Classes and Sailing

Happy New Year from the Bahamas!  My husband, Joe, and grandson, Ethan, and I have rejoined our sailboat, MAHI, starting Year 2 of our cruising adventure.  We are starting out from Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands as soon as the weather allows.

We have a blog at if you are interested in following along for our adventure.

Meanwhile, my good friends, the Pixeladies, have just released their online class schedule for the first half of 2017. 

They are teaching their popular Photoshop Elements: Essentials 1 & 2 classes again.  Photoshop Elements is the program I design in and make my digital quilts with, like this quilt:

The big news is they’ve finally put their design class on the schedule. I say finally because back in the day when I hosted their classes on Feathered Fibers, they taught a great design class. I can’t tell you how good they are at helping people develop their own creative voices.  I highly recommend their classes!

Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, you’ll really appreciate the quick teacher feedback. You can find more information on their website:

Okay, I’m off for more sailing, but I still plan on keeping my toes in the fiber waters!   Also have a bead stash on board, so I leave you with this 3-D starfish:

In The Eye of Hurricane Matthew

13055593_822737844536849_3752359197648275515_nMany of my longtime quilting friends may be aware that I took a break from quilting and teaching to buy a cruising sailboat called MAHI, and go find a pretty, tropical beach to relax.  We did that over the last year, leaving our boat in the Bahamas for hurricane season.

Right now, we are waiting to learn the fate of our boat at Great Harbour Cay Marina in the Berry Islands, Bahamas.  This is a beautiful little island that captured our hearts.  My husband, Joe, is with the boat, hunkered down in a 13244729_260233400994542_8432691162465993232_nconcrete structure in the marina area with a group of boating friends.  Please pray for his safety, the safety of our friends, and Bahamian people, plus anyone else affected by this horrible storm.  We hope we do not lose our boat to the hurricane, as well.

If you are curious, I am doing Hurricane Update Posts on my boat blog HERE, and on my Facebook page at  If you cannot see my posts on Facebook, just friend me.

Last, a shout out to other quilters affected by this horrible storm!  Hugs, Carla


Photoshop Elements Organizer eClass

CARLASCREENDoes your computer screen look like the one on the left?  Confession time: that is what my screen looks like now.   It is rather embarrassing to admit this.

I have decided it is time to organize all the images on my desktop and in my folders, so have signed up to take the Photoshop Elements (PSE) Organizer course by my friends, The Pixeladies.  Won’t you join me so we can hang out in the classroom together?

Here is one article on the topic that will show you how easy it will be to organize by facial recognition:  

seabiscuitI will also learn how to organize all my sailing shots, like this one of a sea biscuit.

Knowing Deb and Kris like I do, this will be but one tip among many.  I am looking forward to it!    I had the pleasure of visiting with The Pixeladies last week, and had a studio tour of what they are working on.  I was blown away with their works in progress, including some wearable fiber piece.  Click HERE to see their gallery page of past work.

Long time blog readers know I love PSE as a design tool to create many of my designs, including this whole cloth digital quilt, shown below.  Now I can finally learn more about the organizer part of this program.


copyright 2014 by Carla Barrett

13482941_700572440100513_5258495292675427050_oSpeaking of using PSE, I recently had a baby quilt to do for my friend, Barb.  Using PSE, I drew out a simple fish design for her quilt, then imported into Art & Stitch to digitze and save in an extension read by my Intelliquilter.   Here is the very simple fish panto:

To sign up for the class, just head over to The Pixeladies website.  Regards, Carla

Merry Christmas from Carla

Here is a freebie digital quilt download (link below) for all you coloring as therapy fans.  The size is 8 1/2 by 11.  Merry Christmas from Carla.  Let me know if you would like to see more coloring pages by leaving a comment.  XOXO  Carla


Free PDF Download:  carladoodle 1215

Postscript:  I decided to color mine:



Digital Quilt

Since my quilting machine is home in California and I am on the boat in Florida, I miss creating.  Luckily, I have my tablet PC with me, so I created a digital quilt.


