Thursday, December 31, 2009

Found this simply amazing artist, his currency pastels caught my eye and I could not help but share !

Bio from website :
Timothy John-Luke Smith
b.1966 Teaneck, New Jersey

Timothy studied in the classical tradition of drawing and painting from the early age of 15. He was accepted into the prestigious High School of Art & Design in New York City. There he studied with the watercolorist, Irwin Greenberg and illustrator and painter, Max Ginsberg. These both talented and well known artists instilled in him the values of diligent study from life and the study of the old masters.

"Currency #1" - Pastel on Wood - 24x30"

After graduation with a Regents Art Diploma, in June of 1985, he took art history classes at Long Island University, Southampton, NY. This year of intense study was crucial for his direction. He found the work of the French Neo-Classicists and the French Academic schools to be guiding lights for his technical study of painting and drawing.

"Procurement" - Pastel on Wood - 24x36"

With this direction, he headed back to New York City, that following September. He studied at the Art Students League under George Passantino and at the National Academy School of Fine Arts under Harvey Dinnerstein. Soon after, he received a full-tuition scholarship at the Academy. Harvey taught him pastels as a painting medium and they were immediately embraced by the Timothy. Having been in Harvey's classes for over three years, gave him the tools to be an artist and to work on his own.

"The Mexicana 1" -  Pastel and Graphite on Tinted Paper - 9x11"

His favorite artists are still the oil painters of the Neo-Classical and French Academic schools and his pastel paintings have the look and feel of an oil painting. Timothy is the founder of his own movement he calls, “Neo-Meso Americanism. This movement is affected by the recent discoveries of whole Mayan cities from the Late Classic Period, as well as , the deciphered glyphs from those same cities. These discoveries are all within the last 15 years! Just as the 18th century archaeologists discovered the ancient Roman Cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum from the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius at 79 AD, the jungles of Central America had lifted their vail from the ancient Mayan cities of Palenque, Calakmul and Copan. The 19th century artists painted the ancient Roman world as Timothy, today paints the ancient Mayan world. He is able to read and write ancient Mayan glyphs and they are in his paintings. “This gives the work some of the mystery that is The Maya.” Timothy says.

Procurement #2" - Pastel on Wood - 24x36"

"Painted Maya" - Pastel on Wood  - 16x20"

You can see more of his amazing art at

Till tomorrow .. keep creating !
Tina aka Daily Muse

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Learning How to Take a Business Expense Deduction
By Maire Loughran, Guide

Found some great tips about :
Following Charitable Contribution Rules

Learning About the Different Types of Arts and Crafts Inventory
Figuring the Amount of Your Arts and Crafts Expenses

Deciding between Charitable Contributions or Cost of Goods Sold Expense

Finding out how to Deduct Charitable Contributions

Read all about them at

Till tomorrow ... keep creating !
Tina aka Daily Muse

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ever come across those items that you just shake your head and say, wow I would have nover thought of that one ! Today's blog is about some of these interesting finds ! Enjoy and remember, I want some feedback !

Woolly Pocket’s Living Plant Bag Provides Personal Breath of Fresh Air
by Jasmin Malik Chua
Move over, pint-size pooches, there’s a new object of affection ready to roll into hearts and handbags alike: The common houseplant. With Woolly Pocket’s new “living” Vagabond purse, you can keep nature close at hand by taking a beloved botanical with you wherever you may roam. Who needs a yapping Chihuahua when designer foliage is only a portable planter away?

Handmade in the United States from reclaimed leather and felt derived from recycled plastic bottles, the Vagabond features porous sides for releasing excess moisture and aerating soil. (A waterproof lining holds in any leaks.)

DM: I would kill it, the only thing I can keep alive is a cactus!

Better Than Fur: Tara Baoth Mooney’s Living Moss Collar Will Grow on You

by Abigail Doan

If you’d rather draw stares than jeers, skip the fur stoles this winter in favor of this textured moss collar by Tara Baoth Mooney, a recent graduate of the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion. (Bonus: It’ll match your living plant purse.) It’s no surprise that Mooney reaped accolades for her botanical faux fur at this past month’s Fashioning the Future Awards. This spirited young designer looked to her Irish roots—quite literally—for ways people can fashionably interface with the natural realm, as well as consider the impact their activities have on the environment.

