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.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A different Christmas Day.

We decided to have the day at home.  It was lovely to be able to sleep in until midday and not rush off anywhere.  We got up, had breakfast, and opened our gifts.  Here is my new kettle (alongside a teapot that we'd fallen in love with and bought last month).

We'd been given two huge tins of chocolates and a tin of biscuits...I think we'll be nibbling on them for months to come!
Ken wanted to visit his Mum's gravesite so we drove out to Fawkner Memorial Gardens about 2 pm, surprised to find the traffic very light, but most people were probably sitting down to eat by then.
In the past I've wondered why on earth anyone would visit a cemetary on Christmas Day, but it was so peaceful!  We put roses in the niche for Ken's parents, then we spent an hour just wandering around the rose gardens and under shady gum trees before going over to the tea house which was open, and having a coffee and mince tart.
We got home about 4 pm and I finished cooking the stuffed turkey roll which I'd partially cooked the night before.  It was a warm day, so we had a salad with it, and a glass of bubbly -  on my hastily made Christmas cloth on our kitchen table.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas to all who read this blog.

Gingerbread House and other photos.

Last year I made a gingerbread house for the first time, and it was a huge success with the younger members of Ken's family on Christmas Day.  It took me ages to decorate it because not only was it the first time I'd ever done one, it was a hot night, and the icing wouldn't set properly, so the end result was a bit wonky.
I bought another kit about a month ago, and constructed it tonight.  It is quite cool in Melbourne at the moment, and I had no trouble with the icing setting quickly, so it took much less time and effort.  It is a shame that we won't be seeing Ken's family this year, and I debated whether or not I should have bothered.  But I'm working at the opshop on Christmas Eve, so I have decided to take it there, and let our customers and their kids all have a chunk from it!

 While this was being done, I had a little audience in the kitchen.  Tiger sat on the telephone seat where he could see me.
But after sitting on the floor nearby, Topsy lost interest in me, and went over to her food bowl which was empty.  You can read her mind from those eyes!  "Why don't I have any food here?"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What do you want for Christmas?

This was the question posed on a forum at the Down To Earth blog of which I am a member. I don't know if anybody reading my blog also reads DTE, so if you do, you'll be reading this twice - sorry.

Ken will be a bit sad this year because it will be his first Christmas without his Mum. As he says, he was very lucky to have her in his life for 70 years, but he will still miss her presence this year. Just a bit. He asked me what I wanted and I hugged him and said "You". In his state of health, every birthday and Christmas is a bonus. He smiled and said "Thanks for that,but I want to buy you something that you will really like". So when we were out to lunch with a friend this week, we were looking in gift shops and I found a cute oven mitt with a rooster on it. I handed it to Ken and said "there you are - anything with a chook on it will be fine for me!" so he bought it, but now he's talking about buying me an I-pad. Just because I've admired the tablets some of our friends use, doesn't mean that I must have one too! But how to discourage him...

Yesterday I solved the dilemma of the unwanted computer tablet/Ipad. I wanted to check if JB Hi Fi had a certain DVD, so we trundled over to Greensborough after Ken's session at the Austin Hospital. JB didn't have the DVD, so Ken suggested looking at Ipads at the Telstra shop and Dick Smith. It all looks so innocent, these little screens flashing information at you with a price tag of anything between $150 to $950. But after intense questioning of staff at both shops, we discovered all is not as it seems. Even the cheapest tablet will cost hundreds of dollars more if you want it to be connected to the internet while you are out and about. Then there was all the stuff about wi fi and simcards. Way over my head. Bottom line is that the tablets that I have admired my friends using cost nearly $1000 if you have both wi fi and simcard which they tell me is the best way to go. I went all right - out the door and into the cafe for coffee to calm me down!

