Swan City Market Life

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Featured Vendor: Peggy Hickson

book sale Join me in welcoming Peggy Hickson to The Market! You may certainly welcome her in the comments below, but you probably also want to welcome her in person because, as she told me, “I don’t know the first thing about computers.” 🙂 I promised her I’d bring my Kindle to The Market next Saturday so that she could see her vendor feature.

Peggy is a very special kind of vendor. She’s not a hobbyist, nor is she a business. She is a fund-raiser, a do-gooder, a woman of conviction and faith. Through her sale of donated books, Peggy is raising funds for missions trips to the Ukraine. Peggy is at The Market on “most Saturdays,” and the average cost of her books is around $2-3…Some are more, some are less; but for the most part, you can expect to find yourself a literary treat for just a couple bucks.

Peggy says that cookbooks have been a big seller at her booth, a few simple tables covered with pretty fall-printed table cloths and loads of books! She currently also has a large selection of books on history, biographies, and murder mysteries. She even has an impressive selection of magazines priced at a low, low 50 cents each! As I browsed her tables this past Saturday, I came across a stack of Highlights magazines from the late 80’s and early 90’s. My Granny renewed my Highlights subscription every year for me as a Christmas gift when I was a kid, and I was immediately struck by memories of each cover — how excited I was when my next issue came in the mail.

Peggy would love for you to browse her tables and make a contribution to her cause. She also would love your donations of books of all kinds and all genres. She feels her selection could use some good light-hearted reads, and of course, cookbooks! Lots of cookbooks! Bring them on out to The Market for Peggy, and she’ll help them find new homes to support her faithful efforts.

books

While we’re on the subject of welcoming new vendors, has anyone else noticed how much The Market has grown just since we reopened in September?? This past weekend, I learned that we have grown so much that we have added a whole extra block of vendors! Make sure you don’t miss where The Market turns the corner to the west at Bay St. and Kentucky Ave. There are plenty of vendors along Bay St. up to Tennessee Ave! I was excited to find my vendor buddies Debra, Holly, and Alice selling their plants, fair-trade baskets, and tie dye (respectively) along Bay St. this past weekend! (I’ve been missing Debra’s epic arrivals to The Market, where she pulls up to unload her plants and is literally rocking out to some amazing ballad from 30-or-so years ago. She is a woman who truly knows how to make an entrance!) I was also excited to see Bay St. Bistro with a booth, and I can’t wait to try their reportedly fabulous board of fare for lunch one Saturday.

Last but not least, don’t forget to include The Market in your holiday shopping! With just a few weeks until Thanksgiving and less than 45 days until Christmas, make sure you stop by the Market for a great selection of good eats for the holidays and tons of locally-made gift ideas. Small Business Saturday just so happens to fall on Market Day, November 30! There are also still a few weeks left to order your holiday poinsettias at The Market. All proceeds will benefit live music at The Market. On so many levels, we appreciate all your purchases!

In Community,
Heather.

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Featured Vendor: Weefcraft Tyedie

weefcollage1

Now that The Market is back in full swing, I can get back to featuring our great vendors! Being relatively new to dyeing (I took an awesome silk painting class at the Polk Museum of Art this past Spring), I am excited to feature the Dye Masters at Weefcraft! Alice, who I should refer to as the Dye Mistress, has become my buddy lately, stopping by my booth on her regular Saturday rounds at The Market when she visits the other vendors and usually winds up chatting with each of us for a while. There are many cool things about Alice, besides her impressive collection of tie dyed dresses. (I’ve yet to see her wear the same one twice!) I think what I have come to like best about her is that she is so totally comfortable just being herself. That’s a quality I really admire about a person in a world where we are bombarded with messages that tell us to be self-conscious because we’re not like some impossible standard…Although NOT a message you’ll receive from any of our Market vendors! We love for you to come exactly as you are!

