30 January 2011

Road trip!

Next week we are going on our first Korean road trip!  I am so very excited!  I adore a road trip, the flexibility and freedom that it gives you (plus you don't have to worry about lost passports and over-weight luggage).  

Some of my all-time favourite travel memories are from road trips.  Spying emus running beside the car near the Grampians in Victoria; seeing the wild sea as we sheltered from a storm during a camping trek up the Australian coast; laughing hysterically as we rounded the roundabout one more time, trying in vain to make sense of the crazy Italian road signage.  Oh yes, and then there was the time I realised the reason we kept getting lost was because I was looking at a map for an entirely different part of the country.

We'll be traveling during the new year holiday, when traditionally everyone heads back to their home town, so that'll add a whole other layer to our trip.  I'd like to say I'll be posting as we drive, but the anti-wasting-time-on-line husband may curtail that.  Never mind, I've got a ton of fun stuff planned for the blog while I'm away!

29 January 2011

Hello there!

Hello!  I'm still here!  Are you still here?  Things have been a little bit quite of late, life does tend to get in the way of blogging sometimes.  

There's been lots of good things going on: playing with paper, hanging out with the step-sons (and waving a sad goodbye to their long Australian-summer school holidays), and then we went skiing for a few days at Konjiam which was kind of amazing because it is literally about 60 minutes drive from our apartment!  It's a fairly small resort but so close, and the snow was great and the food delicious. And the slopes are pretty much open all night - quite the novelty watching car loads of people turn up to start skiing just as we are finishing dinner!  The photo above was taken from the warm comfort of our hotel room, while we sat mesmerized watching the very talented Korean snowboarders, who were just warming up at 11pm.  I love living in Korea!

And there's been a few not-so-good things going on too, mainly my Dad's been a bit sick which makes me feel very far away.  It would be so nice to visit him right now, or at least just be around Melbourne-town so I could help my sister and Raph with everything.  I don't love living in Korea. Sigh.

Anyway, there is a giveaway afoot!  And a road trip to boot!  And things to make!  And photos to take!  And I seem to have come over all Play School, must mean it's time to go...

24 January 2011

Death by Doxie: New Years Eve

Yes, I know January is nearly over.  And no, I have no idea how that happened either.  But anyway, here are a few dachshund shots, taken on New Years Eve when I was annoying everyone by playing with my new camera instead of drinking, making resolutions and/or anxiously anticipating the count down.

That's Ferdi up there, looking sad as he often seems to.  You can see my precariously balanced martini in the background.  

And that's Elfi down there, with Ferdi's furry leg.  When Ferdi overheats, as he often does, he sits half on the couch and half on the foot rest so that his belly and hind legs hang in the breeze.  It is ridiculously cute.

ps. I noticed with some excitement today that I hit fifty wonderful blogger blog followers!  That's a number I never imagined when I started this little blog, and I thank all of you for reading, commenting or just taking a passing interest in my ramblings.  I really do appreciate it.  

And to show you how much I appreciate it, I have a giveaway planned, just as soon as I get organised (I will get organised, I promise).  It's going to be AWESOME!  Stay tuned.

23 January 2011

Etsy Spotlight: Wags and Wiggles

Like most pets, our two dogs love a good chew on a dog toy (or a slipper, or father-in-laws expensive leather shoe, or the contents of my handbag...).  Unfortunately most dog toys present a challenge for the aesthetically minded pet owner, with most reeking of over-the-top cute or showcasing seriously offensive colour combinations.  

So thank goodness for Wags and Wiggles - handmade dog and cat toys that are sturdy, fun for your pets and also (hurrah!) easy on the eye.  The toys have just the right amount of quirk, don't you think?  I gave them as xmas presents to a variety of furry friends, and they went down very well (except that my Mum liked them so much she almost couldn't bear to hand them over to her mutt!).

Etsy Spotlight is the Good Things* seal of approval.  Read more here.  And see all the posts here.

