Tuesday, July 27, 2010

George Bernard Shaw

Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn!  You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak!  Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay. 

~George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Create U-Tube Video for Your Etsy Teams

As an artisan with a shop on Etsy I belong to several teams and on 1000Markets, I founded and manage a market known as the Asian Inspirations Market.

This week as part of my team duties, I created u-tube videos for the Etsy Melange Team ( a mixed media art group with shops on Etsy) and the Asian Inspirations Market. Many of my team/market colleagues wanted to know if it was difficult to do. Actually, it is not. It is super simple and I did it all on Picasa. Basically, it is a slide show converted into a movie format. Below is the video I made for the Etsy Melange Team

Here is how:

Note: Before you gather the images for the video, get the artists consent first.

1. You need to create a folder to hold the images that will be included in the video. Give a name to the folder, preferably with the team name and a date. This is what will show on the first slide (you can also edit the slide later).

2. Go to individual shops and decide on the product that will be part of the slide show.

2. Saving the images---I have a Mac and it is simply a matter of dragging the product image to the folder. Do not use the thumbnail image. Click on the thumbnail and copy the image that shows up on the actual product page. 

3. Once you have added all the images that you want to include in the video, open up Picasa. If you do not have Picasa, you can download it  here

4. In Picasa, select the folder that contains the images and click on the Movie icon at the bottom of the screen.

5. The movie window will look like this

5. Now you set up the video as you want. Under the movie tab, on the left side, you can load audio from your hard disk and use the various options to play (e.g, fit photos to audio, truncate audio etc.).

6. Set the transition style.

7. if you want to add any text slide, click on the slide tab and it will open a blank slide and you can add your text. I must warn you here--the adding and editing text is the clunkiest part of this process. 

8. Click on "Create Movie" to make the movie. It will take a few minutes for it to process.

9. Play it and if you want to change it, click on edit, make the changes and click on "Create Movie" again. You can do this any number of times till you are satisfied.

10. Now the last step: Click on the YouTube button. You need to have an account onYouTube t to load the video. Once you set up the account, follow the instructions on the screen.

Etsy Melange video on YouTube

Friday, July 23, 2010

Which came first?

West African Groundnut Stew (vegan)

Not quite the type of recipe you'd expect to be posted on a sunny, summer afternoon, but the warm, aromatic and delicious spices of my very favorite stew/soup ever seem to me to fit with the hot and vibrant day. When I first tried this stew, a friend made it for me for dinner at her home. I was blown away by the excitement in my mouth and warm exuberance in my stomach. Sweet potatoes, ginger and garlic, a kick of pepper and spices, and the unexpected and unusual mixture of tomatoes and peanutbutter made me fall in love with this extraordinary dish, and I am sure it will do the same to you! :)

West African Groundnut Stew
(author unknown- if you know, please inform me so I can credit them)


1T canola oil
1 med onion
1 red or yellow pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t minced fresh ginger
1 cayenne or serrano chile, seeded and diced
2 c water
2 c tomato juice (I sometimes mix tomato paste and water)
1 14oz can stewed or diced tomatoes (preference)
2 c sweet potato, diced
1 T dried parsley
1 1/2 t dried thyme
1 1/2 t cumin
1 1/2 t sea salt
1/2 c chunky peanutbutter
2 c shredded spinach or chard


1. Saute onion, pepper, garlic, ginger, and chile in oil 4-5 minutes.

2. Add water, tomato juice, tomatoes, sweet potato, and spices. Simmer 25 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until potato is very tender.

3. Aggressively stir in peanutbutter.

4. Add spinach or chard and return to simmer, stirring frequently.

5. Remove from heat and let stand 5-10 minutes.

The recipe suggests serving over couscous or rice, but I prefer it with a crusty, fresh ciabatta instead. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yoga Kitty

My Sophie loves it when I do yoga, and gets super happy when I get out my mat. She runs over to me and hovers close, anticipating a stretch on my mat and then a snooze on me while I stretch on my back at the start and end of my practice. In her desire to be near while I move through my asanas (poses), she often plants herself in the middle of my mat so that I have to maneuver around her. On this day I decided to document it, very unyoga-like. :P I love my kitty!

In the first two, I have just unrolled my mat and am standing on it. I love the look in her eyes. :) How could anyone resist?