Fashioning the Future is an international student competition hosted each year by industry leaders to identify the most promising and innovative designers of the next generation. For 2009, the event revolved around the theme of water, specifically the fashion industry’s reliance on this precious resource.

Mooney’s moss collar was particularly apropos given the plant’s dependence on wet climates and its sensitivity to changes in the atmosphere. “I wanted to invite the idea of public engagement through symbiotic biomimicry via a photosynthetic garment or accessory,” she tells Ecouterre.

DM: again...hmmmmmmm love the moss on the house, not sure about the shoulders !

possibiliTrees: Modern, Eco-Friendly Alternative Christmas Trees

by Beth Shea

Green families facing the real tree vs. artificial tree conundrum may expand their holiday decor possibilities with an eco-friendly possibiliTree. Architect Richard Babcock designed this natural, mess and waste free alternative to real Christmas trees when he “tired of finding, hauling, displaying, watering and disposing of the bulky, needle-dropping, space-guzzling evergreen every Christmas…” We think the modern possibiliTree is the perfect solution for green families who want a tree, but may not be home to care for it throughout the entire season — or for families with young kids who need to childproof their holiday decor scheme.

Each possibiliTree is handmade in Minnesota from a variety of natural wood species including: wild cherry, walnut, birch and reclaimed deadwood, when available. More than a Christmas tree, possibiliTrees may be enjoyed and displayed year round as pieces of art when unadorned, and creatively decorated for many festive occasions such as birthdays, Thanksgiving, etc. Each possibiliTree features slatted branches that fan out from a center rod which inserts into a matching wood base, and may be simply dismantled and stored after use — if not on exhibit year round.

DM: Cute in a bare kind of way.

Human Teeth Jewelry: Creepy or Cool?

by Jasmin Malik Chua

For Australian silversmith Polly van der Glas, diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend; she prefers to raid the Tooth Fairy’s war chest for dendrites in the rough, which she sterilizes and then hand-sets in sterling silver. From solid canine-encrusted signet rings to delicate molar-embellished earrings, these toothy trinkets are a quirky take on recycled jewelry—and our idea of luxury gems. So what do you think? Champing at the bit for your own fanged finery or avoiding like the plaque…um…plague?

DM: I am voting creeeeepy on this one ! Just my personal thought !

Upcycled Jewelry Made From Color-Pencil Stubs For Your Inner Child

by Jasmin Malik Chua

Jewelry designer Maria Cristina Bellucci knows that sometimes you need to break some rules and color outside the lines. A theater costumer designer in a former life, Bellucci now dedicates herself to the craft of contemporary jewelry, including a remarkable collection of accessories derived from sliced-and-diced color pencils.

By turning erstwhile tools into a brand new canvas, Bellucci takes the familiar and deconstructs it into something barely recognizable. Whether framed in silver or composed entirely of pencil wood, her rings, brooches, and earrings are a sophisticated take on a childhood staple—and abundant playroom resource. Need the perfect frock to match? The coloring dress makes dressing up child’s play.

DM: I really like these, may have to try to make something like this !

Hope you enjoyed today's post, until tomorrow ... keep creating !
Tina aka DM

Monday, December 28, 2009

Today's interview is a real family affair ! Husband and wife team, Ralph & Karen, are blessed to have their children Leah and Byron all involved in the family business.

Karen took time out of their busy schedule to answer our questions, so lets get started !

DM: What is your artistic medium?
KH: My family makes colorful handmade jewelry and jewelry supplies.

DM: Where can your art be seen?

KH: Well....a lot of places! We have shops both on Etsy called UnkamenGifts and ArtFire called UnkamenGifts. We primarily sell colorful chainmaille and modern jewelry.

Our daughter Leah's shop showcases her very colorful chainmaille, mixed media and fun creations on Etsy called Favmoongirl

We even have a supply shop on Etsy called UnkamenSupplies that provides an excellent supply of chainmaille and jewelry supplies.

