Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Trip to the Dollar Store... Nail Art on the Cheap!

Instead of doing some pretty nail art, for this post I decided to come at things from a different direction. I've often been asked where to get nail art supplies. Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to have a creative mind, so that I can find nail art supplies almost anywhere! So walk with me through my local dollar store and see what items made me think, "I could do nail art with that!"

Note: you can click any of the pics for larger versions. When possible, I've linked to examples of ways I've used the items either in my own blog or on someone else's. Draw inspiration where you can, and if you visit the blogs I link to, feel free to say I sent ya. :D

First off, I found this creamy petroleum jelly, as well as the lip balms. Any of these would be great for using around your cuticles with a brush to make cleanup that much easier. You could use these for water marbling, stamping, flicking... any of those messy techniques that make cleanup a pain in the tushie. You don't need anything expensive- just a dollar will take care of you!

How about something for masking off sections of your nail? You can get masking tape, of course, which is wonderful for this. However, sometimes I find that to be difficult to deal with, so I'll use sticky notes instead. They aren't as adhesive, they don't run the risk of pulling up your nail polish, and they don't need to be torn or cut with each use. They also work really well as temporary palettes for nail art- put out a dot of polish onto the paper, and dip your brush or tool into it!

How about texture tools? I'm a sucker for texture, and you're in total luck. I've used all of the items pictures in this section and have photos up of most of them. You can use the shelf liner on the left here as a stencil for messy, degraded spots, or you can ball it up and use it with a dabbing motion. The textured sponges on the right can have the polish applied directly to them and then used to apply it onto the nail, or you can put together a blend of polish on your palette to transfer using the sponge. You can ball up a piece of plastic wrap to dab polish on or you can remove polish that's been applied using the plastic wrap to achieve a somewhat watercolor effect.  I'm sure there are more things you can do with these... this is just off the top of my head!

What if you want a more chaotic look? Look no further- you can use straws to achieve that blown spatter look that's so much fun, or you can use the toothbrushes to flick polish onto your nails for a finer, smaller dot pattern. This is a technique I learned years ago at art school, and I've kept a toothbrush in my art box ever since!

If you'd prefer a more controlled dot pattern, you can spend lots of money on a dotting tool set, or you can look at things around you with a different eye. If you notice, that set of paintbrushes on the left has a variety of brush handle sizes. These would be the perfect dotting tools to add to your collection of nail art tools! Add in some toothpicks for the tiniest of dots and you're all set!

If you like shiny things, your local dollar store probably has lots of goodies for you. Above, I chose three lovely examples of holographic things you can find for a dollar. One is a sticker set, and I've found that these tend to be extremely thing- meaning they do wonderfully on your nails. I'd probably avoid the actual stickers, but the background sticker paper is GORGEOUS!!! You could use your punches, decorative scissors, or regular scissors to cut out stripes, dots, and other lovely shapes!
Then there are the bags and boxes. I know, boxes don't work on your nails, but in the past I've been able to peel off the super-thin holo layer on these packages, which gives me a sheet of holo paper that's again perfect for nail art! When you compare this to the tiny sheets you get from nail art shops, you can see this turns out to be well worth your time!

Finally, there's glitter. I found these packages, and I've also found 6 packs in varying tone combinations (cool, warm, etc). If you don't want to deal with loose glitter, I've found that you can use glitter glue for nail art. Just be sure to let it dry before you put a top coat on it to avoid any weirdness.

You can also sometimes find sets of acrylic paints if you look. I found sets in basic colors as well as the brights you see to the left. These can be used with tiny paintbrushes to add designs to your nail art. Pigments can also be used to either tint your polish or applied with brushes or sponges for really interesting effects. Those LA Colors loose eyeshadows would work beautifully as a pigment for nail art!

When I saw these rubber bands, I got excited. I think they could be very fun to mask off parts of the nail for interesting stripes and sections. With 500 for a dollar, you could afford to cut them off and not worry about reusing them!

If you happen to need nail glue, you can save money by picking up some of the super glue here. You can even choose between liquid or gel!

Finally, there are all the various goodies that you can pick up for nail art- cotton buds, cotton balls, cotton rounds, hand sanitizer, storage containers, and actual nail polishes!! I find the small containers to the right do well for one-time-use custom colors, as I can mix my color, apply one coat, then put the top on while my nails dry and not have the polish dry out in between. They're also great
for storing glitter mixes and other tiny nail art goodies.

