Saturday, September 6, 2014

The 31-Day Nail Art Challenge, Day 5: Blue - Subtle Tone-on-Tone Stamping

My first late post of the challenge!  I have a good excuse, though - I painted my nails Thursday night, planning to take photos Friday when I got out of work at 3:30 when the light was better.  On Friday, I ended up getting called in to work at 7:45am, and asked to stay late - so I didn't get home until 9:45pm last night!  Twelve hour days may be good for my wallet, but not so much for my nail blogging schedule ^_^

So far, even though it's simple, this is my favorite manicure I've done for this challenge.  I found two lonely bottles of everyone's fave stinky blue, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue (the old version) at my local Walgreens recently, and picked one of them up on impulse.  I noticed that it was very close in color to Sinful Colors Endless blue, but was not a dupe... so I decided to do some tone-on-tone stamping!  Here is the result:

I was a little afraid that, because the colors were so close, I wouldn't get a good stamp.  Fortunately, it worked just fine - Pacific Blue is a hair lighter and more opaque than Endless Blue, so I used it as a base, and stamped Endless Blue over it.  I used the Mash-51 plate with the offset triangles, because I thought it complemented the bright color.  I honestly am glad that I missed out on posting, because I got to wear this mani for an extra day.  This will definitely go into my regular rotation!

I received a lot of compliments on this manicure at work from customers, which was very gratifying, since usually no one notices my nails, haha.  I just love this color blue; I think it's so flattering universally.  I wish I'd picked up both bottles when I saw them... hopefully the other one will still be there next time!

The stamping is very subtle, which I think works for such a bright color.  I am going to try other variations of this technique later on to see if I can do a similar manicure in more colors!
Here's a bottle shot (the colors in the photos are pretty accurate on my monitor, but yours may differ):

Thanks for stopping by; I'm having such a great time with this challenge, and I adore looking at the spectacular work that the other ladies participating in this challenge put out.  I'm so awed by their talent!

The rest of the prompts are shown below, in the lovely graphic shared by Sarah at Chalkboard nails, here:

Don't forget to check out their work in the links below, and please add your link if you are participating!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The 31-Day Nail Art Challenge Day 4: Green - Malachite Nails

Since my degree is in geology, I get a lot of inspiration from nature -- specifically, from rocks and minerals (there's a difference - know it, respect it!  :^P  ).  There is an incredible range of beautiful and colorful inspiration that can be derived from the study of geology, from invertebrate paleontology to mineralogy and petrology, stratigraphy, and even hydrogeology!  Until now, I haven't done a single nail art design related to this topic, which is surprising, since I find it endlessly fascinating and have a long list of designs I'd like to try.  Luckily, for the fourth day of this challenge, the idea for the design was obvious to me:  malachite.  Malachite is a fascinating copper-rich mineral that often grows in concentric rings (forming little baby stalactites).  When ground smooth, these laminations of malachite appear as little blobby circles of different shades of bright, bold green.  For obvious reasons, malachite is used pretty extensively in jewelry.  Interestingly, it also forms as a pseudomorph of another copper mineral, azurite (a pseudomorph happens when one mineral changes through chemical processes to another mineral, preserving the original shape of the first mineral).  Azurite is a fantastically bright blue mineral, and often, these minerals are found together as an amalgamation of vibrant blue and green crystals.  Isn't nature amazing?!?

Aaaannnnnnyyyhoo, I wanted to replicate the texture of polished malachite on my nails, and ended up with the following results:

I'm super happy with how these turned out, even though I had a few setbacks along the way.  For reference, here is a picture of some polished malachite:
Link here.  Disclaimer:  While I personally am not a believer in the healing properties of crystals,
my motto is "to each their own!"   She also has lovely pictures of rocks!
To create these designs, I used acrylic paint exclusively, since I didn't have the right colors of nail polish. I used two shades of green as well as white to produce the designs.  I first painted a light green base on my nails, and then painted large and small circles with dark green.  Using the light green, I painted rings inside of the dark green circles, and so on, until my dots looked the way I wanted.  I then used the light and dark green to paint little shapes in between the circles.

The paint above was my main issue -- it had separated in the tube into a clear gel and a grainy green sludge.  This made doing the dark green bits super difficult and annoying, and made the finished surface super bumpy.  I'd like to try this again with better quality paint, to see if I could get smoother circles and a better overall effect, but for now I'm satisfied with the results.

I ended up using two coats of Salon Perfect Topcoat to smooth it out... I might need to pick some up really soon; my bottle is almost empty!

What aspect of your life regularly inspires your nail art?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments :^)

Before you go, don't forget to check out the incredible work of other nail artists at the end of this post, and be sure to add yours to the list if you are participating!  The prompts for this challenge are in the image below, courtesy of Sarah at Chalkboard Nails! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wakey, wakey! The 31-Day Nail Art Challenge Day 3: Yellow!

