Diving My Blues Away

Well, I’m really not that blue, but New York City has left me frayed around the edges.  One of my favorite things to do (besides putting glitter on stuff) is to scuba dive.

Here’s what I’ve been up to down in Mexico- some cavern dives, some technical dive training and some relaxing time in the Carribean.

Vehicle license plates here feature my all-time favorite animal, the wonderful whale shark! We haven’t seen any this trip, but I still have a couple more days left, so fingers crossed. We did see some magnificent mantas,which was great. But for me, nothing tops the whale shark.

I’ll be back in my usual place sticking glitter on things from the end of this week. I have a feeling there will be a lot of aquatic critters creeping into my nail art in the near future.

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Color Challenge- Pantone Cactus Flower

Last post for a while before I’m off to Mexico. While I’m there, I’m hoping I will see some gray Whale Sharks, azure skies and turquoise water than Cactus Flower, but here goes:

This color is a neutral fuchsia (it took me three tries to spell that correctly) that reminds me of rhododendron bushes. Whoa, I’m only one sentence into this post and I’ve got two spelling bee words already.


It’s a cheery color, the younger sister to a vampy burgundy. All this needs is some white and burgundy, and we’re ready to go. The trick will be finding a burgundy which is neutral, and not too warm or cool. A warm burgundy + white will yield a sort of blush pink, and a cool toned burgundy + white will yield a more outright purple shade. With very dark shades, you can’t always see the base color. Adding a lighter shade will reveal what colors are lurking within, though just mix a tiny bit to avoid wasting polish.

I experimented with a few burgundies, but Color Club Style Icon ultimately turned out to be the winner. The others were too warm or too cool to make Cactus Flower correctly  on their own (without adding other colors to balance it out).


Color Club Style icon is a neutral deep burgundy which looks pretty fab on its own, but tends towards looking a bit goth. No complaints here, but I know most folks want to go brighter and lighter for summer. The white is my cheap ‘n cheerful Wet ‘N Wild, which goes for about 99 cents at most US drugstores. It’s a cruelty-free mass market brand that works very well in frankens. A good starter polish for experimenting.🙂

As you can see, it took just a little bit of Style Icon in a sea of white to make Cactus Flower. It’s about 1 drop Style Icon to 12 drops white. When you’re mixing very dark and very light colors, I recommend adding the dark shade drop by drop to the light shade instead of the other way around. It gives more control over the final color. If you go the other way around, you may wind up mixing up a very large batch of color as you try to lighten the shade with tons of white.

I think it’s a pretty good match, no?


I was tempted to make this into a raspberry manicure, as it reminds me a bit of fake raspberries- you know, in “raspberry swirl” ice cream or desserts. I knew I’d be obsessively painting the little crevices and tiny raspberry fuzzies, though, and I didn’t have time today, so I left it as is.

This is a question I’ve pondered before, but what the heck is “blue raspberry” supposed to be? It doesn’t actually taste like any kind of actual fruit, and it’s blue. Did food manufacturers just make it up to get some blue foods into kids’ diets? Why blue raspberry and not blue banana or something? Any food scientists out there to answer these burning questions?😉

See you guys mid-June after I finish up my Mexican Adventure!

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What I’ve Been Making, May 2016

I’ve settled into life here, but I’m hating the weather. Where the heck is all the spring and sunshine? It’s cold, damp and gray. Brr.

I’m off to Mexico next week for some scuba dive training! I am excited to go and hit the beach and see some underwater critters for some fun dives in between training dives (boring, in a blackout mask in deep water). I’ll also be doing my first cave dives. Exciting stuff!

I’ve been doing some custom work and my mind is clearly on summer as nautical themes have been creeping into my work. I was also introduced to the work of Dave Carender via a custom order request. He does weird and wonderful grungy cartoon art.

