Monday, August 31, 2009

Gazing at the pink moon

Hello ladies,

I have another Coraline manicure for you today to gear up for the end of the Kit A giveaway on September 4th.  A pink Moon looks down from the dark purple sky at Coraline and a little friend stares up at me.

What are you doing up there?
I can do that too! 

As you can see, I had a creative assistant in the garden today! It was so nice to model with a praying mantis. My friend David also accompanied me, but he left the modeling to the qualified personnel. Together we saw a chubby catbird, a hummingbird, a monarch butterfly, and a variety of thirsty bees. It amazes me all the wildlife that can inhabit a small community garden at the edge of center city.  

The base color for my pink Moon manicure is Borghese Carnevale Grape. It's a rich purple with a jelly formula. I applied two coats. Three would have given it perfect opacity in all lighting, but I love the stained glass look of jelly formulas in strong sun. In low light, the purple leans towards almost black, as visible with the rose flower ring. The formula is a pleasure to apply. The trademark Borghese brush features a set of two closely placed brushes, forming one wide surface area for collecting and distributing polish. Painting the color felt decadent. There was so much shine even before I added topcoat. The entire process of adding coats of Carnevale Grape to my nails felt like I was in a sumptuous boudoir setting. I am smitten. 

The face of Coraline was stamped from plate C01 using Konad special polish in gold. I tilted the design to position her looking up. The pink Moon rhinestones came from Victoria Nail Supply. See the link at the sidebar. 

Happy painting, ladies!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Miss Popple is a prop

Hello ladies,

I did promise a special Coraline treat this weekend...I had some assistance from a couple ladies. One is wee and fuzzy. Cassandra and I met this afternoon for brunch, shopping and Konad play. It seems Miss Popple, a peachy rat, wanted to join our reverie. 

Miss Popple loved helping us display our Konad manicures. She made little purring sounds of joy and kept one curious eye on the camera at all times. In the second picture, Miss Popple did a little grooming to join with the pampered theme of the day. 

The mouse stamp is from Coraline Kit A, plate C05. On my nails, I used Konad special polish in dark orange over Sephora by OPI Run with It. Cassandra is wearing OPI Maine-iac Mauve with stamping in white special polish. I found the design a little challenging to work with, primarily for positioning. For shorter nails, I would encourage letting the curve of the tail drop off the nail on a couple fingers. The entire mouse wouldn't fit on her pinky, so I set it similarly on the index finger for balance. The mice could be stamped at various levels to look like they are performing in Mr. Bobo's Remarkable Mouse Circus from the Coraline story. I think it's a fun design to encourage adventure with asymmetry. Shh! Let's not tell Miss Popple we had mice (and not rats) on our nails. I think there is enough artistic ambiguity in the embellishment to go beyond question.

Sephora by OPI Run With It has been lost with my untried colors since last fall! It's interesting. There's gold shimmer mixed with the grey so it reads like flashy putty on the nail. I feel like the amber rhinestones added some zest. I prefer this grey to the creme formulas that look like plastic encased wires. I think olive toned skin would do well with this grey since the gold shimmer would highlight the complexion. It's neutral enough for my fair skin too. 

I love the SOPI formula. It's opaque in two coats and smoothes on the nail effortlessly. It was a very clear comparison painting Cassandra's nails a little after mine. Regular OPI needs three coats to fill in sheerer areas remaining after two. I really wish the SOPI formula will eventually be of influence to improve pigmentation in standard OPI colors. I was surprised how pretty Maine-iac Mauve appeared on the nail. The gold shimmer was very much on display. I was pleased to see that the shimmer translated from the bottle to the finished manicure. 

I had such a fun afternoon with many thanks to Cassandra and Miss Popple. The only being made cranky by the experience was my cat Fortune, who smelled me with supreme irritation. He looked at me like I had enjoyed the best lunch ever and didn't share. He kept sniffing my neck and scowling. Hilarious!

Just a reminder: This is the last week to win Coraline Kit A. The contest ends September 4th. Enter away if you haven't had the chance. The kit would also make an attractive gift for a sister, friend, or niece who loves to do her nails. I will be showing more Coraline manicures through the week. 

Happy painting, ladies! 


