2016 Goals

 I'm so excited for the year ahead and the possibilities it offers! My list of goals for 2016 keeps growing. I don't like to make New Years Resolutions. I don't want to resolve to doing things, I want to aspire to doing them! 

Work on Creative Endeavors as Much as Work 
For 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". And this past year has taught me that this is a very difficult task. Nearly Impossible. I am excited to carry this goal over and continue to work towards it.  

As a way to work towards goal number 1, I need to work more on my craft. Some things I want to work on in this area are to improve my skills, be involved in at least one market, and one show, have a finish every month, and generally make more! 

In 2015, I made great strives in my blogging. I want to keep that up with regular blog posts. Like, really regular! I learned last year that I need take 1 month off from blogging. My slowest time for posts is over the summer. I failed to update shop regularly in 2015. This is something I hope to do. Hopefully that will result in more sales, as I would like to gain practice at selling, packaging, and gathering customers and followers to widen my community. 

Draw More (some).  
To inspire this goal, I've started a secret project. Something that might help this would be to do a drawing a day for a year. 365 drawings might be a weighty goal, but I'm going to try!

I want to learn to set and complete more deadlines for myself.  

House and Home
I want to continue to get better at taking care of my family and our home.  

I want to get better at taking care of myself and my health. I'd like to exercise at least 4 times a week. I want to stretch every day. I want to continue to make and eat wonderful and healthy foods. 

Wardrobe/Use Up, Don't Buy
I plan to continue my wardrobe project which I worked on last year. And I want to strive to reduce, reuse, and recycle more in my everyday life. I'd love to be able to not buy anything (besides food, necessities, etc...) for at least 6 months out of the year 2016.  

Now that I've moved, I need to get involved! Step one - get a job I love! I also want to make sure that I stay in touch with my old community, so friends will be a priority this year. 

Read More 
Nuff said. 

I'd love to hear some readers goals for the coming year. Leave them in the comments or show us a link!

2015 Goals Review

In the beginning of 2015, like many years, I set a list of goals for myself. I find that it's a good way to be mindful of some things that I want to work towards accomplishing. Some of these goals were realized, at least in part, some were thought about, mulled over, but none were completely abandoned. The list isn't made to be a worry or a task, it's really just a way for me to keep in mind things that I would like to do, ways that I would like to improve myself. Here is the original post from 2015.  

Below is the list of my 2015 goals and related blog posts:

Work on Creative Endeavors as Much as Work - 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.
Although this goal doesn't have any distinct posts, I did try to work on it. I hope to carry this over to 2016.

Sewing/Blogging - More sewing and more blogging about it! I want to work on my online shop. I must do one market, or fair. 
One could say this entire blog should make it on this list.

Holiday Sale

Take Better Care of My Health and the Health of My Family/Take Better Care of the House - In all the hustle and bustle of work and life this is something I often forget to pay close attention to. I want to always be striving to make a better house for my family and plants and keep us in good health.
I think I made good strives in this direction, especially when the time came to move and adjust to a new environment. There are some areas that are lacking (exercise!!), but hopefully there can be addressed in 2016.
House Plant Goals

Stay in Touch with My Friends - I'm fairly antisocial by nature, but I love my friends and care to make them feel appreciated. 
This goal also doesn't have specific posts, but I felt I made good headway on this, even to the point of sending out holiday cards!

Use Up, Don't Buy
-  I need to reduce all things in my life and and make better use of the things I keep. 
This goal was a great way to keep in mind a lifestyle I aim for. 

Wardrobe Makeover
- One thing I have far too many of are clothes. I must make my wardrobe more manageable and stop buying clothes!
Some Little Things
Who Needs This Many...  

Travel when Possible - Always more exploring to be done.
Sea, Sand, and Snow
3 Days in Cape May

2 Days in Alabama
2 Days in New Orleans

Read More - I can only remember reading three books last year (2014). Pitiful. 
A Walk in the Woods

Saturn's Return to New York
Famous Potatoes
Ash in My Mouth...
Woman in the Dark

Move Out of the City - It's time.
I totally did this! 

And the year isn't quite over yet, there's still room to add more posts here...
Some of these goals will carry over to 2016, some may not. I feel confident that I at least touched on every goal in 2015. I hope to achieve the same mindfulness in 2016. 
Please, please share your 2015 goal recaps, or 2016 goal lists in the comments!! I am always grateful to be inspired by your posts!

Women in the Dark

One of my goals for 2015 is to read more.  Check out the other books I've read this year hereherehere, & here

The fifth book I've read so far is Woman in the Dark by Dashielll Hammett. I borrowed this one from the BPL, one more for the road, as they say!


I'm a fan of mysteries and noir stories, and Hammett is one of the greatest of the genres. 

Luise Fischer is on the run in the cold dark night. When she stumbles in to the home of a taciturn and handsome stranger, her luck might be changing. 

This is a quick and to the point, classic feeling, noir novella. Perfect in its sparsity.  This is a great introduction to this genre if you've never read it. Woman in the Dark is also a perfect read for current fans or fans of short books. 

Do any readers enjoy noir novels? Do you prefer short quick paced books, or long involved stories?


Ash in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes

One of my goals for 2015 is to read more.  Check out the other books I've read this year herehere, and here

The fourth book I've read this year is Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes by Per Petterson. I borrowed this book from the Brooklyn Public Library.  

I found this Ashes in My Mouth... using my favorite book finding method in the library (or book stores)  which is just wondering around the stacks until I see something that looks interesting. The little format and color scheme of this book cover got my attention. Per Petterson is a Norwegian novelist and this short book of ten stories that all string together was his first work. 

Arvid Jansen is a boy who moved out of the city and he's not sure he likes it. He is disillusioned with his father's new job, his own nightmares, and the idea of growing old. Although only seven, he feels he knows as much as adults and should be treated as such. But death and sex are still a mystery to him. 

This book reads like someone remembering what they think childhood was like. Arvid's thoughts are too complex for a seven year old, but exactly how we remember being seven was. Although these stories read as if a memoir, Petterson uses this character in several of his later novels, so it is unclear how autobiographical it is. I liked this book, it was moody and disjointed in an appealing way. I would be interested in trying some of Petterson's longer novels. I would recommend this book to people who like coming of age stories, have daddy issues, or like short books.  

Have you read anything by Per Petterson?


Famous Potatoes

One of my goals for 2015 is to read more.  Check out the first book I read this year here and the second here

The third book I've read this year is Famous Potatoes by Joe Cottonwood. I picked this book up off a stoop, a lovely and common occurrence in Brooklyn.  

 I had Famous Potatoes for a while before I actually started reading it. As well as trying to read more this year, I'm also trying to read books that I already have in the house. Since I get books from stoops and book sales pretty often, I now have a large collection at home to choose from! Everyone loves a good book stash. When I saw this book on a stoop in South Slope, I was immediately drawn to it's clearly 1970s jacket design. And when I saw it had an author's recommendation from Tom Robbins, I was hooked. 

Follow Willy Carusoe's (nee Middlebrook) misadventures around our sometimes glorious, sometimes sad and dangerous, sometimes downright sexy, wide open country as he mingles with the locals, gets in with gangs and gamblers, and tries to do right by the love of his life. Famous Potatoes is a love story at heart, but you're not sure if the love interest is Willy's wife, women in general, or America it's self.

This novel has a great seventies vibe, and a meandering style, part prose, part stream of consciousness. I really enjoyed being transported back in time, but also seeing the themes and issues that are still common today. Willy is s bumbling but endearing character and you find yourself wishing him the best (but not sure that's what he'll end up getting). 
I'd recommend this book to fans of 70s authors, beat culture, road trip or hitch-hiking stories, and good sexy fun. 

Have you read this book? Or can you recommend other 1970s novels? Found anything good on a stoop or at a Little Free Library? Leave a comment below!


Wardrobe Project: Who Needs This Many T-Shirts?

Or, My Spring Wardrobe. 

When I went to change over my Winter wardrobe over to Spring, I carefully set aside all the Winter clothes I wouldn't need. It was a lot of clothes. Two full clear recycling bags full. (I put them in clear bags, to be boxed up at a later date, and to prevent them becoming cat beds). I also made a pile of giveaway/throw away items. Items that I didn't wear, didn't want, or realized I didn't like during the Winter season. 
Next I went to get out my Spring and Summer clothes that were stored at the top of my closet. 

But I couldn't do it. 

I pulled out the first big storage bin... I couldn't bear to go thru it. SO many clothes. I felt totally overwhelmed with what was already out. Removing my Winter clothes felt like it barely made a dent.

I decided I really only needed to keep what was already out for Spring. There were some pants and jeans, a few skirts and dresses, some tanks I used for layering in the Winter, plenty of clothes for work, and so many t shirts. So. Many.  

Maybe when it gets really hot, I will reassess. I realize that I will have to go thru those Spring/Summer clothes eventually. But for now, even what I have out feels impossibly large. 

Is anyone else struggling with their Spring or Summer wardrobe?


Modest Goals

Although 2014 seems like it will be a very exciting year, I'm trying to keep my goals and aspirations to a minimum, to take things as they come, and with an open mind. 

2013 was a big year in many respects. Many things changed in my life and work. All positive, but sometimes stressful. Sometimes it was hard to not be discouraged, to keep going until the positivity showed through. Quilting helped me along the way. Not only was it a personal goal I set out to achieve, but it was a way to de-stress, stay calm, and meditate. By the end of the year, I had made quite a few things, and started the Mad Cat Quilts website officially. I tried to make items that I could sell, but I also worked on gifts for friends and family. It felt wonderful. It was wonderful. 

In the first few days of 2014 I realized that I did not have a quilt that I had made for myself to own. All the quilts were for other people, or for the shop. I decided to keep one for myself. It is so satisfying to see it on my bed at night. It feels like the first time I saw one of the quilts I had gifted being used by it's recipient. This is what quilts are for! I love seeing them rolled, or folded in cute, colorful piles, but when they are bunched up and used and loved, it's even better. I started working on quilts that friends had asked for. Not commissioned, just requested. It felt good to be making things with certain people in mind and not even think about putting them in the shop. I started thinking of people whose birthdays were coming up, or who might need something to cheer and warm them this year. The more quilts I make, the happier I am, it seems.

I know a lot of quilters pick a word as a mantra for the beginning of each year. I've seen a lot of these words quilted, or incorporated into quilts. Some words I might choose for 2014 would be Make, Calm, Productivity. 

Tavis Smiley enjoys a gift. 

Tavis Smiley enjoys a gift. 

January and early February have set the stage what seems like a banner quilt making year. The latter half of February has surprised me with some unexpected change. Not unusual. Although I might have less time to sew, I think good and exciting things are a foot and I cant wait to take my quilts along for the ride.