The Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe

Zaphods Fingers

On a Friday night 20 or so years ago, there was probably only one place you’d find me, on the dance floor of Zaphod Beeblebrox, the coolest bar in the universe.  Located in the very un-cool city of Ottawa, Ontario, Zaphod’s was a small, oddly-shaped, black-lit sanctuary of Brit pop, industrial, electronica and alternative rock, with potent signature drinks (the glowing green Pangalactic Gargleblaster was a particular delicious favourite) and nightly showings of Aliens.  Some of the best moments of my life happened in that bar – it broke my young(er) heart when it closed a couple of weeks ago after 26 years of killer Friday nights.

To thank Zaphods for all my best weekends, I thought I’d paint this glow-in-the-dark galaxy manicure that mimics the black-lit stars and galaxies that dotted the walls of my favourite Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe.  Rest well, Zaphod’s – so long, and thanks for all the fish.

Zaphods Collage

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A Pastel Galaxy (31DC2016)

pastel-galaxy

Just a smattering of bright stars against a soft sky lit by the last rays of the day.  That’s poetic fancy talk for this is a manicure I did for day 19’s theme of galaxies in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. 🙂

Galaxy Quest

Galaxy 1

Not the movie, although I’ll confess to finding it much more tolerable on recent viewings. It’s just one of those movies – very much like Men in Black – that has never really appealed to me.  Anything that has to do with space stuff, actually, particularly the two Stars, Wars and Trek.

But enough about the holes in my pop culture sci fi knowledge, and on to the sci fi nails. Thankfully, one area I no longer seem to be struggling in quite so badly any more are my galaxy nail designs.  Galaxy nails have never really been my thing, because I seem unable to pull off a delicate star design.  But with a little assistance – okay, a lot of assistance – from my secret weapon for creating the perfect starry lacquered sky, CND Vinylux’s Dazzling Dance, this dusky mani turned out quite beautifully.  Quest fulfilled!

Galaxy Sun

And a small shout-out as well to the obstinate little water droplet clinging to my index finger, which lasted through 80 some-odd photos and completely dodged my attention until, well, now. Nicely done, water droplet!

Also, this manicure matches the leggings I’m currently wearing.  I’ll leave you to decide if that was intentional or not. 😉

Galaxy Leggings

Stars at Twilight

Twilight Stars Fingers

Coming at you this bright and beautiful morn with a manicure inspired by last night’s ice chip stars.  After an abnormally temperate start to the winter (three weeks ago temperatures were in the plus double digits; one day I did some tidying up on my balcony in a t-shirt), the weather has reverted to normal.  Unfortunately, normal is -25 degrees, and that’s just lousy.

But there’s something about these positively frosty days (and nights) that adds such a beautiful shimmer to the world.  Last night as I was driving along a dark, country road-type stretch of tree-lined blacktop, I couldn’t help but marvel at just how quiet and peaceful and beautiful everything was – the delicately snow-dusted trees, the still, frosty air and the gorgeous ice chip stars.  So as I tend to do when I’m inspired by anything, I decided to paint those stars on my nails.

I’m notorious crap at drawing stars, however, so those of last night’s variety – tiny, delicate pinpricks of shimmering light – were never going to happen by my hand.  Thankfully, I’ve got a polish I like to refer to as “night sky in a bottle” (CND Vinylux in Dazzling Dance) and it saved the day, adding those tiny, icy pinpoints of light to this super subtle gradient (and the less subtle purple stars) for a beautiful, stars-at-twilight type of effect.

Unicorns in Space! (31DC2015)

Unicorn in Space Hand

Or one unicorn, singular.

Galaxy nails were the order of the day for September 19th in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. I don’t do many galaxy manicures – it’s mostly just a lot of sponge painting and glitter, and I’ve got enough of that in my repertoire already. Also, I find space to be singularly uninspiring. I prefer the more watery “space” that’s up to 2,500 kilometers straight down.

