Quilting Tip: 2

28 07 2007

A nifty piece of equipment I’ve been using since I did a paper piecing workshop, is a 1/4″ ruler. Known as “Add-a-quarter”, this ruler is 6″ long, about 1″ wide, and has a raised 1/4″ lip which hooks nicely over the paper piecing edge so you cut a perfect 1/4″ seam allowance every time! I’ve now added it to my Amazon store if you want to buy one.

See http://www.quilt-pictures.com/add-a-quarter.html for more information on how someone else uses this handy little tool.

Quilting Tip: 1

28 07 2007

The other day I heard a really good tip from Alex Anderson of “Simply Quilts” fame. She suggested using the cutting mechanism on a dental floss container to cut sewing/quilting/embroidery thread when you can’t take scissors on a plane or other public transportation and you want to continue working on a piece.

I’m not sure what you do about needles… I’d have thought that if scissors or thread snippers are banned, then sewing needles would also be banned. But maybe not.

Lost your car?

25 07 2007

Ever lost your car in one of those multi-level carparks? Some carpark owners try to do the right thing and use animals etc. to ‘label’ the levels; others just use really big numbers and/or colour-coding. Despite that, people still can’t remember that they left their car on the ‘level kangaroo green 3’. (Aside: There was a memorable Seinfeld episode about this…)

Well, the solution is here! Craig over at Out of the Box blogged today about using the camera in his cell phone to take a picture of the sign of the level he’d parked on. So simple. So brilliant.

Of course—in true Craig style—a parking inspector/security person quizzed him about him taking photos in the carpark! At least he *saw* an official in the carpark where he parked—I don’t think I’ve ever seen one, except for those at the exit who used to take your money in the days before everything became fully automated.

Expanding column issue – solved!

25 07 2007

I’ve been working on a website for a client and had everything working using CSS except for some issues with the left column. This left column contained some navigational elements and I was using a background colour (I also tried an image) and a small right border to visually separate it from the main content area.

The problem was that no matter what settings I applied to the CSS, I couldn’t get the background colour (or image) and border to expand to the length of the content in the main section. I was able to set a min-height to force it to be at least a certain length for the shorter pages, but for the longer pages, the left column colour and border just stopped at the 600px minimum height I’d specified.

After some Googling and not finding anything (mostly because I didn’t know what terms to search for!), I called my friend Char in Boston… who happened to be in California at the time… and she helped me with some sites that she’s used. (She has had the problem too but couldn’t remember what quirky thing she had to do to solve it, and not being at home, she couldn’t access that info easily either.) After a bit more sleuthing using those sites as a starting point, I found the answer here: http://www.positioniseverything.net/articles/onetruelayout/equalheight

As I’m only testing in Firefox and IE6 at the moment, I ignored some of the warnings about interesting things that happen in other browsers and went ahead. All I had to do was add about 4 lines to my CSS – and it worked!

Here’s what I added:

* added overflow: hidden; to my wrapper (#content) DIV
* added a new style definition as follows:
#MainContent, #ContentLeft
padding-bottom: 32767px;
margin-bottom: -32767px;

(My elements are called #MainContent and #ContentLeft).

I then tested in Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 6 – and it works in both for long and short pages!!! Now to download IE7 and test there… If that works too, then I have a winner!

Thanks Char!

Update: Yep, works in IE7 too!

Internet connection

24 07 2007

Yesterday I got a call from the local Telstra technician about the fault iinet lodged on my behalf last Tuesday. He came out in the rain and checked the connection at the station about 50m from home – and found a wire that was so close to being separated it wasn’t funny. He was surprised we had ANY connection at all, and asked if we’d had noise on the phone line – we had.

So he snipped the wire and replaced that section then came to the house to check that all was well. Everything seems hunky dory now – good speed, clean line for calls.

It took a week since I first complained about the connection to iinet to get it fixed. Yes, I cancelled the fault on Tuesday morning, but got it reinstated last Tuesday afternoon. So, even accounting for that, it still took SIX days to get fixed. It’s not as if the technician had to come from far away – he’s the local guy who lives in town and looks after the town.
My business relies on a stable internet connection, and for that reason I pay a heap of $$$ to iinet every month to be on one of their Business Plans, with a special business support number. Six days is too long. Had the connection been down the entire time, I think I might have sent them an invoice for lost income… I’d like to see how they’d react to that! They have no problem sending me an invoice each month for a service that was effectively out of service for seven days.

Street-wise emus and kangaroos

23 07 2007

One of the things that many in the US have often asked is “Do kangaroos hop down the main street?” Those who have actually been to Australia never ask this question, and it often amuses us Aussies to answer “Yes”, just to see the reaction.

Well, yesterday we found a town where kangaroos and emus *do* roam the streets!! Despite the wintery weather (rain, strong winds, cold), we took a drive to Donnelly River, then on to Manjimup and Pemberton and back.

Donnelly River is an old mill town. Like many small towns in the southwest of Western Australia, when the timber mill closed the town died. But they kept the houses at Donnelly River and have made the place into a holiday village where you can rent out a whole house or two or three for a night or a week at a time. There are a couple of places like this in southwest, and they are ideal for large community, corporate, or school groups – or just a very big family!So we drove through the two streets in Donnelly River. And saw about 6 kangaroos and at least a dozen emus just wandering about without a care in the world. Some were strolling across the old school yard, others were lolling about on front lawns, some were lurking near verandas, others were sheltering out of the rain under trees in front yards, and still others were ambling down the road.

To the Americans I’ve kidded about this, I take it all back! Donnelly River is one town in Australia where kangaroos and emus *do* roam the streets!

More pictures of the kangaroos and emus at Donnelly River…

Emu strolling along the main street of Donnelly River

Non-existent customer service

23 07 2007

Yesterday we drove to Pemberton, some 60kms from here (see next post for details). One of the signs we saw coming in to town was for Jarrah Jacks Brewery and Woodsmoke Winery. Jarrah Jacks have won a few awards for their beer, so we decided to stop in on our way out of Pemberton. After negotiating the very pot-holed dirt road for a kilometre or so, we arrived at their magnificent building in a most beautiful location high on the top of a hill overlooking vineyards and a large dam.

We got there around 3:15pm, so there were few tables of people on the veranda still enjoying what remained of their Sunday lunch, or just having a lazy Sunday afternoon in a beautiful spot. When we fronted the bar/serving counter are there was just one other person in front of us – a guy paying his bill. There were four people behind the bar doing all sorts of things. We waited. We waited some more. Another couple came in, and one of the ‘busy’ staff decided to serve them. We waited a bit longer. The staff member serving the man in front of us said “Be with you in a minute.” Then promptly ignored us to tell another newcomer to the serving area about their snacks. The other three staff remained ‘busy’ but not with customers. We left.

We had waited at least 5 minutes for service that never came. It’s not that we weren’t noticed – at 6′ 3″ my husband is not unnoticeable. It’s not that they were busy with other customers – they weren’t. It’s not like it was closing time – they close at 6pm on a Sunday. We were ignored, plain and simple. Maybe each staff member in the serving area thought someone else was serving us. But I think that’s giving them too much of the benefit of the doubt. Personally, I think that the staff were too intent on their ‘chores’ to bother with paying customers. Bad mistake. We won’t be back.