Jaws

One of my goals in 2016 was to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here. This is also a goal for 2017.

I have been wanting to read Jaws by Peter Benchley for a while but every time I picked it up, I couldn't get into it. Sometimes listening to a book is easier. This version is read by Erik Steele. This book was listened to in 2016 and can be added to that list. 

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I had a few themes to my reading/listening materials for 2016 and this book definitely falls in to one of them. I've been devouring books about shore towns, beach life, and seasonal communities. 

Amity hibernates in the Winters. But the town comes alive in the Summer. The people of amity rely on Summer tourists and Summer business to keep it alive in the off season. The town leaders are willing to make Summer profitable at any coast. But Police Chief Brody's job is to protect the town, too. 

The movie Jaws is a classic, of course. The book was quite different; much slower and more involved in the town itself, and the character that make up Amity. I really enjoyed that this book was about a seasonal shore town facing a devastating Summer. There's an interesting juxtaposition between the towns needs and the shark's needs. I would recommend this book for readers who live by the beach or have a seasonal life style, fishermen, or people who like books of movies based on books. 

Do you have a favorite beach town novel?

New Block: Plus Squared - Last MCQBOM of 2016!!

I found this block while browsing The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts. She credits it as coming from Quilty Love. I thought this would be a neat block to finish my MadCatQuiltsBOM for 2016. It showcases a lot of the fabrics I've used throughout. 

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This block came together quickly and easily and I would definitely make it again. I like how it turned out!! I forgot to get a group pic of this block with it's 11 cousins before I started sashing the others. I was just so excited to get moving!! I will be posting a MCQBOM2016 post wrapping up the blocks, and showing what I'm doing next, soon. And be on the look out for Mad Cat Quilts 2017 Block Of the Month! I'm working on the blocks and intro post for that as well. 

Which BOMs is everyone joining for 2017?

December in Review

Another year done. Amazing. 

Everyone's been talking about how 2016 was BAD year. Sure, a lot of bad things happened this year. A lot of bad things happened last year. A lot of people said 2015 was a BAD year.
Personally, some bad things happened. Some terrible things. But some wonderful things happened, too. I feel alone in this, but despite the bad, I'm happy with each year and I'm happy to move on to the next. 
Globally, and locally, some bad things happened but I'm taking this time to gather my community, gather my family, and move forward with love and hope. 

1) Before. 2) Amaryllis blooms. 3) Classic in the 'hood. 4) After. 

1) Before. 2) Amaryllis blooms. 3) Classic in the 'hood. 4) After. 

We got a record player! Hooray! Whatever took us so long? Now, when we are adventuring, we are keeping our eyes out for records. The beginning of the month saw much of this as I was participating in @JerseyCollective. anyone interested in NJ should follow their insta.

1) An OG xmas. 2) Balmy Belmar. 3) Asbury Park, my heart. 4) Bayhead in the spirit. 

1) An OG xmas. 2) Balmy Belmar. 3) Asbury Park, my heart. 4) Bayhead in the spirit. 

Also in the beginning of the month, the beach was key. Morning walks were still in effect and what a lovely site the beach is in Winter. But, man, Winter gets cooooollllld! I've gone on hiatus until it warms up a bit (or I buy a proper Winter coat). This should give me more time for quilting. I had two finishes in December!

1) This cat house is a favorite find of 2016. 2) Porch life. 3) Neighborhood kitties in their cold weather coats. 4) Checking me out.  

1) This cat house is a favorite find of 2016. 2) Porch life. 3) Neighborhood kitties in their cold weather coats. 4) Checking me out.  

Despite the cold, it was a pretty good month for #watchercats! Our kitties at home are going thru a transition, but we're working hard to keep them healthy and happy!

1) Pitstar. 2) Friends. 3) Chicken. 4) Tom.

1) Pitstar. 2) Friends. 3) Chicken. 4) Tom.

We were very lucky to see lots of family and some friends over the holidays. A goal for this year will be to see people more regularly! Hopefully we can see many people who live near and far. 

1) Beach jewel. 2) Museum cat. 3) Goodwill finds. 4) Goodies window.

1) Beach jewel. 2) Museum cat. 3) Goodwill finds. 4) Goodies window.

Nothing more to say, 2016. January, on to the new...

YOTS Check In / Wrap Up for December

Here we are at the end of 2016 and the end of Year Of The Stash. I had a lot of fun participating in this quilt community activity. It definitely helped me be more mindful of what I was bringing in and what I was using up. 

These were some new fabric purchases from a chain fabric store. These were all on sale, of course, so I couldn't resist. 

These were some new fabric purchases from a chain fabric store. These were all on sale, of course, so I couldn't resist. 

The year started out with me buying a lot of fabric!! I wasn't feeling too good about it and when I found YOTS from A Quarter Inch From the Edge, I knew it was going to be great for me. I started out by making a Stash 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! 

Here's how it worked out in real life:
1) Once I started YOTS, I went long periods of time without buying anything new. I was even able to go to quilt shops and not come home with anything. I was able to find some great vintage fabric, some fun vintage sheets and such for backing or cut up and some interesting thrifted pieces this year. I designated some old clothes and other items for repurposing as quilting fabric. Overall, I'm happy with what got added to my stash.
2) I'm happy to report that after joining YOTS, everything I made had some used, vintage, or reclaimed fabric in it. 
3) I started out the year pretty strong, but that was all the organizing I did and it was very little.
4) I didn't sew as much as I would have liked this year. When I did, I shopped my stash and was pleasantly surprised and inspired. But very few finishes happened for me and I did not devote enough time to my quilting craft. 

These were purchased from  Rock Paper Scissors , a really lovely quilt shop in Montclair NJ. 

These were purchased from Rock Paper Scissors, a really lovely quilt shop in Montclair NJ. 

Here's what my year end stash report looks like:
Fabric Added Since last Update (in August, yikes!!): approximately 8 yards

Fabric Added Year to Date: approximately 29 yards
Fabric Used Since last update: approximately 5 yards (wallets and BOM)
Fabric Used year to Date: approximately 13 yards

That's a total of 16 yards in the plus category for my stash. Not horrible but not great, either. Still, for my first of mindfully adding to my stash, I'm happy!! 

One thing I've tried to be better about this year is joining in with the quilty community. I've tried to do more challenges (like YOTS, OMG, FAL2016) and more link ups (like Slow Sunday Stitching, Move It Along Monday, etc...).
YOTS was a challenge that I really enjoyed and I plan on making a 2017 manifesto and continuing to track my progress in the new year, but I'm not sure if Quarter Inch From Edge will be hosting another year of YOTS. I found that there wasn't a lot of community activity in this challenge, bc there were very few link ups, very few check ins and a general lack of group encouragement. I totally understand how hard it must be to be the leader for such a community, when even just blogging can be a struggle. I'm not upset or disappointed but I do hope that YOTS continues into the future and it gets more community involvement. I'd be willing to take a swing at leading it, but I couldn't promise I'd do better at regular YOTS activities. I would try, though! Maybe I'll contact Quarter Inch from the Edge... Or maybe I'll concentrate of my own Year Of The Stash!

I hope some of you guys will start a 2017YOTS and share your progress (no matter where that may be). I look forward to seeing your manifestos and stash reports in the new year!

December OMG

Well, November was another month I didn't finish my One Monthly Goal. So I'm rolling that goal over to December. For the last month of the year, I'd Like to finish the mostly blue mat i've been working on. 

I've got to get this one finished bc it needs a wash! Look at all that cat hair!

I've got to get this one finished bc it needs a wash! Look at all that cat hair!

OMG is now hosted over at Elm Street Quilts and I certainly hope that it will continue into 2017. 

Ringworld

One of my goals in 2016 is to read more. This kinda counts. See other books I've read or listened to here.

This reading of Ringworld By Larry Nevin was a free audio book with one of my internet subscriptions. It is read by Grover Gardner.

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Ringworld is one of my husbands all time favorite books and was also recommended by my father, as well as almost every sci fi lover I know. I have read this book before, but when I saw the free reading, I was happy to revisit this book. 

It's Louie Woo's 200th birthday and he's pretty bored. He could go on another deep space sabbatical, find some interesting aliens, meet some exotic women, but he's already done that many times. Much to his surprise, an exotic alien finds him instead. Nessus, a cautious Pierson's Puppeteer, offers Louie a dangerous, mysterious, adventure he can't refuse; Just what Louie was looking for.

First off, this reading was amazing. It made me like Ringworld even better than I already did. Gardner's clear, precise reading make Nevin's scientific (sometimes slightly dated) writing easy to understand. I can't wait to find more books that he has read. I knew that I liked this book, but on second reading, I found it even more interesting. It has all the great hopes, dilemmas, and predictions that many great sci-fi novels have. This book has many themes of tolerance, and fear, and hopes for meeting alien life. It has a very interesting take of xenophobia/xenophilia. Ringworld also plays with the traditional 1970s sci-fi sex and sexuality themes, without being too crude. This is a classic sci-fi book and if you're a fan of this genre, you must read it! I would also suggest this book for people who like exploration novels, books about voyages, and anyone interested in interpersonal relationships between a variety of peoples. 

What are your favorite sci-fi novels?

New Block: Economy Block Variation

Many of the goals I had for October were finished, but not all of them were recorded in a timely fashion. I got my MadCatBOM done early on in the month but never found the time to photograph and blog it. Well, here it is. 
For October's block, I modified a block I saw on Cluck Cluck Sew and now can't find. It seems like an economy block variation. I made it quite a bit large, so I plan on cutting off the corners in the finished quilt.  

I made it quite a bit large, so I plan on cutting off the corners in the finished quilt.  

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Linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching

Blood Oath

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

Another book my father recommended I listen to, Blood Oath was written by Christopher Farnsworth and read by Bronson Pinchot

I'm torn over whether listening to books counts toward my goal of reading more in 2016.  For 2017, I have plans for a new goal to watch less TV... I think listening to audio books will definitely help that. 

It wasn't Nathanial Cade's choice to be turned into a vampire, or to be bewitched into serving the American government by protecting the President at all costs. Getting a new, arrogant and inexperienced "handler" with a history of youthful indiscretions might be is too much. When an old threat resurfaces, Cade's loyalties will be tested and he will be forced to trust those he never expected. 

I thought Blood Oath was an interesting take on a vampire tale, switching between several character's points of view and mindset, not only focusing on the vampire. Farnsworth plays with the vampire and monster mythos, posing interesting questions about otherworldly beings. This book has violent moments, as any vampire story does, and the descriptions are not for the faint of heart. The reading is very expressive and the voices distinct. Bronson Pinchot does not sounds how I thought he would! Overall, I really enjoyed this book, I would definitely get the sequel, but I'm not sure if I would read or listen to it. I recommend this book for those who are vampire enthusiasts, monster lovers, and people who enjoy political thrillers. 

What are your favorite vampire books?

Wrinkly Old WIPs: All The Tops

Before I post my Q4 Finish Along list, I thought I'd take a look at some of my quilts under construction. 

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This bright heart quilt is ages old. Earlier this year, I backed and basted it. Now to decide how I want to quilt it and if I want it on my Q4 list. 

Baby Tree of Life is a completed top but needs a backing. This is not my normal color scheme, so I'd like a back that will open it up.  I don't know how to quilt this one, either. 

I made this top from vintage squares, blues, and thrifted browns and stripes this past year during a slump. I think I know what I'd like to back this one with. 

This is the Alabama vintage top, I backed it recently and as usual, have to decide how to quilt it. This one is definitely going on the Q4 list. 

These aren't all the quilt tops I have finished, but it is a chunk of them. I'm linking up with Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching