vegansaurus!

12/02/2011

Vegan Gift Guide: Great vegan gifts for omnis!  »

I am a world class gift-giver. Everybody says so. Like, even Jesus. And for my gift to you, I’m going to share some of my present ideas for this holiday season! Now, I think gifts should be all about who you’re giving them to, not about who you are. A lot of people buy gifts they themselves would like without thinking of what the recipient likes. You like books, your friend likes music—you buy them music, not a book! Simple enough, but it seems to allude many people.

What I’m getting at is your gifts for the omnis in your life shouldn’t be all about your veganism. Trust me, your fam knows you’re vegan (and if they don’t, they’ll get a clue when you bust out the soy nog), you don’t have to remind them again when it’s present time. But at the same time, you can’t be buying them leather jackets! So what to do? Buy secretly vegan gifts! You forgo the "Bacon had a Mom" shirt and get them gifts they will like that happen to be vegan—and maybe do a little good on the sly. Like something that benefits the environment; no one will suspect that it is secretly helping vegans! But it’s like I always say, we vegans have to protect the environment because that’s where all the animals live! And hey, if it’s trendy waxed canvas instead of leather, no one will think twice. But you’ll know it’s vegan! Oh, you’ll know.

Without further ado, great gifts vegans can buy omnis!:

Atelier Haiti Blue Forest Coffee from La Colombe 

If you didn’t know, people love coffee. I swear! It’s true! And in New York and Philly, the biggest thing in coffee is La Colombe. People are crazy for it. It’s at all the posh places. It’s really good! But what’s better, their ethics are out of control. They do direct trade, invest in the community, worry about the rainforest and all that good stuff. And it’s shade-grown so the birds are OK! Laura told me about that, I didn’t even know. But yeah, some coffee is bad for birds!

So you can impress the hipster, urbanite, or coffee-lover in your life by getting them the coolest thing in coffee while secretly knowing the birds and rainforest are OK and your ethics are intact!

Hand Woven Cotton Scarf from Babysabye on Etsy

You know what moms are? Cold. Like, all the time. OK, sometimes they are annoyingly hot, but they spend much of their time being cold. So what better gift than a scarf?! Not a bulky, winter-wear scarf; a pretty, indoor scarf to keep them warm in rooms that are actually a perfectly reasonable temperature. And they can take them off if they get hot! Perf.

And if your mom is like mine, she has entered what I once read described as, “the Goddess Phase.” My mom and all her friends are in the Goddess Phase—You’d know it if you saw it! It’s all about loose linen clothes, beaded necklaces, herbal tea, etc. A scarf is so goddess. Plus, these scarfs are all cotton, vegetable-dyed and super organic. Up with cotton, down with wool!

Marled French Terry Shawl Collar sweater by Threads 4 Thought

You know what dads need? Classy, relaxed clothing. Things that make them look like the distinguished old gentlemen that they are while also keeping their old gentlemen bodies comfortable. So something like this cotton half sweatshirt/half sweater is just the thing! While everyone else is giving him stuffy silk ties and itchy wool sweaters, you’ll be like, “Blammo!” Organic cotton! And it doesn’t hurt that Threads 4 Thought is a sustainable brand that supports great organizations like Natural Resource Defense Council. They even have their own world-saving effort, Girl 2 Girl, that seeks to empower girls throughout the world. Can I get a huzzah?!

Pink and Blue Bunnies bikini panty by Purrfect Pineapples

Need a cheeky yet utilitarian gift for your sweetie? How about cruelty-free underoos from vegan-owned Purrfect Pineapples! All their products are sweatshop and animal-free. They are also handmade and they do custom orders! So if they don’t have your size or you have some wacky design, they can make it happen.

When your main squeeze opens this present, no way will they be like, “OMG stop pushing your beliefs on me!” They will be like, “OMG let’s do it!” And your love-making will be that much more satisfying knowing you supported a vegan biz. Also, sorry I said love-making. Bleh, love. And making. Bleh. 

Recycled Wine Bottle Glasses from Bodhicitta on Etsy

Know a wine lover, a sustainable design enthusiast and/or someone with a new place? These wine tumblers would make a great present. Not only are they recycled, but they’re totally meta! Kind of? You’d be drinking wine from tumblers made of wine bottles! Whatever, it’s cool and they are pretty. And environmentally friendly!

