Archive for ‘Inspiration’

August 21, 2012

Textile Tuesday::kNitting in Norway

by heatherkp

Traveling back to Norway I want to share with you some of the beautiful knit wear and knitting shops I saw in my travels.  A very special stop was made to a  wonderful yarn shop called Garnloftet Helle which was closed for the summer but we had a private “showing”.  This shop is owned by the super talented aunt of my new sister in law!  The Norwegians are known for their talent for knitting, with their cold climate it’s almost a necessity to learn to knit yourself warm clothes for the winter! 

A very special lace knitting pattern that was expertly translated from Japanese into Norwegian by the owner of the shop.  She did so by repeatedly watching a video of the pattern until she had it down.  She teaches a class for this pattern and we got a brief lesson of our own and I’ll be trying this pattern out over the winter.  I’m not sure I have the skills needed since I will have to train myself to knit continental  to master this pattern but I’m determined to try!

In addition to yarn, patterns and classes there were quite a few knitted gifts ready to buy, like these candle jar covers, fingerless gloves (below), several styles of felted “pot holders” and garments such as sweaters and scarves available for purchase.

Above and below are two beautiful examples of traditional Fair Isle knitting.  Boy would I have loved to spend a day here with some more in depth lessons but my mom and I had our guys with us who were quite patient but not enough for a day there!  We discovered yarn in quite a few other shops in Kristiansand although we didn’t visit any other dedicated knitting shops.  What I loved was that there were sections of many shops that carried a small to medium selection of yarns, patterns and ready to wear knit items.  I found these sections in a couple “gift shops” and a children’s store.  I love the idea of incorporating this creative hobby into everyday gift giving!

Spectacular stuff, don’t you think?  It really inspired me to knit this winter but having just moved to a tropical climate I won’t be knitting too much from wool for myself.  I have a big yarn stash that needs to be knit and maybe one day I’ll learn to knit like a Norwegian!

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August 17, 2012

Friday Fieldtrip::Fjords and Highlands

by heatherkp

We took a LONG day journey to visit the mid-west coast of Norway and were hoping to get to hike to the top of Preikestolen– or Pulpit Rock but in the end the weather didn’t cooperate with us so we took a ferry ride instead.  This was not a disappointment though, just a different perspective on this beautiful area of Norway!  The fun thing about this adventure was that there were a ton of bridges and tunnels and 9 of us caravaned in 3 cars.

We stopped in a couple spots to check out local sites including Tronasen, check out this fun video of the crazy narrow switchback road we took to the top!  At the bottom we came to this bridge, which is the oldest suspension bridge in Norway, built in 1844.

Next we continued North towards Stravanger  where we caught a ferry along Lysefjord after feasting on a fabulous picnic on the banks of the North Sea.  There are several ferries that run along this Fjord, some for locals who are traveling just to their home or work destination and some ferries travel the length of the Fjord ending in Lysebotn while offering local tourist information along the way.  This ferry was about 2 1/2 hours long and the day was partly rainy/cloudy so it made for some spectacular and dramatic views!

Towards the end of the ferry ride we were very lucky to spot these seals lounging along the rocky shore.  Once the ride was over we embarked on another windy and steep drive up to the “Highlands”.

That’s what I’m calling it because the terrain was very elevated, there wasn’t much vegetation and there were many sheep, rock cairns, lakes, residual snow, thatched or living roof’s and several rainbows along this stretch.  It was what I imagine the highlands of Ireland or Scotland to be like. 

As we started to come down from the highlands there was more and more vegetation, especially evergreens such as spruce and pines.  There were also many more signs of life, more houses, a few small shops and villages where tourists come to get away in the summer but it was still quite unpopulated (there are only 5 million people in Norway!).

