29 March 2011


Hi! Hello! Hola!  Well...after a few weeks of almost posting every single day it's all come to a grinding halt, hasn't it?

I wish I had something noble and solid and worthy to blame it on, but really I've just been having far too much fun.  I'm in Hong Kong (hip hip hurrah!) and over the weekend we went to the world's craziest sports event, the Rugby Sevens.  I am by no means a rugby fan, but this event isn't necessarily about the rugby - it's kind of like a Melbourne Cup x Big Day Out x cricket in the good 'ol days (ie. when there was streakers and full strength beer) x Mardi Gras!  Plus, each match is only 14 minutes long, so if you're bored by what's on the ground you only have to wait a few beats and it'll be different.

My sister arrives at crack-of-dawn o'clock tomorrow and we have a full agenda of not doing much planned.  But!  When life returns to normal (*cough*... if you know what 'normal' looks like, please email me) there will be many posts!  About good things!  Full of photos and adventures!  Yay!  So stay tuned!

26 March 2011

Good Things...

I'm really loving the work of illustrator and jewelry maker Lousie Evans.  Her paper cuts are beautiful, her book designs crisp, and her jewelry combines geometry, a neutral palate and a mix of textures - lovely, lovely stuff.  You can see more of her work here and here, check out her blog here, and buy her jewelry here.

I'm a bit sad that it took me so very long to discover the goodness that is Prints Charming - gorgeous screen printing, embroidery and all round craftiness.  I think it was Jess's Epheriell Designs blog that finally turned me on to them, and I immediately had to get my hands on their fabulous book.  It is so full of exciting things to make.  The great thing is for each project they provide a non-screen printing option, for those of us who haven't the space or the talent or the spouses who are happy for the house to be taken over with screens and ink.  

I've never owned a DVF dress, in fact, I don't think I've ever even tried one on.  However, I have always vaguely admired the label for it's consistency and classic sense of easy going style. Vaguely admired that is, until I stumbled across the vintage collection which is based on prints from the DVF archives.  I am totally besotted with the patterns, the colours, the styles.  I'm heading to Hong Kong again soon and I'm hoping to track one down (on sale, preferably...).

I follow a lot of blogs (a lot!) and I try and check in on them all when I can, and comment when something strikes me.  But there are a few select blogs that I know I don't want to miss out on, so I subscribe via email, and the latest addition to my inbox has been Geninne's Art blog (found via @Chantal_Vincent).  Not only is her art simply stunning, but her blog is full of wonderful inspiring earthy images.  Go have a look!

And last, but not least, my sister is coming to town!  Hurrah!  Yippee!  Zippedidooda!  There will be shopping and eating and manicures and the odd glass of wine!  And hopefully no repercussions for me posting a photo of us in our matching nightgowns on my blog...

25 March 2011

Death by Doxie: The Sleeping in Strange Places (Vintage) Edition

Did you see this post about Ferdi sleeping half on / half off the coffee table?  Well, when I said he had a predilection for sleeping in strange places, I probably didn't state my case strongly enough. 

Over the years I have found him sleeping in packed suitcases, laundry baskets (clean and dirty), storage containers, kitty litter boxes (clean only, thank goodness), and atop IKEA flat packs, newspaper stacks, shelving and outdoor tables.  Here's a small selection for your enjoyment - apologies for the at times dodgy photography.  

(pssst...did you notice his little buck teeth in the top photo?)

24 March 2011

Melbourne: Shops

Oh Melbourne!  With your endless array of mid-century modern vintage shops, your quirky little designer boutiques in strange lane ways, your queens of craft selling all things handmade...oh, wait, I kind of did this yesterday didn't I?  But it's true, Melbourne is a pretty cool place to shop.  And the lovely thing is that most of the fun is in the looking, you don't even need to buy anything!

As I mentioned before this trip I stayed at my sister's house, which entailed running a few errands here and there.  The good / bad thing is that every time I went somewhere to pick something up, she'd always be telling me about some cute shop just around the corner that I had to check out... One of my favourite such places was OK OK in Brunswick, mainly because of their own brand tights and socks which are amazing quality and fabulously colourful and...made in Melbourne! Awesomeness!

I also finally got to check out Third Drawer Down, and Mr Kitly where they had an exhibition involving hanging plants and crocheted lamps, and a Japanese paper craft book all about thank you cards which I couldn't resist.  And there was Cottage Industries on Gertrude Street where I lusted after zig zaggy crocheted cushions, and admired the crocheted tree out the front.  Actually all of Gertrude Street was pretty impressive - lots of wonderful arts and crafts and textiles on show.

23 March 2011

Melbourne: Food

Oh Melbourne!  With your cafes and delicatessens, your enotecas and tapas bars, your bakeries and your coffee roasters.  You may seem expensive these days but I don't care, I still drool when I walk in to a neighbourhood fruit and veg store, I shiver with delight when I see a local supermarket selling ligurian olives and turkish bread and fresh lemongrass.  Melbourne, you are food heaven, and when I'm away I miss that about you, I really do.

