Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 South Korea Vacation - Part One - Gwangjang Market with KJ!

Our vacation to South Korea came as a complete surprise especially to me. Rocketman had been mentioning taking a trip for many months but for some reason I didn't want to go this year. I didn't have any strong reason for this feeling. It could have been the memories(nightmares) of our last Korea vacation where Rocketman found himself in the hospital due to a kidney stone and the subsequent surgery. Cherry blossom time (April) is my favorite time of year in Korea. The temperature and humidity is perfect (at least for this Minnesota girl) and doesn't leave you looking like you just got out of the shower as soon as you leave your hotel room.
 
It could have been that Rocketman now does not travel to Asia like he did in his previous division (for which I am profoundly grateful) and we no longer had business-class upgrades. Fourteen hours in the air in Coach is tough to do. It could have been that for the first time in a long time we would have to pay for the flights which is not cheap to South Korea. Rocketman's lifetime accumulation of 2 million miles on Delta had given us wonderful perks through the years. And along those lines, all the money it costs in airline tickets, hotel, presents, eating out all the time, and shopping. I think it all played into my decision to skip the "Land of the Morning Calm" for 2014.
 
But fate had a different plan. The first thing that happened was I was out with my sister for lunch and I mentioned Rocketman prodding us to go to Korea this Fall and she told me we should go. Life was too short. Just do it. This was followed shortly with an email from our Korean friend, Hannah, saying she was quitting her job and asking us out of the blue to come so she could spend every day with us (something her jobs had never allowed in the past). The final straw was the very next day getting a Kakao Talk text from Hellena, another Korean friend, telling us she too was quitting her job as a flight attendant, that she was getting married and really wanted us to attend her wedding. As far as I was concerned, the heavens had spoken.  As soon as we had Hellena's wedding date firm, we booked our flights.
 
Since we would fly out of Minneapolis/St. Paul on Delta, we would first have to fly a leg to Detroit and then from Detroit to Incheon. We also had a ton of luggage(lots of presents). We each had two large checked and each had a carry on. It was brutal. But we were so grateful when my sister offered to drop us off and also pick us up on our return. We also had Hannah order a large van to pick us up once we arrived in Korea to take us to the hotel.
 
As we waited for our Incheon flight, we found this little guy flying about entertaining all of us. He was very tame.
 
The flight went well and we arrived in Incheon the evening of August 29th. As I waited for our luggage after clearing customs, Rocketman turned on his phone only to find a text from Hellena. She was at the airport waiting to meet us! We were shocked and so happy. I mean, she was only getting married in two days so I'm sure she had lots of free time, not! She also had picked up our portable WiFi eggs so that we didn't have to do that before leaving the airport. When I saw her I couldn't believe it and we never let each other go as we made our way through the airport. The driver was also waiting and thankfully had a huge van.
 
We got to our room around 8 pm and Hellena visited for a few hours while I unpacked and then it was time for bed. Rocketman and I have never been able to sleep on planes. I really admire those that can. We had a busy day planned for Saturday, our first day in Korea so we said our goodbyes to Hellena and would be seeing her on her wedding day that Sunday.
 


I planned on meeting KJ, my bojagi teacher, at 10:00am at our hotel. I wasn't sure what kind of shape I would be in so I thought it would be safe to have her come to the hotel and if I felt well enough we could go shopping and if not, we could at least visit in our room. Last year, I felt pretty ill the first few days we were in Korea. Luckily, I felt great and I finally got a picture of the two of us after all these years. We headed out to Gwangjang Market to do some bojagi (Korean quilting) shopping. It's one of my favorite places in all of Seoul. Rocketman loves it too for the food vendors.
We stopped at a new ramie shop.
                                        I couldn't decide what I wanted. The ramie was just beautiful.
There is fabric everywhere in Gwangjang Market.
Next stop was a silk thread vendor. He had every color imaginable. KJ helped me to pick out a bunch of colors and the prices were amazing.
 
The next stop was my underground fabric shop which is near Gwangjang Market. This is where I get that beautiful sheer fabric. This place is always busy so you know it's good.

                      Gwangjang Market along with Dongdaemun is the place to go for hanboks.
Choosing your hanbok fabric is always a family affair. Rocketman took this photo at one of the hanbok shops. I've even seen shops where you must remove your shoes before entering and you sit on the floor.
I am a huge fan of KJ's work. She is truly a talent and before we came to Korea I asked her if I could buy a thimble or two that she made. She made me five and they had chasu (embroidery) done by herself on both sides. I was in shocked and so overwhelmed at her generosity. You have no idea the time that goes into making just one. The thread used in chasu is silk and it takes forever to do.
This is the reverse side of the thimbles. I will treasure them forever.
                                             This is the fabric I came home with.
                                                                And the thread.
And a few presents from vendors. I'm still not done with things we did our first Saturday in Korea. The next post will focus on the food of Gwangjang Market, Rocketman's favorite subject.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Maedeup Monday!

I love getting custom orders like this one from the head chef, Rita, at Donatelli's.  She is a HUGE Minnesota Vikings fan so of course she wanted me to use their colors.  She loved it as much as I love her cooking. I'm still working on stealing her away from Don's to be our chef:)

I can't wait to visit South Korea and have compiled pages of places I want to go and people we must see. It's going to be an amazing time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Korean Vogue

I was cleaning up my craft room, something I don't do nearly enough, and came across some Korean Vogues I had bought years ago. They weigh a ton and have some pretty cool pictures like this guy wearing a partial necklace for lack of a better word made with stitch holders commonly used in knitting. They do come in all sizes and colors and I had never thought to use them this way.
 Then it had a photo spread of designs with a take on the traditional Korean hanbok. I love them!!!







And lo and behold, I found George Clooney in a coffee ad, something I don't think you would ever see here in the U.S.A.

Friday, August 22, 2014

This and That

I had heard about a new shop in downtown White Bear Lake which featured local crafters. I couldn't wait to visit "Truly." It was adorable and I had a blast looking around. I came home with these pot holders made from old cloth calendars. 1960 is the year I was born and 1980 the year I married Rocketman. What a clever idea and just one of the million reasons I love crafters!
The other evening Rocketman was doing the dishes and I looked up to see this spider running around the light fixture above the sink. Yuck!  Time to clean out the lights!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Renaissance Festival - 2014

Last weekend we headed out with family to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee just south of the Twin Cities. It was their opening weekend and the weather was perfect.  
             Ezra didn't particularly like all the attention he received from the oddly dressed participants.
Rocketman got his turkey leg which turned out to be pretty disappointing. It was very tough and grisly. 
                                                But the blue smoothie was perfect!
                                            Except for the brain freeze!  Not fun.
                                         Little Ez was pretty proud of his blue tongue.
                                                   We did a little shopping.
 
                                           There is always a place to rest if you need too.
Ezra entertained us while we waited for the knife throwing show to start. It was a blast and the knife throwers and jugglers were pretty witty on top of it all.
I wondered what he thought about everything he was seeing.  I love that so many visitors dress up too.
                               Judah found some entertainment in his big brother's hair.
                                             He also had fun with Ezra's hair. 
                                                        Noah played a bunch of games.
We passed on this one. It's harder than you think. A lot of people had their rotten tomatoes hit the top of the canopy as they threw. You did better if you threw sidearmed.
 
                                                Noah even tried climbing a wall.

                   He said he got nervous when we he got near the top and saw how high he was.
                   But he managed to sound the horn. He was so proud of himself and so was I.
We had a great time. There were a lot of shops selling all sorts of things. I love to see all the talented craftspeople. There seemed to be a lot of pottery and I wasn't sure if there was more than usual. It's just a good thing we were with the grandkids or I might have done a lot more damage to my pocketbook.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Maedeup Monday!

I received a request from a customer, Lauren, about a month ago asking if I could take this bracelet design which you can find in my Etsy shop and add a couple more of my Korean charms and create two bracelets. Of course, I responded and after she decided on what color combination she wanted for each bracelet I got busy.
She sent me this photo of the finished bracelets. She loved them and so do I!  They were a lot of fun to make.

The Korea trip planning is going great.  Poor Hannah is taking my requests of all we want to do and see, along with the many friends we want to visit and is working on a making an itinerary. It will take some time and tweaking to make it all work out. I also placed an order for two new charms and pendants for my Etsy store: 소원 (hope) and  화이팅 pronounced hwaiting but is similar to fighting in English. You see it said in a lot of Korea dramas. I hope Metal Guy can get them done in time.
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