29 October 2010

I may be turning in to a chipmunk...

[Gorgeous chubby cheeked chipmunk photo from Brian Kushner]

...and I'm not necessarily talking about the chubby cheeks.

It's turned cold here in Seoul, literally overnight.  One minute you couldn't figure out how to dress because it was a little chilly in the morning but beautifully sunny and a tiny bit warm during the day, and then BAM!  It got cold.  Proper my-ears-hurt, I-knew-I-should-have-worn-another-layer, my-nose-feels-like-it-might-fall-off cold.  And I got cooking.

It started with a giant batch of leek and zucchini soup.  Very yummy and so easy to make, and you could make it with pretty much any vegetable combo you wanted.  The key to good flavour is to sweat your veggies first - throw whatever you want in the pot (I used some garlic, a brown onion, and a ton of leeks and zucchinis) with a bit of butter, then put the lid on and let it gently cook on a low heat for 15 minutes or so, giving it a good stir every so often.  After that, add your stock, some fresh herbs (maybe some parsely or oregano or thyme?) and cook for a bit.  Once done, blend to whatever consistency you fancy and freeze.  You can add a bit of milk when you reheat the soup to make it a bit creamy (I did), just make sure the soup doesn't boil.  Easy, huh?

Delicious and nutritious!

Then things really got serious the other day when I made a rather giant batch of bolognese.  Some of it stayed that way, perfect for last minute pasta meals, and some of it got turned in to lasagnas, including a couple of single serve ones in some tiny little Le Creuset pots that I am a bit excited about right now.

Yum!  I want to go reheat one right now...

Does this happen to you too?  When the weather turns chilly do you turn part chipmunk? Are you overcome with a desire to stock your freezer to overflowing?  What are your favourite freezer-friendly recipes?  I'd love to hear them!

[ps. Can you spot Elfi lurking about the stove, hoping a giant pot of bolognese just happens to fall?]

26 October 2010

Death by Doxie

Just the hounds, lounging around.  In the, um, lounge.  

[ps. look at Ferdi's sad eyes!  Awwww!]

24 October 2010

Happy Sunday!

Have you heard about Softies for Mirabel?  It's organised by the most awesome Pip, from Meet Me At Mikes.  Basically, you make a softie, send it to Pip, and she makes sure it finds it's way to one of the Mirabel kids who need a smile and something to cuddle.  Mirabel do amazing work with kids who have been abandoned or orphaned as a result of their parents drug use.  Softies for Mirabel is a very good thing, and you should definitely get involved - you can get all the details here

I sent some softies to Pip last year, but I was still in my sewing infancy and I feel a bit bad because I don't think they were very good.  This year I decided to have a bit of fun, and make something new and sunny and playful and colourful.  So, here's the first of my Softies for Mirabel - do you like her? I'm going to make some more, I think!

And also, today is my sisters birthday!  Life has been a bit crazy this past month, so I am totally disorganised and haven't even sent her a card.  So bad.  Help me feel less bad by going to her blog and wishing her a fabulous birthday, ok?  

21 October 2010


Yesterday I was feeling a bit flat, but today is a new day people!

Do you remember a little while ago I mentioned the Creative Collective's Spring craft project?  Well, here's my spring inspired piece!  The design is based a little bit on the stylised blossoms you often see featured on kimonos and origami paper.  Do you like it?  I do!

And ps. you have until October 30th to submit your Spring inspired pieces, so it's not too late to join in!

20 October 2010


I probably shouldn't be blogging today, seeing as the blog is called 'Good Things' and I'm kind of feeling the opposite of that...but it's my blog and I'll be heavy hearted if I want to.  So there.

I had such fun with my Mum in Seoul over the past few days, and I am loving Korea more than ever, but she flew out this morning and the time goes so very fast and I am no good at goodbyes and life gets back to normal so quickly.  So I am feeling a bit flat.  And then seeing her makes me miss the rest of my family heaps - especially my sister and my nephews (that's Ari up there - don't you just want to give him a big squeeze?).  I wonder if Beci could fly Ari over for a quick visit?  Just an hour or two, then I'd be ok?

And then one of my most cherished friends, who I've known forever (almost literally) is dealing with all kinds of heavy hearted things with her dad, and it's looking a bit grim.  And she's been doing this all on her own, because  her siblings are interstate and overseas.  And I'm sitting in Seoul feeling useless and wishing I could do something, anything.  And thinking about my loved ones and wandering what if something happens to them and where will I be?  By their side, I'd hope?

All futile worries, pointless indulgences, floating concerns.  But they do make me feel a bit flat.

So I think I will tell you all that I love you, maybe package up some good things to post to some of you, and then do something simple and reassuring, like make lasagna or sew some felt or talk to my husband or hug my dogs.  Or all of the above.

