Poinsettia Pig (31DC2016)

poinsettia-fingers

Books were day 24’s theme in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, which had me casting back to one of my childhood favourites, Poinsettia and Her Family.  Written and illustrated by Felicia Bond, the 1981 children’s book, coloured nearly entirely in shades of pink, black and grey, tells the story of Poinsettia Pig, a temperamental little piglet with family issues – as in there’s too freaking many of them!

One of seven piglet siblings, Poinsettia attempts to find a secluded spot in her too-cramped house in which to curl up with a great book – really, any one of the buttery warm window seat, the cool Pachysandra, the bliss-inducing tub or the sun-warmed rock in the front yard will suffice.  But everywhere increasingly-pissy Poinsettia goes, she finds one of her lazy siblings loafing about instead, and after she explodes at her parents about their critical lack of personal space, she’s sent to bed early for general misbehaviour (pinching her brothers figures prominently.)

Poinsettia’s parents do concede, however, that the family has outgrown its much-loved home, and when they haul their possessions out of there the very next morning (pig-powered moves are apparently bonkers efficient!), Poinsettia opts to just…stay behind. Stay behind and finally enjoy the house the way it was meant to be enjoyed – by her and her alone!

But after a delightful afternoon spent lounging in the window seat, splayed out on the sun-warmed rock, hiding in the cool shade of the bushes and floating in the tub, lonely Poinsettia realizes that a home is no such thing without a family to fill it, even if sometimes you really, really, really want to pinch them.  Then her family returns, and they decide to stay, cramped quarters and all.  It’s basically Home Alone with pigs, nine years before Home Alone was released.

Here I’ve got sassy Poinsettia blissfully soaking away in her claw-footed bathtub, joyously pinkening her skin and enjoying some tubby time for one. 🙂

poinsettia-in-the-tub

If You Want to Destroy My Sweater (31DC2015)

Sweater Pull Fingers

The 31 Day Nail Art Challenge ended two days ago, and befitting my status at every step of the challenge, I am two (or more) days late with this final entry for day 30’s theme of a tutorial. Over on Instagram there’s a Dutch nail artist I follow by the name of Narmai (you can find her excellent blog at PiggyLuv.com.) Technically proficient, but also creative, whimsical and sort of cheeky, Narmai’s designs are so much more than your standard dots and flowers and branded characters. Her work is the very definition of “use what you’ve got,” and she uses everything at her disposal to create the most gorgeous, intricate designs, from the glow-in-the-dark polishes she used in a series of silhouette-style, nail art fairytales, to the actual light-up filament she strung across her nails to help E.T. phone home. Best of all, she posts quick, terrifically informative video tutorials of her work, which pull back the curtain a bit on her beautifully high concept work.

And speaking of pulling back, check out this cheeky little bugger peeling off all my hard holo work! I can take *some* credit for this design, but the bulk of the praise goes to Narmai for this cute and so easy 3D design. Following along with a quick little video she made of this manicure, I think I nailed the polish snag (it was as easy as just building up the little “pulls” and then painting over them) – the rest was as easy as attaching the little string for that evil piggy down there to pull (and the piggy himself, of course. Narmai’s design featured a little guy who looked like Baymax from Big Hero 6 pulling the string, but I like pigs better, and it’s been too long since I’ve painted evil pork on my nails. It also seemed nice to show the Piggy some Luv.)

Skele-Piggy

Skele-PiggyYou can’t keep a good pig down for long, which is precisely what happens when you’re as fond of painting them on your nails as I am. Here, amidst all the gradient and glitter, this piggy is all dressed up and ready for trick or treating, as anatomically incorrect as his skeleton costume might be (pretty sure the hip bone’s not connected to the rib bone, and I have this weird hunch that life is easier when your spine is actually attached to the rest of you!)

Some Pig

Radiant

One March Break when I was very young, my mom and I spent the week reading Charlotte’s Web aloud to one another, during which we discussed some of the book’s more complicated themes of birth and death and that often horrible state in between that we call living. Pretty weighty – but important – stuff for a children’s book (side note: heavy-handed moralizing is actually the bread and butter of children’s literature, dating back to the early 1800s with the Brothers Grimm’s terrifying tales of what certain horrors befall misbehaving children. And believe me, it was usually nothing so Disney sanitized as one of Cinderella’s wicked step-sisters feeling humiliated at the big ball; try one of her step-sisters having her eyes pecked out by birds because she was jealous of Cinderella’s successes. Cripes, one of these things is not like the other!)

But before you run out and retroactively report my mother to the authorities, bear in mind that the two of us making our way through that book together is one of my favourite childhood memories, while the book itself remains to this day one of my all time favourite works of literature. It’s just so simple and uncluttered, with a terrific heart – even when it’s breaking your heart – and a voice that doesn’t speak down to its young readers. It’s children’s literature perfection.

So in honour of selfless Charlotte and opportunistic Templeton and some pig Wilbur, I created these nails featuring the best descriptor Charlotte spins into her web to describe Wilbur, “radiant.” How a pig can be considered radiant is beyond me, and initially it’s beyond Wilbur, too, but in the end he makes it work, standing in his pen at the fair with good posture and a pleasant expression on his face, attempting to emanate a glow from within. It’s pretty solid work for a pig with zero opportunities before a kind spider came along and changed his destiny.

But I can’t talk about the ending, because I will dissolve into a mile deep puddle of ugly, salty tears, and nobody needs that, least of all my cats, who are not fond of getting wet (seriously, the waterworks Charlotte’s Web touches off are second maybe only to The Velveteen Rabbit, which is sadness plus PLUS. A few months back I described it for my husband, who had never read it, and even my highly glossed-over version set me to sobbing. It’s THE WORST. So is Watership Down.)

Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up

Gray Skies 1

“…paint a pig on your nails/wipe off that old dingy polish/there’s better stuff you got on sale…”  That’s how that song goes, right? 😉

Here I’ve shown a new polish from KB Shimmer’s spring 2014 line, Make My Gray.  Much like KB’s Full Bloom Ahead – another pick from the spring line – reminds me of crocuses and daffodils poking through the snow, Make My Gray evokes the overcast skies and gray puddles common to this time of year, with tiny, promising bits of blue sky and coral flowers emerging from the mild gloom.  A lovely and unusual springtime pick.

Emerging from the gloom as well are my patented polished piggies!  Pigs don’t hibernate, although mine apparently do, as I stopped painting pigs on my nails sometime last year following a veritable rash of swine-centric manis.  And you know what?  I’m glad to see their blank eyed, off centre, slightly bewildered faces yet again.  Viva la piggies!Gray Skies 2