MCQBOM² / 11

You would think it would be easy to find the time to make two blocks a month. But somehow I always feel like I'm behind with the Mad Cat Quilts BOM. This block was again inspired by Pat Sloan and her amazing free patterns. 

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This week some friends and I had an art salon of sorts. We gathered at a friend's house and all made art together! Interestingly enough, I wasn't the only one hand sewing! We plan to make our salon a regular thing! Everyone who came got work done and it was nice to chat, explore idea, and discuss our work!

Do you prefer to work alone, or make art around friends and family?

Linking up around the web!

Zero Waste - Foraging for Firewood

In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste and Low Impact would be a more  accurate description of my evolving lifestyle. 

You may remember that when we moved to NJ we got a fire pit. It's one of the first household things we really wanted! I can't say it's our most used house hold item but when we do use it, we love it! 

One reason that we werren't using it too often was bc I hated buying firewood at the store. We mostly found it at big box stores, wrapped in plastic (!!) and who knows where it came from! We had seen many places where wood was for sale on the side of the road, but the idea of having to walk up and knock on a stranger's door always stopped us from getting it that way. Buying it locally online would mean buying a cord, which is way too much for our little fire pit.  

 Right now we just have piles of firewood in various places in the yard, as it gets to be fire season, we will chop and organize our stash. 

Right now we just have piles of firewood in various places in the yard, as it gets to be fire season, we will chop and organize our stash. 

Then one day we started picking up sticks, and logs and fallen branches. And as our stick pile grew and grew and as we started oooohing and ahhing when we saw a pile of discarded tree limbs on the side of the road, we realized that this was a viable way to gather wood for our fire. Now where ever we go we usually come home with a large stick or two. That person walking around the neighborhood dragging a large dead tree branch? That's me. We stick wood in our car, in our bags, carry it on our shoulders. Now that we have a large stick collection, we are just waiting for the weather to be nice enough to have a fire!

We realized that we like the mindful act of seeking out something useful when we are out, without buying anything. There have been some big wind storms lately, many trees lost limbs. It was a field day for us, and we liked the idea that instead of going to the local dump (and then who knows where? We don't have a compost or mulch pick program in our town), this debris would be used for something. We are happy to put to use something that most consider solely waste.

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Right now, we are only collecting fire wood casually but it got us thinking that this might be an affordable, zero waste, way to cut down on the none renewable resources we consume. If we were to install a wood stove to offset gas-heat usage, could we gather enough sticks to help heat our house?     

We're still in the research phase of this possible new plan but we are kind of excited to see where it might lead. Does anyone out there have any advice on wood stoves, firewood or foraging? Do you forage for anything in your neighborhood?

The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters

One of my goals in 2018 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters by Chip Kidd was a book I picked up somewhere (a book sale, a stoop sale, a stoop?) bc it had an interesting cover and an interesting sub title. 

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This book sat in my to-be-read pile for a long time, years and years. Who knows why it was the one I chose one day?

Navigating love, lust, art, and inspiration during his first year away at college is hard until our narrator meets surgary sweet Maybelle Lee, and kitchy bitchy Himilllsy and enigmatic, design obsessed Winter Sorbeck. Then it get far harder!

Set in the 1950s, a young man struggles with becoming an adult, what that means and how it revolves around art. An interesting take on a coming of age story, a look at the art school life in all it's quirky glory, I really enjoyed this book. Written in a non traditional manner, by a graphic designer, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in design, art school, or coming of age stories, or books set in the mid century. 

This book is hard to describe but that might be what makes it worth reading. What's your favorite book that you can't explain?

What I Ate in a Day (Video!!)

Oh boy, ya'll. I may not be getting the hang of this youtube stuff, I may have posted this video a week later than I intended, but I think I have the BUG. And now I have a partner in crime, audionightlight!! Check out this sweet song he made me: 

Subscribe to my channel if you like these videos so far and let's see where this crazy train takes us. 

If your new to youtube, or been doing it for a while, please post your channel in the comments!

Mad Cat Capsule: Spring 2018 (April - June)

Here we are, come full circle back to Spring. I started my Capsule Wardrobe in Spring 2017 and I have greatly enjoyed the last year. I feel like I've learned a lot and yet, I feel like I'm still learning and growing into capsule wardrobes. I'm still learning the best way to create each capsule, I'm still learning what my personal style is, and I'm still learning to part with so many of the clothes I've kept over the years. I feel like I'm moving towards owning less, buying less, but enjoying my clothes more. 

