"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Friday, July 29, 2005

My New Blog - Patra's Other Place!

But it is not replacing this one. I decided to create a second blog for things other than my stitching and my linen collection, as Patra's Place is becoming a little unwieldy. So Patra's Other Place will now be the home of other interesting stuff such as swap cards, autograph books, photos of pets, Australian wildlife, etc., etc., etc. Please drop over in a few days time (give me time to scan and download stuff!) and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Calling all Apron lovers!!!

I finally got around to putting Linda's CD in my computer, logging into Picasa, and attempting to transfer the images direct from the CD to my blog. It worked! Well of course - there is no reason why it shouldn't have - just another example of my lack of confidence in high level technology - lol!! But back to business...
I have put nine aprons here - with sincere apologies to those people on dial-up. I'm afraid it will take a while to download, and probably use up your monthly allowance of megabytes or whatever..sorry. But once I started, I thought I may as well put a few online, otherwise I would be fiddling around for weeks on end if I did it one at a time. There are another 10 or so on the CD, but I will put them on in a few days time.
Enjoy! And please feel free to comment. I notice while actually in the process of downloading, Maggie Ann was sitting at her computer watching, and commenting as I went!

Stunning crinoline lady. I found this in an antique shop and was happy to pay an exhorbitant amount of money for it!
Posted by Picasa

Captain Cook's cottage, Melb. Australia. This is quite a talking point in my lectures. Part of it has been very nicely stitched, but the rest is very badly stitched - I tell people it must have been a mother/daughter effort...very small daughter!
Posted by Picasa

Unusual design, very fine stitching.
Posted by Picasa

Swan. This is about 75 years old. It was given to me by a lady who is now in her 80's and stitched this when she was about 12. It is all done in tiny, exquisite chain stitch.
Posted by Picasa

NOT applique! (or machine stitched) One of my favorites, due to the high quality stitching.
Posted by Picasa

Boy with donkey - looks like a European design.
Posted by Picasa

Not quite a crinoline lady, but still very pretty!
Posted by Picasa

Horse and carriage
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 25, 2005

My latest Chicken Scratch apron - doesn't the red thread give it new life!
Posted by Picasa

Table runner. Notice how the embroiderer has used varied shades of one colour for the dress - this is an excellent example of how my Colour Change sampler can be utilised.
Posted by Picasa

Second Lavender Girl cloth (only part of design unfortunately - can't fit it all in on the scanner)
Posted by Picasa

One of my new "Lavender Girl" aka Crinoline Lady tablecloths.
Posted by Picasa

What a week that was!

Last week was one of the good ones so far this year. The Antiques Roadshow ticket arrived, and so did a number of goodies I had won on eBay: Three stunning tablecloths - two Crinoline Ladies and one very unusual Scottish design, featuring bagpiper, Celtic dancer and scottie dogs, surrounded by a cross stitch pattern that looks just like a tartan. A table runner with an exquisite Crinoline Lady at each end, more assorted doilies, and two half-aprons, one embroidered with the ubiquitous chicken scratch/Swiss/Australian embroidery (!) This last one is really one out of the proverbial box - on dark blue gingham, the cross stitch is in white thread which has been laced with red thread - quite startling in appearance, but very pretty. 90+ year old MIL was staying with us this weekend, and she was most interested in this last apron - she said it was just like the ones she and her friends used to stitch for their glory boxes.
OK ladies - just be patient! I will scan everything in the next few days for all to see and enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It doesn't take much to make an old lady happy...

Remember the birthday card I stitched for my elderly Japanese friend? I put a picture on here a few days ago. Well, I took it around to her this morning, on my way to work. She was surprised to see me at first, but her face lit up when I gave her the card and wished her a happy birthday. Then she opened the card and said "ooohhh! You make? You make for me??" and when I said yes, she had tears in her eyes. It is nice to think such a small gesture can bring so much joy..

Friday, July 22, 2005

Chicken Scratch or Swiss Embroidery?

