Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Stamping (and a lot of rambling)

Both of my nail supply packages arrived yesterday, a day before the earliest delivery estimate. Totally surprised and thrilled! Of course it had to be tested that night, and the results were a little wobbly but good ~

1st Konad stamping, 1

The middle nail on each hand is the worst. One had a gap of white missing, so I tried to see if I could just do a small stamp over that area to fill it in. This resulted in an area with double lines, but it's actually not that noticeable. The other middle nail got bumped when wet, so I wiped everything off and started again. And bumped it again! At that point I smoothed it down (leaving a black gap in the center of the flower) and said 'good enough'.

1st Konad stamping, 2

Watching the tutorials I noticed a lot of talk of using a clear base coat under your colored polish to keep your polish from chipping as much. How have I gone my entire nail-painting life without this knowledge? Meanwhile I've been doing minor touch-ups constantly to keep my polish in check, sometimes even the first day I painted them. (And had been worried about how I would be able to do this with a stamped pattern on the nail!)

I checked the Amazon reviews & ordered OPI Natural base coat, but knew it would be coming later than my other supplies. Of course I painted my nails anyway and it arrived the next day, 2 days earlier than it's shipping estimate! (turns out it was coming from my state)

Anyway, some things that surprised me...

1) All of the supplies are super tiny. For some reason I thought the disks would be around 3.5" and they are 2.25"! The double stamper is about 3.25", also shorter than I had imagined.

2) It was a little harder to judge how to line up the stamp than I had hoped. Not that any of mine prints were way off, but I'm pretty good at eyeballing! I'm assuming this will improve with practice.

3) A lot of the little lines at the base of the nail would break and stay on the stamper rather than stamping my skin. This often left either a gap or a little line of polish sticking up that needed to be pressed down.

4) A lot of the lines around the edges of the nails got wobbly. Some of that was from the line breaks mentioned above, which also happened at the tips of the nails. I also wonder if maybe I'm not rocking the stamper straight across my nail and am curving it perhaps?

Sadly I could keep on babbling for a while about every minor detail, but I will leave it at that. I am pretty pleased with how the first trial turned out & won't be too upset if it start chipping tomorrow so I can re-do them with something new! ;)

Friday, February 24, 2012


I just ordered some Konad nail stamping supplies & am so excited! They should be getting here next week, but meanwhile I thought I would share what I learned about the supplies & show you what I ordered.

First off, here are the two plates I picked to start with ~
Konad nail stamping plates

I had to have the houndstooth print you can see on the bottom left (M63) and thought the other plate had a nice mix of full nail designs (the rectangles) and little accents to play around with (M51).

Basically you fill the design in with polish, scrape off the excess, then you can stamp the design on your nails! There are a *ton* of plates with several designs on each & they run about $5 each. (There are also a lot of off brands that are cheaper, more on that later) I got these on Amazon from Venus.Online (free shipping!).

I also got a double sided stamper, with scraper, and the Konad Special White & Special Black polish (from loveotc on Amazon, also free shipping) ~

Konad nail stamping supplies

Now, you do *not* have to buy Konad polish, most thick or metallic polishes will give you a good print. But I heard a lot of good things about their white & black and know those colors can run pretty thin & I will be using them a lot. I found this really great tutorial that talks about a good substitute white & black and shows a side-by-side comparison, starting at the 3:30 mark ~

In the first part of the video she basically just says you may want to stamp with your hand flat on the table or up in the air, whatever works best for you, and to practice. (She also names the base color she's wearing and the # of the disk, but that is about it) The rest of the video is great & you get to see lots of examples of the stamping & tips, but it is pretty long!

I also checked out the Part 1 video and about 1:00 in she does a nice comparison of the Konad plates with the main off brand, Bundle Monster (a "Faux-nad", haha), which are a little cheaper & lower quality but pretty comparable. It does not look like she made Part 3 yet.

So ~ everything ran about $5 each so I ended up spending around $25 (yay, Amazon gift cards!), but you could definitely ditch the polish and start off with a stamper & one plate for $10. Are you excited yet? Unfortunately my nails are have been peeling really bad lately & so I had to cut them down pretty short ~ this is not the best time for me to order nail supplies, but I'm sure I'll have fun playing with them anyway!

Monday, February 20, 2012


The last couple of weeks I've had my nose buried in a book!

I wanted something I could do while I was sitting around watching Orson. He'll play intently by himself for long periods of time, as long as I'm nearby, but will not tolerate much computer use. We also go outside for 30 minutes to an hour most days and I'll often find myself sitting on a bench with nothing to do for most of it (while he plays). So I decided to start carrying a book around with me and have since gone through about 4.5 in 2 weeks!

Granted, a lot of them have been young adult/children's novels. After reading an Asimov book and my first from the Discworld series I grabbed "Ella Enchanted", "Princess Diaries", and "Stardust" - all of which I had heard were *so* much better than the movies. While I normally agree with that sentiment, I have to say that in these three cases I'm pretty neutral. Different? Yes, but not really better or worse.

I am enjoying the books greatly, but they do have a downside. I was only looking for something to fill the Orson downtime during the day, yet I get so interested in the stories that I spend my little free time in the evening reading as well. My normal hobbies are suffering! I need to keep reminding myself to save my evenings for blogs and Japanese study and other things.

Any sci-fi/fantasy recommendations?

Saturday, February 4, 2012


This week I decided to make Spaetzle, just for fun! I mentioned it when we were planning dinners for the week & Justin veto-ed it, thinking it would be too complex, but I couldn't get it off my mind.

Spaetzle is a German side dish, like an eggy noodle with very irregular shapes. We tried it on our last anniversary at a German restaurant & I loved it... although I wonder how much of that had to do with the delicious gravy that topped it?

I'd been eyeing this recipe for a while and decided to make a half batch of that along with this gravy recipe. It was pretty easy to make - you mix the dough ahead of time, chill it for at least an hour, and then push it through the holes of a colander into a boiling pot of water (I didn't have any problems with the steam). Let it boil 2-3 minutes and then remove the noodles into an ice bath, drain & eat.

Spaetzle, wet

I did, however, end up with *very* wet, soft noodles. Not a far cry from scrambled eggs. I tried some with the gravy (which was very good) and decided they definitely needed some of the pan-frying she mentions to stiffen them up a bit. It took a long time for my soggy noodles to brown up but it did improve the texture. (Still not quite right though)

Spaetzle, pan-fried

There were a couple of small goofs that I made that might have caused the problems - 1) I let my batter sit an hour but forgot to actually chill it. I think this would have made the dough stiffer going into the water & I'm sure the finished product would also be a little different. 2) I let the ice bath warm up too much. I should have added more ice along the way because the noodles warmed it up a lot. As I was removing the noodles I noticed the water was not cold at all anymore, so they were probably overcooked (not as firm). 3) I think the water level was too high, too close to the bottom of the colander. This did not give the noodles far to fall, which is why I think I ended up with little balls rather than longer shapes.

Next time I'll make sure to fix those and also think I'll use a different recipe with less eggs. In the recipe she mentioned trying two versions - a more traditional recipe and one with more eggs - and that she liked the egg version better. Since this reminded me too much of scrabbled eggs I'd like to go the more traditional route. I may just follow the ratios posted with the gravy recipe, or maybe I'll see what Martha has to offer.

Have you ever had Spaetzle? Ever considered making it?