The Art of Life by Maznayim

The Art of Life by Maznayim

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Evans Garden Natural Cosmetics

hi, you have seen below my mention of

Evans Garden is a small family owned and operated natural cosmetic company.

Evan creates the formulas herself for wonderful moisturizers, cosmetics, deoderants and, get this, household cleaning products.

In this day and age where we are bombarded with chemical and after chemical...both in our food, cleaning agents, and cosmetic products.... eating healthy is not the only thing you should do for your good health... but what you use to clean your home, body and what you use to enhance your physical beauty should also be as chemical free as possible!!!

I have been a customer of for at least a year now. I have always enjoyed the personalised service...

And Kevin, Evan's husband, is patient enough to answer any questions I have about the website and products. Yeah, I admit it, I can be the patient from hell with my myriad of sometimes inane questions...hey they seem quite legit and urgent to me at the time--in my defense!!

I firmly believe in supporting small businesses....that, my friend, is capitalism and the American dream at it's best!!

Now, I have never been one to wear make up. First, I hate the feeling of some cosmetics that make you feel as if you are wearing a "mask". Second, I don't like the feeling of being "made up", besides contrary to what some believe about me I am not prissy like that!! :-) And third, have you ever taken time to read the ingredients in such things as lipstick, foundations and eyeshadow?? Triple dipple YUCK!!!!

My personal favorite of EvansGarden is the mineral powder eye shadow and foundation.

First let me tackle the foundation.... the word foundation sounds so heavy.... just ignore it.... I like to think of it as dusting or finishing powder. After cleansing my face and moisturizing I kabuki brush on just a light sheen of the powder (i use half #11 and #16 mixed together and i just lightly brush it on) it gives such a soft gently even coloured look to my face. Its not heavy. Its light weight, breathes and moves with your face!

Now to the mineral eye shadow. It comes in a loose powder form as well. The gossamers are a very faint irredescent eye shadow that slightly, very slightly sparkles... and so soft.... its like silky colour on your eyes. Sort like.... wow your eyes look lovely....but it doesnt look like you are "really" wearing "make up" but just a slight turn and you see this gentle colour jump out at you!!! Its so cool and fun.

Here is an authentic description of the Gossamer Shadows (scroll down about 4/5 to bottom to see) from site:

The Gossamer Lights eyeshadows look whitish in the pot but show on the eyes as gorgeous iridescence. Each of the four varieties of Gossamer Lights appears as more than one color, as the angle of view and light changes.

I wear the gossamers (I bought the 4 colour set really low price! to start) and I put one colour beneath my eyebrows... then a second or the same colour on my lid. Then at the edge of my lid I paint on a thin line of one of the regular eyeshadows. (a touch of water on the brush to paint it on gives a nice defined line).

Now when I say "regular" there is nothing regular or ordinary about Evan's eyeshadows or products. They are all handmade in small batches so quality is assured and a loving touch in everyone.

When I order from I feel like I am important and I matter and that my business is appreciated!! Now that is what I consider excellent customer service. I should know after having been in retail and my own business for at least 20 years now!

Again, I write this review and encourage you to shop at not only because I support small business, women owned business but I feel its important that we take time to care about what ingredients make up our personal items from cosmetics to household cleaners. What we use on our bodies, in our environment and most importantly our personal intimate environment should be only the purest and safest possible, -- Evan and Kevin stand behind this commitment.

So check them out, and when you do let them know that Tamu Ngina sent you! :-)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


These are brand new... here is the first picture... the other I haven't photo'ed please be patient!!

This one is an 8 inch in diameter with natural skin head, with great sound. Handpainted original HAMSA painting.

I hope you enjoy this pattern... No two Hamsa Tambourines exactly alike, each one a handpainted original.

If you are interested in having a tambourine with this HAMSA design...drop me an email. The hamsa itself is a deep teal colour. Monitor colours may very. And this picture unfortunately does not do this hamsa justice. Has single row of cymbals.

Gold and Silver leafing galore!! Coated with polyeurathane for protection.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Hamsa Points

Latest hamsa I have listed at the LibraWomanArt CafePress .. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Something Old, Yet Not Really

Something old...I was the first Visual Artist interviewed by the website. I believe this was around 2000..... How apropo that I should find this article as I have recently returned t my "artistic roots", however, I must say that I never fully left those roots...just got sidelined over the years.

The only thing that is out of date is the website and the email address! gosh I wish I could get them to change it....I've emailed them but to no avail. Anyway... Enjoy.

The original article and attached artworks can be found HERE:

GenJ: On your website you say that your favorite subjects are flowers, women, and Jewish themes. What about these subjects make them your favorite? How do they inspire you artistically?

