These are in no particular order, just hopefully great tips!
1 - PVA Glue
Oh man. I resent every minute of my life I didn't know about this! When I first heard that you could apply PVA glue to your nails as a base coat, and then add any glitterbomb polish, and then it would just peel off when you wanted it to, I was all, "nooooooo" and "surely not". This was closely followed by "I want someone else to try it first" and "won't it harm my nails".
Well, the amazing news is it doesn't seem to harm your nails at all, and it is a MIRACLE! Scared of wearing glitter polishes ? No more! Bored with the foil removal technique ? No more! Seriously, this is the best discovery EVERRRRRRR.
Paint your nails with PVA (don't use a normal base coat). Apply whatever polish on top. Top coat as normal. When you're ready, pick it off! Usually, you can hook it at an edge or a corner and it will come off in a one-r. Genius.
2 - Konad Stamping Polishes
Oh I wish I'd tried these sooner. All the agony of trying to work out which polishes stamp, and "why isn't it working", when for just £5 a bottle you can have guaranteed success. Winner.
3 - de-dupe that stash!
This was so liberating! Honestly, why DO you need 17 shades of aqua or 3 shades of forest green, a colour you never wear? So I picked the best one and ditched the rest. Wow, easier than you think! AND you can use the money to buy new polish !
4 - proper hand care
I am a lazy Crumpet by nature, and cuticle care wasn't something I'd paid too much attention to until they got really dry in the summer. So now I mositurise, just like every big girl should. Avojuice so far is as good as it gets.
5 - a dotting tool is a great TOOL
I always used my dotting tools for nail art, but recently, I've discovered they're useful for nail clean up too. I have quite high nail walls, and sometimes, the polish will flood the wall a little. Best trick? Whilst it's wet, use your thinnest dotting tool to scoop the excess out of the channel! Crisper lines and neater clean up.
6 - to take great photos, you need a great camera
I finally bought a new camera in the summer and wow oh wow, what a difference. I now cringe looking back on old photos.
7 - find the light !
To take good photos you also need to find a steady and fantastic light source - see above 8 - the foil method
Before PVA, this was how I learnt to remove my glitter. Soak your cotton wool pad, place on nail, wrap in bacofoil and leave in place for about 10 mins. Pull off in one smooth motion, and all or most of the glitter will slide off too. Those very fine glitters are tricky bastards though, you may have to have an extra scrub at them! Here's a great tutorial from The Polishaholic. 9 - keep your untrieds separate
Ok, this seems a bit of a weird one, and it's not really technical, but hey ho. I used to add my untrieds straight into my stash, but I started to realise that I was forgetting what I had bought AND never wearing it! I now keep all my untrieds separate - it also can help to keep your no buy in check, as in "you have 200 untried polishes and you want to buy MORE?!" and that leads to my final one - 10 - regularly review your stash
Like a lot of you, I seemed to be on a mission to "collect" polish rather than use it. It took me til very late in the year to realise that I would never wear most of my polishes - if you own 1000, you'd have to change polish 3 times a day to wear them all in a year! And whilst it might be nice to own 5 navys so that one day, you can do a comparison post, what's the point, especially when you don't like navy ? Lol. So I started de-stashing, and I am continuing to do so. The new Zoya Lovelys ARE lovely, but I already own a colour in each of those shades, so I'm not going to buy them, simple as. Keep checking what you've got before you buy more, and above all else, stop buying the same thing over and over. But don't you own like a gazillion purples ? Ssssshhh, that's different! But I have even de-stashed some of those, just not as brutally. I hope you picked up at least half a morsel of wisdom from this post, and more than anything, keep enjoying polish. Lots of Love Crumpet xxx :)
Finally, a tutorial !! I promise you that they will be a regular feature on The Crumpet in 2013, but it may take me a little while to find the perfect format / structure, so if you've got any feedback on what you've seen today, please let me know in the comments.
