Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Indie Garage Sale Was Slow But Fun Fun Fun

Yesterday I participated in the Indie Garage Sale, here in Utica, it was my second time participating in this particular fair. It is held in downtown Utica in an old art gallery, a long space about half as wide as it is long. It is perfect for a crafter on each side of the corridor all the way down, and supprisingly wasnt TOO hot, it could have been worse. Some of my baked yummies, like my vegan rice krispie treats, melted a bit and became a rice krispie granola instead haha. The one down side to this space is that there is no bathroom, so that means after 8 hours of being there, it's almost an emergency type situation! Overall the day was decent, not a whole lot of people came, I think because it is so close to graduation and there were 2 other events going on in Utica the same day. On the bright side, I did meet some new people and had a lot of fun talking with people that somewhat similar interests as I do. I also found out from some friends that are also on the CNY ETSY team that there are some awesome fairs coming up around here! Which means excitement, and time to get busy and make some amazing stuff to sell!

Here's what I am hoping to be a part of this summer:

Clinton Arts and Music Festival

Utica Music and Arts Fest

Westcott Cultural Fair

Syracuse VegFEST

So with all of these fairs coming up, I need to get my little fingers ready to sew sew sew create create create!!! Are you doing a fair soon and want some tips? I have only done 3 so far, but here are some must have for a fair:

1. Scissors, pen, paper, marker, tape, string, thread, needle (anything you might need for a quick touch up!)
2. Lotion or body balm, for dry tired hands
3. sunscreen if you are going to be outside a lot
4. tissues, napkins, roll of toilet paper (you never know what might happen)
5. a rain poncho if its an outside show
6. appropriate clothing, bring a light jacket if it goes into the evening
7.******MOST IMPORTANT******* Bring water water water water water, and some snacks, healthy snacks like carrots, celery, cashew butter, apples, oranges, along those lines, to keep you moving all day! Stay hydrated, you cant share your craft with people if your head is spinning and you are laying on the ground!
8. Bring a camera, document your day, and if you take nice photos and make a blog post, please be sure to come let me know! I always try to remember my camera, sometimes i fail hah
9. I recommend NOT using a cash box, too many people have sticky fingers, I recommend a cute little vendors apron. I got mine from Red Paper Record
10. Calculator if you need one to add up your prices!
11. Credit card imprinter and necessities (which I dont yet have!)
12. Business Cards
13. Offer a raffle for an item, then people can enter and be signed up for a mailing list, so you can send them future offers!
14. bags for purchases ( i like to reuse plastic bags from the grocery store recycling bins)
15. Reciepts (carbon copy ones)
16. Tent if its an outdoors event, 7+ hours in the hot and sun would be killer!
17. price each item, i hate asking what everything costs and im sure most other do too!
18. your display items, mannequins, dress forms etc.
19. Mirrors for customers to use
20. Tables chairs, nice table cloths
21. **small trash can***
22. Practice setting up your table, make it look nice, and get second and third opinions!
23. get everything ready and by the door the night before, get a good nights sleep and dont forget breakfast!!!
24. Almost forgot have PLENTY of change, I say about 10 10's. 20 5's and 50 1's atleast! depending on the show size!!!

most importantly HAVE FUN!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tabling = Awesome.

A short (or maybe not so short) list of superdeluxe things that happened on Saturday, June 27th as I tabled at the NYC Zine Fest:

1. Met an eight year old girl who's been vegetarian since she was three (and whose parents aren't), who was very excited that I am vegan.

2. Gave a out a pretty significant number of the Vegan Etsy flyers I made up, yay!

3. Upon giving the flyer to one particular charming young woman, had a conversation in which she explained that she'd given up trying to find vegan items on Etsy because so many items are mislabeled, but now that she can just search for our team tag it's a whole new world.

4. Had a visit from Lisa of Panda with Cookie... who BROUGHT ME A VEGAN CUPCAKE! Which I stupidly did not take a picture of, d'oh. It was chocolate with vanilla icing, and had little chocolate chips in it! Not only superdeluxe - superdelish. Made me feel totally special to get a visit from a fellow team member, and the cupcake was the perfect treat after a long hard day of tabling!

