Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shades of Phoenix In A World Of My Own Collection - Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of my swatches posts for Shades of Phoenix's new Alice in Wonderland themed collection In A World Of My Own!

Before we get started on swatches, I wanted to reiterate all the nitty gritty buying details, and let you know about a great giveaway that's running over at Shades of Phoenix right now.

The In A World Of My Own Collection will be available for full set pre-order TONIGHT from 7PM at the Shades of Phoenix Etsy store - there are a very limited number of these sets available, and the purchase price includes free shipping, AND a free pair of handmade polish earrings. If you're looking to pick up individual bottles, they will be available from the Shades of Phoenix Etsy store from 7PM on September 3rd.

Shades of Phoenix are also running a birthday giveaway on their blog with THIRTEEN indie polishes up from grabs! Not only have Shades of Phoenix put up three polishes of their own, MckFresh, Sayuri Nail Lacquer, Loki's Lacquer, and newcomer Smudged Polish have also pitched in too, so I recommend you trundle on over and get your entries in for that.

ANYWAY, back to the pretty pictures! Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat is a clear based glitter topper filled with an explosion of teal and purple stars and aqua bars. Shades of Phoenix don't often do straight up glitter toppers, but this one is a lot of fun. It's inspired by the scene in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland where the Dormouse recites a poem just before The Mad Hatter stuffs him in a teapot.

This polish does require a bit of fishing around for the stars, but that's to be expected with glitters this big. If you give it a good roll before you use it, it's not that big a deal. These pictures are one dabbed coat over Essie's Dive Bar, which is incidentally the first Essie I've used because of the exorbitant cost of them here in Australia!

The title, as I said, comes from an poem that features in both the original book and the Disney movie. It's a rewritten version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, featuring Carroll's trademark nonsense imagery.

"Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!"

In the book it's recited by the Mad Hatter, and so got sucked over into the Batman universe along with the Hatter himself. It features in the 1960's television series, being sung by Batman and a woman while trapped in vases and pebbles being dropped on them in a version of the "Chinese water torture", as well as in during the Mad Hatter's appearances in Batman: The Animated Series. It even shows up in Batman Forever, where Jim Carrey as The Riddler recites the first two lines at Batman.

Who thought this was a good idea, seriously?
Happily, the polish is MUCH better than this APPALLING movie, and I think it's well worth the effort required to get the stars out to have twinkly teal nails.

Next up is a lovely white and gold crelly called No Time To Say Hello/Goodbye, inspired by the iconic White Rabbit.

This polish made me think a couple of things I never thought I would observe wandering across my brain. Firstly, I caught myself thinking, "Gosh, I really like how subtle and understated this white polish is." Secondly, I found myself thinking, "I wish this polish had LESS glitter." While the base is a great consistency, and there's no need for undies, I did find the matte white squares and bars were more of a hinderance than a help. They made it a little bit difficult to get this as even as I would have liked, and didn't really add anything to the overall look of the polish. However, the combination of the creamy white base, and sparkling iridescent gold micro glitters is overall beautiful. I couldn't for the life of me get the sparkle to show up properly, but I promise you, this twinkles like a quality diamond.  

The White Rabbit himself, despite only appearing in the books a couple of times, has become representative in wider pop culture of heading out on adventure. Following the White Rabbit is pop culture shorthand for expanding your world and perspective, either physically, mentally, or spiritually. My older readers would probably associate this idea most strongly with the Jefferson Airplane's 1967 masterpiece, White Rabbit. My younger readers might want to watch this video to get an idea of what their parents were up to before you were born! Eat a banana indeed.

If you're a little younger, you might remember Neo's instructions to follow the White Rabbit as he's trying to unravel the mystery surrounding him in The Matrix.

And if you're too young to remember the Matrix...well, I'm going to have to consult with some of my younger friends and get back to you.

Lastly today we have my absolute favourite out of the whole bunch - well, equal favourite with Why Is A Raven Like A Writing Desk. This one is inspired by the Queen of Hearts, and is called Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?

Who's Been Painting My Roses Red looks, at first, like your run of the mill red jelly glitter. A very nice one, it's true, but when I first saw it I did wonder if I really need this as well as, for example, Love Thy Polish's No Ordinary Teddy. Like No Ordinary Teddy, this does look best over a solid red base, so I put two coats and topcoat over OPI I'm Not Really A Waitress.

 Like I said, it's pretty, but I wasn't really blown away. THEN I took it out in the sun.

Check out that hidden shimmer! Absolutely GORGEOUS. I even took a close up so you could see all the twinkly colours nice and close.

The only possible complaint I could make about this lovely polish is that it need MOAR GLITTER - but then I pretty much always think that, so it doesn't really hold a lot of weight.

This is, overall, a really great collection with lots of variety and a lot of really unusual polishes to come from Shades of Phoenix. It's always great to see a maker stretching themselves creatively, and Teneil has really expanded the bounds of what we can expect from her brand. 

I wanted to finish with a little exploration of just why Alice and her friends from Wonderland have remained such entrenched parts of pop culture, despite being nearly 150 years old, but honestly, the more I read about it, the more baffling it is. I mean, these characters are seriously EVERYWHERE. Even the most minor of characters have made multiple appearances in multiple other mediums, and trying to track down all the places a character like the Cheshire Cat has shown up is almost impossible. Alice's spirit of adventure and exploration is one obvious explaination of his appeal - people love a roving hero. But it's not nearly enough to explain the deep passion these books inspire. People really LOVE these books, and these characters, and this world, and I find it absolutely fascinating.

The best explanation I could come up with (without writing a thesis)  is that the original book is such a perfect mix of totally abstract and painfully familiar that people find it irresistible. The setting is so strange, and divorced from reality that it can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone, regardless of their own background. It's so carefully and precisely constructed that you don't have to bring anything with you to enjoy it. There is no assumed knowledge, no assumptions at all, because Wonderland works by it's own incomprehensible, inconsistent rules.  

But this is also what makes it so painfully familiar. You only have to look at how many jokes there are around saying that life/relationships/parenthood should come with a manual to understand how many people feel so lost, every day.  Life is difficult to predict, no matter how much we wish it worked by a more comprehensible set of rules, and I think all of us have felt like poor Alice at her trial at least once in our lives. This feeling of stumbling in the dark is pretty inherent to the human condition - and for that reason I don't think our love affair with Alice, The Hatter, The White Rabbit, and all the rest will ever die.

Alice! A childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined
In Memory's mystic band,
Like pilgrim's withered wreath of flowers
Pluck'd in a far-off land.


  1. You were one of the first bloggers I started following, and certainly the first I laughed out loud while reading. I love the mix of polish/geek/hard hitting topics, it makes your blog a pleasure to read. You never quite know what you're going to get ;) I've nominated you for a Liebster Award. If you'd like to accept the nomination, details and my questions for you are in my blog post (http://lazylacquerista.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/liebster-award-nomination.html). Cheers, Relle


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