Admit Defeat

It's time to admit defeat for this year's MCQBOM. 

In 2016, I really enjoyed trying to make a new (to me) block every month. So naturally I wanted to try it again in 2017. The first Mad Cat Quilts Block Of the Month was all random blocks, it didn't matter what they were as long as I had never made them before. In 2017, I decided that the MCQBOM would be all picture blocks. 

I now believe that this was my first fatal flaw. My second was choosing an all grey color theme. I love grey and I thought I would like to try making picture blocks bc I never make them. Turns out, I don't make them bc I don't like to make them. Combining this with a, let's face it, drab color scheme made me just not want to go forward.  

I struggled with the impulse to stop a project, not even in the middle but in the relative beginning. I felt bad about not enjoying it. But I realized that it really was not bringing me joy. Each month felt like a chore. 

Looking at the blocks now, I do like them and I think this could be an interesting quilt if it ever gets finished. Maybe one day I will resume this BOM but for now, I must admit defeat. 

Have you begun any projects in 2017 that you just don't want to finish? 


On Wednesday, Stitched in Color announced her new challange, 30 Days Of Fabric Stacks. I read the post that morning and have been thinking bout it ever since. I don't usually go in for monthly challenges, but although this one is a 30 day challenge, you have more than 30 days to complete it! I love how she says:
"Would you like to explore the possibilities of your fabrics on hand, to rekindle that spark of excitement felt upon their first arrival?"
That line got me thinking about how perfectly this challenge fits in with YOTS (Year of The Stash)!

The first challenge prompt is True Blue and here's my Fabric Stack -

Tray as I might, I couldn't keep the cats from sitting on this stack. Cat hair!

Tray as I might, I couldn't keep the cats from sitting on this stack. Cat hair!

I thought of a cloudless, fading-to-night sky while putting these fabrics together. I'm not sure if they will ever become more than a stack, but it was fun to imagine while putting them together. 

Racheal encourages you to do them in order, but at your own pace, and finish by Aug 6th. There's a contest and prizes, so you should check out her full post! Personally, I'm not sure if I'll finish this challenge but I plan to use it as some YOTS inspiration, for sure! Here are the rest of the prompts:

  • Day 1:  True Blue
  • Day 2:  Ethereal
  • Day 3:  Orange
  • Day 4:  New Fabric
  • Day 5:  Baby
  • Day 6:  Folksy Fall
  • Day 7:  Yellow
  • Day 8:  Hand Dyed or Printed
  • Day 9:  Softly Against Black
  • Day 10:  Fabric I Want
  • Day 11:  Complementary Colors
  • Day 12:  Green
  • Day 13:  Scale
  • Day 14:  Masculine
  • Day 15:  Aqua/Teal
  • Day 16:  Novelty
  • Day 17:  Pink
  • Day 18:  Clashy Bright
  • Day 19:  Gray
  • Day 20:  Fabric I hoard
  • Day 21:  Purple
  • Day 22:  Analogous Colors
  • Day 23:  Teen
  • Day 24:  Almost Primary
  • Day 25:  Old Fabric
  • Day 26:  Rainbow
  • Day 27:  Brown
  • Day 28:  Soft Botanical
  • Day 29:  All Solids
  • Day 30:  My Style

Are you joining in with #30daysoffabricstacks


One of my goals in 2016 was to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here. This is also a goal for 2017.

I have been wanting to read Jaws by Peter Benchley for a while but every time I picked it up, I couldn't get into it. Sometimes listening to a book is easier. This version is read by Erik Steele. This book was listened to in 2016 and can be added to that list. 


I had a few themes to my reading/listening materials for 2016 and this book definitely falls in to one of them. I've been devouring books about shore towns, beach life, and seasonal communities. 

Amity hibernates in the Winters. But the town comes alive in the Summer. The people of amity rely on Summer tourists and Summer business to keep it alive in the off season. The town leaders are willing to make Summer profitable at any coast. But Police Chief Brody's job is to protect the town, too. 

