Favourites of 2014

Faves of the Year Collage WatermarkedPersonal struggles aside (2014 shall hereafter always be known as The No Good, Very Bad, Super Stupid, So Relentlessly-Difficult-it-Practically-Burns Year), 2014 was a pretty fabulous year for nail art. Here, of course, I’m talking about the hundreds of amazing designs I’ve encountered over the past 365 days (the creativity displayed by the larger nail art community is simply staggering), but also my own work, which has seen an appreciable boost in quality, particularly in recent months. I’m wicked proud of about, say, 87 percent of the nail art designs I did this year – the other 13 percent being of the “Whuuuu?” variety – and I’ve really enjoyed the super rewarding experience of watching my technique improve with each and every lacquered brushstroke.

And so on that horn-blowin’ note, I thought I’d share this collage of my nine favourite designs from the past year in the hopes that you also think I’m as cool as I clearly think I am! 😉 But to bring it down all serious styles for a second, really, my most sincere thank you to everyone who has popped by to visit my little lacquered-up corner of the Intersky this year. Your interest, support and kind comments have spurred me on to what I think are bigger and better things, and I look forward to continuing to bore you with endless stories about Disney World, my cats and “the good old days” in 2015. Happy New Year!

If you are interested in checking out the original posts for these manis, please click the links below.

1. How’s That For a Slice of Fried Gold?! – Shaun of the Dead-inspired nails.

2. Diet Coke – nails honouring a friend’s fun aspartame addiction.

3. 999 Happy Haunts – my favourite design of the year, inspired by the damask-style wallpaper that lines the halls of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

4. Zombie Kitty – Hello Kitty goes walking with the dead in these fun Halloween nails.

5. A Personal Choice – a sweet, creamy-looking gradient topped with my favourite homemade polish, Hawaiian Ham.

6. You Can’t Close the Beaches! – let’s just say the Mayor of Amity really should have closed the beaches.

7. Coral Reef – a super pretty mani featuring every colour and shape of the underwater universe I could squeeze onto my nails!

8. This Split is Bananas – tiny little banana splits with sprinkles! Plus I got to make a B-A-N-A-N-A-S joke.

9. Brrrraaaaaaiiiiinnnnnsssss – pastel zombie nails for the softer side of Halloween.

DIY

Sweet Weege BottleMy philosophy when it comes to a nail polish I’d like to own but do not because it simply doesn’t exist is to break out my polish crafting supplies and make my own. Do it yourself nail polish is a real show stopper of a gift (“Wait, you made this yourself?”) and not the least bit difficult, although the initial outlay for supplies can be a tough financial and logistical nut to crack. Like most crafty-type pursuits, you’ll need project-specific items such as polish bottles, solvent-resistant glitter, suspension base and the like, and none of that stuff comes easily or inexpensively (although once you’re all set up, the only consumables you’ll have to regularly replace are the bottles and base, and even then only if you’re cranking out multiple bottles a day.) I purchased my solvent-resistant glitter from a variety of Etsy retailers (solvent-resistant is key; regular old crafting glitter will bleed and melt when mixed with suspension base), while the cosmetic dyes I use come from a company by the name of Vanti805. The suspension base, bottles, ball bearings, etc. all come from a Canadian company I’ve had nothing but great experiences with by the name of Voyageur Soap & Candle Company, although you can also find a wealth of indie polish makers on Etsy that offer those items alongside their own creations.

And that’s the short, not-too-detailed story of how I came to consider myself a bit of a nail polish crafter, and more specifically the story of how this glitter topper, Sweet Weege, came into existence. I had actually been admiring some indie wares on a now-defunct company’s website when I noticed that they did not ship to Canada. That was a bit of a bummer until I realized that I was more than capable of making my own version of the polish I had my eye on, and so I did! Then it was just a hop, skip and five or so hours of picking errant glitter off my clothes, arms and hands before I had this Not-a-Designer Imposter-type creation I named after one of my cats, because why not? They’re great company when I’m deep in the throes of detail-oriented crafting, and they look so freaking adorable in those little masks (I kid – suspension base smells like hot death, and when I’m crafting, they’re usually a respectful, but still watchful, distance away. Besides, do you know how difficult it is to get glitter out of a long-haired’s coat? DIFFICULT.)

Here I’ve shown one brushed/dabbed on coat of Sweet Weege over top of Essie’s warm grey Chinchilly.Sweet Weege Full

A Personal Choice (OMD2)

Hawaiian Ham BottleThe final day’s theme in the Oh Mon Dieu nail art challenge was personal style (well, signature style), and what’s more personal than nail polish you made yourself? I would never consider myself an indie polish maker, more an acetone dabbler (just not that kind of dabbler – please don’t come and arrest me, meth-watch programs.) I make polishes for my friends and family and, of course, for myself when I’ve got something in mind that just doesn’t exist in either real or online life. That’s how I wound up with this polish, my first foray into make-yer-own and a favourite amongst a becoming-difficult-to-contain stash. Her name’s Hawaiian Ham, and she’s a mix of rose, chocolate, red, yellow and copper hex glitters in an ultra sheer pink base. Why Hawaiian Ham? Because the glitter mix I cobbled together reminded me of one of those frightening 1950s-type ham dishes covered in pineapple and maraschino cherries (which would be called Happy Ham Surprise or something equally un-descriptive) and hams are damn funny. That’s just good comedy there.

