Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

For lovers of tea and everything vintage!

One of the books I bought last week as a future gift for some lucky girl, is called "The Art Of Tea and Friendship - Savoring the Fragrance of Time Together", and it contains beautiful pictures painted by Sandy Clough, an American lady who obviously loves linen, lace and teaparties as much as most of the girls who read my blogs! Sandy also has a lovely website dedicated to Tea and Friendship, with all kinds of interesting stuff. So, Ms Robyn and Co. - check it out!
Sandy's Tea Society

Talking of tea parties, Ms Robyn recently organised one of her delicious vintage exchanges (she is very good at this!), and I decided to participate. My exchange partner was Flossy in Qld. and we had to exchange a package of teatime goodies: a vintage cup, saucer and teaspoon, some teabags, a verse or magazine cutting to read while we have a cuppa, a pretty napkin and a chocolate. An ENORMOUS box arrived here yesterday, and I opened it to find a basket all done up in cellophane and ribbons, containing about a hundred teabags of all kinds!!, cup, saucer and spoon, napkin, card with a lovely verse, and a bottle of lavender spray (which must have been in lieu of the chocolate). Thank you Flossy!!!

A book of many colours.

I often visit Danielle at her blog A Work In Progress to see what she is reading and/or stitching. I have never known anyone to get as much reading and stitching done as Danielle - just wish I could manage my time as well as she obviously does, to fit so much into her spare time..yes she works as well! I couldn't possibly read as many books as her, but she writes great reviews of everything she reads, and it certainly whets my appetite for some of those books. One such book sounded so fascinating that I decided I couldn't live without it, so I logged into dear old, which is almost as addictive as eBay to me - and ordered this particular book, which is called "Color - A Natural History Of the Palette" by Victoria Finlay.

It arrived last week and I have been dipping into it ever since. If I'd done what I originally intended over my so-called two week holiday, I would have sat and read it from cover to cover, as it really is fascinating. As one reviewer on the back cover wrote: "Until I read this book, I was color-blind" and I agree entirely. I will never look at a box of Derwent colour pencils the same way!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Here is my new Golliwog - love him, with his crooked tie and all!!
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Saturday, June 24, 2006

End of my holidays - WHAT holidays???

It was another crazy week. I can't believe this time has gone so fast and I'll be working again on much as I love my job, I do wish sometimes I could completely retire from work and fill my days with 'me' time. Is that selfish? So what did I do this week? A lot of unexpected running around, that's what. The gas heater in our lounge room 'died' on Monday; actually just the fan, but without the fan, the heater doesn't work properly. So I had to wait around for our plumber, who fortunately is very reliable, and does turn up around the time he has promised. He removed the faulty fan, and then said he didn't have time to take it to the factory to get it fixed, so of course I said I would do that. Well, I didn't have much choice, did I - with Ken at work, and Melbourne's weather getting colder by the minute!

Roll on Tuesday. Had promised to have lunch with an old friend in the city, but there was no way I could get from home to this fan factory (an hour's drive) and back into the city by noon. So I cancelled the lunch appointment and set off on my journey. The only good thing was that it was a fine sunny day, so it was quite a pleasant drive. As I had nothing better to do now, I figured I may as well check out all the opshops on my way back home, as this was not a route that I travelled often, so I'd never had the opportunity. I enjoyed my browsing, but found nothing worth buying, so I stopped for coffee and cake along the way. Bad mistake - it was the worst coffee I've ever had in a cafe, and the cake wasn't much better - yuck!

On Wednesday, I had my regular monthly visit to one of my Japanese friends, and as she lived in the same suburb as the office for my job is located, I was able to drop in there afterwards and collect my roster for next week.

Thursday morning is when I do my weekly shopping, and I had planned to do that nice and early, then come home and spend the rest of the day quietly stitching. What is that saying about the best laid plans of mice and men, or something? Yeah, well..
Did the shopping, got home to a phone call from the lady whose linen I am laundering. She wanted to come over and pick some up - and bring me some more...bleah...After she left, I visited a fellow linen and lace collector in the next street, and we spent a happy couple of hours looking at some new acquisitions to our collections.

Friday was definitely going to be my Day of Rest. Mice and men again got in the way of that plan. I had to go back down south and collect that fan, didn't I. I'd originally arranged to have lunch with another friend, so I asked if she would like to accompany me on my drive, and stop for lunch somewhere on the way back, which we did. But, before we had lunch, we guessed it - an opshop, which had a HUGE pile of linen in a glass showcase! The ladies in the shop dragged the whole lot out for us, and we spent half an hour making our selections, then bargaining with them over the price. Some of these opshop volunteers ought to go and work in antique shops - they try to get outrageous prices for stuff that people have donated to them instead of throwing it out! Grrrrrr...

