catching up

It’s been a little while and I thought I’d do a catch-all list to give an update on the amazing things we’ve had going on.

Number 1 most amazing thing was our 3-week vacation to AUSTRALIA.
Seriously, the trip of a lifetime. Will definitely have to share more of this soon but as a quick run through, we went

horse-back riding in the Daintree Rainforest
to a crocodile farm in Cairns
jet-skiing and wild-life watching near Whitsunday Islands
sailing and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef

touring in downtown Sydney
petting koalas and kangaroos in north-west Sydney
visiting with cousins in south-west Sydney
repelling and canyoning in the Blue Mountains

climbing to the top of the highest mountain in Australia (Mt. Kosciuszko!)
driving through the heart of Australian wine country
exploring in downtown Melbourne
riding along the Great Ocean Road

So yeah. It was pretty stinkin’ amazing! I think I’m still a little hung-over from the awesomeness of everything we experienced.

Now, it’s back to real-life in China which honestly still doesn’t feel like real life most of the time.

The yarn section of Wuai is back open and I’ve got lots of projects going on for the upcoming holidays.

I’m currently illustrating a children’s book, which is a new thing for me but I’m totally enjoying it.

The new designs for China Christmas ornaments are posted (Year of the Snake!) and ready for order.

I have a sale going on until Nov 18th… So pop over and check it out!

Trying to get shopping and traveling and writing and drawing finished before I head back to the US for the holidays (didn’t I just get back to China? The last half of this year has just flown by!)


The nicknames: CFER & LB

We chose to use nicknames to keep a little anonymity. Not because of our readers, but because we live in China. You know, the Great Firewall and all. Probably unnecessary precaution, but it does give us the ability to be a little more free in what we write without condemning ourselves to easily, although I do try to keep it pretty positive around here.

In the beginning, I didn’t really have a nickname. I adopted CFER (Country Fried Egg Roll) after we named the blog and it sort of became my voice you hear since I do most of the writing and talking here.

LB stands for Left Brain. I realized that if you aren’t familiar with the studies on Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain science, you may be a bit confused where this nickname came from. A friend sent me this info-graphic and I think it’s a perfect explanation of it. Obviously, all of us use both sides of our brain (hopefully) but most people tend to be dominant in thinking with one side or the other.

My husband and I are so obviously different in this respect that it’s comical. If you know us, it’s easy to see that he’s the left-brained nerdy type-a engineer and I’m the right-brained scatter-brained creative go-with-the-flow artist. If you don’t know us personally, just read through this graphic. Now you do. It explains us to a tee. (Except reverse the dog and cat lover part. That’s backwards.) I often joke I don’t have a left-brain anymore. He’s it. I guess opposites do attract.

Luckily, two halves make a whole and while it does make for some very interesting conflicts in personality and communication, in six and a half years of marriage we’ve figured out how to use our strengths to balance each other out (most of the time).

Together, we make a “whole” brain.

[infographic via]


Christmas Ornaments of China

We’re back in the States for the holidays! It has been a year since LB has been back to the US. Talk about a culture shock! It’s so hard to explain, but it’s really the weirdest feeling. I’m sure my friends and family get tired of hearing about how this is different in China and that looks weird to me now. And that is SO expensive, but this is really cheap! But I can’t help it. It’s like the US has become weird now and China has somehow become a little bit “normal”.

We’ve are really enjoying hanging out with our friends and seeing our family. And eating lots of American food. And coffee. And guacamole. Ok, the coffee and guac is really just me, but LB has been to Chic-fil-a three times already and he’s only been home 3 days!

I also wanted to share a little thing I do for some of my friends in Shenyang in case you need some Christmas gifts for friends in the States. I’ve mentioned before that I’m an artist and before the move, Christmas time was always super busy painting personalized Christmas ornaments. This year, I have a few designs that I’m offering for friends in China. They are painted on 4 inch frosted glass balls and the price includes double boxing (the inside is packaged like a present) and shipping to anywhere in the US. Any of the designs can include a short personalization (such as “Love, LB & CountryFried”) on the back of the ornament.

Shenyang Imperial Palace:

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Japanese Earthquake

In case you haven’t heard yet, there was a huge earthquake in Japan yesterday afternoon. There were no problems for us here in Shenyang although we’re not that far away. My company did evacuate some of the office building in Beijing as a precautionary measure but no damage was done there.

However, this is a major disaster for the people of Japan and some others close by. We’re sure more opportunities to support will be available in the coming days and months as this is a major disaster and will take years to rebuild. If you are looking for something you can do to help now, we highly recommend the Red Cross. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected.


I can explain…

Good News! We are alive! We have not been abducted and swallowed up by the enormous state of China.

Actually I was abducted.
By the great state of South Carolina.

There’s an explanation for my absence. I have a good excuse. Ok, not a GOOD excuse, but it sounds better than I’m lame, and TERRIBLE at multi-tasking.

On November 21, just before the US Thanksgiving I landed in Greenville, SC and was greeted by several of my siblings and friends. I spent a couple of days enjoying and visiting with my family and then…

I had to paint.

A lot.

A whole lot.

In a very short amount of time.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this around here before, but I’m a mural artist by profession. I own my own business drawing and painting custom artwork in the upstate of South Carolina. And the day before we moved to China I got a call from a dentist in Spartanburg. He’s building a brand new pediatric dental office opening in January, and he wanted me to paint it. He had some awesome ideas for a Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn theme and wanted all the walls and ceiling painted. I listened to the pitch and was getting excited thinking about all the great possibilities, however, I was quickly brought back to reality.

“It sounds like a fantastic idea and a great job. But there’s one problem… I’m moving to China. Tomorrow.”

“Like China, NC?”

For some reason, I get that response a lot. China? usually followed by either GA or NC. Because people in SC can’t believe that you could be moving any farther than that. As a matter of fact, sometimes I find it hard to believe too.

“No. China, like the other side of the world, China.”

“Ok, then. I guess that would be a long commute.”

And he was devastated he wouldn’t be getting a Studio Z original.
Studio Z. It’s a big name in these parts, you know.

Alright, maybe that’s a stretch, but a girl can dream, right?

And so I moved. But I kept thinking about the painting.

As an artist, when you get an offer like that, and you really like the client, and you’re really excited about the subject and the idea and the possibilities. Those usually combine for a really great project. And I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. So after the big move and a week or two of settling in, I devised a plan to make his dream come true.

And so I was commissioned to paint a very large, very detailed mural at Spartanburg Pediatric Dentistry. Somehow I managed to convince myself that I could paint a 900 square foot mural in 3 weeks. For those of you who aren’t familiar with murals and wall paintings, (or who use the really confusing but much superior metric system and do conversions like me…) that’s big. Really big.

So anyway, I painted…

and painted…

and painted….

7-10 hours a day for 3 weeks. Including a Saturday and Sunday.

I really really missed my Chinese massage lady. In fact, it’s one of the things I miss most about China.

But I finished.

I finished the day before the hubby flew into town and 3 days before the Christmas holidays. Since then, I really don’t have a good excuse. Except I was busy gaining 10 pounds from consuming every bit of Dunkin Donuts coffee and Zaxby’s and Five Guys and Chick-fil-A I could get my hands on. I figure I need to store up as much as possible before I head back to winter hibernation from cheese and fries and sweet potato casserole.

We head back to China on January 6th and we will be back to your regularly scheduled crazy, unbelievable China stories immediately. And thanks to the most awesome Christmas present from my fabulous husband,

hopefully I’ll be able to add some cool video footage from the Middle Kingdom when we get back.