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.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Are you a Book Lover? Check this out!

My friend Sharon who works at Dymocks Bookstore in Westfield Doncaster, has created a new blog for the shop. She writes about books she has read recently, as well as guest appearances in the shop by authors, and information about special sale days. In time, she hopes other members of the staff will add posts about books they recommend. There are countless blogs about books, but I like this one because I know the store well, and the blog will be useful as a resource for advance information on the instore events mentioned above.

Garage Sale goodies!

I wasn't sure whether I should post this here, or to the Op Shop blog, but I've been posting a bit there lately, and this isn't op shop stuff, so here it stays.
On Saturday morning, I went to a garage sale around the corner from home. I'd been told about it by a mutual friend, and when I arrived with my friend G in tow late in the morning, we were warmly welcomed. They had been busy earlier, and were about to start clearing up what was left, but waited until we'd checked everything out.
I discovered that the best time to turn up at a garage sale is at the last minute, because the household is desperate to get rid of as much as possible, and will probably drop their prices!
I got all this for $10 - much less than what it should have been if they'd added everything up individually! I guess it helped that they know me too...

One of those little Melamine trays - useful for all kinds of things, not just sandwiches.

As if I haven't got enough tote bags! But who could leave this gorgeous handmade bag behind?

Naturally I pounced on this as soon as I saw it - lovely embroidered suppercloth. I asked the householder if there had been any more and he said that he thinks there were, but they were all sold early in the day. I can just imagine...darn it.

I've got a thing going with half a dozen girlfriends - we buy up second hand books, read them, and pass them on to each other. This looks like an interesting lot. I'm already half way through "Legacies Of Our Fathers", which is a collection of stories by people whose fathers were POWs of the Japanese in WW2. Gut wrenching stuff...

I know someone who loves these Flower Fairies, so I snapped it up in case she'd like it...

This pair of curtains will be perfect for one of our front bedrooms (my craft room), which only has thicker curtains to draw at night. I like to have these as well, to let light in during the day, but allowing some privacy.

When I picked this tattered book up for a closer look, someone standing near me said "Oh, that is a first edition! You should put it on eBay and see what it fetches". Well, I might see if I can find out what it is worth, but I'm enjoying browsing through it, so I'll probably keep it myself regardless.

I LOVE Aussie stuff like this. Don't know how I missed seeing it in our Centenary of Federation Year!

Don't even ASK...I just thought it was cute, so the householder popped it in with everything else while I wasn't looking!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bushfire heebie-jeebies.

For those who aren't familiar with Aussie slang, heebie-jeebies, read on, and it will become apparent.
There is a lot in the Australian media these days about bushfires, given that we've had a very early start to summer. It is still officially Spring, but last week's heat was frightening. I picked up a free magazine at the local shop, on how to be ready for the bushfire season. It sat around on the coffee table for a week, then I decided I should read it. Last summer's fires got uncomfortably close to Eltham and it was only a wind change that sent the fires in another direction. Everyone here knows it is just a matter of time before parts of our town could go up in smoke, as trees form most of the landscape around here. (This picture shows our street, from our back yard)

I asked Ken if he'd read the magazine and he said he'd 'looked at it'. Which means he probably picked it up, looked at the pictures and put it down again!

It took me about an hour to read it from front to back. And I got a bad case of the heebie jeebies. Property owners have to decide whether to stay and fight a fire or nick off and leave everything. One of the reasons we had such a large rainwater tank installed, is to give us more of a chance to save our home if a bushfire comes this far. We've got an electric pump, but that's not much good if the power goes off, as it will in times of extreme heat. So the article suggested people who have a tank should also have a back up power source such as a generator. Sorry, but that's a bit out of our reach financially, so we'll just have to douse the house with water as long as the power lasts.

An important aspect of fighting a fire is wearing suitable clothing. It should be made of natural fibres such as cotton, wool or leather. I have denim jeans (tick), an Akubra hat (tick), leather motorcycle boots (tick), but cotton blouses? A thorough check of my wardrobe showed that every single piece of clothing was made from acrylic fibre such as nylon or polyester. Oh, there were a couple of cotton teeshirts, and two pure wool jumpers. But no longsleeve blouses or jackets made of cotton. So I headed for the opshop today and found the perfect blouse! You can see it here.

