Friday, April 11, 2014

Korean Fabric on Etsy

Wow, life has been very busy lately.  One thing that had been keeping me busy, which I am so, SO grateful for is the business of my Etsy shop.  Since coming back to Korea, I reopened my shop but decided to solely sell my handmade cake buntings.  

In February and March I got so many orders (thank you!!!) that I actually had to put the shop on hold, so I could keep up and keep my head on straight ;)  I suppose wedding season is upon us!

The Lovely Nest Shop is still currently on vacation until the end of April; however, I have just began a new shop on Etsy that is solely dedicated to selling fabric.  

It's no secret that Korea is land of the cute and the fabric here is just that- cute!  I've found so many unique, fun, playful and whimsical prints here in Korea and I want to get them into the hands of all the talented diy-ers out there.

The shop's name is "Love, Korea"  The idea behind it is the sentiment as "From, Korea". 

I posted about buying fabric in Korea before, however I know some of you may not be actually in Korea and/or have a difficult time navigating the Korean websites.  So Love, Korea will have a smaller selection, curated by me, that is primarily composed of fun, playful, unique and cute printed fabrics.  

Since it is still so new, the selection is rather small now; but I intend to grow it day by day.  All of the fabrics are perfect for crafting so many things.  Curtains, kid's play room interiors, clothing, table linens, tote bags, the list is endless...  

So, if you have an interest in Korean fabrics, check out my new shop!  We ship internationally :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Easy way to hang a pendant light

When I decided that my little kitchen space needed light, I knew a pendant light would look best; however when I shopped around for lights, I found that the majority had a base that mounted to the ceiling and required some sort of electric work (I assume?).

Since I have no electric work experience and know that even getting into that here would be way more of a hassle than it's worth, I found a way around it.  Sure, I'd love to be able to turn my light on with a flick of a switch, but I am not one to mess around with wires.

Also, this is a great temporary solution for renters and non-electrictians.  You'll need:
     *  a light cord (with a plug at one end)
     *  two adhesive hooks
     *  power strip with individual power tabs (optional)
     *  a lightbulb, of course
I imagine it's a lot easier to find a light cord in the States, however I had a bit of a hard time here.  Anyway, I ended up purchasing mine from 10x10.  If you're in Korea, you should look for a cord with a plug: 콘센트용플러그.  I also love the idea of using a simple electric cord because you can have fun choosing lightbulbs of different shapes, sizes and styles.  The adhesive hooks I used were from the beloved Daiso.  

Once I determined where I wanted the light to hang, I attached one hook to the ceiling.  Then one more hook in the corner, where the cord will more discreetly hang down and plug in.  
String the cord, screw in the bulb and you're done!  I used a power strip with separate power tabs so that I could turn the light on and off easier.  Yea, there's no wall mounted light switch, but at least with this route, you don't have to keep plugging and unplugging every time you use the light.  
Ta-da!  A hanging light with no electrical work required.  I'd be interested to know of any other easy ways to go about adding lighting that doesn't involve wires and drilling....  So far, though, this seems to do the trick ;)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Small Kitchen Addition

I finally got around to posting pictures of my little kitchen project I had been working on.  The purpose of this table was to make use of wasted space and give us an area for eating/working etc.  

Ever since the table went up, my boyfriend frequently comments, "how did we live without this?"  It really is just so convenient to have a landing spot for your things when walking in the door.  It really is one of those things that you just don't realize how good it is until you actually have it.

Additionally, I added two cord holders to the left end and now we have a small charging station.  This small addition has made such a difference; so convenient and wayy more neater than what we had going on before.  (cords and plugs lying on the floor)
One issue I ran into while constructing was that I could only find one stud.  And being that the table isn't very long, I had no choice but to use just one stud and put dry wall anchors in the other holes.  It is sturdy, though.  I just won't be banging my fists on it.  (not that I do that anyway)
For a little fun decoration and for practical reasons, I strung two wires on the wall and used clothespins to hang notes and pictures.  This has been really handy for keeping receipts, coupons etc. 
And cute baby pictures of Nola :)
Here are some before and afters.  This first one is a picture taken while the previous tenants lived here.
And now:
Believe it or not, it is the same space.
Before table went in
Now
It was just a small addition, but it has made such a big impact in terms of function and aesthetics.  I love this little area, and I think it's a great and simple addition for any small space!  
 I'll be back with a few tips I used to put this all together :)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wanted: Lighting

I've recently completed my little kitchen project but to finish it completely, the small space is summoning some bright light.  I'm thinking a single pendant light will do the trick.

