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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Help Australian dairy farmers stay on the land!

I have just signed a petition at  here asking that Coles increase the price of their generic milk so that dairy farmers get a fair price for their milk. I hope you'll join me because dairy farmers are walking off their farms and if that continues, not only will there be no cheap milk, there will be no fresh milk. Since Coles began selling cheap milk in 2011, 45 Queensland dairy farmers have closed their businesses. I wonder what is happening in the other states. We do not want to import milk. There is still a huge need for signatures - only 1400 have signed and we need 10,000. This is important, it will take you one minute to sign, you don't have to have your signature displayed publicly if you don't want that. If you're living in Australia, please sign. If you have a blog, I urge you to put this link up so your readers can sign too. Tell your friends and family, the people at the club, at school, at work. This is important for every Australian.

Photography workshop.

Last week we attended a 3 hour workshop on digital photography over at Bundoora Homestead, conducted by Adam, who is a photographer with Leader Newspapers. I have been using my new camera non stop since we bought ourselves new cameras after I dropped my old one some months ago. But once Ken took his Nikon out of the box, looked at the instructions and decided it was too hard, he hasn't touched it since. I decided to book him into this workshop with me to force him to use his new camera. He was very reluctant at first, and for the first ten minutes of the lecture, he twiddled his thumbs and kept looking at his watch. I just ignored that, and eventually he realised that he could probably learn something if he paid some attention to Adam. Adam showed us some of his photos and explained what techniques he used to get the effects, and then he instructed the class to go out and take photos around the property, choose the best one and come back inside. I pounced on him as soon as everyone else left the room, and explained why I'd brought Ken with me. Adam was really great - he had a look at the Nikon and told Ken he'd made a good choice of camera, and once he learnt how to use it, his photos would be excellent. He figured out how to work it, and showed Ken, then we went off to take our photos. Here are all the ones I took.
This is the only one I took outside. Everybody else was out there too, taking similar shots in different angles, so I decided to go back inside the homestead.
Adam had talked about the effects of taking photos in various light situations, and I liked this shot of facing into the sunny window of the cafe, turning the people into silhouettes.
The Gallery had some interesting sculptures on display, so I took some shots there.
This closeup was taken using the flash.
Same sculpture without the flash - notice the dark background in comparison to the one above.
I rather liked this parade of Penguin protestors!
The beautiful old staircase is always worth taking a photo of.
This photo of Ken's reflection in the mirror of the hall stand is the one I chose to submit for Adam's evaluation.  He had explained to us how to take photos of mirror images without the flash bouncing back at you, and I was really pleased with this.  Ken says he looks like a ghost!   Adam complimented me on the picture, with a hint on framing the image a bit better.
All in all, a very productive day for both of us, at only $10 each.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New visitor to our bird feeding station.

We have a number of birds who visit our feeding station most days - Rainbow Lorikeets, Galahs, Corellas, Bronzewing Pigeons, and less frequently we get Crimson and Eastern Rosellas, and King Parrots. The last few weeks we have been visited by a beautiful male Crimson Rosella nearly every day, so we're hoping he is going to be one our Regulars! Here is one photo, but there are more on my Birds blog if you are interested.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Camberwell Market on Sunday.

Friends have been telling me for years that I should go to the Camberwell Market.  Ken and I lived in Camberwell 35 years ago, and we couldn't remember any trash and treasure markets back then.   I asked my friend Louise when she was going there again, and she said she was happy to go any time, so our friend Sandra joined us on Sunday.  Ken was out on a bike ride and Louise's hubby was overseas, so it was just us three girls.  We had a ball!  The market is HUGE - anyone living in Melbourne who is reading this blog - if you haven't been there - make the effort!  It is on every Sunday.
We were lucky with the weather - after a cold start at 8 am, it turned out to be a lovely sunny day, just perfect for wandering around among the stalls.  I don't think we saw all of them, as being middle aged ladies we were so tired after four hours on our feet we decided to call it a day at 1 pm and find a cafe to have coffee and cake.

 The variety of goods for sale is incredible - clothing, glass, china, pottery, books, music and movies, furniture - you name it...but no food of any kind.

 There was a huge amount of Royalty memorabilia - Sylvia, I took these photos for you! And this is just one seller's table.

