Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eco Friendly Items From Vegan Etsy Team

Tis the season for holiday shopping, and time for people to start forming lines at the mall. This year a lot of folks are taking a pledge to buy handmade! Which is an awesome step away from mass produced sweatshop stuff at the mall, so where a better place to shop as a vegan or for a vegan than Vegan Etsy Team. Our team even has a wide array of eco friendly items for the conscious consumers out there. I love letting folks know about all the great things Vegan Etsy Team has to offer!

Orange and Sage Candle from Kenny Coop

Organic Hemp/Cotton/Bamboo Cloth Pad from Aunt Flos Pads

Refreshing Citrus Facial Scrub from Daisy Wares

Guest Book from This Is It

On The Beach Journal from Bright Design

Kitties and Yarn Tote Bag from Vegancraftastic

Neopolitan Bamboo scarf from Holistically Heather

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beer! That is, Vegan Beer!

Beer: we love it. I don't remember not drinking beer - my parents were of the "let her have a sip" school, and I clearly remember being two years old and scamming for a second taste. But there comes a moment in the life of every young vegan when a slightly terrifying discovery is made: not all beer is vegan.

I was at a veg meetup when I found out. It was maybe a month after I went vegan. I was drinking a Guinness at the time. It was my last Guinness.

What? What the heck would they put in there?!

Well, it's not so much what they're putting in there, with the few exceptions of beer with honey in them (and those tend to be pretty obvious - they generally put the word "honey" right in the name of the beer). It's more that there are some really odd animal byproducts - "finings" - being used in the process of making some beers.

There are two main animal byproducts that pop up. The first is isinglass, which is obtained from the swimbladders of fish and used for clarification. This, I'm sorry to say, is why I will no longer drink Guinness or Murphy's Irish Stout. Not every batch of Guinness uses isinglass, which is annoying and infuriating. Every time I think about this stuff, my mind boggles. It's right up there with "how did we figure out how to eat artichokes," except with about a hundred levels of disgusting piled on top. Who figured out how to get the collagen out of swim bladders in the first place? Isn't there any other way to clarify beer? Oh, yeah, and GUINNESS ISN'T CLEAR ANYWAY. But whatever, I guess I'm splitting hairs, huh?

Then, oh, then there's gelatin. That's right - the same thing that ruins marshmallows and Altoids (which HELLO aren't even chewy) and so many amusingly shaped candies is now ruining your beer! What is the fixation with this stuff? Apparently it is also used for clarification. I think what's actually clear, though, is that using a product made from the skins, connective tissues, and other "leftovers" of "food animals" is ridiculous and unnecessary - particularly given all the great breweries that have no trouble making a wide range of beers without these substances.

The good news is that the majority of beers out there are, in fact, vegan. The ones you have to watch out for are usually odder ones: dark ones, cask ales, special brews, et cetera. And the Brits, well, they just seem to love to use this stuff for reasons unknown. But then, they put fish in all their sauces too, so go figure. (No offense loves - some of my favorite vegans are from the Isles!) The Germans, though, take a special pride in their beer making, and have actually had special laws on the books for centuries regrading what ingredients can be in them. Thank you Germans! (Not sure if this makes up for all the sausages, but it's a start.)

Plenty of great beers are vegan. Brooklyn Brewery, a fab brewery that I'm happy to call local, makes almost exclusively vegan beers, with the exception of one specialty cask ale. Abita, another beer I consider local (as I also consider New Orleans home) is an all-vegan brewery. Blue Moon, Harpoon, Sierra Nevada, and Magic Hat each make a variety of very tasty vegan beers that are widely available, and really this is just the tip of the iceberg (or should I say the bottom of my fridge).

Want to know if your favorite beer is vegan? Find out! Barnivore keeps the most extensive list that I've found, not only of beer but also of wine and liquors. This list of breweries is interesting as well, in that the list's author took the time to contact each one personally.

Do I totally want to make the oatmeal stout brownies from this article? Yes, yes I do. Maybe I will. Maybe you should!

Of course, you could also order these amazing-looking (and -sounding) "drunken cupcakes" from one of my favorite Etsy bakers, Sweet Fritsy. Chocolate cupcake + stout = I vote yes!

Now that you're fully armed with knowledge of vegan beer-ness... are you still sitting in front of your computer?! Utilize your town's public transportation system to get yourself over to the nearest beer hall, and put your newfound education to good (responsible) use.

