6 Months to Zero Waste: Meatless Mondays in May

Last month we figured out how to compost to reduce our food waste. Another food related waste that we can start to combat is the to understand the huge impact the modern industrial meat has on the waste we create.

Some great ways to combat this kind of waste is to go totally vegan, only buy local meat from small farms, only grow your own food, fish for your sea food, etc… But a simple and good first step is to be more mindful of what meat, fish and dairy, you do consume.

It can be Monday, Wednesday, or whenever, but making sure to take one day a week to consciously be aware of what you’re eating and where it’s coming from. If you eat a lot of meat, take one day to be vegetarian, if your veg, take a day to be vegan. Eat local one day, eat raw, eat no processed foods, eat only from your garden, eat only foods not packaged in plastic… there are so many ways to be mindful of what you are eating and change you habits.

By simply changing how we think about what we eat, we can become more mindful of the waste our food creates, and become more mindful of how that waste effects our environment and planet.

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Since January, we’ve been taking some time each month for small ways we can reduce our waste and move towards a more zero waste lifestyle.

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.

Here’s what we have done each month, so far. Feel free to follow a long, do everything all at once, or come up with your own monthly challenge.

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
We went thru what we have to declutter and reduce.
March - Switch to Paper
This month we moved to paper to get one step closer to reusables.
April - Compost
Composting is an easy way to reduce food waste and prevent it from reaching the landfill.
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

Where are you in your zero waste journey?

6 Months of Zero Waste: March Switch Review

If you’re looking to reduce your waste or your plastic consumption, you might already know that giving up plastic bags is an easy first step.

Whether a this is a first step or a fiftieth, giving up plastic bags just make sense. Every time we go to the grocery, big box store, etc… we are given a plastic bag out of hand. When we pick up some rolls at the grocery, some lemons, or a head of lettuce, etc… we put them in or they come in a plastic bag. The best solution for this is to simply bring your own reusable bags, made from mesh, clothe, recycled materials, and old tee shirt, whatever!

If remembering to bring a reusable bag is still a hard step for you, consider switching to paper.

Granted, this is a lateral move, bc it’s still creating waste, but asking for paper is a good way to be mindful of your plastic intake. In stead of taking a plastic bag for your self serve rolls, cookies, or produce look around the grocery for a paper bag, or ask at the check out for a small paper bag. A lot of times these live by the bakery section.

Many groceries now have a bulk section which usually have a plastic bag to store your items in. You can use a paper bag! Ideally, you’ll graduate to bringing a cloth bag or reusable jar for this, but for now using paper is a great first step!

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By choosing paper over plastic at every opportunity in the grocery, your reducing your plastic waste but you can also reuse the paper bags in many ways! We get our groceries in paper and then use those bags for all our trash and recycling. In our area, we can’t put our recycling out in plastic bags, by putting it in paper, it allows us to store it and toss it, with out unnecessary plastic. You can reuse your paper bags by returning them to the store and using them again, you can pack your lunch on them, use them to donate clothes to the thrift, use them for book covers or wrapping paper, shelf liners, or litter box liners. When your bags are too crinkled to reuse, toss them in your compost pile and they will turn into soil for your garden.

A few tips for switching to paper:
Go for brown bags - they aren’t bleached and therefore better to eventually compost or dispose of.
Don’t use bags if you don’t have to - If you can go with out a bag, that’s ever better than switching to paper! Potatoes, apples, and other veggies or larger items that come in their own containers don’t need to be in a bag at all.
Make sure to reuse your paper bags - An issue with switching to paper is that your house can be overwhelmed with paper bags. Using them to hold trash, or in any number of ways, make sure that they aren’t cluttering up your home.
Try to bring them back to the store when you can - Remembering to put your used paper bags in the car or in your purse/backpack to bring back to the grocery is a good way to get the hang of bringing your own bag.

At Mad Cat Quilts, we’re still catching up with our 6 month of Zero Waste Challenge. Here’s what we’ve done so far:

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
We went thru what we have to declutter and reduce.
March - Switch to Paper
April - Compost
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

How are you doing with your 6 month of zero waste? Are you following along or are you challenging your self in other ways?

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6 Months of Zero Waste: February Declutter Review

In January I posted about 6 ways to reduce you waste, or become closer to the Zero Waste lifestyle. Here is a little refresher of something to do each month leading up to Plastic Free July:

January - Trash Audit
We separated and looked our trash to see what we are throwing away and what we can reduce.
February - Declutter Everything
March - Switch to Paper
April - Compost
May - Meatless Monday
June - No Bottled Water

How have you you been doing so far? I’ve gotten behind in reviewing and documenting each month, so hopefully you’ve been following along on your own. If not, no worries, it’s never too late to jump on and start! If you need the push to get started here is the February Review:

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In February we declutter.
That could be a motto for America this year, right? With Marie Kondo’s method for clean living being on the top of everyones to watch list, this was an easy month to get your self and your stuff sorted. Whether you use her life changing magic, or you just had some good old fashion cleaning sessions, decluttering and minimizing is a great step towards Zero Waste. Like the trash audit, it allows us to see what we are using and what we are wasting. Once we have established that, it’s easier to see where we can reduce in out day to day.

