This book was published in 1979, the year I was born! It's full of photos of cats "working" in various places, or on the street. It features really awesome photos of these cats and a quote from a human working along side them. I got this booked but I put off actually reading it for a long time. Some of the stories are sweet, some heartbreaking. But I know that this coffee table style book will be one that I will cherish and have for a long time. I would highly recommend this book for cat lovers, those who love vintage photos and people who love coffee table books!
1. Finish top, finish back, baste, quilt, bind, label and gift Mystery Quilt.
2. Finish top, make back, baste, quilt, bind, label and gift Stripy Baby Quilt.
3. Add borders, make back, baste, quilt, bind, label and gift Quilt for Isaac.
Bonus: Maybe Lyz Quilt.
Nothing on my FAL Q4 got finished, unfortunately. Some work got done on the first two quilts so that's something at least. I did have one finish in this quarter, but I didn't include it on my Q4 list!
Over all the 2017FAL was not my most productive. Only one project on all of my lists for all four quarters got done this year!! Despite this fact, I felt really good about this FAL and I can't wait to get started on 2018!!
For a while now, at the beginning of each year I have set a list of goals for myself for that year. These are not set tasks to accomplish or resolutions, but ideas and goals to be more mindful about in the coming year. At the end of the year, I like to look back and see what those goals manifested and how they pertained to this blog.
Here are what my goals list looked like for 2017 and my thoughts on how they went:
Work on Personal Endeavors as Much as My Job
In 2015 I wrote: "I have to make my art and sewing a priority in my life and not let working at my job be the only or most urgent thing that drives me". Ever since then, I have been working towards this goal, that has come to not only encompass Art but also other important aspects of my Life outside of a job. After we moved, in late 2015 and early 2016, I tried very hard to take a break from a job, I tried to work outside of the house less and in the house more. It had mixed results but it gave me a lot of insight into myself and how I work, and what work means to me, both my own and my job. This year, I plan on further committing to working a job less and working for myself more. One idea I have for this, inspired by my new beach town life style, is to make Summer the time that I work my job more and play harder, and Winter the time that I focus on my own endeavors. Seasonal living is totally new to me, but I see many possibilities there.
Well, goal #1 didn't go exactly as I planned bc mid year my job asked me to take on more responsibility and a lager role. I accepted this new role and started training and learning what I needed. Now, I love to work, often times to the detriment of my life, so this was a hard choice, but over all I'm very happy with it. It meant abandoning my plan to work seasonally, as I would not be going back to part time in the Fall. This new role will provide me opportunity to learn and grow in my field and to save more money, both of which I'm very excited about. My challenge has been and will be to balance work with home life and creative endeavors. I have high hopes for the coming year.
Be a Better Quilter, Be a Better Blogger
I want to increase my quilting skill, learn more, push myself. I want to be a better and more consistent blogger.
I feel this is another constant in my life, trying to improve my skill level in the things I love. I do think I made strides in this goal, but there's so much room to grow!!
Day into Night
Blog Round Up
Honey Pot Bee
Spotlighting the Vintage
Evolution of a Stitch
House, Cats, Plants, Family, Friends, Health
Another goal to level up in aspects of my life. This goal includes things like; eating better, drinking more water, exercising more, daily walks, daily stretching, cat contemplation and cat care, making our house more truly our home and being better at caring for it, heading towards a more minimal lifestyle and getting rid of things we do not need, organizing, using up and not buying new, reusing, recycling, keeping our plants healthy and happy so that our home is rich and lush, keeping up with my bujo, making sure to catch up with and stay in contact with family and friends, making sure to be mindful of the health and happiness of my immediate family, my larger family and my community, and there's more! But this goal is overall, to strive for a more caring and mindful way of life.
This was a huge goal that encompassed soooo many things and aspects of my life I wanted to be mindful about!! I think I did really well with this in 2017 and only plan to improve next year. A few things on this list solidified into more concrete concepts, like starting my zero waste/plastic free journey, getting over cat loses and rescuing a new kitty, consuming far less than any other year, etc...
