Thursday, 11 December 2014

On Line learning

There seems to be a feeding frenzy for on line learning lately,  looking for creative input nail professionals can be found visiting youtube for a quick fix,  trying to figure out how someone has created the latest look or nail application.  Peering at their screen waiting for the  outcome of some complicated nail, without fully learning the basics or the detail on the application. Disregarding product knowledge and not learning the potential of the tools and materials they have in their hands.  With step by steps and images posted daily on all forms of social media to share the knowledge or just sell a product,  most nail techs would admit they have based their on going education through Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. I hold my hands up, I am one of those people that say "if I don't know how,  I you tube it".

I love technology, I love education this is no secret and I am right at the front of the queue when there is something available which combines both - but value for money is  must, we don't just want the same old 3 min films we see on you tube, we are looking for information we would only get on a class.  As a nail professional if I am going to watch a film, I want to seem like i am there right next to the educator sucking her dry of all the information I can.

Paying for a subscribed service which gives you a monthly or weekly learning tool has to benefit you in some way, payment to long to an exclusive group comes with benefits, there is always the option to pay as you go, but the added bonus of discounts, direct contact with your educator for feedback and critic and other informative information just not available on line has to be the plus side, all available right in your own inbox.  The last thing we need is to be  inundated with even more news letters, promises of being rich when you follow this or that program, and a lot of sales patter and offers.

 Online learning should solve 2 problems;
  1. in-depth learning which is inaccessible due to distance or time
  2. in depth learning which is on hand night or day, with continued feed back and critic.
  • on line learning should give you something new to improve your business and general nail knowledge. 
  • on line learning should give you a different insight into something you might already know, making you look at a nail application differently or give you a new method. 
  • on line learning has the potential to revolutionise the industry if it is done properly, with a dedicated team to support the members and give them what they ask for. 
On line should be value for money, every one is running a business and a healthy flow of funds into dedicated education, which is sought after and available regardless of the country you live or the time zone. I would personally be willing to pay for something that is  available and accessible day or night, depending on my own schedule,  I don't need to travel and I can attend a class in my PJ's, no make up with a big bar chocolate and a glass of wine.

With 2 online video workshops available can see for yourself how you can update your skills without sacrificing time, money or other commitments which prevent you attending a real life workshops....don't stop your self from growing with the industry; check out this link for more info...

As you can tell I  am  an avid supporter of on line learning, in fact any education in our industry is a must and I feel we should set aside hours to invest in our craft. updating skills and building our knowledge. I have been working on a solution which might just be just what your looking for too.
I can't say too much, but the launch is right around the corner, we tried with the NAIL-inar in November, which was a resounding success in some ways but highlighted problems in other areas.  So I went back to the drawing board, and have come up with something stronger, simpler and more accessible, regardless of the time zone or our work schedules and finances.

Launch date is not planned until Funerary 2015, but I shall keep you updated, if you can't wait and want to be one of the first to find out what is going one, then please enter your details below and I shall add you to the list.

Please send me info on THE INSPIRED

Thursday, 2 October 2014

WTF is a NAIL-inar?

Sam Biddle NAIL-inars

You have heard of webinars right? Those boring power points which you listen and watch through your computer or iPad? Well this is better than that..a BRAND NEW on line learning solution for the Nail industry. 

For the past year I have been working on some BRAND NEW concepts for nail education, and just in time for Christmas we are ready to launch. I'm inviting you to join my NAIL-inar, which is an on line learning program.  You can take a lesson in the comfort of your own home and watch live as I spend an hour with you in your living room, office or salon, on your computer, tablet or mobile. I am going to talk through the designs or applications right then and there You can ask questions and join in; live. 

Don’t worry if you can’t make the monthly date…each session will be recorded and you can visit the link again to watch it later. 

For one hour each month, I shall be organising this in depth training from just £15 per session. This is a great opportunity to invest in your craft, especially if you find it hard to justify the expense of attending a class, or just can't get away from the salon. A brilliant solution to raising your skill level! Of course, this will not replace the benefits of attending any workshops. 

You can only learn so much, through YouTube and the free tutorials available on the internet, but with the Nail-inars, I plan to take you through each step live. You can stop me and ask questions or ask me to explain something further if it is not clear. Some sessions will have live demonstrations and some will have pre recorded demonstrations, which are edited to give you the very best view of the nails….but rest assured each time a Live Nail-inar is aired I am going to be right with you every step of the way. 