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Inspired whimsy: A red velvet cupcake.

Hello ladies,

The idea for today's manicure came in the form of a cupcake from Brown Betty Petite in Philadelphia. Yesterday, I purchased Jean's Road Trip, a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing. The cupcakes at Brown Betty are the most delectable I have ever tasted. Three generations of strong women from grandmother to granddaughter all work together to bring amazing cupcakes to my home city. I don't want to mislead any of you into believing a picture of a cupcake is forthcoming. I consumed the inspiration gleefully.

I hope all the sparkle in Precision's Red Velvet Cupcake will translate the feeling I have after walking out of Brown Betty Petite with a tiny white bag, all for me. 

Please click on these pictures if you are able.  

Red Velvet Cupcake is from the Precision Sprinkles Collection. The polish has a sheer base with silver and light red glitter pieces. The latter can appear pink in certain lights. The glitter is abundant, but finely cut. One coat of CND Super Shiney leaves only a hint of texture. Even in low light, the sparkle is omnipresent. Three coats will bring any of the polishes from the Sprinkles Collection close to opacity. You will see a a fine dotting of the natural nail beneath unless you decide to layer the polish as I did. 

I chose Carolyn New York, Christmas in New York for the base. I painted one coat of the red jelly polish over Zoya Get Even and added two coats of Red Velvet Cupcake. I apologize for not getting a bottle shot with the CNY polish. After I was able to take about six pictures total, the sun decided to be at home behind the clouds. I worked with as much sun as the largely overcast day could afford. With CNY recently going out of business and their website still accepting orders that will not be filled, I decided to proceed without the picture. Any blue based red or hot pink would complement the glitter and be lovely as a layering note. It's not essential to have the same red for the finished look to be similar. 

When I layer polishes, I apply the glitter coats heavier at the sides of the nail than I would normally. I endeavor to be a little messy to achieve even coverage and avoid the unintentional halo of color formed when not enough glitter coats the edges of the base. I clean up the cuticle area with a natural bristle paintbrush dipped acetone. My goal is to make it appear like I am wearing one polish with lots of depth.

Precision polishes tend to apply with ease. I had no trouble coating the nail evenly. The glitter smoothed out without needing extra brush stokes for proper coverage. Precision polishes can be purchased from sparkling nails on ebay. Please see the link at the sidebar. She is quite wonderful at searching for colors she doesn't have in stock, so don't hesitate to contact her if you don't find what you are looking for in the current assortment. Please let her know I sent you her way. 

The prop I used today is a hand blown glass sphere meant to be hung in a window. Being Thursday, I borrowed this decoration from the store and took it out to the canal walk for a photo session.

I am going to have some very special Konad posts from Coraline Kit A starting Sunday night. A new supply of my favorite quick dry top coat should be arriving tomorrow. I am ready to stamp!  Happy painting, ladies! 


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Apothecary: Zoya Remove +

Hello ladies,

Today I wanted to share my daily process occurring with my favorite polish remover: Zoya Remove +. My friend Lisa and I found a delightful bottle holder in the garden next to the Mutter Museum. It's a shame I can't transport the Remove + bearer to my apartment. Of course she must remain in the garden so that others can take her picture with their most treasured nail polish remover. It's essential to retain the sense of community, especially in city dwelling.  

Remove + is the first step of the Zoya Colorlock System. As a polish remover and nail prep, Remove + can be utilized as part of your current nail care procedure regardless of which treatment products you use. I believe it's the mark of a quality product when it can be separated from a line and still achieve excellent results. 

I feel choosing a quality polish remover helps maintain nail length and reduces damage that can eventually lead to breakage. Even if I purchase drugstore polish, I will still take it off with Remove +. Using a polish remover that typically requires a scrubbing action to be effective can cause the nail to slightly twist at the sides. This motion ultimately weakens the nail and can form tiny cracks that grow into tears or splits.  

I have to praise Zoya for creating, to my nose,  the best smelling polish remover on the market. I have a finite sense of smell. I love natural perfumery and for me to praise the scent of a polish remover is nothing short of miraculous! Zoya describes the scent as being lavender based. To me, it smells like a light floral expanse distracting from the effective ingredients. The list includes: 2-Propanone, water, glycerine, fragrance and D&C violet #2. The color is light purple and looks like it is a lavender scented product. That information doesn't relate to my olfactory senses. I smell a giant mixed bouquet tossed over 2-Propanone. 