All that to say I didn’t exactly give this manicure my all, which is of course why it turned out better than any galaxy mani I’ve ever attempted before. For these fluky nails, I brushed on two coats of a black creme polish before randomly sponging on three frosty lacquers in hot pink, baby pink and dark teal. The frosty polishes were a good choice, adding a hit of twinkling shimmer. They also layered really nicely over the black creme, blending together into a bruise-hued mass of cosmic clouds.

Unicorn in Space Fingers Shade

I then brushed on one coat of Enchanted Polish’s fittingly-named Instant Galaxy, a holographic topper speckled with iridescent blue glitter. After that dried, I brushed on a smattering of holographic stars with Liquid Sky Lacquer’s megawatt silver holo, Dream. Finally, I set a prancing silver unicorn charm from Daily Charme on my middle finger (not my usual accent nail choice, but this particular space unicorn is on the larger size, and I didn’t think my ring finger would accommodate his galloping girth.)

Unicorn in Space Fingers Sun

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis Hand

Here’s a small lesson in why you should never overthink things. I’ve had the idea for these Aurora Borealis nails simmering away on the back burner of my mind for an eternity now, because I rather incorrectly assumed that they were going to be super difficult. A galaxy manicure background AND what I thought was going to be some labour-intensive watercolour-type work? Count. Me. Out.

Then I actually took stock of the nail art tools and techniques I had at my disposal, and realized that I was needlessly fretting. That galaxy manicure background? As easy as swiping on a single coat of Enchanted Polish’s Instant Galaxy, a holographic glitter topper that makes every dark polish it touches look like the twinkling night sky. And as for the watercolour work I was contemplating for the hazy, diffuse look of the Northern Lights themselves, I decided my free-handed colour-blending was already pretty perfect – no need to involve excess brushes and acetone and what’s sure to be a lot of swearing if we don’t need to, right? So fret not, nail art enthusiasts (or at least fret less) – sometimes even the seemingly insurmountable obstacles turn out to be nothing but tiny little anthills of annoyance once you really get down to it. You’ve got the power!

Aurora Borealis Fingers

Instant Galaxy

Instant Galaxy Collage

Galaxy nails (a type of design that makes your nails twinkle like the cosmos) are a mainstay of the nail art world. Indeed, it was after only my third or fourth attempt at nail art, period, that I decided to just jump in the deep end and lay down some sponged-on space nails, technique (or lack thereof) be damned! But it turns out that galaxy manicures are actually pretty easy, and somewhat blunder-proof – after all, the cosmos is just a higgeldy piggeldy mess of colours, lights and sparkles to begin with (Finger Candy: Come for the nails, stay for the faulty science!)

One of the trickier parts of the galaxy look, though, is duplicating the tiny, ice cold pinpricks of light that dot the night sky. Glitter polishes can really pull their weight as starry sky stand-ins, but if you use too heavy a hand, you’ll muddle the look.

But a polish like this one, the aptly named Instant Galaxy, is the perfect backing for spaced-out nails – one light, even coat over a dark polish truly does produce a perfect instant galaxy. Here I’ve shown Instant Galaxy, a holographic topper speckled with tiny ice blue flakies and holo micro glitter, over a basic black creme in both the shade and the sun. In the shade, this polish produces a gorgeous, lightly speckled effect where the flakies glow from within like the first ice chip stars in the velvet night sky (cripes, now we’re getting into overly florid poetic recitations; looks like you’re all getting a full Finger Candy education today, my friends!) I also think this combination in the shade can look a bit like granite – it would be cool to try it over a darkened green or brown or blue. But the really nice surprise with Instant Galaxy is that in addition to being a gorgeous shimmer topper, it’s also a MEGA holo that will turn any polish it touches into an instant rainbow.

All the way around, Instant Galaxy is a pretty perfect specimen (and now we’ve circled back to the science again. But hey, don’t worry, gang, I’ll cut you some slack on tonight’s homework, just because I’m nice that way. Class dismissed!)

Instant Galaxy Hand

Out of focus holos are the best holos!

Instant Galaxy Out of Focus Fingers