For this manicure, I topped a cream soda-esque gradient (fitting, seeing as I used two of the colours from OPI’s Coca Cola collection) with one coat of the Ham. Glitter topper aside, pink and cream are two of my favourite colours to decorate with (our first bedroom was this gorgeous, warm, rest-inducing rose pink), so I suppose this manicure does qualify as personal style, for my home at the very least.Hawaiian Ham

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink

Here’s a manicure featuring a bottle of homebrew from “promising” “new” “indie polish maker”, Finger Candy Diningroom Table Industries. Free cat fur or furs with every polish nearly guaranteed.

But all joking aside, I made this polish, Sweet Weege, some months back, and after having let it sit around and do its thing during that time, I’m pleased to report that it has held up fantastically well – no glitter curling, no colour bleeding – and still looks pretty great over top of a fun, bubblegum pink polish, Sally Hansen’s appropriately named Bubblegum Pink, even if the little hearts do get a bit lost in the mix.

Oh, Blue-Hoo

Oh, Blue-Hoo

Here’s a sad little thundercloud sitting atop a puddle of glittery blue polish that reminds me a bit of extra sparkly rainwater. That I made this particular glitter polish – name’s I Blue It – just adds to the overcast fun.

These nails are my entry in the second week of the May N.A.I.L. Art Challenge for the theme of clouds, despite the fact that I am sporting but one cloud on my nails, singular. Hopefully no one will take me to task for it and (GROAN) rain on my polished parade.

Gettin’ Crafty With It: Sweet Weege

Gettin' Crafty With It: Sweet Weege

I actually made this glitter topper, an ultimately quite Valentiney mix of matte white, brown, gold, rose holo and pink heart glitters, with my cat Weegie in mind. She’s a cute little brown and orange and black striped thing, what one might uncharitably – but accurately – consider your standard issue barn cat, and she looks absolutely nothing like this glitter! So I couldn’t tell you how on earth this polish came about if it was based on my tubby little sweetie, but it’s here now and I love it, naming inconsistencies and all!

Here I layered two light coats of Sweet Weege over top of a couple of cream-on-pink and pink-on-brown gradients. The result is a very festive manicure that reminds me not one bit of my cat, but very much of chocolate cherries (which, yuck – fruit and chocolate together seems like a concept I should like, but I JUST CAN’T. I’d sooner eat this bottle of polish.)

Gettin’ Crafty With It: Hawaiian Ham

Gettin' Crafty With It: Hawaiian Ham

I think Hawaiian Ham, the first polish I successfully made, stands hocks and pork shoulders above all the other polishes that have come out of my “workshop.” It’s the perfect combination of weirdo, this-shouldn’t-work colours and subdued glitter – nothing too flashy for my hammy honey. 🙂

Here I’ve shown two coats of Hawaiian Ham over top of OPI’s Princesses Rule!, and, as nearly always, a petite ring finger piggy to supervise the action.

Gettin’ Crafty With It: I Blue It

Gettin' Crafty With It: I Blue It

I Blue It is another homemade concoction, a polish inspired by and made for a friend (hey, guess what you’re getting the next time we see each other?!) It’s a simple but still flashy bright turquoise jelly speckled with silver and black holographic glitter.

Here I’ve shown I Blue It alongside a few nails painted in a new-to-me polish and finish, Sally Hansen’s Crackle Overcoat in Wave Break. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Wave Break is actually a duochrome, flashing both turquoise and purple depending on the light, although I can’t say I’m totally sold on the crackle finish. It’s a temperamental little thing, and I can’t imagine wanting to use it all that often, cool though it is.

Gettin’ Crafty With It: Fuzzy Slippers

Gettin' Crafty With It: Fuzzy Slippers

One bleary eyed evening earlier this (nearly finished) holiday season, I stayed up late and cranked out a series of homemade polishes well into the wee hours of the morning. I gave a few away as gifts (the shock value in telling someone you made them a custom nail polish is worth the effort alone) and kept a few others in the name of quality control. That and greed; I just didn’t want to give them away! 😉 All the nail polishes will be mine!

Here I’ve shown two coats of a polish I call Fuzzy Slippers, a periwinkle jelly studded with purple, pink and silver holographic glitter, alongside a wee little mouse, because why not? I layered Fuzzy Slippers over top of Essence’s Grey-t To Be Here, the pale grey shot through with rose sparkles you see on my ring finger, but it was quite unnecessary – Fuzzy Slippers is blissfully opaque in two coats. 🙂

Just Like a Circus

Just Like a Circus

In preparation for the holiday gift-giving season, I’ve spent the evening getting in touch with my inner Deborah Lippman, whipping up goodies like it’s Santa’s beauty workshop around here. So far I’ve conjured together two polishes that turned out so well, I now have absolutely no intention of giving them away! Sorry to say, I’m a bona fide polish grinch.

Here I’m showing three coats of a creation I’m tentatively calling Clown Car, a juicy peachy-raspberry shade speckled with green, periwinkle, marigold and coral hex glitter. I’m pleased to report that it applied fairly well (some bald patches on the first coat, but better glitter distribution on the second) and dried to a nice, glossy finish, no top coat strictly necessary (but when is anything, textured polishes excluded, better without a top coat, hmm?)