EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: October 2013

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

ANiMAL PETiTiONS CORNER by Alicia of WoodsEdge

Presented by Alicia of WoodsEdge

1. Support Stronger Pet Food Safety Regulations 

For the first time the FDA is taking a proactive approach to dealing with pet food safety, instead of waiting for problem foods to hit the market with a proposal that will regulate production practices for  food for both companion animals and livestock that are similar to regulations for human food. 

Please sign the petition urging the FDA to enact these regulations. 


Check here for more info and to submit a public comment directly to the FDA:


2. Help Protect Puffins from Starving

Changing ocean temperatures have adversely affected a number of species, including puffins whose food source has moved to cooler temperatures, leaving them with no food for their young. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new requirements that would help with carbon pollution from power plants, but Big Polluters are fighting it. 

Please send a letter to the EPA urging the agency to help protect wildlife from climate change by limiting carbon pollution. 


3. Save Mute Swans Near JFK Airport

The USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service is considering plans to kill mute swans passing through JFK airspace in an effort to promote aircraft safety. Animal advocates believe that this is not only cruel, but also senseless because more birds will move in later, and are pushing for non-lethal alternatives. 

Please submit a comment asking the USDA to use non-lethal alternatives that have proven to be effective elsewhere. 



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ANiMAL MUNDi: Legless Lizards by Corinna of TheFrogBag

by Corinna of TheFrogBag
Photos courtesy of Cal State, Fullerton

The Legless Lizards of LAX

It’s not uncommon to hear about the discovery of a new species. Tiny creatures with home ranges deep in the sea, in the crowns of rare trees, or high in snow-capped mountains regularly make the news. Most of these are bugs, lichen, or small fish discovered by patient researchers after years of hard work. It’s safe to say that none of them are found in major metropolitan areas near gigantic transit hubs. That is, until now, with the discovery of a new 8-inch long legless lizard inhabiting the sand dunes just west of Los Angeles International Airport. 

The lizard was not completely unknown in California prior to the exciting announcement in the journal Breviora, but it was believed that only one species existed across the state. New research has shown that there are actually four distinct species inhabiting the San Joaquin Valley, the eastern Sierra Nevada, the Bay Area near San Francisco, and now, the area around LAX. The populations have been separate for millions of years, leading them each to become genetically unique. And it’s not likely that there was much traveling for the sake of romance once the groups split off, either. The pencil-sized animals are real homebodies, spending their entire lives in an area no bigger than a coffee table, wiggling through loose soil and dining on slow-moving larvae and other invertebrates.

Since the lizards inhabit such desirable property and are so rare, they have already been listed as “species of special concern” by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Luckily, the LAX variety (Anniella stebbinsi) has some habitat protection since its range overlaps with the federally protected El Segundo Blue Butterfly Habitat Preserve, so it is not in any immediate danger from development.

But isn’t a legless reptile a snake? Not always. For one thing, lizards can blink and snakes cannot, since the latter lack eyelids. Snakes shed in one big piece while lizards tend to flake off small areas. And snakes are just more, well, slithery. Legless lizards don’t really coil, preferring to remain rigid like their legged cousins. As to why any self-respecting animal would give up four perfectly good legs, the answer probably lies in the sandy areas the lizards call home. Legs and claws just get in the way when you’re nosing through the dirt, chasing down a snack or seeking a nesting site. All of which contributes to a lifestyle that seems to suit these lizards just fine, but makes studying them extremely challenging. Luckily James Parham and Theodore J. Papenfuss were up to the task, and their discovery of this “cute” (as Parham was quoted as calling them) creature has made the world a more interesting place.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Artist Exposed… Special Team EFA Treasury Feature

At the beginning of October… our team got an offer from Vicki Diane to pull together 16 EFA members who would be willing to participate in her Artist Exposed Treasury series. 

The goal was to have a portrait of their good selves, with or without an animal companion, and with or without their product positioned in the number #1 photo slot of their listing. 

Every EFA member was invited to participate through our Etsy forum group... on a first come basis... and a few weeks later... this is what we were able to put together !

Check out the Treasury HERE.

And THANKS to the infamously popular Vicki Diane, to date this collection has had over 700 views.

EFA has been promoting the Treasury on our Facebook Fan page daily as we feature one of the individual team member listings. 

