Thursday, March 31, 2011

Silly Bee's Beauty- Vote for my Nails!

I'm really not the nail art kinda gal, but while trolling around makeup blogs, I found this nail design contest which I could not pass up!  You know how I love design contests and this is a medium that totally caught my eye.  So, I gave it a look-see.

Polish or Perish, a fun blog all about nails, is hosting a contest for Inque Nails which makes and sells nail wraps kinda like the ridiculously expensive salon-only Minx nails which celebs Rhianna and Katy Perry wear.  There are several at-home nail wraps on the market, but what sets Inque apart is their production capabilities.  Because they print each set upon order, they are able to create custom designs using your own images and nail measurements!

So...the contest.  Inque Nails is looking for a new featured designer.  The winning designer's collection will be sold on their website and be given a portion of its sales.  (Like 15 cents per unit, so I'm not quitting my day job.)  Anyway, I think that's pretty cool and guess what...I'm a finalist!  Both my collections made the Top 10!  After looking at the current designs from Inque, I decided they were missing some more elegant designs.  So, here they are:

Collection 1:  The Silhouettes
Set #3 on the PoP blog
Click the nails to see the full designs:

Collection 2:  Vintage Textiles 
Set #4 on the PoP blog
Click the nails to see the full designs:

Please vote for my nails!

Go to Polish or Perish and look for the voting box in the right sidebar.  Check the boxes for Set #3 AND Set #4 (you can select more than one) and hit the Vote button.  Voting closes Wednesday, April 6.  Thanks in advance and please spread the word!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Silly Bee's Beauty- Texas Nails

So. You know I've been on a nail kick lately (see Kiss My Nails) and you know how I love Texas. Well, imagine my excitement when I learned that the big momma of nail polishes with coocoo bananas names like Green-wich Village and Pink Before You Leap, has a line inspired by Texas.  How cool is that?  Of all the states to choose from, OPI picked the Lone Star State first because... duh!  Texas rocks!

Here's the deal-- as much as I like the colors and the new jelly finish, I think OPI missed the mark on this one. It just doesn't scream Texas (and it should because everything's bigger in Texas).  The jellies make me think of tropical fruit drinks and the neutrals and turquois remind me of Santa Fe.  I have no idea what purple has to do with Houston or what Guy Meets Gal-veston means. In fact, I'm not sure what most of the colors have to do with Texas.

Now, I understand that OPI probably wanted to get a jump on the jelly finish before anyone else, but with a little research they easily could have snuck them in with Texas-inspired names. Take Big Hair, Big Nails-- it looks just like a Ruby Red grapefruit which is a big deal in Texas. So is the Strawberry Festival in Poteet and that bright orange could reflect the Mission valley where the Texas Citrus Fiesta Queen reigns.

If I had designed the collection, I would have named the polishes after Texas cities and famous Texans and chosen colors that really reflect the spirit of Texas, like our state flower, the bluebonnet.  The colors might not compliment each other, but the names truly say Texas. Here's what my Texas collection would look like:

Who's Buddy?  Castles in Corpus? What's Port Arthur's Pearl all about? Look it up and learn a bit about Texas! What would your state's OPI collection look like? Neutrals and mattes, or brights and glitters? What's more important when designing a collection, coordinating colors or a cohesive theme? I'd love to hear your take on your beloved state or country!

A final note: 
Of course I gave in and decided it was my duty to help put Texas on the nail polish map.  So, I bought the five shades named after cities. Slowly, one bottle at a time with coupons!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brain Specks and Toilet Paper Masks

You know those images from childhood that float around your brain like doodles sitting on your desk that don't have a file to go into?  They're important and they mean something, but every time you grab for them, they float away like a speck in your water glass.  I have a bunch of those.  Every now and then, I try to identify them so I can file them away for future reference. 

One of my floating specks is a mysterious figure in black wearing a mask made of notepads.  Chew on that.  I decided to find out what it is so I can share it with you because every time I think about it; I get the feeling that it was one of my favorite Sesame Street memories.  So, it must be good.