Andean Collection Amazon Necklace in Tropical

This eco-friendly, fair trade necklace also happens to be approved by my sister so YOU KNOW it’s cute. She suggests pairing it with some gold for a real WHAM BAM effect. World of Good, where you can purchase this hotness, also points out: "The beautiful jewelry of the collection is made by Ecuadorian artisans from natural, local rain forest materials. This not only helps the artisans earn a living wage, but it also helps to protect the rain forest by creating a profitable and low impact use of its materials." I love stuff like that! Where you make keeping environmental and animal stuff more valuable than killing it all. That rules.

If I Were a Puppy kids’ book from the Humane Society

You may say to yourself, “What about the kids?!” Well, I’ve got a little something for them too! This cute book comes with a plush dog AND has tactile stuff on the pages for kiddies to mess with. And the best part? It benefits the Humane Society! Or maybe the tactile stuff is the best part, I used to love that fuzzy bunny book. Sigh. That was awesome.

Wait, wait, wait, the best part is that kids love books (for some wacky reason) and kids love animals, so no one will suspect that you are secretly indoctrinating them into the vegan lifestyle! Haaaa, that is the best.

Women’s Bean Project Snickerdoodle cookie mix from The Animal Rescue Site

OK, here’s my bid for the cheap secret santa gift. At $6.50, this cookie mix (which contains no animal ingredients on its own) is fair-trade, eco-friendly and supports the Women’s Bean Project, “an innovative social enterprise in Denver, Colorado which benefits women with a history of poverty and chronic unemployment.” If that is not enough for you, it funds 14 bowls of food for shelter animals!

And this is a good generic present because it’s not some dumb, cheapo thing the recipient is going to be stuck with; they can actually use it and it goes away. And cookies are yummy!

Elephant Book Labels from Boygirlparty on Etsy

I know many book collectors and they are a nutty lot. They are obsessed! And one thing I have learned is, unless you are getting them some rare first edition, never try to buy them an actual book as a gift; If it’s a book they wanted, they will have already gotten it by the time you’re trading presents. If they don’t have it, it’s because they don’t want it. Another thing I have learned is the bane of the book collector’s existence is when they loan a book to someone and never get it back. It haunts them in the wee hours. The solution? Book labels! And if you recall, not only are these labels eco-friendly, but use our “VEGANSAURUS” coupon code at Boygirlparty’s etsy store and you will get 10 percent off your order and 10 percent of the sale will be donated to the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. You’ll help animals AND your book-enthusiast will feel like someone finally understands their deep-seated collector’s anxiety.

Another thing: these book labels would make a good gift for kids too. Like I said, kids love books; Another thing kids love is laying claim to things. With these labels, they can tell the whole world this is their book. Plus, look at that cute elephant!

Shaving Kit by Olive Authentique on Ethical Ocean

This is perfect for the gentleman or aspiring gentleman. Or just anyone who likes to stay groomed. Or really, anyone who’s gone through puberty. If they don’t know already, they will find out: shaving brushes rule! They work as a gentle exfoliant so you can get a nice smooth shave with less irritation. That’s what makes this a great present: it’s classy, utilitarian, and works better. And with this kit, you get all-natural, environmentally friendly, vegan soap and a brush free of badger hair. Yay! Bleh, badger hair. Leave it for the badgers.

So those are my recommendations! I spent a lot of time on them! Because I love you. And because gift-giving should be a pleasure, not a chore! I hope these help with that. Have fun and be merry!

03/31/2010

Guest post: Vegan knitting: crafty, fun, and cruelty-free!  »

How many times have you been browsing patterns on Ravelry or clicking through the newest edition of Knitty thinking “GOD. I love this pattern but I’m vegan and I have no clue what yarn to use because the people at my local yarn shop are kind of mean about me being vegan and always try and sell me wool and then tell me that sheep like having chunks of their butts cut off without painkillers, so instead of knitting I’m going to go sit in the corner and cry.”

