Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Join the Dark Side: Star Wars Nail Art

Hello Readers!

Today I have a just-for-fun post of some nails that made my husband very happy. We are a little bit of a Star Wars nerd family, but he's way more into it than I am. The kids, not so much unfortunately, but I think they're still too young. They get excited to see the characters, but the movies are a bit over their heads still.

These nails, though- I just really like how they turned out. I think I always really like this type of pattern- matching side nails, glitter middle, focal point ring finger. I think the last time I used this loose design was with some spring-themed daffodil nails, and  I liked them a lot, too.

So for my polishes, I of course had to use some black for Darth Vader. I decided to go with some specialty blacks instead of flat black. I painted my ring with two coats of "Snow Me White," and the rest with two coats of "Konstellation".

Next, I used the old "liquid latex and sponging technique" to apply a heavy layer of the OPI "Comet in the Sky" polish. This is one of the polishes that has been at my Dollar Tree since Christmas and nobody seems to want it. I've had it as long, and truth be told I don't use it that much but I'm glad I had it today because I love how it looks saturated on the nail.

Which brings us to... the stamping plate. This plate is one I found on Aliexpress for a buck or so, and the plate number is SP-024. There's another Star Wars plate for the same price with slightly different images on it as well.

So, there are no full nail images on this plate. To get the look on my pointer/pinky fingers, I had to stamp the symbol individually using the clear stamper. This image has thin lines, making it prone to disaster by the lines falling where you don't want them to, especially when stamping off the nail on the edges. I found that rolling the stamper away from the nail, allowing the image to bond with the skin on my finger, helped keep the stamping polish from folding and ruining the design. I did have it fold onto the nail a couple of times, but I was able to remove just that bit with some acetone and a clean-up brush instead of having to re-do the whole nail.

Darth Vader was easy to stamp, of course- just one and done.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

And Now For Something Completely Different; Accidental Freehand

Hello Readers!

Today's post was born as a #clairestelle8challenge post, and became something totally unexpected for me. The prompt was "spring flowers", and I feel like I've done a lot of spring floral manis and was fresh out of inspiration for that prompt, so I decided to go browsing on google images and found some really beautiful stuff. I fell in love with a watercolor image but didn't think I had much of a prayer of replicating it using stamping, so I decided to set a course of "assisted freehand", where I basically paint over stamped images.

...this is how it turned out. I'm not sure if this is ok or not, lol. I think it's ok, but freehand florals are not something I really have enough experience in to decide this. In any case, I'm not totally in love with how it...

Find this painting at dreamstime

Here is the beautiful inspiration piece. I fell in love with it and decided it was worth going out on a limb for. Of course, the flowers here are watercolor and I did not attempt a watercolor technique with this mani, so that's a big difference.

Also, I used a million polishes in this mani. Too many to list them all out, I think. So I'm featuring what I used for the background.

I started with two coats of Strawberry Milk on my pointer/pinky fingers, and three of Lemon Heaven on my ring/middle. Then I used cut up pieces of sponge to add more of those colors plus Silhouette until I had a background that somewhat resembled the watercolor. I added a layer of Pinksicle over that to blend the colors as well as add some shimmer.

Bundle Monster Secret Garden
Bundle Monster Secret Garden

So for my "assisted" part of the freehand, I stamped a couple of flower images with white polish over my background. I thought I would just trace over them with the polish. I ended up ignoring them for the most part, however, as they were hard to see, especially where they overlapped. BUT, I did find them helpful to create the profile-view flowers sticking out from the top, as well as for a guide to show me what area of the nail I wanted the flowers to cover.

 So, there you go: my first attempt at a sort of free-hand floral. What do you guys think?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Simple Sunday: Purple Iris

Hello Readers!

It's Sunday again, so I have another Simple Sunday manicure for you today, that uses only the basic stamping technique this time.

Actually, my original plan for this mani was to do some double stamping on my ring finger nail, but I didn't like the way it looked on my right hand so I decided to ditch it for the left.

I have a pretty simple color palette here as well; I decided to use the Sinful Color "Easygoing" to stamp with as well as for the base for my ring finger.

