What a week

Summer in Ithaca, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Adobe Illustrator Cs5Things have been a bit wild around here. My father-in-law was rushed to the hospital last Friday with a significant nosebleed. He was in the hospital for a few days—and then the process of interviews, deliveries, questionnaires, phone calls and the beginning of the “new normal” began. Hospice has begun. He has moved downstairs as his movement/mobility is challenged. He is not in pain, though breathing  is challenging. He has limited time awake and conscious with most of the time asleep. We are all trying very hard to wrap our heads around this change…and it is stressing us all out in different ways. Everyday is different—and all of our independance is challenged as Mary and Gloria need time to tend to their lives as well. This week with Rob is going to be tough as he is seriously busy and travelling, so I feel I will fill that gap as well as I can. I have set up a Caring Bridge site (a wonderful service that is private and allows a family to talk about  a family member who is sick/ailing/challenged etc to a wide community of friends—essentially making the same “phone call” over and over again…and keeping all the friends and wellwishers up to date with the status quo. I have taken this on….and I hope its been helpful for Ron and Mary’s friends. To learn more about Caring Bridge (www.caringbridge.org)

Rob has been busy moving furniture, making beds out of sofas, moving trip hazards, supporting the change next door in a broad physical way. He also has been very kind and open with his dad and mom…spending time with them and sweetening the sadness that we all have. Lightening the moment with stories and popcorn. He is such a wonderful guy.

We got an impressive amount of snow on Friday. Its been grey until today which has given us a blazing blue and white day to relish the snow bouncecard effect on the light, and the lovely blue shadows we have here on our plateau.

I am rounding the corner on a lot of projects from the candle packaging for “Bee of Life” (using one of my bee goddesses as the image and I created a hive texture and my bees as a complement and background for the paper labels) to Sagamore’s Benefit event package graphics. My big client is bending and changing, and we are bending and changing with them. I am working on box graphics and some vintage related publications for Forge Cellars, updates on the packaging and new ideas for Redbyrd Orchard Cider. The Piggery seems well on their way with new programming and promotion (their BaconFest was a huge success) with Valentines Day seatings filling up, and plans for a St. Patricks Day Sausage Fest on the horizon. Good Life Farm is ramping up for Asparaganza this spring, so we have had a meeting about that…and putting plans in place to support this event. The Farmers Market has sent out applications for vendors (I think I may be a day vendor for a few of the markets just to sell my little thises and thats along with cards)….but we will see.

Creatively, I am a bit shot. I wish I had the zing going on that the Advent work had, but given the changeability of the moment, I am just happy to make little creature doodles in my notebook and focus on the work at hand (teasing out a content review of a website for one) to make psychic room for the extra stuff. I have also decided to spend time learning new things, so I am trying to do a few Lynda.com tutorials during the day to keep my head in the game…and learn something that can make me more productive etc. Plus, I love my digital tools….and the more I learn, the more fun it gets.


Inspired by Nesting Dolls: A Cat, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5We visited StoneCat Cafe yesterday evening to see the new pictures on the wall…the tulips and the tulips on a black field along with a pair of monkeys. It all looked so great, I am tempted to have a few more output and stretched to take the theme further. These big graphic florals really snap up the space and make it very chic. Hurray for the Stonecat. Hurray for me! What a bragger I am. ( will post pictures as soon as I can connect the camera and see what is in that collection of shots).

We spent the night at the lake—revelling in the beautiful spot we have, and admiring the grass that it took Rob three passes to cut. Lush doesnt even begin to describe it. All my little bunnies were snug in their happy beds doing what they do lakeside—eat, sleep, talk and when the time is right, swim. Our visitors’ funny and smart dog took the first leap of the Summer into the lake…happily taking the prompt from his mistress to take the plunge. If dogs could smile, he was grinning from ear to ear.

