Why I'm Not Changing the Name of This Blog

The anniversary of this blog is Oct 28th 2013. I started it mostly bc that was around the time that I was quilting seriously. I wanted to become part of the online quilting community and to document my journey. For many years, this blog was my accountability partner as well as my journal for keeping on track with quilting.

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Earlier this year, I decided to take a break from quilting. Quilting had become a chore, something I did bc I knew I had to/should but not bc I wanted to or was inspired. I found myself dragging my feet on making things, and therefore dragging my feet on posting on the blog, as well. Although it started as an avenue to share my quilting, this blog also became a way to share my life and other passions. So I didn’t take a break from the blog even though I needed a break from the reason I started it.

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I’m happy to share my zero waste journey, my love of where home, my attempts to lead a more mindful life. But I’m not going to change the name of this blog to move away from the quilting and towards some of those other avenues. Quilting has been a part of my life for a long time and I plan for it to continue to be. Quilting has ties to all the aspects of my life that I want to share here, whether I’m currently doing it or not. Hopefully I’ll return to quilting sooner rather than later and this space will be the spot to share it.

Something New: Hand Poked Tattoos

Disclaimer: This is not a tutorial. I am not a professional tattooer, and I am not giving anyone advice or guidance on this subject. I am only relaying my own experience and documenting my own journey.  

Two years ago I decided that I really wanted to learn how to do stick and poke tattoos.

Stick and Poke is a method of tattooing where one uses a tattoo needle to manually imbue ink into the skin with no tattoo gun or electricity. Stick and poke, or hand poked tattoos, are pretty trendy right now, but it is also an ancient tradition practiced by many cultures around the world. 

To start, I did a ton of research into this craft. I watched videos and read articles, as one should do when their goal is to poke permanent art into another's (or their own) skin. Eventually, I decided I just had to try it, so I invested in a few supplies (some research showed that many can be bought off tattoo websites or amazon) and started practicing. My research showed that practicing on fruits, pig skins, or fake human skins were the most common methods. I chose fruit. After a few months of practice on oranges, I decided it was time to test it out upon myself. 

 I remain super pleased with how my first tattoo came out!

I remain super pleased with how my first tattoo came out!

Since I have several tattoos, I knew sort of what to expect. I had never gotten a hand poked tattoo before, and they are a bit different that machine tattoos, but nothing drastically different in method or pain level. It is much slower, which is why the designs tend to be more simple and the colors less.  

So far, my journey has been very slow going, and each year, I make it a goal to try and do more. After my first tattoo on myself, I did two more on my husband and one on my BFF.  I have plans with a friend starting her own hand poked journey to have a poke party soon, and I'm excited for it! 

As with many of my goals, I'm talking about it here to have a record of it, give myself inspiration and hold myself accountable. I love this space to be able to look back and check how I'm progressing on the things I want to accomplish. 

I'm really excited to hear what people what me to put on them with hand poking! My next steps are to start thinking of ideas and working up sketches. I've tried sketching them before, and it's been in my goals many times, but I hope having an end game makes me stick with it!

 The first tattoo I made on my husband and my third tattoo ever.

The first tattoo I made on my husband and my third tattoo ever.

Do any readers have hand poked tattoos? What has been your experience with them?

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!!

So You Forgot Your Plastic Free Kit...

What do you do?!

First off, don't panic. You can still minimize your waste and the most important step is to just be mindful. Because I still often forget my kit, I have some experience in figuring out what to do with out it. 

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Go Without!
First and foremost if I forget my kit, I'll often just not do things that would generate plastic. Sometimes this means not using/eating/drinking/buying whatever it is, but more often, it's just setting aside the idea of the most convenient method. 
Example: If I'm thirsty but don't have my cup, I might choose to get water from a water fountain or coffee in a "for here" cup.

Eat In
Take away is convenient, but if I don't have the plastic free means to take it with me, I might choose to eat in so I don't have to use disposables.  

Eat it All
If I know I don't have a container to bring home my left overs, or compost, I try to think about it before I eat. I'll choose to eat a little less so as not to need a to-go container or doggy bag. 