Here's who participated 
(in the order of Vicki Diane's curation)

Nicole of Brizel4TheAnimals
Vintage Hand Woven Earth tone Sash

Josie of Whiscraft
Handmade Catnip Mice

Virag of Davir
Handmade Flower Power Dog Collar

Sandra of Anything70s
Vintage Caftan

Ginger of BarkingDogBlanket
Handmade Blue Car Pet Seat Cover

Esse of EkNeverFeltBetter
Handmade Tapestry Bag

Elizabeth of LVSBeadsnThings
Hand Painted Wolf Feather

Heather of TheBlueWindmill
Original Acrylic Painting

Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals
Original Painting of Fox on Maple Wood

Corinna of TheFrogBag
Handmade Happy Frog Earrings

Elizabeth of ElizabethRuffing
Handmade Slug Animal Plush

Hand Knitted Catnip Mouse

Scotti of JewelrybyScotti
Handmade Silver & Stripes Necklace

Lisa and Sky of TheAnimalsMagicShop
Vintage Enamel Butterfly Pin

Veronica of ScrappyRat
HandWritten Poetry Book: Gone

Athena of NatureGoods
Original Photographs, set of four

LOTS of gratitude to Vicki Diane 
for her invitation & promotion 
and THANKS as well to our sixteen 
participating EFA members...
Way to go !

Thursday, October 24, 2013

ANiMAL PETiTiONS CORNER by Alicia of WoodsEdge

Presented by Alicia of WoodsEdge

1. Tell Connecticut to Stop Supporting Puppy Mills

Animal advocates have traced the majority of pet store puppies to puppy mills are supporting legislation that would ban the retail sale of dogs and cats who don't come from an animal control facility, shelter or rescue and are asking stores to adopt a humane business model by partnering with these types of organizations instead of sourcing animals from mills, but pet store owners are fighting it. 

Please sign the petition urging Connecticut's lawmakers to make an unprecedented move by supporting legislation that would ban the sale of dogs from puppy mills. 


2. Tell Farmers Insurance to Stop Breed Discrimination

Farmers Insurance has changes its policies to exclude pit bulls and rottweilers, which has raised fears that more will be given up and needlessly killed. Discriminating against customers based on how their dogs look is an unfair practice that punishes responsible dog owners and good dogs with no legitimate basis.  

Please sign the petition asking the company to abandon its restricted breeds list and alter rates for dog owners based on other factors, such as a history of aggression or for proof of spay/neuter and training. 


3. Tell Amazon to Stop Selling Foie Gras

The inherent cruelty of foie gras production has been highlighted by numerous undercover investigations and led to calls for retailers to stop peddling it. Amazon UK recently announced that it would ban the sale of foie gras, but the worldwide site has yet to follow suit. 

Please sign the petition asking Amazon to take a stand for animals as it has done with other issues, such as banning whale meat, by banning sales of foie gras.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

EFA MEMBER iNTERViEW... EkNeverFeltBetter by Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals

Chicagoan and Knitter Extraordinaire
by Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals

Esse Kipnis was born in Chicago and has lived there all her life. She believes it’s the changing seasons that keep her there, finding each one to be special in its own way, “kind of like the people and animals who define our lives and make us who we are.”  

Esse is married with three grown daughters, and she is “the proud grandmother of seven beautiful grandkids.” 

Esse is the person behind the Etsy shop, EKNeverFeltBetter.  She began her relationship with the Etsy community over 6 years ago when she opened Never Felt Better, offering hand knit and felted items.  As a grateful breast cancer survivor, Esse says, “The name Never Felt Better seemed like a perfect fit. As time went on, in an effort to grow and diversify my shop, I added embroidery services offering customized items, focusing on personalized gifts for women and children.” 

In her shop you’ll find beautiful hand-knit sweaters, accessories, and felted bags. You’ll also find personalized backpacks, lunch boxes and nap mats which are some of the popular items manufactured by Stephen Joseph, Inc. offered for young children. These make great gifts!!

It's a Wrap Dog Sweater
modeled by Ava


When it comes to pets, Esse enjoys telling the touching story of gaining her new family members.  She and her husband currently have three adorable puppies: Bailey, Violet, and Ruby. 

