Silk Maiden: A Then and Now Post

Silk Maiden HandJust in case you’re wondering exactly how random (and multi-sided) my thought processes can be, here’s how these nails, a “reboot” of the first manicure I ever shared on this blog, came into existence:

1. Week four’s theme in April’s N.A.I.L. Challenge is Spring flowers. I like roses; I should do roses.

2. Ooh, remember those roses you did waaaaaaaaayyyyy back when in that mess of Alice: Madness Returns manis you were doing?

3. That game was awesome. I wish Crazy Horse would come out with another one.

4. Anyhow, you could try those roses again. That Silk Maiden dress Alice wears in the Mysterious East level is such a beautiful design, and I’m sure you’ve improved enough to do the things you were scared to even attempt last time.

5. Ooh, Snickers!

6. Try to concentrate. Anyways, why stop at the print on Alice’s silk dress? We could also add the design on her apron, and the bow at the back of her obi with the odd little shrunken head at its centre!

7. Oh, it’s “we” now, is it? Except that’s veering a tad astray from the Spring flowers prompt, is it not?

8. Sure, but three fingers’ worth of Alice’s navy blue Chinoiserie-inspired gown is better than none. Plus look at that adorable little green shrunken head!

9. You had me at “shrunken head.”

And scene!

This really was the first manicure I posted to this blog, at the beginning of August 2013. I had taken up nail art as a rather intensive hobby some months prior, but had no outlet for it other than pestering my friends on Facebook with an endless series of photos of my ultra wonky first efforts. So instead of driving them (further) insane, I started this blog, and these were the first nails I felt comfortable enough to share with the greater world. Encouragingly, it would appear as though lots of little things about my technique have improved (to say nothing of my iPhotography and layout skills.)

Hattress: A Then and Now Post

HattressAt the end of September 2013 just as I was really starting to get into nail art and blogging, I assigned myself a week-long mini challenge in which I did a manicure representing every dress worn by Alice in the beautiful, but exceptionally demented, video game Alice: Madness Returns. I had just platinumed the game (yes, I used “platinum” as a verb – it means I got all the trophies or completed everything in the game there was to complete or, alternately, explored every backwards-facing, viscera-covered nook and cranny and indiscriminately laid waste to an entire Wonderland of enslaved nightmare creatures with an assortment of weaponry last put into use at the Tower of London) and Alice’s at times vibrant, at more times blood-soaked world seemed like a natural fit. Girlfriend’s got a wardrobe, too, in addition to a Vorpal Blade, so it was a nice little fait accompli.

One of Alice’s outfits I tackled was a downloadable only costume called The Hattress. Modelled after the bondage gear-meets-straight jacket suit the Mad Hatter wears in Madness Returns, it features odd little Steampunk touches (actually, when Alice wears this costume, the irises of her eyes change into spinning, copper-coloured cogs), sickly green tights and an improbably large, black and white checked top hat bearing the symbol for Mercury, or the element that put the Mad in the Hatter.

I remember really liking these nails at the time and thinking that they represented a nice turning point in my work, particularly the checkerboard pattern of the Hattress’ hat, but being so new to the nail art game, I always knew I could do better. So it’s fortunate that I’ve had the chance to do just that with this updated mani that takes elements of that first design and tidies them up a bit. The change isn’t too dramatic, which is nice in and of itself – it means I couldn’t have gotten it too wrong the first time around – but everything just looks so much tidier and more deliberate. The difference a year and change of practice makes, right?Hattress Old