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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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A Perfect Ten!

It’s been a hot minute since my last blog post. I haven’t forgotten about you out there in the blogosphere! I have just been considering the right topic and verbage for the most epic blog post about a farmer’s market that you will ever read. And I’m pretty sure I have a good grip on it now…

I’ve been a vendor at the Market for 6 months now. During those 6 months, it’s amazing to me that so many Saturdays I meet a customer who says, “This is my first time at this Market…It’s pretty neat!” I tend to ask these new customers where they are from, and I’m usually surprised to find that they say, “Oh, the southside of town/northside of town…I just don’t make it this direction very much.” Now, even though I’ve only been a vendor for 6 months, I’ve been a Market customer since way back. I remember the Market’s humble beginnings as a tiny little smattering of tents in the Bay Street parking lot. From my very first visit, I was hooked. And hopefully you’re reading this because you’re hooked. But chances are you know someone — a Lakelander even — who has never been to the Market or doesn’t even know it exists. And it may take some persuading to convince that person to take the 15 minute drive downtown with you to come check it out. So, my Market customer friends, I will do the persuading for you…You just pick your reason(s) from the list below, explain them to that person you know who has never been to the Market, and convince them to come with you excitedly this Saturday!

Reasons for Visiting the Lakeland Downtown Farmer’s Curb Market:

1. The Market is IMPRESSIVE. I say that as both a customer and a vendor. The variety of booths at the Market is really something incredible. Need bath soap, produce for the week, a baby shower gift, and then hoping to squeeze in time for a relaxing massage? We have all that! The Market is your one stop shop! Our Market extends from the railroad tracks at Kentucky almost to Bay Street (where our little Market roots were first planted), with multiple rows of vendors down each block. You truly won’t believe the variety the Market offers.

2. Your money stays local…And often doubly local! Here’s an example: When I buy Dutchy’s Granola each week, I am supporting sweet Ms. Janet. The money she earns from my sale will go back into our local community when Janet purchases the groceries she needs to make next week’s batch of granola. AND, she’ll spend a portion of that money buying Country Bees local honey to sweetener her granola naturally! Boom, double local impact! Or, if I buy a Plant City Strawberry Teaki Truck Pop, not only am I supporting the locals of Teaki Truck, I’m supporting a local farmer, too. Now if you took your money to another store — Let’s just call it TargMart for the sake of illustration — your money is headed off to a corporate account somewhere far away, like…oh, I dunno, Little Rock, Arkansas or Minneapolis, Minnesota. So not only is your money headed out of our area, it will eventually be paid to corporate stockholders, and then it could end up even further away, like…oh, what’s a good example here? Maybe a off-shore account? There are vendors who sell products from abroad, but by and large, those products are fair trade and support sustainability in developing areas of the world.

3. You discover there are lots of really cool things going on downtown! Us Marketeers are really used to co-existing with downtown events because there are so many of them going on! From the Garden Extravaganza and Spring Obsession, to Fancy Flea and Chalk for Charity. Arts events, events for every kind of hobbyist, faith-based events, family events, literary events involving local writers, fundraising events for Lakeland’s many worthy causes…they’re all going on downtown, and visiting the Market is a great way to discover two fun things in one day!

4. When you buy something meant for human or animal consumption, you will know what all the ingredients are without an advanced degree in chemistry. They will be real, common-knowledge ingredients that you can pronounce, and you can rest assured they won’t be harmful to you or your loved ones. What in the heck is “BHT?” I dunno, but it’s listed in the ingredients of store-brand granola bars…next to it, it says “(preservative).” Comparing that to Dutchy’s, which has oats, wheat germ, flax seed, honey, the healthy variety of nut of your choosing…I think I’ll pass on that “BHT.”

5. You will leave with new friends. When a Market vendor asks you your name and introduces themself to you, they will know you when you return. They will ask how you are doing, and they will really care about how you answer that question. They will be glad that you’re back. They will notice if you haven’t been around in a while, and they’ll make sure everything’s been okay with you. They will look at the photos of your grandkids and dogs on your Smartphone and be genuinely excited about the people, pets, and things that are important to you. They will thank you for being a regular and a friend. And they will mean all of it. Try getting that from TargMart.

