Poison Apple Cauldron

Poison Apple Cauldron 3

I got this nifty refillable popcorn bucket at the Magic Kingdom some weeks back, and like my Gaston ears, it was one of those things that people would just shout their appreciation for from distances both great and small (nearly wrote that as “smell,” which is quite apt, as that Disney popcorn scent – real and/or enhanced – is utterly intoxicating.)  One morning a woman with an incredible Scottish accent demanded to know where I got my “fabu-losh buh-KIT” and I decided right then and there that whatever it cost ($15 filled with popcorn, with unlimited $2 refills) it was worth it just to hear her awesome pronunciation of “bucket.” 🙂  There’s also a small battery inside that powers cool burbling light effects in the lid, like you’re brewing up some wonderously witchy creation and not just 1,800 calories in snack food.

Poison Apple Cauldron Me

Poison Apple Cauldron 4

This fun new parkin’ accessory was calling out for a bit of matching nail art, so I obliged.  I think the skull on my thumb is terrible and I had a real mis-fire with some topcoat that smudged up quite a bit more than usual, but overall, I like the Nickelodeon-type sludgy slime.  Like the popcorn that goes into the bucket most of all, but simply carrying the thing around, and wearing it on my nails, is pretty fun, too.

Poison Apple Cauldron Collage

Poison Apple Cauldron 2

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Passholder Pride!

Passholder 1

So here’s that thing I was so very proud of that I wanted to show you, but first needed a something to show, but the something got caught up in transit, and so I had nothing to show.  Thing thing thing, show show show!

*Ahem* So the thing I was so very proud of – the physical proof of which was indeed caught in a sort of transit – is that thanks to our year-long diligence in cutting back, watching our spending and enjoying that which we already have, we were able to become Disney World annual passholders!  That’s kind of big deal, right, it’s not just my imagination? 🙂  But for what we have planned for the next 365 days, it made the most financial sense, and that’s on a cost-of-tickets basis alone; the extra little perks like money off dining, merchandise, entertainment and accommodations and special, passholder-exclusive offers are just that – extra little perks (and already well-used, thanks to our Labour Day long weekend trip!)

Passholder 3

Anyhow, it’s been a donkey’s age since I’ve done any nail art, and so I thought I’d do a manicure celebrating this awesome – and awesomely fun – financial milestone.  I am so, so proud of us for making this happen, as silly as it may seem.  Which I bet to many of you is very silly.  And I’m cool with that; the Peter Pan approach to life is not for everyone.  But consider that Mr. Finger Candy and I have decided to just get out there and fully immerse ourselves in the Deep Disney State – anything we can do to save money while we’re out being dorky dreamers is going to be a help.

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TL;DR: While year-long passes to four of the world’s most popular theme parks may seem like a gigantic financial leap, it’s a chasm we easily crossed thanks to our very best efforts in reining in our spending and dedicating everything extra to this one financial goal.  I love that we worked toward a goal and met it.  Gotta say, it feels pretty darn great!  Just like these nails – I’ve missed doing nail art, must really aspire to feature more of it here on this, uh, nail art blog. 😉

Passholder 2

Literary Inspiration: The Night Circus

The Night Circus Collage 1

Have you ever fallen in love with a book?  Just found yourself utterly entranced by the world it creates?  I think this happens all the time, can actually remember my father some 20 years ago telling me, in rapturous tones reminiscent of a little girl divulging her first crush, about this book series he had just started reading about a boy wizard at a magical boarding school.  My mom is going through something similar at the moment with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe books; when she talks about them, I can see that she’s been positively enchanted.  As was I the first time I read my favourite book, Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides.  I remember reading that blisteringly tragic final paragraph and then just sitting back in my chair, a melancholy smile playing at the edges of my lips, as I contemplated that weird ache in my chest that felt as though it was caught somewhere between heartbreak and hope.

Which is precisely how I felt when I finished Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, an elegantly languid tale of love, loss and the beauty of the unexplained as set against a mysterious after-hours circus.  This was the most beautiful book I think I’ve ever read, and it actually hurt a bit when the gorgeous tale of les Cirques du Reves and its creators, performers and devoted Reveurs drew to a close.  At the risk of sounding like a book jacket blurb, I would absolutely run away to join this circus.

On the subject of the story itself, a tale of two magicians whose chess game-like maneuvers play out over decades, sweeping the circus and its inhabitants into their increasingly dangerous orbit, I’m somewhat neutral.  It’s a love story, and a deeply satisfying one at that, but for me, this novel is all about the elegant, gothic carnival Morgenstern creates with her Night Circus.  This is an all black and white world, stark light-and-dark simplicity against which to highlight the incredible magical feats showcased within.  The only colours you’ll find in les Cirques du Reves are the blood red accessories the circus’s travelling fandom wear as a kind of identification, and on opening night, the rainbow-tipped flames in the hulking courtyard cauldron.

