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Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Feathered Family Continues to Grow

I think I already mentioned that we got a third duck a week or two ago, who Carlos named Polly Wolly Doodle. Well, he's been having a bit of a hard time since the original two ducks (Shannon and Dean) wanted to pick on him all the time. Today we took a chance and adopted a fourth duck in hopes that he and Polly would bond, and so far, so good!

The new duck's name is Mallow (he's on the right in the above photo), and he spent most of the day in the pen with Polly today; then in the evening we let all four ducks be together, and they got along better than any other day since Polly has been here. What a relief! I'm still keeping the two pairs separate when I can't supervise, but today felt like a definite step forward.

Oh, and here's a cute picture I took of Chuck Norris yesterday ogling the object of his desire (the crackers, not Matt's crotch) -

Friday, June 27, 2008


My day began with this beautiful, delicious quiche. It was the first time I've made quiche in the several years since I became vegan, and I was not disappointed. I'll track down the recipe and post it soon, but for now you just get the teaser photo.

(That brown crustiness you see around the edges is {drum roll, please} shredded potatoes, hash brown style - what a great idea!)

Carlos' favorite person was in town today - his 9-year-old cousin Calvyn...

We went for a walk at a nearby wildlife refuge...

...isn't it pretty?

It was hazy today, even here on the coast, due to the zillions of wildfires (none of which are very close to us, thank goodness, although they did cause our much anticipated weekend trip to Farm Sanctuary to be cancelled; wah). You can see the haze in this picture, as well as an egret (I wish my camera had a stronger zoom).

We also saw this beautiful deer having a snack.

After a picnic lunch, we continued on for a canoe ride. I didn't take any pictures in the canoe, but here are the boys in the parking lot afterwards.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An Indian Feast

The other day I had a craving for Indian food, so off I went to find some new and exciting recipes. Clockwise from top, we have chana masala with spinach (recipe to follow), naan, and gobi aloo. The chana masala was awesome; so was the naan; the gobi aloo left much to be desired despite its five-star rating on

For the naan, I just substituted soymilk for the dairy milk, Ener-G egg replacer for the egg, and I left out the garlic. Matt cooked the naan on our outdoor grill and it was so yummy. (As a funny aside, Matt observed that several of the naan bread pieces bore a striking resemblance to chicken breast, with their pasty complexion and dark grill marks.)

On to the recipe, which is likely none too authentic, but still delicious, and which I based on this...

Chana Masala

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium-large onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 - 15 oz cans of chick peas, drained, reserving 1/4 cup liquid
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
crushed red pepper, optional to taste
2 tablespoons margarine
large bunch of fresh spinach, chopped

Heat oil on medium heat. Fry onions until translucent. Add garlic, curry powder, and ketchup. Stir and simmer about 2 minutes. Add chickpeas, liquid, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Simmer 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add red pepper to taste. Add margarine, stirring through to melt it. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes more or until chickpeas are softened and dish is hot. Add chopped spinach and stir for a couple of minutes until spinach is wilted. This is good served over brown rice, barley, or scooped up with pieces of naan bread.

Enjoy! And let me know if you have a better gobi aloo recipe for me to try.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Musings on Veganism and Proselytizing

Okay, you're probably sick of hearing from me about this, and maybe I need to examine why it bothers me so much, but I got another pissy comment in my Etsy feedback today from someone who didn't appreciate receiving the Compassionate Choices brochure in her order, and I'm feeling disheartened-slash-annoyed again. On the plus side, she was kind enough to base her actual feedback rating on the crafts(wo)manship of the ring itself and the service she received, and therefore gave me a positive overall rating despite her mixed comments.

This particular customer accuses me of proselytizing, which isn't far off from what the original complainer had to say. So it's not the first time (or even the second time, to be honest) that I've been accused of this particular offense. I've been giving it some thought though, and I'm a little confused about the negative connotation associated with the word 'proselytize'. Granted, I don't know many people who like having another person's religious views pushed upon them, but I looked this word up in the dictionary, and it pertains to a lot more than just religion.

intransitive verb
1 : to induce someone to convert to one's faith
2 : to recruit someone to join one's party, institution, or cause
transitive verb
1 : to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause

According to this definition, a proselytizer is anyone working for a cause of any kind. And if you think about it, where would we be in this country without proselytizers? Slavery would still be legal, as would child labor, child abuse, and spousal abuse; women and African Americans would be prohibited from voting; AIDS, cancer, and all kinds of other diseases would have claimed many more lives, and the environment would be in an even sorrier state than it currently is.

Curses on all of those damned proselytizers who have enabled us all to live the privileged existences we currently enjoy!!! How dare they!?! I mean, obviously I'm saying this rather sarcastically, but really - why do people get so bent out of shape by another person's attempt to improve the world and reduce suffering? I guess it's nothing new; throughout history, there have always been those who fight to defend the status quo - who stubbornly resist change despite overwhelming evidence of its benefit or necessity.

Another aspect of my most recent detractor's objection was her assertion that "to use Etsy to proselytyse [sic] is totally inappropriate." Now, I just can't let that go unchallenged, because I object so strongly to her premise.