For Spring, my method was very different than the last few. seasons. I had a good idea of many things that I wanted to include and did not go thru all my stored clothes, only those I knew I wanted. I also bought quite a bit more this quarter (all used, except a few pairs of sneakers). I also didn't choose one color to be my theme as I mostly have done for the other capsules. I know I wanted more color this season, so I added whatever I wanted. My color scheme has my usuals, grey, black and denim, but also some maroon, brown, teal, orange, white, and mustard. 

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7 Pants - New to me red cords (used), Everlane jeans (sustainably made), red pants (new to me but used), brown pants (used), grey jeans (used), gap jeans (new to me but used and mended), banana republic jeans (new to me but used).

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4 Pullover Sweaters - cream (used), teal, grey (a favorite thrifted piece), black. 

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4 Over Shirts/Cardigans - Mustard cardi (hand me down), maroon cardi, red/blue button down (10+ years), vermillion cardi. 

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8 Tops - Maroon cowl neck (10+ years), black short sleeve sweater/top (10+), grey satin neck (used), B&W diamond top (new to me but used), moon shift (clothing swap), white short sleeved top (newly thrifted), lace sweat shirt (newly thrifted), Everlane top (sustainably made). 

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4 Tank Tops - White, grey, black, brown with flowers (all over 10 years old). 

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7 T Shirts - Maroon V, teal V, grey V, maroon crew (all made in usa and 10+), cat/whale (10+), grey Talula's, black Witch band T. 

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4 Shirts/shorts - New to me bermuda (thrifted), t shift, denim (used), long black. 

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9 Shoes - grey cons (10+), tall boot (new to me but used), suede booties (used), white hightops, velcro vans, cat sneakers, grey moccasins (10+), maroon boots (10+), emily booties.

My Spring capsule is a little all over the map, but I like it!! I think it'll work for me and I'm excited to try it. It's a bit larger than some of my previous capsules, falling at 50 items. 35 of those are slow fashion, a higher percentage than previous capsules. Many of the remaining 15 pieces are close to the 10 year mark. Having an entirely slow wardrobe is a goal I'm happy to work towards. 

I cannot wait to get into the meat of this capsule. And into real spring. Warm weather cannot come soon enough. Is everyone as excited for the coming season, and coming capsule, as I am??

Something New: Visible Mending

One thing I know I should do more of, as a sewist and as a someone on a sustainable lifestyle path, is mend my clothes and make repairs to my wardrobe. 

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Since I get almost all my clothes second hand, or use what I already have, repairing my clothes will help them last longer. Since I don't use the sewing machine, sometimes my repairs can't help but be visible. But I am also trying to embrace purposely visible mending. 

I decided to try it out on pair of jeans I thrifted but that had a hole near the knee that was too big for my taste. For the patch I used a bit of old jean. I stitched one way with a blue cotton thread and in the other direction with cream colored purl cotton thread. 

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I like how these came out, but 'll be interested to see how these wear and how I feel about them after getting used to it. 

Does anyone else use visible mending to repair clothes? 

April OMG

You know that feeling when you are soooo motivated, and yet utterly incapable of getting stuff done? I feel like that has been me with OMG this year. And kinda with quilting in general. 

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What do you do when you feel that way?? 

Do you keep plugging along, working on the same projects, but not getting anything done? Or do you switch it up?

I guess I'm gonna keep it up for another month. I'm gonna keep the same goal I've had all year so far. Let's see if April is my month. 

So far, in 2018, I still haven't completed any OMG Goals:
Jan - Finish one small quilt - Not Finished
Feb - Finish scrappy quilt - Not Finished
Mar - Finish scrappy quilt - Not Finished
Apr - Finish scrappy quilt - 

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Linking up around the web today!

March in Review

Last month, I asked what direction March would take and it's been topsy turvy! With wild weather, interesting events, spring break, hard work, cat drama, and more, this month went by in a flash. 

 1) Big Boy's Spring return! 2) finally some blossoms! 3) Jersey Shore land speeders. 4) An aloof porch cat. 

1) Big Boy's Spring return! 2) finally some blossoms! 3) Jersey Shore land speeders. 4) An aloof porch cat. 

We hid out most of march in doors, and kept to our selves. It wasn't all relaxing as we have been struggling with Irving Barry. He's been with us since December, but he is (and we are) still adjusting to life together. 