This would make a lovely quilt!  Until I have time to create one, I will have to stick to digital quilts.  🙂   Regards, Carla

Inktense Question- Pigment Sticks

I often receive questions about some of my free tutorials.  I write back to people when internet connection allows, since I am off on new adventures these days (see  Sometimes, my response back may be buried in the old post, or my email reply bounces back to me- both which happened in this case.

inktensedoneHelene wrote a question about using Inktense blocks on her vintage linen:

“Dear Carla, I have some white vintage linen placemats and napkins that are embroidered that I would like to to use the Inktense Fabric Paints on to bring them more to life.  What I have are the blocks not pencils.  Can I still paint using the block sticks and if so, would you recommend using a paintbrush and just wetting it and infusing it with the color from the sticks?”

suppliesHere was my reply:

“Hi Helene, I am not home at the moment, but I happen to have bought some of those Inktense block sticks myself. You can use them on fabric in a number of ways- including if you dip your fine brush in a fabric medium, then onto the pigment ink block, then paint onto the fabric. I suggest you perfect this technique first with scrap fabric until mastered. In other words, your instinct was spot on!

I always like to start with my lightest color and clean the brush for blending with other colors. Play around with diluting the fabric medium just a bit with water for a more sheer look. Again, all experimentation would be with scrap fabric. I would also heat set the colored fabric, but test it first before your main project.

You can also buy a grating jar- which is a jar with both a cover and a grating lid. I bet Derwent has a number of videos to assist you. When I wrote my tutorial many years ago, there were not that many “how to” work with this product on fabric. I get you can find many more now. Good luck!! Carla”

With any project such as this, my only concern is that the technique be perfected before attempting on the vintage linen.  That is the best advice I can provide.  If you use the grating jar, then again, experiment with the saturation of the pigment powder to water or fabric medium.

Regards, Carla

New Designs!

Digitech has some new designs of mine available here.   I thought I would share some of the designs with you.  The first one is called Fiji:


This was inspired by my love of tropical locations.  Next up is a set I designed for my friend, Denise, for her baby quilt:



The next set was created by doodling.  Check out that cool border design:


Last one to share today is a modern design for a quilt, very whimsical:


Hope you have enjoyed this sneak peek into some of my newest designs.  I am still drawing away while I am off sailing.    Regards, Carla

Maze Quilt for Doug

I am busy working on a maze quilt for my friend, Doug.  Here is a picture:

Doug Maze quiltDoug loves it when I quilt quirky things into his quilt.  We decided to play off the mouse in a maze theme for this quilt.  The mice on the quilt are just plastic, but they provide a wealth of inspiration for this quilt.

Note the outer black border fabric which frames the quilt’s edges?  That is what I will design first.

Using Photoshop, I sketch ideas for this border.  I thought it would be interesting to have an overhead perspective of a mouse running around the border.  Once sketched, I redrew in Art & Stitch software for digitizing.  This is my first rough design:

Carla Mouse BorderI am working to a fast deadline, so I needed to get this border quilted up pronto.   This design is easy to place on the quilt and quilts up nicely as shown below.


Here is the mouse design quilted up: BarrettMouseBorder

Note the easy freehand “fingers” quilting on the edge of the quilt to fill the space.  Tip: Just quilt long skinny “U” shapes.  Fast and easy!

Now I am designing the rest of the quilt.  Think mouse traps, cheese, and similar themed motifs.

Hope you have enjoyed a sneak peek into Doug’s quilt.  I need to get this quilt done quickly for a couple of reasons- we have a contract on a boat in FL, and need to fly back there for the survey, sea trial and haul out.  Will be sharing more about the boat after the deal finalizes.

In the meantime, I would love to hear how YOU have been?  Do leave me a comment so we can chat.  Happy quilting, Carla

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.