29 June 2009

Lacquer Lundi

A few questions answered to start things off.

Summerset asks, "Do you have a favorite hand/nail moisturizer?"
I do. Check out this post for all the details. I am always on the prowl for the next greatest thing though, so if I ever run across anything that is better, I will post about it.

Cindy asks, "I have been wanting to find a good silver for my toes this summer. Have any recommendations?"
I must admit that I don't have many silver polishes in my collection. The ones that I do have are all holographic in nature. However, I will be on the look out for silver polishes and report back my findings.

Now on to the pretties:

Rimmel 60 Seconds - Camouflage
- purchased at Wal Mart for $3.14 CDN

There are a few polishes that hold me mesmerized by their beauty, unable to tear me eyes away from their splendour. Camouflage is one of those polishes. It is, in my opinion, one of the most enchanting greens on the market. From the rich, medium green base to the subtle gold micro shimmer, it is spectacular.

The formula is quite good. It slides on easily with a nice wide brush and it is extremely pigmented - the picture shows me wearing a single coat. It dries quickly (the 60 second boast on the bottle is fairly indicative of the true drying time). Unfortunately the wear on this polish is not so great. After less than 24 hours I had chipping. In all fairness, I was trying a new base coat with this polish, so I will have to try it again with my TNT base coat and see if that makes a difference.

Avon Nailwear Pro - Blue Flare
- purchased from avon.ca for $2.99 CDN

I haven't really used Avon cosmetics since I was a teenager. However, when I received a coupon code from avon.ca and noticed that many of the nail polishes were on sale, I decided to take the plunge. Since I am a huge fan of blue polish, Blue Flare was a no-brainer, so into the cart it went.

Blue Flare is a greyed-out blue with silver micro shimmer. I got many compliments on this colour. It really is unique and interesting - I don't have any other polish in my collection that is even close to this colour.

It went on smoothly and covered completely in two coats. It wore reasonably well for the three days I had it on - tip wear, but no chipping.

Sally Hansen Salon - Mulberry Wine
- purchased at Rexall (chain drug store) for $5.99 CDN

Mulberry Wine is a gorgeous bright medium purple creme with an extremely subtle shimmer. It is one of those colours that is good enough to eat. Unfortunately, it is a difficult colour to capture in a photograph (the second photo is more colour accurate, but still not perfect).

It applied well and was opaque in two thin coats. Over the two days I had it on, I had no chipping, but I did see a fair amount of tip wear. However, I should mention that I was cleaning up my classroom during those days, so the tip wear is mainly due to that.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri - Racey Rouge
- purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $5.99 CDN

Another of my beloved SH Insta-Dri polishes - this time in a bright pinkish-red creme.

Once again, I loved the extra wide brush and the easy application (beware though, it seems most people either adore this polish or hate this polish due to the brush and the consistency). I chose to apply two coats, although I could have gotten away with one coat had I laid it on more thickly. As usual, my favourite part about this polish is the super fast dry time - I was out the door in 10 minutes total and that includes base coat, two coats of Racey Rouge and a quick dry top coat. Nice!

27 June 2009


I AM FREE! Yesterday was my last day of work until September 2nd. Now I have weeks and weeks to sew and garden and lay around like a lump of goo. Wahoo!

I have already started going through my pattern and fabric stashes to figure out what is first up on the summer sewing frenzy list. Right now, a bunch of vintage patterns are calling my name, especially this cute little reversible wrap-around dress, Simplicity 8125. Please note that I scammed this image from the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wiki. If you are a vintage pattern lover, you have to check out this site - it is a treasure trove of vintage goodness!

I just have to find two lightweight wovens to pair together for this dress. The patterns calls for approximately 2.5 yards of 54" fabric for each side of the dress. Surprisingly, I don't have much in my stash that fits this criteria, so I may have to go fabric shopping. O-darn-it-all!

22 June 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Over the last while, I have been asked several times how often I change my polish. Typically every two days on my hands - I have gone as long as four days and if I am not feeling a colour, I have been know to change it in less than a day. I like a constant change in palette.

As for my toes, I have to admit that I don't bother in the winter when I'm wearing closed toe shoes (lazy girl!). However, in the warmer seasons when my toes are out and about (April through November), I leave my polish on for three weeks to a month. Because the toe polish stays on so long, I usually apply neutral polishes (although my neutrals may not be everyone's neutrals) so they blend with whatever I'm wearing: dark purple, navy, dark chocolate brown, taupe, etc. I almost never match my fingers to my toes.

Now on to the pretties...

