Oct 10 2017

Tech Tuesday: Inspiration, Spoonflower and Photoshop


This started out to be a post on working with multiple images in Photoshop, but it has turned into a post about inspiration and why I allow my inbox to be filled with promotions for this product or that service. Most of you know that I’m a saver. Kris thinks I’m a boarderline hoarder, but I can still walk in all the rooms in my house. The barn is another story. Lucky for me, it doesn’t take up much space to save digital stuff. But I digress. A while back I received an email from Spoonflower, an online fabric printing company, announcing their new Fill-A-Yard™ feature.

Spoonflower's Fill-A-Yard

Spoonflower’s Fill-A-Yard

You can put multiple designs into a yard of fabric to be printed. “Well, that’s silly,” I thought to myself. Just use Photoshop, create a “canvas” that’s 42” wide (or whatever the width of the fabric is) and 36” (1 yard) high. Create whatever you want on that canvas, upload it and let Spoonflower (or any other company, for that matter) print it. It’s nothing new. Spoonflower just created an automated way for you to fill that yard with any of the designs in their marketplace. Brilliant marketing, I say!

Because it’s a template, making up your own yard of fabric is easy. But it’s still a template. If you use Photoshop to create your own canvas, you aren’t limited to a specific template. We’ve even created bias strips of fabric that won’t waste a lot of fabric.* For you non-fabric people, bias strips are strips of fabric cut on the diagonal. In a woven fabric that doesn’t stretch, the bias will stretch a bit. When you want woven fabric to curve around things, that bit of stretch can come in handy.

Fabric design

A square of fabric that includes bias strips.


CyberInsecurity Necklace

Bias strips used in “Cyber Insecurity”

Why don’t you check out Spoonflower Magazine for some inspiration**, put your name on our contact list for the next Pixeladies Photoshop class, and come back next week when I’ll talk about working with multiple images in Photoshop.

Photoshop Elements 2018

Photoshop Elements 2018

By the way, Photoshop Elements 2018 (what would have been version 16) is available and has some nifty features for combining more than one image.

* The thing about cutting strips of fabric on the bias is that to get a long strip, you have to “waste” a lot of fabric. To get a bias strip that’s 2” wide by 36” long from a 42” wide piece of fabric, you need to buy x inches of fabric. What’s x? Approximately 28¼”. Here is the formula I used: √(22+22) + 36sin⁡45° = 28.27. I know what you’re thinking. Either

      • that’s a lot of fabric, or
      • she must have a degree in math (no, but my math teachers would be proud).

** Check out pages 40-41 for a really cool idea for wallpaper and 56-57 for bedsheets. I can hardly wait! (Use the zoom tool to see the actual magazine page numbers.)

Oct 3 2017

And What did you do on your Summer Vacation? Part II


For the first time ever, the Pixeladies took the summer off. If you want to know what a productive summer was like, you’ll have to read Deb’s post. My main goal was to find a part-time job to help pay for our new 2017 fully ELECTRIC Chevy Bolt! I am totally in love with this car! Charging for pennies a day (or for free when Neil takes the car to work), driving in the HOV/carpool lanes when I’m by myself, and feeling like I’m cleaning the air as I drive are just some of the reasons for my exuberance, but I digress. 

Chevy Bolt

“Filling up” at home!

I thought it would be very easy to pick up an online editing job, but my job search has been one of the most demoralizing experiences I’ve ever had. There are a lot of jobs out there, but you would think you’d need a Ph.D. (oh, wait, I’ve got one) and family connections (not when they’re all government employees) to land a position. Sigh. The search continues.

When not looking for work, I spent lots of time with family and friends. I went to a small town near Reno, Nevada, to see where my sister is building her new home. In less than four months, she will be a short three-hour drive away instead of fourteen. I can’t wait to have her so close again. As many of you know, I have been tutoring my grand nephew in Spanish. When I found out that his summer reading list included All Quiet on the Western Front, I begged to read it with him. With its seemingly simple and straightforward narrative, it’s no wonder high schools often require their students read it. I think its masterful pointedness gives it a universality that is relevant even today.

I also took trips to the Bay Area and San Francisco, one of my favorite cities. Taking my Precious Pup to see the Summer of Love exhibit at the De Young Museum was simply joyous. On another occasion, Neil and I spent a great day with old friends, Andy and Amy. It’s fun to hang out in this city with people who love discovering the spot where Miles Archer was gunned down by Brigid O’Shaughnessy.

