Positivity – It’s beginning to look like December.

HolidayJuliaVaboom

North of here there is 18″ of snow and winter for sure…South of here it is no doubt warm and sunny…Either way, there is no uncertainty that this is “The Holiday Season.” There is a very loud hum, almost a world vibration, of messages, products, sounds, scents, and traditions. A never ending fascinating topic to me is the world of advertising and how it plays upon all our senses and how it communicates messages. Communications must have two parts. A sender and a receiver. We, the consumers, are clearly the receivers. The senders, the advertisers, seem to think we are like sponges, waiting for a new liquid to absorb. The messages are so strong, and relentless, that most of us can’t help but soak some in!

The first thought was to find the origin of the word communication.

communication (n.) late 14c., from Old French comunicacion (14c., Modern French communication), from Latin communicationem (nominative communicatio), noun of action from past participle stem of communicare “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” literally “to make common,” from communis (see common (adj.))” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=communication

If we use the above, then, the advertisers create their message to share, to impart upon us, and invite us to participate in the fantasy/reality of their products. Fair enough-that’s their job, and many do it extremely well. As the receivers I would like to think we could be a bit more discriminating, but it gets tougher with the constant bombardments. The bottom line of all the holidays, despite your “given” religion, is a good one. A message of unity, peace, and joy. The candles and lights do indeed brighten up our minds and hearts. The greens are pleasant scents in closed up tight winter homes. Giving to others is encouraged. Advertisers want us to buy, but the bigger message of generosity, and sharing is a good one. The IDEAL is a good message. The world the advertisers are creating is not real, but the underpinnings of those symbols, the signs, the traditions in their purist form, those are good things. Maybe that’s why the advertisers can “get away with it” so blatantly? They know, we all know, what matters are the underpinnings.

The above Botanical Beauties are Vaboom and Julia. Vaboom (left) is the keeper of words. Her favorite words are ones of kindness. She offers you kindness. To the right is Julia. She is the community healthy food chef and baker. Food is an easy way to share, often bringing people together. Food is nourishment for the body, and sometimes the soul. Food goes with the art of communication; i.e., discussion. For those of us up here in the colder parts, a hot beverage is always a welcome treat. When it involves chocolate, it’s a extra delight! Julia has two mugs of hot cocoa to share. You can add whatever you would like to yours! … These two Botanicals join me in my personal communication to you. It is simple. I hope this message finds you with health, happiness, joy, and peace in your lives. May kindness rule, may whatever is causing you trouble find its way to your past, and may your future be bright….Add more kindness, add more hot chocolate, and with a little magic you will be guided through the winds of December. Hang on tight, sometimes it’s a bit blustery and gusty!

It’s always a good thing to join in and help others.

This post will begin a new mini series for us.

Tractor
Heirloom Charlie on his upcyled, recyled tractor getting ready to do some organic farming!

Last year we tried to help out with the use of Heirloom Charlie. He was introduced to you all in May 2013, and with each sale of an Hieloom Charlie product I stated I (as The Botanical Beauties & Beasties) would donate 15% to Long Life Farm. The hope was to help out a family in need to be able to obtain a CSA farm share within the Long Life CSA program. This translates into the ability for a family to eat fresh organically grown vegetables that has been grown locally without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. Well, last weekend I am proud to say I did indeed write a check for the intended purpose. I was not able to raise enough to buy a whole share, but Laura (one of the owners and farmers of Long Life Farm) told me that the Botanical Beauties check brought the total up to the needed $ amount to indeed obtain a share for a lucky family. Other shareholders had also donated monies, and this check just happen to be that last part. I find that wonderful in a strange and magical way. I am thrilled to be able to help out in this small fashion.The website for Long Life Farm is http://www.longlifefarm.com. I  find the site engaging and hope you take a minuet to check it out. It is filled with all sorts of good information! 

