RAK’s everywhere!!

Aha, the mystery is solved … Carol, you were right in your comment, the parcel sitting in my PO Box was indeed a wonderful RAK from Deb. Look at this load of goodies, isn’t it awesome? There are some fun friendship sayings in one chart, and some great tassel ideas in the other one, and threads and beads are always handy (love the lemon colour, it’s very very pretty). I really do especially love the little notepad and teabag holder in the blues and lemons – aren’t they just darling? Thanks so much Deb, you’re a real sweetheart 😀

 

When I said RAK’s were everywhere, it was a true statement … I also had a mystery gift in my email Inbox today as well.  When I say mystery gift, I mean the actual sweet soul who has organised this is a mystery – the actual gift isn’t a mystery, but it’s a wonderful treat that I can’t wait to ‘use’.  I received a Bill Bryson book from Audible, entitled “The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kit” – woohoo! It just says “from a Friend” in thanks for my RAK to them … but I’ve done a few RAK’s just lately, so I’m not entirely sure who it is! Whoever you are, thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart – I’ll be having a few giggles over the next few days while I sit and listen to it 😀  And if anyone wants to have a sneak preview of his book “Down Under” (also published under the name of “A Sunburned Country”), you can click here to read one of the chapters … (it took a short time to load on my PC)

Anyway, another round of thanks again to both Deb and my mystery RAK’er, you’ve made my day!

  Talking about RAK’s I wonder if anyone has any suggestions for my RAK Registry blog.  A couple of people would like to see more interaction on the blog, with space to post about RAK’s sent and received, as well as one person that would like updates on new members joining etc.  I’m just wondering what the best way of going about this is … you see, I’d prefer to leave the blog contents as ‘static’, ie the birthday list, and the individual wishlists, and wonder whether to just set up the blog with “pages” with tabs at the top with each topic, then use the ‘main’ part of the blog for individuals to post to, or maybe using a ‘shoutbox’ … but perhaps there’s a better way to go about it?  It’s easy enough to show those that have been ‘new additions’, as I can send an email to everyone, say monthly, with new blogs, as well as adding **NEW** after the details on the blog itself.  Anyway, if anyone has any good suggestions about how people could interact more on it, I’d love to hear them  😀

Even without the wonderful contents of both my mailboxes, today was a pretty good day all-in-all.  I ended up doing 4 1/2 hours overtime today, as it took a while to finish one call with two round-the-world tickets they wanted booking.  I can’t remember the last time I did actual ‘passenger’ calls … it might even be about a year ago!  And I have to say I really enjoyed it – it was a lot less stressful than it was on the supervisor hotline yesterday, and I remembered how much enjoyment I get from helping the general public out.  Some people get a bit frustrated with the ‘doddery’ passengers who’ve never travelled before and need more time and information, whereas they’re the calls I always used to enjoy the most.  Those 4 1/2 hours sped past so quickly, it was amazing!

I decided to go into work today on the train, so that I could call into the city on the way home (I never ever drive into the city ‘cos I don’t know where I’m driving and I’m too wimpy to try dealing with trams and hook turns on my own! LOL) … my most essential piece of equipment fell to bits a week or so ago, and I’ve been devastated ever since!  I tried finding a replacement at Target and other local shops, but couldn’t find one that I liked … so I went to Hudsons Coffee to get the same design as my old one – a bit pricey, but I like drinking out of it … here’s my new essential call centre office equipment … a thermal coffee mug!  There’s nothing worse than getting stuck on a call and having your coffee go cold … especially when you just walk in the door and sign into your phone at 4.55am and your first call is a complaint that lasts 1/2 an hour … nope, gotta have that caffeine kick at 5am, or it’s just not cricket!  😉

 

Walking home from the tram stop I was reminded how small and insignificant, simple things in life can give enjoyment … walking down the street there were brown leaves scattered over the grass and pavements, and all of a sudden I walked past one bright red autumn leaf sitting like a jewel among the other dead leaves surrounding it – just something small, but it really made my heart and mind go ‘awww’ … yep, gotta appreciate those simple things … 🙂

