Monday, August 31, 2009

A vegan meal at Ralph's at the Park... I suppose stranger things have happened?

As you may know, my fiance and I spent the week of August 17 in New Orleans. As you also may know, New Orleans is not known for its plethora of vegetarian restaurants. While it does have an up and coming veg community, it has only one veg restaurant, and that one happened to be on vacation the week we were in town! What is a vacationing vegan couple to do?

Well, as we all know vegans can eat well anywhere with just a smidge of determination. It's only the odd steakhouse that truly has nothing on the menu for a vegan, and even when dragged to such an establishment by family members or the like we can still usually get some decent french fries. Luckily, New Orleans actually does have many restaurants with great vegan options - Middle Eastern places like Mona's, Medditeranean cafes that serve a variety of roasted vegetable sandwiches and pastas, Japanese restaurants with the standard vegetable sushis and tempuras, and Thai sit-downs that are happy to leave the egg out of the noodle plates and are clear about which dishes contain fish sauce. There's even a Vietnamese place on the Westbank called Pho Tau Bay that has a vegetarian section on the menu - and it's truly awesome.

But the most remarkable meal we had during our week in NOLA came from a quite unexpected source. We've been questioning Ralph's on the Park, a fairly upscale establishment across the street from the main entrance to City Park (hence the name), for a couple of months now regarding the possibility of getting them to serve our wedding party a veg brunch after the ceremony. The ceremony is, of course, happening in City Park just steps from Ralph's, so it would be wildly convenient. Unfortunately they specialize in seafood and things like roast pork, so we feared that asking them to do a vegan meal for fourteen people might be a bit of a stretch.

Well, Friday morning we had a semi-impromptu meeting to see the room they could give us and to maybe discuss potential menus. But since the woman we've been speaking with wasn't in town (everyone leaves NO in August), there weren't any potential menus. The room was lovely though, and the girl helping us was sweet. So we asked if, maybe, could the chef do something for us for lunch right then and there?

Well, our helper was slightly taken aback. But she spoke with the kitchen staff, who took it as a challenge no doubt. And as any vegan knows, it's just not that hard to create a vegan meal when you've already got a fully staffed and stocked kitchen. It took them a minute, but the meal we were served was incredible.

Appetizer: Watermelon and mango tartar, lightly seasoned with herbs and garlic. It was amazing! The fruit was still light and crisp, and their flavors were only enhanced by the preparation.

Main course: Creole tomato in a tomato basil chutney, lemon infused cous cous in a lightly grilled vadalia onion ring, and - la piece de resistance - lightly breaded and fried domestic and wild mushrooms including shitakes, oysters, and chantarelles. For a place that doesn't have even a singe vegetarian appetizer on its menu, this was a fairly astounding plate to receive.

The chef came out to present the meal when it was ready, and came out again to see how we liked it. Naturally we showered him with appreciation. After all, when someone goes out of his way to create such a deluxe vegan meal, he should be praised! Mayhaps they'll figure out that it's just not so hard - that you don't have to mess around with any tofu or mock meats to create a great vegan meal and get some veg options on your menu.

Friday was our last day in the city, and this experience was such a great way to leave off. The moral of the story? Ask for what you want! You might just get it, and someone might learn something valuable in the process.

Until next Monday,

Melissa Bastian

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Interview-Kenny Co OP

Todays interview is with Rachel and Ray of Kenny Co Op

How did you choose the name of your shop and how long have you been a member of

Kenny Co Op is Rachel and Ray. Our Name is derived from two things. Kenny was Ray's fathers name. We use his name as inspiration, because he was so inspiring to us. We wanted to have a name that could grow with the products that we make. So a Co-Op made sense, we could put different thoughts and ideas under the umbrella of a co-Op. Thats how Kenny Co Op was born. We became members of Etsy in May when we opened our shop. It has been incredible so far and we have been so excited and surprised with the great response our shop has received in such a short time.

What kinds of items do you sell in your shop and what inspired you to start
creating them?

We sell Vegan Candles made with essential oils and Vegan Lip Sauce. We were inspired to make candles that contained no animal products or petroleum products. we wanted a natural, Eco-friendly, non-toxic candle with the benefits of soy and essential oils. Our lip balms are Rachel's baby. Finding a lip balm that doesn't contain animal products, especially bee's wax was very difficult. So Rachel slaved away at finding the perfect balance of soft and luscious for her lip balms. Trust me she is addicted to lip balm. She knows what she is talking about. We are basically making stuff we like to use ourselves and sharing it with others.

Do you donate to any charities or do any volunteer work?

We are big supporters of Humane Society of the United States.
We are also in the August Vegan Craft Sample Bag and all profits are going to Peaceful Prairie Animal Sanctuary, just in case you haven't heard enough about this yet. Go to and buy your bag now.

What are some of your favorite things about etsy?

Meeting people with like minded ideas and convictions. Plus there is a ton of cool stuff out there. It is really amazing what goes on inside people's minds and how they are able to bring it to fruition.

Do you sell your items outside of etsy, either online or in retail shops?

You can now find our stuff on Artfire at

We also sell our products at a store for local artists and crafters called Made in Akron. If anyone is in the Akron area they are having a meet the artists even Saturday August 29 and we will be there and debuting our Halloween Vegan Lip Sauce.

