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.)

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Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except two cats and a collection of finches, canaries and Rhode Island bantam hens.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ten days later.

My blogging time lately has been devoted to quilting and patchwork blogs - mine and others. I tend to forget this one, unless I have some momentous, earth-shattering news to impart. I still don't have any of that, but a bit of better news about my Kenny. We went to see the lung specialist today. Ken has been increasingly worried about this impending visit, as his breathing has not improved at all since the heart surgery, and since he had bronchitis last month, he hasn't had much energy at all.

Well, Dr Russell put Ken through some breathing tests, and discussed the implications of the heart surgery with us. He said that while Ken's lungs are certainly diseased, and have deteriorated since he last saw Ken 3 years ago, he doesn't think that Ken needs to go onto oxygen therapy...yet. A few years down the track perhaps, but not at the moment. He has prescribed a new 'puffer' that he says will do a number of things to help Ken's breathing improve, and he wants to see him again in six weeks. In the meantime he said there is no reason why Ken shouldn't go back to work if he wants to, but he warned Ken that he will probably get very tired, and suggested that he ask if he can work part time.

Ken was quietly ecstatic by all this information! He is going to go into his work and ask his supervisor if he can work part time. They don't usually allow the couriers to work part time there, but they have been ringing Ken to ask when he is coming back. So if they are that keen to have him back, maybe they will take him on his terms!

Back to the subject of momentous news; I guess the best thing that has happened to us so far this year is that we have been able to pay our house off. We had a huge mortgage which we wouldn't have paid off unless we sold the house, but when Ken's Mum discovered our situation, she insisted on us taking the amount we needed from her trust fund. She said "I don't want you to wait until I'm dead. I want to see you use it now!" Ken's sister was happy for us to do it, which was good because we had been worried that she might not agree, but there was no problem at all. As she said, there is still plenty in their mother's account to cover her needs. What a weight off my mind...so it is a pretty good year all round for us so far. But I feel so sorry for the millions of people around the world who haven't been so fortunate - those in Queensland and Victoria who were flooded early this year, and the people of Japan and New Zealand who are still suffering the effects of earthquakes and the tsunami. One could win Tattslotto ten times over and there still wouldn't be enough money to go around...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Washi paper quilting.

I discovered this paper craft in a magazine, and being so fond of Japanese crafts, I had to find out a bit more. My friend Aiko in Japan sent me a pack of beautiful Washi (the word is Japanese for handmade craft paper), so I could make a start with paper quilting. There are some great tutorials on YouTube, and this is probably one of the best ones: "Washi Paper Quilting"

I made these yesterday. They are so quick and easy to do, and are a relaxing change from working with textiles. As much as I love patchwork and embroidery, it is hard on my hands these days, so I find myself sewing for short periods of time, then turning to something less tiring on my fingers.




Ken's health is starting to improve, finally. He rode his Honda into the CBD on Thursday, to have his hair cut. (He has been going to the same barber for about 40 years, and refuses to find anyone closer to home). It was the same day I was in town with Doreen from Canberra, and we were all lucky with the weather, as it was fine and sunny. On Friday we had wind and rain, and Ken would not have gone into town in those conditions. It was the first time he'd been anywhere on his motorcycle since early March, so he was a bit unsure of himself, but he got there and back without incident, so it boosted his self confidence somewhat. Driving a car is one thing, but riding a bike takes more physical endurance, and he'd been told not to do it until his ribs had completely healed. There was only one way to find out, and he did! So that is one big hurdle overcome.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Newish computer.

I did it. Lashed out on another computer. My dear old Compaq was getting so slow, and not letting me look at many blogs and websites, so I decided it was Time to get rid of it. The Government Centrelink magazine had an advertisement for refurbished computers for $290. They are ex-government office computers, and the package included an LCD screen monitor, an IBM hard drive, a new keyboard and mouse, and it came with XP Pro and Windows Office 2007.

It arrived yesterday and one of our friends came over to set it up for me. It took him about 2 hours, and he was able to install my scanner and printer on it, so I don't have to buy a new one of those yet. It wouldn't have mattered much, as they are so cheap now, but I hate learning how to use new things, so at least I don't have to learn how to used a new computer or scanner! Learning how to use this PC is another story though! Ken has the Home XP operating system on his laptop, so I knew a bit about it, but XP Pro is slightly different, so I've had to fiddle around to do things that I used to take for granted on the old one.

Mark was able to save my old Favorites list on a memory stick, and put that on the new PC. He saved my Outlook Express address book too, but couldn't transfer it to the new one, so at the moment, I have no email addresses on file. But they are all on the memory stick, so if anyone reading this knows how to get them on to my new PC, perhaps you can explain!

It is great to use - so much faster, and I have been able to catch up on all my old favourite blogs that I haven't been able to see for months. Other than that, it is pretty much the same. It has a DVD drive which I didn't have before, but I can't see myself using that. We have a perfectly good TV to watch DVDs on! I don't see the point of watching them on a small computer screen. But there may be a use for it somewhere down the track, who knows?

Monday, June 06, 2011

How time flies.

...And not always when you're having fun. Ken is finally on the mend, but it took three lots of antibiotics and three weeks of being housebound (two of them in bed for most of the time). The weather prediction for the coming week is cold and wet, so I don't think he will be going anywhere soon. I've been up to Pussy's Bow in craft projects - mostly patchwork, and enjoying myself immensely. I've been posting all about that on my other blog Patra's Place, if you want to know more. I've been reading too, but it got to the point where I was reading one book after another and doing nothing else, so that's when I decided to do some sewing instead.

As a consequence of attending the cardio-rehab courses and learning what foods contain certain fats, salt, and other unhealthy-for-hearts ingredients, we have been gradually changing our diet somewhat, eliminating saturated fats and salt in cooking, and not buying cakes, biscuits, chips, etc. It's been a bit hard, as we both have a sweet tooth, but I've found a number of recipes for cakes and desserts which substitute oils or other ingredients for butter. But I've discovered that you cannot make biscuits (cookies to the American readers) without butter. They just don't work with oil! So, we're living without sweet biscuits; but still nibble on Cruskits and the other few that are recommended by the Heart Foundation. Trouble with savoury biscuits is that most of them have too much salt, so we have to avoid those too. A friend came over to visit last Sunday and brought of all things a cream sponge!! It was kind of her, and I didn't like to say anything, so we had a slice each, and I gave the rest back to her to take home. But boy, did I feel sick later! After not having anything rich and creamy like that for a while, my tummy rebelled!

Eliminating salt from my cooking is no hardship, as I don't add salt to anything I cook anyway. But I do read the labels on supermarket foods more carefully, and it is shocking to see the amount of sodium in some items that you wouldn't think would need salt. But it is a preservative, so it has to be used in a lot of processed foods, and I've been selecting the low-salt varieties where they are available.

Why am I writing all that on this blog? I can't imagine that anyone is really interested. That's how dull life is around here at the moment! Ken is very bored with his life at the moment. I'm not bored, but I do miss getting out and about as much as I do in the warmer weather. I hate the cold. I don't know how people can live in places where it snows...brrrrr.

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