The method I use to remove polish begins with cutting up rectangles of white felt from the craft store. I size the pieces slightly larger than each nail.  I position the piece of felt over the holes under the flip cap and pump once. This should saturate the felt and leave a little extra remover that can be absorbed by the next piece. I gently press the piece of felt to make contact with the entire surface of the nail. I wait for about 20 seconds, then wipe. I use the same method with glitter polishes. Usually glitter will require a second pump of remover. I use one small piece of felt per nail. For regular polish, you can use cotton rounds if you prefer. I have found felt to be so economical I use it to remove every type of polish I wear. As a bonus, less product is required when working with felt.

The Big Flipper bottle seemed a little awkward to me the first couple times I tried it. You'll find the most comfortable pressure to dispense the amount of polish remover you require. A 32 oz. refill bottle is available. There is also a 2 oz. trial size. I would advise skipping that and moving to the 8 oz. Big Flipper. 

Remove + also works beautifully as a nail prep. Directly before I polish, I take a felt square similar in size to a cotton round and go over all ten nails. This will take off any oils that can keep your base coat from throughly adhering to the nail plate. Touching your face, pushing back your hair, or petting your dog or cat can transfer imperceptible oils to the nail that will cause polish to chip. Base coat can't thoroughly adhere to oil. Giving my nails a final swipe with Remove + is the final step before I begin painting. It assures the nail plate is clean and ready for base coat. 

One of the points necessary for maintaining nail length, to whatever degree suits your sense of aesthetics and lifestyle, is consistency. I use Remove + exclusively for nail prep. There are other removers I find work effectively to take off polish and I will be sharing those with you as part of the apothecary series.  

Happy painting, removing, and painting again! 

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rhinestone flower girl

Hello ladies,

Today I have pinwheel flowers from Coraline Kit A. I added pink rhinestones to the center of the larger blooms and gave two fingers and my thumb on each hand a rhinestone beauty mark. The base for this invention is the neon Zoya Dita from the La Di Da collection. I added two flower ring pictures to better illustrate the placement of jewels and stamping. In the last photo, my elusive right hand makes it's debut. 

Clicking to enlarge will make the design more crisp. Neons are tricky! 

The pinwheel flowers are from Coraline plate C01. I used Konad special polish in black. After the smaller flower migrated during stamping four times between two hands, I decided to work it into the design element. I applied a clear rhinestone with a rainbow reflection to form a triad. I love to include flower rings because they are fun to wear, but also holding them shows the centering of the stamping more accurately. Bending fingers over a polish bottle can alter the visual of my nail length and cause the designs to appear like they are shifting off center. 

I had some trials with rhinestone application. Applying nail glue directly against special polish will cause your design to dissolve into a sticky Rorschach inkblot. A better method is to apply your rhinestones a few minutes after using Konad top coat. Gently press them into the top coat. Skip the glue. Seal the look with your favorite quick dry treatment.

Zoya Dita, along with America, is among my favorites from the La Di Da collection. It's a hip, bright take on all the berry cremes we have been seeing. It's eye catching and classic at once. Dita could be worn to recreate the look of an old time movie starlet. I wish neon polishes photographed true to life, as this color is stunning in person. It's worth an add on to a Zoya order. I think this shade could work well into the fall.   

I hope you like today's creation. Happy painting, ladies!   

Monday, August 24, 2009

A cosmos in miniature

Hello ladies,

I found a tiny cosmos in a bottle for you today in the form of Sephora Blue Sapphire. It's a Sephora store brand mini polish in a 5 ml bottle. You could fit the contents of three bottles into a full size 15 ml OPI. The bottles are adorable, though not wholly practical. Since the polish has a planetary vibe, I set my deep blue sodalite sphere into orbit. 

What makes Blue Sapphire remarkable is it remains color accurate to it's name in almost every light. It doesn't venture into the almost black woods. It stays blue. The glitter is a combination of blue and silver pieces with finer shimmer stirred in. The jelly finish suspends the glitter without obscuring it. The formula managed to be opaque in two coats. 