Did I mention that I am married to a saint? Well, now you know it. Rob got up early this morning to do a round trip to NYC with Kitty to get her set up at FIT with mirrors and sewing machines, boxes of tea and teapots, and of course things to wear. Our plans to go to New York were scuttled by our girl who really didnt get her stuff packed until the end of day yesterday leaving no time to travel. So there you have it. Another mark in the golden book for Rob. 

My plans are to do some plant poisoning (good by thistles)…and laundry. Maybe Alex and I will go do something fun (can you say Avengers?). Am working on more russian dolls for a meeting tomorrow and interesting things are evolving from the shape. Lets see where this goes.

I know its crazy, but I am thinking a lot about my new home diecutting machine I ordered with a stationery show discount, the Accucut. I hesitate to rave too much as you might immediately put me in the category of scrapbooker (a creative endevor I wish I could better understand…but it is a creative outlet and that is a good thing). However, the Accucut is used by scrapbookers to make essentially paper findings to build memory books with paper and glitter, rhinestones and photographs, ticket stubs, and flowers to document their lives in the most robust way. What that means to me is that there are dies (with creases) that I can buy to cut out my artwork,make cards, folding cartons, coasters etc. right here. Diecutting is one of those points on the horizon for me …always “too expensive” or too promotional for my clients. However, now that I will have the ability to crank out shapes and package them—and if I really want to, have a die built just for me….then the world opens up to retail possibilities (like decorated masks?). And I have a local venue that is interested in my stuff. So hello cupcake holders, masks, boxes, stationery and more…. Should be a ton of fun…(at least for me).

Time to get the engines roaring. There are things to do!


Matryoshka in Blue, Q. Cassetti.2012, Adobe Illustrator2300˚ Thursday night was great. Gold Dust Lounge played their surfer noir music to the delight of the outdoor revellers. The amazing and handsome Makepeace Brothers filled the auditorium which was blissfully airconditioned to all our delight. The sales in the shop were amazing (I bought a bunch of rhinestone wrap bracelets, some earrings for kitty and an amazing brooch that grabs my entire shoulder and encrusting it in colorful sparklers describing flowers and parrots. Kitty, Alex, Elly, Gloria and I had a great time. Rob was on the clock, but it looked like he was having fun too. Kitty and I got her set up with Kelly (Kelly Girls) for her weekend work in July at Governors Island with the Museum of Glass and the Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design in New York City. 

I was flattered and delighted to be asked to join a group of graphic designers who will work with the GlassLab Team on Governors Island  from June 30 to July 29, 2012. Each designer will be realizing a design/ idea with the hot glass team to learn and experience what glass can do. I have been working with the idea of nesting  Matryoshka dolls with the largest being clear and colorless with just etching for the features and simple detail. The second would have more etching and be a little less transparent, and the finally tiny one being brilliant, patterned etc. You all know how I love being a folky girl…and the Matryoshka shape really suggests glass…that we can decorate like crazy with glass waterslip decals, enamel paint, hand etching and diamond point pen. So I am investigating crafty etching products. Thanks to  Michael Rogers from RIT- for this decal supplier that can be put on glass: InPlainSite Art. So, I am ramping up to trial a bunch of these things prior to show date. As soon as I know the date, I will let you know…and as I am sure you will be seeing sketches as they come. I have a phone call to talk techniques and how we will roll this thing out on Tuesday. We are looking at a bunch of surface texture approaches (Graal for instance), or stamping and encasing the pattern into the glass before all the crazy applied decoration I would love to do.

We are rolling down to NYC tomorrow and back on Monday to take Kitty to FIT for her summer engagement. Now, all we need to do is watch her pack…(!). I am a bit worried…but hey, it will happen.

