Delicate Drifts


It might be a little early in the cold weather season for my mitts to be looking quite so chapped, but the condition of my hands, as well as the inspiration for these nails, is perfectly in keeping with the crazy (and crazy cold) weather we’ve had lately.  Drifting snow, freezing rain, bitterly cold temperatures, maybe a bit of hail – we’ve had it all, and somehow all at once. It’s a horrible weather miracle!

I think this manicure is really pretty, particularly the flakes on my index and pinkie fingers, which I created using the pond manicure technique, which is when you free-hand a nail art design between layers of a super sheer jelly polish.  It a cool technique that makes everything look soft and diffuse, perfect for designs of fluffy, sparkly snow gently piling up on the windowsill.

I *Heart* You

I Heart You

And I heart this manicure, too! Like stars, hearts are one of those things I don’t free-hand particularly well. But I am powerless to resist a pink, red and white colour combination (here a pond manicure using Nfu Oh’s cerise-hued jelly, JS24) which always calls to mind very Valentiney things, hearts included. So I went all-in, painted on an allover heart design, and in the end I think things turned out quite well. My husband said they look like nail decals (well, he said “decnals” in the vein of the Trailer Park Boys’ Ricky, a man who mangles the English language with tremendous flair) which is just about the best compliment I can think of. 🙂

Fashionably Floral (31DC2015)

Floral Hand

I’m finger-sashaying down the runways of New York Fashion Week with this floral manicure that draws inspiration from a dress in designer Monique Lhuillier’s spring/summer collection. The dress itself is an adorable little thing – all delicate lace overlayed with a peppering of vibrantly hued daisies. You can see a photo of its loveliness here, courtesy of one of my favourite blogs, Go Fug Yourself.

To get that lacy, embroidered look, I began by laying down three light coats of a sheer white jelly. Once that dried, I painted on a random assortment of squiggles, swirls, dots and dashes with a basic white creme. After allowing that to dry thoroughly, I then brushed on two more coats of the white jelly, creating a pond manicure. What I was aiming to mimic was the soft, lacy quality of the dress’s white fabric – it’s not a plain, stark white; it very much has its own texture and design, separate and apart from the floral embellishments. Then for those embellishments themselves, I brushed on a smattering of smudgy little flowers in a bouquet of hothouse colours, perfect for day 14’s theme of floral nails in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge.

Home of the World’s Happiest Fish! (OMD3)

Beerquarium Hand

I’m a theme park nerd and Simpsons fan more or less in equal measure, and I’ve always taken great delight in the episodes where the Simpsons clan go to an amusement park, lampooning the genuinely magical, but ultimately financially-driven, nature of the Disneys and Universals of our world. I think the episode where the Simpsons fight off a roving band of murderous, off-program animatronics at Itchy & Scratchy Land might be my favourite theme park-inspired episode, but I also love – as do so many; it’s a classic for a reason – the 13th episode of season 4 in which Marge’s sister Selma takes the Simpsons kids to Duff Gardens, a Magic Kingdom-esque amusement park run by the Duff Beer Corporation. There’s all the usual Disney-type tropes at work here – endless parades, beleaguered costumed characters and “It’s a Duff World,” an “It’s a Small World” parody whose toxic waters bear hallucinogenic properties – although they also bring Sea World into the mix with the introduction of the Beerquarium, a suds-filled aquatic habitat filled with, apparently, “The World’s Happiest Fish!” Except they really don’t look so happy, listlessly circling the tank belching, groaning and trying not to vomit.

Anyhow, when day 14 of the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge called for the theme of fish, I decided to do a Simpsons-inspired manicure featuring the drunken fish of Duff Garden’s Beerquarium (although later in the episode a character references something called a Fermentarium, which has to be the same thing, right? I move to change the name to Fermentarium on the grounds that it’s much funnier.)

I did these nails using the very-appropriate-in-these-circumstances pond manicure technique, this time encasing the inebriated fish in multiple layers of an amber-hued jelly polish, Nfu Oh’s JS39, instead of Duff Beer. Not really sure which one might be less toxic.

Beerquarium Fingers

Dippin Dots (OMD3)

Dippin Dots HandI actually have no idea what Dippin Dots taste or look like beyond plastic and plastic? They’re those little ice cream-oid frozen balls you can buy in the States, right? I’ve never consumed such an animal, although the concept sounds horrifyingly delightful, like frozen Fruity Pebbles (as in rainbow coloured and bearing a taste and texture not of this world.)

