Trying something different

28 10 2019

I purchased a Bluprint (ex-Craftsy) class the other day when it was on sale. And decided to watch part of it yesterday and tackle the techniques shown. The class was ‘Step-by-step Photorealistic Colored Pencil Portraits’ by Karen Hull (an Aussie!). I certainly didn’t have all the materials she used, and only had drawing paper (she uses matt or bristol board), but I did have a set of standard (i.e. not watercolour) coloured pencils that I hoped had enough range of colours to do things such as skin tones. I’m a couple of chapters in, and have already made inroads into the first eye and cheek area (with freckles!).

Progress so far:

And I’m finished:

Here’s the original photo I worked from:

Combining classes

27 10 2019

I attended the Quilt Symposium in Auckland, NZ a few weeks ago. I took two of Claire Smith’s classes—one on monoprinting and one on making a quilt-as-you-go bag. Today I combined them! I took the green/yellow tones fabrics I made in the monoprinting class, added some other greens, aquas, yellows and oranges from my scrap stash and made this bag. It took about 4 hours, as I had to remember what to do—Claire’s instructions were sparse… And a couple of weeks later I made another one, also using the monoprint fabric I’d made, this time in the pink/blue/purple colourway.

Qantas, Qatar, Emirates and OneWorld

22 10 2019

This post is for me to connect the dots with why I can sometimes see some airlines via the Qantas booking site, but not on the OneWorld website, or vice versa. It’s all a little confusing!

So, here’s the problem. A friend asked me for help to book flights from Perth (PER) to Marrakech (RAK), return, using her Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) points. She’d found that there are flights from PER to Doha (DOH) on Qatar, and then on to RAK, either direct from DOH or through Madrid (MAD) on Iberia. Sounds easy, right? Not so much…

There are some issues we’ve encountered, and that I called the QFF customer centre to find out about. Here’s what I learned from the helpful Frank:

  • Qantas is a member of OneWorld
  • Qatar is a member of OneWorld
  • Iberia is a member of OneWorld
  • Emirates is NOT a member of OneWorld
  • Despite not being a member of the OneWorld alliance, Qantas has a codeshare partnership with Emirates (this means you can book Emirates flights via the Qantas website and redeem and earn QFF points for Emirates flights booked via the Qantas website; however, you can’t earn QFF Status Credits [SCs] on Emirates flights booked through Qantas, as summarised here:
  • Even though they are both part of the OneWorld alliance, Qantas does NOT have a codeshare partnership with Qatar (this means you can see Qatar flights from the Qantas website if you try to book using QFF points only [because they are both part of OneWorld], but you CAN’T see Qatar flights if you try to PAY for a flight, as summarised here:; you can also earn QFF points and Status Credits [SCs] on Qatar)
  • I haven’t checked much for Iberia, but according to the Qantas website it’s not a codeshare partner with Qantas either, so I expect the same rules apply as for Qatar (

It’s a mess!

The other thing Frank told me is that about 10% of seats in all classes are kept aside for points bookings, though that varies between airlines, which means even six months out, you may not find a seat in the class you want to travel for a particular day or flight. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Can’t delete my OLA account

21 10 2019

Did you know you can’t delete an OLA account???? (OLA is a ride-share service in Australia/NZ [elsewhere?]; it’s like Uber but the drivers supposedly get a better cut.) (see Update dated 23 Oct below—it looks like you can do so now)

I signed up when I was in NZ, but there’s no way to delete your account if you no longer need it. Not only does OLA have my personal contact details, it also has my credit card info.

You can’t delete your account through the app, and Googling the issue told me that the only way to get deleted or ‘blocked’ was to send OLA an email ( I sent an email on 8 Oct, another on 12 Oct, and got nothing except a ‘we’re working on it’ reply. I tried again today (this time sending the email to I got another automated reply, followed by this a few minutes later:

“We would like to inform you that we cannot delete the driver’s information due to rules related to record-keeping. At this stage, we need to preserve the information and this overrides any general privacy law considerations. So do not worry as we keep the data with high safety.

