BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions… Because YOU Wanted To Know

1) Hm, so why’s your blog called “BitterSweet?” Does it have something to do with chocolate?

Nope, I wasn’t even thinking of the possible connection to chocolate when I first created it. I was really referring to my crafts as being the small sweet things in an otherwise bitter life. While I’m happy to say that my outlook has improved significantly since then, I feel that the name is still applicable when I consider this to be my little oasis of sweet people to share my thoughts with in an otherwise bitter world.

2) Alright, I get it… But if you care about these “sweet people” so much, why don’t you ever respond to comments?

I used to attempt responding to every single comment – Which would take me multiple hours a day. Now that my traffic has continued to increase, there’s just no way I can always reply, although rest assured that I absolutely always read everything posted, and I make sure that any questions are answered. Some times I can’t think of a darned thing to say, or work gets so overwhelming that there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to do so, but I do make an effort! If you’re concerned that there are never any replies from me on the post itself, no need to fret, because I like to email everyone individually, as I would rather not clog my own pages with even more of my babble.

3) Hey, I just love your knit / crocheted _____! Can I possibly get the pattern?

If the pattern is something that I found for free online, I will always include a link so that you can access it as well, but many of the crafts I make are modified from patterns found in various books. I’d love to share these, but copyrights prevent me from doing so. I try to write down instructions when I’m creating something from scratch, but if I’m in a rush, tired, or just want to keep that one to myself, it really isn’t possible for me to go back and recall exactly what I did. Sorry about that!

4) You talk about using these “safety eyes” in an awful lot of your stuffed animals. What are they, and where can I find them?

Safety eyes are specially designed to stay securely in place in stuffed animals so that little babies (or pets) can’t pull them out and possibly swallow them. I use them all the time because I like the look they provide, in addition to the reassurance that they won’t fall off like some half-beads will when poorly glued on. They can be a bit tricky to track down in the US for some reason, but a few craft stores such as JoAnne’s and AcMore’s stocks a meager selection. If you want a nice range of sizes and colors though, I highly suggest ordering online from sites such as CraftBits. Sure, the shipping costs do add up, but I think that the quality makes it worth the price.

5) I’m a beginner at crochet / knitting and I don’t understand these abbreviations you use. Could you explain what they mean?

There are plenty of people who have graciously written up this info – Try looking here for knitting abbreviations and here for crochet.

6) I just made a ton of amigurumi and other crafty items from your patterns! Can I go ahead and sell them now?

I’m sorry to say that I can not allow anything created from my craft patterns, or the written instructions themselves, to be sold for monetary gain. Since all of the patterns are made free for everyone to enjoy equally, and I make no profit on them myself, it doesn’t seem right to charge for them at any point. You’re still welcome to swap with your finished creations or give them away for gifts, as long as a price tag never enters the picture. Thanks for understanding!

7) Those are some nifty pictures you’ve got there… I’m a photo-buff myself, so I was wondering, what sort of camera do you use?

Older pictures were shot with my trusty Canon PowerShot A75 which is a fairly basic point-and-shoot camera, but I know it well and on occasion I can even coax decent photos out of it. I would definitely recommend it for any beginners, as it has everything you need without worrying about lenses, apertures, and shutter speed [unless you want to, in which case you still have a little room to play around.] Now, however, I have the wonderful fortune to receive a new little toy as a gift, so I’ve upgraded to the Canon Digital Rebel XTi- An amazing machine to say the least. I’m still making the transition over, so you may see some older, less attractive pictures crop up every now and then until I get everything figured out.

8) What do you do with all the sweets you make?

It’s true that I have a powerful sweet tooth, but there’s no way I can eat all of the goodies featured on my blog in my cookbooks alone.  If I make something that I absolutely love but can’t finish quickly, I can freeze it, for starters. However, I’m lucky to have a hungry army to feed- My family is always receptive to my experiments, and what can’t be finished within the household is sent off to parties and gathers, or is taken in to work for coworkers to enjoy.  Then there are always friends around who are willing taste testers as well.  The two go hand in hand- You can’t have too many friends, and you can never have too much food when they’re around!

