Semi-Precious Stones: A Tutorial

Semi-Precious Stones TutorialI did a manicure the other day using a technique I’ve seen described as both the smoke effect and the lightning effect. Nomenclature aside, it all amounts to the same thing, even if you’re calling them, say, semi-precious stone nails, as I am in this little tutorial (which is my first real foray into the world of share and share alike, by the way.) If you’d like to play along at home, start in the upper right-hand corner and go across, one row at a time. I think the overall effect looks a lot like one of those gorgeously colourful and delicately veined semi-precious stones like Malachite or Amethyst, and they’re really not the least bit complicated – not much effort for maximum impact, as all good things should be. Ready? Let’s get into this thing!

1. Begin by painting your nails with two coats of a lush, gemstone-hued polish. Here I used China Glaze’s Four Leaf Clover, which reads far more blue in these photos than its true neon jade colour. It diminishes the green Malachite-type effect I was going for only just slightly.

2. Once dry, dip a tiny detail brush in a pastel, complimentary-coloured polish (here I used China Glaze’s pale green Re-Fresh Mint), and working one nail at a time, paint on a design that looks a bit like a ragged chain of lightning. I started my chain from a different point on each nail just to vary things up, as this type of design looks best when it’s a wee bit undone.

3. Immediately dip a flat-headed brush in nail polish remover and lightly dab it over the pastel design. What you’re trying to do here is blur any harsh lines and spread the design around a bit, giving it the overall effect of a cracked piece of gemstone. If you goof, you can always wipe it off and start over or widget together a bit of patchwork after the fact. But try not to natter away at one spot for too long, because you’ll wipe it bare with acetone (I know of that which I speak!)

4-5. Going one nail at a time, repeat steps 2 and 3 on your remaining nails.

6. When you’re done, your nails will look as though they’ve been marbled. You could slap a bit of top coat on at this point and call it a day, but we’re not done yet!

7. Once again taking your tiny detail brush and another darker complimentary polish (here I used Cover Girl’s Constant Caribbean, a dark turquoise metallic), paint on a few ultra fine lines in a jagged pattern to mimic the rich veins of colour that run through semi-precious stones. Tidy up any bits where you coloured outside the lines, top with an ultra smoothing top coat like Seche Vite and voila, you’re done!Semi-Precious Stone Hand

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Misfits

MisfitsMy husband was recently on a rather extended business trip, and faced with long nights with naught by Neflix and unlimited bandwidth to keep me entertained, I started watching just whatever struck my fancy (Monte Carlo? Soul Surfer?), including a few programs I’ve been recommended and just never got around to watching.

There entered Misfits, and there went any semblance of productivity I hoped to accomplish over the next week and a half. Life seriously ground to a bit of a halt while I devoured the first six-episode series and desperately tried to stay away from the second so my husband and I could watch it together. Premiering in 2009 and spanning five seasons, Misfits, for the unenlightened – it shouldn’t need saying, but you really ought to get enlightened – is a British show about five screw-up young offenders who, on their first day of community service, are caught out in an electrical storm and struck by lightning, after which they discover they’ve developed super powers. Wackiness ensues (as does charm and that delightful sense of British humour, to say nothing of heartbreak and loss and some genuinely touching pathos.) It’s fast paced and crass (owing in large part to one character, Nathan Young, the walking, never-stops-talking embodiment of the young male id) and so funny, there are scenes that have put me into actual stitches, doubled over on my couch from lack of oxygen. But it’s also sad and contemplative and DARK – questionable morals are what the Misfits are all about. The soundtrack also kicks eight kinds of electronic and Brit Pop ass.

I admittedly haven’t watched much of the third season, choosing instead to compulsively watch the first two series for reasons I shall keep to myself in the interest of not spoiling the story for you – did I mention that you should be watching this show? 😉 – but the first two seasons simply crackle with energy and chemistry, and it’s such a delight to watch. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

And so with Misfits dominating my life for the past two weeks, I thought I should give it the nail art treatment. Here I tried out Chalkboard Nails‘ smoke effect manicure, in which you paint a lightning design over top of a dark polish, immediately blotting it out with a flat-sided nail art brush dipped in acetone. I then painted on a few fine strands of super power-inducing chain “laaaightnin'”, as the character of Kelly would say, and gave my thumb the logo treatment. An ever so slight mis-fit for my Misfits.