6. The Market is good for the environment. Many vendors feature a special focus on eco-friendly merchandise or organic produce. Many offer upcycled creations. Some even give you a discount if you return your empty container when it’s time to buy a refill! We’ll gladly take donations of your plastic bags to use again for our sales. You won’t have to use gas and give off emissions as you drive all over town to find what you need. And since I mentioned our vendors buying locally, they don’t order things from China that require A LOT of petroleum/energy to arrive here in the US. Last but certainly not least, you will enjoy the time you spend outside in our open-air Market, and you’ll leave feeling closer to Mother Nature.

7. You’ll be part of a community. I know I mentioned that you’ll leave with new friends, but the Market truly goes deeper than that. Customers and vendors aren’t “JUST” customers and vendors. We’re interconnected, we’re bound together by our common values, we’re invested in one another…and we’d love to have you join us!

8. We’re open to your feedback. In fact, we actually appreciate it and value it! Some of my best product and marketing ideas have come from my customers who have said, “You know what you could do…?” If you have a comment or concern, you won’t have to call an 800-number and wait on hold for a customer services representative. You’ll be face-to-face with the booth’s owner at every visit! We even have a committee to whom you can take your comments and suggestions for the Market!

9. You’ll get what you pay for. Every Market purchase is a purchase of the highest quality. Your produce will be the freshest and finest, so you’ll get optimum nutrition. Your gifts (for others or yourself!) will be unique and handmade to last by experienced artisans. You’ll savor every last bite of your beignets, cheesecake, or fruit and tea frozen pop. No buyer’s remorse at this Market!

10. You’ll be in on one of Lakeland’s Best Kept Secrets. Except we don’t want to be a secret! We want you to tell EVERYONE you know! We want all of the above reasons the Market is so great to exist for a really long time, and we want our entire Lakeland area (Polk County and Plant City included, of course!) to be so excited that every new customer feels inspired to bring a new customer some day. We want to be a household topic of conversation. We want to be part of your Saturday routine. We want to be a gathering place for you and your friends.

Perhaps you even have your own reasons for shopping at the Market. I am quite sure there are more than the few I mentioned above. If you have other reasons, I’d love to hear them. I’d also love to hear who you know that you’re going to bring to the Market for the first time!

Hoping to see all of you +1 this Saturday!

In Community,
Heather.


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Flip Side

I may or may not have just eaten half a tub of Dutchy’s Coconut Almond Granola as my after-work snack.

Okay, I did. I did, and it was awesome. I had a tough day at work, and at least I chose a healthy snack. (Plus, I polished off the last of my Sugarbuzz cheesecake yesterday…)

I always love my work with my clients, but I might not have mentioned before that I also supervise the program in which I work. The supervisor part can sometimes be unsavory. It’s days like today I am most grateful for Saturdays and The Market. When I’m stuck in my office under the harsh sting of flourescent lights trying to dig my way out of a mountain of paperwork, I remind myself that I am at least one day closer to Market Day! I am at least one day closer to not having to supervise anyone but me. Having that counterpart to my week really helps me stay in balance.

A day in the sunshine, enjoying a fresh breeze blowing down Kentucky Ave., and visits from my regular customers and vendor buddies is just the pick-me-up I need to feel rejuvenated at the end of a difficult week and help me feel refreshed to face a new week. I know I’m not the only vendor who feels this way. I am amazed at how many vendors maintain full-time jobs during the week and somehow manage the strength to crawl out of bed, make it to the market by 7AM to set up, and engage a full-on cheerful attitude toward their customers from 8am ’til 2pm. I’m equally amazed by the vendors who aren’t hobbyists. They make their living by bringing you their talent, crafts, skills, and bounty of their green thumbs. I’ve met several vendors who fell victim to the economy and were laid off in the past few years. How incredible that they managed to find a way to carry on. Those vendors inspire me.