Foil and Paper
When my eyes are still bigger than my stomach and I do end up having left overs, or when I need something at the store, but don't have my bags, I choose paper or aluminum foil instead of plastic or styrofoam. Choosing a more sustainable, recyclable, or compostable option is better than nothing. 
Example: If I choose to shop but don't have a reusable bag for bulk items, most grocery shops have a paper bag you can use. If you can't find one in the bakery section, ask someone at check out. Same goes for packing up my groceries for transport. At the diner, I'll ask for just a piece of foil rather than getting the bigger more wasteful option. Foil can be cleaned, reused and recycled, paper bags can be reused or put in the compost.  

Choose No Bag
More often than not, I'll just go without a bag if I forget one. We've carried entire grocery orders home in our hands if we forget our bags. You can't do this all the time, but if it's an option, I'll consider it!!

And sometimes, there's nothing you can do, you have to use a plastic cup, fork, portion container, etc... so if all else fails:

Bring it Home
If I have to get a disposable plastic item, even though I tried my hardest not to, I bring it home and reuse or recycle it. I have often been out and been served a plastic fork, despite having brought my own reusable one. I will save that fork, leave it in my bag, car or jacket pocket and reuse it another time. This has come in handy more times than I can count. I still feel bad about having to dispose of it eventually, but at least I know that it got a little more use. 
Example: Reuse plastic cups, flatware, etc... Recycle portion cups, and other disposables at home so you know where they end up, compost napkins, wooden chopsticks, and other single use non plastic items, too!

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Plastic is everywhere and it's really hard to try not to use it. The most important thing is to be mindful of the choices you make and put aside your own convenience. Start where you are and do what you can. Maybe your Plastic Free Kit is just getting started, so you have to use a plastic fork. If you choose to carry that fork in your kit for a while, hooray! Maybe your kit is extensive, but you left it at home, it happens! Maybe you asked for a glass but your drink still came in plastic, oh well, you tried! It's important to remember to learn from these incidents and try for better next time. 

Hopefully these tips will help and inspire those starting on a plastic free journey!
Do you have tips for getting started? Share them below!

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.

June OMG

For the first months of the year I had the same One Monthly Goal and I still haven't completed it. I thought about keeping with it this month, but I thought I would take a break and make a goal that would, hopefully be easier to accomplish. 

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Last month part of my hiatus from this blog was also a break from the Mad Cat Quilts Block Of the Month in May. For June I want to get back into it so I'm making creating two MCQBOM blocks my June OMG. 

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 - Not Finished
May - Finish scrappy quilt - Not Finished
Jun - 2 MCQBOM Blocks -

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts today. 

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May OMG

Yep, you guessed it. This month I'll still be trying to finish this scrappy little quilt. 

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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 - Not Finished
May - Finish scrappy quilt - 

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts and around the web. 

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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!

Youtube Video | Bullet Journal Flip Thru

Soooooo, I'm super new to YouTube. But I figure if I'm watching and enjoying YouTube, I should try it out, too. While I'm figuring it out, you can find me at Ana Mo Shoshin. I'd be super grateful for any tips, ideas, or comments!

Here is my second video in all it's bouncy glory. I had intended to put this at the end of yesterdays blog, but I could not get it to work for the life of me! Today, I figured it out!! Each time I upload, I learn things, see things that I want to change and ways to improve. Who else out there is starting their YouTube journey?

For those new to creating on YouTube, I highly recommend checking out all of channelnotes videos! She has a great way of being informative and inspiring and almost all her videos are less than 10 minutes!

March OMG

Still plugging away at getting this scrappy little quilt finished. March will be the month!!

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I made a ton of progress on this one in February after not working on it as diligently as I should have in previous months. I really want to see this one get finished this month and early if possible. Catching up on some sewing goals are a priority for me in March!!

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 - 

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts and OMG. 

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February OMG

Last month, I endeavored to finish one of two small quilts as the first OMG (One Monthly Goal) of the new year. I was able to finish one top, so finishing this scrappy little quilt is really important for me this month! 

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I still have to baste, quilt, bind, label and gift this quilt. I have a plan for the quilting and the small size should make this a doable goal!

So far, in 2018, I'm oh for one as far as OMG goes:
Jan - Finish one small quilt - Not Finished
Feb - Finish scrappy quilt -

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts, Slow Sunday Stitching, and more!

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MCQBOM² / 5

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 . 

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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. 

OMG December

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.  

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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!

TOM is a Cat Mat - A Finished Quilt

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. 

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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. 

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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!

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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. 

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