Have you been featured anywhere?

The Front page of etsy several times and on several blogs

Do you have any future plans for your shop?

Big plans! Be on the lookout for Bath Bombs, Bath Salts, and Vegan Gift Baskets. Check out our Limited Edition Halloween Vegan Lip Sauce coming soon.

Do you have any animal companions?

Yes, our house is run by three kitties. Princess Cali is the ring leader of the bunch. Dax is the lover who always wants to cuddle. Bernice is the newbie around these parts and plays fetch better than any dog around.

How long have you been vegan and what made you go vegan?

We went vegan less than a year ago pretty much overnight. Once you see where food really comes from and how those animals are treated it changes you. People know that animals are slaughtered for food and clothing but until you actually see it you don't really understand why it is so wrong. I am glad that there are so many undercover investigation videos out there that really do reach people and make them stop denying the cruelty involved in eating and wearing animals.

What are your favorite foods?

We ordered Pitseel's seitan recipe and wow does that stuff disappear fast around here. We love vegan cupcakes, mushrooms (Rachel's absolute favorite food), Tofutti frozen dessert, broccoli, broccoli and more broccoli

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Love a Good Sale

I love finding a good deal and lots of cute things are on sale now from Vegan Etsy team members including....

Buster Kitty from sass and peril:

Cupcake earrings by eat your greens:

Cyanide Lemonade bracelet by Goth Cupcake:

the owls are not what they seem purse by Dang Argyle:

-Kala (Vegancraftastic)

Today is the greatest, day I've ever know! Well maybe the second or third greatest. I got a huge package of Vegan snacks from Sweet Fritsy!

So, we all know by now how much I adore Sweet Fritsy so when they contacted me and asked to do another trade, I was enamored! What did I choose? I chose the vegan donuts and the vegan peanut butter carmel cups! Soon after I placed my order and started to count down the days until delivery I saw these and I was inspired to ramble about them on my facebook page, in a post I made about my birthday wishlist.

Today was the big day, I checked the tracking number bright and early this morning and awaited the arrival of our yummies!

When I opened the box, everything was so nicely packaged and I noticed one of the boxes said "Vegan Smores Brownies" on it along with a sticker that said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY".

Oh joy, you have no idea how excited I was and how quickly I tore into that box. I didnt even think about the donuts and carmels until after I sank my teeth into a vegan smores brownie. Was the brownie all it was chocked up to be? Did it make my 27 birthday totally awesome? All that and more, the brownies are like camping with friends, minus the bugs....they are like seeing an old friend you havnt seen in forever. They are amazing! So much so that I was talking to a good friend this morning and he had to go buy his own, hah.

Along with my birthday wish coming true and getting those delicious brownies, sweet fritsy sent a nice birthday card and some yummy carmel corn (that came in a super cute box!). Totally sweet and made an otherwise crummy birthday, crumby! Sometimes my cheesiness even makes me wanna gag, so dont be shy about making fun of it.

Now you know I got right into the donuts after the smores brownies settled. So what do I think? Im not a huge donut fan, (Jessi insisted on getting them because they are her favorite sweet in the universe) but these donuts were great. They werent all greasey and the chocolate frosting was perfect, in fact Im counting down the minutes until Jessi gets out of work so I can eat my last donut! Never thought I would think that about a donut, but hey I've been known to change my mind about different foods (example: onions..used to hate them) I havnt tried my chocolate carmel peanut butter cups yet, I am saving them for a chocolate emergency. Which, lets face it, wont be far off.

Thanks so much Sweet Fritsy for such a great trade and making my birthday wish come true! Now lets just see if any of these goodies make it until my actual birthday!

Vegan tasted, vegan approved! HAH

Posted by heather of:

Holistically Heather Aunt Flos Pads and It's All In The Bag

Monday, August 24, 2009

Breakfast? Sure! Lunch? Sure! Dinner? Um...

I know, I promised you a full analysis of the one and only vegetarian restaurant in New Orleans, Cafe Bamboo. Alas, as my amazing timing would have it they were closed for the week I was there - open only through a late night window out back serving a quite limited menu. So all I can actually tell you is that their mock chicken rocks the house.

So instead, we discuss meal planning! Weee! Ready set go.

* * *

Since I was maybe twenty, I've been trying to figure out how to eat meals. This perhaps sounds stupid, but I'm sure I'm not the only person to have this problem. It's the paradox of choice: with so many food options before us, it actually becomes more difficult to make good decisions about eating. When combined with the daily trials of modern life, this can lead to some ridiculous eating habits, and three squares goes right out the window for many of us. The wisdom of the three-meal-a-day eating structure is of course debatable, as many to most of us will benefit from eating smaller meals more frequently. But for a person like me who became totally lost in the food forest, it's a good place to begin when trying to find some gustatory structure.


A while back I worked out breakfast. It's not a complicated solution either: it's cereal. Now, granted, I'm picky. I don't drink soy milk because I don't want to have a constant stream of soy in my diet. There are may other types of "milks", like rice and oat and hemp and mixed grain and every kind of nut you can think of, but they frequently have high sugar content - often 15 grams per cup or more. (Soy milk of course also has this issue.) It took me a long time to discover the miracle that is unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk, now my breakfast cornerstone.

