitty, Porky, do not.  So in hindsight, between the nails and the sweet mementos, this is one shelf I would definitely not mind being put up(on.)

Livingroom

Nanny’s Sofa

Nanny's Sofa

Before she passed away last fall, my grandmother owned a sofa in this exact pattern.  And she just friggin’ loathed that thing.  Kill it with fire, you could not.  It was simply indestructible, and being of that generation that would never think to part with a thing over something as “insignificant” as its looks, she kept it.  For nearly 20 years.  You know, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t believe I ever saw her sit on that sofa.  She had her chair that she always sat in and a couple of other occasional chairs, but the couch was the big, slippery, dusty rose-printed elephant in the room.

I imagine that the sofa came into being in much the same way as these nails – totally by accident.  I was actually aiming for a soft, delicate floral design.  It wasn’t until I sat back and took a good look at my work that I realized I had created something that could most charitably be referred to as chesterfield-esque.  And in case I had any doubts, when I showed them to my husband and noted that they were not quite what I originally had in mind, he said, “What, you weren’t going for your grandmother’s couch?”  Sigh.

Frozen Fractals

Frozen Fractals Fingers

As Queen Elsa herself might sing.

It’s been an odd week. Without getting into all the sad details, my grandmother passed away last weekend, and this week has been dominated by all of what I call the “administrative tasks” of closing the door on a life well lived. Because you’re all such nice people, I’ll thank you for your kind condolences in advance, but rest somewhat assured that her passing does not fall into the realm of a bad thing – she lived a full 92 years and suffered unduly at the end; she needed this rest, and she more than earned it.

But the upshot in my world is that all week long, I’ve been plagued by this kind of lingering malaise – like a hangover, just without the benefit of having had anything deliciously alcoholic to drink in the first place (although I did have a mango-chili margarita this week, and it was splendid.) Although, after a full week of receptions and reception preparation and visitations and trips to the family cemetery out in the middle of rural nowhere and feeling ALL the feelings all day long, I’d be surprised if I weren’t feeling more than a little twitchy.

But I haven’t painted my nails in days (no time, even though my grandmother definitely would have approved) and I wanted my first foray back into the Land of the Painted to be something super easy and eye-catchingly flashy – no sad nails around here. And so I layered two coats of Enchanted Polish’s neon orchid holo, Dope Jam, with two careful coats of Enchanted’s Freeze Machine, a glitter topper stuffed with shards, squares and hexes of blue and purple iridescent glitter. I think that Freeze Machine looks a bit like the early morning frost on a windshield, and I love the way its iridescent glitter plays off against the vibrant purple of Dope Jam, lighting up like a little polished LEDs. Definitely no sad nails here.

Gnome Alone

Gnome Alone Hand

My dad has a thing for gnomes (just not, you know, a thing for gnomes, although my mother is quite petite…) However, he can’t stand the tubby little blue-suited and red-hatted variety, preferring his gnomes to look all wild and wooly and natural (or as natural as a make-believe woodland critter can be.) Man’s got gnome purity issues. Gnomeist is what he is! So he’d hate these nails. But I love them! Even if MY gnome appears to have lost his arms. Hmm, seems I may have inherited my father’s weird penchant for even weirder-looking gnomes – like father, like daughter and all that. 😉

Rainbow Sprinkle Pick-Me-Up

Fairyland Fingers

I’ve recently taken on a more advanced role in my ailing grandmother’s care – lots of visits, boeuf bourguignon-on-demand, sitting in on medical appointments and the like. Save for her gracious thanks, it’s rather thankless work, and so I look for anything to brighten up our visits. And seeing as my grandmother loves nail polish – said as much today as I was removing her periwinkle blue lacquer – sometimes that brightening takes the form of a fun manicure I can share with her, usually as she cringes in mock horror at the thought of going out in public sporting, like, free-handed donkeys on her nails or whatever other nail lunacy I get up to on a regular basis. Today I thought I was going to shock the heck out of her with these ultra sparkly glitter bomb nails, but she barely batted an eye. In fact, I think she rather liked them. Which just proves that being a nail polish magpie really is genetic! And that maybe the next time I see her, I’ll have to give her the serious Fairyland treatment (although it does take some of the fun out of it knowing that she also thinks it’s a pretty nice pick-me-up polish.) 😉

