Shonen Knife Nail Art

Last Tuesday, my fiancé took me to see Shonen Knife perform with CJ Ramone at The Outer Space in Hamden, CT.  I’m still suffering from a lot of back pain and muscle spasms from my recent car accident, so it was no small feat for me to sit in the car for a road trip and then have to stand for 2 sets while trying to rock out to some awesome music, but it was a fun night.  Shonen Knife’s music always puts me into a happy mood!

If you’re not familiar with the band, here is a video of them in action performing “Buttercup,” otherwise known as the Powerpuff Girls theme song.

Equally as catchy as their music are their coordinated tunics, designed by original band member Atsuko Yamano.

Ritsuko, Naoko, and Emi

Ritsuko, Naoko, and Emi

I love her clean and poppy style, and I wanted to use her color block technique in a manicure.  There are 3 band members and 2 letters for the initials of the band, and what better way to showcase each element while giving the sign of the horns? \m/

Materials used:

Zoya- Dot
Nicole by OPI- City-Pretty Rose
China Glaze- Tip Your Hat
Sephora by OPI- What’s a Tire Jack?
Acrylic paint

I began by painting my index finger and pinky with What’s a Tire Jack? and the remaining fingers with Dot.  I anticipated using striping tape to help with the color block pattern, so while I waited for Dot to dry fully, I started trying to paint the S and K of the band’s logo onto my nails with white acrylic paint and a detail brush.  In order to make it easier for me to paint the letters, I needed to rotate the logo graphic.

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By the way, the graphic lists Naoko, Ritsuko, and Etsuko as the band members.  It’s because the graphic is taken from a DVD from 2009.  Naoko, Atsuko, and Emi played for the 2015 North America tour.

In any case, this was the design before the color blocking was added.  I like it a lot in its most simplistic form.  🙂

Shonen Knife rocks!

Shonen Knife rocks!

Just as an aside, I’ve never been good at making bubble letters even with pencil and paper, so I was kind of impressed that I was able to paint this upside down on my nails!  😛

In the meantime, I decided that I was too impatient to use striping tape to outline the color blocked parts, so I decided to add in the different colored sections freehand.

City-Pretty Rose added to start the color block pattern.

City-Pretty Rose added to start the color block pattern.

Starting to add Tip Your Hat and What's a Tire Jack?

Starting to add Tip Your Hat and What’s a Tire Jack?

Finished color blocking and tunic details

Finished color blocking and tunic details

Too bad I didn’t prepare this in advance of the show!  It would have been awesome to grab a pic of my mani with the band, but I’ll see them again soon enough.  🙂

Rock on!  \m/

Rock on! \m/

Triangle Gradient Nails

I was inspired to use the triangle pattern on a plate made by Qgirl to do some nail art.  A full review of the plate can be found on my blog.

The list of materials for this mani are:

Sephora by OPI- White Hot
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri- Lickety-Split Lime
BMC Nail Lacquer- Royal Blue
Qgirl- plate 008

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Summer fun colors!

What I was first inspired to use was the triangle part of the plate.  I tried a different technique this time around to attempt a gradient (I say attempt because this is my first time trying this).  I applied a stripe of blue polish and a stripe of green polish to the plate as shown and scraped the excess polish starting from the blue in the direction of the green part so that the colors would blend.

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Swipe the polish off from left to right, and you’ll get a gradient of the colors.

And voilà!  A gradient is made! To jazz it up a little, I decided to hand paint the larger triangles onto my ring finger with a detail brush, which is why the polish looks more marbled there.  Guess it dried on my palette a little quicker than expected.  It was still a fairly easy mani to do.

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Super Mario Brothers Power Up Nail Art

With me not working lately, I haven’t felt the need to cut my nails.  I’m a professional flutist and work with my hands a lot, so long nails get in the way of my speedy fingers.

Why I decided on the Super Mario theme for this week came as an afterthought.  Whenever my nails get on the long side, I try to think of doing some sort of French tip manicure because I’ll have the surface area to make it look nice.  This time, I thought to myself, “Oh, doing mushroom tips and an invincible star as an accent nail would be cute, and it will be easy to do.”  Famous last words.

The first step was to gather my colors together.  These are the ones that ended up in the mani:

Sephora by OPI- Give Peach A Chance (How perfect is that name for this mani?!)
Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Happy hour!
Sephora Nail Lacquer 5 Day Shine- Banana split
Nicka K- NY 139
Essie- Pretty Edgy
Sephora by OPI- White Hot
Acrylic paint

I started out by painting what turned out to be 3 coats of Give Peach a Chance on all my nails except the ring fingers, on which I painted 2 coats of Banana split.  The intention was to later paint Happy hour! onto Banana split to outline the star because it’s always easier to paint a darker color over a lighter color.