If a book could be said to be set designed, then this one has been, to within an inch of its life, and I adore it – I love the more is more is more approach!  It’s truly the most evocative novel I think I’ve ever read – I could picture every painted checkerboard floor, every striped canvas tent, every sumptuous midnight dinner menu, every impossibly beautiful feat of the unexplained.  And all the credit in the world to Morgenstern for this; she certainly has that Rowlingian flair for world-building.  That The Night Circus is her debut novel (the theme in my friends’ reading challenge for which I chose this book in the first place) is incredible; she’s a very gifted writer.  And not for nothing, because I’m exactly the kind of person who notices these kinds of things, but this was a beautifully edited book.  I can’t tell you how irked I get when I’m pulled out of a great story by some sloppy little editing error.  I get so peevish about it, I’ll actually grab a highlighter and aggressively circle it!  It’s a real delight to see someone (or someones) take the time and care to get it right the first time.

Because I’ve tasked myself with doing a manicure for each book I read for my friends’ reading challenge, I had to come up with one for The Night Circus.  But I couldn’t possibly have limited myself to just one design, not with so much great inspiration right there on the page…so I did five.  Actually six, but the sixth was whonkus and not quite what I had intended, so five it is!  Here I’ve done manicures inspired by Herr Thiessen’s dreamy courtyard clock, the entrance tunnel of stars, the spiral and checkerboard patterns painted on the ground and – my favourite – Celia’s wishing tree.

The Clock

The Night Circus 2

The Entrance

The Night Circus 5

The Grounds

The Night Circus 7

The Wishing Tree

The Night Circus 13

And then for good measure, because one does want a hint of colour, even in the midst of a black-and-white circus, I created a design inspired by the wrought iron cauldron in the centre of the courtyard.  The cauldron, a centrepiece of the circus in more ways than one, typically burns with stark white flames, but on the circus’s opening night, archers lit the flames with arrows tipped in a rainbow’s worth of rich colours.

The Cauldron

The Night Circus 8

Gosh, I loved this book; it was so pretty.  Big recommendation if you like a sweeping, slow burn of a love story and uncommonly evocative settings.  This one may require another read-through, and soon. 🙂

Cupcakes by the Ocean

Cupcakes by the Ocean 1

Well, that’s a terrible pun based off a not-so-great song (Cake by the Ocean by DNCE) that was nonetheless a total ear worm, which is how I wound up doing these nails yesterday when I was in a funky bad mood and could think of nothing better to cheer myself up than some nail art and a bit of bad punnage.  So mission accomplished?  Because I’m feeling much better today, and these nails are pretty funny, and maybe even just plain old pretty. 🙂

Cupcakes by the Ocean 2

On a Sunny Sunday Morn

Arty

The blogging world is such an odd, circuitous little animal sometimes.  Case in point?  This manicure was inspired by a post a blogger friend, Sketchuniverse, posted to his art blog highlighting the beautiful work of another artist and blogger from Lucy’s Coloring Book.  It’s an M.C. Escher staircase of blog post appreciation!

I’m not sure I did Lucy’s design a ton of justice (please do click on the link above to check out her colourful, whimsical work) but I do love the bright, cram-every-surface-with-something approach to art, and indeed nail art.  These are fun and summery, and just a little weird and wacky – the perfect beauty note on which to end this summer weekend.  Hope you’re having a nice one, friends. 🙂

Jumpsuit

Jumpsuit

I was about to wax all poetic about twenty one pilot’s searingly killer new song, Jumpsuit, and then I just decided to go with what I wrote on Instagram last night, after five days of naught but TOP jamming about my brain for as many possible hours as the people around me can stand – I’m so freakin’ in love with Jumpsuit, I want it to carry my books and take me to prom in a baby blue tuxedo.  Happiness is new any twenty one pilots music. *contented sigh*

Dumbass. Also Ooh, Pretty Ring!

Beaded Ring 2

I’m quite glad I did this manicure, inspired by an old beaded ring I recently dug out of jewelry box purgatory, earlier in the week, before I suffered one of those dumbass injuries that smarts like the dickens, leads to the temporary uselessness of at least a couple of limbs and leaves you rightfully questioning the life decisions that led up to this moment.  Like the decision to try to brute force my refrigerator out of its nook without realizing that it was quite firmly caught on something.  Or the decision, once I noted that it was quite firmly caught on something, to try to HULK it up and over the obstruction, like I was The Rock’s friggin’ weenie Canadian cousin or something.  I think you can see where this is going.

Which would be straight on through to Dumbass Injury Land, where I’m now sitting in quite uncomfortable forearm agony.  Yes, my FOREARMS.  Two days on and I still can’t register any sensation in my hands, wrists or forearms other than pain.  I can’t form a tight fist without sort of feeling like I’m about to pass out.  Typing this has proven to be a rather exquisite form of torture!

Anyhow, super glad I got this one done before I succumbed to my own idiocy.  Seriously kids, don’t try to dead lift your large appliances; it will not end well.

Right, so this manicure was inspired by this ring I bought, oh, 20 or so years ago from a designer who worked and sold out of the Byward Market Building in Ottawa, Ontario.  I add that detail because I cannot remember her name and I don’t believe she’s even working out of Ottawa any more; her booth in the Market Building disappeared many years ago (but if anyone knows of her name, please hit me up!)  I’ve actually got quite a few of her pieces, and they’re all weird, colourful and maybe just a little bit too much.  Wait till you see the beaded choker I’ll hopefully be able to show to you in a few days’ time once any sensation other than pain has returned to my forearms.  Until then, as always, nail art!

Beaded Ring 1