moment, just a moment

Barn Owl, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Adobe Illustrator, CS5

Barn Owl, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Adobe Illustrator, CS5

It has been solid...and I have a minute to say hi. The past few weeks have been solid work with kids packed in (Spring Vacation for each), a funeral with out of towners, food planning and serving and more work. The work has been mammoth with both Rob and me working nights (seriously) and weekends with a window of a morning or an afternoon unprescribed/ unscheduled. It was quite a moment that we had to be able to get Rob a haircut last weekend. Monumental...a haircut, right?

It is still grey and rainy. My farmer friends are delighted in the mucky cold. Nothing is too hot, too fast so our lovely cherries and apples are going to have a slow birth this year to promise us buckets, bushels and barrels of fruit.  It was great to pick up our spring greens from Good Life Farm yesterday to watch sweet Melissa doing funny pet trick with her white goosy turkey, strutting about all rigid and shaking, clucking and chortling. This pet turkey is named, Bonecrusher...and to see the Bone being wrestled to the ground by bouncy Melissa was very cute and funny. She held him tight so that our friend Eric could touch Bonecrusher's (from Roald Dahl's BFG) wattles.

Rob is home. I have to go. Tomorrow, I will catch up more with you. He is working and so am I...but I will make a little time for us.

Mashup

Tiny Banana Split Brooch, Q. Cassetti, 2013 (live link to Etsy)Snowing some more. It was a wet winter wonderland last night when we were out…and it continued over the course of the evening. But there were honking geese in the sky this morning, and the starling were hunting around on the rooftop for a nice little spot in the gutter or under the roofline to make a little grassy nest for the new family on the way. The starlings are agressively family minded…so there is something in that as it relates to a promise of Spring though we certainly do not see it. We saw snowdrops in Ithaca on Sunday, again…another check that change is at hand…but I will not believe it until the white stuff is DONE.

It is very left foot right foot with my design work these days. Move ahead one step, back another and then change the palette sixteen different ways to sunday “Just because”. Very prescriptive and not really getting to visual problemsolving. Hairpullers for yours truly.

As you can see from the Banana Split brooch posted today, I am putting some new stuff on Esty, and am making duplicates to provide for fundraising auctions for Great Camp Sagamore and for MANY/Museumwise. I have a box of about a dozen different ones for both charities (and with these babies fetching around $ 25. a pop…there is a little bit of potential profit along with the gliclees I will be sending along with them). Nice that this might equal a scholarship for one and some supplies for the other.

The community read is raising money even before we have started the programming. Exciting that there is such a wide amount of support around this project.  Meeting tomorrow at 6 p.m. to see where we can take this and who else we can engage in the process.

I am buying Hawkeye and Redmon vintage picnic baskets and will be selling them through Sundrees soon. Diane and I thought it would be fun to have them as part of the mix and as part of the Farmgirl/ Tburg Bride styling that she is working on. So, I have some beautiful things coming my way to sell for dish to pass chic…and ready to be tricked out with your favorite tablecloth and vintage melamine (or some of the really cute plates they have at Target for poolside or lake side endeavors).

Must go. Time’s a wasting.

Sundae on Monday

Sundae Brooch by Q. Cassetti, 2013 available on EtsyIts been a while. A busy while, nonetheless… Let me think about the news, the new ideas, the state of the state. The Federation of Farmers Market meeting was very nice and homespun. I liked meeting and seeing the range of people, their engagement, and the vitality in the room.  It wasn’t a huge group, but lots of interest in all that was said. I had the pleasure of meeting the Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier Growers Market and the President of the Board of the Ithaca Farmers Market. The takeaway from that experience as that we should absolutely embrace the dynamics of a small market and truly own it, build into it…and keep it the personal experience that it is today. Bigger is okay, but not for our little community. What we can do for our community is provide a gathering space around food, eating and locally made objects.. We can provide a platform for local music, local performers, local arts. We can provide a neighborhood approach to “why not” type of entertainment and gathering from dish to pass suppers, to fundraising auctions, to the craziness of my friend Deb’s Soap Box Derby. We can revel in Local, Locavore, and in each other. We can use the farmers market to create new bonds beyond the church, the schools, and the community groups. We can continue to weave those ribbons of connection between people…to build and support each other. This is something we do well here in our little Village…and if we are deliberate about this activity, think of the strength we ill all have in each other.

I was prodded to join the Chamber of Commerce. Kicking and complaining…saying no…no…no…and then, surprisingly, I attended and am enchanted. It was such a bright group of action oriented people that being at the table to represent the Farmers Market was a pleasure. The Chamber and the Market both have literature distribution issues, so we are going to create a job and share the expenses etc. There you go! Reason one to go to the Chamber, share the wealth and get stuff done. So, more on that.

We had a very engaging Farmers Market meeting last week. The librarian at the Middle School attended and spoke about partnering with us to do some programming with him around a Middle School “read” to a community read…The book is SeedFolks…and it is about the power of planting to help draw people and communities together. Of course, we are on it…and interestingly, after an email to a variety of community groups, we have traction with them. So, we are going to meet this week to get this thing rolling. The day one of this activity is April 26 to roll through a month, so there is not a ton of time, but it should be fun to see what can happen. It was very rewarding to make a few calls and write an email or two and see the energy that is being put towards this thing. Not much more than that, but should be very cool to see what happens. I am feeling this.

Off topic entirely, Squarespace (the entity I author this blog with) has a site for visual people to create more visually inspired pages (Squarespace 6) along with a way to post retail pages /create a store which is linked to Stripe (a company that can do the financial transactions). Lets just put it this way, my mind is a whirl on this.