See you next week!

hearts (and happy drinking!),
Melissa Bastian

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Interview-Ladies Blend

Todays interview is with Pennie of Ladies Blend

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

I am new to Vegan Etsy. Ladies Blend was the name of a scent that I developed back when I was a practicing massage therapist and just starting to make bath and beauty products. When it came time to name my company, the first domain was already taken so I went with Ladies Blend.

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

I make soy candles and handmade jewelry, though very different, I love them both. Besides my wedding rings, I have only worn handmade jewelry for probably about 20 years. Before designing jewelry, I had developed an organic line of bath, beauty and spa products. However about a year and a half ago, it came to my attention that it was illegal for me to do so, from my home in the state of Florida. I started making earrings and well, it took off from there. I am drawn to fresh, simple, purposely uncomplicated pieces and that it what I enjoy designing. My latest endeavor is hand stamping; the personalization and meaningfulness drew me to that.

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

I donate almost exclusively to animal welfare organizations. I keep a list of them on my friend’s page at my main website. I also donate our house wares and clothes that we no longer use to Molly Mutt which all proceeds go to our local humane society.

What are some of your favorite things about etsy?

Vegan Etsy and perusing all of the talented artisans creations. I also buy tools and supplies there.

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

Yes, thank goodness. Though I have been a member of Etsy for quite some time, I have just recently listed some items, but have yet to crack the Etsy code. I also started listing on Artfire, but my main website and the only one that I have actually sold well on is I thought it would be good to put some of my items out there at other venues and honestly; the main draw to listing on Etsy was to be a part of Vegan Etsy.

Have you been featured anywhere?

Not recently that I know of.

Do you have any future plans for your shop?

A possible name change and learning new jewelry design techniques. I’d like to learn how to use a jewelers saw so I can make my own pendants/shapes for stamping.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?

Gardening, cooking, sewing, all kinds of crafting, home décor, landscaping, spending time with my hubs and kitties, making kitchen beauty treatments, writing in my blog, teaching others to make organic bath and beauty products, lots more, I never get bored.

Do you have any animal companions?

We have been blessed with a family of three kitty cats for six years. The mother (Pretty Kitty) and her two-three-week old babies (Nathan & Chloe), showed up in our yard, we nursed them all to happy and healthy and now they run the place. We just recently acquired a fourth-five-week old kitten (Noah), he was found up near the engine in my husbands work truck after a twenty mile drive. He went through quite an ordeal, but is adapting well, he is a beautiful and loved part of our family. We never go looking for companion animals; they always seem to find us.

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

My main site is and my blog, It is kind of hard at times to maintain numerous websites, but these two are generally up-to-date with all of the latest news and designs.

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

I just recently went dairy free about six months ago. There is only one reason that I am vegan and that is for the animals. The longer one is vegan the more you see the other benefits, those are just added surprises.

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

There are some books that I do want to have, The Kind Diet and The Conscious Cook, but I am more of a website, blog person. I use the internet for so much in learning about different foods, especially dairy free items. I follow lots of vegan writers on Twitter, click here, click there, I learn so much.

What are your favorite foods?

I have always been a veggie lover all of my life, even at a very young age. I like all foods, but prefer fresh organic meals. My biggest challenge and it’s not really that big, is baking. I can do a whole lot with Florida Crystals sugar, egg replacer and earth balance.

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

Yes, I like to thank Corina for nominating me, she definitely surprised me, is so nice and has made me feel welcomed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Welcome new members!

This week we have a few new members to welcome! Please take the time to check out these great shops and give them some hearts.

Oh, danger!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Member Interview - Baeumig

Today's interview is with Corina of Baeumig

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

My shop name is my label name at the same time. „bäumig“ is a Swiss-German word which means something like „great“ or „fantastic“ and it is the adjective of „Baum“ which means „tree“. Therefore I have a tree in my logo :). The cute owl is the symbol for my love for animals. I joined Etsy in April 2009 as a buyer. In Europe we don't have such a huge and beautiful fabric choice, so I mostly buy my fabrics at Etsy stores or in the US in general. I wasn't sure if I had success with my articels overseas, so I listed my first two bags in July.

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

I am sewing addicted since March 2009 and I love sewing small cosmetic bags, pencil-, eyeglass- and cellphone cases of colorful, happy colors and motives on it. The daily grind is grey enough, isn't it? All the patterns I use are my own ones and when I have enough time I like to invent new designs and products. My newest invention is the oilcloth raincoat for your bicycle basket ;). The idea was born when I was cycling around with my handbag in my bike basket. At the traffic light a nasty guy in a car tried to grab my bag out of the basket. How lucky I was to notice that just in time! But from now on, my bag lies safely in its basket.

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

Yes, I do. In Germany there is a very committed society called "die Tierfreunde". They are all vegans and it's awesome how they (try to) help for instance the farm animals. From my sales I donate 10 % to them. Since some time me and some vegan friends are about to establish a "Vegan Society Switzerland" to make Veganism more popular in a country where everybody believes that the cows would burst if they don't get milked...

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

I have a DaWanda-Shop and a Guzuu-Shop too. DaWanda is the "European Etsy" and mostly in the hands of German sellers ;). Guzuu is a very young Swiss platform for handmade products. Yay! I am very happy and proud to sell my products at a fabulous shop in Zurich, which sells cute 50ies style clothes and accessoires. The owner found me thanks to facebook.

"Have you been featured anywhere?"

My bike-basket-raincoat has been featured at the DaWanda-Frontpage :)

"What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?"

Along with sewing? Eating of course!! :D I love to eat and cook vegan dishes. We also have some very good veg restaurants in Zurich. For good vegan food I do almost everything ;). Else I like travelling, going to the cinema, playing piano and sports.

"Do you have any animal companions?"

Miouwww =^.^=. Two cats, their names are Mimi & Flash and I rescued them from a mean farmer who wanted to shoot them 8 years ago.

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

Sure :). I run a blog where I write about my crafts and my life in German and English. Don't hesitate to write some comments, I love to read comments and I also answer to them. -->

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

I am a vegan because I hate plants... ;) No, that's not the reason. I went vegan in 2006 because some vegan people in a web forum convinced me quite fast with good arguments. As a vegetarian I always thought to have a clean slate concerning the animals. But when I heard and saw for instance that millions of male chicks are killed for the egg-industry each day and that baby cows have to die because humans want to drink their mother's milk I instantly wanted to become a vegan. By and by I also came to know that the vegan nutrition is the healthiest diet and so I could also convince my mom to go vegan (she went vegan with 65 years) :)

"What are your favorite foods?"

you can always catch me with all kind of Italian food: Pasta, Lasagne, Tortellini, Spaghetti....I have to stop now or else I get very very hungry!

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

I want to thank Crafty Panties who has chosen me as member of the week, I really appreciate it! Else I want to thank all the members of the Vegan Etsy Team for their great inspiration they spread with their crafts in their beautiful shops. It makes me very happy to know such compassionate and creative people :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009


As you may or may not know, Sunday October 18th was National Chocolate Cupcake Day! I myself celebrated with these amazing chocolate coconut cupcakes with rum frosting, a slight modification of the basic chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

This is a mightyfine book, and if you are a fan of vegan cupcakes, as surely you are, then you should get yourself a copy right this minute.

But we need not restrain ourselves in our cupcake love, only enjoying them on days of national celebration. Nay! The Vegan Etsy Team lets us enjoy cupcakes all the time, edible and otherwise. Observe:

If you're lucky enough to live in Ohio, you should waste no time and order these amazing Elvis cupcakes from KT's Kitchen this instant! (If you, like me, are not lucky enough, don't worry - this shop has plenty of other goodies to offer.)

Don't feel like full-sizers? How about some fantabulous minis from Sweet Fritsy? Having sampled the sweets from this shop, I can attest that they are sweet indeed - as in, suh-weet!

Love the little cuppy cakes, but don't have too much of a sweet tooth? Watching the waistline, mayhaps? Well what about these unbelievably cute cupcake earrings from Pinkkis? People may try to nibble your ears! But then maybe you like that sort of thing.

Me, I don't wear regular pierced earrings. But no matter! There's always another cute offering just 'round the corner - such as Sick On Sin's set of five - count them FIVE - wacky and hilarious cupcake friend magnets. I dare you to name me one refrigerator that would not benefit from these adornments.

That's right, I got more. Got a cupcake lover in your life? Check out this print from My Zoetrope - because I just found you their next b-day present, totes. (Ahem. My birthday is in January. Just sayin'.)