There will be opportunities to book one to one sessions via the Nail-inars and we shall also be offering FREE Nail-inar events to cover 'hero' products and ‘how to’ workshops. 

I hope you can join me;
DATE 10th November
TIME  7pm - 8PM
COST £15
VENUE - your Computer 
TITLE OF NAIL-inar - Perspective in Pigment

To find out more about how to book onto the next Sam Biddle NAIL-inar visit

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Arabella Forms - the things you could do!

This weekend I ran a fantasy workshop in Warwick, and it struck me as I was using the Arabella forms, just how popular this reusable plastic mould has become in the industry. I am  delighted when I randomly see people on Facebook using  the Arabella's to create their master pieces, or mention them in a comment.

This month (October 2014) on the Be Creative website, we have a great offer running - you can receive 25% off your set of Arabella's...nice savings we thought, and I wanted to high light some great steps for you which we have done using the forms. Just in case you missed them.

The reason the forms where created was to help produce fantasy art work, but it soon came apparent that these forms, with their in built C curve, could create some time saving stickers and embellishments too.

SWANS in gel

Using Gel paints we created both these designs, the swan and the rose, simply top with a gel polish top coat and peel off. 

ROSE in gel

HOLLY in acrylic

Christmas is  around the corner - and to help you start prepping!  Here is a great acrylic embellishment step by step I created...I make these before my clients come, and they have them as a gift from me each year on their ring finger. 

The Holly step by step link can be found on this blog - CLICK HERE

There are so many other looks, designs and inspiration out there, and I know I don't catch them all, please please share with me HERE on the Arabella form Facebook page what you have created using our Forms.

To buy your pack - visit our website - for October only receive 25% off.

Check out the website for a short film on how to create the rose, swan and an additional Blue butterfly, using one stroke. CLICK HERE

Monday, 15 September 2014

Mind over Matter

We have all heard that saying, right? Generally when we are on those last 10 squats or have another hill to climb, your repeating those words 'mind over matter'....but it means so much more than that.

As we get older we should in theory become wiser....hello...a bit silly as surely we need the wisdom when we are forming our career and deciding our life path? But it is the mistakes we make that forms our wisdom. The one thing I have learnt over the last couple of years is you can have all the wisdom in the world, you can talk the talk and even set things in motion. But there is something inside of you that stops the process, that prevents you from achieving those goals, dreams and targets, regardless of the knowledge and understanding you might process.

Why? Because you have yet to win the war of your mind, to control those thoughts which hold you back. 

Right now I am working on 3 new exciting developments for my business, I have been developing these ideas for a few years now, but I feel now is the time to set the ball in motion. That said I am still trying to rationalise the reasons why I should do it, my mind is coming up with obstacles and restrictions. To counter act this, my wisdom is telling me i have all the tools and information and can achieve this, that it makes sense to move my business in the right direction. So what is going on here?

My brain is clouded with tiny pulses of doubt, and these are created because of fear! Remember fear is not a valid emotion, fear is a figment of your imagination. If I allowed those pulses of doubt to run a mock through my brain I would still be here in another 3 years building business plans and researching delivery methods. 

Setting your mind to it means you're conquering something  fear says you can't do. But fear is not real, it is just your imagination, and its express purpose is to feed your self doubt and negative self talk. 
Your mind is what you need to control, you have all the wisdom and knowledge in the world, but unless you can control how your thoughts affect how you feel, you will always be stuck in the same cycle; worrying about the same things and not able to achieve the possible. 

Today for just a couple of minutes imagine if you could achieve anything, what would it be; Loosing five stone or maybe entering and winning a competition? Starting your own business and learning a new skill or craft. Have you always wanted to write a book or go back to university and get a Phd?

What ever you want in this life is yours for the taking, I promise  you can have it all, but unless you conquer your mind, all the knowledge and wisdom will get you no where. 

Once you have established what you want to achieve then it is time to think strategically.  Having structure gives you an element of control and understanding and stops those doubts taking hold.  
This is what I do when I have an idea or project I am thinking of, even if it is planning a holiday destination or investing in a new home. If there is an element of doubt, then my mind will work hard to sabotage my dream. 