Kitty is home for Spring Break. It is great to have time with her. I taught her how to needlepoint yesterday and gave her a kit which I must admit, given how she is absolutely voracious…it will be done before the week is out. This is a great thing as with all the bus travelling she does, this will keep her hands busy during that down time. She had a group over last night to eat snack food and celebrate the Saint who chased snakes out of Ireland….I wonder if he wore green loafers much like the pope?

Market meanderings.

Toivo at the Trumansburg Farmers Market, Q. Cassetti 2012Trumansburg, New York is a community of 1500 people in the Village and 4500 in the Town of Ulysses. Trumansburg is a very collaborative and creative place where lutiers, financiers, farmers, teachers, carpenters all meet at the local coffee shop to klatch and plan. Trumansburg is a project kind of place. We give money, but what we love more than anything is a dish to pass, a community build, a project we can make happen. We have an annual music festival, The GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance, which for over 20 years has brought the world to our hamlet—and we have embraced that spirit of community and power that comes on the local level. This spirit leaks into pretty much anything that happens here, including our Farmers Market.

Our little farmers market sits on a small, triangular village park on Main Street in Trumansburg, New York. It is a young market that started under the big willow tree with several farmers who came together to sell produce and food to the local populace. There was interest and this little market grew. Grew so much that a grant was applied for, and funds were raised by the community to build a pair of roofed pavillions and a bandstand in this little park to formalize this market and move it forward. A local architect and community team designed these structures and over a 4 month period, built it over a series of weekends as a community build. There were people of every shape and size building our market with lunches brought in from local restaurants and families who wanted to contribute. It was truly a remarkable moment which for me fully defined what we were capable of as a village. It was sheer positive energy directed at making something wonderful that would enhance our life on this little Main Steet place.

That was four years ago. Today, the Market boasts a thriving community of farmers, producers, restaurants and caterers, and artisans that come together from mid May to the end of October, every Wednesday from 4-7 in the afternoon and early evening. It is dinner time, and the community turns out to do the circuit and shop, eat and meet up with friends. We have live music every week (pro-bono—but a hat is passed) and occasionally, we will have movie night after the market when we have a screen put up, and movies played with prizes, popcorn and even one evening last summer, rootbeer floats for everyone! Heaven.

We entertain, we enchant, we feed, we involve people and and, we also sell produce and sandwiches, eggs, wine, hard cider and cheese, bread, horseradish jelly and garlic scape pesto. But we need it all to move forward. The market is a three way gimbol— balancing the needs and expectations of the farmer/producer with the needs and expectations of the consumer along with the needs and expectations fo the community. As much as we would like it to be as simple as selling celery, in order for this market to have roots, we need to address all three in the most engaging, out of the box way. If we can charm and provide a treat along with educate and inform, we have a chance of sustainable success for our local food producers and eaters.

The interesting thing as I think about the market and how to talk about it—I keep reflecting on the farmers markets of my life. Growing up, my mother and I went to a farmers market in a very dicey neighborhood in Pittsburgh that must have been in a garage or something. It was an indoors market, very dark and dreary. We would go to see Mr. Kutz (from Central PA) with his red haired, apple cheeked daughters to buy eggs and chickens and occasionally something green. Somehow the green stuff always came from Giant Eagle.

The next snapshot was learning about the Ithaca Market and watching it grow. The concept that local food, or organic food would have any significant foothold was totally alien at the time. Food Co-ops and natural food stores when I was in college were grungy places that smelled odd, and the produce was less than hearty or robust. It was more about tea than it was about food, at least for me.

Moving ahead again, I was sent to the Natural Foods and Products Convention in Anaheim (1989) when I was working for Estee Lauder. I was sent to get an eyeful of what was happening in this Natural world…particularly that of the channel of beauty and cosmetics. I was sent to better understand the competition so as to be able to leverage the power of this beauty brand, the funds and product development we had, and take it to the next level from the grungy health food store to counters at  Neiman Marcus and Nordstoms. I was horrified (and delighted I was wearing my badge backwards) when I sat in on a personal products break out session , when a leading light in the natural foods store beauty business pulled out an article hinting at Estee Lauder getting into the natural products world. This woman proclaimed that those in the business had better raise their sights as the competition was just about to get bigger, and they couldnt just be natural product people…but needed to improve their marketing, their image, their brand. They could not rest happily in the dusty food coops and needed to up their game. The concept of a Whole Foods was beyond imagination.

Now, look at where we are. Whole Foods is a reality. Organic produce is available at WALMART?! People really are reading the labels. Packaging is more responsible. The CSAs are booming…and popping up everywhere…can this continue? How is going to evolve? What is the model? How can anticipate this? or should we? Can the Trumansburg Market be the incubator for these new products and farms? Can we have a lovely night of stars, and friends, food, and bags of leeks and organic eggs while supporting local agriculture and thus supporting the betterment of those around us? I think we can. We are a community of do-ers…and this seems right up our alley.

Now that I got that off my chest, I can think about the board a bit more. Thanks for your patience.

Locavore

Hardware Store Punch, Q. Cassetti, 2013Tomorrow I have the opportunity to speak to the Farmers Market Federation of New York at LaTourelle Inn and Spa about how our board works with our Market Manager. Just thinking about the points I am going to make, has forced me to think about how I have engaged in the local foods movement, and the progress that has been made in the last 18 months.