As always, I shopped online.  I wanted something simple and modern, so I checked out 10x10.  Whatever site you may look at, if you're looking for lighting, here are some helpful search terms:

     Lighting:  조명
     Table/Desk Lamp:  데스크스텐드
     Floor Lamp:  플로어조명, 스텐드조명
     Wall Lamp/Scone: 벽조명
     Pendant Light: 펜던트 조명
     Track Lighting: 레일조명
     Chandelier:  샹들리에
     Lamp Shade:  조명 갓

Here are a few pendant lights I found via 10x10: (all of these can be found via other sites too, by doing this)
1
This was my favorite light, so of course it was also the most expensive.  It comes in so many fun colors.

2
Simple design.  Comes in black and white with various bulb options.
3
Again, simple and mod.  Can be more playful as this one comes in every shade of the rainbow, plus white and black.
4
A little shade on this pendant. 
5
This one is actually a camping light of sorts.  It's solar powered, which I thought was cool,  but I wonder how bright and white the light is. 
I put my order in for one of these, which I hope to show you soon, along with the complete photos of the small addition to my kitchen :)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Korean Online Shopping

I think the most commonly used online shop, especially among expats here, is gmarket.  Virtually anything you need to buy, you can purchase through gmarket.  Gmarket is especially convenient because it is one Korean online site that offers English navigation.  

However, gmarket doesn't have everything and they may also not offer the best prices.  When shopping online, I use gmarket for most general things I need to buy (trash can, towels etc.), but when I'm looking for something more particular, I like to search other specialty online shops that have a smaller, more curated collection of things.  For example: 10x10 sells modern, unique and well designed products.

If you shop around via 10x10 first, you're likely to find what you're looking for a lot quicker than if you were to do a broad search on gmarket.  However, did you know that most products you find online are sold through a whole host of other sites?  (I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out) 

For example, while shopping for a lamp, I checked out 10x10 first because I knew I wanted a certain aesthetic.  Shopping through 10x10's smaller collection, I found a lamp I liked.  Originally I thought that this lamp was solely sold via 10x10, but this isn't the case 9 times out of 10.  

So, in order to get the best price on any item, I recommend doing a quick naver search.  

1.  Find the product you want.
2.  Go to Naver.com, and search the product name.  The product name will most likely be written in Korean, so you need to also search the product name in Korean.  If you can't copy and paste from teh original site or you're computer can't type hangeul, use this website to string along the Korean letters, then just copy and paste into Naver's search bar.

3.  Look under the shopping tab function and click 지식쇼핑 더보기  
4.  This will bring up pages of online sites that sell the same product.  The links and prices are clearly shown.  
This process is also convenient if you are a sole gmarket shopper.  If you can only navigate through gmarket's english site, or if you don't want to go through the hassle of creating an account for another online retailer, this is a good way to try finding your item via gmarket.

Online shopping is definitely the way to go in Korea, especially with their speed of delivery!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quick Trip to Gapyeong

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I took a quick break from life and made our way outside of Seoul to Gapyeong.  I honestly don't realize the poor air quality of Seoul until I'm actually out of it.  The air really is fresher!

Sure I love staying in hotels, but staying in a nice pension is a very, very close second.  It's like being in a little home away from home.  Bonus when that little home is extra pretty like the one we stayed in.  Plus, when you stay at a Korean pension, you can grill your own food :)  

I looked online for pensions and came across 눈깔사탕.  Its modern aesthetic is what caught my eye.  I've stayed in pensions before but nothing of this style.  The modern and clean interior is really refreshing.    

눈깔사탕 has 6 separate rooms (which are actually like cute mini houses).  The room itself is open and spacious.  The first thing I notice when I walk in a pension is cleanliness.  I'm sortof a freak about those things, and I was extremely happy to see that everything was so clean and fresh, it looked brand new.  

My favorite part of the room is the lofted bed.  It really does make such a big difference in how the room looks and feels. 
Between the lofted bed and window is the jet spa.  I'm always a little weird about getting into tubs others have been in before but this one was sparkly clean!  Another thing I loved was how the tub was not already filled when we arrived.  Being the germ freak that I am, I appreciated being able to fill the tub with fresh water whenever we wanted.  
Near the window is the grilling area.  A pension experience is not complete without grilling.  We bought meat, sausage and vegetables the night before and brought it with us.  Booze, too, of course! The grill in the room is gas, which is quite nice because you don't have to bother the owner for charcoal and you can grill any time you want!  Or even multiple times :) 

The kitchen is equipped with dishes and cooking utensils, and if there is something else you need, the owners graciously help you.  The kitchen has a fridge, microwave, stove top, rice cooker and hot water kettle.  Basically, everything you would ever need.  
I was really, really pleased with my stay here.  My boyfriend and I agreed that this pension really is a unique find.  Also, it looked like a new pool was going in to the deck just outside the rooms.  That will be really nice in the summer time.  