Then of course there's the matter of the cereal itself. Talk about added sugars! Naturally I want something whole grain, multi-grain, and prefer a cereal that features little if any wheat. Lately I've been eating Barbara's Shredded Spoonfulls, which has an acceptable sugar content and is composed largely of oats as well as corn, rice, and a few other staples. I try to switch it up so that I get a variety of nutrients. Quantity of course matters - I do half a cup of cereal and half a cup of milk. In the winter I sometimes like cooked things like the Bob's Red Mill cereals; I find the warm meal really sustaining when it's freaking fifteen degrees outside.

Alright, I'm fed, I can leave the house.


If I tried to wait until 1 pm, my work-designated lunch hour, to eat again, I'd pass out. So I have my 11 am snack: Whole Soy & Co. vanilla yogurt. The fruit flavors have way too much sugar, and the plain is too blah. I like this company, or at least I like it way better than I like Silk, who at this point I downright hate. I tried eating other items here, like granola bars or fruit, and for whatever reason they just didn't do the trick. The yogurt seems to have just the right amounts of sheer volume, indulgence, and I dunno, maybe plain old fat and sugar to get me through till lunch.


Recently I finally, finally got lunch together. This has taken years! The inspiration came from a silly "health food" take-out place called The Pump. From them I was purchasing overpriced meals which consisted largely of a bed of rice smothered in some type of bean, and topped with hunks of baked tofu, or variations on that theme. Well it didn't take long for me to realize that I do not have to spend ten bucks a pop for this type of dish, and that it's easily recreated at home.

So lunch becomes a meal that is based usually in brown rice, rarely in pasta, or occasionally in steamed vegetables - or sometimes a combination of steamed vegetables and one of the first two starches. Then is added veg chili or lentils or black beans or something of the like. And finally there's usually a protein (not that there isn't plenty of protein in the beans, but I mean something more dense) like smoked tofu, or seitan maybe, added on top. Vegetables are often mixed in, really, in the form of spinach or steamed broccoli or diced tomatoes - they add lots of flavor and texture and other goodness. For flavor I use tomato sauce or peanut sauce - something in the sauce genre really. Sometimes if there's enough fresh tomato in the mix and it's good enough tomato, that alone provides plenty of flavor. Lemon is also a good booster, and pepper.

The only thing to really watch out for here is salt content, and to make sure that I'm not eating the same items every single day. Ideally I will begin to experiment with other grains here too, like barley and maybe wheat berries. Love those. Ooh, and quinoa. I've have some fledgling success with that one. I believe that one of the keys to good nutrition is variety, so I don't want to eat brown rice five days a week.

Home from work - more snacky!

Here's where I start getting into trouble. I get home from a long and grueling day. I've just used public transportation with a few hundred thousand other tired grumpy New Yorkers. I'm exhausted. I'm annoyed. Various parts of me hurt. And I start looking for sugar. If it's here, I'm going to eat it - as much of it as I can get. Newman's O's? Half a package without blinking. Pint of Tofutti? A pint becomes a serving. This is bad news.

You're thinking, there's an easy solution to this! Don't keep sugar in the house - done! Oh, but you don't know me too good. See, there's a grocery three blocks away. And when the craving is bad enough and there's nothing in the house, I'll just go get the cookies. It's kind of like when a smoker wants a cigarette. Will he sit there not smoking, or will he find the nearest Quickie-Mart? Don't get me wrong - I don't make a habit of keeping junk food around the house. But we get things sometimes. And because of this tendency of mine, we may have to stop entirely.

One good solution I have found to this is frozen fruit bars. They have enough sugar in them to satisfy the craving, but not so much that I'm really wrecking myself. I get the kinds that really are made with fruit juice and don't have high fructose corn syrup in them. Sure they have sucrose, but it's still a far cry from eating a whole box of Tofutti Cuties. (Oh yes I would. I have. There are witnesses.)

What also helps - and this is going to sound silly, but I'm serious - is drinking a large quantity of good water. It's not a cure, but it makes me feel nourished. And I need to drink more water anyway.

Dinner...? Like, every day?

Once I'm at home and settled, I need to think about dinner pretty quickly. On a good day I get home at 6, and often I don't get home until 7 or 8 or even later. My man and I have a bad, bad habit of procrastinating, and we end up not eating until 9:30 or 10 at night. This is ridiculous for so many reasons. Eating an hour or two before bed is never a good idea. Waiting for eight hours after lunch to eat again is also bad. And so on. The other half of the problem is that by that point we're often just ordering Thai delivery. While tasty, it's pretty much entirely starch, salt, and fat - and way more than enough of each. It's a stupid pattern of behavior that we've got to stop.

But in order to stop behaving this way, we have to have some system to replace it with. Jonathan and I comprise a very modern American household, with all of the problems that presents. By the time we get home at night, we're tired. He carries stress particularly badly, and I have a host of physical problems. Often, neither of us feels up to spending an hour or even a half hour in the kitchen preparing a meal. We can never decide what to eat. Having very different metabolisms and palettes, he tends to want to make dishes with lots of salt and fat while I insist that foods are whole and fresh and healthy. All of this is what leads to the procrastination in the first place, and it makes dinner seem like a very hard thing to do.

