Easter Bunny Baskets

Easter Bunny BasketSort of? These nails didn’t turn out quite the way I had intended, mostly because of that peachy-looking jelly polish there with the neon bar glitter. It’s actually a neon glitter topper in a clear base – Polish Me Silly’s Giggles & Wiggles – or at least it used to be. In the six months or so since I last used it, nearly every ounce of colour has leached out of the pink and yellow bars, staining the clear base polish a watery peach I like not one bit. The base for this manicure is actually one coat of Giggles & Wiggles over two coats of OPI’s cream-coloured My Vampire is Buff. Not that you’d know it. Long story short, I was aiming for a very different look here, although the little Easter baskets are pretty cute.

A small, grumbly word about misbehaving lacquers. It pains me to say this, because I generally like Polish Me Silly’s products very much (to say nothing of the unpublished post I recently drafted extolling their indie virtues) but it sometimes feels as though in the race to be FIRST!!! and on-the-bleeding-edge innovative, some indies occasionally sacrifice quality. Frankly, I question the quality assurance that went into the making of this polish, particularly when I look at a couple of their other polishes in my stash and find them (mis)behaving in exactly the same manner.

I own quite a few (mini) bottles of Polish Me Silly’s polishes, maybe 20 overall. It makes simple statistical sense that out of those 20, one or two will not be up to my snuff. That’s not a terrible average, and I won’t cease being a Polish Me Silly customer because of it, but you’d better believe that next purchase, I’m looking very carefully at what’s going into my virtual shopping cart. Buyer beware and all that smart financial sense. The more you know!

Stars at Dusk: A Then and Now Post (OMD2)

Stars at Sunset

Galaxy nails were the name of the game for day 17 of the Oh Mon Dieu nail art challenge, but having done more than my fair share of celestially-inspired manicures over the past year, I thought I’d instead go back and attempt to recreate a galaxy-type design I did just a handful of days into my acetone-based adventures. The poetic idea – the first cold, white stars of the evening just appearing above a pastel sunset sky – was a good one, but my execution was, naturally, that of someone who just started dabbling in nail art the week prior. I’ve often thought I could have done better, and with this challenge I had the opportunity to do precisely that.

In that spirit, and clearly taking a major page from One Nail to Rule Them All and her series of then and now posts, I thought I’d compare the two manicures (using the exact same polishes, it should be noted) to see how far my technique has come in just one year.

You’ve already seen my most recent effort up above. Now let’s take a look at the manicure I did very nearly a year ago today:Sunset Nails

YIKES, right? She’s rough. As well as heavy-handed, lumpy in some areas, balding in others, pooled all up in my cuticles and apparently photographed from the next balcony over. But as with most things – and nail art is no exception – there are lessons to be learned, the most important (and trite) being practice makes perfect. Yeah, I get how annoying that is. No one wants to be told that to be good or better at something, you have to work at it. We’re a world of quick fix seekers, and taking the time to hone a skill, even if it’s something as seemingly silly and prosaic as nail art, is a quality in increasingly short supply. But the rather unlovely truth is that to get from the nails in the second picture to the nails in the first, I just had to practice. Nothing more mysterious or complicated than simple trial and error, I’m afraid. Like, you can really see how I tried to create a smooth and seamless gradient, but instead wound up committing the error of a lump-riddled hodge podge. Just like you can see how I tried to capture my nails for photographic posterity, but erred by holding the camera approximately 50 detail-destroying feet away from its subject.

As embarrassing as it is to go back and catalogue the litany of boo-boos I made in the early days of my nail art obsession (and continue to make to this day, it absolutely should be noted), it’s a fantastic reminder of exactly how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned in a relatively short amount of time, and that can’t ever be considered anything but a positive. Learning is livin’, y’all.

Lazy Day Rainbow (OMD2)

Lazy Day Rainbow

Please do pardon the crass, but I had a hard time getting it up for day 11’s theme of rainbow in the Oh Mon Dieu 2 nail art challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I love rainbow designs and the theme is a good one. In fact, one might say it’s too good a theme and that I love rainbow designs too much, because it seems like I do at least one manicure a week featuring ALL of the colours. As such, I’m feeling a touch bereft of rainbow-centric ideas, which is precisely what led to these half-assed nails! With apologies; I normally try not to phone it in so badly.

One Hot, Glittery Mess

One Hot, Glittery Mess

Or: Why You Should Never Do Your Nails at 2 a.m. in Low Livingroom Lighting Whilst Otherwise Distracted by Your Approximately 250th Viewing of The Lost Boys. Because, not too surprisingly, you’ll think that layering black willow tree details over top of a blackened teal glitter polish will result in anything other than a muddled black mess, even after you optimistically add a few firefly-like gold blobs to light up the lacquered night. You, of course, could not be more wrong, and when you wake up the following morning and gaze upon your creation in the sobering light of breaking dawn, you’ll laugh for about five minutes straight because, seriously, what the hell were you thinking?! In the plus column, however, they’re still pretty, albeit indistinct and somewhat swampy, although certainly not in the way I intended. So good idea, poor execution. I shall return this one to the idea pile and attempt it at a later, better lit and less distracted time. 🙂

Franken-nails

Franken-nails

This manicure looks like it was easy enough to do, right? I mean, it certainly should have been. Fussy, yes, time consuming, also yes, but not particularly difficult. It should (there’s that word again) have been just a matter of laying down my striping tape, filling in the “square dots” and then shellacking over the whole mess with a top coat to smooth out the rough edges.

Except my striping tape decided to be a dick (yes, I realize this isn’t possible, but work with me here) and the blasted square dots streaked all over the place, necessitating a bunch of after-the-fact patch work (no, they didn’t run down a football field stark naked, but again, work with me here) and then, as the ultimate act of lacquered betrayal, as I stood out on my balcony in near gale force winds trying to capture photographic proof of a manicure that I was already wishing an acetone-related death upon, I shook an errant cat fur off my hands and, in doing so, ran my fingers straight into the pebble-covered wall, gouging a big, nasty chunk out of my middle finger. Tell me, did you hear the swearing from wherever in the world you are? Because I guarantee you my neighbours did!

Long, complainey story short, I patched my middle finger together with a bit of Seche Vite, took some not-completely-unfortunate photos and now plan to never, ever attempt this manicure again. I think the world will be better off for that decision. Heaven knows I’ll be!