5. Speaking of cupcakes, had a discussion with two separate groups of people about how vegan cupcakes are a fantastic way to bridge the gap between vegans and omnis. Everybody understands (and loves!) cupcakes!

6. Sold out of my zine "Being Vegan is Awesome!" - that may be my most popular zine ever!

7. Even after I'd sold out of it, people kept coming by asking for it! I somehow became known as the vegan table at the event. One guy came by looking for gifts for his 5-years-vegan friend - you know I hooked him up.

8. Had a visit from my friend Olivia of SuperVegan - If you're vegan and in the NYC area, this website is a godsend, and even if you're not in our neck of the woods there are lots of interesting articles and such. Hooray for SuperVegan!

9. Released issue two of Vegetable Vegetable Mineral, my zine about food issues and the food industry from a vegan's perspective, and sold several copies of both issues. Getting the knowledge to the people, yes!

10. Saw numerous festgoers take the Farm Sanctuary and Compassion over Killing materials I made available, and one woman even thanked me for giving out information about eggs from battery-caged hens.

All in all, I'd call the day a rocking success. Exhausting, but so worthwhile. A good day for tabling, a good day for zines, and a good day for veganism!

Alright poppets. Until next Monday,

Melissa Bastian

Post Script: Don't forget to stop by next Monday for "Two vegans, two years, one wedding: part two"!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Interview-Midnight Rabbits

Todays interview is with Vanessa of Midnight Rabbits and Veganessa

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

I have 2 etsy shops, one being veganessa where I sell bags and accessories, all of which are vegan, and are decorrated with words or images that promote veganism and respect etc.The other being midnightrabbits where i sell bags and accessories, that are 100% donated to the etsyforAnimals charity of the month.

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

Apart from midnightrabbits where 100% of the sale price of the item is donated to an animal charity, I donate to Dr hadwen trust, Redwings horse sanctuary, FAUNA (Friends of animals under abuse), to name a few.

What are some of your favorite things about etsy?

The community that it is. I have made some wonderful Etsy friends, and really value the vegan etsy team. It's nice to connect with other vegans.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?

Recently I've been going to the cinema quite often. I enjoy seeing films on the 'big screen' the last film I saw was 'Drag me To hell'. It was very entertaining. I'm waiting for the new Transformers film to be released. I like gardening, or at least wandering around garden centres, and dreaming of my 'perfect' garden that I'll have one day.

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

I subscribe to a website package, that was intended for my inline shop, but i have yet to acquire the skills to set it up properly. But i have enrolled in a web design course, starting in September, so in time I aim to have my own website.I have a blog, http://midnightrabbits.blogspot.com which is a mix of things, vegan stuff, my animal companions, things I like and so forth. I like my blog, and enjoy writing on it when i get time.

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

I became vegan because of my concern and love for all beings. Animal cruelty is so against my nature. I went Vegan about 25 years ago, and am very healthy, although I eat 'junk foods' as well as 'good foods', I believe vegans are naturally healthier. Also if anyone has any doubts about the ability to live healthily on a vegan diet, I am a good example. And when someone remarks on how 'young' i look for my age, I tell them it's because i'm vegan ;).......well it might be.............

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

My favourite cookbook is 'vegan cupcakes take over the world' I only discovered it recently, and the cupcakes are delicious. I'm a cake addict. I could have cake and coffee every day and never get tired of it.My favourite TV programme is 'Shameless', which is a british comedy-drama. It's so true to life in Britain, it's sad, but funny, but sad.

Do you have any animal companions?

5 cats and 3 dogs, which all make for a very noisy, smelly house :) I love them to bits. they're each very special and have their own personalities. I couldn't imagine a life without animal friendship.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review - Peace to All Creatures zine - Summer 09 issue

The first thing I noticed when I got my copy of the Peace to All Creatures zine was the beautiful cover artwork, which showed in vibrant colors the artists love for birds. Throughout the zine I found other gorgeous art and eye-catching photos. This zine is certainly a feast for the eyes as well as food for thought. The art showed with great visual impact that loving and helping the animals all around us is not just about sacrifice and hard work, it’s also joyful, loving, and rewarding.

