31 March 2012

Everyday Objects : Iittala Teema Dinnerware

Iittala is a Finnish company that creates 'essential objects that are made to enrich people's everyday lives'.  They are all about design that is functional, timeless and striking.  A perfect match for the Everyday Objects series, yes?  

When my husband-who-was-not-then-my-husband and I first moved in together we were really starting from scratch.  I had enough mismatched, cheap and a little bit nasty stuff to get us going but that really wasn't going to cut it in the long term.  But we got a massive head start when my lovely parents-in-law gifted us a stack of Iittala Teema dinnerware.  

The gift meant (and still means) so much to me - it was a sign of acceptance, a welcoming. And the choice of Iitalla was so utterly perfect.  In my design naivety I hadn't yet heard of Iittala but the pared back design, clean lines, bright colours and straight up usefulness really set my heart a flutter.  

Teema was designed by Kaj Frank (another name I hadn't heard of then, but who is now a firm design favourite) in 1952 and is based around three basic shapes - circle, square and rectangle.  It comes in a range of totally awesome mix and match colours.  And it's built to last - we still have that original set of plates and even though we use them day in day out they still look fabulous.

*The keen eyed will know that those stripey little bowls are not part of the Teema collection.  They're actually from Origo, designed by Alfredo Haberli in 1999.

Everyday Objects is all about celebrating the design in our day to day lives.  Recognising those little things that bring a bit of happiness to our day through beautiful, thoughtful design or by reminding us of happy times gone by.  See all the posts here.

27 March 2012

Seoul Walking : Fast Fashion in Myeongdong

I was thinking that my blog has been lacking a bit of Seoul* of late.  Experiencing this super sized city is a pretty big part of my life, but aside from the odd post here and there it hasn't really been a big part of my blog.  

I spend a surprising (frightening?) amount of time just wandering the streets of Seoul, soaking in the sights and sounds, reveling in all things intriguing and inspiring and, well, Korean.  I pop out for a loaf of bread and don't come back for hours because I get so distracted by it all.  And maybe you would like to be distracted by it all too?

Welcome to 'Seoul Walking' - an ongoing series of image heavy posts, each focussing on a different suburb or aspect of Seoul life.

Myeongdong (명동) is right on our door step and is possibly one of my most favourite places to be.  It's an almost always busy hub of K-pop, cheap fashion and pretty young things.  There's dog cafes, evangelists, fashionistas and tourists galore.  There's 10 dollar shoe stalls, two H&Ms, MMMG (my favourite Korean stationery brand), a four story Uniqlo (actually there's two of those as well!), three SSFW's (great for bags and accessories), A Land, American Apparel and so much more...

*I promise that I will absolutely stop making Seoul/soul puns soon.  Maybe.

24 March 2012

A Happy Salad for the Weekend

Living in Seoul has made me realise how very spoilt we are in Australia with our year round access to fresh produce.  Sure, some of that comes from apples stored forever and a day, but some of that must come from the fact that Australia is a really big country with a variety of climates from tropical to arid to whatever Tasmania is.  And we kind of take it for granted that you can get good quality lettuce, pears, beans, avocados, grapes, peas and other such deliciousness at pretty much any time of the year.  

But I take this for granted no more!  In Seoul, access to fresh fruit and vegetables is incredibly seasonal. These days when I see something new and tasty appear on the supermarket shelf I get genuinely excited and I make the most of it while I can, because who knows if it'll still be on the shelves next week.  

Currently beetroot has been making a much appreciated appearance at our local supermarket, and to celebrate I've been making this happy salad a lot!  It's a great entree for a simple meal - maybe of flash fried steak, red wine sauce and a crusty bread stick.  I love the sweet earthy flavour of roasted beetroot, and the bright colour it adds to the salad - yum!

Beetroot + Goats Cheese Salad

1. Roast your beetroot - wrap it in foil and stick it in the oven at 180C for about two hours, you'll know it's done when a thin skewer passes easily through it. 

2. Skin your beetroot - rub it under running water.  You may want to wear rubber gloves here as it can get rather purple.  Leave to cool for a bit and then chop it in to chunks. 

3. Toast some walnuts - crumble a handful of walnuts in to a heavy based pot and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Keep an eye on them so they don't burn! 

4. Toss leaves and beetroot in dressing* - throw some tasty leaves in a bowl (I like using mache for this, but a soft butter lettuce could work too), add your beetroot chunks and dressing and mix about until everything is well coated. 

5. Put everything together on a plate - divvy out the leaf and beetroot mix, then sprinkle with toasted walnuts and crumbled goats cheese. 

6. Eat!

*Dressing - any basic vinaigrette works well with this salad, so feel free to use your favourite.  If you're curious, here's the one I use: squeeze of lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tsp white wine vinegar, sea salt and ground black pepper.

22 March 2012

Camera Bags Ahoy!

Look! It's my pretty new-ish camera bag!  Isn't it pretty and colourful and fun?  These days I am such an uber photographer (*cough*) that I have two whole lenses, so the trusty old Lowepro compact ain't going to cut it anymore.  I found this little cutie in the underground shopping centre just near our apartment - it's lightly padded and fits my DSLR and two lenses, plus various sundries (a back up battery, extra memory cards, that sort of thing).  

I love the bright colours and I like that it doesn't actually look like a camera bag.  If you're curious, it's from Ciesta, a Korean company that makes all kinds of fun camera accessories.  Click on over to their website to have a peak (no on-line shop I'm afraid, but there is a little hint of Konglish which might make you smile).