Tamar (Tamu Ngina): A great deal of my art is on Judaic or Hebrew themes. I get much inspiration from the siddur (prayerbook). While reciting tefillot (prayers) on each Shabbat, at home or especially during the High Holidays, I begin to see the words or rather the alef-bet (Hebrew alphabet) in artistic form. Certain phrases from tehillim (psalms) are very inspiring, sound beautiful, and just beg to be painted. I once took a mystical alef-bet course and I believe this is what really sparked my interest. This was about three years ago. Ever since then I have enjoyed incorporating Hebrew lettering into my art. My Jewish heritage is extremely important to me. It is what I breathe and dream, so naturally it will play a part in my creative release as well.

When I attempt to incorporate the female form in art it is usually expressed as some version of the primordial Mother, or Chava (Eve), in all of us. Although I am very much a believer in traditional Judaism I find that for the most part the feminine aspect of G-d is generally neglected. Perhaps not so much neglected in Kabbalistic or Chassidic circles. But I very much am interested in meditating on the Shechinah, the indwelling presence of G-d, often understood as a female manifestation of the Divine. "Shechinah" is a feminine word, thus also in my mind representing the female aspect. All embryos start off in a female state and then eventually, after a certain amount of gestation time has past, either remain female or become male. Life is born through the female. I enjoy celebrating and reminding us of this fact; hence, why women, or the female form, is one of my favorite subjects.

And now we are down to flowers. Most certainly I should have said orchids and lotus are my favorite. Orchids are beautiful, mysterious, and sometimes downright grotesque yet very lovely and sensual. They are a challenge to the eye as well as a challenge for me to paint. Never a dull moment with them. I also enjoy lotus blossoms. In many cultures lotus represent creation or spiritual attainment.

GenJ: Also on your website, in the testimonial section, "Serenity" comments that she has one of your paintings hanging in her meditation room. Is this the sort of destination you envision for your art while creating it?

TN: Exactly. When I paint, it comes straight from my heart. When people look at one of my paintings, whether it's a verse from Torah or tehillim or an orchid, I want the words and imagery or the colour to embrace them. To give them a momentary break from the mundane.

GenJ: Please tell us about the painting "Chava: Eternal Mother in Us All."

TN: The spiral represents the spiral of life.... Blue Lotus in some cultures represent creation.... thus a blossom is her womb area....The rainbow represents the many people that have come from her.Her ten locks of hair represent the Ten Commandments, Torah, or the foundation of the Universal Law.She is faceless so she is all of us.And her stomach, slightly round, represents the unborn, yet-to-be-conceived generations.

GenJ: What do you like most about working with acrylics & watercolour?

TN: I do not have formal training in visual art. I've come to realize that perhaps I am slightly A.D.D., as I dropped drawing class twice in college. It was so boring. But seriously, all of my experience with media has been trial and error. I enjoy the feel of acrylics and their versatility. I've recently discovered the joy of watercolour. The translucent quality of it helps lend an ethereal or airy quality to a creation. You can add as much colour as you like or take it away if you change your mind. With watercolours you are able to create many different types of effects. Watercolour paints feel very warm and soft to me and I enjoy creating with them.

GenJ: How do you choose which colors to work with?

TN: Actually I get stuck in modes. I have forever been in a blue/purple mode. Everything I am doing usually has some blue if not a lot of blue in the piece. Blue represents meditation and spirituality. Hence the name of my site: I've been trying to expand out of these colours...I've added red to the repertoire. Red, for me, adds an element of boldness and courage to a piece. So basically, the answer is...I choose colours on the basis of their spiritual significance. Usually I am attempting to convey an emotion with a colour.

GenJ: Please tell us a bit about how you became an artist. (When/how you started, what influences have propelled you forward, etc.)

TN: There was not one moment in life when I decided I was going to "be an artist." I was always creative as a child. In college I was the art director for my freshman class. Throughout my life I have always been involved in some sort of creativity, whether it was in my dress, in traditional visual arts, or in my spirituality. For a while motherhood completely consumed all of my time. One day I woke up and felt that I had lost the part of me that made me a unique individual. That same day I went out and purchased some canvases, paints, and brushes and created a lovely mizrah motif. I really put my heart and soul into that piece. This was about four years ago. I did not start out calling myself an artist. People I knew would introduce me to their friends as "an artist."What propels me forwarded artistically is life. As long as there is breath in me, I want to create. For a while I got into creating simply to please the consumers, to make money. This proved to be very futile. Futile in the sense that I felt dissatisfied with what I was creating and with myself. I was not expressing myself or creating what I wanted. I felt I had to do this or that in order to fit in with the term of what an "artist" should be. Then I woke up again and realized that it was okay to just be me and to express myself how I wanted and not how it would please anyone else.