If you're in Gapyeong area, I really recommend this pension.  Plus, the owners are so kind and speak English well :) 
To reserve a room:
1.  Visit their website 눈깔사탕http://www.gceye.net/?
2.  Click on "Reserv"예약하기
3.  At the top, look for 실시간예약
4.  A calendar will pop up and in each date you'll see a selection for each of their 6 rooms.
5.  Find the date you're looking for and select a room (blue예- you can reserve, red완- room is taken, green대- someone is in the process of booking it)
6.  You'll enter your name and phone number and you can pay via bank transfer.  The account information is listed and you can easily transfer at any ATM machine.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

iHerb

If you're looking to buy any health food products, vitamins, supplements, bath and beauty supplies, pantry items, cleaning products, stuff for babies, stuff for pets or even just imported goodies (at good prices), you should definitely check out iherb.com.  

Not only do they offer an immense array of products, their prices are good, shipping is cheap ($4! or free!), and fast.  Like, at your door within 5 days fast.  I've been ordering from iherb for years now and it has only been getting better in terms of product lines and shipping logistics.  

Here are some of my favorites, currently.  

Annie's mac and cheese; because every now and then you really just need some instant mac and cheese in your life.  Chocolove's chocolate bars; this almond and sea salt one is amazing but so are all the other flavors.  They're pretty too, and of nice size- perfect for a little gift.  Wholesome organic light brown sugar; because I still have yet to find light brown sugar in Korea (looking in Itaewon requires too much effort for me), which is so necessary for baking chocolate chip cookies!  Mrs. Meyer's Basil handsoap; not only do I love this bottle, its cheap and its fragrance is delicious.  Tea of all sorts; iherb has so many great tea brands, st. dalfours, yogi, stash, tazo, etc.  
Designer Whey protein powder; when I get into "health kicks," especially once the weather starts warming up, I make smoothies with this strawberry protein powder, a spoon of strawberry jam, half a frozen banana, ice, milk and it's delicious.  Alba facial toner; so many great beauty products and brands I used to find at Whole foods are offered at iherb.  Nutrition Now's Rhino gummy vitamins; because I just won't eat a vitamin that is not in gummy form.  Method's hand soap; mostly because I just like all their bottles and pretty colors and it's cheap.  Lastly, Simply Organic's spices; because finding specific spices here can be difficult and iherb makes it easy and pretty.

And most of all, iherb has a great rewards program.  All first time purchasers can $10 off their first order with promo code: SUV211.  Then, once you're a member, you receive your own promo code in which you can continue to share with others.  The more you share, the more rewards credit you'll earn towards your next iherb purchase.  That reward credit keeps me coming back and ordering more.  iherb, you have one great marketing scheme.  

If you're in the States, you're really lucky because shipping is always free with orders over $20.  Prices are comparable and sometimes cheaper than what you'd pay at health food and grocery stores in the States.  Even when I move back home, I'll still be a faithful iherb customer :)

iherb.com; $10 off first purchase with promo code: SUV211

Monday, March 3, 2014

Prints and Posters

I have yet to find a reasonably priced and convenient (online) shop for art and prints.  I did, however, find that allposters.com ships to Korea and even offers free international shipping from time to time (hooray!)  And even if you don't catch a "free shipping moment," you'll almost always catch a sale. They are always offering promo codes for 20-50% off.  

Allposters.com has a huge assortment of posters and prints.  You can buy it framed, canvased or just the print itself.  I purchased my Ikea frame separately (Ribba 40cm x 50cm here)  And instead of hanging it, it's now sitting atop my wall shelving unit, making friends with the ampersand :)
I ordered a photograph print of the Brooklyn Bridge.  I love nyc, and every time I look at the picture I'm reminded of the time I walked over the bridge for the first time with my favorite person, this past fall.  
Wanna go back to this moment..... and put my face back into that amazingness that is Grimaldis pizza. yum! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Eats: Cafe Able

After drooling over countless photos on instagram of Cafe Able's food, my foodie friend Taya and I finally set a date to head out to Garosugil and indulge our taste buds.

I say "set a date" and "head out" because since living at the west end of Ilsan, "trips" to east Seoul, complete with sardines-in-a-can-like subway rides, just seem oh-so-tiresome.

