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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Jersey Collective Collection + Year 3 Photo Show

In June 2015, I was thrilled to be part of an interesting community art project: Jersey Collective. Each week, a different artist takes over the Jersey Collective feed on instagram and gives everyone a glimpse of their New Jersey. In December 2016, I participated again! For me, it was a very different experience to try and show my NJ now that I lived there again. If I did this project again, now, I wonder how it will have changed for me?

I'm thinking about Jersey Collective today bc it marks the opening of their Third Year Show! Each year they have had a gallery show featuring one photo from each artist and week of the year long project. 52 artists, 52 photos. Each year the show is held in a different gallery or community space, and open to the public. Here is the info for this year's opening:
Opening reception with the artists:
Saturday, November 4, 2017
7:00-10:00 pm
South Amboy YMCA
200 John T. O'Leary Blvd
South Amboy, NJ 08879

I'm not sure how long the show runs, but I highly suggest that if you are in NJ or close, you check out both the instagram and the show. I'm also not sure which photo from my week in December of 2016 is featured. Here are my images from 2016:

@art_poca is the next New Jerseyian to shoot for JC after me in Dec 2016. 

@art_poca is the next New Jerseyian to shoot for JC after me in Dec 2016. 

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And 2015:

The top left image is the next participant's.  The bottom right, the rooster, was the image that was chosen for that year's show. 

The top left image is the next participant's.  The bottom right, the rooster, was the image that was chosen for that year's show. 

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If you are from NJ I hope that you will reach out to Jersey Collective and shoot a week! For me, it was a really lovely process and it would be lovely to hear what readers of my blog think. 

For those not from NJ, do you have community projects in your area? Have you participated?

OMG November

Well, my 2017 OMGs are none going the way I have planned. But I'm not giving up!

I'm rolling over last months OMG to November. I need to get this little quilt basted. 

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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. 

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts and One Monthly Goal. 

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Zero Waste: My Favorite Jars

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. 

I think one thing that all all people trying to go zero waste, or plastic free, can agree on is that recycled jars are a great thing to have! They can be used for food storage instead of a plastic tupperware, as dry goods storage, as freezer storage, as drinking vessels, to hold cleaners, snacks, hair clips, home remedies, flowers, nuts, bolts, screws, and just about anything else you can think of.  

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Since most of us, when buying packaged items, try to buy glass, we end up having quite a few jars laying around. Sure they can be recycled, and sometimes are, but I prefer to reuse at least a few time before that step, or indefinitely. I started this practice long before I knew what zero waste was and I was happy to discover I was already doing something towards this life style!

Another thing I think people who do the same and feel the same as I do about glass jars, is that we all have our favorite jars! Erin from Reading My Tea Leaves talks about her favorite jar in her blog. Personally, I have two favorite style of jars, that come from specific items. 

I'm a big fan of natural crunchy peanut butter. I don't much mind what brand, as long as it has less than 4 ingredients, is organic, and comes in a glass jar! These Jars are great, bc they are a manageable size, usually about 16oz, have a wide mouth, and a metal top! Great for drinking out of, bringing your drink along, storing food items and beach finds! When I need a larger vessel, I greatly enjoy a Mt Olive pickle jar! Firstly, yum, pickles! But this jar is twice as big as the peanut butter jar, and shares the same great properties!

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I love these jars bc I find that the caps don't rust easily or quickly, and the jars themselves are sturdy and strong. These two are my go to jars and I use them in some capacity everyday. 

What jars are your favorite? Are there other surprising reused items you can't live with out?

Sunny's Nights

One of my goals in 2017 is to read more. See other books I've read or listened to here.

I picked up Sunny's Nights: Lost and Found at a Bar on the Edge of the World by Tim Sultan new, which is rare for me. But when I heard about it, so close to bar savant Sunny's death, I had to read it!

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Sunny's is a special place, and Sunny was a special man. More than a drinking establishment, Sunny's bar was a gathering place, a creative vortex, and for Tim Sultan, a life changing event. 

Put together as a series of vignettes, stories and small chapters, Sultan starts at his unexpectedly finding Sunny's and ends with time's slow, inevitable, move forward. It's clear that he loves this place, and the man behind it, as more than just a bar and bar owner, but it's also clear that Sultan thinks highly of himself and sees himself as an intragal part of Sunny's (which perhaps he was). This, along with the common held belief (by Brooklynites) that Brooklynites are a superior variety of people, makes this book a little overblown and pompous. Now, perhaps, having been a Brooklynite, I have a biased take on this. Although I found Sultan himself to be a bit bloated, I still really enjoyed this book. Again, having been to Sunny's many times, and having my own arsenal of stories, moments, and memories about the bar, I may be biased. The lyrical way in which Sultan describes his time and memories does well to transport the ready to a time and place. Overall, I liked the atmosphere created by the stories of an otherworldly bar at the edge of the world. I enjoyed the feeling of being cocooned in a strange place and time that this book evokes. I would recommend this book to those who read books about Brooklyn, NYC history, bars, or old souls. 