As I was prepping for this blog post and learning more about Alice, I learned what perhaps may be the single-most impressive fact I’ve ever learned about a vendor and their business — Weefcraft was THE VERY FIRST internet retailer of tie dye! They had a website before — GET THIS — Coca-Cola had a website!! We’re talking the pre-dawn hours of the internet age folks! With the knowledge that Alice is a true pioneer, I became truly stoked to learn more about her and Weefcraft through this interview!

Swan City Market Life: Who or what is “Weef?”
Alice of Weefcraft: Weef is a an idea. It’s really a long story that goes way back but I’ll tell you more than you wanted to know. Basically, a friend (back in about 1990) gave us an old computer. He was running a BBS and downloading Grateful Dead newsgroups and wanted us to join in the fun. The BBS led me (in the end) to a connection to the gopher where I found a text-based multi-user game called a MUD (the MUD is the predecessor to mmorpgs like World of Warcraft). I needed a name for my first character, an elven mage, and came up with Weef. So I ended up using the name as I branched out into IRC and when I started my business, oddly enough, Weefcraft (because I was Weef, and it was my craft) popped into my head and so I went with it.
(Blogger’s Note: If you understood any of the computer speak above, you’re doing better than me…But that’s one of the things I think is so cool about Alice! She is all about being herself!)

SCML: How did you get into tie dyeing?
Alice: So this very same guy, the one that gave us that computer, was having fun with tie dye, and I went out to his house a few times to make dyes. I was a fan of them, wore them, dressed my kids in them…so learned how to make them. At the same time I was making clay beads (out of a material called Sculpey) and jewelry and selling it about town. Another friend asked me to make him some dyes, and so I branched out. We moved to Florida [from Arkansas] where I continued to sell beads and dyes. We set up a website (I learned HTML to do this), and that’s the nutshell version of the origin of the company.

SCML: So if someone doesn’t consider themselves a “hippie,” can they still pull off a tie dyed shirt?
Alice: Anyone can wear tie dye! It is an ancient art form, and there’s something there for everyone. Tie-dye isn’t always wild and bright, though we do like wild and bright! It’s all about binding the cloth to create designs, and the sky is the limit.

SCML: What is your favorite tie dye design to create?
Alice: I don’t really have a favorite design. My favorite thing as a dyer is to create new designs, come up with interesting color combinations. Got to keep it fresh!

I like turtles!

I like turtles!

SCML: What is the composition of your dyes? are they eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, non-fading?
Alice: We use Procion fiber reactive dyes which offer vibrant color that is permanent and colorfast. They are considered safe, and most people have no problem with the dyes in the fabric. These dyes are bright and safe!
(Blogger’s Note: These are the same dyes I use on silk and rayon — I can vouch for Alice here. These dyes are THE best, and are very safe and colorfast!)

SCML: Are you able to create custom dye designs?
Alice: Yes we are! We come up with icons to create all the time, can make letters, school mascots. Like I said, the sky is the limit. And for people who want something we’re not carrying at the Market, we do take orders and are at the Market every weekend with specially made items.

SCML: How did you become a vendor at the Market?
Alice: I thought about looking into the market for 2 years! We moved to Lakeland, and I was sending lots of wholesale back to Arkansas and fulfilling web orders, but really did want to let people here know that we existed. I found out about an opening [at the Market], and contacted the market manager.

SCML: What do you like most about being a vendor at the Market?
Alice: I am really terrible with the favorite things. (I have a favorite color (green) and a favorite movie (Amadeus), and that’s it. Too many good books, good foods, good all kinds of everything to pick favorites!) But as for the Market, it’s just great to get to know the people of Lakeland and the other vendors. Great people, and it’s a pleasure to meet them.
(Blogger’s Note: Amadeus is an AMAZING movie…If you’ve never seen it, finish reading this blog post and then immediately Netflix it!)

