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, April 25, 2010

ANZAC Day. 25th April 2010.

No doubt many other Australian bloggers will have tributes to the ANZACs on their blogs, as I have also done in previous years, so this year I will simply provide a link to the Australian War Memorial website, on which is an excellent summary of the history and meaning of ANZAC Day.
Here are some photos of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. I took these two weeks ago when I visited the Shrine to see the exhibition of embroidery and textiles relating to war (the photos I took at the Exhibition are on my linens blog Patra's Place).
This is taken from Melbourne CBD, looking down St Kilda Road toward the Shrine. When it was built in the 1930's, they placed it so that it will always be seen from Melbourne without anything being put in the way of that view.

The Eternal Flame.
The Cenotaph.

Friday, April 23, 2010

How do you know when it's raining?

Kitty paw prints!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crafty stuff.

Occasionally I take a break from embroidery, and play with other crafts involving paper, or pen and ink. Today I decided to make paper Kokeshi Dolls, from a tutorial which I had seen here on Cards By Paula Blog. (I was going to put a link here, but it has disappeared from the internet at the moment.) Paula showed several ways of using the Kokeshi paper dolls on cards, but I just used the resources I had on hand.

As well as the paper dolls, I was itching to try out a range of Calligraphy inks I had purchased this week. A beautiful paper and ink shop at Doncaster Westfield is closing down, and most stock has been discounted between 20% and 50%. Noodlers Inks are one of the best calligraphers' inks around; they have a fabulous range of colours, but because they are $22.95 a bottle, I'd never bought any. But when I found they had been discounted by 20%, I decided to lash out. It took me ages to decide which colours I wanted, but I finally settled for five, which cost me just under $100 all up (gulp...)

I used two pens to write the sentences above, rinsing the pens out with each new colour, but not changing the nibs, so I wasn't able to vary the lettering style much. But it didn't matter, as I just wanted to see what the colours were like. This photo is a bit washed out; the inks are brighter than what they look here, and will look even better once I have thicker nibs and can experiment with lettering styles.

This was done using another brand of ink I'd bought some time ago. I was practicing various letter forms here, and it looks rather messy. I'd like to write that whole verse out again one day, using just one letter form.

This practice sheet is using the same ink as above, and the squiggles underneath were done in callig. felt pens.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pet pictures.

I hate it when Topsy does this - crawls behind the computer for a snooze. I'm always worried that she will dislodge a cord or two and (a) disconnect me or (b) electrocute herself!

Two months ago, Ken bought a pair of Gouldian Finches for his aviary collection of birds. We were told they were young, so we didn't expect them to start breeding straight away, but they did, and two babies have hatched from the five eggs that they laid. We didn't like to disturb them by peeking in the nest to see how they were going, so we didn't have any idea when they would fledge. So I was surprised to see another bird in the Gouldians' aviary today, and even more surprised when I figured it was one of the babies! Here it is with the parents on either side. The babies don't get their colours for a few months, so we won't know for a while if this one is male or female.


Last month I wrote a brief post about Rachel's eggy art over at her blog, and mentioned that I planned to have a go at egg art myself. Here is my bit of fun with our eggs; I don't know that our little hens would approve of my graffiti on their hard work!

Sixty-two today!

Well, last Thursday actually. I had a super day, made even more special by messages from my Blog friends - thank you all very much! I was taken out to lunch by two friends, to the Yering Station winery restaurant in the Yarra Valley wine region which is not far from where we live. Here are my friends admiring the view from our table:

My main course was Duck something...complicated name, but delicious to eat!
The dessert I chose was Maple and Macadamia Nut-something, and again, simply scrumptious.

Ken bought me a Clover patchwork iron and a bunch of flowers. SIL gave me a pair of black and white cat salt & pepper shakers, some patchwork fabrics, and a tube of handcream. Other gifts were more patchwork fabric and a Dymocks voucher from Sharon; craft paper sheets, a padded coat hanger, and an Elvis 'bobblehead'!!

Ken usually takes me out to dinner for my birthday, but as I'd had a big lunch, I didn't want to go out again, so I cooked a light chicken dish for tea. All in all, another very happy birthday!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A whole lotta phone calls!

I started off my week on Monday by making seven phone calls. First off the rank was the Nillumbik Shire Council. Their annual fee for keeping one cat is $34, unless you are on a pension, then it is reduced to $17. Our bill was for $34, but I figured it should be $17, because we have registered our pension numbers with the Council to receive a rebate on the rates. I paid $17 online, then started to worry that they would issue a fine because I'd shortpaid, so I phoned them to confirm it was okay. It was NOT okay, the lady told me firmly - I must come in and show them my pension card. "But I've already done that for the rates" I said. She said "That's another department, nothing to do with us". I replied "You are a lazy bunch in there - you're all in the same bloody building, for C's sake". Anyway, I dropped in there later in the day and duly presented my card for their inspection.

