"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

21 December 2009

Win a Subscription to Veg News!

Or don't- more chances for me to win. ;)


01 December 2009

A Dollar for Peace!

Every year there are millions of people who go with little to no food, suffering from hunger, and often malnutrition as a result. In a struggling world economy, the numbers continue to grow. There are 25,000 people every day who die from hunger-related causes. But hunger not only robs the body of the nutrients it needs to function well, but also marginalizes and disempowers people. Run entirely by volunteers, Food Not Bombs activists believe having basic needs like hunger met is a right, not a privilege.

Food Not Bombs, my charity for December (10% of all sales in my shop go directly to them), is founded on the belief that "no one should be without food in a world so richly provided with land, sun, and human ingenuity" and that "the world produces enough food to feed everyone, if distributed equally." The cause stands up for the belief that money spent on sustaining global war and violence would be better spent on sustaining the basic needs of humanity, and seeks to both feed the hungry and support and sustain social movements that empower people to fight for justice.

Food Not Bombs' A Dollar for Peace campaign centers around being able to provide about 4 meals for as little as $1.00. They have roughly 400 chapters around the world (new ones sprout up every day) that provide free healthy, sustainable vegetarian and vegan meals weekly meals in over 1,000 cities around the world to people who would otherwise not have any or adequate food. They often utilize food that would otherwise have been thrown away as waste by grocers and bakeries to nourish the homeless and hungry, day care centers, and families of workers on strike. Through providing food for people, they are making sure those people are taken care of in some small way.

"No consideration of money, no demand for profit, should stand in the way of any hungry or malnourished child or any adult in need," according to Food Not Bombs. They want to make this message clear by setting up to distribute meals in very visible places. Yet they do much more than nourish the hungry, also seeking to empower and sustain progessive movements. Their meals also feed people at important social justice events around the globe like peace rallies, environmental and animal rights demonstrations, striking auto workers in Korea, and Peace Camps on the West bank of Palestine. In addition to their efforts to end hunger and support peace, Food Not Bombs has started animal shelters, planted community gardens, and organized programs like Homes Not Jails to house the homeless. Every dollar contributed to A Dollar for Peace will go directly towards ending hunger, poverty and war.

This year, EtsyVeg is supporting the Dollars for Peace program through a week long promotional event in which 10% of all sales made in participating shops will be donated to Food Not Bombs' Dollar for Peace campaign! For just one dollar you can help build a world based on peace and justice. We invite you to learn more about this great program and ways you can help by visiting their

Please support our effort to raise funds for this amazing organization by shopping handmade for the holidays with participating EtsyVeg shops!

19 November 2009

Hitting the Craft Shows! Visit Me at Local Indie Handmade Events!

I am super excited to be returning to the craft show scene after almost 6 months away! Having taken a much-needed hiatus to refocus and get motivated, I'll be introducing art prints, pandants, and magnets using images from my original brush paintings! As well, look for my new line of jewelry upcycled from entirely vintage components! :D

Gearing up for three nifty handmade shopping extravaganzas coming up at which I will vend my wares. :) Come and visit me at the following indie crafty events, fill your holiday shopping baskets, and support local businesses and hard-working independent artisans!

WYEP Holiday Shoppe, Sunday, November 28th, 10-2 pm at The WYEP Community Broadcast Center, 67 Bedford Sq, Pittsburgh.

I Made It! Market for the Holidays, Saturday, December 5th, 12-5pm at the Union Project, Pittsburgh.

Cleveland Handmade Last Minute Market & Open Studio, Saturday, December 19th, 10-6pm at The Screw Factory in Lakewood, OH.

09 November 2009

America Unchained! Support and Celebrate Local Businesses and Artisans!

As the holidays and shopping madness fast approach, consider purchasing local handmade gifts for everyone on your list. Not only will your giftee receive a one-of-kind, well made treasure, but your economy will get a boost!

On Saturday, November 21st, 2009, take part in
America & Canada Unchained, a campaign by the American Business Alliance (AMIBA) in which everyone in the US & Canada (everyone else, too) is encouraged to support only locally-owned independent businesses for the entire day! This is a great opportunity to build awareness of indie artisans and crafters in your local economy, as well as any other non-chain businesses. Whether shopping, eating out, or doing other business for this entire day, AMIBA says, can "maximize the impact of your dollars and inject potentially millions more into the local economy!

Did you know that local independent businesses create about three and a half times the local economic activity as chains do?!
AMIBA director Jennifer Rocke explains that indie biz "pays local employees, use the goods and services of other local indie biz, and give back to the community far more than chains." According to Rockne, independents generate 70% more local economic impact per square foot than chain stores! Pledging to buy only handmade for the holidays (or anytime) can give a huge boost to your neighborhood's economic well-being. Check out upcoming local indie craft fairs near you, and meet and support area vendors peddling their unique handmade wares!