You can probably see from this interview why, out of all the very cool people at the Market, Alice is coming very close to THE coolest! But if you aren’t convinced yet, try this — Weefcraft will help you host a tie dye party! Alice and her son Steven, who is usually at the Market with her and helps her make dyes, will bring all the required supplies, provide expert tie dye instruction (Did I mention she has been a professional dyer for 18 years?), and then wash out the excess dye once they have set in the fabric! If I could turn 10 again, this would be my must-do birthday party, without a doubt!

You can catch Weefcraft each Saturday at the Market on the North End. They are usually on the East side of the road, just a little ways down from Mitchell’s. Just walk north and look for the brightest colored booth at the Market, and you’ll know you’ve found it!

Weefcraft can also be found online at http://www.tiedye.org and on Facebook. Their Twitter account is @weefcraft, but Alice admits she’s not very active with her Tweets…I know, hard to believe from someone who has known the internet since the day it was born! #toofunny

Hope your week is totally groovy,
H.


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Featured Vendor: Theresa’s Promise

[Editor’s note: Due to blogging complications with the ongoing busy-ness of my life, the Vendor of the Week column will run occasionally rather than weekly. My goal is to eventually feature every vendor at the Lakeland Downtown Farmers’ Curb Market! Hold me to it, dear readers!]

Kerry tp

If you have ever browsed the southern end of the Market, right in the middle of Kentucky Ave., you have probably noticed a booth featuring beautiful, unique, and affordable jewelry. Theresa’s Promise, run by vendor Kerry, has been a Market regular for five years now. If you’ve ever browsed Theresa’s Promise, you’ve no doubt noticed Kerry’s graceful, gentle spirit and been greeted with her warm and friendly smile. Kerry recently helped me pick out the perfect piece of jewerly for my sister’s birthday gift. She asked about my sister’s personal style, her likes and dislikes, and took into account that she’s the mom of a 16-month-old. I ended up with a lovely pair of simple blue glass earrings that my sister absolutely loved! And I know I mentioned that Theresa’s Promise offers affordable prices…But seriously, folks. I mean AFFORDABLE. This is a booth you can stop by at least once a month a treat yourself (or that special lady in your life) to something beautiful for just a few bucks!

Swan City Market Life: Where is Theresa’s Promise headquartered?
Kerry of Theresa’s Promise: I love the freedom of working from home. I wake up when I want, go to bed when I want, and create my jewelry designs when inspiration strikes me. I used to be a first grade teacher, and I loved working with the children and their parents, but the freedom of self-employment suits my personality. I also like working with my family. My mom and I used to have a ceramics business together back in the 90s, and she’s an integral part of my jewelry business now.

SCML: How did Theresa’s Promise get started at the Lakeland Market?
KTP: Back in 2008, I was doing my taxes for my business, and my accountant asked if I’d ever been to the local farmer’s market. I checked into it and realized I could sell my jewelry there. As a result, I’ve met so many wonderful vendors and customers over the years. It’s like a second family.

SCML: Describe your product line.
KTP: I primarily sell beaded jewelry—necklaces, bracelets, earrings, wire-wrapped rings, and anklets—for children and adults. I can also make beaded eyeglass holders, badge holders, rosaries, and body jewelry (particularly for belly dancers) upon request.

SCML: If your name is Kerry, who in the world is Theresa? And what is her Promise?
KTP: I chose the name Theresa’s Promise in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. In St. Therese’s biography, Story of a Soul, she said that she believed in “doing little things with great love,” which is my motto when I’m creating my designs.

SCML: What kind of jewelry do you like to design the most?
KTP: I’ve always been obsessed with jewelry. In high school, I was named “most unique” for the way I’d accessorize my Catholic school uniform. I used to wear a ring on every finger, big gaudy pins, huge dangly earrings. So I pretty much enjoy making anything and everything.