After coffee and cake (much nicer this time), we strolled through the Forest Hill Chase Shopping centre and discovered a simply delightful gift shop. Out came the credit card and I bought half a dozen items which will be tucked away for Christmas. I find this works much better than doing panic runs in December looking for gifts. Not only did I buy gifts for other people though - I lashed out on a little something for myself - a GOLLIWOG!!! He is sooooooooo cute! It is lovely to see them reappearing in shops now, after they had been declared politically incorrect for so long. I meant to scan him while I was scanning my latest linens for Patra's Place, but I forgot, so he will have to wait.

Our trusty plumber Greg arrived at 7 pm tonight - we were his final call after what he said was a shocker of a day. Literally - he had electrocuted himself twice, because some idiot householder had been messing around with the electrical wiring and got it wrong! Fortunately Greg knows how to protect himself against such things, so he wasn't injured - just a bit 'jumpy'! Anyway, our heater is working again, and none too soon - we had one hell of a storm tonight, and it was bliss to be warm and cosy after a week of shivering!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The end of a busy rest for the wicked!

So much for taking time off work to have a rest. Ken said tonight "I thought you were going to stay at home and do some stitching and reading?" to which I replied "So did I. Never mind, there's always next week". But as I often tell myself, 'famous last words'. Next week's diary is again filling up!

Okay it has been busy, but I have enjoyed every day of the past week. On Monday (public holiday) Ken and I visited a place called "Garden World" about an hour's drive from our place. It is a HUGE nursery, but not just a nursery. As well as the usual plants and gardening stuff, they have a section on water features/fountains, which is absolutely stunning. We wandered around, wondering where in our newly landscaped back yard we might be able to fit an artificial rockwall and waterfall...
Then we visited the orchid display, followed by the Bonsai section. Ken ooed and aahed over the dear little trees, and ended up buying one. Finally we stopped for a coffee in their cafe. Great day, but we were both glad to get home and put our feet up!

On Tuesday, with Ken back at work, I did some housework and shopping in the morning, and then headed across town to pick up some linen I'd won on eBay from a lady in a nearby suburb. I was going to pop in to visit Sharon, but ran out of time. That will have to be next week, providing she is available when I am!

On Wednesday morning I had some messages to run, and in the afternoon, a two hour training session for work. That had been scheduled on my work roster for a month, and I could have refused to attend it after I got my leave approved, but I decided to attend, as (a) I enjoy the training that my employers provide and (b) we get paid for going, so who am I to miss out on two hours pay??
Thursday is my weekly shopping day in the morning. After that I went to a friend's place for lunch - she has not long been out of hospital, and is bored stiff with her own company! In the afternoon I visited one of my Japanese Do Care clients, who was also pleased to have my company for a few hours.

On Friday, I went to the Good Food & Wine Show at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, with my friend Helen. She had been to this show the previous two years, but I was unable to accompany her as I was working. However this year, having the day free, I asked if she wanted to go again, and she did, so off we went at 9 am. It was okay I guess, but for the admittance price of $21.50 plus $20 parking (five hours) I thought it was overpriced. But I suppose I am biased. I pay the same to go to the Stitches & Craft Show at the same venue, and don't bat an eyelid at the cost! Now I do love to cook, and it was fun to taste a whole lot of gourmet bits and pieces, as well as a couple of wines, but I am not a wine buff, and as I was driving, I had no intention of getting tipsy on tasting, so I only had three 'tastes' for the day. We attended one of the celebrity cooking demonstrations, with two young blokes by the names of Curtis and Ben. I'd never heard of them, but apparently they are quite famous, and they obviously think they are pretty good themselves. They did manage to cook some stuff, but they messed around so much trying to be funny, I didn't learn anything at all. In a direct contrast, Helen and I later sat down to rest our feet, and it happened to be where a man was demonstrating cooking using Asian ingredients. There were about 20 chairs in front of his little stage, and a dozen or so people sitting there. He'd just started as we sat down, so we stayed for the whole demo, and I learnt more in that 20 minutes than I had after nearly an hour with the so-called celebrity chefs.

Well, that was my week. It will be interesting to see what next week brings. Already two days are tied up, with a couple of promises for the others...bleah!!
Wish I didn't have to go back to work!

Monday, June 12, 2006

The lid of the tin I found. It looks SO old and vintage, but as Ken said, the "2 Litre" gives its age away.
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Here is the Avon crinoline lady I found in Elsternwick.
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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Meeting Miss Eagle.

I had such a fun day yesterday. Miss Eagle had been posting photos on her blog of some interesting shops and places around Melbourne, and one place was a chemist (pharmacy) in Elsternwick, where I grew up. I suggested to her that we meet up there one day and I could re-live old memories, and check out the opshops as well. So at 9 am on a cold foggy morning, we met outside the above mentioned shop, and went inside to have a look at the old artifacts and signs on display. I didn't remember seeing any of them there when I was a child, but I immediately remember the shop itself; it has a slight ramp half way along the floor, leading up to the dispensary. Funny how something like that stays in your memory!

As we walked along Glenhuntly Road, we passed several places that had hardly changed since my childhood - the Elsternwick post office building, which is apparently no long a post office, but still a beautiful old building. The Renown Theatre, which is now an apartment block, but still looks like an old cinema at ground floor level. The Esquire Theatre which is now called The Classic Cinema, at which Miss Eagle photographed me, lost in memories of Friday and Saturday nights at the movies when I was a child.