Creating a SWOT analysis is not a HOW will this happen, this is a study you can take to identify the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the external opportunities and threats should you go ahead.  This is one of the most meaningful exercises you can do within business. 

Strengths are those parts of the business or idea which sets you apart from the competition. You must be honest and establish what is it that you do well. What advantages do you have over your competitors and what makes you different?
Weaknesses are areas in need of improvement. Can you do anything better or is there anything you do badly? What should be avoided and what causes problems or complaints?
Opportunities which can improve your business.
Threats can be external or internal, and are anything which can adversely affect your business, research what your competitors are doing, are there any changes in products, services or technology which could threaten your business? Do you have any financial problems such as bad debt or cash-flow difficulties? Internal threats could also be personnel, time management skills and other factors which may distract you. 
Having done your analysis you then need to create an action plan, it is essential you think about the following points in order to move forward and eliminate the self doubt. This action plan will be the first step towards achieving your goals. 

Your achievements are 100% mental; your business won't go where your mind doesn't push it. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

I received this email!

When people attend my workshops I am always nervous about what they are thinking and feelings, no one is ever truly honest to your face, and their expectations after investing in a workshops can either be raised or dashed, with the content or even the attitude of the educator. I received this honest and frank email from one of the ladies who attended the 2 day 'pushing the limits'  workshop in Sydney,Australia.  

This is an unedited email, I wanted to share with you,  I am very thankful of her comments and thoughts on the workshops. 

Melanie wrote; 
Melanie Crowe - Center

1. I was always going to attend with the name Sam Biddle in the heading. I chose this class mainly because I have attended previous workshops with Sam & I have always felt at ease with her. Her teaching style & down to earth approach with everyone in the class is exceptional. I love how she never intimidates & always makes people feel comfortable no matter what level of expertise they have. I always drag the chain but she allows me to potter along at my own pace.

2. I am the first one to admit that I am no painter when I saw some of the designs I must admit to feeling a little disheartened because I actually thought it was an acrylic fantasy workshop but with some practise I feel as though I can achieve the same look especially the feather design & believe it or not I have been inspired to sign up for a painting class, which I am doing this coming Friday. Yeah go me !!!!! I feel the parrot was out of my league but again with practise it is simple enough to be achieved. Sams delivery of her classes is awesome she can laugh & have a joke & not be stuck up but she can also be serious & willing to help whomever gets stuck. Thats what I love most about her there is no airs or graces what you see is what you get a happy friendly person whom is willing to help. She is always engaging looks people straight in the face & tells it how it is. Her advice & friendliness is outstanding.

3. Attending this workshop I was hoping to improve on my fantasy. I didnt enter fantasy this year because in previous years I have built everything out of acrylic. It is heavy & hard going on my model. I felt that I could never get past the kiddie looking stage of my pieces. This year I have learnt how to build things from foil how awesome is that !!! It has definately given me hope & inspiration to enter fantasy next year which is what I really love to do. I really loved the second day of the workshop & thought I would never implement any of the designs or techniques from the first day but guess what today I used the brights & party pigments for the first time in salon. I was quite thrilled & chuffed with myself & said to my client this is something that I learnt to do with Sam Biddle. It wasnt much but none the less I was still happy to boost about & say look at what I learnt. I took away alot from those 2 days, made many friends & even surprised myself by retaining that information. I would most certainly do another workshop with Sam & I am hoping that with lots of practise that I could even surprise her with what I might achieve. That is my goal.Cheers to Sam Biddle you rock !!!!!Much love from down under, Melanie Crowe xo

Friday, 5 September 2014

Step by Step

Leah Light
I have been asked to teach and recreate this look time and time again, these optical illusion nails seem to capture the imagination of so many, so I thought I would re post the steps I created  a while ago incase you missed them.  These nails I created on celebrity manicurist and nail artist from New Zealand Leah Light....we simply updated her tired gel polish with a combination of Party Pigments; I used 'did you know' and 'gossip'. Combining white, gold and black is a favourite look for Leah and I have to agree, it certainly looks chic.
Party Pigments from Be Creative

Creating various colour fades using the glitter pigment pressed into the inhibition (sticky) layer, I then used a base coat to seal it. I wanted to use the nail art pen over the glitter without disturbing it, and by dry wiping the inhibition layer from the base coat, I was able to achieve the pattern with little problem. 

