Boat Search Continues….

perfect-stormThe hunt for the right blue water capable sailboat for our family continues.  What is a blue water sailboat, you might ask?  It is a sailboat designed to cross oceans.  No, make that safely cross oceans.   The “safety” part is real big with my husband and I.   We want a boat that will take whatever Neptune throws at her.  Well, within reason.  I just remembered the end of the movie, The Perfect Storm.  Banish the thought of rouge waves, and let’s get back to the topic of buying the right boat.

11143295_10204312880322603_7261886614980938312_nSo far, our boat search has taken us to Florida for a week long, mad dash around the state looking at all types of potential sailboats.

Then we decided to treat young Ethan to a Disney Cruise from Miami to San Diego by way of the Panama Canal.  Yes, that’s right- Ethan gets Mickey, and we get to experience an engineering wonder.   That was fair.  Plus, we all had a blast on the cruise.  On the right is dear Ethan all dressed up for pirate night.  He makes an adorable pirate I might add.

Once we arrived to San Diego, the Southern Cal part of the boat search began.  We saw one boat we really liked, however, we waited too long to make an offer and someone else bought it the next day.   Oh well, live and learn.

This boat search trip was very helpful despite the disappointment of not acting fast enough and missing out.  This philosopher in me says it wasn’t the right boat for us.  However, we did learn what makes and model of boat we like and dislike for our offshore sailboat.

So what’s next?  We are narrowing down our search, working with our broker, and a trip back to Florida is in my future.    Stay tuned!!  Hugs, Carla

Realizing a Dream

Have you ever had a longtime dream?   Something you planned to accomplish and took tiny steps towards over many years in order to realize.  This could be retirement, or travel, or any number of dreams- both large or small.

capt joeMy dream is to sail the world in a bluewater sailboat.   I love the ocean, tropical islands, traveling, and learning about other cultures.  Sharing this dream with my husband, Joe, was part of the plan, so I gave him a copy of Herb Payson’s entertaining book, Blown Away.  Little did I know that reading Blown Away was all it took to get Joe on board with my idea.  Fabulous, partner with same dream…. check!

IMG_5016Next step is to learn more about “cruising,” which is the sailing term used when you leave home behind and travel by sailboat.  This included taking lots of sailing classes on subjects like how to actually sail, navigation, weather, anchoring, offshore sailing, sail repair, diesel repair, provisioning and outfitting your boat, and my favorite topic, safety.  After all, the goal is to come back alive, right?

Then, you have to think about the financial aspects of cruising, or how to pay for it.  In our case, we paid off our house, saved over a long time, and recently retired early (Joe) or are taking a sabbatical (Carla).  We also saved for our boat, too, which we are now searching for with help of a yacht broker.  Finally, we are at the point where everything is coming together.

bviEthan2aFour years ago, we had an unexpected blip in our sailing plans, the birth of our grandson Ethan. Circumstances led to our caring for him since birth, and finally adopting him last year.  We know many cruising couples who sail with children, so with safety in mind, we decided to include Ethan in our travel plans.   When he gets to school age, we plan to boat school him.  If we stay somewhere for a time (say, for hurricane season), we will place him into a local school in a foreign country.   What a wonderful opportunity he will have.

The topic of safety is hugely important to us.  Trust me, we plan to have every useful safety product sold on board.  More about this topic later, when I develop our sailing blog.  The new blog will be for anyone wanting to follow our sailing adventures.  For readers who enjoy the current blog, I hope to create while we sail, and post to this blog on topics relevant to quilting, beading, mixed media arts and artists I meet.

Once we buy our boat and outfit her, we plan to move aboard and set off.  A decade long dream finally realized.   Do you have a dream to share?  I would love to hear about yours.

Digital Design Draft

I like to draw on my tablet PC while watching TV in the evenings.  The following designs are first draft, meaning that I will go back and clean them up, and work with them further.

First I drew the center of the design:


Then, I decided to add more framing:


Will let you know how the design progresses and changes as I work with it more.

Take care, Carla

Freeform Frame of Mind

Here is what is catching my attention- beads!  Working on several freeform beading projects at once, including this work-in-progress:

Freeform Work in progress by Carla Barrett

Freeform Work in progress by Carla Barrett

Also working on a few quilting projects, too.  Will show you later, I promise.  :-)

Have a wonderful weekend, Carla

Digital Designing Process

Hello, I thought I would give you a sneak peek into how I come up with designs that I plan to turn into machine quilting designs on my Tablet PC.

I open Photoshop Elements and create a new document.  I just start sketching freehand style and erase any designs that seem not to work.  I do not worry about the lines if they are wobbly at this point, since I know I will redraw and edit lines later on in this digital format.

