Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's All Greek Key To Me

Here is my entry for the Chalkboard Nails Dotting Tool Contest. Sarah's rules are that you can only use a dotting tool (and the brush on your nail polish bottles) to make your entry. No acrylic paints, no tiny nail art brushes. Boo. But it was a great way to challenge myself. Here is what I came up with:

It's a Greek 'key' design! It looks kind of like mosaic. I like it!

I started with a base of Essie Borrowed and Blue. I really love this shade. I've used it before on one of my first blog posts when I did the raven mani. Check that out here

I used my smallest dotting tool to make a sort of french mani with dark blue polish and a sort of teal blue polish. This mani on its own would look pretty cool.

Then I did the Greek key design. There was actually quite a bit of counting and plotting to do this. Grrr.... I was told there would be no math! :)

Here is the Greek key design completed. Seeing as this was kind of a pain to do, I just did one more key design on my ring finger and called it a night. 

Even one accent nail is still fun!

Polishes used in this manicure: China Glaze Happy Go Lucky, China Glaze Aqua Baby, Essie Borrowed and Blue, and Pure Ice French Kiss. I used OPI Nail Envy for my base coat and Seche Vite for my top coat. 

You still have time to enter Sarah's contest! Check out all of the fun entries, there's some great talent out there. :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Writer's Block Nails and 500 Followers Winner!

I laughingly call this mani my Writer's Block Nails because I painted my digits with Essie Blanc, meaning to do something for my friend Sarah's Dotting Tool Contest, and this is what I ended up wearing for 3 days. o.O

Yeah, not very inspired. I am happy to report that I did eventually come up with a design for Sarah's contest and I will post those soon. Meanwhile, I am thrilled to announce that Courtney Young is the winner of my 500 Follower contest! I asked you to paint your nails using your favorite color (you didn't have to do any artwork, but it certainly was welcome) and submit it for voting on Facebook. Courtney's nails received the most likes and she has won a selection of 6 nail polishes in my favorite hue: blue!

Here is what Courtney said about her sushi nails: "I used Zoya Apple and did some sushi nail art over it. Thanks so much for the contest. I can't wait to see everyone else's favorites!"

There really were some great entries and I thank everyone for sending in your photos and for voting on your favorites. I loved every single entry. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Carrots on Crack

I have to admit, I am not a big fan of crackle finish polishes. They look like your nail is falling apart. That's great if you want zombie nails, but that is not usually what you are trying for. But I decided to try out the new crackle polish duos recently released by Revlon. I saw these at Walgreens, so I picked up two different shades. One has orange crackle (pictured here), and the other has gold crackle.

And I added a carrot. Why?! I think because it kind of matches the orange crackle, and because I really loved the evil carrots I did back in October. They were so fun to paint.

Here is the base color. It is called Steamy. The companion orange crackle is called Affair. Steamy Affair. So clever.

Then I painted my cute little not-so-evil carrot using acrylic paints and my small nail art brush. The small brush and thinned down acrylic paint really allow me to get fine details. After this pic, I added the crackle and then I had to wait a bit for it to dry before I sealed with topcoat. 

Here's the polish duo. I have to say, it is rather awkward to use, and the brush ends up being really top heavy, and prone to spills. I bought this one and the duo called Killer Instincts. And I will be honest, crackle is probably not a good choice for anyone whose skin is starting to wrinkle. It just accentuates the wrinkles. I may be too old for crack. Which is fine, because crack is whack.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras Nails

Laissez les bon temps rouler! Happy Fat Tuesday everyone! I have never celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but I have celebrated Fasnacht in Basel, Switzerland twice. It is one of the top 5 experiences of my life so far. Imagine giant paper lantern floats, led by teams of pipers and drummers decked out in crazy masks, all with paper lanterns on their heads, too! The lights of Basel go out at 4am and then it's a parade and a party until the sun comes up (and even after that). The pipers and drummers start to wander off onto side streets and you might end up following just a few of them down a little alleyway. Then you stop and get some coffee or beer, and Zwiebelkuchen, an onion-y quiche. Then you head back out for more! It's magical.

I chose Mardi Grad colors and did a skittles mani (skittles=different colors on each nail, like a bag of Skittles candy). Then I added a bit of nail art to make it festive.

Here are the nails before I added nail art.

I did the fleur de lis freehand using gold acrylic paint. To find out more about my technique for nail art and the tools and paints I use, please check out my FAQ section

On my right hand I added a string of beads using more gold acrylic paint.

Colors used in this manicure: Zoya Mimi, Ulta Envy, and L'Oreal Amazon's Flash. All of these shades are gorgeous!

If you are interested in Basel's Fasnacht celebration, check out this short video. Those lanterns following the big floats are attached to the tops of people's heads!

Finally, don't forget to cast your vote in my 500 Follower contest! I have all of the photos posted on my Facebook page. Simply 'like' the picture to cast your vote. Voting ends on Friday, February 24th at 5pm Pacific Time. Thanks!

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Two Cents Worth

Today is Presidents Day in the U.S. and in honor of this holiday, I have created nails featuring a president: Abraham Lincoln. His likeness is on the one cent coin, but a recent news story revealed that our penny costs more to produce than what it represents! The one cent coin actually costs 2 cents to make.

