Tuesday, December 30, 2008

North Korea


My travels here in South Korea have been limited to mainly Seoul - to and from my school where I'm teaching TESOL to Korean elementary English teachers. But now and then my team goes on a day trip. On Christmas Eve we went up to the DMZ to check out what we could see of North Korea and go on a tour of the 3rd tunnel dug by North Koreans to invade South Korea. 

The whole North/South division has been such an eye-opening experience. I have always joked that if I ever saw a North Korean in Australian that he/she must be a spy because there would be no other reason for them to be in a Western country. While that's partly true I've been exposed to the deeper and sadder truth about the 38th parallel line. 

There are over 10million ethnic North Koreans living in the South. They are mainly people who fled the North just before the division and because they remain citizens of Korea they are unable to return to the North even to visit family. If people fled to Japan or the US or other countries and gained citizenship, they are allowed to visit North Korea on specially supervised tours. The irony. 

The DMZ tour puts on a big show about reunification, hope and future dreams for a unified Korea. It seems so impossible. How on earth could they possibly achieve this? Just looking at East and West Germany shows us that there can be unification on the surface but the economic and identity issues remain even 20 years on. 

This Korean trip has been an incredible chance and opportunity to learn so much about my Asian neighbours and grow in respect for this country that I thought was so funny for having a company called 'Lucky Gold Star' (otherwise known as LG). 

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sugary Scrapbooking

I found an awesome free digi site when I was looking for a template for photobooth photos:SugarPlum Paperie. She's got some gorgeous stuff in her shop as well as her freebie section on her blog. So I spent a little bit of time yesterday playing around and here's what I came up with!

My Inay


My mum is awesome. I hadn't seen her for two years before this week. 
Who needs a fancy photo booth machine when you have Photoshop. Plus Westfield Parramatta is so stupid they don't even have one of these machines. Bah humbug. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bras and Abortions

Here are a few new things I feel convicted to get behind and support.

I found this fascinating charity: donating bras to women in the Pacific Islands. The way it works is that lightly used bras are given to these women (since new bras incur an import tax) who otherwise would never be able afford them.
Bras are a sign of status and cultured living in these areas and the lack of a bra is sometimes seen as a sign of poverty.

I think the idea is fabulous! Here's the information if anyone is interested in donating!

UpLiftBras

Recently at college we were treated to an incredible presentation by Melinda Tankard-Riest. She is a strong advocate for women's issues particularly against the sexualisation and objectification of women in today's society.

She spoke particularly on the issue of abortion. She was very revealing about the distinct lack of 'choice' in many women's decisions to have an abortion. In today's society it's more about the choice of the partner, the doctor, other family members or more shockingly society's choice to not have more unwanted children (or even children with disabilities).

She's written two books, Giving Sorrow Words and Defiant Birth. The first book gives a voice to women who have had an abortion but regret the decision. There is a lot of information out there that claims that there is no physical, emotion or spiritual harm done to women post-abortions. This book shows from a very personal viewpoint that there is such harm for many women. The second book records the stories of a number of families who have been pressured to have abortions because their in-utero children were deemed to have disabilities. All of them refusedand as a result experienced varied amounts of abuse and displeasure from their doctors, families and society at large.

Check them all out and definitely check out Women's Forum Australia. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FreckledNest Rocks

I found LeighAnn a while ago and I think I've posted about her before. I love her blog (FreckledNest.com) because she writes so beautifully, honestly and with such fun and vivacity.

She's just recently decided to refocus her life away from working full time at her art and craft. As a result she's made everything half price in her Etsy shop. I just bought this:


I'm so excited to finally buy somethin from her! It's a mini album the perfect size for photobooth photos. I've only got two photobooth photos and they were both with an ex-boyfriend. I'm thinking hubby won't be too keen on putting them in the album. This is a great excuse to get hubby in some more photos with me! 

So what are you doing? Go check out her stuff!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Story of Stuff


I can't remember where I found this link but I'm glad I did.  I'm not a tree-hugging hippie but I do my small part when it comes to recycling and buying renewable products. This short film (click on the above picture) is really eye-opening, a little discouraging but motivating at the same time. It's about the insane consumerist, materialistic society we live in and how it's damaging not just the environment but us humans too. 

