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

Collector of Art/ Craft Supplies

Ok, I will admit it.  I love to collect & craft t items like a kiln or loom, even when I have no idea how to actually use the item.  This provides fodder and amusement for my husband when he talks to his friends, I recently learned.

But wait!  I know that one day I will take a ceramics course,  or join the local fiber guild and learn to weave.  Really.  Well, it could happen…

XframeSalesPampletsI just could not pass up the opportunity to own a mint condition, wonderful old Gilmore loom.  My friend, Faith’s sister-in-law needed to find it a good home.  All I needed to do was drive to the Silicon Valley and pick it up with my truck.

In my way of thinking, the loom and other items were picked up for free or for minimal investment, so why not have them in case I should want to weave or create pottery or fused glass?  I have always wanted to take art glass classes, or at the very least make glass beads.

This is how I think.  Of course, being married to a practical engineer who desires an empty garage, he approaches it in a whole new light.  Luckily for me, my dear husband knows that the secret to a happy marriage and happy wife is to turn a blind eye when “items” show up.  🙂

Of course, one day I will indeed learn how to weave, and create with glass.  Until then, my loom sits next to my lovely antique card catalog that I picked up from UCLA when they converted to computers, exercise equipment, fabric stash and too many other art/craft supplies to mention.

Am I the only creative soul who buys things for just in case??  C’mon, confessing is good for the soul.    Cheers, Carla



Earlier this year, I was approached to teach on a brand new creative website called   After researching the company, I knew I wanted to develop classes, patterns, e-books and tutorials for them.  c50854

Now that I am back home, it is time to get busy with class development!  I promise to let you know when I release any classes, patterns, ebook, or other products.  I have a list of classes I want to teach, but if there is an eClass subject you would like to see from me, I am certainly open to suggestions.  Leave me a comment with your opinions!

Next Post: Studio Tour of French Polynesian Quilt Tifaifai Artist, Miri Vidal.

Stitch & Grip Quilting Disks

I tried out a wonderful new product today that I wanted to share with you- the Stitch & Grip Quilting Disks by Clever Craft Tools.   Here is a picture of what these quilting disks look like:

Carla’s Review:  The Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks makes quilting with your home sewing machine so much easier to do!    This is a must buy item for all machine quilters who use a sewing machine to quilt.  Why?  When I tried them out on my Bernina, the Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks really improved my quilting control without putting lots of stress on your arms, shoulders and neck muscles.  These disks really do grip the quilt sandwich and improves your control!

I found them much easier to use than quilting with the white quilting gloves, plus I was able to gain more control of my quilt sandwich without stressing out my neck and back muscles.  It is a simple, yet brilliant idea and product from Clever Craft Tools.

Google the product for a list of online retailers.  If you are a shop owner, I am sure you may contact the company directly for wholesale information.

I hope you have enjoyed hearing about the Grip & Stitch Quilting Disks.  I always love to try new products out and give my opinion.  🙂     Hugs, Carla

Blog Disclosure: I was provided this product to try out and provide feedback to the company.  My review of this product reflects my honest opinion and I am not affiliated with the company, nor have been paid for this review.




Having tried machine quilting on my sewing machine with other products (like the quilting gloves, hoops, etc.), I was happy to discover that the Grip & Stitch

Trip to Kauai

Aloha!  Just got back from a vacation to Kauai.  I figured I wouldn’t mention that I was going before I went- no sense in advertising that my house is empty, y’know?  LOL

I did visit Kapaia Stitchery, the local quilt store, plus I purchased 2 new books on Hawaiian Quilting.  I was inspired to design my own Hawaiian Quilt design:

We stayed in the same Kuhio Shores condo we did on our last visit.  I initially found this rental at Vacation Rental By Owner ( owned by Mike Galvin and we love staying in #415.  The room is on the 4th floor, overlooking the waves, sunrise, sunset,  surfers, and Hawaiian green sea turtles (honu).  Click below to see how close to the waves we were in this video by Mike. (Note: If you dislike Hawaiian music, be sure to mute your computer):

Speaking of honu, one of my trip highlights was snorkeling off the shores seen in the above video and running into a very large green sea turtle.  I am talking about a full adult turtle about 5 feet tall!  It swam right next to me, so I stayed still so I wouldn’t scare it off.   I also saw many slipper lobsters, sea cucumbers, octopus, moray eel, and so many colorful reef fish to name!

Joe was near this same area the day before and had to cut his snorkel time because a 6 foot Mako shark had been spotted by a spear fisherman.  Swimming with turtles- great!  Swimming with a Mako shark- that might ruin your day!

Of course, I visited Glass Beach at low tide, satisfying my need to hunt for sea glass.  Joe was patient while I climbed on the rocks, hunting in all the nooks and crannies.  I did find an unusual glass pipe section that looks very old and interesting.  I find I am a beach comber at heart.

Check out what the sand looks like close up:

Love vacations…. but it is great to be home again!  Hugs, Carla

Bead Score!

A recent trip to visit family allowed me to hit a few bead stores along the way!  I was able to obtain some lovely new beads for my bead stash.  Here are some examples:

Won’t the sea colored glass beads look great in a bracelet?  Here is a lovely mix of seed beads:

I fell in love with this glass bead:

I bought lots more, but thought I would share just a sample of what I purchased along the way.