So take a trip to your local dollar store and keep an eye open. You may find yourself with access to tools you never even thought about! Do you have any money-saving tips for nail art you'd like to share? Leave examples in the comments... I love saving money!

Where have I been? Oh, pretending to be a glamorous someone else.
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Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year's Resolutions, and Why I Don't Do Them

Every new year brings with it wonderful things, including having life calm down after the whirlwind of holiday gatherings. However, the new year brings something I cannot stand- the idea that somehow this arbitrary calendar date should signal a time for total life upheaval. Blogs and news sites are talking about how you should be making resolutions, and so many of them seem focused on crazy ideas!

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for making positive life changes. But I also understand how the human mind works. Huge goals seem overwhelming, and huge tasks can sometimes seem impossible. The road is too long, and the positive feedback of reaching that goal is so far removed that it may as well not exist!

This sets us up for failure before we even start. For example, let's look at my weight loss. (Ok, I'm excited and I want to talk about my weight loss. Humor me here, please?) Had I started out saying, "All right self, we're gonna lose 90 pounds! Let's cut out all yummy foods and get on that restrictive diet so we can get there! Go go go!"

I promise you, 3 days later I'd be go-go-going to the ice cream store, or baking up a big pan of brownies to console myself. It's just too large an obstacle to overcome. I can't see myself doing it, and as a result, it's unlikely to happen.

Instead? Soon to be 3 years ago (I think? Maybe? I'm bad with time) I was at an event and someone took photos of me. Those photos were posted on Facebook, and when I saw them I was absolutely horrified. Not only was I fat, I looked unhealthy. I realized I didn't want to be that anymore. But instead of thinking big and heading for failure, I started small.

As I'd been basically maintaining my weight for a couple of years, I came up with a plan. I was going to eat slightly less with each meal, I would drink more water, and I would try to be more active when I was able.

Fibromyalgia means some days I'm just in too much pain to walk a whole lot, much less anything else. On those days, I didn't hate myself because I couldn't do something. Instead, I was happy for honestly trying, and called it a day. If we went to eat at Taco Bell (a family favorite), I would leave a bite or two of my burrito uneaten. Most of all, I bought a water bottle that has a built-in filter. I'm a bit of a princess, and tap water in southern Louisiana is yucky. I now take that bottle with me everywhere, so that I can drink tap water instead of going thirsty or reaching for a soda.

I didn't set a goal weight. I didn't even think about how much I wanted to lose. I just wanted to try and be healthier a day at a time. I thought about whether the calories of whatever treat I was wanting was worth the calories I'd be ingesting, and frankly? Sometimes it is. Sometimes I want a milkshake enough to deal with the calories. Most days, I don't.

I haven't reached an end because this isn't a diet. I'm not eagerly waiting to go back to any particular way of eating. Instead, I've made a bunch of tiny changes one step at a time. But 2+ years later? I lost that 90 pounds, I've gone from a size 24 to an 18 (which is now baggy on me! :D) and I'm able to do more than I have in years.

It's not about the giant leaps. Start with baby steps. If you mess up, it's ok... you didn't mess up anything too badly to fix, and tomorrow is always another day. Forget the new year's resolutions and maybe go for the new day's resolutions instead. :D

Every day is a new start.
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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

I hope the new year brings wonderful things for all of us. Better health, better financial situations, happy moments and lots of creativity. Thank you for sharing this creative journey with me, and thanks for all your encouragement in its many forms. I love you guys!

Now I'll go lie down, because it's time for another dose of Nyquil, and that stuff makes me stupid. Happy new year, everyone!
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Quick Heads Up... Townley Girl Polishes Are AWESOME!!

This is a very quick post because I am exhausted after a busy day, and we've got a busy day tomorrow as well. However, I found something amazing I need to share with you...

If you have a WalMart within driving distance, you need to go look at their sale stuff. Tonight while browsing I found a kit by Townley Girl that included 5 magnetic polishes and 4 magnets for $4.88. Since all holiday items are now 50% off, that means I got that kit for $2.44!

I debated whether I should get it because it's a child's kit, technically a toy. It says it's for 8 and up, but I figured it's $2.44 and I'm over 8, so if it's junk it's no big deal, right? And OMG, THEY ROCK!!! I don't have time or energy for a full review, so check back in a few days, but in the meantime? GO BUY THIS IF YOU CAN!!!