While I was looking for some inspiration for Pam Kellogg's teatowel challenge, and was leafing through a small book called "Easy To Embroider" by Anna Griffiths, I was astonished to find four pages devoted to what everyone here refers to as Chicken Scratch! To quote the first paragraph: This clever but simple technique - called Swiss Embroidery - is both pretty and practical. Here it is used for a table mat, but it can be used to decorate all kinds of household articles made of gingham. I have scanned the first two pages, then a close-up of the first page giving the instructions, but as you will see, I didn't do a very good job. I couldn't figure out how to rotate the scan so it would appear here the right way up, and as well as that, it isn't very clear - sorry! But I was quite excited to find this in one of my books, so I had to at least try! The book was published in 1991 by Anaya Publishers, London.

Close up of item about Chicken Scratch. Upside down - dammit! sorry...
Posted by Picasa

Article on Chicken Scratch in one of my books. Sorry this is sideways, don't know how to rotate it here.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

This is my Colour Change Sampler - showing the effects of blending four or five shades of a colour from darkest to lightest. All stitched using three strands, and mixing the shades to achieve subtle changes.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

HUGE excitement here at Patra's Place!!!

When I received a large manilla envelope from England in the mail today, I wondered who on earth was sending me a certificate of some kind - that is what it looked like. But within seconds, I was jumping around with excitement (I felt like yelling out WHEEEEEEE! but I was standing in the main street outside the post office). It was my ticket to the Antiques Roadshow to be held in Melbourne on 10th August. It appears that all the applications from Australians wanting to go on the show, actually went to the UK office of the Roadshow, to be vetted by the 'experts'. They obviously decided my linen was going to be worthy of their scrutiny! I am supposed to take five pieces only....how the heck am I going to choose out of five hundred?! Nah, it won't be a problem. They are looking for items that relate to Australia in particular, and I have some lovely linen that has Australian icons embroidered on it. When I have decided, I will post pictures here. But don't hold your breath - I could change my mind many times over the next 3 weeks!

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Oldies in my life.

Unlike so many people these days, I love my job. I love what I do, and the people I do it for. When I was nearly 16 years old, I started my first job doing office work. I never really liked what I did; it was never a career - just something I had to do to pay the bills! I continued doing various kinds of office work until I turned 51, and decided that it was time to retire, and get a life! I had wanted to do volunteer work with the aged for years, but never had enough time, so I took that on as soon as I quit work. I visited people in their homes, and others in nursing homes, and I loved doing it, although what I saw and heard at times nearly broke my heart. After six months, I was offered a part time job in one nursing home, and I took it on, staying until the place closed down.
Then I found this job working for the council and it suited me perfectly as the hours are flexible, i.e. I can decide which days I work, and how many jobs I do each day. I am a carer - I go to private houses and carry out various duties for the elderly and/or disabled people who live there. I can do housework such as vac and dust, mop floors, etc., as well as washing and ironing. I can also do their shopping, or take them to medical appointments. I am a certified Personal Carer, which means I can assist in bathing and dressing people who need help in that area. I can visualise most people reading this thinking "gosh she must be hard up for fun if she likes doing all that so much!" Well, I really don't mind any kind of housework - even my own. My house is not perfect by any means; it is clean without being spotless, and it is reasonably tidy, if not a showpiece! Looking after other people's houses is actually more fulfilling for me than sitting at a desk 9 to 5. I feel I am achieving something worthwhile, when my clients are so grateful to me for doing something they are unable to do themselves.
The down side of this job is seeing 'how the other half live'. I often say to my elderly clients "There are no surprises for me in my old age - having worked with so many of you, I know what is in store for me!" There are widows who have had several children, who in their turn have had children, and some of my clients even have great-grandchildren. But most of them rarely see these family members, except at Christmas if they are lucky. They sit alone in their homes, often in poor health, day after day, week after week, month after month, without phonecalls, letters or visits from their families. I get so angry and disgusted, but of course there is nothing I can do. Over the years, people have said to me "You'll be sorry you never had kids - nobody to look after you in your old age". Really?? HAH! I have living proof there is no guarantee that your offspring will care for you when you are old and sick.
I could write a book on what I have seen and heard in my work and volunteer duties in the last 5 years, but I would have to change a lot of names, and even then, anybody who felt guilty about the way they treat their parents would recognise themselves in a flash, and I would be in the courts for invasion of privacy or some other politically incorrect misdemeanour! So, I won't write a book. But I will from time to time when the mood is upon me, write in my blog a few lines about some of the people I care for and visit, because it is a very important part of my life, and I learn so much from these people, that I want to document it in some way. If it bores anyone who is a regular reader of Patra's Place, I make no apologies. This is MY blog! But keep coming back - there will always be new pieces of linen, swap cards and autograph books (that reminds me, I have some more of that to scan!)