Another cool piece of this story is that Heirloom Charlie is also a main character of our new book! The book is coming along nicely-I think we may do some test marketing at The Hopkinton Farmers Market this summer. (Sundays 1-5 Hopkinton, MA.) If you are interested, and particularly if you know anyone in publishing, please let me know! Heirloom Charlie now has a new nick name- the (working) title of the book is The Food Dude!

Now, on to one last piece of business for this post.

Our helping this summer will come as blog postings and a new character called Diggerfoot. Diggerfoots purpose is to help a friend of mine who’s name is Kirk. He, his wife (Cindy), and a daughter (Charissa) will start hiking the 2,666 mile Pacific Crest Trail in a few days. Cindy has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In his own words- from his website http://www.humanityhiker.com“We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s.  The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams.  The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers.  The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay.  The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds.” To see, how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit his website. Kirk will naturally be writing about their hike, my postings will be an additional outlet to let more people follow their path, and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s. Naturally, my post will link to Kirks site which has a plethora of resources and a place where one can donate if you care to help the cause in that way. So get your hiking shoes tied and get ready for a long distance hike from Canada to the Mexico boarder! Next posting on the trip you will get to meet Diggrfoot and see how the trip is going. These post will be peppered into the “normal” Botanical postings, and DIggerfoot will be acting as an interviewer looking to share a bit of the adventure with you all!

Growing, people and our business

A few weekends ago we (that would be I and the gang of Botanical Beauties) were off again to a pretty special little town called Sharon Springs NY.

First, a heartfelt thanks and a nod to Cobbler & Co. located on Historic Main Street in Sharon Springs. They are now on the list of places you can walk into a brick and mortar store and buy Botanical Beauties & Beasties cards! It is a delightful store filled with wonderful treasures. Straight from their website- “Cobbler & Co. is a twelve-room eclectic gift shop. We offer an ever-changing array of gifts for you, your family, your friends, your home and garden and all of your entertaining needs...Take a look around our store and remember, we can ship anywhere!” (www.cobblerandcompany.com/index.html If you find yourself in that neck of the country I highly recommend a visit. For that matter, there are quiet a few stops worthy in Sharon Springs and the nearby environs.

Botanical Cards in the store.
Our cards displayed in the Cobbler & Co. card room. Hurrah!

Which brings me to Sharon Springs generally. The 2,000 census counted the population  as 547!  Sharon Springs NY is up in the Mohawk Valley, not too far from Cooperstown for you baseball fans. The countryside is beautiful, the wonderful Adirondack Park and Catskill Mountains are close by borders giving you some idea of its beauty. The ride is about 3 hours for me, the people I meet are always warm and friendly, meaning both the town folks and the fair attendees. Although I am lucky to even get close to breaking even when I am done with gas, lodging, fees etc I find myself returning each time. Why? What draws me to these shows 2x a year? The annual Garden Party (as the spring show is called) and the Harvest Festival (as the Fall show is named)- it seems like a crazy idea to keep going? So, why do I keep returning?

All this brings me to the words of hope, fascination, and charm. I think these may be the hidden charms of Sharon Springs?  There is something a bit intangible about it all, but it is contagious. I never know whom I will meet, but they are inevitably interesting people at these festivals. Some of it is plan old small town living, some of it is who these festivals draw in, and some of it Sharon Springs and its community. Granted, The Beekman Boy’s name is behind these fairs, it was fairly predominate, now it is a bit obscured. (Their FB page.) As a matter of fact, ETSY will be running the fair in the fall, so well see how that plays out. Regardless, The Beekman Boys are still a “draw” and fans come out to play!  There is a tour their home (a separate but planned extra if you so wish) and a fun array of other scheduled events happening on these weekends. For sure, it is a fun “weekend get-away” for many. I have decided to add to my weekend routine…after the arts fair is over on Saturday, I walk over (about 500 steps) and have a lovely cool cocktail on the amazing front porch of the American Hotel. Totally relaxing after a long day.  One never knows who might turn up there to chat with, and I like that! It is what I consider a quintessential front porch, and I met the nicest folks last time.

