Sunday, February 28, 2010

Member of the Week: Kristen of Sweet V Confections!

This week the Vegan Etsy Team features Kristen of Sweet V Confections as our VET Member of the Week! This is one of several team shops that keeps us up to our ears in delectable vegan sweet treats (such as her absolutely gorgeous dark chocolate peanut butter bunny). Today Kristen talks to us from behind the scenes of Sweet V.

When did you open your Etsy shop, and how did you choose its name?
I agonized over a shop name for several days. While I want everyone to know that my goodies are vegan, I also don't want to "scare" anyone off by having the word vegan in my shop name. So, I decided to just use the letter V, instead of the word vegan. I have been a member of Etsy since October of last year.

What kinds of items do you sell in your shop, and what inspired you to start creating them?
I sell vegan baked goods and chocolates. I absolutely love baking, especially for other people. Being vegan in a small Midwest town I wasn't able to get vegan baked goods very often, and when I did I found they were expensive. I decided to just start making my own. After my family and friends tried some of my goodies, they convinced me that I needed to start selling them.

What are some of your favorite things about Etsy?
I love seeing all the wonderful things other sellers have in their shops. I am always amazed by what people are able to create. I also love being part of the EtsyVeg team and Vegan Etsy Team. The members of these teams have been so helpful and supportive, especially when I was just starting out.

Have you been featured anywhere?
Sweet V has been featured on This Just In for my oatmeal cream pies, on the EtsyVeg blog, on the Daisy Wares blog, and previously here on the Vegan Etsy blog.

How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?
I have been vegan since October of 2007. My main reason for being vegan is the animals. I saw the video 'Meet Your Meat,' and realized that I couldn't be the type of person I wanted to be if I were still eating animal products.

What are your favorite foods?
I love pretty much any dish that includes pasta. My favorite is probably the stuffed shells that I make. The vegan crab cakes at Whole Foods are probably my newest favorite food. It's a good thing we don't live closer to WF, or I'd be eating those almost every day. As far as my baked goods go, my favorites are scotcharoos and mocha stout cupcakes. I've been known to have the cupcakes for breakfast!

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?
My favorite vegan books are all cookbooks. I have way too many and don't use them as often as I should. As far as websites go, I am always on the Post Punk Kitchen.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?
When I have time to, I love to read. I'm currently working my way through The China Study, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, and Portions From a Wine-Stained Notebook by Charles Bukowski.

Also, I lived in Illinois for most of my life, and am really excited about getting to explore the mountains in North Carolina with my fiance.

Do you have any animal companions?
Yes! We have two kitties. We got Elle about 6 years ago from a family friend. Her name was originally Nomar (as in Nomar Garciaparra), since we were told she was a boy when we got her. Luckily, after about a week, I realized she was really a she, and then we had to go through the naming process again. Chloe found us about 3 1/2 months ago. She was a stray who had been hanging around our apartment complex. I could hear her little cry from our balcony, and with the nights getting pretty chilly here I couldn't let her stay another night outside. It took us a little while to get her to come inside, but once she did, she loved it.

Do you have any future plans for your shop?
In the near future I plan on adding several new items. I'm going to be experimenting with agave nectar and fruit-sweetened goodies. A little further down the road, I'd really like to open a vegan bakery in the Charlotte, NC area.

Is there anything else you would like to add or share?
Thank you so much for choosing me to be member of the week! I am so proud to be a part of a team with such talented and wonderful members.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cups
from Sweet V Confections

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Red Bike Bake Shop - our newest team member!

Please take a moment to welcome the newest member of the Vegan Etsy Team, Red Bike Bake Shop! This shop is guaranteed to wow you with vegan *organic* baked deliciousness - so don't forget to click that heart!

Personally, I may be ordering these vegan chocolate macaroons awfully soon... YUM!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Make it with love and it will sell!

Original Post on the Rants and Raves of a New Age Chick blog.

Victoriana Red Rose Cameo Necklace by StarrlightJewelryAs an independent artist who's been selling online for a few years now I have learned many selling tips from other online sellers who generously took the time and effort to share their knowledge - from taking top-notch photographs to dealing professionally with customers.

But I've also learned many lessons by personal experiences. Among these, the most important one is to never let a slump in sales bring me down. I understood the hard way that the more I obsessed about not having a sale, the longer it took for one to occur!

It happens to all of us. The problem is, not only do we let the lack of sales bring us down but we also make some really wrong moves which could be avoided if we took a few breaths and looked at the situation for what it really is... a fall which will be followed by a rise. It's always a cycle!