BB Couture - Dragon's Breath
- purchased from overallbeauty.com for $8 US

Every time I wear this polish, people actually walk up to me and grab my hands to get a better look. With its vampy purply-wine base, enhanced with red, blue and silver glitter, it is a real crowd pleaser.

The swatch shown here is three coats, over a base coat and finished with a top coat. The polish went on smoothly and was easily moved around the nail. This polish held up well over the two days I had it on - only tip wear and no chipping. My only complaint with Dragon's Breath is the dry time - even with a quick dry top coat, this polish takes longer to dry than any other polish I own. However, I love this polish so much that I am willing to overlook this minor annoyance.

OPI - The "It" Color
- purchased at Trade Secrets for $ 7.96 CDN

This is definitely not a colour for everyone. For the most part, I think people will either love it or hate it. I love it - this orangey-yellow creme is different from any other yellow or orange that I own. It reminds me of ripe papaya flesh.

As with all the OPI polishes I've used, The "It" Color applied smoothly and easily and was of excellent consistency. As with all yellow polishes I've used, it needed three coats to even out the streakiness.

This polish wore very well - only minor tip wear after two days.

Rimmel 60 Seconds - Big Night Out
- purchased at Shoppers (chain drug store) for $3.99 CDN

Big Night Out is a rich red base packed with gold micro shimmer that reminds me of metallic car paint. I have said in the past that I am not a huge fan of red polish, but this polish makes me want to eat my words. It is gorgeous!

The two coats of this polish applied beautifully. The bottle cap boasts a new "pro-cision brush" which I like very much - the brush is comfortable to hold and easy to manipulate. Also the brush is wider than most, which makes application simple and quick. The consistency was good - not too thick, not too thin.

The icing on the cake is the dry time. This line is called "60 seconds" and it is not a misnomer - this polish dries super fast.

21 June 2009

I'm Not Dead Yet

Remember a few posts ago when I said I had nasty cold? Well, I then proceeded to cough like a maniac for a week and a half and I developed a very disturbing rattle in my chest when I breathed. But one evening, the straw that broke the camel's back was when I coughed so hard I was seeing stars. Certain that I had a detached retina, I had my husband make an optometrist appointment for the next day. Prior to that appointment, I dropped by a local clinic and was diagnosed with bronchitis. Then it was on to the eye doctor, who checked me over thoroughly before pronouncing that my eye was in perfect health. She said it was likely that when I coughed, the vitreous humour smacked into my retina, causing momentary flashes of light (although she said it in a far more doctory way). So, disaster averted. Now, I am on the mend, although I'm still coughing - hopefully that dissipates soon.

So, I haven't sewn a stitch in over three weeks and I'm getting mucho antsy! I have, however, been thinking about my plans for summer sewing since I only have one week of work left (woot!!). Then I will be able to sew all day, every day, for 9.5 weeks.

To start things off, I saw this top on the Avon website and although, I don't necessarily consider Avon to be the cutting edge in fashion, I am quite smitten with this garment. I think it would look great with a pair of capris or a skirt - it could be a wonderful addition to my summer wardrobe. Thus, one of my first projects will be the creation of a knock off.

Any suggestions for a pattern?

15 June 2009

Lacquer Lundi

I thought I'd do something a bit more interesting this week and show you a some "skittles" nails. A skittles manicure is one in which each nail is painted a different colour. It's a fun way to show off several polishes all at once. The look can range from wild and wacky to subtle and sophisticated.

Now on to the pretties:

China Glaze - Strawberry Fields, Watermelon Rind, Raspberry Festival, Grape Juice, Orange Marmalade
- purchased from Sally Beauty Supply for $ 3.99 CDN each

The polishes listed above are in order from thumb to pinky. I wanted a fun manicure that screamed summer and this multi-coloured set of "skittles" certainly fits the bill!

All these polishes are from the China Glaze Summer Days collection for Summer 2009. Each of the six polishes in this collection has a gorgeous jelly base packed with glass flecks. The polishes are luminescent and sparkly and astoundingly pretty - I truly can't say enough good things about them. I have already shown you full manicures of two of the colours in this collection - Cherry Pie (which I didn't reuse in this manicure) and Orange Marmalade (which I did reuse on my pinky). Now that I have seen all the polishes on my nails, Watermelon Rind (green) is my hands down favourite, with Grape Juice and Orange Maramalade very close behind.

Each polish slid on smoothly and application was a breeze. Two coats was actually enough to cover each nail, but I went for three coats to ensure opacity and depth of colour.