The American Hotel

Part of what is fascinating about Sharon Springs NY is its history. Here is a brief glimpse.  At one point, about 1836-1860, Sharon Springs was well know for its mineral water spa, with multiple large grand hotels and boardinghouses. By 1841, the village had become world-famous as the social elite came to take the waters. Magnificent large hotels and forest-like parks graced the village landscape. During the second half of the 19th Century, Sharon Springs was home to over sixty hotels and rooming houses accommodating over 10,000 visitors each summer. By the early 1900s… the summer clientele with the influx of European visitors (had become) primarily from Judaic tradition.” (more info.)  “Thanks to its sulfurmagnesium, and chalybeate mineral springs, Sharon Springs grew into a bustling spa during the 19th century. At the peak of its popularity, Sharon Springs hosted 10,000 visitors each summer, including members of theVanderbilt family and Oscar Wilde (who gave a lecture at the now-demolished Pavilion Hotel on 11 August 1882).” (more info) Sharon Springs also had a great location – in the 1800s two major paths (turnpikes and canals)  were constructed and Sharon was connected to Albany as well as larger cities like NYC easily. Farmers with cash crops of wheat and hops were now well positioned to thrive. To add to the good fortune of Sharon, the Delaware and Hudson Railroad open a spur thru Sharon, and the age of the spa was pretty well golden! Eventually, as family (and so spa and hotel proprietors) aged, fires, a hops blight, Prohibition, plus a few more national factors, Sharon Springs thriving success was brought to a halt. Here’s an interesting tidbit According to a NYT article (26 August 2000) “After World War II, Sharon Springs got a second wind from the West German government, which paid medical care reparations to Holocaust survivors, holding that therapeutic spa vacations.” More info.) In 1994 Sharon Springs, and its Spa-related structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places and Sharon Springs became a Historic District. The walking tour and the accompanying plaques were created to guide visitors through our history. The plaques showcase the many buildings, some still remaining, some long gone and put them in their historical context.” (Here is  a link to a brief, but complete  story of the fascinating history of Sharon Springs. More info. 

In todays, world Sharon Springs is again picking its self up and seems to be a story of revitalization.  There are charming stores and delicious restaurants to peruse and enjoy.  It appears that growing communities of artisans (both material and culinary) are living, and moving to the area…and don’t forget-I always seem to meet nice people there! Need a break? Try out a visit during the Fall Festival Sept. 20 & 21, 2014: Arts, countryside, amazing food, fun, frolic, and pretty much guaranteed a pleasant time.

Sharon Springs Collage

Thanksgiving….

Gordy w/Pumpkins and Leaves
©BotanicalBeautiesbeasties…Thanks and Thankful…

A few days ago I was at my ‘other job’ and I want to share what I think is a fabulous reminder of holidays and meaning. The morning started out as usual with a good morning and ‘how are you’ conversation with my first lesson of the day.  The man said something to the likes of  “I’m good we are getting ready to celebrate one of my 2 favorite holidays.”  I have met this gentleman at work a few times, and I knew he was a ‘good guy’ but his answer was so great that it has prompted this blog post.  I said “I too like Thanksgiving, it is actually one of my favorite holidays, no big pressures, the hype is low (all that stuff seems to go to that other very big winter holiday that the world seems to love so much and the retailers can’t get enough of.) This one is about family/friends, some good food, and hopefully a nice day.”  Well my answer pales to his. He said, simply and elegantly …”Yes that’s all true, but my two favorite holidays in N. America are July 4th and Thanksgiving… because on July 4th we celebrate freedom here in the USA and on Thanksgiving, everyone hopefully has something to be thankful for.” I couldn’t agree more and thought it was a wonderful answer and reminder of the true reasons for many holidays.  I add a tiny bit more , and they get to stop and think about it for a moment. So the obvious question of the day…. just what are you thankful for? No need to tell me or the  world…just always a good question to think about. Happy Thanksgiving… and for those that celebrate it- Happy Hanukkah as well!