A couple of things to keep in mind always:


This little Piggy is NOT going to market................ midnightrabbitsDuring one of my slumps, I was approached by a store to sell them my miniature animal sculptures for less than half their value just so they could mark up their selling price at a 100% and make huge profits. They said that the discount I was offering them wasn't enough. I had a hard time making a decision. By grossly underpricing my work I could make a small chunk of money right then. I had no guarantee that my stuff would sell in the future at what I was asking for anyways. But just the thought that I would be selling off my 'babies' to these greedy people who didn't even appreciate the time and love I put into them (no matter how much they oohed and aahd over the animals) really bugged me. So I didn't go through with the deal. Today I'm selling the same little critters for what they're truly worth and I feel happy knowing that only someone who completely appreciates the value of my art will pay the price for it and therefore my 'babies' will have a loving home :)

A small discount to promote sales could be useful on occasion but freaking out and marking down your prices way below what you deserve is really not the best way to go. Waiting a few weeks or even months and earning 60 dollars for that beautiful painting you put hours of work into is far better than getting 25 dollars for it right now! (Unless you're in dire need of cash which is another issue altogether). By selling yourself short you not only disrespect the art but also reduce the value of your creations in the eyes of any future buyers.


I create when I feel the need to create. When I'm overcome by the urge to sculpt and mold and twist and hammer. And then, I make whatever floats into my mind and flows out of my fingers. My designs are rarely pre planned. A large part of why I don't, nor can I, make two things which are exactly the same. It is extremely difficult for me to create something on order. And on the rare occasion that I do take on custom pieces, I always make it clear that if the creation has to be of my usual top-notch quality, it might take me a lot of time to make it and it might not be exactly what is being asked for because I neither force myself to make something I'm not comfortable with, nor make myself create when I don't feel like it. It is very very important to me to pour my heart and soul into what I'm making so the final creation vibrates with the love.

Organic Cotton Knit Hat Chocolate HolisticallyHeatherIt's good to keep an eye on the market trends and know what styles are popular and maybe even incorporate that into your designs. But changing your style entirely just to get out of the slump would really hurt you in the long run. Particularly if it's something you don't even enjoy making. Heck, if you have to earn a living doing what you were not happy doing then you might as well take on any regular job instead of creating art. It is very important to remember that just because the jewelry you're making is not in a popular style right now, doesn't mean no one likes it. When you make that necklace with a smile on your face that smile seeps right into your creation and well, it's hard to resist buying a necklace that's smiling at you and making you smile :)


My most popular pieces have been the hardest to let go of simply because I wanted to either keep them for myself or gift them to my mom, my sis or a really really close friend! :) When I make something with myself (or the people I love) in mind then I automatically pour even more love into it than I normally do. I pay extra keen attention to every little detail and I completely enjoy the creating process because of the anticipation and excitement of the reward.

Happy Squirrels VegancraftasticRemember why you started to create in the first place? If you're anything like me then your art never started with an intention to sell. You created because it made you feel good. And you made things for yourself or as gifts for friends and family. You didn't treat your creation as just another product that was fun to make. When it's for you, or someone you love, it's more precious than that! So the next time you work on that lovely art doll, constantly picture her sitting on your coffee table. Visualize the glow on your friends face as she writes in that handmade paper book you're making.

When you create this way you have nothing to lose. Even if by a rare chance what you've created doesn't sell for a while then you are still happy because you get to keep it or gift it to someone you love.

And finally...


Owl Magnets Shae7d7I've seen this time and time again! When I obsess about the slumps for days together it's as if I'm creating a block for any sales to happen. I'm just focusing on what's not happening and getting frustrated. The day my mind is pre occupied with something else and I haven't even thought of my shop all day long... WHAM! That's the day I get the sale(s)!!

Trust in yourself and in your art. Make something, list it and forget about it. The less you're thinking about sales, the more sales you get. And as you keep practicing this letting go, you'll ultimately reach a point where the slumps become rare and are gone before you even notice. Nirvana! :oP

Tribal Dance Necklace artbysusmithaKnow this...

When you make something with love it will sell! It might happen today or next week or two years down the line. No matter when, a sale is certain. No two ways about it!

Featured Items by: StarrlightJewelry, MidnightRabbits, HolisticallyHeather, Vegancraftastic, Shae7d7, Artbysusmitha.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chocolate Revel Bars

The picture above was taken soon after they were done baking, so they were still all warm and gooey. These bars do firm up a bit but stay ultra fudgy. Don't let the large amount of oats in them fool you. These things are quite decadent!

Ingredients for the crust & topping:

3 cups oats (you can use quick cooking but regular work just fine)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup margarine
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 egg replacers (Ener-G works great)
2 tsp. vanilla

Ingredients for the fudgy filling:

1 can condensed soymilk
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. margarine
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

First, make the crust & topping. In a large bowl, beat together the cup of margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in the egg replacer and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda and salt, then stir into the margarine mixture. Put 2/3 of the mixture into the 9 x 13 pan and pat it down well. Set the rest aside.