The ring finger image comes from this Born Pretty Store plate, which has a ton of lovely, detailed flower images. I chose the iris image because irises in the spring always make me smile. Growing up, my mother had the whole front garden filled with beautiful purple irises and day lilies. I remember when we sold the house she decided she wanted to re-do the garden and tasked my siblings and I with removing them. Have you ever tried to remove a huge patch of bulb flowers? We quickly found it was not an easy task. Those flowers have staying power!

The sort of geometric/tribal print on my remaining fingers is from a Bundle Monster/ Blogger collaboration plate with Beaching Nails.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend, and that my American friends are having a wonderful Memorial Day. Do you have any special plans for the holiday tomorrow? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

City of Rome ft. MoYou London Scandi

Hello Readers!

Today's #clairestelle8challenge prompt on instagram was one that really made me stop and think, browse through my pinterest board of the stamping plates I own to find inspiration, and even do light research on google. I knew I wanted to choose a specific city for the "cities" prompt, rather than doing a generic city look, but I had no idea which city to choose!

In the end, I was inspired by the Colosseum image on my Scandi plate to base my mani after the famous city of Rome. I decided to pair my images with a marble pattern you might expect to see there, as well as a flower popular in Roman mythology as well as the city itself: the poppy.

I started most of my nails with two coats of Sinful Colors "Snow Me White". On my ring finger, I have 4 coats of "Cinderella" for my base.

The Colosseum image comes from the MoYou London plate "Scandi 03", which has a lot of great landmark buildings from around the world. I've used a few of them already in previous manis; the Golden Gate Bridge, La Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, and some of the textures, so I wanted to choose something I hadn't done before.

My poppies come from a Bundle Monster plate, from the blogger collaboration collection. This is a really gorgeous plate that I've also used a ton of; one of my favorites was this spring daffodil look.

To get the marble texture, I used a different Bundle Monster plate from the Blogger Collaboration plate; this time the Twi_Star plate with all the mermaid stuff. It's supposed to be a kind of water texture, but I thought it would also be perfect to do an easy marble look.

I finished the look off with a couple of studs. I hope you enjoyed this look! If you'd like to see more city themed manis, you can find them on the #clairestelle8may tag on instagram.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Crumpets Nail Tarts: Pink, Gold, and Lilac

Hello Readers!

Sometimes, I do a mani I'm excited about and when it's done, I take a step back and think... "meh". Other times, I am surprised when it turns out better than I'd hoped for. This is one of the latter!

Actually, the latter often happens when I take my inspiration from the talented ladies who create nail art for MoYou London's promotional page/instagram, which is what happened here. I had the rough idea for this mani in my mind, though I wasn't actually looking at the picture when I was planning this mani, just what I kind of remembered about it:

...which was the use of the new Hipster plates, the tiny triangle images, and the dip-dyed look plus gold. I kind of did my own thing with those elements, and ended up with a more feminine and soft version.

So the prompt for this mani was "lilac, pink, and gold." I had to add a little bit of green for the cactus, so hopefully nobody minds. ;)

After painting my nails, the next step was to create the dip-dyed effect, which I did with the aid of this MoYou London plate, "Holy Shapes 05". I used the right triangle image to create the line on my nails, then went over it with my nail polish straight out of the bottle to make it fully opaque.

The next step was to stamp the little triangles.
My tiny triangles came from this MoYou London "Hipster 16" plate, with all the cute cactus images.

Finally, I placed the decal I made from this MoYou London plate, "Hipster 18." So many choices on this plate, but I decided to go with a small potted variety. I used my lint roller to isolate the image so I would have just the one cactus for my decal.

I hope you enjoyed this mani today! Be sure to check out some more pink/lilac/gold manis in the link-up below!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nail Challenge Collaborative: Green Cacti ft. MoYou London Hipster

Hello Readers!

Today's post is my second entry for the monthly Nail Challenge Collaborative challenge. The prompt this month is "green", and though I seriously considered doing a watermelon-themed mani for this week, in the end cacti won out because I still hadn't tried out one of the MoYou London "Hipster" plates that I got for Mother's Day.

I loosely based this mani off of an art print I saw online when I was looking for inspiration:

Print by Anna Deegan. You can see it for sale here.
I really liked the idea of colorful cacti on a neutral background. I didn't exactly use the same colors as the print, but that was the dawn of my inspiration.

