The Kitschen Crockpot

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

How to Henna Your Hair

When people find out that I dye my hair with henna, they are usually very curious about it. So, for the benefit of the inquiring minds dying to know (no pun intended) my most intimate beauty secrets, I've composed a step-by-step on basic hair henna-ing (Complete with embarassing photos).

I had dyed my hair with various chemicals, various colors, for almost ten years, finally deciding that I wanted to be a fiery redhead. I tried all sorts of red hair dyes and even the best ones only looked great for a week before they started to turn brassy or fade. After doing some research, I decided to try henna and have been a henna head ever since. Henna is a natural conditioner, and unlike chemical dyes, it's great for your hair! It is messy, though. It takes several hours, but hey, if you're home anyway, it doesn't matter. You can do some chores or have some spa time. Also it smells funny, but no worse than that knock-out chemical smell of other dyes!

Famous henna heads include Lucille Ball and my beloved late Grandma Hayes. If you want RED hair too, here's how it's done.

If you do some research you can see everyone has their own technique and add-ins to get the color just so. The concocting is not my area of expertise, so I will instead refer you to Henna For Hair as an invaluable resource when first figuring out what to do and how to make your own mix.

Before you get started, you'll need:
* Henna (pure, high quality)
* a glass mixing bowl
* gloves
* plastic spoon
* vaseline

DO NOT USE ANYTHING METAL! It will react to the henna and might turn your hair green.

I use Caca by Lush. Whether you get the brick style Lush henna, or henna powder, the steps are the same.

Using a double-boiler method, slowly add hot water to the henna, stirring constantly until it forms a lovely cake batter consistency. Add in any special fixings you like. I add about a tbs of olive oil for extra conditioning, a tsp of clove and a tsp of paprika to enhance the red. The heat will help the dye release.

Mmm, looks lovely, doesn't it? As you can see, the bowl is sitting in the sink. This is going to be very messy. I cover all around my hairline and ears in vaseline so I don't stain myself orange. Starting at the front of my head, I use the spoon to part my hair, and spread henna all around. I really reccomend the spoon method rather than a traditional hair dye brush. The brush doesn't hold nearly enough henna to be effective, and I ended up splattering all over the place. Part your hair & spread in the henna in about 1/2" - 1" sections, doing the roots first and working towards the ends. Don't be shy either, really glop it in there.

This is about halfway through the application. As you can see, I'm pretty well covered. Keep going! At this point, I just scoop up handfuls of the henna and squish it into my head until I run out. If you have long hair, pile it on top of your head as you go. I don't wear gloves because I am hardcore. But really, it will wash off your hands, and everything else if you wipe it up right away.

Ta-Da! This can be a little tricky. I have wrapped my head up in about a mile of cling wrap. Trust me, you want to do this. Otherwise, you will be leaving a trail of green crud everywhere you go. I stay wrapped for as long as I can stand it - about three or four hours. There will be some dribbling. This is normal. You may want to keep some tissues handy or try wearing an old sweatband to help mop it up.

The wash out: I soak in the tub and swish my hair around, then stand up in the shower to get the last of it out. Rinse Rinse Rinse! I finish off with a little conditioner. I do this every month to keep my locks vibrant and shiny!

Ta-Da! In spite of my very contrast-y face, my hair color is pretty accurate.

6:29 PM   5 comments
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Final Thoughts on The Artist's Way

I'm very proud of myself for having completed the Artist's Way. It feels odd to say "completed" because I know that there are activities left undone, morning pages skipped, and artist's dates lost in the bustle of the week. I even embrace this imperfection, because when I re-visit it there will plenty more for me to discover and devour.

As promised, I have a photograph of my finished sacred space I had sketched out earlier:

I haven't gotten the meditation cushions yet, and I'll add more trinkets to the little bench as they come to me. Right now, the only thing there is my God Jar, the little gold box. It's a place I can go to ask "What next?" or "Why bother?" and to deposit tokens of gratitude and grains of hope. Yes, that is a red mosquito net. You may think it is weird that I actually have and am using a red mosquito net, but I bet, secretly, you kind of wish you did too. You should honor that wish.

Often times, my own affirmations sound contrived and wrong - too weak to overcome my deepest, most negative thoughts. One night, at dance class, I was feeling especially down on myself, specifically about my spinning. I am a true follower when it comes to dancing, and so when I am asked to do a 360 on my own, I get clumsy and wobbly. My teacher recognizes this as a mental block rather than a physical one, and as I pivoted back and forth, he repeated encouragingly, "you are stable ... you are stable." Then I realized that he was right. I am stable. I can spin; I can express my beautiful, unique self through movement and the things I make.

I can't say I necessarily came out of this a great artist, or even a better artist. I am feeling more aware of small miracles, more attentive to my inner artist, and I am trying to take the time and care to be nicer to myself. In fact, in some ways, I am totally spoling myself and I don't even feel guilty about it!

8:25 PM   0 comments

Illustration Friday: Tattoo

Nevermind that this Illustration Friday topic is, oh, maybe a month old. That's about how long I've been without DSL! Better late than never!

My husband and I were talking about tattoos. He said the only tattoo he would ever consider getting would be one of me. Here's myself in the style of a 50s pin-up girl.

...and my version of the traditional swallow.

8:19 PM   0 comments
Sunday, April 16, 2006

Updates Galore!

Finally! I am back from an unexpected hiatus from having DSL. This has seriously cramped my style. No blog entries for a month, no updating the Kitschen, no reading my favorite blogs and sites, and you should see the paperwork piled up in my office right now. I'm a little scared.

My hubs and I wrapped up our Latin Hustle classes and I feel that I successfully completed my journey through The Artist's Way, though I'm sure I will revisit the book often when I am feeling blocked. I'll write in more detail with some images later this week.

We've moved on to West Coast Swing now, which is so exciting because we have been patiently waiting for the studio to offer it forever! My mom helped me fill up the flower beds, I've signed up for Yoga again, and by all counts Spring is roaring in, and in full force at that.

It's amazing how time slips away. I'm never able to get all I want to in a day, in a week, and before I know it a month is gone by and I feel completely lost!

9:52 PM   0 comments

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