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, June 27, 2014

Powered by the Aussie Sun!

Yep, we've done it.  Gone solar.  Today we had 18 solar panels installed on our roof, along with the inverter to convert the sun's power to electricity in our house.   Mark Australia are the company who did the job, and we are very happy with their workers and professional approach.  No back yarders here!
 The two workers arrived just before 8 am and worked through until nearly 3 pm to get it finished.  There was a massive amount of work to be done, and they told us that there are usually three or four men working on one job, but they were short staffed today, so these two guys had to do our house on their own.

 One man was up on the roof putting all the rails down for the panels to lie on.  He also had to feed the cable from the panels on to the ground so the electrician could link it up with the inverter.  Which meant lots of drilling holes through the garage wall to link the inverter with our electricity supply meter box.

Those panels are large!
Lots of banging on the roof while they were fixing the panels....

And they got it all finished before it started raining!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fences, tearing down, falling down, and building new ones.

Pity I didn't get around to photographing the old fence before it was removed, but these two pics show what it looked like after the palings had all gone. We never saw this much of our neighbour's yard before from our place, and vice versa!

The next two photos below are from the same view point after the new fence was finished.

Today we had a huge storm in Melbourne, and Ken and I are thankful that the side fence was finished by now!  But the fence at the back of the property had a loss.  This fence was built about two years ago, and is still good as new.  But there was part of the old fence still attached to the top of it, to give us more privacy from the neighbours at the rear.  (It was actually the people who built our house who wanted the privacy - we couldn't care less as we like the neighbours in the house behind us).  Anyway, Ken and I had been talking for years about pulling the old bit of fence down, but today the storm did it for us!  Blew the whole lot down, just missing the aviaries, and giving the chooks one hell of a fright!  We heard the crash from inside our house, then all the squawking, and we thought a tree must have fallen on the avaries, but no, it was just one of those events that turned out to be in our favour.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Busy busy busy around here!

Ken and I just flop down at the end of the day and gaze at each other lately!   I seem to get out of bed running, and even though he doesn't usually get up at the same time, once he is up and dressed, it's all systems go.  Obviously the new kitchen has kept us busy recently, and Cliff is coming tomorrow to finish it off completely (I hope).  We've had three painters out to quote on painting the ceiling and window frames, but haven't had any quotes from them yet (they all promised to email them to me, and I've got the printer switched on ready to print them out, but...)
The fence that was falling over between our house and the next door neighbour is finally being fixed.  Well, replaced actually.   What a drama that was.  I got two quotes and M. next door got two more, and we decided on a local timber yard who build fences.  They said someone will be here on Tuesday, and it would take two days to rip down the old fence and put up a new one.  M. put their dog into boarding kennels for this week so they wouldn't have to tie him up.  Nobody turned up Tuesday and after repeated phone calls, I finally got onto a woman who told me that Monday's jobs were washed out due to the rain so they had to go back and finish them before coming to us.  I said thanks for letting us know NOT, and when can we now expect someone to do our fence?  She said she would get her husband to ring us back, and at 10 pm he did, leaving a message that our fence would be started at 7.30 am on Thursday and would be finished on Friday.

Thursday morning I got up at 7 am and unlocked the gate to our backyard.  M. left his garage open so the fence man could get in their yard if he needed to.  8 am, 9 am then 10 am, and nobody had arrived, and no phone calls to explain why not.  By this time I was fuming, and again after several phone calls to the office, where girls kept telling me "I'll forward your message", I finally got a call from the business owner who said "Sean is on his way now" and that was it.  So when "Sean" arrived at 10.45 I met him at the gate and said "About effing time".  The poor guy nearly fell over... he explained that he was actually a subcontractor and had only been given our job that morning.  He was also furious at the timber yard company because they hadn't given him any details about our job, and there was about 6 hours digging to be done before he could start building the fence.

He was left to do the whole job himself - 30 metres of fencing to be pulled down, trench dug, posts set in concrete, and palings to be put on.   Well, by 4 pm Friday he had done it  all except nail the palings to the frame, and Ken and I were floored at the pace he worked.  Oh to be young and fit again!  So today, Sean will be back to finish the fence, Cliff will be here to finish the kitchen, Ken will be collecting his Honda from the workshop where he had some work done on it, so another busy day coming up.

