Asbury Park Reborn

One of my goals in 2016 is to read more. See other books I've read here.

My mother gifted me Asbury Park Reborn: Lost to Time and Restored to Glory by Joseph G Bilby and Harry Zielger bc she knows I have a deep nerdy love of the history of my surroundings. 


Asbury Park, NJ, has a rich and varied history that i s clear to anyone who walks through the city. By looking at the architecture, one wonders how the city developed over time and wonders at the stories and significance of many buildings. Asbury Park Reborn... has the answers. 

One of the reasons we moved to Asbury Park was it's distinct, infamous, and controversial history and the mark the city has made on the world. So, it was a great pleasure to read more on this history, and especially of buildings we pass every day. Concisely written with a small chapter on each building, some demolished, most still standing, Asbury Park Reborn... is packed with information. The histories are more than just of the buildings, but also of the city as a whole and how each piece fits together. This book also illuminates how Asbury Park looks today and sheds some light on the future of the city. 

Asbury Park Reborn... is a fascinating, brief and enjoyable read! the authors were thorough and clearly love the city they were researching which makes this book even better in my opinion. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's interested in US history, shore towns, small towns, gay rights, racial rights in America, or New Jersey. 

Artifacts Uprising Review

Disclaimer: My product reviews are completely unsponsored and unsolicited. The opinions are my own from my own experiences. 

Just the week before xmas, I decided I really wanted to send out new address cards for the xmas/new year season. I've always wanted to try Artifacts Uprising so I thought this would be the perfect time. 

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I decided to use two photos I had taken of the wreath on our door. I logged on easily and chose the cards I wanted. I opted for the simple Everyday Photo Cards in size 3.5 x 4.9. It was a little confusing bc although I opted for 20 cards in the quantity section, the editor section only let's you edit 10 at a time. You also have to edit one card at a time, but you can choose 10 different designs, one for each card. I did my first batch of 10 cards all the same photo, the next batch I did 5 and 5. Since I ordered them so close to the holiday, they let me know there was no guarantee I'd get them in time to send for xmas. 

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Artifacts Uprising was very quick and the cards arrived with in a week or so! I imagine the wait would be longer if the order were larger. The cards themselves are really lovely, printed on heavy, soft, textured, card stock. The images are crisp and the colors are bright. I love the minimal use of the company logo on the back of each card.  Overall, the quality is very high.
Artifacts Uprising is a little more pricy than some of the other makers out there (each card came to about $1.83) but I will definitely be using them again. I would highly recommend them!

Has anyone else used Artifacts Uprising?   

WIP 1/10/16

I'm trying to get this WIP from top to finish by the end of January.
All my quilts are completely hand pieced, quilted and bound. I never show my piecing stitches, but I'm working hard on improving so here's a peek behind the scenes (seams?).  

I'm working towards my stitches being more like the diagonal line as opposed to the horizontal one. 

I'm working towards my stitches being more like the diagonal line as opposed to the horizontal one. 

One of my quilty goals this year is to get at least one finish done each month. I have specific deadlines for some quilts, and I want to get my production up. Heidi at Red Letter Quilts is hosting a great link up: OMG (One Monthly Goal)

One thing I really like about OMG is that you can set any quilting goal, not just a finish, to link up with. This link up is all about encouragement to achieve your goal!! This brings me up to 4 link ups for the month, which serves another goal of community involvement!
I'm linking up with OMG today and with Kathy at Kathy Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching

The Year Of the Stash

Over at A Quarter Inch from the Edge, The Year of the Stash is happening and I'm joining up!

This is a great link up, as there are really no rules, but it's a neat way to be mindful of what you're quilting with, as well as a way to use more and buy less. 
I decided to participate because "shopping" my extensive stash makes me feel good about what I'm quilting, helps fulfill two goals of my 2016 goals (quilt more, use up/don't buy), means the chances of using reclaimed or recycled fabrics is increased, and helps me declutter so I can actually see what fabrics I have. 
Usually, I can always find something in my stash the fits any bill I might be looking for in any project. So why buy? I guess the answer to that is bc it's fun! And there are so many gorgeous fabrics! I have to admit I went on a bit of a buying frenzy at the end of last year. Ostensibly, I had to buy some things for projects I'm working on, but really, I had enough in my current stash and didn't need to by anything. I'm happy to have all the fabrics I bought, but ultimately I feel worse for buying them, disappointed in myself for collecting more things that I don't need, and a little sad that my current collection of beautiful fabric went unused.