9) Now I’m hungry- Quit being such a tease with photo-only posts!  Can I get the recipe?

If I haven’t included a recipe written in at the bottom of the post or hyper-linked to one somewhere within, then sadly, no recipe is available. This is either because I was just “free-style” cooking and didn’t take notes, wasn’t totally pleased with the results/aren’t sure they’re reliable, or I’m saving the recipe for a future publication.  If the last reason is the case, then I’ll be sure to post an update when it’s finally available, and where you can find it.

10) Where on Earth did my comment go? I don’t see it!

Don’t panic, sometimes comments get caught in the spam filter. With any luck, I’ll spot it among the junk and rescue it.  I’m sorry to say that I can’t always salvage every comment that gets mixed in with the spam, especially if there’s been a high volume of trolls at the same time.  Just try commenting again and hopefully I’ll catch it next time.

If you successfully commented but then discovered that your comment went missing later, think about the content of your post.  I will remove any malicious, hateful, or offensive comments.  Comments that contain self-promoting links will either be edited to remove the links, or deleted altogether.

11) Hey, I have a comment / question, but it doesn’t really apply to any of your current posts. How else can I get in contact with you?

Drop me a line at hannah @ mysweetvegan . com. Just remove the spaces!

More to come soon – Keep asking and I’ll keep adding to this list.

54 thoughts on “FAQ

  1. I just started a blog on wordpress. In fact, this is my first comment. =o) I was just wondering what your name is on craftster? I’m raina.storms… and now I’m subscribed to your blog. Cheers!

  2. Thank you so much for making my day! I come to your website every once in awhile to lighten my load, so to speak. You are very intelligent, witty, and very kind to share that with the world.
    Emma Lemmon

  3. Hi Bittersweet,

    I don’t see a contact email, but I’d like to do an interview piece with you for the online edition of Herbivore Magazine. Please let me know if you’re interested!

    Thanks,

    jess
    jdfunks@yahoo.com

    • Just found your site while looking for a chickpea of the sea recipe. I have found a few on line but they have mayo etc. I’m used to the one soled in Fairfield (where you used to work??) Is that recipe ‘sharable’?

      Thanks.

  4. I came across your blog while searching for vegan marshmallow tips. You are so freakin’ talented and prolific! Your photos are really vivid and professional. I’ll be coming back often :)
    Thanks for sharing your creations with the world! Beautiful!

  5. Hi!

    I simply adored the little firestarter and would love if you could send me the pattern.
    My Dad’s chinese astrology sign is a dragon, and I’m sure he would love to have his own.

    By the way, I’ll be making up the Slide of Cake for my boyfriend as a permanent birthday cake. He’s mad about chocolate, so I’m sure he’d adore it.

    I love your blog, especially the little stories about your fuzzy friends who pop up.

    :O)
    Katrina

  6. Hi
    Just wanted to say how awesome your work is.
    I know my grandaughter would love your work.
    Maybe someday will try doing more things so small.
    Thanks for sharing with all of us.
    Just love the miniatures.

    Annette

  7. I wanted to say how much I love your blog. I am a newbie at crochet, but I am going to try and tackle some of your patterns soon. They are so cute!

    I was also wondering if you had a recipe for sweet and sour mock chicken or know of a company that makes it pre-packaged. I had some a few days ago and loved it. :)

  8. Hi, today is my birthday and I would l like to use the your photo of a slice of knitted birthday cake on my blog — with proper attribution, of course. The photo is in your September 27, 2006 post, “Let Them Knit Cake.”

    Thanks!

  9. Thank you SO much for putting the time and effort into this gorgeous website. Having suffered from a gnarly milk protein allergy all my life, it is awesome to find such a great resource! I absolutely love your food reviews, the organic/alternative/non-dairy product world can be a scary one where disappointments with product are both expensive and frustrating. Thanks Again!