She says, “When we lost our beloved English Bulldog, Ava, the void we experienced was overwhelming. We knew we could never replace our Ava, but we desperately desired and needed a new purpose to make our days more meaningful. We reached out to a local rescue organization, Pitter Patter Animal Rescue, and made arrangements to adopt two puppies, Bailey and Violet. When we picked up our new additions, we were informed that a third puppy (who would become our Ruby) had been returned to Pitter Patter by the police because of abusive treatment by her owners. The puppy had been burned on her back with what appeared to be a thick cigar and had bite marks on the top of her head. The previous owners took her to their vet for treatment, and the vet reported the injuries to Pitter Patter. The owners were unwilling to relinquish the puppy, so Pitter Patter got the police involved and forced the return of the puppy to them. Pitter Patter asked if we might consider adopting the remaining puppy in the litter of six to keep her with her sisters. How could we not?  So we ended up with our three gorgeous girls instead of two!”

Bailey, Violet and Ruby are a mix of Maltese, Poodle and Yorkshire Terrier. Sometimes called  Mapookies, they are all from the same litter, but they are each unique and a different color, and just as cute and sweet as can be. Esse says, “They came into our home when they were just three months old and they will be nine months at the end of October. We’re fortunate to have a fenced yard and a park close to home to diffuse some of that puppy energy!”

 Esse’s husband, Gary,
and their three adorable puppies!

While Esse’s major involvement with animals has been caring for her pets, she is also proud to be an EFA COTM sponsor and she regularly makes donations to the Humane Society of the United States and The Anti-Cruelty Society.  

She also supports the Chicago English Bulldog Rescue group.  “We adopted our Ava from this wonderful group of people who are dedicated to helping bulldogs find their forever homes. They were chosen as the EFA Charity of the Month in January 2012.” Esse says her dream would be never to need these organizations, but until animal cruelty and mistreatment no longer exists, “thank goodness for the work of these wonderful groups.”

When it comes to a favorite animal, Esse says that she is especially fond of elephants. She asks, “Don’t you think Esse the Elephant sounds kind of cute?” Why yes, Esse, I think that has a special kind of ring to it!

Artwork courtesy of Rebecca Dresser,
Knee Deep Studio


“I always enjoy this time of year, looking forward to the excitement of the holiday season. It proves to be a very busy time of year for Never Felt Better as people start preparing for personalized gift giving.”

Personalized Dino Backpack 


“I began knitting about 55 years ago (yes, I said 55!) when I was only 9 years old. My mom had a large bag of black wool that had been abandoned along with plans for finishing a needlepoint piano bench cover. That bag of wool sat hidden away in a closet for what seemed like a very long time. I had come across a beginning knitting booklet and was unable to resist trying my hand at knitting. I received permission to use the wool in the closet and that was the start of my love for knitting.  

To this day, each sweater I make amazes me in its own way. I always look at my completed work and wonder how the heck I did it! I get a huge sense of satisfaction with each hand knit or felted piece I complete.”

SHRUG IT OFF handknit sweater shrug

“Personalizing items for children is also very gratifying. I hope each child gets a big kick out of seeing his or her name embroidered on a new gift.” I’m sure they do, Esse!  It’s a wonderful thing for a child! I know because my daughter owns a piece from Esse!


“The shop and the puppies pretty much fill my days with activity.  But when evening comes, I sit for a while with my husband and the puppies, watching a little TV, knowing that my family is doing well, and counting my blessings.”


“I have had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people associated with the Etsy community. I derive so much pleasure working with my amazing customers, and I have never met a group of more caring and devoted individuals than the selfless members of Etsy For Animals. I am honored to be a part of EFA.”  

Sounds like Esse is saying that it’s important to be involved with a team to broaden support and community! I totally agree! And from a personal standpoint, I know that Esse is very good at customer service, an essential part of a successful online shop!


“I believe that love puts meaning into our lives, that without it we cannot be happy individuals, especially as we approach our senior years. Having warm memories that embrace the people and animals we have loved throughout our lifetimes is the reward for being kind and caring human beings and I cannot think of anything more important in life than treating others with consideration, kindness and respect.” 

The Love Glove Mitten Set 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making Shelters for Feral Cats by Josie of Whiscraft

Making Shelters for Feral Cats 
by Josie of Whiscraft

As summer conveniently rolled into the milder heat of autumn, nature is bustling with brilliant colours to celebrate the harvest, and to make way for the holiday season which starts alongside winter.

Wild animals everywhere are just as busy preparing for their long slumber and for that purpose stockpiling and clearing their way into a warm home where they can take shelter during the frozen winter. 

