Saturday, January 30, 2010


On Thursday hubby and I took a "date day" and went to the big western-style mall on the other side of town. (Clarification: "western" as in "as opposed to the Orient", not "western" as in "cowboy".) This mall has stores like H&M, Zara, Best Buy, and Toys R Us. Oh, and Burger King. Can't forget Burger King! We like to head out there when we need a little taste of home. 

On this particular trip, I was looking for some warm-weather tops for our upcoming trip to Thailand. Unfortunately, it's still a little early for the spring stock to be out, but there are some really good end-of-season sales on the winter stuff. As soon as I saw this coat at Zara, I knew it had to come home with me:

And at 65% off, it was a steal! It was the last one, too. It was meant to be, I tell ya. Meant to be.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Travel Bag

I love to travel. Seeing new places, trying new foods, experiencing new things... I love it all. But even deeper, there's just an excitement that comes with going somewhere, anywhere. I love it when Seth and I throw an overnight bag in the car and take off on a roadtrip, even if it's to a place we've been a dozen times before. 

When I was a kid, I used to practice packing the perfect "essential travel bag," all the things I would need if I suddenly found my eleven-year-old self on my own and living a life of adventure (I blame that on books like The Boxcar Children and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, with a little Nancy Drew thrown in for good measure). I mean, any person with a good head on their shoulders knows that they should always be prepared, right? Back then my essential items were usually packed in a magenta nylon backpack. I've upgraded the bag since then, but the content list is surprisingly similar even when I travel today.

Here's my "grownup" travel bag. It's nice and roomy, slouchy yet sturdy. It works equally well on a plane, sightseeing, or going to a restaurant.

A closeup:

And here's what goes inside:


  1. Small makeup bag (including a great little travel-sized set of MAC makeup brushes)
  2. Leather-bound notebook/dayplanner
  3. Journal
  4. DS with games (plus this amazing little cartridge called "100 Classic Book Collection" - everything from Austen to Shakespeare - perfect for long flights!)
  5. Ipod
I also throw in my wallet/passport, camera, a small first aid kit (Sea Bands, bandages, pain reliever, pepto bismol chewables and such), and usually a magazine. Since most of our trips now are by plane, a scarf/wrap also goes a long way. (For international flights, I add an extra shirt/unmentionables, just in case our checked bags don't make it, which has happened on more than one occasion!) It's all pretty much second nature to me now; I can throw together a bag like nobody's business. 

Seth and I are really blessed in that we have the opportunity to travel fairly often. Sometimes it's to big cities like Bangkok or Hong Kong; other times it's to little villages in rural China. But no matter where we go, I see it as an adventure to be had. And I know that I'm prepared for anything, as long as my trusty travel bag is by my side!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Little Valentine

I made this little Valentine card the other day; just something quick and simple. I haven't been feeling the mojo lately; I have lots of ideas in my head, but can't seem to translate them to cardstock. I did get a new set of stamps in Hong Kong, though, so maybe that will give me the extra push I need. Guess I'll have to break them out and see!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Martha Stewart (Valentine Clear); Ink: Stampabilities pigment (red), Ink It Up pigment (pink), My Mind's Eye pigment (Neutrals pad), Ranger Distress Ink (Old Paper); Accessories: paper piercer, scallop scissors, foam dimensionals, ribbon

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm Back

I was sitting here listening to the rain outside and drinking ridiculously strong coffee (which I know I'm going to regret when I try to go to bed in a couple of hours), and I realized it's been over a week since I've posted anything. Wow! Time really does fly. 

We had a great little weekend getaway last week: hung out with friends, did some shopping, ate some good food... It was just what we needed. Our friends live right by the Hong Kong border (but on the Mainland side), so we all took a day trip into the city. Of course, even though Hong Kong is once more officially part of China, you still have to show your passport/visa and go through an official border crossing:

The line was pretty long this time. It took forever to get through.

Here's a closeup of the logo on this guy's jacket - pretty apropos, don't you think?

I have to say, I love the Page One bookstores in Hong Kong! They're packed with English books (in a full range of subjects), English magazines, and kitschy stuff like lomo cameras/accessories. I haven't found a bookstore here in Mainland China that has even a third of their English book selection. Just one more reason why I'm really starting to like Hong Kong.