A day of presents

After Ambrosius Bosschaert, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5There was a fresh young squirrel neatly left at my doorstep this morning. Dead, but not disturbed in any way. A beautiful little thing with his amazing paws with lovely pink pads and soft coloration. What to do with him? Toss him in the compost as usual…but somehow that didn’t seem right. In the spirit of a friend who told me the “waste not want not” tale of his own, I decided differently. This friend was really unhappy with a rather robust groundhog who had burrowed his way under the fence to attack my friend’s garden. Fresh vegetables were the prize.  My friend was not going to allow that sort of tresspassing—so he pulled out his beebee gun and shot the culprit dead. This same friend feels that if you take a life, you should take energy from it…and so proceeded to skin and dress the groundhog, place him neatly in a roasting pan, and put the whole thing in the refrigerator for his lady friend to roast for dinner. He said it was tasty.

So, in that same spirit, I was thinking that maybe Elly’s hawk, Tucker, might think that this offering might be a mighty tasty snack. Poor Tucker is stuck in his hawk house during the spring and summer as he could be tempted to fly away—and so is constrained when he goes out and hunting is off the table until it gets colder. The taste of wild meat might be just the thing compared to the little bits of gizzards Elly produces for him. Our little offering went into a freezer bag and he is nestled among the bags of frozen kale and boxes of chicken stock for just that purpose. No roasting pan here. Just the real deal for a real raptor.

Another gift is that today is  Rob’s birthday. He is a present everyday to those of us who are proud to be his family. I hope there are lots of nice things in his day to celebrate how much he means to us. Happy Birthday dear boy.

Really nice illustration news! Nancy Stahl, a teacher at Hartford and a Vector Queen, just was admitted to the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame for 2012 along with R.O. Blechman, John Collier, Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeline books), Edward Gorey and John Sloan. Talk about an amazing lineup…and it is so wonderful Nancy has been recognized for her beautiful illustration and work with the US Postal Service. Her illustration work is sublime—elegant and simple. She is the bar for all of us vector princesses as she keeps churning out inspiring work to all of our delight.

Would love to stay and muse with you. But, time is ticking. Today is CSA day and I have to get Kitty squared away with residence documentation etc. gotta go.

Spring Green

Inspired by Dutch Tulips, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator 5Warm and humid. Wet underfoot. The lilacs are popping and the green carpet stretches on and on. It is that spring green…not fall green(more olive) or summer green (more blue) but that brilliant yellow cast green that tells us that young and new is the time of the year.The birds are busy chittering and singing. The tiny red pinecones to be are clustered at the end of their branches with little tassels of green new growth. The peepers cheep and  the squirrels leap from branch to branch. I saw a little fox in Taughannock park last week, trotting happily across the street—rusty red against all the brilliant green. I love treats like that.

Tonight is the Trumansburg Farmers Market meeting. One month and a few days until we open. I have the print materials done (including a bookmark that is going to the library and used book store in town to show support to the library’s local food lecture series this year). I have the tote bags ordered (and should see next week). Banners are next along with programming in tandem with events in the village. Goodness where has the time gone? In a wink and a blink it will be time to start wrapping the Christmas presents.

I mowed down two publications yesterday and have a bunch of redo projects today. Redo meaning—revisions. It will be nice to finally have them finalized so as to be able to do something new. 

Our Kitty turns 20 in a few days. Where has that time gone? And, even better, she will be back with us soon for a few weeks before the adventure she will have this summer begins. No, its not Europe, but its another country for most, NYC. Classes and a job…with a berth in that fun city. She should really be able to expand her horizons and learn so much. We are hoping she will be with us for GrassRoots which would be a highlight for all of us.

anyway. My nine a.m. was postponed to nine twenty…so I should say goodbye.

Out like a Lion

Honey Mushrooms, Q . Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Today is catch up and then tomorrow its an early launch to drive to Amherst for a 1 p.m. meeting for Alex. I am blasting through a bunch of stuff and figured I would say hi for today.

There is a new addition to the Farmers Market images to the left…and a wreath to go with it. I just printed about a dozen of these Farmers Market images to be given as a donation to Museumwise, the fabulous folks that bring us the Museum Institute at Sagamore and that expands so many horizons for many museum professionals in NY State. Museumwise makes me proud to be a New Yorker. The small staff and board of Museumwise are interesting, smart, and really quite “startup” in their actions and thinking. They are try-ers and do-ers. They embrace and help. They build community through active networking. They are professional but open and engaged. They inspire me with their energy and desire to move the needle in the Museum and History Museums throughout our big state.

