Saturday, September 2, 2017

Scrappy Pine Forest Block - Tutorial

As part of the Faith Circle of do. Good Stitches I choose the design for our quilt two times each year. Most of the time I lean toward a scrappy type of block because scrap quilts just speak to my heart. This month is no different. I have asked the Faith Circle ladies to each make (2) Scrappy Pine Forest blocks.

Shiloh in the pine forest :o)
My girl, Shiloh, looking over the Pine Forest blocks.

Here is a quick tutorial for how to make the pine tree part of the blocks. Start by pulling a scrap of green to blue/green fabric and cut it into a triangle.

Cut fabric scrap into a triangle

Sew the tree fabric onto a piece of background fabric.

Tree fabric sewn onto a piece of background fabric

Flip the fabric over and press the seam toward the tree to make it stand out a bit.


Sew fabric to the opposite side of the tree. When pressing turn the seam allowance toward the tree.

Sew fabric to the opposite side of the tree

Trim up the side fabrics so the unit has a rectangular shape.

Trim into a rectangle

Make a tree trunk. I cut the brown fabric 1" wide.

Trunk unit - brown fabric was cut to 1" wide before sewing

Finally - sew the trunk unit onto the tree unit and trim to a rectangular shape.


Use low volume fabrics (prints and solids) to finish making the blocks into a 12.5" square. Blocks can be made with as few as one tree, or as many as you'd like to include. Here are two samples I made up.

Scrappy Pine Forest

Scrappy Pine Forest

Hope you enjoy making Scrappy Pine Forest Blocks!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Blog Hop Wrap-up and Winners

Wow! As always Quiltmaker's blog hop was so much fun! I hope you enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful new blocks. If you end up making Boxed Star please tag me on Instagram, or flickr so I'll be sure to see it!

Boxed Star, Block No. 1477, Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 15

What an honor it is to participate in the blog hop. It's always so great to get to hear from so many readers and interact with you. I especially enjoyed reading all about your "silly" fears. Although, I'll be the first to admit that "silly" in no way means they aren't to be taken seriously, rather it means not something you'd immediately identify as causing someone anxiety. If you read through all the comments you discovered that many of us share the same fears. I found that to be both interesting, and comforting. We have much more in common with each other than meets the eye.

I promised to draw names for two winners using and I've already heard back from them both:

  • Winner of an issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Block, Vol. 15 (to be sent directly from the magazine editors) is Commentor No. 55, Beth! Congratulations!
  • Winner of a mini fat quarter bundle and Vol. 15 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks (to be sent by me) is Commentor No. 13, Quilting Tangent! Congratulations!

Both prizes should already be on the way. Thanks again for stopping by Shadows of the Blue Ridge, and I hope to see you again next time!

Happy quilting!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 15 Blog Tour

Welcome quilters! Thank you for stopping by Shadows of the Blue Ridge as you travel Quiltmaker's Road Rally! I hope you're having a great time this week visiting all the stops and soaking in the quilty goodness.

Today I get to share with you my newest block, Boxed Star. Boxed Star came about as I was experimenting with creating secondary design using the background space on a quilt block. The first few blocks I designed had plain backgrounds, but I've enjoyed learning how to add secondary patterns to my newest blocks. Here is what Boxed Star looks like as a single block:

Boxed Star

Not bad, and it can certainly be used as a stand alone block as it is here it is in my Random Sampler quilt (center of left edge-made using caramel and tan fabrics)

Random Sampler - completed quilt top
This is a sampler quilt top that I've recently finished

However, the magic really happens when Boxed Star is used across a quilt top either with or without sashing added. I created these two mock-ups by copying a picture of my block into Google Drawing and then copy/pasting it several times.

Boxed Star quilt top without sashing

When the Boxed Star block is used without sashing the background elements become the focus and the stars becomes the secondary design element. It's always so interesting to see this happen in a quilt. When sashing is used between the blocks (see picture below) the star remains as the focal point and the various boxes are the secondary design element.

Boxed Star quilt top with sashing

Boxed Star is my sixth block to appear in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. When I first thought to design a block I was a bit afraid to actually submit something. After all I'm not someone schooled in design. However, once I pulled out my colored pencils and graph paper and just started sketching ideas I had fun with it - and surprised myself! We all have things we're afraid of, or that make us nervous. Of course, the silliest fear I have is parking in a parking garage. Can you believe it?!? I'm so afraid I'll get my car parked in there and not be able to get back out again. I mean, what if it's an unmanned garage that only takes cash and I don't have correct change? Do you see where I'm going with this? I could be stuck in there with no way to get out! It makes my hands sweat just thinking about it...but, I digress.

Fat quarter giveaway!