We also have 2 shops that carry our creations in Savoir Flair in Drummer, NH and Modern Mouse in Alameda, CA

We also post all sorts of interesting photos that range from sneak peaks of new creations to bad pictures~just for fun, to pics of family life and travel in the USA in our Motorhome ( we have 46 states down!) on: Flickr.

You can also follow us on FaceBook and Twitter.

DM: When and how did everyone in your family first become interested in your art ?

KH: Leah, now 16, first began making jewelry in 2005 after a fellow RV'ing friend showed her a few of the basics. She took right to it and loves making jewelry for herself and her friends. Shortly after she started selling it locally. She is pretty busy with her studies but still loves to keep her shop, stocked with fun and colorful creations!

About the same time, Byron, now age 12, started collecting interesting rocks and polishing them with his dad's help. He found that he enjoyed selling them as gratitude rocks, because the root of true happiness is being grateful for everything that you have. He has recently started making pin back buttons, magnets and keychains.

About 4 years ago, Ralph made a necklace for me and he got such a charge out of seeing me wear it that he decided to learn more and make more! He specializes in chainmaille and Leah is starting to work with it too!

DM: Tell us a bit about yourself.

KH: I enjoy it all! In previous lives I was a RN, Registered Yoga Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer. I also do most of the photography, “test drives” the jewelry and helps with ideas for the marvelous family creations and handles most of the Internet "stuff".

Ralph is a semi-retied engineer who occasionally enjoys consulting and troubleshooting aerosol manufacturers.

Our family call both Livingston, Texas and Rolla, Missouri home. One of our homes is solar on 11 acres over looking a river valley. We also enjoy traveling throughout the United States in our motor home, we have been through 46 states, so far!

The kids have always been home schooled and love their home life and travels.

We travel along with 2 goldfish ( Jake and Goldie Hawn), 2 dogs ( Ivy, a from birth blind and deaf Doxie and Hookah, a goofy Basset) and 1 nutty cat (Triangle).

We are proud members of Schooling At Home Etsyians, Etsy Texas Crafters, Etsy's Chainmaillers' Team and Full Time Etsy Crafters' Team.

Last summer we went full time and really love being able to devote our time and energies to this!

DM: Once you decided to pursue your art, how did you start off, trial and error, books, classes, videos, formal schooling?

KH: Some of this is answered above...but we have bought a lot of books, taken some formal classes, viewed videos...uh..ok...all of the above!

DM: Out of what you tried, was there any particular thing that you would recommend to someone just starting out?
KH: Have patience! It is a journey to be enjoyed, not a goal to check off! There is a lot to learn, which I think is best learned through experience. Support from other artisans, friends and family also makes a huge difference.

DM: What do you enjoy most about working with your medium?
KH: There is a lot of camaraderie amongst chainmaillers as well as other artists who work from home.

DM: What do you find the most frustrating?
KH: Maintaining sources of high quality raw materials and supplies.

DM: Where do you find your inspirations for what you create?
KH: We do a lot of brainstorming as a family. One of us will say....gee we need to make something in this color and another will have a suggestion and another a specific way to make that work. We make what WE like, but we do a lot of custom work and many of our best ideas come from our customers.

DM: Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations.
KH: We made a chainmaille memento (a Celtic star) especially for a SIDS support group. The theme of this particular SIDS workshop was "woven" and the workshop director found us on Etsy though one of our tags, as in "woven jump rings". We made each memento similar with large silver rings and then each one unique with small colored rings scattered throughout. The silver rings represented the parents, and the color rings the lost child. The woven pattern represented the child's effect on the parents lives. We were all very touched by this experience and reminded to be grateful every day for all that we have, and even the losses, because they all become part of your life and who you are.

DM: Have you ever experienced artist block and how did you overcome it?
KH: Sometimes Ralph or Leah will be found staring at a pile of beads, jump rings or a beautiful focal piece, and are just lost as to what direction to go in. It doesn't last long as someone always has a suggestion...usually me....and will keep making suggestions until I see a smile on their face and then they tell me to go away so they can create!

DM: What is the biggest mistake you have ever made as an artist? What did you learn from it?
KH: Well, a couple of times we have made something or promised to make something that we THOUGHT was within our capabilities and they just weren't. HOWEVER, most of the time we find that the challenge stimulates us to learn and expand our boundaries so we will continue to make this mistake occasionally.