Yellow!  Such a divisive hue among us nail bloggers... For some, a summery, sunshiney hue that brings images of bright cocktails and ripe fruit; for others, however, it invokes images of stained nailbeds or gives us the dreaded lobster hands!  I personally like yellow nail polish (usually), though until recently, I had only one sad, lonely yellow in my collection.  I now own... wait for it... three!  Yes, three.  I only used two for this mani though!

This was a fun one!  I had a couple of ideas, but none of them were very original, and one I had already done on my blog before!  Ultimately, this is what I came up with:

Eggs and bacon!  I hope that you can tell what it is, lol.  I am a big lover of eggs, and though I rarely buy bacon due to the price and fattiness, it is indeed delicious!  For this manicure, I used a base of Revlon Colorstay Buttercup (I have green gel underneath, which is peeking out around the edges, because I failed to cover it up properly.  Womp womp.).  I painted the egg whites with China Glaze White On White, and used a large dotting tool to paint the egg yolks with Julie G Canary Islands.  I used L'Oreal Mauvelous to paint on the bacon strips, and then painted little lines on the bacon using Pure Ice En Vogue and OPI My Vampire is Buff with an ultra fine tipped nail art brush.  Finally, I used black acrylic paint to outline everything with an ultra fine tipped nail art brush, and topped the whole thing with Salon Perfect Top Coat!

If you are interested in participating, check out the image below (courtesy of Sarah at Chalkboard Nails here - thanks Sarah!)

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to check out the amazing work of other nail artists for today's prompt below (and add your own link)!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The 31-Day Nail Art Challenge Day 2: Orange!

So here we are at day 2 of the 31-Day Nail Art Challenge, sponsored by Sarah at Chalkboard Nails!  I'm excited, as this is my first time doing this challenge.  My nail art skills have plenty of room for improvement, so I'm really psyched to learn some new techniques and improve on the methods I've tried in the past :)  Day 2's prompt is orange, so here's my attempt!

In diffused natural light

Here are the prompts for the challenge:

Visit Chalkboard Nails, the sponsor of this challenge, here!
For this mani, I did a gradient with some silver dot accents.  The polishes I used were Funky Fingers Hang Ten, Brah, Revlon Top Speed Haunted Heart, and Revlon Brilliant Strength Polish in Magnetize.  Hang Ten, Brah is a solar-reactive polish that appears neon yellow-orange indoors and coral-orange in sunlight; it also has a very subtle neon-green shimmer.

Closeup of Hang Ten, Brah indoors.  So shimmery!
Unfortunately, while the polish in the bottle is quite reactive in sunlight, that reactivity didn't translate to the nail.  I suspect this had to do with the topcoat that I used.  While it would have been neat to see this effect, I didn't really mind because I liked the gradient as it was!  Haunted Heart is a red-leaning bold orange with apple-green shimmer.  I did a sponge gradient of Haunted Heart over Hang Ten, Brah, and then made a dotted off-center cross shape using Magnetize, a classic silver chrome.  I topped the whole thing with Salon Perfect Matte Topcoat.

In sunlight
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for day three of the challenge, yellow!!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The 31-Day Nail Art Challenge Day 1: Red!

Hi guys!

I'm a little nervous... this is my very first 31-Day Nail Art Challenge, and I must say that it looks pretty daunting from here!  I just took a temp job in retail with super nutso hours, so getting these challenges done on time is going to be a bit of a stretch!  As a result, I might combine some challenges if I'm having a busy week, and I might even post challenges late on occasion... Since this is a hobby for me, I have no intention of making it stressful :^)  Here are the prompts, courtesy of Chalkboard Nails:

The first prompt, "Red," was super tough for me!  At first, I thought I would do an adventure time theme, with Shades of Red a la Marceline... but I couldn't think of a good way to execute it.  Then, I thought I would do a little Orange is the New Black manicure, but I wasn't sure I could do ten odes to Kate Mulgrew's character in a way that would do her justice in the short amount of time I had!  I actually ended up doing three manicures before I did one I liked... and even this one is a bit wonky!  Here it is, in all its dubious glory:

I attempted brushstroke flowers for this design, but only about 25% successfully... There was a lot of touch up afterwards lol.  The flowers were done using China Glaze Seeing Red (a brick red from the new limited edition The Giver collection) and Julep Isla (a frosty pearl white), over a base of China Glaze Five Rules, a light putty-hued neutral also from the Giver collection.  For the black leaves and flower anthers I used Konad black.  I topped it off with Salon Perfect Topcoat!

I actually really liked how it came out; unfortunately the sun was rather bright when I took the pictures (I don't have a photo setup at my new house yet, womp womp). Here's a polish pic:

Thanks for stopping by for a look-see!  Check out some of the other lovely work below, and be sure to submit your nail art here if you are participating!