Tonight I’m going to sit and catch up on more TV programs I’ve had taped during my early shifts last week (I’ve run out of blank tapes now, so I’d better get cracking …), then tomorrow I think I’ll ignore the housework for a day and have a full day stitching – ah, such decadence!  After working 8 days straight, I’ve decided a bit of self-indulgence on my days off is warranted 😉

RAK Registry

  It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the RAK (Random Act of Kindness) Registry for stitching bloggers – but seeing as I’ve had a couple of new enquiries recently I thought I’d give it another plug 😀

I thought it would be nice to have a ‘central register’ for my fellow stitching bloggers’ likes and dislikes for sending a small RAK, as it’s often I think I’d like to pop something small into the mail ‘just because’ or for a birthday, but don’t have all the recipients details to hand.  Some people have wishlists and likes/dislikes held in different bulletin boards/groups, of which you need to have membership – this way no membership is required, just an active stitching blog.

If you would like to send any of the RAK Registry participants a small RAK, please send an email to me (shakatak at iinet dot net dot au) and I can arrange for address details of your intended recipient to be given to you. Due to privacy and security reasons I can only release this information to an existing stitching blogger (with an active blog), and preferably to one that is participating in this list (unless I can vouch for you personally).

If you’d like to join the list you just need to complete the short questionnaire below and email it to me, and I’ll add you to the website … it’s as easy as that!  Here’s the questionnaire you need to complete:

Blog URL:
Preferred first name/screen name:
Fave colours:
Fave designers:
Fave styles of designs/stitching styles:
Fave thread types/brands:
Fave fabrics:
Any dislikes:
Pets/children:
Birthday:
Wishlist URL:
Any small RAK’s that would be enjoyed:
Fave holidays:
Holidays not celebrated or liked:
Full snail mail details:

I’d also love to make the birthday list more comprehensive, including those that aren’t actually participating in the RAK Registry, so if you’re a stitching blogger and you’d like your birthday to be included in the list please leave me a comment with your details (either here or the RAK Registry blog), and I’ll add you in straightaway 😀

Lastly, here are some quick links from the RAK blog itself for you:

Here’s the link directly to the birthday list (for stitching bloggers – in date order, but note not all these bloggers are taking part in the RAK Registry)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For full RAK blogger details (in alphabetical order by blog name) – click on the letter below to take you straight to the relevant post where you will find their complete information with likes and dislikes, and wishlists where supplied:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Below are links to the blogs of all RAK participants to date (in alphabetical order of blog name):

A Kiwi Stitching (Katrina – NZ)
A Tree Hugger’s Wife (Missy – USA)
Bible en Broderie (Renee – France)
Coffee Cup Thoughts (Christine – Canada)
Colourful Creations (Karen – Canada)
Contemplating My Needle and Thread (Su – UK)
Coonie and Plume (Sylvie – France)
Coral’s Blog (Coral – South Africa)
Craftee Cab (Michelle – USA)
Cross Stitch and Coffee (Tracy – NZ)
Fairy Tales & French Knots (Erin – USA)
Feather Stitching (Anne – Australia)
Garden of Stitches (Carol – USA)
It Will Be Funny Tomorrow (Cathy – USA)
Kitty Couture (Isabelle – France)
Ladybug’s Stitches (Nicole/Elanor – Switzerland)
Lavender Rose Ramblings (Deborah – USA)
Leslie’s Cross Stitch Heaven (Leslie – USA)
Mainely Stitching (Barbara – Netherlands)
Melissa’s Ramblings (Melissa – USA)
Mrs Sew and Sew (Clare – UK)
Mundane Musings By Me (Virginia/Vee – Canada)
My Favourite Things (KarenV – UK)
Mylene’s Blog (Mylene – Netherlands)
Now We Are Six (Carina – USA)
Once Upon A Stitch (Annemiek – Netherlands)
On the Dry Side (Von – USA)
Plush (Nicki – NZ/UK)
Random Stitching Ramblings (Cindy – USA)
Señorita Stitches ¡Ay Carumba! (Veronica – USA)
Smokey of the Netherlands (Judith – Netherlands)
Spirit Blooms (Carissa – Canada)
Stitchcats Thread Garden (Margaret – NZ)
Stitched With Love and Cat Hair (Renee – USA)
Stop The World! I Want To Get Off! (Faye – USA)
Tale of a Shooting Star… (Jenna – USA)
The Craft Room (Andrea – UK)
The Twisted Stitcher (Vonna – USA)
They Came From the LNS… (CathyMK – Australia)
Threads of Desire (Kathryn – USA)
Wendy – Home at Work (Wendy – Canada)
With Needle And Thread (Cathy – USA)
Virpin ristipistoja (Virpi – Finland)