But I believe, perhaps, we've stuck upon a solution. It's going to sound absurd. And yes, it is going to take some self discipline, and us doing some work in the kitchen when we might not want to. But it might work. And it's... salads! Not just green salads, because often I can't eat raw greens. But all kinds of salads. Black bean and corn salads. Pasta salads. Potato salads. Tofu salads. Chickpea salads. Whatever kind of salad you can think of, on a cracker or not.

We will, of course, also eat all-vegetable salads, including green salads. Especially when our landlady has brought us bags of arugula and radicchio and fresh tomatoes from the backyard. There's also tomato and cucumber salad, a personal favorite. And I'm sure we can think of others. Vegetable salads that incorporatef ruits and nuts are wonderful...

I know. It sounds a little ridiculous. But I think it'll work maybe. While it's still warm out at least. And when it starts to get cool, we're going to get a slow cooker. Then we can have stews and such, with I believe just a bit of prep time in the morning or the evening before.

* * *

So that's the plan. And I hope to enact it just as soon as I can eat solid foods on a regular basis again - right now my IBS is rockin' and my daily food intake is more like a little bit of miso soup and maybe a few crackers. *Sigh.*

Ah, eating. So basic, so complicated.

Until next Monday,

Melissa Bastian.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Interview-Strange and Violent

Todays interview is with Erika of Strange and Violent.

How did you choose the name of your shop and how long have you been a member of Etsy?

I have been a member of Etsy since January 2009. The name for my shop, Strange and Violent, actually comes from an interview with Jeff Goldblum right around the release of Jurassic Park. A reporter asked him what he thought the world would be like if dinosaurs actually did come back, and he paused thoughtfully before answering "strange... and violent." My boyfriend told me this story and I thought it was pretty funny, and I kind of liked the combination of those two powerful words.

What kinds of items do you sell in your shop and what inspired you to start
creating them?

My top-selling items are my reusable cotton flannel menstrual pads. I was first inspired to start making them years and years ago when I had trouble justifying the price of reusable pads in the health food store. Friends became curious and started asking questions, and were so happy with the pads I made for them that I decided to try my hand at selling them!

In general, I also like to create functional designs with sustainability in mind. I try to create objects from recycled or salvaged materials, or objects from new materials that can be reused over and over again in order to minimize personal waste. A lot of my goods are created out of curiosity and experimentation- sometimes I don't really know what I'm doing, I just let the process take over.

Do you donate to any charities or do any volunteer work?

I'm happy to say I volunteered at (and baked for) the San Francisco Vegan Bakesale, which raised $3,000 for two different animal charities a few months ago!

What are some of your favorite things about etsy?

I love that Etsy is an accessible platform for artists of all skill levels, backgrounds, and locations to showcase their wares and introduce themselves to a wide audience.

Do you sell your items outside of etsy, either online or in retail shops?

At the moment, my pads are only available online or at the Biofuel Oasis filling station in Berkeley, CA. I also make one-of-a-kind knit hats for Herbivore Clothing Company in Portland, OR out of recycled damaged T-shirts; I have a new batch arriving there soon! I am also in talks to sew one-of-a-kind aprons to be sold on the Post Punk Kitchen website. Keep your eyes peeled!

Have you been featured anywhere?

Only in other awesome Vegan Etsy Team members' treasuries!

Do you have any future plans for your shop?

More pads in more cute patterns, and a lot more glassware! I put out a request among my friends to collect empty kombucha bottles for me to clean, etch, and re-purpose. I didn't count on my friends being such kombucha freaks- I have at least three dozen waiting to be etched now! Ideas for slogans are welcome, I have plenty of canvasses!

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?

I quite like sewing and being crafty in general- at the moment I'm fixing a half-finished vintage dress I bought for myself from a thrift store in Stockholm. I also love reading and film, and of course eating lots of delicious vegan food!

Do you have any animal companions?

Yes! I have had Molly, an 8 year-old boxer/pug (bug) mix for just over a year now. She is adorable, hilarious, sassy, and loving, and has the world's most awesome lopsided underbite to boot!

Do you have any websites besides your shop that you would like to tell us

I do a weekly (well, usually) podcast named The Cosmopolitan Hour with my awesome ladybro Jordan Pattern. We talk about a range of stuff from the absolutely absurd to the very serious through a feminist vegan lens. I'm making it sound far more distinguished than it is- it's basically us making silly noises for an hour.

How long have you been vegan and what made you go vegan?

I've been vegan for nine and a half years now, and I'm planning a big party for my ten year veganiversary! I went vegan after reading Carol Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat. I was lucky to have a supportive network of vegan friends, and at the time I was living in Philadelphia, which has a lot of vegan options and vegan culture.

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?

I have a million favorite vegan things, and I'm terrified I will forget one. My favorite vegan websites are the Post Punk Kitchen, Suicide Food, The Urban Housewife, Too Vegan To Function, and Vegansaurus. Favorite store is Herbivore of course!

What are your favorite foods?

