Adoption!

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:

EthanspagettiEthanfirefighter

bviEthan2a

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

Advertisements

Tablet Budget Buying Tips – Part 4

Buying a new or refurbished tablet when you have a strict budget can be challenging.  I decided to write about this topic after receiving many requests for help in buying a tablet on a budget, for use in quilting and creative arts.

This post is Part 4 in my Tablet Series.  To start at Part 1, please click here.  Part 2 is here, and click here to see Post 3.  If you are curious as to what you can do with a tablet, please see this post.

Wacom Bamboo or Intuos Option

This option uses/adds on to your existing computer desktop, laptop, notebook or ultrabook that you already own.  If you are currently happy with your computer system, either Mac or PC, then this would be a low cost alternative for you.

Wacom makes several entry level tablet peripherals which are inexpensive choices for occasional tablet users.  These are tablet devices which are either wireless or plug into your USB port on your existing computer and allow you to draw off to one side while looking at the screen.

Drawing in this manner takes lots of practice to do, and can be frustrating if you are used to drawing on a piece of paper.  However, if you are determined, you can master this way of drawing.

Wacom Bamboo

Bamboo USB

Bamboo USB

For only $49 US or 49.90 Euros, you can buy the Bamboo tablet which plugs into your computer by way of USB port.  For $79.00 US or 69.90 Euros, you can purchase the Bamboo wireless model.  I do recommend the wireless model, if it is in your budget, mostly because it is easier to draw while being untethered.

The largest benefit to the Bamboo is the low entry price into tablet drawing.  You may also use it with either a Mac or PC computer system, too.

Bamboo Wireless

Bamboo Wireless

The biggest downside relates to drawing  off to one side while looking at the computer screen, as well as the size of this

tablet, which is small.  When a tablet screen is small, you have to pick up the stylist pen tip and readjust.  You also need a drawing program to use a tablet, but this is true with all tablets.

If you own a Bamboo now, and find that there seems to be a disconnect between what you draw and the lines on the screen, then you will need to re-calibrate your device, also called “mapping”.  Wacom has  helpful how-to support here.

Wacom Intuos

intouslineWacom also makes their Intuos line of tablets, which come in 4 different sizes.  Prices start at $79 US or 69.90 Euros for the smallest Intuos up to  $499 US or  470.90 Euros for the largest size Intuos Tablet.

Pros:  Low, starting price for their smallest tablet, may be used with either a Mac or PC computer system.

The same downside as the Bamboo line applies here.  Drawing “blind” off to the side is not natural if you are used to pen and paper drawing.   I happen to own an XL sized Intuos tablet, an earlier version model that I used once.  Why?  It was a gift from my dear husband, who didn’t know about the “drawing off to one side” aspect- and my particular feelings about it.    However, if your budget is small, and you don’t mind drawing while looking at the screen, then I would recommend the largest size Intuos you can buy with your budget.

There are several Wacom competitors, however, I do not recommend any of them.

Buying Refubished or Discontinued Tablet PC

The other choice available to budget minded tablet buyers are to do your research, and then buy a slightly used, or discontinued Tablet PC.  My favorite place to buy them is on eBay, however, do your research and double check that the seller is legitimate and has a high rating.  I also know of quilters who purchased a used tablet from a local computer store that refurbished models, then sold them with a warranty.  Once again, check to see this store will be around if you have any issues.  Same with shopping on Craigslist.

fujitsuoutletAnother tip for budget tablet buyers are  that computer tablet manufactures often sell refurbished or discontinued models on their eBay page.  Say you buy a tablet, then return it for any reason.  They repair it, then the company may resell on eBay.   Here is a link to the Fujitsu eBay Outlet page.

I decided to run an experiment.  My particular model of Tablet PC Convertible is only about 3 years old, however, I know it is a great machine.  I paid $2000 US when I bought mine new, fully loaded.  I recently found a similar set up on eBay recently for only $500-600 US.    It pays to do the research and buy a slightly older model to get more value per dollar (or currency of your country) .

I hope this post and information contained here will help you to stay on budget.  I love drawing and creating with my Tablet PC convertible, and draw at least once a day, if not more.  I would love to see what YOU create with your tablet, too.

Regards, Carla

Return of Godzilla

My husband informs me that a new Godzilla movie is being released this Friday, and he is trying to get me to attend with him.  Like many adults in my age bracket, we grew up watching those cheesy, but strangely addicting, black and white Godzilla movies.

I have another past connection to Godzilla, too.  Back in the early to mid 1990’s, I used to teach paper and rubber stamping arts.  Then, I started drawing designs for a couple of companies.  One of my design series, which was bought by Viva Las Vegastamps, features Godzilla.  You can actually buy them still.  For some strange reason, I thought it would be funny at the time to draw up some Godzilla stamps.  🙂

I remember drawing these with pen and paper, and the end result looks rather amateurish to me now, but still funny:

Godzilla stamp by Carla Barrett (mid 1990's)

Godzilla stamp by Carla Barrett (mid 1990’s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For some odd reason, I also drew Godzilla’s foot (Godzilla experts will note that I drew the three toe foot version), probably so people could stomp things with the stamp- like Tokyo, or buildings.  That sounds like a good, solid reason to draw Godzilla’s foot, right? :

Godzillafoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4072There is even a Godzilla Fan Club stamp.  Here it is to show you that I am not kidding.

Anyone else reading this post go through a rubber stamp phase and remember now defunct companies like ReMaRkAbLe stamps, Ken Brown stamps, and the Carson show?

