SIMPLES Week 11-Gradients

With all of the more intricate nail art that I have been doing for challenges lately, it’s almost a relief to get back to basics with a mani for the SIMPLES group.  Debbie’s lesson for this week is gradients, which is a type of nail art that can sort of be hit and miss for me.  I tend to love gradients, but there are some that I have done in the past that I just plain disliked.  I also have to admit that although using a makeup sponge is the easiest method for me, I am increasingly liking my results with watercolor and drybrush gradients because they usually flow together more smoothly.  Today, though, is a sponged gradient.

I used Kleancolor Pastel Blue, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, and Zoya Sailor for my accent nail, and the rest have a gradient made with Zoya Louise, OPI A-Piers to Be Tan, and Barry M Lychee.  Since it is the way I  normally do this, I used what Debbie calls the ‘choppy’ (or ‘sloppy’) method of making a gradient, where you don’t blend the colors at all before putting them on the sponge.




I am kind of iffy on these.  I usually like brown and blue together, but these shades don’t go together as well as I would have liked.  Looking at them individually though, the gradients turned out really well.  Especially the blue nail.

Switching gears completely, I want to remind everyone that my move to England is happening in three days.  And now that I’m caught up on SIMPLES, I am going to pack away the last of my polishes and nail art supplies, so there very likely won’t be anything up on the blog for at least a week.  A break like that is nothing new for me I guess, but I just thought I would offer a little warning this time.  🙂

Challenge Your Nail Art, Avast Ye Bilge Rats! Freestyle!

Ahoy, ye scallywags! Today be speak like a pirate day ‘n th’ last day o’ th’ Avast Ye Bilge Rats challenge! Th’ prompt fer this day be ‘freestyle or recreate another’s mani.’  I chose freestyle ‘n tried t’ use as much pirate-y stuff as possible. Except scurvy pirate shout. I be done wit’ that.

My original plan for today was to do individual nails for stereotypical pirate stuff–eye patch, hook, rum, hat, etc–but somehow I ended up doing something that I have never done before.  I did my images sideways, and had two nails fit together to form a single image.  I have done run-on scenes across my nails before, but nothing quite like this.

I made a Jolly Roger on my index finger with Sally Hansen Black Out and FingerPaints Paper Mache, and those two polishes were also used for the crossed swords flag on my pinky.  And stretching across my middle and ring fingers, I have a pirate who incorporates lots of the things I think of when I think of pirates.  He’s got the hat, the bandana, eye patch, beard, sash belt, and hook, although I did leave out the sword and peg leg.  For those two nails, I used Sally Hansen Pacific Blue as the background color, and Barry M Lychee, FingerPaints Paper Mache, Sally Hansen Black Out, Zoya Louise, OPI A-Piers to Be Tan, Kleancolor Red, Kleancolor Concrete Gray, and Zoya Carey for the pirate and his accessories.




He’s kind of cute, right?  I’m happy with how he turned out.  The two flags look good too.   I think the Jolly Roger is actually my favorite nail, even if I am proud of the pirate.

I’m sort of sad that the Avast Ye Bilge Rats challenge is over, even if it was quite a bit of work.  It was an extremely fun challenge, and I’m happy to have participated.  And I think I ended on a pretty strong note too.  But by the time the next challenge rolls around, we should be getting into the fall holiday season, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the next theme will be!

Challenge Your Nail Art, Avast Ye Bilge Rat! Treasure Maps!

When I first saw the treasure map prompt for today, I thought ‘How pirate-y is that?!’ but then wondered how much variety there could possibly be with such a straightforward theme.  Most treasure maps look basically the same, right?  Well, even if a lot of maps look similar on paper, they sure don’t on nails!  The ladies in the Challenge Your Nail Art group have come up with quite a few unique takes on the prompt, which is really great!  So congrats on your creative thinking, ladies!

I myself stuck with the obvious approach.  It’s an oldie, but a goodie.  So I made a map going across three of my nails, with a compass rose on my pinky and a ‘HERE BE DRAGONS’ warning on my thumb.  I used Flower Go With the Flow-er, No7 Beanie, OPI A-Piers to be Tan, Zoya Louise, Kleancolor Black, and Kleancolor Red to make this treasure map.






I’m glad I didn’t over think this one.  Everything was pretty easy, and the only element that gave me any trouble was the compass rose.  I had a nice pretty (more detailed) one, but I dropped a brush and got a nice big slash of brown across it, so I just filled the whole thing in with brown and added some black accents instead.  I still like it though.  It not only functions as the compass rose, but it also looks vaguely like the wheel of a ship!  My only afterthought is that I wish I had added a matte top coat.  I didn’t even think of it until long after I called this mani complete.

Sadly, tomorrow is the last day of the challenge.  But since it’s a freestyle day, I get the chance to fulfill any pirate stereotypes that I haven’t yet tried!

Challenge Your Nail Art, Avast Ye Bilge Rats! Gold and treasure!

I had so much trouble with today’s nail art!  I went with something a bit more difficult today, and faced all sorts of problems.  First off, I messed up my stick figure silhouettes (one of them looks like a starfish!).  Second, I did the nail art last night, but since my sister now sleeps in my nail room for some reason I had to rush and ended up smearing black all down two of the nails.  Then, I spent today kayaking, which created wear on the tips.  And finally, when I got home to fix the previous mistakes, I somehow avoided smearing the black but still smeared one of the glitters onto my starfish-man.  What an ordeal!

But, even with the mistakes, these nails turned out pretty good, in my opinion.  Here’s the first version from last night:


Using the flash hid the black smears! 🙂

I have a treasure chest, two pirates sword fighting in a gold-filled cavern, two other pirates sneaking out of the cavern with a chest, and a ‘close-up’ of one of the piles of gold (complete with some 3D gemstones).  The two cavern rooms used Charming Charlie Metallic Metal, Kleancolor Gold Bright, Pure Ice Jaguar, 17 Wishing Star, and Kleancolor Black.  The index used Zoya Louise, OPI A-Piers to Be Tan, Kleancolor Gold Bright, and Kleancolor Black for the chest itself, and Pure Ice Jaguar, 365 Days of Color The Goblet, Kleancolor Red, OPI I Saw…U Saw…We Saw…Warsaw, and FingerPaints Paper Mache for the treasure inside.  The pinky nail used Kleancolor Gold Bright, 17 Wishing Star, and 365 Days of Color The Goblet, with an addition of rhinestones to act as precious gems.

Here’s the mani after my attempted fix today:




The ‘diamond’ fell off during the trip down river today, but I thought the nail still looked good without it and so didn’t bother to find a replacement.  I am sad about the smeared gold glitter though, because my pirate already looks weird enough without a missing head.  Still, the challenge was gold and/or treasure, and because I do like my treasure representations, I am happy with today’s nail art.  Actually, I sort of love my index and pinky nails.  3D elements are unusual for me, but they really worked here and I am glad I chose to use them.

I have higher hopes for tomorrow’s mani though!  Treasure maps!

Challenge Your Nail Art, Avast Ye Bilge Rats! Oceans!

Since I went all out for yesterday’s prompt, I thought I would take things a bit easier today.  I probably should have done a little more than what I did, but I guess hindsight is 20/20.

So instead of doing the stormy seas and sunken ship that I had originally planned, I just did a view of the open sea.  I started with a base coat of Kleancolor Pastel Blue, and dry-brushed a gradient with Zoya Sailor, OPI I Saw…U Saw…We Saw…Warsaw, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, and Hard Candy Frenzy.  I used FingerPaints Paper Mache and a Model’s Own black striper for the clouds and bird.




I think it’s pretty.  Not overly fond of the puffy clouds, but the ocean is the star of the show anyway.  The gradient photographed really well too, and it actually kind of looks like a picture of the ocean should.  I am glad I went with such a simple design for this.  It’s a nice break from the more complex designs I have been using for challenges recently.

Tomorrow is a different story though!  I have every intention of going back to more detailed nail art for the gold/treasure theme!

Challenge Your Nail Art, Avast Ye Bilge Rats! Creatures!

Hello all!

I’m posting this a bit later than I originally wanted to, but I put blogging to the side today in favor of packing for my move to England, which happens in nine days!  I’m so excited about going back!  Coincidentally, I am also excited about this challenge!  Pirates!  This is the challenge schedule for this month:

Fun ones, right?  My mom thinks so, but since she goes around saying ‘Argh!’ whenever she is even the slightest bit frustrated, her liking this challenge isn’t much of a surprise.

But now onto my nail art!  Instead of picking one sea creature, I chose four.  So I have got some sharks circling the plank, the Kraken (or just a squid or octopus) about to attack a ship, a mermaid, and a parrot.  Polishes used:

Index: Kleancolor Beach Blue, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, ALIQUID I’m Heading Strait to Mackinac, Kleancolor Brown, Zoya Louise, Zoya Carey, Kleancolor Concrete Gray

Middle: Kleancolor Beach Blue, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, ALIQUID I’m Heading Strait to Mackinac, Kleancolor Pastel Blue, Zoya Louise, FingerPaints Paper Mache, Kleancolor Black, Essie Limo-scene, Kleancolor Concrete Gray, Zoya Carey

Ring: Kleancolor Beach Blue, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, ALIQUID I’m Heading Strait to Mackinac, Kleancolor Pastel Blue, Zoya Carey, Kleancolor Concrete Gray, Cover Girl Constant Caribbean, Barry M Lychee, China Glaze Gothic Lolita, Zoya Louise

Pinky: Kleancolor Beach Blue, Kleancolor Pastel Blue, Zoya Louise, No7 Beanie, Maybelline Color Show Electric Yellow, FingerPaints 15 Minutes of Frame, Kleancolor Black, FingerPaints Paper Mache, Kleancolor Concrete Gray





Ignoring my mermaid, I am really happy with these!  I am especially proud of my ship and parrot.  I thought for sure the parrot would be a failure, but it might be my favorite part of this nail art.  I am sort of sad though that all of my hard work on the background didn’t show up so well in the photos.  I used a watercolor technique on the ocean and sky on all of the nails to add a bit of dimension, but you can’t tell so much here.  But look at the sparkle that I’m Heading Strait to Mackinac added to the ocean!

I hope the rest of the challenge days turn out to be this fun too.  I sort of packed up most of my polishes today, so I’m limited in what I can use for my nail art.  But I think that could make the challenge even more interesting!

And don’t forget to go check out the other takes on today’s theme!

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something…blue

If you’re thinking that I am about to share some more Doctor Who nails, you are absolutely correct.  That Doctor Who wedding that I’ve mentioned in a few past posts finally happened, and even though I was scrambling to finalize some centerpiece and chocolate nibbles details–I made TARDIS vases and TARDIS and Dalek chocolates– I did make time to do some quick nail art.

The first time I did Doctor Who nails, I did ‘good versus bad’ hands that overall didn’t look so great.  Now, about 9 months after that first attempt, my skills have improved dramatically and I thought I would try again.  Even though this mani was a rush job, it is infinitely better than that first attempt, and was a hit at the wedding.

On my thumb nails I have one of the Doctor Who logos, but from there I have the ‘good versus bad’ theme going.  My right hand is the good side, featuring three Doctors (9, 10, and 11) and a close-up of the TARDIS.  Colors used:

Thumb- OPI OPI…Eurso Euro, FingerPaints Paper Mache

Index- FingerPaints Paper Mache, Kleancolor Red, Zoya Carey, Barry M Lychee

Middle- Zoya Louise, Kleancolor Pastel Blue, FingerPaints Paper Mache, Barry M Lychee

Ring- LynBDesigns Purple Polish of Sex, Model’s Own black striper, Barry M Lychee

Pinky- OPI OPI…Eurso Euro, Model’s Own black striper, FingerPaints Paper Mache





My left hand is the baddies, with Dalek and Cybermen nails, tally marks to represent the Silence (since they’re hard to do), and “Don’t Blink” for the Weeping Angels (since they’re even harder to do).

Thumb- OPI OPI…Eurso Euro, FingerPaints Paper Mache

Index- Kleancolor Concrete Gray, black permanent marker

Middle- Kleancolor Silver Spark, Kleancolor Black, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue

Ring- Charming Charlie Metallic Metal, 365 Days of Color The Locket, Pure Ice Jaguar, Model’s Own black striper, Kleancolor Black, Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, Kleancolor Pastel Blue

Pinky- Barry M Lychee, Model’s Own black striper






I really like these!  I took the easy way out on some of the nails, but considering the preparations for the wedding were a little higher on my priority list than nail art, I think that’s kind of understandable.  The nails still look good.  And, big surprise here, the Dalek nail is my favorite of the bunch.  Again.  I think I might be a little obsessed.  I prefer the baddie hand overall too.  Sorry, Doctor.

I am so glad that I took the time to do these nails.  I was easily the most decked-out guest at the wedding, with my Doctor Who nails, TARDIS dress, and TARDIS earrings and necklace.  I had fun with it, and the wedding overall was one of the most entertaining ones I have ever been to.  So that day, despite my soaring stress levels, was pretty great!