Monday, May 22, 2006

Quilting More Marbled Fabric & a Shipping Story

For those of you who are familiar with shipping your art off to exhibitions, galleries, museums and the like, this posting might be rather boring. To make it more exciting, here are photos of the results of my play-time in the studio - using marbled fabric made nearly 2 years ago with batting and backing, the quilting was just plain fun! This is a tad different from the quilted marbled fabrics in the last posting. That fabric was fused to interfacing and quilted without batting or backing.

Above: Blue Marbled fabric with quilt batting. Below: detail of same.

Below: detailed shots from the Pink/Gold Marbled fabrics that are posted full-size on the May 20 edition.

Back to my shipping story. Of course, before you can ship something, you must purchase the right hanging rods (continental drapery rods), find the right size box(es), pack it/them securely, have everything labeled (including the quilt, the rod, the bubble-wrap and plastic bag that holds each quilt), include the "to/from" information in case the box is torn apart, and finally, the part that has had me stumped - the return shipping label.

Now normally, I send my packages via US Priority Mail. I've never had a single problem with anything I've sent that way and I've been quite pleased with the service. I learned to navigate the USPO website, thereby creating my own shipping labels so I can simply drop the box(es) off at the PO. That has saved me so much time and I've found it so convenient.

However, the USPO website does not allow one to print a return shipping label and lately I'm finding I need a return shipping label more often than not. So, with three boxes going out to two separate locations, two of which needed return postage - but from different senders - I had to learn a new system for sending packages. Saturday I boxed everything up, measured and weighed them, made a nice reference sheet for filling out all the on-line forms, and was exhausted by the time I got that far! Sunday was THE day to go on-line and learn the FEDEX and UPS ways of doing business.

The first hour was with FEDEX - which was going great until I wanted someone to sign for the return shipping... That service is not available to on-line customers!!! How silly is THAT? Where do they come up with these rules??? Because I don't want my artwork left outside in any sort of weather when it is returned, I want the return shipment to require I be home to sign for it. (FEDEX once left 2 brand-new computer printers outside my front door in a large (torn) trashbag - we were gone for days!!! and came home to two very soaked boxes with still-new, working printers...) Oh, there was another problem with having insurance on the return shipment, too.

So I went to the UPS site, completed all their information gathering requirements, and began the process anew. As long as I didn't want over $100 worth of insurance, everything finally worked out OK. After much trial and error - printing the return label but not the outgoing label, etc.

Only after printing all the labels, affixing the outgoing boxes with their nice new labels, sealing them with clear packaging tape as directed - only THEN did I remember that I was supposed to have included the return shipping labels INSIDE each box... argggggggggggggggg.... Mind you, that was after 4 hours trying to master these systems!!!

You'll be happy to know that I found an easy solution. The return labels are now in a nice brown envelop waiting to go out in the good old US Mail. The folks at other end might not be so happy about the labels not being in the boxes, but I'd be gosh darned if I'd open up even ONE of those well-packaged boxes just to put a label inside! The packages are now on their way to Kansas and Connecticut. The shipping labels go out tomorrow - and I can only pray that they arrive sometime in the next month before they are needed! In February, I sent a money order first class to NC for return shipping of the quilts in the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival - it took 6 weeks for the money order to get there...

The woes of modern life - but then I wouldn't trade it for anything!


Gerrie said...

I feel your pain! Making the quilt is the easiest part of this process!!

Gerrie said...
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