Now it's time to make the fudgy filling. In a medium saucepan, put the condensed soymilk, chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp. of margarine. Heat it over low heat, stirring constantly, until it's smooth. Remove it from the heat and stir in the walnuts and vanilla. Spread it over the crust in the pan and break up the remaining oat mixture over the top of that.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes and let cool before serving.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Member of the Week: Melissa Bastian of bright. and Libellule!

Normally this is where I'd write a little intro about the Vegan Etsy Team's featured Member of the Week. But this week that member is, well, me! I was nominated by the fabulous Pippi of Uber Duper Creations, and while the whole thing makes me a little blush-ey, who am I to turn down a chance to babble about my projects? ;)

And so, here goes.

How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?
My wedding (which is in just four weeks, ack!) will feature all vegan food, and falls three days after my fourth veganniversary. Jonathan, the simply wonderful man who is my partner and is becoming my husband, has been vegan for over eight years. And so in a way the wedding is both a celebration of our union and of our veganity. We're most excited about the vegan cupcake tower! (Don't worry: pictures forthcoming.)

As far as why I went vegan, it was a process that took place over a number of years. From the time I was quite young - maybe 7 or 8 - I felt there was just something amiss about eating the flesh of animals, and was "picky" about my meat. When I was 17 I began having real problems with my health, and finally in my early 20's I began to look to nutrition for help as common western medicine couldn't cope with my chronic conditions. Once one lifts the veil and starts seeking the truth about our food, all sorts of information starts to pour out. It didn't take long for me to start learning what a mess our food industry is, particularly where animal foods are concerned. I began to get even more "picky" - I wanted certain products to be organic, for example. But as I learned more and more, I reached my inevitable conclusion, that the only food I could stomach purchasing anymore was food that was free of any animal product. I've been healthier and happier ever since.

That's the short version anyway. :)

What is the vegan community like in your area?
I live in New York City. Many will say that there is no such thing as a "vegan community" here, and that to an extent is true, but I have seen us come together in extraordinary ways when situations have demanded it. In general though, NYC is so large that everything shatters into fractions. Nearer to the truth is probably that there are many pockets of vegans, depending on other interests and geography. Out by me in Astoria, Queens... not so many. In areas of Brooklyn there are vegans everywhere! Every now and then, there will be an event big enough to draw out the crowds, like the NYC Veg Fest. It's impressive to see the population we really have here.

In general, we are terribly spoiled - there are so many veg restaurants here that in my four+ years in town I still haven't gotten around to all of them. It's easy to start taking it for granted... until we go traveling and realize what a luxury it is! Being vegan in New York is like living in Candyland. This situation is of course what inspired me to start my food-centric blog, New York in Green.

What kinds of items do you sell in your shop and what inspired you to start creating them?
bright. is named for my preferred style of paintbrush, but most of my shop listings are not paintings - for reasons that aren't fully developed in my head, I've actually never listed the majority of my paintings there. I have never really accepted myself as an artist, or haven't yet I guess. I move in and out of creating visual art, which is part of the problem there.

Instead, the shop is full of all sorts of things: paperweights, journals made from upcycled office paper and old magazine pages, bracelets, handmade one-of-a-kind envelopes... I see "stuff" sitting around, and it just strikes me - "I want to make something with that." So I do.

What I sell most of, though, are my zines. I began creating zines when I was 15 years old and struggling to find a voice. In the shitty world that was public high school in the 1990s, it gave me an outlet when otherwise I felt invisible and helpless. I've been making zines ever since, though the content has changed a good bit.

Libellule!... is empty. But I don't want it to stay that way! I have so many supplies that I'm dying to use - amazing Czech glass, pressed glass, and gemstone beads, vintage pendants - you wouldn't believe my box of shinythings. It's this tricky little thing called time though. Between working full time, keeping up with writing, doing a few things for the team, being in the final stages of a wedding, and coping with a chronic illness (which involves going to different kinds of therapy twice a week, to say nothing of the bad days), well, there's just not so much of the extra time. But some day again there will be. And when that time comes... shinythings!

Do you donate through your shops to any charities or do any volunteer work?
Right now, and until... just until, I am donating 50% of any and all sales to various organizations doing relief work in Haiti. There are also specific items related to New Orleans in my shop for which I donate 25% of the sale price to the Common Ground Collective, a group formed shortly after Katrina doing real grassroots work to help the people of the Ninth Ward rebuild their world, among other efforts around the city. (In case you're wondering, 50% of those items will also go to Haiti, meaning that 75% of the sale price will become a donation.)

