Sometimes I wonder…

28 02 2009

… why some people are in business.

During the week, the state’s newspaper had an article on one of Western Australia’s hidden treasures — a shop in Mt Barker full of collectables, including several hundred/thousand (?) vinyl records from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. As my husband is a music ‘detective’, we decided to drive to Mt Barker yesterday (Friday) so he could see what was available.

After a 2-hour drive on winding, narrow roads (Muirs so-called Highway!), we got to Mt Barker around noon. We found the old bank building in the main street very quickly (Mt Barker is NOT a big place!), but the sign on the door said “Closed”. On a Friday. In the middle of the day.

Now to put that into perspective… This weekend is a long weekend in Western Australia, and The Great Southern Festival is on this weekend (based in Albany, about 50 kms away — tourists HAVE to go through Mt Barker to get to Albany if they’re driving down from Perth). The owner of the shop had a feature article on his shop in the state’s only newspaper earlier in the week…

So why on earth would he close on a Friday at the start of a busy long weekend for the town, one of the last fine weekends before winter, and the same week he was featured in the paper??? We weren’t the only ones who turned up and shook our heads when we saw the store was closed — at least 3 other couples did the same in the few minutes we were there checking the opening hours.

His opening hours according to a sign on the door are Monday to Thursday (10:00 to 4:30) and Saturday (10:00 to 2:00). He closes Fridays, Sundays and public holidays. So Friday closing is normal — but on one of the busiest weekends of the year for his area, and straight after a glowing article in the paper???? If it was me, I’d be cashing in and making sure I was open the entire weekend — including Friday.

And it baffles me as to why he’d have those days of opening anyway. I know I’d want a 2-day break so I could go away if I wanted to, not two single days off separated by an opening day. Most similar shops would be closed on Monday and Tuesday (perhaps Sunday) in lieu of the traditional weekend.

And no, in case you were wondering, we couldn’t call beforehand to check the opening hours as the article did not give the name of the shop or its phone number. We now have that, but will we be back? Unlikely. We travelled close to 5 hours on the round trip only to find the place closed.

We did have a lovely wood-fired pizza at the Mt Barker Hotel for lunch, though — the only highlight of a disappointing day. And we discovered a REALLY narrow ‘shortcut’ road home with almost no traffic — a road I’d hate to travel on at night, but which was OK on a fine, dry, late summer’s day.





Wonky stars for bushfire quilts

28 02 2009

An American quilter based with the US military in Alice Springs (Australia) decided to do something for the families left homeless and without possessions as a result of the devastating bushfires in Victoria.

So she put out an appeal to all her quilting friends for blocks, and it has spread far and wide (see http://campfollowerbags.blogspot.com/2009/02/bushfire-quilt-project.html and http://flickr.com/groups/bushfirequiltproject/).

Her suggestion was for 12.5 inch maverick or wonky star blocks, and someone else put up a tutorial on how to create a wonky star. She has a team of quilters who will put the blocks together in a ‘quilt-a-thon’, but she must receive them by the end of March 2009 as she’s due to return to the US soon.

I did two blocks, and will post them on Monday. Here are the photos:

Wonky Star 1: Peppers

Wonky Star 1: Peppers

Wonky Star 2: Chillis

Wonky Star 2: Chillis





Log Cabin Quilt: 8

28 02 2009

It’s finished!

Well, it’s been finished since mid-January for a few weeks, but the day I was due to collect it from Judy (the quilter) was the day we had a bushfire come close to town and Judy was exhausted from helping feed the firefighters and we were packing up essentials in case we had to evacuate.

Once I got it back from Judy, I had to make and add the binding, and hand stitch it down. Not something you want to do in hot weather! I finished that a couple of weeks back, but until today, I hadn’t done the final clean up of loose threads, fluff etc. nor put it on the bed and taken photos of it. But today was the day!

Judy did a fabulous job of the quilting — she used a variegated thread on the top and black in the bobbin (my choice) and she lined the back up really well so it’s square with the border. This allows me to flip the quilt over and display the back if I feel like coffee colours for a change.

Here are some pics of the finished quilt.

Log cabin quilt on bed

Log cabin quilt on bed

Judy's great quilting (front)

Judy's great quilting (front)

Back of quilt (disappearing 9-patch)

Back of quilt (disappearing 9-patch)

Back of quilt showing quilting

Back of quilt showing quilting

See also:





Create your own fabric and have it printed professionally

18 02 2009

Ever wanted a fabric design or colour, but you just can’t find what you’re looking for in the fabric stores? (yes, I know… all those fabrics and not ONE matches what’s in your head!)

Then try creating your own design (or getting a copyright-free antique image from the internet), uploading the image to Spoonflower, and getting it printed on Moda cotton in just the size you want — fat quarters, half a yard, yardage, etc. Even a swatch so you can see what it looks like before you go ahead and by yards of it.

You can see a short (4 min) video on the process here: http://blog.spoonflower.com/FAQ-Index.html

The prices are a little more than you’d pay in a store, but you get EXACTLY what you want. They ship to international destinations too, and take orders by credit card or PayPal.

[Thanks to Suzanne who alerted me to this cool site! First you could make your own books — now you can make your own fabric…]





Giving

13 02 2009

The Victorian bush fires have been absolutely devastating, and brought home just how lucky our town was to avoid a similar situation only a few weeks ago. Regular readers of this blog will know how scared I was of that bush fire. And with a large bush block behind our house, I still don’t feel safe.

A firefighter in Gippsland, Victoria (from news.com.au)

A firefighter in Gippsland, Victoria (from news.com.au)

For those who want to help (especially those living outside Australia where information about donating can be thin on the ground), I’ve put together a short list of charities and volunteer organisations that are taking donations of money. Many humanitarian organisations are suggesting that you don’t donate goods as the cost of getting them to the affected areas can be more than the goods themselves — they need money to buy new stuff for those affected by the fires. And we’re not talking TV screens here — basics such as food and water, tents for shelter, clothes, toiletries, toys for the kids… The wildlife organisations need money for medicines, cages, oxygen, food, and for euthanising drugs for the thousands of native animals that survived but which are too damaged to be saved.

Anyhow, here’s a list of charities, banks, and volunteer organisations that will accept online donations via credit card or PayPal, no matter where you live in the world:

Finally, the Australian Information Industry Association is taking donations of new computer and telecommunications equipment and is coordinating a list of volunteers who have computer and ICT skills they can offer. Details: http://www.aiia.com.au/pages/bushfiresupport.aspx

I have no doubt there are many other organisations helping in this time of Australia’s worst natural disaster, but these would be good starting points if you want to help.

For those living in Australia, check what your employer is doing. Two of my clients are matching employee donations dollar for dollar, so if you donate $100 they’ll kick in another $100 to match your donation. It’s a quick way to double the relief effort, so don’t forget to ask. Oh, and these same clients will match a donation already made too — they just require a copy of the official receipt to show you donated.

Sam the koala getting a drink of water from firefighter David Tree

The real heroes