Take it up a notch and throw in this gorgeous cupcake stand from Vegan Dish as well, and I promise you're going to be someone's new best friend. And who couldn't use another best friend?

Believe it or not, I'm not nearly out of delightful cupcake offerings! But I have to leave you to do some of the exploring for yourself, don't I? Have fun, and happy cupcaking.

Until next Monday,

Melissa Bastian

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New member!

This week we have a new member to welcome: kateybree! Please take the time to check out this great shop and give it some hearts!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy World Animal Day!

Check out some beautiful pictures and behold the wonder of the animals.

Monday, October 12, 2009

So... why the heck am I baking so many cookies?

It's true - I baked approximately eight dozen cookies in the span of... eighteen hours? But contrary to appearances, I am not actually squirreled away in my apartment, shoving cookie after cookie into my chocolate-smeared crumb-rimmed mouth. Nope. Sure, I've eaten some cookies in the past few days. Too many, even. I think yesterday I had eight. At least I know exactly what was in them!

But I've been baking cookies for a reason. A good reason, even. Some would even say, for a cause. Fo realz! And what's my big "why?" Because Farm Sanctuary asked me to!

OK, fine, not me specifically. We're not all BFF like that. But on Wednesday, Advocacy Organizer David Benzaquen raised the call for baked goods to be donated to a bake sale, to occur on Saturday. And I said, I can do that! As a matter of fact, it sounded like one of the best reasons I'd ever heard to bake way, way too many cookies. Major bonus: that I wouldn't just eat them all myself for once!

In case you're not familiar with them, Farm Sanctuary is one of those wonderful nonprofit organizations that gives homes to animals who, for the most part, began their lives as "products" within the industrial food production system. Through various modes of rescue, these creatures have been brought to FS and are now able to live as animals should, healthy and happy as they can be, and not destined for anyone's plate. I'm so sad that I haven't gotten to visit yet! I don't make it to upstate New York much, and I haven't made it to California at all. But some day...

And so. On Saturday morning I finished baking the chocolate chip cookies, packed up those and the Earl Greys, and headed on down to Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. This has long been a gathering spot for revolutionary thinkers and holders of progressive views and lifestyles. On Sunday it would be the location of the NYC Veg Fest, but on Saturday it was home to Harvest Rebellion, a small but rockin' music festival at which Farm Sanctuary was asked to come and table. No selling was to be allowed at the Veg Fest, so FS held the bake sale on Saturday.

We came to drop off the goods early - always good to be set up before things really get going. As usual FS had a beautiful display set up with info about the farm, as well as other educational materials about factory farming and veg alternatives. At the moment their champion campaign is Adopt-a-Turkey - a really fantastic program and a great way to start a new thanksgiving tradition in your family. Not only are you not contributing to the death of these beautiful animals by refusing to bring them to your dinner table; by sponsoring one, you are contributing to the happy and prosperous life of the FS turkey of your choosing! Totally rad, says I.

Jonathan and I spent a happy hour or so chatting with David, intern Molly, and other FS volunteers and passersby. And of course we couldn't help ourselves from purchasing and sampling some of the other donated bakesale goodies! Just take a look - all vegan of course! Totally delish - the animal cookies and apple muffins made by a splendid girl named Calla were an utter delight.

Alas, we couldn't stick around all day - big things afoot in wedding land that day. But it was clear that the event was a success. +1 for Farm Sanctuary, +1 for the animals and for awesome vegan baked goods! Thanks to the good people of FS for making it happen every day! Woot.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Member Interview-Crafty Panties

Todays interview is with Paula of Crafty Panties

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

I wanted something quirky for my shop name; something that would stand out and that people would remember. But I didn't want a name that would pin me down as a maker of something specific. Even though I opened my shop two years ago with just temari balls, I wanted to always to feel like I could put anything else in my shop, because I was interested in making many different things. My shop name grew out of the phrase "Little Miss Crafty Pants". Someone else already had that name, so I just sort of morphed it into Crafty Panties. I just think panties is a funny word.

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

I sell balls - two types. Temari are embroidered thread balls that are used as home decorations. It is a Japanese folk art that dates back 500 years. They were made from the remnants of old kimonos. Silk threads were first pulled out of the kimonos, then the fabric was wound up in a ball. The silk threads were wound around that to secure it. They began as toys for kids, but over time, women began to embroider elaborate designs on them, and they were elevated to the status of art objects. In Japan today, temari carry significant meaning as symbols of loyalty and friendship and are often given as gifts. I first learned about temari three years ago just by seeing a book on it at the library. I was awe-struck at their beauty and I wanted to try it immediately. I also have made some tiny temari into keychains.