Seriously, how long do you have, cause I could go on forever! I love Indian food, especially South Indian food. I also like Japanese- Cha-Ya in Berkeley and San Francisco are amazing. I also love some good old-fashioned junk food, which is why deep-fried battered seitan and french fries or hellfish tacos at Weird Fish in SF are awesome. Don't forget the beer!

Is there anything else you would like to add or share?

Thanks for this opportunity, and Team Vegan Etsy rules!

A BIG smile from a little dog.

Here is Maggie. She's getting on a bit now, as her grey hair shows. She's a bundle of fluff on legs. She was brought home from an animal shelter. She had been treated very cruelly and didn't know what it was like to go for walks, or sit on a sofa, or run around. Those days are a long time ago now. Just one look at her happy smiling face tells me how secure she feels, and how much she enjoys her life now. My precious little Maggie is so cute. She likes to sit on my lap, facing outwards, so she can see the room and all that's going on. She can be a cheeky little madam when we're out, and thinks nothing of going up to big dogs and barking (well yapping really), then running to hide behind me. She makes us laugh.
A couple of times a year, I get her coat cut, as it's very unruly. She then looks like a little teddy bear, and it seems to change her personality, she behaves like a puppy. Maybe she's glad to get all the weight off her. I'll post a picture when she's next 'clipped'. The 'salon' we go to, is lovely. The people who work there are very friendly, and love dogs. And the dogs love going there. They seem to know when they are going there, as they jump out of the car and run up to it, tails wagging. Not at all like when we they go to the vets.
Ah, Happy Days :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Welcome new members!

We have some new members this week! Please welcome:


Aunt Flos Pads my brand spankin new etsy handmade shop!

My reusable menstrual items were taking over Holistically Heather, and we are in the process of selling my pads at a few co-op groceries in the area. So we figured, no better time than now to start a seperate website for our reusables!

Never tried reusables? Here are a few things people have said about my pads:

So soft and comfortable

I forgot I had a the hemp fleece pad on, it is like sitting on a pillow

Thank you so much for the exceptional service! The pads are perfect & very well made. I couldn't be happier! Shipping was fast, I got all of the information I needed for using & cleaning them and all of my questions were quickly answered. Thank you so much!!!

Just a few responses to give you an idea!

What do I offer in my new shop? Where can you find it?
In my new shop you will find a variety of reusable menstrual items: pantyliners, all in one pads, envelope style pads (where you can adjust the thickness based upon flow, and pull apart all sections to wash individually), cramp pillows you can heat up or keep in the freezer, and coming next week organic cramp massage oil!!

Aunt Flos Pads

Mention Vegan Etsy Team in notes to seller, wait for a revised invoice and receive 10% off your entire order!!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vegans in New Orleans?! Why yes, it's true!

Today I'm back in New Orleans, for the first time since early January - far too long, in other words. As you faithful readers may recall, in May New Orleans hosted its First Annual Veggie Fest. I was livid at not being able to attend, but me and several other Vegan Etsy team members were at least able to send some contributions down and show some love.

Well, I've been negligent in letting you all know how it went! But your wait is over. Here's a great little video put together by the event's organizers. As you'll see there was a fabulous turnout, and despite a good old fashioned New Orleans Springtime Rainstorm, enthusiasm for the veg way of life was rampant throughout the day. In New Orleans! Land of roast beef po boys and fried oysters! Behold:

Amazing, right? So... we're all going to make it to the Second Annual, right?

And, will I be giving you a full report of the vegan miracles happening at Bamboo Cafe any day now? Oh, you'd better believe it. (I just have to eat there four or five times first.)

Until next Monday,

Melissa Bastian

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Member Interview-Melt Briana

Todays interview is with Brianna of MeltBrianna

How did you choose the name of your shop and how long have you been a member of

The name of my shop was inspired by an amazing band named Melt Banana. I had my Flickr account under the name of Melt Brianna, and I always liked the sound of it; plus the reference always made me smile. :) I've been on Etsy for a couple of years. I had another shop before this one, but I started new with Melt Brianna. It has been a complete pleasure since!

What kinds of items do you sell in your shop and what inspired you to start
creating them?

I mostly sell reconstructed and one of a kind clothing and accessories from all recycled materials. Sometimes I'll have some original illustrations and prints, and I also sell a bit of screen printed shirts and vintage finds. All in all it's a bit of an eclectic mix, but I like it because it keeps the store unexpected and interesting for me (and hopefully visitors!)

I've been making things with my hands for as long as I can remember. There has always been a stubborn and curious side to me that motivated me to learn how to do things myself. Also, being very frugal helped because I'd turn to d.i.y. to save a buck or two. Honestly though, so many things constantly inspired me and still do inspire me to create the things I do. From promoting sustainability to having a slight thrift store obsession, creating things has always been an outlet that made me equally as happy as riding my bike- and that's REALLY happy! Anytime that I can escape into my mind and come back with a fun creation as a souvenir is my favorite time!

Being able to rely on my own skills and those of community members is such an inspiration in itself. The day where we all make our own things and grow our own food is the best day one can ask for. Being able to be self sustainable and loving in one's community is the ultimate motivation and inspiration to me.

Do you donate to any charities or do any volunteer work?

