For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Henna - decorated

After giving the henna paste several hours to set, the girls and I went at it. I started off by rigging a cone out of the corner of a thick plastic shopping bag (reduce, reuse, recycle...), then practiced on my own arm.

You know, it's really hard to work on your own arm. *L* Unfortunately, part way through, Eldest pointed out that I'd bent my wrist back while adding some details higher up, and smudged the band. You can actually see it a bit in this picture, I just noticed now. I ended up having to fill in the section with dots, so it'll be just solid henna stain.

I shaved my arms before I started, because the paste can get hung up on the hairs.

Eldest had drawn out on paper what designs she wanted. After Dh freshly shaved the sides of her head, I copied her designs onto her scalp.

I like this side's design.

Eldest likes this side better.

Later on, I let Eldest go nuts on one of my legs, so I've got a design on my foot, ankle and lower leg. We didn't get a good picture of it, though. Maybe later.

Then Youngest got her turn. She wanted me to go up her arms, too, but we'll have to shave her arms to do that.

So we're all sitting around with henna paste drying and setting on our skin. We're looking at ways to cover them so that they can be left overnight before we wash off the paste, so the designs will be nice and dark. :-D

Henna - getting started

We haven't done anything with henna since before we moved away from Manitoba. It took me a while to find some again. The hard part is finding pure, powdered henna leaves. Unfortunately, it's one of those things that are often adulterated. I did have a Canadian supplier highly recommended to me. Eldest had something mind, though, so we wanted some faster than ordering online would allow for. After much searching and recommendations from people we've got to know since our move, we ended up getting some at Superstore, of all places. I have no idea as to the quality of what we found, but we'll give it a go.

In the past, I've simply mixed henna power with warm water. It works fine, in general. The henna tends to flake off a lot when it dries, though, and sometimes the stain isn't very good. So this time, I used instructions and advice from here, and used lemon juice and sugar.

All set up and ready to mix. I made sure to use a ceramic bowl and plastic spoon. Glass bowls work fine, too, and I could probably have used both a metal bowl (if I had one) or a metal spoon, but the site mentioned that henna sometimes reacts with metal. I also made sure to cover the counter area with paper towels and got out some latex gloves.

I didn't bother sifting the powder first - I didn't feel like doing it twice. You'll see why, later. Here, I've got about 1 spoonful of sugar and 5 rounded spoonfuls of henna powder mixed together. This is a *lot* of henna for personal use.

It took a lot more lemon juice than I expected to get it to the consistency I wanted. Note that you can see a few lumps in the paste.

Here, I've got Eldest helping me out. For a sieve, I used an old knee high stocking with a run in it (see... being a packrat does come in handy sometimes... right, Dh? *ahem*). I just cut it open and had Eldest hold it taught across the bowl. If I'd had one, I could have used a "carrot bag" to scoop the paste into an uncut stocking.

Things got interesting at this point. The cat, seeing us in the kitchen, decided to come over and start talking to us. As I was trying to take this picture, she jumped up onto my hip and stayed there a few seconds, then climbed up to my shoulder, crossed over to Eldest's shoulder, and started heading for the top of the fridge. Several ruined photos later, Eldest was able to take her to where she was really wanting to go - the top shelf of the hall closet. She's still there as I write this.

The scratches on my hip and shoulder should be interesting.

The finished paste. Now, it just needs to sit for a few hours for the dye to activate. I've covered it with plastic so it won't dry out.

Now I have to figure out what to use for a cone. I've got a few options to decide from.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Keeping up

It's been a long time since I've posted. We've had quite a few things going on, but the biggest issue was discovering out computer was badly infected with several trojans, some malware and adware. It took us about a week to get it all cleared out. This was actually quite good - with the stuff the computer was doing, we had thought the hard drive was going, and that it would need to be replaced. Buying STOPzilla is a lot cheaper. *L*

I guess, technically, our school year is over. We've had our year end facilitator visit already. That's always a blast. We've never had a facilitator in any of the other provinces we've lived in, so we weren't sure how it would work out. We had a different facilitator at first, but it was difficult for him to visit all the families he had because of the distances involved, so we soon had a new one that lives closer to our area. We're really happy with him. He's a great guy, and the visits are always a lot of fun. Every visit, we learn a bit more about him, and he's had a most fascinating life. We really look forward to these visits - something I greatly appreciate, having heard some horror stories from other families involving their facilitators.