Using your nail art pen and the be creative black paint, add dots down the length of the nail, make sure these dots are in line with each other. 

Join each of the dots together starting at the top and sweeping the nail art pen down in a 'S" formation. 
Now add another 'S' shape horizontally joining the dots to make the small tiles. 
These steps are created on a white back ground to make it easier for you to see the shapes made with the nail art pen, if your having issues using the pen, check out my blog post HERE. 
Find out more about the Nail Art Pen HERE

I have created this look on various back grounds, but non as simple and effective as pigments, by adding a colour fade in a clever way you can make your optical illusion nails even more powerful. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Diary of an International Nail Artist - Pt 2 Australia 2014

Sat here at my desk in good old Blighty, it is time for me to recount the highs and lows of the second part of my is a far cry from Sydney and the land 'down under' and already I've been home a week! The trees are green and the promise of sunshine reminds me it is still summer here....I can never get my head around the seasonal difference and, of course, the time change.  Just a little over a week ago I was saying goodbye to the nail family I had played, laughed and even tutted with.

Each year I take a trip to Australia and each year I think this will be my last, but it seems I am pulled back by the passion and enthusiasm of the nail technicians over there. This last trip was divided into two parts, with the 3 day break in between, (much needed and very appreciated) it was all too soon before Tracey and I where packing up our suitcases and heading into the city. I say suitcases, because Tracey took me shopping on our break, which meant I had to purchase another bag in order to carry home the new wardrobe!

The two day Be Inspired workshop kicks off with a packed class, another new lesson plan to work from and for me wondering if I have either made it too easy or way to hard. When you come up with a lesson plan for any workshop, it is not a case of pulling ideas and designs from the cloud of inspiration, but each nail covers a range of applications and techniques, and they take you on a journey through the day to the final ultimate look. It does take me a little time to develop and come up with something different and totally awesome to wow those who have invested on the workshop, and with that effort comes the nerves; Have I chosen right?

But as normal those concerns where unfounded....naughty I know, but I love the fact that you get the stunned looked on faces around the class, and the gasps of 'oh no what have I got to do now'  when they realise  they  have to  do the nail you just demoed...and then as they develop  they achieve the most wonderful things. From feathers to hand painted parrots, we finished the day with some 3D fantasy tropical flowers ready for the ultimate nail day tomorrow.

Of course finding new friends on these trips is a bonus but hooking up with hold ones is a delight. Leah Light from New Zealand ended up crashing at our Sydney apartment...mix up with rooms and so forth meant we had a very lucky upgrade and view of the Sydney harbour bridge.  Leah turns out to have a matching wicked side to my own, and I felt like a kid again, with mummy Tracey wagging her finger at us, because we were late or just down right rude! I do miss you Leah.

Day two of the workshop and today we aim to complete the rabbit everyone is so keen to do....this is not an easy job and my time management skills were on over drive; Each part of the day was planned to military precision.
Oh my goodness what a joy the day was! and yes for those who know me, I did get the giggles looking at some of these fellows being born. Cute and weird and for some totally Alien like.  Is it wrong to say I have the best job ever?

Thrill of the day though wasn't seeing these cute and cuddly bunnies,  but for Alex Fox editor of Scratch Magazine to turned up, totally nerve racking.
I was on my best behaviour, although I didn't need to be and the facade totally wore off after our 3rd glass of wine, and right now I am proud to have found another 'fresh friend' and like minded guru of life.  This woman totally rocked my world and I had my own 'light bulb moments' in the wee hours.

The last of the workshops come to an end and I removed my educators hat and donned on the head judge hat... tomorrow it's Show time!

This is where I am in a whole knew world,  my job is to facilitate and make sure the judging is fair, every one sticks to the rules and each nail is scrutinised for ultimate other words that translates to Tracey holds me captive in the judges box with a ball and chain around my ankle and I am hidden from view. Did I say already I love my job...?