Then I followed some links and found this site: Cosmetic Database (click on the picture). 

I was very, very shocked when I plugged in some of the body and face products that Nathan and I use. I generally hate make-up and rely on Photoshop to make me look betterbut even still, I use lipstick with lead and moisturizer with carcinogens!

So check them out. I think it's good to be well aware of what's going on around us. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Exams: blerk. Internet: yay!

I've got 7 exams coming up and I just handed in my last essay-type assessment for the year today. It wasn't really an essay but an exegetical - 1000 words on Psalm 116. Pretty interesting but the Hebrew was a bit boring - I found it difficult to get the full word count.

So, I should be studying, but oh my, are there so many pretties on the internet. I've been blog hopping for hours on end. I just love looking at what everyone is making, bookmarking it or favouriting the pattern if it's knit or crochet. But all my organization usually goes to waste since I never remember to go back and look at all the lovelies a second time to actually make them.

So here's some pretties to keep us all procrastinating:

My friend (can I say that? I've only emailed her twice I think) Marly got one of her crochet patterns published in Interweave Crochet. It's out now at the newsagents.


This place is pretty awesome: Vintage Sewing Patterns. I love looking at and collecting vintage patterns but haven't been very successful with modern patterns let along older style ones!

I want to make this bag - it looks so easy!


I would love to learn how to quilt like this: (From House on Hill Road)


I signed up for the Holiday KalCal again. I only got one entry in last year but still managed to score a book prize. I've got a few handmade Christmas projects coming up that I'll enter.


That's all for now. I need to get back to reading Philosophy. Blerk.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monkeys! Monkeys! Monkeys!

I [heart] monkeys so much! I love calling my husband 'monkey'. (If you hear me say 'Bun', that's short for 'Bunny'.) I just love the word 'monkey'. It sound so magically odd in a very strange, Diane sort of way. Monkeys seems so incredible cute, weird and mysterious. I'm not talking about orangutans or gorillas but cute little spider monkeys or sock monkeys or sad monkeys that are tied up and dance to music.

"Monkey-poodle-bottom-bum-nut."

Natalie Dee
nataliedee.com

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sewing love

We just had 2 weeks holidays from college and are currently in the second week of term 4. On holidays I like to laze around, watch DVDs, annoy my husband with laments about not actually leaving Sydney on holidays and just general craftiness. Every holiday, without fail, we have an essay due in the middle. That part is very painful but it does mean that you can work on it without other college obligations.

Last holidays I did a little sewing. I made this awesome bag that I just adore.

It's from Bend the Rules Sewing. I'm loving this book more and more. The linen outside fabrics are two 20cent teatowels. I got them separately on different occasions at our internal op-shop at college. Such a score. The inner fabric is some 100% cotton polkadot print from Lincraft.

The bag is a perfect size and the pocket works so well. I still love my other bag that I made from this book but this bag is much nicer since it's smaller.

I did attempt to make a skirt from this pattern. I bombed. Badly. I'm not sure what happened in terms of measurements - I thought I had it all figured out but it ended up looking horrendous so the fabric'll be scraps for a future quilt or bag.

I finally finished this top as well (Simplicity Pattern 4123). I started back last year and got frustrated with the yoke and hem binding. It was my first top to really follow a paper pattern all the way through and boy, did I learn things!

Right now I'm working on top pattern from OneSkein using some recycled yarn from a 100% cotton jumper. I'm really loving recycled yarn. I unravelled another jumper the other day and plan to make a shawl out of them once I've overdyed them.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Meme


When Hon first told me I was tagged to do a 'meme' I had a Firefly flash and thought she was using the Chinese word for 'little sister'. I'm such a geek.

So here's the rules:

1. Link to the person who ‘tagged’ you!
2. Post the rules on your blog!
3. List 6 random facts about yourself!
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post!
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by commenting on their blog!
6. Let the tagger know the entry is posted on your blog!

Unfortunately, I'm like the Baddeleys, and Bek and I just don't do the whole voodoo-chain-mail thing. Sorry Hon!