In the past two years, I have provided pro bono work (some design, some consulting, some both) to: MyerFarm Distillery, Redbyrd Orchard Cidery, Good Life Farm, Sweetland Farm, Tree Gate Farm, Stone Cat Cafe, MacDonald Farm, Wide Awake Bakery, Farmer Ground Flour, Regional Access, New York Foods, The Trumansburg Farmers’ Market,  Central New York Cider Week, Forge Cellars, The Piggery to name a few. I am sure I am forgetting someone. It has been an amazing journey learning about these farmers, their farms, their livlihood, their focus and why they farm. I have learned that farmers may not all be born marketers, and that the perception that there is fairness in the world/ and in the local economy should be cultivated (to that, I believe that the market teaches us if we listen—to tune our products, product selections, and the work we do to be desirable….We just have to each listen, and hear). I have learned about the import of transportation, of distribution hubs wheither it is in the form of a weekly pick up or CSA, a pop up shop or a truck that delivers to a bigger area. I have learned about farming during a drought, and the sheer knife edge these farmers live on between the seed purchases to harvest with bugs, and water, and hail, and heat or lack thereof….defining success and financial disaster. I have learned that sometimes, just sometimes, I need to give my farmer friends a bit of rope to figure things out themselves, and in the same way, give myself permission just to take a little time and let things simmer and evolve. These are people who know about watchful waiting. They know about seasons and time. They know about light and darkness, heat and cold. These are people who will move greenhouses around on tracks to make sure their greens have the best source of light and heat to bring us delicate greens in the middle of March. These are passionate people who love deeply but because of their trust and collaborative make up, can be hurt as deeply as they love. These are people who do not mind getting dirty, working hard, and when possible, playing just as hard. They care about their apples, their greens, their flowers and boules and link it to a larger, more spiritual notion. Allison Usavage  created a lovely film about Stefan Senders and David MacGuinness’ Wide Awake Bakery and captures this spirit that seems to be an overlay to the local food scene here, here is the vimeo link>

This work sometimes can be challenging…but the film shows the reward. To be able to drink from the same cup as these hard working people is an honor. And, to try the first fresh greens of spring, to taste Eric and Devas sublime sparking cider as delicate as a bite of apple, or see tiny Melissa get her massive horses, Randi and Betsy pull together for her, or taste Stefan’s wonderful hot bread made from Greg’s flour (Farmer Ground) which was ground from Thor’s wheat….Or to try Tony’s black beans…the circle is complete. One blessing after the next—from the farmer to the consumer and back to the lovely land we live in and on. The same birds sing to my farmers as they do to me. The same rain and snow come our way. It is all right here, right now. And we all live in it for now.

flurries

Farmers’ Market Mercantile on Main Street, Q. Cassetti, 2012Grassroots came and went. It was a few hot days and a few moderate days with nice music, an opportunity to visit with Kitty and Alex and friends, and the chance to see some of the sidebar activities which I now think improves the Grassroots experience (at least for me). I met a lovely person new to the community who knew me from my blog and work (which was a bit undoing as she had the pulse on the here and now of what was going on with my life). We saw all sorts of old Trumansburg friends, and made friends with folks we knew but really had a chance to talk and engage on a different level. The Horseflies were amazing as was Jenny Stearns (with Leah and Amelia being part of the Fire Choir). We loved Mary Lorson’s set in the Cabaret Hall…and the pick up music in the new beer garden (for this year). The Stringbusters arrived on their own and played an unscheduled gig to all of our delight. Plus, it was really nice just hanging out with my boyfriend…and taking it all in. I am so blessed with such a great companion and hubby.

I am immersing myself in folk art. Gotta get going on some images, and need a trigger, a push to get it going. I have been sidetracked by the cameos and plan on getting them to Etsy soon to move it from a crazy obsession to a cash factor. They are beautiful and by combining different charms, they begin to tell little stories that I am enchanted by. Stupid, I know, but none the less charmed.

I am looking at Alexander Girard and books from the Girard collection of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe and hoping that this will force my hand to move and ideas to flow. We will see. If not, the funny tattoos I am doing for a few bands will have to be the trigger to do more work…even if it is a body of tattoos just to get really good at it. They have been fun as I can use all the cool tools I love in illustrator, and work with making the type really sing. Who knows, I could be on the train…and not realize I have left the station. Plus, there are more 1 hour portraits to do. The newest Lincoln is at the top of the page here>> Next one, Susan B. Anthony.

Another flurry begins tomorrow. Just to confirm, no one ever said this was going to be the most relaxing summer on the books. Matter of fact, it is right up there with the nuttiest.

Alex and Rob leave tomorrow p.m. to pick up Kitty to evacuate (“check out”) of her dorm in Manhattan. The FIT folks were inflexible (but maybe that is okay as Kitty didn’t get clarity on when she needed to be gone. The last thought she had was well into August, so we planned accordingly). Kitty will be sitting in the lobby with her stuff until the boys can come and get her after the ribbon cutting Rob is participating in at the Museum tomorrow a.m.

I will follow end of day on Friday on the sublime and fabulous Cornell bus (Campus to Campus), getting into NYC at 10:30 p.m. We will have the weekend in NYC with Kitty and Rob working on Governors Island with GlassLab. Alex and I are free so we may do a little “be in the city” tutorial with map reading, location identification, and subway/bus riding. I offered up a few options and surprisingly, this was the one that struck Alex as fun…or maybe not fun, but the right thing to do given his new status as Hofstra student. Then Monday, get Alex out to Hempstead to have a 3 day orientation at Hofstra.

We will bring Kitty home—and have Alex take the coach back from Long Island to Ithaca for the first time. He is not liking that idea very much…but hey, we cannot be a prince forever.  Time to grow some wings….who knows, he might like it. There are direct buses from Hempstead to Ithaca…so it cannot be that bad..unlike the chutes and ladders Kitty needs to climb in order to get home to Central NY.

We will all be together again next Thursday/Friday…and maybe we can have a few weeks of being together, enjoying each other’s company, the lake, the cloud bowl, our pets, our ideas and thoughts. This time will be a treasure…bliss. Looking forward to it.