I wasn’t very creative in that artsy way, but I did pick up my knitting needles again to knit washcloths to give away as gifts. It’s a nice activity when I’m watching television. Here are a few I finished. (Shh, the green and blue ones are a surprise for Deb’s new kitchen, so don’t tell her!)

knitted washcloths

Knitted washcloths

Now that the Pixeladies are back to work, I’ll return to cutting words and phrases out of magazines and newspapers. I think we may need to do this vacation thing again next year. I still haven’t organized my photo collection!

Sep 26 2017

And What did you do on your Summer Vacation?


For the first time ever, the Pixeladies took the summer off. Deb needed to find herself, and Kris, well you’ll have to wait until next week for that. I, Deb, really needed to find my paint rollers and paint the interior walls of my house. I had also planned a slight renovation of the kitchen, having a new roof put on the house, and entertaining some company. So what did I accomplish? At first I said nada. But that wasn’t really true.

I’m almost finished with the kitchen. Gone is my red Kohler sink and racing stripe and in came the much-more-subtle-than-I expected beige and gray. Yes, the cabinets are still the same. I really like the gray, and I still love my drawer pulls from the last remodel. But the new counter is Dekton–a super-duper composite that will do everything but clean itself.



I also adopted a kitten from the local animal shelter. Our old cat Barney passed away a year ago, and Lucy only likes my dear husband. Lucy doesn’t like Memphis much either, but as the weather cools off, they’re getting closer.

Memphis and Lucy

They’re almost touching

Our company was my German “sister.” I lived with her family 40 years ago. This summer she and her family came for a visit. We had a good time taking them to the places we like to eat–my mom’s for the best steak and Tom’s Burgers and Frosty in Placerville for the best hamburgers.

Steak dinner

Hamburger lunch

In between eating we did show them our favorite places around Northern California.


For fun I did some garment sewing. I had lots of fun creating frocks out of thrift-store t-shirts. It’s almost like quilting. You cut apart perfectly good clothing (fabric) to make new clothing (quilts).

Green Frock

Floral frock

Two frocks

Blue frock

Top from scraps

And, yes, I work best in a messy space.

We have the permit for the new roof, and I have organized all of the still-liquid paint and discarded the cans that were dried up. Maybe I’ll get to it this fall. Don’t hold your breath.

Aug 23 2016

Passwords, the Internet and Marriage (Part II)


Last week I talked about the advantages of using a password manager program like LastPass. Click here to reread the post. This week I want to talk about creating a secure, memorable password for that one password you have to remember. If your password contains the name of any of your family members, your phone number, or is on this list, you need to read this post and change your password NOW. Here are some hints for creating a secure password.

  • It shouldn’t contain easily guessed personal information such as birthdates, phone numbers, spouse’s name, pet’s name, etc.
  • It must be at least 8 characters long.
  • It shouldn’t contain words found in the dictionary.
  • It should use a variation of upper and lower case letters.
  • It should contain special characters such as @#$%^& and/or numbers.

Ángel Pagán

Ángel Pagán

One of the easiest ways to make a strong memorable password is to take a phrase such as Ángel Pagán is a beautiful baseball player. (Don’t tell my Dear Husband!) Reduce it to the first letter of each word


Doesn’t contain any personal information? Check. 8 characters? Nope. Using our list above, it’s too short. So why don’t I use BB for baseball. This would give us


Check off number two. Is it found in the dictionary? Nope. What about upper and lowercase? Gotta change that. How about


On to number 5. “It should contain special characters and/or numbers.” Need to fix that. A capital B looks like the numeral 8, why don’t I just make the B’s for baseball be 8’s

But I still don’t have any special characters. So why don’t I add something. Now how am I going to remember which special character I used. Try to follow my logic here. Pagán without the accent is just pagan. Now I’ve studied a bit of Spanish and a bit of French, and I never can remember which way the accents go. So why don’t I add a “^”? It sort of looks like acute and grave accents combined. I can remember that. Now I have


It meets all the rules above, but in my mind eight or nine characters are too short to be my master password, so I’d add a few more characters or even a random word. Keeping with my baseball theme, I think I’ll add the word herringbone to the end.