We understand that this is not a resolution that you were hoping but we hope you will be able to understand our limitations in the matter and not take this as a representation of our services.”

So drivers’ info/OLA recordkeeping trumps a customer’s right to delete their account?

I responded asking for my account to be blocked, and got this (unedited):

“We can understand your worries about your account. We would like to inform you that your account will intact as it was but as you are not using it .So keep it in a safe way. We can understand that you are concern about the account but it is totally in safe hand.”

To say I’m not happy would be an understatement. I’ll now look into reporting the company to my state’s consumer affairs department or the ACCC.

Update 22 Oct 2019: After more emails with OLA support personnel, finally someone told me how to delete my credit card from the app, which was my main concern. If you need to do this:

  1. Log in to the OLA app.
  2. Under the menu, tap Payments.
  3. Tap on the credit card you want to delete.
  4. Tap the trash icon.
  5. Tap Delete.

Your account isn’t deleted (their latest email says: “we want to inform you that according to the Ola policy you have taken rides with us, deletion of your Ola account is not possible.”), but your credit card details are.

Update 23 Oct 2019: I fiddled around in the OLA settings looking to put in a temporary email account. Instead, I found a way to delete my account—I swear this wasn’t there a week or so ago! Now, whether it will actually get deleted or not, I don’t know, but when I tried to go into the app after ‘deleting’ it, it asked me to sign up, so here’s hoping. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Open the OLA app on my phone.
  2. Under the menu, tap on My Profile.
  3. Tap Data and Privacy.
  4. Tap Manage your data.
  5. Tap Delete your account.
  6. You get information about what will happen next—essentially, they don’t delete your account immediately. Instead, they deactivate it for 30 days, during which time you can sign back in. At the end of the 30 days, your account is meant to be deleted.
  7. Tap Delete my account.
  8. Confirm the deletion.

I then got an error message (‘auth failed’ or something like that). I closed the OLA app, then reopened, at which point I was asked to sign up again, and offering to sign me up with my previous credentials. So it looks like my account is now deactivated. I’ll set a reminder to check again in 30 days…

If only chemistry was this interesting when I was at school

11 10 2019

My last two days’ of classes at the Quilt Symposium in Auckland were held in the chemistry lab at St Cuthbert’s School (the venue for the entire Symposium). We were surrounded with inspirational sayings, women role models, soft toys (I’m still not sure why they were there), and chemistry info sheets that were fascinating because they pertained to the real world.

If chemistry had been like this when I was at school I may well have continued on that path into university. Alas, chemistry in my day was dry, dull, and not at all relevant to ANYTHING as far as I could tell.

Here’s a small sample of some of the stuff that surrounded us in this chemistry lab.

Heating a sandwich when you don’t have a sandwich press

11 10 2019

At the Quilt Symposium in Auckland, NZ, last week, ‘brown bag’ lunches were provided. For most of the classes I was in, we got sandwiches, which were pretty fresh. But on the last day, we got stodgy rolls, which were dense, slightly stale, and really only suitable for toasting in a sandwich/cafe press. So what do you do when you don’t have such an appliance? You improvise!

We used both baking paper (a staple for any quilters who do fusible applique) and brown paper bags to protect the irons, and the end result was slightly toasted bread—toasted enough to make these rolls far more palatable. We didn’t apply heat long enough for the heat to get all the way through, but it was enough to take away some of the stodginess! MacGyver would be proud!

Quilt Symposium, Auckland, October 2019: Claire Smith’s Quilt-as-you-go Bag class

11 10 2019

I’m a bit late posting this as I had paid work to do as soon as I got home from NZ.

My last two days of classes at Quilt Symposium were both with Claire Smith (a Kiwi), and they were very different. The first was monoprinting, and the second was making a ‘quilt-as-you-go’ bag.

This bag was easy to make, and is fully lined. I even had time to add an outside pocket and two inside pockets. I also modified her design a little to add long handles, suitable for carrying this bag over your shoulder. I chose beachy colours—it would be perfect to take to the beach or have beside the pool, or even for more mundane things like shopping!