I worked in mind-numbing office jobs for ten years before finally deciding to take a chance on myself and launch my jewelry business. When I began to seriously research online selling opportunities, there were other sites I could have chosen in favor of Etsy. Ultimately, what drew me to Etsy (and what keeps me there) is the company's philosophy of empowering artists, building community, and celebrating individuality.

Community activism is, for many (although certainly not all) Etsy artists, central to their business model or personal ethics. There are so many amazing people on Etsy, each with her own passions and interests - as evidence, check out Etsy's Team profile page - there are Etsy teams devoted to all kinds of charity and activism, from VeganEtsy (of which I am, not surprisingly, a proud member), to promoting child literacy, to supporting greyhound adoptions, and so very much more. I have met an incredible number of amazing people on Etsy who donate a portion of their sales to all kinds of charities. This spirit of giving and sharing and spreading good karma (for lack of a less-hippie-sounding word) is at the center of what makes Etsy special. I, for one, would be far less likely to continue to give Etsy my business if this were not the case.

I had more planned out in my head to say on this subject as I was lying in bed last night. I guess I should have grabbed a pencil and scribbled some notes because it's gone now. If I think of anything else, you can be sure I will be back to bore you with it soon.

New Stuff

These will go up in my Etsy shop soon...

Very large labradorite ring, recycled sterling silver

The same ring, from the back

Big round faceted labradorite ring, recycled sterling silver

Dark blue square cushion cut labradorite ring, recycled sterling silver

I got the bezel smoothed down better on the golden opal so I thought I'd re-photograph it. :-)

Today's Custom Order Rings

stacking ring setPrairie ring trio - olive tourmaline, blue tourmaline, lemon quartz, and recycled sterling silver

labradorite cocktail ringBig round labradorite ring, recycled sterling silver

stackable ringsTemptation ring trio #3 - pink tourmaline, green tourmaline, and recycled sterling silver

blue tourmaline ringBlue-green tourmaline and recycled sterling silver
(I really like this one)

recycled silver ringSimple oxidized comfort fit band, recycled sterling silver

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Pendants

I've really been enjoying making pendants lately... here are a couple of new ones.

Bi-color California tourmaline pendant, sterling silver

October medley pendant, sterling silver
(Pink tourmaline and opal are October's birthstones; this necklace combines pink tourmaline with Mexican fire opal and golden opal.)

This and that

A few new necklaces...

Blue tourmaline solitaire necklace, sterling silver

Labradorite and prasiolite (green amethyst) necklace, sterling silver

Pink tourmaline and citrine necklace, sterling silver

Also, I have a couple of necklaces that have been around forever, but weren't listed in my shop...

Simply elegant Swarovski pearl and sterling silver necklace

Eni Oken style ornately wrapped cathedral agate pendant, sterling silver

I'll be listing all of these in my shop soon.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Carved Labradorite Necklace

Forgot to post this one the other day!

Our Little Boy is Growing Up!

Last night was Carlos' preschool "graduation" (I put that in quotes because he's not actually graduating to a new school - just finishing his first year of preschool - but they have an end-of-year graduation ceremony that all of the kids participate in regardless of age).

Here they are performing a couple of songs -

And here is Carlos receiving his "diploma". Too cute.

I think it was all kind of bewildering for him, but fun.

Speaking of how much Carlos has grown, I took this picture of him with his Grandma last night after graduation -

(That blue thing on the counter is my new cupcake courier; it rocks!)

And here's the same pose about a year and a half ago -

Besides being way bigger, you can tell from the pictures how much more relaxed and happy he is now (the picture above was taken within days of us bringing him home from Guatemala).

Here are a couple more cute pictures from last night -

Oh yeah, and I made a yummy salad to bring to the potluck after the graduation. I have a few tweaks to make before I share it, but it was really good. Stay tuned for details.

Animal Update

Just wanted to post some pics of our little sweetie girls -

They are doing really well. I just found a second cage on Craigslist and am working on getting it cleaned up and re-painted; then I'll set it up next to the other one, with some kind of hatch they can climb through to get from one cage to the other. I thought it would be fun for them to have more space for climbing and playing.

Also, we got a third duck last weekend. No naming contest necessary this time; Carlos has named him Polly Wolly Doodle. Isn't he cute?

He's kind of freaked out still (I remember our other ducks were freaked out for the first few weeks too), and unfortunately, our first two ducks are being kind of mean to him, so we can't leave them together unsupervised. I guess it can sometimes take a while (weeks to months, not just days) for them to adjust to each other, so in the meantime Matt just put up a little temporary barrier inside their pen so they can each have some space of their own. They take turns coming out into the big yard, and we're letting them be together for very short periods, under heavy supervision... I guess it's mating season, and since we don't have any girl ducks, the boys are all trying to mate with each other. The old ducks are being pretty rough on the poor new guy. Hopefully their hormones will calm down soon. Little monsters.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pendant Update

Well, your comments overwhelmingly suggested that I string those new pendants on chain, not beads. So I listened!

More Rings

Also finished today -

Faceted kyanite & recycled sterling silver, satin finish, size 7.5

I got a new shipment of large round labradorite cabs the other day, so I made a bunch more of my signature labradorite rings -

size 5.5

size 5.75

size 8.5

size 7

I also set this gorgeous carved labradorite cab in a bezel and hung it from a simple chain.

All of these will be listed soon in my shop. :-)