One of the most inspiring projects I've been involved in was the Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti in New York City. There have been vegan bake sales across the U.S. to support Haiti relief efforts, as well as in Canada, western Europe, and possibly elsewhere. Our sale in NYC garnered the support of approximately 50 bakers, and even more people volunteered their time the day of the sale. Over two dozen area businesses and crafters offered prizes for our raffle. But none of that compares to how many people showed up to support the sale - by purchasing all of our amazing vegan baked goods! We raised over $5000 that day to donate to Doctors Without Borders. It was actually touching to see so many come together with no agenda, for no reason other than to help strangers; it was also a fantastic display of just how amazing vegan baked goods and sweets can be. Collectively, when last I checked, the vegan bake sales had raised over $40,000 to support Haiti relief work.

For the most part though, my "volunteer" time gets spent on the Vegan Etsy Team! Not that I do so terribly much, but I do what I can. Once I'm done with the wedding, I am hoping to begin volunteering for the NYC chapter of the House Rabbit Society. I have a strong desire to be more active in that kind of capacity.

Do you have any future plans for your shops?
Tentative, smoky, maybe-if plans at best. I would like to start making wedding accoutrements for Libellule!, largely because in trying to find things like wedding-ish hair clips on Etsy, I swear that everything was adorned with feathers or pearls or both! I'm not the only vegan bride out there, dernit. I'd also like to make jewelery specifically to raise funds for Haiti and possibly for other causes. I'm considering opening a third shop for my paper goods, phasing out some of the things I was doing, and making bright. strictly a shop for paintings, more appropriate for its moniker. But who knows; I am a bit fickle about these things, and unfortunately spread much too thin right now to make revamping a priority.

What are your favorite foods?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm a sugar whore. It's kind of ridiculous. I get overly excited whenever we get a new team member who bakes or makes chocolates. I do, however, also eat real food. And the truth is I love it all - except for olives. I really enjoy pure foods: perfectly baked brown rice, I could eat that all day long. Lentils, greens like kale and Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts... I can eat a whole head of steamed broccoli in a sitting, no problem, with just a bit of lemon, a shake or two of pepper, and the tiniest pinch of salt. I love making my own hummus; it's the easiest thing in the world, and you can make a ton just to your taste and eat it all week long. Fruits are fascinating, beautiful, and delicious, particularly berries. Just this weekend I've introduced my parents to quinoa; they're fascinated. When it comes down to it, I love food best when it's still in its whole form and tastes like itself, but is also well seasoned in a way which enriches those natural flavors. I savor feeling truly nourished after a meal.

All that said, I can totally get down on some bbq "wings" over at Foodswings.

Do you have any animal companions?
Yes! Just a few weeks ago Jonathan and I adopted our bunnybaby, Harvey. He is simply the most wonderful being on the planet earth. Rabbits are fantastic! Herbivorous, sweet, quiet, inquisitive, loving, intelligent. What more could you want from a furkid? And it was utter fate that he came to us.

We had casually spoken about adopting a rabbit, but we hadn't actually decided to do it. But then one day, somewhere in Long Island, a volunteer saw a sweet, healthy rabbit come into a shelter (the family didn't "feel" like "dealing" with him any more...?!?!), and go straight to the kill list. She couldn't stand the thought, and so got in touch with another woman she knows who does a lot of dog rescue in the area. That woman contacted Chloe of Girlie Girl Army, who put a post up on Twitter. One of Chloe's friend's retweeted, and one of my friends retweeted the retweet... complex enough for you? So I saw this post go up, and I just knew it was our rabbit. And despite the five person chain between us and him, he was in our loving care not 12 hours later.

The lessons here? 1) The vegan / animal rescue network is fantastic! 2) Always retweet/repost/whatever, because you just never know. 3) Bunnies are amazing!

Are you active in any vegan, vegetarian, or AR groups, either through in-person meetups and activities or online?
PPK 4-eva! Erm... Post Punk Kitchen that is. The message boards are a blast. There's the one side of being able to engage in random threads with vegans (and the vegan-curious) from all over the world, and the other side of actually going to meet up with all the NYC PPKers and those who come to visit. I have met a great group of quality people through the boards now. It can also serve as a real community network - many of the vegan bake sales for Haiti that have gone on were orchestrated there, including the one in NYC.

Do you do any work to promote veganism, animal rights, nutrition education, and/or other such causes?
I write a zine called Vegetable Vegetable Mineral, which is intended to be a zine about food, written by a vegan but for everyone. It's not a forum where I try to convince people to go veg; rather it is a place where I discuss the issues of the modern food industry. Personally, I feel that what people need most is knowledge. I don't feel that it's my place to tell people what they should or should not eat. But I can give them the information that led me to my own conclusions. Essentially, I believe that educated consumers make better choices, and the cumulative choices of consumers is what ultimately creates change in any capitalistic system.

