Stress Line


Followers of my blog have heard me speak of my journeys to my little cabin in the woods (lcitw). My lcitw is a retreat located in a northern region of the dairy state. This is where I go to escape from the rigors of daily life. The journey to this escape takes multiple hours via automobile.

On one of our excursions I heard my husband announce that we had just crossed the, “Stress Line.” Being absorbed in my journaling I was not currently aware of our surroundings. Curious why he had said that I glanced up from my spiral notebook to take note of our location. Even after finding my bearings the meaning of his phrase did not ring a bell.

Out of curiosity I asked him to explain. With a smile on his face he shared his thoughts. “Stress Line” was the term people used to describe the geographical location, on our long journey, where the stress accompanied by daily routines is left behind. It is at that pinpoint on the map when relaxation begins to overtake/overcome tense muscles and clenched jaws and replaces them with smiles and a sense of relaxation.

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His explanation was not at all what I had expected. Stress line for me conjures up images of earthquake fault lines or stress fractures. I had never thought of using those two words in that context. The usage made complete sense after he explained it.

Now every time I cross that line I think of those two words and remember that moment in my life with a smile and a chuckle.

Do you have a stress line? If so, where is it?

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16 Quilts


My husband and I just finished a six day respite at our little cabin in the woods (lcitw). Before heading north we often make an outline of the items or activities we might like to experience. Favorite restaurants, reading and movies are among our usual selections. No matter how much effort we invest in our planning it is always amazing how much time we spend sleeping.

We live a fairly fast-paced life style which takes a toll on us. Paying attention to and managing the fatigue that often ensues takes an intentional focus. The visits to our lcitw help to abate the cycle through rest and relaxation. The down time or sleep usually sneaks in during our first 48 hours. It is not until we find ourselves refreshed that we realize how much we needed to rest.

As we prepare for our trips we gather together the supplies we need to accomplish our goals. If our intent is to eradicate weeds or give our lcitw a bath we might bring with a rake, a weed trimmer and a ladder.

Included in the tubs of supplies traveling with us this time were 16 quilts of all sizes. All 16 had already been quilted and surrounded by either a binding or facing. The last step to be completed was hand stitching. This trip was a perfect opportunity to accomplish that task.

My hope was to at least finish half of the quilts. Much to my surprise I thankfully and very proudly can announce that all 16 are done. Over the next several posts I will give each one its final spotlight.

Thank you for visiting!

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Phew!


Oh my goodness driving here was quite the adventure!!

We have been very blessed this winter. We’ve had a few stretches of super, super frigid temperatures yet a very limited number of snow falls. We even had a stretch of balmy temps in February. As luck would have it, the first day of March came in like a lion, which if I were all cozy and warm in my studio wouldn’t have been an issue. But, as you know, this was a travel day. The snow and slush and mess were more than I had wanted to deal with. All that yucky stuff delayed our arrival time by sixty minutes. I was so thankful when we arrived.

Here’s proof of the snowy mess we drove through.

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Not long after we arrived the car was unpacked and my sewing space was all ready to go.

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It looks nice and tidy now but wait until Sunday when everything is packed. The floor and all the surrounding surfaces will be covered in lint, threads and tiny fabric pieces.

Time to get to work!  :o)

Cindy Anderson

What Should I Pack


In a few days I will once again be packing for an adventure. The destination is my lcitw (little cabin in the woods).

The process of packing for these trips begins long before departure. Each retreat has a unique itinerary. This one will include time for playing with fabric.

Packing for everything but my sewing adventures is easy to accomplish because the list seldom changes. Packing for a sewing adventure is much more difficult; much more laborious.

Relocating my sewing studio from my spacious quarters in my home to my compact space in my lcitw takes a lot of planning. First on my list is deciding which projects to take. Once I have that narrowed down (do you really think that’s remotely possible) I can focus on gathering the needed gadgets and supplies. Just as with packing outfits for the trip, I almost always pack way too much.

Going with me on this trip are the commissioned quilts as well as supplies to create art pieces. The two commissioned quilts really need to take precedence. Sticking with that train of thought will be challenging but I will do my best to stay focused. Here’s a photo of the two projects that will definitely make the trip.

I’m over the top excited to be making this trip! Wish me luck!

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

I Didn’t Make It!


I just got home from my monthly shopping trip at Quilt-agious to collect my one yard of free fabric.

While I tried really hard (well at least for the first few seconds) to refrain from purchasing more fabric, I must admit I failed. But, I’m not sad at all. Who can complain about spending money on only two yards of fabric anyway? In fact, I think I did quite good.

Here’s what I purchased. Now remember, one of these three yards was free.

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Not to bad I’d say!

