Fall Fun Series II: Pinspiration

Fall Inspiration Board

Good morning, friends!  This Saturday’s prompt in the Fall Fun Series is to compose an inspiration board, a pictogram, a collage or even a simple list of the things that make our hearts sing every autumn.  For me, that means a heck of a lot of gazing at leaves, assembling my Halloween Town, wrestling my cat into goofy costumes and celebrating my wedding anniversary, among many other lovely autumnal things.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the Fall delights that always inspire my soul at this time of year.

Cats in Costumes Collage

Cats in costumes!  Here we have the Weeger as Eeyore, a bee, a centipede and a mylar shark, and our dear, late kitty Porky as Pooh Bear and a deadly little Mewback.  Porky was always deeply intolerant of the five to 10 minutes we would spend every year wrestling her into her costume and then chasing her around the apartment with a camera, but Weegie takes it with some degree of good measure (so long as we lavish her with soft food the second she’s wriggled out of whatever tummy-constricting costume we’ve managed to wrap around her pudge in the first place.)  We don’t have kids; please don’t judge!

Leaf Collage Again

Leaves!  Right outside my door, lining the Ottawa River, or out in the country, edging the highway, or up the Gatineau, where I go with my parents every year to tend my grandparents’ graves.  I’m so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a bounty of leafy beauty every year, it almost makes up for the following six months of snow and ice.  Almost.

stranger-manis-collage

Stranger Things!  The second season starts on October 27th, and I shall be indisposed until such time as I have finished watching it.  I really don’t like binge-watching things – loved parsing out the first season episodes bit by wonderful bit, actually – but I don’t believe any of us will be afforded the luxury of remaining spoiler-free this time around. It’s the best show I’ve ever seen (sorry, Buff) and I am so. unbelievably. excited!  A very dope anniversary present from our Netflix overlords.

Wedding Photo 1

Yes, a fine anniversary present indeed for these two (young, so young!) goobers, who are celebrating their lucky 13th.  My gosh, we are just babies in this photo (but dang if my boobs don’t look SLAMMIN’; bless you, corset gods.)

Halloween Town

My Halloween Town!  A rather large operation that sprawls across my moss-covered diningroom table every Fall.  I had briefly toyed with the idea of letting the town go fallow for the year – setting it up and lugging it out of storage is a major, major pain – but I know I’ll cave in the end.  Gotta let the residents of my spooky little town vent their haunts for the year, yes?

Scary Movie Collage

Scary movies and TV shows.  Although I must note that I haven’t possessed the stomach or temperament for major (or even minor) gore in a long, long time.  Nostalgic picks like the deeply silly Friday the 13th series or my favourite terrible horror movie, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, are about as wild as I get now, and I’m perfectly content with that. Bring on the G and PG-rated spooks!

NBC Fall

Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, a charmingly creepy little stop motion movie that has a place in my heart and home year-round.  I spoke at some length last year about our snow globe, a wonderful wedding gift from friends.  This year we were fortunate enough to find another gorgeous collectible, an anniversary gift to ourselves that I will be positively gagging to share with you just as soon as it’s mounted to the wall!

Wax Header

And, of course, we can’t forget all the delicious smelly things that will be sweetly scenting my home this autumn.  This is a photo of last year’s bounty (with the exception of the scoopable, a pancakes-and-campfire scent, I melted through all of this and then some.) Looking forward to more cozy scents this year.  To the Fall!

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DIY Jack and Sally

Jack and Sally Bottle Collage

I thought rather suddenly to myself late last night, “I think I’ll make some nail polish.” That’s a thing people do, right, just randomly decide to make their own nail polish at 11 p.m. on a Friday?  I hope so, because that’s certainly what *I* was doing at that late hour, and it seemed pretty normal to me!

And here are the results of my midnight hour machinations, two Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired glitter bombs in the colours of skeleton and ragdoll paramours Jack and Sally.

Of the two, Sally is the far more successful polish in terms of stability and ease of application – these photos show two brushed/dabbed-on coats, and I didn’t have to fish about for the larger heart-shaped glitters one bit. Plus I think the glitter mix in Sally – inspired by her patchwork dress, asphyxiated-looking countenance and poker straight red hair – is just perfection, an unusual combination of bronze, turquoise, rose, purple, red and black hexes dotted with tiny satin hearts.  I layered this lovely new creation here over Enchanted Polish’s mystery lacquer for July 2015, a dusty grey-blue holo that looks like Sally’s…skin?  Does she have skin or fabric?  Hmm, best not linger on that question too long!