The application was easy, excepting the bottle. I was apparently overly aggressive with my brush wand. My open bottle toppled and clattered around the sink. Thankfully not a molecule of polish was wasted. Watch out for those Sephora minis! Dastardly rapscallions! 

I think this is a color for which I am justified in purchasing a back up bottle. I may be resurrecting Blue Sapphire for a midwinter manicure with silver Konad snowflakes. So nice to consider in August!

I will be creating more looks from Coraline Kit A in the next couple days. 

Happy painting, ladies! 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reflection with a green egg

Hello ladies,

I am very much besotted with today's manicure. The title comes from the combination of Nfu Oh #50, Borghese Campanula Bellflower and a swirly malachite egg. I would advise clicking on any picture to get a close up of the iridescent flakies in the Nfu Oh polish. Enlarging the flower ring photo will reveal a green hitchhiker!  

Like the majority of the flakie polishes, Nfu-Oh #50 is sheer. One of my favorite ways to layer is to recreate the bottle color on the nail. I enjoy attempting to match the base of the glitter polish with an opaque color in the same family. Borghese's Campanula Bellflower achieved the look I wanted. Two coats of Nfu-Oh #50 were painted over three layers of Campanula Bellflower. I used Creative Nail Design Super Shiney as a top coat with OPI Drip Dry drops to harden all those layers. I did have some minor bubbling. Weather wise, the air was festooned with pre-thunderstorm humidity. Were I to do this manicure again, I would add a quick dry topcoat over Campanula Bellflower, allow the polish to set and then apply two coats of Nfu Oh #50 and seal with a final topcoat. I wasn't expecting to be creating a layer cake of color when I began! 

Despite the large flakie glitter, Nfu Oh polishes are simple to apply. The flakies are thin and diaphanous. They mold to the shape of the nail easily with little texture when the polish is dried. They won't pop up or rise off the nail bed. Nfu Oh flakies have the brightest moon glow affect in low, natural lighting. They blur a little in the photos when not in direct sunlight. These can be purchased from Fabulous Street. See the shopping link at the sidebar. 

Borghese Campanula Bellflower is so pretty singly I had trouble painting over it! Were the Nfu Oh not such a worthy layering note, I would have abandoned the idea. For those not familar, Borghese polish is a drugstore brand that travelled over from department store make up counters. They offer the best wide style brush of every brand I have tried. I find Borghese brushes more consistent than OPI prowide. They direct the polish over the nail. They don't mop it on. Campanula Bellflower was from the spring line: Borghese Gardens. I saw it recently at Ulta. You may find a bottle tucked into a wall unit display at the drugstore. The leftover bottles from the seasonal collections tend to be mixed in with their regular line as the limited edition displays empty. It's a lovely pale purple filled with rainbow micro shimmer. 

I am currently waiting on an order from Victoria Nail Supply, which includes a bottle of my beloved CND Air Dry. I will be doing more Coraline manicures from Kit A to showcase the designs for the giveaway. I just need more quick dry top coat beforehand. If I get impatient, I may empty an OPI mini over ten nails. We'll see if I can hold out. Their customer service so far has been wonderful. I'm sure the order will be shipped quickly.  

Happy painting, ladies. I hope you all had a great weekend.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Seafoam and Fortune

Hello ladies,

I have a layered look to offer today. The combination of New York Color Big Money Frost and Claire's Sparkle produces a sea foam confection. I envision glittering tulle in an underwater ballet attended by a Sea Queen. This manicure has an undeniably fey quality. It makes me want to read faery tales by lamp and candlelight. At the close of the picture book my flame point Balinese, Fortune, shows his version of happily ever after.  

Fortune is awakening from a nap in his favored sleeping position. His blue eyes are partially open and his belly is an extravaganza of curly floof. If you ever see a white or peach cat hair in one of my photos, think of all the ones I kept away!

