Thursday, August 29, 2013

Koi Fish Watercolor Class #2

Two three hour classes is really not enough time to complete a painting but our teacher, Sylvia, sent us home with enough demos and instruction to finish. I need to do the background color and then the stems.

I was worried I wouldn't make it to the final class. The night before I woke up in the middle of the night dripping wet and very nauseous. I got up and dried off and went back to sleep. Thankfully, I felt fine in the morning and was able to attend class but it was definitely strange.

I'll post a picture when it is completed.

Helena had left such encouraging words on my first post of my watercolor adventure which I appreciated so much and is high praise coming from such a talent. You can see her work here. I wonder if I could get her to set up an Etsy site with some of her work or prints. She is amazing.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Summer of Knitting

When we found out our niece was having a little girl, I knew I wanted to knit her a baby blanket. I loved the Jelly Beenz colors and picked a pattern I had found on-line. Rocketman has a hard time looking at this blanket because of the memories it brings back.
I brought the blanket along to work on during the 13 hour flight to and from Korea. I figured I would get a lot done not while we were in Korea but definitely during the flight. Little did I know I was able to spend 10 hours a day for three weeks while Rocketman had his crisis.
I love how it turned out and it brings back some bad memories as well but a lot of good ones. Every new nurse that came to see Rocketman would see the blanket and say, "예쁘다 "yeppuda or just yeppo for short with big smiles on their faces. They were very interested in my knitting. I took it with me all over the hospital from the Emergency Room to the Foreigner Medical Office to finally his hospital room.
But I mailed it off to our niece with blessings for a wonderful life for her new little girl and I hope she liked the blanket.

I thought I would get a break from knitting but we recently found out that our little girl is going to have her third baby, due in March. She picked out this yarn and I'm back to knitting. I'm using the same pattern because I love how it turned out. I have a lot of time to get this done but I am also working on a bojagi project which I hope to finish up in a few more months.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Painting Koi and Water Lilies

I was so nervous about this class. I am so insecure when it comes to taking classes although I have taken so many but especially when it involves painting. As I entered the classroom, I was surprised to find nine other students. I knew the teacher, Sylvia, because we had taken the Su-Mi classes together. She is marvelous and so calming. I had even had a nightmare last week about this class in which I forgot to go to the first class and was so far behind everyone else.
We went around and introduced ourselves. Sylvia had a bunch of her paintings and also photos for us to pick what we wanted to work on. I picked the painting you see in the photo above.

The first step was to sketch out the scene. Not only does painting intimidate me but so does drawing. Yikes! I was so nervous and really struggled to draw this. It took me a couple of hours with a lot of erasing going on. Then we applied masking liquid to the areas we wanted to mask.
Next was to start the painting. The plastic wrap was a technique that my teacher had learned from a student of hers and was a great way to create texture.
This is what it looked like after it dried and the plastic wrap was removed. I had a great time but the three hours flew by and I came home pretty exhausted. I am determined to conquer this painting fear, so the lessons will continue. I also signed up for a Su-Mi class in December. It's not with my old teacher but her teacher, Susan Frame.

My final koi class is Wednesday and I'm excited to see how this turns out.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Garden

My garden, it's an eyesore. It got out of control while we were living in Korea and I just never had the gumption to get it under control. I used to have lots of raspberries but the birds would beat me to the ripened fruit. I had basil and then never made the pesto and things I was going to do with it. The weeds took over and I never could get ahead of them so I gave up.

I wanted the garden gone so on Saturday my daughter and her family and our son came over to do just that. I figured it would take most of the day but they made short work of it. It was done in only an hour.

I made lunch for everyone including steaks on the grill and corn on the cob. The kids opted for a more kidlike meal and instead of putting a leaf in our kitchen table, we dusted off our Korean table. The kids loved eating there.
After lunch while they were finishing up with the garden, my doorbell began to ring. I opened the door to find a naked Ezra. He must have learned this from his mama who did a similar thing when she was about 3 only she ran over to the neighbor's house stark naked.
 Our son-in-law also brought some sod and this is what it looks like now. We were beyond thrilled.
I'm also getting ready for my painting class which is on Monday and Wednesday. I will be learning how to paint koi fish and lotus flowers in watercolors. I can't wait.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I'm a Craft Hoarder!

My craft room has been a catch-all since I broke my elbow in March. I had never broken anything but a toe before that and the added insult of being right handed and breaking my right elbow put me over the edge. You can ask anyone who knows me that I am always doing something crafty. I just can't sit and do nothing. Even when we travel, I bring something to do.

Mentally, the broken elbow brought me low and then the worry of the trip to Korea just a month later was an added worry. I was not going to postpone that trip for anything although now knowing what happened I am thinking the broken elbow was a sign to do just that. The broken elbow made doing everything difficult if not impossible and slowed me down.

This photo above is the entrance to my craft room.

The broken elbow was just the beginning of the piles and the trip to Korea just compounded it. Also the shape that Rocketman returned from Korea in and all the doctor visits and subsequent surgeries made the piles grow.

