cartoon by Carla Barrett

cartoon by Carla Barrett

This week, America celebrates National Adoption Day to focus attention on children who need a forever family. These children are often born into situations not of their own making. They are the innocent participants of choices their biological parents make- or don’t make.

Grandparents of a child born into difficult circumstances have a decision to make. They can choose to ignore the child and situation completely, pretending the birth never happened. Or, they may proactively intervene to protect an innocent child from harm.

My husband, Joe, and I chose to intervene and do whatever it took to protect our darling grandson, Ethan, now age 3 1/2. We have cared for Ethan from birth, and then took steps to become his legal guardians. Once you have been the legal guardian for 2 years in our particular state (California), you may then petition for adoption, if you so choose.  We hired an adoption specialist attorney and filed last July.

On November 17, 2014, the Court finalized our adoption of Ethan, and I am so happy to announce this event publicly. He is such a wonderful blessing to Joe and I, and we love him so much! Below are some favorite photos of Ethan taken this year:



Joe and I look forward to raising Ethan and providing for him a safe, stable, loving home environment in the years to come.    I hope you have enjoyed our adoption announcement and meeting Ethan.    Hugs, Carla

Tropical Dreams

Picture this….warm turquoise water, white sand beaches, coral and tropical aquarium underwater views through my snorkeling mask.

Or how about this…. the sails filled with wind on a beam reach as the catamaran sailboat glides effortlessly through the water towards the island shore.

380That will be our reality shortly when we bareboat charter a catamaran in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) again.  Joe, Ethan and I will be flying to St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands, then boarding a ferry to the island of Tortola in the BVI.  A cab ride from the ferry dock to the east side of Tortola, and we will board the Lagoon 380 catamaran, which is a double-hulled sailboat (see picture, above).  Here is the layout of the boat, shown right:

Lagoon380saloonAs sailboats go, it is quite spacious, especially when compared to a monohull sailboat.  You have a main salon, consisting of a kitchen, dining table, and navigation station.

lagoon380_2You also have several staterooms, here is a typical view of one, shown below.

I have lost count of how many bareboat charters we have done.  A charter is considered a “bareboat” when you act in the capacity as captain and crew.  In this case, that would be Joe and I.  Ethan will be wearing a special offshore Personal Floatation  Device (PFD) and tether for safety while underway.  You would be surprised how often we get asked about how we keep 3 year old Ethan safe while sailing, especially when we are both busy at the helm and raising sails, anchoring or picking up a mooring ball.

bvibeachThis trip will be our way of introducing Ethan to a more extended sailing.  Previously, he has only experienced day sails on our current sailboat, SV Sea Glass, an O’Day 23.  We will soon be selling our O’Day 23 and  purchasing a much larger sailboat in early 2015, a bluewater cruiser sailboat about 42-49 feet in size.



Marina Cay, BVI

Chartering in the BVI is fun, relaxing, and there is lots to do and see.  You wake up in the morning and decide where you want to sail and do that day. Above is a map of the island group that makes up the BVI.  I plan to do a lot of snorkeling, sailing, beachcombing, and swimming during our trip.   Watch for my trip report when I get back!   Fair Winds, Carla

Works in Progress

As always, I am working on several creative projects at once.  I am making progress on the art quilt shown in the post below, plus, I have been drawing quilting designs using my Tablet PC- which will be turned into digitized quilting or embroidery designs.    Plus, here are some other projects in the creative phase:

1.) Tree Overlay, made out of fiber, fabric and other embellishments, for my art quilt.

2.) Freeform Beaded leaves for quilt above.

3) Mokuba Freelace scarf. (I do have a tutorial for this project)

4) Wholecloth Series of Quilts.  I am working on several designs on both silk, cotton, and whatever materials I find on hand.


I promise to write about each project as it develops.  Plus, I have some design projects in the works, but I can only share about that when they become available for sale.

Baby-wise, dear little Ethan has been getting over roseola, which is a type of childhood virus featuring several days of a high fever, followed by a rash.  Poor little guy, he has been feeling most crabby, but  thankfully, has had no complications.

What have YOU been up to?  Hugs, Carla

New Blog Look

Hello, I am playing around with how my blog looks.  It is way over due for an update.  I will be experimenting with several looks over the next week or so.  Feel free to comment about any that you like.

Long time blog readers may want to know why I haven’t been blogging as much as usual?  One reason has to do with a dear little boy who came into my life last year.  It is now official- Joe and I are the proud legal guardians for Ethan, now 14 months old.    He has blond hair, blue eyes, and is adorable.  Full of personality, Ethan has a fun sense of humor, too.  It will be a joy to see him grow.

As always, I am still creating, albeit more slowly than in years past.  In the works are some Carla digital quilting designs- to be carried exclusively by DigiTech Designs.  When they become available, I promise to share a link so you can see them.

I am also working on the Fall Class schedule, too, as well as updating the StepOnPins website.  When it becomes available, too, I will let you know.  🙂  How is that for a teaser?