In this next group, I have stretched out on my mat for a warmup, and Sophie, as usual, immediately climbs onto my chest and relaxes. I usually linger here for her... **Please ignore the deodorant ring on my tank. lol**

I've displaced Sophie and started to move here. She doesn't make it easy.


Sivasana- rest time. We've done a lot of work.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Winner of June's "Green Thumb" Challenge!

Hooray! The results are in, and the winner of June's "Green Thumb" Challenge is Heather of The Blue Windmill! Heather's beautiful bun in her fine art print "Little Bunny" was top vote getter in the recent poll. Congratulations to you, Heather! :D

If the Whole World Becomes Vegetarian ....

"Vegetarian food leaves a deep impression on our nature. If the whole world adopts vegetarianism, it can change the destiny of humankind."

~Albert Einstein

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Loving Life Continued

I recently posted a blog about loving life. I am blogging about it again because I need to remind myself to try and love life when I feel stuck, especially when I feel stuck. We all need to remind ourselves of this.

I am promising to stick to my pledge to do things that bring me joy. I have been trying. My husband, John, and I rallied our families together and we went to the mountains in North Carolina to spend a long weekend. John and I are planning a week long vacation in the Caribbean. We went to a winery festival for the day with my parents about a month ago. I spontaneously made up a dessert one night when in the mood for chocolate (John loved the dessert and I hated it).

And most recently, John and I went on a tubing adventure on the Dan river (in Stoneville, NC) with friends. After tubing, we headed to a vegetarian restaurant in Greensboro. My friend Stephanie organized this awesome tubing event and we decided to go because we
love nature and we have never tried tubing before. Not only did we get to spend time in nature, we got to spend the day with wonderful vegetarian friends.

We floated down the Dan river for about three hours in individual tubes. At times we had what we called the "floatzilla" where we all traveled in a clump of tubes together. Other times we tubed away from others or in small groups. It was all a blast! The conversations and the people were so much fun. When tubing was complete we headed to Boba House, a delicious vegetarian restaurant in Greensboro. The day concluded with a hilarious drive home.

I loved every minute of this day. From the second I got up and got ready for the farmer's market to the time we all said good night. This day most certainly sticks to my pledge to do things that bring me joy.

What have you done lately to bring yourself joy? Tell me about it! We need to inspire each other.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Welcome to Pondy Bazar, Chennai India

Side by Side

Pondy Bazaar in T.Nagar is one of the oldest shopping and business hubs in Chennai. It has been around for a long time, predating India's independence in 1947. Way back then it was the shopping hub for well-to-do Indian doctors, lawyers and businessmen who lived in the spacious bungalows in T.Nagar. Today, many of the bungalows are being transformed into multi-storied condos while Pondy Bazaar has become a microcosm of 21st century India where tradition and modernity comfortably coexist--slick department stores alongside hole in the wall shops, bicycles with motor cars, styrofoam plates with raw coconuts, pedestrians with jam packed buses...as a visual spectacle it will take the critical eye a long time to unpack. Take a look...

It may not seem like it these are thriving shops that have been around for a long time


Choices, choices

 Chappals or Jewelry?!

Home decor, anyone?


21st century Chennai

Making a living

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just a Quick Reminder..

For the Etsyveggies out there selling for Suncoast Seabird Donation drive. We need you to please :) get your donations in soon, so we can collect the monies, tally them and send them on to Suncoast. We'd like to get it done asap, since this is summer and folks are going on vacation!

Thank you all for taking the time to do this & helping this worthy cause!

If you would like to do more, check out Pippi's shop. She is selling items to donate to the same cause, via Sea Shepherd.

If you have questions please contact, Kathleen or Heather.

Thanks you so much!--Heather :)

Why Handmade?

From the blog of Erin of Krug's Eco-Logic on Etsy.

What Are You Getting, When You Buy Handmade?

Many people love supporting small business. You can see your purchase directly benefiting the family involved. Your money stays, usually within your community, or helps to further support another small business.

Handmade is an even smaller niche of the small business portion of our economy. So ... why purchase handmade? What makes something handmade (genuinely hand-made), much more beneficial to you and your family?

Many large companies hire employees at much lower wages, to grow the company in order to financially ameliorate themselves. Far to frequently lately, are we seeing CEO's and Presidents of major corporations taking jets, lavish vacations, and purchasing multiple properties while their employees work overtime 'off the books', go without healthcare benefits, and can barely support their families. Small businesses (particularly handmade, in my opinion) are so connected to their product and are so passionate about what they've created, they take great care in all aspects of their business, and want to see their employees cared for, and happy. These owners are invested more spiritually, and deeply in their company than those of major corporations.

