Honeybees and Ham

Waiting. No biggie. But waiting for the car. Yes, I am finally getting the snow tires off my car and it has been not the single hour that I was promised but it is going on two. I was going to go back to the office between my two Ithaca appointments today...and now It feels as is the two are going to blur. Ah, well. Thank goodness there are no crazy deadlines today other than the great meeting of the Farmers' Market. And thank goodness I have discovered and changed to Google Mail, Google Drive and Google Calendar and I can use a dumb p.c. here at the car dealership and actually get work done. I like how simple and portable things are getting. Nice change, that.

We are on the verge of Grassroots. The cherries have been picked. The raspberries and strawberries are going full bore. Garlic Scapes are on the outs--and bunches of delightful dill, cilantro and basil are in the future. It is the season of produce and fruit, and we can plot the course of the summer by their  appearance at the CSA and at the Farmers' Market. It has gone from mild to hot very quickly with many fans and cold showers before sleep marking the change in the season. We have been in the lake to start our summer drifting under the high cloud bowl.

 How is it that the sky over the lake is so vast, so high, so much part of the moment, when, even on our plateau, it doesn't seem to loom above us? The water must change that relationship as it is a constant--and mirrors the dome above it. The cloud bowl has been particularly dramatic in the last week with massive cumulus clouds--changing from puffy, angels sit on them, clouds to towering castles changing from white, to pearl, to grey. It has been the sky of full on Summer--giving us cloud bursts and within a half hour, scrubbed skies.  It is the mid point of the year...and such a sweet spot that we are all trying to hang on to the quiet moments together before being spun into our respective other lives.

My America. I have been worrying about another body of work- stressing that nothing was clicking. Well it did. Rob asked my why I couldn't do something like the Advent Calendar annually and it forced me to think about the triggers around the Advent work. I guess what I love about it are all the "knowns" like palettes, distinct traditions and expectations, the iconography, the ideas and the global aspects of the holiday. I have been mulling over all of that and somehow it just pinged, American things... my America. It has symbols and colors. It has traditions and  expectations. Plus, there is more...things that have been bothering me that I think is time to surface. There are womens health issues. There is Uncle Sam. There is the religious right. There are the Masons and Mormons. There are honeybees, and hams. There are guns and grain. And so it begins. The research, the prep, the sketches...and then we are going to load the cannon and start firing to see where we go. It will be a fun ride, with I hope good results and interesting learning. I am ready for another journey--and you will be coming with me. It has been 6 months since the last big push...so I am ready (as is my portfolio).

More on this later.

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?


Winter on Cayuga, 2012, Q. Cassetti, Adobe Illustrator.Wintery mix. The weather got so nice and warm this weekend, it was doors open, with Rob chipping away all the left over ice in prep for the next go round. It is white and magical this morning, with a slow fall, falling quietly albeit not too oppresively. Alex is itching to work, and I need to figure out how to get him occupied for a significant amount of time so it isnt this little thing and that little thing. I have projects to do, and with the littleinterruptions all day, it can make things a bit unwieldy and though productive for him, not so for me.

I got some bad printing back (first time ever) from an online source who has an email customers service thing…and I am anxious as the job is def needing to be reprinted and it is their problem… I think I am going to send another email with a photo of the job attached….so that the question of fault goes out the window. It is a time sensitive thing, so I need to get them rolling and I do not want to take a hit to reprint a job that I am doing as a courtesy for a friend. Quel Drag.

The winter bunny is an exploration of the color palette for a local college who has gold and blue as their exclusives, which I have pushed to a rainbow of tints, with beige. I was monkeying around with it for a legit picture, and figured I would salvage some of the parts and make my own picture just for kicks. They also are looking for another approach which dawned on me could be a photographic collage which skirts the color issues (no guidance on photography) yet, gives me some leeway with imagery and the mooshing of all sorts of ideas. So, I did one for kicks yesterday in addition to the vector image just to see what their response would be. These images may be “grandmother tested” when the kids come back to school to see what they respond/react to, and then move accordingly. Collage is a whole world of opportunity we have not really even explored! How exciting! Equally time consuming but in a different, more humorous way.


Christmas: Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Twenty Five, Christmas Peace

Christmas: Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Twenty Five, Christmas Peace, Q. Cassetti, Trumansburg, NYPeace be with you and yours on this day that reminds us that each new day is a new birth, a new opportunity to grow, change, give and love each other. Have a lovely and warm Christmas with those you hold dear.

Advent is done. Christmas is here. However, if you want to review the images created for this years Advent Calendar, they are all compiled here (and a few more I didnt post)… its right here

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Twenty Three

Christmas Eve: Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Twenty Three, Wrappin’ Mr. Giftie, Q. Cassetti, Trumansburg, NYLove to all my friends and family here and abroad on this Christmas Eve 2012. The day looks to be promising, filled with light, people gathering, and the space for all of us to assess all that we have to be thankful for—in the past, present and hope for the future. May you soak in the day—with those you love.