So of course when I go back to visit you I eat, and eat, and eat.  On my most recent trip there was: great coffee from Seven Seeds; ridiculously tasty poached eggs with corn fitters from St. Ali (thanks to Beci for the recommendation and to Shannon for the facials and the lovely company); possibly one of the most delicious meals I've ever had at Gigibaba (third time lucky, so glad we finally managed to get there!); plus I also got to see the launch of my brother-in-law's newest food adventure, the Taco Truck (the fish taco was my favourite!).  Yumlicious!

Here's my nephew Ari hiding 'from the cheeky people' at the Taco Truck launch, plus Tyke looking a bit moody, as only a 7 year old can.

22 March 2011

I'll take two, thanks...

[Photo by pica - pau, who also has an Etsy shop]

I don't normally buy the National Geographic magazine.  Whilst the photography is always mind blowing, the content is often a bit thin, I find.  But I absolutely had to get my hands on the March issue as it had an article about the domestication of animals, how dogs became our best friends - a topic rather close to my heart.

The article hangs on an experiment that's been going on in Russia, where gorgeous fluffy foxes have been selectively bred for years and years with those foxes who are most friendly to humans being chosen to breed.  The end result is a fox that basically acts like a domesticated dog - it seeks out and enjoys human contact, wags it's tail, plays fetch and responds to basic commands (ah, so not quite like our two domesticated dogs then...).  And to fund the ongoing research the clever boffins are trying to get permits to sell these happy foxes as pets!  Foxes as pets?  Death by foxie?  I'll take two, thanks!

ps. I would strongly encourage you to go have a look at the photo gallery for the article.  You will see a pig on a lounge chair, an angry mouse, lots of goats and a sheep prepped for a CT scan, which is way cuter than it sounds.  And friendly fluffy foxes of course.  Go look!

21 March 2011

Etsy Spotlight: Sugar Cookie

Sugar Cookie is the Etsy shop of product designer and cartoonist Missy.  In her profile, she says that as a kid she learnt to draw from Ed Emberly books.  Her work is sweet, simple and fun, and it features the odd dachshund.  I think Pilgrim may have originally introduced me to Sugar Cookie's lovely wares, and I'm very glad that she did.

Etsy Spotlight is the Good Things* seal of approval.  You can read more here, and see all of the posts here.

20 March 2011

Melbourne: My Sister's House

I had a few crazy days in Melbourne recently.  When I go back home I normally do exactly that, and stay in the house I grew up in with my Mum and step-dad.  But this trip I stayed at my sister's house, which was pretty damn cool.  

Mainly because I got to hang out with my nephews way more than normal - pick them up from school, read them bed time stories, put up with them constantly asking to play on my iPhone... - and my nephews are two of the handsomest, smartest, funniest, coolest kids around (impartial judge that I am).  And it was also cool because at Beci's house there's always something interesting, pretty, colourful, beautiful or delicious to look at.  Plus, their food is scrumptious and their couch is super comfy.  

Though to be honest I could do without the 6.30am wake up calls (aka the youngest nephew squealing at me).  As a part time step-parent to older kids I'm not quite used to the hard slog of late nights and early mornings day in day out...

Anyway, the photos: that's Miso, My sisters cat up the top - don't you just love his saucer eyes? Kind of intense right?  And under that is this amazing teepee (my youngest nephew likes to build nests).  The quilts draped around it where made by my Granny!  They were on our beds in our Dad's house all through our childhood.  I have such strong, fond memories of those quilts, I'm so glad they're still around.

18 March 2011

Death by Doxie: The Talk-to-the-paw Edition

Sometimes it's hard being such a handsome hound, being the centre of attention.  Sometimes even Elfi gets a bit sick of the pouch-arazzi.  I'm putting the camera away now Elfi, I promise...

17 March 2011

Quick Three: Favourite Magazines

Hi, My name is Emily and I'm a magazine-aholic.  Seriously.  I'm surrounded by mountains of them. I'm drowning in ripped pages waiting to be artfully scrap booked.  I'm behind on my reading because of them.  So of course this week I had to play along with kasiabear's quick three (found via One Craftee Mumma).  It's rather tricky to narrow it down to just three, but here goes:

It all starts with that thick, slightly waxy paper which feels so lovely in your hands.  Then you add writers who make me laugh out loud, beautiful illustrations and images, every day tales that can bring a tear to the eye, pages and pages of crafty inspiration, lovely layouts, and many (too many) covetable goodies - Frankie is the perfect magazine!  If I really wanted to curb my addiction and only have one magazine in my life, Frankie would be it.

From an old favourite to a new favourite!  I wrote about UPPERCASE magazine a little while ago - it is really very lovely.  Again, there's that quality paper - this time it feels weighty and a little rough, it has a hand crafted air.  Then graphics and fonts and illustrations - oh my!  And so many wonderfully talented people to discover too.  Thank you, UPPERCASE!

If we were still living in Australia, number three would have probably been Australian Gourmet Traveller, but whilst I still try and get it most months for the wonderful recipes it's not as relevant to us these days now that the restaurants and retailers are half a world away.  So, it's Inside Out instead.  Consistently gorgeous interiors that always seem to be just on the right side of practical/achievable. Inside Out has embraced the craft trend of late too, and it often features some fantastic artists, illustrators and designers too.  Nice.

