Feathers, Feathers and More Feathers!

Many of you have written noticing that I have been rather quiet of late.  That is because I am working hard at finishing my Feather Mastery Workbook and also on my revamped online classes.

I anticipate finishing my Feather Mastery Workbook first.  All of the worksheets are being redrawn, redesigned, and new worksheets have been added.   I draw my feather illustrations and workbook sheets in Photoshop Elements.  Here is a sample feather drawing from the Workbook:

from Carla Barrett's Feather Mastery Workbook

from Carla Barrett’s Feather Mastery Workbook

The workbook is growing as I continue to draw and edit.  I get new ideas, which means I then need to write and complete another Lesson.

What are YOUR favorite feathers?     Hugs, Carla

Freeform Beading Project

First off, thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts surrounding my spine surgery.  My surgery to have an artificial disc replaced was very successful, thanks to the skill of my wonderful surgeon!  The surgery took place on January 20th, in San Francisco, California.  This xray image shows the artificial disc in place:

Hmmm… looks rather like an Oreo cookie in there, doesn’t it?   LOL!

While I am healing, I will do freeform beadwork, so I won’t go into creative withdrawal.  My first project will be a wearable art necklace and here is my bead palette:

and here is a different project- again, in progress-  for a large purse embellishment.  Notice how different the bead colors are:

On the topic of beads and beading, I want to give a huge  “Thank You” to Barb Kiehn, who so kindly gifted me with this book:

It looks like a wonderful resource book on beading!  It was very thoughtful of Barb to give this to me to enjoy while I’m recuperating!

That’s all for today!  Now I want to hear from YOU!  What are YOU doing to nourish your creative spirit?  Hugs, Carla

Creative in 2011: Quilting

It feels good to quilt again.  Right now I am working hard to finish up an antique kimono quilt for my friend, Barb.  It will be entered into the Folsom Quilt Show next month, and I am making wonderful progress each day.  That is what I have been doing in the last week, creative wise, as in Creative in 2011:

I don’t want to spoil the surprise for Barb, but here is an early photo taken of just one block that she has already seen:

This is a silk kimono quilt, which is one reason the block just glows in the light.

My goal is to finish this quilt before my upcoming surgery.  Btw, thanks for all the kind thoughts, the short version is I am having an artificial disc replacement surgery, which is the best technology available for what ails me.  This will be done in San Francisco, by a leading spine surgeon whom I trust.    Once I heal, I can get back to what I love doing best: quilting, beading, teaching, traveling, sailing, creating, and doing back flips.   Well, maybe not the last one.  LOL

I already have lots of projects to do while I heal:  writing, new class development, drawing, beading and freeform crochet, etc.  I have a wonderful new challenge to do for ArtBeads.com, too.  The challenge is to create a beaded piece inspired by “Winter.”    I have it designed in my mind, but I see a freeform beaded necklace inspired by white/blue colors of a winter snow.  I will be using ultrasuede as the base.

I will also be working on a booklet about quilting Theme Quilts, too, for machine quilters.  I’ve had so many requests for this very thick class handout, that I am planning to expand it even more and release it as a booklet.  Here is a sample page showing you how to quilt 3 leaves:

Off to quilt now.    Hugs, Carla

A Must Have Book!

I just ordered my copy of the book, “Mommy is my Heart” by Lori Seavey, from the author’s website.  Here is a picture of this extraordinary book, which was illustrated by Teri Farrell-Gittins:

Here is a review:  “Beautifully written and illustrated. This story is told through the eyes of a seven year old. It touches on all the feelings of loss that the young girl experiences, when her Mother dies. I found this book to be honest, real, and most helpful in explaining death to young children.
Nancy Bolger Los Angeles, CA.”

If you know of a family that has been touched by cancer, this book will help the children cope with their loss and know they are not alone with their feelings.   Lori was inspired to write this book after the cancer death of a friend, Carol  French Doughty.

The quality of the illustration is top notch!  I have long admired Teri’s work:

I look forward to receiving my copy of this book!    Thank you for letting me share it with you.  Lori and Teri, excellent job, my friends!

Put Another Candle On My Bithday Cake

Yes, I have a birthday today, November 5th.  To celebrate it, I am posting my birthday cartoon:

To celebrate,  Joe is taking me to a surprise restaurant tonight.  I would tell you what it is, only it is a surprise, right?  LOL

I still haven’t picked my present yet.  I am finally going to get a new tablet computer, but I need to decide between 2 types.

I will confess to doing some internet shopping yesterday.  I decided to buy this product, called the “BedLounge,” because  I am locating lots of helpful items that will make my life more comfy.  Picture me relaxing like this lady:

Then,  I decided that what I was missing was this product:

From Brookstone, this is called, the Nap luxe blanket.  It is made out of a very soft material.

Comfort is a good thing!  Hugs, Carla


Antique Beads and More!

While I was visiting Missouri, I dragged took Joe “antiquing.”  My cool finds were a jar full of antique buttons and one very large quart size jar of antique beads!   Here is a picture of  some of the beads:

Here is a bag full of glass or real pearls:

And metal beads, large beads, charms and chains:

Then here is the best find of them all; my mothers pile of costume jewelry:

I plan to make something for my sister and I with some of the costume jewelry.  I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so I will keep mum!