If I am designing a small wholecloth design, often I will just draw a section of the quilt, then copy, paste and flip to make a square shape.  I love to work digitally.

carlamotif1Here is my quick sketch design, with color added just for fun:


Now it is time to redraw and edit the design.  I know that the center is rather boring, so will adjust that.  I will also edit some other lines, too.   Sometimes, I will redraw a design multiple times, until it flows for me.



cbelegascrolltropHere is what my first edit looks like.  Again, I added color just for fun:

At this point, I can edit further, or pull out individual elements that could make nice simpler designs all on their own.  These designs can later become part of a larger set of designs.


Breaking down the larger design into smaller designs also allows me to play with the idea of creating matching borders, sashings, corners, etc.  Here is an example of a smaller design from the larger quilt design: scroll border panto

Anyhow, this gives you a general idea for how I work.  I plan to redraw these designs and fine tune the stitch path for commercial application.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment.  Happy Quilting!  Carla

Buying a Discontinued New Tablet PC- For Artists

As mentioned in my last post, it was time to buy a new tablet, so I decided to follow my own advice and pick up a brand new, yet discontinued, tablet PC for a fraction of the price.  The model I selected was offered on a reputable website, but would save me quite a bit of money in the end.  I needed a new Tablet PC to run all my design software, like Photoshop Elements, Illustrator, and Art & Stitch.

lenovo-tp-x230-n2c2bhv-laptop-tablet3The model I purchased was a Lenovo Thinkpad x230, which I purchased from B&H Photo brand new for only between $600-659.  It is currently offered now for $634 US here.

I want to let blog readers know my first impressions and how my purchase has worked out so far.

The package shipped promptly from B&H, and arrived just fine in a brand new box.  This was indeed a brand new machine and not a refurbished one.  I opened the box and then proceeded to set up my machine and install all my software.  This notebook does not have a CD/DVD player, but I just used my portable one that connects to the computer with a USB plug to install all my software.

Once I had Photoshop Elements 13 installed, it was time to try it out.  Sure enough, it worked perfectly!   It has similar specs to my last Tablet PC, the Fujitsu T902, but I paid less than 1/3rd the cost.

The pros:  Lenovo x230 is a fine tablet and comes highly rated by other artists.  The price was right.  Tablet works as advertised.

The cons:  The keyboard set up takes some getting used to, but I added a mouse for ease of web surfing and clicking.  The Wacom digitizer and pen are a bit different than previous Tablet PCs, it seems to have some pressure functionality.  It will take some time to get used to the new set up.  This machine was released a few years ago, and is now discontinued.

All in all, I am very happy with my new tablet, and love that I spent less than $660 US. I think this is an excellent value for what you get. I can now start drawing and designing once again!

Let me know if you have any questions.  Hugs, Carla



New Tablet PC Purchase!

t901_twist_antenna_stylusThis post is for all the students and blog readers who write me about wanting a Tablet PC.  As mentioned in my post (seen below) my current Tablet PC, a very pricey Fujitsu T902 purchased about 3 years ago for about $2000 US, had the power cord disconnect.  It was not very robust a machine, as the cracks on the case reveal.  I decided it was time to get a new Tablet PC, so I started my research.

TCHICK copyo date, over the last 10 years, I have owned 3 Tablet PC Convertibles, which means they act as either a  PC laptop or notebook, and also have tablet functionality to allow me to draw on the Wacom digitizer monitor screen for art purposes.  My first one was the best, a Toshiba Portege, however, Toshiba stopped making Tablet PC Convertibles awhile back.  My second tablet PC was an HP Touchsmart tm2, but it never lived up to my Toshiba Portege.  It finally bit the dust during my AU trip and has been long discontinued.  I then purchased the Fujitsu T902, however, it is now out of action due to Ethan tripping over my power cord and disconnecting it.  I plan to get this repaired so the Fujitsu becomes my backup Tablet PC.

The last few years have seen rapid changes in the Tablet industry, and is very confusing to most people, even tech savvy readers.  I knew I wanted a Tablet PC, with enough system memory so it would run my favorite design/drawing programs like Photoshop Elements, Adobe Illustrator, and Art&Stitch digitizing software.  The digitizer needs to be by Wacom, mainly due to the better performance and precision.  This ruled out buying Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, which instead has a digitizer called N-Trig.  I also wanted an Intel Processor, and my Operating System (OS) could be anything between 7-8.1, since Windows 10 isn’t out yet.

I looked at all the current offerings, and trust me, there wasn’t all that many offerings which met my art and design needs.  I could have spent anywhere between $1-3K, but then decided to try something that I recommend to students in my Tablet Design classes.  That is to buy a slightly older, discontinued, highly rated,Tablet Convertible PC for a fraction of the original price.

So I went for it!!  The Tablet PC Convertible I bought has all the specs that my Fujitsu T902 had, but instead is a fraction of the price at $659 US.  I purchased a new, discontinued Lenovo Thinkpad x230.   Since I bought it from a reputable retailer, if I do not like it, I can easily return it.

Watch for my upcoming review.  It is supposed to ship to me in a few days.  Free shipping, even.  If this works out, I will have an affordable option to recommend for students.  :-)  Hugs from Carla