Unfortunately, declining available land does not always grant enough space for all. When the first snow falls, we will often see our more independent feline friends rely on car motor for warmth, or even brace themselves out in the open all together.

Some, with their natural charm, will tug the hearts of kind people who open their door for them, but others don't always, and animal lovers like us will often be plagued with guilt for not being able to home one more because our hands are already full. If that is the case, we might have some solutions for you !

Feral parents and enthusiast all over the world have come up with a great many ingenious, yet cheap, ideas to help our feline friends through the winter. Here are some practical things you can do: put together some DIY feral cat shelters.

The most commonly used materials are Rubbermaid tubs, straw, Styrofoam, and bales of straw. All of them are widely available and affordable in price. 

Here is one particular idea which has long circulated the internet (so much so that we can no longer trace its original owner) is a rather effective shelter:

A long time Toronto Cat Rescue volunteer modified the commonly used rubbermaid boxes by incorporating reflectix panels sold at home depot. 

Reflectix (also known as Mylar blanket in survival stores) is a foil-faced material that reflects 97 percent of radiant heat (meaning the cats' own body heat will be reflected back at them) and it's easy to work with. Mylar or Reflectix can make a huge difference saving cats from freezing in extreme winter conditions. Using rubbermaid 189L bin, gorrila tape and some posters, she made a shelter large enough to house 5 cats, and it's cost was less than $50! 

You can find her detailed instruction HERE.

Our October Charity of the Month: Alley Cat Allies has literally tons of diy feral cat shelter ideas to choose from

One of the easiest ones comes from a fish or steak box. Talk about value added to the project- the cats get aromatherapy as well :) A colourful eye candy step-by-step instruction can be found on flickr HERE.

Whatever design you choose... here is a practical checklist of things to consider...

MATERIALMaterial should be lightweight (for your own sake) but sturdy enough to hold cats and not so lightweight that it can easily be blown away.

INSULATIONConsider adding a smaller container inside the outer shell for extra insulation. There are a lot of options for insulation which can be stuffed between the two containers: shredded papers from your office, folded newspapers, straw, or Styrofoam peanuts (put it inside a pillow case). Choose whatever is abundantly available to you, but do remember to check this material often to make sure it didn't get wet & should be changed... otherwise you will end up with very sick cat. You can also drill a small hole at the bottom of the shelter and be sure to position the shelter so water can drip out. 

POSITIONING OF SHELTERPosition the doorway to the shelter in line with a building so that its roof is an overhang... and also away from the prevailing wind to prevent moisture from coming into the shelter. You can always add weight at the bottom of the tub, sand for instance, which might help to anchor down the shelter.

PREVENTING DRINKING WATER FROM FREEZINGThis is a little tricky... Most people buy a water bowl with an electric heater, but you can also consider this idea... cut the rim out of one side of a tire, and stuff it with rock. Put the water container in the middle. The tire will trap heat from the sun during the day and the rock will keep the heat long enough to prevent water from freezing. This trick is used by horse owners to prevent water in their field from freezing. Use a small Styrofoam box, like those used to transport vaccine, and cut it tall enough for a cat to be able to drink from it, and fill it with water, or if the box is small enough, glue every side shut and make a hole in one side large enough for the cat to drink. You can also insert a water bowl into the styrofoam box.

Want more ideas ? Here is a video on how you can build a simple feral cat shelter from two plastic tubs, courtesy of Pet Collective: 

So go ahead... 
have fun helping kitties this winter 
You'll be saving lives !

Resource Info

Thursday, October 17, 2013

ANiMAL PETiTiONS CORNER by Alicia of WoodsEdge

Presented by Alicia of WoodsEdge

1. Oppose Lab Breeding Facility for Beagles

Last year public outcry helped stop plans for a beagle breeding facility in the UK, but another application for the same thing has been submitted. As part of their Best Friends campaign, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is calling for an end to all experimentation on dogs and cats and is fighting to ensure that no more facilities are allowed to breed companion animals for research. 

Please sign the petition asking the East Riding Planning Committee to reject the application. 


2. Stop Lawmakers from Giving Hunters Preference on Public Lands 

The Sportsmen's Heritage Act, which would do a number of terrible things for both wildlife and nature enthusiasts, is back under consideration. Among other things, this bill would open up even more public land for hunting and trapping, even though many national parks were set up to be sanctuaries for wildlife, would allow hunters to leave lead and other toxic substances in the wilderness and allow the import of polar bear trophies if bears were killed before 2008. 