Next came the French tip portion.  I originally set out to do only the topmost parts of the my nails with NY 139 and Pretty Edgy in the manner of a regular French manicure.  I wasn’t planning to paint the eyes on the mushroom nails but rather  wanted to just give the impression of having the mushroom heads there.  But then I put the tips on and realized how awful they looked with so much of the peach color on the nail bed.  FAIL.

At this point, I decide to make the peach part more of a half-moon to get the ratio looking right, and it occurs to me that I can maybe cheat with this step and use reinforcement stickers as templates rather than have to paint the curve manually.  But for this, I’ll need to let the peach polish dry.  So let’s try doing the star…

I took a flat brush and started painting the blue color over the yellow one.  Oh, no, no, no…  The blue didn’t have enough coverage in one coat to look good, and because I suck at painting star outlines, the whole thing looked like a streaky mess beyond repair.  FAIL.  A few swipes of acetone over the accent nail, and it was good to start over again, this time with Happy hour! as the base.  I figured that maybe if I painted some of the yellow polish onto a plastic bag, I could let it dry and then punch out the star shape with a craft punch.  Clever, right?  So while that was drying, I went back to the mushrooms…

I have a love/hate relationship with using pre-cut stickers/tape as stencils because I don’t have the patience to let everything dry to the extent that it needs to be dry to not damage the base coat of polish.  I tested my right hand with the reinforcement stickers first because I almost always end up photographing my left hand for my Instagram and Tumblr feeds.

The stickers took a tiny bit of polish off in almost every case.  FAIL.  I was so happy I didn’t at least mess up my left hand!  I managed to patch up the weird looking spots and then manually drew in the colored tips on my left hand.

At this point, I tried checking my yellow polish to see if it was dry yet…  Nope.  So onto the eyes of my mushrooms.

I used my smallest dotting tool to put the eyes on with black acrylic paint.  If you happen to see modern images of the power up, you’ll notice that it has white dots at the top:

Mushroom Power Up

I tried to paint white dots at the top to replicate the look, but it didn’t look right.  Then I realized that the eyes have a gradient effect, so I tried to add gray underneath the white…  at which point it looked like a hot mess.  FAIL.  I ended up painting the eyes with black again.  Thankfully it covered up all the other atrocities!

At this point, I realized that the yellow polish for my star was never going to dry in time for this manicure.  I have little patience when it comes to drying time!  I took some yellow acrylic paint and painted the star by hand with a tiny brush.

While that dried, I had to go back to add the white dots on the mushroom heads.  Silly me tried to use a dotting tool with white polish at first, but I pushed too hard, and the white looked like a mess combined with the green polish underneath it.  FAIL.  So my trick: paint the light colors with acrylic paint and a brush, then paint over the acrylic paint with the color of polish that you like so that the texture evens out.  It’s twice the work, but it looks much nicer in the end.  I did this with all the spots and the star, at which point the only thing I had to do was apply a topcoat.  And voilà!

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Finally done!  With only 5 fails!

But then I ended up smudging my 1-up guy with a bra hook.  😦

GAME OVER

Hospital Gown Nail Art

I can’t really go into details about the car accident I was in, but let’s cut to the chase and say that I had to go to the ER as a result.  It was my first time having to go, and I guess it was about as pleasant as an ER visit could be.

After waiting an eternity to see a doctor, I was led to a private examination room, where I had to put on a hospital gown.

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ER hospital gown plaid realness

Classy, right?

After my friends found out about my trip to the ER, the inevitable question came: what nails would match my picture?  The aforementioned photo was actually one in which I let my hair hang down into my face very much looking like that girl from “The Grudge.”  I’ll spare you the visual on that one.  😉  I opted to do a mani that matched the gown rather than match the hair.  Haha

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I tried to match the colors as best as I could with what I have:

Julep- Shelly
Finger Paints- Emerald Expressionism
Finger Paints- Monet Money
Kiss Nail Art Paint- White
Julep- Nan

Using the picture of the gown as a guide, I painted the lines with a thin striping brush.  I didn’t do an exact replica of the plaid of the gown because I knew I wouldn’t have that much space on my nails.  So it may not be the hit mani of the season, but considering how uninspired that I have been lately, it was just what I needed.

Funny thing is that two people have told me that they were wearing the exact same gown when they gave birth to their kids.  I’m glad the design doesn’t have to have bad connotations linked to it.  🙂

New beginnings

I’ve had an account with WordPress for quite awhile, but I haven’t had the time to do anything with it.  Unfortunately, due to some injuries resulting from a car accident that I was in a few weeks ago, I find myself with more time on my hands (literally!) in the form of being able to do my nails more and finally blog about the experience.  Onward and upward!

I’m totally new to the world of blogs, so forgive me if I come across as a total n00b.  Hope you get something out of what I have to share.  🙂