I am also offering up for their auction the design services for a logo or logotype for a museum event or show. I figure it would drive a little more  money than the prints and would maybe give me a chance help out another institution. So I need to bag this stuff up with business cards, stickers and tattoos and see what happens. Rob will be my spy to see who wins the stuff, and what it went for. These are for an auction to support the Institute at Sagamore’s scholarships —worth every minute of time from this end.

I have been thinking of putting my name in the hat for a booth at the Saturday markets this summer to sell my stuff…prints, buttons, bags, a teeshirts and a snappy tote bag with Trumansburg (and bees!) on it. It would be a good way to sense the market and at the same time see how I can build t his little table business. Could be cool. I could also sell off my yarn stash too! What do you think? Should I give it a go?

The lake was splendid last night. Sad note was our arctic willow tree (which the former owners took and trimmed into a tree but its really a shrub) lost half its limbs in some big blow…So we will need to saw off the piece and hope (know) that the tree will regenerate (which it does amazingly). There was wind and a bit of rain, but we all had a peaceful and very restful evening with our Easter Lamb on the grill and music by Bill Evan (who Alex  has discovered). Cool.

So, onward to standards writing and organizing.



Cherrywood wreath, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS 5.1Its gone from brilliant to overcast, but that is Spring for you. David and John are monkeying around with the fuse box so they have chased me to my laptop to talk to you while fun with electricity is happening here at 2 Camp Street. I had a great meeting about the Farmers’ Market and how we can work better with the Youth Bureau—getting some help for us on the Board and our wonderful manager, Avi. There is a likelihood that we can get support of two kids each market (July and August) to do some of the detail work like trash, composting, etc. We need the help and they have the manpower.

The Youth Bureau have been involved in the 4-5 movie nights in town and their leader had ideas on how we could really layer on some cool stuff to take the movies and popcorn to another place. Something that builds on the theme of the movie, some fun food offerings? What about stuff you can do with flashlights?. All seems possible and fun. Love that: possible and fun versus a lot of life which seems to seem impossible and hard/ or unfun. So more to do in the next few weeks so we can schedule the movies and promote..if anything…the dates. And it gets  us talking earlier, planning earlier so the normal sweat that happens maybe can be reduced by better planning and teamwork. I am looking forward to working with the wonderful, inspired women from the Youth Commission.

Did I mention I have a new favorite place in the most perfect hamlet on earth? Good To Go! Good to Go is my new Go To these days. It is a wonderful family owned grocery store and take out deli with great organic foods, locally made food and inspired takeout from Carrot/beet burgers to a massaged kale salad that made me want to pass out for the sheer simplicity and perfection of it. Nana Monaco and her mother bring style and friendliness to this warm and inviting space where you can get take out, buy a sandwich or meet a friend for lunch or a meeting. It is another happy place we should not take for granted in our neighborhood.

I was working on cherries yesterday…bold, no gradient, shape-y and then spun the branches into this wooden wreath which I like. Feels very woody and out of doorsy to my happiness. It also has a very gouache feeling versus digital which is good as the real illustrators out there have no patience with this digital nonsense. There are more berries on the horizon as well as hops, beans and peas. Maybe another foray into asparagas.

I just entered Creative Quarterly 28—a bunch of hairhoppers and a pile of the Farmers Market Fruit and Veggies illos plus the Dominic Labino portrait from the Museum. We will see if anything strikes the jury’s fancy.

Onward into the day.