Please send a letter to your representative asking them to oppose this bill. 


3. Help Protect Dogs and Cats in China

Despite support for protecting animals by a majority of Chinese people, millions of cats and dogs are still suffering for their meat and fur and there is animal welfare legislation on a national level to keep them safe or to punish abusers. 

Please sign the petition supporting national legislation preventing cruelty to animals. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ANiMAL MUNDi: The Ballad of the Earth Pig by Corinna of TheFrogBag

by Corinna of TheFrogBag
Photos courtesy of ARKIVE.ORG

The Ballad of the Earth Pig

Think of the oddest animal you can. Now cross it with something even weirder. It’s possible that after several such thought experiments you might arrive at a creature as strange as the aardvark (Orycteropus afer). Then again, you might fall short. Aardvarks are pretty darn bizarre. 

The word aardvark comes from the Afrikaans and means “earthpig” although they are also called “ant bears” in other parts of Africa. They range over a large part of that continent, occurring just about everywhere aside from desert regions like the Sahara and Namib. In truth they’re not at all like pigs or bears, but are instead the only living members of order Tubulidentata, a fact that goes a long way towards explaining their uniqueness. 

Weighing up to 180 pounds each, these muscular animals exist on a diet of ants and termites, mighty small prey for something so large. Yet a single aardvark can eat 50,000 individual invertebrates each night, sucking them in whole using a sticky foot-long tongue and not bothering to chew. The insects are instead crushed in the animal’s strong lower stomach. To find so many at one time they have to make short work of even the largest termite mounds, digging quickly and closing their nostrils to guard against bites.

It’s often been said that aardvarks are important members of their ecosystems, but in fact they create ecosystems. Using their long claws they burrow into the hardest ground much faster than a team of humans using shovels could. They excavate burrows and tunnel systems over 40 feet long with multiple entrances that are eventually colonized by invertebrates, reptiles, other mammals, and even birds.

To dig so well it helps to have specialized tools. The aardvark’s long claws are well suited for the task but they don’t fold up nicely as a cat’s claws do. Instead they have to walk on them, making their movements a bit awkward above ground. Since they are nocturnal the only sign seen of them is often the imprint of their long tails dragging in the dirt behind their clawprints, showing where they traveled in a zigzag pattern the night before, hunting tasty insects. And presumably not sparing a thought to how odd they seem to anyone who isn’t an aardvark. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Architects of Change for Cats... USA's National Feral Cat Day- October 16th

13th Annual National Feral Cat Day (Oct. 16) 
Highlights Growing National Movement 
toward More Compassionate Communities

Alley Cat Allies to release “blueprints” to change animal sheltering practices and save cats’ lives

BETHESDA, MD—The 13th annual National Feral Cat Day® on Oct. 16 will shine a spotlight on the growing national movement toward embracing humane animal control and sheltering practices that protect the lives of community cats, said Alley Cat Allies, the nation’s leading advocacy group for cats. Alley Cat Allies founded National Feral Cat Day in 2001.

“There is a sea change in our how our nation’s cities are approaching cats whose homes are the outdoors,” said Becky Robinson, president and co-founder of Alley Cat Allies. “Hundreds of municipal and private shelters and animal control agencies have embraced Trap-Neuter-Return and abandoned the cruelty of ‘catch and kill’. Communities are seeing firsthand that these innovative programs really work.”

This year, Alley Cat Allies will mark the day by releasing “Architects of Change for Cats,” a blueprint for animal pounds, shelters and animal control agencies for implementing changes to end the practice of catching and killing community cats. The guide includes several examples of communities that have changed their practices and have since seen reduced animal shelter intake numbers, stabilized outdoor cat populations, widespread community support and other powerful metrics of success.

Since the launching of National Feral Cat Day® in 2001, hundreds of local nonprofit organizations have been formed to educate their communities about feral cat colonies and carry out TNR programs; and more than 300 cities have officially endorsed or embraced TNR.

Robinson said the widespread grassroots support for such changes could be demonstrated by the growing number of communities that celebrate National Feral Cat Day with events such as rallies, TNR workshops, spay/neuter drives and gala fundraisers.

“Last year, more than 450 events were held in honor of National Feral Cat Day, and we expect even more this year,” Robinson said. “This is a day for people in communities large and small, all across the U.S., to raise their voices in support of positive change for cats.”

More information can be found at 

Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has nearly half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide.

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