Personally, I didn’t get a lot decluttered in Feb, but I have been trying to declutter as I go, day to day. I know that I still need to take a full day for each area that needs to be reassessed.

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What’s great about this challange, is it’s ok to go at your own speed. Starting to think about waht your wasting, cstarting to be aware of waste that’s created day to day is the biggest piece of the puzzle. Changing your midset to think like a zero waster is the hardest part of being sero waste, but it’s also the biggest step, so once you’ve made that mindset shift, you’ve already come a long way!

How did your declutter go?

Made From Scratch + Giveaway

One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasure of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich after I found her blog, Cold Antler Farm.

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Last year, I went thru a rash of buying books I was interested in on Amazon. I am very torn over this practice. On the whole, I think amazon is a bad thing, but it does make it easy to find many things easily and quickly. I really appreciate that it’s easy to find used books from smaller sellers. This was a book I bought used off of amazon, it’s taken me forever to finish it.

The first of several books from urban farmer, Jenna Woginrich, Made from Scratch follows Jenna while starting her own homestead. With high hopes, and great expectations, she sets out on a unique journey that often is less exciting and more difficult than she imagined. Ultimately she finds a fulfilling life, handmade.

Although this book was informative and interesting, it wasn’t my favorite. I don’t love Woginrich’s voice in this book, part know it all, brash and unapologetic, part entitled, part humbled by experience (but to a much lesser degree). I understand that there will be trials and errors in farming of any kind, but she kills an entire hive of bees, a rabbit and creates other waste with very few pauses to reflect on this aspect of homesteading. It does make sense with the gung-ho attitude in which she dove into this new lifestyle, that her memoir of it is gung-ho as well. Unfortunately, this just did not resinate with me. That being said, there were aspects of this book that I did enjoy! I love and connect with her idea of seeking out used equipment, and household items, that she places great importance on music, handmade food and clothing, solitude and being unafraid and unashamed to try new things, even if you might fail. I recommend it to those who are interested in homesteading, thrifting, and simple living.

Now for something a little different: A giveaway! I didn’t love this book, but one of my readers might!
Since I’m not interested in keeping it in my collection I want to pass it on to one of my readers, coffee rings and all. Head over to my instagram, to the post with Made From Scratch, follow me there, and leave a comment telling me what you’d name your farm/homestead to be entered to win this book.

The giveaway will be open only to those living in the United States and runs Thursday 4/11 to Thursday 4/18 and a winner will be chosen on Friday 4/19. I chose these dates to align with the full moon for this month! Good luck!

Pantone Color of the Year 2019

Each year Pantone, the paint and color people, choose a color in December for the year ahead. They imbue these colors with ideas and ideals for the new year. I don't always agree with the choices but along with many in the quilting community, I like to ruminate on them a bit.

For 2019, Pantone chose Living Coral.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.

Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral emits the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of color found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color.”

I may seems like a downer when it comes to Pantone’s color of the year. I started examining it and sharing my thoughts in 2016 and I’ve disagreed with the meaning or idea behind just about every color since. Serenity and Rose Quartz (2016) felt confining in it’s binary structure (at a time when we should be seeing past blue and pink), Greenery (2017) felt tone deaf in it’s optimism in nature as opposed to the world-leader’s intent to destroy it, and Ultra Violet (2018) would have made more sense if they had called it Ultra Violent (I mean, it was the year with the most mass shootings in the US so far).

I’m sure that Pantone intends these colors to be uplifting and inspiring.

But come on!! At a time when most of the world coral reefs are headed soon to destruction, when the US is actively repealing environmental safeties and sustainability, Pantone is going to say looking at an intestinal putrid pink is going to save us from the fantasies of the internet and connect with nature and the world??

But perhaps it is all in the name. If it had been called Puke or even Drink the Koolaid or Road Kill, I might have felt it was more appropriate for what we have to face in the coming year.

If this is our color of the year, let it be named Extra Strength Pepto Bismol. Pantone, help me stomach another year like the last few.

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But don’t take my word for it. Here are a few articles on Living Coral

From Tree Hugger (you know I love them!)

NJ News likes it bc it’s from NJ!

I always love to read what A Quilter’s Table has to say about the Color of the Year.

Well and Good thinks Living coral is … sexy?

I really like what Thrillist says: “it's not a reflection, it's a response -- an answer”. I personally can’t seem to get that point, but I want it to be true!

What are your thoughts on Living Coral?

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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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