Thanks for so much to so many of you.

The Wonderful, Fabulous, Beekman Boys and BEEKMAN 1802

http://beekman1802.com/heirloom-charlie/
Wahoo!!!!!! Check out the link!
It starts out saying..

At Beekman 1802, we are always inspired by the artisans we work with to create our products, but we also get inspired by people we meet “along the way”.   We met artist Liz Carren at an event earlier this year and were inspired by her “starting life over” story.  She’ll be one of the 150 vendors at this year’s Sharon Springs Harvest Festival.  Find her booth and say ‘hi’.

 

The Beekman Boys are true to their words, they said they would do it and they did! A little,  make that  A LOT, of  PR for Heirloom Charlie and so The Botanical Beauties & Beasties too!!!!! Heirloom Charlie IS UP and On the Beekman Boys – 1802 Beekman Website ( http://beekman1802.com/heirloom-charlie/)   and FB page (https://www.facebook.com/FabulousBeekmanBoys) …ahem, they have 94,852 Likes on their FB page- it’s got to help our PR and help get us to our goal of helping feed some families that need a bit of help!

Join us at The Harvest Fest this weekend!

2013-Harvest-Festival

and from The Beekman Website as well…
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.–T. Roosevelt

 When we started the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival 5 years ago, we dreamed it to be an occasion to celebrate the harvest from our local farmers and a day to bring the community together.   The first  year we were thrilled when 500 people showed up to the one day event.  Last year, imagine our surprise when over 8000 people over two days came to visit our little village.  Why?  No other reason than it’s a weekend to acknowledge what is good about small town America.  We want you to come by and say ‘hi’ to everyone.”

http://beekman1802.com/heirloom-charlie/

Perseverance pays off- hopefully in spades!

• And More big news. Every time We, The Botanical Beauties & Beasties and myself, are out and about in public, at shows or wherever, many folks ask, “Where’s the book?” “Do you have a book out yet?” Or, I hear them say, “You know, you ought to write a book” and on and on it goes, Well, 2 years later, I am finally “on it” – I am actually writing a book. I have about 1/2  of it drawn and the first draft of the words are also about 1/2 down on paper, well actually in the computer so digital paper. I plan it to be a series, starting with Heirloom Charlie, and for small children. Each book will feature one character, introduce another (which will naturally be the next in the series) and gently tell about the characters story/cause. The last part of each book will be about community and helping one another in the small and big details. I am hoping to be able to keep all the cost down, and be able to “package” 3 or 4 of the books together with ribbon, much like a “card packs” I do now.  I’m excited, and working away over here in my land of BBB3!  If anyone has any great ideas, or knowledge that can help- please, bring it on!

 

 

…and we are off to The Cape

 

Cptuit Sign

 43rd Annual Festival of Arts & Crafts in the Seaside Village of Cotuit.

This weekend the CraftFest Cotuit on the Cotuit Village Green becomes the largest outdoor crafts festival on Cape Cod! Come on down and join the fun, see the art, and enjoy.

“More than 100 artisans and craftsmen gather at this premier showing of skilled craftsmanship and artistic talent. A day spent at CraftFest Cotuit is a day full of artistic inspiration, dialogue and learning, with all the pleasures of a quintessential summer village festival, down by the seaside, on Cape Cod. And, once more, the festival’s organizers will offer both free parking and free admission.”