DM: Would you please tell about your studio set-up?
KH: Since we travel, we try to keep very compact! My husband has a formal metal working shop at our home in Rolla, MO complete with BIG lathes and such that stay put. We also have a room set aside in the house for making jumprings and creations. When we travel we have tow a cargo trailer that serves as a crafting space.

DM: When is your favorite time to create?
KH: I don't think that we have a favorite long as it's before midnight!

DM: What advise would you give someone starting out in this medium?
KH: Don't be afraid to make a lot of mistakes, do what you love and the rest will come more easily.

DM: Are there any artist that inspire you or that you admire?
KH: Scott David Plumlee is a fab chainmailler who has written several excellent books. I have a friend that I met on Etsy, Ms Kay makes gorgeous jewelry and has helped us and inspired us.

We want to thank Karen and her family for taking the time to show us how crafting and traveling can work as one, it is nice to see the whole family involved !

Till tomorrow, keep creating !
Tina aka Daily Muse

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ginny Henley's name came up on one of my Yahoo Group chats and I said... yup this one is going on the blog ! She works with metal, resin, polymer clay and beads, some really amazing work !

Oh her flickr page, she has these amazingly cute fish ornaments, now that is something I would have never thought of making ! I may have to give it a try, mine would have to be a Koi, love those cute little guys !

 She also does some great jewelry :

 You can see more of her work at her website.

Till tomorrow ... keep creating !
Tina aka Daily Muse

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I always enjoy learning about different cultures and as we are at the start of Kwanzaa I thought I would showcase artist that have made the lighting of the Kinara an art in itself. I loved Renee's take on Kwanzaa and wanted to share with you all.

Lighting the Kinara for Kwanzaa - written by Renee of Cutie Booty Cakes

The first time I was introduced to Kwanzaa I was in high school and watched an African dance troupe perform and symbolically light the seven candles on the kinara – 3 red for the struggle, 3 green for hope and the future, and the black candle in the middle for unity. As I became older I heard more and more about Kwanzaa and now the word has become a normal part of everyone’s vernacular during the December holiday season. But what is Kwanzaa? Kwanzaa is a Kiswahili word that means first fruits. It is a celebration of African heritage started by Ron Karenga during the black nationalist movement in the sixties.

Starting on December 26 – January 1st, a candle is lit on a kinara to symbolize the principal of the day. The seven principals are:

Umoja (Unity) To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

In my family we light a candle daily and recite what the principle of the day means to each of us. My son is still young but he enjoys watching the candle lights. On the final day we celebrate the principal of faith and have a family get together. For more information about Kwanzaa you can watch the award winning documentary The Black Candle.

I went out to the web to find more pictures of Kinara's for Kwanzaa

And my favorite Holiday Kwanzaa card Umoja

Happy Kwanzaa !

Till tomorrow .. keep creating !
Tina aka Daily Muse

Friday, December 25, 2009

May this Christmas be filled with happiness in all that you do and may this joy continue the whole year through ! From my family to you and your family we wish everyone a very
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

A little gift, I found this great tutorial on how to make this and other wonderful cards !

Wishing you all the peace and love your heart can hold for 2010 !
Tina and Kelly aka Mr. and Mrs Muse

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas Eve Day ! Our family tradition allows each person to open one gift the night before Christmas, then we put our milk and cookies out for Santa and send the kids to bed AND then the real work began....I fondly remember many a night trying to beat the clock with the "some assembly required" gifts !

My 2 girls are now 22 and 19, so not many more of those late nights but the memories will always be there !

Here is my family wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas Eve ... for today's blog I thought we would enjoy a look at some awesome Christmas ornaments !

Winter Joy Ornament

Green Quilted Ornament

Christmas Tile Necklace (not an ornament but I thought too pretty to not share!)

Hand Painted Ornaments

Southwest Bulb

Recycled Tin Dress Holiday Ornament

Curlique Flowers - Hand Cut Hanging Kirigami Mandala

"Let it Snow!"

Handblown amber glass ornament

Ballet Students

Till tomorrow .... keep creating and peace on earth !
Tina aka Daily Muse