So does this mean we are now prepared to defend our house against a fire? Not by a long shot. What do we do about our aviary birds? The cat is easy - put her in her carry cage and take her somewhere safe. I've already got a brief case packed with essential documents, and a list of what else to pack in bags if we need to get away. I seriously doubt if we would be able to stay and fight a fire. Ken's lungs wouldn't tolerate the smoke for more than a minute or two, and I couldn't run around the house on my own for 6 hours, hosing it down. Guess we'll just cross our fingers.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What do I do on a rainy Sunday?

Sit and watch the rain all day because it might be six months before we get another deluge like that! I did a few other things though.
Cooked this Spiced Pumpkin Loaf. I found the recipe on somebody's blog (not one of the blogs I visit regularly) and decided to make it, seeing I had some pumpkin lying around waiting to be used up.

Fixed the lid of this little teapot that we found over at MIL's house last week. She apparently kept all the things that got broken, maybe hoping to mend them someday, but they never were. So I rescued this - the lid was broken into four bits, and it was easy enough to glue back together.

Worked on two little craft pieces - a Christmas ornament for an exchange:

And a Fabric Postcard for another exchange.

Then I went outside and photographed these kangaroos standing next to our tank....LOL LOL LOL - Tricked ya!! No, actually, a friend in Queensland sent us this photo last week, and I asked her if I could post it on my blog for my cyberspace friends to see. She didn't mind!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An entertaining blog about Melbourne opshops.

I've just added another blog to my sidebar - "Recycled Melbourne". I found this blogger on my other opshop blog, and having spent a delightful half hour reading her blog, I had to add it to my list to visit again! Each post is about a different opshop; Steph visits a different one each week and reviews it. But it's not just the review of the opshops that I enjoyed - Steph has a charming writing style that had me smiling all the way through her blog.

One week later.

Here it is, Saturday night again, with Ken in the garage again and me on this computer again. I didn't win Tattslotto - AGAIN! The only difference is the weather - it is nice and cool, and raining...such a relief after the dreadful heat we've had during the week. Thank you Freda, Merle and Isabelle - for your concern about Ken in the previous post. He is fine now - went back to work on Monday, and survived driving around in that heat every day.

Gee it's nice listening to the rain pattering on the roof. I'd been watering our garden every night this week in an effort to keep everything alive, but the too-early start to summer was just too much for several plants, and they have gone to Plant-Heaven. Such a waste of money...But my one tomato plant in its pot has survived, and grown 8 inches in one week!
On Friday, I had to go out in the morning, and when I got home around noon, it was already 39 deg.C, and the house was like an oven. I rolled out the hose attached to the rainwater tank, and spent five minutes hosing down the brick walls of the house. It is amazing what that can do to cool a house down quickly! One of the joys of having a tank with our own water, is to be able to do things like that. Ken was cross when I told him - "That's wasting water" he said, and I said "Well it's ours to waste - it's not coming out of the reservoirs". The tank level has dropped dramatically of course, so it is only half full now, but hopefully this rain will top it up a bit.

I really have nothing else to post here. I've been doing a lot of craft (mostly stitching) this week, and my other blog has all the details about that.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Night Musings.

It's been one of 'Those' weeks. Another one of Those Weeks, I should say. I feel like I've been having Those Weeks all year. Ken became ill last weekend and had all week off work. Several visits to the doctor, several blood etc. tests and X-Rays later, Doc. could find nothing much wrong except the condition of Ken's liver, which appeared to be fighting an infection. He explained that he could tell this from the white blood cell count in the blood test. He checked Ken over to see if he had an infection in his throat, nose, ears, chest, but nothing showed up, so he said he had to assume it was a virus of some sort, about which there is nothing that can be done except rest and let the body do its own thing. Hence the week off work.

Ken spent five days either in bed or lying around the house, drinking water and eating boiled rice. It was so bloody hot all week that I did much of the lying around the house too, after the essential housework was done early in the morning to beat the heat. The rest and the diet has obviously worked, because today (Saturday) Ken drove across town in 32 deg. heat to get some bits for his bikes, and on the way home we stopped at an icecream parlour and indulged in enormous icecream cones, without any ill effects. We had roast lamb for tea and Ken had a glass of wine for the first time in seven days. He is not a heavy drinker by any means - two glasses of red with his meal and afterwards is about all he has most days.