Ornies and RAK

I was thinking what a great mix of nationalities we have so far in the RAK Registry database, and just in case you were interested I thought I’d share … so far we have a total of 38 stitching bloggers taking part, and they’re from the following nations:

15 – USA
4 – Canada
4 – United Kingdom
4 – The Netherlands
3 – New Zealand
3 – France
2 – Australia
1 – South Africa
1 – Switzerland
1 – Finland

A couple of quick replies for Nicki and Lisa … the dress isn’t that ‘light’ to wear, I have to admit – it has a separate skirt underneath with curtain wire hoops. Mind you, I said yesterday if I keep filling out my body any more than it currently is, I soon won’t be needing the hoops! ROFL. The dress itself was made from some plain green homespun cotton fabric by Mum, then I added all the decorations onto it – in fact the tinsel needs to be replaced now, I think. The tinsel and string of balls are pinned on from the inside with safety pins, so it can be removed for washing – next year, though, I’m going to superglue the caps to the balls, as a couple of the new ornaments I put on this year to replace missing ones aren’t as robust. I do love it, though, and I have another stupid idea in the back of my brain as well … making some felt ‘boots’ that have a flat inner section up my calf, with the outside part pushing out, so when I stand with my feet together, it looks like a plant pot … or hanging some presents from the hoops … yup, gotta love that festive season, it really does bring out the child in me! ;P

Now on to really FUN stuff … I was given the OK by Katrina to open one of my little gifties from under the tree – and now I understand why … I am now the proud owner of the most gorgeous ornie with beautiful stitching and finishing, and I’m absolutely thrilled with it! Thank you so much Katrina, I truly do adore it! And it’s on my little ‘ornie tree’ already! 😀 Doesn’t that sad little tree look so much better now? Mind you I still have to make up the two ornies Mum gave me (she did the stitching, and I’m doing the finishing), and then that’ll possibly be it for the year … depends how keen I get between now and Christmas hmmm.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The next two days are going to be quite social – we have a team meeting for all us ‘Hotliners’ (Seniors), and we’re doing it over breakfast for our Christmas get-together. Brekky is at 8am and I don’t start work until noon, but I thought I’d potter around in the neighbourhood until then, as there’s no point coming all the way home again. Then on Saturday I’ve been invited to a friend’s place for a party (J), and I’m driving to B’s house first then we’re going there together, then I’m staying at B’s house for the night – which means we can let our hair down for the night … it’ll do me good, I think 😀

Today I’m thankful for my best friend’s Mum Doreen – her apricot slice went down a treat yesterday, with a few people coming up to me especially to say how yummy it was (most people brought in supermarket cakes, so I guess the home-made stuff really stood out LOL) … I’m also thankful that I made a double batch and that I still have some sitting in my fridge (my hips won’t be thankful though) … but not just that, I’m thankful for Doreen for giving me so many wonderful childhood (and adult) memories, and being one of the people that has helped shape me into the person I am today – I love you loads, Doreen!! 😀

RAK Registry & Ornies

Thanks to everyone who has supported the RAK Registry database (for stitching bloggers) to date – this has been a really fun project to coordinate. For those who have asked, there is no deadline to sign up for this, as it’s an ongoing project – you just need to send me an email with your details, and I’ll enter you into the blog database immediately. You can either send me an email requesting the questions, or just copy and paste the following and email your answers straightaway to mailto:shakatak@iinet.net.au :). Then if you want to send someone a RAK just drop me a line and I’ll send you their full contact details. Likewise if there’s someone you’d like to send to, and they’re not in the database, drop me a line with their blog details, and I’ll approach them with a request to sign up, or to get their contact details … then they still don’t know who it’s coming from so there’s still a surprise element attached 🙂

A link to the RAK Registry blog is in my sidebar, if you want to check it out. Thanks again for the support, my fellow stitching pals.