Here are my 6 random facts (they are a little more reflective because that's the mood I'm in):


1. My mum has a coconut farm. For serious. Monkeys are a huge problem. For serious. Also on a seriously more serious note, terrorists are a real problem where my mum lives. I worried a lot about bringing my husband to come and visit my mum a few years ago because he's just 'kidnapable' being so 'white'.

2. I love reading. I will read anywhere and at any time. Seriously. Ok - here's an eyeopener for you. When I'm feeling sad or a little grumpy, I have a shower and then with the water still running I read a book. Seriously. In the cubicle but held out far away from the shower head. I am the reason why Australia will run out of clean water.

3. When I was younger I desperately wanted to be an archaeologist. Still do, really. I read up on all sorts of archaeological news. I used to have a deep fascination with canopic jars (hmmm... used to?)

4. I applied for university in 3 states and was accepted for my first choices in all three states. Griffith (QLD), UWS (NSW) LaTrobe (Vic). I ended up going to Griffith.

5. On the topic of tertiary education, due to numerous clerical errors I missed both of my graduation ceremonies at Griffith. Both times (for a BA and a Grad. Cert.) administration 'lost' my details and/or failed to lodge them at all in time for the ceremonies.

6. I used to learn Latin for fun. Quomodo nunc spadix bos?

ETA: I'm having trouble reading my own posts. Can you tell me if I should change the font/colour/size etc? Thanks!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

F u r n i t u r e

When I was little mum told us about a few funny sayings that she had when she was at school learning English. There is one I still sing in my head to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song:

F-u-r-n-i-t-u-r-e.

Sound it out like: 'If you are N I T you are E.' It was funny as a kid and I still think it is. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

25? Eeeep

It's my birthday today! I was woken at 5:30am by what I thought was a vibrating phone. But no, it was my darling hubby snoring. Lovely.

I had to forgive him a few hours later because he bought me an Ipod Nano. :) College had some fabulously interesting lectures on sanctification (being more 'nice' - technical term being 'godly') and then the theology of salvation in Luke-Acts.

We went out to a Korean BBQ place for tea. I heart kim-chee.

Here's some happy things I found on Flickr. I like days like today.


1. girl-&-squirrel, 2. This Afternoon's Disaster, 3. songbird, 4. Bird Tin, 5. Untitled, 6. Pink and yellow, 7. Victoriana Cardigan, 8. true., 9. this is L.A., 10. Brown Town, 11. for angel., 12. Untitled, 13. 365.12 (Birthday Present)14. Not available15. Not available16. Not available

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Apples

Nah, this isn't a post on Macs. I dislike them intensely - only in that I hate all O/S largely due the whole $ thing. I like Linux - only in that I have a husband with a PhD in computer science.

Anyways. I wanted to post about a lovely artist whose work has been on my wish list for a little while but I think hubby doesn't like picking things like this for me - books are a little easier!

Emily Martin is her name and her etsy shop is here and her blog is here. Her shop and blog name is 'The Black Apple.' Good name, huh!?!

*sigh*

Just so gorgeous!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ken Lee

This, this, my friends, gets me through the dark times. Like when I ripped my mobile phone in half because I was so stressed over an Old Testament essay. Like when I threw up because I was so anxious about my Old Testament essay. Yes, yesterday, I watched this a lot.

PS - Thank you Ro, so much for this background image. You rock!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Musings


So, I've been thinking a lot about life, the universe and everything (including my hair, how much Nutella I eat and that I have to call my mum tonight). And along with this kind of thinking I've included the purpose of my blog.

I wanted it to be a floaty, airy-fairy, inspirational (if I can use that word) kind of blog - the ones I like to look at really.

But Honoria (I love ya Hon) is really the one who's been inspiring me of late.

So my blog's going to take a turn. Crafty stuff will still pop up. That's just what I do. But I also do other stuff. Mainly that other stuff is theology. Yeah, lots of God stuff.