 Ken was despondent. What about a new watch? My watches all come from opshops. I pay between $5 and $10 for one that works, and once the battery dies, I chuck out the watch and find another. Batteries cost about $17 - why buy a battery?? So we looked at watches in Bevilles and there were some nice Citizen ones that I fancied, between $150 and $200. Hmm...I'll think about it, I said. (Bevilles are one of the few shops that sell exquisite nativity scene ornaments - the real reason for the season, and yes, we have one at home on display). We were wandering past one of those shops that sell the latest in kitchen gadgets and I had a light bulb moment. Dragging Ken in I said "Kettle! I've been wanting a new electric kettle for months!" Our last electric kettle was a beautiful stainless steel Russell Hobbs which last for about 15 years. We were both very sad when it died. I picked up a plastic electric jug at Savers for $5 to tide us over until we found another kettle, but until now we hadn't seen anything we liked. Ken followed me around the shop until I found two or three varieties of electric kettle, and I fell in love with one immediately. The brand is Circulon, which I've never heard of, but at $150 it had better be a good one. It is a state of the art, space age looking kettle, and Ken wasn't really sure about it but I insisted - this is to be my Christmas present! So we brought it home, and I'm happy. One of my friends said she wouldn't like her husband to buy her kitchen things - she can buy those when they need replacing, not as gifts. She would rather jewellery or perfume. Well, I'm not a jewellery and perfume person, I don't need an Ipad when I've got this perfectly serviceable computer, and I can't justify hundreds of dollars on a watch when I can get them for a few dollars at the opshop! Am I crazy or not?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas at our place.

A lot of bloggers are posting lovely photos of their house decorations, so I decided to do the same. We don't have a tree or anything really big - just put a few bits and pieces around the house to make it festive.  Below is the ceramic Nativity set that I found at our opshop two years ago.   This is in the entrance hall as you walk in the front door.
Santa Claus dangling his legs over the mantelpiece on the left. The NOEL letters are in the form of a sleigh, pulled by an elf, with a candle in each letter.  I've had this little set for so many years I can't remember where it came from, but it was sent from a penpal overseas somewhere, I know that much. The black stone elephants are on the shelf all the time - not part of the Christmas decor!
At the other end of the mantel shelf are two more little Santa Claus figures dangling their legs, with a little candle. (Again, the plate with the Gouldian Finches is a permanent resident on the shelf).
I put a NOEL patchwork mat on this telephone table in the hall, then Ken decided to put a battery powered light-up Santa Claus on top of it, but that's okay because it looks lovely when it is all lit up like this.
A wall hanging that I made last year.
We hang our Christmas cards up on the beams, because if they are just sitting around on the table and other furniture, they get blown around by the air conditioner or if the front door is opened on a windy day.
We also have a plastic "Merry Christmas" sign on the front door, and flashing lights in the front windows, but they don't photograph well, so I haven't tried to post pics here. Some of our neighbours have spectacular lighting displays in their front yards this year, and I did try to photograph them, but the photos just turned out a big blur, which is a shame.

Bonus Birthday!

Ken is 71 years old today. I call it a bonus birthday because most of the medics who have been monitoring his health did not expect him to live so long after his 60th birthday! He is in bed asleep while I'm typing this at 2 am. We've had a busy week so far, and he is getting tired, so today will be fairly quiet I'm thinking. He has to be at the Austin Hospital at 11 am for his regular defibrillator check, but after that we'll be spending the rest of the day at home. Not sure if we'll go out to dinner; depends how he feels around 5 pm. If he's up to it, we'll probably go to his favourite Chinese restaurant Noble House, but if not, we'll just have a quiet tea at home. On Monday night we went to a friend's house for tea. There were six of us, so S. ordered pizza to be delivered, and we had that with champagne, followed by fresh fruit and cheese. Today, we drove up to Healesville to have lunch with a friend whose son is the manager of the RSL. We had a delicious meal, and afterwards we strolled along the main drag looking at the shops. I bought two books at one shop, a skirt and framed cross stitch at an opshop, an oven mitt with chooks on it, and a quantity of chocolates at the coffee shop we ended up at! We got home about 5 pm and after feeding the cats and a quick change of clothes, we were off again to have dinner at the Grandview Hotel in Fairfield. This was the Christmas meeting of the Japanese Vintage Motorcycle Club of which Ken is a member. They meet at this pub once a month for dinner and it is usually only the boys, but last night a few of the wives came along, so I had a good time chatting to them while the blokes were checking out each other's bikes in the car park. Thursday it is supposed to be a horror heat day with 40 deg.C temperatures, so we plan to stay indoors all day, apart from checking the aviaries to see how the birds are coping with the heat. On Friday I'll be at the opshop in the morning, and Ken is going on a bike ride and lunch with the boys. Then we are going out AGAIN to have dinner with some of his old workmates from Melbourne Pathology. Phew! I'll be relieved when the silly season is over....