I think it's time for a couple of giveaways! I'm holding a drawing for a copy of 100 Blocks, Volume 15 plus this little spring-time inspired fat quarter bundle (shown above).

In addition, the editors of Quiltmaker's are generously giving one of my blog readers a free issue of 100 Blocks, Volume 15.

For a chance to win just leave a comment telling me about your silliest fear :o) I'll draw random winners on Sunday morning, May 7. Note: If you suspect you may be a "no reply" blogger please make sure to include your email address in your comment.

Well friends, thanks so much for stopping by and letting me tell you all about Boxed Star.  I'd love to see you back here again. If you'd like regular updates from Shadows of the Blue Ridge consider signing up for an email subscription (top right of your screen), or you can follow me on Bloglovin'. You can also find me on Instagram

I hope you soak in a lot of inspiration as you visit all the blogs on the tour. You can read about the tour and find links to the featured blogs on Quiltmaker's blog, Quilty Pleasures

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bear Garden Cabin - almost ready

It's been awhile since I've shared an update on our log home. I'm thrilled to report that it is almost ready for us to move! It's been such a journey to build this home. I'm writing this post as a bit of a journal to record details for myself, so you may want to skim if you just want to see the pictures :o)

Bear Garden Cabin
Almost all the work on the exterior is now finished
This picture was taken a month ago - since then the gravel driveway has been put down and grass seed/straw cover the bare soil. The exterior of our cabin is stained with Perma-Chink in the Lifeline Ultra 7 Cedar color. I've read that this "reddish" color is traditional for the region we live in. We actually chose it because darker stain is supposed to provide more UV protection for the logs than lighter stain. We didn't want to go with a dark brown, so we selected Cedar since it is midway between the color choices. I love how rich it looks with the green trim.

Steep drop-off behind the house

Behind the house our builder had to move a lot of soil so that there is a bit of space before it starts to drop off down the mountain. We will need to either plant ground cover, or put in some type of retaining wall to prevent the soil from eroding away. The tall corner posts up on the deck were my request. We have something similar at our current house so I can hang baskets of flowers. Currently, I also use them to hang bird feeders, however we don't want to attract bear onto our deck, so I won't hang bird seed on this deck.

Completed master bedroom

The master bedroom is the only 100% complete room so far. The exterior walls and ceiling are northern white cedar. They are finished with a clear topcoat. It's amazing how much the clear sealer brought out the wood grain and knots. I'm also surprised at how much darker they are every time we go up to see the house. I guess the wood is seasoning. The entire main level (except master bath) has 2-1/4" hickory hardwood on the floor. We chose hickory for a few reasons: it's a very hard wood so that will aid in scratch resistance, the color variations will blend together the various woods used in the house, and the color variations combined with the narrow width will also help mask the inevitable scratches that will come with living in our home. I like the almost-tapestry appearance of it. I think our dog, Shiloh, approves.

I'm so glad we decided to use a little bit of drywall in the bedrooms and bathrooms. My first inclination was to go all wood on the walls, but my husband thought we might want the option to be able to add a bit of color. Now that I see this room finished I'm glad it's not wood all around - I think that might have been a bit much.

Kitchen with loft above

I've been most nervous about the kitchen. Since the house has a great room the kitchen is fully in view. It was so hard to pick out all the options (cabinets, counters, lights, appliances, sink, faucet, etc.) without knowing how the walls were going to look once they were stained, or how the hickory floors were going to look. The interior walls (and kitchen island) are all pine instead of cedar, like the exterior walls, and you can see the difference in color. I'm not sure why our builder mixes cedar and pine. It was hard to choose the stain color for the kitchen cabinets with so many different wood types. My husband did not want painted or black cabinets, so I had to choose a color to stain them. I really appreciate the advice given to me by the cabinet specialist I worked with at Lowes. She advised me not to try and match the various woods, but instead to think of them like furniture and let them all have a different grain pattern and stain color. Now that I see them all together I think it was sound advice.

Kitchen details
Details of the kitchen

Something I've learned about log homes is that they truly are custom - each step has to be figured out like a puzzle. For instance, look at the upper cabinets - can you see there are three different cabinet heights? The cabinets above the stove and refrigerator go right up to the ceiling (the loft is above). If you look closely at the cabinet to the right of the sink you can see it is shorter. That's because the main beam holding up the second floor is huge! Because of this we needed that cabinet to be shorter. Now look at the cabinet to the left of the sink - see how tall it is. That's because a shorter cabinet would look too small and like it was floating with the cathedral ceiling above it. I was so grateful to work with a knowledgeable (and reassuring) cabinet planner! She assured me that they would turn out looking great, and she was right :o) Just to add a focal point we added one glass front cabinet door in the corner.