First/screen name:
Blog name/URL:
Fave colour(s):
Fave designer(s):
Fave styles of designs/stitching styles:
Fave thread types/brands:
Fave fabric(s) (eg count/colour/type):
Any dislikes (eg colours, design styles etc):
Pets/children:
Birthday:
Withlist URL:
Any small RAK’s that would be enjoyed (eg tea sachets, stationery, chocolate, fridge magnets, postcards etc):
Favourite holiday(s):
Holiday(s) not celebrated/liked:
Full name and mailing address:

As for me, while I was in ostrich mode with my head in the sand yesterday it left my hands (and mind) free to stitch … I managed to put the finishing touches into an ornie I started during the night shifts (the only reason to love that shift is that I get chance to pick up a needle very now and then inbetween calls ‘cos there’s no management around haha) – I didn’t have the right overdyed threads, so I substituted the WDW Kudzu for NN Grecian Olive, and Crescent Colors Blue Moon with NN Blue is Blue – I also swapped 28ct fabric for 32ct to make it slightly smaller … I think it still turned out OK.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWinter’s Eve by Country Cottage Needleworks
from JCS 2006 Christmas Ornament magazine
stitched on 32ct natural Belfast
with thread substitutions

I also managed to put the final stitches into two more ornies as well that have been sitting here just waiting for the embellishments to be added. I haven’t taken any piccies/scans yet, though, so they’ll have to wait until later and I’ll add them in. Hopefully by then Blogger will be playing ball with photos again, as I’ve been having to use Photobucket for the last two posts 😦 Perhaps they’re giving me the un-subtle hint to hurry up and move to Beta haha.

All these ornies are destined for a home elsewhere … unfortunately they won’t be gracing someone else’s tree for this Christmas due to financial constraints, but they will be sent out some time in the New Year ready for next Christmas …

And talking of ornies, Nicki and I are discussing having a Christmas ornie SAL on the 4th weekend of every month, and wonder if you’d be interested in joining us? I’ve cheated and copied most of Nicki’s post to save me being witty and thinking something up … and Nicki’s is perfect already

From the words of Nicki:

“Christmas is nearly here and I’ve realised that trying to do all my Christmas stitching in two weeks isn’t a great idea! So Anne and I are thinking of organising a monthly Christmas ornament SAL for next year.

The idea is to stitch one ornament each month, so at the end of the year we’ll have lots of pretties to give as gifts or put on trees. We’ll stitch on the fourth weekend of each month. (That seems to be what works best for everyone who’s answered so far).

If you’d be interested, let one of us know. You wouldn’t have to stitch each month of course. It’d just be a fun way of getting some Christmas ornaments stitched through the year and relieving the pre-Christmas rush!”

I’ve really missed doing an ornie SAL for the latter half of this year, and hopefully this will motivate me again into stitching every month … I’m actually thinking of making my own personal goal to stitch two every month so I get to keep an odd one or two as well as give them away, but I’ll still be happy with getting one done

SBQ & RAK photo

I didn’t want to lose Isabelle’s gorgeous RAK photo among all the other photos yesterday, so waited until today to give it it’s own wee place – finally here is my RAK in all its glory … complete with open box on the choccie haha. Thanks again Isabelle, it’s so so sweet of you {{hugs}}.

And for this week’s SBQ, here goes …

“How do you secure your thread when you begin a new one? Specifically,do you or have you ever used a waste knot?”