21 January 2011

The View From Here: Small Things

Ok, I think I'm a little late with this one (though I may have just scraped in to meet the one week deadline), but appreciating the small things and macro photography are two things very dear to my heart, so I couldn't resist posting in this (last?) weeks The View From Here challenge - small things.

We have lots of little treasures around the house - miniature figurines dotted about, and stacks of wonderful origami thanks to the youngest step-son.  It was actually trickier than I thought it would be to take visually interesting or 'good' photos of these small things (and it's made me really want to get a macro lens!  Oh dear!).  Anyway, here's the best of the bunch.  I might repeat this exercise when I've got to know my camera a bit more, see if I improve...

20 January 2011

Crafting the New Year

One of my favourite things about living in Asia is that you get two new years.  That means twice the renewal, twice the fresh starts, twice that sense of every-thing's-going-to-be-better-from-here-on-in - hurrah!  Near the beginning of February is the transition from the Year of the Tiger to the Year of the Rabbit.  The Year of the Rabbit is meant to be all about calm, peacefulness, diplomacy and negotiation.  Here's hoping (or hopping?).  

The past few nights I've been having a a bit of rabbit-y fun creating new years cards and gifts for some of our friends back in Hong Kong.  As I've mentioned before, we currently live opposite one of the biggest markets in Seoul - Namdaemun Market - and the paper craft and gift wrap supplies available there are so very good.  Every time I  visit I always walk away excited and inspired (and with a giant bag full of ribbons...).  It's my kind of heaven!

16 January 2011

If you're a vegetarian, look away now...

...because there's a whole lot of meat in this post.

First up, let me explain that my husband is a little like Rob, the dentist.  Not in that he is a dentist (he isn't), but in that I can't show you his face.  The husband doesn't really 'get' the internet, outside of where it provides immediate usefulness and/or entertainment, and I promised when I started the blog that I'd spare him.  I'm thinking of referring to him as Rob from here on in, but it might confuse newcomers.  And also my husband might one day actually read my blog (at the moment he claims it crashes his laptop any time he tries to open it...) and then he might get a bit confused as to who this Rob guy I'm hanging out with is.  Anyway, hands.  Not faces.

With the ridiculously cold winter South Korea is having, we have gone a little roast crazy.  We often do a roast beef with all the trimmings, and have got the meal to a near state of perfection.  In fact, it's been rated a three Michelin star meal*.   But we thought with a new year we'd try a new meat, so last weekend we did our first proper roast lamb.  With yorkshire puddings (cooked in bacon lard!), peas, cabbage and bacon (the perfect combination!), gravy and mint jelly (I am still not 100% convinced on the mint jelly, but the husband won't let us eat lamb without it).  Delicious.  And the best bit is there's been lots of tasty lamb leftovers all the past week!

Here's the husband's hands at work preparing the lamb with salt, pepper, oil, garlic and rosemary:

Lamb leftovers with lots of seeded mustard, a greek salad and crusty bread - a perfect meal for one. We also had crusty rolls, warmed in the oven, with roast lamb, rocket and mint jelly but they got eaten before I had a chance to take a photo...

*As far as we know the meal has not actually been officially rated by a Michelin guide inspector.  It has been rated by my husband who thinks he should be a Michelin guide inspector. 

13 January 2011

New in store: gift tags!

I've been madly making gift tags the past few nights - oh what fun!  I love the process of coming up with different combinations, playing around with variations on shape and colour.  Plus - these are the first product shots with my fancy-pants new camera.  Am I happy?  Yes, I am!  It's going to be a good year for craft, me thinks!

Also, most of you are no doubt aware of the mad crazy floods happening in Australia at the moment, some of you may even be dealing with the mess of it all right now.  I know there are all kinds of horrible things going on all over the world all of the time, and there's only so much we as individuals can do.  But there is something about it being in my home country and affecting people and places I know that does pull at the heart strings more than usual.  And every little bit of help does indeed count.