There are 11 Opshops in Glenhuntly Road that are listed in my Treasure Hunter's Guide to Melbourne, but we only had time to visit half of them. We both found lots of treasures, and I ran out of cash by the time we stopped for coffee, so I had to find a bank to get some more! I am going to scan some of my finds, and put some on here and some on Patra's Place.
A large tablecloth, Mt.Mellick embroidery with crochet inserts: $5.
Three Mills & Boone books by Betty Neels (MIL's favorite author): $3
A teacosy made of linen and lace : $5
A very unusual Semco traycloth cc 1950's: $7.50
Long stitch Frame (for my Gouldian finches tapestry): $3
A tin with a vintage style picture, but is not really so old: $4
Royal Doulton cup and saucer (perfect for Ms Robyn's teatime swap): $2
Avon Crinoline lady perfume bottle: $2.50

So, as you can see it was a very profitable morning! Around 12 noon we decided that a coffee break was in order, so we drove to Carlisle Street, one of Melbourne's trendy cafe society places (so I was told - I had no idea!). Found ourselves a lovely little cake shop where we indulged ourselves with one cake each and a drink. Miss Eagle took more photos, and she has promised they will appear on one of her blogs in due course.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Hello Kitty!

Nicole said in a comment to my previous post that she had bought some Hello Kitty items on eBay. I wonder if she is aware how long that stuff has been around? My friend Aiko in Japan sent me some small Hello Kitty items many years ago, knowing my love for cats. At the time I thought how cute! Then one day, Ken came home with a pencil eraser he saw in a shop, with the Kitty logo on it; like Aiko, he knew it would appeal to me. I still have the eraser, and the stuffed toy that Aiko sent - I am keeping them for sentimental value only, but I admit to being curious about their value to a collector.

Change of subject...I am taking a two week break from work. Apart from 'long weekends' such as Easter and Australia Day, when we flew interstate last year, I have not had any holidays since I 'retired' from full time office work. When I first started this work about 6 years ago, I figured I would not need to have holidays, as it was only part time - three days a week. How wrong could I be! My blood pressure has sky rocketed again, a sure sign that I am doing too much, and I am constantly tired, and aching much of the time. My doctor warned me last year that I needed to take some time off, but I decided I was okay, and my clients needed me anyway. Well, nobody is indispensable! Least of all me, according to the clients I have so far informed that I won't be available for two weeks. They have all said I must take the time off now, because they don't want to lose me permanently - lol!

The first question that people have been asking is "Where are you going?" Nowhere!! Going away would be more stress for me, as Ken can't get time off his job right now, so if I went somewhere to stay without him, I would be worrying about him and the animals and everything else. No, staying home where I am warm and comfortable, with lots to read and stitch, is my idea of a rest. Mind you, the diary is almost full already...sigh...Into the city one day for lunch with a friend, stitching days with two other friends (separate days), lunch with Sharon hopefully, and a side trip to Forest Hill Chase to have a good look around at THAT op shop (Sharon will know!), and maybe a day with Miss Eagle in one of Melbourne's best shopping strips. Still have to contact her though, so I could be jumping the gun here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

This and that...

Ken and I don't often go to the movies. We hear about films from friends, but by the time we decide we would like to see whichever movie is the flavour of the month, it has long gone from the cinema circuit and we end up seeing it on DVD. So I have joined one of those websites that send emails to let you know what films are currently showing around town, and what new films are coming soon. Thanks to this useful service, I discovered last Friday night that "The Da Vinci Code" was on at our local theatre, and as we had discussed going to see it some time ago, we thought we had better act quick before it disappeared! So we saw it on Saturday night. I had read the book a few months ago, and couldn't put it down, whereas Ken hasn't read it, and is not likely to, not being much of a reader at the best of times.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the film, for several reasons. Ken found some parts a bit hard to follow, but said that as the movie unfolded he figured out most of it. We both thought the cinematography was outstanding - the scenes around Paris and London in particular were just fabulous. We have never been to Europe, but felt like we had been taken on a tour of some of the best sights! Disregarding the religious angle of the plot that has upset some people, we thought it was a great story - lots of action which kept us on the proverbial edge of our seats for most of the film.

Completely changing the subject: I bought a most useful little item on eBay last week and it arrived today. Nearly every house I go into has one of these, but I could never find them in shops. Everyone I asked said they got theirs at craft markets, so obviously they are not commercially made in large quantities. Any idea what I'm talking about? Of course not! Plastic bag holders! Those sausage shaped cloth things that hang off a hook somewhere in your kitchen and keep all the plastic bags from spreading through the house. I have long had a problem with plastic bags having babies in the bottom of my pantry, so it gave me great pleasure today to stuff them all in my new bag holder and hang it off the curtain rod! (I didn't dare hammer any more nails in the walls in our house - the MOTH would have a hissy fit of huge proportions!).
That was my week, dear Readers!

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