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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!

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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.

Blue Sky.jpg

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.

Circuit Quilt Layout.jpg

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

 

 

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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

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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

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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.