Sunday Special: Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Bonus: A Little Happy Time

I know its off topic, and I know it really isnt part of the proper advent calendar, but it was created only last week, so I will post this as a bonus on a beautiful Sunday before a week of celebration and joy.
Sunday Special: Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Bonus: A little happy time, Q. Cassetti, Trumansburg, NY

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Twenty Three: Kawaii Snow Globe

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Twenty Three, Kawaii Snow Globe, Q. Cassetti, Trumansburg, NYWe got some snow yesterday. So, it is feeling a bit more like winter. Kitty made a ton of earrings out of the dollhouse treasures—and sold $70. worth to friends during the course of the day. Alex visited with friends and helped Rob get the tree. I wrapped presents while waiting for my computer to boot up from the numerous crashes while making tomorrow’s picture for the next to final Advent Calendar project. I love what is going on with this picture and my mind is whirring about what is next. So, this body of work drove technique inspired by content, and now the content is evolving for the next collection of images inspired by the new techniques.  The Catherine Wheel of insipiration keeps proving itself to me.

A person saw my food brooches at Sundrees and contacted me to create a holiday feast without the pins to give to his wife for a holiday gift. I have a bunch of small pine tables and whomped up platters of cookies, veggies, a turkey, tea in cups with lemon, bread in a bread basket, a pie and more…so cute…I think I have another product to sell for Valentines Day? I need to get the valentine printed…and create a few to sell. Maybe this little deer would like to be part of a Kawaii valentine? Or the head of antoher stratosphere suit. Why didnt I see that yesterday? Jeez. Not much time to reflect on what is being thrown out the door.

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Twenty: Punch in the Box

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Twenty: Punch in the Box, Q. Cassetti, Trumansburg, NYAlright, I couldn’t resist. There were two Jack in the Boxes done for Jennifer Houghtaling….the happy and cute one posted earlier, and the Punch in the Box (as in Punch and Judy) that I had to do (if anything, to see if I could make a monster brush, which I could)… and so, I need to post that right now as a counterpoint to cute. Punch does not have his club, but as you all know, he uses his head as a battering ram on his poor scapegoat of a wife, Judy. I hope Judy gets a break over the holiday….

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Eighteen: Special Delivery: Parachute Santa

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Eighteen: Special Delivery: Parachute Santa, Q. Cassetti, Trumansburg, NYKitty and Alex are coming home today, so I figured someone jolly dropping in might be a fun point/counterpoint to our expectations! This little dude is again inspired by that wigged out show we saw at the new Museum and my fascination with stratosphere, diving and space suits (particularly the early ones)…articulated in stripes and candycanes. How I have gotten from Gingerbread houses to Stratosphere suits is a little beyond me, but in the context of 6-8 images make a thesis project, by the end of this process, there would be plenty to pick for one slash two thesis (in different flavors). I was watching a few YouTube videos on some techiques I am working into my digital mis en place and am fascinated to see where this is going.  I was delighted with an illustration I did last week when I had to do a reduction illo of a tractor and put type on it—using drawing to better integrate the type with the image. New tools= more control and confidence in really rocking with it…And it was significantly faster too.Such a fabulous surprise!

Its another grey and rainy day with dark clouds, heavy droplets and the suggestion of snow or something slushy later today. I have dethawed a pork roast from the half pig we bought and am slow cooking it for the soon-to-be arrivals along with a mess of tomatoes I froze after cooking and foodmilling this summer. I have a box of chopped basil to make fresh pesto for Alex (who is pining for big eating). Now, what to cook for Christmas dinner. Hmmm.

Later. More advent stuff (am contemplating another bonus image today!).

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Seventeen: Christmas Treat

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Seventeen: Christmas Treat, Q. Cassetti, Trumansburg, NY Another week…and I have yet to burn out on these holiday images. More coming…some odd, some obvious. I am intrigued by using a few new tools including 3 D to get me into another space. Same type of stuff, just more trippy which is really fun.

You can see, I have a new brush or two (LACE!) and some new little gingerbread folk to add to the pile of configuration. I put it to the Facebook crew following this progression as to what to do next and some fun ones surfaced: a jack in the box (maybe or maybe not married with Mr. Punch, the acceptable wife beater of historic fame), a fruit cake(!),  a candy wreath? I have quite a few more (angels, Santa Lucia, a Krampus in this mode, Mr. Gifty and then some) so I do not think boredom will factor into this project, yet. What this rolls into (a more yokai exploration of things Japanese and really try to be uber cute?) Dunno. No reason to worry about it as I have miles to go before I sleep.

The pins and cards are moving at Sundrees and at Petrune. Petrune placed another order (rings and brooches…no more pendants)…and I am trying to figure out the transition of the holiday stuff to the Valentines Day merch. Believe it or not, we have it. And, I will need to print out singleton valentines for sale too. Plus, I have the Q Company card that needs to be designed and printed. I am thinking postcards as the holiday cards (going in the mail today) are pricey as they are square/3 panel deals that I had printed at a discount printer on line (2 up) and then we diecut/scored them on my new little diecutter/the Accucut. Such a cute trick.

Another thing I am pursuing is having some linen teatowels printed with my illos on them…? or even some linen napkins. I found a cool resource (US, no less) that I am going to pursue soon. They not only offer custom printing but also sewing(!).

Rob is off to a meeting in Albany. Kitty and Alex are home tomorrow. The week is encrusted with meetings and projects, christmas wrapping and grocery shopping…and then the small blissful times I have to potter on the ‘puter.