Bullet Check In
Something New: Capsule
Simple Swap: Green Tea
Plastic Free July
The Zero Waste Post
My favorite Jars
What We Already Do
Blog Log Check In
Less TV / More Books
I watched a lot of TV in 2016. Not actual TV bc we don't have that, but a seemingly endless stream of mindless consumption of media. Already, after major life changes in December 2016, I've started to watch way less. I've watched some, but moved over to more movies, and more mindful watching. But I could and should always read or listen to books more.
Wow, going through these goals now, it feels like I have failed and won at all these goals at the same time. It seems that nothing I had planned went the way I was hoping but I do feel that I was living mindfully and I would call almost all of these successes! As for Less TV, um no, fail. I watched soo much tv which is very lame. But I did read a fair amount and feel good about that.
Please Kill Me
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Price of Salt
Down East Murders
Buddhism for Beginners
Hand Poked Tattoos
In 2016, I started learning the art of Stick and Poke tattooing. I plan to continue this in a more purposeful manner in 2017.
I only did one tattoo this year, but I plan on making this a priority for 2018.
Travel When Possible, Explore When Not
We were unable to travel far in 2016, this coming year we are slightly less tethered so I would like to travel more. When we cannot travel, exploring near our home should be a priority.
I like this goal, and although we didn't travel or explore as much as I would ideally like, I feel good about the results.
Atlantic City Aquarium
From The Garden
Hall Of Gems
You can find this post for 2016 here.
How do you feel about your 2017 goals? Did you meet them? Did you exceed them? Are you ready for 2018?
I really love blogs where I can look forward to a certain column each month or week. I love Erin's "Five Little Things..." and Fairdare's "Weekend Reads and Such", link-ups like Monday Making and Slow Sunday Stitching, and outfit posts, what I Eat in a Day posts, goals posts, etc...
What are some of your favorite columns in your favorite blogs?
With my own blog, I love the idea of having some of the same kinds of posts each week, month or year. In 2016, I started looking back and seeing what of these posts I used regularly and making a list. This is for my own memory, mostly, but you may want to take a look back, too!
Month in Review - A review of each month and my favorite instagrams for that month.
Monthly Plant Update - A review of all the plants I've observed for each month.
On My Mind On Friday Morning - A few things I've noticed around the internet, and life, recorded on Friday morning.
Something New - Something new I've learned or done.
Off Season - Notes on places I've seen, been, or explored and why I like them better in the off season.
Book Reviews - What I've been reading, showcased on quilts.
Art and Nature... - Art and nature go together. I like to write about it here.
Zoo at Home, Zoo Abroad - We love to visit animals, zoos, aquariums, etc... when we can.
New Block - I try to learn new blocks each month and share them.
Finishes - This column doesn't get much love, but I'm always hoping to have a finish each month.
WIP / Wrinkly Old WIPs - WIPs are for photos of what I'm working on, with few words. Wrinkly Old WIPs is for rekindling interest in old projects.
Shelfie - Just pics of my home.
Bullet Journal - I've been keeping a BuJo for several years now, and I like to check in about once a month.
Simple Swap - In life there are many things I can swap out for more simple living, I explore them here.
Mad Cat Capsule - In 2017, I started keeping a capsule wardrobe, follow my progress here. (added this year)
Zero Waste - 2017 also marked the start of my zero waste, plastic free journey. I post thoughts, ideas, recipes, and goals.
Something Nice - Don't you love it when nice stuff happens?
I try to join in with the quilting community when I can. Although each year may see starts and stops to community join ins, these ones stick:
YOTS2017 - Year of the Stash was started in 2016. The leader dropped it after that year, but I continue the tradition.
OMG2017 - I love to set and try to complete a monthly goal with Elm Street Quilts.
2017FAL - I love joining in with this Finish Along which spans the globe and the web.
MCQBOM2017 - Speaking of starts and stops, I'm still plugging away with my 2nd year of Mad Cat Quilts Block of the Month.
I would love to have one of each of these posts every month and in some columns cases, more than once a month. I really enjoy looking back at the end of the year to see how the posts in my blog have grown. Does anyone out there have a favorite column at Mad Cat Quilts? What would you like to see more of?
