Laptop sleeve/tote pattern finished – finally!

27 06 2009

I FINALLY finished writing up the pattern for the laptop sleeve/tote bag I’ve made for me and for my friends Char and Sue.

Example instructions

Example instructions

The pattern is for sale from my Etsy store here: (as is the laptop made for the pics in that pattern:

The surprising thing about writing up this pattern was how hard it was! The initial writing was easy, but then I had to test it to make sure it was correct.At that point I realised how many assumptions I had made about the audience’s knowledge, so it was back to the drawing board. Like the presentations I’ve done using code, a pattern has to be absolutely correct — no missing or assumed steps. It was much harder than I expectedand took much longer than I thought it would — and I’m a technical writer who does this sort of stuff for a living!

Fabric selector, by colour

24 06 2009

Someone on the Etsy forums posted a link to this amazing site:

You click on a colour strip, then get taken to a page of fabric swatches from various fabric sellers on Etsy. Click on the swatch and go direct to that seller’s page. Nice!

Step 1: Click a color strip

Step 1: Click a color strip

Step 2: Click a swatch

Step 2: Click a swatch

Step 3: View the fabric for sale from the Etsy seller

Step 3: View the fabric for sale from the Etsy seller

A meal and a half

24 06 2009

A few weeks ago, the state newspaper had some pictures of a snake eating a large goanna (lizard). Well, I’ve since had a whole heap of pictures of this event emailed to me!

It seems the pictures were taken in the Pilbara region of Western Australia by one of the crew at Cloudbreak (a mine). The information I got with the pictures was that it took 5 hours for the snake to finish off the goanna. And to avoid the snake being run over during its meal, they put some signage and tape up!

Another item added to an Etsy Treasury

20 06 2009

Wow! Another TWO fabric pieces from my Etsy store got added to an Etsy Treasury — one green, one blue. Thanks, DownHomeDiva and BlueHeronQuilts!

Etsy Treasury

Etsy Treasury


Italian Tomato Garden

19 06 2009

Flora shared this joke with me, so I’m happy to share it with you!

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work as the ground was hard.

His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent

I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over.. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.

Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.

Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next day, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies.

They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you, Vinnie

Added storage to sewing room

17 06 2009

I had a rush of blood to the head a few weeks back (always a dangerous thing!). My fabric and all my crafting stuff has been stacked in big tubs on the floor in the tiny spare bedroom I use for sewing and quilting, and which we use for storing wine, books, pantry items and the like. Then I realised that there was quite a bit of air space I could use… and remembered that we had an old pine shelving unit in storage.

So, on Sunday we got it from the storage unit and put it up on top of an old library catalogue cabinet where my husband stores his archive of music cassette tapes (!). I then spent an hour or so stacking it with my stuff and now I have more floor space which makes the room look less crowded!

Quilting can prevent memory loss!

16 06 2009

Charlene Kingston from Crow Information Design used Twitter to let me know about this New York Times article on preventing memory loss as we age. The article starts off featuring a guy called Bob:

At the age of 78, Bob Branham, a retired computer software developer in Dallas, Tex., took up quilting. It wasn’t his idea, actually. He’d never dreamed of piecing together his own Amish diamond coverlet or rummaging around Jo-Ann Fabrics in search of calico prints. But then he enrolled in a trial sponsored by the National Institute on Aging to assess whether learning a new skill can help preserve cognitive function in old age. By random assignment, he landed in the quilting group.

Read the rest of the article…

I found another cockroach…

15 06 2009

… and it’s already on its way to the Australian Museum!

I popped out at lunchtime today and when I came home I saw a native cockroach on its back right near the front door. I thought it was dead, but it still had a little movement in its legs. So I hightailed it inside, found a small box, gathered up some leaf litter, put the cockroach in the box (I didn’t even draw breath to find out if it was a male or female or to take a photo of it), added some air holes and sealed the box.

Then it was back to the Post Office to send it Express Post to the researcher at the Australian Museum. He should get it by Wednesday or Thursday.

I doubt if it will still be alive by then — it looked pretty well done in when I found it (we’ve had the outside of the house sprayed for Portuguese millipedes and I suspect that most invertebrates coming into contact with the residual poison aren’t coping too well).

Still, the researcher will get a specimen and hopefully will be able to tell me whether it is a new species or a geographic variation of any existing one. Who’d have thought I could get excited by a cockroach!?!

Update: I’ve since found a couple more and sent them off to the Museum. The latest (November 2009) was a healthy female, completely intact. The researcher hopes she has eggs, and has taken her home to watch over her — just in case. When she dies, she will go into the entomology section.

Controlled burn scheduled

14 06 2009

After the January fires close to our town, I’ve become quite paranoid about the bush block behind and below our house (we’re near the top of a steep hill). It’s a really big block with some very large trees that tower over our house some 10 to 20 metres further up the hill, and according to the locals it has not been burned for 15+ years, which means the fuel load is pretty nasty.

Well, after a little bit of agitating and sending off emails etc. to the owners of the block (a state government department) and the local shire ranger and emergency and fire people, we got a flyer in the letterbox last week saying that they intend undertaking a controlled burn of this block over two days this coming week. Assuming it goes ahead (obviously if there’s a lot of rain it won’t happen then), I’ll hopefully sleep a little easier this summer.

Here’s a picture of the trees on this block — what you can’t really see here is the degree of slope, but take my word for it — these trees are a long way down from us, but are higher than our house. The controlled burn won’t burn the trees, just the 15+ years of undergrowth and accumulated logs, leaf litter, etc. on the ground.

Towering eucalypts on bush block behind our house

Towering eucalypts on bush block behind our house

Woot! My quilt featured in national magazine

14 06 2009

Late last year I entered my Dragonfly quilt into a national competition, run by Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine. It didn’t make the finalists (which were on exhibition at the recent Perth Craft and Quilt Fair), but I was sent a nice letter asking me to send it over to them so they could take a professional photo of it to put into a later issue of the magazine.

Well, they’ve published it! It’s on page 91 of the Annual 2009 issue (Volume 18, No. 2), available in newsagents across Australia right now [June 2009].

Here’s a scan of part of the page with the photo and the write-up I did — the challenge theme was “Fantasy”:

My Dragonfly quilt in APQ Annual 2009 -- page 91

My Dragonfly quilt in APQ Annual 2009 -- page 91