Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Tradition

"For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love."
~ Pythagoras

Wishing everyone happy, healthy and cruelty-free holidays!

Cleaning Naturally with the EtsyVeg Team

by Jennifer of jakrandomart,
EtsyVeg member and leader of Cruelty-Free Etsy

Household cleaners are full of toxins that are harmful not only to ourselves, but also to our families, our animal companions, and the planet. The EtsyVeg Team has compiled this helpful list of recipes and tips for cruelty-free alternatives to harsh cleaning products. Many of these recipes can be made from things you already have in your kitchen such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. I know I feel a lot better using items that won't harm me or my loved ones if they are ingested.

There is also a big economic incentive to giving those commercial cleaners the boot. PLUS, if your water is draining into a sewer where fish and other critters might dwell, you can take solace in knowing that you're not contributing to their suffering!

All-around Cleaner (found in a book, unsure of title/author)

2 C water
3/4 C vinegar
1/2 C hydrogen peroxide
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
20 drops of lemon essential oil (EO)
20 drops of tea tree EO

Use for cleaning areas like the sink/tub that require some light scouring power. Just spray a little of the mixture above, throw down some baking soda, spray a bit more cleaner on top of the baking soda, and scrub away.

Natural Cleaning in the BATHROOM

Drain de-clogger: Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down a clogged drain, followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. After all the fizzing and bubbling has subsided (which is kind of fun to watch) pour boiling hot water down the drain.

Bathtub and shower Cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda and dish soap (dye- and fragrance-free) directly onto tub surface and scrub with a sponge--it actually works a lot better than the cleaners bought off the shelf.

Toilet and floor Cleaner: Mix: 2 TBSP Borax (boric acid minerals, found in laundry aisle), 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 2 cups of hot water. Your bathroom will be disinfected and smell lemony fresh, not to mention that you will breathe easy while cleaning!

Shower curtains can be renovated by being washed, on gentle cycle, with a pint of white vinegar.

Build-up remover (on shower doors): Wipe with lemon oil to remove current build-up and keep doors protected longer from future build-up.

Fighting MOLD and MILDEW

Vinegar kills mold and mildew and removes soap scum. Mix one part vinegar and one part water. Spray liberally on affected surfaces and let sit for a 20 minutes. Spray more and scrub. Rinse and dry. The vinegar smell will dissipate as it dries. Tea tree oil is also an excellent killer of mold and mildew.

To keep mildew at bay: Squeegee the shower down in the morning before drying yourself off, to help keep mildew at bay. Additionally, ventilate the room well. Using a heat lamp or space heater can also help to dry up moisture, as well. This may not eradicate mold and mildew completely, but the reduced moisture will prevent it from taking over as easily.

ODOR Removal

Baking soda is a great odor neutralizer and abrasive (but not harmfully so) cleaner. Plus, it's inexpensive!

~Keep an open a box of baking soda in the refrigerator to reduce odor.
~Keep baking soda in an open container by the litter box.
~For drain odors -Dump a cup of baking soda in drain and allow to sit for a bit. Follow with some vinegar (enjoy the volcano) and then rinse with boiling water from the tea kettle.


Use vinegar and a page from yesterday's newspaper to clean windows and mirrors- it won't streak!


Vinegar can fight tough laundry smells (like mega armpit odor) and help to protect colors of clothing, too. To remove perspiration stains in clothing, soak in warm vinegar and water before washing.


Run a cycle of vinegar through the coffee pot to clean it.

Use Dr. Bronner's Eucalyptus liquid soap to clean floors and and the bathtub...works great. I'm trying to reduce the amount of products I have at home, and with Dr. Bronner's I can shower, wash my hair, and clean the bathtub and floor!!

For more effective dish washing, add a few tablespoons of vinegar in with the dish washing detergent when washing dishes.

To clean up spills in the oven, sprinkle the spills immediately with salt. When the oven has cooled, brush away the burnt-on food with a damp sponge.

To whiten an old, stained sink, pour 1/2 cup of salt in and scrub with a lemon. Let stand for a few minutes and rinse.

To prevent odor producing mold and bacteria in garbage cans, sprinkle 1/2 cup of
Borax in the bottom of the garbage can.

Use cooking or salad oil for lubricating non-essential mechanical things like hinges, tools, etc. A light coat of oil will keep tools from rusting.

Enjoy cleaning naturally for a better environment for you, your household, and the planet!

An Overflowing Cornucopia of Fresh Veggies!