And when it’s Monday, and it has been a hard day, and next Saturday seems so far away, I can look back to the awesome day I had the Saturday before. Take this weekend, for example…So many people checking out the Market for the first time because Mayfaire drew them downtown. Many people looking for the perfect gift for their moms for Mother’s Day. That was extra-special for me. I lost my mom to leukemia when I was 12-years-old. I took a lot of joy this past weekend in seeing lots of families out with Mom, celebrating their special relationship. Some people don’t really value and notice that sort of thing until you don’t have it anymore. I felt very honored that several people chose something from my booth to be that special Mother’s Day gift for their moms. It helped me feel like part of the holiday, whereas in the past, I have felt like a holiday outsider on Mother’s Day.

To close on an unrelated note, I have to apologize for missing the Vendor of the Week feature this past week. The power source on my laptop went out, and I didn’t realize it until my laptop battery went dead. Now, with a new power source secured, I will be back to my regularly scheduled posts! Check back a little later this week to read about the Featured Vendor. And of course, we’ll plan to see you downtown this Saturday!

Happily,
Heather.


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NEWS FLASH: We have cygnets on Lake Morton!

swans

(DISCLAIMER: This post is more about #swancitylife and probably #mylife than #marketvendorlife, but since all things are about #life, I hope you find it relevant!)

“Is this girl a little nutty? She seems slightly obsessed with the swans,” you are probably thinking to yourself. Yes, and I am. 🙂 I have found that I have to embrace who I am, though…

Growing up in Auburndale, we had to come to Lakeland to find anything culturally stimulating and worth doing (Mind you, that’s not to disparage Auburndale, which is quaint and special in its own ways). I spent a lot of time with my grandmother and great-grandmother when I was young (before I started kindergarten), and I attended College Heights Preschool. My grandmother worked as a realtor at Pickard and Pickard Realty — still downtown on South Florida Avenue today. My great-grandmother lived on Hancock St. in Dixieland, and I got to spend afternoons with her when I got out of preschool. I remember coming to Lakeland and feeling like I was a BIG city girl! The buildings were multi-storied, and they had escalators. This town had a theater with live plays, and parades for the holidays, and we’d go out for fancy dinners for birthdays at the restaurant that was upstairs at Maas Brothers. I have all these wonderful memories of coming to Lakeland for special things that didn’t happen in Auburndale…but BY FAR, the coolest reason to come to Lakeland was to go to Lake Morton and feed the ducks. And not just the ducks, but the SWANS. They were taller than me, and they’d glide so gracefully in the water toward me with my bag of Wonder Bread. Then they’d get to the shore and fumble out, clumsily flap, flap, flapping their giant black feet, running with a purely comical waddle, as if they hadn’t been fed in weeks. They didn’t like the crust of the bread and would know immediately upon touching it with their beaks that it wasn’t the pillowy middle part of the bread and would leave it for the mallards.

Every year, my grandmother took me with her to Mayfaire, and after I would make several cool crafts at the Polk Museum of Art’s Children’s Tent, I’d get to see the mama swans in their chain link cages with their new babies. It was hard for me to fathom that those little downy balls of grey fluff could ever possibly be the big, graceful (yet clumsy) waterfowl that were taller than me. I’d ask my grandmother if I could have one since I desperately wanted to have at least one of every animal in the world and be a veterinarian or zookeeper when I grew up.

I know the swans have a history in Lakeland far beyond my few decades of existence, but they are a connection to truly happy times in my life. I left my day job a little early today to check out the report that some cygnets had hatched. I had been on nest watch for weeks, waiting for the yellow tape to come down. It just so happened that I parked in the exact right spot on the north side of Lake Morton, walked to the edge of the brick retainer wall, and there was a complete swan unit — Mama, Daddy, and one little downy Cygnet. I stood there and literally laughed out loud, just like my four-year-old self used to do. I hung out long enough for the swan family to emerge from the water, and they all preened in the sun, drying their feathers — even the little Cygnet, like he’d done done it a million times before. I kneeled in the grass just a few feet from the family, and the swan parents didn’t seem to mind. occasionally, their little guy would start to wander closer to me, and Mama and Daddy would call him back with a gentle honky/grunty noise. At one point, Daddy reached out with his neck and corralled his baby back toward him. They were not alarmed. On the contrary — they still behaved with pure grace, but they were certainly protective.