Last month was a different story. I didn’t even come close to bringing home only one yard of fabric. I went way past my goal. I even did a bit of shopping on-line at Artistic Artifacts and at Mill House Quilts in Waunakee, as well as several other shops.

Here’s what was added to my fabric stash in June

There’s quite a variety of colors and patterns represented by these fabrics. Just imagine how wonderful they will look in my new art pieces.

Thanks for sharing your time with me! I look forward to our next visit.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

 

Yard Number Two


 

First_Year_Quilt_2I’m about to set out on my second trip to Quilt-agious in Mukwonago. The purpose of this trip is to acquire my second of twelve free yards of fabric. I will be joining my friend Barb M and her traveling companion Marcia. My mantra is to only come home with my free fabric. That means I am going to resist all temptation to make any other purchases. Let’s see how I do. Wish me luck!

 

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

In The Blink Of An Eye


IMG_8900Have you ever found yourself gasping for air, struggling to regain control of your breathing. As a child, I remember going with a friend to watch her father’s fast-pitch softball game. While at the game I was struck in the middle of my chest by a stray ball. The impact of the ball knocked all of the air out of my lungs.

My friend’s father ran over to offer his assistance. He swooped me up into his arms and folded me in half at the waist. After what seemed like an eternity my lungs were once again filled with the air they so desperately craved. Other than being traumatized by the experience the only other side effect was the intense pain left from the impact.

Recently I found myself in somewhat the same situation. Similar in that I once again found myself gasping for air, holding on to anything that might help provide a sense of stability. What, you might ask, caused this overwhelming sense of despair or panic? Well let me enlighten you.

On August 26, 2015 we were called to the bedside of my mother-in-law. She had been suffering with Alzheimer’s  for many, many years. The last three of which she had spent in a care center. Her health had taken a downturn on the previous Saturday.

We spent an extended number of hours watching as she took each breath, wondering if it would be her last. Feeling the fatigue of our visit we each took turns saying goodbye then turned and exited her room.

In the wee hours of the morning we received the phone call we knew was coming. On August 27, 2015 my husband’s mother died. The day that we all knew would come, but had secretly hoped we could avoid, was here.

Arrangements were made to plan and execute her funeral. Part of those plans was the traveling of family members back home for the service. While it’s always wonderful to have everyone together, unfortunately it seems as if funerals are the main reason for the gatherings. With family and friends at our side we laid to rest our loved one.

One of the family members that traveled home for the funeral was our Colorado daughter. We were thankful that she was able to be home for the funeral. While she was home we planned a trip to a local apple orchard. During our drive to the orchard she shared with us that on August 27, 2015, the day her grandmother had died, her husband asked her for a divorce. The news for us, as I know with certainty was for her, absolutely devastating.

As she unfolded the story she explained that before boarding her plane for Wisconsin she and her husband took time to jointly file papers for the divorce. The revelation that she had endured this before coming home was heartbreaking.

At the end of her rendition we scolded her for not telling us sooner. She explained that she had not wanted to add extra sorrow to the funeral and everything associated with it. Of course we thought that was absolutely nonsense. Nobody should have to bear that burden alone. How she maintained her composure as eloquently as she did I do not know.

News about the impending divorce was quickly shared with close family members. We all rallied around her to help her through her remaining days in Wisconsin.

The day of her departure arrived quickly. My husband and I accompanied her to the airport. Before departing we expressed our well wishes as well as our concerns for her well-being. With hugs and tears we sent her on her way.

After returning home we began packing for a trip to our Little Cabin In The Woods. The trip, having been planned at the beginning of summer, had been postponed because of the death in our family. With little effort we had everything packed and ready for our departure early the next day.

As is always the case, we ask our Colorado daughter to stay in touch. We especially want to hear that she has made it home safely. The news this time was not what we wanted to hear. While our daughter was visiting in Wisconsin her husband and mother-in-law had scoured the home seeking out items they knew belonged to her. As they gathered her possessions they deposited them, in an unorganized fashion, into her office and an adjoining bedroom, with little regard for the impact it would have on our daughter.

Upon returning home from the airport our daughter was devastated when she discovered what they had done. The phone call, that we thought would simply report she was safe and sound in her own home, turned out to be a heart wrenching conversation. As we ended the discussion my husband and I made plans for a drastic change in our travels. Rather than leaving for a vacation in northern Wisconsin we recalibrated our suitcases and made arrangements to instead travel to Colorado to help our daughter unravel the mess she was in.

Very, very early the next day, September 6, 2015 we loaded our suitcases into our truck and set out for the 16 1/2 hour trip to Colorado. 16 1/2 hours in any vehicle can be a stressful, exhausting ride. Add to that the sadness of what lay ahead in Colorado and you have the recipe for an unhealthy dose of anxiety.

