30 June 2011

Creative Collective June Project: Snail Mail Swap

This month I joined in on another Creative Collective project.  It was involved something that is very close to my heart - snail mail!  And it also involved another subject close to my heart - swaps!  An irresistible combination.  So I just had to take part in the Snail Mail Swap, which involved sending a package of goodies to three partners (though one of my poor partners is based in Canada, and due to the strike the posties in Korea still aren't accepting post bound for maple leaf country.  I really hope they let me post it today, because we fly out on our great European adventure on Friday. Speaking of which, I could be wrong but I get the feeling the Greeks somehow get their hands on our travel itinerary each year and plan street riots to celebrate our arrival...we won't be getting off the boat in that port, I don't think!  Also, is itinerary the most awkward word to spell ever?  I think so.)

Right, where was I?  Papery maily goodness, that's where.  Here's some pics of the package I put together - I wanted them to have a bit of Asia in them, to reflect both Hong Kong and Korea.  And they also combine some of my current obsessions (like label makers, bright stamps, paper embroidery and of course dot stickers!). I do hope my swap partners like them!

ps. If you'd like to do a mail swap I am always keen (but not for two weeks or so, because for the next two weeks I'll be lazing about in my swimmers, sipping martinis and thinking about the four course Italian feast I'm about to inhale visiting important archaeological sites in Turkey and pondering the central role Venice played in the history of that part of the world.  But once I'm back - swap-dee-do indeed!  I'm happy to tailor to your tastes too...you can email me at jorpins_blog@yahoo.com.au if you're interested.

29 June 2011

Three bicycle accessories I love right now...

So first up, let me get the obvious issue out of the way - I do not currently own a bike.  But, despite the overwhelming deluge of advice suggesting that riding a bicycle in Seoul is a short cut to serious bodily injury and quite possibly death, I really really want to get one!  Preferably one of those simple yet stunning numbers from Japan, in a delightful aqua hue.  And when I do get my bike, here are some things I'd like to help make it look extra special...

To carry all my essentials in style, I'm liking this handlebar bag by Death and Texas on Etsy. Plus, their shop name is a pun.  Brilliant!

If this isn't reason enough to risk life and limb on the roads of Seoul then I'm not sure what is. Crochet dress guards for your bike, by Simeli (found via / available from Lark).

[Amazing doxie goodness from my most favourite pet photographer ever - Serenah Photography]

Lately my Instagram obsession has pretty much reached mammoth proportions, especially since I realised you can search everyone's photos for say '#dachshund' and you instantly get pages and pages of heart melting cuteness to look at.  Especially Japanese heart melting cuteness - they love their doxies and they especially seem to love taking them for bike rides.  So a wicker basket complete with lining and roll cage is a must - something like this, or this, perhaps?

27 June 2011

The weekend that was...

Hola!  How was your weekend?  What did you get up to?  Did you do exciting things with fun people?  Or did you spend all day in your jim jams?  

It is well and truly rainy season in Seoul at the moment, typhoons have been causing havoc across Korea and aside from a brief moment of sunshine on Sunday it's been rain, rain and a bit more rain. The dogs are quite depressed about the whole thing and have a bad case of rainy day blues (plus they are refusing to pee outside, but that's a whole other story - toughen up doggies!).

So my weekend was all about sad dogs, chopped salads (my current obsession, more about that in another post!), staying dry, nostalgic gym tunes (Gatecrasher Black anyone?) and trying to get organised before we head off on our big trip (trying being the key word there).  Oh, and also way too much delicious New Zealand pinot noir at the NZ wine festival on Saturday...

Ummm, Ferdi - you may have cabin fever but that is no reason to chew on the couch!  Bad dog!

25 June 2011

Spotty dotty note cards...

I've been selling a whole bunch of stuff on eBay lately thanks to a huge wardrobe clear out.  It's kind of funny because I barely break even when I look at postage costs and the time it takes to list and post each item, but I enjoy doing it anyway.  There's something nice about sending my poor purchasing decisions (too small, too big, just not me...) off to Croatia and the UK and Russia and knowing that someone is hopefully going to get some joy out of them.  

And I also enjoy putting packages together.  I like to make them a little bit special - even if it is just for a pair of $1.99 shoes!  But obviously I don't want to spend too much time or money making it special...so I came up with these spotty dotty note cards.  Using thick card stock and those dot stickers you can get at every stationers, I've been making my eBay packages a little bit brighter! Actually, I think I'm a bit obsessed with these dot stickers, as you'll see when I get around to blogging about my packages for the Creative Collective Snail Mail Swap...

23 June 2011

Roast beef on toast is a salad. Apparently.

Whilst here in Korea it is hot, hot, hot (and about to get wet, wet, wet - looks like the rainy season is starting with a vengeance this week - boo!) I know a lot of you are currently facing icy mornings and cold nights, and your thoughts are probably turning to thick socks, heating and comfort food.  And what's more comforting than a roast?  And roasts normally mean left overs...so, here's a super easy and so very tasty way to use up left over roast beef (and best of all it's *cough* a salad!).