Firstly - do you prefer them to be called tutorials, or do we go with Baby Steps ? We'll be taking the steps together, and here is the first rule of doing this together -
Yes, I'll show you what to do and in what order, but I'm not perfect! Some styles / manis will take you longer to perfect than others - and each of us will have that one thing we cannot master lol. We're starting with what I call the Splodgerama - seriously, there is no going wrong with this one, and that's why I like it :)
What is a Splodgerama ?
A splodgerama is various polishes sponged on to the nail in a totally random fashion. It's easier to master than a gradient, and also starts to give you the skills you need for a gradient.
Step 1 - choose your colours
There are no rules here, as long as the colours are going to match. You can do varying shades of the same colour, or you can do different colours. My advice though is to not try and do too much. For example, using 1 holo or 1 glitter polish is ok, using a holo, a shimmer, a glitter and another glitter - nah, you're just going to lose the overall effect. Here's examples of 2 other splodgeramas -
Step 2 - apply your base colour
You have 3 options here. A base colour grounds the polish - as we're sponging, a base is essential. I either use white, or a neutral, or the palest colour I'm going to use.
For the fruit salad, the base was actually orange, as I wanted that to be the dominant colour, and for the flowers, the base was white. For this one, the base was OPI Don't Pretzel My Buttons, which is almost mannequin coloured on me.
(PS - the light in the nail room has a nasty pink tinge, so apologies in advance!)
Step 3 - grab your sponge!
Mostly, I use a make-up sponge. You can buy loads of them in a bag quite cheaply - they tend to be wedge shaped. For a splodgerama, I will cut a bit off the sponge, because unlike a gradient, we don't want to apply a lot of colour. It's easier to dab 3 times with a small piece than dab once with a big piece and then go "oh crap." The piece I used is probably an inch long and then quite tiny at the ends - maybe a half of a little finger nail ?
Step 4 - apply your first colour
I always apply the darkest colour first, for several reasons. If you apply it last, you're probably going to obliterate some really nice sponging in the lighter colours. Also, sponging OVER the darker colour can provide further variations. You want your darkest polish to provide depth rather than be the star of the show.
The first polish here was CG Glittering Garland. As you can see, I applied it quite randomly, and tried to do it in a different "zone" on each nail.
Step 5 - apply your other colours
I don't have a particular order that I apply them in, other than that I apply the colours I'm least interested in, first! The colours that I want to stand out, I tend to apply towards the end. Ditto for texture - so I'll usually apply the glitter or the holo towards the end.
Also, just because you've picked out 6 colours to use, don't feel you have to use all 6. You might find using 4 looks awesome, and to use all 6 would just ruin things.
This is how the splodgerama built up through Bettina Green, Revlon Toad and then CG Mommy Kissing Santa and Ruby Pumps.
Step 6 - review and retouch
Just because you've used all your colours doesn't mean you've finished. Does it look how you wanted it to look? Does it need more of 1 colour and less of another ? Use your sponge to add more polish or cover areas that are too dominant.
Step 7 - apply top coat
I used normal Poshe, but you can also add other top coats, especially the Out The Door ones which contain little ounces of fairy dust.
Step 8 - clean up !
Sponging is MESSY! Clean up will take you a little while. I always start with a cotton bud to wipe away the biggest mess, and THEN go to my brush for finer clean up.
Step 9 - optional - stamp on it!
If you want to, you can stamp on it. Beautiful though it is on its own, I think the Splodgerama makes an awesome base for a stamping mani, which is why I use it quite often. For this particular splodgerama, it became my abstract Christmas wreath.
Step 10 - sit back, relax and go "oooooh"
Lol - sorry, I thought there would be 10 perfect steps, but there aren't. Oooh oooh you could top coat again ?
So there you have it - now it's over to you! If you give this a try, I would love you to post it on my Facebook page.
Just as importantly, I need your feedback! You asked for tutorials - did you like the format ? Was it easy to follow ? What do you want to do next ?
Today we're going to go through the remaining categories of The Crumpet Readers Poll 2012 AND crown your ultimate blog.
Unfortunately, there were some categories in the poll which just didn't work, and it was impossible to pick winners from! A classic example was Your Favourite Polish of All Time - nothing got more than 2 votes!