Nearby, there was a mama swan still nesting, her mate watchfully near her. I kept my distance, and watched as she stood up, rolling her eggs over with her beak. As she settled back down, she reached out with her graceful neck and picked at the nesting material near the edge of her nest. She tucked it carefully back up around her body to seal up any places where the unusually cool May air might sneak under her. Again, gracefully protective.

I considered the implications of this for human parents. I am not a parent myself, but I hope all the time I spent in Child Development classes during my education helped me have some understanding of what it takes to raise a healthy (physically and emotionally) child. Gracefully protective. That’s the way to be.

And then I considered the lessons our community can learn from these living symbols we claim as unique to our city. What are the values of our community that we should be gracefully protective of? Helpfulness, kindness, generosity, neighborly connections, a sense of contributing to something bigger than ourselves, thinking globally and acting locally. These are some of my personal values that came to my mind. Values that I hope I contribute not just through my daily actions, but through my involvement with the Market.

If you made it this far, I should really thank you. I bet at some point you were wondering how I was going to connect my obsession with swans to any kind of life lesson. 🙂 I’m not sure I was able to fully articulate the inspiration I felt, and if I didn’t, I hope you at least enjoyed the few good pictures of the precious babies I was able to take today!

If you’re going to Mayfaire this Saturday, don’t forget to take a stroll up Kentucky Ave. and come see us at the Market. I know you have something positive inside of you that you can help contribute to our little Market community and therefore, the greater Lakeland area and beyond!

Hoping your week goes swimmingly,
H.


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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.


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Good things.

I woke up yesterday morning not feeling so hot. And I woke up this morning feeling even less hot. As my 5:45AM alarm roared, I debated whether I would go to the market or stay home, but ultimately decided that I was tough and that a little cold wouldn’t hold me down. Now, I’m very glad I went to the Lakeland Downtown Farmers’ Curb Sauna, I mean Market, because it was a hot day, and I must’ve sweated out whatever was ailing me because I feel really good now! Maybe it wasn’t so much the sweat as it was the good vibes and the positivity of a great community, though. 🙂

I tried to pay attention to the small things that happen at the Market that you don’t see happen at big box stores, or in most other places in today’s culture. A little boy in his soccer uniform shopped with his mom, proudly wearing a medal bearing a soccer ball around his neck. I watch another vendor ask him about his medal and compliment him on a season well-played. I imagine him sleeping with that medal on his neck right now, or at the very least, hung on a special nail in a special spot on the wall in his bedroom.

I watched Ayden (I learned that I spelled his name wrong in my post week.) turn with concern to check out every crying baby, the look in his eyes saying that he yearned for each baby to be comforted so that he would know they were okay. I also watched him stack rocks he collected from the railroad tracks after he watched a train go by — that kid can stack some rocks, I tell ya!  I also watched Ayden and his older cousin Noah share my extra chair so respectfully — Ayden asked if he could please sit in the chair while Noah was sitting it in, and Noah said, “Sure, since you asked so nicely.”

Ayden’s big sister Lexi was at the Market today too, and today was her extra-special 10th birthday! Double digits! Several family friends came by and delivered her birthday cards bearing a total of $31. She told me she is saving to buy an American Girl Doll. At one point, she ventured over to Kerry’s beautiful jewelry booth. Kerry has an older gentleman friend who comes to spend time with her most Saturdays, and I know it’s because her graceful spirit draw others to her. As Lexi browsed Kerry’s booth, she mentioned it was her birthday, and Kerry’s friend (whose name I regretful don’t know yet) bought a flowered hairclip for Lexi. I helped Lexi put it in her hair above her ponytail, and I took a picture of her hair on my phone so she could see how pretty it was.