We spent some time sitting outside after tea, as there was a refreshing cool breeze, but once the mosquitoes arrived, we headed back inside. Ken has spent the rest of the evening in the garage working on his bikes, and I've been stitching in front of the t.v., until I came on here to check the Lotto results. Nothing to celebrate there, as usual.

We've been invited out to tea tomorrow night, which will be a real treat, as we haven't seen these friends for a few months, so it will be great to catch up on their overseas trip and other news.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you, from failing hands, we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Time to get tough.

A few weeks ago, Ken's sister said to us "We have to get real about Mum's place". The house has been unoccupied since December, and apart from Ken's nephews going over once and cutting grass and shrubs, nothing has been done at all. Ken and L. have been reluctant to start emptying the house of everything while their Mum is still alive, but they are going to have to sell it soon, so they knew they had to make a start. We spent Saturday afternoon over there. Ken wandered around picking things up and putting them down again, but he wasn't feeling well, so he spent the rest of the time lying down. L. didn't know where to start, so I gently suggested going through the drawers and cupboards in the kitchen. I pulled everything out, and she spent a bit of time reminiscing over various items, while I waited patiently. We eventually filled three rubbish bags and two boxes of stuff to be thrown out, and I brought home a heap of linens to wash and iron. (Photos on my other blog - Patra's Place)

We moved on to the dining room and removed everything from the cabinets in there. There were bundles of old cards and photos among the bits and pieces, and L. kept asking me if I wanted any of the cards. I said no, I'd recently had a huge clean out of my own cards and letters, and didn't want to start another collection of cards that meant nothing to me, and Ken agreed. We did find a couple of little treasures which I snapped up and brought home. While she hoarded a lot of stuff that means nothing to anyone else, she also kept mementoes of her two children, such as these items:
A tiny picture that Ken had painted when he was about five.

His 'baby weight card' - does anyone remember these? This one is from 1943.

Photo of the MOTH when he was four months old.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Dingoes on the back burner, and the rooster is gone..

Thanks to all who expressed their sympathy over our disappointment with the dingo pups. I'm not going to dwell on this, but I can tell you now, that we have discovered the real reason why the breeder changed his mind. He had a better offer from a wildlife park in Queensland. I can understand why he would prefer to sell two pups for $1000 instead of $400 (which is what he asked from us), but I don't understand why he didn't just tell us the truth instead of making us feel as if we weren't good enough for his dogs. I phoned him and threatened to sue for breach of promise (an idle threat - we couldn't afford to do that!), and he got really mad - ha! He yelled and swore at me, so I just hung up. Felt a lot better though!

I have been telling Ken for months that we had to get rid of our rooster. For a small Bantam, he had the loudest crow you can imagine, and we had to put him in the garage every night so he wouldn't wake up the neighbourhood at dawn. But I even got tired of hearing him crowing during the day. I asked a few neighbours if they minded, and they said no, it made them feel like they were living in the country! Well, that can get on your nerves after a while, so I put my foot down last week and said to Ken, "Matt has to go". Ken wasn't happy, as Matt was a lovely rooster to look at, and he was so cute looking after all his hens. But we took him down to the Stock Food and Grain Store in Eltham, and they said "we'll keep him until 4 pm Sunday. If nobody wants him, you'll have to come and get him". I phoned them just before 4 pm, and they said someone had taken him on Saturday. We'd said we didn't want any money - just 'free to a good home'. Ken was sad when I told him. Said he hoped Matt wasn't going to end up on someone's dinner table. I said "well if he'd been here much longer, he would have ended up on our dinner table". Ken wasn't amused. We've still got 10 hens, as well as the four new chickens, which we let out for the first time today. Here they are with Mother Hen.

Budgies can be extremely destructive little birds. Ours had chewed their perch as well as the nest box in this aviary. Ken put three new perches in there yesterday, using a different kind of wood. I think one perch wasn't enough for all of them, as they were always squabbling before, but they seem much happier now.

adopt your own virtual pet!