NYC Big Money Frost was tricky. The thin consistency required three coats for opacity. The formula could qualify for the brushstroke olympics! Still, I really loved the color. I found Claire's Sparkle to be sheer. It has a green tint that doesn't appear entirely clear on the nail. It's more like a watercolor filled with glitter. I think shorter nails would be a better canvas for the wash of color and and glitter Sparkle provides on it's own. Because the glitter is suitably packed in the base, I only required one coat over Big Money Frost. Claire's creates some of my favorite glitter polishes. Their polish display contains a wonderland of icy sparkle. 

I wanted to thank everyone who has entered the Coraline Nail Art Contest. I am going return to the post tomorrow and reply to the comments.

Happy painting, ladies. I hope you are enjoying your weekend.  

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Starry, starry Coraline

Hello ladies,

As promised, I have a manicure using a design from the Coraline Stamping Nail Art Set A. Starry Coraline inhabits plate C05. I stamped her image with Konad special polish in silver. The base color for the design is Chanel's Nuit de Russie, a blue black shade with turquoise micro shimmer. The funky french was painted with Star Struck from Claire's. Placing those two brands together on my nails amused me endlessly.  

Above is the persistent face of Morgana, the store cat, awaiting treats. She had taken over my chair and sat upon it for ransom. She is an all white beauty with perfect hearing and a mutable disposition. If the word treat is uttered, she will appear seemingly from the mists. She is catching on to the spelling: t-r-e-a-t.  Morgana looks a little blurry here. Sorry about that! I loved her expression and I wanted to share. 

The application of Chanel Nuit de Russie was flawless. One slowly painted coat nearly provided full coverage and needed minimal clean up. I am used to doing at least two coats with most brands. I went with a light second. I imagine someone with less nail length could apply one coat and touch up any areas still requiring more polish to reach opacity. The color is brighter than the average blackened blue. The shimmer is so reflective it looks like microscopic pieces of turquoise foil. Of the three colors in the Chanel Moscou collection, Nuit de Russie places third for me. While I don't regret purchasing it, I wouldn't recommend it as a color worth tracking down at ebay prices. 

Claire's Star Struck was a fussy diva! It's practically impossible to paint the stars on with a standard nail polish brush. I achieved the look by swiping the glitter polish without the stars into the form of a French tip. I used the pointed end of a small orange stick (included with a rhinestone carousel) for star placement. Tweezers would be effective as long as care is taken not to damage the stars by accidental bending or scratching. I swished the brush in the polish and picked up as many stars as possible. Most of them settled on the stem. I removed each star and added them starting at one side of the nail, working across. Two thick layers of topcoat sealed the holographic stars to the nail. There's a textural feel, but no protruding star points.

I did this manicure as a zen activity after a day of errands. This is not the look to attempt while rushed. I had great fun with it and received many compliments throughout the day.

Happy painting, ladies!  

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A celebratory contest welcoming the first 50 followers and beyond!

Hello ladies,

It's time for the second contest! On this occasion, we are celebrating the first 50 followers and more who have joined painted Lady fingers. I want to thank everyone who has been visiting. Your comments and positivity are such a delight to me. You all know how I adore Konad stamping and am particularly fond of the Coraline sets. I have partnered with Kathleen from OC Nail Art to offer you a chance to win your own Coraline kit A! So you can experiment, a plastic scraper will be included as well. The set comes with a metal scraper.

Let's examine the components. All pictures can be enlarged. You will see the reflection of my purple sundress in the image plates, but the designs will be easy to discern. The pictures you are viewing are of my own kit repackaged for display. Kathleen will be shipping a new kit and plastic scraper directly to the winner.  

Kit A includes image plates C01 and C05. I will include links to the posts containing manicures with the Coraline designs. I will be featuring more designs from Kit A during the contest period.

~gazing in thought
~cat with a curly tail
~looking over her shoulder

~cranky with arms and legs crossed
~with a messenger bag

The three mini special polishes are Blue Pearl, Psyche Pink and Yellow.

The metal scraper and the stamper are both embellished with butterflies. Pretty! I find the stamper in the Coraline kit the most ergonomic. It rolls fluidly and the stem is the perfect length for precision maneuvering. I use it for all my Konad stamping. 

Ah, my beloved plastic scraper! There are varied opinions favoring metal or plastic for scraping polish from the plate. I find I can scrape more quickly with the plastic. It doesn't scratch the design plates either. Kathleen and I want you to be able to try both to find your fancy.