 1) Looking upward, 2) looking in ward, 3) looking for self love, 4) loving the past. 

1) Looking upward, 2) looking in ward, 3) looking for self love, 4) loving the past. 

When we did go out we tried to make the most of it, visiting the beach, wishing congratulations to friends, exploring new places with old relics, and balancing health and indulgence. 

 1) Spooky streets. 2) Rock candy. 3) Celebrating Spring Break. 4) Illuminated walks home. 

1) Spooky streets. 2) Rock candy. 3) Celebrating Spring Break. 4) Illuminated walks home. 

We got a lot of "real" work done, on the house and at jobs, but March was good for creative work as well. Inspiration seemed to lurk in every corner and under every snow fall. 

March was good, if mentally exhausting, but I'm feeling April for implementation. March's plans were laid, April might see them hatch. 

Simple Swap: Shampoo Bar

My journey towards Zero Waste has been a series of simple swaps. This seems like the easiest and lowest impact way to move towards less waste and a new lifestyle. If you are thinking of moving to a more low impact life, I highly suggest starting small with easy simple swaps. 

One swap I knew I wanted to make was to stop getting shampoo and conditioner in plastic bottles. There are many ways one can do this but I opted for the simplest, a shampoo bar! 

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Luckily I have a awesome local soap shop, Big Spoon Little Spoon Soaps, and they make a shampoo bar. I had never used one before, and it took a little getting used to. The first few times I washed my hair with the bar it was quite dry and stiff. But after a few washes, my hair got used to it and it was soft and supple after washing. The soap does lathers up nicely but I had to learn how much to put on my hair and how to work it in, which takes a little more work than regular shampoo. 

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I only was my hair 2 - 3 times per week, partly to let the natural oils in my hair do their thing and partly bc that;s just how I roll. In between washes, I will sometimes use a dry shampoo which I make myself. Currently we still use conditioner that comes in plastic. After the bottles we have runs out I want to switch. I have not found a conditioner bar yet, but I'm always on the look out! 

This was the shampoo swap I settled on, but you can also get shampoo in metal refillable containers, use home made shampoo, or go no poo and natural. What shampoo method do you use?

The Hound of the Baskervilles

One of my goals in 2018 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I've read The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arther Conan Doyle before, but when my dad gave me The Complete Sherlock Holmes read by one of our favorite readers, Simon Vance, I was super excited. 

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My excitement didn't get me too far when I realized that we no longer had a place to listen to CDs!! The only place we can listen to CDs is in the car but that means I have to actually bring the CDs into the car. That didn't happen for a while, so I ended up listening to this book thru one of my free subscriptions, read by Simon Prebble. 

Infamous detective Sherlock Holmes sends his friend and partner, Dr Watson, to the countryside to investigate the legend of a huge hell hound stalking the Baskervilles. After the last Baskerville to live at the manor dies under mysterious circumstance, Watson and Holmes must protect the new heir and discern if the hell hound is real or only a myth. 

If you know mysteries, you know Sherlock Holmes and in this, one of his most supernatural and disquieting cases, he does not disappoint. There's not much to be said of Conan Doyle's brilliant detective, fluid writing style, sardonic wit and gripping mysteries that has not been told. If you've never read any Holmes tales, this is a classic to start with. If you have, it's well deserves another reading. I highly recommend  this book for those who love mysteries, period pieces, books of the supernatural, and the list goes on and on. 

Who is your favorite fictional detective?

MCQBOM² / 10

Another super simple block for this weeks Mad Cat Quilts Block of the Month. My plan right now is to do two blocks per month. Sometimes I need fast and simple blocks to achieve this goal. 

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This block was inspired by Pat Sloan. I love her free, simple tutorials and approach to quilting. I gain so much inspiration from her. 

Linking up around the web today. 

How are you BOMs going so far this year?

March Plant Update

March was another rollercoaster for plants and weather!! We were able to observe some local plants, some new areas, and even give a tour of some of the plants in our very own home. 

 Croci have been popping up, then getting trampled all over the neighbor hood!

Croci have been popping up, then getting trampled all over the neighbor hood!

 Before the big storms of March, my front garden was off to a good start!

Before the big storms of March, my front garden was off to a good start!

 Early morning snow. 

Early morning snow. 

 More of my favorite pine trees. 

More of my favorite pine trees. 

I'm still working on learning YouTube. What better way than to give a tour of some of our house plants! 

Was March weather and plants as wild where you live as is was for us? What were some of your March plant observations?