May 16 NeverTooMuchGlitter.jpg

The Dave Carender nails are the bottom left, and I got another custom request for Daria nails (bottom right). Despite being the correct age for it, I never actually watched the show. Back in those days, we didn’t have cable where I lived. Or real Internet. Kids these days will never know the pain of the screeching modem and other people trying to use the phone when you wanted to be on the Internet. Ah, how things change…

Anyway, you can see some blue nautical nails, some kawaiibomb glitter gradations as I’ve been thinking about my time in Tokyo, a kawaii salmon pink with retro bows and butterflies (longing for spring?), glitter gradation with my super-sparkly TiNS polish from Japan, some rather extreme crepe nails (a favorite snack in Harajuku). Apparently, I’ve been thinking about the sea, Tokyo, and glitter. Sounds pretty normal.😉

I’m trying to feel enthusiastic about New York. So far, it is not happening. I want to return to the Far East, but I never want to move again. I’ve just finished unpacking and next time will just throw everything I own off the balcony. There’s a Japanese expression that translates roughly to, “Moving three times is worse than a fire.” I can vouch for that!

I’ll try to sneak in another post or two before I head off, but after that, it’s all blue skies and clear water (or at least I’m hoping!) I’m on the lookout for wonderful Whale Shark as well though it’s always hit or miss. So there may be some aquatic themes going on for the first couple weeks in June.

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Some Blue Pigment Frankens

I’m heading south at the end of the month for some blue seas and salty breezes, so I have blue nails on my mind.

Though I got rid of a lot of supplies when I moved, I do have quite a pigment stash going on, and it’s time to show some of these beauties off. I have yet to see a pigment “go bad,” so I’m hoping these will still look as good as the day I purchased them.

Pigment pro tip: If you get pigments in little plastic jars with a lid, secure the lid with a bit of tape. They lids don’t always screw on properly and can become loose, especially if not stored straight up. I am cleaning glitter fallout from 2 separate Fyrinnae jars that lost their lids. Tape the jar shut with masking tape to save yourself the hassle!

I have some blues for today. First off, skin swatches!

There were some stars and some problem children in this batch- both from the same company!

Starting from the bottom:

Fyrinnae is a kind of indie pigment company with vegan products. City Lights of Kyoto is a sheer, very fine microglitter with a flash of blue. It’s very smooth, mixable, and could be added directly to polish to add a cool shimmer tone. Love this one! I imagine it’d also look lovely mixed into lipgloss too. A standout.

Mac Mutiny- A light blue, supermetallic smooth pigment. As an eyeshadow, it screams 1980s, but it could be a cool polish color. It does have good coverage because it is so opaque, but be careful of brushstrokes on this one. My MAC stash is ancient, from the days before they were bought out by Estee Lauder. They’re no longer cruelty-free, but I’m using up my very old stash till it’s gone, since it was from the old independent MAC days.

Fyrinnae Digital Faerie. Hmm, what exactly is a digital faerie? An upgrade from the analogue one? In any case, it’s a nice light aqua teal with a teal flash, which mixed pretty smoothly into the polish.

MAC Cornflower- Prettier than the picture shows, a medium toned periwinkle with a flash of light purple. One of my favorite colors and a great texture on this formula.

Fyrinnae 122 Gigawatts- Ah, the chalky problem child. It didn’t swatch badly on the skin, but became a clumpy disaster when mixed with clear polish. It’s not the company- it’s the color. Fyrinnae does some standout pigments, but this one was a frankendisaster.

Jacquard True Blue- This one is from the craft store and I have seen soapmakers using it to color soap, so I’m guessing it’s been approved for cosmetic use. Still researching that one. I just wanted to show a pretty blue color but can’t recommend this line of pigment until I know it’s approved for cosmetic use. Still, it made a dandy smooth blue.

MAC Naval Blue- This is a dark, kind of dusty faded demin blue with a metallic finish.

The standout was City Lights of Kyoto, and the dud was 122 Gigawatts, both by Fyrinnae. Interesting to know the results have more to do with the color than the company.  In particular matte pigments are a franken nightmare for me because they clump badly in polish- I’ve had this problem across all brands, both cheap and expensive.

Blue is a fun color for summer, especially with a few fishies or seashells on top for a nautical look. It’s easy to do gradations- just mix up a bit of pigment in clear polish, then paint in stages down the nail by tinting the mix bit by bit with a blue polish.

Here we go:


This girl needs beach time! I still have two weeks before I leave, so I think I’ll have to change this to a pedi, which generally holds up to the sun and fun better than a mani.

