Postal service mistimings

15 07 2013

I’m not sure if Australia Post or the US Postal Service is at fault, but I’ve had three parcels sent to me from friends in various parts of the US in the past couple of months and two of them have taken an AGE to get to me — far longer than I would have expected for the ‘First Class International’ postage fees my US friends paid.

The first parcel was sent from a town in Connecticut on 4 May 2013 and I received it on 21 June 2013 — some 47 days later. There were no signs of inspection by any security or customs agencies, so that doesn’t explain the delay. The parcel wasn’t overly large or awkward.

The second was sent from San Diego, California on 31 May 2013 and I received it today (15 July 2013) — some 45 days later. With this one, my friend had paid $16.75 postage and her local Post Office told her it would take ‘5 to 7 days’ to reach me. Based on previous experience, I knew that 5 to 7 days was overly optimistic, and figured it would be more like 15 days. But 45??? Like the parcel from Connecticut, there was no evidence of customs or security agency inspection. Again, the parcel wasn’t large or awkward.

The third was sent from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on 26 June 2013 and arrived on 12 July 2013, some 16 days later. Postage paid was about $31. No evidence of security or customs inspection. This parcel contained two books and a calendar, so it wasn’t overly large or awkward either.

The 16-day time frame is what I expected for all of them, based on my previous experience with getting things from the US, not 45 or 47 days.

I don’t know which postal agency was at fault for such tardiness, though my local Post Office lady says ‘it’s likely the US’; well, she would say that, wouldn’t she, seeing as though she works for Australia Post! I wonder if the budget cuts to the USPS are starting to affect general and international postal services.

Lucky I wasn’t in a hurry for any of the parcels I received….

See also:

Update: I sent a parcel on 24 June from Western Australia to Connecticut. It arrived on 3 August, some 40 days later. My Connecticut friend said this: “I think the slow mailing times are a temporary result of some consolidations in the larger distribution centers in the US postal systems. Some tightening on customs rules might be jamming things up, too. Just as TSA guidelines made inspectors lose perspective and spend too much time inspecting elderly folks in wheelchairs and little kids’ teddy bears at one point, some printer cartridges filled with explosives caused mail inspectors to lose perspective on packages.”

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen: Rulers class

15 07 2013

Using rulers (or templates) with my Sweet Sixteen is something I’ve tried but got very frustrated with (exception: my favourite Line Tamer ruler for straight lines!). So I booked myself into last Saturday’s rulers class run by my awesome dealer, Michelle at Handcrafters House in Midland, Western Australia. Getting there by 9 am meant a 5 am wake-up for me so that I was on the road by 7 am and in the city on time. Yes, I packed my machine and table into the car the night before, as well as all the class requirements.

We had a full 6+ hours of tuition from Michelle, with LOTS of practice and help along the way. Michelle provided us with a pre-marked quilt sandwich, and we started with using straight line rulers, then branching into clam shell rulers, circles, arcs, swags, etc. Lots of fun, and I got much more confident about using rulers and learnt some tricks along the way too. And yes, I bought a set of half circles and a clam shell ruler too.

I left Perth at 4 pm and was home just after 5:30 pm. My husband helped me get the table out of the boot of the car and set up inside, and I was all unpacked by 6 pm. It was a long day, but productive — and I learnt a lot. On Sunday I finished the sample piece — if I didn’t finish it then, it might have been put away for some weeks/months/years and not touched again 😉

The photos below show some of my progress during the day, and some of the finished sections on the sample. Michelle also has videos of using rulers with the Sweet Sixteen on her website:, but there was nothing like getting one-on-one, hands on instruction.


Michelle demo’ing using a circle ruler


Starting with straight lines (my Line Tamer ruler)


More straight lines, with some free motion fillers


Clam shells, with an added flourish. Hint: Do the flourish as you complete each line, NOT after you’ve done them all otherwise you have too much travelling to do over original stitching lines


Work in progress 1


Work in progress 2. I love how these arcs and ‘piano key’ lines look like the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California!


Completed. I like how my centre star turned out with the heavy threadwork in white, the black cross-hatching, and the coloured flames in the star points.


Again, the extra threadwork adds to the lines created with the rulers


See what I did with those fish shapes? Turned them into fish by adding eyes and scales with thread!