I don't know if it is the pace of life at the moment, or I'm just getting old(er) but I decided today that I didn't want to commit myself to working at the opshop every week.  I phoned the lady in charge of the roster, and told her that I was happy to be on the emergency list, but I wouldn't be working there every Friday from now on.   Fortunately they have a few new volunteers who are eager to work several days a week, so I'm not leaving them in a hole.  It worked out well for me not going in there today.  I did a heap of baking for Sunday (friends coming), two loads of washing, and various other chores that wouldn't have been done if I'd been at the opshop.  And I've gone off bringing home so many knick knacks, books, fabrics, etc. - we just got far too much of everything.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Kitchen still not finished, but will be soon.

Cliff rang today regarding finishing off the kitchen.  He was going to do it tomorrow, but he said he has another job where the clients are putting pressure on him to finish it by the end of the week.  He sounded harrassed, the poor guy, and I do know how busy he is, having been to his factory and seen the works in progress.  He does mostly commercial work with a few residential jobs like mine thrown in the mix when he has the time.  He said he had everything in the factory to finish our kitchen - the glass splashback and other bits and pieces, and asked if it was okay for him to come out next Saturday to finish it up.   I said of course it is okay, and told him that he should perhaps take the day off and spend it with his family - I don't mind waiting a bit longer, seeing he hasn't asked for any payment yet, and I have a fully functional kitchen!  But he said no, he would be here on Saturday unless something else crops up to delay him.

In the meantime we have two painters coming this week to give us a quote on painting the ceiling and what's left of the walls to paint, as well as the window frames.  One of our neighbours was putting rubbish out on the nature strip today, and I went over to say hi, as she travels a lot and we don't see much of each other.  I told her about the kitchen and she came over for a look - she was impressed! 

While I haven't used the dishwasher much (three times so far), I just love the gas cooktop. Today I made those little Dutch pancakes "Proffertjes" and they were delicious!  Ken bought me the special Proffertjes pan a few years ago and as it cost about $90, he was always on my back about using it.  But as I explained to him, some things are not possible to use successfully on an electric hot plate, and this was one of them.  But today - whoo hoo - success!

 My pan, finally christened!
 All they need is a dusting of icing sugar (I didn't bother with the traditional lemon juice)
 Keeping warm under one of my hand stitched tea towels :-)

Monday, June 09, 2014


The old view .1
 The new view.1

The old view.2
 The new view.2
I'm a bit premature in doing this comparison, because the glass splashbacks aren't in yet, and there is some painting to be done, but I just can't help myself :-)

Kitchen reno - Stage 3 (the floor)

Today as promised, two men appeared on our front doorstep at 7.30 a.m. -  disgustingly chirpy at that hour of the morning.   At least I'd remembered to put my dentures in...
They moved the washing machine with no apparent effort (picked it up and put it outside the back door, Ken looked on in envy), and there was some kind of horrid mess on the floor where the machine had been, so I wiped it up before they could protest.  I told them I'd washed the floor last night and they said it was no problem for them to clean up any area that I'd missed.   We'd put appliance rollers under the fridge last night, so that was easy for them to move in and out of its spot.

It took them about 4 hours to complete the job - cutting and laying the tiles (Allura Locking vinyl tiles) and put 'beading' (a kind of border) around all the edges except where the kick plate will be under the cupboards.  At one stage Tiger peered around the corner to see what was going on, and I picked him up and put him down on the new floor.   He did one of those skidding turns and took off - we all laughed!

At this early stage we are very happy with the result, and having looked Allura Locking up on the web, they seem to have a fairly good reputation, so we'll see how it goes.  The pattern is called Travertine, and it actually looks better than it shows up in these photos.   It feels great to walk on, kind of soft and quiet, and it doesn't need scrubbing or polishing - just vaccum or sweep, then a damp mop. 
This was taken from the dining room looking toward the laundry.

Taken from the laundry looking toward the dining room.

We had the floor extended right through to the laundry, as the old floor did that.  It even makes the laundry look better!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Sunday night.

