Tuesday, March 24, 2009


In an earlier post, I told you that I had a small manufacturing business that sold items through the various gift markets. In making the gift items, I found that as the women used the patterns I made, they gradually lost shape as the women traced and cut around them for applique pieces. I was very frustrated and finally decided that maybe I could print the designs directly on the fabric for the women to cut, rather than have to trace the design first.

I tried many times running fabric through my copier - I might add here that I spent quite a bit on copier repairs and technical support; however, I finally found a way to successfully run fabric through my copier. This was wonderful, all I had to do is print the design onto the fabric and it was ready for my ladies to trim and applique the various pieces in place.

To make a long story shorter, one of the ladies suggested that I should get a patent on this idea. I really didn’t think it was patentable, but I called my attorney (the same attorney who had advised me regarding my business name change) and asked. He said, "Yes, there are three different kinds of patents utility, plant, and design." He suggested that I could get a utility patent. He asked me to send him some samples, which I did and wrote a description of my "method of transferring designs onto fabric with a copier". He did a search to see that no one else had already patented the same process. It took two years from the time of application to the time of issuance. He filed the application in 1986 and it was issued in 1988.

Here is more information on kinds of patents:

Utility and plant patents are granted for a term which begins on the date of the grant and ends twenty years from the date the patent application was first filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees.

Design patents are granted for a term of fourteen years from the date of the grant. Patents may be extended only by special act of Congress, except for some pharmaceutical patents whose terms may be extended to make up for time lost due to Government-required testing.

If you plan to file an application, you or your representative should make a search of patents previously granted to make sure that your idea has not already been patented.

Here is a site for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:


My patent has expired and now belongs to the domain, which means that it is free for anyone to use my method of transferring to fabric using a copier and/or printer. I would like to say that two major copier companies paid me for the use of my patent.

Here is a copy of my patent, showing only the first two pages:

There is a great difference is copyright and trademark, which I will talk about later on. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ll make one more comment - that is that I married an attorney, who shares an office with a patent attorney.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I'm posting something I got from my daughter today. The picture is of her and her husband and she refers to the gray tape holding it together (it is a paint by number picture to do that she sent off for her to paint). I remember when she got mad at him one day and cut it in half.

Here is her email:

The economic climate looms over us all. I think for the most part, our country has enjoyed a plentiful season over the past years and the thought of an uncertain future is scary.

When I get a little blue and think I don’t have enough, there is a thing I do called “shopping at my house.” It goes something like this. Find your beginning point and work your way around the room you have selected and pretend you could have anything in the room you want as if you don’t.

Example: My purple living room.

I begin at the front door where Brian with his own two hands removed the partitions so that our friends could linger with their good-byes more comfortably. On to the antique china cabinet that I bought about 25 years ago for next to nothing in Guymon, Oklahoma--inside it are six lidded pumpkin bowls that I like to serve the first soup of the fall—my purple 100 year old rocker--next three large picture windows where I can see my great big pine tree sway in the wind--that now have quite a few little baby handprints where someone is waiting for someone to drive into the driveway-- one very large carved wooden angel Brian bought me for my birthday—my blue Herend rabbits with the droopy ears..one big one, two middle ones and one baby one--the chair that I bought from Coretta Ralston and had recovered in cheetah linen--an oil on canvas called “The Director’s Chair” that was given to me by my friend Debbie Hagerman because I told her I liked it—a large pedestal that we bought at an auction for a dollar that has a vase of flowers in front of a mirror--my large, cushy, ruby red lipstick couch!!!!--the small spot on my border that was left by what I thought was a very large miller that turned out to be a bat that Trent took to show and tell--the grandfather clock that will someday belong to Charles--the glass curio cabinet my mother bought Grace when she was born and currently filled with our collection of sextants, compasses, and kaleidoscopes--the large wooden giraffe Brian traded for soap while he was in Africa—a picture of leaves from our trip to New England to celebrate our five years of marriage--the water color painted by Koko the Gorilla that looks like a pink heart that was my gift to Brian one Valentine Day--my cello resting on his piano. And probably my favorite thing of all…the paint by number picture of Brian and me that I cut in half one sad day. If you look closely, you can barely see the gray tape on the backside holding it together. We all know how strong that gray tape is.

So you get the idea…don’t spend your time sitting and wishing and hoping for things and stuff. Go on a journey around your own house and take a moment to remember how much you wanted all the stuff you already have before you got it. It’s a big fat lie that you can have it all, but it’s a big fat truth that you can have a lot!

Monday, March 2, 2009


March 1 was the deadline for entering the ACEO Theme Week contest. The theme for March is Caterpillars, Butterfles and Lady Bugs. ACEOs must be 2.5"x3.5" to qualify as an ACEO. ACEO is an acronym for Art Cards Editions and Originals.

I decided to make a medicine bag with a butterfly on it. Here is my entry, and description.

ACEO is an acronym for Art Cards Editions and Originals and must always be 2.5" x 3.5". The theme for March is “Caterpillars, Butterflies and Ladybugs”.

This little ACEO is a medicine bag 2.5" wide and 3.5" high. It is made on brain-tanned deerskin and beaded around the top with orange and blue size 11 seed bead. I have made a leather neck thong so that it can be worn or the leather thong can be tucked inside the medicine bag for displaying in a sleeve (scanned both ways). Inside the bag, I have placed a small rock, the symbol of Mother Earth, a gift the Creator gives to His children, solid, everlasting and ingrained with colors of the earth.

This ACEO card will be enclosed in an acid-free sleeve. Shipping is $1.50 by U.S. First Class Mail. International shipping is at cost. If you want to combine other of my auctions, please request an invoice so I can adjust charges.

For your information, here is the Legend of the Butterfly. I will include it separately with the ACEO Medicine Bag.

Legend of the Butterfly

One day the Creator was resting and watching some children play in a village. As He watched them, His heart grew sad - “these children will grow old, their skin will become wrinkled, their hair will turn gray, their teeth will fall out, the young hunter’s arm will fail, the lovely young girls will grow ugly and fat, the playful puppies will become blind, mangy dogs, and those wonderful flowers - yellow and blue, red and purple - will fade. The leaves from the trees will fall and dry up. Thus, the Creator grew sadder and sadder.

The Creator took out his bag and started gatherings things: a spot of sunlight, a handful of blue from the sky, the shadow of paying children, the blackness of a beautiful girl’s hair, the yellow of the falling leaves, the green of the pine needles, the red, purple and orange of the flowers. All of these he put into his bag.

Then he walked over to the grassy spot where the children were playing. “Children, little children, this is for you.” And he gave them his bag. “Open it; there something nice inside.” The children opened the bag, and at once hundreds and hundreds of colored butterflies flew out, dancing around the children’s heads, settling on their hair, fluttering up again to sip from this or that flower. And the children, enchanted, said they had never seen anything so beautiful.

The butterflies began to sing and the children listened smiling. But then a songbird came flying, settling on the Creator’s shoulder, scolding him, saying, “It’s not right to give our songs to the new, pretty things. You told us when you made us that every bird would have his own song. And now, you’ve passed them all around. Isn’t it enough that you gave your new playthings the colors of the rainbow?” “You’re right,” said the Creator. “I made one song for each bird, and I shouldn’t have taken what belongs to you.”

So, the Creator took the songs away from the butterflies, and that’s why they are silent. “They’re beautiful even so!” he said.