30 August 2010

Death by Doxie x Flickr Finds

Yes, my two doxies are completely adorable but I have to be honest and acknowledge that there are many handsome dachshunds in the world.  And also many people who take much better photographs than I do.  So in Death by Doxie x Flickr Finds I get to share some photos I wish I could have taken of my hounds.

These two - of the gorgeous Lucas and Otto - are from Nicolas Penna.  You can see more of his dog related work here.

ps. One of my all time favourite dachshund photographers is the Brisbane based Serenah Photography,  They have disallowed downloading of their work, so I can't do a blog post on them (well I could, but it would be all words), BUT you absolutely MUST go and have a look at their photos featuring Ralph, the mini dachshund here.  Or at least check out my personal favourites here, here and here (and here. Oh damn it the whole set is a favourite.  They'll make you laugh, they'll make you cry, they'll make you want to rush out and get a dachshund (and a really good camera)...

28 August 2010

Four days in Melbourne

Apologies for the total blog neglect but I have a good reason, I promise.  I just spent a weekend in Sydney with the step-sons and then four fabulous hectic days in Melbourne catching up with friends and family, so wonderful!  As typical of my Melbourne trips, it was a total food fest from start to finish - hurrah!

Some good things:
- Dinner at The Toff with my Mum and big sister, a seriously good family catch up.  And the food!  Freakin' amazing!  Fresh, flavoursome Thai influenced food in smallish to-share serves which let you sample lots of different dishes (my favourite way to eat!).  The spiced coconut, lime and lemongrass broth is heaven in a glass.  And the Thai inspired cocktails are equally delicious.
- Hanging out with my Mum's new dog Jack, who is a bundle of energy and quite the charmer.  (If Ferdi and Elfi are reading this, you know you are my favourite hounds...)
- Discovering some surprisingly good retail in my old hood (Kew), including Bingo Betty (note the lego light fixtures in the photo above)
- Spending time (though not nearly enough) with the nephews
- Lamb!  Lamb is rather scarce in Asia (it's all about the pig and the chicken here) so whenever we go back to Australia it's nice to indulge - lamb roast, lamb cutlets, lamb skewers...
- Taking my completely mad but seemingly happy Grandma to lunch at the McClelland Sculpture Park - I never knew this place existed but it is fabulous.  Beautiful native gardens full of sculpture, plus a gallery with interesting exhibitions and a lovely cafe.  If you're ever in Melbourne's south east it's well worth a visit.
- Raiding my Mother-in-law's fabric stash.  She's an avid quilter and has the most amazing fabric collection - a whole room full.  And she's currently de-cluttering so she let me loose in there.  Hurrah indeed!
- Lusting after all the mid-century modern goodness at 20th Century Scandinavia

ps. I also picked up a hideous head cold while I was there, not so good.  If you have any fail safe remedies for clearing sinuses please let me know.  I need help!

20 August 2010

Super Stationery Swap Surprise!

A little while ago I signed up for the Calico & Co Stationery swap.  It was organised by the fabulous (I think I use that word way too much, but I always mean it, I do!) Amanda Fuller who, by the way, has just launched her own fresh stationery line (you can have a look at her Etsy shop here).  Amanda has got to be the best swap host I have ever encountered, seriously - she gives great information and clearly cares about every participant and wants them to have a fabulous swap.

So the other day I was a wee bit excited when my swap package from the wonderfully talented (I'd say fabulously talented, but I'm rationing myself here...) Melinda arrived.  Melinda has her own line of fabric greeting cards (under the lovely name 'Here We Go Loopy Lou') and I am now the lucky owner of some!  I adore them!

Me + two million Koreans visit Busan

A few weeks ago I had the chance to tag along on one of my husband's work trips and head south to Busan, also known as Korea's 'summer capital'.  

We just happened to be there in the week that is the absolute height of the summer holidays, when local newspapers claim that 2 million tourists descend on Busan's five beaches.  2 million!  Really?  Whatever the numbers, it was quite a sight and gave the place a wonderful happy holiday atmosphere - most enjoyable, provided you don't actually want to get near the water.

[aside from it's beaches, Busan is also renowned for it's crazy fresh - as in still wriggling - seafood.  After witnessing a rather lively eel being 'prepared' for a diner at one of these seafood stalls, my squeamishness got the better of me...]

18 August 2010

Underground Shopping: Vinyl

Hidden under Seoul is a labyrinth of underground shopping centers.  These subterranean wonders begin to make a lot of sense as you swelter through a wet rainy summer; or start loosing the feeling in your fingers, nose and toes in the heart of winter.

