spring coloring & boxes of chocolate
April 6, 2012, 12:14 pm
Filed under: coloring pages, food, making!

Hello hello,

My love of chocolate making has been reignited this year, and I especially enjoy making special treats to share with friends. This week I made a box of chocolates for my friend Mary’s birthday. After witnessing her excitement (who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive a colorful box of rich, sweet, vegan bites?) I decided to share the process here. This project is suitable for kids or adults. It’s fun, and it reuses materials. If you’d like to give a box of chocolates to a friend, all you have to do is:

*Find a small, cardboard box that you don’t need anymore. A tea box works beautifully.
*Recycle scraps of old wrapping paper, pages, photos, etc. by gluing them all over the box. Collage, draw, write. Make it clean, make it messy. Make it beautiful.
*Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the box. You can glue it down as lining, or just stick it in there like tissue paper.
*Make chocolates! The box I made for Mary was all raw– turtle shells, chocolate-lavender bars, cinnamon-cayenne chocolates, and mint chocolates. For some wonderful raw chocolate recipes, check out Ani’s Raw Food Desserts. Or just browse around online and explore the endless recipes! No matter what kind you make, it’s worth researching your cacao provider before purchasing. For organic and fair trade cacao, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs.
*Keep chocolates in the freezer until ready to gift. Assemble box, and adorn with a bow or flower.
*Give box of chocolates to your friend, and watch as their love for you grows.


On another note, would you like to color something Springy? I drew this for my young friends at the University School of Nashville, and thought you might like it too!


…here’s another Springy coloring sheet from last year.


Happy Spring!
March 26, 2012, 11:27 am
Filed under: art, kids, making!

Happy Spring!
Nashville is blooming and the sun is shining. I’ve been gardening, dancing, and juggling various projects (which include a new coloring zine, delicious recipes, and a fun collaboration with Vegan Cuts). Last week I taught a spring break animation camp and had SO MUCH FUN working with 5 imaginative, clever, kind, talented kids. Each day of the week one child got to act as director. The director dictated the story, materials, soundtrack, etc. Check out our videos here:

The Fire
Star Wars: Clone Wars | The Battle of Ryloth
Fuzzies Part 2

Happy New Year!
January 3, 2012, 12:21 pm
Filed under: kids, making!

Hello hello,
After enjoying a holiday internet break, I return with fun things to share. I had such a blast teaching another stop motion camp this winter. Making stuff is the best. Kids are the best, too.

Check out these super-fun videos!

Disco Dancing Penguin Party
Merry Christmas
Happy Chanukah
Mouse Attack!

I’m still taking requests for veg/winter themed coloring sheets. Let me know what you’d like to color!

Lastly, the limited edition Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice character dolls will no longer be available in 2012. These snuggly friends have had a good run, but the time has come to start making new things (more zines!). Thora, Aksel, Krog, and the Tweeters will be available in the ThoraThinks store until the end of this week.


Farewell, friends!

Coloring Zine & Halloween!
October 31, 2011, 12:01 pm
Filed under: coloring pages, Happy Thanksliving! coloring zine, making!, VeganMoFo

Hey everyone! Cheers to the final day of Ingvar’s Vegan MoFo! Today I do not have a recipe. I have something so much better.

Today my new coloring zine, Happy Thanksliving!  is available at! This veg-friendly zine honors turkeys, thankfulness, and fall fruits & veggies in all of their much-deserved glory.  Happy Thanksliving! celebrates the warmth and compassion of the Thanksgiving holiday. It raises questions about turkey eating, the representation of Indigenous tribes, and more. Best of all, it does these things with a fun, rhyming poem and super-sweet drawings that beg to be colored!

Happy Thanksliving! is printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. It is bound with thread (rather than staples) for the safety of little ones.  Each page was drawn with tons of love. On the back cover you’ll find topics for further discussion and suggested children’s books containing relevant info. Did I mention that this little zine is full of love? Copies cost $5 each with free domestic shipping. So sharpen your coloring devices (vegan crayons, anyone?) and Check it out!

On another note, I couldn’t possibly post today without giving a Happy Halloween shout-out! I hope you all have a fantastic time dressing up, gettin’ spooky, and eating sweet things. I hosted a costume party this weekend and had SO MUCH FUN dancing the night away with a slug, a butterfly, a tree, a tide pool, a vampire squid, a very impressive Edward Scissorhands, monsters, zombies, anarchists, hispsters, cross-dressers, witches, and more! This year I made an angler fish costume because they are ridiculously awesome. I’d love to hear about your costumes, too! Ahhhhh, Halloween is just the best.