This dotted pond manicure is my entry towards day six’s theme of polka dots in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Challenge. You’d be correct in noting that I’m jumping around the board a little bit, tackling yesterday’s theme when I’ve yet to do either the day prior, or today’s! But such is the drama of a 31 day challenge, correct? Correct!Dippin Dots Fingers

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Christmas TreeI know all you Americans are coming down off (or coming back up out of) major gravy-based comas and/or recuperating from injuries sustained during the Battle of Black Friday, and so the upcoming holiday season is probably the furthest thing from your minds, but here in Canada we’ve been good to go since the middle of November (and if you’re a major retailer like, say, craft store Michael’s, who in recent years have pushed their “holiday” season into groundbreaking and obscene new territories, it’s more like late August.) I hung our outdoor lights a few weeks back and I’ll be digging the tree out of storage this weekend, so I’d say this Christmas thing is pretty well on.

And on my nails as well, where a pond manicure Christmas tree design meets a favourite glitter jelly, KB Shimmer’s Get Clover It, and two different Sally Hansen glitters, Strawberry Shields and Over the Rainblue. Quite festive.

Fruit Cocktail

Fruit CocktailWith extra cherries, of course! Part jelly sandwich, part pond manicure, these nails are so cute and yummy looking, they have me eyeing up that jar of fruit cocktail I bought for my husband but really might just eat myself. *Goes out to kitchen* *Comes back defeated* Unnnnnnntttiillllll I realized he ate it two days ago. Aw, darnity hell damn crap! Better add fruit cocktail to the shopping list, although not painting my nails like nummy foodstuffs might help, too. 😉

Jumpin’ Jelly

Jumpin' Jelly 1

It was only after I had removed this cute pond manicure that I realized that with its lush magenta hue and floral sun design, it would have made the perfect background for a bit of Tangled-inspired nail art. I seem to recall Rapunzel maneuvering her impossibly gigantic ‘do around a kingdom celebration festooned with flags bearing purple and yellow sun designs.

Pond manicures look impressive, but really only hinge on two simple factors: A not-too-opaque jelly polish and a steady hand for detail work. For this manicure, I painted my nails with two coats of China Glaze’s Are You Jelly? Then, using a detail brush and an assortment of dotting tools, I painted on the floral design, filling in all the gaps to create a sort of mosaic tile design. Then I painted on one thin, even coat of Are You Jelly?, taking my time to ensure I wasn’t covering up too much of the floral sun design, before topping off the whole works with one mega light-reflecting coat of Seche Vite to make everything smooth as the surface of a (jelly-filled) pond.Jumpin' Jelly 2

Greenery (OMD2)

GreeneryThis manicure, my interpretation of Madam Luck’s superlative St. Patrick’s Day design and my entry in the Oh Mon Dieu challenge for the theme of jelly, features some of my very favourite nail things, glitter-studded jelly polishes being the most important for our current purposes. I really enjoyed this challenge prompt, because oh, how I love the glitter jellies! All the jelly polishes, actually, as it is the very best finish. They could come and live with me on a special nail polish farm, and I’d take care of them and we’d all be very happy together, I can feel it.

But before you begin to worry that I’m going to run off and form some sort of nail polish worshipping cult (look around Instagram sometime; it’s not far off), take comfort in the fact that I haven’t gone right round the twist – I just really like jelly polishes. Weirdly enough, they have been one of the great discoveries of the past year. Before embarking on this journey into the heart of lacquer-based lunacy, I had no idea such an animal existed. I thought all nail polish was either a cream or a clear-based glitter. But jellies, with their incongruously rich, almost syrupy-looking finish, in their typical assortment of jewel-toned colours, are a breed apart, and, of course, the crucial component in a type of manicure known as a jelly sandwich.

These nails are a modified type of jelly sandwich known as a pond manicure in which you swap out the sandwich’s jelly-over-glitter approach for painted-on details such as Madam Luck’s stamped-on shamrocks or my dotted-on blossoms. Or maybe you go for all three like I did, layering polish and jelly and nail art details one atop the other until you wind up with, well, this!

For this gorgeously lush looking mani, I started off with one base coat of a blackened teal polish, Nails Inc.’s Kensington, over which I brushed one light coat of a forest green glitter jelly, KB Shimmer’s Get Clover It. Once dry, I randomly dotted on a handful of basic flowers in a stark white polish (name withheld because it’s crap), and then topped the whole works off with two light coats of Get Clover It, going slowly to make sure the glittery bits didn’t completely cover up the floral design (I should note here that this technique works best with a less glitter-intensive jelly polish such as Get Clover It. If you use one of the more traditional glitter jellies, which are typically packed to the brim with sparkly stuff, you run the risk of obliterating those nail art details you worked so hard to achieve in the first place.)