Sunday, 31 March 2013

Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night

Happy long weekend, everyone! I have another two manis to share today, they're for the first two books in a series.

Firstly, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. I waited so long to read this and I'm glad I eventually got around to it because it's a fantastic book. I have the UK cover version so I decided to do a pink galaxy mani. I started with a base of Orly Razzle. Then I sponged on Barry M Matt White. On the top section of my nails I sponged on Barry M Strawberry Ice Cream and then added Make Up Store Britta. In the middle section I sponged on L.A Girl Brites Dynamite followed by O.P.I La Paz-itively Hot*. Finally I added a coat of Nubar Sugar.

For the sequel, Through the Ever Night, I wanted to recreate the sky and added in accent nails featuring the sun.

I started with a base of Orly La Playa. Then I sponged on Barry M Matt White, followed by Zoya Robyn, O.P.I Teal the Cows Come Home* and finally Orly Liquid Vinyl along the tips.
For the sun I painted a circle using Zoya Creamy, I added WnW Sunny Side Up to the base of each sun using a nail art brush.

And that's it for today! I hope everyone is having a great long weekend :)

*The O.P.I used for these manis was purchased a few years ago, I no longer purchase O.P.I as they were taken over by Coty.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Girl Defective and All This Could End

Today I have manis to match two recent Aussie YA releases. First up is Girl Defective by Simmone Howell. Simmone is one of my favourite authors and I was so excited for this book! I decided to do some nails to match the wonderful cover.

I started by painting my nails with Barry M Matt White. Then I taped the nails off diagonally and painted the top half with Orly Liquid Vinyl. Once they were dry I added a line of red using Glam Nails nail art pen in Cherry Red. I added the tear on my ring nail using Glam Nails art pen in Baby Blue.

And this next mani is for All This Could End by Steph Bowe, another book that I loved. I really like the colours used for the title and I used them as my inspiration.

For the peachy nails I used Barry M Peach Melba, for the white I used Barry M Matt White, and for the blue I used Sinful Colors* Matte Savage. Once dry I taped off the tips diagonally and painted them with Orly Liquid Vinyl.

Both of these manis were inspired by the colours used on the covers and were pretty simple to do. Using tape to section off your nails is a really quick and easy way to create nail art without too much effort. I'll have a post up soon on easy nail art :)

*Sinful Colors is now owned by Revlon, a company that still uses animal testing, so I won't be buying this brand any more.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Fingerprints of You

Evening everyone! I hope you've all had a great weekend :)

Today I have one of my favourite manicures to share, and it's for a fantastic book, Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia. I did this all free hand and wanted to try and capture the tattoo-look of the cover.

The base of these nails is ChiChi Can't Buy My Love which I bought recently, it was the perfect colour for the aged parchment-look of the cover.

I painted the pink petals with Zoya Maya and a small brush. I added the stems with L.A Colors Art Deco Striper in Bright Green. I used L.A Colors Color Craze Shock for the centre of each flower (I have two versions of this polish, both have the same name on the bottle but one is more yellow and the other is orange. I used the orangey version.)

I also used the L.A Colors Art Deco Striper in Bright Green to paint the hummingbird's chest, wings and the top of his head. I added Zoya Maya to his face and added some L.A Colors Craze Sea Siren to the wings.

I used a Glam Nails nail art pen in Jet Black to do the outline and details on the flowers, stems, and the hummingbird.

Finally I sponged Barry M Mushroom on the tops and base of the nails to add to the parchment-look.

This was a lot of fun to do, and it was nice to do something different from stamping and taping. I'd love to have a go at the font used for Kristen's name or the title but I'll save that for another day ;)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

How to prep and paint your nails

Painting your nails, and doing nail art, is all about being creative. There are so many different techniques and tricks to help you have gorgeous nails. I'm really lucky to belong to a great group of vegan, polish-loving ladies and I have learnt so much from them, as well as from bloggers/youtubers. I get asked for tips by my bookish friends (hey, Magan!) and thought I’d share some of my thoughts and some great posts by fellow polish bloggers.

Prepping your nails

Firstly, I am not a fan of soaking your nails. I read about waterless manicures a couple of years ago, and treated myself to one with a Sydney-based manicurist, and that was when I quit having my nails done in salons (not that I was getting them done professionally very often), plus, it’s way more fun to do your nails yourself. Here’s a great article in Nail Mag on why some manicurists are moving away from soaking nails pre-painting. Basically, your nails will hold polish better if you don’t soak them, and we’re always told that water weakens our nails, so skip the soaking!

