A Mystical Halloween Henna

 

 

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closing the streets for henna

April to September from 6-9 pm, the streets of downtown Chico, California close to vehicles and open to the local community for the Thursday Night Market. Chico is known for it’s passion for localvore habits and the market is a great place to see what is coming into season, foodwise and artistically as many musicians and performing artists occupy stages,  local artisans abound, as well as community groups. I have been providing henna there since 2009,  and it has been a great blessing. I have met and connected with many people, and have seen many return year after year, week after week for henna.

Henna truly is amazing. What a natural gift.

Thank you Chico! See you at the market!

You can find me on Broadway between 3rd and 4th street in Chico, California April-September 6-9pm for natural henna, exclusively local produce, handcrafted food, wares, jewelry, and food trucks
You can find me on Broadway between 3rd and 4th street in Chico, California April-September 6-9pm for natural henna, exclusively local produce, handcrafted food, wares, jewelry, and food trucks
Floral cuff henna for her birthday at the market.
Floral cuff henna for her birthday at the market.
Henna design inspired by Arabian Penninsula by Liz Ging at the Thursday Night Market, henna by Kristy McCurry.
Henna design inspired by Arabian Penninsula by Liz Ging at the Thursday Night Market, henna by Kristy McCurry.
naturalista for life. Purely natural henna imparts temporal and beautifully rich earthy designs upon your skin. Ask your henna artists what is in their paste to ensure an authentic henna experience, the paste should smell clean and earthy.
naturalista for life. Purely natural henna imparts temporal and beautifully rich earthy designs upon your skin. Ask your henna artists what is in their paste to ensure an authentic henna experience, the paste should smell clean and earthy.
Henna $10.00 special at the Thursday Night  Market Chico, California. April to September 6-9pm.
Henna $10.00 special at the Thursday Night Market Chico, California. April to September 6-9pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her wedding henna afternoon

One fine day in June I packed my henna cones, sketches and wooden stool into my bicycle basket and set off into Bidwell Park to journey to another side of Chico, California for Sara’s wedding henna appointment. It was a good day, I felt honored to be able to share the artistry of mehendi with her, a fellow artist. I knew working in such detail would be a challenge, and I was a little nervous, but the ride through the park relieved my worries and cleared my mind.

Earlier in the year we met for her bridal consultation to decide what design direction to take, as there are many styles of henna to choose from. She liked the idea of fine details to her elbows and little to no floral designs, Indian lace style mehendi came to my mind immediately. We set her henna appointment to be 3 days before her wedding, a day she would share with loved ones and a hen party.

I spent a few weeks seeking henna designs on flickr in her style and making little sketches of details I liked from other henna artists. I liked her style choice, and felt mandalas and half mandalas would be a great element to include in her henna. I tried to design each 4 parts of her wedding henna with different, yet cohesive designs. Her palms would have a design which came together when her palms were cupped upward. We would hide her groom’s name in the details.

Wedding henna this detailed takes time to apply skillfully and Sara was most patient. Let’s just say it took me more than 3 hours. We started in the afternoon, I find it is a great time to start wedding henna, as the light is perfect and there is plenty of time for the henna to seep into the topmost layers of your skin. This leaves you the option of removing your henna paste in the late evening and letting it oxidize while you sleep.

So this is her wedding henna  part I, I’ll have the rest of her story next week.

Thank you for stopping by!

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!

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.

Ombre henna hands

I am often thrilled with idea of henna designs focusing on your fingers. Visualize your striking allure as your henna fingers fly with tasks of even the everyday sort. This past summer I have been drawn to the revival of ombre thanks to pinterest and my favorite sweater in 5th grade. Ombre refers to the French term ombre referring to shade, hence the single color shade gradation seen on fabric and more lately. Here is a lovely pinboard of ombre in various mediums. Eventually while researching ombre dye techniques and trying my hand with fabrics, I decided to explore ombre henna. Admittedly, it is not for everyone…it is a somewhat shocking look. My ombre fingers were met with mixed emotions. I enjoyed them, they took a fair amount of time and complete mindfulness as I timed each layer of henna carefully.

A pinterest inspired idea certainly called for a tinted mason, or kerr canning jar. Too much! But I love it anyway, kindly please keep pinning or curating all the amazing and awesome aspects of life here on our earth and beyond.

morning light and dusk of henna hands

When I first began using henna I was inspired to make it a part of my personal style, much like a token bracelet or charm true to your soul. All my life I have been inspired and enchanted by worldwide traditional styles and lifeways, henna was one of those amazing traditions which caught my eye. I understood that more and more mehndi was findings its way in the west and the possibility of coming across it had me on the lookout at every festival and gathering I attended. When I would find the henna artist, I would have one small henna design, and then quickly come back for more, because “henna is like that.” But even that wasn’t enough for me, as twice a year was far too long a wait. I went to the library to see if any books were available locally and none were there, but we ordered Loretta Roomey’s book, “Mehndi: The Timeless Art of Henna Painting” from another library. I loved it and understood how to make my very own henna paste, saw achingly pretty photos of henna hands, read about traditions and pattern meanings.  I needed to actually own this book so I ordered it from a local bookseller. I still love my henna hands, I look forward to the times I set aside for my own mehndi style. These photos were snapped by my husband with our dinky point and shoot Nikon. He has a great perspective and understands  my vision. I have yet to work with alot of professional photographers, so we try to make up for that by styling and shooting the best possible photos we can.

Dusk in the air, crickets begin their songs, the sun becomes quiet and her henna darkens. 12 hours and 24 hours of henna oxidization reveal deep rusty red and deep cherry red henna hands.

Light of a new day reveals deep red henna hands

All this light contrasting beautifully with the henna hands…would you consider henna for your wedding? I would love to help you realize the bridal henna of your dreams.

Chico, California.

Asha Savla mehndi stain 2011


Asha Savla stain 2011

Originally uploaded by Henna Trails

This is classical Indo-Arabic styled henna designed by Asha Savla. She is a world renowned henna designer based in Mumbai, India. She is one of my personal favorites, I often work on myself from her books. I am nearly satisfied with my line quality work, it could be better. That will come with time and practice. I am clearly obsessed with mehndi, so that is no problem. I haven’t been bored in I don’t know how long.

I did my left hand one night, left my paste on overnight with a few lemon sugar sealants. It took awhile to rub it off the next morning, but I would never just wash it off with water. Too much detailed work in mehndi to not follow the aftercare rituals for dark stains.
The next morning I did my right hand, I always start with my palms first. Because I was using my non dominate hand, it took much longer than my left hand did. I think it is a good brain and muscle control exercise. Also, I really don’t like having heavy mehndi only on one hand. Really. Light sangeet style on one hand does not bother me. I am trying to practice more complex designs, so that I may aquire some bridal clients this year.
I am really enjoying this particular mehndi, I also did the tops, but the palms always come out with pomegranate and deep cherry tones.

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