I am an amateur numismatist (aka coin collector). Did you know the little letter underneath the date stamped on every U.S. coin indicates where the coin was minted? D is for Denver. P is for Philadelphia, and S is for San Francisco. The San Francisco mint is pretty much closed now. They only mint proof coins. There is also a mint at West Point, but they only do proof coins and American Eagle coins. 

I started with a base of Pure Ice Fast Lane. It has that shiny new penny color. It is a frost finish however, so I painted one coat, and then used a technique suggested by Leslie of Polish Art Addiction

You use an eye shadow brush (a disposable one is best, because you won't be able to use it again) to dab on the final coat. It gets rid of those annoying brush lines! The top nail on this wheel was done with Leslie's technique, the bottom was just brushed on. See? Big difference!

I used bronze, white, and black acrylic paints to do the artwork for this manicure. This was not the easiest design to do. 

So here is Abe all done before I sealed him with top coat. I also added a date and mint marking. I guess I did my nails in Denver. :)

On my right hand I painted some cent symbols on my ring finger. Big Money! I am a high roller, what can I say?

I have uploaded all of the entries for my 500 Followers contest. You can check out the entries on Facebook by clicking here. Please vote for your favorite by 'liking' the picture. Votes will be accepted through Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 5pm Pacific Time. Good luck and thank you to everyone who entered!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Diamond and Tiara Party Nails

My friend Johnna just had her birthday party this past weekend. She did it up right by having a Diamond and Tiara Ice Skating Party at the local ice rink: Snoopy's Home Ice. This ice rink is part of the Charles M. Schulz Museum, and Snoopy's Gallery and Gift Shop. It is all done up on the outside and the inside to look like a big Swiss chalet. Very 1970s ski lodge-y. I picked out my favorite plastic tiara and of course had to make a manicure to match.

I painted my nails with a bubblegum pink shade from Cosmetic Arts, then topped the index finger with Amy's franken polish called A Dash of Princess, and added white polka dots to my ring finger using Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Whirlwind White. Very girly.

Here is the adorable polish from Amy. Amy's blog is I'm Feeling Nail-Venturous, and she has been putting together some great hand made polishes. She really knows what she is doing with glitter. This polish has pink, white, and silver glitter in various sizes. It is so fun!

The birthday girl Johnna is the one in the middle of this pic with the Pabst Blue Ribbon badges (homemade), and the modified wedding gown. I think she drastically shortened it, and added some padding to the butt and elbows in case of hard landings.

This is me and Johnna after we were done skating. We both got injured. I got stabbed in the leg by some guy's skate when he wiped out next to me (owie!), and Johnna took a spill on her hip. But don't we look Fabulous?! (Well, at least Johnna does.) LOL

There is still time for you to enter my 500 Follower contest! You have until 5pm Pacific Time today to enter. Find out more about the contest by clicking here. Good luck!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bamboo Nails

This is a guest post that I did for Kayla Shevonne! You can check out more pictures and an explanation of how I did this nail art on her blog by clicking here. It was really fun to have my work featured on her great blog.

Don't forget, you still have time to enter my 500 Follower contest! You don't have to do any nail art, I just want to see your lovely nails in your favorite shade. Of course, nail art and stamping are totally fine, but if that's not your thing, don't worry. Click here for the details on the contest. Deadline for entry is tomorrow at 5pm Pacific Time.

I've also hit another milestone on my blog! This is the 81st post, and every 20 posts I make a donation to Women's Recovery Services. They help women transitioning out of substance abuse. One of the things they provide are toiletries and make up. We all know that putting on a bit of make up or applying a nice manicure is a big boost to self esteem, and these women really need it. I encourage you to find a way to make your own blog do some good in your community. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sully from Monsters Inc. and a GIVEAWAY!

I have been meaning to do this manicure for a while now, and I finally had the perfect polish to do it. China Glaze Aquadelic from their new Electropop collection is the exact shade of Sully's fur. :)

This photo that I took outside shows the best representation of the true color of this polish. I love blue polishes so much, but sadly they do not photograph well. This is James "Sully" Sullivan from the Pixar movie Monsters Inc. This manicure has a Sonoma County connection, because the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar lives in Sonoma County! John Lasseter, director of such great movies as "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," and "Cars," lives in beautiful Sonoma County. 

Here is a shot of the base color (again, this is not color correct, see the above photo for a more accurate pic).

I used acrylic paints to make the artwork on top of the base polish color. Sully is a fun character to paint, and I have his little pal Mike Wazowski on my list to do as well. 

Here is Sully pretty much done. His eyes were pretty hard to do since they are so tiny, but luckily I was able to manage it on the first try and not start over again. 

Then I added splotches of purple paint across the other nails to mimic Sully's fur. Or as Boo likes to call him, "Kitty!"

