Friday, July 27, 2012

International shipping–the sublime and the just plain ridiculous

I just love the convenience of internet shopping. Ebay, Etsy, web surfing, there’s absolutely nothing, it seems, I can’t find somewhere in the world by just sitting in my PJs (or snuggling under the covers) and letting my fingers do the walking.

When it comes to shopping, even though I live “down under” in Australia, these days the world’s my oyster.

Trouble is, sometimes you find a pearl, and sometimes there’s just a lot of grit.

Today I received a package of fabric from Sew Dear, an online quilt shop in Waverly, Iowa, and I can’t praise them enough for their wonderful customer service.  I’d been scouring the internet for nine metres of fabric from April Cornell’s Nature’s Notebook range from a few years back, and was over the moon to see the object of my desire on the Sew Dear website.


A quick email to them before I popped off to bed elicited a warm, friendly reply by morning. Yes, said Deb, she could supply me with my whole nine metres!


My quilt fabric, weighing a hefty 3 lbs, was promptly despatched, via USPS Priority Mail, and arrived on my doorstep this morning, just 15 days later. The shipping cost was a very reasonable US$46.40.

Go Deb, and the staff at Sew Dear!

What a contrast to my experience trying to buy this little item a couple of months earlier from Lightwedge in  Massachusetts .


It’s a KIndle cover, beautifully crafted to look like a vintage leather book, and as soon as I saw it on the Lightwedge website I knew it was the perfect gift for my Kindle-loving husband for our 40th wedding anniversary.


It weighs a feather-light 7.7 ounces, according to the website, but can you guess how much Lightwedge wanted to charge me for shipping?

Sit down first.


When I first saw this I was certain it was a computer glitsch, but no. Christina Woods, Lightwedge’s Customer Service person, assured me it was correct. In fact, she told me in her email, Lightwedge’s international shipping starts at US$100.


Stranger still was what happened next. I asked for my gorgeous Kindle cover to be sent (domestic postage was free)to Sarah in Virginia who promptly repacked it and sent it to me via USPS for the very realistic cost of $11.60.


There are questions I can’t avoid asking, but I‘ll resist putting them into words here. I simply want to ask why, if an ordinary citizen can post this cover for $11.60, can’t Lightwedge do the same?

My DH is enjoying his beautiful gift now, and I would really love to recommend you buy one too, but definitely not if, like me, you live outside the US.

This company clearly doesn’t need my business, so they’ll not be getting it again.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Just popping in

Life is rather full for me this week.

Marvelling … at the difference a week makes to the beautiful magnolia in our church garden.






Arranging flowers … with Di B for the funeral of our dear friend Robyn’s mother tomorrow. Robyn wanted bright colours because her Mum is now in heaven and happy with the Lord.

Robyn Flowers1


Robyn Daffodils

Getting mighty excited … at the prospect of this gorgeous girl’s arrival home for a visit in just a couple of days.

Walking with lions

Finishing … this project (all will be revealed soon!)


Listening toDeath Comes to Pemberley by PD James, on my iphone.


Getting fitter … taking late afternoon walks and watching the sun set over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


I’ll be back before too long, but for now, I must run …   Red rose


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ruth’s latest quilt (and it’s gorgeous)

Ruth hasn’t been able to attend our monthly St Mark’s Quilters frolics workshops since she moved to another city eighteen months ago. Fortunately she still checks in from time, to show us the beautiful quilts she’s still creating.

Look at these photos of her latest work, made for a friend of hers to match her bedroom decor. I love the sophisticated look of these dramatic colours, and the roses in the border are an elegant touch.








Her friend was delighted with it – and we love your work too, Ruth Red heart


Saturday, July 14, 2012

And God said, “Let there be light”

And there was!

Outside, at least. The Lord kept his side of the bargain (he always does).

It was a different story inside the church hall though, where technology rather let us down for our monthly St Mark’s Quilters workshop today.


With the overhead lights out of action, but the power points (thankfully!) working we found plenty of other ways to shed light on the situation.

Sarah H did her best to sparkle for us in her glittery pullover.


Kirstin popped in to show us her knitted patchwork squares in sunshiny lemon, spring green and sky blue. These are going to make a simply beautiful baby wrap.


Of course Margaret and Moo always brighten up the room!


And our sewing machine lamps helped to light the way for machining.


One or two of our hand-stitchers might have nipped out into the garden occasionally to thread a needle, but for the most part we managed very well. Nevertheless there were smiles all round when the sun had travelled to its afternoon position, its rays beaming down through the skylight.



We were an industrious bunch. Oh, I wish you could hear the laughter and chatter that was going on!


Bindings were stitched.


Susan and Sophie



Labels were made …IMG_8804


…and sewn onto our Blankets of Love.



Quilts were pinned.


Perdita’s quilt

New quilts were begun …. IMG_8802

Di C’s quilt


Sue M’s Tumbling Block

… and others finished.IMG_8803






With visits from our “honorary quilters” (L to R) Matilda, Chester and Evie , it turned out to be a doggone great day!!!!


In the same way let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16


Friday, July 13, 2012

The icing on the cake!

The Marcia* recently turned 2, and the generous kindy staff invited the ladies of St Mark’s Quilters to share their birthday party.


The relentless, driving rain that Saturday afternoon was … well… not the best for driving all the way to Liverpool on Sydney’s outskirts, but as always Di B, Cath and I received a warm welcome from Karen (centre below), the Director of The Marcia.


What’s a birthday party without cupcakes, and a magician with an adorable bunny for everyone to pat?


Then the best part … presents!


For almost 3 years our little group has been making quilts-to-keep for each little one at the KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre, but this was the first opportunity we’ve had to personally hand over some of our quilts to their new little owners, and this was the icing on the cake!


These little ones fit into the autism spectrum, so no arms were thrown around our necks in gratitude and there were no excited shouts of glee. Instead our gift quilts were received with expressions of quiet wonderment by some, gentle stroking of fabric by others, holding of the warm softness up to serious little faces,and enfolding themselves in the comforting snuggliness of the quilted textures.

Some even took one look at their quilt and moved right along!

The Marcia 2nd Birthday 2012

Nevertheless it was absolutely clear to us that the children and their parents could feel all the love stitched into their quilts by so many makers.

Among the quilts we gave out were creations by Celina, Moo, Margaret,  Ruth, Becky, Eleanor, Geraldine and myself. I did try to check the labels as we went along but, as you can appreciate, we had to move quickly with these squirmy worms!

The Marcia 2nd Birthday 20121

But the gifts weren’t only for the young party guests. We were quite overcome when the CEO of KU Children’s Services, Chris Legg, presented us with a special surprise.


This beautiful hardcover book contains photos of those original quilting newbies who came along to Linda Hungerford’s only Australian Stitchin’Mission, the beginning of St Mark’s Quilters.

It was carefully assembled by Margaret Gibson, the first Director of The Marcia, herself one of our Stitchin’ Mission beginner quilt-makers.

Yes, there were happy tears when we slid off the ribbon and opened the box!



This is such a precious memento, and we can’t wait to share it with the rest of our group this Saturday. Thank you, KU, for allowing us to partner with you as you nurture, teach and care for these darling children.


*The KU Marcia Burgess Autism Specific Early Learning & Care Centre