In just a couple of weeks we'll be making a trip to Thailand. Sadly, Bangkok is not on the itinerary this time, so no scrapbooking store for me. But I am hoping to scrounge up some decor items from the Chiang Mai night market - if you dig deep enough you can find some really creative stuff made by some of the younger,hipper artisans. It's kind of hit-or-miss, though, so we'll see. Number one thing on my travel itinerary? Head to the Chiang Mai Saloon for loaded mashed potatoes - homemade creamy goodness covered in gooey cheddar cheese and crispy-chewy bacon. Ultimate comfort food, baby. Oh, yeah, we are ALL about the food here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger & a Weekend Getaway

Hubby and I are leaving tomorrow for a little weekend getaway, but before we go I wanted to squeeze in a card for Moxie Fab World's Tuesday Trigger. Isn't this cabbage a beauty? We actually see quite a few of these used as landscaping ornamentals during the cold months here in China.

And here's what I came up with:


I knew I had to make something with layers of purple scallops, to mimic the ruffled petals of the cabbage. I bent the edges of each scallop up to make it as "ruffly" as possible. It's hard to see in the pic, but the lighter purple layers were embossed with the Swiss Dots embossing folder. And of course it all had to be backed with this gorgeous olive green cardstock that I've been hoarding. 

We're heading down to Shenzhen/Hong Kong for the weekend. I'm looking forward to the warmer weather - it's been pretty cold here the past couple of days! Hopefully it'll be a nice few days of good food, shopping, and visiting with friends. Okay, off to finish packing!

Card Supplies:
Stamps - Inkadinkado (Maison Frames), American Crafts (Sentiments - Small), SEI (Bridgeport); Ink - Stampin Up (Elegant Eggplant Craft), Versamark, Ink It Up (Violet); Accessories - scallop scissors, adhesive rhinestones, Cuttlebug/Swiss Dots embossing folder, small and large corner rounder punches, foam dimensionals

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree...

I usually don't do a lot of purple; I'm not sure exactly why. I think purple is a perfectly fine color, I just don't find myself using it all that much. But I got some new inks in my stocking for Christmas, and this lavender was too pretty to ignore. The stamp itself was actually a fluke; I had ordered a cute little owl set, but when our Christmas package arrived this set was in there instead. It wouldn't be worth the hassle of trying to exchange it now, and I actually kind of like the different trees. My favorite has to be this one, with its little birdies hidden among the leaves. 

Tonight Seth and I are going to brave the cold and head out to one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants for dinner. Some eggplant with ground pork, maybe a little shredded potato with green pepper, steamed white rice... I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! One thing we can never complain about is the food here, that's for sure!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Hampton Art "Tree;" Ink: Ink it Up (lavender), My Mind's Eye "Sundress" pad (brown); watercolor paper


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coolest. Gift. Ever.

Call us dorks, but this is one awesome dvd! I'd had it on my Amazon wishlist for a while, and my mom sent it to us for Christmas. We love it! Our honeymoon (way back when) took place in late December, and we spent a week in a condo up in the Smokey Mountains. We had a gorgeous view, and a great fireplace to snuggle up in front of. It was fabulous - and I've been longing for a fireplace of our own ever since. While this is obviously not a replacement for the real thing, it definitely works when a bona fide fireplace isn't available. Someday I'll get that fireplace, but until then I'll be sitting in front of this with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. Don't you just love technology?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Catching Up

Here's a card I made while I was playing around with my new Christmas goodies. I love this owl! 

I just spent the last half-hour flipping  through the new issue of Paper Crafts magazine - cute stuff! I signed up for an international subscription back in October, and my first issue was supposed to be the Jan/Feb issue (according to my account info). Unfortunately, my issue never came. This one I actually found in the Carrefour English magazine section - first time I've EVER seen it anywhere in China. I had to pay US $8.50 for my copy, which is 1/3 of what I paid for an entire one year subscription. That really burns me. When I emailed Paper Crafts last week to ask them when I should expect my Jan/Feb issue to arrive, they told me they were sorry my issue didn't come, and that they would extend my subscription by one issue to make up for it. In other words, the subscription I paid for the first week of October won't actually start until the Mar/Apr issue. No mention of just sending me a copy of the Jan/Feb issue I should have received (which is currently in stock in their online store, so it's not like they don't have any more copies). No, I have to wait two more months. Sigh. If I didn't love their magazine so much, I would just ask for my money back.

