Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Fun: Favorite Summer Memory

I want a manicure.

I'm not talking a, "Oh, look, I put pretty pictures on my nails." I mean a hand over hard-won cash so the cute Asian man with the indecipherable accent will massage things that smell nice onto my hands, make the peelies go away and give me pretty nails with pictures on them that I don't have to paint myself and won't break/tear/chip off in twelve hours. That kind of manicure. (Yes, it's a stereotype. Must most of the manicurists in my area are Korean. The one I went to when I had money was an engineer before the economy tanked, and he did lovely work. He's also one of only a handful that I've been to that I could understand more than one word in three.)

I kind of destroyed my hands at work today. I was moving fixtures and merchandise all day, and tore up my knuckles. At the moment, it's not too visible, but I sure felt it when I was washing dishes. My hands are so bad right now that I took that Burt's Bees Lemon Butter I talked about last week and rubbed in all over my hands in the hope that it would help with the dry skin, hang nails, and cuts and scrapes. And the peeling nails I've been fighting for about two or two and a half months have decided to come back with a vengeance, despite all I've been doing to prevent them (cuticle treatments, nail hardeners, conditioners and strengtheners). I actually can't cut my nails any shorter. I've tried. But they just keep peeling.

So I paint them to cover it up.

My favorite summer memory is an internship I did as part of my undergrad. I was a struggling art student, feeling lost and depressed at the end of my second year of school. I didn't like my major and had realized that art--as the administration defined it--wasn't how I wanted to spend my life, but in the back of my head I just kept hearing my dad's voice telling me what a mistake art school was, and what a waste of money since changing majors (and by definition changing schools, since mine only taught art) would mean starting from scratch as far as classes, loans, and grades, not to mention I had no idea what exactly I would major in instead.

At that point, I'd been knitting for about a year and a half. I had discovered knitting blogs, though I didn't yet have one of my own. I'd been designing my own projects, though at that point I don't think any of them were actually written down as patterns. I was scouring the web for more information about knitting--my one creative outlet that didn't involve a critique and a bad grade.

On my way out of printmaking class one day, I saw a flier for the TNNA PiPN Internship Program, which allowed students (primarily fashion majors, but others as well) to intern for various fiber arts companies doing things like sales, making samples, and sometimes even design work. I applied and was sent a list of participating companies. Lo and behold, at the bottom of the list was a single international opportunity: CNS/Mission Falls in Montreal, Quebec Canada.

I'd been dying to go back to Canada since my grandmother's funeral a few years before. I spent several weeks with crossed fingers, waiting to see where I'd be assigned.

The internship began with three weeks of training in Akron, Ohio in knitting, crochet, embroidery, cross stitch, and needle point before we were sent off to our designated locations.

My boss was kind enough to let me stay in his "winter" house, a duplex in the Plateau area of Montreal (very nice neighborhood).

That was my first time truely being on my own and away from home. I fell in love with the city. I learned so much about the world and about myself. I wrote 3/4 of the first draft of what would eventually become my first novel. I picked up sewing and haven't truly put it down since, and I absorbed every knitting technique I could find.

I could time the buses to the second. Public transport was affordable. Produce was fresh and delicious, everything was within walking distance and the things that weren't were easily accessable through the metro.

And then there was the underground city.

Google it. Seriously.

Festivals every week, international culture, buildings from the 1600s, and my favorite uncle an hour away for the only time in my life. I improved my French, met some amazing people, and spent every Sunday on the Mountain, watching LARPers, listening to drum circles, dancing, and shopping handmade goods.

Colors used:
Revlon #460 "Mysterious" (blue, thumb)
Maybelline Color Show "Porcelain Party" (white)
Essie "Exotic Liras" (pink)
Sally Hansen Diamond Strength "Diamonds and Rubies" (red)
Miliani Neons "Rad Purple" (purple)
Sally Hansen Insta-Dri "Just in Lime" and "Blue By"
Sinful Colors "Happy Ending" (green, sponged on top of "Just in Lime")
Cityscape done by blending S•X•Y "Dreamy Cocoa" with "Porcelain Party" and Pop Beauty "Black"
Claire's nail art pen for details (black)
Seche Vite for a topcoat

I tried doing an alcohol transfer like this one for the map, but none of the maps I had were printed using the right ink. So instead, I took the piece of map I'd softened with alcohol, tore off a small portion, and laid it over top a fresh coat of white polish. I sealed it in with 2 coats of Seche Vite. I used manicure scissors to neaten the edges and trim it to shape.

This happens to be the only time I've wished for those ridiculously long talons that are absolutely useless for everything but nail art. I wish I could have printed more of the map and shown a little more detail with the cityscape.

Just a break down:
thumb: Quebec flag
index finger: one of the yarns I was promoting, Mission Falls Tricolor (it's really hard to see with the topcoat, but there's red and purple on a pink base. The yarn is very pretty and I wish I still had some)
middle: map of the city
ring: cityscape and the mountain
pinky: maple leaf
Fini. Merci de lire.


  1. Tres beau ecrit, J'adore! :D
    Nah, I'm not so much in french but I love your writing here, it really warmed up my heart. And your mani is full of your great memory! So lovely <3

    1. Thanks! Can you tell I miss being up there? :) I'm really happy with it.