People in the tintype

Lincoln study, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Yesterday was a gorgeous day. Ditto for today. The Farmers’ Market was fabulous with all sorts of great things to buy—with Meg having black cherry tomatoe plants, and all sorts of elegant currant plants from Daring Drake. We had a massage therapist…and two more people wanted to throw in with us to our delight. Food/catering was selling out to my happiness…and hope that we can continue to drive folks to the market to gather, eat and spend their money of produce, wine, cider, plants and goodies. This is our second shot and I feel real energy around what is happening, the help of the board, and the direction we can point this. I got some great shots and will share with you. I love it when people just “give” you the picture…and I was given quite a few last night. We need more…and we will get them. By the end of the season, we will have imagery to really sell the market!

The big RFP is done. Will deliver tomorrow.  Little projects are moving. The images for the StoneCat have been framed (thanks to Nigel). My cabochons are en route. The market is beginning to stand up on its little shaky legs…and we are going week to week to see what and how it evolves. I am getting things fixed, delivered, and ordered. And! My dies came from Accucut…so it means my diecutter should be here soon! Hello! How exciting is that?

Did you ever notice how big Abe Lincoln’s ears are? HUGE. I saw a life mask , and life casting of his hands at the Fenimore in Cooperstown and was dumbstruck at how odd and overlarge they were…but the facial casting did not get to the ears. Now with this study kicking off a series, I am stunned by his ears…and his amazing assymetrical face. Chasing down info on Lincoln has thrown me back on the amazing photography of Matthew Brady. Brady portrays these civil war era people as the living, breathing people that they were…not shining them up, but just as is…and somehow he captures the individuals essence through a sensitive vision. There is so much humanity peeking out of those sepia images that if you were to just change the fashion, they might be the person on the street passing you by on the way to Starbucks.

I also unwittingly surfaced a whole lot of stuff about the hypothesis that Lincoln might have been gay. It started with my poking around Wikipedia…and then it went on. This is all supported, academic studies…and so it changes the discussion around him. Our first gay president? Interesting. This was not the sort of stuff we addressed way back at Ellis School on Presidents Day. Whole new world.

Rob is home from his travels. It is wonderful to have with us. He is reconsidering his travel for this week. We would love to have him around a bit more!

Onward to the day.

Pissing and Moaning

Peony from the Lake, Q. Cassetti, 2012Poor  Alex Cassetti. Today he has to go on the Senior Picnic and then…oh my, he has to submit himself to being fitted for a costume. Pissing and moaning about how put upon he was this morning as we finished up the big big load of recycling and trash….to be surprised by Mr. White’s productivity in the Killing Fields. Yes, once again, right on the back porch, Mr. White methodically decapitated another squirrel (last one was Monday if you recall), and started his process of devouring the beast leaving the head, tail and a foot or two and the liver (always feels almost Masonic in the symbology). So, to spare the neighbors the site of this massacre, I moved the squirrel and Mr. White to another less central/less visable location and he lost interest. Now we have a half a squirrel in the freeze (in a freezer bag) waiting for Elly to take to the Super Hawk, Tucker. Waste not, want not. There was a look in Mr. White’s single eye that suggested that this might not be the only prize of the day.

Yesterday’s conversation with Steve about my work we are going to try to do at GlassLab on Governors Island (July 1, 2012) was exciting and productive. I have my list of things to try before we go — so I am making up a sheet of glass decals, ordered up some 3M Buttercut, and some resists to see what we can do. I am looking into glass enamel paints to see what that would yield tooo….and then away we go. The Maryoshka dolls going from the largest being clear, middle a bit less clear to the tiny one being color and brilliant is the approach. We may do some burka Maryoskas as well as it would be another technique, and could be a second to that nested set. So, I am psyched. Might learn a few things and might add a little nice twist to the things on my resume. And who knows, maybe we can pull it off.

Off to see my friends at TreeGate Farm. We are reviving their project…and hope to get some lift for them. RedByrd went back on press. MacDonald on stall  until his rush of work slows a tad. Goodlife wants to relook at where they are.The Farmers Market starts a week from today….and I am getting a bit nutty around everything working out. I had a nice meeting with a board member who recalibrated everything for me…which was a blessing. And so it goes. Local food, local growers coming on with the season.

And the RFP keeps chugging away. Today is the review of all of our insurance work. Left foot, right foot.

Whaddah day.

Barley Rondel, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5The world was at the Rongo last night to hear the amazing Stringbusters and to welcome our favorite, Billy Eli with Eric Aceto and group. Many of the Tburg Royals were there…so there was lots to talk about with fascinating people who had things to say. Lets just say, I am having a love affair with our little Village, and every social event, every interaction just sweetens the love more and more. I had to leave a bit earlier than Mr. Cassetti as I had to be ready to rock this morning at the Community Yard Sale at the Farmers Market. Thanks to amazing Suse Thomas Wolfanger, she was there to help—getting money and spreading the love she does so naturally. We had an amazing day, a great turnout. As I noted on Facebook, fresh from the Market: “

Such fun at the Trumansburg Farmers’ Market! Bought a few amazing things (Pendleton shirts, Woolrich shirts) a pashmina scarf, a fluffy chiffon scarf with pansies on it, and a scarf with a 1953 calendar on it (amazingly interesting palette. Had a divine Kimchi hotdog from Trevor and Shelly MacDonald along with sampling their amazing Sauerkraut balls and a half sour pickle. Amazing! Sharon Tregaskis from TreeGate Farm was selling beautiful seedlings. Meg Meixner from Wolftree Farms was selling organic chickens and eggs. Margaret Shepard from Sage Hen Farm was selling garlic, leeks and greens. There were mushroom logs and perennials along with a great assortment of treasures. I am sunburned and energized. What potential we have in our amazing village! Pictures to come.”