This is the third year I have worked with Tracey as head judge for the Australian nail awards, this year was super exciting as they had partnered up with Alex Fox and her team from the Nailympics. Each year I have seen this competition and the competitors grow, the quality of the entries and the standards have increased. It is so rewarding to see. I never do this job alone, and without others from the industry giving back and investing in the future we couldn't hold competitions like this. This year my team consisted of MaeLing Parrish from USA, Leah Light from new Zealand, Alisha Rimando from USA, Mindy Hamilton from Australia, Jai Harvey Lei from Australia. There are so many other names who also helped with the floor judging and nail judging, counting and marshaling, Rebecca Manz, Coleen Hindmarsh and Desiree Dowling. Thank you ladies for your support and dedication. Finally we must not forget Tracey Boyle who actually brings us the whole competition, with her persistence and devotion to running this event, she is instrumental in giving us an great competition.

I did get a chance to leave my judging cave and did a small seminar on the main stage showing of three simple and quick salon viable gel polish designs. I got a chance to try out some eye brow extensions...yes I didn't type that wrong: EYEBROW extensions.....totally awesome.

Tell me 5 years ago I would be presenting awards and hosting on a main stage and I would have laughed in your face (a nervous laugh at that), but there I find myself presenting to a sea of hopeful faces, congratulating winners as I call them onto the stage and dashing those who expected so much more. It is a bitter sweet job, and for everyone who entered having won or not you are all to be congratulated, the nerves and expectations alone is enough to put you off, but I hope to see everyone back for another go next year... and thank you everyone for laughing at my lame jokes.

Monday is the day I have been waiting for, it is time to head home to my family....I have a whole 24 hours before I get to hug them all...but it is a start.  Now some of you might have seen on my way over to Australia there was an unfortunate situation on the aeroplane and someone died mid flight, with delays and mechanical issues during this whole trip I thought to myself what else could possible go wrong. Yet again on the flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi....just a few seats from me a rather elderly lady collapsed, this time I am very thankful she survived and with a little sweet tea and her diabetic meds she was sat back in her seat enjoying 'saving mr banks' within a couple of hours. But boy oh boy it is enough to put you off flying for a while.

Well.. until October at least.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Diary of an International Nail Artist - Australia so far….

So I am currently in the land down under, and the first part of my tour is behind us, I have to say I have been super excited by the response here of the 'making trends work' class, it seems the Australasia Nail Techs love the quick, easy and oh so effect nail designs, and of course my super exciting solutions to productive nail art. Using the nail art pen, having fun with the pigments and the gel paints have saved us all a heap of time and effort.

I took the long flight from London to Perth landing mid morning giving me enough time for a brisk look around and some dinner before bed. Pia Williams a total scream and the girl who hosted this leg of the tour, greeted me at the gates with a little 'Perth' goodie bag and of course Tracey Boyle. It was great to see Tracey again in real life, it had been a whole year.  That said with the age of technology…Skype and FB means she is never too far away. She is the back bone of the tour, our Be Creative distributor here for Australia, Tracey manages to arrange every last detail of the trip, with the help of her nail fairies…..! I must not forget the 2 bottles of champagne and box of choccys left in our room from the girls! this trip is going to a good one I think.
 Thankfully the next day was a day off, and we got to see the sunny sites, apparently we where lucky….visiting the beach and a quick stop off at the shops to buy some light weight trousers (Tracey told me it was winter here and cold!!!!!) I was all set to be a tourist for the day. Nudist beach visits, and a $20 bill for water, I was wondering what else was in store, then Pia took us to Prison!!!!!!! really?
It was a blast, and the three of us 'bad girls' lasted until 9pm…flopping into bed exhausted. That's just how we roll.
Bad Girls 
 The first class of any tour is always slightly nerve racking, all the prep, pouring over lesson plans and thinking up the designs finally come to life in front of 15 eager nail techs expecting an awful lot….and there I am at the front of the class with a raging cold! Arghhhhhhhhhhh seriously? Voice was barely there , can you overdosed on honey and lemon?
I think I won them over, the designs where perfect and just as I promised, quick and effective, easy and enticing. You should have seen their faces when I gave them just 10 mins to practise the first design. Well why not…….you only get 10 mins in the salon to do all ten!

