Totes Adorbs…

So today I launched some tote bags on Etsy! They are all hand-printed by my fair hands, on a cotton bag made from 100% recycled cotton. As they are hand-printed each bag is totally unique – there might be some extra paint, there might be a squint print, some might be some slightly lighter in colour but I think this all adds to their charm! They are safe to wash, but in order to keep the design looking it’s best I’d recommend either spot cleaning them or hand washing them.

The inspiration for all these bags came from plants that I’m growing in my garden this year.

The first bag is printed with super cute strawberries. My strawberry plants are now actually 3 years old! Sadly though this means that I’ll probably have to get some new plants next year, as they don’t produce as many berries after 3 or 4 years.  There are 20 strawberries printed on this bag – 10 on the front, 10 on the back.

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I’ve grown carrots once before, and they turned out to be tiny little things but rather sweet and tasty. I know you’ve got to have quite sandy or unlumpy soil to make it easier for them to grow, so fingers crossed they’ll be better this time round. There are 10 carrots printed on the bag – 10 on the front, 10 on the back.

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I’ve never grown radish before. I also don’t even particularly like radish, but I’m hoping that if they do grow okay I can finely slice them or pickle them for salads. I grew potatoes and peas last year, but supposedly you’re not meant to grow potatoes in the same place two years in a row hence the change to different root vegetables this year. This bag has 20 radish printed on it – 10 on the front, 10 on the back.

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So which bag is your favourite? These totes are great for shoving in your pocket or hand bag meaning you’ve always got a plastic bag alternative handy. Please make sure to have a look at my Etsy shop and let me know what you think about the product shots!

Looks familiar…

So after the 5 years of painting my nails, it was bound to happen that I’d create a duplicate design and here it is. It was only after I’d finished them and had a good look at it that I got the whole ‘I’ve seen this before…’ feeling. What’s even more freaky is that the lines are hand painted for both designs (I could have used striping tape for either), I’ve painted the same amount of stripes on each finger bar my index (I could have painted them thinner or thicker) and I’ve also chosen the same finger to have the charm on. I didn’t realise I was so predictable! The previous anchor design is here, which do you prefer?

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Gorse Bush…

So from the desk that I paint my nails at, I can see over in to the woods and it really is great to see the plants starting to come to life again. I was getting tired of looking out on to it’s hollowness and being able to see naked trees and grey trunks far in to the distance. It’s refreshing to see the buds popping out, the leaves starting to unfurl and the whole body of the forest start to flesh out again. (Sure, I’ve had daffodils bobbing their heads at me for literally weeks but I’ll be glad to see them go as I don’t particularly like daffodils….) My inspiration is drawn directly from a gorse bush. It is a prominent feature to my window view, and it has really exploded with colour in the last day or so, I think the warmer spell helped. I personally know this gorse bush rather well, as every now and then I relive it of some of it’s branches and place them around my garden – particularly on the parts where the soil is bare. Why? Because the gorse bush has some massive thorns which are surprisingly sharp, and this helps keep away unwanted feline visitors who like to take regular nighttime ‘dig and dumps’. Top gardening tip for you there!

Gorse Bushes

BornPrettyStore: Big Sheet Animal Water Decals…

So this ‘Big Sheet of Animal Water Decals‘ has some super cute designs, there’s something for everyone – pandas, rabbits, cats, dogs and deer! It was sent to me by BornPrettyStore to be put through it’s paces and before I show you how some of them look on my nails, I just want to break down what great value this sheet is.

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You get 12 designs, each with 10 fingers worth, which equates to 120 water decals for the measly price of $2.87/$1.59 sale price (correct 29/4). This means each decal is costing you $0.02, amazing right? So the first design I’m going to show you is a good example of how to make your money stretch even further by using just one decal per mani as an ‘accent nail’.

I chose to use a decal from the deer set with a white background as this allowed me to paint the rest of my nails the same colour. Then it was just a case of cutting out the decal I wanted and applying it as normal. (If you’re unsure or need a refresher about this, keep scrolling as I’ve included a sort of step by step next) Ta-da! Simple, quick mani for $0.02.

Simple Deer Water Decal Use

Big Sheet Water Decal Deer Set

So I might have go a bit carried away about how cheap it is, so lets do the re-cap on how to actually use and apply this product properly. With them being water decals you will need; a shallow dish of water, tweezers, scissors, nail file and a tissue. I’ve chosen this super cute panda set to demonstrate the application steps.