This is sweet churn dash variation that I found from just searching google for simple blocks. I looked back at the link after I made it and you can find that here. I really like this small squares in this block for MCQBOM² .
This churn dash was sooooo easy to put together and really cute. I didn't get a chance to take a photo of all the blocks together but this one came out way smaller than the rest. I might add a boarder, but who knows!
I'm linking up around the web today.
A lot going at home on this month meant that not too many plants were mindfully observed besides our own house plants. We did get about and about to see some plants, luckily.
Were you too busy to plant gaze this month? Or were your plants observations on point?
I'm looking forward to a new year of plant observations in 2018!!
I started finding my Best Nine on Instagram last year and I love it!! Instagram is really the only social media I participate in (besides this blog, of course!). I try hard to curate my feed and this year, I ended up starting two new instas. I now have a quilting insta (link above) and one for our new kitty, Irving. I did this bc I want my personal instagram to look a certain way, and it could easily get filled with only my cats and projects.
These are my Best Nine for 2017:
I think the above collage is a good representation of my aesthetic style and of my lifestyle.
Below are my Best Nine from the last two years. As you can see, my feed is still mostly cats.
It's interesting to look back and see the natural color themes of each year. It seems that since moving to the beach my palate has become more neutral and washed out. I don't really try to follow a color theme, but I do use a few favorite themes/filters. I notice that I naturally have "color runs" on my feed, where, over a few days, I tend to snap pics of like colored scenes. I guess this depends on my moods's eye. Does this happen to anyone else?
Who else loves Best Nine?
Growing up I was taught about multiple religions by my non religious parents. I had picture books about The Buddha, Shiva, Anansi... Although I had some previous ideas about the Buddhist methods, this book was a plain language, simple explanation of the Buddhist teachings.
I won't be converting to Buddhism, but I took a lot from this book. It's core concepts of love, compassion, mindfulness, and careful speech, thought and action really resignate with me and my beliefs and ideals. This is a nice introduction to these concepts, plus the more complicated beliefs of Buddhism. It also gives the reader a good overview of the history of the religion and it's branches and how Buddhism differs from place to place. I really liked the reader for this book. The launguage can be confusing even in its simplest forms and the concepts can be daunting so it was nice to have a really pleasant reader for this introduction to Buddhist teachings and practices. I would recommend this book to those interested in learning about Buddhism, those who like self help books, books on history and culture, or those looking to be more mindful in day to day life.
I listened to half of this book twice, I had started it, put it down for a while, and when I went back I decided to start it again. The calm reader, and the wonderfully peaceful ideas are soothing and easy to listen to over and over so this is a book I plan to listen to again and again.
What books do you like to read more than once?
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 would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.
I don't really use beauty products. I don't put my face on, I don't wear makeup, I don't style my hair, I barely brush it. But I thought I'd talk about a few grooming staples I've come to know and love.
When I was young, I had to wash my hair every day. Had to. Or else it would become an ratty oily mess. Starting a few years ago, that changed. Now if I wash my hair everyday, it becomes brittle and dry. What the heck?
While I still lived in Brooklyn, I found a dry shampoo in a spray can and tried it out. I had never used it before and it was great! I love dry shampoo. It allowed me to not feel totally gross between hair washes. Once I started reducing my waste and plastic consumerism, I figured dry shampoo was out. But I did a little research and not only did I discover that plastic free, zero waste dry shampoo was a thing but it's about the easiest recipe ever!
Cocoa powder for dark hair
Container or shaker (I reuse one from Burt's Bees baby powder)
Combine ingredients and shake well. I have blondish hair, so I omit the cocoa powder but I have head that for dark hair it works like a dream.
To use, I either shake some on my brush or directly on my hair and comb through. Be careful not to use too much, you don't want to look like you're wearing a powdered wig. You can always add more! Make sure to comb or brush it through all your hair so it is coated and looks "clean".