Sally Fingers 1

And then there was the vernis terrible, Jack, an infuriatingly unsuccessful venture into the less-is-more approach to do-it-yourself nail polish.  I think the inspiration for this guy is pretty clear – Jack’s black and white pinstripes, with a smattering of the Christmas bric-a-brac whose secrets Jack longs to crack.  You’d just never know that hidden amid the depths of that simple black and white glitter polish is actually quite a lot of bric-a-brac – glittery snowflakes, colourful baubles, candy canes, snowmen and even a few good sized Christmas trees.  The lightweight black and white glitter – made up of a mix of two identically-sized satin matte glitters – simultaneously covers up AND provides little to no support for the larger shapes, which sank to the bottom resolutely, and there they be.  I had to embark on a major fishing expedition to snag these very few glitters.  There was also far, far too much base in this polish – it rained down onto my work area in huge, glittery blobs, even after I had repeatedly wiped off the brush on the rim of the bottle. Jack is languishing at the bottom of my garbage can right now, so annoyed was I with his insolence. 😉  Here I layered Jack over another Enchanted mystery lacquer, this time May 2017, a dark and stormy blue that looks like the skies above both Christmas and Halloween Towns.

Jack Fingers 1

Christmas Town

christmas-town

Sing it with me, friends, you know all the words!  Ooooooohhhhhhh, it’s the MOST com-pet-i-tive tiiiiimmmmmme of the yeeeeaar!  There will be nail artists freaking and skill levels peaking and so many teeeeaaarrrrrs, it’s the MOST com-pet-i-tive TIME OF THE YEAR!

So I’m not sure what it is – something in the frozen-over water, I suppose – but nothing brings out the competitive spirit in a nail artist like the winter holidays.  T’was a time not that long ago that you could enter multiple nail art contests during every holiday of the year, from Halloween to Easter, but I only now see them pop up around Christmas.  Like we don’t have enough on our plates platters at this time of year!  Also, how very festive – “Hello, happy holidays, fellow nail artists!  BUT SERIOUSLY, I WILL BURY YOU WITH NOTHING BUT A CUTICLE PUSHER IF YOU DENY ME MY GLORY.”

I kid, of course. 🙂  These contests are always super fun and very inspiring – I love seeing what the far, far bigger guns than I bring to the festive table every year.  It also gives me an excuse to bust out my own big guns, like this incredibly detailed design I recently did featuring Sandy Claws’ Christmas Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas.  And holy cats, did this manicure take FOREVER!  So fussy.  Like, at one point I time traveled into the future just to make sure that it WAS eventually going to end, such was my incredulity at the (many) passing hours.

Anyhow, this manicure is my entry towards Nail Polish Canada’s fourth annual Holiday Nail Art Challenge! Should you like it (or maybe even love it) and should you like me (or maybe even love me – hi, Mom and Dad!) you can vote for my entry here.  As always, thank you for your kindness and support, dear friends – I appreciate it greatly.

Fall Fun Series: Kidnap the Sandy Claws

nbc-globe-front

Owing to some technomalogical difficulties that kept me off the computer for the majority of the weekend, I’m now playing catch-up on two different challenge fronts. Today’s post in the Fall Fun Series was supposed to be about performing a random act of kindness, but I figure I’ve got that one sorted – not ripping the Wifi installer’s head clean off his shoulders with my searing hot rhetoric when we had entered day two of no service was absolutely an act of kindness on my part.

So as it pertains to the Fall Fun Series, I’m back on Friday’s prompt of my favourite Fall thing, which in my case is both a favoured seasonal item, and an all-the-time cherished possession, my Nightmare Before Christmas musical snow globe.

The globe, which depicts Santa being hauled off to Oogie Boogie by some of the residents of Halloween Town, was a wedding gift from dear friends, and as Julie Andrews herself might trill, it really is one of my very favourite things.  Despite weighing about 60 skull-crushing pounds (it’s a decorative murder weapon!) and being as delicate as the wings of a fruit fly (the first – and only – time we moved it, slim, spindly Jack broke clean in two right at his waist) the globe sits out all the time on the second shelf of the diningroom sideboard. Then, depending on whether my table has been overtaken by MY Halloween Town or not, I’ll move it over as a fabulous, dust-collecting musical centrepiece for the Fall (it plays a cute, jangly version of This is Halloween, and I wasn’t kidding about the dust either – it took me an hour yesterday with cotton swabs, glass cleaner, a soft toothbrush and two cans of compressed air to blow the dust out of Jack and Sally’s nooks and crannies – oh my!)