I hope to blog random musings about what I'm learning about and what I'm talking to people about. Feel free to ask me questions - I like questions. :)

Recently I've been talking to people online (yes - the forums sucked me back in. Thankfully no one has called me a homophobe again). What's been popping up is predestination.

Predestination, you say? You mean the idea that I have no free will and that God is a big puppeteer up in heaven pulling all the strings and even, dare I say it, the determiner of all evil due to his sovereignty? (Well, I got a little off the official doctrine but that's what been coming up in conversation).

Why yes. God being God has determined all things. And yet, somehow the integrity of my free will and free choice is maintained. I am completely free to do what I want and yet God had pre-determined everything anyway.

I find that comforting. Not distressing. Not encroaching on my personal freedom.

Actually I'm only able to choose within my nature. I can't freely choose to grow wings and fly. I can't freely choose to walk upside down. And because I'm a sinner (theological word - means I do bad things - like you do) then I can't actually do any good things. It's impossible.

Thus I can't choose Jesus. I can't choose to be saved. I can't choose to be a Christian.

But what predestination shows me then is that God chose me because I can't choose myself.

That is comforting.

(Excuse my lack of Bible references. Everything I say I take from what the Bible says. Yes, I'm one of those type of fundamentalists. Shoot me. :) I should be researching for an essay and trawling through my Bible software to back what I'm saying. They'll be there next time. )

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sisters

My beautiful sis Tahnee visited me after she got back from living overseas for the last few years. It was great to catch up and interact as people rather than bickering siblings.

She indulged me by having a 'photoshoot'. Nathan was pleased to not have to deal with me and my camera for a day. :)
Then we went up to Coffs Harbour to visit our other sister. I love my family!

Life is crazy busy - college is back and my lovely holidays are gone. They were a fairly productive holidays - I achieved much in the way of procrastination.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Online forums


Yeah, I think I'm largely done with online forums.

I've had quite a spate of horrible experiences this last week. I've been told I'm a homophobe and that I attack people over theology (on two separate forums).

I'm a member of quite a number of forums and really enjoy talking to people online and finding out about other people who have the same interests as me but could potentially be on the other side of the world.

The big problem is that communication between people is 80% non-verbal. This means that anything I say online can be drastically misunderstood because you can't see me smiling and holding your arm gently in a display of genuine friendliness (I like touchy-feely conversations).

And I'm getting sick of being misunderstood. It seems like you need to either grow an incredibly thick skin and understand the differences between face-to-face communications vs online communications or just get out.

Complaining isn't really my scene. This post isn't a complaint. It's a vent. A comment on the intricacies of interpersonal relationships, if you will.

I'm unsure of the future of online communications. We operate in relationship with each other. The medium shapes our communication but I'd hate for it to interfere to such a large degree that we are unable to be mutually intelligible anymore.

Hmm.. it's an interesting social linguistic problem. Can the essence of communication be altered by its medium so that normal relational structures are transformed?

Grrr. Arggghh.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Loquat Trees


I've been reading Don't Let the Goats Eat the Loquat Trees.

The adventures of these missionaries are fascinating but more so the complete overhaul they had to make of their lives and expectations. The ever increasing opportunities for them to learn humility are eye-opening to a proud missionary wannabe like me.

I went on a mission to Azerbaijan in 2002 and there I learnt a lot about who I thought I was and who I really was. The last few years have involved an awful lot of helpful navel gazing that I like to call constructive self reflection. No mushy daily diaries but genuine self-critical thought processes that attempt to assess myself not against others but against the goal of being Christ-like.

Art and craft lay claim to but a minor part of my personality and yet I strive to do so much of it to the detriment of other more important facets of my daily life.

I wonder how much of my art and craft I do to the glory of God or to the glory of self.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Books, books, glorious books.

Sigh. Some days you just want a big hotwater bottle, a huge non-fattening packet of chips and bag of chocolates and a good, historical romance novel. Well - I've got them all except for the non-fattening bit but along with it comes a huge sense of guilt and despondency over study.

It's never ending! Honest to goodness, I've never had a full time job but have been studying full time since I was 5 - and I'm now 24! Straight from my honours year at university to another post-graduate degree down here in Sydney.