  10. I love the creations, love the photos, love the stories. Ok, so you don’t always write up the patterns, but it would be fabulous to buy a printed book (or booklet) with the photos and stories that go with them, just so I could enjoy them all together in one place. A party!

    I’ll keep an eye on the blog, hoping that this will be something you’ll be able to put together and sell to us one day!

  11. Please post the Pattern for the scarf made from the “Love It Colors/ “Monday, Monday”. I knit, I “Vegan”, I enjoy life immensely, and would, very much, like to knit this scarf.

    Thank you, Hannah…Peace, Carol

  12. Hi, just wondering in your recipes do you use shortening as in Crisco? I would love to make some of your recipes BUT I highly disregard the use of hydrogenated oils. Thanks for your time!

  13. Love your comments re: the name of your blog, I can relate! Also love your avatar photo, beautiful. Thanks for stopping by my blog too….

  14. Just wanted to say congrats on your 2007 Best Food Blog award from Go Dairy Free!

    I’m so glad I read that newsletter! Very excited about the Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream you featured.

    I look forward to coming back to your blog often!

    Again, Congrats!
    dd

  15. Hi Hannah – I run a charity knitting and crocheting froup called Loving Hands – our site is http://www.loving hands.org.uk if you would like to have a look – we even have a Blog and a Forum – though not as great or as busy as yours! :0)

    One of my ladies would prefer to crochet the boobs we make for breastfeeding classes and for ladies like your friend who have had mastectomies. I know it is a big ask but could you possible send us the pattern you devised to crochet them? Our pattern is knitted and she and many of our other ladies do prefer crochet :0)

    Thank you so much and keep up the great work! :0)

  16. Hi Hannah – i made the Coconut Custard Pie . It was really good. I did not make a crust and it turned out great. Should I keep it in the fridge ? Thank you again for a delicious recipe.

  17. Hi Hannah,

    I just bought a copy of your wonderful book “My Sweet Vegan!” I was wondering, though, if it would be possible to substitute olive oil for the shortening and margarine in some of the recipes. I realize that it wouldn’t work in frosting, but would it work for the cakes, brownies, and cookies?

    I love the book!! Thank you for your help!

    Lori

  18. Dear Hannah,
    I love your blog and pictures. BTW, what type of camera are you using? I’d like to improve on my photography skills. :) Continue the great work!!

  19. Hi Hannah: Sorry again that the photo credit got dropped, I love your site! Will

  20. I ADDED YOU TO MY LINKS
    I HOPE YOU DON’T MIND!!!

  21. Hi really enjoyed your blog so much that I added your link to my blog, I hope you don’t mind…

    love sheila xx
    http://sheila-sheelagh.blogspot.com/

  22. Hi. I love the way your blog is presented. I have kind of started my own blog to showcase which recipes I’ve prepared, and I have a question for you! How did you do your “Recipes A-Z” section? I love that. I’ve googled for 2 days straight and cannot figure it out! Lol. Maybe you could help me with that? Thank you so much. =)
    WGD

  23. Hi, I added your link to my Vegan Info LJ – a plethora of Vegan Links.

    http://veganinfo.livejournal.com/

    Have a happy day :)

  24. I just wanted to let you know that I gained 3 pounds just by looking at all the yummy pictures on your blog. :D

    Aside from that, everything is so cool (from the patterns to the recipes). I can’t wait to see what else you add in the future!

  25. Hi hi hi!!! I crochet, but I don’t really read patterns well… I just kinda do it. At any rate, I can read your patterns! So I was wondering if you have a pattern for flat cup coasters. I can’t seem to make circular FLAT coasters. If you could help, that would be awesome!!! If not, that’s cool… And PS, LOVE the cupcakes and jellyfish patterns! I’ve made several and gave them away as gifts, (which both were a hoot!). Thanks! Amy

  26. Just wanted you to know that I’ve discovered your work on Ravelry, Bittersweet & Flickr and consider you to be one of the most talented and kind people I’ve run across online.
    Your cookbook looks amazing & I love your photos, but what got me started is the little tofu person, which I adore. You are a big inspiration and I will continue to follow your
    tweets. Best regards. Thanks for being you,