The movie Jaws is a classic, of course. The book was quite different; much slower and more involved in the town itself, and the character that make up Amity. I really enjoyed that this book was about a seasonal shore town facing a devastating Summer. There's an interesting juxtaposition between the towns needs and the shark's needs. I would recommend this book for readers who live by the beach or have a seasonal life style, fishermen, or people who like books of movies based on books. 

Do you have a favorite beach town novel?

Off Season: From The Garden

Ever since we moved a few years ago, I'd been hearing about From the Garden. The good word is out on this local fruit farm and apiary. 

We finally visited when we met up with my family for their Spring Fling. We got to walk the grounds which were just blooming in late April. We saw some of the bees on the grounds but they have hives all over Monmouth County. We also enjoyed the little market set up for the Spring Fling. We ate our share of pastries and tried local jams, and of course bought honey! 

I'm not sure what From the Garden is like when there isn't an event going on there, but I intend to find out. 


From The Garden
353 Fairfield Rd Freehold NJ 07728
- Look out for events and special days!
- Family owned and operated.
- First visit April 2017

OMG June

May was the first month of 2017 that I completed my OMG (One Monthly Goal). Thank goodness! I really plan on keeping this momentum up by setting a relatively simple goal for June. 

For June, I would like to baste the baby quilt top I finished in May and start to tie it. That's it. I'll leave binding this quilt for another month's goal. 

Jan - Quilt Maybe Lyz - Not finished
Feb - Quilt Tom Mat - Not finished
Mar - Finish Tom Mat - Not Finished
Apr - Finish Little Baby Quilt Top - Not Finished
May - Finish Little Baby Quilt Top - Finished!!

Linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching (I'm sewing the backing today!), Move It Forward Monday, Monday Making, and of course, Elm Street Quilts OMG!

May in Review

May was a moving forward month, May was a month that felt like the start of things!

The month flew by (which doesn't?) and we flower watched, #watcher watched, got down to work, visited friends, visited vets, went to the beach, and and work from home.  

Flowers were out in May despite it being temperate in weather. We walked out neighborhood and checked our (and other's) yard for new growth. In our town the end of may marks the beginning of Summer and all the flowers made it feel tropical and summery for sure!

#watchercats were also out this month, hanging out in windows, on porches, in doorways and any sunny patches. I travelled a little this moth and saw #watchercats everywhere I went!

Headed to old hoods and catching up with friend was a lovely priority this month, seeing friends and family at home is always relaxing. Luckily I had both in May. There's something amazing about having neighbors in the suburbs, especially those who bring fresh veggies from the garden!

Of course, we are happy to have friend from out of town come visit us and next month is a great month for that! Summer by The Shore, before the crowds arrive is a special time. We eagerly await visitors and the return of Summer residents. But before they show us, we tried to get to take advantage of the empty May beaches!

I was gifted an unexpected surprise in May and it was a great inspiration for getting some finishes made this month! Besides that, quilting rolled along, but work outside the house sometimes took over. 

I'm still loving the @madcatquilts instagram this month but it is a lot of work! I'm finding it fun to come up with quilty love for that space, so check it out!

In the spirit of growth, here are some things I learned, or relearned in May:
- Visiting interesting restaurants/cafes/spaces are good for inspiration but hard to make time for. 
- Having 2 instagrams is twice the work (possibly more!). 
- Sometimes planning things out is great, other times "just do it" is a good motto. 

In April I made a pledge to get back in a blogging groove, and although that didn't go quite as planned for May, that continues to be a personal goal. 

It was a weird start to the Summer, still rainy and cool, mild for May. Let's tune in for June!

May Plant Update

May had flowers, that's for sure!! I never realized how much I liked some of these common yard flowers until moving to Asbury Park. I mean, I like all flowers, but azaleas and roses have jumped up to become favorites in the last two years. It's amazing to see them bloom in the spring. 

Those colors are surreal!

Those colors are surreal!

I worry every year that our potted plants won't return, but so far so good!

I worry every year that our potted plants won't return, but so far so good!

Rododendrons are native to NJ and on my list for the yard. 

Rododendrons are native to NJ and on my list for the yard. 

Such a lovey yard I came across walking in the neighborhood. 

Such a lovey yard I came across walking in the neighborhood. 