I was delighted to see some of the traditional architecture such as this wooden food storage house called a Stabbur, where food was stored to keep the mice away!  The return route home took us through the lakes and mountains smack down the center of Norway East of the Stravanger area through a couple towns like Rysstad (the picture below was taken there) and Evje both popular vacation/camping spots for the summer in Norway.It was about a 12 hour day and we covered a lot of ground but I assure you it was one of the most memorable days of my life!  I am so grateful to my brother, his wife and her mother who helped to plan this day so we could experience Norway’s splendid range of beauty!

August 10, 2012

Friday Fieldtrip::Flowers of Norway

by heatherkp

Flowers are just about my favorite subject to photograph so I thought I’d dedicated a Field Trip exclusively to the flowers I found on our many outings.  As a Master Gardener I am constantly curious about the species, comparing familiar plants to those I know and have grown and learning about new plants as I discover them.  I don’t know all of them but what was so spectacular was that there were so many things blooming at once.  I guess with such a short growing season and such long daylight hours things tend to burst out!

This first group of shots was from a rocky island in the Mandal area and I’m not sure what they are but I love how they just pop up in the crevices.

I’ve never seen clematis and honeysuckle so intense and perfect!

Not sure what this was but it grew all around the rocky shore areas.   Ah ha!  I figured out that this is called Fireweed!

Thistle of some sort.

Foxglove was practically a weed!

Some variety of daisy type of flower.

Something in the cranesbill family. 

Roadside weeds:)

This was the coolest fuzzy flower up in the highlands which in Norway is called Myrull.

More foxgloves!

The sculpture garden on the waterfront in Kristiansand.

Me shooting photos of flowers!  I love that my dad captured this.

On Wednesday I’ll be sharing some of the fabulous window boxes!  Happy weekend.

August 8, 2012

Wabi Sabi Wednesday

by heatherkp

 

I love the principals behind Wabi Sabi!  Do you know about it?  Check it out if you don’t but essentially it’s a Japanese philosophy and way of life that embraces the imperfections, the bumps, bruises and “character” that we (as people and our “stuff”) acquire along life’s path.  I recently read a short article that questioned why we don’t apply this philosophy to physical selves. I am very interested in embracing wabi sabi in more aspects of my life and my self.

This is opposite of BOTOX folks, it’s about the wrinkles, the scars and the “patina” that makes us more beautiful!

“[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”-Richard R. Powell

Here are some examples of objects in my home that posses the essential qualities that I consider as wabi sabi.  The are all beautiful but imperfect and I consider them more beautiful because of their imperfections.

My all time favorite broom!  I grew up using one similar (hold over from the days we spent in Asia) and my mom also uses hers from the Philippines (it’s as old as I am!).  It’s crooked and funky looking but it works great and I love the shape.

I made this little pot in ceramics in college and it’s a lesson in what not to do with glazes but I love the crackles and drips.

This is a piece of an African strip cloth I got from a family member and I’ve proudly had it displayed ever since even though a whole strip is missing, it’s unfinished and totally crooked yet I find it completely beautiful.

This Moroccan (I think) foot stool came from my husband’s family and we had ongoing household battles of weather to use it or not.  As you can see it has been scratched (by our beloved kitties) all around the edges and this is why my husband didn’t want it used but now that they are not with us I love the reminder of them ever present on this piece.  The ceramic vase and lamp base also exhibit qualities of the imperfect wabi sabi aesthetic.

I thought many times about painting this slightly rusted magazine rack but I’m so glad I didn’t.

And this dish was rescued from the ceramics department trash because someone didn’t think it was good enough but I love the color, shape and all it’s imprefections it just as it is!

What do you have in your home that defines wabi sabi?  Is this a definition of beauty that you could cultivate further?

July 29, 2012

Walking Weekend::1 Day in Amsterdam

by heatherkp

Boy did we walk in Amsterdam.  We had a limited amount of time there and we had plans to stop at a few spots but mostly we just wanted to walk along the canals and see what we could see!

In 6 hours we covered a lot of ground from Central station past the national monument, the flower market, Vondelpark and to the Van Gogh museum.  Here is roughly the route we took which was about a 45 min walk back to the Central station at the end of our day.

