Weyakin Designs, Visual Creation by Victoria Chapman

Sunday, January 31, 2010

FREE Ways to Help Charitable Causes

I'm so pleased to see how well the Hearts for Haiti Etsy shop is doing! The Etsy community has already raised over $20,000 for Doctors Without Borders' Haiti relief fund. My heart-shaped herbal heat pack went quickly to a generous overseas buyer. I'm so glad I was able to be part of this wonderful cause.

On the topic of generosity and helpful charities, I wanted to share with you a few ways you can help other causes for FREE every single day. There are several charitable donation sites out there that receive donations based on clicks from users. The money comes from the sponsors who advertise on those pages. It is a great fast, free way to do something positive. Here is a list of some great sites that do great things to help the environment, children, women and people of all kinds:


Do you know of other great ways to help great causes? Comment here with your links!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hearts for Haiti Etsy Donation Shop

Some wonderful people started up a new Etsy shop last week called "Hearts for Haiti". This great cause is raising money to help the people of Haiti from the earthquake destruction. The Etsy community has come together to create a shop full of unique items, all of which are donated by the generous sellers on Etsy. The money raised by Hearts for Haiti will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, who are providing hospital and medical services to the people of Haiti.

A Warm Heart for Haiti Heat PackBe sure to check out all of the wonderful handmade goods everyone on Etsy is providing to the cause and lend a helping hand! I have donated a special purple herbal heat pack in a heart shape. View the Warm Heart for Haiti purple heart heat pack.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fabulous Vegan Rum Cake!

Vegan Rum CakeA co-worker brought in a rum cake, which looked absolutely delicious, but was completely not vegan. So, once I received the recipe from her, I set out to make my own vegan version. You don't have to be a vegan to enjoy this recipe. It's also cholesterol free and tastes just as yummy as one that isn't!

I asked a friend what type of spiced rum would be good for making rum cake with. She recommended Sailor Jerry. So, here is Sailor Jerry's *fabulous* vegan rum cake...

Cake Ingredients:

- 1 cup of chopped/toasted pecans or walnuts (I used pecans)
- 1 box vanilla cake mix (it called for an 18.5oz box, but I used a 16.5oz box and it was fine... I know that Dr. Oteker's cake mix is vegan, so that's what I used)
- 1 box 4 serving vanilla pudding mix (it called for instant, but I used the cook kind and it still works fine... I also used Dr. Oteker's for this because I know it's vegan)
- 1 cup plain or vanilla soy yogurt (this replaces the 4 eggs)
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/2 cup cold soy or rice milk
- 1/2 cup dark spiced rum

Glaze Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup dark spiced rum

Pre-heat oven 325°F. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan. Put the pecans or walnuts evenly in the bottom of the pan. Mix all of the cake ingredients and blend for a couple of minutes. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan and after it cools, flip it upright onto a plate.

To make the glaze: Melt the margarine in a pan. Stir in the sugar and water and let it boil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour in the rum. It will bubble and steam, so be careful! Stir. Pour over the cake!

If the glaze seems kind of runny at first, if you let it cool down, it will solidify more. But, you can pour it over the cake while it is still runny and it can solidify on the cake too. I also noticed this make a TON of glaze, so you don't have to use it all.

Eat and enjoy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Incredible Bat!

Lately, I've been making a few bat-themed products for my shop. I love bats, because I think they are both adorable and interesting creatures. Their shape also makes for an extra spooky, but fun way to dress things up. I know that a lot of people associate bats just with Halloween, but I love having them around all year-round.

Giant Golden-crown Flying Fox BatThe bat consists of about 1,100 different species, ranging in size from 2 grams to 1.2 kilograms. The largest bat is the Giant Golden-crowned Flying Fox, which hails from the Philippines. I love the Flying Fox because it really does look like a fox with wings (image courtesy of Wikipedia). Most bats (about 70%) eat insects, while the remaining bats eat mostly fruit.

The bats that we have here in Massachusetts are usually the "little brown myotis" and the "big brown bat". I often see little bats flying overhead at dusk across the open space in my front yard. I think they might be the little browns. I love watching as they quietly flap across, catching all the nasty mosquitoes. It's an interesting sight to see the silhouettes of 10 or so bats swooping across between the trees. This year, when the weather warms up, we plan to build some bat houses to encourage our little winged friends to hang around. Here are some instructions on how you can make your own bat house!

I hope you enjoyed this quick excursion about our little winged friends!