A birthday card for a Japanese lady that I visit for a volunteer organisation. She is 90-something this week, so I decided to make something special for her.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

My latest linen acquisitions.

Here are the photos I mentioned last week, of the items I have either won on eBay, or found in the local op shop. There are a few more things that I haven't scanned yet - two pillow shams and two tea cosies, because I hadn't washed and ironed them at the time. I am expecting some more stuff from eBay shortly, so I'll include them in that lot.

This is the smaller doiley of the peacock duchess set.
Posted by Picasa

The larger doiley in a duchess set of three. Maybe not the best peacock you have ever seen stitched, but I liked it enough to add to my growing collection of embroidered peacocks - and they are all different!
Posted by Picasa

Child's apron. Plain stem stitch, but a sweet little design. I can just imagine a small person with this on, standing beside Mum in the kitchen asking if she can lick the beaters!
Posted by Picasa

Cushion cover. Couldn't get the whole thing under the scanner, but at least you can see the lovely stitching.
Posted by Picasa

My other new cloth - a supper cloth. A pair of oriental style fans in each corner, with the orange ribbon and daisies linking the corners. On crisp white cotton - this looks like it has never been used.
Posted by Picasa

This is a standard size tablecloth, with the budgies stitched in all four corners, on a cream coloured linen.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 09, 2005

NOT a good pic of Ken - this was taken about 15 years ago when he grew a beard just to see what it would look like! But a gorgeous photo of Patra and Smokey, who weren't good friends, but tolerated each other to keep the peace!
Posted by Picasa

This is our first beautiful cat Patra, when he was about 8 weeks old. He loved to get in our slippers.
Posted by Picasa

This is actually two photos on one scan. The top pic shows a mother brushtail possum with her baby on board. The bottom pic is a ringtail possum - a much smaller species than the brushtail.
Posted by Picasa

Dinner's on! Here are the Lorikeets on the feeding station Ken built for the birds. We put out apple and seed mostly, and bread for the doves and other non-native birds.
Posted by Picasa

Rainbow Lorikeets, lined up on the edge of the roof, waiting for some nibbles.
Posted by Picasa

Lots of photos to put on here!

Gee whiz, what an exciting Saturday night it has been for me. Hubby asleep on couch, animals stretched out in front of fire, and me at the other end of the house, going through boxes of photos to scan for my Blog. Well, it has been raining fairly steadily and is quite cold out there, so I guess I may as well be here as anywhere else. I have pictures of Patra (our first cat, of whom this blog is named in honour), lorikeets and possums on our feeding stations, and a few other pix that some of you have expressed interest in seeing. I have also scanned most of my latest linen acquisitions. Now I have to decide which to put on first. Despite now having unlimited download/upload access, I am loath to put everything on at once, as those of you who are on dial-up would have to sit for ages for it all to come across...I am very conscious of that, as it wasn't so long ago that we didn't have Broadband, and I hated it when somebody emailed me a great long heap of pictures, and I almost fell asleep waiting for them to appear on my screen! Think I will put the animals on first. It will make a nice change from my linen. I really should start another blog for all this. It totally defeats the original purpose of my blog, which was supposed to be for my stitching and linen collection. But there again, some of my favorite blogs run along the same lines, so I am not alone in my meanderings!

Friday, July 08, 2005

To our Friends in England...