I have also put out a zine called Being Vegan is Awesome. That one's a bit more straightforward in its message. But again, it's not meant to convert. It's simply about my experience with veganism; how much I enjoy being vegan, how much of what you hear about veganism being hard (protein, B12) is utter nonsense, and so forth. It's something like, "Hey, this has been awesome for me! It makes me healthier and happier!" It concludes with a sentiment along the lines of, "Are you worried about what you're eating? Maybe you should find about more about what exactly it *is* that you're eating..." I like to encourage people to think about these things. But in the end you can't force anyone to do anything, and most of the time trying to do so will just make them dislike you and whatever you stand for.

Overall, in whatever I write about being vegan, I try to take a stance of, "I love being vegan! So here's some information, and I think it'd be great if you looked into it... Let me know if you have questions, and have a nice day."

Why do you think it's important to buy handmade?
When we got into this wedding, I knew from the start that there was no way I was going to have a lot of mass-produced junk. No David's Bridal, no picking some invitation out of a huge book from a giant printhouse, no overpriced favors that'll just collect dust on a shelf beginning four hours after it leaves the reception. Sure, it might be cheaper to go to Wal Mart and buy by the dozen. But there is a concept of "true cost" that is paramount in my mind. There is a system dominated by a mindset that is surely unethical, and could possibly be called evil: make money at any cost, whether it be human or animal suffering, groundwater or soil pollution, destruction of entire ecosystems, depletion of resources - nothing else matters but the "bottom line". This method of operation is extremely short-sighted; it is also beneficial only to the very few while being harmful and even deadly to the many.

Given the all-consuming and seemingly omnipotent monster that this system has become, it is nearly impossible to avoid it entirely. But we can limit how much we pay in. Being vegan helps. Getting our food from farmer's markets and CSA's or at least locally owned grocery stores helps. Shopping at your local bookstore and record store helps. And buying objects made by the hands of people who also aren't buying in: this is why we buy handmade, and particularly why we buy from fellow vegans.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I just have to say that I love my team! Really, it's a fantastic group of people, and my only regret is not joining them sooner than I did. Being a part of the VET has definitely enriched my Etsy experience, and really enhances my whole vegan world. Now whenever I need anything, I check Vegan Etsy first! I've gotten so many wonderful products from fellow team mates. Jonathan has started to "get it" too: a fair number of my Christmas and birthday gifts came from fellow VET members this year!

Also, I will extend my customary open invitation to any reader who may not be vegan or even vegetarian, but who may have questions. Need to know anything at all? Concerns? Advice? Need a good vegan cupcake recipe? Please feel free to contact me!

Thanks all.

Melissa Bastian.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Helloooooo Bakesalery!

Please welcome the Vegan Etsy Team's newest team member, Bakesalery! The baked goods and tasty treats in this shop look so amazing, I'm sure you won't skip a beat in clicking "add seller to favorites" - who could help it!

Vegan Cherry Jubilee Cups
from Bakesalery

Friday, February 19, 2010

Vegan Derby Girl

I recently decided to go for it and join the local roller derby league, and I had no idea what I was in for when I did!
If you know me, you know that I try to incorporate my crafty nature into everything I do, so lets just say...keep your eyes open for some awesome derby related crafts in the near future!
So what do you do if you are vegan AND you want to be a kick butt derby dame? Well, you buy vegan roller skates, of course!

If you are just looking to go to an open skate here and there, or dont want to be left out when your friends go and rent those nasty leather skates...these skates would be a great option! They are also VERY affordable.

If you are looking to do roller derby and represent animals and vegans by rejececting the typical leather shoes, Riedell now makes a vegan roller derby skate! I researched online and these skates are pretty new to the market, but all of the reviews I have read have been excellent. They arent much more than most Riedell non-vegan skates, and a local skate shop gives a 10% discount to all roller derby people! It has been about 3 weeks now since I special ordered my vegan skates, a first for the shop I went to, and I am so excited that they will be in early next week! I got the exact ones in the photo, but I opted to upgrade to a metal plate instead of the nylon as I am a bigger woman.

Whether you plan to just go skate with friends, or you want to kick some butt on the track playing roller dont have to compromise your beliefs or sit it out becuase these days we have options! I have also started a blog and facebook fan page where I will chronicle my journey from uncoordinated bike riding vegan to vegan derby girl! Not interested in roller derby? That's cool, I will also be posting workout tips, pre workout recipes and general healthy living blog posts as well!

Go Vegan, Thrash The Derby Track With Your Veggie Powered Skates!

