Monday, 30 September 2013

Sally Hansen - Nail Prisms - Turquoise Opal

I'm on a bit of a duochrome kick at the moment so I decided to dig out my much loved Turquoise Opal and wear it again, I've posted about it before but I'm hoping my pictures have improved quite a bit since then so I thought it was worth showing again.

SO PRETTY!  The colour range shifts through a deep grape purple colour all the way lavender, sky blue and turquoise teal; there are so many different shades on show depending on the light.

These pictures are two coats over a dark purple base colour.

In bright indoor lighting you can really see the glittery aspect of this polish which isn't so evident in more natural lighting.

I adore this polish, it is so pretty.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Granny Shawl Finished!

I finished the fringing on my granny shawl so it's ready for it's big reveal and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, although the photos leave a lot to be desired.
It's super cosy and I don't think it looks too homemade to give as a Christmas gift (this has to be the earliest EVER I have had a Christmas gift ready).

It does a bit of a strange scooping in and under at the bottom corner but it actually sort of works in that it makes the shawl hug around your bottom a bit which makes it fit nicely when you're wearing it so I am going to pretend it's meant to be that way.

I'm tempted to make another one as it crocheted up nice and fast (only took about 2 weeks of on off work) but I don't know if I can give every female in my life a shawl for Christmas, I might have to start thinking of something else to work on.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Fringing for Crochet

My Chunky Granny Shawl has got to the stage where I think it's just about the right size so I decided to start work on finishing off the edges which I decided to do with some fringing.  I had a hunt online and found various tutorials and how to posts, one example is HERE, so I decided to just follow their lead and have a go.
I'm using chunky yarn for this project and I decided to make my fringe with two pieces of each colour of the yarn I had used for the main body of the shawl:

In hindsight I could probably have done with making the tassles a little bit longer and a little less chunky, it's becoming a bit tassle-tastic the more I add.

My other concern is that it seems to look very retro for some reason, I don't know whether it's the colours or the tassels but it definitely has an air of West Coast America in the late 60s...
Let's hope once it's finished I feel a bit happier with it, or at least like it enough to give it as a gift as intended. *fingers crossed*.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Fantastic Fantasy Fire

Somehow I manage to forget how much I love this polish so I don't wear it half as much as I should.  When it was released Fantasy Fire sold out pretty much everywhere as it was considered to be a pretty good dupe for the mythical Clarins 230 (you can Google it if you don't already know what it is but if you're reading a nail blog I suspect you do).

While it's not an exact copy of 230 it's close enough for me and an utterly gorgeous colour shifting duochrome polish.  These pictures are two coats over Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Blackberry (which I believe is now called Plum, the dark purple from the initial collection either way).

Outdoors in natural light it's a pretty dark purple colour with a bit of reddish sparkle to it.

But where it really comes into it's own is under bright artificial lights where you can really see the bronze ad gold tones.

Or under dimmer artificial light where it shifts through red, orange, gold to green and back.

This, to me, is where you get the real wow factor of the polish

In very bright artificial light you can see the really bright purple of the base colour, you could probably get this effect by layering it up on it's own but who has time for enough coats of a sheer polish like Fantasy Fire to dry?  Not me, so I generally use a base (it's also gorgeous over black, dark blue or dark green, and I want to try red too)

I really love this polish, it's hard to show in pictures how much it glows and sparkles in real life and the best thing is that it looks good, and different, in all sorts of lights so you'll never get bored with it.  For me it's definitely a desert island polish.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

More Speckled Stamping

I really wanted to try out one of the plates from my new Bundle Monster Holiday Collection so I decided to try one of the designs over my Speckled nails from yesterday.  I stamped over Speckled nails the other week and was quite pleased with the result so I thought I'd have another go. 
I chose a pair of love birds from BM-H22:

In hindsight the design is probably a little delicate for stamping over a busy background like Speckled polish so it didn't turn out exactly how I had hoped, the design is quite hard to make out.

From a distance you can barely tell there is any stamping and up close although you get a general idea of leaves the birds aren't very clear.  I do love the design though so I'll be giving it another go over a plain base colour some time soon.