For my base color, I used the JLB "Taupe" color, which is a two-to-three coater. I find the JLB polishes at Ross in sets of six for about six dollars a set, making them a $1 polish, so it really isn't bad for that price.

The decal on my ring finger was from this MoYou London "Hipster 16" plate, which was a recent addition to the Hipster collection that I had to have because.... cacti! The texture image stamped in the lilac color on my pointer/pinky fingers is also from this plate. In retrospect, I kind of wish I had also stamped it before placing the decals on my middle/ring fingers.

My large potted cactus comes from the other new MoYou London Hipster plate. Lots of potted options for all your cactus needs on this plate; yet I can't help feeling like I almost don't really need it since I have all the potted cacti images on the other new Hipster plate. Oh well.

To get the green zizags on my pointer/pinky, I used the stair step image from MoYou London's "Holy Shapes 05" plate. I use this plate for color blocking all the time!

Be sure to check out more "green" themed manis from the Nail Challenge Collaborative group in the link-up below!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Golden Pineapple ft. MoYou London Mexico

Hello Readers!

It's Tuesday again, which means it's time for another #clairestelle8challenge mani, and the prompt this go-round is "coral". I've been wanting to do a look where I paired an image from the new MoYou London Mexico collection with pineapple and the color coral ever since I got these plates, so this was an easy decision for me!

I just think the ring finger image sort of resembles a pineapple, in a very stylized way. I think pineapple images are adorable, so I wanted to take this excuse to make a pineapple themed mani!

So my coral polish here is the Sinful Shine "Mardi Gras", which was one of the first polishes I bought when I was really getting into polish hoarding. I think coral shades are absolutely beautiful, especially in the summertime! This polish is slightly runny, and required two coats- the first was quite streaky. Weirdly, I usually seem to prefer the regular Sinful Colors line to the Sinful Shine line- they typically seem to have better formulas, even though the Sinful Shine is more expensive!

My ring finger image, as mentioned previously, comes from this MoYou London "Mexico 01" plate. I actually used this very same image in a much more vibrant mani just a week ago, but I couldn't resist using it again for this very different look.

For my middle finger, I used the chevron pattern on this Born Pretty plate. This was actually the very first plate I bought when I started stamping, because of the variety of basic, staple images it has. I've used this plate quite a bit; if you'd like to see a full list of manis that show this plate in action, check out this page, under the "BP-L008- Basic Prints" heading.

Finally, the pineapple image on my pointer/pinky fingers comes from this Bundle Monster plate from the "Hangloose" collection (plate # BM-S408). This is one of my all-time favorites, but as it is also one of my first purchases, It's been a long time since I've used it so I was itching to pull it out again.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Simple Sunday with MoYou London Trend Hunter 13

Hello Readers!

It's time for another Simple Sunday mani, and today's is really quite simple as it uses nothing but simple stamping techniques and only two colors of polish!

This week, I decided to try out the MoYou London Trend Hunter 13 plate.

This plate has a lot of crazy geometric patterns with lots of detail on them, so it's a perfect example of a plate that lends itself well to basic stamping. It kind of looks like a lot of work, but the images are pre-designed to make it really easy. All you really need is a good clear stamper to make it easy to see where you are placing the design on your nail. 

As far as polish goes, I started off with two coats of Sinful Colors "The Royal Me", and stamped over it with the Bundle Monster stamping polish "Red Hot". I've noticed that unlike most dark colors, burgundy polishes that aren't intended for stamping turn out more pink than burgundy on the nail, so it's a useful color to have in a "real" stamping polish. 

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday! I'm really looking forward to this week because it's my oldest child's last week of school, and then we're headed into summer. He's super excited for the break, and I'm scrambling to work out a schedule to keep him busy enough so we all don't loose our sanity, but I think it's going to be a great summer! Do you have anything exciting coming up this summer? Let me know in the comments! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sugar Skulls ft. MoYou London Mexico

Hello Readers!

I am super pumped about today's #clairestelle8challenge prompt, which is "Halloween in May", because it means I get to play with the MoYou London "Mexico" collection plates to do a look I have always wanted to do, but haven't had the chance to yet: sugar skulls!

This look is totally inspired by the promotional manis MoYou London has done for these plates. They've come up with some really pretty stuff, and they did some manis using these same images.

