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 28, 2013

Out with the old...

When Ken gave me the chook dinner set for my birthday, it was time for serious culling of dinner sets in our household. I am not like some of my friends who have multiple dinner sets just because they love them - even if I did like many dinner sets, we don't have the space to store them. (Mind you, said friends don't have hundreds of table cloths for the same reason...) Just before we married, Ken and I bought a six setting 'Africa" design Royal Doulton dinner set for 'best'.
It has  been in the crystal cabinet in the dining room for 30 years and only seen daylight a dozen times.
I said to Ken "We liked it so much when we bought it, but we hardly ever have the pleasure of using it on a day to day basis.  Why don't we move it to the kitchen for every day use and keep the new chook set for when we have guests?"   He agreed, so that's what we have done.
But tonight we decided to 'christen' the chooks.  Guess what we had for dinner?  Roast Chicken of course.

This is the Noritake set we have been using in the kitchen for about 12 years.  My niece was thrilled to bits when I called to ask if she would like it, as she had a very special bond with her grandpa (my Dad), and it meant a lot to her to own this, as it was originally a wedding gift to Dad from his brother when Dad married my stepmother.  I asked Niece if she would be using the big teapot (at the back on the right), and she said probably not, and was happy for me to keep it, as it comes in handy when we have the occasional crowd of friends or relations over.  So I've still got a bit from my Dad's dinner set too!  Win win situation :-)

...In with the New.  Newly hatched baby quail chick.  Go to my birds blog to see more!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lest We Forget. 25th April 2013.

This is probably one of the most important days on the Australian calendar, and rightly so.  Anyone reading this who does not live in Australia, and does not know the meaning of ANZAC, I suggest you 'google' ANZAC Day to find out more.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Topsy and Tiger - The Cats at Our Place.

Tiger and Topsy are NOT friends. We brought Tiger in to the household as a kitten, when Topsy was already about 10 years old, and her nose was out of joint in a big way. They barely tolerate each other most of the time, although they don't actually fight, so Ken and I were pleased when we saw them on the same side of the couch last night.

It didn't last for long though.  Topsy swished her tail over Tiger's back legs, startling him.

His reaction was to nip the black tail.
 Not a good idea!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A very Happy Birthday!

Some years, my birthday just comes and goes without much excitement, but turning 65 this year seemed to be special for some reason; maybe because it is half way between two milestone birthdays and people don't know if I'll be around to celebrate 70!! Just kidding, no reason why I shouldn't be. For a few weeks, I'd been admiring this stunning dinner set in the window of a gift shop in Eltham, and said to Ken if he couldn't think of anything else, I'd love the teapot in this set. Blow me down if he doesn't come home with the whole bloody set! 16 pieces including four dinner plates, four bread plates, four bowls and four mugs. He also bought the matching jug, sugar bowl and salt & pepper shakers. I cringe to think how much it cost...he must love me a fair bit to lash out on this!   But there was no teapot....

We had dinner out that night with our friends Mark and Louise, who celebrate their wedding anniversary on the same day as my birthday, so we usually go out together on the night. They presented me with a gift at the table while we were waiting for our meal...the very teapot I'd asked Ken for!

 What an amazing coincidence, NOT! Louise knew I wanted it, and had planned to get it for me, but Ken didn't know that, and was going to include it with the dinner set. Luckily they happened to meet at the gift shop (and that was a coincidence) and were able to sort out their purchases, otherwise I would have ended up with two teapots! I now have to get rid of one dinner set - probably the Noritake set because we've had that for over ten years and it was second hand when we got it. My day was just as much fun as the evening. I had lunch with two dear friends, who gave me lovely gifts. There were also gifts that had arrived earlier that week, waiting to be opened, as well as lots of lovely cards.

Three books - all art related, two sketching pads and pack of artist pencils etc., placemats, vintage patchwork, arty spatula set, little notebooks, crystal pendant, and the cutest cross stitch.
 Val had been stitching this for someone else last year, and she remembered me admiring it, so she made another one for me :-)

Lots of lovely cards - look at all the kitty cards at the front!  (There is an OWL card too, on the right)

Chook City!

