Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Very very Korean Crafts Market

Hi, everyone. Are you having a good time with a help of this marvelous weather? I am so~ enjoying this crispy autumnal air. Today I'd like to take you to my favorite playground. I am pretty sure that you'd love this place as well.

A couple of years ago, I promised I was going to introduce this sometime not too late. Didn't really know that it would take this long but finally your time has come and I am proudly uncovering the crafters' heaven in Korea.

Pretty often I get the same question from some of my customers (especially those visiting Korea). "Where do I get some crafty stuff in Korea? Any yarn shops? Crafts markets?" Well, if you're looking for something for crafts in Korea you cannot do better than this:  DongDaeMun Market. 

If you ever planned to visit Seoul you might hear a tourist spot called "DongDaeMun" which is a huge traditional Korean gate as you see in the photo. It is one of national treasuries in Korea. The Market is sitting just next to it. Means it is hard to miss. 

There are so many building complexes (they are all markets by the way.) in this Market and one of buildings is fully devoted to crafts. Literally 'crafts' I can say. No trouble to access from the downtown Seoul (subway line 4 DongDaeMun stn.) and you can find anything you need for your projects. The great price is the plus.

I get most of my craft materials at this fabulous place. From sewing threads, buttons, yarns, fabrics, bag handles, zippers, and more. You just name it! As a first timer you might be overwhelmed by the size of the Market as well as the extra-busy ambiance. This is a typical Korean style market. It’s been growing many decades and still going so well. Some parts of the Market run 24/7 and you can find lots of quality fashion accessories created by independent local designers. People say that from a designing to finishing takes less than 1day in this Market. They start designing today, collecting materials and creating products overnight and the finished clothes is out for sale in the Market by tomorrow morning. Every day they offer a variety of new designs and products. Isn't it pretty amazing?

The craft Market is one of the important parts of this Market. Located next to the subway station it works like a heart to this huge organization. The narrow aisles are often filled with busy buyers and sellers. Loads of goodies here and there are waiving to you saying ‘take me!’ Seriously you have to watch out. You might end up with shopping until you drop. (I am not joking.) There are so many stuffs catching your eyes. Time will fly in this town! If you realized you purchased too much to carry then they will deliver at a reasonable price. If you feel lost no worries. Kindly every shop has its own numbers that guide you. If you find a shop that you’d like to come back later simply remember the shop name and number. That will save you good deal of time and energy in the future.

Underground level is for knitting yarns and knitting notions. From the 1st  Up to 4th floor you can find various fabrics and sewing notions. On the 5th floor you will pleasantly encounter itsy bitsy DIY materials like buttons, ribbons, laces, jewelry, and more. You will be literally shocked by notion attack. I mean in a great way!

Nearby there are lots of other shopping malls, shops, restaurants, street vendors, exhibition center and more. If you have a chance please stop by this magnificent area. I am sure you will be nicely pleased. I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the fabulous Market. Let me know if you need further info. I will be happy to help you~ xo    

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Knitting

Hi everyone,

How's your summer (or winter) treating you so far? Hope your days have been fun, creative and full of excitements as mine has been.

Korea is having lots of rains recently. Supposed to be very steamy and humid in this time of the year so.. I often slow down my knitting/crocheting process. Well, I rephrase then.. It is less cozy to work with warm wools when the weather is like this. (I really miss crispy cool breeze of autumn when I knit and craft as much as I want!) However, the other day I spontaneously started this unusual piece hoping I don't have to suffer from too-toasty yarns and too-long knitting hours. It fit the bill! It worked out pretty quickly and the result was way interesting than I originally expected. I am pretty surprised!

Since I explored this linen stitch a couple of years ago I've been thinking about what I am gonna make with this. Such a simple stitch that makes wonderfully rich texture. I've been constantly looking for perfect yarns for this stitch. Checking out lots and lots of finished projects from fellow knitters (hooray, Ravelry!! I found a number of fabulous ways of using this stitch from many many knitters. They are so genius and inspiring!) I got some clear ideas about yarns, projects that would make this stitch a perfection.

So now here's my turn to unveil my project. When I saw this yarn (acrylic plus nylon mix) I instantly knew that it is about time to practice linen stitch. Don't you feel just delightful when you find a perfect marriage of yarns and projects! I do very much! So this is it! The yarn compliments the texture as well as the texture compliments the yarn. A bit hard to read the stitch definition but that's the beauty of this particular piece: rustic and festive!

Finished in 2 weeks (but if I were working on this project only it would've been just a couple of days to whip up) this became one of my favorite projects I've ever worked on. Obviously yarns and the linen stitch did all the work for me. I didn't really have to pay attention to the pattern after a few rows. It was just fun to watch how this little piece is growing with unexpectable color patterns and crazy texture. This unique place mat absolutely jezzes up my plain dinner table now.

I think I am gonna buy more of this yarn in different colors and make some more for gifts. The finished piece is not only looking great but simply practical! Who wouldn't need a little pretty place mat on their kitchen table, right? This would make a great present for ANYONE! Perhapses you might want to make some, too. I am sure you would enjoy creating this.

Now time to wish you have wonderful days until I write again. Whether hot or cold enjoy your stitching and have some fun!



Friday, June 27, 2014

Korean Chicken Soup for welcoming summer

Hi everyone,
Hope you're having an extra creative season wherever you are. Here in Korea, summer has just arrived with rising humidity and temperature. Summer in Korea is pretty brutal. Recently summer is getting longer and hotter giving me a pretty hard time. Well, I love four clearly different seasons here and I enjoy every single season. BUT, as a knitter and sewer I prefer a bit chilly weather that I can get cozy with what I knit and I don't have to worry about the heat from my iron while I am sewing and ironing. However, there are lots of fun things available in summer so I know summer shouldn’t be too bad. Today I'd like to introduce an interesting way how Koreans fight against summer heat. A purely traditional yet simply gourmet solution! Are you ready to explore?

