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1  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / D.I.Y. Henna (aka Mehandi) on: August 08, 2010 12:53:34 PM
So years ago I fell in love with henna and started to do my own. With quite a bit of practice I got to be pretty good. It's been a while since I've done it, but with all the lovely henna designs on our Bath and Beauty board I thought I'd give it another go.

In this tutorial I will show you how to mix up your own paste and apply it.

The first step is to procure your henna. In this tut I'm going to show you how to mix up your own from powder, but it can also be bought pre-mixed in a variety of forms. My favorite pre-mixed form to get comes in a metal tube (sort of like an ointment might) with a screw on plastic tip. However, I've only seen this once and made the mistake of only buying one tube. The most common way you'll find henna paste is in a cone.

Why do I mix mine from powder? There are two reasons. First, I find it easier to get. This box I bought at The House of Spice in Kensington Market, Toronto. I have also found it in health food stores. The second reason is then I know what's in it. The powder itself should be pure ground henna leaves.

Note: Do not use hair dye henna on your skin. Also avoid anything claiming to be black henna. They quite often mix in some nasty chemicals which are not good for your skin.

To start you'll need your powder and a lemon or two. My lemons were big, so I only needed one.

Take two heaping tablespoons of powder and put it in a container or bowl. If your henna powder contains sticks or lumps you will need to sift it first. We want a nice fine powder, like baby powder. To sift simply stretch a nylon over your bowl and sift one spoonful at a time through.

Your powder should look like this. (That's right, it's green. Also sorry for the out of focus pic.)

Next, squeeze in your lemon juice. Avoid getting any pips in there. Remember we're going to want a nice smooth paste at the end. It's not a bad idea to put the juice through a strainer. (I never do.) Mix it up, adding enough juice so you have the consistency of instant mashed potatoes.

Now let it set overnight covered loosely. At this point I like to brew up some nice strong tea by putting 2-3 tea bags in my tea pot and filling half way with hot water, then just letting it sit overnight. We'll need this for the next step. You can also use coffee or espresso in place of tea.

The next morning/day you'll find your paste has darkened. Grab it and your tea or coffee. You can also use water in this step.

Stir in a little of your chosen liquid at a time, mixing well. We're going for a smooth paste slightly thinner than tooth paste. If you take a big glop of it on a spoon, it should fall off in 10-15 seconds.

Now let it sit again for a few hours. (Isn't this waiting getting annoying. It's not 100% necessary, but it helps give your henna a darker, richer colour.)

There are several ways to apply henna. I usually go for what seems to be the most common, which is using a cone. This works sort of like an piping bag. In fact you can use a small, disposable one if you have one handy. The key is to have a very fine tip.

Other ways to apply henna include using a tooth pick or fine brush. This may be easier if you're not used to a cone or piping bag. You can also tape off designs with masking tape, applying the henna over the whole surface, and removing to tape. The parts covered by the tape will remain skin coloured. This is usually used on the bottoms of feet to get a mover geometric sort of design.

To make a cone you'll need some sort of tape. Here I'm using masking tape cause it was handy. You can use almost anything. You'll also need something to make the cone with. For this you can use one half of a freezer bag, waxed paper, or freezer paper. You need something that is somewhat waterproof. I'm actually using a page from a paper palette. It's pretty much just freezer paper, about 8"x10".

Roll your paper into a long narrow cone and secure it with the tape.

Make sure you have a teeny tiny point. You can make a small one bigger, but you can't make a big one smaller.

Secure with loads of tape. Make sure every seam is covered or you henna will seep out. This is my finished cone beside a chop stick for size reference. I've cut off the top bit to make it shorter.

Fill with henna paste. Make sure to leave room to fold down the top.

Fold down the top and secure with loads more tape. (You can't use too much tape here. It will try to seep out everywhere.)

Now we need to get this cone going. This can be tricky. Squeeze and massage down your cone until the henna starts coming out the tip. You may need to cut your tip bigger, but be careful not to make it too big. Just snip a tiny bit at a time. I like to use a pin to help getting things going. Stick it in the hole and sort of stir it around. This helps slightly widen the hole and break up any lumps that might be clogging it. If the henna doesn't seem to be coming out just keep trying to work the henna down into the tip. Do this over paper towel because it will all of a sudden squirt out everywhere. You may also find small leaks in your cone, just tape over them with lots of tape. (Tape is good.)

This is my mess trying to get my henna going.

Once your henna is flowing you can start designing. Practicing on paper first is a good idea, or just use somewhere on your body people won't really see. It also tends to be easier to design on someone else, but that might not be a good idea until you get the hang of it. If you get henna where you don't want it, wash it off immediately. It starts to stain within a few minutes.

The darkness and colour of your design will show up differently depending on your skin type. For me designs only show well on my hands (palms in particular) and feet. Any where else and I only get a faint stain that does not last. It's also a good idea to give your skin a good scrub with soapy water before applying henna the help the design stain well.

Keep the paste on your skin for as long as possible to get the best colouring. Some people like to re-wet the paste as it's drying with lemon juice. Just dab a little juice on the drying paste with paper towel or cotton ball. The paste will naturally dry and crumble off, but some will stay stuck to you. For best results do not use water to remove these stuck bits. Water is your henna design's worst enemy. Instead use oil, any type will do. (Literally. I've used corn oil.) The colour may/should darken over the first couple of days.

Here's one I did on my hand with the paste still on.

And here it is with the paste removed.

For design inspirations there are various books and websites. Or just go for it and see what happens. Getting used to the cone can be tricky, but with a little practice anyone can do it. I usually use a pin to help with smaller details.

To extend the life of your design avoid washing it. When it's shower time, cover your design in a thin layer of oil to protect it if possible. Vaseline works well for this, but even just some body lotion will work. If your design is on your hand like mine, you probably shouldn't avoid washing it. Hand washing is important people.

To store your cone stick you pin in the end to stop it clogging and keep in the refrigerator. (Keeping it in the fridge may not be totally necessary, but you don't want to risk your henna going bad. It is made with plant material.)

Have fun with you henna!!

2  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Scalloped baby hat pattern?? on: February 17, 2010 09:13:46 AM
My friend e-mailed me this link lovelyknits.com/eshop/ and asked if I could make it. So I told her I'd try. So I was wondering if anyone knew of or had a pattern something like this. I'm not worried about the flower, that I can do. But I really have no idea how to do the hat. Pattern writing is still a little beyond me.

If anyone can help that'd be super. Thanks.

Edit: Think this particular hat may he knit, but I'm looking for a crochet pattern.
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Painting a toaster? on: December 19, 2009 05:52:24 AM
Hello my lovely craftster friends. Mr. Taco is moding a toaster for me for Christmas, and he wants to paint the outside. Anyone know if this is possible? I don't know anything about the world of heat safe paint, so I thought I'd ask you loves.

Thanks for you help!
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Monster Tea Pot Cozy for my Mum on: December 17, 2009 05:12:00 PM
So a while ago my mum was telling me all about this guy at a craft sale she saw selling monster tea pot cozies. So of course that's what a made her for Christmas. Made from fleece, with felt eyes, teeth and horns, and lined with left over cotton from a quilt my mum made my niece.

On my tea pot. I made it so that it covers the whole pot instead of having the spout and handle out. You have to lift it off before pouring, but that's how my gram's cozy was and that's what I was thinking of.

Flat pic.

I pretty much just cut two half circle from the fleece and lining, add features, sewed right sides together with the horns inbetween the front and back, then attached the lining and the outside along the bottom leaving a hole for turning, turned and whip stitched to hole.

I'm totally going to make one for myself too, once Christmas is over with.

Questions, comments, tales of horror are welcome.
5  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Daniel Johnston embroidered purse with dancing skeleton lining. on: November 09, 2009 06:35:40 PM
Hello. This is my first time posting on this board, but I'm just so pleased with this purse that I had to share. I used some extra fabric I had left over from a couple of swaps and cheap multi-pack embroidery thread. The pattern for the purse was one I bought on clearance for $1.99. It goes together really easily. It's suppose to have a zipper, but I didn't have one so mine's just open.

Then pattern for the embroidery I purchased from Sublime Stitching. It's drawings done by the fabulous artist/musician Daniel Johnston. I was actually working on this purse to take to his show in Toronto, but didn't finish it in time. (I only found out about the concert the day it was happening.) Originally I was just going to do the frog and Hi, How are you? but then when I had more time I decided to do more. It's done in split stitch and back stitch.

Full view.

Frog close up.

Eyeball close up. (I had fun with the stars.)

And his signature.

6  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Monster Mash on: June 17, 2009 02:38:13 PM

Frankie says, "Mwahaha. Post your goodies here."