The choice of what businesses to patronize can have huge and lasting consequences. Take America Unchained on the 21st as a chance to spread the word that small indie businesses like artisans and crafters are critical parts of your cities' cultural, social, and economic impact. Supporting them is better for us and for the community's health and prosperity! You'll have the perfect opportunity to do so at Pittsburgh's I Made It! for the Holidays at the Union Project on December 5th, when 50 crafty area vendors will gather to vend their handmade goodies! See you there! :)

Thanks to Karen Holsopple of Pittsburgh's East End Food Co-op for her article that inspired this one!

07 November 2009

Yay for Treasuries!

Some fabulous Etsy pals have been kind enough to feature me in their Etsy treasuries! Check out these great collections of awesome handmade & vintage delights. Hugs and huge thanks to Lorraine of DolphinMoonCreations and EtsyVeg teamies Erin of Krug's Eco-Logic, Susmitha of ArtbySusmitha & Veganosaurus, Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals, and Yajaira of LaViejaTunTun for including me! You all are too cool for school! :D

15 October 2009

Blog Action Day 2009- Vertical Urban Farms: The "Ups" and the Downs

I've been reading quite a bit lately about urban agriculture and the concept of vertical farms, tall, sustainable buildings within cities that would house massive agricultural production of crops and animals raised for food. The vertical farm is being explored as a feasible alternative to current food production as modern farming practices, climate change, environmental degradation, and an ever-expanding world population form a dangerous cycle that is reducing the availability and productivity of land and promising devastating food shortages. It's extraordinary and space-age really (I picture The Jetsons), the idea that farms as we now conceive of them that spread across vast, fertile lands may someday be replaced by skyscrapers of orchards, towers of livestock, fields of corn caged cinder block. It's both compelling and terrifying.

"High rise farms" in cities could be a truly viable solution to worldwide concern about the dire consequences of what many see as inevitable and devastating climate change. These consequences include potential devastation of crops by new disease, pests, and vulnerability that may result from a rise in temperature and rain pattern changes. Add to this the continual reduction in amount of fertile land available for raising food due to the ravages of modern farming practices and soil depleted after trying to keep up with supplying nourishment to the world's ever-expanding population. Considering that traditional soil farming may thus become
unsustainable, the vertical farm holds much promise.

Growing crops in specially-engineered fortresses of agriculture that disappear into the clouds would address serious problems like massive food shortages and lack of fertile soil. Although hugely expensive to build, a 30-story farm tower could feed
50,000 people in a teeny,tiny fraction of the land it would take to do the same with modern farming, according to Dickson Despommier, the "father" of the vertical farm concept. Crops would be grown without soil using hydroponics and aeroponics, eliminating the need for dangerous pesticides and increasing food output, accessibility, and quality. Crops grown in climate-controlled spaces could be protected from pests, drought, and similar events related to the natural environment.

Urban farm structures could better meet the demands of the local food movement, while drastically reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions from farm machinery, vehicles used in transport, and production. Farm lands would be free to recover from damage and to replenish. These urban skyscrapers would be llargely self-sustaining, recycling water over and over and using its waste for energy, heat, or fertilizer . Vertical farms could produce year round, and the influx of plants into cities could help cleanse the air of pollution and improve quality of life in cities. All of this while boosting agriculture and the economy mega-fold as production capacity soars. Sounds idyllic, yes? I find the concept is terrifying...

Of course we want to find solutions to ensure our viability and secure our future in the face of climate change's potentially disastrous effects. It's intelligent, wise, necessary, and hope-instilling. We'd be stupid not to invest in doing so. Then why have issue with technology that could resolve so many critical issues? The reasons span from the cultural significance of the traditional farmer and the importance of connection to Earth to the potential negative impact on the victims of factory farming- animals and people. The feeling at the forefront for me as I learn more about vertical farms is overwhelming, deep sadness that we've let it get to this point of do or die. Conceiving that Earth could become depleted and sick to the point that food must be grown in human-made constructs is impossible. But research into expansion of urban agriculture makes it very real. And I worry...

I worry about what food become without nourishment from the earth? Would the 'farmer' as we now know her become a mythical superhero in tall tales about working in tune with the planet to 'magically' create sustenance? Would the 'farm' become a cultural relic devoid of the rich history and meaning it currently has? Food grown in buildings reaching into the sky sounds void of meaning, empty of energy and life. The magic of growing food in the earth is feeling the soil in the hands, the feet grounding solidly on the land, and the connection to the cycle of life as we watch the sun, skies, and Earth make something from nothing to feed us. The magic of farming the land is the larger understanding of life that happens when we eat food grown from the ground, the joy that comes eating food fresh from its source of life. It's not... "natural."

Humans have become so disconnected from that life source, arrogantly taking it for granted as we plunder it at whim. Vertical farms will only exacerbate the shallow relationship between being and Earth, pulling us further and further "up" and away from understanding the environmental destruction we have caused and implementing action to stop and even reverse it. I fear that this growing disconnect will lead to more complacency about resolving climate change and make stronger the self-righteous idea that humans can manipulate the world and conquer nature- the planet and all of its beings.