The first picture is indoors and the second is in direct sunlight.

Sally Hansen New Lengths Ceramics - Dark Chocolate, Dark Nut Brown, Chocolate Candy Brown, Cappuccino, Frosted Cafe

- purchased from Shoppers (a chain drug store) for $ 4.49 CDN each

The polishes listed above are in order from darkest to lightest, which goes from thumb to pinky. I wanted a chic, understated version of the skittle manicure. To the casual observer it appears to be a regular manicure, but upon closer inspection, it is more involved and interesting. I got many compliments on this look - from both colleagues and students, so I guess this manicure appealed to both young and old.

These polishes applied nicely and were opaque and streak-free with two coats. They dried in a reasonable amount of time (however, be aware that I use a quick dry top coat that always speeds things along). These polishes wore reasonably well over the two days I had them on - no chips, but some tip wear.

13 June 2009

Lucy in the Sky with Fabric

I knew I was in trouble the minute I clicked onto Lucy's Fabrics. There were a few pieces that demanded to become part of my fabric commune. Here they are in no particular order:

I'm thinking summer dresses for the first three and a cute T-shirt for the fourth fabric. But, who knows? We all know about the best laid plans of mice and seamstresses...

10 June 2009

Thank you!

Emily Kate bestowed upon me the "One Lovely Blog Award." I am flattered as all get out, especially after reading all the nice things she had to say about me. So, a super big hug goes out to her!

I'm still recovering from my latest allergy attack, which turned into a nasty cold. Hopefully, I will be feeling good enough to sew (and post about it) in a few days time.

Not to mention, it's almost the end of the school year, so I am wrapping up the lessons and getting together the exams. Soon I will be free...free I tells ya!

8 June 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Lately, I have had a few questions as to my nail routine, so here is a link back to a previous post, where I laid it all out.

Now, on to the pretties:

In a New York Color Minute - Broadway
- purchased at Rexall for $1.39 CDN

This is an interesting polish - in some lights it appears reddish-brown, in others it's got a purple tinge, in yet others it appears to be wine. Whatever the colour, it is beautiful - deep and shimmery and rich.

Two coats applied beautifully, with a nice sized brush to give excellent coverage and it dried quickly. However, it does wear a bit more than other more expensive polishes. There was a fair amount of tip wear after two days (although it did remain chip free), but, for the price, I'm willing to look the other way.

China Glaze - Blue Sparrow
- purchased at Sally Beauty Supply for $3.99 CDN

Another neon polish in China Glaze's Spring 2008 INK collection, which was inspired by tattoo art. Blue Sparrow is a bright royal/teal blue base, packed with fine light blue glitter. It is a unique and eye-catching colour.

As usual, the China Glaze formula was excellent - two coat coverage, great consistency and excellent wear (minimal tip wear over a four day period). The only very minor downside is that the glitter leaves a gritty surface and the neon makes the polish dry matte, so a shiny top coat is strongly suggested.

Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear - So Poppy
- purchased at Zellers (chain discount store) for $ 2.17 CDN

So Poppy is a orangey-red shimmery polish that absolutely glows from within. It reminds me a lot of China Glaze's Cherry Pie, although CP has large glass flecks, instead of microscopic shimmer. However, if you want the look of CP, at half the price, with less annoying removal (those gorgeous glass flecks make CP a royal PITA to remove - even with pure acetone, I estimate it takes me 15-20 minutes to remove these kinds of polishes), then So Poppy may be the ticket for you.

The polish was acceptably opaque after one single coat, however I applied two coats just to cover all the minor bald spots. As usual, I love the brush - it is nicely shaped and large enough to make application simple. The dry time is fast, although I rarely ever go without a quick dry top coat to really speed things along.

7 June 2009


So, I've spent the last few days praying for the sweet release of death. I figure it's got to be better than the allergy hell I've been living through. Every year when the poplar trees release those fluffy puffs of doom, I might as well hand over my sinuses to Satan. I find it highly ironic that only the male poplar tree produces the cottony stuff - leave it to a man to put my immune system into melt down mode. So, while I've been waiting for my cheekbones to explode, I haven't felt like doing much that is useful.

Needless to say, there is a dearth of sewing going on at Chez HZC. So, what to do when you can't sew? Why buy fabric of course! Elliot Berman Textiles is having a 30% off summer sale and I have been lusting after a certain piece of fabric since I missed the last sale. So, without further ado, here is the only thing keeping me from allergen-induced insanity:

I am not usually a pink kind of gal, but this fabric sang it's siren song to me and I could not get it out of my head. I'm thinking a sweet as pie, full-skirted vintage number. That is, assuming I live through next few days. Here's hoping...