Your Most Used Polish was also funny. A bit like me, the most used ones aren't the "classics", but the basics - for me that means OPI Black Onyx and (my most used polish of the year) OPI My Boyfriend Scales Walls. For a lot of you it was Wet n Wild Black Creme or Cult Nails Nevermore.
Lemming was also funny. There is NO 1 Lemming to Rule Them All lol. Out of 170 suggestions, only this handful had more than 1 vote -
Enchanted Polish Beatles Collection
OPI DS original
Essie Starry Starry Night
OPI Black Spotted
China Glaze omg
Max Factor Fantasy Fire
MAC Bad Fairy
Fantasy Fire had 5 votes - way more than other polish, and I guess it is one of the polishes that caused a shark frenzy this year.
Customer Service ... aaahhh, this one did not work at all :( Again, no clear winner, but lots of brands with a similar amount of votes, and I think a lot of it comes down to where you buy your polish from. However, you gave big thumbs up to Zoya, Ninja Polish, Llarowe and Lacquistry, Different Dimensions, a-England and Cult Nails so well done to all of those brands.
And so, to your Blog Of The Year ... dum dum dum !
And YOUR Number 1 blog is ..... Garfields Nails !! Yay I am so pleased for this little blog!!! Oh, who am I kidding ?? Of course it's Chalkboard Nails lol :) Sarah's world domination continues - hurrah ! so she gets a very glittery crown x
Lol. She's a gem xx She might very possibly kill me, but she's a gem. I only know Sarah a little bit, but it staggers me how she has no idea how special or talented she is. Everytime I have posted her as a winner, she has messaged me to say how shocked she is. Bless - at least one person in NailLand was shocked then :)
Well that concludes both our Crumpet Readers Poll and my own round-ups of the year. I do hope you've enjoyed them, they took a MASSIVE amount of work, but I had great fun doing them.
I am now off to maybe think of a New Years Eve mani, and maybe get that Splodgerama tutorial organised for tomorrow, and then after that - GULP - it's January and OH MY GOD the New 31 Day Challenge ... and the Digit-al Dozen ... oh and some polishes I have for review .... honestly, I do plan to post less .... I really really do :)
Lots of Crumpet love, I leave you with 2 of my favourite things, Bluebelle and Beth xxxxx
So today we turn to my final wrap up of the Year. For posterity as much as anything, I wanted to feature what had been my highlights of the Crumpet year. There will also be a companion post about what I've learnt this year - wow, it's hard trying to keep that one to just 10!
So, here are the manis that made me smile :) They are in chronological order so that we can check whether I *did* get better :)
Maundy Thursday is the day The Queen gives out Maundy money to specially chosen people in the UK. I was so proud that I stamped with a coin for this, and then so gutted that no one seemed to care. Yes, I am sobbing.
It's a standing joke that I hate teal, so when I did a guest mani for the teal-obsessed Missy from Gnarly Gnails, there was really only one way to go. Again, super proud, and I thought I'd hit on a mani style that would sweep the world. So I did one for every day that week, in different shades every day. The green one got 65 views. Bah.
I am very proud of the posts I have done on depression on this blog, and more touched than you can imagine that they seem to have had a positive impact on so many of you. This matte gradient was my favourite.
Go Pink Wednesday - Flowers - 165 views 24 Oct 2012
I was so happy with how this turned out, because I had been so nervous about whether I could pull it off. Now I know I can, I love them. So simple and effective. And somehow, the colour blend here is just perfection.
30 Days of Purple !!!
My favourite challenge EVER. I loved doing it so much. It was also really liberating as I had no rules, or structure or plan. I just played with my purple polishes. The Contrary Polish Purple Smoke Fishbraid is probably my favourite, closely followed by the splatter - look, I did you a collage!
Red, green and gold, it just never gets old :) Fabulous colour jumble.
And there you have it. What a year! I hope the above reminded you of some of your favourites, but most of all, I want it to be a reminder to you of how much you CAN improve in one year (or less!) and that just because some of your manis may be sucky now, doesn't mean they'll be sucky forever :)