I worry about the well-being of many of these beings, as the raising of animals for food is also being explored within the vertical farm concept, perpetuating their victimization by human arrogance and the factory farm. Some fans of the vertical farm dream of "a high-rise 'Pig City' 40-stories high where the pigs would spend their entire lives from conception to slaughter. A structure called an "Agropark" would house 100, 000 pigs on one floor! Movement toward a sustainable future should include a push toward more compassionate interaction with animals as well as the planet.

The modern factory farm inflicts terrible suffering from abuse and neglect on animals raised for food. Housing livestock in high-rises would bring a food source closer to urban residents and dramatically decrease the factory farm's enormous environmental footprint. However, it will multiply a thousand-fold the number of animals imprisoned in food production, sentenced to lives of pain and suffering without opportunity for healthy relationships, fresh air and movement, freedom, and peace.

I worry because I have yet to find an article on vertical farming that specifically mentions the strong connection between climate change and factory farming of animals along with increasing meat and dairy demand . Animals being raised for meat and dairy and the crops needed to feed them lead to widespread and undeniable destruction of land, water, and air while using available, fertile land to grow feed for animals robs billions of starving people of nourishing food . It would seem, then, that any modern discussion about a sustainable future in terms of food production should include talk of animal agriculture as one of the biggest contributors to climate change and of the positive impact wide-scale reduction in meat and dairy consumption would have.

It would seem that serious efforts and monies should be invested in an obvious, less costly, and more accessible tool in diverting climate change like implementing practices and legislation to decrease human reliance on animals for food. The successful marketing of and transition to a more meat-free diet seems quite preferable to the urban farm high-rises and the loss of the farm and farmer as a cultural icon and our connection to the land. The information I have read about vertical farms seem to accept current farming methods as fixed and focus on how to adapt the earth to meet our needs, rather than investigate changing the food industry to adapt to the needs of the planet.

01 October 2009

Activism Out Loud: Should We Numb Farm Animals so They are Immune to Pain?

I just read an article in early September’s New Scientist magazine about research into numbing animals raised for food so that they don’t feel pain. Researchers are working to genetically alter the DNA of farm animals so that when they are exposed to pain and suffering, they aren’t “bothered” by it. What do you all think about this?

Personally, I feel this is simply a way to justify and continue animal abuse, neglect, and torture. It creeps me out, feels eerie, and feels viscerally immoral and ethically wrong. It may *seem* well-intentioned, but I think it’s a guise to continue using animals to meet human needs in whatever way suits them, no matter the consequences to the being, and to keep money flowing!!! Animal rights awareness is the factory farmer’s worst nightmare- this is such a crock of sh**! What do you want to make a bet that the meat and dairy industries are backing this research? I imagine altering perception and experience of pain and suffering in human slaves just so heinous practices and inhumane treatment could be continued. Why would anyone think this is okay to do to animals?

An editorial about this in this same magazine issue sums up my view pretty perfectly:
Yes, logically speaking, pain-free animals make sense. But only in a world that has already devalued animal lives to the point where factory farming is acceptable. Our visceral reaction to pain-free animals is actually a displaced reaction against the system that makes them necessary.

Too many of us are too attached to the pleasures of affordable meat to consider the plight of factory-farmed animals. If the proposal to create pain-free animals achieves anything, it is to force us to confront the pain and suffering that our diets inflict. End factory farming, and the "problem" of pain-free animals goes away, too.

And more fodder for discussion: Cloning Animals for Meat & Milk

Eat Deliciously, Shop Freely- Celebrate World Vegetarian Day!

Today is World Vegetarian Day, October 1, 2009! I'm celebrating along with the EtsyVeg team of veg artisans on Etsy (see their blog for more recipes and special sales) by sharing this original vegan recipe and having a 25% off sale on the handcrafted jewelry and original brush paintings in my shop! Enjoy shopping and feasting and celebrate Veg Living! :)

Vegan Festive Summer 'Skillet Casserole’ with Dill (Serves 4)

Though this easy, nutritious recipe uses veggies typically harvested in summer, it’s vibrant flavors are fabulous year round!

2T olive oil
2 medium zucchini, sliced in half-moons
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
½ medium red bell pepper, diced
1 ½c cooked pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (Muir Glen canned Fire-Roasted Tomatoes add the best flavor.)
1c corn kernels, fresh or frozen
2 tsp natural sweetener
2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste
3T fresh dill, finely chopped
2-3c cooked brown rice
4 oz. vegan (or dairy) grated mozzarella cheese (I like Follow Your Heart brand)
salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, pepper, garlic, sliced zucchini. Cover and cook until zucchini is tender, about 10 min.

2. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, sweetener, lemon juice, and dill. Simmer 10 minutes covered, then 5 uncovered, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed.

3. Mix in cooked rice, stirring until combined well. Cover and place on low heat until rice is steaming. Salt and ground black pepper to taste. Add cheeze and mix well until melty.

