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.

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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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Happy Star Wars Day!

Yes, it’s a recycle, but this is for all you geeks out there. Have a great Star Wars Day and May The Fourth Be With You!


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What I’ve Been Making Late April/Early May 2016

It’s been a gray and rainy few days and I’m ready for hot weather. The sky looked like winter today-if it had started snowing, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

I’m waiting for my ship to come in- literally! The shipment of my nail goods and personal effects from Singapore should be delivered any day now. From there, it’s full steam ahead. I just brought 1 suitcase full of the most essential nail goodies with me, but it’s been a good challenge to work with less. I am definitely guilty of overpurchasing. I’m trying to be more careful now with what I buy, especially given that this move will not be the last for me and Mr. NTMG. I have to chuck/give away tons of stuff every time we move. Not sure where life will take us, but I imagine NYC will just be a pit stop. I like the city enough, but I sure don’t want to retire here!

Nail Art May 2016.jpg

Got some pink goth nails (wanted to challenge myself with something other than the usual black!), some longer Sugar Skull nails (on my mind because I’m planning a trip to Mexico), some lava lamps since they were out of stock for ages in my shop, and some paved bejeweled nails with roses and skulls, since I was reading about Anne Bonny, the fierce female pirate. That led somehow to glitter gradation goldfish. Strange bits from my consciousness kind of creep into my art, I suppose.

The silver glitter gradation nails were an attempt to cheer myself after I broke a nail and filed them all down. I can’t stand it when one is longer than the others, so when one goes, they all do! My poor stubbies needed a bit of jazz, so silver glitter gradation it is.😉

All of these nails are available in my Etsy shop, so fret not if you’ve been dying for an instant lava lamp manicure!

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