When I finally decided to tackle the mess, I realized that I just had too much stuff and needed to do some purging. I went through everything including years worth of magazines and donated and threw out things. If I hadn't used something in the last few years, out it went. It took a week to get through it all. I have put some of the magazines on Ebay if anyone is interested.

                                     I'm still not completely finished and I may never be.
                                                    But it sure looks a lot better.
My dream house would have a second floor as a craft room. But for now, I'm very happy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Box From South Korea!

My Korean girlfriend, Hannah, emailed me a few months ago asking if I would order some things for her brother. I was happy to do it and also told her if there was anything she (or her sister) wanted that I could order that too and ship it all together. She could, in turn, buy me some things I want from Korea and whatever else to make up the difference. A win-win for both of us. On my list was some hanji paper, hanji books that I don't already have and a Korean purse. I had sent her box a few weeks ago and it arrived safe and sound. I also included some U.S. candy for her niece and nephews. I was so excited when I received my box. It was huge and this is what was inside:
     Korean ramyeon and snacks. They worked great as packing peanuts and tasted a whole lot better.
                           A Starbucks coffee cup for Rocketman and a cute bedazzled shoe for me.
                                                                   Not just one purse.
                                                                But two!
I also wanted a dojong (chop) with "sarang" on it. That's the word for "love" in Korean. I have some ideas of how to use it with polymer clay.  I also got a gorgeous brooch.
                                                             A cute wall hanging.
A bojagi (Korean quilting) book and a hanji pattern book. I also got some hanji paper.
It was just like Christmas and I loved everything Hannah had bought. But it was also bittersweet because it made me miss South Korea even more. But I would definitely do it again.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A New Driveway!

We sent in our very last house payment this month so we thought it was a perfect time to get a cement driveway. The asphalt was in pretty bad shape in spots.
                                                    It was also sinking near the garage.
The first day the crew removed all the asphalt including our basketball hoop (at Rocketman's request) and laid the gravel for the cement.
We also replaced our sidewalk. It had sunken and had gotten pretty wonky. They poured this the first day too.
And just as the crew pulled out for the day, the UPS man came and stepped OVER the yellow tape and left us this little reminder of his visit.
We were livid. Rocketman called the cement guy to see what could be done and was told to use a broom to smooth it out.  It worked somewhat.  We just couldn't believe he did it.  Let's see we have yellow tape marking the area and we have a once asphalt driveway gone with equipment left in the driveway. Hmmmm.

They finished it the next day and it took all day to do it. We can't drive on it for a week but we love it!
I also made my own laundry detergent this week using this recipe. I tripled the recipe and it filled this container quite nicely.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Neighborhood Canadian Geese

I walk three miles everyday and on my walk I pass by a small pond. A few months ago I met this family of Canadian geese. Papa goose did not like me walking anywhere near his little family but I really had no choice and I thought that he would get used to seeing me everyday.
When the babies were little, they would hit the pond to get away from me. I loved watching one adult at the front of the line and the other at the end.
                                      I watched them grow each week as I walked by.

Sometimes I ran by when Daddy goose chased after me. I was afraid he would bite my ankles. He really is fierce.
The bigger the babies grew, the less inclined they were to move when I walked by choosing instead to squawk at me and shake their wings.
This is the family this morning as I walked by.  Now that they are getting bigger I sometimes go a week without seeing them thinking they left.
But Daddy goose was keeping a close eye on me, ready to chase me off if necessary. It's been so much fun watching this family grow.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Eastern Medicine in Minnesota

 Rocketman is still struggling with fatigue after his nightmare kidney stone in South Korea so I talked him into some Eastern medicine. My doctor had recommended Dr. Ren and I made an appointment last Friday for Rocketman. I went along for curiosity sake. The St. Paul clinic is located in an old mansion.
This photo is taken as you walk into the office. I loved, loved, loved the charm. It was 19th century meets Asian influences. They had kept so much of the bones of the home like the latticework in the entryway and the stain glassed windows.
They even had the Chinese herbs like we found in the Korean Eastern medicine doctor's office.
This is the waiting room where you wait for Dr. Ren to come retrieve you for treatment. You also need to remove your shoes before you go upstairs into a treatment room. I loved the creaking sounds as patients went up and down the staircase.
                  There is also a cat named Tai Ji that is the friendliest cat I had ever encountered.
                                              We also found this notice about Tai Ji.
Kitty loved Rocketman. Rocketman filled out a short questionnaire that just asked about medications he was on. He went upstairs and she took his pulse in each wrist and told him that he had a weak kidney. Wow! She had no idea what he had been through but she was spot on. She did 15 acupuncture needles on him and had him lay there for 30 minutes. She also prescribed some Asian medicine pills of which he needs to take 60 a day. He was to return in one week. We were surprised that our insurance pays for the acupuncture.
I'll keep you informed of his progress and if he sees any changes. He is really looking to get back to normal.
Dr. Ren also has a book.

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