4. Serve and enjoy!

30 September 2009

EtsyVeg Celebrates World Vegetarian Day October 1st

I will be posting an original recipe here tomorrow, as well as hosting a special sale in my shop to honor World Veg Day tomorrow! Tune in for more info! :)

16 September 2009

Baking Out Loud: Sweet, Puffy Vegan Donut Deliciousness

Fabulous, wonderful, delicious DONUTS! Better yet, they're VEGAN! Woot! Until recently I hadn't had a donut (which I adore) since going vegan over eleven years ago. My mom lives less than a block from a donut shop, and when I visit I can smell the sweet, warm, glazey goodness every morning and night. The urge to seek and consume is a hard one to fight! So imagine my utter excitement when a recent Vegetarian Times issue had a VEGAN DONUT feature! Yay!

I read through the magazine and made myself be patient until I got to the article, and it was worth the difficult wait. The piece featured several luscious-sounding donut recipes, all but one of which they suggested cooking in a donut baking pan. I'd never seen one, but I took the article's recommendation and found one online to buy right away (I'm such a sucker). Anyway, I chose the "French Toast" donut recipe, and was not disappointed. The results were heavenly, puffy, cinnamon-sugary rings of delish.

My review of the baking pan? It makes making donuts a complete breeze! The texture of the donuts ends up being more dense than that of fried donuts, but still awesome and still craving-satisfactory. It's suggested to fill the pan's individual donut cups, which look like little bundt pans, only partly full. I suggest filling them to the brim or a bit higher, as they don't seem to rise much. I ordered the larger of two pan sizes- the other was a mini- but the large are still not very big. I will order the mini at some point 'cause I can't resist the cuteness of teeny donuts.

Gotta share the recipe! :) Here' goes... Enjoy!

French Toast Doughnuts
from Veg Times Sept 2009 issue

(Makes 18 mini doughnuts or 6-8 large)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2/3 cup plain soymilk
4 Tbs. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. egg replacer,such as Ener-G
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Maple Glaze
2 Tbs. plain soymilk
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon


1. To make Doughnuts: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat doughnut pan with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in large bowl.

3. Combine soymilk, margarine, and vinegar in saucepan, and heat over low heat until margarine is melted. Cool. Whisk egg replacer with 2 Tbs. water in small bowl; whisk this mixture and vanilla extract into soymilk mixture. Stir soymilk mixture into flour mixture.

4. Fill each doughnut mold half full with batter. Bake 12 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in doughnut comes out clean. Unmold doughnuts on wire rack to cool, and repeat with remaining batter.

5. To make Maple Glaze: Combine soymilk, maple syrup, sugar, and salt in saucepan, and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, and cool 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Stir in vanilla extract.

6. To make Cinnamon Sugar: Whisk together sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.

7. Dip each doughnut into Maple Glaze and sprinkle with Cinnamon Sugar. Let glaze set before serving.

15 September 2009

Interesting Holidays & Observances- Veg, Animals, Health, & More!

The next couple of months will celebrate a plethora of veg-, compassion-, and animal-related holidays, plus lots of important issue-awareness days/weeks that are important to me. Check'em out! Party, anyone?

The Veg Calendar

September: World Animal Remembrance Month, Yoga Awareness Month

September 15-21:
National Farm Animals Awareness Week (U.S.)

September 18th:
International Day of Peace

September 19th:
Puppy Mill Awareness Day

September 25th:
Hug A Vegetarian Day (I'm expecting some love, gang!)

October: Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, LGBT History Month, Emotional Wellness Month, National Depression Education and Awareness Month, National Animal Safety and Protection Month,
Vegetarian Awareness Month, & National Pet Wellness Month

October 1st:
World Vegetarian Day

October 2nd:
World Farm Animals Day

October 3rd: Alternative Fuel Day

October 4th: World Animal Day

October 5-11: Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 6th: Ecological Debt Day

October 8th: National Depression Screening Day

October 10th: World Mental Health Day

October 11th: Coming Out Day

October 17-24:
National Primate Liberation Week (U.S.)

October 18-24: Freedom From Bullies Week


October 19-25: Freedom of Speech Week

October 23-31:
World Go Vegan Week

October 28th: National Chocolates Day- yay!

November: Vegan Awareness Month

November 1-7" National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

November 1st:
World Vegan Day

November 9-16: World Kindness Week

November 13th:
World Kindness Day

November 15th: Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 16th: International Day for Tolerance

November 21: National Survivors of Suicide Day

November 25th: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

December 10th:
International Animal Rights Day

Find awareness days and observances of your own!

Quote of the Week

Thanks to my pal Gina of claynfiber for sharing this wonderful quote on the EtsyVeg blog:

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."


09 September 2009

Wednesdays Bring Savings on ORANGE Goodies!

Today's EtsyVeg "Kickoff to Fall Special": Visit my shop to SAVE 25% on all *ORANGE* items and 10% on all other items, and receive free shipping when you spend over $30! Yay! Just make your purchase and receive an instant refund for the discount amount via PayPal.