Ok, now for the fun part. I recently hit 500 followers on my blog and I am super thrilled! Your comments really mean a lot to me and encourage me to keep challenging myself with new nail art ideas. I would like to show my appreciation by giving you a chance to win some polishes in my favorite color: BLUE! Here are the  beauties you could win:

Sinful Colors Cinderella, China Glaze Aquadelic, Finger Paints Twisted (ok, this one isn't' blue, but it's AWESOME!), OPI Simmer and Shimmer, Love & Beauty Blue Multi, and Milani Jewel FX Teal. These are all brand new polishes, never used. I purchased all of these polishes for this giveaway.

OPI Simmer and Shimmer is from the Burlesque collection. It's a really pretty glitter with lots of blue. Finger Paints Twisted is an awesome flakie topcoat with multicolored flakes. 

Sinful Colors Cinderella is a gorgeous light blue polish with glass flecks and a pink to yellow shimmer. The Milani Jewel FX Teal glitter is incredible! There're holo glitters, multiple sizes of blue glitter, green glitter, ...just WOW!

China Glaze Aquadelic is from the Electropop collection and is much brighter and more teal than this picture shows. The Love & Beauty polish from Forever 21 has a golden sheen to it that is really pretty.

So how do you win these 6 polishes? I want to do something interactive, but I know not everyone likes to do nail art. So here's the contest: I want to see photos of your favorite color on your nails! You can submit one photo of your nails painted in your favorite shade. You can do nail art if you like, even do multiple polishes in your favorite color! Please watermark your photo with your GFC follower name. I will post all of the submitted photos on my Sonoma Nail Art Facebook page next week, and the photo with the most likes will win the polish! 

You must be a follower of this blog. Send only ONE (1) photo of your nails to me at marquesmaverick@gmail.com. Be sure to watermark your photo with your GFC follower name. Deadline to enter your photo is Friday, February 17th, 2012 at 5pm Pacific Time. All entries will be posted on the Sonoma Nail Art Facebook page on Monday, February 20th, 2012. Vote for your favorites by 'liking' the photo. The photo with the most likes on Friday, February 24th, 2012 at 5pm Pacific Time will win the contest! This contest is open to everyone (including international entries). 

Thanks for following me and have fun with this contest! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Wuv That Wascally Wabbit

Nothing says love like a rabbit in drag. I thought this would be a fun Valentine's Day mani that was a bit outside the norm. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in LOVE! I present to you, the original Drag Queen: Bugs Bunny!

It's Bugs Bunny all gussied up and batting his cute little eyelashes at a love-struck Elmer Fudd. With little hearts, if it weren't already obvious that Elmer's got the hots for Bugs.

I started with a base of Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Urgent Orchid. I really like this shade, but it gets a bit goopy towards the end of the bottle. Need to add thinner...

Then I topped them with Pure Ice Busted. I bought this color while I was in Reno over the New Year holiday. It is really luscious, but it needs some kind of strongly pigmented base coat for it to really look nice. This mani on its own was really pretty!

I started with Bugs on my middle finger. I used acrylic paints and a small nail art brush from Sally's Beauty Supply to do the artwork. Find out more about my nail art tools on my FAQ page.

Next came Elmer. He's a little smaller in proportion to Bugs than he should be, but still really darling. 

I think the hardest part about Elmer were the little stars in his eye. They are REEEEEALLY little. And I added some shading to his cheeks to give him that flush of love at first sight (*snicker).

On my right hand I painted a little heart. I could have done more, but I finished this mani at 12:30 last night and was already up way past my bedtime. 

Here is the image that inspired this manicure. Bugs always looked so beautiful in drag. Right on little bunny! Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello Kitty Valentine Nails

My polish friend Rebecca of Rebecca Likes Nails is a HUGE Hello Kitty fan. She was rather peeved at me when I made my Hello Kitty Zombie Nails. So to make up for it, and to celebrate the season of LOVE, here are my Hello Kitty Valentine Nails.

See, Rebecca? No fractured skull, no oozing blood. Just a pretty Hello Kitty with wings, floating around in heaven while picking the Valentine hearts that are growing out of clouds. 

My inspiration for this mani came from this adorable wallpaper I found at this site

I started with a base of Sinful Colors Cinderella. It's a beautiful shimmery blue with a bit of pink flash to the glass flecks in the polish. It's exactly what a Cinderella polish should look like. Sadly the Walt Disney Company tried to come out with a line of polishes inspired by Disney Princesses last year and they were a big disappointment. 

I painted Hello Kitty by using acrylic paints thinned with water. I made some minor adjustments to her after I took this pic, but this is how she pretty much ended up before top coat.

Then I added clouds and the basis for the Valentine flowers using more acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is easier to work with and gives you much more control than polish. Always start with a base of nail polish on your nails, then apply acrylic paint on top of that for the art work. Seal it with clear top coat. 

I finished by adding color to the Valentine hearts and a few random hearts on my other nails. I also painted a few random heart on my right hand, just to give the design a bit of continuity through the two hands. I am not as skilled at painting with my non-dominant hand. 

Here are the finished nails before topcoat. 

By the way, Rebecca is having a cool giveaway now (there may even be Hello Kitty items in it) so be sure to check it out before Valentine's Day.

I am really close to 500 followers, which is super exciting. I have a fun giveaway planned when I reach that milestone. Thanks to everyone for your kind support and great comments. I am having a blast doing this blog.