Tthe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center said the sun erupted Tuesday evening, creating a solar flare that is the biggest in six years. (AP Photo/NASA)It’s always amusing to wake up to the sunshiny smart voices on NPR’s radio show” Morning Edition”. Generally, there is  some nice little tidbit about politics, books, movies, the state of the state, even sports. “Morning Edition” is the way I brace myself for the day—grounding in it’s regular format, the calm presentation, the intelligent reporting, the odd story that I feel the need to note before rushing into the drinking coffee and driving cars part of the morning. “Morning Edition” is a lodestone for every morning since college for me…a friend and a dependable rock of information, stories, and news. Solid solid.

However, this morning, I was shocked into wakefulness when these normally salient people started talking about the solar flare being predicted for today—possibly knocking out electrical grids, and messing with the communications at airports etc. It sounded straight out of a mid-century Japanese SciFi Godzilla movie—with flares, electricity, torrential rain, possible plane accidents. Was it April 1st? Were they slipping some kind of “funny” our way just to brighten our days (beyond the amusement of Rick Santorum and the Newt)?  

No. Truly, Planes are being re-routed—and we are all buckling down for the sci-fi predictions around weather, electricity and and the possible cosmic show (ushering in a rare opportunity for those of us lower on this spinning globe, to experience the glorious Northern Lights). Word is:

“A strong storm can lead to problems with power grids, GPS systems, and can be a danger to satellites and astronauts, but this storm has produced no such problems, scientists said.

Physicist Joseph Kunches with the Space Weather Prediction Center likens the challenge of forecasting these events to hitting a major league pitcher’s fastball.”Like a hitter we try and figure out if the pitch is coming down the middle of the plate or is low and outside” said Kunches. “The problem is the pitch comes from the sun from 93 million miles away.”

So, as our team of electrician and plumber and I gabbed this morning, this solar news surfaced and somehow got linked to the wonderful Mayan end of times planned for 12.21.12— with tales of customers who are planning for end of times, even here in the magical land of TrUlysses. We are talking of folks putting in hand pumps for their wells (a great idea, I think) to the full fledged survival kit with months of food, water and electricity set by for emergency. What is a solar flare to those of us in wait for the Rapture!

Strawberry Swash, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5Little veggie picture for today. Yep. Little strawberry swash… I am full bore onto produce and Farmers Markets as imagery to learn more about illustrator, vectors, brushes etc. I woke up at 3 a.m. last night thinking about brushes. I am intrigued by where the edge of brushes to custom swatches, to then the opportunity to pattern and frame. I am also revelling in my new heavy duty drawing process prior to squaring up, applying my digital tape and rendering these pictures.

I have been watching a few Lynda.com videos on brushes, textures and textured brushes. I hope this might loosen up some of these pretty bold vector images. You will see what happens if we get anything interesting. I have a very things I would like to try…and I am reluctant to ask a friend as sometimes when I try to discover how to do this sort of thing, I learn a ton more just with the hunting and pecking to try to get there. So, I am learning a lot about filters, about Smart effects etc. More on that front

Yesterday was the last winter CSA at Sweet Land CSA. It was a balmy, early spring , early evening. It was a sweet time with moms and their littles all playing together, grabbing carrots and eating them, building little projects in the pile of sawdust. It was tall rubber boots, bags of turnips, kohlrabi and kale, and the feeling of hope and promise as the next time we will be at Sweet Land will be the beginning of the Summer CSA, heaven on earth. I will be helping them to think out communications strategies as well as polish up their brand as it stands. Should be a fun process to have a monster CSA (hundreds of members), versus my smaller farmers (less than a hundred).

IF: Intention

Hairhopper, Q. Cassetti, 2012 pen and inkIntention

Men’s minds are as variant as their faces. Where the motives of their actions are pure, the operation of the former is no more to be imputed to them as a crime, than the appearance of the latter; for both, being the work of nature, are alike unavoidable.

George Washington
Social Maxims. Difference of Opinion no Crime.

Outing myself.

Wednesday! Whoa! Salad for dish to pass tonight done. Trash on the curb. Prince Dauntless at school. Cats fed and angry.There is banking to do, key to pick up and some publication design. The Cidery is well on the way. We are closing in on the labels. Delighted and Delightful!.