Save on jewelry and art like these earrings, just listed in my shop:

Visit the EtsyVeg blog daily from SEPTEMBER 7th-13th to see the current offers of the day and special features at http://etsyveg.blogspot.com.

08 September 2009

New Jewels!

I am FINALLY getting around to listing some of the new inventory I have! Visit my Etsy shop for more new goodies (all cruelty-free and natural) in the way of jewels, and don't forget to check out the savings I am offering as part of EtsyVeg's Kickoff to Fall promotion all this week. My sale will change daily with the special color of the day. Today is YELLOW! :)

Tuesday's Kickoff to Fall Sale with EtsyVeg!

Today's EtsyVeg "Kickoff to Fall Special": Visit my shop to SAVE 25% on all *yellow* items and 10% on all other items, and receive free shipping when you spend over $30! Yay! Just make your purchase and receive an instant refund for the discount amount via PayPal.

Visit the EtsyVeg blog daily from SEPTEMBER 7th-13th to see the current offers of the day and special features at http://etsyveg.blogspot.com.

07 September 2009


This week, my shop, SilentLotus Creations, is participating in ETSYVEG’s “KICKOFF TO FALL” SALE celebrating the start of the fall season! Participating EtsyVeg members are offering discounts, free shipping, or a free gift with a purchase on an exciting range of unique handmade goods (many are vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly). Visit our blog daily from SEPTEMBER 7th-13th to see the current specials (they change each day) at http://etsyveg.blogspot.com.

Today's Kickoff to Fall Special: Visit my shop to SAVE 25% on all *green* items and 10% on all other items, and receive free shipping when you spend over $30! Yay! Just make your purchase and receive an instant refund for the discount amount via PayPal.

Check back each day for a sale on items of other fall colors, and a special weekend offer. :)

04 September 2009

EtsyVeg's Kickoff to Fall Celebration Sale!

Starting next Monday, September 7th, a group of our fabulous vegetarian and vegan artisans will be offering specials in their Etsy shops! Keep watch for fabulous deals on unique handcrafted and vintage goods and supplies, a perfect way to start off the autumn season!

Look for specials like dicounts and free shipping in the following shops for the week of September 7th-13th- don't miss it!


21 August 2009

Quote of the Week

"...when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.

~Sogyal Rinpoche

Backyard Friends- A Cooper's Hawk!

In late winter, I awoke one morning to a loud, distinct bird call I don't normally hear in my yard, and went outside to discover a hawk sitting in one of the trees behind my house! Based on info I could find in books and online, I am pretty certain it is an adult male Cooper's Hawk who graced me with his presence. :)

18 August 2009

Bittersweet Harvest Rocks!

Hooray! The fabulous blog about the "emerging Pittsburgh art scene," Bittersweet Harvest, has shown me some love and given my shop, SilentLotus, a shoutout! Thank you bunches! :D

And... EtsyVeg pals Karen of purplecatscorner and Lisa of pandawithcookie for including me in their Etsy treasuries- you rock! Thanks so much!

The Web Out Loud: What's Worth Paying Attention To This Week?

My latest finds worth paying attention for the ethical web surfer: great articles, awesome sites, and other juicy tidbits!


Animals Don’t Want to Eat GMOs, So Why Are We?, healthychild.org

There is No Vegan's Dilemma, PowellsBooks.blog

4 Million Pounds of Space Junk Polluting Earth’s Orbit, ecoworldly.com

In-vitro meat: Would lab-burgers be better for us and the planet?, cnn.com

Monsanto's Global War on Farmers, organicconsumers.org

New Film on Ocean Acidification Reveals Unseen Face of CO2 Pollution, solveclimate.com

Elephants Pass Self-Awareness Test Passed Only By Humans, Gorillas, and Dolphins, ecoworldly.com

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, MelanieJoy.org


Protest Ringling Brothers' Animal Cruelty! Sign
PETA's petition calling on the USDA to seize the abused, neglected, and heartbroken elephants Ringling hauls around the country in filthy boxcars and forces to perform under the constant threat of punishment. Watch PETA's undercover videos from RinglingBeatsAnimals.com if you need convincing.

Tell your Senators that the path out of world poverty isn't through Monsanto and GMO crops. Sign this CREDO petition to promote helping farmers in developing countries produce and distribute their own food, rather than implementing an Obama administration goal to use genetically modified seeds and chemicals as tools to fight hunger.

Cool Sites

Your Daily Vegan: the daily vegan spin- Your source for all things vegan: intriguing facts, thoughtful editorials, intelligent quips, food talk, news bits, and so much more, all in one place.

Green Lashes and Fashion- Love this blog by a fashionista with a compassionate conscience! Stay informed about ethical fashion, natural beauty, green living, and vegan/vegetarian food- way cool!

Environmental Graffiti- A veritable playground for the eco-conscious, planet loving, ethical, and off-the-wall. An "eclectic mix of the most bizarre, funny and interesting environmental news on the planet... on behalf of all environmentalists who don’t take themselves too seriously and compile it into a daily blog." What lured me in initially were breath-taking, brilliant photos of animal life, like these.