Farmers Markets

 No farms – No food.Tractor

Although it’s dogmatic I still like this (No farms – No food) bummer sticker/slogan a lot. It’s all to easy to forget WHERE our food comes from. Do our kids know where food comes from other than the grocery store? Some yes, some no.

farmers’ market (also farmers market) is a physical retail market featuring foods sold directly by farmers to consumers. Farmers’ markets typically consist of booths, tables or stands, outdoors or indoors, where farmers sell fruits, vegetables, meats, and sometimes prepared foods and beverages. Farmers’ markets add value to communities.[1]  (Wikipedia) 

There are all kinds of Farmers Markets in the warmer seasons. They exist world-wide, reflecting each areas culture and flavors. When you stop to think about it Farmers Markets are about as old a tradition as they come.  A gathering of a few locals, selling food and wares, pretty much happening since sharing food began!. Time marched on and Trading Post came to be, then The General Store…take a million steps forward and we transferred that into mega grocery stores.  There are now some Markets attempting to bring us back to better health and making the shopping experience more connected-such as Whole Foods Markets.

Local Farmers Markets are a better ‘carbon footprint’ than any grocery store. Here’s why – The items are primarily all from LOCAL people, driving/transport is kept to a minimum due to the local factor. Now days you usually have an ‘organic‘ or ‘natural‘ element you can choose from, thus keeping pesticides and chemicals uses down. With small local markets the refrigeration is often coolers with ice, not those giant walk in cooler (which certainly DO have their place but also do take a LOT of energy to run.) Farmers Market food pretty much has to be fresh, and have had less time in storage. This equals a healthier food. Markets are generally outdoors, no energy needed for that solar lighting! Not to be left out is that the profit go directly to the farmer/grower/vendor. These are ALL bonus points for the individual, the community and the planet. . Recently a more sophisticated consumer is seeking out these factors/qualities more and more. The last really nice part is, if you attend your local Farmers Market regularly you will inevitably start-up a conversation, have fun food shopping, get to know a local farmer, and maybe a new neighbor! A local conversation and communication in-person, face to face. Now there’s a good old fashion true value!

 Hopkington Farmers MarketWe will be at The Hopkinton Farmers Market this sunday 1-5 pmBUY LOCAL, BUY FRESH!
Open every Sunday, June 16 through October 20 for the 2013 season.
1 pm to 5 pm.
Hopkinton Town Common
Street Parking.
Free Admission

Come get your produce, cheese, honey, meat, bread and wine (wine not every week), and ARTs, and/or some other special visiting vendor each week!!

(across from 11 Ash Street, Hopkinton MA)

map-Hopkinton

Its Hot…Its Art…Its in Tiverton RI- Arts & Artisan Festival

This weekend means we will be in the sumptuous Tiverton RI. Stop by Grays Ice Cream and go on down the road another mile or so and find this lovely Arts Fair! Ice Cream and Art- how can you go wrong?!  Directions/Map

Wessie

“Tiverton Four Corners is once again proud to present their Annual Arts & Artisan Festival on July 20th from 10:00~4:00 (rain date July 21st.) Now in its 26thyear, this festival has seen some of the best local and regional artists display their works and this year will be no exception! A boutique Arts & Artisan festival set in the beautiful Mill Pond Area of the Historic Tiverton Four Corners Village; this festival should not be missed! Follow us on Facebook!

70 + vendors from apron and home good designer/makers to watercolorists, someone who makes dog accessories and snacks, a bird house maker and everything in between. Paintings, Jewelry, pottery, photography, doll clothes, assemblage boxes and all natural, hand made body care and much, much more! There will be food from Acacia Café of Little Compton and baked goods from MULTI award winning bakery Mad Hatter of Newport plus free, local musical entertainment provided by Gary Fish!” -http://bristol-warren.patch.com/

Another Weekend and ART to enjoy.

And we are off to Narragansett
Heirloom Charlie, recycled, UPcycled tractor, on his way to Narragansett. Gordy is on his canvas, waiting to fly over for the weekend.

107 Vendor spots to be filled with visual pleasures for your eyes! 31st Annual Narragansett Art Festival.  Yes that reads Art, not arts and/or crafts fair. That means you see new and different items if you are a frequent weekend show goer!

Heirloom Charlie, just couldn’t resist- he left today for he is riding his tractor down!  The rest of us will be there and ready bright and early Saturday (and Sunday)  morning!

