Etsy is a unique blend of artists with many different creative styles and approaches. What is your own "philosophy" or approach to creativity? I love creating gentle, happy products inspired by the beautiful colors and shapes and textures of nature. I also think it is important to have fun while creating, adding little happy thoughts to each item I make.
What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
I sell mostly natural play foods made from vegan-friendly cotton or fuzzy wool. Over the last six years I have made every fruit and vegetable you could imagine, espressos con panna, mexican and indian feasts, and hundreds of cupcakes, cookies, and slices of pie. I also make lots of custom knitted and crocheted longies, shorties, and skirties for cloth diapering. I added apple cozies and cell phone cozies in the last year to our menu.
What are your creative inspirations? I love food in a way that might be odd for a raw food vegan. I watch reality cooking shows with passion. I love cutting and chopping and dicing. I get the warm fuzzies in the produce department of whole foods or in a friend's garden. We go to the farmer's market every week. The bright, happy colors of food excited me!
How did you get started creating?
A neighbor taught me to crochet when I was 5 years old and I have loved to play with yarn since. I didn't really get super excited about crafting as a business or the specific products I make now until my fourth son was born.
What other artistic tendencies do you have? Do you have other crafty/artsy skills that you already do or would like to try?
I love painting and working with pastels when i can (but rarely do). I would love to work more with wood when my kids are grown since I loved creating designs with a wood burning kit when i was young. I have been watching a friend embroider tea towels with fruits and veggies and I became super jealous. Her tiny little eggplants and stalks of celery made me want to take up a new craft right now.
What would you like to try to make, that you haven't already? What is
your dream project? When the kids are all a bit older and we are approaching empty nest syndrome, I plan to get started on making our own natural material, organic mattress. Spending 7-10 hours on bedding that could be toxic frightens me. I would also love to learn to quilt.
Do you have any other hobbies/interests/passions?
I love to write, the creative process or the academic one, or just take notes. I like the process of writing and the actual act of putting pen to paper. I also play canasta nearly every week with my friends, a diverse group of moms, college students, women in their 50s, men in their 40s. We are really competitive. I also am passionate about health, nutrition, and fitness. I research health topics daily and work out hard several days per week.
How long have you been on Etsy, and are you an Etsy addict? :)
I have been on etsy since July 2006 and I love browsing all the stores, finding unique gifts and fun items for our family.
Is etsy a large part of your business? How else do you market your work? I started out on hyenacart and had my first thousand or so sales there, and was excited about the diverse and fun cloth diapering, natural parenting community there, but etsy has such a huge worldwide market and I have been really pleased with my sales on etsy over the years.
What are your future plans for your shop/business? I am really happy where I am at: inspired by the world around me and crafting what makes me smile and what the customers ask for. It is a great place to be and fits in with my large family. I would love to be more available and attentive to the teams and congos I work with, and more on top of photography and listing, but I love the size of my business right now.
How long have you been vegan/vegetarian? How does being veg play into the rest of your life? I have been vegetarian for over 15 years, and when my husband and I decided to get married over 14 years ago he, too, became a vegetarian (although a few times over the last few years he has tried sushi, which i won't do). Our children have been lifelong vegetarians. A few months ago I converted to raw food veganism and it has been an amazing thing for my health. A year ago I weighed 224 pounds and now I am 168 pounds and every day getting stronger and healthier and losing weight. It is a challenge for my husband, though, a marathon runner who has recently dropped another 20 pounds from his very lean strong frame. We pay careful attention to our foods making sure the children are eating plenty of whole grains, vegetable proteins, and healthy fats. We all eat green smoothies with what we need for our individual bodies. It is a huge part of our life, but that's because we know how important vegetarianism is for our health.
What is the last recipe you made? What are your food vices or
cravings?I like to make raw soups based in soaked cashews and raw crackers made by dehydrating blended veggies. I love treating myself with marinated mushrooms from whole foods olive bar and raw chocolate bars from a local restaurant.
What is your favorite vegan/vegetarian store/restaurant/blog/website?
I love Blue Nile in Tempe, Arizona. It is an Ethiopian restaurant focusing on vegetarian items, many of which are organic. It also has a raw food menu for me and an extensive raw food menu on sundays and mondays. I love their raw tacos with mango salsa and the super duper green soup with sprouts. They have an amazing chewy raw onion bread sandwich piled high with ripe tomatoes and creamy avocado and spicy mustard.