Happy 4th of July to all the US blog readers!

Hugs, Carla

Successful Class!

With my 3 week long Quilt Whisperer 101 Online Class wrapping up, I have the free time to blog again!  I am happy to report that the class went well, and the live meetings were fun to do.  Thanks to all the students in the July QW Class for your hard work and for taking my class.

So what’s next?  Next up is a Tablet Design Class, which is already written.  However, I still need to shoot and edit the videos for the weekly lessons.  Here are examples of what the class will teach.  How to draw a wholecloth quilt using a tablet:


How to design quilt tops using a tablet.  Here is the before:

Quilt top by Debby B.

Here is the designed quilt:

(Thanks to Debby B. for allowing me to share her lovely quilt top)

The class teaches many other skills, too.  How to design Edge-2-Edge designs and pantos, and how to PPP with your tablet, and more!

Once I finish my videos for this class, the class will be announced and my mailing list notified by an email newsletter.  If you wish to be on the class list, just post a reply here- or on my class page.

Other news:  With an adorable grandbaby in the home, Joe and I lives are enriched!  Ethan is now 3 months and is so cute… a Gerber baby really!  He is a good natured baby, healthy, and even sleeps through the night!  He is a precious gift.

My next speaking and workshop is scheduled for September in Phoenix, Arizona.  I am honored they asked me to come.  I will be giving a lecture on Quilt Whispering, and my workshop will be my Doodle Art Fill Class.  Students will go home with their own original doodle art quilt to later quilt:

How have YOU been?    Happy Summer, Carla

Meet Kate

During my vacation, I got to spend lots of quality bonding time with the grandkids.  Jack is very funny and is also very active.  Kate, who was born earlier this year, is a nursing baby, so I haven’t babysat her very often before this trip.

Here is a picture of Kate, lifted borrowed from my DIL’s facebook page:

I was so excited to get to know Kate on this family trip.  I got to hold her quite a bit and play noise games back and forth.  She melts my heart, just like Jack did at this age.  I freely admit to being mushy, but grandmothers are known to do this on occasion.

Anyway, I haven’t written much about the grandkids in a long while, so I thought it was time.  Next post tomorrow: my funny car rental story.  Real life happens when you least expect it.

Crop Circle Mystery Solved!

Before I explain and show pics about my mystery crop circles, here’s an ant doodle I did while watching the Project Runway finale last night:

My favorite ant is this one:

Actually, I don’t often sit around drawing ants,  I was drawing a page of picnic theme quilting designs.   Once though, in the 1990’s, I designed a ant theme cover for a magazine- and in my ant world, I drew a People Farm sitting on the shelf.  After it was published, a rubber stamp company owner called and asked to turn the whole page into rubber stamps.  LOL  Somewhere in my garage are a bunch of ant stamps, people farm, and other stamps I designed over the years including my godzilla design.

Now onto the “Crop Circle” mystery:  I was out admiring the spring flowers, then noticed a bunch of places where it looked like mini crop circles.  I took a walk and noticed them randomly here and there.  It was hard to capture them adequately, but here goes:

Pretty odd, I admit.  I dismissed the alien theory, but spent a few days trying to understand how they came about?

The answer came to me as I noticed a big old Tom Turkey, obviously on the prowl for a little turkey action.  He puffed his feathers out in a handsome display sure to catch the ladies eye.  Heck, even I found him to be attractive- in a turkey dinner kind of way!

I tried to get a better picture, but you will have to ignore Joe’s smoker in the foreground and my patio chair.  Yes, that is a rock on the smoker… not sure why:

A wonderful display of turkey maleness!  Tom’s gobbles and display were effective, because 3 ladies came to check him out:

Finally, the mystery of the crop circles are explained:

Hmmm…   buy the sheer number of these circles around the place, I would say there should be lots of babies in the late spring.  LOL  Life on the ranch….

Enjoy your day!  Hugs, Carla

Grandma Moment!

I thought I would share pictures of my darling grandkids.  Jack is now over 2 and Kate is about 7 weeks old:

And here is Jack.  I admit I added a bit of fun to his picture:

And here are the kids together with Aimee, my pretty DDIL:

Joe and I love to babysit Jack, and he spent the night last weekend with us!  We also look forward to babysitting Kate for longer stretches.  She is breastfed, which is so important for both Kate and her mom, so we will just patiently wait until she is older.

Now that I have grandkids, I can honestly say that  Grandkids are our reward for raising teenagers!!  LOL   Hugs, Carla (aka Grandma)

Quilt for Kate!

I wanted to share a cute baby quilt that my friend, Barb K., made for my new granddaughter, Kate:

Here is a close-up:

What a nice friend to do this for me.  She also sent a couple of outfits, so thank you, Barb!!  This is a lovely quilt and it looks great in the Kate’s room at our house.

Enjoy your weekend!!  I hope to see the grandkids today, and I have 2 classes I am teaching at the quilt store the next 2 days- My therapy quilt:

and my quilted beaded bag:

Hugs, Carla