The color of natural henna

Purely natural henna is a woman's best sepia toned accessory . Natural henna paste dyes the top layers of your skin, as your skin exfoliates naturally, your henna stain will fade away entirely.
Purely natural henna is a woman’s best sepia toned accessory . Natural henna paste dyes the top layers of your skin, as your skin exfoliates naturally, your henna stain will fade away entirely.

Natural henna stains are variable, you can see something of an ombre effect with the fingertips being the darkest point of the henna stain.  It is natural to see the the stain lighter as it moves up the arm. Sometimes the stain stays consistent as it moves up the arm, a trait of henna paste, body chemistry and more. Purely natural henna is made from powdered henna leaves, tea, cajeput essential oil, and sugar. A simple recipe, natural and safe. Henna is known to have been used as skin adornment for ages, times when chemicals were unknown. Even now, the naturalistic essence of henna is one of it’s most appealing attributes. Henna stains typically last anywhere from 7-12 days, depending on body placement and skin chemistry.

To achieve your quality henna stain, you will need to be patient and slow down for a few hours at least. Your henna artist will apply the henna paste upon your skin, typically the paste will be dry 15 minutes after the paste is laid. Henna is known for having a cooling effect, you’ll want to adjust your environment. Now that you have your design, you will want to keep it intact for 4-8 hours, depending on your commitment to quality henna stains. The longer you leave your paste on, the more skin cells the henna paste can reach.

I have applied my purely natural henna paste in an Arabic floral motif on my hands. I will leave this paste intact for 6 hours for quality henna stains.
I have applied my purely natural henna paste in an Arabic floral motif on my hands. I will leave this paste intact for 6 hours for quality henna stains.

During this time you will want to do something that doesn’t require much activity which could effect your henna paste, wherever it is placed. Settle yourself comfortably and daydream, nap, wax poetic, talk with a friend, or watch some films. Have one cup of hot tea.

After your natural henna paste is rubbed off, your new henna stain is revealed. This is my favorite part of henna, as your skin reveals a deep layer of bright orange designs and the essence of the essential oils mixed into your paste are intoxicating. My henna paste has undertones of cardamom, lavender, and cedar essential oils, a clean woodsy scent with the cajeput oil. However, you’re not quite done with your aftercare. Avoid direct contact with water as long as you can. You may need to get creative and ask for assistance from your roommates or family. If you can’t avoid water, it’s fine, you’ll still get a really nice henna stain. If you avoid water you’ll get a better quality henna stain. Your henna stain will progressively become darker as it oxidizes. 24 hours after your stain is revealed will be your mature henna stain color.

A few hours after rubbing the natural henna paste off my skin.
A few hours after rubbing the natural henna paste off my skin.

Henna is and was, meant to be purely natural.. Your skin is your largest organ and a beautiful canvas. Nothing compares to the look of purely natural henna stained skin, connect with an ancient beauty. The henna on your skin may fade away, yet the artistry of henna will remain and grow.

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open palms, open minds or something like that

A delicately henna’d palm allures like an ancient beauty. A rather discrete place for henna and also the absolute best place for deep and dark henna stains.

purely natural artful henna with Kristy McCurry of Henna Trails Chico, California
purely natural artful henna with Kristy McCurry of Henna Trails Chico, California
purely natural henna with Kristy McCurry of Henna Trails Chico, California
purely natural henna with Kristy McCurry of Henna Trails Chico, California

Happy New Year, now go find an excellent henna artist and try something new!

 

I have decided to keep my henna body art separate from my folk arts. This means more artistic freedom and exploration and really, a return to my roots. If you like my folk art you may want to join me here at OurFolkLife. For henna body art, you can stay tuned, I’ll have something up in a few days. I’m excited about a new year and wish for hope and prosperity for all of us!

Cookie Time…stop

Since my son and I had great success making creme puffs on Thanksgiving, I was inspired to bake some ‘good sugar cookies’ for the coming holidays. The holidays brings much creative inspiration as people everywhere turn to thoughts of delicious and beautiful with family and friends. Decorative sugar cookies are always a great canvas, particularly for henna artists as we can utilize the same tools bakeries use for piping. Seeing as the Fall and Winter for this henna artist is low on ladies’ hands, I cut out my sugar cookies with a hamsa cookie cutter. How much do I love this nifty little tool? Probably abit too much, it’s the little things that can make one happy.

I believe pretty cookies should also taste pretty fantastic. I have eaten my share of uninspiring cookies that looked great and tasted bland. Through trial and error I came upon my very favorite sugar cookie recipe, I’m not sure where I found it originally. The inside of a cabinet door holds my go to taste tested recipes and there is a slip of paper which reads only “good sugar cookies”. I’ll take my word for it and share it with you.

good sugar cookies:

2 sticks butter

2/3 cup of powdered sugar

2 egg yolks, save your egg whites for royal icing

salt

vanilla, I really like using vanilla beans, as the speckles from them are so enchanting

2 cups flour

I tend to add zest of whatever citrus is in season, this batch had mandarin zest

I also tend to add one or all of the following: nutmeg, cardamom, or anise. Just a pinch will go a long way.