SCML: What types of metals and stones do you generally use in your jewelry?
KTP: I primarily use pearls, gemstones, Swarovski crystals, glass, and shells. I’m like a crow — I like things that are pretty and shiny. I try to make my findings as durable and hypoallergenic as possible while still being affordable, so I use surgical stainless steel French hooks for my earrings and non-tarnish artistic wire for my hand-wrapped rings.

SCML: Where does your jewelry design inspiration come from?
KTP: I read magazines, flip through catalogs, study craft books, and observe what celebrities are wearing on television and movies.

SCML: You have other lovely items besides jewelry at your booth. Tell us about those.
KTP: I recently found some beautiful artificial flowers at a secondhand store that I felt the urge to upcycle, so I turned them into hair bling for my customers. With summer coming up, I also thought it would be nice to make some inexpensive foam visors for kids and adults to help them block the summer sun.

Kerry invites all Marketeers to check out her website. You can also “like” and follow her updates on Facebook. You can even share Theresa’s Promise with all your out-of-the-area friends…Kerry has an Etsy shop, too!

Last but not least, Kerry offers a few other handy options. She is open to creating special orders. Bring her your rough ideas and she’ll help give them more definition and beauty! If you have an old piece that is broken or tarnish, she can also help you with repairs or using what you have to create something totally new. She also teaches classes to children and adults and hosts jewelry parties. Stop by and see her this week for an aesthetic treat that will keep your wallet (and your fingers, wrists, ears, and neck) very happy!


On a Swan City Stitchery related note, I would really love it if you could contribute to my June charity project — collecting art supplies for Art Feeds! Based in Joplin, MO, Art Feeds was formed after the devestating tornado that hit Joplin. Their mission is to provide art therapy and a creative outlet for children processing the trauma of natural disasters. Their latest focus is on the children affected by the Moore, OK tornado. If you have a moment to stop by a dollar store, you can pick up a few art supplies that will make a world of difference in life of a child in Moore. Bring them by The Stitchery this month, and I’ll package up all the donations to send to Art Feeds! You can include a little note of encouragement or a small artistic piece of your own, too, if art supplies aren’t in your budget. I need to fill this box by the end of the month!

art feeds box

Thanks in advance for all you contribute to our Market and our world!

Blessings,
H.


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Vendor of the Week: Teaki Truck

teaki truck

As Southerners, us Lakelanders enjoy our sweet tea. Some like lemon, some don’t. Some like it steeped strong, some like it a little lighter. Some like frozen green tea matcha with with fresh banana slices served on stick. “Wait, what?” some of you are no doubt thinking. If you thought tea only came in sweet and unsweet, lemon or no lemon varieties, think again. The best place to get a thorough education on your the tea options is at the Teaki Truck. And now that the weather is heating up in anticipation of summer, there is no better way to enjoy your tea than in frozen bar form!

But frozen tea bars aren’t all Teaki Truck offers. Teaki Truck also offers 100% fruit pops, like Plant City Strawberry made with local berries. Some are frozen smoothie bars. And many are totally unexpected, but totally delicious flavor combinations like Honey Pear Walnut and Frozen Hot Chocolate.

Hold on, did someone mention chocolate? Yes! And Teaki Truck recently added a special decadent add-on to their frozen bars — chocolate dipping sauce and a variety of yummy toppings!

In addition to the above-mentioned frozen goodness, Teaki Truck offers a delicious variety of bubble teas — an iced Taiwanese drink that looks much different from every other tea drink you’ve ever had, but tastes incredible! When I met with Teaki Truck vendor Matt about his blog feature, I’d never tried bubble tea. I was wary about the odd little tapioca balls you slurp up through an enormous straw, but now I’m completed hooked, and I’ve been to Tea Largo (Teaki Truck’s parent company) twice this week to try other flavors!

Swan City Market Life: Where is Teaki Truck headquartered?
Matt from Teaki Truck: The Teaki Truck headquarters are at Tea Largo which is right next to Picassoz’s Art Cafe in Lakeside Village [just south of the Cobb movie theater].