 I love placemats and coasters, and these iconic Australian bird coasters for $5 had to come home with me.
 One stall holder had a huge variety of music DVDs with a lot of early rock'n'roll that Ken and I like, so I bought these three for $10 each.
 The stall where I found these calligraphy ink refills was full of all kinds of bric a brac, and he had $5 on these. I had my purse out, but he must have thought I was hesitating because he said "Oh just give me $2"
 This is a bath pillow - $5.   Louise and Sandra looked at it and wondered why anybody would bother.  They both prefer showers to baths.  I said "You wait until you get arthritis - I soak in my bath late at night for at least an hour, topping it up with aromatherapy oils and hot water while reading a book.  It is great for getting rid of the aches and pains". 
I also bought two embroidered cloths, but they are on my linens blog if you want to see them.
Louise and Sandra also spent a fair few dollars, but on completely different items!

Friday, October 12, 2012


I posted this on my other blog Patra's Place, and am repeating it here because it has a nice ending.
I have accumulated so much fabric this year that I ran out of space to store it, and it was in piles on the floor, which I kept tripping over. As most of my sewing stash is on shelves in the wardrobe of one of our spare bedrooms, I decided to make some more room in there for the excess fabric. On the top two shelves, we had stored photos albums, boxes of photos, board games, old calendars, and other stuff we couldn't bring ourselves to chuck out. I hauled it all out on to the floor, gritted my teeth and started sorting out. I filled a box full of paper for the recycle bin, threw out a box of negatives that were not needed, as the photos were safely in albums years ago. The albums and other photos went back on to the top shelf, along with other folders and the board games. The calendars are still to be sorted out and given to local schools for kids to cut up, although I might keep a few for craft purposes. I looked up on Google "How to recycle old calendars" and found some great ideas!
Today, I took a dozen Elvis calendars, a shoebox full of postcards, and some old newspapers to one of my favourite shops here in Eltham - "Janet's Jumble". Janet buys and sells anything she takes a fancy to, and her shop is a fascinating mix of genuine antiques and collectable junk. I've bought quite a few bits and pieces since she opened a couple of years ago, and I've also taken my excess 'stuff' in for her to have a look at. She told me that Elvis is very collectable, and gave me $20 for the calendars, which I was very happy with, as otherwise they would have gone into the recycle bin. The newspapers were the issues published at the start of the new millenium - collectable on the day of publication according to the editors! I had two copies of them, so Janet took the extras as well as the box of postcards, and paid me $30. So I got $50 for stuff that would have gone in the bin! Let this be a lesson to anyone reading this - before you throw your old stuff out, scout around for buyers - they are out there somewhere!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

If you aren't interested in chooks and flowers, move on!

I spent today at the Embroiderers Guild exhibition, while Ken went to a chook show in Warragul with some friends. We both had a lovely day in our own ways; I was relieved not to be walking around looking at chooks, and he was probably happier there than looking at embroidery! He bought two Rhode Island Red hens, as he's decided he wants to keep them now, so it looks like my white Columbian hen and Roger the Wyandotte rooster will be going to the Eltham Grain Store next week to find new owners. I took this photo tonight while we still had all six chooks.
Then because the sun was out I went around the garden photographing all the plants that are flowering before they die out with the heat of summer. Not that it feels like summer yet - daylight saving started today but it is just as cold as it was a few weeks ago. DST does nothing for me.  I have named the ones I know; the others will have to remain nameless - you know I can't remember the names of plants!
This one is a native Australian Hibiscus.

The following three shrubs have small flowers but look lovely when they are in full bloom.

This Jacobinia Firefly is only a baby, planted a month ago, but it should look stunning when it is a full grown shrub.
Is this Canary Island Lotus creeper?  I'm sure that's something like it.
One of our native orchids.

Not Aussie native, but beautiful bulb that gives one spectacular flower every year.
Native Mint Bush.  We've got them all over the yards front and back; they self-seed and grow rapidly.  Ken digs up the seedlings and plants them around the yards so we have this lovely purple backdrop wherever we stand looking at the yard.   Next time it is windy or rains heavily, we will have a nice purple carpet.

Native Pea Plant, sometimes called the Bacon and Egg plant because of its colours.

The ubiquitous geranium....

Our stag horn plant (actually I don't think that's the right name, but that's what we call it) has become huge since the drought ended, and looks like it will pull the tree trunk down with it one day.  Just as well we had the tree chopped down some time ago.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Tonight's Little Visitors.

As the regular readers of this blog might remember from past posts, we encourage possums to our front porch by leaving fruit out for them most nights. Brush-tailed Possums all look pretty much the same (grey and fluffy) but they are territorial, so Ken and I are sure that the same family visit us most nights. Also, they are used to us and we can hand feed them, whereas if a new one comes along, once we open the front door they are off up a tree. Tonight, the possum family matriarch arrived to show off her new baby.

adopt your own virtual pet!