Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winter Snowmen

Hello, nail polish lovers! You wouldn't believe what I had to go through to get this post up today. Apparently Blogger's got this cap on the amount of pictures that can be stored in your account, and I'd met the limit. Either I pay for more space (and I really don't have the money for that, so it was out of the questions) or stop adding pictures. I spent a while googling it and discovered that as long as the shortest side of each picture is 800 pixels or less, it's not included in the data limit. So hooray! After that it was a matter of re-sizing all of the pictures. But it all worked out in the end, even though today's a bit late, so here's this week's tutorial.

Since it's past Thanksgiving, it's time to start the holiday manicures. And since there are so many ideas to try out, I figured I'd better start as early in the season as possible! So I present to you: Snowman nails!

You will need:
- base coat
- white polish
- blue polish
- black striper
- white striper
- orange striper
- top coat
*Note: All of the stripers can be replaced with the same color of polish and a toothpick.*

Start off with a base coat, and then paint all but your thumb and ring finger white. Sorry for the ugliness that is my ring finger- it's torn halfway across the nail but I can't stand to cut it, so as of now I'm holding it together with a tea bag patch.

Sally Hansen - Hard to Get

Then add the blue polish to the thumb and ring finger.

China Glaze - Blue Sparrow

The snowman is my tutorial part for this, and so for the rest of the nails, I followed a tutorial by Cutepolish, using the blue that was used on the accent nails as the gradient color. I have pictures of the steps below, but all credit for the idea goes to Cutepolish, of course!

Now comes my part. Start off with a semi-circle at the base of the nail in white, and add a circle on top of it for the head. You can use either a striper, dotting tool, or toothpick for this- whatever works best for you. I used a striper on my left hand but since my left hand isn't as steady of a painter, I used a dotting tool to paint the right hand.

Art Deco - White

Using the black striper, paint on two black eyes.

Art Deco - Black

Now add the nose in orange. I suggest placing a dot with the striper/toothpick/etc. and then dragging the orange across the nail a bit instead of trying to paint a tiny triangle. And just to have some fun, I used a white striper to add some snowflakes above the snowman. All they are are eight white lines crossing each other to form a little star-like thing.

Sally Hansen - Sun Kissed

Don't forget to add a top coat at the end!

And that's it! This winter-themed manicure is easy, quick, and oh-so-cute. Show your love of the season with these cheerful snowmen on your nails!
If you'd like to see more of my winter nail art tutorials, make sure to follow here, 'like' on Facebook, and follow on Twitter
Thanks for reading!
- Muffin

Friday, November 23, 2012

Swatch: Elixir Lacquers - Miss Kitty's Mee-Yow

Welcome to part two of my Elixir Lacquers reviews! I recieved both Red Nose and Miss Kitty's Mee-Yow from Erica over at Erica's Nails and More from her first Nail Art Challenge. If you haven't seen my post from last week about Red Nose, here it is!

And here is Miss Kitty's Mee-Yow. It's a purple polish with a blue shimmer.

I expected the polish to be much more purple, but the blue shimmer was very noticeable. Application was great. You definitely need three to four coats to get a solid color, though. From left to right, here's one, two, and three coats.

I wasn't so sure about this polish, but it really started to grow on me. I took it off pretty fast, though, and I think I should have left it on longer to see if I'd like the color even more as time went on.
I was really hoping Miss Kitty would be one of those colors that can be layered over anything, but I was a bit wrong on that. I tried it over Essie - Sexy Divide, hoping to add some shimmer to the already-purple color, but this happened instead. Turns out, that blue really shows over darker colors. It's actually a really pretty color, but it just wasn't what I was going for.

And a shot of the bottle:

I think this picture captured a bit more of the shimmer. Certain angles in the light really make it appear more blue.

Shh, don't tell anyone... I think I forgot one coat on my first two fingers. Woopsies! The first two fingers are two to three coats, and the last two are three to four. There are no undies, and I used Sally Hansen's strengthening top coat on top to add some more shine.

There you have it! Miss Kitty's Mee-Yow can be found at Elixir Lacquer's website, along with a bunch of other beautiful polishes, including Red Nose. To stay tuned for all I have in store, don't forget to  follow here, 'like' on Facebook, and follow on Twitter
Thanks for reading!
- Muffin

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Swatch: Elixir Lacquers - Red Nose

If anyone remembers, I won some nail polishes from Erica's Nails and More Nail Art Challenge a few weeks back. One of those polishes happened to be Elixir Lacquers Red Nose, and I just had to swatch it for you guys.
(Note: Elixir Miss Kitty's Mee-yow was the second polish I won - you'll be seeing a swatch of it next week!)

Here's the polish as I'm currently wearing it. This is three to four coats under a top coat on each nail, with no undies. The photo was taken using artificial light.