A wonderful crop of brand new EtsyVeg members! It's a long list- let's all welcome this talented bunch! We're so happy to have you. :D

BsBaubles- jewelry, paintings, drawings

chickscratch- soy massage candles

friendlytaco- resin/fine paper jewelry

Hollyrose- wine cork art earrings

KnittyKrissy- recycled felt plush, knitting, clay

lochristine- unique sterling silver beaded jewelry

LotusHairBows- hair bows, ribbon art clips, & more

LuLusMeltShoppe- handpoured soy candles

marjoriescracked- broken china jewelry (also sea glass and found shell)

pandawithcookie- paper and fiber creations

Purplecatscorner- mixed media art work

SurfhoundSoapCompany- member littlesoapboutique's new shop

susanbrackett- beaded jewelry, paintings(ACEO too), portraits

Friday, November 21, 2008

Member "Pet of the Week" with LoveLuca

Meet Eggmund Beaks

"Eggmund Beaks" was the dearly loved companion of LoveLuca's Cari and her family. A Quaker Parrot, he was a "loving, beautiful birdie that turned [Cari] into a bird lover." He passed away last year, and she deeply misses him.

*Hugs* Cari! We're so sorry you lost Eggmund!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Interview with Aktie9

Part of an ongoing interview series profiling EtsyVeg members.
Interview presentation by Kylie of

Meet Heather of Etsy's Aktie9

Heather's shop of wonderful, vivid creations is a true reflection of who she is- vibrant, colorful, enthuisastic, and expressive. That she soaks up everything around her is evident, and her unique perspective on the world is both enjoyable and intriguing.

Q. Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity?

Being creative is a large part of my life. I'm constantly making something, whether it's art or cooking, or doing a project with my kids. So far I am homeschooling them myself, and we are always involved in something fun and educational. Every day we are creating something. I don't think it's possible for me not to. It's just huge part of my life, and persona.

Q. What do you sell in your Etsy shop?

I sell photography, polymer items, and digital drawings. The digital drawings I've done with my computer programs, usually an edited or over-edited photo of mine. My polymer creations range from pins and pendants to sculpture or decorative items for the home.
Q. What are your creative inspirations?

I find inspiration everywhere- from art sculpture in a museum to the kids' toys. For instance, some of my polymer pins are pressed into the indentations that are on a toy, such as a vintage lego. After pressing the polymer into it, I cook it, paint it, glaze it, and voila- a new pin! I also read a lot online or read books, magazines, etc. I find ideas all over!

Q. How did you get started creating?

I remember listening to the radio as a kid, and painting with water colours on paper. The song playing on the radio was 'Always a Woman' by Billy Joel, so it had to be around 1977. I would have been 3 years old at this point.

I recall painting with water colours first. I don't have a lot of really strong and clear memories, but, that one is very much so. I remember seeing a huge box of crayola crayons (the one with the sharpener included right on the box) at a friends house, and looking at all of the colours and wanting to try ALL of them right away. I was more interested in drawing or doodling what I saw than in colouring in a colouring book. I hadn't seen a box of crayons quite that large, and didn't know there were so many colours up to that point. I was super excited to get my own box, and when I did I had to draw lines and circles on a piece of paper to check each colour out and see which ones I liked and didn't. I remember leaving the silver, gold, and copper crayons alone in my box, thinking that they didn't look quite as spectacular being drawn with as they looked in crayon form. I didn't like them because they weren't "realistic" in my mind and weren't nearly as pretty as the "real" silver and gold. How's that for deep thoughts from a 5 year old? ;)

My mom & aunts were also creating all the time and making things with us. Both of my aunts have done art on a professional level. One is an art teacher and has art in a museum, and the other ran her own silkscreening business for years.

(Incidentally, I've seen Billy Joel in concert twice. I'm a fan of all kinds of music and love to listen to music while creating.)

Q. What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?

I was born into the artist world, so it just came naturally, I guess. My entire family is into art in one form or another: painting, architecture, silk screening, drawing, working with clay or paper, and teaching. Everyone of us has a skill, and that spans into different mediums for many of us.

My Grandfather was the one with the creative gene. He had incredible talents, and was into everything from woodworking to making stain glass windows for his church. He renovated his entire Victorian home throughout his lifetime, and spent years making it a perfect home. It was a treasure in of itself, and a form of art to me. We also have a bunch of musicians in the family, and I also write short stories, and poems- in my opinion those are also forms of art.

Q. What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is your dream project?

I would like to build a darkroom, and get back into 35MM. I'd also love to do some silkscreening. Like I mentioned before, my Aunt used to have a silkscreening business. When she stopped, I should have purchased her equipment and taken the job over. That has been one of my major regrets to this day.

Q. Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?