Perth Class
 Illness aside this was a great start to the tour and the next day we where flying out to Melbourne. But before we caught the flight we had a quick stop off at the Orly distributor…..and a 3 hour Orly class. Goodness I love my job.
Orly Perth
 Landing in Melbourne was quite a shock from the heat we had enjoyed in Perth, cold and wet we where collected by Australia's own Tess Hellier, we where both eternally grateful, thank you. It was late and we needed our beds, well past 9pm after all. Starving hungry, I was so happy to see a beautiful platter of cheeses and fruit, thank you Sue Hollands…it was very welcome…along with the bottle of wine or 2. How did you know? I am loving the way each hotel room has Sam Biddle goodies in the room…I think I might send out a list before every tip….no blue m&m please!!!!!
Thank you Sue Holland
So day 2 kicked off bang at 9am, we had 9 nails to cover after all and had to be out of the hall by 4pm to catch our next flight. Now I am going to be honest with you here, I was not overly impressed with Melbourne last year, but this year made up for it, every one on the class was so welcoming and excited about the designs and the applications. I so enjoyed the Melbourne nail crew, and made a mental note to come back for longer next time, after all I need to visit that neighbours set, now that my secrets out.  So some of you might have seen the whole 'gathering in a circle' exercise I do at the end of the day….and you know what…I am not going to explain my self, you want to find out what we are doing, your just going to have to book onto a class with me. Trust me you will giggle. 
Thankfully we where travelling back in time, so when we landed in Brisbane, it wasn't too late, time was on our side, but food was limited on our journey from Melbourne and as I am on this paleo eating regime… is not so easy to grab my self a bite when travelling, never fear though….I know Rebecca Manz would come to by rescue. Literally every time I see her she feeds me with some tasty goodies. I have a feeling I bring our her maternal instinct? Having spent two whole days cooking,  she presented me with the best home cooked dish ever, pork and sweet potato….Oh my I could have kissed her….but thought that might have been too weird. Restored….we had a another couple of glasses (bottles) of pink….what is going on I seem to have a reputation I can't shake!  Bed and what should have been bright and early for a mammoth day and a half of teaching……but with a frantic knocking on the door by Rebecca…it seemed jet lag finally caught up with us. Its amazing how quick you can get ready in the morning when motivated!

Brisbane was the smallest class and a great respite, loved the girls here, loud and chatty they where beautifully relaxing. I also had another Orly evening class, where we chatted gel polish and saved the nail world.

I think the next day was the worst part of the whole trip, with a 4am start we headed out to the airport in the dark….checked in for the first flight and raced to the gate….and waited….and waited….and waited. …..apparently the plane had a maintenance issue….what! Change of plane please….forget about fixing it! 5 hours later I took these whilst sitting on the plane for a further 40 minutes whilst they decided if they could sign the paper work….all the while Tracey was snoozing in the back! Guess who was chirpy and chatty when we eventually landed in New Zealand. Damn that was half a days sight seeing stolen from me!

Penny from Monaco nails  is our Be Creative Distributor in New Zealand, and she certainly did us proud, the weather was a let down, but I will let that pass, as she made up for it with a selection of Paleo goodies including CAKES, and the best room of the trip. A double bed each, electric blanket!!!!!!!yes ELECTRIC BLANKETS! OMG its cold here, and did I mention the stack of Paleo goodies.
Penny thought of everything
I am not going to go on about the food….but Penny did put in a lot of effort with her restaurant selection….no menu re arranging necessary, thank you I am very grateful. 
The biggest class yet, it seemed the seats where filling up right until the last minute, with the very last one taken up the night before. 21 is bigger than I like, but New Zealand apparently don't get too many internationals visit, in fact I think Penny is the first to bring one out, those New Zealand girls are starved and hungry for everything nail related. The class was amazing, those Kiwi techs know their stuff, the practise sessions although quick where timed perfectly.

Because of the big class Tracey and Penny also helped out with the practise sessions, so everyone had someone to help them if needed, Tracey was banned from watching the demo's….she could have quoted them word for word after listening to me in four different city's….she kept stealing my punch lines!!!!! She was tied up with a gag at the back and was only let out to play when the girls had practical sessions. We had a beautiful day touring Auckland and then playing nails before catching our flight back to Sydney…big sigh! end of round one.

