Sunday, September 30, 2012

Korean Jeong

Korean Jeong is one of those words that is not easily translated into English.  It means so many things: love, affection, attachment, empathy...  It's my favorite word in Korean.  I have "Jeong" necklaces available in my Etsy Shop.  I also have earrings but I need to photograph them.
I have what I feel is a good example of Korean jeong.  Hellena, my Korean girlfriend, was telling me that her boyfriend was off of work for four months.  I asked if there was a layoff and she told me that he had volunteered to be off.  I thought he was crazy until she explained why.

At his company, senior co-workers made a terrible mistake which caused the company to lose a great deal of money.  In order to weather the blow, the owners said that everyone would have to take a temporary pay cut and would also have to take time off without pay.  He had talked to Hellena about what was going on and how this was going to be really tough on his co-workers, all of whom were married and with families.

Hellena suggested that he volunteer to take the four months off (without pay) because he wasn't married and he lived with his mother so it wouldn't be a huge financial burden to him.  He didn't immediately agree to doing this but with prodding from Hellena, he finally relented and let the company know he was willing do this even though the mistake was made by others.

During the four months off, he exercised a lot and lost a lot of weight.  He also spent quality time doing what he liked to do which if you know the Korean work ethic, this is nearly impossible.  When Hellena visited Korea during a layoff, I went up to Seoul and got to spend the day with him and Hellena.  Even though he wasn't making a salary, he wouldn't allow me to pay for a thing.  I was able to pay him back when Hellena visited us in the States and she picked out a North Face jacket.  North Face is very expensive in Korea and very desirable.

He is back at work now and I wonder what his co-workers think of what he did.  I'm sure they are very grateful.  I also wondered if that same scenario here in the States would have the same outcome.  But to me, this is a perfect example of Korean jeong and one of the millions of reasons I love Korea so.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Asian Brush Painting - Class #2

This week in class, we learned how to paint bamboo.  I was soooo excited because I had always wanted to learn how to do that.  The paint stroke is quite easy but it's the loading of the brush that is tricky.  I'm still working on that as you can see by my picture above.
I'm having a blast and the two hours just fly by.  Our teacher wants us to practice at home and I did not do that but I plan on making time before the next class.  I really can see using this in my hanji (Korean papercraft) projects and chilbo (Korean enameling) projects.
                         This is a photo of my teacher's demo.  Oooo, I want to be like her someday!
We have also been invaded by box elder bugs.  They are everywhere! 

On the kitchen front, we got the quote for the new flooring and I almost fainted......$8500.  It includes ripping up the old and a bunch of other problems that go with installing new flooring.  We are going with an Alloc slate-looking floor.  Our floor is really what needs the makeover the most.  Oh well.  Now we just have to wait and see when he can start.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Renaissance Festival in Minnesota

Every year there is a Renaissance Festival and 31 years we have lived in Minnesota, we had only been twice.  The last time was when our daughter was a wee toddler (She is now 27) so it was long overdue and the best reason to go was the grandkids.  We decided to go all together and make a day of it.  The first thing we saw as we entered the festival was this walking tree.  I loved watching Noah's reaction to the oddities.
                                               He immediately took part in a production.
                                       He listened intentively and did all that was asked of him.
Of course, there was a lot of spoiling going on.  This balloon turtle was part of the spoils he went home with courtesy of grandma.
Rocketman took advantage of the HUGE and delicious turkey legs.  I had a few bites and it was unbelievably delicious.
            Even Ezra had a fun time.  It was really chilly, in the low 50's, but that didn't stop the fun.
                       I saw sooo many signs that made me laugh like this one "Wenches at Work."
 And it's not every day that a little boy gets gold coin.  Noah ran with the coin to his mama saying "Mom!  It's real gold!."
                                        And it's not every day you see a magical fairy eating lunch.

Noah started getting really tired and we knew it was time to go.  We had gotten there first thing in the morning and by the time we left, it was packed with people.

I called these ladies, "The Bag Ladies."  See even in America you can find ajummas!

We were surprised at how many of our fellow attendings that came dressed for the times.  It was very different from when we were there in the 80's.  Back then, only the performers and staffers dressed in costume.  It really felt like stepping back in time.

They had wonderful craftsmen including a glass blower.  I could have watched him all day.  I didn't have a lot of time in the shops but I wouldn't have missed a minute of spending the day with my our daughter and her family.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Asian Brush Painting - Class 1

I had my first Asian brush painting class last Wednesday and it did not disappoint.  I was the third of five students to arrive and I instantly knew something was wrong.  Everyone had supplies with them.  I asked and they told me they found the list on the Internet.  I had called to register and they never told me that I needed supplies.

I wasn't the only one who didn't get the message, there ended up being two of us.  Luckily, the instructor bought lots of extra supplies and she provided everything we needed.  The first thing we did was to lighten the black to make a gray.

This is a blurry view of how my teacher sets up her work area.  The Japanese name for this is Sumi which I thought it was so cool because that was the name of my Korean maedeup teacher back in Korea.
This first class we practiced four brushstrokes.  I realized as the paint dried that I had too much water on my brush which made the paper crinkle.
Painting is the only craft that I have not conquered.  I've always secretly wanted to be a painter but the "I can't" in my head would intimidate me.  This time around I've changed my mantra to "I can!"  I know I can paint because that is what I did in chilbo (Korean enameling) class so I know I can. 
There are a total of 5 students in my class.  We shared our journeys that had brought us to this class. One student is a high school art teacher and just that week she had a new student in class from South Korea who spoke very little English.  She wanted a few Korean words that she could say to him to help him feel better. I was so happy to help and we are discussing me visiting her class to meet him.
She was also looking for a polymer clay teacher to help her out with a polymer clay project which was also right up my alley.  It is so amazing to me the connects I make when I least expect it.  I really feel I was meant to take this class and meet these wonderful students.  I'll keep you posted as the adventure continues.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our New Stove, Complete with Sabbath Mode!

Our new stove finally came yesterday.  I ordered an LG with the double oven in black.  It came with a few surprises.  Mind you, I hadn't bought a new stove since 1990 but I was surprised at a few of the features of this new oven.
First, was the anti-tip brackets.  The installers really wanted to install these brackets but I convinced them on my honor that I was truly getting a new floor.  Actually, I told them, "Hey, look at this floor!
 and they were convince.
There were warnings all over the stove about what a tipping hazard it was.  I don't know who's been tipping stoves but if it has happened to you, I would really like to hear about it.  I thought it was ridiculous.  A television I could see but a stove.  Rocketman was shocked when I told him.
Next came the Sabbath Mode.  I had never heard of this either but thought it might be a good idea to turn it on.  I always could use an excuse not to cook.  "Honey, the stove doesn't work."  But to be honest, I don't cook much on Sunday's anyway, that is Chipoltle day. It was cool though that the stove just happened to be delivered on Jewish Holiday Rosh Hashanah.  Little things like that make me smile.
Finally, there were the Kid's Meal mode.  What the heck!  I'm not the most knowledgeable cook but I really don't understand why kid's meals need a special mode.  My kids did just fine without it and least I think they did.  I better check with them on that.

Times change I know and maybe I'm just showing my age.  I can't wait to cook using my new stove!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Maedeup Monday!

 I was looking for something in my craftroom and found a box of Dongsimgyeol maedeup.  I thought they woul look so cool in a bracelet.  It would be like wearing a rainbow.  I also love the meaning of this particular maedeup.  Dongsimgyeol maedeup signifies good luck so it's a bracelet full of good luck.
                                                          It's available in my Etsy shop.
Today the new refrigerator and stove came.  They called me 45 minutes before they came so I was able to empty the refrigerator right before they got there.  I thought I would just open the fridge and reload it with my stuff.  Nooooooooo.

When I opened the door, I was welcomed by blue tape holding everything down.  It was everywhere and took me an hour to completely remove.  Now all we need to do is decide on a floor color and get that going.  I'm seeing an end to our "eating Korean style" (sitting on the floor).  I'll take pictures when everything is complete.

Another Farmer's Market

I am so blessed to have two farmer's markets within a few miles of my house.  The White Bear market is on Friday's and the Mahtomedi Farmer's Market is Saturday mornings.  We drive by it every Saturday on our way to Donatelli's for lunch.  I finally talked Rocketman to leave a little early for Don's so we could stop by.
 It had alot of the same things as the White Bear market but it also had a few crafters.  I picked up a loaf of homemade bread and a cookbook.  I'm a sucker for cookbooks.
We were invited to a birthday dinner at Don Julio's in White Bear.  I was amazed at the server's ability to balance four, right out of the oven, hot plates so I quickly snapped this shot.  I love how all you need to do is look around you to see talent of every day folks just like ourselves.  It's an amazing world we live in.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Farmer's Market

I love our Farmer's Market here in White Bear Lake.  It runs on Friday's from 8:00 am to 12 pm from the end of June until October.  It gets pretty crowded so I suggest you get there early for a great parking spot.
 The flowers are always beautiful and I usually buy some but with my kitchen still a mess, I passed.
It was a glorious day with clear skies and temperatures in the 70's.  Lots of people bring their dogs and I love seeing all the different kinds.
                                           I bought some corn which we'll eat this weekend.
The produce was really amazing and the prices were great too.

Plans for the weekend is for Rocketman to finish up the painting, removing the blue tape (why it takes the paint we'll never know) and maybe getting the family room back together.  I'll take pictures when it's complete.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kim's Oriental Market in St. Paul

I really needed to get out of a funk so I knew a trip to a Korean market would be just the thing.  Rocketman had bought me a small, college-size refrigerator so I could buy kimchi and not have it stink up the entire refrigerator.  Kim's is not much to look at from the outside.
But inside was like I stepped back into Korea.  I opted for one of the small shopping carts instead of a basket and proceeded to fill it up.  Frozen mandu!!!  WooHoo!!!
                         And lots of choices for ramen just like my Home Plus back in Suwon.
These jars are deliciousness and are going into the new refrigerator because they smell to high heaven even though they haven't been opened yet.
When we stayed at the Dormy while waiting for our things to arrive we ate the free breakfast that was offered by the staff.  Rocketman would always get one of these yogurt drinks and I thought to surprise him with one each day with his lunch.
                                                I couldn't pass these up too.  I missed them both!
                           And how could I even begin to do any Korean cooking without these? 
This stuff is so good and I think it will help me get over this cold even faster.  I couldn't stop smiling as I shopped.  The wonderful ajumma who owns the store remembered me from 2010 and was surprised to hear we had gone back to Korea. 

I came home and put everything away.  I can't wait to make some kimchi jjigae now!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Halloween Polymer Clay!

Copyright 2012 Becky Meverden

Polka Dot Pumpkin Magnet
by Becky Meverden

Polymer clay - For pumpkin: orange, brown, white, black, Polka dots: magenta or purple
1/2" round magnet
3/4" round Kemper cutter, optional
E6000 adhesive

1.  Flatten a 1" orange ball into a 1 5/8" circle.  Use your fingers to flatten the ball and  have the center thicker than the edges.

2.  Use a toothpick to indent lines on the pumpkin.

3.  For the stem, roll a 5/16" brown ball into a 1/4" long tapered log.  Use a toothpick to indent lines all over the stem.  Press onto the back of the pumpkin.

4.  For the eyes, flatten 2 3/16" white balls into teardrops.  Press onto pumpkin.  For the pupils, flatten 2 3/32" black balls and press them onto the eyes.  Use a toothpick to make two squint lines by each eye.

5.  For the eyebrows, roll two 1/8" orange balls into 1/4" long tapered logs.  Press above each eye.

6.  For the nose, roll a 1/4" orange ball into an oval and press onto the pumpkin.

7.  For the mouth, press the lower half of a round cutter into the pumpkin.  You can also use the lid of a tub margarine container.  Cut a 1" x 2" strip, use your fingers to curve one end and press into the pumpkin.  Use a toothpick to place a hole on both sides of the mouth.

8.  For the polka dots, roll 1/8" magenta (or whatever color you choose) balls and press randomly all over pumpkin.

9.  Bake in a preheated 265 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Let cool.

10.  Glue magnet to the back of the pumpkin.

We broke out the polymer clay while Noah was here also.  I forgot how much I love the stuff!!  I made the pumpkin refrigerator magnets and Noah made the pumpkins in the photo above.  He loved it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Abstract Art - Crafting with Noah

I wanted some artwork to go with the new paintjob in the the bathroom and I thought it would be a great idea to have Noah create it for us.  I chose the colors he could use and just let his imagination take off.  He was a little worried to begin with until I showed him some pictures of abstract art and I told him that there are no mistakes and that is what is great about it.
                                                                          He dove it!
This ended up being a whole day affair.  Two of the canvases were quite large and so it took him awhile to paint them.  We took lots of breaks when he got bored but he was always eager to get back to them.
                                                      These are the two for my bathroom.
                                             These are the two he made for his Mom and Dad.

I'm dealing with a nasty cold that has zapped my energy.  I'm taking it easy this week and hoping to feel better soon. 
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