Mad Cat Market

Since I have renewed my love of thrifting, I wanted to have an avenue to pass on some of my favorite finds. A great thing about thifting is that I find a lot of amazing peices of clothing, homewares, and unique items, but the downside is that I can't keep them all. So, welcome to the official launch of Mad Cat Market, an online shop to share my thrifting finds with everyone!

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I view thrifting as a way of saving items that might otherwise end up in a landfill.  Things I love to "save" are made of natural materials, are vintage, hand made, or unique. My favorite clothes to thrift are made from cotton, linen, silk, tencel, or other natural fibers. Sometimes I have to pick up a synthetic fiber bc the item is so awesome! For homewares I like porcelain, wood, stoneware, embroidery, wicker, etc... 

One of my goals is to pass along these saved treasures at a reasonable rate. I want these items to be loved as much as I might love them if I could keep them all. I'm using an existing Big Cartel shop and keeping it at the lowest plan, which dictates that my collections are kept pretty small but means I can pass the savings on to the buyers! Each is hand picked and curated and I hope that the shoppers like them!

I also invite everyone to visit the Mad Cat Market instagram. I plan on posting sneak peaks, sales, and inspiration there!

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The current collection is a mix of Summer and Fall transition pieces in a range of sizes and styles. 

I'd love to hear what people like or want to see or see more of! I'd love this space to also become a place where people can let me know what items them might be seeking and a conversation about thrifting and sustainable shopping. This is a new experience for me, so I'm thankful for people bearing with me while I work out the kinks and the mission of this shop! Thanks for checking out the new shop!!

Off Season: gARTen, Asbury Park

On the main street (but not Main Street) of our town, tucked in a lot, beyond a fence, besides an ice cream shop, it the gARTen. Truth be told, I don't know too much about it but I think it's an amazing thing to have in one's town!! I'm not sure who is behind this amazing open air junk art gallery display but I salute them! 

This garden isn't open all the time, I don't know the hours, but that almost makes it more magical. You'll be walking along and see that it's open and pop in as an unexpected treat! The garden is always different, pieces added, pieces missing, and constantly in a state of entropy. At night, it's illuminated by blacklight!

I love that someone (or several someone) is creating these objects and I love that they are made from trash that might otherwise end up in the landfill or even worse in the ocean and on the beach, just a few blocks away. 

The other day my husband mentioned that he read that this art project was in danger so we decided to head over and check it out. Hopefully it won't be for the last time. 

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This art project reminds me a lot of my childhood and early education. Being homeschooled and then going to an alternative education school, we were always making the most of the supplies we had and making things out of "junk".  

We are so lucky to have a an art space like this in our town. These unique spaces should thrive in young cities like ours. We should work to preserve them!

Do you have a unique place like this in your town or city?

August Plant Update

August was summer's bounty and did not disappoint. So many flowers, fruits, storms, veggies, and sun!! We've gotten to go to the beach, parks, and explore our own backyard. 

 Summer storms.

Summer storms.

 Butterfly bush.

Butterfly bush.

 On our butterfly trek we saw thee delicate flowers. Anyone know what they are?

On our butterfly trek we saw thee delicate flowers. Anyone know what they are?

 No filter!! Bright bright orange!

No filter!! Bright bright orange!

 All the sun flowers. 

All the sun flowers. 

 Found one!

Found one!

 Huge mushroom!!

Huge mushroom!!

The mushrooms near us have been bananas! We have seen so many huge mushrooms making huge fairy rings. Have you had a lot of mushrooms where you live?

What were your plant observations this month?

In Search of Milkweed

We are already thinking about and planning our next year's garden. One big focus we have is attracting more pollinators! We are starting to gather seeds from friends, buying them off the internet, and seeking them out around where we live. 

We recently set out to find some milkweed near us. It was too early for us to gather seeds, but we had fun spotting the plant! We plan to go back later in the Summer or early Fall to see if we can view more butterflies!

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 Monarch caterpillar!

Monarch caterpillar!

 Snail on snail!

Snail on snail!

 Cicada!

Cicada!

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What are some of your favorite pollinator attractors? Is anyone else planning their 2019 garden?

Recently Thrifted

Since returning to thrifting, I've tried to not buy too much, not buy things I wouldn't need and use. But the problem with thrifting is that you find so much good stuff! It's really hard to limit myself when I see things that I want to "save". Here are a few recent finds:

I'm not sure what I will use this wooden tray for, but I couldn't leave it behind. 

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Thrifting is great for feeding my love for vintage, collections, and vintage collections! I have a deep love for sheets and bedding from the 60s and 70s. I'n not sure what it is about the cool feel and classic patterns (usually floral) of these that make them irresistible. 

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Lastly, I found an amazing hand knit, square, neck sweater in a confetti of colors. I have been really excited to find hand made items over the last few months. There's something amazing about finding a hand made item and giving it new life. I can't wait to wear this in cooler weather and already have an idea that this might be the color inspiration for my Fall 2018 capsule wardrobe. 

