Just Chillin

Time For A Little R&R

I awarded myself an extended vacation to relax and unwind from a hectic 2020. My spouse and assorted family members have spent the greater part of this summer chillin at our favorite escape. With the end of summer and the glamping season looming there is no time to waste.

While here I’ve spent some of my time hand stitching on my small canvases and a little bit of knitting.

Knit One Knit Two

I’m sad to say that this leg of our journey is almost over. With very little time left in the season I’m sure we will make at least two more visits to our Little Cabin In The Woods.

Bye for now!

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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Quilt Retreat Day Four

What quilter wouldn’t want days and days of non-stop sewing? I know I do! For Sadie and myself this is day four of our adventure, at our LCITW (little cabin in the woods).

Sadie

Day four dawned with an absolutely beautiful blue sky and temps in the low 60’s.

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A blue sky and sunshine always brings a smile to my face and a warm feeling in my heart.

This morning, while eating breakfast, I was entertained by the visitors at our bird feeder. From our dining table I have a clear view.  Watching the birds fly in and out as well as observing their many antics was so delightful.

After breakfast I took time to listen to the sound of the leaves rustling in the gentle breeze. Their melodious song provided a calming affect.

Accompanied by their rhythmic chant came the aroma of the woods. I filled my lungs with one deep breath. Mixed in that breath were the scents of pine, damp earth and the sweet perfume of nearby flowers.

This experience is what makes my time here so enjoyable, so special. The memories of these days, the sights, the sounds, the fragrances will stay with me long after I have returned home.

Feeling refreshed and exhilarated I returned to my sewing table to work. I kept my nose to the grindstone until mid day, stopping briefly for lunch and a stroll outdoors. The sunshine and warm breeze felt so pleasant. So much so that I almost changed my plans but my desire to finish the Circuit quilt proved to be stronger.

I am thrilled to report that I was able to complete the quilt top. Since the lap quilt is a gift I will refrain from sharing photos of the finished project until it’s ready for delivery. Sorry for the delay! Here’s a small look.

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Now that the top has been finished it is ready to be quilted on my longarm machine. Obviously I don’t have one of those here because the machine measures 14′ from end-to-end. Providing housing for something that large would be impossible. The quilt top will just have to wait until we get home. Even then it will have to get in line behind the ten other quilts already waiting.

Who knows what I will choose to work on tomorrow. Decisions, decisions! There are so many items that have patiently been waiting for their turn at my machine. Then again there are some newly acquired items as well as my ongoing improv endeavors that seem to tug harder on my attention. Only time will tell.

That’s A Wrap

That’s all for Day Four in my current adventure at my LCITW. Interested in reading the first three installments? Follow these links: Day One, Day Two and Day Three.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Your visit as well as your comments means a lot to me! I thoroughly enjoy the time we spend together.

Cindy Anderson

 

 

Quilt Retreat Day One

After weeks and weeks of constant motion, motion like that of a spinning top, Ive found myself on a 10 day breather at my little cabin in the woods (LCITW). The anticipation leading up to this respite has reignited my enthusiasm for my art, fabrics and all things related. This excitement or drive has been stifled by the many activities stuffed into my daily calendar.

Favorite Place

Carefully packed into my vehicle were totes filled with some of my favorite quilting books, piles of fabrics, spools and spools of thread as well as an inventory of rulers, my rotary cutter and enough projects to last me for weeks to come. While I will admit that I may have gone slightly overboard, just a tad, with the volume of items I brought, I have to say I would much rather have a variety of options to choose from. It gives me the chance to be more creative.

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Of all the projects that I brought with there’s one that will definitely be completed and that is the lap quilt I’ve been commissioned to make by my sister-in-law. Once that ones finished the sky’s the limit.Circuit Quilt.jpg

Well, it’s time to call it a day. It’s very late and I’m exhausted from all the packing, traveling, unpacking, etc. Tomorrow’s a new day.

Cindy Anderson

A Time to Rest

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It has been a while!

I feel like it’s been years since we last visited. My summer months were filled with an abundance of activity. Activities which filled my heart with joy and absolutely drained every once of energy I could muster.

purple_majestyI’ve been home from my Little Cabin in the Woods for just over two weeks. Two weeks that were a buzz with activity. All of the items that might fall victim to possible four legged vermin were removed from my summer retreat and transported back home for safe keeping. Once home they all needed to find their haven for winter respite. With those all tucked away it was time for a good old fashioned house cleaning both physically and mentally.

sweet_lavenderWhile I find great joy in my travels far from home, it can be exhausting. Recharging my body as well as my mind takes a little more effort each year. Of course that couldn’t have anything to do with my advancing years. Or could it? 🙂

 

Seeds_of_Life.jpgThis year I felt so absolutely drained that the thought of writing couldn’t be farther from my mind, let alone even opening the door to my studio. The lack of enthusiasm left my creative self feeling lost, like a ship floating adrift at sea. The concern that I might not find my sense of direction left me even more overwhelmed.