I work in my community to promote more radical ideas and lifestyles. Every Sunday I volunteer with Food Not Bombs, and we make delicious vegan meals for anyone that is hungry. The best part is, for anyone who is not familiar with FNB, all the food we get is the groceries that would otherwise be thrown away. FNB to the rescue! I totally encourage anyone to look for a Food Not Bombs chapter in their area and get involved in some way.

What are some of your favorite things about etsy?

Oh man, where to begin. I think my favorite thing about Etsy is the opportunity to find other artists and connect with them. There are so many talented hands on Etsy, and everyday that I visit the site I am blown away by all the creativity. I've made some really good friends off of this site, and it has opened up many doors in terms of things going on in my community that I didn't know where there before. I also really love the clean and simple design of the site; it's so appealing to the eye.. almost calming. I remember the first time I came upon Etsy, I was thinking, "No way! This is too good to be true! Handmade all the time? YES!" It's so cool to just be a part of it on the Etsy site. :)

Do you sell your items outside of etsy, either online or in retail shops?

Aside from Etsy, I've sold my items at different festivals and events in my community. Last weekend I was vending at Clit Fest, a traveling celebration of womyn in the hardcore scene. I've also vended at events organized by the new and awesome crafting group in Orange County called the Handmade Brigade. They are planning a Speakeasy event in September that I'll be participating in.

Have you been featured anywhere?

My Pot Holder Patty top has been featured in the Storque once, and I've been on the front page once. Also, some awesome blogs have been ever so kind to feature me.

Do you have any future plans for your shop?

Yeah, I have a lot of plans! First off, I'm working on making more designs in bigger sizes. I constantly have new ideas for designs, and I can't wait until they are executed and put into the shop so I can see how it is welcomed.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?

I love riding my bike with a strong passion. I'll hop on and be gone for the day! I also love organizing in my community and going to events that promote equality and justice. I love cooking! I'm pretty good and baking vegan treats, and I plan to get better at cooking yummy meals for my family, friends, and I. I'm always down for a new recipe. Also, a huge interest of mine is the fine arts. That is what I'm studying and it has been my passion for some time now. Once in a while I post a painting or drawing in my Etsy shop. If you ever want to see my work, I'd love to show it to anyone. I'm shooting for a website in the near future.

Do you have any animal companions?

Yes, my family and I have one lovely cat. I hate to bring this up, but we had another beautiful friend named shadow, but he was hit by a car about a year ago. It was a moment I'd like to forget, but our love for him is still persistent in our memories.

Do you have any websites besides your shop that you would like to tell us

I have a myspace ( that I use to introduce myself to other interested people. I also have a blog that I should update more, but I'm getting better at it, haha. (
Also, my flickr is always there to be friends with anyones eyes (
How long have you been vegan and what made you go vegan?

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?

Hmm, I'd say my favorite vegan things are zines that I'v found at events in my community. People put together really awesome zines about the vegan lifestyle; I love it. I'm planning on getting those up on my blog so everyone has access to the wonderfulness. I've also been a big fan of the post punk kitchen, ( My favorite vegan stores are always on Etsy. The Vegan Etsy team is so awesome and so varied, that I can get so many different things of greatness from team members. Also, there is this wonderful restaurant that I've recently fallen for in Southern California Orange County area. It's called That's Amore, and it's an all vegan friendly italian restaurant. Growing up in a Sicilian family, that kind of place to eat was out of this world for me. If you're in the area, I strongly encourage you to go!

I also think VeganThis.Org is a great site. The information and opportunities to help out animal activist are very important and valuable to have access to.

What are your favorite foods?

Oh dear, lets see. I've recently been drooling over a good vietnamese hot pot. An extra spicy one loaded with rice noodles and veggies galore. mmmm. Really though, I can honestly eat beans and rice everyday. Every rice and bean plant fit to eat and growing from the ground is a friend of mine. I also have a bog sweet tooth, so vegan cupcakes get my every time! On a healthier note, I love the crunchy love I get from a crazy salad adorned with many good and raw plants. Basically, if it's vegan and made with love, I will most definitely have a tough time NOT loving it. Oh food, how I love you.

Is there anything else you would like to add or share?

I love the Vegan Etsy Team!! Vegans have super powers; it's true!

It's All In The Bag- on sale now!

The day has finally come, August 16th, and our latest indie handmade sample bags go on sale! So exciting, these bags are awesome!

makeup, lotion, scrubs, lip balms, papercrafts, jewelry, keychains, face creams, cat toys, recipe cards

Each order comes in a handmade reusable bag and includes 17-20 crafty samples!

Get yours while you can, the last bag sold out in a matter of a few days!
100% profits from each bag go to Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

Want to promote your handmade goodies in our HOLIDAY bag? Check out our website and sign up!

Interested in buying a bag? You can go to our website, or purchase a bag in our blog!

Support indie handmade and help animals!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So much to do, so little time! It's All In The Bag is ready for release!

Things around my neck of the woods have been CRAZY! From hiking, biking, swimming, and playing with the dogs to sewing to preparing for the release of our August It's All In The Bag!

What is
"It's All In The Bag"?

We take vegan handmade samples from people around the world, put them into handmade market totes and sell them on our website. This is a great way to promote your shop and help animals!

Wait, how does this help animals?