So here I am in Sydney, preparing for the second part of the tour, we have a intensive design class for 2 days in Sydney CBD, totally different from the first leg workshops, which will include some salon designs…maybe a little more advanced, 3D and fantasy and some extra special treats. It is always going to be a class packed with nails and very little down time….so those attending be prepared to work your arses off. You will defiantly get your moneys worth when you come on a Sam Biddle class.

Working out the details of part 2
Then it is the Expo….to be asked to be head Judge each year is such an honour, and work along side Tracey who organises the whole competition. Working with the other international judges and my friends is going to be great this year. Leah Light from new Zealand, MaeLing Parrish, USA, Alisha Romano, USA and Jai Harvey, Australia.  We also have Alex Fox, Editor of Scratch UK, Scratch United Arab Emirates and Organiser for Nail Olympia for the last 10 years, joining us.  This competition is now Nail Olympia Australia's and is an exciting time for the competition circuit here in Australia, watch this space.
I shall be back with the send part of this diary entry, when I am home in the UK…..keep looking out for the photo's popping up on Facebook in the mean time.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Nail Art Pen Fail?

The nail art pen is one of those tools you have in your arsenal of creative clobber,  you see it demoed,  you hear other people rave about it, you buy it...and then.....

It lands on your door step...and doesn't work! 

"ARGHHHHHHHH" you shout  "there is yet another nail art gadget that promises the world and delivers very little"

Hold your horses.....don't despair my friend. I have come to the rescue. 

I often get questions about the pen, and generally it is a very simple solve.  You have to remember my philosophy is that life is too short to make it hard!  Everything I develop, innovate or design is done so that it should be an advantage to your work.  It should not  require effort or additional time….
what that means is that I am a lazy tech, and just want to do art.

The nail art pen is a brilliant addition to your kit and with one dip you can go on and on for ages drawing thin or thick lines. You will save you time, money and BONUS; effort! 

So lets cover the basics, and see if we can get this pen working for you. 

1. Are you using our paint? 

You can use ANY paint with the nail art pen, but the paint has to be thin enough to travel through the small grove in the nib. Too thick and it will not move or flow. Our paint has a very high pigment content and the pigment is fine enough to be used with the nib. If your trying to use a lessor quality paint and water it down you will get a washed out look. The paints from Be Creative are only £2.50, and have been included into our range only to support the nail art pen. You can find them here.

2. Is your paint thin enough

 The paint needs to be watered down to the consistency of single cream (half and half for my USA friends) or a full fat milk. …..see example on my instructional film on the website here . If your paint is not watered down enough you will not find it easy to use the pen. If you have bought a new paint from us, and it is not full, add water to fill it, shake the bottle and this will be the correct consistency. REMEMBER water evaporates....not colour. So leave your pot open and the paint will thicken. - just add more water. 

3. Good tip to start the flow

Dip nib into water first and then into the paint…this helps with lubrication (not always necessary). When you have finished with the nib, wash it well, remove the paint and then dip it in washing up liquid (American translation; dish soap) and leave. When you use it again you will have that nib nicely lubed. 

4. Paper first! 

Always start on paper first, not to mention practise, when you have a client in front of you, dip and then draw a couple of line on some paper.... ON A FLAT HARD SURFACE common sense I know, but you would be surprised how many people try and add pressure over the top of 3 layers of fluffy towels and desk towels.  See film on website….to achieve flow move the pen nib back and forth on the paper to get it going.  

5. Squeeze the handle of the pen. 

To be honest this is more a tip, and not a must to get the pen working, what it does is  generates tension in the nib…and helps with the flow without applying too much down pressure. Remember more pressing down equates to thicker lines. 

6. Are you painting on a rough surface?    

If the nail is shiny, say you have added top coat or gel top coat,  the pen and paint will slip. Lightly buff the surface, or do what I do; apply 2 coats of gel polish colour, as  normal, then wipe the tacky layer off once cured with a dry lint free wipe. Use the nail art pen and then top coat. 

7. Is it deep enough 

This is the most common issue people have, are you dipping in the paint far enough with your nib, people still use the nail art pen like a brush or a dotting tool, but this is incorrect. You need to dip the nib all the way up, this will fill the reservoir and give you loads of application time without re dipping.  - see film on website

8. It is not a brush

 ....and never will be, most people use it the same way as a brush, WRONG
it is a pen.....and should be used this way. 

