Nail Art Tutorial: Iridescent Chevrons

Nail Art Tutorial: Iridescent Chevrons
First off, apologies for the lack of updates. I’ve been traveling up and down the coast, helping my mom move, and reorganizing the house. The good news is I have a ton of stuff I want to post! But I’m gonna start with another nail art post because I love this one. I redid the tips and touched up dings on it for a week because I didn’t want to take it off!

I used Revlon Plum Seduction, Essie Vermillionaire, and Essie Shine of the Times (Yes, again. I love it to death.) and I have to mention something. Though I love the rich intense fuschia of Plum Seduction, it’s consistency was terrible. Very streaky, very thin, and took four coats for it to look decent. Very disappointing. Anyways, onto the tutorial.

Step 1: Four, yes, FOUR coats of Revlon Plum Seduction.

Step 2: You could wait awhile and use tape to get a finer point than I did but I was in a rush, so I just freehanded a point of Essie Vermillionaire just over halfway down my nail.

Step 3: Now do another point of Plum Seduction over the top of Vermillionaire. This took two coats.

Step 4: THE BEST PART. Put on two coats of Essie Shine of the Times and then topcoat it all! Top coat is essential for shine of the times to really, well, shine! It’s flakies tend to dry a bit matte so when you put that top coat on the iridescence will really explode.

What’s also amazing about this is sometimes the base and tip of the nail look almost the same, just different in sheen/texture, but in other light or different angles the iridescent quality of the tip turns it a million different colors. Check it out!

I had a hard time capturing it, but my tips ranged in color from the fuschia base, to orange, to lavender, to neon green! I love it. (That’s probably obvious by now. :P) One last shot!

Just so awesome. Anyways, I’m gonna get back to packing and moving boxes! Here’s a small preview of some upcoming posts. I’ve been making windowseats, jewelery organizers, and art! And also organizing! So many things to write about, but for now, I’m gonna go be a helpful daughter.

02. July 2012 by Aimee
Categories: nails, tutorials | Leave a comment

Crafty Stuff: Teacup Dormouse for Father’s Day


In an effort to post all the things I do besides manicures, here’s a crafty post! This is the Father’s Day gift I made for my boyfriend’s dad. He’s a huge fan and collector of Alice in Wonderland goodies, and I thought of this idea awhile back and thought it’d make a good gift.

The teacup and the mouse are made of Super Sculpey. I made the base of the teacup and the mouse first, baked those, then made the cup itself. After that, I was able to see exactly where the handle needed to be, so I made that, baked it a bit separately, then used Translucent Liquid Sculpey (this stuff is so amazing and multi purpose…I can’t wait to use it on more projects) to ‘glue’ everything together and baked it one last time.

I used a slightly unorthodox combination of acrylics and nailpolish. I couldn’t find my gold paint or even gold pens to do a gilt edge on the cup, so I just used a metallic bronze polish with a coat of gold shimmer over it. It seemed to work out perfectly! After I painted everything, I sprayed on a coat of resin (also a wonderful product to have around, just be sure to use it in a ventilated and open area away from anything you don’t want covered in resin :P) then started prepping the ‘tea’.

The tea is an epoxy resin mixed with a combination of resin dyes and acrylic paints. I didn’t want it to be completely translucent. I wanted the dormouse to sort of fade away into the depths of the cup, hence the acrylic. The resin dyes I have are all glassy clear shades, so the solid paint particles helped add a touch of opacity. You can still see there are a lot of bubbles here, but I took care of those before the resin hardened. The entertaining part of this was I had to take the train down to meet up with them, and I had to carry around the resin and make sure it was level since it hadn’t set yet. It was an interesting trip! But once we got there, we added the rest of the gift…

…then put it in a box, and voila!