Halloween coloring sheets here & here   : )

Thanks to all who have participated in Vegan MoFo this month! I have had a great time posting, and have really enjoyed seeing all of the gorgeous food my fellow vegans are sharing on the web. More to come soon,

Nathalie VB

Zine & Za’atar!
October 26, 2011, 10:41 am
Filed under: food, Happy Thanksliving! coloring zine, making!, VeganMoFo

Hello again! I have some exciting news to share today.
I just finished making my very first coloring zine,
Happy Thanksliving!
  This veg-friendly zine honors turkeys, thankfulness, and fall fruits & veggies in all of their much-deserved glory.  Happy Thanksliving! celebrates and raises questions with a fun, rhyming poem and super-sweet drawings that beg to be colored! I really cannot wait to share this work, and you’ll be the first to know when the zine becomes available for purchase at (Start sharpening your crayons and colored pencils now… the zine will be here before MoFo is over!) In the meantime, here’s a little peak inside:

(Here’s an interesting article about zines that’s been circulating this week).

It’s important to me that kids have as many turkey-positive books as possible during this time of year, so I’ve been working hard to finish this in time for the holiday. As a result, my meals have been basic. I wish I had a brand new recipe for Caramelized Butternut Squash with Cinnamon-Vanilla Ice Cream and Fancy Shmancy Pecan Crumble or something like that, but instead I’m just going to show you what I had for dinner last night. Leftover beans, greens 3 ways, and za’atar spiced roasted roots. And a little smoothie too! I have so much gratitude for all of this fresh food.

…for those unfamiliar with za’atar, it is a super-delicious Middle Eastern spice blend traditionally eaten with pita and olive oil. It’s very high in iron and rich with antioxidants as well. Ki and I love to toss potatoes and other roots with za’atar and oil before roasting. YUM.

I’m giving away a free, signed copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice this Sunday and entering is a piece of cake.
Show us your Ingvar!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Smoky Delicata Cream
October 24, 2011, 9:39 am
Filed under: food, making!, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hello all! Welcome to week 4 of Ingvar’s VeganMoFo!

Even after a frost or two, some Nashville veggies are really hanging in there. Lots and lots of green tomatoes were harvested last week, which means I’m able to keep taking bites of summer even though I’ve been reunited with my coat and am definitely feeling the fall. Many of the green tomatoes have been making their way into Ki’s smoothies, but a few have been reserved for frying. (How could it be any other way?) Lately I’ve been experimenting with sauces, dips, etc. and last night I whipped up this smoky delicata cream to serve with the tomatoes. Nothing says “you’re transitioning between seasons” like tomatoes topped with winter squash. Delicious!

(for anyone unfamiliar with delicata squash, here’s a little wikipedia description)

Fried Green Tomatoes with Smoky Delicata Cream


-1.5 lbs. green tomatoes, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
-1 c. cornmeal
-1 tsp. sea salt
-black pepper to taste
-egg replacer of your choice (I used ener-g)
-coconut or other oil for frying

-1 delicata squash
-3/4 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
-1 tsp. nama shoyu/tamari/soy sauce
-1 tsp. pure maple  syrup
-1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
-pinch of cayenne pepper
-liquid smoke to taste
-1/2 c. water

Peel and remove seeds from the delicata squash, and chop into small pieces. Steam for 10 minutes or until soft, and let cool. Combine squash, cashews, nama shoyu, maple syrup, ACV, cayenne, liquid smoke and 1/2 c. water in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. I recommend adding the liquid smoke a few drops at a time, until you reach your desired level of smokiness. Scrape the sides of the food processor to make sure everything gets nice and blendy. We’re aiming for a smooth, creamy consistency. Add more water if needed.

Combine cornmeal, salt and pepper on a plate. Mix up your egg replacer (I used 3 tbs. of ener-g egg replacer mixed with water). Pour 1/4″ of coconut oil into a frying pan and heat over medium-high. Dip each tomato slice into the egg replacer, then into the cornmeal mixture, and place it in the frying pan. Fry on each side until golden brown. Keep fried tomatoes on a plate covered with a cloth or paper towel to absorb excess oil. Add extra oil to the pan as needed.  (Lots of oil going on! These are a good once-in-a-while treat). Top with delicata cream and enjoy!

p.s. I made these little beauties for a lady potluck I hosted last night. We had a wonderful vegan meal-

…followed by a brainstorming session! We’re all working together to make a menstrual calendar zine (for our own use and to give as holiday gifts) and it’s such a fun way to connect and share info. We’re each researching different topics to write about, and one that I am most interested is foods/herbs that relieve cramps and support the female reproductive system. I’ll be happy to share my findings here, once I find them.  : )

Show us your Invar!

accordion books!
September 16, 2011, 11:06 am
Filed under: bookmaking, kids, making!


Yesterday I made accordion books with a group of young friends at the University School of Nashville, and thought I’d share some pictures. This is a great, simple project to do at home, as it doesn’t require any shmancy materials and can be adjusted for kids of all ages.  (The books pictured were made by k-3rd graders).

Here’s what you’ll need:

-A long, thin sheet of paper:  Ours was cut to approx. 17×3 inches. You can also glue smaller sheets of paper together, overlapping slightly, to make a longer piece. These books can be as loose or as uniform as you’d like.

-Cardboard for the cover: We reused cracker boxes! Any cardboard will do.

-Scraps of cloth, paper, ribbon, etc. to decorate the cover: You could use anything! Create a sculptural book by gluing objects to the cover.