This event was great because it allowed us to see how we needed to be “on” for our first day (we need keys to the electrical box, we need signage, a lot of direction getting people situated, a bit of process, a way for folks to hang banners etc.). It also prompts me to suggest that we should think about the flea market idea…and that maybe a Sunday event might be fun during the summer (once a month?). Do you think that could hold up? After seeing the crowd we got, I think there is something here…and could provide a fun activity for all. If we promote it, it can happen. I def. feel we need to do this sale again next year.
We need to get Alex to a boat for his senior dinner dance tonight. It will be a perfect evening for this party…which will be great for our boy. Rob and I will burn time in Watkins to take them home around midnight. Rob is off tomorrow to pick up Kitty and attend a meeting in Albany. Alex is going to be acting with Running to Places from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. I plan on making flower pictures just for myself (!) for Mothers Day!
I bought a pair of very cute black espadrilles as my mothers day present to me!
Onward to more springtime fun!

 

weekend antics

Asparaganza 2012, Good Life Farm, Interlaken NYFarmer Melissa, Asparaganza, Good Life Farm, 2012It was a perfect weekend capped off by great music at Felicias (Rockwood Ferry) and a gentle spring evening party, Asparaganza, at Good Life Farm. Asparaganza was at Good Life with a brilliant cloudless blue sky, happy people, delicious things to try and buy along with music, games, tours of the farm and new friends and old. RedByrd Orchard Cider had it inaugural tasting (and indeed we tasted it!) along with Crooked Carrot, The Piggery, Cayuga Creamery (asparagas ice cream, ginger ice cream as a bow to Good Life’s prides), and Red Newt Bistro. There were farmstands and Toivo playing their happy music which was a perfect fit to a glorious afternoon. It was so wonderful to see these local producers, Melissa and Garrett and their friends in the context of the haven their farm is….with the geese and big draft horses in the background. Mike from Double E (Mushroom CSA) was making mushroom logs for folks to take home to grow their own mushrooms, there were games…and tons of balls and fun things for the teensy people who gamboled amongst all the larger ones. The energy of this event was so positive, so encouraging, so reflective of this emerging community that I just wanted to hug each and every producer for the gifts that they give us generously. We never really see the whole picture, just the perfect radish, apple, blade of grain or sunflower and not the work, love, and prayers that go into creating this amazing thing.  Maybe this little valentine will help communicate that.

New website for the Trumansburg Farmers Market! Took me about 4 hours to do…and I have a bit more to do (authoring some content) but at least we are up and running so the rackcards now point to something real. Here is the site> www.tburgfarmersmarket.com

I got plugged into some phenomenal new web based tools this weekend that I am so excited about I could sing at the top of my lungs. First one is IFTTT (if this [] then that[]). I know. It doesnt make much sense. What IFTTT does is link the social media venues you may be using, to leverage your messaging to the other outlets you support. Once creates or uses already created recipes to make your content work harder for you. An example is “If This” Facebook entry “then that” sent to Twitter. If an image is dropped into Dropbox, send the same image to Flickr….and so on…mixing feeds,Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, DropBox etc. It is amazing one stop shop where usually I have had to go into the mechanisms/the account information to try to network the content from one place to the other. Now it is so much easier and not so technical. Give it a try, its free.

The second geeky delight is Evernote. Evernote is a way to collect information, images, links, notes etc. to push folks to be more productive and less paper driven. Your Evernote is sync’ed between your computer, phone and IPad…so you can have your files ready and at hand whenever you want them as long as you can get a connection. You can share ‘notebooks” with people you invite…or you can keep them private or even not shared as long as its on your desktop. You can tag your entries, sort them a bunch of different ways…Worth seeing. Their customer support and videos are great (reminds me of Squarespace, a company that has that nailed). Plus, there is a community of users out there who are actively involved in moving Evernote ahead with cool plug-ins, ebooks, and forums. It is free to try, and if you choose to do the upgrade, its not going to break the bank. I am so in love with the productivity aspect of Evernote, I am worried that I could waste time being organized…but if it helps to get the work done…no worries.

Thanks to the prod of Evernote, I am knocking things off my list…and adding new. More to talk about later. 

Happy Crack

Tulip Wreath, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Its online this and online that. All my little customers have these odd needs of small run print that span the needs from bumperstickers to labels, banners to quartercards…and my goal is to make them look and feel as legit as any well funded startup. I am buying laser output, small volume bumperstickers from StickersBanners.com. I am buying stemless wineglasses with a logo laser etched on the bowl for $.95 a piece from Discount Mugs.com.(got samples and they are really nice…so nice i am thinking of having a mess done with my illustration and see what kind of cash I can get for them).  I am buying quartercards and mini postcards (as a business card) from 48hourprint.com (and just got them in less than a week from the release of the files to printed cards in my hand…including shipping). I just got rackcards and posters for the Farmers Market from bargain basement printing.com. And a new “can do” vendor who was helpful (on the phone no less)…and their name says it all: BannersontheCheap.com. My head spins from all the little thises and thats that are in process of arriving…and more to order and wrangle. But it does mean that we are making progress while discovering some cool new companies that can help me help my customers.

Mary Ellen Salmon will be distributing the rack cards (she is running a little rack card distribution business that is affordable..and she is but a block away)! So, my hope is plug all my folks into that program too. Now, all we need is some better weather for our farmers…enough of the freezing. 

I was talking with some of the folks at our Farmers Market potluck last night…to find out that the recent freezes have all but wiped out 95% of the apples and soft fruit (peaches, apricots, cherries) in this area. It is like a death for these farmers who count on the weather to behave for their living—and here we are on the front end of the growing season knowing that certain crops just will not be there in the late summer/fall. My friends Mr. and Mrs. Waid were full of happiness—beekeepers that they are—saying things were fine for them and their hives were happy. I would love to go see what the Waid operation is just out of curiousity and of course, to see the lovely hives of bees. There is some pleasure for all of us at these potlucks and i hope that we can continue this feeling of community through the summer as we all seem to enjoy this…and much can evolve from our relationships.