The recipe is taken from Patricia Wells' Salad as a Meal which I blogged about a little while ago. Here's what you need: good sour dough bread, rare roast beef (sliced super thin), cracked pepper, butter and mayonnaise; and mustard, pickles and some kind of simple salad to serve.

Timing and temperature is the key here because you want to keep a bit of warmth in the toast, so it's a good idea to bring your roast beef to room temperature beforehand, and then to par toast your bread.  After you do the final toasting, slather your bread with butter and then mayo, and top with the thinly sliced roast beef.  Liberally douse with cracked pepper and then cut the toast in to fingers. We served ours on a wooden cutting board, with cornichons and a simple butter lettuce salad on the side.  And don't forget some good french mustard to spread atop your beef toasties!  The crunch of the toast, the meltiness of the butter, and the softness of the rare roast beef - delicious!

22 June 2011

Death by Doxie: The Odd Couple Edition

Hello my name is Ferdi and I hate Summer.  Actually, come to think of it, I hate Winter too.  I don't like uneven ground, or grass, or shrubs of any kind (unless they are edible).  I do like paving and climate controlled environments.  I also like sitting on laps and being patted (and I may kick you if you get lazy and stop patting me).  I most definitely do not like long walks on the beach.


Hello my name is Elfi and I love Summer.  I like any season really, but Summer is my favourite.  I like to be outside, rolling about in the dry grass under the baking hot sun.  And when I get bored of that I like to explore all the nooks and crannies of the garden, pushing my way through the dense thickets of azaleas and digging in the dirt.  I really like long walks on the beach.

Calling all guest bloggers!

Calling all bloggers or would-be bloggers!  I'm heading off for a vacation very soon (two weeks from 1 July - yay!) and I thought I'd invite you all to submit a little something to be posted on Good Things* while I'm away.

I'm looking for posts that fit with the general vibe of the blog - so anything on craft, handmade, pets (especially dachshunds!), animals, food, travel, vintage, photography, art (especially paper art), pretty things, etc, would be perfect (gosh, I talk about a lot of stuff here don't I?).  I'm looking for good photos, inspiring images, and not too much text!  It might be a simple how-to, a recipe, an introduction to you or your pet or a special corner of your world, a sneak peak at a current project, or maybe just some things that inspire you...

Unfortunately this is all a bit last minute (not like me to be disorganised, ha!) so I'd need your post to me by this coming Sunday (26 June) so I can format and schedule your post before I head off.

I know there are so many amazingly talented and interesting bloggers and readers of blogs out there, maybe you'd like to take the opportunity to share something here?  If you are interested, please get in touch : jorpins_blog@yahoo.com.au

Looking forward to hearing from you!

20 June 2011

Etsy Greetings June Team Challenge

One of the things I love most about making stuff is how it can connect you to other people.  And one of the best crafty communities that I've become involved in this year has been the Etsy Greetings Team.  Our team leader is ridiculously hard working and dedicated, and the team members seem on the whole to be a lovely bunch of individuals, quick to offer support and advice.

This month the team has been holding a challenge where we got to vote on a digital paper pack and then we each made cards based around that paper pack.  It has been quite amazing to see the depth of creativity and the different techniques and styles people have applied.  You can see some other examples here, here and here.  And you can find the original digital paper pack by Katie's Wish here - her designs are stunning!

And here are my two efforts.  As you can see it's taken me away from what my normally haphazard creations and in to some more traditional card making techniques, which has been a heap of fun.  What do you think?

17 June 2011

Death by Doxie: The 'That's Not Right' Edition

Oh hello there fellow pet owners.  I'm curious...hands up if your pet does something that you're pretty sure an outsider would look at and think 'now that's not quite right' but that you just let slide? A bad habit, something that's possibly a little bit gross?  Something like eating off the table, licking your feet, hanging out in the kitchen sink, peeing in the shower or being generous with slobbery kisses?  Be honest now...My guess is that most pet owners (Cesar Millan excluded) let their furry friends get away with all kinds of borderline wrong behaviours, yes?

Ok, so clearly that first paragraph is just a way to make myself feel better about the fact that I am the worst dog trainer ever and that, if left unattended, Elfi gets inside the dishwasher.  And hunts for food scraps.  And would stay there for hours if we let her.  Yikes.  

ps. Do you like the way Ferdi just looks on with a mixture of innocence, admiration and hope that a crumb will come his way?

15 June 2011

Three dresses I love right now...

[Image by dhammza / off]

When I was a kid I was a bit of a tom boy.  And by 'a bit' I mean 'a lot'.  To the point where I can clearly remember being mistaken for an actual boy at several points growing up.  Dresses, make up and hair styles were a foreign language to me.  And to some extent they still largely are.

