Saturday, January 29, 2011

Carolyn Braden Trend: Save Cash, Make Your Own T-Shirts!

T-Shirt "Deli's" are popping up everywhere. These are places you can go and pick out letter styles, designs and pictures and have them put on a T-shirt. I went to the "T-Shirt Deli" in Chicago a few years ago. It was a fun experience, but after having the shirts made, I realized I could have done it myself. Click the link below to see how you can make your own T-shirt at home. The article is How to Make a Homemade Band T-Shirt, but you could use my directions to make your shirt say anything!

Carolyn Braden Tried CND Shellac: Tips for a Do-It-Yourself Application

All the supplies for my CND Shellac experiment came in this week. 
 I applied it last night and here is the the verdict:
It rocks!
The only thing I now have to wait to write about is how long this manicure will last. It is supposed to last approximately 2 weeks, so I will write about that later. I will also write about the removal process when I do it.

Supplies you need if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person like me:

CND Shellac Base Coat
CND Shellac Top Coat
36 Watt, Ultraviolet Gel Curing Light
CND Shellac Color (I purchased Rose Bud and Red Baroness so far)
99% Isopropyl Alcohol (This was hard to find for me. I ended up finding it a Meier's, which a store like Super Target, but they are only in certain states. You can order it on-line if you can't find it in your town).
Vitamin E oil (I used Sally Hansen's)
Manicure tools and nail brush
Lint-free cotton pads (I purchased mine at Walgreen's)

Here's how I did it:

I gave myself a manicure. I soaked my hands in warm, soapy water for a few minutes and then used a nail scraping manicure tool to remove all the cuticle from each nail. I used cuticle scissors to cut away any hang nails. Basically, I made sure my nails were completely smooth and free of any bumps. 

I washed my hands with soap, scrubbed them with a nail brush and dried them completely.

I then applied a very thin layer of the CND base coat to one hand. I cured it in the UV light for 10 seconds. I repeated that on the other hand. 

Next, I applied one coat of the color to one hand. I used Rose Bud for my first try with the product. I cured for 2 minutes and repeated that on the other hand.

I applied a second coat of Rose Bud to each hand and cured my nails again for for 2 minutes each. 

Next, I applied the top coat. I noticed it was gel-like and kind of thick when applying. I did this to each hand and cured each hand for 2 minutes.

I then took a lint-free cotton pad soaked it a little with the 99% Isopropyl alcohol. I rubbed it gently over each nail to remove the gel-like layer that was left on my nails. Not being a trained professional, I thought it was weird to use alcohol because I thought it would remove the polish. I was wrong. It just takes off the gel and leaves a hard, polished nail surface behind. It turns out the top coat is what dries the nails after being cured. 

I then brushed the Vitamin E oil over my finger tips to condition the skin around my nails. The alcohol is drying, so the oil conditions the dried out skin. 


I believe I put the top coat on too thick. I figured this out because I have a couple of tiny air bubbles on two of my nails. (I only notice the bubbles because I know they are there and I held my hand up to my face to thoroughly examine them when I finished).  I didn't realize the gel top coat was so thick as is. Next time I will apply a thinner layer, cure it, then do another coat and cure it again. The thick top coat helps the polish last longer. (Best for thin nails like mine).

Do not touch your nails after curing. Don't touch them between ANY layers of polish. I figured it may leave oil from my fingers on it and make it the rest of the polishes not cure correctly. I also realized (I accidentally touched one nail during the color application) the polish doesn't fully dry until the top coat is cured. 

Be sure to lay your hand completely flat when curing. I held my thumb nail up a little to make it flat so it would cure correctly.

I can't wait to try the other color. I purchased Red Baroness and Rose Bud because I wanted to try them separately, but I also think they may make a pretty pinkish color when I experiment with layering them.  

After all the reading I've done on the product, I think I will be able to use my Stripe Rite (polish with the tiny brushes) to decorate my nails still. I love putting a little flower, stripes, or some fancy design (sometimes sparkles too!) on my ring finger. I will try to do this at some point. One nail tech I saw on-line, took cosmetic glitter and sprinkled it on the nail after curing the second color coat. She then applied the top coat, cured it, and repeated applying the coat and curing 2 more times. That may be something cool to try.    Right now, there aren't very many colors but, I read that more colors are coming out in March 2011.

Supplies I purchased for the process.

Photo of my finished nails. My iPhone didn't quite capture the color correctly. The Rose Bud color I am wearing is actually a pretty pink. It's a soft color that suits my skin tone. It's a cream, not a shimmer. I took some better photos with my camera and I'll post them later. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Carolyn Braden's Monogrammed Canvas Tote

Looking for a classy tote to haul your belongings around in? Here's an idea I saw in Woman's Day magazine. Their instructions weren't as clear as they should have been (my opinion) so I made a video on how to do it my way. I added a style element to the bag as well.

Carolyn Braden's How To Make a Feather Headband

Here's a video I made on how to make a fancy feather headband.