Next call was to TRU Energy, our gas and electricity supplier. I always pay our bills online on the day they are due, and write down the date and receipt number from the bank website. I'd paid their last bill on April 1st, but received an overdue notice dated the 8th, threatening firing squad at dawn if we didn't pay, etc.
The lady I spoke to was very apologetic. "For some reason, our computer is sending overdue notices to a lot of our customers who did pay by the due date. Just tear it up". I held my tongue and didn't state the obvious, which is that computers do not do these things all on their own. They have to have commands from their human masters...

My next call was to the specialist who will be fitting Ken's pacemaker. Their phone message machine said the office was unattended, so please leave a message, but I didn't, because I had another number to try. I'd been given the direct line for the person who handles the specialist's cases at the Austin (public) Hospital, so I gave her a try. She answered her phone immediately, and when I asked if Dr O'D. had booked Ken in for the pacemaker, she said "Oh yes, I posted a letter to you last week - Thursday". It hadn't arrived on Monday, so I asked her to fax me the covering letter just in case it didn't turn up. I asked when the procedure was to be done and she said May 6th. I nearly dropped the phone! If we'd gone private, we would be waiting another month - who said our public hospital system is no good?? I can only assume someone must have cancelled their op., and Dr O'D slotted Ken in to their spot.

Next I placed a call to Sydney, NSW to a craft supply company who had listed a specialised patchwork iron on their website for $54.95 - half the price they are in the shops here! Ken had asked what I wanted for my birthday, and I said I would love to have one of these Clover irons, but they are too expensive at $100. He waved off my concerns, and said just go ahead and buy one. So when I found it online at such a reduced price, we were both very pleased! I called them to see how long it would take to get one to me, and in the course of conversation with the friendly lady on the phone, I mentioned it was for my birthday. She asked when it was, and when I said Thursday, she said "Oh we'll have it to you by then!" So I provided the credit card number, and lo and behold, it arrived today (Tuesday)! She had sent it by overnight express mail, without charging any extra! How generous is that?? I've emailed her a very appreciate thank you message!

My other phone calls were more mundane - doctor's appointment for me (regular check-up), and a couple of girlfriends confirming lunch dates.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Americans who love Australia!

I recently discovered this blog, written by Phoebe in Boston. She says she has always been fascinated by everything Australian, and is planning to come to Australia to live in Melbourne for a year, to see if we are all we are cracked up to be. She is due to arrive here in August, but is getting a bad case of cold feet at times! I have told her we are a beaut lot of people and she will have a ball here, and she replied by email, to thank me for my encouraging remarks. But I think there are only two Aussies that have posted comments to her blog (at least that's all I can find), so I'm asking my Aussie readers to hop over to Phoebe's blog and say hi, so she can see that we are indeed friendly and will welcome her to one of the world's most liveable cities!

On a lighter note...chooks and roosters!

Chooks and roosters were going to be the subject of my post here today, until I saw the news item about mail deliveries being scrapped in the future, hence the post below this one, where I vent my feelings! I have one friend whose family are chook mad, and like us, they buy all kinds of chook-themed items to decorate their house. But it is fun to see on blogs how many others are out there who also like chooky things in their home. I did a 'cat' post here a while ago, and now it is the chooks turn. Here's what we have around our place:

Handcarved and painted hen and rooster, bought at a local craft shop. Ken put the yellow chicken there at Easter!

Dishes found at opshops.

Dark chocolate hen that I gave Ken for Easter.

Salt and pepper shakers.


Tea towel.

Sign on kitchen wall. Bought in a craft shop for Ken.

Just another sweet ornament!

My first attempt at patchwork. Done in a workshop at a craft show.

Door mat in our entrance hall.

Postal deliveries to be scrapped????

Postal deliveries could be scrapped and residents forced to collect mail from automated community post boxes under a new system.

Australia Post has earmarked the system for outer metropolitan areas, outlining the changes in a 12-page brochure presented to councils, News Ltd says.

Door-to-door services would cease and residents would travel to "community hubs" where as many as 1200 post boxes would be located.

I was gobsmacked when I read this online news item. The people who think these ideas up can't see any further than their own nose. What about disabled and elderly people who are housebound, and rely on their postie to bring stuff they have sent for by mail?

Monday, April 05, 2010

A busy and satisfying weekend.