What do you do, when you're feeling a bit flat?

17 October 2010

Death by Doxie

I think dachshunds might be a bit like cats in that they always seem to find the nicest, warmest spot in the house to lounge about.  Here's Elfi and Ferdi making the most of the autumn sun.

12 October 2010

Good Things...

First up - my mum is coming to town (that's her in the photo up there)!  I am so very excited, I can't possibly express how much!  Not only do I get to spend some quality time with my Mum, who is pretty damn cool, but I also get to show her around my new 'hood - take her to our favourite pretty spots and my favourite shops and our regular restaurants!  Oh my gosh it's going to be SO MUCH FUN!  She arrives Thursday: HOORAY!  (I may burst with excitement before then though.)

The photo of my Mum was taken in a seriously crazy flea shop just off Cat Street (aka Lascar Row), on Hong Kong Island.  And speaking of Hong Kong...

...the husband and I just spent a weekend there, the first time we've visited since we moved.  It was great fun to be traveling in a city we knew so well.  We got to see some old friends and go to some of our most favourite restaurants in the world (and perhaps I may have done a teeny tiny bit of shopping).  We stayed in a pretty cool hotel called East.  It's new and sleek with great service and great value - it's a little way away from the normal tourists haunts but it was really rather lovely.  I took a heap of photos so I might do a blog post on it one day.  

The weekend reminded me that Hong Kong is seriously one of my absolute favourite cities in all the world. Aside from the harbour, which is quite spectacular, there is the wonderful mix of old and new and that Blade Runner feel it gets on a misty evening and the constant unexpected finds (like the natural beauty of the South side of the island; or the crafty shops in the 'burbs).  All the cliches are true - it's bustling, vibrant, constantly 'on'.  And it's so very (and proudly) Cantonese, and yet still a true world city (in fact, after 6 months in Korea, Hong Kong feels like a veritable cultural melting pot!).

This is a very small selection of Uniqlo's Heattech range which I am currently obsessed with.  I've been gearing up for winter and it's been the perfect solution.  I can't seem to go within 10 meters of a Uniqlo store without buying something from the Heatech collection.  So far I've got full sets of thermals for the whole family, leggings, neck warmers, gloves and (yes!) leg warmers.  I am actually really looking forward to the super cold weather now.  Seriously.

We did a quick trip to Seoraksan National Park with the boys when they were here and oh my gosh is it beautiful (even in the rain)!  I'm going to take my Mum there for a night too, so more photos and information to come.  In the meantime, have a look at some of these images of Seoraksan on Flickr - so gorgeous, right?

And last, but definitely not least, I've fallen in love with the gorgeously soft and sweet photos over at life through the lens.  Beautiful, yes?

09 October 2010

Christmas? Already?

As I've recently discovered, part of being an Etsy seller is actually thinking beyond the next fortnight - I'm starting to get why retailers are always living a month or two ahead of anyone else.  So, whilst it might seem early to start talking all things festive - it's not!  I promise!

Newly listed in my card shop are a range of 'Festive Lights' greeting cards, based around photos of Christmas lights taken on various travels.  This one is my personal favourite - the lights were street decorations in Andorra (a tiny country in Europe, sandwiched between France and Spain).  You can find this card, and a whole bunch of other quality photo greeting cards, here.

Oh, and if you tell me your favourite in the comments below, I might even send it to you.  But only if you're nice.

[ps.  one postive side effect of all this is I've actually started my own xmas shopping!  Seriously!]

07 October 2010

When the cat's away...

[ridiculously gorgeous photo by Carl Carl]

A little while ago Jodie over at Mummy Mayhem wrote a blog post about not sleeping and not eating well when her husband goes away.  

As you may have gathered, my husband travels.  A lot.  It's been that way since before we got together, and I actually kind of like it.  It gives me a chance to not eat steak and to watch So You Think You Can Dance.  And to catch up on blog reading and twittering and crafting and generally indulge my anti-social, slightly selfish tendencies without having to worry that I am perhaps a very bad and neglectful wifey.  

I sometimes joke that when he retires we'll have to take turns in staying at a hotel for a night every now again, just so we don't drive each other completely crazy have a chance to miss each other.  I absolutely adore my husband - he is the smartest, wisest, funniest person I know, my best friend, my better half - but I do treasure my occasional nights alone, probably more so than I'd be prepared to admit out loud.  (Though actually we did just spend one whole continuous month together and it was so awesome!).

Anyhow (get to the point Emily...) Jodie's post made me think about the way my behaviour changes when the husband is away.  It's the strangest thing because when he's here, I'm always campaigning for a reasonable bed time, because he always wants to stay up late and watch funny things and talk about the world.  But when he's away I have to really focus in order to get to bed before 1am.  It's like I have a bunch of nervous energy; or like I'm a bit at sea, rudderless without our routine.  And it turns out that when he's away from me he goes to bed early.  It's like some weird topsy-turvy world.  Bizarro huh?

06 October 2010

Creative Collective: Craft Project - Spring

Have you heard about the Creative Collective?  It's a bunch of creative bloggers who have joined together to bring fun craft projects, swaps, giveaways and more to their readers.  It includes some of my favourite Australian crafty bloggers (like Amanda of Calico and Co and Jess of Epheriell Designs). You can read more about the Collective and see the full list of bloggers involved here.

The group have just launched their first project.  To join in, just make something which celebrates Spring (appropriate for you Southern Hemisphere types!).  You can then share your creation via their Flickr group or their Facebook page and you might even get featured on one of the blogs!  Hurrah!

It's things like this - which are all about collaboration, encouragement, support - that make me feel warm and fuzzy about the crafting blogging community.  I'm pretty excited to see how the Creative Collective develops.  So, despite the crisp Autumn air in my part of the world, I'm jumping in with some Spring notebook designs (I'm getting my craft on tonight as a matter of fact).  You should join in too! Get all the details here.

04 October 2010

Biking, bears and something else starting with 'b' (that I haven't thought of yet...)

I know this blog is turning into a bit of a 'things to do in Korea' travelogue at the moment, but it is school holidays and we do have two ridiculously active kids to entertain.  However, the step-sons are heading back to Sydney tonight (*sad face*) for some Australian school holiday fun.  So, only a few more things-to-do-in-Korea posts and then I'll be back to some normal posts about, well, nothing much...

Super fun things we did last week:

1. Biking in Yeouido

Aside from being a  front-runner in the 'hardest Seoul suburb to pronounce' awards, Yeouido is also an island on the Han River with a heap of great parks and immaculate bike paths.  If you don't own a bike, no problems, there are rental places everywhere.  3,000 KWN (about 3.00 AUD) will get you a bike for an hour - at that price don't be expecting things like gears, suspension or helmets.  Mine did have a basket though, which I was quite happy about.

After duly instructing the boys to please not fall off the bike and to please not get concussion, we spent a rather pleasant hour riding along the Han River Park.  And if bike riding isn't your thing, there's also play grounds, paddle boats (in the shape of swans!  yes!) and floating chicken and beer joints (so awesome!).

2. Bears at Everland

I wrote about our first trip to Everland a little while ago, but it was a rainy grey day and half the rides where closed and there were some things we wanted to do - so we went back.  The second trip proved two things: theme park food is universally appalling; and that Everland is a bit light on in the rides department (fine by me!), but it is heavy on in the amazing animals stakes.

This visit we paid 150,000 KWN (about 150 AUD) for the 'special' safari experience.  Basically the extra dosh gets you 15 minutes or so in a 4WD type safari car (fitted with cages over the windows) with a guide who drives you around and introduces you to all the animals.  You get to feed tigers and giraffes and bears.  Typically, our Korean driver apologised for not speaking English and then preceded to tell us everything we could possibly want to know. In English.  The tigers were beyond impressive, the giraffes just beautiful, the elephants spoke Korean (seriously!) and the bears were surprisingly intelligent and entertaining (ever seen a bear do yoga?).

If you don't like zoos, this is obviously not for you.  But if you don't mind them as a way to get up close and personal with some animals you'd probably never see in 'real life' - this was one of the coolest things we've ever done and I'd highly recommend it.  

3. The third 'b'?  Still haven't though of it.  I did want to do some baking (a banana loaf actually), but haven't got around to it yet.  I've been drinking the odd beer?  And reading some books?  Any other suggestions?  Oh, and how are your school holidays going, if you're in the midst of them?

02 October 2010

Etsy Spotlight*: Little Beehive

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

How have I not known about Little Beehive until now?  It's the Etsy shop of Melbourne freelance illustrator Bee, and it features her mid-century influenced designs on gorgeous greeting cards, invitations and even colour-in cards.

She also has a super cool blog too where she features a bunch of other talented artists, as well as her own work (including some free downloads - hurrah!).  

Can you guess which design is my favourite?!

01 October 2010

Death by Doxie: The Copyright Infringement Edition

Our apartment block is quite literally surrounded by stalls selling clothes for dogs.  And seeing as the winter is actually really cold in Seoul I do actually have to buy them clothing (True! I read it on-line somewhere. A dogs body temperature can drop quicker than ours.  If they are out in cold wind.  And not a husky.  Or something.).

The weird thing is I never knew Ralph Lauren, Adidas and Gucci made so many dog clothes.  Or that their seller of choice was the elderly Korean 아줌마 ('ajumma')...

This is Elfi telling me how much she loves wearing clothes.  And to go ahead and buy that little bee outfit I've had my eye on.  Your wish is my command, Elfi.