doe a deer

Nail Art 101 - Part 1 of Tools

Okay, so I have decided to start a series on nail art - because omg it's so easy to do really nifty, complex looking designs and everyone should know how. As with most things though I notice most sites and tutorials don't start with the basics, they assume a certain amount of pre-knowledge.

Okay, so I am definitely not perfect in the art of the nails. I know the theory of cleaning up the edges and applying polish neatly - but in reality neither happens very much. Most of the time I find myself picking off excess nailpolish in the shower the night after it dries (tip - it is easier to pick off the stuff on your skin when your skin is wet - but also make sure the polish is 100% dry - like 12 hours drying time).

Tools of the trade

You can do a lot of nifty designs with just variety of colours (I have 100+ nail polishes - you don't need that many, but if you get into nail art you may suddenly have an urge to acquire a certain colour or finish for a design idea - this is what happened to me) and some simple tools. I get all my nail art tools from eBay, they tend to only be a few dollars, but they can take a while to arrive from China.

- Base coat & Top coat

For ages I never understood why people would bother with base coat and top coat, but now they are essentials. Base coat will help strengthen your nails and stop the polish from staining them (some colours stain more than others) and top coat will smooth out multi-layered designs and protect your nailpolish - I find my polish lasts about a week with a good top coat. I also highly recommend finding a good black and white polish. I hate black or white nails on their own - but white is essential as a base for bright colours and black is used for various patterns and highlights, and also works as a base for certain types of polish. I go through black and white polish the quickest.

- Other household things that are useful

Save a few glossy magazines as a surface to do your nail painting on. This will protect your tables and provide you with somewhere to test out colours, create blobs of polish for dotting and painting, mix colours, remove excess polish from your brush... it's useful, trust me. Don't use newspaper - the ink will stain your skin and it's too absorbent for blobbing and painting nailpolish onto.

I use lids from takeaway containers for blobbing/testing/painting because it's even less absorbent than glossy paper, and also gives me a better idea of how the colours will look on my nails. Ice cream container lids would also work, or any bit of flat, hard plastic really.

I find a shotglass is very handy for putting some polish remover or acetone into so I can clean brushes easily.

Cotton balls are ideal for removing polish and cleaning stamper plates. In my experience, non-acetone polish is useless, I use stuff with acetone (straight acetone is best for polish removal but worst for your skin) and wash my hands thoroughly afterwards and moisturise.

Other things around the house that can come in handy -
- Plastic bags - for stone designs
- Toothpicks and bobby pins - for dotting and other fine designs
- Disposable plastic cups - for water marbling

- Dotting tools

Dotting is probably the easiest way to get a cute nifty manicure with not much effort. I bought a set of nail art brushes and dotting tools for about $5 for the lot. But you can also use a toothpick, or a bobby pin, or a round headed pin stuck in the eraser of a pencil, or anything else small and rounded.

You can find hundreds of idea for dotting designs on Youtube or Pinterest or Instagram or the nail art tag on Tumblr or just Googling "dotting nail art" or "dotticure" or something similar.

Here's how you dot

1. Paint your nails with a base colour. It's best to choose a colour for the base that won't show through the colours you are dotting. This will depend on the shade and the type of polish - I sometimes test beforehand on a takeaway container lid (I have plenty, and they are really useful for nail art stuff). If you really want a lighter colour over a darker colour you can dot with white then go back over with your colour.
2. Place a blob of the colour you are dotting with on a surface - I use plastic lids, but a glossy magazine will work as well, don't use non-glossy paper because it's too absorbent. Just pull the brush straight out of the bottle and gently touch it to the surface and a blob of polish should form. Don't blob too much in one go because it will dry quickly - just refresh it as you need to.
3. Dip the dotter of your desired size into the polish blob then dot in onto your nails. You can sometimes get 2 or 3 dots before dipping back into the polish blob. Clean the dotter with a tissue before moving on to another colour.
4. Once your design is finished wait for it to dry then apply top coat. Grin proudly as your friends fawn over your fancy "Bali" nails which you did yourself in the comfort of your own home.
Red Eye Platinum

The tale of the nails

My sister was a nailbiter, but it was a habit that never plagued me. I've always been able to grow long, nice looking nails. These days I can't let them get too long or else my ability to DO anything with my hands diminishes, and I also scratch myself to pieces with the claws.