Orange_Lichen.jpgSo, how did I recover? With my self-imposed chores accomplished I allowed myself to relax and find joy in the simple everyday tasks of living. I slept. I read. I walked.

 

Rings_Of_Life.jpgThese steps toward renewed energy slowly rekindled my love for the world of art. From a little spark came the motivation to re-enter my studio. Opening that door brought back the joy I feel when surrounded by the vibrant colors of my finished pieces as well as the virgin fabrics just waiting for my attention.

Patterns_In_Nature.jpgThis renewed sense of enthusiasm is where I am at today. I’m energized and ready to press on.

Lichen.jpgCindy Anderson

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P.S. The photos I’m sharing were taken while out on my many walks in northern Wisconsin. I hope you enjoy them.

 

Flash Back: What Fuels Your Inspiration?

Flash Back

We are taking another trip down memory lane. This is the eighth posting in the series called Flash Back. The original post was shared way back in July of 2012. I hope you will find it as informative as I do.

Inspiration

There are times when words flow from my fingers like water over a falls. There are also days when my creativity seems cut off like water from a vine. What causes this dilemma? Is it fatigue? Is it my environment? How do I restore my creativity?

What keeps your creative juices flowing? I would imagine if you posed that question to a room filled with people you would probably amass an endless list of topics. Since we are all unique our paths to creativity are as well. Recently I read an interesting article about fueling your passion. The author suggested purposely scheduling time, in your day, week, or month to pause and nurture your creative talents.

Carving out time to relax and rejuvenate is not always easy. Life today is constantly in motion. When I do take time to pause and slow down I feel a renewed sense of energy. One of my favorite ways to relax is a trip to a coffee shop. Sinking into a comfy chair with a soothing cup of java clears my head and restores my focus.

Also on my list of rejuvenating activities are a quiet stroll through nature, listening to soft music, lounging on either my front or back porch, a visit to an art fair or gallery, shopping at one of my favorite fabric stores and a quiet evening with a movie. Have you made a list of things that excite your creativity? If so, what would be on your list?

When’s the last time you recharged your creative battery? If it’s been a while then I suggest you carve a block of time out of your calendar to do so soon. Go ahead, treat yourself. It’s well worth it.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

The Sounds We Hear

There’s the famous question—

If a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound?

In my opinion it does but that’s not the reason for these ramblings. The focus of today’s thoughts are the sounds I hear at my Little Cabin in the Woods..

Have you ever taken time to sit quietly and listen to the sounds of the world around you? How many sounds did you hear and what type were they? Did they make you happy or sad, relaxed or anxious?

If I were to eliminate all sounds except those made by nature I would be entertained by a smorgasbord of opportunities. Among the noted sounds are the melodies sung by the birds that call these woods home. I have no idea how many different varieties there are. Of the few that I can identify there are seagulls, finches, robins, woodpeckers and of particular interest the sounds made my a hummingbird’s wings.

066 (2)Early in the morning, before the sun peeks above the horizon, I’m awakened by a chorus of birds. To their symphony is added the chirping of crickets and the scolding chatter of the occasional squirrel. Evenings in the Spring we are serenaded by the family of frogs that find shelter here. Their rhythmic chanting provides background entertainment for our fireside relaxation.

Of my least favorite sounds made by nature is the annoying buzzing of mosquito’s; whose existence seems totally unnecessary. Then there’s the sound made by winged creatures that sends chills through my spine. Those sounds are made by bees and hornets.

There’s a period in the morning between sunrise and 8:00 AM when silence is broken only by the creatures of nature. The minutes before 8:00 AM have been designated by the establishment as quiet time. The hours accumulated by those minutes as well as the ones falling after the hour of 10:00 PM, the designated evening quiet time, are my favorite times of the day.

As we cross those thresholds the sounds around me begin to slowly increase. Added to the sounds of nature are the giggling and chatter of children passing by while hiking or riding on bicycles. Accompanied by the sounds of children playing are the conversations shared between adults. Those can be uttered softly, barely audible from one campsite to another, while others are spoken at an unnatural decibel level, heard even through closed windows and doors.

Also apart of the sounds heard here are those accompanying wood cutting, grilling and the whir of mechanical devices such as fans, air conditioners, water heaters and motorized vehicles. Added to that is the crunch of footsteps on gravel, barking dogs, tarps blowing in the wind, cellphones ringing and doors opening and closing. While these human made sounds are not natural to the woods they are present whenever and wherever humans inhabit.