The other type of ball I make is fabric patchwork balls for little kids. Again, I happened to see a book on how to make them. I was already interested in patchwork, and my daughter was maybe two or three at the time, so I made a few for her at first. I love fabric and combing them in different ways to make an object. There must be something about geometric ball shapes that really intrigues me because I am definitely drawn to making them. Temari and patchwork balls actually have a lot of similarities in terms of the geometric shapes that emerge.

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

I donate 10% of my sales to Peaceful Prairie. I also just participated in Farm Sanctuary's Walk for Farm Animals. My husband and I met up with some vegans we know from our Vegan Meetup Group here in Cincinnati to do the walk, and we met other vegans from nearby cities, too. I also volunteer at my daughter's school.

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

Outside of Etsy I've only sold to family and friends so far, but I am gearing up for my first craft show in November. Also, I just opened an Artfire shop.

Have you been featured anywhere?

One of my temari was included in Craftzine's Flickr Pool Weekly Roundup on their blog. Several other blogs have featured my temari and fabric balls as well. And I've been included in a couple treasuries on Etsy.

Do you have any future plans for your shop?

Yes, I have plans for more balls! There is another Japanese craft I'm interested in called kimekomi. I see it as a sort of combination of temari and fabric patchwork balls. Fabric pieces are used to cover a ball that is divided in similar ways as temari. They're for home decoration. I plan to make a bunch of Christmassy ones for hanging on Christmas trees. I also am making temari in traditional Christmas colors as well.

I am planning on making fabric balls modeled after sports balls, too. I already make soccer balls, but I am going to be developing patterns for footballs, basketballs, baseballs, and volleyballs as well.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?

I like to draw and paint. I love to read, mostly non-fiction. I just love to learn about stuff. I love to socialize with other vegans, so I go to monthly vegan meetups. I love to spend time with my husband and daughter, making art/crafts, baking, hanging out at the park, etc. I am interested in talking about the issues of animal rights, feminism, oppression, and religion with anyone that wants to, which is usually just my husband. I love taking care of animals.

Do you have any animal companions?

We have six rescued cats with silly names: Abraham Lincoln (girl), Pirate, Purgatory (Pergie for short), Cyndi Lauper, Kitten Betty, and Dooder Bobby.

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

I have been vegan for a little over a year. Before that I was a vegetarian for six years. I went vegetarian after seeing Peta's "Meet Your Meat" video. I was so horrified and upset that I immediately stopped eating meat. I knew that I should go vegan but couldn't seem to do it at that time. I met my husband a year later and he went vegetarian pretty much right away because of things I exposed him to. Then we slowly transitioned into veganism together. Our daughter was vegetarian at first, but has finally made it to veganism within the past few months.

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

Tofurky sausages, Dandies marshmallows, Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbooks, Vegan Freak Radio, The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle

What are your favorite foods?

Spicy ethnic foods are my favorite - Indian, Thai, Italian, Mexican, etc. I love it super-duper hot. And I am lucky enough to have a husband who is an awesome cook and who loves the same types of foods that I do. I make tofu scramble a lot.

I have a big sweet tooth also. I love dark chocolate. And red wine.

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

I have a BA in art; my focus in school was drawing and painting. I started making crafts when my daughter was a baby because it wasn't as messy, and I could stop and start much more easily.

I have big dreams of being able to travel to many places around the world and to volunteer at animal sanctuaries. I suspect that I would get very emotional in the presence of rescued farm animals.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

New members!

We have some new members to welcome! Please take the time to check out these great shops and give them some hearts!


MissMuffcake's lost and found

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mmmmm donuts...

Donuts are made of yum and I wish I had one right now! I may not have the real thing within my reach, but I can drool over these donut themed goodies from the Vegan Etsy Team!

Yummy Chocolate Donut Keychain by sass and peril:

Donut Change Purse by Pinkkis:

Chocolate Donut Magnet by Sick On Sin:

And if you want the REAL thing, check out these awesome Halloween Donuts from Sweet Fritsy:

-Kala (Vegancraftastic)