Here’s a final shot of the mouse in the finished cup o’ tea as well.
Also, be sure to follow me on pinterest! I add pins to the nailpolish designs board almost every day. Though the next week I’m out of town helping my mom move so I may not be quite the pin spammer I usually am. And also if you haven’t, go like my page on facebook! I may start posting small things there that don’t warrent a full blog post but that I think are interesting or useful. I’m also planning on running a couple contests through there as well as this blog in the future, but nothing is set in stone yet. Stay tuned!

18. June 2012 by Aimee
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Nail Art Tutorial: Ways to extend the life of your mani! (With bonus flower arranging.)

So I know I’m not the only girl on the planet who struggles with tip wear and chipped, dented, or otherwise messed up nails. It’s especially annoying if I’ve done something super intricate or if it’s something I plan on wearing to a particular event and I manage to mess it up before I can show it off! Lately, I’ve been combatting this with the use of tape techniques! Here’s a little mini tutorial and some examples.
First, a before shot. This was my first ‘successful’ attempt at a spatter mani. I got these cocktail straws and I saved a bunch to use for just this purpose because I couldn’t manage to get my polish to spatter using the normal drinking straws we have around the house. It isn’t the best, and I’m definitely going to experiment more with it because while I like the end result, it doesn’t look very splattered really. Anyways, after two days, there was some pretty severe tip wear going on so it was time for some repair work!

I know most people use regular scotch tape on their nails, but I find that painters tape peels off better with much less chance of taking polish with it, and I can reuse it on multiple nails! (for example if I’ve made a complicated stencil that I don’t want to cut multiples of, etc) You just have to press the edges down firmly right before you paint. Then I took some art brushes and painted some chevrons that coordinated with some colors I used in the original mani and voila! This manicure lasted 3 more days with these repairs! Here’s the final result and some other examples of what you can do with this technique.



On another note, I did a commissioned flower arrangement for a birthday/mother’s day present for a friend’s mom!  I like how it turned out. :D

15. June 2012 by Aimee
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Nail Art Tutorial: Patterns Galore!

I saw a manicure posted awhile back on pinterest that I absolutely loved, so I wanted to do my take on it! Peter and I hosted an awesome picnic at Crissy Fields this weekend, so I wanted something soft and summery and this was perfect. To start off, I did two coats each of Maybelline Express Finish Brassy, Revlon Minted (which is basically my favorite color and my favorite polish ever, I use this and Essie’s Mint Candy Apple ALL THE TIME), and L.A. Colors Energy Source.

After that I did 5 different basic patters, but switched up the colors to be different on each hand. Here’s the first pattern…
Sparkles and Dots
This was an easy pattern. First, I put on a coat of Wet n Wild Sparked, then I used the tip of my ds stylus (I have like 20+, so I repurposed one as a dotting tool.) to make a polka dot pattern starting from the top middle of the nail, going down the center and then continuing the pattern outwards from there. I find that I get a more aesthetically pleasing and symmetrical design if I do it this way. For the nail I put Minted on, I did the dots using Energy Source, and then did the opposite on the other nail.

Stripes and Dots
I apologize for the blurry pics on this, I am terrible at taking pics of my right hand using my left. Anyways, step one was using one of L.A. Colors Art Deco polishes (the kind with the thin long detail brush) in white to paint stripes diagonally across the nail. With this I started by painting a line starting at the upper right corner of my nail down at the angle I wanted, and then did the rest outwards from there. Step two was using another L.A. Colors Art Deco polish in a dark teal shade to paint more diagonal stripes between every other set of white stripes. Step three was using my ds stylus to paint a line of dots in remaining empty spaces between the stripes. For the Brassy nail I used Minted for the dots, and just reversed it for the other nail.

Floral
These were the most fun to do and I can’t wait to do a full manicure with flowers. They were much easier than I expected! I used minted as the base for both of these, I just used different colors for the flowers.

For the base of the flowers I used Brassy and Energy Source and just randomly blobbed some splotches in three places on the nail. Over Brassy I used the L.A. Colors art brush polish in white, and I don’t think I like the results as much as the alternative. If you’re trying to do a tulip like flower, that kind of brush makes it easy. I couldn’t get it to make a decent rose though.