I've always liked nailpolish. It was colour I put on myself, and it didn't feel gross like makeup on my face did. I had a decent collection of mostly cheapie nailpolishes.

Then my eczema moved to my hands, and painting my nails soon resulted in serious itching and irritation on my nailbeds. After a while I figured I'd better stop. I eventually gave my polish collection away to a friend.

At the start of this year I decided I wanted to learn makeup. Mineral makeup these days smells much nicer and is a lot less irritating. I'm not sure what I had Googled, maybe "Non-irritating nailpolish", but whatever it was, one of the hits was a site called Picture Polish. I leaped in and bought 8 bottles first time, lucky when I tried them, they didn't cause my fingers to itch like mad. I guess you could call the rest history.

If you buy nailpolish you may be familiar with the term "3 free", which seems to be popping up and more and more. As technology improves, nailpolish no longer needs some of the nastiest chemicals in it. The 3 which are used less and less nowadays are toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. It seems that 3-free nailpolish is fine for me to use.

One interesting thing is that I can now sniff out polishes that I probably shouldn't use. These are often older polishes that friends have passed on to me, or some cheaper brands. If I smell that distinct smell then check the label, I'll often find toluene or phthalates among the ingredients.

I've now had my nails pretty much constantly painted since March, and they are in pretty good nick! Next up I'll do a post on basic nail art techniques. I've learned A LOT on YouTube and nail blogs, and nail art seems to be one of those things that clicks with me, even though I often say I'm as creative a brick, I can always think of something to do with my nails (often too many things - then I have a tough time deciding!)
Red dress

Eeeee dancy dance

I almost talked myself out of it, but I didn't and I went to the Tuesday night class and we did Charleston variations and it was loads of fun. I really really like this whole swing dance business.

Now let's see how my knees are tomorrow. I really wanna do it again tomorrow night.
Red dress

Sudden - or maybe not so sudden incursion of Crested Pigeon into Perth metro area

A couple of years ago I started noticing a pair of Crested Pigeons hanging around near the RSL around the corner. Seeing as I drive past there everyday on the way to and from work I always keep an eye out and see one or both of them at least once a week. I saw a pair elsewhere near home - I'm guessing it may have been the same birds.

A while back I saw one bird on the verge along Abernathy Road. Today a flock of about 7 birds flew across Abernathy on the way home from work. I am 99.5% sure they were Crested Pigeons - Rock Pigeons don't have that distinctive flight patten.

I'm betting we're gonna see a lot more of them in the metro area in the future. Soon they'll probably be as common here as they are in Adelaide.
Red dress

Fans vs fans

Hello Livejournal, that's "Dear Diary".

So I was contemplating today... yesterday... sometime recently, the two different types of fans that tend to pop up (they can crossover).

You have your 'mainstream' fan. Someone who enjoys a movie, or a TV series or a video game or a book/comic and proceeds to purchase lots of licenced material to show how much they like the thing.

Then there are the 'fangirls' and 'fanboys'. People who are more likely to create and consume fanworks rather than licenced material.
Things like - fanfic, fanart, fanmixes, cute little handmade plushies, T-shirt designs sold on Redbubble, funky jewellery that subtly implies elements of the thing that is loved.

I was thinking about my main fandoms and the only licenced thing I think I own - apart from the DVDs, are Pop-Funko figurines.

Just a thought - feel free to comment or discuss.
Red dress

(no subject)

I've been listening to so much swing music I'm worried I'll burn myself out and suddenly not be able to stand it anymore.

Mostly Benny Goodman's Sing Sing Sing and all the boppy upbeat Andrews Sisters songs. I just don't seem to be getting sick of them. But it was like this with figure skating music. Although - I do like listening to that again now.

Hrm... *goes on Youtube to seek out vids of figure skating programs to swing music* Awww yisss.
  • Current Music
    Lullaby of Broadway - The Andrews Sisters
Red dress

We're six jerks in a jeep - BEEP BEEP

My Nan and Pop would be proud.

I remember when I was a teenager staying with them and playing my music loudly and it was stuff like Bon Jovi and Trixter and a bit later silverchair and Nirvana and of course they complained about the noise.

The last few days I've been listening to (and singing) a bunch of Andrews Sisters songs. A lot of these songs are old standards, so I'm familiar with them, but now I know the words to them, some I didn't even know HAD words previously. I never thought something like Chatanooga Choo-Choo could conceivably become a favourite song of the moment.

It's amusing reading the comments on the YouTube vids of their songs - so many people going on about "How horrible and obscene" modern music is and how "OMG Candyman (by Christina Aguileira) is so disgusting and sexual, and stuff like Andrews Sisters isn't." Have these people ever listened closely to Hold Tight? That song is hella dirty, they ain't singing about fish & chips there. Really, nothing has truly changed, I'm quite happy to be bopping along to Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy one day and the next headbanging to Counting Bodies Like Sheep.

So yeah, Swing, which is my thing right now. Finished my second round of beginner classes and I'm starting to really get the nitty gritty of some steps down, which is great, it's all just practice and repetition - and bonus exercise! Intermediate class was learning a move called the Hacksaw, which involves frantic kicks and looks really nifty, and the Suzie Q, which is a low down shuffling move which is absolute HELL on my knees. Despite having the scary name, I'd rather do the Hacksaw.

The knees really freakin' hurt this morning, they are considerably better now but still not 100%. By mid tomorrow they should be okay.

And achievement unlocked - doing the Charleston to Sing Sing Sing. Happy BJ.
  • Current Music
    Sing Sing Sing - Benny Goodman
  • Tags
Red dress

Hi Livejournal, I'm learning to Swing Dance!

I also wanna try to use poor old LJ more often (how often have I said that?)

- I need to learn how to be led. Hopefully it's something that just comes with practice and time.
- Wow, I thought a toenail was poking into another toe, but it seems I have managed to break a toenail and part of it has come off and it was bleeding and I had no idea.
- I have NO idea where the guys at SDA get their energy. Some of them were going the whole night, and not slowing down. I wonder if I will get anywhere near those energy levels if I keep this up.
- Stucky feels intensifying.
- Where can I learn Balboa? It's like someone shoved all the fancy moves in Quickstep into a dance and removed the stuff that moves you around the floor at a rapid pace.
- Jive is so ingrained in my head that I keep slipping into it while doing Lindy Hop - annoying.
- Sing Sing Sing actually has lyrics.
- Need more Andrews Sisters.
- I think I need to learn Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen and sing it at karaoke.

yeah, it's now midnight, waiting for sleep wave to hit.
  • Current Music
    Chatanooga Choo-Choo - The Andrews Sisters
  • Tags
Red dress

Another weird dream

Another that was a relief to find it was just a dream.

I dreamed I was on holiday, like I will be soon down in Denmark. There were various details but this is just the most memorable.

I was parked in a carpark somewhere and it was on a slope. I'm driving out and something must have distracted me, I can't really remember, but anyway whatever it was caused me to accidentally hit the corner of the car in the row in front of me. Just a slight dent. The woman in that car starts yelling and I get out of the car to apologise and stuff, and she gets back in her car and drives off... I have left my handbrake on.

With no car in front to stop it my car rolls off, too fast for me to catch up, it rolls down the entire carpark, hitting a few things as it does so then comes to an embankment and topples over. All because this silly woman DROVE OFF.

There was more but that's the essence of it.