To help me be mindful in The Year of the Stash here is my manifesto:

1) Buy as little new fabric as possible. I won't say buy none. I want to be free to get a great new piece here or there, patron indy quilt shops, or buy backing when needed. I'll buy used, reclaimed, and/or vintage fabric when possible. I pride myself on using these fabrics in my quilts, and need to scoop them up when they preset themselves. But I want to be mindful not to add too much to my stash!
2) Use some used, vintage and/or reclaimed fabrics in all quilts. Last year was the first time I used all new fabric for some quilts and it just didn't feel right. As I said above, I pride myself to use these vintage items, and I need to get back to that. I have such a wonderful collection in my stash, it needs to get out into the world!  
3) Organize as I go. When we moved, I started folding and color coordinating my stash and discovered that I have far too much fabric!! I barely made a dent before I filled up the entire space I'd set aside. I'd like to utilize this space better this year. I want to use up, organize, and consolidate during The Year of the Stash!
4) Sew, sew, sew! One of my goals is to have at least one finish per month, I'd also like to make one new block per month. Sourcing from my stash will help me as I have so many wonderful fabrics at my fingertips! 

And that's it! Simple, right? I'll be posting blogs about my Year of the Stash and linking up regularly at Quarter Inch from the Edge. I hope some of my readers will join in as well! And be sure to check out other quilter's manifestos here

2015 Finish Along Q4 Recap + 2016 Finish Along Q1 List

I really enjoyed participating in my first Finish Along in 2015 (Check out all the details for last year here). I didn't get a as much done as I would have liked last year, but it was a nice way to track my progress. I'll be happy to look back at my blog posts in years future. I can't wait to start 2016!


Although technically I missed the cut off to link up my 2015Q4 List, I still made one and completed a finish on my list! I haven't been able to post the quilt I finished bc it's still hasn't been gifted. Since I wasn't able to add to the link up, it didn't really matter. But keep your eye out for that post: coming soon!

Here's the 2015Q4 list:
1) Finish quilting, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris.
I thought about this project a lot, but I suppose that doesn't really count. 

2) Finish quilting and making, stuff and use, Pillow #1 for a New Secret Project.
Moving put a hold on this one....

3) Start, piece, baste, quilt, bind and label OC/GC Baby Quilt.
Some work got done on this and it'll make the new list. 

4) Piece back, baste, quilt, bind, label Baby Quilt Commission #1.

5) Finish piecing front and back, baste, quilt, bind, label, Baby Quilt Commission #2.
Work got done on this and it'll be in the new list, too!

6) Finish piecing front, piece back, baste, quilt, bind Xmas Medallion Quilt. 
I'm not even sure where this quilt is...

On to 2016Q1!

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In my goals for this year, I want to get a quilting finish done each month. This won't stop me from making my 2016Q1 list longer than 3 items!

1) Finish piecing, baste, quilt, bind and label OC/GC Baby Quilt. 

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I'm gonna try and list these in order in which they need to get done, and this is the first.  

2) Finish piecing the back, baste, quilt, bind, label, Baby Quilt Commission #2

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I have some ideas about how I want to quilt this one, so I can't wait to get started. 

3) Finish quilting, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris.

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This quilt was on all 4 of my 2015 Finish Along lists. It's time it was really put to bed.  I'd love to have this finished in time for Mother's Day, but I've said that before...

4) Quilt, bind, and label Geometric Gift Quilt. 


This might be my biggest quilt to date and I'm eager to finish it. 

5) Finish quilting, bind, and label Original Mini. 


This one goes way back!

Setting deadlines is another one of my goals this year, so I feel that this is a great list to help me achieve that.
I'm so pleased to be linking up with Debbie at A Quilter's Table this year for the 2016 Finish Along.  This year's FAL is spread over several blogs, but here's where you can find all the details to join. I hope some of my readers will join up and share their progress with Mad Cat Quilts!

