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August, 2005:

Recipe for Evil

Yes! It came, it came! My henna mail came!

I mixed it up
tonight. 20g henna, 3 T lemon juice, 20g table sugar, and about 8 drops
tea tree oil. (I only meant to use 6 or 7 drops, but it just dripped so
fast…) Mash it all up in a ziploc baggie, put it in the fridge on a
paper towel, and hopefully I won’t have dye release until tomorrow
afternoon. Then I can henna all night long — yay!

This is
perfect. If I did everything right, then the design will be fully
oxidized in all its glory just in time for the rib cookoff in Reno.

I hope my essential oils come in the mail tomorrow. They smell nice. If
they don’t, I’m probably going to add ground clove and allspice to the
mix so it doesn’t smell like a moldy lemonade stand, lol. Which reminds
me — I need to get manly-smelling essential oils. I only got
girly-smelling ones.

Stay tuned for photos. And look out,
because after this… I’m planning on doing my hair! (Cue supervillian,
end-of-the-world chuckling.)

Henna

This is my new thing:


(image from the Henna Page)

No, not moldy crack. It’s henna! Properly applied, it should look something like this:


(image from the Henna Page)

The first time I did henna on myself, last Christmas, it turned out like this:

The stain was pretty dark, but the lines? Terribly chunky. And I also
didn’t realize that, should one henna one’s fingernails, it doesn’t
fade. Took six months for my nails to finally grow out, and for me to
stop getting horrified looks from people that assumed I’d been horribly
burned in a freak accident.

That was using a kit I bought from the Earth Henna Web site. (This Web site is cool because of their photos of naked henna chicks.) Now, armed with information — and samples! — from The Henna Page, I’m ready to try again.

The keys, apparently, are Mylar (the stuff shiny baloons are made out
of — as well as oven mits, space suits, and those crinkly emergency
blankets) and dextrose. If you roll a Mylar fattie — er, cone — and
fill it with henna, you can razor off the tip of the cone to make as
thick or thin of a line as you need. The dextrose is just corn sugar, a
monosaccharide that makes the henna more pliable and easier to apply.
Plain old table sugar works too, but "dextrose" sounds way more mad
scientist.

I think the first time I saw henna was on my Indian
coworker after she came back from visiting her husband and family. She
was hands-down one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. Even though
the henna on her palms had faded to a burnt orange color by the time
she returned to work, it was still beautiful!

The second time
I saw henna was in Morocco. Morocco, Orlando — as in, the Epcot Center
Morocco, at a little kiosk across from a restaurant that usually had a
guy in a Genie costume from Disney’s Aladdin hanging around. The henna
artist looked terribly bored, probably because she was sick of doing
henna "tatoos" of butterflies and flowers on pre-teen girls’ midrifts.
She did my hand and arm for me, but it didn’t turn out too well,
because I immediately started picking at it, instead of letting it set
for the 4-8 hours it usually needs.

This time around, when I
get my new stuff in the mail, I want to do my feet and legs in nifty,
yoga-inspired patterns. That way I’ll have something to cheer me up
when I go back to doing yoga again, and I’m sitting there trying to get
my index fingers around my big toes and failing miserably.

Ooh, ooh, I know — I’ll do a Japanese theme, and do "ganbare" on my toes. LOL.

Anyway, if you’re a geek like me, you should totally read up on henna at The Henna Page.
It talks about the culture and history behind henna over many cultures,
India and Africa being two big ones. It talks about the chemistry of
henna, and how certain ingredients react with the powder to release its
dye. Naturally, it gives you plenty of step-by-step henna how-tos, and
lots of patterns you can use. And it even has some of that Myth Busters
trial-and-error element, because the author of the page has tested mix
after mix of henna ingredients, disproving the effects of some and
creating whole new recipes using others.

So, that’s my new "thing." I’ll let you know how it turns out!