Mix, pat onto plastic or a flour cloth and refrigerate for ease of rolling and cutting

Roll rather thickly for generous cookies

I baked mine a 375 for around 8 minutes in my toaster/convection oven.

Remember those egg yolks you used in the cookie dough? The egg whites remaining are a main ingredient for Royal Icing, a perfect match for decorative cookies.

royal icing:

2 egg whites

4 cups sifted powdered sugar

squeeze of lemon

whip your egg whites until stiff

add powdered sugar until you get the consistency you like.

For cookie flooding I suggest a thinner icing. For decorative line work a much stiffer icing is necessary.

Please note: The use of raw egg whites may be problematic for pregnant women, babies, young children, or anyone whose health is compromised. A good alternative for raw egg whites is  5 tablespoons meringue powder and 1/3 cup water, mix royal icing as usual with 4 cups powdered sugar.

Now you’re ready! I love the look of icing flooding as a base, so I added some blue food coloring gel. After the base coat dried I went to work with my pastry tube of the stiffer white royal icing. Since my cookie are shaped as hamsas I knew I wanted to do some Moroccan styled designs. I ‘m not sure why, but I tend to gravitate towards Moroccan style decorations during the holidays.

Wondering what a Hamsa is? According to Wiki: palm-shaped amulet popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Depicting the open right hand, an image recognized and used as a sign of protection in many societies throughout history, the hamsa is believed to provide defense against the evil eye. I love them and should use them more often in my work, I see some design study in my future. The Moroccan designs I used are inspired greatly by the henna pattern book “Moor: A Henna Atlas of Morocco” by Lisa Butterworth and Nic Tharpa Cartier. I highly suggest this book for anyone fascinated by Moroccan art, henna artist or not, you will love this book full of information and design.

I had entirely so much fun making these cookies, I have become inspired to create a gingerbread house next. These cookies were enjoyed by some nice, patient boys who like tea with their  cookies.

Happy Holiday dreaming and creating!

Stocking my etsy shop just for you

It lives! After a long hibernation and some reflection, my etsy shop is filling with my various interpretations of henna folk arts. There are new features on etsy that make my Indie heart skip a beat. Gift cards are now available, as well as direct check out if you find paypal to be a hassle. This week I will be adding these earrings as well as pendents made from capiz shells, light as a feather and translucent like antique windows. I accept custom orders for that personal touch.

Rain Henna

It rained this week for the first time in maybe, 5-6 months. Deep and heavy rains, the earth smells fantastic now. After some adjusting, I don’t mind at all.

The season may be changing, however you can still indulge in henna for your self with a private appointment, with friends for a henna party, or consider your future wedding henna. Please contact us  for availability. Experience purely natural and artistic henna with Henna Trails.

Wedding Henna in Black and White

Last February, Jahlelah and I sat down one evening and began the meticulous application of her bridal mehendi. Months prior, we had consulted over her design possibilities. I presented her with Indian bridal mehendi books, and a few of my own henna designs, as well as links to portfolios of some very talented bridal artists in the US. Soon I had an idea of what designs  appealed to her and the length of her henna. We knew she liked the idea of the mehendi appearing as netted gloves, her henna would start below her elbow and down to her fingertips. Solid fingertips would be the most dramatic. We took a motif inspired by some lace she had, added a mandala motif from Asha Savla’s Vivaah mehndi book. Her heart palm was inspired by the work of Henna Lounge and the mandalas were added around that motif. A design this structured takes time to finish, as every part needs good symmetry between both hands. While it was meticulous work, I really enjoyed the particular meditation working on such a scale brings. 

Jahlelah and Lance’s wedding was a beautiful reflection of their community. Heartfelt, family oriented, and handmade.  Best wishes to the happy family!

Purely natural henna adornment for all brides in Chico California with Henna Trails. Artfully designed and applied mehendi using only the finest henna paste, mixed in house for rich stains. Bridal henna is priced by design complexity rather than hourly. Contact us to schedule your 30 minute bridal consultation.

Friday Henna Time

Today you can find me at 319 Main Street downtown Chico, California from 1-6pm at Eye Of Jade Tattoo. I’ll have my purely natural henna and many patterns to choose from!

After that I’ll be packing my tent for my weekend festival booking with over 2 dozen silk screened shirts, 1 dozen hand painted earrings, 2 dozen hand painted glass votives,  hand painted cards, silk henna chokers, and all the henna Full Belly Farm can handle! We’ll be in the Capay Valley for the annual Hoes Down Harvest Festival. October 6, 7 2012

Market henna season closing tonight!

It has been a rather inspiring 6 months of henna in the streets of downtown Chico, California for the Thursday Night Market! All my supporters have my utmost gratitude for embracing this exquisite, ancient and temporal artistry. I will miss the hustle and bustle of this beautiful evening market, meeting up with my community, and supporting other artists, farmers, and cooks! Incidentally, our humble little market was named one of the best of the World’s Best Late-Nite Foodie Havens! Pretty cool for a small, rural college town amongst organic farms and orchards. We love excellent food here, that is for sure!

This year will mark my 4 season slinging henna on the street for the market. I have learned so much thru the years. I look forward to coming back next April, refreshed and armed with new henna patterns, books and ideas just for you, dear Chico. Come see me tonight and revel in the awesome of our town! Purely natural.