Posted by: Heather from

Holistically Heather

Aunt Flos Pads

Vegan Craft Samples

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A little help from my friends
The Saving of The Bulls

For those of you who have been following the story of the three bulls who were to be sold to slaughter, we've got some good news for you: The money was raised, and Pooka Cow, Spotty Friend, and Less Spotty Friend are now safe in the care of Jodi and her husband! The three bulls were able to spend Valentine's Day out to pasture where they belong, rather than en route to a slaughterhouse.

Jodi has informed us that, all told, over 100 people donated in one way or another to make it happen. It's a significant sum to raise in just under two weeks, and just goes to show how many of us truly value the life of each and every creature. She'll be keeping us all up to date on the cows' progress and wellbeing on her This Is It! Creations blog.

This past Saturday was indeed a joyous day for that now somewhat larger family. The new cow parents have dived headfirst into a crash course on bovine care. Says Jodi: "If you had asked us a few weeks ago whether we would be cow parents today, I would've just laughed. You never know what turns life will take, that's for sure!"

Feeding and care of the three bulls is a significant investment, so the couple is grateful to continue to receive any donations through the established ChipIn widget or site. As usual, Jodi's sentiments sum it up best:
We are now the proud parents of these sweet boys, and we are thrilled that they will be able to live out their lives... I promise that I will keep you all updated - for now we are just going to focus on taking care of them and trying to raise enough money to make sure they have everything they need.
Spoken like a true cowmama. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Easy Black Bean Sloppy Joes

This is a very easy recipe that I adjusted to make my own, so feel free to play with it. It’s really hard to mess these up! I like really spicy food, but if that’s not your cup of tea, you can reduce or eliminate the spicy ingredients. This makes a lot, which leaves us with leftovers for a few days.


1 small onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 habanera or jalapeno, diced
2 Tbsp. oil
1 can black refried beans (or 1 can black beans- rinsed, drained & mashed)
8 oz. tomato sauce
½ cup quick cooking oatmeal
2 Tbsp. hot sauce or 1 tsp. chili paste (or both, if you prefer)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. agave nectar
2 tsp. chili powder
Avocado, sliced or mashed


In a larger saucepan, sauté onion & peppers in the oil for a few minutes, until they start to turn soft. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the avocado) and mix well. Cook on medium/low heat until heated through. Spoon onto a bun or bread and top with avocado. If any of it falls out of the bun, just scoop it up with a chip! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vegan Etsy Team Member of the Week: Uber Duper Creations!

This week, the Vegan Etsy Team blog features the awesome Pippi of Uber Duper Creations. Her shop features the funnest of the fun for your canine companions, as well as some special handmade items for the parents of those furkids and some great reading material!

From Pippi and her partner in crime Phaedra:

Über Duper Creations (Üdc) came about from a desire to have a fun, creative outlet for our dabblings with crafts as well as a way to make an income that can help us contribute to people and places that help animals. We thought we should have a name that is also fun to say! Say it with me... "Über Duper!" See? Wasn't that fun? Our Etsy shop (powered by Pippi & Phaedra) is an outlet for a range of creations.

A mainstay of the shop is Beastie Biscuits, which are organic, vegan, tasty treats for beast friends. Most of the Beastie Biscuits clientele are dogs. However, other frequenters include pot belly pigs, goats, and even some cats!

We also feature the Peace to all Creatures 'zine that Pippi co-edits with Jessi of The Ginger Card Company, a fellow VET member. Other items that can be found in the Üdc Etsy shop are crocheted items, hand painted treat jars and pet dishes, cat nip pillows and toys, greeting cards, photography, post cards, and whatever else we may find inspiring. Because we are animal lovers and share our homes with animals, it is easy to see where we might find our inspiration: in our own homes and from our own beast friends.

Üdc has been a part of Vegan Etsy for nearly as long as we have been on Etsy. We will celebrate our two year anniversary on April 1st. We donate ten percent of sales in addition to other items for auctions, raffles, gift baskets, door prizes, et cetera, to various animal charities. There are so many wonderful people out there helping animals that we cannot choose just one.

The Etsy community is such an eclectic group of creatives. It is so much fun to be a part of this group of people who are creative and sharing their wares with the world. We love the 'hand made with love' factor of gift buying and shopping for ourselves. Especially from fellow Vegan Etsians! What a talented bunch we are! It's so wonderful to have a source for cruelty free items, and to be able to buy from others who "get it"- we do not NEED to support a cruel and violent industry. There are alternatives that are peaceful and just as luscious.

We share a passion for health, fitness, nature and an active lifestyle. Phaedra is a runner and enjoys yoga. Pippi loves the great outdoors of Colorado and also enjoys yoga and hanging out with her family, as well as caring about animals and animal companions, and sharing a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves by educating and being open and honest not only about the benefits of veganism, but also the horrors of the industry that is animal commodity. We also share a love for food & wine, and although we live in separate states, our favorite discussion is always our latest food adventures.

