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, December 30, 2012

This is disgusting!!

"Petrol giants post-Crhistmas price gouge"
This is the headline on a Nine MSN news page I have just been reading online.   The spelling on some of these news sites is absolutely disgraceful.     Don't online news websites have editors that check spelling like they do (or are supposed to do) in newspapers?  As for the forums where people can comment on news items, they are abysmal.  Again, it makes you wonder why these aren't monitored by someone who can delete stupid comments as soon as they come in.  Or am I expecting too much from the generation who have a 'don't know and don't care' attitude to spelling and grammar than those born before 1980?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012 at our place.

Well, it wasn't at our place really. We went to Ken's niece's home in Frankston again, and once we got there, we had a lovely day. But it took over two hours to get there from home, the traffic was absolutely chaotic. Funnily enough, it wasn't as bad coming home.
Our day had a sad start. MIL's condition has deteriorated rapidly in the past couple of weeks, to the point where she is now bed ridden and is refusing to eat. She will have a drink of water and a few sips of soup, but nothing else. She refused to take her medication for a few days, but the carers have managed to get that into her now. After SIL and I went to the Xmas party at the Home, when MIL was quite okay, she caught a cold within a day or so, and the chest infection has taken its toll as it does with very old people. She is very sleepy, and although she is aware of us being there, she doesn't respond to our conversations. So we take turns in sitting and holding her hand. Ken and I have visited her every day since Christmas Eve, and will continue to do so, as we know we won't have her much longer. It certainly doesn't look like she will make it to her 100th birthday in February, but it really doesn't matter; none of us want her to continue in this state just to please us by turning 100.
On a happier note, my gingerbread house was a big hit on Xmas Day. As I predicted, the kids picked the lollies off it once I told them they had free reign, and at the end of the day, we broke it up into walls for various family members to take home. I'd also taken my felt donuts and other cakes down there, and they looked so cute on the table! Everyone was taken in at first glance, but laughed when they realised the cakes were not real.
I received some lovely gifts as usual, including books, fat quarters, art supplies, coffee mugs, coasters and a tray all with roosters on!, and other goodies. All over for another year, thank goodness.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gingerbread house.

On the hottest night in Melbourne for years, I had to put this Gingerbread House together for Xmas Day. I waited until midnight for the temperature to drop, but it remained at around 27 deg. c. so I was forced to ice the house and watch it repeatedly collapse because the icing wouldn't set! Result is a very messy gingerbread house, but I don't suppose the kids will care. They'll just pick off all the lollies and leave the gingerbread to the adults!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas!

 I'm posting my good wishes to the followers of this blog on Sunday night, as I won't have time to do anything tomorrow, and it is highly unlikely that any of my followers here will have time to read it anyway.   So,  have a safe and happy Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ken's babies.

One of the Rhode Island Red hens in the chookhouse has been sitting on four eggs for three weeks.  Ken calculated that they should hatch about the time of his birthday and sure enough....

three hatched, but one is still in the egg.  Alive, and cheeping, pecking at the shell to get out, but Mum Hen has decided she has enough on her hands with the three chicks, and abandoned the fourth egg today before it had time to hatch.  Ken has been holding it in his hand all night to keep it warm, but I said there is no way you are going to bring that egg into bed with us!  So he has wrapped it in some soft fabric and put it on to a hot water bottle in a box in our dressing room (walk in wardrobe) where the cats won't find it over night.

Next day....the fourth chick survived, and is doing well with his siblings ;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ken's 70th birthday party.

Ken's birthday isn't until Tuesday, but a party was out of the question on the day as most people are at work, so I planned to hold it today (Sunday).  Ken's favourite restaurant is a Chinese restaurant called "Noble House", just out of Eltham.  We have been going there once or twice a year for special occasions ever since it opened about 30 years ago.  They have a private room which holds 20 people, so I booked that early in the year, and we squeezed 20 adults and two little girls around the table.

