School is winding down for the kids, and with it comes a long string of end of the year performances, good bye gatherings and that bittersweet feeling that another year has ended. The girls are both happy and sad that there are less than 2 weeks of school – happy because they’re looking forward to a few weeks of camp, outings to the pool and the beach, and our trip out west. But sad too because they’ll miss their teachers and friends. I feel the same way. Summer vacation holds a different kind of rhythm in our neighborhood. The mornings don’t bustle quite as much like our usual daily walks to school alongside throngs of other neighbors headed the same direction. It’s not uncommon to miss our neighbors and friends the entire summer. Schedules are different; people are away; the days feel slower.
So we’re halfway through the year already. Despite my better judgement, it’s hard for me not to assess the year so far. What I have learned in the last 2 months, however, is that it is indeed possible for me to be content with a less than busy work schedule and remain calm through transitions (though admittedly, there have been times when I have had to work really hard at it). I have also learned that despite whatever decisions I have made, remaining open to opportunities can bring forth some unexpected new things. I think back to this “Life, lately” post I wrote back in March when my schedule was very different than it has been recently. Funny to read back on that post because I guess I *have* learned not to worry so much in my free time and just enjoy life.
But the thing is…there really is no free time when you’re running a business while raising a family, is there? And that’s where I’ve had to learn to change my perspective and count all the things that I do for the business as “work” even though I don’t invoice for my time. I have been working and I have been busy the last 2 months, and what I have seen manifest is something that we knew all along. If I spend more time on the business, we make more sales. There was a moment this week when I felt an overwhelming gratitude for our customers, especially those who have supported us from the very beginning and continue to order from us 5 years later. Thank you so much for helping us live out this dream.
ps. We found these flowers on the ground at the base of a tree on Governors Island the other week. The identifying plaque on the tree simply said “tulip tree”. We have never seen a tulip tree before!
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Just a few days left to order gifts for Father’s Day, including our gift box that includes 2 of our most popular sandwich cookies – the Hazelnut Whisky and Massaman Peanut Butter, as well as our special Chocolate Stout Marshmallows that makes their annual appearance this time of year only.
Also in our print shop, 2 new food posters with quotes from T.S. Eliot and George Bernard Shaw.
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I didn’t think we were supposed to get this much rain this weekend. A few sprinkles or the possibility of rain was forecast, but not such a washout like the kind of rain we had on Sunday. May is a busy month for outdoor events; it signals the start of the outdoor summer season and there was a lot going on in the city this weekend. The weather just wasn’t on our side. Some events, like the Brooklyn Flea and the annual street fair held in our neighborhood are rain or shine, but there was another big, 3 day event held in Prospect Park this weekend that was cancelled at the last minute on Sunday.
As an event goer, a cancellation or rain might be an inconvenience and derail weekend plans, but as a vendor, the weather can make or break us. When the festival at Prospect Park was cancelled, we immediately thought of all our food biz friends who had worked all week prepping food, only to be left with so much of it before the day even got started. It’s an expensive loss. As a business that relies on some of our income to be generated at outdoor markets, we know how frustrating it is when the weather doesn’t cooperate. As luck would have it, we sat out of our usual markets this weekend because of an event on Sunday where Mark was one of the participating Pastry Chefs (The Manhattan Cocktail Classic). But he was out there at the Flea last Saturday in cool, rain threatening weather himself until the clouds finally broke and he had to break down early. You just never know with the weather.
Despite the steady rain, the girls and I pulled on our rain boots and rain jackets to wander around the street fair that they look forward to every year. There were a lot less crowds and there were plenty of empty booth spaces that should have been filled as it is every year when the weather fares better. As a vendor of markets ourselves, it’s hard not to recognize the disappointed faces of vendors as we were walking around. On days like this, you hope that you break even and just cut your losses. Maybe you make a little money, but most likely not enough to cover material and labor costs for the days preceding the event. This would be the best case scenario, to break even. The girls and I did our best to support the vendors who were set up by spreading our money around – a grilled corn on a stick at this booth, a taco at that booth, a corn dog here, a bubble tea somewhere else. There will be other street fairs and outdoor events and while you might win at some, you might lose at others; we’re at the mercy of the weather. Hopefully it won’t rain on Saturday when Mark goes back to the Flea.
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I’m finally taking some time to focus on my neglected print shop beginning with a new series of typographic food quote prints. The first three are up in the shop in 2 different size prints, an Irish proverb and two Oscar Wilde quotes. Hopefully more stuff to follow soon, including photos (oh you know, it takes me forever…)
I’m also phasing out the kitchen conversion tea towels. I won’t be printing them anymore, but I do have a fair number of seconds – towels that are slightly faded at the top of the print. For the most part, the imperfections are pretty minor, but I’m clearing them out at 50% off for $12 each. Would be great for Mother’s Day.
Speaking of Mother’s Day, ordering deadline for cookies is tomorrow for Mother’s Day delivery.
Have a great weekend!
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I guess we’re firmly entrenched in 2013, never mind that it still feels like the year has only begun. Are we actually talking about Mother’s Day already? Yikes. This year’s deadline for gift box ordering is May 2nd.
What a week. You know how you sometimes feel like you’re running to catch up, but the finish line never quite comes into your line of vision? Or maybe it’s running after that dangling carrot. I don’t know…something about a hamster wheel sounds right just about now. The good news is that a lot of stuff has come across our way lately. The bad news is that sometimes being a small operation can be a major obstacle to those opportunities. My question is, how and where do you draw the line between sanity and a big opportunity?
Hope you have a great weekend. Thinking of all our family and friends in Boston. We’re back at Ft Greene and Dumbo Brooklyn Fleas Saturday and Sunday, and we’re officially starting the Fudgesicle season! Yup, there back!
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Hard to believe that this will be our 6th season at the Brooklyn Flea! But as one of the original Flea vendors on opening day 5 years ago, we still get excited about the season opening every year (and I’m laughing right now because I remember totally hugging the guy who we made our very first sale to). This year we’ll be at Fort Greene on Saturday and Smorgasburg in Dumbo on Sunday. We’ll continue alternating between those 2 markets all season long, so check our website for specific dates.
In other news, we’ve made our market-only Streusel Bars gluten free! This weekend’s flavor is strawberry rhubarb with house-made preserves. Mark will also be making a Spiced White Chocolate drink with coconut, lemongrass, ginger, vanilla, and other spices.
I still sometimes get asked why I don’t sell at any of the markets. It’s simple, really. I pretty much suck at it, but the girls and I do make appearances sometimes (like this Sunday in Dumbo) so if you see us, do say hello.
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