Melbourne's weather has smiled on us all this weekend - it has been very pleasant. Some sun, some cloud, but no rain and not too hot or too cold. Perfect! On Good Friday the MOTH and I worked around the house. We'd invited Helen and her hubby around for tea, but Helen rang about 5 pm to ask if she could take a raincheck, as she wasn't feeling up to going out. She'd only come home from 3 weeks in rehab. on Wednesday, and was still very tired. I'd just put a tuna flan in the oven, so I asked her what she would have for tea now that they wouldn't be here. She replied "Oh, just a sandwich I suppose", so I said I would bring half of the flan around to them as soon as it was out of the oven, as there was enough for four people, so why waste it? She was delighted! After Ken and I had finished dinner, Ken settled down to his annual Good Friday routine of watching the Jeffrey Hunter "King of Kings" movie, while I did some stitching at the other end of the house. I've seen that movie so many times now, I'm pretty much word perfect!

We had some friends around for a barbecue tea on Saturday night, which was fun, as we hadn't seen them for a while, and it was good to catch up. On Sunday, Ken picked up his Mum from the hostel and brought her here for lunch. His sister and her hubby came too, and Ken's niece dropped in for a quick visit with her two little ones, who had fun playing in my canvas swing, and collecting eggs from the chookhouse!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter to everyone visiting my blog!

I found this lovely vintage picture on this site Vintage Images of Easter. There are many beautiful pictures available here, some of them free, including this one. The site also has interesting facts about Easter, and I have taken the liberty of reprinting some of them here, but you can see the originals by clicking the above link. My own feelings about Easter have changed in recent years. Although I was brought up in a C of E household, and still believe what I was taught to a large extent, I feel that Easter now has reverted to the original pre-Christian era pagan festival. Nowhere in retail outlets is there any sign of the religious 'reason for the season' - it is all chocolate eggs, bunnies, and other animals. It would be nice if the chocolate manufacturers made images in the form of a cross or other religious icon instead of eggs etc., don't you think?

Easter is the Sunday that celebrates the resurrection of Christ, and is one of the most holy days in the calendar of Christian churches. The Easter message is one of hope and victory over death, for it recalls that Christ rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter symbolizes the love of God and the promise that man's soul is immortal.

In many languages, the name for Easter comes from the Hebrew word "pesah", or passover; in fact, Easter was first associated with the Hebrew festival of the Passover, which falls in the spring. Easter was celebrated at different times by the early Christian churches until 325 A.D., when the Council of Nicaea fixed the day as the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21. This always places Easter sometime between March 22 and April 25. It is believed that the council probably set the date of Easter to fall near the time of a full moon so that pilgrims journeying to worship a shrine might have moonlight to help them find their way.

Many of the current Easter customs probably had their beginnings in the pagan celebrations of the rebirth of the earth in the spring. The English word for Easter is from the name of a Teutonic goddess of spring or the dawn. The Easter egg is a symbol of new life. People dress in new clothes and wear flowers on Easter Sunday because the winter has come to an end, and the earth seems alive again

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Foot In Mouth disease.

Honestly, some people have no sense of humour whatsoever, and when it is the Prime Minister, for goodness sake - wars can start over stupid comments like this.
Rudd takes offence at Robin Williams
From Robin's throwaway line about Aussies being rednecks (and let's face it, some of us are), Rudd turns around and hurls a direct insult at the people of Alabama! Hellooooo MISTER Rudd - just how long have you spent in that state, and how well do you know the people?? You can't judge them from a few of the crappy t.v. shows that come out of the USA - and many Americans admit that some of their t.v. shows are rubbish. I've been to Alabama, and I found the people there to be as friendly and as intelligent as anywhere else in the USA.

Delay for Ken's pacemaker.

Our Health care fund won't cover the pacemaker. I'm not surprised, as we are only covered for basic hospital costs, which is only the bed, whatever that means. So Ken now has to wait until his cardio. can do the procedure in a public hospital - which is possibly a few months down the track. He (Ken) isn't worried about the delay; he is just pleased that they have figured out a way to help his breathing.

We visited his Mum tonight, as we do every Wednesday. She is very frail now, as well as confused and sometimes unhappy about being where she is. We always take fresh flowers to replace what is in her room (usually what we'd brought the week before), and her face lights up when she sees them. Ken asked her if she would like to come to our place for lunch on Sunday (Easter Sunday) and she said she would love to, as SIL is going away for the weekend. When we got home, Ken rang his sister and told her we were having Mum here on Sunday because she would be away, and she said "What??? We aren't going away at all - I'd planned to spend time with Mum!" So Ken asked if they'd like to come here for lunch, and she said yes. But one can see how misunderstandings occur in families...luckily Ken and his sister talk things over all the time when it comes to their Mum, so they generally manage to sort things out.

adopt your own virtual pet!