Last year we had tons and tons of these wild little white flowers in the front yard. This year we were happy to see them return, even in fewer number. 

Last year we had tons and tons of these wild little white flowers in the front yard. This year we were happy to see them return, even in fewer number. 

Last year, I planted this iris and it never bloomed. I was ecstatic to see it thriving! I hope they go nuts and cover the front bed. 

Last year, I planted this iris and it never bloomed. I was ecstatic to see it thriving! I hope they go nuts and cover the front bed. 

My lemon balm came back with a vengeance. 

My lemon balm came back with a vengeance. 

These were roadside in Allenhurst NJ. Anyone know what they are?

These were roadside in Allenhurst NJ. Anyone know what they are?

I want roses everywhere!!!

I want roses everywhere!!!

Beach roses, too!

Beach roses, too!

Theses are the roses in front of the post office that I pass every day on my way to work. It's such a treat and they bloom all Summer. 

Theses are the roses in front of the post office that I pass every day on my way to work. It's such a treat and they bloom all Summer. 

What are some of your favorite May flowers? Did you plant this year, or just enjoy what comes up?  Share your plant observations!

Something New: Machine Sewing

As you may have noticed, I hand sew everything. All aspects of my quilts are hand sewn and hand quilted. But I've been wanting to try making some clothing and as sweet an idea as hand sewn clothing might sound, it's just not practical. 

It's not that I have never used a sewing machine before. I have, but not for a long time! I don't particularly like it. Sewing on a sewing machine, for me, is like working with a robot who speaks a different language. I'm always confused and frustrated. 

That being said, I'm serious about trying out some patterns! That will require not only that I use the sewing machine, but also practice, practice, practice. 

My early attempts have been... mixed. I've already struggled more with the machine than I think is necessary. Here's hoping all that struggle pays off!

Anyone out there trying something new that they are less than comfortable with?  

YOTS2017/Sunday Stash

I've been pretty good about not buying much fabric this year. Except, the other day, I got a little stone in my craw about trying out some clothing patterns. So, of course I had to run out and buy some fabric suitable for clothing making.

I got soft, shear muslin to try out a few self drafted ideas I have. And some linen like fabric if those ideas go well. I wanted linen, but it's so expensive!! And it's all in the experimental phase....

Here's my month Stash Update for May:
Fabric Added from the Since Last Update: 10 (mostly for experimentation, but I picked up a piece or scrap and a vintage table cloth to use as backing at a rummage sale, too) 
Fabric Added Year to Date: Approximately 23.25
Fabric Used Since Since Last Update: Approximately 2 yd
Fabric Used Year to Date: Approximately 10.5 yd

Although I feel good that I haven't bought too much, my output is still about half of my intake! I have to do better at making!

How's your Year of the Stash going so far?

Mad Cat Capsule: What's Not Working

Over a month in and I'm loving my capsule wardrobe. My Mad Cat Capsule consists of approximately 50 pieces of clothing not including loungewear, sleepwear, shoes, work out wear, under garments, or outerwear. That's a lot more than a typical capsule, but as this is my first one, and I literally have hundreds of items of clothing that I'm trying to pare down, this feels like a good start. I've really enjoyed refining what I wear, seeing what works and what doesn't. Going into this project, I really didn't know what to expect, but it's been helpful and exciting to wear only clothes I really enjoy. Over the past month or so, I've definitely noticed that there were items I chose that I didn't end up wearing. Here's the scoop about what I've discovered so far:

I chose quite a number of tank tops at the beginning of my 3 month capsule. I layer, layer, layer and I knew this capsule had to take me to the beginning of Summer so this was a good idea. But as the month progressed, I realized that I was only wearing some of them over and over and never reaching for others. I'm packing up the ones I'm not feeling. 

I thought having a few long sleeve shirts would be a great idea for a capsule that had to span April to June. I wore them once or twice, but noticed that I pulled out sweaters more often. Several of these are going into storage. I love these shirts, but not right now. I feel like I'll be pulling these back out for my 4th quarter capsule in Oct. 

I also had a 3/4 sleeve shirt that I really love and thought would be great, especially for work. I forgot that this shirt captures every cat hair, lint ball, and speck of anything really. This shirt will go to donation. 