100% of profits from each bag are donated to Peaceful Prairie Animal Sanctuary, which is awesome because not only are you promoting your shop and exposing people around the world to your items, you are helping animals!

Our upcoming bag goes on sale August 16th, and its proving to be AMAZING! I was in awe with every package that I opened this round, every sample I pulled out of the packages I wanted one for myself!

How can I see who is in this round of bags?

Swing on over to our Current Contributors section of our website, and you can get a sneak preview of all the fabulous shops involved!

We have already started looking for people to be in our Holiday 2009 sample bag, which is going to be the biggest ever! We are aiming for 200 bags and have an anonymous donor willing to match whatever we raise for the animals! Pretty awesome, if you ask me!

How do I sign up to be in the Holiday bag?

Easy peasey, just go on over to our sign up page, right on our website!

When you sign up to be in the bags you will have your ad on our blog and website, along with a nice photo of your samples on our site to entice folks to check out your shop!

Not sure what to send? Not sure if you have any items small enough to use as samples?

Some people who have bigger items in their shops, that cant really scale them down send in business cards, with magnets or pins, and a coupon code. Everyone gets super creative with their packaging and draws attention without having to send a full sized quilt or something!

Get in the bag! Help your shop and help animals!

Posted by:

Holistically Heather

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pendants? ... We got them!

I love pendants. I like to have a good assortment, of colour, design, style. So that whenever I feel like wearing one, there's always one to suit. Veganetsy Team are a talented lot, and looking through some Veganetsy Team members shops, I was delighted to find a wonderful mix of pendants that would look good for many occasions. here are some of my favourites:
From the TheAwesomestPossum, this sophisticated black and silver necklace with scroll pendant.

This pretty Collage Pendant Necklace is made by FashionSplatter.
An interesting and unique message pendant from artbysusmitha.

A very cute Owl bottle cap pendant from JennyStench.
And this kitsch, cute oinion on a chopping board pendant by one of my favourite shops Pinkkis.

Of course this is just a tiny selection, and there are many many more wonderful pendants by very talented VeganEtsy members. For a fuller look at some fab pendants, click here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Finding the big V in D.C.

As you may or may not know, a few weeks ago I traveled a wee bit south to Washington D.C., both to visit with one of my good friends who still lives there and to engage in the first try-on session of my Vegan Wedding Dress Mission. I had scheduled a session with Aria, a great little company which offers all of its dresses in satin, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the results.

But poppets, was I going to travel to a major metropolitan area and then *not* search for fabulous vegan vittles? Doesn't seem very likely, does it.

As luck would have it, Aria's private boutique in Dupont Circle just so happens to share a building with an upscale pizza joint called Pizzeria Paradiso. According to the internets, this place would put vegan cheese on any pizza. This fact is one not substantiated by their website or menu, which I find rather silly. However, our waitress was more than happy to confirm.

So after the dress-trying-on extravaganza, Kimmy and I went on downstairs and stuffed our faces with crispy thin crust pizza piled high with veggies, and mine smothered in vegan cheese as well. (Once I realized that I actually can get into Aria's size 12 dresses - and heck, even their size 10s, without busting any zippers, I was able to eat with abandon.) I got the Siciliana - it's like they chopped up a whole backyard garden on there. Totally awesome. All in all it was a satisfying afternoon to be sure. It seems that vegan cheese on pizza is no rarity in D.C., and VegDC has been kind enough to list all proprietors of this delight for us, by neighborhood. Thanks guys!

After the pizza gorge, we went on the second mission of the day - and honestly, one that was much more my kind of mission than trying on fancy dresses. For a couple of years now I've been dying to try out D.C.'s own all-vegan bakery, Sticky Fingers. My chance had finally arrived! It was a harrowing ride on the Metro: they're doing some crazy maintenance on the signals after the accident that happened a couple of months ago, and as a result they're single tracking all of the trains on the Red Line. If you don't live in a subway town, let me translate: this means trains come about a fifth as frequently and creep along at about half a mile an hour. But eventually we made it to Gallery Place and transferred to the Green Line, and all was well.

So then. Sticky Fingers. First of all, that place is enormous! Maybe I've just gotten too used to the sizes of things in NYC, where every store is the size of a shoebox because even a shoebox costs about a million dollars a month to rent. But can D.C. be very cheap? I think not. Anyway, for a bakery this place is LARGE. The joint was also hoppin' - I mean srsly ppl, it was pretty packed. When I did finally decide what I wanted, I had to wait for about six people to put in their orders before I could get a word in edgewise. To which I say awesome! I love to see vegan businesses doing a bustling trade.

Upon entering, you're faced with two full sized glass cases full of baked delights - cupcakes, cookies, brownies and bars, sticky buns, cakes... the list goes on. To your right you'll find a nice big case full of sandwiches and other to-go meal type items, and of course bottled beverages. And also on offer behind the counter are hot dogs, chilli, espresso-type coffee beverages, and more. And of course it's all vegan all the time! In other words, it's kind of like heaven.

But that's just the first half. To your left, you'll see a sizable seating area with a nice big window facing the street for people-watching. The booths are upholstered in a deep sparkly pink plastic, and the tabletops are wacky boomerang patterned Formica. It's the perfect spot to enjoy your cupcake and/or cappuccino. The walls of the whole place are painted in a sort of dripping-chocolate motif, and there's a dash of kitch in the collections of old kitchen gadgets and knick knacks which makes it very homey. But they also have free wi-fi, which gives it a very modern (and useful) edge.