If you feel like doing your bit to help the soggy people and animals of Queensland there's a ton of ways you can.  Here's a few links to get you started:
Give dollars here.
Give dollars to help animals here.
Buy handmade stuff here.
Donate handmade stuff to sell here.

UPDATE: I see the wonderful Lexi at Pottymouthmama has a post with some extra links to giveaways and events targeted at raising funds for QLD.  Have a look here.

And Pip at Meet Me At Mikes has a fantastic round up of everything that's going on in the field of flood fundraising here.

Plus - ANZA Korea are dedicating their first Global Cafe event to help with fundraising efforts.  Find the details here.

08 January 2011

Good Things...

This morning I woke up to sunshine and snow!  A light dusting of fresh stuff on the balcony, a few stray flakes falling and the gentle warmth of the winter sun.  A perfectly gorgeous start to the weekend, just when the Korean winter was starting to drag a bit...

...and speaking of the long, cold winter (it very rarely gets above zero degrees Celsius at the moment), having survived my first month I promise to never ever speak disdainfully of earmuffs again.  They might look a bit silly, but gosh they are actually damn sensible.  Life (ear?) savers. These beauties are from Muji.  I love Muji.  I have been slowly growing my earmuff collection, as I keep leaving the house without them and then am forced to pick up a pair when my head starts to go all tingly with the cold. (ps. if any of you know how I can get my hands on the Muji x LEGO goodies I would be eternally grateful...)

I know it wasn't on my list of creative goals for 2011 but I have got to try sashiko this year. Sashiko (which, according to Wikipedia, literally means 'little stabs'!) is a kind of Japanese embroidery, and to me it is everything wonderful and good.  I can't wait to give it a go.  I think this introductory how-to from The Purl Bee will be a good starting point.  (Photo is from good-ness, whose photostream I have just fallen in love with.)

Korea has some great lifestyle / home decor magazines that I regularly buy and drool over.  This kids rooms is from the January issue of Lemon Tree - isn't it great?  I especially love that tree-shelf. My dream craft room would look a bit like this, I think.  But with way more storage.  Way more.

As you might expect, my sister has a knack for getting me ace presents.  This amazing paper-craft book was part of my xmas package.  Every page is bursting with seriously good stuff.  Thanks sis!

06 January 2011

Owl brooches

My mum recently asked my to make eleven owl brooches to hand out to a group she's been doing a course with (the owls symbolise wisdom gained!).  I was quite pleased with the end result.  For some reason I especially like variations on a theme - things that are the same but different.

I have a few spares to finish off for the Etsy shop, however considering that one of my goals for 2011 is  'taking advantage' of the time I have, I'm going to go slowly with them and think about ways to make the brooches extra special, maybe with some extra embellishment and embroidery.  Stay tuned!

04 January 2011

Death by Doxie: The Etsy Edition

My inner geek is urging me to go purchase this print by Brian Rubenacker, right now!  But my inner mid-century modern loving interior designer is holding me back.  It is kind of cool though, isn't it?

03 January 2011

The View From Here x Death by Doxie

Today I am once again playing along with Gogovivi.  The View From Here challenge this week is to share your last shot of 2010.  This photo of Elfi was taken at 11:58:55 on New Years Eve, so it is well and truly my last shot of 2010!

The husband was no doubt yelling at me to put the camera away as the count down was just about to start (we had a night in with roast chicken, martinis, Star Wars, Pictionary and lots of K-pop on the local TV).  But Elfi had made herself a nest in the pile of down jackets that had been thrown on the couch (from our brief sojourns out to the snowy balcony to see if anything was happening in the streets below). And she looked even cuter than normal (if that's possible).  Plus I had my new toy to play with (husband came through with a Canon 550D for xmas!).  So I had to take some photos...

And here are my first three shots of 2011: