After working with Darcy’s great mix all weekend, I finally had a pretty decent idea of what a good paste consistency is. I mixed some up last night, adding more and more and more lemon juice (but only a small bit of sugar and honey, and not too many essential oils), stirring the hell out of it with a spoon. I let it sit on top of the fridge loosely covered with saran wrap all of last night and until I got home from work today. I think it thickened up a little as it sat out, so I mixed in another generous splash of lemon juice before loading my cones.
I also had a better idea of what kinds of cones I like after working with Darcy. First of all, I’d been folding the tops over and taping them down, which works horribly. Darcy twists the tops and secures them with little rubber bands.
Funny story — I’d been saving like five little baggies of those tiny, multicolored orthodontic rubber bands since I was an awkward teen with braces, with the idea that someday they would be useful. This summer, I finally tossed them out, thinking that if I hadn’t used them yet, I never would. Stupid me! I totally could have used them to secure the tops of my cones! Oh well — I made do with a spool of hemp I have on hand for macrame.
Even though the Walgreens near work didn’t have mylar gift wrap (like Darcy’s usually does — lucky her :P), I still had some cello I bought from Mehandi.com. So this is what I ended up with:
I have three more in the freezer, after seeing how quick the things thawed out at the school fair on Sunday.
Anyway, I clipped a cone for a very, very fine line and went at it. Get this — no clogs, and perfect control! I think the key to nice, smooth lines is being able to drape lines of henna across the skin. This seems to work more or less with any design, from straight lines to circles, as long as you sling it right.
The worst problem I had when I was doing a few of Darcy’s designs on my feet was the fact that I’m not quite flexible enough to get my foot right in front of my nose, where I can see everything well enough to henna accurately. The lighting in my apartment sucks, too, making it even harder. But, I managed to bust out some of the finest designs I’ve done yet! They’re not perfect, obviously, but I’m totally pleased with the paste. Tomorrow I’m going to work on my technique on my hand, which should be easier to reach and see.
I also finally got the right stuff for Maxx’s sealant that I’ve been dying to get straight. Plain old Elmer’s school glue (not the gel glue), mixed equal parts with lemon juice. I added some fine glitter I had lying around, but I don’t think I dumped enough in for it to show. It was thin enough to dab on, getting it nice and covered and moist, but not running — a huge problem I was having with my sealers before. (Another thing I learned from Darcy this weekend: When you seal something with lemon sugar, you don’t glob the stuff on! You gently dab it just enough to moisten the design. You shouldn’t even be able to see wetness on the skin, really.)
I’m going to seal each design at least three times so it’s well protected while I sleep tonight. I want good stains to show off my hard weekend of learning.
I hope this mix does stain well. I also need to figure out an easier way to load my cones. It was really annoying, even though I was trying to do it the "easy" way by loading a ziploc baggie with the henna, clipping the corner off of it, and squirting it in the cones, which I placed in a mug to keep them upright for me. I should find one of those plastic syringes they use for giving medicine to dogs and cats and babies. That would probably work a lot better.