Monday, April 14, 2014

Maedeup Monday!

This was a fun little project I made recently. I made a garakji maedeup and instead of using Korean cording, I used bungee cording. Then some 18 gauge wire curled on one end and I used a hot glue gun to glue it in place. It was so simple to make and you could also use it for place cards for a dinner. It took about two feet of bungee cording to complete. You can find the instructions on how to construct a garakji maedeup in my book "Elegant Knotted Jewelry" or here on YouTube.
Back to reality, the snow finally completely melted this week and this is what the snow was hiding under our backyard deck. That's a 3 inch gap from the footing to the bottom of a post.
 This is one of the center posts of the deck which is also elevated though only about 1 1/2 inches.
This is a photo of one of the footings to the rear of the deck. It has risen about 3 inches over the winter.
Rocketman noticed that our deck was leaning badly. I didn't think it was so bad but then there were three or more feet of snow on it for the better part of six months. When it all melted, you could definitely see it. But it wasn't until the snow melted that we discovered what was causing the problem.
I felt that Rocketman, being the engineer that he is, would know immediately what caused it and how to fix it. But he is as perplexed as I am. It's as if the ground raised one post suport for some reason. We built our house in 1990 and added the deck in 1991.
We scoured the internet trying to find a fix and basically found that with the age of the deck, the best thing to do is tear it down and build a new deck. I'm convinced this is what we need to do but I'm not sure Rocketman agrees quite yet. We may have the contractor we used for the kitchen come out and take a look or we may just choose to ignore it for the time being. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Watercolor Classes - Irises and Other Flowers

I'm back to taking classes at the White Bear Center for the Arts. Last week I started a class with Sylvia Benson.  She took sumi-e classes with me a few years ago. I had also taken a watercolor koi class taught by her last year.

She brought tons of photos for us to choose from as inspiration. This got me thinking so I talked to Rocketman about visiting some botanical gardens with his fancy camera and shooting some flower photos for me. He said that he would love to. But these are the photos I chose.
Next came sketching out the composition. It took me what felt like forever to sketch one iris along with a bud.
This is how the first 2 1/2 hour class went. Now I'm wishing I would have started with a much smaller flower. The hugeness of it is really intimidating me. I have class tomorrow and one more next week.
Here is a quick photo of Sylvia helping a fellow student. She is so patient and kind. I really wish I could take her home with me.

Today was our first day in the 70's since October and, if you are counting, it has been six months. We had steaks on the grill and it was glorious!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Crafting with Noah!

Noah had Spring Break so he spent a few days with us and of course, crafting was on the agenda. I had recently bought a book on peg dolls and we had fun making some. First we had to do a lot of painting.
                                             Then Noah added names to the sweet peas.
      We made some for the entire family.  I just need to stitch up the felt pea pod that they go into.
We also made some bumblebees which were also from the book. Noah kept three and he wants to give three to my sister who just became a beekeeper for the first time.
      Then I made these using some artificial flowers. Noah loved them and they went home with him.
This is the book and it's available on Amazon. I highly recommend it. We had a blast with it.
Of course, we got out the polymer clay. Noah wanted to make a Wii Controller. He designed it first on paper using crayons to color it. He made it entirely himself and he was so proud. I made a funny face. I made them both magnets for his refrigerator back home.

I cherish these moments with him because I know how fast time flies. He's going to be 8 next week already.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Korean Bead Soup with the Help of Vonna

When we moved to South Korea, I began to collect (among other things) little charms which were reminders of our time there. They included the very first thing I noticed when we first arrived in Korea which was a maedeup (Korean knotted) key chain. I bought it and knew I was going to learn how to make these beautiful knots. I had a couple of hand painted bottle caps from Nabi Island and a few pieces of chilbo (Korean enameling) made by my teacher, Nan-Young.

Also there was copper mask that I bought at the Hope Market in Hongdae in Seoul and a couple charms from Dongdaemun. There was a charm of my beloved Hwaseong Fortress which was designed by metal guy and enameled by Nan-Young. And finally a wooden carving handmade by my body guard. Each piece is priceless to me for the many memoires they hold.