I definitely still don't get hair (can pulling it in to a ponytail every single day count as a 'style'?), and my excursions into the land of makeup tend to be limited to a subtle blush and a not-so-subtle layer or three of mascara.  But I do most definitely get dresses now.  Some might even say I'm frock obsessed.  I love how a good dress can make you feel feminine and fashionable and flirty, even on days where you start out feeling blergh.  I love how a dress is basically a complete outfit, no thinking about what goes with what.  And I love how a dress can work with you at any age, at any weight.

Here are three beauties that are tempting me at the moment:
There's a reason that Lana Stepul is featured on the Etsy front page every second day, and that's because her stuff is gorgeous!  This is her open back dress and I heart it a lot.  The fabric, the colours, the nod to the 50s.  Sigh.

This maxi dress from M Missoni has me weeping softly, just a little bit.  I am very, very far from a fashionista but there are a couple of labels that I consistently covet and that I try to 'invest' in.  I have a dream that by the time I'm 60 my wardrobe will be wall to wall M Missoni, DVF and Kate Spade (I am going to be the best dressed step-grandma ever!).  It would be nice to add this to the collection. Sigh.

After an initial wariness, I've become quite a fan of ModCloth. I like that I can find dresses on there that hit my knees (I've realised I can't quite pull of the mini-dress any more), and that also fit perfectly around my enormous ribs (yes, I said ribs.  I have a very big rib cage, comes from my father's side of the family. *cough*).  Plus they deliver within a week and aren't prohibitively expensive.  This gorgeously bright little number is one of the samples from a co-lab they might do with a designer called Eva Franco. I do hope they go ahead with it.  Sigh.

Long live the frock!

13 June 2011

Singapore has the best zoos

Singapore has the best zoos.  I can't say they have the best zoos in the world, because clearly I haven't been to all the zoos in the world and I might get done by the blogging equivalent of the ACCC, but they do have the best zoos I have ever seen (and I've seen a few).  

They have the best zoos because the enclosures are open and free ranging, because animal welfare is clearly the highest priority, and because they are obviously as obsessed with mouse deer as I am.  And because they have a night zoo, which means you get to see nocturnal critters out and about, rather than just sleeping.  We saw a fishing cat actually fishing!  And a flying squirrel actually flying gliding!

Also, what other zoo has an aviary-style enclosure complete with lemurs, sloth, bats and mouse deer just casually strolling about?  We were lucky enough to be in this enclosure at feeding time. When the chow came out it was on for young and old, lemur versus lemur, lemur versus sloth (a rather unevenly matched affair when it comes to speed...)

And yes, that is a baby sloth!  We were inches away from a baby sloth people!  Have a look at it's alien like arms - creepy and cute, no?

Also, mouse deer.  That is all.

ps. Towards the end of our zoo adventure there were some complaints from the group about the inordinate number of mouse deer enclosures, to which I of course replied 'when you tire of mouse deer you tire of life'.

10 June 2011


[Super cute card by staceywinters]

Hello!  How are you?  How has your week been?  I do hope it has been happy and good, or maybe a bit interesting, at least?

It's been a bit quiet here of late.  We spent last weekend in hot and steamy Singapore with the step-sons, which was fabulous (more on that soon), and then we took the chance on the way home to spend a few days in Hong Kong.  The husband had to go back to Seoul work mid-week, so I've been here on my own for the last few days.

You see the plan was to blog then...but I kind of got lost in a haze of blue skies and beautiful vistas and bright manicures, and my brain turned to that wonderful holiday kind of mush where you stop thinking quite so much (in the nicest possible way).  So instead of writing posts I've been wandering about Hong Kong harbour and eating too much and admiring clouds and such...

But now I'm in the airport lounge, homeward bound.  I'm looking forward to hopefully continuing the holiday vibe over the weekend, but also hopefully mustering the brain power to put together some pretty posts - hurrah!

06 June 2011

Thrifty craft!

Whenever I go back home to see the folks I always make sure I set aside some time to visit the op-shop that's just around the corner from their house.  It's big and is constantly getting new stock, and whilst it can be tricky to find a real bargain there anymore (do all the op-shops employ expert pricers these days?), I always find something fun in their book section.  I'm a sucker for vintage penguins, kid's books and yes - old crafty things!  

On my last visit I picked up these three beauties:

Everything about this little book is great!  From the title (string things!), to those graphic diagrams, to the gorgeous examples of completed work.  I especially love the line drawings, I think they could be transferred to a whole bunch of things aside from 'string' art (embroidery anyone?).

My name is Emily and I am a font junkie...I'm not sure yet what use I'll get out of this fabulous font how-to but I couldn't possibly have left it lying on the shelf now, could I?

And how about this for a box of fun?  So many needlessly bright things to play with!  My friend got me a Knitting Nancy a while ago and I've quite enjoyed playing with that, so I'm looking forward to finding the time to figure out how all these plastic bits and pieces work.  Also, I kind of think no craft stash is complete without a fluorescent orange weaving aid...

03 June 2011

Death by Doxie: The Many Moods of Elfi Edition

Alert and interested (with a hint of paranoia)

Neurotic and annoyed (with a hint of paranoia)

Very, very sleepy...