Free Admission…. June 22 and 23 — 9 am to 5 pm
Veterans Memorial Park – that would be right next to the Historic Towers and the water! All in lovely Narragansett R.I.

In case you get hungry, 2 invited Food trucks, and tons of good eats all over Narragansett.

We will be there with our “goods” – art prints, Mini Arts, i.e. cards, Handmade lacquered boxes and  trays and a few Beauties on mugs. Come on down and join the visual feast.

 

Off to a Garden Party

We are off to the races – well ok, it’s a Garden Party really!  About 6 weeks ago I met The Fabulous Beekman Boys… and now I am off to a festival (as a vendor) that they “host.” Life has a funny way of twisting and turning… this could have been a very tough weekend for me, and instead I am excited and off to explore a new place, meet new people, and hopefully open some big doors. I believe it may the largest festival I have taken part of to date.  I think this whole weekend is a bit of a gift – starting with the fact that I met these guys in Vermont (Dave’s beloved home state.)  Now we will have to wait and see what the rest of the weekend brings, but I am hopeful and feel very clear that I am suppose to be there – Why? Don’t know yet… but at the very least I am  giving it my all, created more Mini Arts (aka greeting cards,) created 8 new Lacquered Boxes, and finally got to make some Trays that have come out amazingly fun! … To top it all off I created a NEW Botanical Beauty! He will debut this weekend on the above mentioned products! He is extra close to my heart for a couple of reasons. Read all about him below the pix of “the Boys” and me – a photo from the VT Garden Symposium weekend.

Beekman Boys and me

His name is Heirloom Charlie and you can read his whole story below. Part of why I am especially proud of him is I have been wanting to figure out a way to “give back” a little for all The Botanical Beauties & Beasties have done for me these past 12 months. Donating a percentage from Heirloom Charlie (a sustainable Farmer,)  to help out others feel good. With GMOs and food labels very much a hot topic these days, the timing feels perfect.  I am very pleased to have chosen Long Life Farm as the recipient of 15% of Heirloom Charlie Sales. They are local MA., CSA, organic farm who reaches in to the community in many ways to help out those “in need.”

I am also pleased by Heirloom Charlie for he is very fun to look at, my first vegetable Beauty and so a new branch of the BBB3 tree, he gets to part of marriage equality in our land of  Botaniumaus  (and be a wedding gift to celebrate a ‘real” gay marriage in the land of USA,) and I like all he symbolizes in his story/causes. So it with great pleasure I unveil  Heirloom Charlie (aka Radiator Charlie) to you in full…. on Saturday!

Heirloom Charlie's Story

Nothing is on the online store yet, but there are trays, cards, boxes and prints to celebrate Heirloom Charlie (aka Radiator Charlie) which will become available soon.

Looking for fun & what to do? We can help!

Not one but TWO chances to greet, meet, see, say hi, enjoy, buy cool art things, do good, and smile this weekend!

April 27 – Celebrate Earth day: See over 75 exhibitors including local artisans, green products, alternative energy, community groups, health+fitness, home improvement, food, music and more!    Click here for the full listing! ( You can even do some ‘big time’ recycling at the event! Check it out! ) 11 AM -3 PM Framingham Centre Village Green on the Common, Framingham MA.

April 28 -Art In The Garden is this Sunday! 11am-4pm at Weston Nurseries is Hopkinton. In its 6th year, Art In The Garden will host 50 local artisans exhibiting their handmade wares on the beautiful grounds of Weston Nurseries.
You will find stained glass, pottery, jewelry, etched slates, bath & body products, candles, handbags, tote bags, furniture, clothing, garden art, paintings, note cards, birdhouses, winds chimes, pillows, dog collars and leashes, pet clothing, blown glass infusion jars, beaded belt buckles, scarves, honey, pickles, chocolates, pizza and more! $3 admission will benefit One Fund Boston, Mazie Memorial Foundation and Project Just Because.
April 27&28 shows