I have a crazy secret to share with you. You know I listen to talk radio, and Howard Stern. I listen to political radio, Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman, NPR, Terri Gross, and Meet the Press. I listen to books on tape from Audible. I love listening to chatter when I work.

Well, I have been listening to trash Tv, yes, the trashiest in the world, The Bachelor. OMG. What an amazingly profitable and formula driven show complete with individuals who are essentially cast in roles that happen season after season. There is the dullard, body building “hunk”(?) Bachelor…with a Zack, Jake, type of name. He is thuggy, not very original, and always is exclaiming about his inner, dull feelings of love, of the girls “opening up to him”, and of the possibility of “my wife is in this room”. He is always driving hot cars and “planning dates” (read the t.v. producers are planning, staging and making them happen and putting the words in Zack/Jake’s mouth). Then you have the girls. You have the beautiful bad girl who is guaranteed to take her top off. The good girl who lost a spouse or boyfriend in some awful accident (generally an airplane). You have the girls that might engage in cat fights. You have the yappy, maudlin one. There is always a super kookie one who is off her meds. And there is always one that reminds me of my favorite, most favorite internet personality>>Miss Teen USA (2007). These gals have given up their jobs (no one is very high management types.. and I am always trying to figure out how they pay the bills) to be on the show. They have suspended their lives to live in a group house with nice public spaces. When they give us little peeks into their bedrooms—it is not the lap of luxury. When they are not out of the fantabulous dates with Zack (either “one on ones” or a group date) they are busy waiting at the dream house eating frozen food. If they get through the immediate eliminations, there is a chance to travel around the world “finding love”. Oy.

The dates are a formula too. There is always the Barbie Dream Date ( the gal gets a shopping spree to buy a party dress, the loaner big hunk of jewelry, the private plane flight to Las Vegas, the private concert by some musical group, the tete a tete dinner in an exotic location where she and Zack can “open up to each other”. There is always a date where the pair either bungie jumps, tight rope walk, jump off a cliff together to get closer. There is the group date where there is “acting” and Zack has lots of kissing scenes with all eight gals. I could go on and on. This is so absolutely mindnumbing, yet fascinating.

And then there is the Fantasy Suite (generally in Tahiti) where they get “permission” to sleep together. The Fantasy Suite is totally Barbie with a pool, hot tub, tall tubs of champagne and satin on the bed. They like it nice and obvious (and Barbie Styled Tacky). I could go on and on about this. America sees these dates and women being eliminated after being considered  by Zack over the course of 8 or so episodes with these polygamous style dates…to the point that there is the meeting of family at the “hometowns”. The climax of the show is the elimination of one gal and keeping the last by offering her an engagement ring. Yep, two dream dates, a lot of groping and discussion about “opening up”, with sidebar video of each chick talking about her love for Zack. And surprisingly, it rarely lasts after the trips, the evening dresses and roses, and fantasy.

The next Bachelor or Bachelorette is selected from the prior year’s show—so there is a ton of back story and communal love for the perky or beautiful girl with lots of sass and “reality” or the strong, sensitive Zack-to-be.

And we all are delighted and amused like children as we know what is coming season after season.  We know about all the types of dates, the types of dinners, the infighting, the factions style conflict, the rich (not) and a meaningful conversations (not), and all the opening up (there is always a build when the widowed gal has to tell Zack about her child and loss of her love in an accident). Such edgy stuff. Makes the Kardashians seem like Fullbright scholars.

More often than not, the happy couple break up withing seconds of reality hitting (no more fantasy dates, the underwear on the floor, the philandering that Zach may be involved in)—and their “love” cannot survive.

There have been 16 bachelors, 16 Zacks… and they keep coming. I pity the folks that actually think that this is the way things should be. No wonder its hard for college kids to date. This bizarre show of competitive dating has changed things…not good. Not good at all. Now its time to go back to sleep in my Rumplestiltskin mode…and stay away from this crap.

More later.


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.