The arts, vegan/vegetarianism, writing, photography... Is that not enough? And animals-they are yet another passion. As a kid, I was always bringing home stray animals. We had a dog and a cat and fish.. and any animal I found out in the yard or wherever. My mom actually brought home the first stray, though- a cat named Pangie. Her name came from two two cats she'd had as a kid, Pan (a boy) and Gigi (a girl). My Grandfather always had cats when I was growing up, as well.

I got a job with the local vet as soon as I was old enough to. That catapulted me into Animal rescue and wanting to help more, and I went to Becker College for Veterinary Sciences. One of the first heartbreaks I had was a dog named Zoe, a "backyard breeder's" dog that was dumped at the college. I had planned on training her and giving her a head start, but they found out she had a heart murmur that was much too big to operate on and correct at the time. I fell hard for Zoe, and wanted to take her home with me at the end of school if no one else would adopt her. So it broke my heart that they had to euthanize her. I had held many a dog's paw at the Vet clinic I worked at when the owner's wouldn't be in the room, but I couldn't be in the room with Zoe. I took her for her last walk around the campus, said goodbye to her, and cried in the hallway. I made a pact right then and there that, as soon as I could, I would adopt a needy dog and do everything I could for her no matter the consequences or difficulties it brought me.

So many people adopt animals without making a lifetime commitment to them, treating them as objects rather than live beings. I would never do that. I will be vegan for the rest of my life. I will never eat another friend. I have three rescued dogs. and had a cat that passed away after a long long happy life last March.

Swedish cars is another passion, another one I received from my Grandfather. He had over 16 VW bugs, two convertibles and the rest hardtops. He was constantly tinkering with and working on them. I have three cars, two Saab's and one Volvo, one a "stray" and the others "rescues". I think of them as another form of art. And I do get greasy, but lately I've been too busy keeping the kids out of the toolbox while my husband works on them. I, along with him, am not that interested in attaining show room condition, but in the form and function of each car. The miles accumulated on them resulted mostly from driving for the sake of driving, I think. My 1988 900T has 220K on it, and is 20 years-old and still ticking.

Q. How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)

I've been on Etsy a little bit over 1 1/2 years. And yes- I'm addicted! I love the site and the people. I was addicted to treasuries for quite bit and managed to get thirteen of them. My favorite features are "Pounce" and "Time Machine 2".

Q. Is etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work?

I sell on Etsy, mostly selling to friends and family or by word of mouth. I haven't used any other sites, at least not lately. I'm planning on vending at a craft fair this fall. What I have listed on Etsy is a just tiny portion of the completed works I have. I'm working on listing more in the coming weeks. I also sell to family and friends outside of etsy. When they express interest in my pins, I make them their very own versions. :)

Q. What are your future plans for your shop/business?

Just to keep on keeping on. Sticking with etsy, and craft fairs I think. I'd like to have my own website at some point. But, I really love Etsy and the community here so I don't see myself venturing away.

Q. How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life?

I have been vegan only a short time, like 8 months or so. I read the Skinny Bitch book, and then quit meat cold turkey (sorry for the pun). Prior to meeting my husband, I was vegetarian, but I did that compromise thing and shouldn't have. There are some things one should never compromise on, and that is one of those things.

Q. What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or cravings?

I made a vegan apple crumble this morning with my sons. We peeled the apples, they mixed the ingredients, and we put it into the oven together. I do have a craving for chocolate from time to time. Dark chocolate.. just in the bar form. I used to love caramel. I'm going to have to find a recipe, cause caramel apples are so yummy in the fall. I miss them. I crave pizza, too, but whole wheat bothers me so I have to make it myself. My favorite way to have pizza is when we make it together. I have lots of fun cooking, and my kids love to cook with me. I always involve them and let them help out with things like cutting the veggies (with a butter knife) and washing the fruits (helping is the best way to learn). We are a very close family, and every single second of my life involves or revolves around my family and doing things with them. I think it's the best way to be.

Q. What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?

Websites: EtsyVeg?

My fav restaurant here in the Worcester area is Buddha Hut. It's an all Vegan Chinese food restaurant. I crave it all the time. They also carry some faux meats and vegan items for making things yourself. My sister made me some vegan "crab" rangoon the other day from "crab legs" purchased at the Buddha Hut.. yum! They were delish!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Black and White and Red All Over- An EtsyVeg Treasury

Our biggest, fattest, longest treasury ever! You can never have too much of a good thing... in this case anyway.

And for more unforgettable gifts, shop our teams's Crafty Veggie Marketplace!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Greatness of a Nation

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

~ Mahatma Gandhi