GenJ: You're an outspoken advocate for Jewish diversity and inclusiveness. Please tell us about your opinions and your activism, specifically about your involvement with the group Kulanu.

TN: One of my favorite quotes is from the character Agent Mulder from the TV series the X-Files. He says, "No one has jurisdiction over the truth." I take this to mean that no one has a right to say that his or her way of being is the only correct and true way; there is something greater than us. The destruction of the Temple was the result of baselesshatred that the children of Israel had for each other. The Jewish people is made up a myriad of different colours and flavors. Although Torah is paramount, we must not turn our backs on those who are different than our individual communities and families, different than us. Accepting others' rights to exist does not take away from our individual truths. Kulanu (, which means All of Us, is an organization that assists isolated Jewish communities--communities that are either joining the Jewish people for the first time or children of Israel who for some reason over the centuries were forced to convert because of either Islamic jihads or other crusades. I sponsored a book drive for the Abayudaya community in Uganda for their new Jewish High School. Currently I am working on a volunteer basis to set up their online boutique, which sells handcrafted items from communities in India, Africa, and other places.

GenJ: In your opinion, what is art?

TN: I feel that art is whatever you do that you inject your heart, soul, and total being into. Whether it's being a chef, an actress, a physician, or a homemaker. Whatever you do with all your creativity, intuition, and spirit--that is art. If you are doing it with a spirit to bring joy or healing to others, then in my opinion, it is art.

GenJ: What are you working on now? What's on the horizon?

TN: Presently I am doing sketch studies on orchids. Attempting to understand composition and which arrangements speak to me. I am also working on a watercolour series including a Birkat HaBayit motif as well as various verses for Tehillim and Torah.

GenJ: What do you think about the art/work relationship and how do you find balance?

TN: I would like to paint all the time; well, along with caring for my children of course. Presently I am not able to make a living with my art alone. Mostly because I am not able to give enough time to creativity as I would like. It's difficult to find a balance between art, child raising, and other work. Although art is intrinsic to my being, at this time my children are young and need me more, so they win!

GenJ: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

TN: Do not be afraid to pursue your dreams. The only thing you have to fear is yourself, holding you back from being all that you can be. A kind word and a smile can work miracles in someone's life; its effect is far greater than you could fathom. So....heed the cliched statement...Go out and perform random acts of kindness. I think these two statements are the best I can leave you with and would help tikkun olam.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Public Service Announcement: On Nature

Public Announcement...Just a reminder to return to our "roots"
A lovely essay by a woman who runs a small family owned natural cosmetics company.
I purchase my accoutrements from her was well:


by Evan Johnson
Founder, Organic Beauty, Inc.

Recently a customer of ours commented on how good she felt emotionally after using our products. She wondered if there were some ingredients in the products that enhanced one's well-being "over and above" mere cosmetic effects.

In our products there are trace minerals, plants and other nutrients that are life-affirming (though we cannot, and do not, claim any particular benefit since these are "merely cosmetics"). There are ingredients that have been grown and handled in such a way as to retain much of the actual life of the plants they derive from. Contact with these would enhance one in obvious (physical, etc.) ways as well as in more esoteric ways. This just stands to reason.

The old adage, "opposites attract," I gotta say, does not apply to Life. It does apply to the physical universe of electrical currents and really anything viewed on just the physical plane. But life is more than a physical thing and indeed is not a physical Thing at all. Life, if I may be so bold as to say this, is a creative thing closest to an aware thought, an intention, and a loving one at that. So, as distinct from mere physical stuff, Life attracts Life. Life enhances other Life. When we come into contact with live essences, much like when we come into contact with a happy, serene, productive, orderly, creative (etc.) person, that Life emanates and we tend to resonate with it.

Our happy customer's comments brings us to the heart of our philosophy and the roots from which our company and products have sprung.

Long ago, the people of Earth were in close contact with and surrounded by a powerful, nurturing life-support system we call Nature. They viewed themselves as parts of a vast, interwoven natural structure and they shared the earth with other creatures who deserved their places, too. They sought to learn about and use the bountiful resources of nature to better survive but not irresponsibly to waste them.

Men have moved apart from this natural web. Having disconnected from our primary life-support system, Nature, is it any wonder that so many of us are now falling ill or dying?

When you consider yourself superior to someone or something, you don't buddy-buddy with him/it, do you? You don't see the prince having the pauper to tea very often. Well, mankind got this idea that, because he could hear himself talk and dress up in fancy garments and make machines to do the hard stuff, that he was owed a special sacrifice by the rest of the natural that whatever he has wanted, he has just taken, without regard to replacing it or saving some for someone else and so on. He has considered himself superior to life, being able to study and comprehend things and alter conditions of things and wield some powers.