For the white flowers, I dabbed on Brassy using a very small amount of polish on the brush and only using the edge of the brush. I first did a smudge for the middle of the blossom, and then random smudges on either side. I definitely liked the effect that gave MUCH more.

Multi Dots
This was another easy one. I just used the polish brush at a 90º angle to the nail and dabbed on a circle shape. I used Brassy over Energy Source, and then dotted a small circle of Minted over that. Then I used Energy Source over Minted and dotted Brassy over that for the other nail. Also, apologies for the after shot of the second nail. I ruined it while frying chips for the picnic. :C
Stripes!
And, the easiest ever…vertical stripes using the white nail art brush. Nothing special here, but I like the vintage/shabby chic look of the white stripes over the pale mint shade. Definitely going to use this combo in another mani.

And here are the finished pics of both hands! Which pattern is the best?


On another note, I have so many blog posts in the works right now, I thought I’d post a small list of upcoming posts to look forward to! Here are some I’m working on…

Ways to Extend a Chipped Mani
Soda Bottle Gardening
Homemade Chips and Salsa Recipe
and a DIY Earring and Necklace Organizer post!

11. June 2012 by Aimee
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TGIF: Falafel, Gradient Mani, and GGTT Art!

So today has been a busy week. I’m going to attempt to stick to a schedule of posting every Monday and Friday but I keep ending up with so many things I want to post about that I’m gonna possibly start doing a friday roundup of everything.

Falafel Night
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/seans-falafel-and-cucumber-sauce/

First off, FALAFEL. I’ve never made it before, and I have an excess of parsley from my garden that I need to get rid of so I can plant other things, so it seemed like a natural solution!

I made the sauce first so it could chill in the fridge while I cooked everything else. Also, this sauce is my new favorite thing. I am gonna make it ALL THE TIME. The combination of dill and cucumber and is so refreshing and delicious. I’m definitely gonna plant some dill soon.

After that, following the recipe above, I mashed up the chickpeas and then added the blended herbs from the food processor…

Then gradually added breadcrumbs to the mix until I was able to make little patties out of it.

And then it was time to fry! We got canola oil on our last Costco run and oh man, am I glad we did. I’d been making do with whatever oil we had around the house whenever I needed to fry something and it would always end up smoking. This time I was able to fry things the way I wanted without ending up with burnt oil. I’m also excited to use this to make homemade chips for the picnic coming up; I’ll be posting about that on Monday!


Then it was assembly time. My boyfriend made some hummus (also with our homegrown parsley) so we slathered a bit of that inside some pita bread, tossed in some falafel and spinach and drizzled the cucumber dill sauce on top. SO GOOD. The cucumber sauce complemented the flavor of the falafel perfectly.

 Gradient Mani
After trying it with a crackle mani, I wanted to try doing a gradient mani with regular colors!

I started with two coats of L.A. Colors Energy Source on all the nails. The for the teal nails I used an old Sally Hanson color for the darkest shade, Revlon Minted for the medium shade, and more L.A. Colors Energy Source again for the lightest. For the pink nails I used Revlon Tropical Temptation, Wet n Wild Spoiled My Button Fell Off, and again more L.A. Colors Energy Source.

Also, I’m absolutely addicted to and in love with Essie Shine of the Times. I keep adding it to everything I can justify adding it to, but I don’t want to use it all up! It’s amazing though. I added a top coat of it to this and then painted some hearts on the base of each nail for some contrast.

Girl Girl Trouble Time
One of the current projects I’m working on is a webshow called Girl Girl Trouble Time! (http://www.facebook.com/girlgirltroubletime) We got to meet up and discuss the costume concepts I’ve been working on for the show. :D

Here’s a little preview of the costume designs for the show! I’m gonna flesh ‘em out some more since we decided on which designs we’re going with but I’ll post them after that. :D

08. June 2012 by Aimee
Categories: art, food, nails | Leave a comment

For Science: Crackle Experimentation!