I love how this slim volume covered such divergent topics, whatever your interests or current involvement in animal issues you’ll find something in this zine custom-tailored to you. Topics ranged from an amazing recipe for Choco-chunk cookies (and who doesn’t love cookies) to a humorous take on that experience familiar to all rescuers—loving an animal with hygiene, health, or odor issues. I consider myself pretty well-versed in animal issues but even I learned many new things, how artists create masterpieces out of trash and the intricate, peaceful lives of snails just to name a few. You’ll also find instructions on how to do more to help animals and reduce your environmental footprint.

I found the article on using nutrition to prevent skin cancer engrossing since skin cancer runs in my own family. Articles on freegansim and expanding our concepts of equality will challenge the reader to look a little more deeply at our culture and ourselves.

In the end, this zine certainly lives up to its name, as it shows all of us, no matter how busy we are or how much we currently do to help animals, that we really can try to bring peace to all creatures, including our fellow human creatures, and all the non-humans who share the planet with us. Many thanks to all the contributors and to editors Pippi Howard and Jessi VanPelt for bringing us this lovely and thought-provoking publication.

This Review Was Written By Neva

Friday, June 26, 2009

DIY Vegan: Angry Apple Cozy

Does your apple need protection from thieves and other villians? If the answer is yes, then the Angry Apple Cozy is just the man you need. This tough hombre means business - and has the mustache to prove it. With this guy on your side, nobody will come between you and your apple a day. The pattern for this cozy was originally posted on my blog, but I thought it would be fun to share it here too :) For those on Ravelry, here's the pattern link.

Angry Apple Cozy

Designed by Kala Hotakainen

Yarn: 1 Skein of Knit Picks Shine Sport in Cherry

1 Skein of Knit Picks Shine Sport in Fedora

Hook: US F (4mm)

Gauge: 3 ½ sts/inch in sc in the round

Dimensions: When flat, the opening is 4 ½” wide and the cozy is 3 ½” tall. The Angry Apple Cozy fits a medium sized apple – the lovely model shown is my favorite apple, gala.

Abbreviations: ch = chain, sc = single crochet, sts = stitches, inc = increase (2 sc in one stitch), fo = fasten off



With Cherry, ch 2
6 sc in 2nd chain from hook
Inc in each sc – 12 sts
*Inc, 1 sc* repeat across round - 18 sts
*Inc, 2 sc* repeat across round – 24 sts
Sc for 2 rounds
*Inc, 3 sc* repeat across round – 30 sts
Sc for 11 rounds


With Fedora, ch 10
Work 2 rows of sc


Weave in all ends. Sew the middle of the mustache to the body of the cozy, leaving the ends of the ‘stash free to blow in the wind. Embroider eyes, eyebrows, and mouth using Fedora. Put your Angry Apple Cozy to work!

This pattern is for personal use only, do not sell any items made from this pattern or unlawfully post it without my permission. Don’t make me send the flying monkeys after you!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rhode Island Last Minute Vacation, SO EXCITED!

2 days ago we were randomly asked by Jessi's aunt and cousin to go to Rhode Island with them, now this is extra exciting because Jessis entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, you name it) have gone every year all together up until Jessi's accident. Jessi hasnt been able to go since her accident, and that is all she has wanted, but the accident has made spending any extra money impossible! So now is our chance, she has been telling me all about Rhode Island since the day we started hanging out. So excited to get me down there and show me the little secrets and neat tricks she has found over the years, and now the time is finally here. I am breaking into my piggy bank and crossing my fingers that I can afford to take her! All sales in my etsy shop will go toward our Rhode Island Trip in July!! So, because I am so excited, as I have never been to the ocean in Rhode Island, I am feverishly looking for cute ocean and Rhode Island themed items on etsy!

You cant have the ocean without mermaids, and I just so happen to personally love mermaids. When I was a kid I used to swim around in the pool for hours and hours pretending I was a mermaid! Monkey and Squirrel has quite a few mermaid items in their etsy shop to choose from, I chose this one because it would be perfect to hold up your swimsuit to dry after a nice dip in the water!