With approximately three hours left in our journey I was the one behind the wheel. My cellphone was paired with the vehicle so any calls that might come in were broadcast over the radio speakers. We were listening to music on the radio when the sound of an incoming call silenced the tunes. The news that would be shared through that conversation is one I will never forget.

I pushed the button to connect the call, said hello, and waited for a response. On the other end of the call was my youngest daughter. In a very excited tone she screamed that her father-in-law was presumed to have just been killed in an ATV accident.

The words that came from her mouth left my heart racing and my lungs gasping for air.

This was one of those conversations you never wanted to experience, let alone under the circumstances we were currently enduring. The all-to-familiar overwhelming feeling of despair washed over me again, and again, and again. How could this be happening!

The news was so shocking it was almost impossible to believe. We had just seen our daughter’s father-in-law at the funeral on Tuesday. He was a wonderful husband, father, father-in-law, grandpa and friend. All those that knew him were familiar with his smile and his laugh. He could brighten any room just by walking in. Although our joint visits had been few in number he was a very dear friend. He would be dearly missed.

Being nearly a thousand miles away from home and only hours from our Colorado destination we decided to continue on. We eventually made it to the home of our Colorado daughter.

I’d like to say it was smooth sailing from there on but it was not. We along with our Colorado daughter endured a gauntlet of emotions as well as encounters with our daughter’s husband and mother-in-law.

As the days passed we made ourselves busy sorting and packing our daughter’s belongings. One by one the boxes were stacked waiting for their eventual departure.

We went with and paid for a visit with an attorney so our daughter would know what to expect and what she could legally do. The attorney advised us to make immediate plans to pack up her belongings and leave the home. Plans were made to rent a truck shortly after the appointment.

All during this time we were in close contact with family at home to stay up-to-date on the unfolding tragedy there. It took everything we had to not pull up stakes and head home. Family members reassured us that they would stand in for us and make up for our absence. Buckets of tears flowed from our hearts as we navigated through these obstacles. To say that our hearts were broken would be putting it mildly.

Eight days after arriving in Colorado, sitting behind the steering wheel of a moving van, with a German Shepherd at his side, my husband set out for what would be a 17 1/2 hour ride back to Wisconsin. I chose to stay behind as moral support for our daughter.

It’s now been 23 days since I arrived on that gut-wrenching day early in September. I have 11 more days to go until I and my daughter, each in our own vehicles, head home to Wisconsin. Until then we will continue to scratch off the days tieing up loose ends and saying goodbye to the place our daughter has called home for 11 years.

The trip home will be filled with a mix of emotions and the fatigue associated with a long trek across country. My hope is that our travel will proceed uneventfully with stops needed only for fueling, nourishment and a short break. If we are blessed with only that we will be incredibly grateful. Until then we are making the best of a sad situation waiting for the much-anticipated day to arrive.

Well, that’s my account of the heart-breaking days we have endured and my reason to recall the long ago memory of gasping for air. No matter how strong you may think you are, nothing can prepare us for what lies ahead.

I’m sure you’ve heard this on many occasions but I feel the need to say it…never ever take for granted the time spent with loved ones. Hug them, spend time with them, at the very least talk with them. None of us are guaranteed even one more second on this earth. In the blink of an eye, as we are so often reminded, the life of our loved ones as well as our own can come to an end.

Cindy Anderson

Friday Favorites: J J Stitches


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Welcome to Friday Favorites!

One of the very first quilt shops I ever visited was J J Stitches in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.  I was instantly captivated by the enormous display of outstanding quilt samples, patterns, and most of all fabric.  Their selection of civil war fabrics is the finest I have seen.  Everything about this vendor is top-notch including the service.  Please, please take the time to visit their shop in the quaint city of Sun Prairie.  If you can’t make it to the shop by all means visit their website J J Stitches.  You will be delighted that you did.

Loose Threads


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Welcome to Friday Favorites!

This week I’m featuring Loose Threads.

Loose Threads

Located on the north side of Milton, Wisconsin, this fabric haven is another one of my favorite stops.  Housed inside an 1852 schoolhouse the quilt shop boasts that they are the largest quilt shop in southern Wisconsin.  Whether they are or not I have no idea.  What I know for certain is that the quilts, on display, in their foyer will grab your eye the minute you walk in.  I dare you to pass by their presence without being drawn in to their charisma.  This shop is well worth adding to your road trip.

Loose Threads can be found at 8005 N. Hwy 26, Milton, Wisconsin.  They are open Monday 10-2, Tuesday-Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4

 

Note: Photo of Loose Threads used with their permission.