Yes, I use waste knots quite regularly when doing specialty stitches, as a lot of times there’s not much to anchor it on the back until you’ve worked a few stitches. Have to say I hate doing it, as it wastes thread and I hate having to cut off the knots and reweave the ends through at the end 😦 Unfortunately, though, it’s sometimes a necessary evil! If I’m using overdyed threads, and I have a solid line to stitch, I’ll put a small knot in the end of the thread, take the needle down into the fabric in the middle of the line, about an inch away from where I’m going to stitch, then back up at the beginning to start stitching – that way I’m stitching over the line and catching the ‘tail’ under my stitching as I go, and I cut the knot off at the back as I get closer and the tail is well anchored. If I’m using plain ol’ DMC I do a ‘loop start’ usually.

The RAK Registry is almost finished (just tidying up of the sidebars etc), and I’ve made a little ‘blinkie’ in my Links sidebar here which takes you straight to the RAK blog. Hopefully more people will join in and fill in those spaces in the alphabet, and this will be a good resource for the days to come. If you think you’d like to see someone’s details on there, either let them know about it, or drop me a line with their blog details and I’ll send them an email saying I’ve had a request to have them join in the fun 🙂 I’ve really enjoyed setting this up for us! 😀

RAK Registry

Thanks again for your support in the creation of our little list – hopefully it will be a useful tool when we want to send a small something to our fellow stitching bloggers … and a way I can give something back to my stitching pals 🙂

At this stage I have questionnaires filled out by Cindy, Wendy, Nicki, and Su … and emails have gone out today to those who are definitely keen to sign up, ie Melissa, CathyB, Cathy (mamacruz), Carina, Margaret, Carol, Christine and Isabelle. More emails have gone to those of you who think it’s a good idea, ie Von, Barbara, CathyMK, Karen, Judith, and Katrina.

Others who registered an interest, but I can’t locate your emails are Vonna, Annemiek, Sylvie, Meari, Tracy Baby, Coral and Michelle … if you could drop me a quick line to shakatak@iinet.net.au I’ll get the email questionnaire sent off to you to fill in 🙂

Now a couple of answers to recent questions:

For Whyme – the photo of the roses were taken in Hong Kong itself on a recent holiday there (in the flowers markets, not far from the bird market).

For Julie – the Pacific Pohutukawa is by a New Zealand designer, and can be bought through Nancy’s Embroidery in Wellington, New Zealand. They also sell the black canvas for it too, and they do mail order. Their website isn’t the best, but they’re great to deal with 🙂

Just a quick post this morning before I head off to work. Dinner was great last night, and very uplifting … it was nice to discuss ‘general stuff’ and have a moan about work issues and just generally hang out. That was followed by a phone call from Fraze wanting to catch up for dinner – the first date that was possible in the evenings during the week was 22 December! haha, the joys of shift work! 😉

Coffee Menu & RAK’s

My feet were tapping in a small happy dance late last night … I managed to put the final stitches into Coffee Menu, which is not bad going seeing as I didn’t start until Sunday (not Friday as I mentioned yesterday – it was Friday to me, as it was the last day of ‘my’ weekend so that was a bit of a Freudian slip haha). I really enjoyed stitching this one.


Coffee Menu by Little House Needleworks
Stitched on hand-dyed 32ct Pipi Belfast linen by Country Stitch
using recommended threads

Next up will hopefully be Sapphire Star canvaswork by Laura J Perin, although I’m not sure it’s worth starting it yet, as the one thread I have on back order seems to be the main thread in both the outside border and the inside … I’ll make a decision later, though, as today is going to be spent tidying the place up and getting more Christmas decorations out to cheer up my little flat.