Along the way we did some window shopping (I will post next week some of the great designs I saw in the shops), admired the incredible dutch architecture, meandered along the canals (Singel,Herengracht, Keizersgracht & Prinsengracht), had an ice cream and were thoroughly exhausted by days end.  Here are some of the sites along our path.

This was nuts, doesn’t every church have a head shop below/behind it?  Only in Amsterdam!

Watch out for the bikes!  They will run you over and these kind are used to haul shopping bags, children or whatever!

I love that this lady had her bike decorated with flowers:)

Check out this mode of transport!

And I swear this guy turned around just so he could have his picture taken.  Love those yellow pants:)

The traditional dutch architecture was really something, I especially loved the dark facades with the curved gables and the intricate masonry!

One of the happiest accidents on our walking tour was coming across the flower market.  I was sad not to be able to bring home any plants or bulbs, unfortunately tulips just don’t grow well in my tropical climate.  I enjoyed seeing all the lovely blooms and bulbs though.

This is the view of the back side of the market along the Singel canal.

Our final destination (before walking back to the central station) was the Van Gogh museum.  This was certainly a highlight for me. I didn’t get any shots inside (I’m sure I would have been promptly escorted out if I had!).  This rock display outside the museum was very fun.

I was so glad to have purchased tickets online before we went because the line was very long!  This is true for most of the museums in the city, if you go, I strongly suggest you buy your tickets beforehand.

This was the main square where the National Monument is and it reminded me very much of Venice.  There were a lot of people milling around (and a few mimes) as well as a fashion show (it was the beginning of fashion week).

I’d love to return to Amsterdam and have a bit more time to explore.  We barely scratched the surface but it was a wonderful day!

June 26, 2012

Texture Tuesday::Wonderful Whites

by heatherkp

I haven’t done Texture Tuesday’s lately where I share here and over at Kim Klassen’s Cafe some images I post process with Kim’s great textures. Today’s been rainy and I’ve been in a creative mood listening to blues and jazz so I was inspired to share some of the wonderful flowers I’ve enjoyed this spring and summer here in Charleston and up at Brookgreen Gardens.   Each has two layers of textures (reverie & love in layers). I don’t like to do a lot of post processing but with some photo’s it just works!  I’ve also finally jumped on the instagr.am wagon so if you would like to come over and check out my daily photo’s you can find me there as hkpowers and it’s a lot of fun, I also love the square format which I’ve been told “works” with my sense of composition!

Grand Dame in Pink (Magnolia)

Coming and Going (Rose of Sharon or Hibiscus)

Grand Gardenia

Here to heaven (Jasmine)

These four white summer stunners are favorites.  I couldn’t grow Gardenia or Jasmine in the DC metro area but their fragrances are locked into my memory of summer and take me back to my days of living in Savannah and upstate GA where we had Gardenia’s growing outside our bedroom windows.  The sent of both is divine, but my all time favorite flower is Gardenia.  A few years ago I was lucky to be in Argentina on my birthday and they were blooming, what a wonderful birthday gift!  All of these are just about done blooming down here in zone 8 but we still have lot’s of other summer bloomers on the way.  What’s blooming where you live today?

June 10, 2012

*Spooletti Sunday~Not to be Confused with Spaghetti Sunday

by heatherkp

I’ve had a spectacular time exploring and experiencing as much as I could possibly take in over the last two weeks of the Spoleto and Picolo Spoleto festivals here in Charleston.  This isn’t my first time attending Spoleto USA but it is my first time as a resident and living within walking distance of several of the venues.  These two festivals bring in world class talent, including musicians of all range and style, opera, chamber music, comedy acts, dance and installation and visual arts. The companion Picolo Spoleto brings many of the same kinds of performances but from a more local range of talent.

The highlights of this year’s event for me were;

Jake Shimabukaro a virtuoso Ukulele player from Hawaii, this guy can play anything on his uk!