But we set a date, and a good date it was.  It felt like spring!  60 degrees and sunny.  Even warm enough to take off my coat.

Able offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, brunch items, pizza and pasta.  The infamous frittata comes in a cast iron skillet; so naturally we ordered one of those.
Also, a chicken panini to share.  Grilled chicken, cheese, sun dried tomatoes and my favorite, arugula.
Able's food is equal parts pretty and delicious.  There's nothing worse than buying something that looks so darn pretty but then to only underwhelm your taste buds.  Able does not underwhelm.  It's yum.

Great food coupled with a nice setting makes this place a gem.

A big thanks to Taya Walk, the queen of matjips, for the wonderful photos she took.  Standing on chairs and all! :)

To get there:
Subway line 3 (orange)- Get off at Apgujeong Station- Exit through Exit 5- walk straight for approximately 7 minutes.  Make a left onto the side street before the main street - Garosugil.  Once you see CU convenience store, look across on the second floor. 
Look for this sign:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Few Quick & Easy Fixes

Just wanted to share a few things around my home that needed a quick and easy fix.  Perhaps some of you have similar problems that need sorting out :)

1.  A wobbly coffee table

I bought this coffee table because it was simple in design, the price was right and most importantly it was of substantial length.  The only problem was that because of its length and cheap material (pay for what you get), it wasn't sturdy enough.  It wasn't going to collapse.  But lean a shoulder on it, or use it for dining, and you'd get a squeaky wobble.  

Solution:
The legs are attached to the top with two lousy brackets that aren't even an inch long.  This long coffee table needs long brackets; so I purchased 4 of these brackets (선반꺽쇠 100x100) from gmarket for 1,600 won each.  
Even though the table is made of particle board, you'll most likely need a power drill.  Since the legs and top are both hollow, I hammered in a drywall anchor to each hole.  After I secured the brackets- voila- a non-squeaky, non-wobbly coffee table :)

2.  Black Mold (the worst!)

If you live in an old apartment with an old bathroom, like me, you may find one of my worst nightmares- black mold.  Not only is it hazardous to your health, it's plain disgusting.  Every time I brushed my teeth or washed my face, that mold haunted me.  
Solution:
Re-caulk.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that re-caulking here in Korea was a lot easier than I expected.  All major home/food stores (Lotte Mart, Home Plus etc) sell caulking guns and caulk and for cheap!  Even Daiso sells everything you need to caulk!  I got my gun and caulk all for under 6,000 won.  I used a large x-acto blade to cut out the old moldy caulk.  Tip: If you run a blade across the top and the bottom of the current moldy caulk line, it should pull up easily in a strip.  All in all, it took less than 20 minutes.  And I can now brush my teeth in peace.

3.  An Ugly, Weird Toilet Paper Dispenser:
I mean, what is that??  Why is it so big and clunky and just plain gross?  I felt like I couldn't even put toilet paper in that thing.  

Solution:
Remove and replace.  Luckily it unscrewed from the wall without much problem.  I searched for a new dispenser but couldn't find one that was A) mounted with screws and B) under 50,000 won.  I found a slew of cheap plastic ones that would afix to the wall via suction cup (crap) and they were also adorned with some weird flower or cartoon bear (no thanks).  Finally I came across one at Modern House for 7,000 won.  It, too, uses a suction cup but it also has a twisty mechanism thing that really holds it in place well.  I'm not gonna go about trying to remove those ugly holes/drywall anchors, so this quick fix will have to suffice.

4.  A broken spray mechanism:

I purchased one of my favorite brand of candles, Voluspa, as a room spray last year.  One day I dropped it and ever since, the spray nozzle won't spray.  I tried to fix it but to no avail.  All of this lovely liquid fragrance was trapped in a bottle with no way of getting out.  Then a light bulb went off to turn it into a diffuser.  The only problem was getting the nozzle off.  Voluspa seals that badboy on to the bottle so tight and it's impossible to get any tool under neath the sealing foil.

Solution:
Saw it off.  After trying countless ways to remove this thing I finally took to a kitchen knife.  Wearing gloves (fearing shattered glass), I held the bottle in one hand and a knife in the other.  I sawed and sawed, back and forth, for at least 15 minutes.  Keeping in the same groove, the small etch in the glass later turned to a deeper grove.  I did this on both sides. After breaking a sweat (literally), fed up, I took the knife and smashed down on the bottle, right in the groove and BAM, the top glass and nozzle broke off.  Everything else was still in tact- yay!  I cleaned off the top, bought diffuser sticks at Emart and voila- a new room diffuser :)