What about the product itself? Handmade materials and ingredients are not decided upon by someone far removed from the company, nor are they selected by a board of directors invested in the company solely through their wallets, instead of their hearts. Each decision about the company, from the ingredients and materials, to the tags, labels, logo, mission - EVERYTHING - is decided by the owner. Each item put into the product is chosen to somehow directly benefit the consumer.

The owner and employees, can often develop relationships with their customers. They know what each customer likes, and can then suggest other products or items they might also enjoy. Handmade owners take great pride in developing relationship with their customers - they are, of course, sharing their true passion with them. To the owner of a handmade business, it becomes much more than just selling a product ... it becomes sharing what's important to them with others.

It is for these reasons, you get heart and soul in each and every handmade item you purchase. Your handmade purchase is just as much an investment in the human connection as it is in the actual product.

Thanks for supporting handmade!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Join us for July's Team Creative Challenge- "Ocean Breezes"

You are cordially invited to play, get more involved with the team, get inspired, share your talent, take advantage of some free promotion... get ready for July's team creative challenge!

July's Challenge

This month's "Ocean Breezes" challenge is inspired by sandy beaches, gentle shoreline winds, refreshing waters, and warm sun! All EtsyVeg members are welcome to enter any one item that relates to the ocean and all it represents- sunshine, relaxation, vegetation and animals, weather, clothing, boardwalk fun, and anything & everything inbetween. This would also be a really good opportunity to create or enter something related to ocean conservation and protection.

The challenge theme is very subjective, so enter whatever handmade creation, vintage item, or supply, new or already listed in your shop, fits the theme for you! The theme may be taken literally, but is wide open to any interpretation. ;)

Each month's challenge entries will be listed on the blog and put up for public vote, the winner receiving an ad for their shop on the team for the entire month following. :) Every 6 months, all 6 winners from the last series of challenges will be put up for a vote together, the top vote getter winning a grand prize! Yay!
Our next 6 month voter is in August!

Please join in our creative celebration for this month! Here's how to enter...


*Challenge Guidelines*

~Participation is open to any EtsyVeg team member.

~Each member may enter one item. Entry involves simply posting the link to an applicable item in your Etsy shop in July's monthly challenge forum thread and tagging that item with the tag "oceanbreezes" (all one word, without the quotations). You must also have your entry tagged with the official team tag, "etsyveg team."

~If an item entered in the challenge sells before the end of the month, please send a convo to the EtsyVeg Etsy shop, including the link to the sold item, so that it can still be included.

~Deadline for entry is Sunday, August 8th.

~All entries will be featured in a treasury on the EtsyVeg blog at the beginning of next month, to be voted on by the public (EtsyVeg members can vote, too). The top vote-getter will be awarded with an ad for their Etsy shop on the top of the blog sidebar for the entire month until the next winner is chosen. At the end of six months, all winners from the past six months will be up for vote on the blog again, this time eligible to win a grand prize gift!
July is month number six!

~All EtsyVeg members (not just participants) are encouraged throughout the month to initiate forum threads about the challenge, make treasuries by doing a tag search for "etsyveg team" with "oceanbreezes" and putting only those items in the treasury, or to generate other types of promotion. (If you do any of these, please let everyone know so that we can all post or click to keep it going!)

~Please direct concerns or questions to silentlotus or aktie9, or send an email to etsyveg@gmail.com.


The EtsyVeg Monthly Challenge is meant to inspire, recognize, and promote team members and our shops; to spread the word about vegan/vegetarian lifestyles and living consciously; and to raise awareness about the ease of eco-friendly living and the rights of animals to live free of exploitation.

~*Happy creating!*~

Go Vote for your favorite entry from June's "Green Thumb" Challenge now!

June's "Green Thumb" Challenge Entries!

June's "Green Thumb" challenge entries are in! Between now and Sunday, July 18th, vote here for your favorite creation. The winning veg artisan will be featured in a prominent ad on the EtsyVeg blog for the next month. Yay!

A big congrats to last month's challenge winner, Jody of ShabbyNChic
, whose OOAK Cottage Style Spring Flowers Picture won top honors!

See the poll below to vote!

Stay tuned until Monday, July 19th for the voting results! Good luck challenge participants, and thanks to everyone for voting!