I've always admired the beautiful bright colors of sugar skulls; and I know they're technically not for Halloween, but for El Dia de los Muertos, but recently many people have also been using them for Halloween looks, so I'm going with it. ;)

So for my colors, I tried to kind of stick to traditional Halloween colors but with a bright and bold flair to make it lean more Halloween-y. I started with two coats of the Essie "Go Ginza", which really I probably could have just done one coat, it's a super awesome polish!

All of the images come from the "Mexico 01" plate, which is my favorite from the collection. So many beautiful images, and lots of variety for lots of different looks! This was the first plate I reached for from the collection, to create this vibrant Simple Sunday mani.

This time, I created four decals. I decided to try the two different sugar skull halves to see what they look like together, and also because I wasn't paying too close attention when I started stamping them out on my silicone mat to make the decals, so I didn't actually realize they were different until I had them on my mat already. At that point I decided to just go with it.

If you did want to make them match, however, an easy way to do that would be to leave one of the images on your stamper head to make the decal and make the other decal on your silicone mat. That way you would have mirror images of the same skull.

Friday, May 19, 2017

NCU: Delicate Print ft. MoYou London Mexico

Hello Readers!

Today is another post for the Nail Crazies Unite challenge, which runs every other week opposite to 26 Great Nail Art ideas. Interestingly, to me anyway, this prompt is one that is also included in the 31-Day Challenge, where every September people try to post a nail art every single day. I did this last year when I was still pretty new to stamping, and I actually still like what I came up with for this prompt.

Excuse the water drops... lol... I had to dip my hand in ice water to get a proper gradient effect.

I did something totally different this time around, however. I really am still wanting to test out the MoYou London Mexico plates, and I still hadn't used the one with all the delicate, intricate patterns. To tell you the truth, it seemed like such a good idea when I was ordering it but when I  got it home in my hands I wasn't feeling so sure about it. But I'm so glad I tried it out, because I actually am loving these delicate images on my nails!

This is the polish in "warm" mode

This is what they look like after a plunge in some ice water- I had a hard time getting them all the way cool, so I had to resort to extreme measures.

Also, it helps that I got to play with something new to me- probably not to everyone else, ha ha, I'm a little late to this party. BUT, when I was at Wal-Mart yesterday I happened upon a whole end cap display of Color Club THERMAL POLISH!!!! I limited myself to just buying one, but there were seriously so many awesome colors there!

So I started with a base of that gorgeous thermal polish. I put two coats on, and I noticed that while the first coat was permanently on the "warm" color, the second coat immediately had more variety in the color and settled with a kind of gradient. The polish changes to bright, neon green when it hits 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so depending on the climate where you live it will rest at different colors. I just am loving how fun this is to wear!

All my images for this mani come from the MoYou London "Mexico 03" plate. I decided to go with the sun and the mood to kind of get a celestial theme going.

So, have you beat me to it and already tried the thermal polishes? What was your impression of them? Also, be sure to check out the link-up below for more delicate manis!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Vintage Tiles and Type, ft. MoYou London Mexico

Hello Readers!

Today is another #clairestelle8challenge on instagram, and the inspiration is "antique". Since I just acquired the new MoYou London "Mexico" plates, I wanted to incorporate them into this mani. I decided to use the plate with all the beautiful tile work and base it off of antique tile work. When I was googling this, I saw a lot of blue tones with neutrals and yellows.

So I tried to use colors that reflected those traditional tile work colors.

I started off with alternating my nails with a base of "taupe" (which doesn't have a fantastic formula, required 3 coats, but is an awesome color), and "Saltwater Happy" (which is a very nice formula, and required 2 coats tops).

Here's a peek at the Mexico 07 plate, by MoYou London, which I used to make tile work decals. I know there are other tile work style plates out there, but I didn't have one, and I've always admired the looks I've seen created with this style of image. Plus, this plate has some really gorgeous ones!

The typewriter keys on my middle/pinky fingers come from MoYou London's "Typography 01" plate. It kind of looks like I did some simple stamping on these nails, but be forewarned: the typewriter keys on this plate are too spaced out to get a satisfactory full-nail look using the plate as it is. I had to isolate the keys and stamp them on individually to get them close enough together. I just used keys that were on the outside edge to make this process easier.