And if you're after a non-standard camera bag of your own, here's three that I found on Etsy that you might want to check out:
1. A rather literal camera bag from AijoEcoTotes
2. Canvas 'Aibo' camera bag from CanterBags
3. Vintage leather Kam-ra bag from LaceAnneQueen

16 March 2012

Death by Doxie : Pig in a Blanket

Yesterday was a gorgeously sunny day in Seoul* - some might even have called it warm (and by 'some' I mean those of us who are so over frozen noses, runny eyes, and bitterly cold Winter days, and who are clinging to any hint of Spring they can, i.e. me).  

But yesterday aside it's still been a bit chilly here and Elfi - not having the giant fluffy out-of-control, desperately-in-need-of-a-haircut fur that Ferdi has - feels the cold more than most.  She's taken to wrapping herself in this little lap blanket, cute yes?

Side note - I originally got the blanket for the husband as he refuses to dress appropriately for the cold when we're at home.  His one concession is that he tucks his t-shirt in to his shorts.  Oh, and he wears ugg boots.  It's not a pretty sight.
*For those of you playing along on Twitter you'll also know that yesterday was a gorgeously sunny day in more ways than one!  You see, I stupidly left my beloved Canon 550D on top of an ATM, and didn't realise until I was looking for it at home a few hours later.  Cue panic/heartbreak mode.

If this had been most other counties I would have kicked myself a bit (a lot) and sobbed quietly in to my pillow that night.  But, this being Korea, I realised there might still be a slim chance that it was out there some where.  And sure enough, it was!  

Some kind Seoul (pun intended) had handed it in to the bank and left a note by the ATM to let me know where it was (thank goodness that although I can't really speak Korean I can at least read it!).  So now my camera is safely back in my happy, happy hands. Hurrah, hurrah and hurrah again!

12 March 2012

Good Things...

I've been wanting to do a good things post for so very long, months and months, but they do take quite a big, focussed chunk of time to put together and it just hasn't happened.  But seeing as there are just so many really good things out there, I'm committed to bring you more good things in 2012.  Huzzah!

So, let's kick things off with one of those sad but sweet tales...

Meet Morran.  Morran is Camilla Engman's dog, or I should say was Camilla Engman's dog.  Morran featured heavily on Camilla's blog (in fact, documenting Morran's daily adventures was actually what kicked off her blogging life), and entertained readers for many years - he was just so cute yes?

Sadly, Morran passed away late last year, but he lives on in a gorgeous collaborative book which features Morran inspired submissions from illustrators and artists from all over the globe.  You can have a peek at some of the submissions here, and purchase your copy of this wonderful tribute here.  I just ordered my copy - hurry up Mr (or Mrs) Postman!

Then we have the mid century mod stylings from one of my absolute favourite blogs, The Brick House. Not only does Morgan posses phenomenal taste in all things home-y but she is also hi-larious.  How often do you find laugh out loud funny and delicious decor in the one spot?  Not very often.  Go visit, now.  Oh, and there's the odd bit of doggy cuteness thrown in for good measure too.  Good, yes?

Next up is Persona, a photography project from multi-talented guy Jason Travis.  It's a series of diptychs that answers the question 'what's in your bag'.  I believe there is a book coming out soon (yep, it's on the wish list). You can see the whole set (including some animal versions!) here.

And then there's this incredibly awesome book that my incredibly awesome sister gifted me for my birthday.  Holy wow I can not express how truly incredibly awesome it is.  

The book captures the goings on at Butlin's Holiday Camps.  The camps were founded on the desire to provide family fun at a price the English masses could afford, and the photos produced by John Hinde as postcards capture these holiday makers in all their wonderfully colourful, slightly absurd, retro glory. There is so much glorious detail in each image - activities, outfits and decor.  So great.

And lastly, from the BBC comes season two of Sherlock, hooray!  We've only watched the first episode but so far it's easily matching the look and wit of the first.  More please.

08 March 2012

February Photo (almost) A Day Challenge

I adore Instagram - it's like Twitter with pictures!  It's a pretty great way to fill life's boring moments, take a little peak into peoples lives and be amazed at what beauty can be captured on a camera phone.  Plus it reminds me to take more photos, to look at the world with that eye (you know the one - the one that sees a messy desk as a pretty collection of colours rather than a task that needs to be tackled). 

I also love a good meme, so last month I jumped on board with Fat Mum Slim's insanely popular photo a day challenge.  Due to a wifi-less few days in Melbourne I missed a couple of days at the end, so it wasn't quite a photo a day but it was close.  I really enjoyed having a prompt each day, even the ones that I thought were less than inspiring (like 'front door') because these forced me to try to think of different ways to interpret the theme (like using the front door of a lego house).  

The challenge was a great motivator to take more photos and to get a bit more creative with my Instagram shots - I ended up with some iPhone pics that I really love (like the one above).  I see there's a March photo a day challenge going on right now which I've missed, but I'm hoping for an April one too!

Oh, and if you're on Instagram you can find me on there as 'ejorpin'!

06 March 2012

Collecting Colour : March is Green

I've never considered myself a green kind of girl.  Sure it's pleasant enough, cool and calm, but it doesn't excite me in the way that a deep purple, sunny yellow or luminous turquoise can.  

And yet...lately I've noticed that green is featuring strongly in my wardrobe, and I'm starting to covet happy frocks like this, and this (the minty green version, although the coral is seriously tempting too). And putting together this collection I was surprised to discover how much green I do actually have around me - there was so much I had to leave a bunch of stuff out!  Maybe it's the Winter blues pushing me towards a reminder of Spring? 

* * * * * * *

Every month through 2012 I'll be 'collecting colour', and you can join in too!  Link up below, and/or add your photo to the Flickr group here.  And go here to get all the information you need.