Other Stuff

T-shirts upcycled from plastic bottles?
Two companies, be present and A Lot To Say, launched tees made from recycled plastic last week! They are super cute on top of being super green! be present states on their site that 3-5 plastic bottles are diverted from landfills with every tee made, and A Lot to Say calls their 100%-recycled-bottle tees "eco-revolutionary." Maybe plastic is fashionable after all. ;)

I am in love with this bike!
Madsen's Cargo Bikes are dream cycles for those who rely on or choose biking for doing errands like grocery shopping and even moving! I swoon every time I see one... If only I could even think of affording it... ;)

17 August 2009

108 Sun Salutations for Charity: Yoga Aid in Pittsburgh

Photo by Mike Flokis/Getty Images
Yoga Aid Challenge 2009 is happening in Pittsburgh!

The idea of "Giving4Living for Life" was the seed for Yoga Aid, founded by two yogis with a desire to "give something back to the world through their love of yoga." This event, a coming together of local yogis to complete 108 sun salutations to raise funds for charity, happens annually in cities throughout the U.S. and at sites all over the world!

This year's U.S. Yoga Aid Challenge will be held the weekend of September 12-13th, 2009. Here in Pittsburgh the "coming together" happens on Saturday, September 12 at 10:30am, at Tunnel Park behind REI at the South Side Works (S 27th and Tunnel Blvd). Yoga folks from all over the area will meet to put "giving" and compassion into action, together practicing 108 sun salutations throughout 2 hours. Their mission? To support Yoga Aid's charity partners and to spread awareness about the benefits of yoga.

Open to anyone regardless of age, fitness, or yoga skill level (beginners welcome), the gathering is led by local yoga teachers and will be fun and safe. Attendance is free. Participants are asked to fund-raise before the event by gathering sponsors to donate via an easy online interface. All money raised goes directly to
Yoga Aid's charity partners, which include Amma, The Africa Yoga Project, 4 Oneworld, The Foundation for Women (FFW), and India Heritage Research Foundation (IHRF).

Registration on the morning of the September 12th challenge starts at 9:00am.
Register here for Pittsburgh's Yoga Aid happening, or for more info, contact our local Yoga Aid Community Ambassador Maddy Landi at YogaAidChallengePittsburgh@gmail.com.

Visit the Yoga Aid website to find a challenge in your area if in the US, or do a web search for worldwide venues.

14 August 2009

Quote of the Week

"The life spark in my eyes is in no way different than the life spark in the eyes of any other sentient being."

~Michael Stepaniak

13 August 2009

SilentLotus on the Web! :)

I've been honored by some awesome crafty pals featuring my items in treasuries or on their blog recently. Yay! Lisa of Etsy's pandawithcookie, creator of adorable monsters, tofu pirates, and darling bags for all ages, featured my brass butterfly necklace on the EtsyVeg blog in her weekly "Panda's Picks" column. And Megan of Etsy's hippopotamejewelry featured
some of my beads on her blog. Thanks so much to both of you! :)

A Winner!

Hooray! Announcing the winner of my vegan cookbook giveaway.... It's Heather of the awesome blogs Holistically Heather and vegan craft samples' It's All in the Blog! Congrats, Heather! Thank you so much for entering. And veggie love to everyone for entering and for your very kind comments- you all rock! :D

07 August 2009

Quote of the Week: Bird Song

"Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a brokenwinged bird that cannot fly."
~Langston Hughes

"A bird does not sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song."
~Author Unknown

Silentlotus Creations: Charity of the Month!

Every month, my Etsy shop SilentLotus Creations donates 10% of sales to a cause related to animals, marginalized populations, human rights, or peace and justice. August' profits from sales of my handcrafted jewelry and original art will be donated to It's Meow or Never Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a non-profit, no-kill animal shelter that rescues animals in immediate danger from Animal Control, police departments, animal shelters that euthanize, and other situations.

It's Meow or Never not only runs an almost always full shelter that cares for and adopts out pets needing a new forever home, they also fund spaying/neutering and vaccinations, feed and shelter feral cats, and offer
helpful resources to pet owners and animal advocates. Fund raising for much needed land and a new adoption/sanctuary facility is also in the works. 100% of donations is spent on caring for rescued animals, and the rest is personally funded by founders Michael and Madonna.

Their currently-full shelter not only accepts monetary donations (auto donations accepted as well)- supporters can sponsor an animal or make purchases of It's Meow or Never's wishlist items, made easy with the click of a PayPal button right on their site! Handcrafted pet items like dog biscuits and kitty beds made by sanctuary volunteers are available in exchange for a donation. Help also comes from It's Meow or Never's Etsy shop, where all profits go toward shelter operation costs! Visit their blog for more info, and to meet some of the sanctuary's animals.

05 August 2009

Vegan Out Loud: Vegan Cookbook Giveaway!