The lesson here is that sometimes less is more when it come to stamping over a busy background colour, something like my previous attempt of simple lines would probably have worked much better.  Still, you live and learn!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Yes Love Green Speckled

I've previously shown you the Lilac and Blue versions of this Speckled polish from Yes Love and today I have the green one from the collection on my nails.
The base colour is a lovely soft pistachio green and shows off the large and small black hex glitter beautifully.  These pictures are 3 coats (again this is more due to my OCD about the glitter placement than the polish not being opaque in 2 coats).

I'm so pleased with these Speckled polishes, they are a fantastic alternative to the really expensive Illamasqua ones I have been lusting after. :)


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Bundle Monster - Holiday Collection Stamping Plates

I ordered the new Bundle Monster set from Amazon the other day and they arrived this morning.  The Holiday Collection is a set of plates based round lots of different, well, holidays.  So there are plates for Christmas, New Year, Halloween, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Birthdays and a whole host of other themed images.
They arrive in a little box, like the other sets, and are covered with a blue film which needs removing before you can stamp with them, as you can see from the image below there's a pretty wide range of images over the 25 plates in this collection.

Here are some of my favourites.  I LOVE the zombie arms from plate H08 (I can see a Halloween manicure on the horizon very soon...)

And these autumnal leaves on plates H11.

The bunting image on H19 is so cute, I'm not entirely sure what I would do with it but I love it!

The present image at the bottom of H21 should come in handy too, I can already think of an excellent festive manicure I could use this one for.

Possibly my favourite of the whole bunch is the science related stamp on plate H23, I can't wait to use it!

I'm so excited to try out some of these image plates, I'm hoping they will stamp as well as the previous collections do for me, look out for some holiday themed manicures coming this way very soon!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Orly Fowl Play - Take 2

After last week's disaster with Fowl Play it was languishing on the top of my Helmer, pleading with me to give it another go, so I gave in and tried again with it.
This time it worked out rather more successfully... (we're ignoring the tip wear, ok?)
Fowl Play is a lovely dark wine sort of coloured polish packed full of multicoloured flakie pieces.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Yankee Candle Halloween Wax Tarts

I've always lusted after the Halloween scents that Yankee release in The States around this time of year so you can imagine my delight when not only do they bring them to the UK but they also release them in a tart form, obviously I couldn't resist picking up a couple.
Yankee describes them as...

Witches Brew: The spicy sweet aroma of exotic patchouli casts a captivating spell!
Candy Corn: The familiar, sweet scent of candy corn is a fond reminder of Halloween fun and treats.
Unless you happen to be American (and therefor familiar with the popular US candy) the description of Candy Corn isn't really much use, to me it smells of vanilla; sugary, sweet vanilla.  Along the same lines as a lot of their previous cookie or cake scents.
Witches Brew is apparently patchouli but all I get is cloves, really strong, spicy cloves and I love it!  To me it's quite a linear scent but it has an excellent throw and my whole flat was still smelling lovely when I got up this morning after burning half a tart last night.  It's definitely going on my favourites list and it might even make it onto my Christmas day burns as it's beautifully warm and comforting and very much a winter scent to me.
Both fragrances also come in jar form which are super cute:


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Kiko Quick Dry Nail Lacquer 809 Dahlia Purple

Kiko recently brought out a new range of Quick Dry Nail Lacquer so I picked a couple up to try them when I was in Spain last time, I've previously posted about the blue shade HERE and today I have the other, wine coloured one, to show you.  The shade is called Dahlia Purple and there is a sort of purple tone to it but to me it's much more of a wine or burgundy colour.
The new bottles are a slightly different design and are round instead of the regular square.  The brush is also different, it's larger and flatter than the regular polishes.  I quite like it, the larger size means that it's very easy to cover the whole nail in just one sweep but I do find it a tiny bit less precise than the previous thinner brush for around the edges.

The colour does dry lovely and fast and applies pretty well too, the fast drying nature of the polish means it's not quite as smooth and simple to apply as the regular creams as it's just a touch thicker and gloopier.  It's still fine to work with though and the speed it dries at is definitely a positive.

Overall I like this polish, I can't say I like it better then the regular range though so I hope it's not one of these phase in a new product while phasing out the older, better one.  Fingers crossed that's not the case and Kiko will continue to offer both ranges,

Friday, 20 September 2013

Nail Disaster 2

After yesterday's post highlighting my failed stamping I decided to go for something simple but a bit sparkly on my nails, just regular old polish to save any more problems and leave me with nice, pretty nails with as little effort as possible.
I decided to go for Orly's Fowl Play, a lovely purple based polish jam packed full of flakies.  Unfortunately the nail gods are clearly against me this week...