In addition to the newest chooks in our kitchen as described above, we have all these....and there are more plates and trays in cupboards. No wonder Ken is getting a bit overwhelmed! This is a sponge mat where I stand at the kitchen sink.
You've seen the curtains before, if you've been reading this blog..
These mugs were a gift from a dear friend. There is a matching tray and two coasters that go with the mugs.
New metal sign on the wall above the oven, and a tea towel on the cupboard (I think I've got at least a dozen chook tea towels.
Salt and Pepper shakers. I had one pair on the table for a while, but when I kept finding more pairs, I figured they were all better off being displayed.
These individuals are all on the old airconditioning unit in the entrance hall. It isn't a working unit now, so I just dress it up with cloths and ornaments.

Birthday plants now in the garden.

Ken's sister offered to buy me some garden plants and herbs for my birthday, after I said Ken and I were planning to buy more plants to replace those that had died in our garden in the last few years. We met her at the nursery on Saturday and Ken and I selected quite a few plants, but his sister paid for two (the most expensive ones!). This pretty native Aust. shrub is a Correa.

This beautiful Azalea and the Verbena below it are the plants SIL paid for as my birthday gift.

Ken wanted a rose, so we wandered around the rose selection for ages until I chose "Julia's Rose" which is an unusual dusty apricot shade with a lovely perfume.
Couldn't resist this Mexican Cigar plant. I hope it takes off, as I've planted it in a spot where nothing else has survived...
Here is my revamped potted herb garden! There is mint, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregana, basil, and coriander. I'm going to look for some kind of trolley or tray with a removable cover, so I can put all the pots in it and cover it up at night so the possums can't have a nibble. Also to protect against frost; it's getting colder every night.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lovely drive out to the country.

Last week I'd told Ken I wanted us to go for a drive out of Melbourne on the Sunday before my birthday.  He'd spent the last two weekends up the country with his bike mates, and I felt it was my turn to be taken out!  So today we drove up to Warburton.  I'd been wanting to go up there for years, as I've been hearing about a fabulous patchwork shop up there, as well as a number of antique/second hand shops and nice cafes.  It took us just over an hour to drive from Eltham to Warburton, and as we entered the town the first shop I saw was The Patchwork Tea House. "Stop now and pull over!"  I yelped and Ken swung over to the kerb immediately, wondering what was wrong.  "This is our first stop, so we may as well have something to eat here" I said.
We were lucky to get a table at the front window with this view:
Ken ordered a pie and salad, and I had scones with jam and cream....yum.

I had a look around the shop after we'd eaten, and I can see why so many quilters come up here from Melbourne for the day!  The shop was full of beautiful fabrics, great range of threads and kits as well as finished quilts on display. 
For the rest of the afternoon, we strolled down the street, in and out of shops, galleries, and other places of interest.  Warburton is high up in the Yarra Valley, and the scenery is quite spectacular. 

All the shops and galleries are on the main street, mostly on one side, while the other side has a few galleries and an excellent tourist information centre with a huge old water wheel reconstructed and in working order.

Ken commented that it would have been terrifying on Black Saturday, watching the fires on those hills.
I said there are two reasons why I would not like to live there - the risk of fires in summer, and the snow in winter!  But it is a lovely place to visit, and we'll be back again some time soon I think.
 The Yarra River starts up around here, and flows all the way to Melbourme.
 A new housing estate looks very attractive but I still wouldn't live there.
 Apart from lunch, we made just two purchases.  Tiny TINY little china kittens!  That is a sugar bowl behind them.
And a gorgeous rooster painted on tin - just right for our kitchen.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Whose taxi?

Have you seen those "Mum's Taxi" signs on the back of some cars - for those Mums who ferry their kids all over the place before said kids are old enough to borrow Mum's car and drive themselves?  Well, after today, I feel like making a sign for my car - Gina's Taxi.  Ken has Wednesdays off work supposedly to rest between two days of driving in his job as a courier.  But the Day Of Rest has turned out to be the Day of Running Around Doing Things that he doesn't have time for on the weekend. 