Yes, I am a little dutch girl. I am working on some pictures that are derivative of Dutch flower paintings…and am trying very hard to keep the flowers dead simple…graphic and blocked that will give the impression of the painting, but still feeling bolder, more modern. With these vector files, I am building a great symbol library of objects which I think of like colorforms or to a jeweler a wealth of findings— objects that can be changed, recolored, reconfigured but reused…in a variety of applications.
These wreaths are just a hint at what they can do. What with the promise of expanded patterning in Adobe Illustrator CS6, I am psyched about the opportunities. I am just cranking out these wreaths in different colors etc. while building the pictures which take longer and are not the candy crack that this instoillo stuff is doing for me. Mindless and so sugary….and when folks see the stuff (even ALEX) they rave. I am worried that my inner happy is peeking out…what happened to the Princess of Doom? I hope she is still inside. However, with this happycrack stuff there  IS something here—and as it is flowing…I am going with it.

 

On to the next

Prom goers, 2012On to the week. Prom, as usual was great. The kids were excited and glamorous—with all of us drab stringers, happily snapping pictures and wishing them well. From our report, it was the best prom ever…loving the dining out, loving the limo ride, loving the picture taking. The girls were beautiful with Kyra in purple and Elly in gold. Kyra had a wonderful hair design with feathers. Elly posed with her hawk who thankfully wasnt grumpy—just confused with who this glittering creature was that came to get him.

Alex and Sevi were gentlemen (with a little reminding)… and all was good. We went to the Rongo to hear Long John and the Tights and mix it up with our friends from around here…old time music afficiandos who turn out for LJ and Tights. A quiet weekend for all of us. Just some shopping, some groceries and a nice chance to just be in the moment.

This week promises all sorts of things from work and project completion to Farmers Market needle moving. There is hope to do a project with the Farmers Market and the community build this summer at Grassroots, so I need to honcho this…or get some help with someone else honchoing it…Perhaps a glorious, eccentric Market Manager office with a bulletin board, a place to hold a Gott cooler for water, a clock, a brochure rack, and a place to sell our bags and do the food stamp/chit exchange. I want it to be really fun and perhaps be a campanile with awnings? a two storied lemonade stand? I want weathervanes and whirlie gigs. You get the idea. Now, I just need to muscle the people to make it happen. Time is awasting.

Had a good chat with Kitty. She is in the throes of final projects— and she is busy signing up for classes for next semester, and putting her plans in place for the summer. She will be with us mid May until the end. And then she has May> August in NYC to study sewing, draping and pattern design at FIT with her weekends working for the Governor’s Island installation of the Hot Glass Show with the Museum of Glass. This will be really electric for her…and then she starts mid August for a few weeks to help catalog costumes at Smith College with her wonderful teacher. All in all, reinforcing her path of costume design…and I think it will be a remarkable time of learning and growing.

As you know, Alex is to be Ike Skidmore in Oklahoma along with piano lessons and working for me doing social networking and brochure distribution for the Farmers Market. It is going to be a fast slide from the end of school to the beginning of college.  And, as I have not mentioned it, Alex has chosen Hofstra as his college. He got into every school he applied to…and with the knowledge of his learning issues combined with his desire to delve into music composition as soon as possible, Hofstra will give him that along with access to the city, access to prime internships, and a supportive learning environment. I think it will be great.

On to the paying work.

Water cooler

Peach tile, Q. Cassetti, Adboe Illustrator CS5I am taking a little break as the big machine is getting an Adobe Creative Suite upgrade (5.5) and as the computer whirrs and rattles, the blue band advances, I can chat a bit with you…an electronic coffee break.

I sit here in my tower, looking out over the back forty with brilliant green grass, forsythia and frosty daffodils. The stinky allium were horizontal and frozen the other day, and this morning, they were standing tall and back in order. We can only hope for moderate cold. How crazy is this weather? The deer are back in force.

Its been busy here with work work, Farmers Market work and my farmers work. I am always reluctant to talk about work/
work as its not right…but the other two, I am happy to chat a bit about.

The Trumansburg Farmers Market. We need to boost awareness, build excitement and get more people coming to the market. That is the “this year” challenge (and ongoing). Granted, we have limited funds, but I am the queen of getting a ton for your money. So, in that spirit, we are going to start to advertise in local journals and summertime rags Thank you Amelia (she found the typo!)(advertising is really inexpensive). Additionally, we are going to have a rack card that hopefully we will put in backpacks prior to school letting out ($110 for 5M pieces from BargainBasementPrinting.com). This rack card is going to promote the market along with the free live music that is offered for a fun summer night out on the town for the family. For a wider distribution, we are going to work with an artist who is very affordable and does distribution of her own rack cards, and for a fee will take ours around to wineries etc. where our summer visitors might be. Then there is the local distribution that I think we can, as board members, put out the cards. I am ordering PET recycled tote bags from Bulletin Bag (and, she says proudly, got a community/ non profit price on them) with our summertime slogan (yes, created by M. E….”Omnivore, Herbivore, Carnivore, Localvore! More for ‘Vors at the Trumansburg Farmers Market” Big/brassy and bold. We plan on selling the price with a bit of a markup, but also giving a bunch away (a drawing every farmers market, a drawing at the local foods lectures at the Library etc.). I am looking into small banners for Main Street. And then, we might be having a few Saturday Markets (to test the concept and maybe switch out the rules a bit to give the smaller/newer farmers a shot at selling some stuff). We are going to have a pumpkin event in October, maybe a Thanksgiving market as well as a Holiday market. So…lots to plan and promote.