PS Here are some stats and links to my 2015 Finish Along:
Out of 15 unique quilts that made it to my 2015 lists I finished 5. One third of my year's goal is a pretty good start, I think!! 
2015 Finish Along
Stormy Friendship
Label Maker
Scrappy Hearts
Commissioned Baby Quilt #1 - Post to follow. 

Finish Along Q4 Goals + Q3 "Finishes".

So, while I've technically missed the cut-off to join the 4th quarter of the Finish Along a long time ago, I still plan to follow through until the end. First the Q3 recap! 

Q3 was less productive than Q2. Here's the list:

1. Finish quilting, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris.
2. Finish quilting and making, stuff and use, PIllow #1 for a New Secret Project.
3. Piece, baste, quilt, bind, and label Beach Blanket Quilt.
4. Finish piecing, baste, quilt, and bind and gift Tattoo Trade Quilt.
5. Piece, baste, bind, and label Bright Triangles Quilt.
6.  Start, piece, baste, quilt, bind and label OC/GC Baby Quilt.

Not a single one of these projects got finished and many were not even touched. Some new projects were started, so the list for Q4 will look quite different!

Not much time for doodling, with everything going on at home...

Not much time for doodling, with everything going on at home...

1) Finish quilting, bind, and label Quilt for Grandma Doris.


I won't get this one done in time for her Bday on Nov 6 (89!!) but I might be able to get it done for xmas. 

2) Finish quilting and making, stuff and use, PIllow #1 for a New Secret Project.


I'd love to have this secret project moving along by Jan/feb. Finishing this is the first step!

3) Start, piece, baste, quilt, bind and label OC/GC Baby Quilt.


Needs to be done by Feb. No Spoilers. 

4) Piece back, baste, quilt, bind, label Baby quilt commission #1. 

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This one HAS to be a Dec finish. So, really, this should be in the number 1 slot. 

5) Finish piecing front and back, baste, quilt, bind, label, baby quilt commission #2.   

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This one isn't needed until April. Phew. But I do want to get a jump on it. 

6) Finish piecing front, piece back, baste, quilt, bind Xmas Madallion Quilt. 


This is the last hopeful quilt on the list. Doubt I'll even get it out....

Linking this post up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching .

Alright, time to get to work!

Rest In Peace, Tiger

I read yesterday that a creature I would consider a friend passed away. It hit me pretty hard. 

Tiger was a constant on 6th Avenue, where I passed walking to work every day. I had seen him for many years, even before I moved to the neighborhood. It did not go unnoticed that we would move so close to him. We were pretty excited about it.

He was almost always around, guarding his turf, or snoozing in the sun, sometimes chasing down baby birds fallen from the nest, or eyeing down a terrier.  He had a regal apartment, decked out with beds, hammocks, toys, and food. He had an "upstairs neighbor who sometimes hung out in the window above him. He didn't seem to mind the occasional pigeon sharing his meal.  Tiger had his own bench. When he wasn't in front of his opulent abode, he was winding his way to greet you or any passerby (he really liked kids),  surveying local construction, or hiding out at one of his other stomping grounds near by. 

I would often look for him, and be delighted to turn the corner and see him, perched at eye level, on a trash can cover near some potted flowers. Sometimes I would spy him further up the block in yard with a red Japanese maple, red stones, and a red fence. It was always just like greeting a neighbor you've seen for years. You are happy and surprised at their presence, cheerful to say hello! Tiger, you could tell, felt the same. He'd come out to get a scratch, perhaps trailing behind you for a few houses. 

I didn't know Tiger well. I did, in fact, think he was a she for our entire acquaintance. (I also always pictures her name being spelled "Tyger" in a sort of grrrl power way).  But he was a staple of my day, my week. He had a distinctively handsome face and a particular white triangle on his nose that you couldn't mistake. He was a fixture in the neighborhood and I am not the only one who will dearly miss him. 

In a way, it feels like the universe telling me it's ok to go now. The things I love in Brooklyn are dying and I'm ready to move and move on.