nbc-collage

Okay, so the globe is a heavy, dusty, sneeze-on-it-and-you’ll-destroy-it possible murder weapon.  No matter, I love it.  Oh, how I love it!  And not just because it’s gorgeous and conjures up all sorts of warm and fuzzy memories about my Halloween wedding, but because it reminds me of the kindness of our friends, who cared enough about us to seek out such a unique and thoughtful gift.  It makes me happy every time I look at it (which is often, given its prime real estate in my apartment), and that’s the definition of a favourite thing, no matter the season. 🙂

nbc-globe-back

Disney Girl Challenge: Patchwork Sally (Again)

Sally Hand

Small administrative note: I posted these nails earlier on this afternoon, and owing to what I’m assuming was a glitch in publishing, they didn’t show up in the WordPress Reader or in any other meaningful way until about half an hour ago. So I’ve deleted the original post and replaced it with this exact copy, in the hopes the admin issues have sorted themselves out – with apologies to the folks who were kind enough to like this post as originally published.

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My goodness, does our girl Patchwork Sally have an affinity for the muted print or what? At one point whilst doing these nails, I think I had about 15 different polishes open and on the go. The lady’s got a busy, busy wardrobe.

I attempted a Sally design as part of my self-imposed Disney Girl Challenge very, very early on in my nail art-ing career, and I still think it remains a pretty decent effort.

I actually thought I had left that original effort glossy, but it turns out I had the foresight to matte it up even back then, because I really think all Nightmare Before Christmas manis should be in a hazy matte finish, don’t you? The one change to this updated Sally mani that I thought was sort of inspired, though, was my choice of holographic polishes, which take on a cool, textured look when topped with a matte topcoat. I thought that was a great choice for Sally’s cute, but totally burlap or itchy wool, sack dress.

On that somewhat related note, I’d like to sing the praises of my new matte topcoat of choice, Zoya’s Matte Velvet, which, as the name suggests, gives your manis a matte, velvety sort of look. I used to be quite loyal to Essie’s Matte About You, but as you’ll note in the older Sally manicure, it had the unfortunate habit of depositing tiny white flecks all over my hard work. So I tried out something a little new, and so far, I’m super pleased with Zoya’s topcoat – soft and satiny smooth.

Halloween Town (31DC2015)

NBC Hand

I recently celebrated this blog’s second anniversary, with my second nail art-iversary also coming a few months before that. One of my favourite memories from those very early days was the afternoon I decided to tackle a super detailed mani depicting Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was such a cocky little twit, overly confident in my still fairly non-existent nail art abilities – it never occurred to me that working with a dark, predominantly purple palette in itty bitty micro detail would be, you know, difficult or anything. So was it? Yes, of course! Hair-pullingly difficult, actually – the tufts I ripped out above my temples are only just now growing back. 😉 It was an exercise in pure crazy, and as proud as I was of them at the time, I was in way over my head. Observe:

Old NBC

So nearly two years to the day that I did those original Nightmare nails, I decided to revisit Halloween Town for day 29’s theme of supernatural in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, just to see how much my technique had (hopefully) improved. And guess what? It improved a lot! Behold the learning curve on two years of nearly daily manis, friends – practice really does make perfect (or perfect enough for now.)

And really, in the case of these two manis, it’s not so much the difference that time and practice have made – it’s just being confident enough in my abilities as a nail artist and a blogger to know what will work (a matte topcoat, because glossy topcoats throw too much glare) and what won’t (shitty bathroom lighting, wonky hand positions and dry, chapped hands!) It’s the little things. Glad I had the opportunity to try this design again and do it up right.

NBC Fingers

Jack’s Back! (31DC2014)

Jack SkellingtonJack Skellington is a man (or a skeleton) with an enviably awesome wardrobe. My own wardrobe consists pretty much solely of black and white striped t-shirt dresses, so I get the desire to garb yourself entirely in negatives. I only wish I had Jack’s frame – long, tall and completely lacking organs, he has THE ideal body type for carrying off stripes. Okay, so maybe I don’t want ALL of the elements of Jack’s body that make him the perfect hanger for clothes – I’ll keep my organs, thank you very much.

This is most likely not the last Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired manicure you’ll see from me between now and, well, forever, because I really love that movie, but given my current Disneyfication of the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge and today’s theme of black and white, it was only natural that I’d tackle a mani featuring my favourite eight-foot skeleton, Jack the Pumpkin King.