When we get together, we eat, drink and be merry! Pippi has been vegan since 1997 or 1998 (forgets!) and just finished a second vegan pregnancy and uncomplicated home birth! Phaedra has been vegan for around 8 years. Her favorite food items include the chili at Infusion Tea and anything on the menu at Garden Cafe (both in Orlando Florida). A few of our favorite vegan things include cooking and cook books (a major go to book for Phaedra is 'How it all Vegan' by Sarah Kramer & Tanya Barnard), going out to eat at veg restaurants, trying new vegan products (Pippi is a big fan of Daiya & blue Sheese), shoes, traveling, laughing, creating and having fun living life!

The Üdc shop will continue to offer tidly bits of love. After a pregnant hiatus, Beastie Biscuits is coming back this month! We will introduce new flavors and options of Beastie Biscuits as well as a biscuit of the month club.

Thank you - we are so honored to be featured as the Vegan Etsy Team member of the week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vegan Craft Sample Bags

Having just received my Vegan Craft Sample Bag, I wanted to blog about it. However, instead of posting a few photos and a general write up, as I have done previously, I decided to review each item from a Vegan Etsy Team members shop that are in the bag. A bit of a mammoth task, since the bag is full of many lovely goodies, so I'm going to write about it in stages. Starting with a photo of the bag itself and a couple of photos of the items swished accross it.

As you can see, a fab mix of vegan goodies. Wanna see them close up? So did I. I had so much fun looking through my bag, and more fun photographing the individual items, cos I could them look at them all again!
In no particular order:

I wanted to photograph the label as much as the incense sticks from Mrs Tattooed Geek.
The label is funky and very intriguing. the incense sticks have a strong smell, that will scent my room nicely. they are dusted with glitter, a very nice effect. The gorgeous Etsy shop sells such wonderful items as air fresheners, jewellery, candles, and lots of other fabulous delights.

This funky card comes from Late to the Revolution. A novel card, showing vegan love in a unique way. I love it. Their shop sells imaginative items such as handmade headphones, paper goods, beanies and lots more.

This sweet magnet, displaying a pretty pattern inspired from Japanese Temari balls from CraftyPanties.
Their shop has the most adorable Temari Balls and Fabric Balls, in wonderful colours and patterns. For those that don't know what Temari Balls are, check out Crafty Panties, and prepare to be amazed.

Crye's Creations was adorable little envelopes, the right size for business cards, I know I'll be using them soon! also cute little note books for those very inportant messages. love the pretty paper used. Her shop is full of lovely creative goodness such as art doll kits and mini envelopes.

How's that for starters, lots more samples and reviews to come, keep checking back, as I sample the samples, and am delighted at the delights!
Vegan Craft Samples can be bought HERE, and check out the blog for further information.
And I forgot to mention the important bit- as well as receiving a bag full of fantastic vegan items, 100% profits from the sale of the bags go to help animal charities - a perfect chance to treat yourself without the guilt of spending - it's all good!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Seven Layer Bars

I was so thrilled when I found some vegan condensed milk because that meant I could finally veganize a few bar recipes I've been dying to have. These are extremely easy to make and so good! All ingredients are vegan, of course-

1/2 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 can condensed soymilk
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut

Place the margarine in a 9 x 13 pan and put in the oven. Turn to 350 degrees and leave in the oven until melted (leave the oven on when done). Spread the graham cracker crumbs evenly on the bottomof the pan. Spread the chocolate chips next, followed the white chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour the condensed soymilk as evenly as possible over everything. Sprinkle the coconut on top.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting. Eat!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Don't gimmie no bull... gimmie three!

It was a fantastic first week of fundraising for the three bulls who need our help: Pooka Cow, Spotty Friend, and Less Spotty Friend. Thanks to the efforts of an extensive and tireless effort, something in the neighborhood of $1600 has been raised! This is great news.

But we're in the home stretch now - we must reach a grand total of $36oo in the next five days! Let's not even talk about what would happen if we didn't get there, because we are going to make this happen.

If you'd like to contribute to the cause, there's plenty of great ways to do so. Of course you could just go ahead and chip in - we'd really appreciate it! You could also go shopping at one of the fabulous shops which is donating a portion of proceeds to saving the bulls. The list of shops participating has been growing by the day, and currently looks like this: - donating 100% of sales on both 2/3 and 2/10 - donating 50% of sales through 2/13 - donating 10% of sales through 2/15 - donating 100% of sales through 2/13 - donationg 100% of sales through 2/13 - donating 100% of sales through 2/13 - donating 75% of bracelet sales through 2/13 - donating 20% of sales through 2/13 - donating 50% of sales through 2/11 - donating 50% of sales through 2/13 - donating 50% of sales through 2/13 - donating 100% of sales through 2/13 - donating 25% of sales through 2/13 - donating 25% of sales through 2/13

Pretty impressive. Have fun shopping, and feel good about helping us help the animals!