Now, this is easily a zero waste recipe. But truth be told, mine wasn't. I got the arrowroot in a plastic bag. Although I intend to recycle the bag, next time I'll get my arrowroot in bulk. Also, my brush and combs are plastic. I won't throw them away, until they are totally broken and not able to be used. But when my plastic brushes do die, I have my eye on a hand carved wooden comb from mermaidtrousers. I've seen some nice wooden brushes out there, too.
I also use this powder in my shoes in the summertime to keep my feet from getting sweaty. So from head to toe, I find this powder works great!
What are your simple zero waste beauty care swaps?
Here we are at the end of the second year of Year Of The Stash! This project was started by xx in 2016 but when that project ended, and xx did not continue, I still wanted to track my YOTS progress. I thought it would be harder to keep up with Year of The Stash when I didn't have any community support, but I feel like I had a really great year!
YOTS2017 started in January with my manifesto, gaols for the new year and a recap of last year's manifesto.
For February I sorted some of the fabric I had been gifted and started my fabric added.fabric used tallies.
I used the next month to talk about how and why I use some vintage, reclaimed, or thrifted fabric in all my quilts.
In April I examined how my hand stitching has changed throughout the years and how I would like to improve. Around the same time I posted a video of hand sewing on the madcatquilts insta. My first ever video!
I added to my stash by buying some linen fabric in May.
June saw my attempts to start and follow Stitched in Color's #30daysoffabricstacks. I didn't do great with that project, but I hope it returns next year so I can try again!
I started a new project in August and had some help!
For September I got out all my wrinkly WIPs.
We went to a crazy rummage sale in October and my intake of fabric doubled for the year!
In November, I posted about improve quilting, which I had been planning to do since the beginning of the year.
Here's what my YOTS stash report looks like this month:
Fabric Added Since Last Update: Approximately 0 yd
Fabric Added Year to Date: Approximately 42.75 yd
Fabric Used Since Last Update: Approximately .5 yd
Fabric Used Year to Date: Approximately 14.5 yd
I'm planning on continuing YOTS for 2018. Who else tracked their year of the stash in 2017? Who plans on joining in 2018?
For this simple, square heavy, Mad Cat Quilts Block Of the Month I took inspirations from Pat Sloan, once again.
I like this block bc it's easy to break into little units and piece together. I think this block would be a great one to bring for travel sewing. Below is the photo I used to create this block. Pat Sloan's sew alongs are great, and I highly suggest looking through them for inspiration.
I'm linking up around the web today, at Monday Making, Move it Forward Monday, and more.
While thinking about my next Mad Cat Capsule Wardrobe, which will be for Winter (Jan- Mar), I decided that one area of my wardrobe that makes me feel lost/overwhelmed/cluttered is my shoes. So I decided to really take a look at all my shoes, pare down, and think about adding what I was left with to my upcoming capsule.
I have a lot of shoes that I have barely looked at since we moved, three years ago! Turns out our basement gets a little mildewy and I have not wanted to delve in and go thru (plus clean) my shoes but when I started feeling overwhelmed by my shoes, I knew I needed to.
I started by going thru all the shoes I had upstairs first, which were plenty. They are also the shoes that I wear more often and love well. These are mostly sneakers, some boots, and my flip flops which I live in in the warm months. While going thru, I made a list of all the shoes I found in my Bullet Journal. Next I moved on to the shoes in the basement. One of my goals was to pare down enough to only have one box of shoes downstairs. Since I started out with two boxes of storage, this felt like a really good, if a little challenging, goal.
At the end of the day, I had a small give away/throw away pile, a very small maybe pile, one box of storage, and a lot of shoes that I wear and can go in my capsules. Most of the shoes in my storage box are formal wear, sentimental, or super summer shoes. Those are going back to the basement. I also know that I have a few pairs of shoes floating around that I didn't capture in this declutter. I'll have to find those and determine if they are keepers.
The next step will be to further pare down the shoes that I do wear, and break them into capsules. Right now, I'm thinking that I will try to incorporate my shoes into my Winter Capsule. I am trepidatious about this bc I'm sure this will up my overall capsule count. Even though my capsule is not about a set number, one of my goals is to reduce the amount of clothing I have and keep a smaller over all wardrobe. My end list ended up being about 40 pairs of shoes. Even though that includes shoes that I keep for sentimental value, that seems like an absurd amount.