Then there are my farmers. Love them. Love their independence and spirit. Love how their work, growing food delights them. I am within eyeshot of two of these new logotypes being completed. Another has a few more turns. And the cidery is having the work approved by the TTB. So…a few things on the horizon for now. I would love to share the process but I can only do that after their marks have been approved by them.

I am still making Farmers Market images of fruit and vegetables…making stand alone images and then wreaths and tiles from those elements…creating little collections of things.  I modified my asparagas image to show to Good Life Farm for their asparaganza (an event in May celebrating their enormous aparagas crop)—and I blundered by putting a grasshopper in the picture (fyi. as adorable as grasshoppers are, the Farmers can’t like t hem…at all…think the Bible and swarms of locusts). However, I picked up a few more tricks with warping text (never did that before) and using all the path offset, and path options in my new fave, the “appearance” panel. I am becoming a pretty good intermediate user….

There will be a set of 8 prints auctioned tomorrow at the Great Local Foods Network event at Regional Access in addition to those same 8 auctioned (probably silent) as separate images, and some Q. goody bags of stickers, tattoos, postcards and the like. Should be a fun event with music, raffles, and tons of great people.

The whirring has stopped. The disk is being ejected. Time to get back to the paying work.

noodgy

Peach, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Winter is back with us…after the faux spring forced our forsythia, all our daffodils and the big fat magnolia blossoms to pop. Now we have window shaking winds with wool tee shirts and extra sweaters which would have been ridiculous last week at the same time.

I met with a bunch of local foods people yesterday—our market manager at the Tburg Market, and wonderful Melissa from Good Life Farm. I also had a interesting meeting with members of the Chamber of Commerce—to figure out how the Tburg Farmers Market could figure into the Community Yard Sale (05.12). Thankfully, we got a little thinking about it earlier in the morning so I could be a bit more responsive than my normal dead wood between the ears self. I also had a nice chat with Mary Ellen Salmon, Salmon Pottery about her work, her marketing etc. Mary Ellen does beautifully textured work on simple and elegant forms….with all sorts of texture on texture/ color on color things.  The image below is a detail of a piece she did using buttons to press into the ceramics and then highlighting them with glaze. Pretty! Like little gems, little candies, little magical dreams. So I am charged up.

Detail of a pot from Mary Ellen Salmon, Trumansburg, NYDon’t mind me. I am just feeling a little cranky given all the noodgy people I have given information and direction to more than once who today, requested the same information and duplication of all the stuff I gave em before. I am not chilling on this and frankly wish sometimes, people could hold on, and be a bit more mature than what I am seeing. I am bored with redoing others work and nipping at others heels to get the stuff done I asked for once twice, three times. Tedium times ten. Okay. That’s off my chest. Sorry for that station break.

Today’s illustration breaks some of my rules…and am using gradients for my peach illustration, part of the Farmers market illustrations. There are more in the hopper…some beets, and a fennel illo.

 

puffs of Spring.

Strawberry Valentine, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Shady and I just got back from looking at our hellebore, our adorable little snowdrops and to see if the cherry trees have buds still on them (that the deer have not gnawed off). We need to put netting over all the hosta, the few peonies left, and the sedum as it kept the deer from ravaging the plants… so be it. I would like big fat hosta, and plump peony blossoms on my tree peony. The ground is unthawing—with the grass all puckery and spongy.  As lovely as the warmer weather is, it still is early.

I may buy a few more cherry trees today from Millers . 3 or 4 more sours…and one or two sweets. This year is the year of the sweet cherry. I have been (and continue to be) possessed by sour cherries, but the sweet are amazing here…as big as equine eyes…and really a robust flavor. What a week cherry week will be this year!

Had a fascinating time listening to the budget work our Village Board was working on last night. It was important to attend, to hear things that maybe we can engage in with the Farmers Market. There is a community yard sale in mid May, and maybe we should offer space for $10. rental  or less, so that folks can bring their things to the park to make it more “community”. Maybe we could get some music, promote the vendors and drive some excitement. We will need some cool shopping bags to sell…and after doing a ton of research, the chico bag still seems like the best option, but I am still checking around. I want the bag to be portable, nylon (as its washable and continues to look good) unlike the cotton ones which are heavy, get ratty looking and just doesnt have a cool factor. Also a bumper sticker. What do you think of ” Carnivore, Herbivore, Localvore. More for ‘Vores”—maybe even use the phrase on the totebag too…versus the logotype. We also need to find a way to drive more to the bottom line so as to make the village investment zero out— Grants, things to sell…more money via rentals etc.

The fruits and veggies continue apace. You will see more…The new tools are fabulous.

black and white

French Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2012, pen and inkThere is a skunk trapped under our porch. Tucker the boyman in his helpfulness decided he would set a have a heart trap under our porch to encourage the groundhogs to come to us…so we can begin to reduce their population. Turns out we found out that yes, we caught something—it is just the stinker that we have been experiencing for the past few days in the front room of our house. So, the interesting thing will be how to get the trap out and covered so as to get rid of the skunk. But, a solution is at hand.

Alex has been accepted now at Landmark College, Lynn University and McDaniel College (yesterday). So, he has some schools to choose from…and a few more to add to the mix soon, we hope.

I was flattered and delighted to be elected to serve a 2 year term as President of the Board of the Tburg Farmers Market. So, plan to hear a lot about this new add to the program. We have a lot to do and even more hurdles to get our act in gear, bylaws written and approved, processes in place, people actively adding to the experience of the market, and reaching out to our producers and letting them know their value to the market. Quite a bit to do, but we have a wonderful board of actively smart people who care and care down to the details. Its pretty exciting.