Yep, I’ve been through the same scenario quite a few times myself and it is not fun! The fact is, the vegan yarn market is severely underserved and being a new vegan, or knitter, or both can be quite daunting.  Well consider me your brand-new personal LYS employee who won’t scorn your ethics with a withering, condescending gaze.*

Together we’re going to go through some of the most popular knitting patterns circulating the internet today and pick out which yarns will work best for the individual projects! [Ed.: While we’ve linked to the websites of those yarn companies with websites, be sure to look for the best deals on yarns at your local stores or other, online retailers.]

Clapotis, by Kate Gilbert
With Clapotis, I feel that there are unlimited possibilities and you probably can’t go wrong. I do think a 100 percent bamboo or soy would work beautifully as they both have a silk-like, luscious drape that will compliment the bias knit quite nicely. Since it’s a scarf it’s not imperative that you match the gauge precisely, so go with whatever yarn is calling to you regardless of weight as long as you don’t mind smaller stitches. A DK weight bamboo from Southwest Trading Company would look absolutely stunning. If you’re looking for a slightly chunkier yarn try Classic Elite’s worsted weight Bam Boo or Queensland Collection Bebe Cotsoy, a worsted cotton/soy blend. If you absolutely want to stick with an aran weight yarn, then Anchor’s cotton/soy blend Bamboolo would be a perfect match!


Cobblestone Pullover, by Jared Flood
For all you male knitters out there, this is the quintessential pullover. It calls for a wooly aran weight tweed yarn, so I must recommend Kraemer’s Tatamy Tweed Worsted (40 percent cotton, 60 percent acrylic), which you may have to adjust your needle size for, but no biggie!

February Lady sweater, by Pamela Wynne
This is an extremely popular pattern that calls for a worsted weight merino yarn. It’s a lovely spring cardigan so I bet a plain ol’ cotton, such as Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton or Dyed Cotton, would work beautifully here. If you can’t afford that much per skein you can always try Lion Brand Cotton Solid or Knit Picks Simply Cotton. If you’re worried about shape retention then try a cotton/acrylic blend such as Lion Brand Cotton-Ease.


Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath
The Bay Area is the perfect place for fingerless mitts, especially for all that bike riding and stuffing our mouths full of food we do here. Make sure you’re prepared for the fall and knit Fetching. Crystal Palace Bamboozle (55 percent bamboo, 24 percent cotton, 21 percent elastic nylon) has just the right amount of bamboo to keep your hands toasty and plenty of elastic nylon to help them stay snug on your hands.


Monkey, by Cookie A.
If you haven’t knit socks yet, you simply must. They’re fun, quick, and turning the heel isn’t as scary as people make it out to be! This is a striking lacy pair of socks that any of the vegan Crystal Palace sock yarns would work well with. There is Maizy (82 percent corn fiber and 18 percent elastic nylon), Panda Cotton (59 percent bamboo, 25 percent cotton and 16 percent elastic nylon), or Panda Soy (49 percent bamboo, 33 percent soy and 18 percent elastic nylon) all of which come in both solid and variegated colors (choose variegated! Really!).

Owls, by Kate Davies
I’ve wondered just about twice a day my whole life why I don’t have a sweater with owls around the collar, and now here it is! The original pattern calls for a bulky weight wool yarn so Garnstudio’s Drops Ice (55 percent cotton, 45 percent acrylic) seems to have been made just for this pattern. Having a little acrylic blended with the cotton is important because you don’t want those owls to lose their shape and be sad, do you?!

As vegan bulky yarns can be a bit challenging to come by, I want to recommend a few other more budget friendly options, such as Berrocco Comfort Chunky or Knit Picks Comfy Bulky; both are cotton/acrylic blends.

*I have had nothing but amazing experiences at Bay Area yarn shops, but when I travel farther from our vegan paradise I tend run into downright bad manners.

Kristen is a graduate of San Francisco’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and is now stuck in the city without a paying job. Luckily, she recently landed a great internship with a local yarn company and is working towards becoming a knitwear designer. She spends most of her free time knitting, eating vegan food, and petting her cat named Cooper who surprisingly does not bother her while she knits (which is pretty much all the time, it’s kind of ridiculous). This is her first post for Vegansaurus, but she has her own fabulous vegan knitting blog, Tree Wool. Check it out!

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