There is another issue as well, the nib fit. check out this previous blog post on how to get it right, but make sure the oval hole in the nib is not covered. 

I hope you have found this useful, and good luck with your pen. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Adding pigment to Gel...damn it is not curing?

WARNING! - this is not a scientific post. This post is written in basic terms...! 

I have just replied to an email from someone who is having problems with curing their gel once they have added pigment to it. This is not the first email I  have gotten about this so I thought I should  address this little "school boy error" here on my blog, mainly to save me time re typing the same  thing over again, but I also think it is a common mistake we can make....because we just don't think about it with our left brain. 

Using your left brain  means you have a more analytic, rational and logical style of thinking, but if we are remotely creative or curious, which I think most artistic people are...we are dominated by the right brain. That doesn't mean we don't switch sides when we need to...but come on be honest when faced with bright beautiful colours and glitters.... don't you just keep adding more regardless... I know I could. 
So why is your gel not curing? Well there are a few things which could be going wrong.....
1. lamp needs to be stronger or new bulbs
2. your adding too much pigment to the gel
3. your applying your gel too thick

Lets start with No 2, because most of you will of course know your lamp is fine, your bulbs are correct (did you know even LED have different strengths) and you don't need to get a new one.

Adding pigment to gel ;
There is a whole range of different you tube videos, instructions and advice out there on the world wide web about how to mix pigment, make up and additives to your gel polish...I can't and won't  comment on those, or even tell you if they work successfully or not....I can only tell you about our pigments from the Be Creative range. 
Lets start with the basics,  When you add another source to gel, hard gel, gel polish or soft gel it doesn't are disturbing the chemical make up of the gel, you are adding an additional product which will inhibit the UV/Led light to penetrate and cure. So we need to be mindful on the amount you add.  The Be Creative pigments, lets use the primary ones as an example, are 'pure'. I am not saying this as a sales point, I really mean it, there is NOTHING else in it to bulk out the pigment. That is why we only have tiny little pots of the stuff. So when you start mixing it into gel, you only need the smallest crumb. 
Now I know from experience...I start mixing the red nothing happened...this little crumb might stain the gel...but it looks rubbish and I want to add more.... 
Keep mixing, eventually the red will break down and you will find it will get stronger. If you find it is not strong enough...add another crumb...but no more! Remember the LIGHT penetration dilemma we have. 
So now you have a looks a bit wishy washy...and you think...'this is not looking like a gel polish colour to me, why have I done this?'

.....hmmmmm yes why have you done this? 
Let me come back to that point in a minute.......

So now we are at issue 3 application...

As a rule with any gel polish application, the thicker the application the less efficient the cure.  This also applies with regular takes longer to dry the thicker layers. It is a false economy to imagine 2 thick coats will be better than 3 or 4 thin ones, for a start you will get more lifting sooner and it won't be as hard wearing.  


Because the Thinner coats allow more light to penetrate the layer. So now we have our wishy washy looking colour and we want to apply an all over polish is going to take a few more layers to get the vibrant red look we are lets add more pigment.....NO! 

More pigment...less light penetration - less curing! 

Get the picture? Just in case you don't...imagine these blinds on the window is the extra pigment you add to the gel, turn the blind (add more pigment) and we block the light......! 

Although it might say on your instructions to mix the gel and pigment together, I didn't mean for you to create full cover nails with it,  I do mix pigment and gel when I am creating designs or doing art work, but for a full coverage...I will go with what is meant to be hard wearing and long lasting and pick up a gel polish colour. 
So let me tell you how to create full cover colour with pigment in half the time. 
Lately I have been  creating full colour nails with the pigments....taking me very little time to do so as well. I also mainly use White or Black gel polish to achieve this look and this is my suggestion for you to save time, effort and stressing over non curing issues. 

The gel polish leaves a sticky layer once in the pigment to this layer....there is no mixing, no worrying and it is much quicker to apply.  The bonus you have control over the application s do't have to chase the gel over the nail. You can create a blend, layer the pigment colours and glitters, you can even scratch off the pigment to create a pattern and the colour shows up underneath. 

I hope this has been helpful advice don't try and cut corners and make your own colours for gel them..they are designed for that job......use the pigments for art and creating back grounds.