Fairyland Bottle

Mumu Memories

HibiscusPrintHand

If I may toot my own horn, this is a super pretty tropical floral print filled with…hibiscuses? Hibiscusi? Lots of hibiscus blossoms, in any event. I realized about halfway through these nails that I was actually recreating the print of my favourite childhood pyjamas, a turquoise, hibiscus-printed mumu my aunt brought back for me from a trip to Hawaii when I was maybe eight or nine. When she gave it to me, this giant sack of floral-printed cotton with tiny cap sleeves, it grazed the floor. By the time it said its last goodnight, I was 22, it was threadbare and it hung just a couple of inches below my knees. And it really did look exactly like this manicure, which I think is a lovely little bit of unintentional nostalgia. 🙂

HibiscusFingers

Tea Hill Strawberry (OMD3)

Tea Collage

Day 29’s theme in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge was #mynailsandmydrink, a popular hashtag where lacqueristas show off both their taste in beverages and matching nail adornment. And so for these quaffable nails, I drew inspiration from a bag of black tea I brought home with me from a vacation to Prince Edward Island last summer.

Weirdly, I’ve been thinking about that trip a lot recently. I say “weirdly” because it was a weird, weird trip – I was there for nearly three weeks, helping my mother prep my recently deceased aunt’s house for sale. It was not a fun vacation – definitely more business than pleasure – and yet I had a nice time living (and occasionally vacationing) well, well beyond my comfort zone.

One of my favourite memories from that trip, which occurred right about this time last year, was the evening my mom and I hopped in the shower, scrubbed off all the paint, stain and caulk smeared across our limbs and drove out to New Glasgow, one of the tiniest province’s more picturesque, beachy spots, for a bite of dinner. Not being much for shellfish (if so, there was a lobster supper up the road whose parking lot was OVERRUN) we decided to eat at the restaurant attached to the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company, an incredibly popular spot for tourists and locals alike to find spectacular scenery, Island history and all the sample jams, jellies and mustards you can shove onto a cracker. That’s where I found the tea I used as the inspiration for these nails, the Preserve Company’s Tea Hill Strawberry, a lovely, not-too-berry-ish black tea I drank four cups of that evening as I sat in the restaurant’s bright, open diningroom, contemplating the heavenly meal I had just eaten of scallops, new baby potatoes and buttered veg. It was such a nice night – the weather was gorgeous, the conversation was light and easy and everything ended with a giant slice of raspberry cream cheese pie – and I just think I wanted to bring a little bit of that travel magic back home with me.

For these nails, I took a couple of design elements from the bag of Tea Hill Strawberry itself, before combining two Nfu Oh jellies, butterscotch-hued JS39 and raspberry-coloured JS24, for a clear, tea-type effect on my index and ring fingers.

By the by, if you should ever find yourself on the Island, do swing by the Preserve Company. Even if all you do is stand outside and gawp at the natural beauty of the New Glasgow area, it’ll be worth it. And if you’re not much for travel and/or can’t comprehend a situation in which you’d find yourself on Prince Edward Island, you can purchase the Preserve Company’s products online here, and they do ship internationally.

Tea Hand

It’s a Purse, Okay?! (OMD3)

Jeanne Lottie Collage

I’m bouncing around a little bit right here at the tail end of the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, tackling the second-to-last hashtag-inspired theme, #mynailsandmybag, before the other two #mynailsand-s. For these Dorothy Gale-esque nails, I drew inspiration from a favourite blue gingham-and-lipstick red handbag of mine from Canadian designer Jeanne Lottie. My aunt insisted on buying it for me over 15 years ago during a mad, “spend all the money on the niece!” shopping trip, and who was I to object? I actually think she got a kick out of purchasing something she would never, ever carry herself; my aunt could be super fun, but she definitely wasn’t a blue, red and white purse-carrying kind of lady. But I am! And I’ve been happily carrying this charming little number ever since. And now I’ve got the mani to match!

Jeanne Lottie Bag Fingers