It's always a good day when we get a box from South Korea. Hannah sent it along with some presents. She bought me some hanji paper knowing I can never have enough.
This beautiful box.
And a boyfriend pillow for when Rocketman is away for work.
She also sent this girlfriend pillow for Rocketman. He was speechless (and so was I). It is quite the conversation piece but alas he won't be using it as a pillow.
We usually visit Korea in the Spring during the cherry blossoms but as this Spring approached, I just didn't want to go so we didn't. I wasn't sure if it was because of what happened last year or something else. I just knew I didn't want to go at that time and it's a good thing I listened to my intuition.
Recently, Rocketman asked if we should go this Fall. I first didn't want to because I really love springtime in Korea and a trip in the Fall and then the following Spring seemed too close together from a financial standpoint so I continued to push back. But I had to admit that I had a feeling we would be going and that's all it was, a feeling.
Then two weeks ago, Hannah tells us she is quitting her job in a few months and asks us to come to Korea. Hannah has never asked us to come but is always overjoyed to see us when she isn't working which is all the time. That was my first sign that maybe we really should go. Hannah would be taking a break from the job market and wanted to spent a lot of time with us which is something she had never been able to do.
The final sign was a Kakao Talk message from Hellena, our Korean friend who is a flight attendant. She told me she was quitting her job and getting married. She really, really wanted us to come over for the wedding. That did it! I didn't need any more signs, we were going to Korea. So now my days are looking at flights, hotel and lots of shopping. I have about 30 friends that I need to buy gifts for. I also need to make a list of what I need to buy.
We are so excited and also deciding where we want to visit. Last year, we were going to Jeonju, the home of hanji but had to cancel because of Rocketman's hospitalization. So we are planning on a few days there and I asked Hannah where else we should go that would be a good photo op for Rocketman. Korea, you need to really stock up on kimchi! I'm coming!!!!
Maedeup bracelets that will be in my Etsy shop soon.
Big news around is! We are going to Korea for a visit this Fall. It was not planned but last Friday I was contacted by one of our dearest friends, Hellena and she told me that she is getting married. She wants us there for her wedding and so we are going. Also, Hannah is quitting her job next month and she also asked us to come to visit in the Fall. I knew there was a reason we didn't go in April and now I know why. We plan on staying in Seoul but doing a lot of side trips. I want to spend some time in Busan and also in Jeonju which is considered the home of hanji. We are so excited!!!!
I've been having a lot of fun taking on-line classes this summer. I just finished up one with Rae Missigman where I learned how to create the things you see in the photo above. The class I took is called Paint Sketch and Store. I love how everything turned out and I really enjoyed her videos.
I also took an on-line class on watercolors by the fabulous Wyanne. I took her Wyanne's Way watercolor class and I learned so much from the series. I love her paintings and she really explained how to do different techniques.
Things have taken a wild turn and I will explain more in my next post. You truly never know what tomorrow will bring and in our case it has brought some amazing news.
Every year my grandson Noah and I take a trip to The Red Balloon in St. Paul. I always take a picture of Noah at the back entrance and this year I was amazed to see how much he has grown. We both are huge book lovers and The Red Balloon is a must go to for children's books. They have everything including apparently Chris Colfer from Glee who is doing a book signing there this week.
Noah came home with a bag full of books for himself and for his little brother, Ezra.
We also made a stop at my sister's eye shop to get new lens for his glasses.
I also signed him up for a couple of kid's classes at White Bear Center for the Arts. His first class was a duct tape craft class where he made a wallet and a checkerboard.
The second day he took a class on fingerprinting and stamping. He loved both classes.
A quick trip to Target and I found this in my cart:)
He also talked me into a trip to Toys R Us. The time flew by and it was time to return him to his parents. He is growing up so fast and I can't believe he will be in third grade in just a few short months. But I cherish every moment I spend with him and his two brothers.
I had bought a bunch of kits from Donna Downey to keep me busy when we moved back to South Korea in 2011. Little did I know that I would barely have time to cook dinner with all the Korean craft classes I ended up taking. I had hours and hours of homework every night so these kits never got made. When we returned home in 2012, they ended up on top of a cabinet in my craft room and forgotten until recently.
I spent the last few weeks reorganizing my craft room and found these kits unopened. I decided to put them together and be done with it. The dads have birthdays in August so I made two of the kits for each of them. The one above is for Rocketman's dad.
This one is for my dad.
I even made one for myself featuring pictures of my grandparents.
I also had kits of tags to make. I was going to make these for all my friends in Korea. But again, time came and went and these were also forgotten.
Now they are finished and all ready for our next visit:) It felt good to get all these kits finished.
The paper I use for sumi-e is Chinese xuan paper. It comes in these super duper huge sheets which you can tear down to size. I don't like to do large paintings, especially since I'm still practicing, so one sheet tears down to six sheets. I had ordered 100 sheets a few months ago and had forgotten and then reordered again. It was too late to cancel and it does go fast when you are practicing.
I've been spending a lot of time tearing 200 sheets into 1200 sheets. It's taken an incredible amount of time to do this. It also doesn't help that it is summer so the lawn needs to be mowed and weeds need to be pulled. I'm not going to even talk about the trees and bushes that need trimming. Yikes!
But this is what the paper looked like when I finished. I also had some crafty kits I bought when we moved back to Korea in 2011. It turned out I was so busy with all the Korean crafting that I never had time for these kits so I'm trying to get those done now too. I'll post on them when I'm finished.
We also celebrated little Ezra's third birthday. I can't believe the little guy is already three. He is truly a joy just like his two brothers.
We've also been getting a ton of rain up here. We haven't had any flooding but we've been lucky. So many homes have been damaged. We have already reached the second wettest June since record keeping and with the torrential rain that is expected this weekend we should easily surpass that.
Last Friday I took another sumi-e class with Susan Frame at the White Bear Center for the Arts. The focus for this class was peonies and cliffs. Peonies are one of my favorite flowers and it just so happens to be peony peak time here in Minnesota. I didn't venture into color ink but stayed with black to work on my strokes as you can see from my paintings.
I also did a couple of cliff paintings. I don't know why landscapes intimidate me so much but they do.
I really have enjoyed all the painting classes I've taken and will definitely continue. It makes me less homesick for Korea where I was taking some kind of Korean craft class every single day.
I'm also learning to listen to my body and to not overdue especially when it's hot out. Yesterday, I wasn't planning on mowing the lawn as Rocketman has been in town to do that so I went on my 3 1/2 hour walk which I do every morning. When I returned home, I heard on the news that we would have rain starting in the afternoon. Rocketman was going to mow that night so I decided to mow and so I began around noon. It was in the mid 80's and humid.
Our mower has also been acting up with thick black smoke that spouts out of it as you mow and the blade decides at will to disengage. It's extremely frustrating but we only have one mower so we make due. I had finished the front and was working on the back when I started to feel lightheaded and I was also sweating profusely. I came in and drank a bunch of water and rested for about a half hour and went out again.
I mowed for another 20 minutes or so and it happened again only I felt a whole lot worse. I came in and drank lots of water and rested again. I ended up taking three breaks to finish the lawn. I came in when I finished and felt horrible and knew I had heat exhaustion. So I took it easy the rest of the afternoon including dinner which was a frozen pizza which Rocketman did not mind at all.
I was feeling so poorly that I went up to bed early and slept nearly 12 hours. This morning I was still feeling pretty tired but I did do my daily walk anyway but that wore me out for the rest of the day. So I know now for the hundredth time that I can't do my walk and mow the lawn during these hot summer days. I need to remember this next time and you can be sure there will be a next time. Will I ever learn?