Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mehndi Art with Henna: the original temporary tatoo

Last week I spend a lovely vacation in Door County, Wisconsin on Kangaroo Lake for an extended family vacation. I'm pleased to say that not only did we not revert back to 12 year old fits or mental breakdowns (I'm referring to myself here, you know how family sometimes brings out the worst in you...) this was the first place I've been to that I'd actually return again. Usually I'm done and bored with a spot in a week (sometimes sooner) but Door County has beautiful 80 degree temperatures, a lake, lots of interesting shops, restaurants, cafes and frozen custard stores. Really great.

Since we were lucky to be there for the Forth of July, we attended the parade and craft fair afterwards. One of the booths had henna artists and I couldn't resist a little body decoration. I don't have tatoos (and really don't want one) but the idea of being decorated with a little summer flair sounded like a good time to me. As I watched the artist, I knew an obsession was starting. Swirly, floral, decorative, dots, paisleys...how could I have not known about this before??? I was so into it, I was sure this was my occupation in one of my past lives. Here's what mine looked like when the henna was just applied.

Of course, upon returning to Cincinnati, I immediately went out to Michael's Craft stores and bought one of their kits to give it a try myself. I practiced on my kids and myself. I wasn't happy with the henna mixture so now I've going to try this recipe so I can do it again. I chose Holly's recipe because I like the logo on her website--I just trust someone who has good graphic taste. I'm thinking about having a girls night Mehndi henna tent party...doesn't that sound like so much fun?? Some hummus, olives, exotic drinks...it's like the Red Tent kinda!

I love that the art of Mehndi is over 5000 years old! It originated in Egypt, staining the fingers and toes of pharohs. It is widely used in African and Indian culture, decorating the women and brides with intricate gloves of henna and using symbols within the designs to wish good health and fertility upon the brides. I just love that kind of ritual and good energy. Girls rock! Here are some really stunning examples:

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