To help spread the word about how easy and delish it is to eat vegetarian and vegan, I'm giving away a vegan cookbook! Win a copy of Fresh & Fast Vegan Pleasures, by Amanda Grant, which includes over 140 tasty, compassionate recipes for everything from basics like Vegetable Stock to entrees like "Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Fresh Mint" and desserts like Warm Hazelnut Scones with Fruit Salsa!

Enter by commenting here about your favorite animal or veg-related cause, posting both a link to their site and describing the organization. Tweet about this contest or post about it on your blog or FB page, and earn an extra for each! Earn a bonus entry by doing any two of the following: become a fan of my Etsy shop's Facebook page; follow my blog; follow me on Twitter; or follow any of the EtsyVeg, Vegan Etsy, or the Cruelty Free Etsy blogs! That's up to four chances to win! Just make sure to post back here with a list of where you posted the contest or the pages you followed. :)

Enter by midnight local time Monday, August 10th. Winner will be announced by Wednesday, August 12th. Good luck!

Vegan Out Loud: Why Vegan?

I've been vegan for over 11 years now. Originally, I went vegetarian without knowing much about it other than that it involved choosing not to eat animals. I became vegan a year or two later for health reasons (milk allergy and lactose intolerance), again, not really knowing much about it. My understanding and knowledge about being vegan has grown a thousandfold since then. Once I started meeting other people who were veg/vegan, my whole idea about it changed. Through reading, asking questions, and listening well, I became more educated about veganism and the impact on the planet and on animals themselves of consuming living creatures for food and utilizing them for human purposes. I choose it as a lifestyle now for deep ethical, spiritual, and moral reasons. Every year I have been vegan, my veganism and the ethics, morals, and beliefs that have formed around it and because of it have grown more complex and more deeply ingrained.

Today I am vegan because I want to try my best to honor and respect all beings as equally deserving of compassion, love, and freedom. Being vegan is about intentionally living compassionately and with love toward all beings, and choosing a way of being in the world that has as little and as positive an impact as possible. I am vegan to give back to Earth, to help to heal it rather than take from it. I am vegan to maintain a healthy mind, body, spirit, and soul. As best as I can, I want to live as an example of how to walk tenderly, harm minimally, love fully, and lead with a compassionate heart, and to learn from others who are doing the same. Living compassionately spreads love. I am vegan to hopefully help to counter all of the fear, hatred, and cruelty out there with peace, kindness, and openness, while also attempting to make up for my own negative crap I send into the world.

My reasons for being vegan aren't all pretty and all about love and peace and happy-happy, joy-joy, though. There's an ugly, insidious part of it. Every day, millions of animals endure intense, incomprehensible suffering or die lonely, prolonged, painful deaths at the hands of humans who treat them as worthless objects. Animals have souls, too. They are sentient beings that think and feel and hurt, develop lasting communities and families, and build strong attachments and loving relationships. Most of us live in a society where exploitation of animals for human purposes is not only condoned and justified but also turned a blind eye to, the experience of many other marginalized populations around the globe.

On farms, in rodeos or circuses, in puppy mills or fur farms, trapped in a pharmaceutical lab or the home of a callous pet owner, or hunted in the wild, so many animals are destined for lives filled with chronic abuse and neglect, hurt and confusion, grief and loss, and mistreatment of unimaginable proportions. And related industries like factory farming wreak havoc and destruction on the health of the environment and people. Most experience horrible, prolonged, painful deaths. I feel that any use of animal products on my part says that I'm okay with this, puts a stamp of approval on animal cruelty to further human ends and reinforces living beings being treated as objects. And from an energetic standpoint, the last thing I want to put in my body is any animal product that carries with it the trauma of a life and/or death of tragic suffering. For me, being vegan is a way of giving the animals a voice and honoring their lives so that they are no forgotten- they so desperately deserve and need that. I definitely do not live a "perfect" vegan life, if there is such a thing. I am fallible, and I find it hard as hell and pretty near impossible to be 100% vegan 100% of the time. But I try with all of me to do so.

It's kinda been a natural progression to move toward eliminating everything reasonably 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. Plus, I put so much of my true self into creating things that to me (and hopefully others) are pure and convey beautiful things. Cruelty isn't beautiful. Materials that are derived from cruel methods or that dishonor other beings aren't beautiful.

Living a vegan lifestyle is strongly aligned with my spiritual and religious beliefs. I am a yogi and a Buddhist, as well as an advocate of rights for all beings, humans and animals and plants and the planet. Animals, human beings, and the planet- all are one, and in essence, of the same energy and spirit. I also don't think humans are any less valuable or have any less potential to be pure of heart and spirit than animals- we're all created equal and are all sacred beings. We just have much more of a chance and likelihood to become deluded or or lost and disconnected from love and compassion. Anyway, all of that stuff is entwined with being vegan for me, really hard to separate out.

I don't judge people for not living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. At any given time, everyone falls on a spectrum in terms of global awareness and what compassion means to them. That tends to change for people as they go through life and have different experiences. Each of us makes the decision that is best for us at the time, something only we can know. In my opinion, it's compassionate awareness, living from the heart, and deep understanding of the impact of choice and the consequences of inaction that are most important- how we live our lives tends to naturally follow intention and thought. The heart is never wrong.