Some of the bags produced by the class

Quilt Symposium, Auckland, October 2019: Claire Smith’s Monoprinting class

11 10 2019

I’m a bit late posting this as I had paid work to do as soon as I got home from NZ.

My last two days of classes at Quilt Symposium were both with Claire Smith (a Kiwi), and they were very different. The first was monoprinting, a technique I’ve never tried before. I really enjoyed the process and the variations of what you can produce. I’ll likely use it again.

By definition, monoprinting means getting a single print from a painted surface. Here’s a summary of the steps:

  1. Lay down a paint medium on a surface (we used old x-ray films [with foam rollers], and Gelli plates [with a special brayer]; the paint was a thick acrylic paint like that used by school children).
  2. Optional: Use various objects and textures to make designs in the paint (I used everything from clothes pegs to the end of paint brushes, to notched baking scrapers, to bubble wrap, to fronds and leaves). NOTE: If you want to write something, you’ll have to write it backwards on the painted surface so that it prints ‘right side up’.
  3. Lay a piece of plain fabric over the top of the painted/marked surface.
  4. Gently rub the fabric to transfer the paint and design onto it.
  5. Remove the fabric from the surface and allow to dry.
  6. Once dry, repeat with different paints/patterns to create various print layers, or, if you’re happy with the result, iron the fabric to heat set the acrylic paint.
  7. Repeat for each other piece of fabric you want to print.

Some photos of the MANY pieces of fabric I produced during the day—most of the small ones are about 6″ square:

Plastic sheeting to protect the table, newspaper, x-ray film, small Gelli plate, foam rollers, brayer, pots of acrylic paint, fern for making a pattern on the paint

My first efforts, drying. The two large pink pieces were the result of rolling the excess paint off the roller onto spare pieces of fabric—you can get some amazing extra pieces this way and there’s no way to predict how they will turn out. The circles in the blue were created from the bottom of a drink cup.

Most, but not all, of the pieces I printed

The large pieces were all created by rolling off excess paint onto spare pieces of fabric


Qantas bag drop and Q Tags

7 10 2019

If you fly with Qantas, you may already know this but it caught me out this morning… If you’re travelling with bag tags on your luggage put on by the check-in counter people (maybe kiosk check-in too?) AND you have a Q Tag on your luggage, the bag drop machine for transfer from international to domestic may not accept your bag. Instead the kiosk comes back with a cryptic message that you have too many luggage tags and to remove some.

Well, the only tags I had (that I was aware of) were the ones put on at AKL this morning. But it seems the bag drop reads that AND the Q Tag and gets itself confused. I had to go to the customer assistance counter to find out why my bag wasn’t accepted, and she told me to remove the Q Tag and try again (that worked). But it would’ve been very useful to have that info on the kiosk screen at the point where I was told I had too many tags! (yes, I’ve sent in feedback to Qantas about this and discussed it with a customer service rep.)

One other thing another friend shared — if you have a spare Q Tag for perhaps an extra bag you didn’t end up purchasing, don’t leave it in your suitcase as it can confuse the machine too. Instead, put it in your carry-on bag.

Quilt Symposium, Auckland, October 2019: Some photos from the exhibition

4 10 2019

The quilt exhibition that’s part of the biennial Quilt Symposium has hundreds of magnificent quilts on display. There was no way I could take photos of them all, so this is just a very small selection of those I did photograph.

This Dear Jane quilt really attracted me because of the colours and fabrics used. I’m not usually a fan of traditional quilts, such as Dear Janes, but the pastel colours drew me in.

I loved this red wine quilt! The evocative splash and splosh of the wine hitting the glass, the movement, and the size — this was about 1 m long, so a great size for an art quilt for someone’s wall.

This wholecloth quilt was HUGE. And the threadwork to create the design was just magnificent. There’s just one fabric in this quilt — the black background. Everything else is thread.