Trying to stay within our budget we chose Wilsonart upgraded laminate counters in a finish called river gemstone. My thought was the dark counters would make a nice contrast to all the light wood in the rest of the great room. I paired them with a Franke granite finish sink and an oil rubbed bronze Moen faucet.

The lights were another difficult decision. The three over the island needed to hang approx. 13' down from the cathedral ceiling, which limited our choices. In the end we found these simple pendants that are suspended by their wiring and allowed us to choose any shades. To provide maximum light efficiency we chose glass instead of metal shades, so light will shine up as well as down. We've been told wood does not reflect light the way that painted surfaces do, so we wanted to make sure the kitchen is bright enough.

My initial plans did not include stainless steel appliances, but during the Black Friday appliance sales I was blessed to find this set. It had been purchased by someone else who never took delivery. Because of this they were offered at a super sales price. Lowes held them for us at no cost for over four months! Such a blessing!

The Great Room
The great room - holding spot for all tools

Finally, we come to the great room. The walls and floors are all finished (floors are covered with cardboard to protect the wood). Just the ceiling fan and stone on the fireplace are left to complete. Stone will completely fill the area within the wall stiffeners shown in the upper right side of this photo. Once the fireplace is finished I'm pretty sure just some plumbing/water supply work needs to be done, then the house should be move in ready.

Katahdin Cedar Log Homes

It's been almost an entire year since our builder, Cabin Run Construction, broke ground in May of 2016. At times it seems like things move fast, and at times it seems like they move slowly. But, all-in-all it has truly been a dream come true to build our log home and we are so very blessed to have this experience. I'll be sure to let you know when we move in :o)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Quilt of Valor - Faith Circle

Twice a year I have the opportunity to select the quilt design and recipient for one of our Faith Circle quilts. Last fall I knew my turn was coming up, and I knew who I wanted to make a quilt for - a special soldier who fought for our country in Iraq. I have such respect for the Quilts of Valor Foundation as they strive to wrap in love members of our armed forces who have been touched by war.

Quilt of Valor - October 2016 quilt
Quilt of Valor

Quilts can often have a more feminine look to them, so I did quite a bit of looking to find a pattern/design with a more masculine appeal. As soon as I saw this quilt designed by the talented Ara Jane Olufson I knew it was the right one. She happily granted us permission to use her design for our quilt.

Quilt of Valor - October 2016 Faith Circle Quilt
A bit of breeze to add movement

The Faith Circle ladies were so wonderful to make extra blocks and send fabric squares so that our quilt would be of a nice size. It ended up at 64" x 80" before washing. Perfect size to snuggle up on the couch with!

Quilt of Valor - October 2016 Faith Circle Quilt
This picture shows off the nice texture added by the long arm quilting

The long arm quilting was graciously done by a local friend - we agreed that an all over star pattern was the best choice.  The Quilts of Valor Foundation has guidelines they request you follow for all quilts, and included in that is the label. I usually struggle with what to put on a label, so I found their guidelines to be very helpful.

Faith Circle Quilt Label
I used a Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric pen to make the label

This was a very satisfying quilt to work on and finish. I hope it will be a blessing to it's intended owner.

The Faith Circle is a virtual quilt group operating under the guidelines of do. Good Stitches. If you are interested in finding out more, or joining, you can do so here.

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Day One: Where to go from here

Well, here we are at Day One of a brand new year. In my sewing room are several work-in-process quilts at various stages of completion, in addition to supplies for a couple of projects not yet begun. One project I'd like to bring to a close this year is my Random Sampler Quilt. I finished the quilt top several months ago, but never shared a picture of it.

Random Sampler - completed quilt top
Random Sampler quilt top

This top was such an enjoyable journey. It began as a quilt-along and ended up including several quilt blocks I've designed. To round it out I thoroughly enjoyed searching for blocks I loved to fill in all the various spaces.

While sewing the blocks and filler strips needed for this top, I had time to mull over how to quilt it: machine quilting -vs- hand quilting. After working with perle cotton on my last two projects I decided I wanted the Random Sampler to be hand quilted using big stitches and No. 8 perle cotton. It's just hard to beat the beautiful texture created by hand quilting, and the slow pace is so relaxing. My local quilt shop has a great inventory of Presencia Finca and I had no problem matching colors with my quilt top.

No. 8 perle cotton

As soon as I purchase batting suitable for hand quilting, a good thimble, and cozy flannel for the backing I'm all set to begin, and I can't wait!

For my family 2017 is a year that will see us realize the dream of moving into our log home in the not too distant future. This will be a great quilt for snuggling on the couch with my husband while we look out over the mountains and enjoy our new home.