I got paid this week and just have enough for Mr Taxman if I don’t spend a single cent for the next fornight, but seeing as I have petrol to pay plus a couple of extra essentials for shopping (think female monthly items), he’s going to have to wait an extra fortnight now until next payday. At least I now know I will definitely be able to pay him then, which is a big weight off my shoulders. I’m also spending non-essential money tonight by going out to dinner … this has been planned for at least 3-4 months with girls from work, so I really want to go – I’ve turned down over 4 dinners and social occasions recently, including the big Christmas party next weekend, due to lack of money, but I think I really need this … I just have to choose something cheaper on the menu, and by driving I won’t be drinking – the night out will do me good, I think! 🙂

Thanks for all the positive comments about the ‘RAK Registry’ … if you like, for all those who comment they think it’s a good idea, I’ll pop an email out to you with all the questions, then if you want to have your preferences added you can email it all back to me and I’ll start loading them up next week some time.

Until the next time, enjoy your week 😀

Just a Thought … and Selfish Stitching

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a number of weeks, and wondered what you all think about it. There are times during the year when some of my fellow bloggers are down and I’d love to pop a small RAK (random act of kindness) or pick-me-up in the mail, or even a ‘just because’ small gift, but they don’t have a wishlist etc on their blog, or I don’t have their address details etc. And trying to wade through past posts in the archives to work out what their favourite colours and designers are is time-consuming and sometimes not fruitful. Well, I started wondering about having a ‘central register’ of those small details.

A lot of times when you join up with a new online group, especially for exchanges, you’d complete a small questionnaire, with your likes and dislikes etc – and other BB’s such as The Wagon have a wishlist section, and things for ‘small RAKs’ that you’d enjoy receiving. Anyway, if people are happy to join in, I’m happy to set up a post on my blog where everything will be listed in one place with all the information for my fellow bloggers. The only thing that wouldn’t be listed would be the full name and address details … but I’d keep a central register personally and you can email me for those details if you want to send a RAK to someone. This is just in the early planning stages right now, but what do you think?

The sort of information I’m thinking of collating at this stage are: (updated with Cindy’s suggestion)

First/screen name:
Blog name/URL:
Fave colour:
Fave designers:
Fave styles of designs/stitching styles:

Fave thread types/brands:
Fave fabrics:
Any dislikes (eg colours, design styles etc):

Pets/children:
Birthday:
Wishlist URL:

Any small RAK’s that would be enjoyed (eg tea sachets, stationery, chocolate, etc):
Fave Holidays:
Holidays not liked/celebrated:

Anyway, like I said, it’s just a thought I’ve been having recently. If you
don’t think it would be useful, let me know – likewise if you think it’s a good idea and you’d like to join in, also let me know (and if you think there should be any questions removed/added). If you’d like to go ahead and sign up for it straightaway, just drop me an email to shakatak at iinet dot net dot au, and I’ll start loading them up (don’t forget to include your full name and mailing address for my records). I’ll pop a hyperlink in my sidebar to where the list will be located permanently for easy access 😀 Eventually I’d like to build a website with the info, but that’s a wee way away just yet, seeing as I need to work out just how to do that 🙂

Now onto the selfish stitching part of the post – on Friday afternoon I started stitching Coffee Menu by LHN, and making pretty good progress so far. After stitching on and off all day yesterday (I had a 3-hour ‘nana-nap’ in the afternoon), I’m just over halfway now – I just want to change the wording of “Hazelnut” to “Macchiato” … I don’t know why, but Hazelnut coffee just never sat well with me, so Nicki gave me the idea to change it to something else – one of the guys at work always drinks Macchiatos, so I thought that would be a good choice, and it would be similar in word size too. Hopefully I’ll get this finished on my days off (today and tomorrow), then I’m picking up Sapphire Star to start on.

I must say I feel a lot brighter these days – still not quite firing on all cylinders, but a lot better than I did. The thing that sent me ‘over the top’ misery-wise last weekend was that was the weekend my best friend was in Australia, and I was absolutely miserable that I couldn’t see her. She had brought her new baby Jayden with her who I haven’t had chance to meet yet, so all-in-all I was super depressed about it all. It just means I have to make an extra effort to try to get to Nelson next time I go home to visit – which will mean flying to Christchurch and hiring a car, so I’ll have to save up big time for that!

Anyway, that’s all I have for today – hopefully the next post will be to show Coffee Menu all finished! 🙂