2 June 2009

Tag, I'm It!

I have been tagged by pendlestitches for a meme, based on creating lists of eight.

8 things I'm looking forward to:
1. June 26th - the last day of work until September.
2. Going for long walks with Simon every morning this summer at the local park.
3. Sewing anytime the whim hits me during my summer vacation.
4. Sitting quietly and watching nature, all day long, on the chaise lounge in my backyard.
5. Going on weekly nature trail hikes with Simon and my hubby each weekend this summer.
6. Building our dream house on 4 acres of property that we bought a few years back.
7. Having my very own sewing room in said house.
8. Having a large fruit and vegetable garden, bordered by a flower cutting garden on our property.

8 things I did yesterday:
1. Taught my grade 12s how to balance redox reaction equations.
2. Taught my grade 11s the Ideal Gas Law.
3. Went for a walk with Simon.
4. Made tuna noodle salad for dinner.
5. Lifted weights for an hour.
6. Read all my favourite blogs.
7. Polished my nails.
8. Did some laundry.

8 things I wish I could do:
1. Eat huge amounts of chocolate everyday and not gain any weight.
2. Guarantee Simon a lifespan similar to my own.
3. Take away my husband's work stress.
4. Convince my husband that the hamper will not bite him if he gets near it.
5. Wave a magic wand and make my house clean.
6. Take away my best friend's back and neck pain permanently.
7. Make some of my students more responsible, less whiny and more socially aware.
8. Win enough money in the lottery to build the dream house, fence in all 4 acres, sit on the back porch and watch Simon sniff around the yard.

8 shows I watch:
1. Supernatural
2. Medium
3. Ghost Whisperer
4. Bones
5. Stargate Atlantis (& Stargate SG-1 before it) - I miss you!
6. Battlestar Galactica - I miss you too!
7. House
8. The Tudors

1 June 2009

Lacquer Lundi

Last Lacquer Lundi, Carolyn (cmarie12) said, "Okay I am not a nail polish girl. I only paint my toes and they are either bright red or a pale pink but I have been following this series every Monday morning. And now I have a question, just how many bottles of nail polish do you own?"

Well, at last count, I own just over 200 bottles. Yeah, I know, it sounds excessive and in all honesty, it is excessive. However, nail polish makes me happy and it's a lot cheaper than fabric and much easier to store. So when I need a quick pick me up, a $5 bottle of polish does the trick.

Now on to the pretties:

Nfu-Oh - #125

- purchased at fabuloustreet.com for $8.50 US

This shimmery olive green nail polish is so interesting. I don't own another colour quite like it. The days that I wore this polish, I got many comments, so it certainly garners attention.

This polish applies nicely and has a good consistency. Due to a few bald spots, I put on three coats to ensure opaqueness. It wore well for the two days I had it on, with slight tip wear and no chipping.

Sally Hansen Insta Dri - Pronto Purple
- purchased at Zehrs (chain grocery store) for $5.99 CDN

With its gorgeous grape colour, this shimmery polish is a definite winner. The medium purple colour is beautiful and very flattering with my skin tone. Admittedly, I really enjoy purple nail polish, but this colour hit it out of the park for me.

Application was good, although the polish was a tad thick. However, the extra wide brush and good polish pigmentation meant that one coat coverage is possible (but, I used tow coats to get a greater depth of colour). I wore Pronto Purple for two days and only had to contend with tip wear.

Rimmel Lycra Wear 10 + Minerals - Tequila Sunrise

- purchased at Shoppers for $3.79 CDN

This medium orange polish is not unique - I have a few other polishes that are quite similar. I however, have a weakness for orange nail polish, so this one found its way home with me.

I was pleasantly surprised with Tequila Sunrise. It applied very well - nice consistency, easy to spread on the nail and fairly opaque ( two coats covered perfectly). It also wore exceptionally well. During the wearing of this polish, I did four hours of gardening - pulling weeds, trimming bushes, sawing off tree branches - all without gloves and the polish only had very minor tip wear. Not a chip in sight. Nice.

Speaking of gardening, I really should use gloves all the time, but I like getting my hands in the soil. However, my nails and skin are bearing the brunt of my outdoor activities. I have been moisturizing constantly and it seems to be keeping the drying and peeling at bay for the most part. So, if you, like me, are battling the crispy-crunchies, my best advice is to slap on the hand cream as often as you possibly can - it seems to be working for me.