Before I get on to the review part of this, I'd like to let you guys know that I really don't like glittery polish. I know, it's pretty, blah, blah, but it just never does anything for me. You can't work it in to nail art most of the time, which means I won't be using it  most of the time.
That aside, I am so in love with this polish. I keep catching myself getting distracted and staring at it for a minute or two. It's too beautiful for words and the pictures only captured a small part of how amazing it is.
Application was great. It took a couple of coats to build up the color, though, so I'd suggest using a nice tan or gold creme as some undies. Just to show you the thickness of the glitter, I have the picture below. From left to right, I have one coat, two coats, and then three coats. One was extremely patchy. Two was much better, but still had a few empty spots. Three seemed to just about do it, but there were some tiny patches on  a few nails that I touched up with a fourth coat.

I couldn't get any picture to show the full glittery goodness of Red Nose, but this one captures a bit of it.

I hate how flash looks with nails, but I felt that the color looked a bit more accurate here, so here's a picture of Red Nose under flash. Like I said, the color is a tiny bit more accurate, but the flash also makes it look much duller than it is in real life. 

And just because I was having fun experimenting with my light box, this is the bottle. Look at all that wonderful glitter just begging to be painted onto nails. 

There you have it! All in all, I would definitely recommend Red Nose. It's unbelievably beautiful and I've never quite seen another polish like it. If you're interested in buying Red Nose or any of Elixir Lacquer's polishes, they can be found at their website
To stay tuned and read my review of Elixir Lacquer's Miss Kitty's Mee-Yow, make sure to  follow here, 'like' on Facebook, and follow on Twitter
Thanks for reading!
- Muffin

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Homemade Light box!

Hey, guys! So for the past few months, my photos have all been taken the same way. I open the blinds to let natural light in, hold my hand up in front of a wall, and snap a picture with my trusty camera. Now that's all fine and dandy in the summer, when there's plenty of natural light for me to take advantage of, but now that it gets dark out at who-knows-how-early, I'm finding it harder and harder to get my photos in before the sun is gone and I have to rely on flash (eek).

So I needed a solution, fast. My camera is extremely touchy and if it doesn't have PERFECT lighting, the shutter speed slows down and my pictures come out blurry. I found the perfect way to fix my problem:
this light box tutorial by Chalkboard Nails.

For all of you out there that don't know what a light box is (AKA me until I stumbled upon this tutorial), it's basically a simple box that allows light in for nice clean pictures. I looked up some actual light boxes online, and they are by no means cheap, so I knew that I'd actually have to get off my lazy butt and make something myself if I wanted a nice light box. I gathered my supplies and went to work.

The building of the box was pretty easy- by far, the hardest part for me was finding the right sized cardboard box. I'm not going to go through all the steps (Sarah at Chalkboard Nails explains it way better than I'll ever be able to), but I think you can see the basic idea from the picture below.

Here's my finished box! I was a bit lazy and never cut off two of the side flaps, but I figure that I'll get to it eventually. I also need to cut off the sides of the actual box and put tissue paper over them as well, but I was really hurrying to get this done and skipped that step.

What do you think of my picture quality? I'm really shocked with the difference between this and the photos I took just a couple weeks ago.

I definitely need to work on hand positions and angles. I usually stick my arm through the legs of my tripod to make sure my hand is straight up in my pictures (if that makes any sense) but my tripod's too tall to use with the light box so I had to improvise. I propped the camera up on some books and had to put my hand in from the side and tilt it. I also had some funky shadows (in the lower right corner) and I need to learn to angle my hand so that it doesn't happen.

I was having so much fun that I couldn't just take one picture. So I took out some pretty polishes and took pictures of them in the light box too.

And I'm guessing I should explain the nail design, too. So I'm a pretty big geek, and I love Roman related stuff. The mythology is so fascinating and the Latin language is really amazing. I created these for a Roman-themed art contest.

The first nail is based off of Jupiter (Zeus), who I represented with his symbol, lightning.

The second nail is Neptune's (Poseidon's) trident. It looks a bit like a cactus, but hopefully no one cares too much.

The third one is my accent nail, which is supposed to be a Roman-style column. I tried this one three or four times and kept messing up, so I know it could be better, but this is really all I had the time (and patience) to do.

The last nail was the one I had trouble coming up with a concept for. I wanted it to be based off of Pluto (Hades), but I couldn't think of a simple, easily recognizable symbol for him. I eventually settled on fire and bones, but I'm not too happy with how they came out.

What do you all think about the light box idea? Would you try it out yourself? Post your opinions in the comments! If you want to see more of my posts in the future, don't forget to follow here, 'like' on Facebook, and follow on Twitter.