I have spent most of tonight reading eBay's chatboards, both here in Oz and the UK. eBay is one of the first places on the net to find out what is going on around the world when there is a sudden disaster, as people in various time zones are on eBay 24 hours a day. The first message appeared on one of the UK message boards, minutes after the first explosion in London. Someone in Australia must have been reading the UK boards late at night (as I have done sometimes) and seen the thread about the bombings, and immediately put something on the Aust. board. It snowballed from there, and now there are hundreds of messages pouring into the UK eBay site from all over the world, expressing horror, sympathy and support.
People in Australia who weren't able to get on to rellies in England via the phone, put messages on eBay's boards, which were picked up by eBayers in the UK. These lovely Brits told the Aussies to email them with phone numbers, and they would try to make contact locally, which eventually, some of them did, much to the relief and heartfelt gratitude of the Aussies.
Things like this renews my hope for the human race. For all the terrible things that a minority of humans do to each other, I am firmly convinced that the majority of us are decent caring humans.
Did anyone ever read the open letter from Australia to the Bali bombers? Well, somebody in London has written a similar one to their terrorists, and it was on the UK eBay message board. I have copied it to my hard drive, but am reluctant to publish it here, because the language may offend some people - mind you, the people is meant for deserve more than just swear words! To all my British Blog Readers - keep your chin up. You are renowned for getting on with your lives when you are under attack, and renowned for helping each other in extreme difficulty. You have many friends here in Oz, who are thinking of you and praying to their God whoever He or She may be. Hang in there, and peace be with you.

More goodies from eBay (and another dent in the bank account)

My eBay purchases come in fits and starts. I check out the Collectables and Textiles categories on eBay most days. Sometimes I can go for a week and find nothing that excites me, but other times, there will be a dozen items every day that I add to my Watched list, until it overflows and I have to make up my mind if I really want these things (or can really afford them), or just let them go. I probably let most of them go, as unless I come into a huge inheritance or win the lottery, I do not have enough money to bid for everything I would like to. Not only that, we don't have a big enough house to store all that I would like (we would if the Other Half would allow me to make major renovations to one end of our house, and we can't afford that either).
So, what arrived in my mail box this week? From the USA, a set of three doilies with the most exquisite peacocks embroidered on them. There were a dozen crocheted doilies as well but as I don't collect them, they will be going to a good home elsewhere. From local sources: A cushion cover that is about three quarters finished. It is an old fashioned cottage with the usual hollyhocks and daisies around it, all beautifully stitched. Just needs a bit of grass and leaves done to finish it off. I was visiting one of my elderly friends today and showed her. She said hopefully "Are you going to finish it soon?" I crossed my fingers behind my back and said "Of course!" Another cushion cover arrived a few days before, but this one is finished. It has autumn leaves and daisies on it, so pretty.
A child's apron, with a little girl and her skipping rope. The lady who sold this to me apologised by email for the fact that it would be posted in a large flat envelope, because she had starched it so heavily, it couldn't be folded into a smaller size!
Two simply stunning tablecloths - well, one tablecloth and one smaller suppercloth. The tablecloth has a pair of budgies perched on a branch with pink blossom, hand embroidered in each corner. I have another cloth with red robins stitched on it, so they will make a nice pair to display when I give my next talk on my collection. The supper cloth has an unusual design, at first glance Oriental, but at a closer glance, it is just a very intricate design, finely stitched.
Then, a rare find - a Carver cloth. I had heard of them but until now, had not seen one on eBay. It is a 50 x 80cm white linen cloth with a carving knife and fork embroidered in the centre. I understand from some of my books that these were used on the dining room table, for the dish containing roast meat to sit on, so it wasn't on the actual table surface or table cloth.
I have been lucky at the Opshops this week too, for a change. Today I found two teacosies, two pillowshams and a tapestry which hasn't been started. I don't normally buy tapestries at all, but this was titled "Geisha" and was so ugly, for 50c I had to buy it, just to show my elderly Japanese friend for a laugh! Most serious cross stitch and embroidery Geisha pictures are absolutely gorgeous, but this thing...ugh! My friend agreed with me! I will get the scanner going this weekend and put some photos of my new acquisitions on here then.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Antiques Roadshow coming to Australia!