Had the intelligent people also had as vivid ethics as they had cunning, our world would have quite a different look... and smell. Had the scientist always limited acceptable application to what would BENEFIT Life the most, we'd be in better shape. Were people a bit more alert to intentions and not as easily swayed by ad campaigns, we'd have a better game here now.

Man fell away from nature over the centuries of machinery, of housing away from gardens and agriculture, and so on. Men can spend days and years scarcely in any contact with the actual cycles of natural life, scarcely ever walking barefoot or running very fast or picking plants to eat or tending to someone ill without the intervention of someone licensed to do so. We have gotten to the point where, without feeling any apparent compunction (guilt), some people can destroy whole tracts of land luscious with plants and wildlife.

Our way of life, which contrasts sharply with a simpler one such as of tribal peoples untaught in more sophisticated ways – our modern city way of life seems almost purposefully separated from life in a more natural setting, where one has to contend with some bare necessities. For centuries, we have been adding the glorious achievement of "Convenience" to our existences – as if effort were to be avoided at all costs. We have gained one by one machines to do virtually every task for us. We don't even need to walk anymore. We barely need to move from a chair. Is this good? Are our children healthier and more extroverted for it?

If you look it in the eye, to live in this physical natural world, one HAS to exert oneself. And this is demonstrated in our bodies, for to have a healthy body, it must be exerted. A heart, a set of lungs, for instance, will grow weaker and shrink from disuse. They atrophy. But use them, push the limits a bit or a lot, and they strengthen and literally grow in size.

A natural life is not one necessarily of ease. What creature in the world gets an easy ride through life? And is a life of leisure, a life lived more by machines than by us ourselves, is such a life going to leave us anything vivid enough to be worth tasting zestfully in our memories?

For centuries we have been learning about nature – but what have we done with our discoveries? Enhanced our way of life? Men have taken the vainglorious stance of distant, haughty masters of nature, assuming the roles of Conquerors of Nature. It is fine and dandy to conquer something that besets us with difficulties and keeps us from living healthy lives. It is fine to gain knowledge, but to use it to destroy is, well, rather naughty, don't you think? To conquer Nature so as to better withdraw from life, so as to better shun activity and exertion, so as to set life on Automatic Control, now this is a deadly attitude.

We are PART of nature. So our connection, whether we like to see it this way or not, exists. And a natural life would have at its heart a consciousness of the VALUE of life that surrounds one and an unhindered desire to contribute to that life. THAT is what learning about nature can help us achieve. Not how to use its elements and focus its energies to avoid effort, or to fry people or to snoop on them.

The element that alone can turn the situation around, every bad situation in the world around, is ethics – respect, sense of value, caring, action, responsibility. These are scarce these days. Not taught in schools. Not much taught by example. But these values lie at the core of a better life – one where we can live our true, good natures and allow the rest of life to thrive as well.

We feel that reconnection with nature and bringing back a sense of exchange with nature, is not just pleasant, it is a necessary for us to make it, to even survive.

A process of regaining our natural sensibilities could be undertaken to our benefit – a subtle program and a gradual one perhaps, but one that could have profound impact for the good. The idea is to add in elements even one at a time, to just begin to do something that connects one more to the real, natural world.

It could be bathing in the ocean. It could be singing outloud tunes that one imagines. It could be looking about as we walk at the trees and their leaves and picking up some acorns and smelling them. It could be juicing some fresh fruits. It could be watching for when the fruits are actually ripe on a tree. It could be planting a garden or sweeping the leaves rather than blowing them with that awful, noisy, smelly diesel fuel blower machine. It could be snuggling with your four-year old and singing him/her to sleep. It could be waving to a stranger who just seems nice to you. It could be drinking long draughts of fresh, cool water, not refrigerated, but room temperature and really clean. It could be smiling at someone you do not "know" and receiving the return smile graciously.

A few years ago it hit me hard that I had slid down the mechanical chute away from nature and toward what was more like a machine's existence. I decided to add more of these natural inclinations as best as I could. I began to cook from scratch. I home-taught my kids. Sang a lot again, got outside, looked at the details of nature, found so much there to learn from and benefit by.

Every bit of this program of returning to what matters and to nature, every little bit seemed to add to the composite effect. It was as if my hardened shell was dissolving and who I really am was coming forth. Doing these actions, gaining them as good habits, brings in the memories or certainties of our actual own natures. It's the bell of recognition. It feels right.

As a conscious action, to turn back to what is real and pleasurable and worthwhile in life, to find what nature is for you and what it is all about you, is a profoundly life-enhancing thing. I am sure that you know what I am speaking of every bit as well as I do, as you are seeking those natural elements that infuse your life with greater love and connection.