It was supposed to be a surprise, but Ken got wind of it a few weeks ago, and was a bit nervous about it as he never knows what I've got planned for his birthdays!  Most of the time we just go out for dinner with friends, but for those birthdays ending with a zero, well, you just have to do something out of the box, don't you!  I thought about hiring a hall and having a BIG party with all our family and friends (probably about 100 people), but the cost of such an undertaking was a deterrent, let alone the planning and catering.  And Ken doesn't really like big parties for himself.   So I had to choose the guest list carefully.  I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings if I left them out,  so I based my decision on how long the guests have known Ken, and how close he is to them.   He has many more cousins, but I only invited three (with their partners), as we see more of them than we do the others.  The group of friends were those who we have known between 20 and 30 years, since we moved to Eltham.  The reason I did this was because I wanted this day to be not only a celebration of Ken's 70th birthday, but to celebrate the fact that he is still alive and well after a decade of serious health issues which have nearly cost him his life on more than one occasion.  These friends are the ones who have been there to give us support during those difficult times.

I took as many photos as I could, and other guest were also taking pictures, so I'm hoping they will email theirs to me eventually so I can add them to my photos on the blog I've created for the day.  Have a look here to see what I took.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Terrible news from America.

I was chatting on the phone to a friend this afternoon when she mentioned the shooting of the children in the USA. I hadn't heard about it, but of course it was all over the news tonight. Those poor kids - the ones that survived as well as the ones that survived. And the parents and doubt there are Xmas gifts under trees in those homes which will not be opened this Xmas, if at all. What is it with the Americans?? Oh, I realise that most of the American women who read my blog probably do not own guns, or use them regularly. But the gun culture over there is so strong; I've heard that it is in their constitution that every American has the right to be armed, or something like that. Goes back to the days of the wild west where I guess it was necessary for men to be armed to defend themselves. But in this century?? Surely not. I wonder if Pres. Obama has the guts to go against the gun lobby and bring in measures to restrict the sale of guns? Whether you liked him or not, I think most Australians admired ex Prime minister John Howard for introducing strong gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania. The MOTH says if you make owning guns illegal, the only people to have them will be criminals. It's not quite that bad; Ken has three guns himself (rifles) but not automatic/military style guns, and he is a member of a sporting shooters association, and his guns are registered with the appropriate authorities. Mind you, they have been locked away for years, and have probably rusted away by now, so if anyone did find them, I doubt if they would be able to do much damage.

Aussie animal visitors!

In the thirty years we have lived in Eltham, we have had quite a variety of animals (other than birds) passing through. Koala (twice), kangaroo (seen once in the front yard briefly), foxes (seen by neighbours), snakes (not seen by us, but one of our cats was bitten), spiders of course (there all the time), and today an Echidna. Our neighbours told us last year they saw an echidna in their yard not long after they moved in. I didn't say anything, but wondered if they had seen something else that they mistook for an echidna, as we had never heard of any sightings around here. Well I am happy to be proved wrong in my assumption! Tiger and Topsy had been shut indoors all day while I was out, because the weather forecast was for rain, and both cats hate the rain. When I got home about 5 pm, and opened the back door for them to go out, they refused to go out there, and hung around the front door mewing loudly. So I opened that door, and they shot out, and went straight to the air conditioning unit which is on the ground behind the front porch. They sniffed around it, approaching it and then backing off. Finally I got a torch to see what the attraction was behind the unit (there is only about 6 inches between it and the wall), thinking it might have been a snake, but no, it was an Echidna.  You can just see a bit of him behind the unit here.

Here he was trying to bury himself in the ground when I moved the pots to get a better photo.

Wedged in behind the air con. unit!
I stayed outside on the porch waiting for Ken to come home, and he was as excited as I was when he saw this little creature! We went inside and came back out an hour later, and the echidna had disappeared. We looked everywhere, but there was no sign of him. Their diet is mostly ants and termites, so we are hoping he stays in our yard, as we had a termite infestation years ago, and if our little friend wants to eat any termites that are around now, we would be very grateful!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas is here; claim your gift now!

Okay, post number 1001.  I forgot to write in the previous (1000th) post that you need to post a comment at the foot of the post so I can send you a little gift.  I will only accept comments on the 1000th post for those readers to win something.   And don't forget, if I don't already have your postal address (and you will know if I do), I will need it so I can mail your pressie :-)

Some Christmas-type photos to make this post a bit decorative.  Our entrance hall dressed up for Christmas with my patchwork Xmas tree on the wall next to the grandfather clock, and our Nativity figurines set up on the old air conditioner (which no longer works but is great as a display area).