This year, the girls decided to make portfolios to show him. Other than giving them a few ideas of what to put in then, then taking the girls out to get a few photos printed, Dh and I had nothing to do with putting these together. Eldest put hers together first, then helped Youngest do hers. I was actually escorting the facilitator to our apartment (necessary, since we're on a secure floor that requires scanning a key-card in the elevator) as Youngest was having a sample of her stories printed out. Although I was able to see what Eldest put together earlier, I didn't see what Youngest had until the facilitator did.

It was interesting to see what they put in. They included lists of subjects of interest that they are studying. I expected things like art and writing related subjects, whoever they got more detailed and specific. For example, Eldest included her interests in the fields of psychology, anatomy and architecture, as well as mathematics - specifically chaos theory. Youngest's list included her studies on mythology.

So the visit went very well. We got our paperwork done for this year, as well as what we needed to do for the next school year, and we won't see our facilitator again until the fall. Not that it changes much in what we're doing. Actually, once the weather gets more pleasant, our summer will probably be busier than the school year was. As I write this, the girls are watching a dvd. They just started the second disc in another Great Courses set. This one is on Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe. Like the geology set we've borrowed before, these are simply lectures by university profs with added graphics to illustrate their subject matter. The prof is talking about quantum mechanics at the moment. And quarks being bound together with protons and neutrons. And something about neulceons. And force fields. I been doing other stuff, so I've missed too much to know what's going on, but the girls have been quietly sitting on the couch watching it for most of the morning, though Eldest is working on another drawing at the same time. They want to finish it off because it needs to be returned tomorrow. Hopefully, we'll find part 2 of this course.

Just what every 15yo and almost 12 yo does in their spare time. ;-)

Friday, April 04, 2008

New library list

This was supposed to be another trip to drop off a few things, but not take out many more since we still had so many books, including some that were renewed. The only one who managed to hold back was Youngest, who hasn't had to return any of the books she's got yet.

Eldest got herself a bunch of new ones, mostly on birds.

How Birds Work; A guide to Bird Biology
Photographic Guide to the Shorebirds of the World; Detailed field descriptions of the 212 shorebirds of the world; Over 700 color photographs (not too many books with subtitles for their subtitles! *L*)
How to be a Bad Birdwatcher; To the greater glory of life
Analysis of Vertebrate Structure
Bones; The Unity of Form and Function. She's already started reading this one out loud to us. So far, very cool!
The World of Moths
Turtles & Tortoises; A Firefly Guide

I was actually looking for certain books, but they were checked out. Instead, I found the section on costuming and grabbed these.

The Folkware Book of Ethnic Clothing; Easy Ways to Sew & Embellish Fabulous Garments from Around the World
Period Costume for Stage & Screen; Patterns for Women's Dress 1800-1909
Waisted Efforts; An illustrated guide to Corset Making

Among the cd's this week, we've got:

Music of the Spanish Renaissance for Voice, Vihuelas, Lute & Renaissance Guitar: Shirley Rumsey
Famous: Puddle of Mudd
Bloom; Remix Album: Sarah McLachlan
Solace: Sarah McLachlan

And finally, the dvd's:

The Ghost Particle; Neutrinos - The Secret Ingredient to the Cosmos
The Jacques Cousteau Odyssey Vol. 1; The Nile parts 1 & 2
(Eldest picked the above two)
Parts 4 and 5 from The Global Generation Series: and What Can Happen with Globalization and The Ramifications of Globalization. The previous two we'd borrowed were interesting enough to warrant getting more.

The videos are the hardest ones to keep on top of. We just don't watch enough tv! *L*