Monday, August 25, 2014

Watercolor Blossoms Manicure -I-

Super regal, super detailed, super cool.

These intricate nails surely make a statement! Thanks to Born Pretty Store and their vast selection of nail art wraps, rhinestones, paints, foils, decorations and more, I was able to create a totally unique manicure that is perfect for parties or events. I would say this manicure takes more time than most, but it's definitely worth it.

Let's get started.

Step 1: Gather materials. Needed are white nail polish, crystal nail gems, Born Pretty Blue Flower nail decals, Born Pretty Silver Decals and Born Pretty Rhinestone 3D Decoration. I also used clear varnish for a top coat.

Start by painting all your nails white. On the index, ring and pinkie finger, apply the full-nail blue flower water decals. For info on how to apply water decals, see my previous Royal Teal Nail Tutorial.

Apply the silver decal over the ring finger's blue flower decal. Add a clear crystal with nail glue, and cover with clear varnish to finish. Coat the index and pinkie with clear varnish as well. Add two silver decals to the thumb, and then add a crystal to finish. Coat with clear varnish.

On the middle finger, add nail glue and apply the large 3D decoration.

Lovin' it, right??! Born Pretty is the go-to one-stop-shop for all of your nail art and beauty needs. I love their full-nail water decal wraps, which save you time hand painting and always look perfect. They are also easy to apply. I just put the whole decal on, then waited for it to dry. Cut the excess off with a cuticle cutter or small scissors to fit your nail. These blue flowers here remind me of watercolor paintings. When contrasted with the ornate 3D decoration and rhinestones, you have a winning combination. These 3D decorations really only work if you have long nails. They will not fit on smaller, shorter nails. Also, they need a lot of nail glue to stay on. They are quite heavy, so be careful and don't expect them to stay on past a day. That's why these nails are more "event-ready" instead of everyday!

Style these with a black oversized sweater, skinny denim, a long crystal necklace and sweet shades. Rockin' it!!

I have a coupon code here for all those who want to shop Born Pretty. Use this code HXSQ10 to get 10% off your order. Born Pretty also always offers free shipping, what could be better than that???! Shop away girls!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post/use images without linking back and crediting me.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Barcelona Earrings -I-

I'ts time for some Chainmaille.

I never, EVER usually do anything associated with Chainmaille. Reason 1: I never have any jump rings. Reason 2: I never really knew how to do all that complicated hooking and threading and twisting and what have you. 
Well, there is a first time for everything.

This is an easy Chainmaille pattern I've created for beginners and advanced 'maillers to try. I've added the addition of faceted gemstone drop beads to give a more bohemian look to an otherwise very industrial look. To prevent tarnishing, I've only used Cousin brand Elegance Metals jump rings; these are either gold or sterling plated so that you won't worry about them losing their shine. I recommend these for use in any Chainmaille pattern.  

These are great everyday earrings that aren't super heavy, but are great quality because you've used great metals. These agate faceted drops and small garnet drop add pops of color. I've used mixed metals here because I'm going for a hippie-chic look. If that's not your thing, use just one metal color. I call these Barcelona earrings because of the eclectic mix of colors, and the fan pattern that forms when you link the jump rings!
Let's get going!

Step 1: Gather materials. Needed are:
4mm Faceted Gemstone rounds (mine from Happy Mango Beads)
Garnet 3mm Rounds from Happy Mango Beads (optional)
Cousin Elegance Metals 6mm Jumprings (Gold, Rose Gold and Sterling Plated)
Cousin Elegance Metals Gold Headpin (or other gold headpins)
Flatnose Pliers and Wire Trimmers

To start the chainmaille pattern, open each of your jump rings packages and separate into like colors. Then, halve those groups so that you will have separated piles for each earring. 

1. Starting with the silver, open and attach a rose and gold. Close silver ring.
2. Open another silver and thread through the rose and gold. Don't close.
3.  Add a silver, rose and gold ring to the open silver. Close.
4. Open a rose. Thread through the rose, gold and silver. Don't close.
5. Add 7 rings, in alternating pattern (rose, gold, silver) to the open rose ring. Close rose ring.
6. Open a silver ring. With the leftmost rose and gold ring, thread silver through these rings and close. There should be 5 empty rings still hanging.
7. Open a gold ring. Thread through the gold of last step and the silver to the right of it, making sure to thread over the last ring (so the new ring lays on top of last). Close ring.
8. Continue this pattern; with a rose ring, thread through the silver of last round and then the rose next to it. Keep repeating, threading through two jump rings only each time, one being the rightmost ring of the last step. You should use 6 rings to finish.

You should have a "fan" of sorts, each jumpring laying beneath the other. MAKE SURE TO ALWAYS ADD EACH JUMP RING IN FRONT OF THE LAST ONE YOU ADDED, to keep that clean fan pattern. 
Simply add gemstone wrapped-loop charms to each of the 6 empty jump rings at bottom. If feelin' groovy, add a small garnet charm to the top jumpring, and finish by adding a fishhook to this ring as well.

The gemstones lay next to each other, creating a cool fan-like pattern.

These would also look great in all silver metal, with turquoise rounds for a southwestern look. Or, try all gold metal with pearl drops for a totally traditional vibe.

Maybe I'll try Chainmaille again in the future. It has served me well up to this point. What do you think?

All images copyright Allison Beth Cooling. DO NOT post images/tutorial without crediting and linking back!