Each of the underground shopping centers has a fascinating mix of goods for sale.  They also tend to very much specialise in particular items, with groups of shops selling the same things gathered together.  Among other things, the one closest to our apartment is full of shops selling vinyl records by the box load.

16 August 2010

Death by Doxie: The Vintage Edition

Meet Waldi, the official mascot of the 1972 Olympic Games held in Munich.  Waldi was designed by Otl Aicher who was clearly a genius.

Rightio, I'm off to scour eBay for some Waldi goodness.  Please, don't even think about out bidding me...

[images from here, here and here]

Etsy Spotlight*: Designed by Jane

*Etsy Spotlight - where I get to share some of my most favourite Etsy shops!

Firstly, let me say if you don't know about Designed by Jane then you clearly take no interest in anything I do on-line because when I stumbled upon this shop I was so beside myself with excitement I think I shouted it from every rooftop I could!  Seriously - aren't these the most breathtakingly beautiful brooches?  The colours!  The embroidery!  The attention to detail!  I own two of them and they are just as fabulous in real life.  Amazing.

[As a side issue, I would like to take this opportunity to say : Designed by Jane, your brooches would be a steal at double the price.  $12.50!  Are you kidding me?  Your work is worth way way more!  That is all.]

13 August 2010

A trip to the DMZ

[these ribbons carry messages of peace and reunification]

A few weeks ago we finally did the DMZ tour.  For those of you who don't know, the DMZ ('Demilitarized Zone') is a strip of land dividing North and South Korea - a no go zone that provides a buffer between the two countries who are technically (and sometimes in a very real way) still at war.  It is the tourist attraction for visitors to Seoul, but it is mainly the locals who flock to the DMZ each day (not surprising as Korea isn't exactly high on most traveler's 'must visit' list. Yet.), some of whom still have relatives in the North who they may not have seen for decades.

As a tourist attraction it is downright surreal and a little sad.  But it is also a strong reminder that this is a country still at war, still divided.  It captures perfectly the mixed up feelings of the South Koreans, who seem to be pulled in so many directions.  They retain their idealistic belief in reunification (a belief that feels slightly absurd to an outsider at times), but they are also (understandably!) wary of the North.  There is anger and there is pity but there is also an overwhelming sense that 'we are all Koreans, all one family'.

[despite the fog, tourist try to catch a glimpse of the North from a viewing platform]

[there was great fanfare and celebration when this train station opened - the first connecting the two Koreas and a symbol of reconciliation - but recent escalation of hostilities have meant that the station is not currently in use]

12 August 2010

Happy Birthday Joe!

It's Joe's birthday today - so we all say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
I hope he's had an awesome day x

[ps. do you like the card I made him?  I think it's genius, even if I do say so myself!]

11 August 2010

Death by Doxie: Goodnight from Elfi

When we welcomed our first dog - Ferdi - in to the family, my husband was we were determined to have him sleep on his own little bed preferably somewhere other than the bedroom, somewhere easy to clean. I think that lasted, oh, at least three nights.  He cried so much on the first two nights that our lovely neighbours bought him a big fluffy dog as a comforter (he still has it).

Having quickly broken our heart with his crying, we caved and moved Ferdi's little bed in to the bedroom.  And before long he was nosing me awake at 5 am and I'd sneak him in to our bed. And before long he was in our bed right from lights out.  And there's no going back from there...

So our second dog - Elfi - has always slept in our bed.  When she sees signs that it might be nearing bed time, she likes to get in their first and make a nest, a mound of pillows.  It looks so comfy, it almost seems a pity to disturb her.  Perhaps I should sleep on the floor?

[it seems dachshunds are known for wheedling their way in to ones bed, if this Flickr group is anything to go by :  A Dachshund In My Bed]

Hello Inside Out!

I am a certified magazine junkie.  Love them, collect them, tear pages out them, get inspired by them.

I've mentioned before that good cheese is rather pricey in Korea - well, compared to English language magazines, cheese is a bargain!  You can pay over AUD$20 for a stock standard fashion mag from the US here - yikes!  The good thing is that this has prompted me to get organised and set up subscriptions to some of my favourite Australian magazines - AGT, Frankie and Inside Out.

And it was a rather lovely treat to get the September/October issue of Inside Out in my mailbox and see my ridiculously talented sister featured!  Being on the other side of the world I can feel a bit isolated from my friends and family back in Oz, so something like this - complete with beautiful photos - is a nice little connector for me, and strangely reassuring.

I am the younger sister, and like all younger siblings I'm sure I was a total pain at times growing up.  I went through jealous phases and uncertain phases and my gosh - sometimes the fights we had were just so brutal...

But, despite all that, I think we have always been close.  And although having families of our own and living on opposite sides of the world makes it hard to always find that common ground, that link, I think we still do try to find it.  And that is so very important.

I was always in awe of my sister's creativity and talent growing up, and I still am.  Especially now she does it all with two children and a million distractions (including emails from me asking for blog banners and the like!).  Always inspiring.  In fact, seeing the photos of her house has inspired me to play around with some of my collections and displays - to play with size and scale a little more.  I might even do a post on it!  x

[you can see more from the article on Beci Orpin here, and also on her blog here]

10 August 2010

Connected again!

[amazing foxy photo by Rob Lee]

It's been three long days without the internet but finally, after phoning a friend who then did battle with the Korean internet company, I am once again connected to the world!  Hurrah!  I missed you all so much!

I seriously have about 25 posts lined up in my head - I just need to find the time to write them all (when I started this blog I promised the husband I would not blog when I was meant to be doing something else more useful and productive.  Ummmm, not so much.)

In the meantime - at our favourite Korean BBQ restaurant last night I had a beer shandy and I loved it! Lemonade + beer.  It was sweet and bitter and delicious and refreshing!  The perfect drink for the oh so hot Seoul summer.  Also, I think this means I am now officially a middle aged Australian woman...Hurrah?

03 August 2010

Back in the Habit

You may have noticed from the blog linky image thing on the side bar that I signed up for Back in the Habit over at the Potty Mouth Mama blog.  The basic idea is that we are all meant to pick something we want to be better at, do it everyday for the next 21 days and wallah!  We have a habit.

I mainly just signed up 'cos I really liked the image of the lovely Lexi as a nun.

Anyhoo, my things to do better are: commenting on two blogs and doing yoga daily. Today is day 3.   My progress?  Well, how many ways can I say total, complete and utter abject fail?

I'm feeling confident about the rest of the week though...

ps. even though it's day 3, I'm sure you can still join in the fun!

My cheese has a security tag on it...

...because that's how expensive good cheese is in Korea.

Korean food is delicious - Korean BBQ (we'd eat it every single night if my husband had his way), bibimbap (kind of Korea's answer to fried rice, but much fresher and tastier), the most flavoursome soup stocks I have ever had the privilege to eat.  But sometimes I get a bit over the pickled cabbage and the spicy tofu and I want to eat some good old comfort food - which for me absolutely must involve cheese.

In our last home - Hong Kong - we had access to city'super: a breathtakingly expensive supermarket that sold the best cheeses, cured meats and spices from all over the world.  In short, a foodies heaven.

In Korea...well...not so much (on the upside, the supermarkets here do have 30 kinds of red pepper paste...).  The shelves are stacked with processed cheddar slices and the always mystifying 'cheese sticks'.  And only if you're willing to take out a large loan and/or hand over your first born can you occasionally get your hands on some good mozzarella, or perhaps even a zesty reggiano.  So the other day I was overcome with joy to stumble upon a small pack of proper English 'extra mature' cheddar in my local supermarket!  Crumbly, tangy, tasty cheese! (And yes, it did have a security tag on it.)

Anyway, it made me think about the other foods I miss, the ones that are hard to come by in Korea.  Here's what came to mind:
- chickpeas (seriously!)
- tahini (I'm craving some steamed broccoli with rice and tahini at the moment...)
- Sirena tuna (yes there is plenty of tuna here, but nothing that even comes close to Sirena)
- a whole heap of fresh herbs: sage, thyme, flat-leaf parsley
- a whole heap of vegies: broccolini, lebanese cucumbers, witlof

Oh, and Twisties and Caramello Koalas would have been on the list too but the lovely Pepe - jewelry maker and mother of the step-sons - keeps our cupboards well stocked with those two necessities!

[image at the top by jtuason]

02 August 2010

Yo-yo crazy!

With the husband working so hard at the moment (boo!) I have had quite a few nights sitting on the couch crafting (hip hip hooray!) which has finally given me a chance to try out my yo-yo maker.  It's quite fun, making yo-yos, I think!

I'll be listing these brooches (and more) in the slightly neglected shop over the next few days.

Hope you like x