Valentine-y Nail Art

OK! So I used my new DIY nail polish! I thought the Ballet-Slipper-Pink would be great to use in celebration of the most overcommercialized excuse to buy chocolate and flowers Valentine’s Day. Check it out!

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I’m not great at freehand nail art, so I tend to keep my designs relatively simple. That helps keep my right hand from looking like it was painted by a 2-year-old (my left-handed painting skills are more than a bit lacking). I decided to go for pink nails (with one white accent nail) and a tiny red heart. Making the heart was rather fun! I just dabbed a bit of polish on a scrap piece of paper, and applied it to my nail using one of my tiny Crap Paintbrushes. You could use a tooth pick, the tip of a pencil, or even a paperclip just as easily.

So what are your plans this V-day? Treating yourself to a day of pampering? Sharing it with a special someone? The wife and I celebrate an anniversary at the beginning of February, so we usually skip the 14th. Regardless, I tend not to buy into the whole SHOW ALL YOUR FEELS ON THIS ONE ARBITRARY DAY. Perhaps that makes me a bit cynical, but I enjoy doing all those Valentiney-things for my sweetheart throughout the year. 

Whatever you’re up to, I hope your 14th is loveley, dears. 🙂

Make DIY Nail Polish out of Eyeshadow

Any time I’m at my local dollar store, I cruise the cheap-o cosmetics section looking for new nail polish shades, cuz it’s a nice way to expand my selection on the cheap. I used to stick religiously to my tried-and-true Blood Red – it always looked good against my complexion, so it was my go-to any time I glammed up. But I did my nails so infrequently that I never really bothered to diversify my colour selections. (My crafter friends will understand the frustrating exercise in futility that is Painting Your Nails. When you use your hands so frequently, it rarely lasts more than a few hours…)

All that changed last year, when I started to dabble in Nail Art more frequently. It was a crazy cumlination of a few influences – seeing easy DIY nail art tutorials on Pinterest, coupled with a desperate need for a new hobby now that I had started making my favourite hobbies (crafting and writing) into an Awesome Bidness. But mostly I blame Pinterest.

Anyway, though I now have over 20 different shades of polish, I can never seem to find a great pink. I have several options, but they all seem to look better in the bottle than actually painted on my fingers nails. Some are too dark. Some too sheer. One is so metallic, you can’t really tell what colour it’s supposed to be. Mostly I eschew pink as being far to frou-frou, but every once in a while you just can’t get around its absence.

Finally fed up with trying out shade after shade … I did what any self-respecting crafter would do: I used my google-fu to see about DIY’ing my own! And whaddaya know? It’s a Thing! 5 youtube videos and 2 craft blogs later, I felt ready to tackle my own – it turned out so nice, I thought I’d be nice and share my knowledge with ya’ll! So without further adieu:

How to DIY Nail Polish Using Eyeshadow

Materials
+ paper cup
+ stir-stick (plastic knife, plastic spoon, coffee stir stick, tongue depresser…)
+ clear nail polish
+ eyeshadow shade(s) of choice
+ drop cloth (newspaper, magazine, paper plate, paper towel…)

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Lets Get Shakin’!
+ Put down your drop cloth. Believe me, if something spills, you’ll be happy you didn’t skip this step. Nail polish is a bitch to remove from most surfaces. Except nails apparently.
+ Using your stir-stick of choice, scrape up a bit of the eyeshadow shade(s) that you want to polish-ify. The amount of powder to use isn’t an exact science – you can always add more later. Aim for about 1/4 of a teaspoon for starters.
+ Open your clear nail polish, and dump it into your paper cup. Set aside the bottle and brush.
+ Add your eyeshadow powder(s) into the cup too.
+ Using your stir stick, make with the Stirring already! Be sure to press any visible clumps between the stick and the side of the cup, making the mixture as smooth as possible.
+ Pinch one side of your paper cup, so it creates a pointy spout. Pick up your nail polish bottle in one hand, and the paper cup in the other. Slooooowly pour your awesome new nail polish into the empty bottle.
+ You go girl! Wear that shit like the DIY Diva that you are!

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So I learned some stuff. Y’know, because I screwed up the first time. Learn from my fails, dear reader, so your project will go Super Smooth.

+ For the love of god, use a paper cup!! Why? First of all, to skip the whole make/use a funnel thing, I pinched the edge of the cup to a point. This is wicked hard with a plastic cup. Also (and more importantly), plastic cups melt if you leave nail polish in them for too long. That was fun. Which brings us to my next point…
+ Use a freakin’ drop cloth, ok? I skipped that, thinking, “What could possibly go wrong…?” The answer is: So. Much. (R.I.P. favourite jeans. …who am I kidding? Still totally gonna wear ’em.)
+ You’ll notice I encouraged the use of disposable supplies. If you feel confident cleaning nail polish off your cutlery, by all means, use normal stuff. I did not feel so confident.
+ You’ll also notice I suggested using a stir stick with a broad surface. I couldn’t find one myself, so I used the stick-end of one of my Crap Paint Brushes. This was not conducive to smooshing powder-lumps.

Now, I mentioned adding extra powder. You might feel like your shade is too transparent, or you might want to lighten/darken/change it by adding another colour. Easy Peasy! Just dump your new nail polish into another paper cup and start the process over.

I loved how customizable this project was – you can play “Artist” by mixing a few shades together (I used pink, a tiny bit of purple, and white). You could even add dollops of some of your existing polishes. Next time I’m going to add sparkly polish, because… sparkles!

If you try this project, I’d love to see pictures! Share your experiences in the comments, or come drop by my facebook page and tell me how it went!

Go forth, dear reader, and DIY THE POLISH!

In which I make the world a better place, one finch at a time

You want to know the best $7 I ever spent? Bird seed. Oh yeah.

My house is technically in the land of Suburbia, but at least it’s cool suburbia. I live like less than 7 miles away from a nature preserve. You know why my sister-in-law (who also lives here) doesn’t leave her chihuahuas outside unattended? BECAUSE OF THE HAWKS, FALCONS, AND VULTURES THAT CRUISE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS LOOKING TO PICK UP CHICKS. No shit.

Once, my wife was minding her own business, having a smoke break at work at night, and you know what happened? A FOX HAPPENED. Just walked through the parking lot, like y’do.

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(that’s what he said as he tipped his hat when he passed by her).

My neighbors have always gotten the cool birds though. Cardinals, Blue Jays, Chickadees… we don’t have many appealing Hidey Spots, since our landscape is devoid of shrubbery. Our stupid neighbors have bushes. And some trees and stuff. Stupid landscaping.

Well, this winter I decided to stop moping already, and put up a bird feeder! Every morning, I get doves, cardinals, and leetle finchies vying for the best spots at my feeders. It’s better than TV guys! My cat chitters at them angrily from her perch near the window, and I smush my nose up to the glass of the back door. They don’t do much besides, y’know, eat seeds and stuff, but it makes me really happy to know that their needs are taken care of. We might not get as harsh a winter as, say, THE ENTIRE REST OF THE POPULATION, because: Texas. But that doesn’t mean food still isn’t scarce for these little buggers.

I feel like I’m Giving Back in some small way. Like my efforts matter. Like maybe I’m making a tiny corner of the world a happier, less hungry place. I’ve always felt a connection to Nature, and I’m excited: this year I’m going to work on making my landscape a bit more wilderness-friendly. These housing developments displace so much of the local flora and fauna – by creating an oasis for the birds and butterflies that remain, maybe I’m helping to heal at least a little slice of our Mother Earth.