Don't hear me wrong - I enjoy learning new things and it's a privilege to study God's Word every day but some days I wish I either was fat and pregnant doing nothing but making baby clothes in preparation for a dull life surrounded by pooing ankle-biters or an equally dull job actually using my degree and making squillions from 9-5 each day.

Both are equally exceedingly unappealing and I don't know how anyone does either of them. I'd much prefer an exam or two over either of those options (even if the child isn't terribly ugly or the job was in the Maldives).

Eh.

Eh.

I'll get over this period of dullness. When I look around me though I'd much prefer to be doing what I'm doing in preparation for being useful to God and those around me.

So I guess I'll have to study for that Hebrew test and get cracking on that Old Testament essay on the existence of an Urtext, huh? Mmm... pass me the M&Ms!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Eurovision



Yay! Yay! I love Eurovision! Australia was able to see both the semi-finals and then the final on Sunday night thanks to the lovely SBS channel.

I was cheering on Azerbaijan and Portugal. It was Azerbaijan's first year in it and I just adore the country. The song had a very interesting take on good vs evil but it was a bit difficult to understand the lyrics with the heavy accents and all the vibrato!

I adore the BBC commentator because he is so funny - he really taps into the Australian love of sarcasm and tall poppy syndrome.

I think I love the songs and the wacky ones that come out at times but I find the linguistic diversity the most interesting. Everything is in English but with some concessions to the linguistically ego-centric France who refuses to speak only in English. So the tallying of points is always in two languages.

So a normal conversation runs like this: (* = sexy, blonde, bosom heaving TV star from Georgia. ** = sexy, blonde, bosom heaving (broad shouldered for the man) Serbian hosts)

/start heavy accents with various levels of American or British English accents mixed in

**Hello Serbia. This is Geogoria calling!
*Hello Georgia!
**Hello. Congratulations Serbia on a fantastic night! We have enjoyed the experience greatly.
*Thank you Georgia!
**Ok. Here are the results from the Georgian televoting.
8 points to.... Azerbaijan!
*L'Azerbaïdjan huit points!
**10 points to Turkey!
*La Turquie dix points!
**And 12 points to Russia!
*La Russie douze points.

/end heavy accents with various levels of American or British English accents mixed in

Notice the block voting?? There's always a political element to the whole process - you vote for your neighbours. Or as the BBC commentator said you vote to ensure your oil and electricity still run in your country.

So countries like Germany, France and the UK don't really get any points. Take a look at this: Australian newspaper article on Germany.

I thought that Russia really didn't deserve to win. I didn't like Greece that much because they were a bit to Britney for me but they were better than Russia and Armenia.

Sigh. I ****love**** Eurovision. :)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Friday Freestyling

This is another entry to Leigh-Ann's freestyling challenge. I was supposed to make this in 1 hour - that was the challenge - but it took me 2.5hrs. **blush** Ah well. I love it and I loved making it!

They are all photos (bar 1) from my birthday last year. I used a lot Love, Elsie embellishments and the papers are from my scrap collection.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Freestyle Friday


Over at Freckled Nest, Leigh-Ann has set up a photo challenge for Fridays. Last Friday was to take photos from your car. Since we don't have a car I took photos on the way to college this morning.

I figured that travelling to work in a car = travelling to college in a train. But my photos aren't from the train but from the walking to and from the station. Ah well, they were photos I've wanted to take for a very long time and they make me happy!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cake


A year or so after we got married we split up the household duties. Nathan looks after the entire kitchen - cleaning, cooking, shopping. I, therefore, have the entire rest of the place - vacuuming, mopping, laundry etc.

It works out pretty well for us except Nathan doesn't make desserts. Well, he'll dish out ice-cream and pour Ice-Magic on top. This is why I make so many banana cakes. I've gotten *very* lazy when it comes to food preparation but I still want dessert. Banana cakes are the easiest yummy dessert I can make. So we eat banana cake and ice-cream fairly regularly.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Crochet in Public?


I love this picture. Everything this man is wearing is crocheted.

I got it from a discussion board on Ravelry. I'm so sorry I can't credit it properly but I know it was taken on a New York subway.