A lazy day at the beach with a lemonade and a book, sounds like a dream come true to me! Dont forget to bring this adorable bookmark, from Starrlight Jewelry with you so you dont lose your page when you are lulled to sleep by the sounds of the ocean.

Just hope that when you wake up after your nice little nap, that Hello Kiddo's pirate ship wont be there to steal your booty!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Coma Girl Giveaway!

The Coma Girls Designs is having another giveaway on her blog! Just go here to leave a comment for your chance to win. The giveaway closes on July 4th. Good luck!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Review- Pitseel

The following review was written by Dirty Loves Clean.

I will do a small wrap up post about Renegade along with some photos in the near future, but for now I wanted to take a minute to tell you about a unique etsy shop, Pitseel.

She makes gourmet fake meats. I am on the end of the spectrum of non-meat eaters that grew up eating meat and (generally) liking the taste of it. To me, a meal was at least 3 parts; the meat, the side (potatoes, pasta), and the vegetable. Although I know that does not always hold true, to me a meal is more complete with a protein aspect dominating it and these fake meats are great for just that.

I recently finished eating all of my previous order (finished it off with a sample of pinenut pesto "chicken" that she sent that was amazing) and I went to make another order on her etsy site. I noticed that everything is on sale and she had a shop note stating she may not be making anymore in the future. This prompted me to message her and ask for a custom 8 pound order (will store in the freezer for 4 months). While in contact with her, she told me, "I am opening an animal rescue within the year. I am going to be going to local pounds (we have 14 acres where we are going, so I just need a kennel license as well as some kind of shelter. I am at my maximum of 3 rescues already, and need a license after that) and bringing home the pets that are to be euthanized soon..".
I think this is an awesome thing to do and I just wanted to help her out and tell everyone, buy her food(or other products), they're great! AND youre helping out a shelter start up.

Or you can also donate here:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Un-mush, wouldja?

What with planning my wedding and all (271 days to go!), I can't help but think about love all the gosh darn time. The thing is though, I've really never been a mushy-wushy, pink hearts and flowers kind of girl. Well, I do have a certain fondness for pink flowers... the ones tattooed on me. So how does a girl express the love without getting all cutesy-poo? Let's see if the Vegan Etsy team can help me out with this one.

Eureka! (And to think, I'm not even in a bathtub.) Here we have Vegan Craftastic's anatomical heart note cards. As she puts it, "What better way to show your love than to give someone your heart? And it's even better when that heart is anatomically correct!" Kala, I gotta agree. As Barbie and Ken showed us all in our childhoods, being anatomically correct really is crucial. This shop will also let you show love for tofu, knitting, and other things - it is, in fact, overflowing with the non-mushy love. When it comes to these note cards, I got it bad - and that ain't good.

Michelle of My Zoetrope gives us a chance to express our adoration of hedgehogs. Apparently mushrooms and acorns also love hedgehogs. I know what you're thinking. Fine, this is supercute, but not in the gross cute way. In the AWESOME cute way! This girl never ceases to amaze me with her imaginative designs. Given that she's a fellow New Yorker, I can't believe I haven't cornered her for a weekend outing yet - so that I can share with her my love for vegan Vietnamese food and ice cream (which doubtless she shares). But... listen - mushrooms, hedgehogs - how long has this been goin' on?

Panda with Cookie offers us up some monster love. No, seriously, love of monsters. Snaggletooth monsters, pirate monsters, and apparently even sometimes corduroy monsters. (Ok, for all of you born before 1980 - seriously people, back in 1985 when your mom was forcing you into elastic wasited corduroy pants and striped longsleeved shirts, did you ever think you'd voluntarily wear either one? Anyway. Corduroy monster = awesome.) These monsters and their various and sundry cronies debuted on the craft fair scene this weekend, so congrats to the PwC empire. Little monster, some might say you have a face only a mother could love... but I can't help falling in love with you.