I knew I wanted to incorporate them into a bracelet but I was at a loss as to how. That's when I thought of my dear friend, Vonna. Her jewelry designs blow me away and I own several of her pieces. You can see her creations in her Etsy shop here.
I sent her everything you saw in the first picture and this is what was returned to me. I was in shock. It was amazing what she did with all those charms and I find myself staring at it and remembering so many wonderful things. Thank you Vonna for your talent and for being my friend. I'm very blessed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

More Hanji!

I picked up these forms during my last visit to Korea last year. Luckily, I had ordered ahead because I wasn't able to do the proper shopping I would have liked to do due to Rocketman's kidney stone. We are thinking about a trip over to Korea in the Fall although we haven't made any firm plans yet.
 These were so fun to make and very easy. The hardest part is always choosing the paper to use.

I sorely need to buy hanji paper and it's really something I can't have my Korean girlfriends do for me. I have a feeling I will need a suitcase just for hanji paper the next time we go.

Spring is supposedly this week but you wouldn't know it here in Minnesota. Right now it is snowing and we are expecting 2-4 inches by morning. I'm still looking forward to seeing a green lawn although I haven't missed mowing.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bojagi on Etsy

Every once in a while I'll do an Etsy search on bojagi to see what pops up. It had been awhile and when I found Harim Kim's etsy site I almost jumped through the screen. She had the most amazing bojagi and I immediately ordered several things. If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with bojagi and especially Korean thimbles. She was offering handmade thimbles at an unbelievable price. I know all the time it takes to make a thimble.
She is in South Korea so it took awhile for my package to arrive. You can see what I bought in the photo above. So if you want some Korean bojagi and can't get to Korea, Harim Kim can ship to you. She also has a Ebay store. She also sells the ramie that I use in a lot of my bojagi.
Speaking of ramie, this is a photo of mine. I had bought just about every color the Korean vendor had. This is one of my happy boxes.
Louie has been really affectionate since I returned from our daughter's. He loves to sit on my lap or Rocketman's and purrs up a storm.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Week with Noah, Ezra and Our Newest Grandson, Judah!

I was on pins and needles the last week two weeks of February waiting for the call that Laura, our daughter, was in labor. She was due March 4th but I really thought it would be a February baby especially since she went early with her two previous pregnancies. I was right!
I got a call from her Monday night, February 24th, that she felt she was in active labor. She never had consistent contractions but she was pretty sure. I packed the last minute things and Rocketman loaded my car and off I went. She lives about an hour from me and, luckily, it wasn't snowing or rush hour.
I arrived in plenty of time and they went to the hospital around 10pm. Judah Corwin Anderson was born 5:16am on February 25, 2014. Daddy Brent came and picked me up with the boys to visit after Noah came home from school. They were so excited to meet their little brother.

Ezra had a great time as you can see.
                                  Rocketman drove over after work and joined us for the fun.
We left baby and Mama and went out to eat and then home to get the boys into bed.
                                  Judah and Mama came home a day later in -20F temperatures.
                                           Noah was definitely smitten with his little brother.
                                                 Ezra liked being the big brother.
I stayed a week to help out and the boys were so good. I never got tired of hearing Noah telling me how much he loved me and that I was the best Grandma in the world. This is Ezra's look when I told him it was naptime.
 Judah changed so much just in the week I was there. He is also such a good baby. Sleeps and eats great.
            I took the kid's stuffed animals and did this to surprise them. Noah sleeps on the upper bunk.
             I took these pictures of Noah coming home from school in -20 degrees temperatures.
         Yes, he took his sweet time getting home while I watched from the window freaking out.
                           It was 20 below zero!!!!  He should be running all the way.
                   When it was bedtime, look who thought he was a stuffed animal, Finnegan.
                                                  Ezra loved the stuffed animals!
             Here's my baby girl with her baby boy. She is such a good momma. I'm so proud of her.
                             She sent me home with these eggs from their chickens.
I came home to this, my favorite candy bar in the shape of a heart along with a beautiful plant and a sign. He said he didn't want to buy so many Reese's but that's how many it took to make a heart. I'm sure they will get eaten:)
                 Rocketman said that Louie just wasn't himself all week. I guess he missed me too.

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