For those who are fans of the English "Antiques Roadshow", if you didn't already know, they are coming out to Oz in August. I used to love watching the show on Foxtel, but there were so many repeats, I stopped watching after a while. I first heard about the proposed Australian visit on the Collectables Message board on eBay. There will be one day in Sydney and one day in Melbourne. The Lifestyle Channel invited people to apply for tickets, and submit details of what they want valued. They indicated a preference to items pertaining to Australia. So I applied, and listed five of my favourite pieces of linen that commemorate Australian events, such as the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 and the Royal Visit in 1954. I received an email from Lifestyle Channel today, acknowledging my application, and saying they had received thousands of applications, and would be sifting through them all this month to choose which ones to invite to the shows.
I have no idea what my linen collection is worth; in fact when people ask me, I tell them it is priceless, and I mean that in the true sense of the word. How do you put a price on something that was handmade so many years ago, and is possibly only one of perhaps half a dozen still in existence? I haven't even got it insured, as again, nobody can put a price on these items. Things like coins, stamps, silver and china have defined values in the antique and collectable market, but linen has its value in the eye of the beholder. The only people that truly appreciate its worth are those who have stitched themselves.
The reasons I don't bother even trying to insure my linen is that firstly, if our house burnt down, I could never replace the linen for any amount of money, so why bother even taking out extra insurance? The second reason is, if anybody was thinking of breaking into our house, I doubt very much if they would steal a bunch of tablecloths and doilies!! People that rob homes aren't looking for that kind of thing, and even if they did, they wouldn't know where to take it to sell quickly. So again, there isn't much point in insuring against theft.
Ho hum, I got side tracked again, didn't I? Ah, the Antiques Roadshow...what a buzz it would be to get on there - just the atmosphere with all those other people showing their bits and pieces - what fun!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Crinoline lady swap cards for Meggie Cat

Here they are as promised, Meggie Cat. Well, some of them anyway. I have several hundred like this, but it is 2.30am and I am getting a tad tired! Seriously, I hope you enjoy these images. Wouldn't some of them make fabulous embroidery designs!! The talented and creative people who visit Patra's Place will no doubt think of exciting things to do with these pictures - I would love to hear some of your ideas!

Last four cards for tonight.
Posted by Picasa

And four more. The top two are almost like a stained glass picture with the colours so clearly outlined, aren't they?
Posted by Picasa

Two cards this time, as the design is so tiny, I thought it might be better with just two that can be magnified to a bigger image if need be.
Posted by Picasa

Three crinoline ladies, one Dandy!!
Posted by Picasa

Crinoline lady swap cards
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Can a Blog run out of space?

I find it hard to believe that one can upload and download all these pictures etc. and not pay one cent for the priviledge. Well, that is not strictly correct; we have just altered our ISP plan from a maximum of Something which cost us $55 per month, to an Unlimited plan for $64 per month. Since I discovered Blogging, our usage skyrocketed and our monthly ISP charge was over $70, so I thought it prudent to upgrade. But isn't it amazing that people all over the world can put all this stuff online for all to see, and apart from your ISP charge, it costs nothing. Can you imagine how much it would cost to print all this stuff and mail it to all the people who look at your blog? Guess I am showing my age again...kids these days think nothing of it - they just take it for granted. I can't. I keep thinking of things to put on here that people have asked for, i.e. photos of my linen collection, patterns for aprons, sketches from the Autograph Book, and now Meggie Cat has expressed interest in my swap cards - Crinoline ladies in particular. So, getting back to my original question - is there a limit, or can we go on forever?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Lessons in advanced computing.

Today, I spent the afternoon with S. (The Blank Page). A short time ago, she tried to teach me the finer points of blogging, i.e. adding links etc., but my brain simply shut down at the mention of HTML - all those odd signs and words! A few months ago, Linda (Chloe's Place) had also had a go at showing me but I wasn't ready for it. However, today it was cold and wet outside, a good day to stay indoors and learn something useful. S. had printed a copy of her blog's template, and she was able to show me what it all meant in relation to what actually appears on the screen. Bit by bit, it started to make sense, and finally, I was able to write some 'plain English' instructions for myself that I would be able to follow once I got home. So here I am at nearly 1 am - eyes propped open with matchsticks, but very pleased with myself, and grateful to S. for her patience. I have successfully added my favourite blogs to the list on the right here, and also have made links where I have used other Bloggers, so people reading my posts can click on names to go straight to another blog. A BIG THANK YOU! to S. - I owe you a cuppa for this! I should mention here that Linda did a lot for my blog when she was here, apart from showing me HTML stuff. She set me up with the Stats Counter and I am very grateful to her too - it has some fascinating information available, including links to the websites where people came from to find me! Quite amazing to see what kind of people are watching me...bit spooky sometimes! But I also found some really neat blogs including the last two on my new list - for Cat Lovers Only, I should warn you!