7  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Monster Mash Swap :: Signups closed :: Send Out June 28 on: May 18, 2009 09:35:49 AM

Swap name: Monster Mash Swap
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: spicytaco
Sign-up date range: May 18-May 28
Date to send item by: June 28

Limited to a certain number of people? (optional):no

Restricted to people who all live in the same country? NO
If so, which country?
Age requirement? see Swap Info Guide

Swap Organizer himself/herself meets these conditions:
- Has fully read the Swap Info Guide: YES
- Has successfully completed two swaps as a participant: YES
- Is not organizing more than three swaps right now: YES
- Will recruit a co-organizer or give all details to a Swap Moderator if this swap has more than 25 participants: YES (crazyda79)

Swap Organizer will check each participant to make sure they meet these conditions:
- Has been a member for at least one month: YES
- Has posted at least 15 times: YES
- Has completed one swap successfully before signing up for multiple swaps at a time: YES
- Is not currently signed up for more than five swaps: YES
- Does not have any negative feedback: YES
- Participant has agreed that he/she is at least 13 years old: YES
- Participant lives in the United States: YES
   - If yes, understands that Delivery Confirmation number is required for this swap: YES
   - If no, understands that a mailing receipt copy is required for this swap: YES

Details of Swap:
The theme here is monsters. From classic monsters to original creations, cute to scary, this theme gives a lot to work with. Vampires, zombies, werewolves, yetis, Frankenstein's creation, Medusa, evil monkeys, Nessy, that thing that lives under my bed and steals my socks..... You get the idea. You are to craft one large, one medium, and one small monsterific creation for your partner. Feel free to agree with your partner to do more or less than this, but please no less than one medium and two smalls, and please let me know.

By Time
-Big = 3 or more hours
-Medium = 2 or more hours
-Little = 2 or less hours

By Size
-Big = A shawl, a shirt, a skirt, a set of jewelry with four to five items, a purse
-Medium = one single necklace or bracelet, a scarf
-Small = Earrings, stickers, wallets, pouches, bookmarks

By Price
-Big = $30 or more
-Medium = $10-$30 dollars
-Small = $10 or less

Important: I expect partners to communicate. Please post on the message board as well as pm your partner. If your partner seems to not be communicating please pm me and let me know. I think communication is really important for a successful swap.

If you want to participate, information to send to organizer: spicytaco

Name of swap
Craftster username
Email address
Your real name
Mailing address including the country
Would you be willing to ship to an address outside your own country?
Confirm that are at least 13 years old (yes/no)

Favorite monster movie?
Favorite monster novel/story?
Do you like them cute, creepy, or both?
Classic, modern, both, other?

Favorite colours?
What kind of craft are you hoping to get?
What might you send?
Do you have allergies?
Do you have allergens? (cats, dogs, smoke, perfume, etc)
Do you have a wist, blog or other site?

Anything else you want your partner to know?


Also remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find out how to ship your item and other details about participating in a swap.

8  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Monster Swap on: April 24, 2009 03:21:47 PM
Alright, so we have tons of monsters and monster lovers here on craftster, so I'm thinking we need to have a monster swap. I just had a very quick peek through the archives and didn't see one, although I'm sure there has been one, but at least it hasn't been recent.

From classic monsters to original creations, cute to scary, this theme would give a lot to work with. Vampires, zombies, werewolves, yetis, Frankenstein's creation, Medusa, evil monkeys, Nessy, that thing that lives under my bed..... You get the idea. If people wanted, we could totally make it a classic monster swap, but I think it'd be fun to keep it really open.

I'd be willing to organize, but it'd be my first so if someone wanted to co-organize that'd be rad.

So let me know who's interested!
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Paper Mache Pacaderm on: April 13, 2009 06:33:41 AM
Little bit of a story here... Mr. Taco's birthday was approaching and he told me he wanted something artsy. I craft for everyone it seems, except him, so I think he was feeling a tad left out. Not long after him telling me this I was watching a show on television. In it the main characters brother is an artist, and he had made a silver elephant head (I think it had a yo-yo hanging from the trunk). Mr. Taco saw it and said it was cool. So...I made him a silver elephant head out of paper mache.

It's hanging above his computer so he always has to look at it. Mwahaha. Now...it didn't turn out exactly as planned. You could see the lines of the paper a lot more than I expected when I painted it. (It doesn't show that much in the pictures.) If anyone has a tip for me there....you rock.

And just for kicks, some construction pics.
Raw Materials. I used chicken fencing and masking tape for the frame. For the glue I went with watered down white glue. Strong, flexible, and not appetizing to insects.

Skeleton (I added on cardboard ears later):

Thanks for looking. Questions and comments welcomed.
10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Baby shower gift ideas - Help on: February 20, 2009 02:30:36 PM
So...my long time friend is having her first baby. I'm obviously making a gift, cause I don't really buy gifts anymore. (I had a buy-nothing christmas....except mr. taco's watch)

Anyway....Mum figures I should make a stuffy, cause I make cute stuffys. But...I'm having a hard time deciding what to do. I've never been around babies. I know I can't have any buttons or anything...that's not a problem. And I think they like soft stuff....cause baby things are always soft.

Anyone have any really rocking baby shower ideas? This girls pretty 'normal' unlike me who's pretty wacky. (Nothing too outside the box. bleh) If anyone has any ideas, give a post and help a girl out. If not, I'll figure something out.

Thanks!!!!  Grin
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