So I recently bought my first set of crackle polishes and after a failed attempt where it barely crackled at all and pulled up the polish underneath it, I went looking on the internet for tutorials and such but I found a lot of conflicting information. Some blogs said the slicker the base the better it would crackle, others said coarser finishes like shimmer and glitter polishes worked best because they gave the crackle something to grip to while it shrank, and some said matte polishes worked best while others said crackle won’t work at all on a matte finish!

So I decided to do a test. First I put a base coat of Sally Hanson Grey by Grey, then on one finger of each hand I used a shimmer, a thick glitter, a mattifying top coat, and a glossy clear top coat.

Then on my left hand I did a thin coat of crackle, since some blogs described different crackle effects depending on how much you put on the nail. I wanted to see how that differed with each kind of coat beneath the crackle. Here are the results!

Top Left: Shimmer
Shimmer seems the best in terms of application and how it crackled. I think this is the winner overall actually between both hands.

Top Right: Slick Top Coat
This was the easiest to apply the crackle to, but the crackling was the worst. Not very much and full of vertical streaks.

Bottom Left: Thick Glitter
The crackle pattern on this was nice and chunky, but a bit less geometrical, and it wasn’t as easy to apply the crackle evenly as on the shimmer and top coat ones.

Bottom Right: Matte Top Coat
I thought the pattern of crackles on this was the best, but the application was awful. It was impossible to get a nice even coat of crackle without it streaking unfortunately.

Now on my other hand…

Top Left: Shimmer
This was the winner again even with a thick coat. However, I think the thin coat worked best in terms of the pattern of crackling.

Top Right: Slick Top Coat
Once again, easiest application, but lame crackling with lots of vertical lines.

Bottom Left: Thick Glitter
It was easier to apply a thick coat than a thin one on this, but the crackling still wasn’t optimal in my opinion. If you were going for a particularly organic look it might work though. (I actually think this looks kinda like snow or an ice floe on a lake!)

Bottom Right: Matte Top Coat
This was absolutely useless, as you can see. I don’t think matte is the way to go.

Out of all of these, I think a thin coat over a shimmer polish was the best in terms of application as well as crackling pattern! I also got the idea to try a crackle gradient, which I haven’t seen before. I don’t think I got it quite right and I want to experiment more with it, but I think the results are neat! I think it looks like snow caked on the top of my nail!

Here’s a comparison shot of all the nails. I still think shimmer is best, but I’m definitely gonna have to experiment more with gradient crackles.

04. June 2012 by Aimee
Categories: nails, random | 3 comments

Pizza Night!

Here’s a brief note about me (if you don’t already know): I recently moved into a rather large house with a bunch of awesome roommates. So, when my boyfriend and I cook dinner, we are usually cooking for five to six people. Three of them are ravenous eaters because they lift weights and are trying to bulk up, and two of us are just generally hungry people, so when we cook, we cook a LOT.

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a pizza night, so before going to the gym I prepped some dough and sauce so that the dough would rise and the flavors would blend while we were out and about. I forgot to take pictures of the process (I’m new at this whole blogging thing! :<) but next time I’ll remember, I promise!

I used these recipes with a few modifications.

Pizza Dough
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pizza-dough-iii/

I increased the yield amount to make enough for three pizzas, and instead of using bread flour, I used half all purpose and half wheat since that was what we had on hand. I also tossed in some herbs because seriously, there is almost nothing I cook that I don’t add some spice or herb too. I like lots of depth of flavor. I also usually play it by ear and just toss in stuff that I think coordinates scent/taste wise so I don’t remember exactly which I added. :P

Pizza Sauce
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/exquisite-pizza-sauce/

I’ve made this sauce before and was mostly happy with the recipe, but I only used 2/3 the listed amount of honey since I’ve noticed that depending on what toppings you have, the sweet accent can kindof interfere with the flavors. When it’s subtle it’s nice, but too much and I feel like I’m missing out on all the meaty-cheesy flavors. I also added a bit of paprika, because I like paprika!