Why Herringbone? The stitch used to sew a baseball together looks like a herringbone stitch to me. And it is all about me, after all.

baseball Herringbone Pattern

And in case you were wondering, the ampersand reminds me of a treble clef, and the treble clef ”circles” the G line in a musical staff. Remember, the key thing is this password has to be strong AND memorable. And I can remember this! If it’s memorable to me and gobbledygook to you, I’ve succeeded!

Jul 22 2015

Pixeladies Update


This is a very busy time at the Pixeladies’ studio. Well not really at the studio, but on the computers. We’re in the final two weeks of teaching our Photoshop Essentials II class (we love teaching), creating videos (Deb hates listening to her voice) and a handbook (auditioning legible fonts) for our upcoming Photoshop Organizer class, planning 3 SAQA conferences (Deb) and working on SAQA board stuff (Prez Kris). We’re also working on 4 new collages for our text quilts in the Watercolor Pencils and Language of Color series. But every now and then we have to have some fun.
Kris’ fun is thinking about what she’s going to do with her bathroom that had some (ahem) water problems.

Emser Tile: Mosaic Circle Blends On 12"x12" Mesh : Zanfirico

Emser Tile: Mosaic Circle Blends On 12″x12″ Mesh : Zanfirico

Shower Niche

Shower Niche

And Deb keeps taking out this piece of fabric and thinking about what she would do with it. This was a reject silk broadcloth fabric print that I put out in the sun with some rusty metal pieces and paint cans sitting on top for the winter (remember, California is in its fourth year of a drought, so there wasn’t much rain to help the rusting process), then added vinegar to some other pieces to get rust.

Rusted Silk Fabri

Rusted Silk Fabric

Rusted Fabric Detail

Rusted Fabric Detail

So what’s the common denominator here? Polka dots. Kris and I both love dots. Maybe Kris will get dots in her bathroom and Deb will make a quilt. We’ll keep you posted, but don’t hold your breath.

May 23 2013

Road Trip to Quilt National Part I


We made it to Pendleton, IN after spending an hour on the tarmac in Chicago, trying to avoid getting hit by lightening. We are spending a great time with our dear friend, Sherry Boram, enjoying a relaxing stay before the hullabaloo starts in Athens, OH. And what better way to start than with food.



Yes, Good’s Ice Cream Parlor and Candy Store is fabulous! We got to sample the Hawaiian lava salted caramel chocolates. Yes, we have some for the road. Yes, we’re saving the double chocolate nutty fudge cake ice cream for dessert! But, gee whiz, dinner won’t be for a few hours, so Sherry insisted we eat a bite for lunch at the best bbq in Indiana!



And we didn’t even have to leave the car! And how fun was it to just chow down at Fall Creek in the middle of town.


And staying at Sherry’s is like living in an art museum. Here is one little sample of art postcards she collects:


We don’t want to leave!! However, we get to come back on our way home from Quilt National. We’ll post again soon!


Oct 24 2012

Houston, We Have Our Reservations!


For those of you who don’t yet know about it, the International Quilt Market and Festival begin this weekend in Houston! Market, which is not open to the public, is a trade show for the fabric inclined. It will be our first trip to market! We will be giving a furoshiki demonstration in the C&T booth. If you’re there, we hope you have a chance to visit us! We’ll also be volunteering in the SAQA booth to help spread the word about this great organization. If you are going to Festival, plan on fighting the 50,000 other people who are there to see all the beautiful traditional and contemporary quilts (and, of course, to shop). We’ll be volunteering again in the SAQA booth and be giving three furoshiki demonstrations in the Craftsman’s Touch-Books booth. Here’s our schedule. See you there!

International Quilt Market

Sat., 10/27, noon – furoshiki demonstration at the C&T booth #144

International Quilt Festival

Thurs., 11/1, noon-1:30pm – furoshiki demonstration at the Craftsman’s Touch-Books booth #1110

Thurs., 11/1, 4-6 pm – furoshiki demonstration at the Craftsman’s Touch-Books booth #1110

Fri., 11/2, 10am-12 noon – furoshiki demonstration at the Craftsman’s Touch-Books booth #1110

Aug 10 2011

Linking WordPress to Facebook


Some Yamaguchi Totes

Hey, we’re trying to figure out if our blog entry will automatically post to Facebook, if we tell WordPress to do so.  So here’s an image to check it all out.