 Home made donuts and cup cake.  But not edible.  Actually made out of felt - pin cushions!  I've been making these over the past week and have them sitting on the kitchen table where hungry visitors reach out to take one, then say "Oh, they're fake!"

One Thousand Posts!

I said a week or so ago that I was close to my 1000th post on this blog, and suddenly, here we are!  I don't know why I'm celebrating this blog in particular; I started my linens blog months before this one, and I'm already up to over 1500 posts on that.  Not to mention all my other blogs which have been set up for various purposes such as one-off events.  I'm not counting!  It is simply because I happened to notice the numbers on the Blog dashboard and thought it might be a fun thing to have a giveaway like so many other bloggers do for their own 'bloggyversaries'....hope there are no grammarians reading this to take issue with that word.
I do have another reason for this historic 1000th post.  I want to show you what I received for Christmas from one of my many crafty friends.  Val is a Paper Person.  She does all kinds of interesting stuff with paper - origami, making miniature books, book binding, and anything else you can think of.  I have a box labelled "Val's Creations" with all the gorgeous items she has given me since we became friends.  I used to have them scattered around the house on display, but they started to get dusty, and I didn't want them to become damaged, so I have stored them in this box for safe keeping.  But not forgotten!
I won't need to put this year's Xmas gift in the box though because it is already in a dust proof container!  Well, not dustproof, but easily cleaned without risk of damage.  It is an ordinary jam jar filled with extraordinary surprises.  The label attached is jam jar sized.
 With a very unusual title..."Bookberry Preserves Bottled Christmas 2012"

And inside, a collection of the cutest miniature books and origami puzzles you could ever see - all hand made by Val!

How lucky am I to have such a talented and fun loving friend?!

Monday, December 03, 2012


A minor rift was healed today.  My immediate family (not the family I married into) consists of me and two brothers - Ian who is 10 years older than me and Bryan who is 8 years older.  For obvious reasons, I wasn't close to either of them as a child - they were at school, then at work by the time I was old enough to figure out why they weren't home with Mum and me during the day.  I adored Ian because he was endlessly patient and kind with me, but Bryan and I were constantly bickering, which drove Mum and Dad mad sometimes!   As I grew up and started work, the relationship between my brothers and I changed for the better, as I guess they now saw me as nearly an adult, and not a little brat.   They got married and had kids, and I was a different kind of Auntie for those nephews and one niece.  I rode motorcycles, travelled overseas with my first husband, divorced him, married another man, and never had any kids myself.  In later years they told me I was the coolest Auntie of the lot!

As time went on, we saw less and less of each other - you know how it is - "weddings and funerals and we must keep in touch".
Well, a distant cousin has been doing a family history on our mother's side, and my brothers and I have supplied her with as much information as we had (which wasn't much).  She recently sent me three copies of a photocopied version of an old diary, asking me to give two copies to my brothers.  Rather than post them to Ian and Bryan, I thought this would be a good chance to catch up.   So I invited them and their wives (no kids - they are all grown up and gone their own ways now of course) over to our place for afternoon tea.  That was today, and I have just thanked our cousin by email for indirectly bringing my brothers and I together.  The six of us had a very happy afternoon, talking mostly about family stuff  (poor Ken must have been bored, but he was a good listener), and laughing over shared humor.  SIL Robbie was born in the UK, and still has a very strong accent even after half a century in Australia.  She was telling us about the time she went into a bakery to buy some bread rolls and the girl behind the counter was listing the types available.  When she came to the Knot Rolls she pointed and said "They're Knot rolls" which puzzled Robbie, who replied "If they're not rolls, what are they?  They look like rolls to me".  The sales girl apparently glared at her and said "Smart arse!"  Robbie couldn't figure out what she'd done wrong!  We all cracked up laughing over this anecdote!

From left:  Wilma, married to Ian (in blue shirt), me, Bryan (who HATES having his photo taken) and his wife Robbie.

Of course this photo and the people in it won't mean anything to most readers, but there are some who will know who I've been talking about, and will be curious to see the family that I rarely talk about!   Just because we don't see much of each other, doesn't mean there is anything wrong - we've always got on well as a family. But today we agreed that as we are all getting older, it would be nice to meet up more regularly.  I offered my home as our meeting place, and I think they are all happy about that as I put on a good spread for afternoon tea, whereas my SILs don't cook much in the way of cakes and biscuits these days.

adopt your own virtual pet!