After letting the dough rise till it was doubled, I punched it down and then we all went to the gym. After we got home I divided it up and got to cooking!

We also did a stuffed crust using string cheese that had been cut in half crosswise and lengthwise. It’s super easy to do and is also super awesome. Unless you have a giant pizza stone, it’s necessary to cut the string cheese up so that the ratio of crust to actual pizza isn’t overwhelming, and also cutting the cheese (har dee har har) in half crosswise makes it so you can actually make a reasonable circle out of it. Using full length cheese will get you an angular pizza. Anyways, on went some toppings…and another trick for that is to lay down sauce, SOME cheese, then your meats/veggies/whatever, then sprinkle more cheese on top of that. I find that when you’re eating, it makes your toppings less likely to slide off since they’re trapped in delicious cheese all around! :D

I tried to take more pictures, but all of us were super hungry (strength training is gnarly but awesome) so the pizzas disappeared almost as soon as they came out of the oven. (Which was a terrible idea, pizza might as well be delicious lava when it first comes out.)

This is the only photo I could snap of the pepperoni/pepperoncini one before it vanished.

After that we did an Italian sausage and black olive pizza which also almost disappeared before I snapped a pic…

And then our final creation was pizza margherita! I’m not sure it was perfect, as we used sundried tomatoes instead of fresh ones, and I think it may have been better to cook it at a lower temp for a bit longer, but it was still delicious and there were no complaints, so I’m calling it a success!

This was the only pizza I got a full pic of. I think by the time we’d worked our way through two pizzas our appetites had subsided a bit so we actually had half a pizza left over at the end of the night! All in all, it was a rad pizza night.

01. June 2012 by Aimee
Categories: food | 2 comments

Nail Art Tutorial: Nude Sparkles & Hearts

So! For my first post on this blog…I figured I could do a tutorial of some nail art I did. Hope you guys enjoy it!

Step 1: Base

I’m using a base of KleanColor Cafe Au Lait with a coat of a shimmering shade by Rimmel that has lost it’s label.

Step 2: Tips

Here I just added a basic french tip using a pink shade by Wet n Wild.

Step 3: Sparkles!

Now here’s where the fun starts. I like using the sparkles from big chunky glitter polishes as accents. It’s easy since they’re basically floating in their own adhesive and you don’t have to worry about putting on a top coat and then sticking glitter to it and worrying about it drying before you’re done. I put a blob of glitter polish on a plastic bag or an old bottle cap and can generally do 2-3 nails in the time it takes for the blob to dry.

I also like using the tip of a mechanical pencil to pick up the glitter bits. Toothpicks can also work, but I feel like I have more control and precision when using a pencil, so I prefer to do it that way.

So anyways, place a nice row of these along the edge of your tips!

Step 4: Hearts

This is the most complicated part, especially when you’re doing it on your dominant hand. Also I forgot to take pictures of me painting them on my nails, so I just did it on the old bottle cap I’ve been using as a palette for this manicure.

You’re gonna want to take your toothpick or pencil tip or other dotting tool and make two dots on your nail. Don’t be afraid to blob a decent amount on, you’re gonna need more than just a thin dot. Then you’ll use the tip of your tool to drag the dots down to a point, and voila! You have a heart!

Something I do when I’m painting detailed things on my dominant hand is I brace my weaker hand against a desk or my knee and basically hold it still and move my dominant hand around rather than visa versa. So the hand that has the most precision and control is still doing the fine detail work, just instead of moving the tool around you’re essentially moving the canvas. It may take a bit of getting used to, but it’s occasionally useful!

Step 5: Top Coat and Enjoy!

Since the glitter line will be a bit rough and raised, smooth everything out with a good layer of topcoat. Then enjoy your sparkly nails!

28. May 2012 by Aimee
Categories: nails, random | 3 comments