Okay, rant over! I've been having a blast the last few days figuring out Facebook. I'm so behind the times, lol!  I set up an account right before we came back to China, but I hadn't done anything with it since that initial setup. I'm still learning some of the features, but I'm finding old friends that I haven't seen in ages and having so much fun! It's crazy how small it makes the world.

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Hampton Art (What a Hoot); Ink: My Mind's Eye (Sundress pad); Patterned Paper: My Mind's Eye; Accessories: Cuttlebug/Swiss Dots folder, scallop scissors, rhinestone, dimensionals

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Meet my new lovely. I found her hiding among racks of drab, lackluster scarves, the kind suited for utilitarian rather than aesthetic purposes. When I caught a glimpse of her glorious ruffles peeking through the grays and blacks, it was all I could do to contain an audible gasp of delight. Now, when shopping at a market where bargaining is de rigueur, one must do one's best to keep their "game face" on - act nonchalant, disinterested even. Ask whether the shopkeeper has any other possible colors, because this shade just isn't quite what one had in mind. Sigh, point out a tiny flaw in the knitting, let it fall back on the rack with a look of distaste. Pick up a nearby scarf that you really have no interest in and ask its price. Pretend to consider the price while inspecting this new scarf with feigned interest. In an offhand manner, ask the price of the first scarf, your true intended purchase, the one that you have implied is somehow inferior. Now bargain hard. Your goal is to pay only about a third of the original asking price, so your first offer must be ridiculously low. They counter; you raise your offer by a miniscule amount. They lower their asking price by an even smaller amount; you state your final price. They refuse; you begin to walk away. If you've played your cards right, this is when the shopkeeper will call after you, "okay, okay!" And you will walk out of the market with an inconcealable smile on your lips, your neck draped with buttery-golden tiers of silky softness. Oh, yes, she is lovely.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy Crafting

Now that I've gotten over my stomach thing, the creative juices are flowing again. I got a bunch of new crafty things for Christmas, and I've got all kinds of ideas brewing in my head. Ironically, this card doesn't use any of my new stuff! I've been loving all the folksy inspiration I've seen in web-land, and while I was putting away my Christmas stamps I realized that these little houses (from one of last year's Martha Stewart holiday sets) would make the perfect folksy village. The whimsy combined with the fun colors just make me happy!

Stamps: Martha Stewart (Gingerbread), Stampin Up! (Many Happy Returns); Ink: My Mind's Eye (Natural pigment ink pad); Accessories: Cuttlebug / Swiss Dots folder, scallop scissors, corner rounder punch large / small, dimensionals

What I'm Reading

I've been reading this book  (for the second time).

She is the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. Woman. In one last flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master's finishing touch... Eve is... breathtaking. Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God's final touch, his pièce de résistance. She fills a place in the world nothing and no one else can fill.
Now, I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I was given this book to read for a group study, and at first I didn't think it was going to be my cup of tea. But as I read, I began to realize that there were some simple truths to be found among the pages, things that were good for me to hear. Some of those ideas are still sinking in, but I have to say I'm glad I gave this book a chance.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What I Made...

I made these felt ornaments to give away to some of my local friends over the holidays. I found some stiff felt at the market,  and just ran it through my Cuttlebug with a Bigz Snowflake die. Super easy! The tags were just as quick to make - two stamps, two inks, a circle punch and some bling. I just might have to make some of these for myself next year! Here's a closeup of the tag:

I'm really liking turquoise and red right now. TFL!

Felt; Cuttlebug/Bigz Snowflake die/Ellison Scallop Tags die; SEI Glitzmas/Alpine Frost stamps; ColorBox pigment ink (Robin's Egg), Ink It Up! pigment ink (red); Crop-A-Dile; eyelets; 1 1/4" circle punch; adhesive rhinestones; dimensionals; ribbon

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's a little surreal for me to be sitting here writing this from almost twelve hours into 2010, while most of my friends and family are still back in 2009. Hard to wrap my head around. As a child, I never dreamed I'd end up living literally on the other side of the world. I spent the first 12 years of my life in rural Missouri, if that tells you anything. One of my most vivid memories from childhood is of heading into my grandparents' pasture to pick up cow "patties" (why? to fertilize my grandma's garden, of course) and being chased by a small herd of cows. Not exactly preparation for living in a bustling metropolis of over 20 million people. But here I am, twenty years later, sending well-wishes from "the future," and wondering what happened to all those flying cars we were supposed to have. Life - it may be crazy, but it sure is fun.