-Scissors: Kids might need help cutting the cardboard.

-Glue: A glue stick works better than wet glue.

Follow these simple instructions from You can create more folds if you’d like. Decorate your cover by drawing, collaging, stamping, or attaching paper, fabric, buttons, ribbon, foil…  many of my students glued one long ribbon onto the front cover, which can be wrapped around to the back and tied in a bow.

Fill your book with your own stories and images, or leave it blank to give to a friend or use as a journal.  If you really want to be inspired, I suggest doing a google image search of  “accordion book”… people make so many incredible things!

View past book projects here and here.

Happy bookmaking!

-Nathalie VB

Handmade and Bound Nashville
September 8, 2011, 10:08 am
Filed under: bookmaking, diy business, making!, reading

Attention Nashvillians:

Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is hosting the first annual Handmade & Bound Nashville  festival on Sept. 30th & Oct. 1st!

As the website explains, “Handmade & Bound Nashville is a festival celebrating independent publications and printed matter, featuring artists’ books, zines, and mini-comics. This is an event for publishers and artists (as well as zine distros) to come together to sell and/or trade their handmade and affordable publications and creations.”

Saturday 10/1  workshops for kids will include a Papermaking Booth, sidewalk mural, and folded zines. Read descriptions of all workshops here (and keep in mind that some require signing up). There are many for adults and they all sound great! I’ll be reading Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice at 11am, and I’ll have a ThoraThinks booth in the vendor section all day. (With coloring!)  I hope to see you there!

Other events include a juried artist book exhibit;  screening of $100 and a T-shirt–An award-winning documentary on the culture of zine making;  miniature accordion popup books;  open mic zine reading;  letterpress printing;  food carts and more.  Free admission.

view complete schedule of events

August 12, 2011, 12:21 pm
Filed under: kids, making!


Last month I spent a week teaching stop motion animation to three wonderfully creative girls.  We had so, so, so much fun writing our story, creating a set, making clay characters, recording voice overs, and watching our ideas unfold into an animated short.  At the end of our week together we had an evening screening of our video, Captured  (along with a couple side-projects) for parents and friends.  The girls stamped tickets at the door, served popcorn, candy, and drinks, and directed viewers to their seats. The screening was followed by a Q&A, where the young animators described their process and told stories about the week we spent together.  Once again, I was impressed and inspired by the imagination, humor, cleverness, and artistry of kids!

…and now we proudly present Captured!

What is your favorite stop motion animation?

bookmaking for kids
August 3, 2011, 12:07 pm
Filed under: bookmaking, kids, making!

Some of the coolest books I’ve seen were made by kids.

After teaching bookmaking to a 9-year-old friend last week, I’ve been thinking about how easy and fun it is to make books at home. Here are a few ideas for kids who want to publish:

* There are LOTS of different ways to bind books. Some of them require materials that most people don’t have at home. One simple binding that I like to use is called a pamphlet stitch. The materials you’ll need for this paperback book are a few sheets of white paper (or whatever else you’d like to use for the pages), 1 sheet of card stock or construction paper for the cover, scissors, and thick thread (waxed dental floss works well). This video explains how to make a pamphlet book. You can follow these directions exactly, but you can also get away with cutting some corners. I usually use 6 folded sheets of paper in a pamphlet book, and I just stab the needle straight through (without poking the holes first). You can also use scissors to trim your pages if you’d like. I like to trim them unevenly, in a fun, wavy shape. Experiment and see what works for you.

Have fun designing a cover for your book!

Want to check out some other kid-friendly bindings? Here’s a good place to start.

You might consider using recycled paper or even paper bags for your pages!
*Blank books make great journals or sketchbooks, and are wonderful gifts for friends and family members. If you choose to write/illustrate a story, consider these questions:
How can I tell my story through words?
How can I tell my story through pictures?
Do I want to use just words, just pictures, or both? (I love stories that are told through pictures alone!)

Maybe every page will have one big picture and a few words. Maybe some pages will have one big picture and a few words, and other pages will have lots of little pictures. Maybe some pictures will be from the point of view of a character. Maybe the words will tell us what a character is thinking, and the pictures will tell us what that character is doing. Maybe some pictures are abstract, and give us a feeling that cannot be described with words. Maybe the words don’t tell a story at all. Maybe there is one word in the whole book. Maybe some pages are blank. Maybe you will draw pictures on each page to create your own coloring book. Maybe there will be pop-ups!

…There are lots of ways to make books.

*Making accessories to go along with your book is super-fun. If you know how to sew (or have someone who can help you) you can make plush character dolls or a pillow!

Other things that make a great addition to a homemade book include:
-finger puppets
-magnets (I love making shrinky dinks and gluing magnets on the back!)
-coloring sheets
-necklaces or key chains, made by drawing a shrinky dink and making a hole with a hole punch before baking
-paper dolls
-stickers (when I was a kid I made stickers by drawing on blank, white labels from the store)
-a sequel!

Please feel free to send in photos of your creations, and to share any additional ideas you have!
All the best,
Nathalie VB


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