Today for instance, he had to deliver his car to Tyrepower this morning and leave it there all day to have a major service and four new tyres.   He also had to ride his Honda to the bike shop where he takes the bikes for their servicing, and leave it there.  He had an appointment at 3 pm for acupuncture, and then there was bird seed to be picked up at the Grain Store, and wine to be bought at Dan Murphy's.  But how was he to do all this without his wheels?  My wheels of course.  This is why I tell my friends that I can't meet for coffee or opshopping on a Wednesday.

 At 9 am I followed him to Tyrepower, and from there we went to pick up the bird seed, and then back home.  I did a few chores, we had some lunch, and I drove him to the acupuncture clinic.  While he was there, I drove to Safeway and did the shopping, then picked up some scripts at the chemist.  By then it was time to drive him to Tyrepower so he could collect his car.  We came home, he got the Honda out of the garage, and rode over to Greensborough, followed by me so I could bring him home.

Phew!  We were both stuffed by the end of the day!  I wanted to have some friends drop in over the weekend for my 65th birthday - nothing fancy, mind you - just a cuppa and cake.  He looked pained..."Oh not on Saturday!  I have to run around for your birthday present".  I'd already told him I need a new Melways street directory and would be happy with that for my birthday, so I said "You only need to run down to the newsagent at the end of our street to get a Melways, and believe it or not, you can get a card there too!"    There was no comment.  Maybe I'm not being fair, and he has something else in mind that justifies this 'running around' on Saturday afternoon.

I shouldn't whinge.  Tonight I was thinking about my MRI scan appointment which is at the Northern Hospital at 7.30 am on May 1st, and I must have been looking glum, because Ken asked "What's the matter?"  and I said I was just thinking about how early I'm going to have to get up to drive over to Epping for this appointment.  He said "Tomorrow??" and I replied no, not until 1st of May.  He asked what day that was and I said it is a Wednesday.  His face brightened and he said "But that's my day off.  I can drive you there".  I immediately felt better about all that driving around today.....

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Vale Annette and Margaret.

Today the world has lost two iconic women.   The news on t.v. tonight focussed on Margaret Thatcher, understandably a more important and well known person to the world than a child movie star.
But Annette Funicello was greatly loved in her time at Disney Studios, starting off with the Mickey Mouse Show, and going on to make the Beach movies with Frankie Avalon.  Anyone who was growing up in the 50's and 60's will remember Annette.  She was not your typical Hollywood star of today, in and out of relationships, drugs, and alcohol, although when she disappeared from public view, there were rumours about her being an alcoholic.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  She had Multiple Sclerosis - the most deadly form of it, and has suffered for 20 years.   This link shows videos of her husband caring for her.  He was 10 years older than Annette, and it is plain to see how much he  loved her.  He was her primary caregiver right up till the end.
As much as Margaret Thatcher will be remembered, hated by some and loved by others, it overshadows the death of Annette Funicello, which came after a very long and cruel illness.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Further reflections on Easter.

As I wrote on the previous post, I am not particularly religious, but I respect those who attend their church and celebrate the true meaning of Easter and Christmas.   Several ladies whose blogs I read regularly, wrote this week about attending church services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and it reminded me of my childhood when I accompanied Dad and my brothers to church every Sunday  (my mother was disabled and couldn't go).  Easter and Christmas were always very special services.

I replied to one blog friend that I get depressed when I see all the chocolate eggs and bunnies in the shops at Easter, with no sign of the real meaning of Easter, and I wondered why the chocolate manufacturers didn't make chocolate shaped crosses instead of eggs, as crosses would remind children of the 'reason for the season'.  She thought that was a good idea, and said all it needed was to write to the manufacturers and suggest it!  What do you think?  Do you think we could start a new movement away from pagan celebrations back to the Christian meaning?

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