The drawings I did in pencil (sketches you will never see) are manifesting themselves into nice, graphic images. I am delighted with the quick progress that the drawing is giving me. I am just going with it.

 

Blessings.

We had the Farmers Market event yesterday afternoon. It pointed up to me, the significant contribution of volunteers from the fundraising for the building, to the teams of makers, builders, laborers, detaillers, designers, architects, village employees and more. The reason we have this market is sheer will and effort of people who truly WANT a Farmers Market. People who put their energies behind what they believe in. There wouldnt be the wonderful park we have without this common belief and effort of our fellow Tburgers. We are all beneficiaries of this common belief and effort behind doing things right.  I think very few of us understand that this expression of community at our Farmers Market and how very, very special this is. We are indeed blessed.

Now the challenge is to harness this marvelous mechanism to create wonderful things for community to spin more community and then some. This is what I will be leaning into.

I had a great conversation on Friday with Kevin from the Hanford Mills Museum. Have I mentioned this museum to you before? Hanford Mills describes their mission here:

“Hanford Mills Museum’s mission is to be a leading interpreter of the evolution of power generation and technology and how it contributed to the unsettling of rural America. The Museum is dedicated to:

  • preserving and presenting the mill site
  • understanding how the Hanford and Pizza families adapted their business operations to respond to changes in technology, markets, and transportation
  • illustrating how these activities affected the community

Hanford Mills has a mill and a millpond that they actively use to create products and show how vital a mill, waterpower etc. to yesteryear and also, I think to demonstrate the viability today. In  February every year, they induce people to leave their warm houses to go out and cut ice for their icehouse during their Ice Harvest Festival. There is soup, hot cider and all sorts of fun with a 1922 gas powered ice saw to help folks to “embrace winter” and to “harvest one of the winter’s most abundant crops”. I love this event, so Kevin and I are going to create some images and branding around this fun…to drive more recognition and maybe sell some gear to drive more revenue for this wonderful little museum outside of Oneonta NY. You Tube has a little happy clip on it>>

Another announcement is that instead of donating time and illustration to the Hangar Theatre next year, I am going to provide pro bono logos and illustration to  local producers and farmers  to move the image of their products ahead. I feel that this is the place that I can be truly more effective for the time put in and the emotional payout that comes back to me.

The week is busy. Alex has a ton of afterschool stuff. Rob has a ton of afterwork stuff. We have Wednesday in Rochester for more testing. Friday is the beginning of the Columbus Day Holiday for Alex…with the weekend senior trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio. I hope this week can be as productive as it feels like it could be.

Onward.

Enough!

Bandstand at the Trumansburg Farmer’s Market, Q; Cassetti, 2011 (08/17/2011)I have had enough. Enough! I have spent the better part of a week, nursing a computer along—redoing work lost etc. and I have had it. I am going to call a technician, regardless of the price and speedy please, to come to my studio and make right all this crap that is going on. I hate not having my tools work, and as I am a digital princess, it is particularly bad when the tool in question is the center of my working universe. Remember the real life scenes of Mary yesterday? They were reinacted in full my your truly yesterday.

Trying to put some perspective on it though, when we have these rough patches, it makes the smooth all so much sweeter. I need to hold that thought and try to keep my patience.

With the computer antics yesterday, I did manage to do quite a bit with the other stuff—the business stuff (mailing and paying, banking and calling and so on) which was quite rewarding.Next added task, refinance our morgage. I am just ready to get back to business.

Oh, and the carrot soup—every last drop devoured. I think I have an idea what teen and college aged boys like to consume. Soup. Today, bean with kielbasi. Cost of pot of soup—around $4.00. Feeds around ten happily. Sounds like a plan. They are whipping through the freezer jam (two jars consumed yesterday). Peach is adored, but the sweet cherry, blueberry, nectarine and lemon is eaten even faster. Even on nasty white bread. So the inspiration to make a peach ginger freezer jam looms on this evening’s roster. Maybe mix some nectarines in to give it a bit of a bite?

I attended the Farmer’s Market last night, a beautiful end of summer evening—and it felt like the best of our little Tburg. Toivo, a Finnish/ Tex Mex band was playing in the bandstand with people dancing, children chasing, people shopping and eating all in rapture over being at the Market, with their friends, savoring the summer evening. Groups of people were chatting like a cocktail party, others were learning about fracking while others sampled natural bug spray or tested the fresh bread for sale. I am so happy that I can be a help here as where is happening now is so lovely and so in tuned with our little town that we can only shine it up, promote it more and think a bit about how to keep it going. Last evening was a glowing pearl on the necklace of summer events.

I put a Facebook page up to begin to extend our communications reach with the Farmer’s Market. We needed one, plus, this is one of the vehicles we  are going to use to get the word out about the Market Manager position (volunteer with a stipend) that is coming up. Its a cool job for someone who likes local food, is interested in community, family, people, music. There is some training as well as some broader course work provided looking at Farmer’s Markets, how they are structured, etc. If you are interested, or know someone, submit a statement of interest to the Board (the FB page will tell you how and when) and we will contact you when the interviews will happen. Could be a great way to be involved in your community and get to know something about local producers, the growing interest in local Farmer’s Markets, and a facet of Trumansburg’s little community. Think about it.

Green Man fever continues. One done yesterday with acorns. Another in the sketchbook with acorns (Kitty approves). More to post to bore you to death.

Kitty has a friend visiting tonight from New Jersey. We have Alex Jacob and maybe Eli. So combined with work, a pickup at the Regional, lunch for 10, and the general day to day—I should pop my gummi vitamin (just discovered them and LOVE them) and get rolling.

A domani.