Happy Birthday, Lexi!

We enjoyed live music, played by area school bands, wafting over to the Market from Munn Park, where the Polk County School Board Fine Arts Festival was happening. With lots of kids around, I got to give out plenty of Pinwheels for Prevention since today is the last Saturday of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

One of my clients from my day job stopped by to show me a bike that someone gave him recently. A very nice older steel-framed road bike. He had come to check out BikeBash13, and was glad to learn that there was live music in the park. He was a jazz musician himself in his younger days. When I started working with this man, he was homeless, depressed, socially isolated, and angry. Now he maintains his own apartment, is out and about in the community, and always has a smile and a kind word for others. It was a blessing to see him beaming and enjoying a beautiful life that he at one point didn’t think was possible for him.

A few new customers, several of my regulars, and many vendors all paid me complements on my blog! I am so glad that it is reaching others in a positive way. It felt good to hear people know my name, even if I hadn’t met them yet. I have to admit that I shop regularly at Target, and yes, usually about once a month at WalMart, and although I have checked out with long-time cashiers on more than one occasion, I haven’t taken the time to know their names. I say this not to point out that the Market is a better shopping environment that the big box stores (although, let’s be real – it is), I say it to point out how important it is to take the moment of time it takes to acknowledge that someone exists. I noticed special things about the special people all around me today, and it wasn’t hard to see because I was looking for it. Maybe I could take a moment to know my regular cashiers’ names at Target, ask them how their day is going, care that they exist — even if it is just for the few moments they are hurriedly running my items past the scanner so they can move on to the person behind me in line.

The world would be a much nicer place if bits and pieces of the Market existed everywhere, don’t you think? I think we can make that happen. 🙂

On a semi-related note, I have decided to feature a different Market vendor each week on my blog. There are many vendors I know, but plenty that I don’t know. Each of us plays an important role in the Market community, so I want to do my part in learning about how everyone contributes their part. I’ll pass my insights on to you, and I hope you’ll find inspiration in the nuggets of knowledge you gain about each vendor, and then go a step further to let them know how you appreciate that they exist in our wonderful Market community! My first vendor feature is in the works, so stop back by later this week for an update!

Enjoy the rest of a beautiful weekend!

Namaste –
Heather.


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A little bit country, a little bit preppy.

bandannaquilt

With a high of 86 degrees today, it’s clear that we’re getting closer to summer. I’ve packed away my sweaters in the back closet, turned on the air conditioning, and put heavy blankets back up on the top linen shelf. But all the signs of the approaching summer are the reason this particular quilt is perfect — it’s a summer quilt! Summer quilts are made of lightweight cotton fabric with no batting between the top and back. They’re great for picnics or the beach.

For this quilt, I made the top a colorful nine-patch out of brightly colored bandannas in blue, green, yellow, and pink…Reminiscient of the summers spent on your grandparents’ farm. The back is blue striped seersucker with unbleached muslin accents…think sailing shorts against the backdrop of the canvas jib. When my main-squeeze first saw that I was combining these in the same quilt, his remark was, “That’s a dichotomy for ya!” I agree, but that’s what I love about this quilt — There’s one side for your country cravings and one side for your preppy persuasions! And even though my main-squeeze initially thought the two different sides didn’t really “go,” once it was done, it was one of the few pieces I’ve made that has made him say, “Don’t sell that; let’s keep it!”

The two layers are tied with embroidery floss at regular intervals. Joining all the layers of a quilt together is what makes them stand the test of time. This quilt measures approximately throw size — 60″ x 60″.

Because quilts are pretty time-consuming to make, I only have ONE of these this week. But my quilt isn’t even close to the only reason to come down to the Market this weekend. Strawberry shortcake, chocolate covered-banana cheesecake, beignets, fruits, veggies, granola, handmade artisan items, eco-friendly products…the list goes on and on! Oh, and BikeBash13! Clearly plenty of reasons to enjoy a Saturday downtown! See you there!

Eagerly –
Heather.