I start by removing any polish on my nails. If you’re wearing a glittery polish and are finding it hard to remove, try the foil method as shown here on Lacquerheads of Oz. Cut three cotton rounds into four segments, so you have enough for each nail. Add remover to them, place on your nails and then cover your nails with a small piece of foil, and scrunch it so it stays on. Wait about five minutes (watch tv, or listen to an audio book while you wait) and then remove the foil and the cotton pads. If there’s still polish use the pads to work it off the nails, it will be much easier. Wash your hands and you’re done. If you’re doing this step and not painting your nails, apply cuticle oil and hand cream to add moisture back to your skin and cuticles. Try Butter London Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil and Botani Olive Hand Cream - both of these smell so good!

About once a week I use Butter London Melt Away CuticleEliminator. I paint it onto my cuticle and along the sides of my nails, wait a few minutes and then use a bamboo stick to push back my cuticles and then I wash my hands to remove any dead skin and residue.

Dry your nails and then you can move onto filing. I found out about glass nail files a few years back and wouldn't recommend anything else. They are popping up everywhere but if you can’t find them at your local shops, you can buy them on ebay. File in one direction, not back and forth. If I am filing the nails on my left hand, I file from left to right in a horizontal motion along the tips of my nails, sometimes rounding the corners so they’re not too pointy. I do this until I have my nail tip even and smooth. I file in the opposite direction when doing the nails on my right hand. Not sure what shape you want? Check out these two posts on nail shapes: one by Kayla, the other at Passion for Polish. I find square/squoval to be my preference but you can try a few out to see what suits your natural nail shape.

You can choose to smooth the surface of your nails with a buffer, you can pick up the muli-sided ones which are handy, but don’t do this too often as you might make your nails too thin. I tend to do it once a week, especially if I have flaky tips because if you leave these flakes on, they'll lift up after you've painted your nails, taking the paint with them and will leave you with big chips in your mani.

Finally, make sure your nails are clean, with no oil or residue on them. You might want to wash them one more time and dry them on a clean towel or paper towel.

Painting your nails

Apply your base coat. I like Zoya Get Even Ridge Filling base coat. Lift your brush from the bottle and as you’re lifting it out, drag the edge of the brush closest to you along the inside and edge of the bottle’s neck to remove excess product. Then use the opposite side of the brush to apply the base coat – this goes for applying polish too. Thinner coats are always better than thicker coats.

Allow your base coat to dry and then you’re ready to apply your colour. I tend to go with 2 coats of colour, again thinner coats work best, don’t apply thick coats. Here is a really good post over at Lacquerized with a graphic to show you a good way of applying polish neatly. The more you do this, the better you’ll get at not getting polish on your skin or your cuticle.

If your nails are long enough, you can choose to wrap your tips with polish. This can help your mani last longer, though I find that my manis get too much wear and tear to last for more than a day or two, even if I do this. Here’s a great tute by The Polished Perfectionist.

Wait until your coats are dry and then apply top coat, and if you wish, quick dry drops.  My fave used to be Zoya Armour, and I still like it, but since I've been doing more and more nail art with different layers I wanted to use a quick dry top coat but not one that smelt really strong or contained harsh chemicals. I chose ButterLondon Hardwear P.D Quick Top Coat even though it is pretty pricey over here. It doesn't smell too strong at all and it is quick to dry. I follow my top coat immediately with Zoya Hurry Up Fast Dry Drops.

If you did get polish on your skin, don’t worry! Take a small make up brush, dip it in some remover and brush it along your skin, wherever you have polish. You can use it to tidy up the base near the cuticle, to give the polish at your nail base a neat edge.  My fave brush is similar to this one from Furless – they don’t use any animal fur/hair to make their cruelty free and vegan range of brushes, yay! I like it because it’s flat and I can move it in a side-to-side motion and not worry that it’s touching my nail.

Done! Keep in mind that are just my opinions and I am not a professional, just a girl who likes painting her nails! The more you read, the more you learn, so google anything that you’re having trouble with, ask a friend, or ask a professional. If you take care of your nails before you paint, you'll get a better result. And you don’t have to do the full routine every time you paint, especially if you’re painting your nails often, skip the filing and the buffing if your nails are still in good shape.