Seriously, they rock. I can't even say this enough... If you like magnetic polishes, you will want these. It also looks as if you may be able to buy the kit for full price online here, so check it out if you're interested.

Love and hugs,

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope it's been filled with love and laughter, with joy and comfort and all the things you could hope for. My holiday has been amazing, and I feel like the greatest gift I received this year is something that isn't for sale, something that can't be bought. I'm finally regaining some of my physical strength and stamina, and it feels so, so wonderful.

I'm eagerly looking forward to the coming year. Something tells me it's going to be a good one!

Ho ho ho. :D
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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tis the Season for Apocalyptic Dreams...

Some of you may be aware of this, while others aren't. I have REALLY messed up sleeping patterns. For example, I went to sleep around 10am yesterday, Christmas Eve, and woke up today, Christmas, at 6:30pm. I had the STRANGEST dreams that kept getting more and more apocalyptical as I slept.

Started out with me dreaming I was going to go to fairy school. Because of course, I'm a fabulous fairy. However, awesome fairy school turned into dreams of the apocalypse, complete with a beautiful-but-evil guy who was trying (and somewhat succeeding) in breeding earth life forms with... demon stuff? And I was so stupid that I was in love with him before I figured out how evil he was...

Then I was trying to run away, but he kept following me and getting me back. He had this huge underground lair, and there was technicolor in the dream, and smells... HORRIBLE smells. My brain clearly hates me, and doesn't let me dream happy things. I can't even dream I'm naked for my 10th grade English test, either.. I have  to dream about the destruction of life as we know it.

Stupid brain. I hope your Christmas is going better. Merry Christmas everyone, and happy holidays if you don't celebrate Christmas. Whatever you celebrate, I hope it's fantastic.

Blah blah was provided by the brand for consideration.
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Monday, December 23, 2013

Last Sketchbook Update of 2013!

The year is winding down, and I'm sharing a last few sketches of the year. There's not much here, mainly because I've been fascinated by intricate patterns lately.

For those of you who don't know, I find drawing to be a wonderful thing. It helps distract me when I'm worried about something or having a bad fibro night. Because of this I tend to carry art supplies with me wherever I go. Nothing too fancy, just a notebook and some pens.

Ok, that's not quite accurate. I generally carry 4 black gel pens in different weights (from extra fine point to extra heavy), a few pencils and erasers, and something like 30 or 40 gel pens. And maybe a ruler or two, and maybe a couple of stencils for drawing circles or other shapes. Oh, and then there are the sharpies...

Let's just say I love color, lots and lots of color. I carry more art supplies than anything, because they're important to me. If you ever see me in public, I'll probably be doodling! But enough of that... on to the sketches!!

I doodled this onto a napkin after Thanksgiving dinner.
Flowers. I absolutely LOVE flowers. When we went to my dad's house for Thanksgiving, I wound up doodling on my napkin after we ate. I get really caught up in my head sometimes, so when I'm having a conversation, doodling something simple helps me focus on the conversation.

It sounds silly, but there are even studies to show that doodling can help people focus in meetings! Having a simple, mindless task certainly helps me turn off the internal chatter that seems to run through my head. That way I can actually pay attention to what's happening around me!

These three are related, although it's hard to tell. The left image is a copy of a drawing by Lorri-Marie Jenkins I'd found while browsing Stuffed magazine. I copied it, then colored it and added the white patterns. A few days later, I tried to draw some sketches in a similar style, but I don't feel like I captured it. Maybe it's my own style, but I don't really know. Then I did the strangest one... it started out being a woman, and then ... I don't know. It turned into some sort of woman/Dalek/duck combination. Don't ask, I don't have any answers.

But hey... this is how creativity works. Sometimes you get the Sistine Chapel, other times you get a woman with duck legs, a plunger, and... umm... whatever that silver thing is. They can't all be winners, right?

It's 6:40am, and I haven't been to sleep yet. Let's just show the rest of the sketches without much commentary, shall we?

This is the sort of intricate pattern I've been experimenting with. These take a long time to complete, but they're so much fun to do. I really, really love doing these!!

I hope your holidays are going wonderfully, and that you're having a joyous time. I'll see you soon!

Drawing supplies are cheaper than therapy. :D
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