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The first step is to cut out the decals you wish to use. With this big sheet you need to be quite accurate with your cuts as there are no borders between each design – take it slow and steady.
Make sure you remove the clear, protective layer covering the decals and trim them to size before you submerge them in the water.
Leave them there for around 15 seconds, at this point the decal should be able to slide off the backing paper with ease and use your tweezers to remove them from the water. Place them on your nail in the correct position, gently dab with a tissue to remove excess water.
Then remove the excess that may be hanging off your nail with a file.
Ta-da!

Application Collage

The length of the water decals is quite generous and easily fitted all my nails. Personally my nails are all different lengths, so sometimes I trimmed off the top part of the decal to help the design sit better meaning I wasn’t having to file off parts that I liked.

Now came the biggest test – the top coat. Unfortunately sometimes decals melt, like the design squashes and the colours bleed and things that that. However, these guys actually look better with a top coat! They didn’t melt and it actually helped to iron out some of the wrinkles. (I used Seche Vite)

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You may have noticed that I added some glitter on to the little water orbs the pandas are fascinated by. This totally isn’t necessary but helps to demonstrate how easy it is to customize the decals!

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Aren’t they cute! They sailed through the top coat challenge, but how about the well known ‘3 hours in a  pool, teaching children to swim’ challenge? Amazing. Very minimal chipping, and even though the top coat may be helping this I’ve previously had the whole water decal float off my nail in to the pool. (Anyone else had that kind of problem?) But not these guys, look at the results!

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I’m so very impressed with how they did over-all, and I still can’t get over the price. I had another idea about creating a pretty, but very economical gift with them. Why not pair up a set of decals, with a matching polish for base colour, and an inexpensive but cute nail file? (Make it way nicer than the one I threw in for example…) So lets add it up, shall we say $1 for the file, $4 for the polish, $0.23 for the sheet of decals and maybe $1 for the pillow giftbox – that’s only $6.23/£4.81! How about that? A gift for under a fiver, amazing! What’s nice about these decals is that they don’t look poor quality or feel cheap once applied, so there’s no way someone would know.

Inexpensive Gift Idea

Do you ever have one of those items where you just have too many ideas for it and get a little obsessed with using it in different ways? Well I’m afraid that’s what happened with this sheet of decals. I really didn’t intend to do three different designs but after cutting out the dog set purely for the example gift set, the little dachshund was crying out to me to be used. I went for some super colourful, dry brush nails and used him as a pinky accent, cute no? And it only cost me $0.02 😉

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I can’t wait to use the little rabbits they’re so cute, but the cat set…. Anyone fancy them? I’m unfortunately not a cat person. Hope you enjoyed the review and that I gave you some ideas to think about!

If you’d like to order the whole sheet for yourself or friends head on over to BornPrettyStore. Anything in your basket that’s full price will recieve a 10% discount when you use the code ‘AZYW10’ at checkout.

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Everyday Lunar…

So, at the weekend, I wore these nails to compliment the dress I wore a friends wedding. The two polishes are Models Own ‘Lunar Grey’ and ‘Everyday Grey’. The dress itself was out of Monsoon, and I’m not ashamed to say I picked it up in the sale – it cost me £40 compared to the original price of £180. It’s a full length dress and hand embellished (it’s embellished all over) so it probably was worth the original price but… I can’t comfortably justify spending that amount of money on a dress that I will potentially only wear once.

I think it looked good, it didn’t look ‘out of season’ or have any damage and I was honestly lucky to pick something up as they often don’t have my size left by sale time. If push came to shove, I may have ended up taking a visit to Tesco or Asda. They often have beautiful items of clothing, that are good quality for attractive prices and fit well. Does anyone else wear ‘supermarket’ clothes?

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Pokemon Theme: Articuno…

So the legendary birds from the original series form a trio, and it actually explains this in their names; articuno (1), Zapdos (2), Moltres (3). How cool is that?

I wasn’t too impressed with how Articuno turned out, I wish I could have conveyed more of it’s natural grace and beauty. Instead I’ve got a sort of pudgy pigeon who can’t wait to fly off the nail…
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Why so crabby?…

So I was originally meant to post these nails on Monday, but I just wasn’t impressed with them therefore I spent today re-visiting the design and trying to make them better. To be honest, I’m still not impressed with them but I like them more than my first try.

So where did it all go wrong?
Firstly I went wrong with using silver on holo – it just disappeared in to nothingness. Secondly the stamping plate itself is pretty pants (the crab image one). It’s images are shallowly etched and it’s a nightmare trying to pick them up, it also means there’s barely any polish which is why the crabs turned out to be so transparent.

So for the second try, I stamped the ‘waves’ in white which shows them up way better. Secondly I chose a different crab image from the same plate and double stamped it; black base, red on top. This does make the image stronger but does it make it a little too dark?…

The real question though is – which do you attempt do you prefer?