Now lovelies, check out this superdeluxe offering from The Coma Girl. How hot are these earrings? Well you're about to love them even more: they're hand drawn shrinky-dink! Wait, wait, I've got one more - she calls them "El Corazon". Could it be more perfect? No, not really. Eat your heart out wanna-be glam rockers - this is the real deal. You know, it must hurt to take an arrow through the heart. But the fact is, we are young; heartache to heartache we stand. No promises, no demands. Love is a battlefield.

You've seen this shop in my posts before, because I really just can't get enough of it. And this journal from This Is It! Creations is yet another of their great offerings - a nice deep red paper, a simple scrolled heart, and presto. All the love with none of the sap. All these freakin' wedding magazines that tout "simple elegance" - why aren't they checking out Etsy? This little book would make a great wedding journal, or even a guest book for a smaller wedding. 'Specially if you're wearing a red dress or using a red theme elsewise. Little red journal, there is nothing for me but to love you, and the way you look tonight.

When it comes down to it, the Shirelles said it best:

Everybody loves a lover
Everybody loves me
Oh, yes they do
And I love everybody
Since I fell
In love with you

See? No pink hearts or sappy nonsense or fluffy white anything. Like I always say, when in doubt, ask doo-wop... or possibly the Rat Pack...

Until next Monday,

Melissa Bastian

Asian Super Spicy Chilli Paste

chilli paste pic1
Asian Super Spicy Chilli Paste


100 gms Dry Red chillies (the spiciest you can find)
1/2 inch ginger chopped
1/2 C chopped garlic
1 T soy sauce
1 T jaggery or brown sugar or molasses
3 T olive oil
a pinch Ajinomoto (MSG) - optional

Remove the twigs and clean the red chillies (warning: this causes a lot of sneezing).

Heat 1 T of the olive oil and lightly fry the garlic and ginger.

Bring water to boil in a large pot.
Add chillies, cover and turn off the heat.
Leave for 2 minutes and drain off the water.

Blend all the ingredients (except the remaining 2 T olive oil) into a paste.
Add olive oil and blend once more.

Allow to cool to room temperature.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Could be used in cooking or served on the side as a dip.

chilli paste pic2

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Interview-Silent Lotus

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

I sell jewelry handcrafted from sterling silver and brass mixed with gemstones, along with original brush paintings. My art and jewels both emphasize clean & simple, often flowing, lines, and I think, for the most part, that both my paintings and jewelry have a lightness and delicacy in common. What inspires me? Earth. Nature. Small and intricate and wonderful things that many people don't or can't see. The beauty of simplicity. Silence. My crazy thoughts and ideas!

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

Definitely- supporting causes is what makes my work feel most worthwhile. My Etsy shop donates 10% of its sales to a different, usually local to Pittsburgh, organization every month- mostly animal rights, human rights, women’s or gay issues, or peace & justice oriented. This month it's Vegan Outreach (http://www.veganoutreach.org). I'm also involved in selling Cooking with Compassion vegan cookzine (http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=18770949) that benefits Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary for abused & neglected farm animals. Being an activist and an advocate is hugely important to me, even if it's with more subtle action sometimes. From veganism, animal rights, gay rights, women's rights, fighting violence agains women, lack of access to medical care- being involved, spreading awareness, and DOING something is extremely important to me.

What are some of your favorite things about etsy?

The community, especially the teams! :) I am team leader of EtsyVeg (http://etsyveg.blogspot.com), and I belong to Vegan Etsy, Cruelty Free Etsy, Etsy Pittsburgh, and Handmade in PA. I have have learned so much from my teammates and met so many wonderful people, many of whom I connect with every day. And then there is the shopping! With every purchase supporting an independent artisan/business, and with so many of those artisans donating to worthy causes out of their shop profits, it's really hard to say NO to spending on Etsy. Add to that the plethora of wonderful and unique and lovingly made items available there, and you've got a recipe for addictive shopping. I am a sucker for handmade bags, clothing, and accessories, as well as art! I spend every free dollar (and sometimes not-so-free dollars) there.

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

At local indie craft shows like I Made It! (http:// http://www.imadeitpgh.com/), through consignment or home parties once in a while, and custom work via word of mouth. My family is always talking me up and bringing me sales- they're the best!