Now that I am into quilting, perhaps I need to make a Godzilla quilt?  Then again, maybe not. 🙂

Modern Maze Quilting Example

I promised you a picture of what my Modern Maze quilting design looks like quilted up.  This is a freehand design, so it is not perfect.  I finally came to a large enough area on Lyn’s quilt to audition and see how this new design works out:

freehand quilting and design by Carla Barrett

freehand quilting and design by Carla Barrett

I like it.  Once I practiced, I found I could do it freehand with no problem.  Here is the drawing and how to illustration for this design:

modern maze quilting design by Carla Barrett

modern maze quilting design by Carla Barrett

design by Carla Barrett

design by Carla Barrett

I think this design would also work out real well as an edge to edge quilting design.  It actually is a very forgiving design to quilt.  As an aside, I stitch in the ditch (SID) my blocks last.  I always do this as a finishing technique for crisp delineation between the colored blocks.

Back to the studio!  I really need to finish this quilt for Lyn, then start a new quilt by Teddie.  The next quilt also has a wonderful black background too, with bright pretty colors.

Enjoy your day!  Hugs, Carla

 

 

 

Feather Mastery Workbook

Busy these days working on my Feather Mastery Workshop/book.  For those of you who have enjoyed the Feather Mastery Series when it was posted, and wanted some more, I am actually in the process of revamping the series, adding lots of new worksheets, and also writing about each lesson, along with tips.

featherrmasteryworkbook

I plan to release this as an eBook on iCreateFlix.com, so will let you know when it will be available.  I am starting with the feather shape, then moving on from there.  This eBook will be for any new feather quilters or machine quilters who would like to learn.  Let’s just say it won’t be your average feather quilting how-to book.  🙂

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

This year I made a decision to accept myself as I am- and to try new things.   Today, I took a big step forward by having a professional photography shoot.  You see, I have always hated pictures taken of myself since I was a teenager, so I ended up being the one capturing images of everyone else. I realize that I am not alone if feeling this way, many women do.

birthday08So it was time to expand my comfort zone.  I started by scheduling a photo shoot with Lauren Jaye from Vida Mia Photography in Folsom, CA.

Lauren’s portfolio is just incredible!  I found out about her from my daughter-in-law, Aimee, who hired Lauren to photograph my grandkids, Jack and Kate.

I was nervous until Lauren came over to my house to look at my work, get to know me, and also plan the session.  Within a few minutes, it felt like we had been friends forever and knew I could trust her completely.  Lauren had a vision for the shoot, so I put myself totally in her hands.  She could choose wardrobe, make up, hair, accessories, etc. and I would “go with the flow” (Note to my friends from other countries- this term is American slang for accepting things as they come.)

I cleaned my studio (well mostly), pulled together a rack of clothes options, organized my make-up, and hung some quilts between the oak trees per Lauren’s direction.  She showed up at 5:00 pm to do my make-up and hair, and then picked my first outfit, a lovely light silver tank with subtle pleats in front with a colorful turquoise jacket, black skinny jeans and black boots.  My main accessory was this jewelry piece I had completed during my college Metal Art class.copperpendant

Following Lauren’s direction, I posed, turned my head and body this way and that, but really- I mostly just laughed and had a great time!  The inside portion of the shoot went by very quickly, then it was time for a fashion change.

This time, I wore a lovely new tank that had patterns of black and white, with a purple shirt jacket, with some fun, funky jewelry to match.  I again wore my favorite skinny black jeans from Chicos and black boot with heels.chicojean

The outdoor session was my favorite!  Lauren showed me some images from her camera and I was blown away at how wonderful the pictures were coming out!  She is a master!

Once again, I laughed and had a great time!  I had some fun ideas about posing with some quilts, and Lauren took my suggestion, ran with it and made it better!

By the end of the photo shoot, my self confidence had soared!  I felt pretty, and fabulous about myself and where I am at this stage in my life.  I can’t wait to show you some of the pictures when they are ready.  I highly recommend Lauren to all my quilt and artist friends.  She is a master at what she does.

Now that I stretched myself by having this photo shoot, taking the risk of seeing myself as others see me, I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner?  Why did I let this hang-up keep me from capturing wonderful images of myself throughout my life?  So, I want to issue this challenge to you- try something that you are afraid of, or you are sensitive about.  It could be wearing sleeveless shirts if you are sensitive about your arms.  Wearing shorts if you don’t like your legs.  Scheduling a photo shoot.  You get the idea.

It would be great to hear your thoughts about this topic.  How do you feel about having your picture taken?  Have you overcome a lifelong hang up- no matter what it is?  Please leave me a comment, I want to hear from YOU!  Hugs, Carla

Adobe Illustrator Homework

This semester, I decided to take an Adobe Illustrator eCourse through a local college in Sacramento.  So glad I did, here are a couple of samples of my homework projects.

First project was to take a TV or video remote and recreate it to be as realistic as possible.  I did show it early in the semester, but I like what I created:

rasterized AI file for class

rasterized AI file for class

Next project was to take an interior image from a magazine and recreate it using certain color pathways and lighting.  Here is what I turned in:

class project by Carola Barrett

class project by Carla Barrett

The most recent project is a package redesign- where we had to search for a grocery store product in need of a design overhaul.  Here is my label for this beef product:

labelhereford

Personally, I like the white/blue ribbon in the product logo I made.  The cow art is also mine; here is a close up of this white-faced hereford:

AI art by Carla Barrett

AI art by Carla Barrett

Taking a class like this is great!  It stretches your skills, challenges you to try something new, plus I love to design.

Of course, if it were up to me, I love the first cow I drew for this project  (see below), then decided it was too un-sophisicated for a product design.  Still, it would make a terrific Carla quilting design:

Copyright design by Carla Barrett

Copyright design by Carla Barrett

Can you say Moo?