04 August 2009

Featuring... ME!

Wheeee! My Etsy shop, SilentLotus Creations, was featured in two treasuries on Etsy today that showed off EtsyVeg members. Thank you so much to my veggie teammates, Jill of VinMo and Sam of TheAwesomestPossum, for kindly including my jewels. Veggie love to you both!


A friend shared this with me recently:

Mend A Quarrel. Search out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a letter. Share a treasure. Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word
and deed. Keep a promise. Find the time.
Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen.
Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand.
Flout envy. Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else. Appreciate. Be kind.
Be gentle. Laugh a little more.

Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice.
Decry complacency. Express your gratitude.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the Earth.
Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it once again.

~unknown author

03 August 2009

Handmade Out Loud: Fabulous Items from EtsyVeg Pals, Pt 3

Part three of a collection of gorgeous creations I have purchased/swapped for/won/been gifted from my wonderful veggie pals in EtsyVeg! Thank you so much to all of you... :)

Ah- finally some sweet relief from an odorous yoga mat! This stuff rocks!

You can't actually see it so well in Lynn's photos, but these cards have incredible detail in how they are made! Besides the wonderful photos, the images have lovely stitching all-around them that make them feel special and luxurious along with appealingly natural and earthy. :)

I've been able to try several of Erin's soaps, and they are the most skin and body luxurious soaps I've ever tried- seriously! My favorites? The Orange Truffle, with a zesty scent that's not too sweet, yet energizes and warms, and feels great on my parched skin! My very favorite is the olive and coconut oil based bar, which made every inch of my skin feel soft and nourished after months of dryness neglect on my part. I really noticed the difference this healthful, natural, and nurturing bar made when I ran out and went back to my old sandalwood soap- after two days I was dry and itchy all over. And to add to their amazing-ness, Erin's products are vegan and earth-friendly- yay! Thank you, Erin, for making such wonderful products and sharing them with me! :)

Meredith makes the cutest chiyogami jewelry in vibrant colors and fun patterns! I have a necklace, ring, and earrings in a beautiful deep blue pattern very similar to these. Eye-catching and unique, not to mention very affordable, friendlytaco's jewelry is stylish, fun, and definitely a standout! Thank you for the set, Meredith- I love it!

Everytime I visit claynfiber, I am wowed by Gina's creativity and unique approach to blending with stoneware and fibers. She continuously adds wonderful, earthy, and beautiful forms to her collection that blow me away! I am lucky enough to have held one of Gina's heart ornaments like this one, and the shape and pattern were even lovelier in person. I own a tiny little square shaker box that Gina made, imprinted with awesome, earthy shapes and patterns. It sits among my favorite pieces. :)

I have a SweetWolf pocket mirror from Cathy almost like this one, only mine has a little bunny on it! :) I carry it in my makeup bag, and it is very well-made and sweet- a pocket mirror I purchased from another shop last year lasted only several months, and this one has lasted far longer with no sign of wear. Visit Cathy's shop to see all of her adorable zippy pouches and darling mirrors like this one. :)

To see more fabulous handmade and vintage creations and supplies from vegan and vegetarian artisans, check out EtsyVeg's Crafty Veggie Marketplace!

The Web Out Loud: What's Worth Paying Attention To This Week?

I've been coming across so many great articles, sites, and other juicy tidbits of info lately that I want to start sharing them! Hence the start of this weekly or bi-weekly column. Here are this week's finds worth paying attention to!


"Six Ways to Become an Ethical Fashionista", GreenLashesandFashion Blog

"Urban Panning: The 10 Meanest Cities In America", NPR.org

"A Revolution of the Heart", Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach Blog

"10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media", Treehugger.com

"Rethinking the Meat Guzzler", NYTimes.com

"Veganism is Too Difficult", ElaineVigneault.com


peta2's Meat's Not Green Petition- Sign peta2's petition mandate that all meat be labeled with a warning that it is the number one cause of global warming.

Cool Sites

CraftWeasel- Thanks to my pal Cari for sharing this tool! Type in your Etsy username, and Craftweasel will look through your favorites to get an idea of your tastes. Then it searches through all the items that have been listed on Etsy within the last 24 hours and recommends things you might like. Fun!

Butterflies and Moths of North America- For nature lovers, an awesome gallery with information about and photos of every butterfly or moth you might come across.

Other Stuff

Anti-war Medallion- Remember that anti-war phrase from the 60s, "War is not healthy for children and other living things?" Well there's a great necklace/medallion imprinted with the historically significant phrase available on the site of Another Mother for Peace, an organization created "to empower and encourage citizens to take an active role in convincing our elected leaders to work for peace." The medallion is a silver or gold metal mini version of the classic poster for a very affordable $15 (which benefits the organization)- so sweet and so moving!

If you live in "the Burgh" you know how awesome this tee is! The phrase is available on all sorts of tees and sweats by Dirty Jerzey on CafePress.com.