  27. Hi Hannah:
    I just, finally, got my copy of “My Sweet Vegan.” I also have a few food challenges and since you are the expert I’d like to run them by you. Gluten free, bean free, soy free. So, changing out the flours isn’t really that big a deal. Soy though, is. I can use an alternative “milk” product. I can even thicken up some mimiccreme or coconut milk with arrowroot to achieve yogurt (don’t ask I live in the middle of nowhere and order everything through Amazon). The real problem is silken tofu. Would you drain applesauce or puree like some prunes or other fruit? Use okara? What do you think would be the best substitute for your own recipes?
    Thank you, and BTW the cookbook is absolutely stunning.

    • That is a tricky one… If you can make a faux-yogurt though, I think you should be able to use that in place of any pureed tofu. It might not work as well for the cheesecakes, but since I’m not sure of the exact thickness or consistency, it may well be worth a shot. If you do try it, I’d love to hear about the results! And if you would be so inclined to share your formula for the “yogurt”, I’m sure that others with the same problem would be very interested in an alternative solution.

      Happy baking!

  28. Hannah…I’ve been reading your blog for a bit now and I wanted to tell you something funny. I was confused to why most of your commenters were vegan and I somehow ignored the word “vegan” in your book title. And now, I’ve finally realized why ;] So, from an omnivore, you and your food are totally awesome–didn’t even realize.

  29. Lots of cute ideas here. I enjoyed wandering around.
    Holly, hollyberryelf.blogspot.com

  30. We have noticed that there is a broken link on your blog to our website. We would like to assure you that Craft Bits does still exist and has its own web hosting rather than being hosted under CPU Enterprises which is where the link in your blog goes.
    We have many Safety Eyes are are happy to give shipping quotes when you have placed an order.
    The direct link to the Eyes Page is now http://www.craftbits.co.uk/eyes.htm
    Hope this helps

  31. I’ve been trying to figure out your tiny whale pattern and a friend of mine desperately wants me to make her one. If so that would be great! Thanks,
    Heather

  32. Hi! I was wondering if your french macaroon recipe is in one of your cookbooks. I want to try to make them but I’m not sure which book may have the recipe. Thank you, Crystal

  33. hi crystal my son is vegan, and i love finding things to make for him. his brother and i are getting close as well, and with more visits to your site, think that will be sooner than later.
    anyway… i would be happy to volunteer to help you to be able to answer your comments or emails… seems like so many people want your feedback, and i can understand why…you are truly inspiring. offering to help you in any way you may need it.
    thank you for your cool vegan stuff. got dogs on the brain, as they are waiting for me to take them out..gonna make the dog biscuits today and take some to the shelter. would love to see your thoughts on what’s best to feed your dog. i’ve got two crazy guys here.
    best regards,
    lisa

  34. i just adore the apple with the worm amigurumi, it has inspired me to create tons of adorable amigurumi critters of my own!

    love your blog,
    arielle

  35. Can’t wait to try the cake pattern, but not sure what kfb means. Have looked up the knit abbreviations, but it is not there

    • Hi Coral,

      “kfb” means “knit front and back”, which is a method of increasing by 1 stitch. You could also m1 here instead, but I find that m1 tends to create holes, whereas kfb maintains a more complete piece of fabric.

  36. Would it work if I substituted frozen strawberries for the frozen raspberries in the Red, White, and Blue Layer Cake? All I’ve got on hand right now is frozen strawberries…

    • Absolutely! Just make sure you measure out 1 1/2 cups of puree, and reserve any extra for another use. Because raspberries tend to have more seeds than strawberries, you’ll probably end up with a little bit more from the same weight. Happy baking!

  37. Hello,

    First, I’d like to start off by giving you huge kudos for your blog- its the greatest feeling in the world knowing that there are forward thinking individuals like yourself that are promoting health and wellness and providing ongoing support to individuals seeking inspiration. 