Posted in Blues, Konad, Mixed Colors (Frankens), NTMG Original Nail Art | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Daily Dose of Inspiration- Hedgehog Washcloth

I’m surrendering to my kawaii side. No use fighting it anymore, apparently.

Here’s my adorable hedgehog washcloth- from Japan, natch. It’s a conundrum. Too cute to use every day, but then what do you do with it? I’m very anti-clutter since I moved to the US, so I try not to keep things that don’t have a purpose. But hedgehogs!


Yellow nail polish is hard to pull off, especially on me. But for hedgehogs, it’s worth it.

I made this lemon yellow with pigment, but it took 4 coats to stop being streaky. Yellows are the problem children of nail polishes, since they tend to be uneven regardless of the brand.

My hedgies look a bit deranged rather than cute. I did the leaves, because they seem to like those- or at least hiding in them. Another favorite of theirs is grubs, but that would have wrecked my kawaii groove here, so I stuck with the leaves.

For anyone who landed on my page wanting to help actual hedgehogs, here’s some good advice and more information from the RSPCA.

For everyone with gardens, please be careful with poison pellets and bait as they can attract hedgehogs and accidentally poison them and other small animals. Give those slugs and grubs a good send-off and leave a little dish of beer in the garden so they get drunk and drown themselves instead! I know bugs and varmnits are a real pain, but think of the other critters in the ecosystem that may be inadvertently affected when you’re controlling your pests. And though hedgies are adorable, they’re meant to be wild animals, not pets.

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Color Challenge- Pantone 3278

What color is today? It’s a mid-tone green that reminds me a bit of Girl Scout uniforms, but leaning a bit more teal than those. Speaking of Girl Scouts, their Thin Mints have changed formulas. Though they became vegan (yay!), they also became greasy and tasteless. They went from being a super special treat to inedible. Vegan stuff can be delicious, Girl Scouts. Get it together! The reformulated Thin Mints tasted like a combination of baked lard and dirt flavored with an old peppermint candy that had been in someone’s coat pocket for a year.

Anyway, back to the color. It’s Pantone 3278. These greens don’t always photograph true to actual color, so I’ll show you the final mixup in a few different lights:


My first thought was that it reminded me of Color Club Wild Cactus, which is a nice midtone green but darker than 3278. It has a nice formula, too- no streaks!


This color only needed a bit of lightening to be a match. I used 7 parts Wild Cactus to 3 French White. Wet N Wild is a US drugstore brand and usually costs around a dollar per item. While their formulas are not always spectacular, they’re a very accessible cruelty-free brand that’s easy on the wallet. Perfect for frankens!

I gave it a stir and painted- here’s what I got:

Pantone 3278

You can see how it looks a bit lighter/bluer in certain lights. There’s something about shades with a yellow base that can cause this sometimes. It can also cause “lobster hands,” where skin looks unnaturally red in photos.

Personally, I tend towards darker or less vivid shades, so this one needed a little nail art to convince me to wear it outside.😉


I made a gradation look with some glitter, lotus flowers and shells for a peaceful, aquatic mani. Can you tell I’m ready for summer? The color on the tips is the original Color Club Wild Cactus. Bring on the sunshine!

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Daily Dose of Inspiration- Happy Pill Cup

In Asia, anything can be adorable! This happy pill cup is actually from Taiwan. I lived in Taichung in 1999 and studied Chinese there. It was a really full-on experience: street markets, stifling weather, unbelievable urban pollution and gorgeous countryside. Taiwan has a lot of contrasts and is definitely worth a visit if you’re anywhere near that part of the world.

There’s even a top shaped like a pill. It says “ASP” (aspirin) to let you know it’s not a bad pill. Can’t give the wrong impression, can we?


I painted the base of the nails with a blue franken polish, then did the white top and details with gouache paint, then sealed the whole thing with Seche Vite.

I took loads of photos, but in the interest of getting the page to load quicker, here’s a collage. I included a little red cross and some heart monitor details.

Happy Pill Collage

I guess my time in Asia has made me vulnerable to all things kawaii. I suppose there’s worse things in the world, right?

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