Do any reader keeping a capsule wardrobe include shoes? How many shoes do you own, whether you keep a capsule or not?
Although I did have a finish in November, I did not complete my November OMG. It was a month that I thought I would get a lot done, but it all went by so fast! December promises to be just as hectic, but I'm still hoping to get a lot done on a little ladder quilt that I've been working on.
That's a vague One Monthly Goal, but I'm gonna go with it!
I haven't had the most productive OMG year. Here's what my One Monthly Goal 2017 looks like:
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!!
Jun - Baste and Tie Little Baby Quilt Top - Not Finished
July - Baste and Start to Quilt Little Baby Quilt - Not Finished
Aug - Sew Honey Pot Bee Blocks into a Top - Finished!
Oct - Baste Little Blue Quilt - Not Finished.
Nov - Baste Little Blue Quilt - Still Not Finished
Linking up with Elm Street Quilts + OMG, and around the web!
November felt really short! The weather turned super cold, and brisk. We celebrated, saw family and friends.
#watchercats were out despite the cold weather. We even had a run in with a look-a-like for our cat, Pit. As we pulled in the drive a bright cream blur streaked by. We thought for a moment that our Pit had managed to get out! But we quickly knew that couldn't be. Instead we met a sweet neighbor cat, and gave him a meal!
Many friends came to see us or we went to see them this month which a treat! We got to see many family members, too! Most of our visits were happy, some bittersweet, and one sad as we said goodby to my paternal grandmother.
Overall, November was a good month, but it felt so brief and now looking back, it all seems vague.
We still have December to go until a new year dawns. Can't hold it back now.
Last year (was it only last year??), I made a mat for Elvis. He was our 24 year old cat and he loved to sit in front of the radiator, but he needed some padding for his old bones. Almost as soon as it was completed, one of our other cats, Tom, wanted a mat, too. It took that year, but I finally have a nice mat for him to use.
For Tom's mat, I used a lot of older fabric from my stash and a lot of vintage fabric. When I was done piecing the "TOM", I decided it needed some extra size and added some fun boarders. As with all my quilts, Tom's mat is completely hand pieced using no pattern.
I used one of my go to backing fabric, which was gifted to me by my Brother in Law. I wanted this mat to be extra cushy and soft, so I used two scraps of batting to make it extra lofty. I hand quilted this mat with cream colored cotton thread.
I'm sure most people do not use regular sewing cotton as quilting thread, but I use it just like sewing, doubled and knotted. The only issues I've ever had with this is that it can bunch, and the doubled thread can get off balance, so that you have a longer loop from one of the doubled threads. But with careful slow stitching, I usually catch this with no problem. Sometimes, pulling the thread taut, I have broken the thread at the eye of the needle. When this happens, I simply rethread both the loose ends and keep going.
I bound this mini quilt by folding over the backing. Again, there is no measuring when I do this process so often the boarders vary in width on each edge. This mat had one little edge that was cut off, not square and I just folded the boarder accordingly, so one corner is snipped off. I had not intended this, but that was the way the quilt "wanted" to be, so I went with it! I really like the way it turned out and might try this technique again (on purpose!). I labeled this quilt very simply using another piece of the backing fabric. I liked the way the edges of the label were frayed, so instead of tucking them in, I sewed the label on the back of the quilt in such a way as to show them off.
The morning I finished Tom's is a Cat Mat, which measures approximately 37" x 26 1/2", Tom himself was sitting by the radiator and I put the mat down ASAP. Of course he didn't go near the radiator again! But Flounder took advantage of the new, soft and warm, mat! Cat mats are for everyone to share!
Tom likes his mat now and I'm happy to have a finish before the end of the year! This mini quilt is also on my Q4 FAL list so check one off for me!
Linking up around the web this week.
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 would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.
When first thinking about Zero Waste, I knew one simple swap I wanted to make was to stop using paper towels as napkins and start using a more sustainable option: cloth napkins. One day, I'd like to give up paper towels all together, but for now, we have to be satisfied with baby steps.