Do you have any future plans for your shop?

Well, earlier this year, I had decided to expand into more advanced metal work in jewelry making. But I recently had a revelation that my heart isn't really into that so much. I want to spend more time on painting, revitalizing my practice. I have plans to get prints made of some of my pieces, as well as make the images into pendants and the like over the summer months. I am really excited about it!

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?

I am a yoga teacher and practitioner, so yoga is a big part of my life even when my own home practice gets pretty crappy (like now). ;) I collect gemstones and minerals and found objects from nature- they are all over my house. I also collect interesting bowls- especially small ones in bright colors or unique shapes. I love to cook from scratch, too, espcially yummy vegan baked goods! And gardening and hiking, or just spending time close to nature, are some of my favorite things.

Do you have any animal companions?

I have a darling, sweet girl named Sophie, my beloved kitty. We have had her in our lives for 9 years now- I don't know what I would ever do without her fluffy butt running around and her soft, sweet head that she loves to have kissed. I love to be in bed at night and feel her snuggling up against me or curling up on my hip or back. :) And then, the complete opposite of that, she is so much fun to watch when gets all crazy like a demon and attacks her toys or runs around the hosue growling at herself. lol She brings us so much laughter and joy and love. :)

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

I've been vegan for over 11 years now. Originally, I went vegetarian without knowing much about it other than I wanted to stop eating animals. I became vegan a year or two later for health reasons, again, not really knowing much about it. Once I started meeting other people who were veg/vegan, my whole idea about it changed. My understanding and knowledge about being vegan has grown a thousandfold since then. I choose it as a lifestyle now for deep ethical, spiritual, and moral reasons. At this point in my life, I am vegan to honor and respect all beings as equally deserving of compassion, love, and freedom. Animals, human beings, and the planet- all are one, and in essence, of the same energy and spirit. For me, being vegan is also a way of giving back to Earth by living as impact-free as possible, and about maintaining a healthy mind, body, spirit, and soul. I think vegan living is an example of how to walk tenderly, harm minimally, love fully, and lead with a compassionate heart. It's about countering all of the fear, hatred, and cruelty in the world with peace, kindness, and openness. And about countering and making up for my own negative crap I send into the world. As mellow as I am, I can be a bitch sometimes! :P It's been a natural progression to move toward eliminating everything possible from my life that isn't compassionate, including materials used in creating my art and jewelry. Anything else feels 'unnatural' and incongruent with who I am, what I care about, and the impact (or lack of one) I want to make in the world. I put so much of myself into creating things that to me (and hopefully to others) are pure and beautiful. Cruelty isn't beautiful. Materials that are derived from cruel methods or that dishonor other beings aren't beautiful.

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

I use VegWeb and PPK for recipes all the time. I have alot of cookbooks, but I always seem to find better recipes on these sites. I like shopping for vegan items on Etsy most of all.

What are your favorite foods?

Chocolate! I have a huge sweet tooth, especially for vegan cupcakes. :) I love avocadoes, Indian and Thai food, and fresh whole food dishes. Then I go through periods of time where one thing or another is at the top of my food craving list- right now it's blueberry pancakes and vegan 'snausages' or anything made with coconut milk. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Coma Girl is Giving It Away (again)!

The Coma Girl Designs is having another handmade vegan giveaway on her blog. Go here to enter to win the above hair clip from Cards & Jewelry by Michele. The giveaway closes on June 29th and all you need to do to enter is comment on her blog post. Good luck!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Home Sweet Sweetbiscuits.

I'll just say it - my childhood was... tumultuous. The path was never clear for my parents, and it seems that however murky things are for the parents, the children live in a place about 10 times muddier. So it goes. But for all the things they never quite figured out, food was something they always got right. It may not have been copious, but the meals that made it to the table were always home made, vegetable heavy, relatively healthy when compared to the Standard American Diet, and quite frequently delicious.