More exciting news: I now have a discount code at OC Nail Art. Use "paintedladyfingers" for 20% off your total purchase. If the total after the code amounts to $20 or more, you will receive free shipping on your order, even internationally. Thank you, Kathleen, for the discount code and for sponsoring the Coraline contest! 

Here are the rules and ways to enter. I've seen variations of this procedure on other blogs. I figure we can try it out together! You can choose from any of the entry options or enter in as many ways as you like from the following choices: 

1) become a follower or e-mail subscriber (1 entry). Please tell me which way you are keeping up with painted Lady fingers. If you have already joined, you still receive the entry point. Since this contest is a celebration of followers and subscribers, it's essential to be one or the other to enter. 

2) create a post on your blog with a link to the contest. Please add the link in the comment. (2 entries)

3) add painted Lady fingers to your blogroll. (2 entries) If that has already occurred, mention it to me and you will still receive the two entries. Please provide a link unless I have already visited and commented on your blog.

4) tell me whether or not you have tried Konad stamping and what you think of it. (1 entry)

You are welcome to leave as many comments as you like to get your entries in. If it's easier to leave one comment with all the information, that's fine. If you prefer to leave separate comments for separate entries, go for it. I'm a Virgo. I can sort out the entries with ease. I was born for this sort of thing! Please leave me your e-mail in one of your comments so perhaps I can contact you with good news.  

The contest will run through September 4th and is open to followers and e-mail subscribers worldwide. Best of luck! I hope you have fun with it! I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts on Konad stamping. 


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fainting Couch: Overcome at Target

Hello ladies,

I had to languish on the fainting couch today. By the second coat of Milani Totally Cool, I fell into a swoon. Be prepared for rapture when viewing the pictures below. Clicking to enlarge will likely upset the delicate constitution of ladies made excitable by purple. If perchance you are not moved by the photos, please stand by with smelling salts and painted fans to help return the rest of us to our senses. I hope you like my trinket. It's a treated amethyst set in silver. 


I found this liquid gem at Target. When David lingers over golf balls or supplies the cart with endless cereal boxes, I depart to cosmetics for...extended research. Milani Totally Cool was first mentioned to me by my friend Lisa. If a polish is available in drug stores or chains, she is prepared with names, collection information and release dates for shopping ventures. Totally Cool is evidence of what incredible beauty can be discovered for less than four dollars! While I am a devotee of luxury brands like Chanel, I still am open to be awed at Target. 

Totally Cool has juicy pink shimmer suspended in a purple jelly base. It's more pigmented than the average jelly finish, but it maintains that glassy transparency. The bright pink shimmer seems almost edible. The color could be the content of a faceted candy dish from a dream: scrumptious, otherworldly jelly beans.

Application was simple. The first coat seemed sheer, but the color built respectably. The dry time was a little slower than usual, but it's difficult to discern if local humidity was not contributing to or the source of the issue. 

I had fun placing rhinestones to highlight the shimmer. I like having a bit of flash where the moons of my nails are obscured by polish. At the coffee shop today, the barista asked me if the pink sparkles did anything. I countered that pushing different ones would open doorways to other dimensions. Try this at home for a bit of whimsy. 

Happy painting, ladies.

Contest in a teapot! Who's the winner of Molten Metal?

Hello ladies,

In the great spirit of whimsy that possesses this blog and it's creator, I will endeavor to choose a winner. Who will be receiving the bottle of NYC Nail Glossies in Molten Metal? I have a bit of help from one of my favorite representatives of the animal kingdom to convey this message. 

The great owl is feeling contemplative in the garden setting. 
The owl is steeped in thought.

Oh, a missive!

What say you, great owl?

Nivipa is the winner! Congratulations! The bottle will be flying your way later this week. Please e-mail me your mailing information at berkana[at]fastmail[dot]fm. 

Thanks to everyone who entered. I really appreciated reading about your most beloved colors and formulas. It will help me to make certain I feature some of your favorites at painted Lady fingers. 

Please be sure to visit nivipa's nail blog too! I'm going to add nivipa to my blogroll right now. 

Happy painting ladies!