I chose a few skirts for this quarter 2 capsule and I haven't worn any of them. Huh. I don't want to give up on them just yet but some of these will be put away soon. Again these are pieces that I love, but haven't worked out just yet. On the other hand, I was sure that I wouldn't need my favorite shorts until July, but grabbed them up for a hot beach walk around the beginning of May and am happy that I'll have them for the rest of this capsule.

After scrapping these items and a few others I'm just not wearing, you would think that I would have less pieces in this capsule, but alas, I don't. I lost a few, swapped a few, but added a few, too. In lieu of the long sleeve shirts, I added a dotted sweatshirt I quite fancy, and I recently got a few more graphic tees. So I'm hovering right around the same number of items. 

Really lessening the items I wear has been challenging. Getting rid of items that I definitely won't use, don't like, or don't fit has also been surprisingly hard. I have found it to be difficult to find the time to get these pieces out of my house and into new hands. Anyone out there have any suggestions?

If you've recently started a capsule wardrobe, tell me how it's going!

New Block: Circle Appliqué

This isn't my smoothest appliqué job, but it's the first circle I've ever worked on. I've been working on sewing a lot of orange peels and curves, lately so it was nice to try a different kind of curve. 

Next time, I hope to hide my threads a little better, but other than that, I like the way this block turned out!

Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday, Finished or Not It's Friday, and more!

Gypsy Moon Mini: A Finished Mini Quilt

I was so inspired by my new mini and the little scraps that came with it, that I got right down to business making a mini of my own!

I rarely can make any work to completion in one day, so this was an especially fun finish! All the pieces needed fell into place. First, inspiration: The scraps from @gypsymoonquilts gave me were lovely and easy to work with. I happened to have a few other scraps right at my fingertips that I used to round out this mini. 

Second, I had time! I had a fairly free day to sit and sew! The top came together quickly, the batting scraps were on top of a pile, I used one of my favorite prints as a backing. The quilting and basting goes so fast with a mini!

I hope my inspiration hangs in there! I love the feeling of a finish! 

Linking up with Move It Forward Monday, Monday Making, Oh Scrap and more. 


I recently threw my name, well my new name @madcatquilts, in the running for a giveaway with @gypsymoonquilts on instagram. And I won!

Credit for all this loveliness goes to @gypsymoonquilts!

Credit for all this loveliness goes to @gypsymoonquilts!

What a sweet little mini mini/mug rug! Some lovely scraps! A cute needle minder! Her work is lovely so check it out!

Off Season: The French Market

Since moving to New Jersey in 2015, I've enjoyed exploring the state and do so the most when tourists are not around. Living in a seasonal tourist hot spot is fun, but I love the Off Season! Over the last few years I've made a few posts on the blog about places that I've seen, noted, liked or loved. Now you can find them all by checking out the Off Season link.  

A friend told me I had to visit The French Market in Rumson, NJ, bc it was right up my alley. She was right! I visited the last weekend in April and have been back 3 times since then! 

Mostly The French Market is a little cafe with fresh bread, pastries, take out prepared food, coffee,  and a ton of sandwiches, wraps, quiches, etc.. but it also sells gift items, plants, and very pretty, if not practical, planting supplies.  

I love the interior which is all black and white and brown with lots of live plants. But I especially love the back room which is a modified, winterized greenhouse and so adorable. The food is simple, fresh and tasty!


The French Market
114 E River Rd, Rumson, NJ 07760
- Open until 7pm on weekdays
- Owned by 3 designers/friends.
- Opened it's doors in July 2015.
- Sadly only has a Facebook page (which I won't bother to force upon you) instead of a proper website. But it does have an Instagram
- First visit April 2017

New Block: Honey Bee Block (Solstice Block 14/25)

Here is another block I heavily modified for Pat Sloan's Solstice Challenge. Her Honey Bee block called for appliqué, ut I chose to make some orange peels instead. 


Her block also called for petals or peels at all four corners, but three were enough for me. I'll need to sweep some threads off this block and square it up, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out! 

Linking top with Finished or Not It's Friday, Needle and Thread Thursday, Slow Sunday Stitching and  more!