Look for details on July's
monthly challenge on the blog. And please join in the creative fun! :)

Greener Living

The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives.
~ Chinese Proverb
Found at the beginning of Better Basics for the Home, Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living

Monday, July 12, 2010

River Phoenix

"When I was old enough to realize that all meat was killed, I saw it as an irrational power, to take a weaker thing and mutilate it. It was like bullies would take control of younger kids in the school yard.”
  ~River Phoenix

The Efficient Artisan

From the blog of Celeste of Cricket's Creations on Etsy.

Time management is a weak point for many "artsy" types; yet the more quality work we can produce in a streamlined manner, the better chance we have of making a living doing what we love! Here are some tips that assist me in my daily creating (I handknit five scarves with impeccable worksmanship in a typical day).

Set up work stations: I maintain a designated area for packaging orders with all necessary supplies and information within reach and each work station has the tools necessary to complete task(s) from start to finish without leaving the area.

Here's my "packaging station" computer: it doesn't have to be fancy!

Multiple tool sets: For essential tools, I find it helpful to have one in each work station as well as back ups on hand to avoid, “Oh no, I can’t get anything done, I lost my whatzit!” For example, I have a pair of sharp scissors for the car as well as each work station.

Be flexible: Since my main craft is knitting with yarn, I have a few pairs of each size of needle. That way, if I’m working on a blanket and an order for a scarf comes in, I can set the blanket aside and start right away on the scarf with another needle set.

Organize supply and finished product inventory: If we have and properly use containers, shelving or another keep-it-neat system, we avoid hunting for “that one bead” or “that journal I know I made months ago…”

Prioritize: If a task can only be performed at a particular workstation or time window (for example, my friend, fellow EtsyVeg member Erin Krug of Krug's Eco-Logic, only brings out her soap making supplies when her small children are sleeping), then we must focus and work at maximum efficiency during that production opportunity (that includes ignoring facebook!).

Here's Erin with some of her top notch handmade bath and body products!

Take good care: I work best after enough (and not too much) nutritious food and a good night’s rest. I drink water throughout the day because I find staying fully hydrated allows me to think clearly. It also seems to prevent stiff joints and aching muscles, which is important for those of us whose craft involves repetitive motion.

Take a break: I stretch, do a different task, move around (and walk down the hall to the bathroom after all that water!) for about 10 minutes of each production hour.

Find a balance: Studies have found that we are at our most productive when we work “assembly line” style and concentrate on a specific task or set of tasks for a few hours, and then switch roles to alleviate fatigue and maintain speed.

I hope these tips help all my fellow worker bees as they hum along in their hives!

Celeste (Crickets)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Creativity and Art

Creativity is allowing your self to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
~ Scott Adams

Creating Henna Dyed Jewelry Components

                                                                        Henna dyed earrings

by Indira of Dharmakarmaarts  
I love henna and I am always looking for opportunities to incorporate the rich, warm orange brown of the henna color into my work. I found a wonderful use for it in the carved white bone components that I have been accumulating for a while. These carved bone components make for fabulous jewelry designs but one of the disadvantages of using them is that they tend to yellow over a period of time due to exposure to air and contact with the skin. I had tried to polish them in various ways but could not bring back the original whiteness. This was when I decided to dye them with henna, and what I realized was that the new coloring expanded the jewelry designing possibilities. Henna's deep orange color allowed me to add more coordinating and contrasting colors in the necklaces and earrings which made everything glow.

                                          Necklace with henna dyed pendant

The photo below provides the before and after views. As you can notice the coloring brings out the details of the carving much more sharply. I use simple but effective techniques to get the deep rich color of the henna on to the components. The instructions are below:


Henna powder (you can buy it from any Indian store or online)
essential oil ((black pepper oil, frankincense oil or eucalyptus oil) or plain vinegar
Bone beads

Blend henna and water to a cream like consistency.
Add a few drop of essential oil  or  plain vinegar.
Place the bead components into the henna mixture and cover them completely with the paste.
Cover and let it sit in a warm place for a few hours.
(I usually let it sit outside on a sunny spot.) 

Once you are satisfied with the dye color, take it out and wash it with cold water (no soap, please). Dry and buff it with a soft cloth. The buffing will bring out the shine.

The amount of oil and the length of time for marinating the beads will depend upon the depth of color you want. With a little oil and warmth, henna will dye to a rich hue. If you want something paler, reduce or eliminate either or both. Below is a lighter and darker versions of the dye.