P.S. - One of the best things you can do to help is help us spread the word. Please feel free to repost this blog post, tweet about it, or post it on Facebook!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

VET Member of the Week: Heather, creator of Vegan Craft Samples!

This week's Vegan Etsy Team Member of the Week is Heather of Holistically Heather and Aunt Flo's Pads. Heather is a constant advocate for animals, and regularly donates portions of her shop proceeds to various sanctuaries and other animal causes. Most recently, for example, Heather is generously donating 100% of the profits from both of the above shops to save three bulls from slaughter. Possibly her most focused animal action effort is through the only all-vegan sample bag on the market, Heather's brainchild Vegan Craft Samples. Today Heather talks to us about this ambitious and creative way to promote vegan crafters and products while simultaneously supporting animal rescue efforts.

How did you choose the name of your shop?
I chose the name Vegan Craft Samples because I thought it best explained the idea of the project.

What inspired you to begin Vegan Craft Samples?
Vegan Craft Samples came upon me when I realized that there were no sample bags currently running that were vegan/animal friendly. So we started our own, and decided to give profits back to animals that need them!

So you donate to animal organizations through your shop?
100% of the profits from each bag sold goes to an animal sanctuary. Each new edition of the bag goes to a different sanctuary, which is voted for on our blog, It's all in the Blog. Our Valentine's Day sample bags are on sale now, and 100% of profits are going to Pigs Peace Sanctuary. Bags are available in three sizes, and can be purchased in our etsy shop or on our website. They make great gifts!

What are some of your favorite things about Etsy?
I love that you can find pretty much anything your mind dreams up, and it is totally handmade!

Do you sell your items outside of Etsy, either online or in retail shops?
Not quite yet other than the website, but we did recently donate a couple of our bags to raffles and fundraisers for animals!

Have you been featured anywhere?
We have been interviewed for Veg News Magazine, reviewed on their "This Just In" blog, reviewed by Sarah Kramer, and have appeared on various other blogs.

How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?
I have been vegan almost 15 years. I grew up in a family who loved animals, yet didn't respect them. It made no sense to me, and after I found out that they were lying and saying the chicken wasn't real chicken that I was eating... I stopped eating meat. Shortly after, I began reading about dairy and other animal products and it was a no brainer for me. My partner Jessi has been vegan about 3 years now; she was vegetarian when we started hanging out but quickly turned vegan after learning how easy it was to cook (and learning more about dairy production).

What are your favorite foods?
Daiya cheese on everything and anything, stuffed shells, raw tabbouleh, salad, coconut milk ice cream...

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?
I recently read Obligate Carnivore, and I highly recommend it to vegans and non vegans alike... it's a great book. I also recommend "It's A Vegan Dog's Life" by our fellow team member of eponymous shop name. It is priceless for anyone who has fur babies in their lives, full of information and recipes pups will beg and steal for!

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?
I recently started out on the local roller derby team! I am blogging about life as a vegan roller derby girl - the blog is called Vegan Derby Girl. It is awesome and all of the women are so supportive and helpful! I also enjoy riding bikes, hiking, canoing, swimming and traveling.

Do you have any animal companions?

Penney is the little princess of our house, who hates when it rains and would much rather hold her potty until it is sunny and warm out! We were told she is a black lab chow, but she's definitely a whippet terrier of some sort. We had a new addition to our family last year, Carmel, who had a miserable past and is improving mentally and physically every day. He is a yellow lab

What is the vegan community like in your area?

The vegan community in Utica, NY is small but hopefully growing. I know there are vegans around this city, we are just trying to find them. We recently started hosting a monthly vegan potluck at our house. The first one was in January and we had about 10 was awesome!

Why do you think it's important to buy handmade?
I think it's important to buy handmade because that is the closest option to my ideal at this point. Ultimately I would love to trade 100% of the time: trade for things I need, make things for people that they need....this is a very disposable world we live in with way too many useless possessions that become obsessions.

Do you have any future plans for your shop or other endeavors?

Jessi and I plan to start an animal sanctuary in the future, and hopefully use the sample bags as a way to raise money to help as many animals as we can! We also will be transitioning all of our Etsy shops to benefit our sanctuary 100%... oh to dream, but it is becoming more and more real.

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

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Enjoy this lovely video featuring the Valentine's Day bag samples!