SCML: How did Teaki Truck get started?
Matt: We started Teaki truck because we loved the idea of having a mobile Tea Largo store that gives us the opportunity to bring some of our most enjoyed items to the wonderful community of Lakeland and its surrounding areas. Our Teaki Truck serves our handcrafted gourmet ice pops called Teaki Bars and our popular bubble teas and iced teas.

SCML: How did Teaki Truck get started at the Lakeland Market?
Matt: Well, before the Teaki Truck, we would take a push cart that we sold Teaki bars out of. Once we got the truck operational, we started bringing that to the Market because we can offer other options like our bubble teas and iced teas, and I believe people enjoy having the different options we offer.

SCML: Describe Teaki Truck’s product line.
Matt: Teaki Truck has 3 different items we like to sell. We sell our Teaki Bars that can be dipped in milk chocolate, dark or white chocolate with the option to roll them in a variety of toppings — pistachios to toasted coconut flakes. Our bubble teas are one of our top sellers at Tea Largo. We have all kinds of bubble tea flavors in our tea shop- mango, strawberry, coconut, sour apple, taro, almond and that’s just a few of the flavors our customers can enjoy when they come and see us around town in the Teaki Truck or if they come to Tea Largo.

SCML: What are the most unique Teaki Truck Pop flavors?
Matt: We have a range of flavors that will keep you coming back. Our Mango Habanero is sweet and spicy, and it is interesting to eat. The spiciness makes you want to eat it faster and the sweet and coolness from the pop cools your mouth down to a certain extent. Probably my favorite pop would be the Avocado Mojito. It has a delicious creamy texture that is complimented by the fresh lime juice and fresh mint leaf while having no cream added. A lot of people have been enjoying our Salted Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter pop that is deliciously rich with organic chocolate and natural peanut butter. Chocolate-peanut butter chunks can be found throughout the pop to add a level of decadent flavor. Our pop The Elvis is always a crowd favorite. People really enjoy one of the King’s favorite combinations of banana, peanut butter and honey.

SCML: What is the best thing about being a vendor at the Lakeland Market?
Matt: We absolutely love our community and we love being a part of such a awesome community gathering every week. I would say the best part about it all is seeing how much people enjoy walking around the Market with their families and being able to interact with them and create new friendships. It makes it a great time every weekend.

SCML: Where else can customers find the Teaki Truck?
Matt: The Teaki Truck is working on creating regular stops around town every week. People can like us on Facebook at Teaki truck or follow us on Twitter (@teakitruck) to see where the next stop for the Teaki truck will be. If anyone wants us to create a truck stop at their place of business, please let us know!

Stop by the Teaki Truck on Saturdays at the Market and talk to Matt to try one of their delicious offerings or to schedule the Teaki Truck to make a stop at your business or event. The Teaki Truck can be found parked on the southwest corner of the Kentucky Ave. and Pine St. — if you’re standing at the intersection, look toward Lake Wire (as opposed to toward the Police Department) and you’ll see the Teaki Truck! You can also visit Teaki Truck’s website.

And just to plug my personal recommendations, the Banana Pudding bar is wonderful, as is the coconut bubble tea!


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Vendor of the Week: Sugarbuzz Dezert Company

Ron James of Sugarbuzz

Ron James of Sugarbuzz

Ron James of Sugarbuzz Dezert Company has the honor of being my very first featured vendor…And I didn’t just choose him because of my love for his incredible snickerdoodles, but I admit that that was one small factor in my decision. 🙂 My birthday cake this year came from Sugarbuzz. I had a vision of a birthday cake to beat all other birthday cakes I’d had, combining three of my favorite things — cheesecake, banana, and cinnamon. When I approached Ron with my vision, he was willing to take on the challenge, even though he had never made a banana cheesecake before. The day I picked up my gorgeous banana cinnamon cheesecake creation, I had to make all of my friends hold the box and feel the weight. The weight, of course, is how you know it’s a good cheesecake. Then I proceeded to eat approximately half the cake myself, and I begrudingly shared the other half with my family and friends. When I die and go to Heaven, Heaven will be made of Ron’s stupendous cheesecake, and I will get to eat it for all of eternity without gaining a single pound. 🙂