As I was applying oil to my cuticles half of the polish on my index finger seemed to slip right off!  Now, technically I could have repainted the one nail bur Fowl Play is quite a sheer polish and needs 3 good coats to get it fully opaque and I have never successfully repainted just one nail before.  So instead I decided to whip it all off and start again.

I can only assume that Fowl Play needing three coats and then a couple of coats of topcoat meant that the polish wasn't perfectly dry as I applied the oil and for some reason it cause the polish to lift right off, whatever happened it was most annoying not least because it was looking pretty nice before the incident and I'd like to have gotten a day's wear out of it!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Nail Disasters 1

Generally my nails turn out looking pretty good when I paint them or stamp them, whether this is luck or skill is debatable but I love stamping in particular as I find it a simple and quick way to get an impressive looking nail design without too much effort, sadly this wasn't the case with today's nails.
For some reason - either due to my stamping skills being temporarily on holiday or because of the different plates I used - today's stamping effort was pretty much a disaster.  I decide to use a Dashica plate which I got last summer.  I've not used these plates much as it turned out the original ones were a faulty batch and didn't stamp properly, the company replaced them but by the time the new ones arrived I had moved on to other, newer, things and never really got back round to trying them again.
Sadly my experience with them today make it seem unlikely they'll get much more use now, the stamps just wouldn't work nicely for me, as you can see from the following photos the first finger I stamped worked out fine but after that the stamp became blurry and messy looking.
No matter what I did I couldn't get any of the other nails to look as crisp as the first image, they all blurred and smudged and looked generally terrible. 
I decided to try a second design on my other hand but ran into exactly the same issue!
Now obviously the fact that I managed to get one finger to stamp alright means that there IS a way to get these plates to work well but I have no idea what that is.  I made sure the plate and all my stamping accessories were super clean for subsequent stamps, in case any excess polish was the issue, but it didn't seem to make any difference.
So my Dashica plates are being relegated to the back of my Helmer drawer for another period of time and for now I'll stick with my Cheeky, Bundle Monster and Gals plates which all work almost perfectly pretty much every time.
Have any of you used Dashica plates?  Any tips on what it is I might be doing wrong?

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Kiko 281

I picked up this polish last time I was in Spain, one of my friends had asked me to pick her up 'a nice coral' that was quite red leaning and this is what I found for her.  I couldn't resist grabbing one for myself too and now I've worn it I'm glad I did.
The colour is definitely a red coral, it reminds me quite a lot of Barry M Passion Fruit.  It also has a similar opaque jelly nature.  These pictures are two coats and although the polish is totally opaque it also manages to have a lovely squishy jelly type finish to it.
As always with Kiko creams the polish applied and dried beautifully, there's good reason Kiko is one of my very favourite brands.


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Chunk Granny Shawl

I wanted to make something for my partner's gran for Christmas and I decided a shawl might be a good idea, that way she could use it over her knees or shoulders when she was feeling a bit chilly.  I decided to go with soft heather sort of tones and a chunky yarn so it should work up fairly fast.  You can see all the project details and a link to the pattern on my Ravelry page; HERE.

So far I am pretty pleased with it, although I do wish it was more of a compact triangle, it feels a bit long and stretched out as the rows get bigger.

I'm pretty pleased with my colour choices (I really struggle to pick colours, I get panic stricken when faced by a whole wall of yarn and can't work out what will go with what) although I'm not sure how heathery they look, there may be a hint of sludge in there too...

The shawl is working up pretty fast so I don't think there should be any issue with having it done by Christmas, in fact I might be able to know up a few other bits and pieces in time too.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Stamped Speckles.

I decided to use Bundle Monster plate 316 to jazz up my speckled nails from the other day.  I didn't want too heavy a stamp which would hide the effect of the polish so I went for the fine lines in the image at the top of the plate.

I'm really pleased with how it turned out, the effect is sort of like a subtle join the dots and the white stamping polish lifts the colour a little and somehow makes my nails look much more three dimensional.

I really love stamping over slightly different base polishes, like these speckles, as I think you can get such a different effect than you do with a plain cream base.