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Category Archives: Crafty Stuff

Dollar Store Valentines

valentines

The homeschool group that we belong to has a Valentine’s Day party planned for this week.  The kids are supposed to make little “mailboxes” so that they can exchange Valentine cards with each other.  I had lofty aspirations of handmade Valentines worthy of pinterest, but alas- due to lack of funds and tons of procrastination (which will someday be my downfall, I’m sure) I was unable to find the time to get crafty and crochet doily hearts out of grocery bags or build a cupid out of SPAM.

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Learn it: How to mix henna paste.

The first step is to make sure your henna is from a reputable henna supplier.  It is very important that your henna is a high quality, finely sifted product.  I get mine from Artistic Adornament because I trust them to provide me with 100% body art quality, fresh henna.  Their Artistic Organic Henna is USDA certified organic.  If you buy your henna powder from a store there is no way to know how long it has been sitting on the shelf, or what other additives are in it, and most people aren’t aware that henna has a shelf life.  I store my boxes of powder in my freezer.

 

Photo credit: Heather Caunt-Nulton

 

There are as many henna recipes as there are artists, but my favorite is the basic recipe provided by the woman that taught me about henna (Heather Caunt-Nulton):

100 grams of body art quality henna powder
1 – 1  1/2 cups lemon juice (you can squeeze your own organic lemons if you want, but I find this stuff is easier)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons)  of cajeput essential oil  (cajeput is full of monoterpene alcohols (terps) which get you the darker stain)

 

Photo Credit: Heather Caunt-Nulton

Directions:

Pour 100 grams of henna powder into a large bowl.  I prefer glass or metal to prevent staining.

Slowly stir in lemon juice, a 1/4 cup at a time.  I just eyeball it, but you might want to use measuring cups until you get the hang of it.

Stir the mixture with a spoon or whisk until it becomes loose and easy to stir in the bowl.  It should look sort of like lumpy mashed potatoes.  You may have to add a little more lemon juice or henna to get it right.

Photo Credit: Heather Caunt-Nulton

Once it is the right  consistency, cover it and put it on the counter overnight/about 12 hours or so before adding the oil.  Then cover it up again and leave it for another 12 hours.  (Most of henna mixing is just waiting!)

You will be able to tell your henna is done when you scoop it up and the top is brown, but the underside is still greeny.  Stir it up again.  The henna should form a thick and smooth ribbon off your spoon.  You can add a little more lemon juice if it isn’t quite smooth enough.

Photo Credit: Heather Caunt-Nulton

If your henna looks like this, you did it right!  Congratulations!  You now have henna ready to cone up for fabulous body art! 

Now you’re ready to make and fill your henna cones!

This recipe should yield about 15 henna cones.   Just pop them into a freezer bag and store them in your freezer until you want to use them.  Remember that henna is perishable.  It should last a long time in your freezer, and about a week in your fridge.  I usually thaw what I think I need, and then put the leftover thawed cone in the fridge.

The  images above were taken, with permission, from videos by Heather Caunt-Nulton of Henna by Heather and Artistic Adornment.  You can check out the full video here.

 

 

 

I Opened My Etsy Store!

Goddess Doll!

Six years ago I decided I needed to learn how to sew.  I was pregnant with Willow at the time and I wanted to learn how to make slings and mei tais because I couldn’t afford to buy them.  My Vovo (grandmother) is an uber seamstress, having sewn all her life, so I figured I could pick it up -no sweat.

And being the idiot I am, I decided that the most PERFECT starting project would be fairy dolls for my eldest daughter, Hannah.  (This is the part where I cried and cursed and swore and taught my children all sorts of words they shouldn’t be uttering until they reach voting age.) My fairies had bodies made out muslin.  They had looonnnggg skinny arms and legs -which were awful to try and turn right side out.  No matter what I did they would shred into bits.

A few days later I was reading through our copy of Circle Round and saw a sketch of the goddess symbol- you know the one, arms raised up, rounded pointy bottom- its everywhere!  Then I got the idea for dolls without legs to stuff…..  Goddess dolls!

I thought they’d make cool dolls for pagan people.  They’ve actually turned into adult collectibles.  Most people buy them for themselves, to decorate their home and altars.  I’ve sold them in Artemisia Botanicals in Salem, Massachusetts and several stores in Rhode Island.

Pretty good for self-taught!

I really love making them.  And because I strive to make each doll as perfect as possible- by hand- I’ve learned all sorts of great things!  Bead work, embroidery,  pattern making, etc.  They are continuously evolving into more and more beautiful dolls.

I closed my etsy shop about a year ago after burning out on all things sewing.  I’m happy to say that this week I feel crafty and inspired enough to open my shop again!  I have been slowly dipping my toes back in over the past few months.  Every once in a while I’ll announce on my facebook page that I’d like to make a few dolls and the resulting sales keep me busy for a few weeks!

Last month I did a “free shipping” sale to celebrate my birthday and I ended up with over twenty doll orders.  I wasn’t able to get started until last week because just a few days later I became terribly, horribly ill- I was sick for twenty days….  And I’m still recovering now. But I’m having a fantastic time with these dolls and I decided that I’m ready to make them more often.  I am nearly done with the ones I have now- I just need to spend the next few days attaching heads and hair and double checking which dolls are supposed to be babywearing and then I’ll be ready to start on the next batch of orders!

I only have three listings right now, for my “custom dolls”  but I found a cache of doll bodies I had sewn at some point, so I’m hoping to stock my shop with a bunch of already made dolls soon!

And if I’m brave enough, I’d like to start selling some artwork too.  Gulp.

 

 

Recipe: Sugar Skulls

Sugar skulls are molded of sugar and dried. Once they harden they can be decorated with brightly colored icing and sparkly things such as pieces of bright foil. They are easy and fun to make, and can last a long time if kept dry. Continue Reading