Rebirth Brass Band, a well known New Orleans Jazz ensemble who recently won a much deserved Grammy for their funky modern and always fresh takes on the brass tradition!  Apparently they are always back home and playin local in NO on Tuesdays…

Return to the Sea:Saltworks an installation by Motoi Yamamoto at the CofC Halsey Institute.

We also caught the lovely jazz vocals of Cécile McLorin Salvant, some cool blues on the dock of Bowen’s Island by The J Edwards Band with Big Daddy Cade  and the free Picolo Sploeto finale concert at Hampton Park last PM (including Reggae and Motown bands). There were certainly a few things I really wanted to see but didn’t but I’m very grateful for everything we did get to experience!

Here are a few events from the *Spooletti Festivale you and many of the locals may have missed include the following:

Signor Agazi and his Vegetales;
This performance art piece has been acclaimed in major vegetable-producing countries around the world.
The Signor has artfully crafted as many of our vegetable friends as you can imagine from the simplest organic material, using the almost lost art of papier-mâché in the Romany manner. They’re big and they’re talking! Join the fun as the Signor interviews each one and does all the voices that so realistically bring each one alive with its own vital life story.

3½ hours, 2 intermissions.

Iron Horse Ensemble;
Join this gifted ensemble of performers in an unusual on-site work. This Dubuque-based troupe has been instrumental in renewing widespread interest in things associated with trains and their equipment for a new generation of fans. The rage in trainspotting owes much of its current popularity to this group.
Join them at the many local grade crossings to experience the excitement they bring to the movement of some truly big-ass specimens.
All aboard!
6-10 hours of non-stop pleasure viewing.
Continuing education credits available.

Socks…Socks…Socks;
This temporary touring installation supported by a generous grant from the folks at the International Garment Workers Union offers more than you can believe in its encyclopaedic display of socks through the ages. You’ll marvel at the sheer variety and abundance provided by this diverse collection of more than 12,000 pairs of socks. Be sure not to miss the special “Laundromat of the Lost” memorial tableaux.

Fishing on the Yallu River in Plum Blossom Time;
Love opera? Finally this premiere of the long-awaited US tour has arrived on our shores. This tender tale of forbidden love bewtween a fisherman and the beautiful young daughter of a brandy merchant has everything for the whole family. The dark overtones of this tale vanish in the final wondrous moments of an impeccably performed work that had crtics from Shangai to Guang Dong raving about its purity and sensuality. Real Chinese performers clad in their working class costumes elevate the soaring melodies of authentic folk classics such as, “Where is my Pencil?”, “For the Love of a Bicycle” and “Dim Sum Summer”.
You will leave the auditorium shaking your head.
2 parts, 2 evenings with catered samplings from the famous Mr. Chow’s.

Woodpecker Chorale;
last year’s hit of the fringe festivale returns with even more excitement on the main stage. Be sure to reserve early. The lines were long last year. Who would believe the cadences and dance beats from hip-hop to Mozart that these critters can produce, especially on the back of a Stradivarius? An amazing blend of nature and conservation hits the stage with the arrival of the Ivory-bill solo. Bang on a can has nothing on this!
Hourly during daylight.
Bring suet balls for ticket discounts.

Readings;
Famous best-selling author Fentwhistle Pinckney reads passages from his educative novel, “The Piazza’s of Charleston”, a companion volume to the “Chimneys
of Charleston” and “The Stoops of Wentworth Street”. Never has the life of Charlestonians behind the curtains been so barely revealed. Learn the real cause of the war between the states.

*Spooletti Festivale-A spoof written by Walt Dunlap copywrite 2012 printed with his permission here.

And I wish I could have also seen;

 

May 25, 2012

Friday Fieldtrip::Ship to Shore

by heatherkp

Over the past few weeks I’ve been exploring all areas of downtown Charleston.  The Tall Ship Bounty was in docked in the harbor here for a weekend so we decided to go check it out.  It’s a replica of the original Bounty that was used in the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty staring Marlon Brando.  I love just about any excuse to be on the water or on a boat and it was a fun photo op!