Seriously, though, if you have somehow overlooked Sugarbuzz, you must run — not walk — to their booth this Saturday before Ron sells out of everything, which usually happens somewhere between Noon and 1PM. But if you’re held up and can’t make it first thing, conveniently, Ron will let you post your cookie, cake, or buzzy layaway request on Facebook or text him a layaway request, and he’ll have it packaged and waiting for you when you arrive!

Swan City Market Life: Where is Sugarbuzz’s headquarters?
Ron: Sugarbuzz is from Orlando, Florida.

SCML: How did the Sugarbuzz business come to be?
Ron: I started baking as a stress relief from my job. Baking was something that I really enjoyed doing.  So I started studying up on the subject, reading cookbooks like novels and traveling to San Francisco Baking Institute to take a few baking courses. I was originally going to start a cupcake business, but every Farmers Market I tried to get into had a cupcake vendor, so I started making cheesecakes, formed the Company in July 2011 and opened up at Celebration Farmers Market.

SCML: How did you become a vendor at the Lakeland Market?
Ron: We were doing Celebration Farmers Market, and one day a new vendor came to that market selling beignets (The Poor Porker). Jarrid and Robyn became very good friends, told us about Lakeland, and suggested we check it out.  One Saturday we ventured over to Lakeland, talked to a few of the Poor Porkers customers, met Jim Luna [Market manager and ceramics extraordinare], and made the decision to try it.  A decision that we will never regret!

SCML: What is your favorite kind of dezert to make?
Ron: I can’t really say I have a favorite kind to make — some are easier than others, but ironically I dreaded making cookies and avoided it whenever I could. Now I make A LOT of cookies and love it!

SCML: What is your favorite kind of dezert to consume?
Ron: ANYTHING lemon and Key Lime Pie. I am a citrus person, I was born and raised in Winter Haven, and my dad always worked in the citrus industry.  Don’t know if that is the reason why I love citrus but always will order citrus dezerts over anything else.

SCML: When you’re not baking dezerts, how else do you like to spend your time?
Ron: (Laughs) Baking is what I DO in my spare time.  My full time job is still at Walt Disney World, where I have been employed for 24 years.  Sunday is my day off.  Like to chill with my Partner Walt [a Licensed Massage Therapist who provides chair massages at the Lakeland Market] and/or friends by their pool.

SCML: What is the best thing about being a vendor at the Lakeland Market?
Ron: The community and their support for the small businesses!  After working two other markets — Celebration and Orlando –I can say the support from the people and the Lakeland Market management is AWESOME.  Plus, Jim lets me bring any kind of dezert I want. This gives me the creative freedom to try new flavors and new offerings.  Other markets I have done restricted our product mix.

SCML: Where else can people find Sugarbuzz?
Ron: We are currently in the process of opening a storefront in College Park, FL (Orlando) and hope to do so by Fall of 2013.  We will continue to do the Downtown Lakeland Farmers Curb Market every Saturday though even with our Orlando location.  Other than that you can find our dezerts at Caffe Positano in College Park.  Who knows, maybe a location in Lakeland one day.  Our customers keep asking me to!

If you’re wondering why “dezerts” is spelled wrong throughout this interview, then I direct you to Sugarbuzz’s website and the FAQ section, which points out that it’s not misspelled — it’s just buzzed! 🙂

And while you’re clicking around the internet, don’t forget to “like” Sugarbuzz on Facebook.  You’ll get the inside scoop on each weekend’s flavors and the ability to post your dezert layaway needs!

Enjoy!
H & SCML.