What have you all been up to?  Hugs, Carla

Happy 4th!

To all the US blog readers, a happy 4th of July to you.  We are spending time with family, barbequing, fireworks, a very traditional 4th for my family.  What are you doing if you celebrate the 4th of July?

Grandson Jack spent the night last night!  Jack is now 3, and fun to be around.  He is very funny, and love all the toys I have saved or bought for the grandkids.

Ok, I will admit that I go a little crazy getting toys for the grandchildren room….  Being the bargain shopper that I am, I would say that most of it I picked up at the thrift store.  My local thrift store has a lot of Little Tikes toys, and other name brand toys.  Of course, you have to wash off the Thrift Store cooties first, before letting the kids play.

Any other bargain toy shoppers out there?

PS: if you are looking for the Class Registration info for the class starting next week, just scroll down.  Thanks!  I look forward to a wonderful class!


Bead Box Therapy

I decided I needed to reward myself with a visit to the Bead Store once I finished Barb’s quilt on time.  So yesterday afternoon, I visited my favorite neighborhood  bead shop, Basically Beads to pick up beads and supplies for my freeform beading piece I am planning to do while recovering from my upcoming surgery.  Also, I was long overdue to hunt through their very large bead box they have for customers- Bead Box Therapy!  What is Bead Box Therapy, you might ask?

Picture a huge rubbermaid bin filled with a million beads- literally.  You hunt through this bin looking for just the right color of bead or beads.  You fill a small plastic ziplock bag and pay a mere $3 per bead bag. What a bargain!!  But this bead box is so much more.

The first time I discovered this bead box, I noticed how therapeutic it was.  I would come in stressed, then after hunting and digging through the bead box, my mind would become relaxed and calm.   I mentioned this finding to the store owners- and they told me that they hear this every day.  Turns out, they have other customers who come in to de-stress by digging in this bead box, too!  LOL

Hmmm…. I thought about this, and my theory is that sensory, tactile stimulation  is calming to the brain for some people.  Any other theories out in blog-land?  (be nice!)

After my zen-bead experience, here is what I came home with yesterday… to distract my mind from my pending surgery, I filed 5 bags yesterday, which looks like this:

I started off hunting for white and clear beads, then got sidetracked by the pretty colors.  LOL

So, who needs pre-op stress medication when  Bead Box Therapy  is available?  LOL    Cheers, Carla

Thank You, Santa!

I received an early Christmas present this past weekend from my DH, Joe.  Next month, I will be taking some time off from my creative work to have an artificial disc replacement (ADR) spine surgery, so my dear husband wanted me to be as comfortable as possible during the recovery period.  Sweet, huh?   Here is what he bought me, a zero gravity “Perfect Chair:


This chair is so comfy!!!    If you push the silver knob on the left arm, the chair reclines back into a zero gravity position, similar to NASA astronaut positions on flights.  It has a quiet motor that does this.  Now I have to be patient and wait for it to be delivered.

I am a firm believer in buying things to make your life more comfortable.  Same goes for post surgery recovery.  To this end, here are some things I have on hand:

Overbed Table: This table will work next to, and over my bed as well as with the Perfect Chair, above.

It is very functional for eating, using your laptop computer, and perhaps as a beading or drawing surface.

Grabber Thingy:

OK, laugh if you want!  This is one of those stupid things you see on TV infomercials.  However, when you cannot bend easily for a period of time, it will be a helpful item.

iPad – During my recovery, I can watch TV and Movies on demand with my Netflix App.  Read a book?  Click on my Kindle App.  Play any number of games- including Angry Bird?  Yes, Apps again.  Listen to Music? Read my Emails?  Surf the Web?  Yes, yes and yes- all with my lightweight iPad, shown here:

I could stop here, but will mention a few other favorite comfort recovery items:

Thermophore Large Heating Pad– This is the BEST, most comfortable  heating pad you can buy!  Trust me on this!   Buy the one with the non-digital control button.

Last, I still need to buy some products from Brookstone, including some NAP material slippers, another blanket since I gave my last one away, and and a new lumbar pillow for the car ride home. Oh yes, I plan to have lots of small creative projects on hand, too.  I will organize them ahead of time, so when I feel better, I don’t have to search for supplies.

Oh course, the best Christmas present is spending quality time with loved ones, especially grandkids!  What are you doing for the Holidays?

Hugs, Carla



Carla’s Etsy Find!

On my facebook account, which is listed by my name, Carla Barrett, I had a recent request to be friends from another artist, Puteri Noor.  I accepted, then went to view her work.

Puteri live in Malaysia and does wonderful, stunning silk and batik fabric paintings!  I will admit I loved them so much, I bought 4 pieces from her Etsy shop.   Here is a sampling:

and another:

The colors are so rich!  Here is another silk art:

I visited Puteri’s  Etsy store this morning and noticed that she is currently sold out.  However, be sure to look at her listing of textile art and you can contact her to make a custom piece to add to your quilting.

If you do this, tell her Carla sent you.  🙂   I love to showcase other artists and let my readers see such a rich variety of women creating art in our world.