I prefer the sounds of nature. Those are the ones that bring me peace. They provide interludes of relaxation; a chance to unwind.

May the sounds that bring you peace fill your ears with their melody.

A Storm in the Night

We weathered our first storm, in my Little Cabin in the Woods.

My companion, Sadie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, is afraid of storms.

IMG_8723She can hear them coming long before I can. I can usually tell when one is approaching because Sadie typically spends her time curled up underneath my kitchen chair. When storms approach she leaves her quiet little place of solitude to be by my side. If I’m within in touching distance she will get as close as she can possibly be. So close that it seems every ounce of air has been sucked away and there is absolutely nothing between us. If you touch her little body you can feel her heart racing. Her breathing quickens and her eyes open very wide. She gazes up as if to say, “Save me from the storm.”

During yesterday’s storm she curled up into a little ball beneath my makeshift sewing space. If I happened to leave the area, so did Sadie. When I returned she did as well. I feel sad for her because of her fear. If only I could reassure her that all would be fine. Unfortunately it’s difficult to relay that to her. Because of her disease (more about that some other time) it’s very difficult to find a place on her body that you can touch that won’t make her feel uncomfortable.

IMG_0154The storm passed as quickly as it approached. In no time Sadie was once again back beneath her favorite safe place. Together we weathered the storm safely tucked inside my Little Cabin in the Woods.

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It’s Going To Be Close!

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My daughter and I have occasionally participated in the Wisconsin Shop Hop. It’s an annual event occurring during the month of June encompassing 50+ quilting shops all over the state. To visit each merchant it would take days of traveling and thousands of miles. Typically we manage to visit 4-5 shops. Finding time to extend ourselves beyond that has been difficult.

This year, however, was the exception. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that we managed to visit every shop on the tour. Good heavens, I think I would need my head examined if I were to contemplate tackling that challenge. Our goal was much more realistic. Visiting all of the shops in one whole section was the plan. That’s 14 irresistible opportunities to snag the best and very latest morsel of fabric, sure to please any quilters pallet.

We began our journey at 9:00 a.m. with loads of enthusiasm, a detailed map, money in our pockets and the determination to successfully attain our goal. The rules of the Shop Hop required the participating businesses remain open until 6:00 p.m. Somehow we thought 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. was enough time to achieve our goal along with a stop for nourishment and refreshment.

One by one we methodically checked off the shops on our itinerary. As the day wore on, the miles racked up and our pockets became lighter, our energy as well as our enthusiasm faded. What started out as fun had morphed into a mountainous climb. Since we are not ones to admit defeat, quitting was not an option, although the thought did cross our minds.

Late in the day it became obvious the miles yet to travel and the number of shops yet to visit were greater than the hours left on the clock. With that realization came the sense of defeat. The light at the end of the tunnel just wasn’t coming quickly enough. It was obvious that finishing what we had set out to do was going to take one more day.

The merchant at the last shop we visited encouraged us to attempt one more stop. She informed us the distance between hers and the next was short. Her encouragement provided enough adrenaline for us to press on. After completing our purchase we swiftly headed back to our vehicle. We set off in the direction we had understood the shop to be. Miles passed before we realized we had made a wrong turn. The reality of our mistake hit us hard. What little enthusiasm we had left escaped like air from a balloon. All that was left was the ride home and the reality that we had missed our mark.

The ride home was at first quiet. We were, after all, exhausted. But as we progressed the thoughts of adding one more day to our adventure were tossed around. Just because we were not able to reach our goal in one day didn’t mean we couldn’t accomplish what we had originally set out to do. A good nights sleep was sure to refresh our spirits and provide the shot in the arm we would need to visit the remaining shops.

The second day of our Shop Hop was tackled at a much slower pace and as a result way more relaxing. As we were to discover it actually was a blessing to have not reached our goal on the first day. One of the shops we had missed turned out to be a real gem. We had never been to the shop before and were amazed to find it only 30+ minutes from home. The fabric selection fit our tastes perfectly. How sad it would have been to have hurried through in order to meet our One Day goal.

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Our 2014 Wisconsin Shop Hop excursion came to an end after traveling well over 300 miles, visiting 14 shops and acquiring wonderful specimens of fabric. With that accomplishment came the satisfaction of qualifying for the drawing of a prize, and the discovery of new and exciting opportunities. With the experience we gained, plans are already being made for the 2015 Wisconsin Shop Hop. Our plan next year will be to divide our travels into two days. Who knows what mischief we will get ourselves into.

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