16 March 2011

Sydney weekend

Just some pics from our weekend in Sydney a little while ago.  A few days of eating, drinking, playing some games, watching some RocKwiz and - when the blue sky occasionally appeared - a bit of swimming and boating.  With many thanks to Dave, Kylie, Jacko and Bella for letting us eat all their food and drink all their wine (and create mounds of laundry)!

ps. the husband and the aforementioned Dave (who go way, way back) have a new nickname - they are now known as Statler and Waldorf, especially nearing midnight.  If you can't quite remember who Statler and Waldorf are, have a look at this.

15 March 2011


I think for so many of us crafters and admirers of all things beautiful, Japan holds a very special place in our hearts.  We've poured over Japanese craft books, soaked up Japanese blogs, relished the traditions, the simple beauty and the long history of aesthetic appreciation.  It's a place we've dreamed of, and for those of us lucky to have visited, it's a place we've fallen in love with. 

Every news bulletin at the moment brings fresh heartbreak.  The numbers, the scale of damage are near inconceivable.  I have lots of blog posts planned this week, but I couldn't write any of them until I wrote this one.  I'm sure you are all helping in whatever small way you can, and you know the usual ways to do so.  There's also a bunch of Etsians who are donating all or some of their sales to relief efforts (like the shop above, Made By Jo) - try searching for tags like 'Japan' 'earthquake' 'tsunami' 'charity' 'relief'.  Or you can have a look at this beautiful treasury by zoetropa which features sellers who are supporting the relief efforts.

14 March 2011

Etsy Spotlight: Thrush Vintage

Of late I have been mildly obsessed with finding the perfect vintage frock - something pretty and bright and summery, and perfect for everyday wear.  Something to get me through the Spring and Summer months with flair and finesse.

Two such contenders (this one and this one) have come from the really wonderful Etsy seller, Thrush Vintage.  Thrush Vintage is full of beautiful things, beautifully photographed.  If I had a (much) smaller waist I would have likely purchased half the shop by now.  My 21st century girth is probably for the best then, I guess.

Etsy Spotlight is the Good Things* seal of approval.  You can read more about it here, and see all the posts here.

13 March 2011

Weeping on a jet plane...

Nope, I haven't come over all John Denver (although I really should get a 'bad pun alert' symbol for these posts), but I have been hanging out with far too many jet planes of late.  A few days back what should have been a simple journey to get home to Seoul from Melbourne turned in to a 24 hour, 3 flight ordeal with an endless array of hideous inflight meals, too-brief stolen moments of sleep and bad, oh so bad, rom-coms.

And one thing that this never ending journey showed is that I cry on aeroplanes.  I know what you're thinking ('freak!'), and I guess I'm kind of thinking that too.  But it's true.  For some reason being crammed sardine-style in a tin can, trying not to move my elbows while immaculately groomed ladies serve me miniature bottles of barely drinkable wine makes me go all weepy.

I guess it kind of makes sense - flying does put me in a slightly vulnerable state.  Partly because I've normally just said goodbye to family, friends and/or dachshunds before hopping on the death box wonder of modern engineering and partly because I'm expending a whole lot of energy trying to ignore that voice (you know the one, it says 'we are all going to die').  But whatever the cause, if a vaguely emotional song comes up on the iTunes shuffle, or if there's a particularly touching add for HSBC on the TV, or if there's a sweet old couple sitting next to me, I tear up when I'm on a plane.

So next time you fly, if the lady in the seat next to you starts to sniffle when the Change for Good promo comes on, say 'hi' okay?

11 March 2011

Death by Doxie: The Sleeping in Strange Places Edition

This is our shaggy haired mutt, Ferdi.  Ferdi has a predilection for sleeping in strange places.  Half on the coffee table, half on the couch is one of his favourites...

08 March 2011


You looking at me?  (it had to be said...ok, maybe it didn't...)

Right, so, where to start?  One of the benefits of being the kind of expats we are is that the company pays our rent, and they pay it at a level that's meant to mean you live in a place that's roughly equivalent to what you might live in if you where still in your home country.  This is especially useful in places like Hong Kong, where the rent is about five to six times that of Australia, so if we were self funded we would have literally been living in a shoe box.  Anyway, what this means is our apartment in Seoul is pretty darn awesome.

What's this got to do with fish, you ask?  Well, part of the awesomeness of our apartment is that we have a bit of a rooftop garden, which includes a pond/water feature type thing.  Which got me all excited because it meant I could put fish in the pond!  Which I did!  But then winter came and building management informed us that we had to drain our pond so the pipes wouldn't burst which meant the fish were (briefly) homeless.  But now they live happily in a nice big tank in my office.  

They are quite friendly fish (even though the one up there looks a little grumpy).  They make amusing noises and they follow me from one end of the tank to the other when I walk past them. As much as I loved watching them roaming 'free' in the pond, I kind of like having them as companions in my work room.  Do you like fish?  Do you have something or someone keeping you company while you work?