Have you read any books about places you've visited? Were they written about in the way you experienced that place?

OMG October

I think only the most simple goals are achievable in my quilting life this year. And even those have been tough! For Oct, I would love to get the mystery quilt basted. I feel like this is the most simple goal I can come up with. 

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I should have had this quilt finished months ago, but I'm really hoping to get it done this month. This OMG is the first step. 

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts and One Monthly Goal!

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The Zero Waste Post

Or should I say THE Zero Waste Post?

I've been wanting to write this post for a while bc, to me, it officailly marks the start of my Zero Waste Journey. Ever since we moved, I've become increasingly disturbed by the amount of waste we mindlessly generate. For some reason, living in an apartment in Brooklyn, NY, I never realized how much I threw away, how many duplicates I bought, how many items went unused and wasted in my home.

One of my favorite things this summer has been bringing delicious Jersey tomatoes home, either from local farm markets, or neighbor's yards. I like these cardboard containers, which I reuse or compost. 

One of my favorite things this summer has been bringing delicious Jersey tomatoes home, either from local farm markets, or neighbor's yards. I like these cardboard containers, which I reuse or compost. 

When we moved out of our approximately 600/sqft apartment (large by standards!) into twice that amount of space in a home we now owned, we filled it with our stuff! Filled to the brim with stuff, some items I hadn't even looked at in years. So, the first order of business was to start paring down what we already had. This is still a work in progress, but everyday we make a little headway. 

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It was also important to me, moving into a new house, and creating a new life in a new city, to not bring or buy too many new things. I think we did a good job here, not buying too many big ticket items or impulse buys. But there was still so much coming into the house. And I realized that the majority of it left as trash going to fill landfills. This knowledge worried me. So I decided to do something about it!

In little ways, every day, I'm trying to become more mindful of heading towards zero waste. 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.

Making hummus at home has been a good lesson in zero waste. Using up leftovers before they go bad is a challenge. 

Making hummus at home has been a good lesson in zero waste. Using up leftovers before they go bad is a challenge. 

I plan to share my Zero Waste Journey here at Mad Cat Quilts. Who else out there is starting this journey?

OMG September

OK, so I technically missed the cut off for the September OMG Goal link up. But I'm still making a goal and trying to accomplish it in Sept. 

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This month, I'm rolling over last month's goal and will sew the few Honey Pot Bee I completed (and liked) into a little top. Easy, right? We'll see!

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 - Not Finished!

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YOTS2017 / Starting New

There is a pheonomonon in quilting, I'm sure you sewists know it, in which it is far easier to start a new project than to finish an old one. 

No matter how in love with a WIP I am, there comes a time in the project when starting something new becomes too appealing to resist. I love every part of quilt making, but starting something new is extra special. 

Starting a new work isn't bad, in fact for Year of The Stash, it's quite good!! For me, it means more stash is getting used. But if the abandoned semi-finished project still lingers in your home, is it still stash? I think for a project to be truly complete it must be used and useful. So while starting new isn't bad, it does drag out the finishes and that's not good.  

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It's been a few months since my last update and I can't quite recall if anything new has come into my stash. Since there is nothing I can remember, I'm calling it zero! Here's what my stash report looks like this month:
Fabric Added Since Last Update: Approximately 0
Fabric Added Year to Date: Approximately 23.25
Fabric Used Since Last Update: Approximately 2 yd
Fabric Used Year to Date: Approximately 12.5 yd

What are your thoughts on starting a new project before finishing the old one? I know many quilters are like little butterflies, flitting from one project to the next with ease and grace. Are there any true blue one-project-at-a-time people out there? How does it effect your stash?

Something New: Succulent Care

On recent occasions, I've had two unconnected friends ask me to take charge of their succulents. I'm not sure where they got the idea I'm good with succulents, or plants in general. While it is true that I have many plants (46 at last count) some of which are succulents (18), I do not have a green thumb. With each and every plant, I'm holding on for dear life. It's been a lot of trial and error to get where I am today. 

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Succulents were some of the last plants I attempted to raise. The results have been mixed. I have some that I have brought back from the brink of death, but more often I haven't been able to prevent them from dying. 

For these new new adoptees, I repotted them and and have been keeping an eye on how they're doing. I find that I have to move a succulent around to several different spots in the house before they are happy. 

So far, I'm hopeful that these new additions to the family are doing well! Since succulent care is new to me, I'd be very grateful for any advice!

Bullet Journal Check In: August Blog Log

I've been trying out a new blog log over the last few months in my bullet journal. I'm not sure if Summer was the best time to try new systems, as I'm notoriously inconsistent at blogging during the Summer. Or maybe that's the perfect time to be tracking my blogging habits?

I usually try to take all of August off from blogging, but this year, it's felt like I've had the whole Summer off! I'm still deciding whether I should try to blog more rather than less in August. Either way, this new blog log layout helps me track my online posts. 

Are other Bullet Journalists using a blog post tracking method?