I and my dear hubby went out for a little date. Before it gets too hot we wanted to try this incredible dish. This restaurant we are visiting today is overly famous so people have to make long line to get food but (maybe thanks to the nasty rainy weather?) today there's no line at all and we were welcomed just right away~ We passed by this traditional Korean style rooms while we were seated. My hubby always gets impressed by those scenes while I am frantically looking for seats and menus. :P

This is it! Have you ever seen this before? I know many of you like Korean food and tried out a few times or... even made some. However, I am not sure if this is familiar to you. I used to stay in New York but hadn't had any chance to find this. It is usually served in an extremely hot pot (Yes, I really love the style. I like anything served in hot pots! Don't you think food tastes better this way? Or... maybe it's just me?) Anyway, this is called 'SamGye-Tang' in Korean. "Tang" means thick soup/stew generally. 'Sam' is ginseng and 'Gye' is chicken. So now you know. This is a soup made of ginseng and chicken. The chicken is stuffed with sticky rice, a few pieces of jujube, pieces of chestnut, and a small piece of ginseng. The broth is made of chicken juice, lots of Chinese herbs and other seasonings.

Koreans believe this hot and hearty soup will protect them from the summer heat giving them good energy and stamina. Unarguably all the ingredients are purely healthy and wholesome. Maybe worst thing in the soup would be 'salt'? Anyway, it was just heavenly to me! The whole chicken was so juicy and tender. The soup was so warm and rich but not greasy at all. The sticky rice was just melting in my mouth. The kimchi beautifully complimented the gorgeous SamGye-Tang. I sweat but my stomach was dancing. Interestingly Koreans like to eat something hot during summer while enjoy something cold during winter. There is an old Korean saying: Defeat heat with heat~. Well, sounds weird but that's what generally we do here~ :) SamGye-Tang would work pretty similar to Chicken Soup in Western world. Koreans eat SamGye-Tang as prevention while Westerns eat Chicken Soup as a medicine. If you ever had a chance to find SamGye-Tang I strongly recommend you try once. Even if you haven’t done Korean food you would like it.

Here's my hubby getting extra excited about the food. His love of food never ends and he is brave enough to try something new and unfamiliar. He enjoys most of food I make. Obviously that makes my life way easier since we've been grown up such different environments and I generally cook something He's not even heard of..
We finished! Full but very pleasantly full. We were just happy looking at our empty pots and those leftover bones. We might come back for more. This is one of those fun things we can do in summer. After all, summer wouldn’t be so terrible with some yummy food and relaxing activities. 

So what's your remedy for hot/cold weather? Do you have any that work perfect when you are down or sick? Don't be shy and raise your hand~ I'd love to hear from you. Enjoy the great season and talk to you real soon.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Getting touched by nature ~

Hi all! How’ve you been? Loooong time no talk seriously. I’ve been busy during the cold time which is one my favorite crafting and resting seasons. Have you been creative and inspired? Have you enjoyed some cozy fuzzy time creating awesome stuffs? I hope so. :)
Here in Ansan, just the outskirt of Seoul, South Korea is turning pretty lovely this time of the year. Spring is just ‘wonderfully’ full and outside is nothing but green. The air is refreshing and fragrant roses are just everywhere. I cannot ask more. 
Today, I’d like you to taste a small bite of my neighborhood where I mainly live, work, walk and create things. My city is pretty big and there are lots of things to show off. So.. this is gonna be just an introduction of the town. Hopefully I can share some more sometime later.
I take a long walk on a daily basis. Recently the city created a fantastic track between my house to the lake park (that I just adore so much!). How lucky I am!! I am taking advantage of this every day. Sometimes even twice!

The end of this track (which would take about 25 minutes or so) here we are: Ansan Lake Park. This is a real treat! Whenever I am here I get overwhelmed by the feeling that I am nicely covered with the green cozy blanket. Whether I have a good day or not-so-good day my walk truly benefits me. I would call it ‘my daily dose of green vitamin’.
Here’s a little rose garden in front of the subway station. Those look even prettier than last few years I think. There are so many different kinds that I don’t possibly recognize which is which. But, one thing I can clearly say is that… they are all magnificent and make people passing by so excited! It is not too hard to see people taking out their smart phones and taking lots of photos.
This is one of my proud spots! Almost-free-bicycle rental stations. From the last year machine-operated bicycle stations like this are available all around the city. A 24-hour pass costs only $1. Or you can purchase a monthly membership at even a greater rate ($3)! What a cool system! I am still relearning (I used to enjoy riding it perfectly when I was a little girl but recently I realized I am pretty struggling. My parents said it is impossible to forget how to bike once people learn it. Well, obviously I am not regular then.) Well, hopefully I can master it by this fall and this time it lasts long.
Hope you enjoyed a little route of my town. It is a city surrounded by greens, water, and flowers. That’s what I like about this city and my work is deeply touched by the wonderful nature. I try to bring the colors, textures and shapes of nature to my creations. Well, still long way to go and I keep trying. I believe nature is the best inspiration for creation.

I am wondering where all you live and how those neighborhoods affect your crafting process. I am sure you’re enjoying your own town very much, too. After all every little village has its own charm and something to offer.

Now time to say good-bye and wish you good luck on your WIPs. Next time I am gonna share some of my WIPs, too! Keep creating and have lots of fun!