I think a huge trap in many simple swaps or zero waste swaps is to rush out and buy something new. And it's so tempting, you start looking at all the pretty options out there (like these, these, and these). But I think it's super important not to give into the temptation. Zero waste isn't only about not generating garbage, it's also about making mindful, low impact choices for a more sustainable life. Simple swaps should be just that, simple.
So I waited until I found just the right napkins, which ended up being at a rummage sale 4/$1. I was super happy to not rush out and buy napkins, but to get second hand plain yellow ones.
Getting accustomed to using cloth napkins didn't happen all at once. For a long time we still reached for paper towels or paper napkins, but gradually we started using our "new" cloth napkins. Now we rarely go a meal without them. One thing that helped was realizing that we don't need to wash our napkins every day, or after every use. If it's a particularly messy meal we will, but otherwise we can go two to three meals before washing. Cloth napkins are not for special occasions, they are for everyday!
But don't take my word for it; here are two other articles about cloth napkins from Reading My Tea Leaves, and Going Zero Waste. It's great to see people making a simple swap that makes a great impact on the world's waste. Our next step will be to take our new found cloth napkin ways out into the world! Using a cloth napkin at our favorite spots that only offer paper napkins with be another great step towards Zero Waste and a simple swap.
Who else out there uses cloth napkins? What are some of the benefits or challenges you have found?
November has become decidedly cold. Trees changed colors and shed their leaves, we've had the first frost and more. Almost all our inside plants are happy, a few still need extra dirt. We acquired some plants from my grandma, mostly xmas cactus that bloomed almost immediately.
I wish we had got out more, to hike or explore, as the weather turned. Hopefully December we will get do make more pointed plant observations.
What were your November plant sightings?
In August, I wrote briefly about the blog log I have been keeping in my Bullet Journal. I predicted August would be slow on blogs, and I was right!
The next few months were far better for getting blogs posted. My blog log changed a bit over that time as well. I like to keep a record of each blog in two ways, one by the day and date each blog is posted which is in the left column with a calendar. The other is a check list of type of blog category each post falls under. For instance, if it is a zero waste post, a new block post, a WIP, post, etc...This also has the date attached.
I use the space in between these columns to track how many, and when I post instagram pics on both my personal and my quilt based instas. It's easy to use these layouts to see how little I have been posting on the madcatquilts instagram.
In August I was still trying to track a Mad Cat Quilts Friday favorites weekly instagram post, but since I haven't been using that insta I stopped recording that in my layout. I do hope to get back to posting more there, and bring back Friday favorites one day. I was also trying to track how many and when I answer comments on the blog in this Bullet Journal layout. I see not answering comments is one of my biggest downfalls as a blogger, and I do hope to change this eventually. Since I didn't use that feature either, I also dropped it from my layout. Now I use the space for notes and ideas. I find this practice very useful.
Who else uses BuJo to keep track of blog related things?
I didn't realize this was the 3rd in a series when I picked it up, or I might not have. That fact doesn't even really become clear until a quarter way into the novel. But some relationships might have been easier to understand if I'd read the previous series.
Sarah Deane doesn't mind slaving away at the local museum near her aunt's Summer home in Maine. She'll get to visit her aunt and with any luck Alex, the ruggedly handsome doctor/birdwatcher/ameuture slueth that has been in and out over her life the last few years. But when local artist's work starts disappearing, and then people start turning up dead, Sarah must turn her attention to investigation.
This was a pretty terrible book. Long winded, a bit boring, nonsensical, trite. But it was also exactly the kind of book I thought it would be and exactly the kind of book I was wanting to read!
This is the epitome of what I would call a beach novel; easy to read, light, forgettable. Read it one Summer, or every Summer. It's the kind of book I aspire to one day write!! It also feeds my love of books about shore towns, with it's focus on fictional Weymouth, Maine and it's crazy characters. I don't think I'd recommend this book. It was pretty poorly written. But if you're researching your trashy beach mystery, as I am, it might be worth a look!
Do you prefer silly fanciful mysteries?
Tom has been sitting by the heater, which means it's time finish Tom's Mat.