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Knowing that items like vintage sheets, once loved hand made pieces, or interesting homewares, will one day be gone, replaced by cookie cutter, cheaply made, unmindfully or inhumanely mass produced, pre-garbage (kipple, if you will), makes thrifting seem like it an important part of the low impact movement and my low waste lifestyle.   

I've even been toying with the idea of a pop up shop, or online store or something fun to share my thrift finds with the world. Do any reader have online shops? Would anyone be interested in purchasing curated second hand items? Comment below!

July Plant Update

We've been having such a mild Summer, but in July we've seen some very hot days so far. The plants liked it and it was a great month for plant observations. Flowers were prominent but the real stars of July were all the critters!

 Our local garden center is a favorite spot to visit for Summer blooms. 

Our local garden center is a favorite spot to visit for Summer blooms. 

 I love clematis! So pretty!

I love clematis! So pretty!

 Squirrel butt!

Squirrel butt!

 Can anyone tell me what kind of caterpillar this is?

Can anyone tell me what kind of caterpillar this is?

 This bee is doing all the good work in our garden!

This bee is doing all the good work in our garden!

 June bug. 

June bug. 

 Tomato horn worm. 

Tomato horn worm. 

 Police station bunny. 

Police station bunny. 

 Serious tenant #watchercat. 

Serious tenant #watchercat. 

 Our morning glories are finally blooming!

Our morning glories are finally blooming!

 Love these day lilies that were here before we moved in. 

Love these day lilies that were here before we moved in. 

 Our garden, mid July. I will be posting a garden tour, soon! See it in late July in my last post. 

Our garden, mid July. I will be posting a garden tour, soon! See it in late July in my last post. 

What does every else July plants look like?

Whitesbog Revisited

This is our third year going to the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival and it's one of our favorite June events!! This year was much cooler and cloudy than previous years. It was really nice to do some exploring, eating and observing when it wasn't a million degrees. 

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We also saw this amazing dog!! How cute and tough is he?

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I love to visit and revisit the places we love around NJ. It's so great to see an area in all different weather. Where are your favorite places to visit in your state?

June Plant Update

A little late but here are my plant observations for June!

Lots of flowers!! Veggie garden is started! Replated roses! Farmers markets! What do June plants look like where you live?

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These little light green plants popped up in our blueberry bushes all in a clump? What are they?

This weird fungus also appeared! Can anyone help us identify it? 

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It was a great month for plants! Love living this plant life!

May In Review

May went by in a blur. I took an unexpected hiatus from the blog, saw so many friends and family, made new friends, found watchercats, worked on the house, took long walks, explored places new and old, worked hard, but had tome to rest, too. June started off in a new place and with a celebration. What will happen next?

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Tattoo Story: Anchor

It might be an unofficial goal for 2018 (and every year) but I would love to get more tattoos this year. Actually, I think about my next tattoos constantly. Does everyone feel like this?

In honor of my future tattoos, I thought I would take a look back at my current tattoos. I hope I can remember in what order I got them! 

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Getting your first tattoo is so odd bc you have no idea what to expect!! It did not go as I was thinking but one thing was for sure, I loved it! This tattoo was not at all how I expected it to come out. I had had ideas of what it would look like, but it working with another person on art is always a surprise! My artist was Ryoko and she was working at Brooklyn Tattoo at the time. 

I always get asked if I intend to put color on my tattoos, but I do not! I love my thin black and grey line work. I hope that all my tattoos are semmetrical, so this tattoo is on my left forearm, and  I have another one of the opposite arm. 

What is the story behind your tattoos? 

April Plant Update

Finally!! Flowers in my plant update!! This update is all about flowers, in fact. From the beginning of the month, with snow covered buds, to the end of the month when many trees and flowers are in full bloom, here are some pretty plant observations. 

 Can anyone tell me what these flowers are?

Can anyone tell me what these flowers are?

 This crocus was hanging on for dear life. 

This crocus was hanging on for dear life. 

 Finally the magnolias are blooming. 

Finally the magnolias are blooming. 

 Same tree...

Same tree...

 ...different day. 

...different day. 

 This apartment/tree set up always reminds me of Nola. 

This apartment/tree set up always reminds me of Nola. 

 Yessssss. 

Yessssss. 

What's blooming in your neck of the woods?

The Thrifting Bug

When I was younger thrifting was one of my favorite activities. I never stopped thrifting but I did slow down quite a bit. But recently, I've caught the bug again. 

Now that I only buy second hand clothes, I find myself stopping by the local thrift shops quite often. I also keep an eye out for rummage sales, yard sales, etc... I still try not to buy too much, but sometimes I find treasures I can't resist. 

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I try to have a mental list of what items I'm looking for; I love to get shoes, clothing with great fabrics, lovely homewares, vintage toys, and more. But I try to only buy what I need and will use. What do you look for when thrifting? 

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?

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!