I also picked up 3 new books on beading for inspiration:

Last night, I started a new project to showcase the silver leaf with small crystals embedded.  I am playing with the idea of hanging the pendant off from a thin spiral peyote  bead necklace:

Not sure how this will pan out, but this is how I design… just start and change directions if need be.  The spiral beaded chain may be too heavy for the silver leaf.  If so, I will change the beaded necklace design.

What are you creating or working on?

Barbara Chainey Stencils

I wanted to share a few of my favorite stencils by Barbara Chainey with you all.  I am a longtime fan of Barbara’s books (including Quilt It!, The Essential Quilter, and  Fast Quilts From Fat Quarters) and also her stencils, too.

Barbara lives in England, and is a noted teacher, author, and designer.  She lives with a batty border collie named Himself, and 3 cats in her home in deepest middle England.

I first “met” Barbara online when I linked to her site from my blog, and then she commented back.  Since that time, I have had the pleasure to get to know her a bit better through emails.  Since I love her stencil designs, sold through Stensource, I thought I would share them with you, too.  It also happens that some of my favorite stencils also happen to be on sale, too, including this favorite stencil:

To my regular blog readers, this design may look very familiar.  Here is a quilt photos where I used this design:

And this variation on Barbara Kiehn’s baby quilt for her cute granddaughter:

What I love about this design is that it is easy to quilt.  On sale at $2.84 US is a bargain!

Next is Barbara’s Scallop Feather border and block design:

You can see the border used on this quilt, with a slight variation:

If you like the design in the middle of this following quilt, Barbara has a stencil for that, too, also on sale for $2.64 US:

You just mark the quilt and then flip it aoroung for the other side to get the 4 feather design.

Here is a stencil that I own, and plan to use the border in the near future.  I love it, even if it is not on sale right now:

There are many more wonderful stencil designs by Barbara, but I thought I would show you just a few.  By the way, I am receiving no compensation to share these designs with you, I just like them and think they are worth sharing about.  Happy Quilting!  Carla

Ten Days Till Christmas

With only ten days to go, I have made a pretty good dent in my Christmas list.  I needed to get as many presents purchased by today  since I am going to be recuperating the next few days.   Tomorrow, I  get my lower spine levels injected by my anesthesiologist.  Be sure to keep your fingers crossed that the injection is successful.

I also needed to get my MacBook fixed under warranty, so I visited my local Apple Genius Bar.  Was I surprised when they swapped out my faulty DVD player and fixed it in less than a half hour.  I had terrific service!!

While at the Mall, I couldn’t help but notice that the rent-a-mall-cops were zipping around on their Segways.   I will upload a picture later that I took with my iphone.  Anyhow, I thought it was pretty funny!

My day did not end there… I also took my daughter Amy to have her hearing aids serviced and programmed.  She is very happy to be hearing once again. Anyone else have a loved one with hearing issues?

I also conducted some retail therapy for myself while I was out.  I bought 4 new books on beading and jewelry, then stopped at the bead store for supplies, too.  A visit to the library for easy reads while I recuperate ended a very productive and nice day.

If  I can, I will try to post tomorrow.  In the meantime,  happy holidays to you!

What is on my Kindle?

I love reading books on my kindle.  I highly recommend this electronic device for any book lover on your Christmas  or holiday list.  You find a book, push a button, and there it is a few seconds later on your kindle all ready to read.  Instant gratification!

So… what are my latest purchases?

Thanks to my sailing pal turned Catalan home renovator, Oreneta,  at Oreneta Aground blog for the book referrals listed on her page.  One book, Heart in the Right Place, by Carolyn Jourdan, I was able to zip over to amazon.com and purchase.  This looks like a fabulous read, so I will start it tonight.

SuperFreakanomics is also a recent kindle purchase.  I enjoyed their first book, so I am looking forward to Levitt and Dubner’s latest book.

I enjoyed the Time Traveler’s Wife a few years ago, so I purchased Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite writers; I love all her books.   So next on my list is her latest bestseller, Lacuna.

Next, I will turn my attention to classic chick lit.  For just a few dollars, you can download the complete works of Jane Austin?  Amazing!

Anyone read a good book lately?

New Kindle!

My birthday will happen while we are on our trip, so I hit Joe up a bit early for a new Kindle.  It arrived yesterday, and I have already loaded it with my previous books, plus a dozen new ones.  Now I can carry 70+ books with me everywhere I go.

Before receiving the new Kindle for my birthday, I previously had downloaded the Kindle App for my iphone, and didn’t mind the small screen.  I finally converted to the larger Kindle when I saw they had one now that can work in the US and internationally when you travel.  I will actually download a book while on the boat, so that I can see how it works, and report back.

I love all my techno-gadgets!!!  My iphone, my kindle, my digital camera, video DVD recorder, several computers, I wonder how I lived without them all!  LOL

I am NOT, I repeat, not going to bring any of my computers with me on vacation.  I am unplugging from technology, well, except for my kindle and my camera.  As soon as I get out of the US, I will also put my iphone on airplane mode.  You do this to avoid some serious roaming charges.

When I get back from my trip, the countdown is on for my new class.  I will do some trial video uploads, and some file uploads to make sure everything run smoothly.  My online class is actually going to be slightly different than my “in-person” class, so I can’t wait to see how the students like the expanded class.  Probably the biggest honor I have been given is that several people who have seen me “live and in person” for this class have signed up for the online version.  How cool is that?

Off to get my driver’s license renewed, and pre-pack!  Hugs, Carla