Waking up in my house was always a little bit nerve-wracking, because you'd never know quite what was happening beyond the bedroom door. Some of the very best mornings, though, the mornings that I always knew would be happy ones, were those where dad would wake me and my sister up early because he was making biscuits from scratch. He would make an enormous batch of them, and come get us just before the first tray came out of the oven. We'd stand around the kitchen eating them hot from the oven with good fruit preserves or apple jelly; we'd always eat too many, and there would always be plenty to snack on later when they were more dense and room temperature, a kind of delectable hockey puck.

The following recipe will produce a small batch of biscuits that are absolutely nothing like my dad's. But that's alright. Because they're my biscuits; they're not supposed to be like his. They're a little sweet, and a little crumbly. Even so, getting up first thing in the morning to make them evokes something of that old magic. I wake Jonathan up to share them with me; he acts grumpy about it, but he loves them and asks for them sometimes. They're also super-easy and satisfying. What more could you ask from a baked good?

A note on preferences: I tend to include my take on brands, flours, type of "milk", etc., but these things can always be tweaked to what you prefer.


* 1 and 1/2 cups white flour
* 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 3/4 cup Fleischman's unsalted margarine (1 and 1/2 sticks)
* 1 cup Blue Diamond unsweetened vanilla almond milk
* pinch of salt (to make up for the salt that's not in the margarine)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set your obscene amount of margarine to soften, either on top of your warming oven or in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. (Not melt, mind you, just soften.) In a large bowl combine flours, baking powder, and sugar and whisk together well. Add in the softened margarine and the milk; mix until reaching a homogeneous sticky biscuit-dough like consistency. This will be difficult mixing, but doesn't take all that long.

Spoon into a giant-muffin tin, the kind that has only six muffins per sheet. Use one which is nonstick or lightly oil it, or both (my tactic). Divide the dough evenly between the six wells. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Eat while still warm, slathered with the best blueberry preserves you can get your hands on. Ours came from the Amish. Mmmmmmm, Amish jam

Until next Monday,

Melissa Bastian

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Interview-Panda with Cookie

Todays interview is with Lisa with Pandawithcookie

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

I've only been on Etsy for about 8 months. I set up a shop name before then, but didn't have an active shop until October 2008. The name Panda with Cookie was chosen because I've had a similar name online in various places. And who doesn't like pandas and cookies?

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

I sell plush monsters, cotton tote bags, paper garlands, pins and a couple of other things. I like to think of my shop as having items that will brighten your day. I hope that my sense of humor comes through in my work.

What are some of your favorite things about etsy?

It's been a great venue for me to start my business. I have my first craft fairs coming up and I never would have made that leap without doing Etsy first. I also like the community of crafters. It's great to see so many people with the DIY ethic together.

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

Not yet, but I hope to start.

Do you have any future plans for your shop?

I want to keep expanding my listings. And as I mentioned earlier, I am doing my first in person selling in just a couple of weeks. I am hoping to expand and do more craft fairs through the end of the year. I'd love to make this my full time work.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?

I have always been crafty, and that takes a lot of my time. I also love to travel, read and watch Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Do you have any animal companions?

Mr. Bran, faithful friend for the past 11 years.

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

I am a fan of

What are your favorite foods?

Cookies, a good scone, kale and chickpeas

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

Support independent business!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Easy Peasey Raw Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

Yes, you read right, raw vegan strawberry shortcake. One bite and you will be in love, and without all of the flour and sugar and ick that normal shortcake brings!

You will need:

20-30 washed strawberries with their stems removed, sliced or chunked

3 handsfull of your favorite raw nuts (we use cashews)

1 handfull of organic dates

2 T. of ground dates (if you dont want to use more dates, you can replace with 2 Tblsp. of agave but then the recipe wont be totally raw)

2 dashes of sea salt

dash of olive oil

Process the nuts and salt into a fine powder, set aside in a bowl. Process your handful of dates, then add the nuts back into the processor, until light and fluffy, add oil as needed. Set aside in a bowl, this is your "shortcake". Process half of your chopped strawberries with the 2 Tblsp. of date "sauce", sprinkle the remaining strawberry chunks on top of your "shortcake". Drizzle with the strawberry date sauce. Put your feet up and enjoy the best strawberry shortcake of your life!