Have you ever tried to search online for an image that has no labels?  I started with a Google Image search because, duh.  I searched and searched and searched with all the words I could imagine to describe this mask-wearing mime whom I saw only a handful of times, thirty-something years ago... sesame street, mime, performers, black leotards, 70s, performance artists, note pads.  No dice.  I almost gave up until I remembered another floating speck: the toilet paper mask.

Finally, the search for "sesame street performers toilet paper masks" produced this photo which contained the magic word, Mummenschanz

So, I found out that my mysterious mime is part of Mummenschanz, an acting/pantomime group from Switzerland founded in 1972, and the great news is they're still around and still perform around the world.  They've been called the "granddaddy of wordless, whimsical nonsense spectacles" by the New York Times.  I imagine they inspired groups like Blue Man Group.  But remember, folks--they did it first.  Maybe I'll get to see them one day.  Until then, I'm happy to report that they are filed under Sesame Street, right next to the Yip Yips.

And so for your viewing pleasure, my chickadees, I give you Mummenschanz:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Personalized Glass Bottle Oil Diffuser

I love saying, "I can make that!" You know, like when you come across an overly-priced, super cute necklace or pillow in a store. You pass the item up, imagining the ribbon and baubles you have in your stash, and how much better your pillow will be. But, if you're like me, you probably forget all about your beautiful better-than-theirs projects by the time you've left the store.  Well, this project was indeed inspired by a decorative bottle I saw in frou frou home accents store.  It was soooo pretty.  It had a white sheer ribbon and silver crown accent on it.  I thought, "I could make that", and this time, I followed through!  On top of that, I found a great use for the pretty little jar--a reed diffuser!  Winning!  

To make your own pretty fragrance diffuser, you will need the following, a cute bottle ($.99 at Michaels or 6 for $3.84 online), a yummy reed oil diffuser set ($6.99 at Walgreens), Air Dry PermEnamel Accent Liner, PermEnamel Clear Gloss, PermEnamel Surface Conditioner (not pictured), a fine paint brush, E6000, ribbon (sheer ribbon is best) and a pretty button.  The great thing about Air Dry PermEnamels is that they do not require baking to make them dishwasher safe.

Before you begin painting, prepare your bottle by wiping it with PermEnamel Surface Conditioner, rubbing alcohol or plain nail polish remover.  Now, you're ready to paint!  I recommend testing the Accent Liner on a paper towel.  If it's too hard to squeeze, cut the nozzle slightly larger.  That's what I had to do. 

If you're really good, you can freehand the initial onto your bottle with the Accent Liner.  Or, you can write (or print out) your initial on a piece of paper and place it under the bottle to trace it.  I found that it was best to lightly trace the letter first and then go back over it with a thick line.

The paint has a matte finish, so if you would like a glossy look, allow the paint to dry about 30 minutes, then use a small brush to paint a thin layer of Clear Gloss on top.  The glaze is pretty thin, so be conservative on the application or it will spread all over the glass.

If you need to clean up smudges, lightly rub them out with nail polish remover and a brush.  But, don't wait until the paint is dry or it won't budge!

Let the bottle sit for a day before you add the finishing touches.  Tie a bow around the neck of the bottle and glue a pretty button on with E6000.  E6000 is not as quick drying as hot glue, so lay the bottle on its back while the glue cures so the button doesn't slide off.

Your bottle is finished!  Now, you can fill it up with oil fragrance and a few reeds or bath salts and you have a lovely personalized gift ready to grace a pretty vanity!

Linked up with:
Tip Junkie's Tip Me Tuesdays
Today's Creative Blog's Get Your Craft On
Don't Waste Your Homemaking Linky
Polly Want 2 Party Mondays
Lady Bug Blessings' Handmade Tuesday
Sumo's Sweet Stuff's Market Yourself Monday
The Girl Creative's Just Something I Whipped Up

Friday, March 4, 2011

Silly Bee's Beauty- Kiss My Nails!