Monday, December 16, 2013

Paul Hogan in person.

We have just got home from seeing Paul Hogan at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne. It was just him, reminiscing about his life and career, and he is as funny in person as he is on the big or small screen.
It was a full house, and much of the time everyone was screaming with laughter at Hoges and some of the clips of his early shows that he used to talk about. Photos were not allowed, so I didn't try to get any of him on stage, but I did sneak a few of the interior of the theatre during interval. The Princess Theatre is one of Melbourne's icons, built around 1854 and still in use as a theatre.
We were sitting four rows from the front, on the end of the row.  It was actually a good spot as Paul walked back and forth across the stage and we didn't have to swivel our heads to follow him. 
The fabulous ceiling and interior of the theatre. After the show ended about 9pm, we wandered through Chinatown to where our car was parked. It was a perfect balmy night and there were lots of people making the most of it, sitting at outdoor cafes and walking around. We don't get into the city at night very often; in fact I can't remember the last time I spent any time walking around at night in town! So we enjoyed this half hour. If Ken had been feeling better, we could have walked a lot further and maybe taken a look at the Myer windows. But it wasn't to be, so I satisfied myself with taking some photos of the Xmas lights around Chinatown.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Naughty Christmas present.

I was just reading a forum on an English newspaper regarding the problem of overspending at Christmas time. There were dozens of opinions and suggestions, all of which were interesting, then I found this: A blowjob is always appreciated on Xmas day. Costs nothing. Well, you might have to pay for one... Well I thought it was funny....

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Hand made Christmas cards and our Hibiscus in flower.

I've just posted more about these on my art and craft blog, but not many people go there so I'm posting a pic of my cards here as well, because anyone interested in paper crafts might like these cards which use paint sample cards - cute!

The native Hibiscus in our front yard looks quite boring when there are no flowers, but when it decides to bloom all of a sudden, it is glorious to see!

Monday, December 02, 2013

This and that..

Thanks to those who commented on the photos of our newly painted house. We are so glad it is finished - no more waiting for the painter to arrive, or hanging around while he was here! Mind you, Stan is such a nice bloke, it was no problem, but it did tie us down to the house for those three weeks. Ken is especially glad we are on our own at the moment because he has come down with a chest infection, and is feeling very second hand. Fortunately his doctor had given him a script for antibiotics some time ago, to use in case he got an infection, so on the second day of him coughing and spitting, I got the tablets and he started on them immediately. He's feeling a bit better, but he'll miss the last week of his lung rehab classes this week. The hospital said he can catch up with the missed classes next year, but we'll wait and see what happens next year before he commits himself to that again.

 Even though we promised ourselves there would be no more renovation work done on the house for a while, we've got a bit enthusiastic about it now that we've started. It looks so good on the outside, then you come in and find this seventies decor unchanged for 40 years! We still like most of it, but the kitchen and bathrooms in particular really need fixing up. So we had a local cabinet maker visit us today and have a squiz at the kitchen. Last time we had a kitchen person here (about 5 or more years ago) they were very gungho about it and suggested completely gutting the kitchen and doing all sorts of stuff that I had never visualised. And he quoted $20,000. That was the first and last time we saw him.

 This guy was much more laid back and happy to listen to what Ken and I wanted, which is really just to replace the cupboards with something more modern and practical. I actually like the layout of my kitchen and don't want to change it drastically. We will have to replace the stove-top soon as it is just about cactus (that means it is stuffed, to my non-Aussie readers), so that will be part of the deal, and along the way the vinyl tiles on the floor will be replaced too. It would be impossible to get all new cupboards put in which are a different size to the original, and leave the old floor, so it will be done at the same time.

Our Possum family has taken up residence again in their old spot, now that the painting has finished. It was hot today, and instead of being curled up together in one furry ball, Mum and Bubs were side by side with tails dangling to cool off!

adopt your own virtual pet!