And another tip is to take your time. Even if a polish is quick drying, it’s not fun to paint your nails when you know you have to rush out the door in 30 minutes, especially if you have to get dressed or do things that might involve messing your nails up. Give yourself time and enjoy it, and you'll find it gets a lot easier and it'll be more fun and relaxing, too!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Life in Outer Space

Hey folks! This mani is one of my faves, and it's also for one of my fave books of 2013 - I don't think it's too early to make that call!

The book is Life in Outer Space and it's the debut novel by Aussie author, Melissa Keil. I knew from the moment I saw this amazing cover that I had to do my nails to match.

For the base coat I used 2 coats of Australis Aqua. Then I taped off my nails diagonally and painted the tips with Zoya Creamy. Once they were dry I taped off the opposite angle and painted the tips with Zoya Maura.  Then I took a double ended dotting tool and did the dots with Zoya Snow White and Barry M Strawberry Ice Cream.

Melissa is really lovely so I tweeted her a photo when I did these and she arranged to get her nails done for the book launch, here's her matching mani

Awesome right? So, if you want a fantastic story filled with amazing characters and plenty of film and music references, you should check this book out (it's even avail. for Kindle in the USA) and then you could paint your nails to match!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Hidden, Prodigy, The Indigo Spell, and Shadow & Bone

Hey kidlets! How's your weekend going? Autumn is in the air in Sydney, it's a little chilly while still being a gorgeous, sunny day. And, I have some cupcakes baking right now, they should be ready once I'm done with this post!

Today I have another four manicures to share and then I will be almost caught up on all my previously shared manis and I can start blogging about them as I do them!

First up is Hidden by Marianne Curley. It's paranormal YA featuring angels which would usually put me off a book, but in this case it worked. For this mani I did 2 coats of Orly Liquid Vinyl, then I taped off the tips of my nails and painted them with Zoya Tart. I used Konad image plate M77 to stamp on the feathers with Zoya Snow White.

Next up is the sequel to a very popular book, Prodigy by Marie Lu. Again I started with 2 coats of Orly Liquid Vinyl (it really is the best black polish). Over the middle of each nail I sponged on Zoya Freya and then over that I sponged Natio Turquoise. I used a very pointy dotting tool (from a MASH Nail brush set) to draw the eagle on the ring finger using Orly Liquid Vinyl.

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead is one of my favourite recent reads, her books are always a lot of fun. I started with 2 coats of China Glaze Secret Periwinkle. On the ring and thumb nails I stamped using Orly Luxe but it didn't show up as well as I hoped so I stamped over the top using Barry M Navy Blue and Konad image plate M77. I also used Barry M Navy Blue on the rest of the nails along with Konad image plate M63.

And lastly is Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo! I used 2 coats of Zoya Freya and then I stamped using Orly Liquid Vinyl and Konad image plate M63. I used L.A Colors Art Deco Striper in Red Glitter to add dashes of red in between the lines. 

I did attempt to free hand some white antlers on my ring nail but it looked bad so I re-did that nail! I also attempted my first water marbling mani before doing this one, but it was an epic fail, so I went with this look instead :)

I'm off to get my cupcakes out of the oven and I hope you all have a fantastic rest of the weekend! xox

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Touch of Power, The Midnight Dress, and Alex as Well

What What! I'm back with another three manis, all for books I loved!

First up: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder. There are many versions of this cover but I like this Aussie one the most and wanted to recreate the hills and the tattoo. For the green hill nails I used 1 coat of Sinful Colors Mint Apple. Then I sponged on L.A Colors Color Craze Shock (there are two versions of this shade with the same code, one is orangey and the other is yellow, I used the yellow and went over it with the orange). On the tips I sponged on Zoya Suvi. I dotted on Couleur Caramel White then went over the dots with L.A Colors Color Craze Force and Zoya Caitlin. Then I stuck on a few diamantes. For the tattoo nails I used L.A Colors Color Craze Force (the orangey version) then stamped used Orly Liquid Vinyl and Konad image plate M21.

Next is The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee, I love the gorgeous rich navy blue of the cover and the buttons and thread. I used Barry M Navy (2 coats) for the base. The large pale button is Nail It! Belle Vista, the other large button is Sinful Colors Savage, and the little button and the thread was done with Barry M Blue Moon.