If you're looking for a quick, inexpensive way to fancify your nails for an evening out and hate how acrylics tear up your nails, this tutorial is for you!  I needed to pretty my hands for a charity ball, so I went the DIY route and they came out great!

When I was in high school, I had great nails--very strong, always polished.  Since then, I haven't, mostly because I pick at them and never let them grow.  My thumbs are especially bad and I hide them as best I can.  (Notice how I cropped my thumb out of my "before" picture.)  I've even caught myself with my thumbs tucked into fists so no one can see them.  I know-- how very, very sad.  I finally decided to do something about it and the charity ball was my incentive.

Enter Kiss Everlasting French Nails. They last seven days and are easy to apply and remove.  What I love about them is that they are natural-looking, not bright pink and black-light white like these or an inch thick like these.  I liked them so much that I applied another set a week after I removed the first and it was just enough time to let my little nails grow enough so I didn't have to hold my hands in fists anymore! 

Everlasting Nails come in two lengths: Real Short and Medium, and three types:  Regular, Square and Petite.  Kiss also has Feather Light Nails and Custom Fit Nails for flat nails.  Mine are the regular ones in Real Short.  The kit included 28 nails with handy little tabs, nail glue, a wood cuticle stick and a mini nail file.  For best application, you'll also need plain polish remover (no moisturizers) or rubbing alcohol, cuticle lotion or oil, cotton balls and a paper plate for protecting your dining table!

And, away we go!  First, lay out all the little nails in order by size and fit them to your own (those are mine in the picture above).  Take your time making sure the nails fit well.  If they don't, they may snag on stuff and pop off too soon. Also, if you've forced a nail on with a higher arch than yours, they will lift your real nail from the nail bed and HURT and that's no good.  Trust me.

Once you've picked the winners, line them up separating the right and left hand so they don't get mixed up.  Put all the losers back in the package so you don't cause more confusion.  It only takes one swipe of your sleeve to scatter them all about and that's no good.  Trust me.

Next, prepare your nails.  Put a bit of lotion, vitamin oil or cuticle softener on your cuticles and use the flat angled end of the cuticle pusher to push them back.  Wash your hands, then clean your nails with polish remover or rubbing alcohol to remove any traces of oil.  Before you glue each nail on, double check the size.  If the nail is too rounded on the top where it meets your cuticle, you can file it down for a perfect fit. 

Now, you're ready to start gluing!  I suggest you start by applying nails to your dominant hand.  If you're a righty like me, it's a lot more difficult applying nails with your left hand if you already have fake nails on.  Put a couple dots of glue on the fake nail and spread it around with the tip of the glue nozzle.  Do the same to your own nails.  Make sure you have glue all the way to the edges or they may lift and catch on stuff and that's no good.  Trust me.

Hold the nail by the little tab, place it at the cuticle first, gently lay it down and hold it for a few seconds.  That way, the excess glue will come from the bottom of the nail and not all over your cuticle and that, too, is no good.  Trust me. 

If you see white spots on your nails, those are air bubbles.  Aside from just looking bad, they can make your nails pop off.  So, if you do end up with air bubbles, I suggest taking the nail off with an acetone-based remover and trying again.

Finally, gently bend the tab back and forth until it breaks off and use the file to touch up the little spot the tab left behind.  If you have any glue on the top of your nails, file down any bumps and put on a coat of clear polish on top.  You can also file down the length of the nails if you'd like.  After wearing mine for a few hours, I decided they were too long, so that's what I did.

Don't forget to carry your glue and nails in your purse just in case one of the nails pops off.  If you can't find the little bugger, grab a leftover nail that's a tad bigger than yours and file the sides down to fit.  Kiss recommends that you remove them after one week which is easy to do with those acetone polish remover containers with the sponge in them.  Just whatever you do, don't yank them off!

There you have it-- a lovely manicure that won't damage your nails or wallet.  Trust me.  :)

P.S.  It's a cubic zirconium.  Gotcha!