Back on shore I visited a very fun restaurant that’s been in business for less than a year.  I headed over to Butcher and Bee for a local Permaculture guild meeting.  The restaurant is in the planning stages of working with the guild to create a permaculture garden to enrich the city and serve the restaurant (fresh, local, organic food!).  The are currently only open for lunch and late night bites but also have frequent “pop up dinners” a few times a month and they will gradually add more dinners and outdoor dining.  Check out their cool space and wonderful fresh food if you get a chance.

Our last visit for this week’s field trip is over to Redux Studio to see the Tempest installation exhibit by fellow SCAD alumni artist Jason Hackenwerth.  This installation represents a new direction and medium from this artist who’s past sculptural work has predominately been in latex balloons creating forms that are temporary in nature.  This work has less “mass” is more about line-work, drawing, painting and exploring positive and negative spaces (at least that’s my observation).

Beauty abounds both on and off shore here in Charleston.  I feel so grateful and privileged to be living in this beautiful and inspiring town with a strong sense of community and

May 23, 2012

Windowbox Wednesday

by heatherkp

I’ve been admiring all the beautiful window boxes spring up around town now that I’m LIVING IN CHARLESTON!  Almost every day I venture out on a walk in one direction or another and I always have my camera with me.  I snap away at all sorts of gorgeous, historic architecture and details (Gingerbread, masterful ironwork, worn paint effects, windows, doors etc).  As I’m looking around I’ve also been inspired by all  the beautiful window boxes.  Sooo…lucky for you I’ve decided to share them with you.  I won’t be living downtown in the historic district forever but while I’m here I’ll make a point to gather a photo collection of all the fun window boxes (and maybe a few other planters as well).

These two clean and modern boxes caught my eye amid a sea of more traditional and formal gardens and homes.  I love that they are in boxes painted Charleston Green and are only monochromatic shades of green.  A smart and stylish use of succulents will make these easy to maintain throughout the Heat of Charleston’s summer!

This box is a long term winner with mostly perennials including the centerpiece Hydrangea, ivy, lamium (which will have purple blooms), fern, purple oxalis (shamrocks) and just a couple purple petunias.

The two boxes above both feature analogous shades of purples ranging from deep to bright, fuchsia to blue purple.  They have a cool, mysterious and sophisticated look.

This last box is a real show stopper with it’s triadic color palette of yellow, fuchsia and purple.  What a handsome combination of lobelia, mandevilla, coleus, hibiscus and what I think it a type of coreopsis (the yellow flowers).  Upright and trailing plants as well as plants that are long blooming for the long summer season make this one of my favorites so far.

I hope this weeks selection will inspire you to get out and do a bit of gardening.

May 16, 2012

Women for Women Wednesday

by heatherkp

I missed International Women’s day on May 8th but I’ve seen so many fantastic women for women stories and websites recently I thought I’d share a few.  I found this beautiful video about the work that Kate Spade is doing with Women for Women in the latest issue of Lonny Magazine.  Check out the video and the free digital magazine, this issue hits it out of the park-REALLY Fantastic!

On a local level I will be joining ECEW [East Cooper Entrepreneurial  Women] in the next month or so now that I’m in Charleston.  On any level weather it be local or international we women have to stick together and support one another.  Especially in light of the recent attacks on women’s rights!

“Just think GUNS have a constitutional amendment protecting them

and WOMEN don’t.” -Eleanor Smeal

However you are inspired to help other women, in your community or in a community somewhere else around the globe I hope you will find the recent assaults on women’s rights a call to action.  Below are some fantastic organizations doing so much for women.

Women around the world still struggle for equal rights, here in the USA it’s not a matter of life and death for most of us but I hope you will remember that we haven’t gained our equality yet and there is so much more that we need to do, for ourselves and for our sisters around the world!