Thanks for your good wishes - I am feeling heaps better.  I'm lucky that I bounce back fairly quickly after those viruses, as long as I keep quiet for a few days (and that's very hard for me, lol).  So this weekend has been quiet, although we had an unexpected guest on Saturday.  One of Ken's nephews dropped into say hi after he dropped his current lady friend off somewhere else in Eltham.  We haven't seen A. for a few years as he is a sort of black-sheep-of-the-family bloke, and isn't mentioned much over at Ken's sister's place, so we don't ask.  Anyway, he is 49 now, and doing well for himself, so we had a lovely afternoon with the boys trying to impress each other with their cars, phones, etc.  

I have been drifting around the house doing bits here and there whenever I felt energetic, and I was pleased to have gotten all the washing done, that had been sitting around for a week.  Today I made headway on some stitching projects; finished a small quilt that only needed binding, and started a felt Xmas ornament in the shape of a plum pudding.  This is for a monthly challenge on a stitching forum I read, and it was supposed to be finished two weeks ago, but that's okay, it will be finished in the next day or two and I can then start this month's project.  

We were supposed to have the new floor laid on Tuesday morning at 7 am, but we got a phone call on Saturday from the floor people, asking if they could come on Monday instead.  Yes, they know it's a public holiday, but they have so much work on, they decided to work on Monday as well, to try and catch up.  I said  "that's fine, we'll be here, what time will you start?"  He asked what time suited us and I said about noon, and he agreed to that.  This afternoon Ken answered a phone call and said it was Harvey Norman again, wanting to know if they could come earlier.  I said "How much earlier?"  7 am was the reply, and I said "No!  too early, go away!"   More waffle on the phone between Ken and the floor man, and after he hung up he said they can't come any later than 7.30 am.  Grrr....oh well, at least it will be done, and I can call Cliff and say come on over any time now and finish off the kitchen!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Good timing!

Just as well the kitchen is up and running, because I have fallen in a heap!  Started sneezing and sniffing last night , so dosed myself up with good old garlic lemon juice and honey, but by this morning my throat was on fire, so I will be staying in bed for the next few days.  Want to be okay by Tuesday when the new floor will be laid, and Cliff will be here again the day after to fit my spice racks into the pantry, and finish off the last few bits.  Anyway, the weather is as miserable as I feel, so it won't be such a bad thing to stay put, and catch up with some reading.  I have a pile of library books to get through, including "Sapphire Skies" and "Goldfinch" , both very thick books!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Installation Day

The entire new kitchen was installed on Monday, including the three new appliances, so in theory we were all set to start cooking on Monday night.  But I hadn't started putting anything back into the cupboards and pantry, and faced with this lot in the spare room, we just heated a can of baked beans on the new stove and had that on toast for tea, then went to bed!

 Monday morning - our Kitchen King - Cliff - laughing over having his photo taken amid the mess!  Plumber in the background sorting out the new stove.

Cliff and his apprentice Jess, about an hour after the previous photo was taken.  They started at 7.30 am and finished at 7.15 pm. 

Pantry installed.  Love the cut out bits which means you don't lose stuff at the back.  Not necessary on the lower shelves because you can see over the top of everything.

Cliff is a very obliging fellow.  We had one of those telephone table/seat combos against the brick wall, but it would have been in the way as you can see the table and chair is much closer to the wall now.  So I asked if he could build a little cabinet for the phone and shelves for the books including a drawer for our keys (which were always lying around on the bench) and this is what he came up with.  How neat is that!

All the cupboards are in.  We were going to have the glass splash back covering the brick wall between the top and bottom cupboards but changed our minds.

Including my precious copper rangehood which everyone else wanted to scrap!  The splashback will be installed in a week or so, behind the stove, and all along the wall under the curtains and beyond.  It will make a big difference.

Pantry now stocked with food.

Looking from the laundry to the dining room.   The new floor is going to be light coloured vinyl tiles, and will make the kitchen look even brighter.  We will have the ceiling repainted, but will leave the oregon beams brown, as the beams are all through the house, and I think they look better if they are all the same.

Glass fronted cabinets now have my chicken dinner set, cups, mugs, glasses and other items of china and ceramics.  Microwave oven is next to the appliance cupboard, and the new small t.v. is in the other corner (on the left of the photo).

adopt your own virtual pet!