But I know what you really want to know. What did I eat? Well I'll tell you. Man, was it a tough decision! Kim is "not a sweets person" - so much help in so many places, but no help at all in a bake shop. I was traveling by train, and traveling light. I also wasn't going home until the following day. So it's not as if I could bring a dozen cupcakes home with me - but oh, how I would have loved to! So after thinking long and hard, I approached one of the very friendly counter staff, who had already endured about fifteen minutes of me taking copious pics of the shop. I stated my choice: the strawberry creme vanilla cupcake. Fruit flavors are not usually my thing, but this one just had something special. I mean, look at it! I also asked the girl helping me what she suggested - her favorite thing, and she said the sweet and salty cookie. So one cookie it was.

Naturally I sat right down to dig into my cupcake. And it was freaking amazing. Vanilla cake moist and perfect, topped with what can only be described as strawberry mousse. But not that fake sort of pink tasting "strawberry" that for some reason we feed to kids all the time. Real live strawberry. I mean, there were actual strawberries in there - you could see the seeds! Sure it was plenty sweet, but it also had that natural tartness that accompanies real fruit and makes such a nice balance in this kind of delicacy. It was so rich and fabulous that I think it took me a full fifteen minutes to eat. I'd say I got my money's worth.

Did I love Sticky Fingers enough to seriously consider buying a t-shirt? Yes, yes I did. If they'd been selling coffee mugs I would totally own one right now. And how much does it break my heart that they make wedding cakes? Really terrifically beautiful wedding cakes!? Somehow I don't think the thousand mile journey to New Orleans would suit a wedding cake... humph. But listen: if you're planning a vegan wedding in the D.C. Metro area, check this place out for sure! (They also cater!)

Oh, and that sweet and salty cookie? It was the perfect snack about halfway through my train ride home the next day. Still wonderfully chewy and soft. Thanks counter girl for that super awesome suggestion!

It being a short trip (36 hours!), that was the extent of my real vegan adventures. Sure I ate other things, but more of the "what can I find here that's vegan" variety. And that's not nearly as exciting. But honestly, if I'd had any more truly exciting vegan adventures I may have passed out - I'm easily overwrought.

And so, my loves, I bid you adieu.

Until next Monday,

Melissa Bastian

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Interview-KM Stitchery

Todays Interview is with Lindsay of KMStichery

How did you choose the name of your shop and how long have you been a member of

I've been a member of etsy since late 2006. I choose KM Stitchery because my last name is Keating-Moore and at the time, I was selling bags made out of recycled materials. I started selling feminist shirts but didn't want to change the name because people already were identifying me as KM Stitchery and it just kinda stuck.

What kinds of items do you sell in your shop and what inspired you to start
creating them?

KM Stitchery is hand cut stencils of feminist printed on recycled clothing! I was inspired by a desire to sell products that had meaning to them. Making stuff is cool, but I wanted to make more of a political statement with my shop.

Do you donate to any charities or do any volunteer work?

I donate to Farm Animal Sanctuary when I can. I donate shirts to different vegan and feminist groups (ex: CAA Compassionate Action for Animals).

What are some of your favorite things about etsy?

I love etsy! I love all of the creative artists on here. It's so great to be able to find handmade, creative and ethical goods online! It's very user friendly. I like the conversations feature, that is crucial for me as a seller.

Do you sell your items outside of etsy, either online or in retail shops?

Yes, I sell at a bunch of stores across the country and in canada (feminist bookstores, and shops selling handmade items). Some places were I sell are Needles and Pens, in San Francisco, In Our Words Women's bookstore in Portland, OR, ColorWheel Gallery in Minneapolis, Toronto women's Bookstore etc etc!

Have you been featured anywhere?

Womanist Musings:

Bitch Magazine Blog:



Shameless Magazine:

After Ellen:

The Sister Project:

Angry Asian Man:

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?
I play clarinet, i love reading, mostly fiction, classic literature and feminist fic and non fiction, I love bicycling everywhere, frequently co-ops, dumpster diving, baking, black and white photography

Do you have any animal companions?

yes, my housemates dogs, a german short haired pointer named Henry and a collie/retriever mix named Evie. Both rescues, I love them - hopefully my housemates never move out.

Do you have any websites besides your shop that you would like to tell us

facebook fan page


How long have you been vegan and what made you go vegan?

The dvd Peaceable Kingdom made me go vegan. I was vegetarian and I realized that the dairy industry was the same as the meat industry and there's no way I could continue to eat dairy and feel ethical after watching that dvd. I've been vegan for 3+ years now.

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?

My favorite vegan store is called "Fast n' Furless Vegan Emporium" right here in Minneapolis! :)

What are your favorite foods?

I LOVE BAKED GOODS. I have a HUGE sweet tooth :) Anything by Vegan Treats. Larry & Luna's coconut bliss ice cream. sandwiches with mock meats. Pad Thai. Sweet and sour mock chicken.

Is there anything else you would like to add or share?

I love being vegan! wooo!