And finally Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman. For this book I took the colours from the cover and an aspect for the book, the main character, Alex, wants to be more girly so she buys herself a knock-off Bedazzler and  adds some bling to her clothes. The base pink on the pinkie and the dots on the ring finger were done with Bloom Grace. The pink glitter under the dots is Bloom Lucille and the lighter pink glitter on the pinkie is O.P.I Teenage Dream. The base blue is Nail It! Belle Vista, the blue glitter is O.P.I Last Friday Night. I stamped the ribbon using Konad image plate M56 and added diamontes to a few nails.

And thanks to all my new followers & commenters, I'm glad you guys are enjoying my manis :)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sneakers, summer, dots, and stripes

It's a really lovely Sunday morning here in Sydney today and I thought I'd share some more of my book cover manicures!

First up is Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the final book in the Beautiful Creatures series. This is one of those manis where I pictured it in my head but when it came time to do it, it didn't work out as planned. I wanted a green swirl in the centre of each nail but there wasn't enough room to sponge one. Instead I used 2 coats of Orly Liquid Vinyl as the base, then I sponged on Orly Green Apple and then some Zoya Tangy over that. Lastly, I stamped Orly Dazzle over the top using Konad image plate m63

Next up is a fun Aussie YA: My Life and Other Catastrophes by Rowena Mohr. When I saw the sneaker on the cover I decided it was a good time to try out sneaker nails! The purple nails are 3 coats of BYS Ultra Violet. For the sneaker nails I used 3 coats of L.A Colors Color Craze Electric Charge as the base, Zoya Snow White for the tips and laces, and Orly Dazzle and Orly Liquid Vinyl for the eyelets.

When I did the nails above, I also had another book that I'd just read and wanted to do a manicure for, so I did this next mani on my other hand because I couldn't wait to do some summery nails. The book is Lovestruck Summer  by Melissa C. Walker and it is such a fun little read; definitely good for fans of music and Austin. The pink nails are Zoya Jolene with Zoya Creamy stamped over using Konad image plate M56. The blue nails are Natio Turquoise with Zoya Jolene stamped over using Cheeky image plate CH36 and the green line is L.A Colors Art Deco Striper in Bright Green. The purple nail is Natio Beaming Violets with Australis Limited Edition 2 dotted on top.

And my final mani today is for the first book in a new series, Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans. I couldn't resist doing a dotty and stripey mani to match this book. The grey nails are 2 coats of Zoya Dove, the white nail and the dots are Zoya Snow White and the orange stripes were done with Sinful Colors Boogie Nights and a striping brush.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend xox

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Galaxies, splotches, vines and more!

I have some more manis to catch up on today!

First up is Glow, a book that totally surprised me. The moment I saw the cover I knew I had to attempt a galaxy mani and while it was time consuming, I was really happy with the finished look. I started with this tute  by Jacki at Adventures in Acetone - it has great instructions and photos. The base is 2 coats of WnW Eggplant Frost then 1 coat of Orly Fowl Play. I sponged on Zoya Snow White, Zoya Tart, WnW Chrome Hog-Quartz Chrome, and WnW Chrome Precious Petals. Then I dabbed on Nubar Sugar. And finally a coat of Orly Shine On Crazy Diamond plus a couple of diamontes.

Next up the base is 2 coats of Barry M Emerald Green, then I stamped using Orly Liquid Vinyl and Konad image plate M21.

Scarlet was one of my favourite reads last year and there was something about the green cover and the vines that made me want to do my nails. I added the accent nail with a knife because that's Scarlet's weapon of choice. For the green nails I did 1 layer of Zoya Suvi then 1 layer of Zoya Gemma. I used Orly Liquid Vinyl for the leaves with Konad image plate M21. The accent nail is 2 coats of Zoya Maura and then I used a dotting tool and a skinny paint brush to do the knife using Orly Liquid Vinyl and Orly Dazzle.

When I get an idea in my head for a book mani, I usually spend a fair bit of time thinking about it before I do it. The cover of What's Left of Me had me thinking of those craft scissors with the different blades and I rushed out that day to find some with a squiggly blade. I painted 1 coat of Zoya Dana then I stamped on Zoya Perrie in the middle and Zoya Yummy on the tips. I cut some sticky tape with the crafty scissors, taped off my nails, then painted Zoya Dove over the top.

And I want to say thanks to my brand new followers and commenters - I really appreciate the support :)