    My name is Samantha, Im a nurse from just outside Toronto, Canada and I have a website too, http://www.EatYourHeartOut.ca. I feature vegan, gluten free and Ayurvedic recipes that I have created myself. I recently published a cookbook called Eat Your Heart Out, with recipes and information too. If you are at all interested in helping me spread the love and help me promote my new book, it would mean more than the world to me. I have already been asked by a few bloggers to do interviews, but any further promotional opportunities would be phenomenal. In any way that you would like to collaborate, or help me get the word out about my new book, please don’t hesitate to ask. Any little bit helps :) 

    You can check out more of my work on Instagram @Nature_vs_nurture or on twitter @samantha_bburn 

    Thanks so much for your consideration,
    Eat well, feel well, live well,
    Samantha Blackburn, BScN

    Samantha Blackburn, B.Sc.N.

  38. Why is Amazon not selling ‘Vegan Desserts’ anymore? Where can I buy it now?

  39. Dear Hannah,

    I have nominated your delicious blog for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!
    Congratulations!
    Please pick up your badge and information on how to pass the torch and pay it forward at:

    http://sinsationscakes.wordpress.com/

    Happy New Year!

    Radhika

  40. I received “Vegan a la Mode” for Christmas and I love it! I have a couple of questions regarding ice cream making. Should I add the vodka (if replacing the sugar) 1) while I’m heating the custard, 2) immediately after I turn off the heat, 3) once it’s cooled to room temperature, or 4) after it’s chilled in the refrigerator and immediately before I start churning? The same options apply to a question I have about adding the vegan stabilizer. Last question: can I replace the cup of full-fat coconut milk in the “Banana Split” recipe with one cup of Mimicreme? Thanks!

    • Glad you’re really putting it to good use!

      The vodka should be added immediately after turning off the heat. You don’t want to cook off the alcohol or it won’t do it’s job of keeping the ice cream soft, but just a little bit of warmth can help take off the edge, or “bite.” The stabilizer, on the other hand, should be added before cooking, pureed into the liquid base mixture using of blender or food processor. Finally, yes, the Mimicreme would be a great substitute for the coconut milk.

      Enjoy! :)

  41. Hi I have nominated you for the Super Sweet Blog Award, please visit http://bowtalks.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/that-wonderful-feeling/ to claim the award ,Thank You,www.bowtalks.wordpress.com

  42. Hannah, please please PLEASE help!! It is the night before Mother’s Day here in Australia (nearly 10pm!) and I have everything laid out on the bench in preparation for making the Coconut Macaroons in your Vegan Desserts book, to give to my mum tomorrow. Aaaaand… it turns out, the first instruction calls for TOFU – which is NOT listed in the ingredients!!!

    Fortunately I do have some tofu on hand, but I have no idea how much to use. Can you PLEASE, as a matter of urgency, advise how much tofu the recipe calls for? Thankyou!! I dearly hope this message reaches you in time!

    • I’m so sorry for the confusion! This issue has been included in the “Cookbook Errata” section, for future reference, but here’s the explanation for the macaroon blunder:

      For the Coco-Nut Macaroons on pg. 29, the instructions call for tofu to be pureed in a food processor, but rest assured, there is no tofu involved. A previous trial used tofu, but I wasn’t happy with it, and reworked the recipe completely; I must have forgotten to remove that step. Make the cookies as directed after that point, adding in the peanut butter to the main mixture first and combining everything in a standard medium-sized bowl.

      Happy Mother’s Day!

      >

  43. Thankyou soooo much for getting back to me! The macaroons got made, and they were a hit! :)

  44. Hi Hannah, I know I have not mentioned earlier about how much I love your blog & your food photography. I want to let you know that I really like your recipe’s.

    I’m nominating you for the “Versatile Blogger Award”. The rules to accept & share this award are in the link – http://kelipaan.com/awards/

    Cheers.. !!
    Anitha

  45. hannah your blog looks fantastic! I look forward to following you and trying out your recipes.
    -April

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