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!

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July 23, 2012

Moving Monday::Final Destination

by heatherkp

It’s fitting that our final moving day will commence today on a Monday since I began this moving Monday series over 8 months ago!!  We are exhausted, jet-lagged and feeling our age but we are very excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We are doing a semi-local move so that has factored into the logistics of how things are being done.  We’ve had our stuff in storage as I’ve mentioned and we are hauling it about 80 miles to our house.  We have been lucky to have the use of a nice size truck and trailer which we have used to haul 2 loads so far and today we bring the final 2 loads!

I LOVE the process of nesting and I’m in full swing mode now.  Here are a few tips that I’ve found useful so far.  Keep in mind that this move has been DIY all the way (with the help of friends and family) so some of these logistics will not be necessary for you if you have hired a moving company but it’s good to keep in mind either way.

  •  started to unpack some boxes to get them out of the way before big furniture is brought in
  •  focus on soft goods that go into closets such as hanging clothes (eliminating the big wardrobe boxes), linens as well as dishes and kitchen items which can go directly into the cabinets.
  • measure rooms to determine the fit of furniture before bringing big items in
  • have staple items like soap, disposable plates/cups, paper towels and a first aid kit on hand
  • locate sheets, towels and bathroom toiletries to quickly set up the bathroom and bedrooms for more comfort
  • know where your furniture is going (roughly) before moving it in and leave boxes and other items stacked out of the way for clear passage
  • keep walkways and paths clear of debris, boxes etc.
  • “Stage” boxes in the front entry if it’s not reasonable to place them directly into the corresponding rooms. Have a secondary team inside to relocate items to the correct rooms.
  • enjoy the process!!

My inventory sheet has been super helpful and so far we haven’t located one “mystery” box!

Next week-Unpacking and settling in.

July 21, 2012

Silent Saturday::The Move Begins

by heatherkp

July 9, 2012

On the move Monday

by heatherkp

As you read this we are in the midst of taking off for a big trip to Norway via Amsterdam for my Brother’s wedding!  It’s been quite an adventure planning and packing for an international trip while in the midst of living with most of our belongings in storage, not to mention the upcoming move when we return (and all the necessary things we have had to take care of ahead of time to have things lined up upon our return).

So I’m trying to go light on the packing for this trip which is a bit tough since I have a wedding and there will be cool temperatures.  I’m only checking one bag and taking 1 carry on.  I’ve been referencing several sources for packing info, like the site One Bag which shares ideas for creating a “Master packing list”‘ that you always use for travel but you don’t always take everything on the list.  I really like this idea, it makes a lot of sense and I will be putting together a list for my travels starting with this trip to Norway. I also found quite a few helpful tips such as folding, rolling and bundling on the Real Simple website, which recently featured packing in one if it’s magazine issues. I did incorporate a few new tips, such as covering the bottom and top of my stuff with plastic bags (which prevents wrinkling a bit) and using lots of pouches and ziplock bags (not new but totally necessary).

We have one day in Amsterdam on our way to Norway so we plan to take in the canal sites, maybe a bike or boat ride, the Van Gogh museum and whatever else we have time to enjoy such as a meal or two, people watching and lots of photography!! In Norway we will be staying in Kristiansand with my sister in law’s family.  We will travel to hike fiords, take in the sites in town, maybe go to the cannon museum, take a boat ride to a small island and enjoy getting to know the new side of our family!  We will be eating fantastic fish (except for my husband who may loose weight on this trip since he eats nothing from the water) and reindeer will be served at the wedding!

We can’t wait.  We are just about packed up now and will be leaving in a couple hours.  I won’t be around much over the next couple weeks but when I get back there will be loads of pictures and bits from our trip to share as well as the ongoing (soon to be completed) moving process.  See ya soon.

 

PS Pardon any errors, wrote this quickly and distractedly!!

July 7, 2012

Silent Saturday::Packing Time

by heatherkp

Countdown to Norway!!

 

July 2, 2012

Moving Monday::Living like a Gypsy

by heatherkp

I haven’t said a whole lot about our move for several months now because we have been in a holding pattern.  We have been living like Gypsies honestly, going from place to place…and were settled into a lovely furnished home downtown Charleston for May and June.  We found it too difficult to search the real estate market and make the necessary new connections in a new city living an hour away so being in a temporary furnished place for a short period really allowed us to make the  get to know the city and get down to business.  The time there came to an end yesterday and I will always have fond memories since it’s time spent really getting to know the city on foot and in person.

Onward we move though and we packed it all up over the last few days for our final temporary stay before we settle into the new place we found.  After looking for several months and at over 30 places (the rental market right now is extremely competitive!) we are VERY excited about this home, it has everything we are looking for and it’s in a fantastic location.  We are renting and we found a real estate agent who was super helpful but we also put the word out to anyone and everyone we know and scoured the papers and craigslist.  In the end, we found something through word of mouth. I’m now in the process of setting up all the utilities, TV, internet etc.  Next we will line up a truck for moving day and try to enlist whatever help we can get…it feels like we are down to the final stretch!

I have to admit that we have been lugging around so much (i.e. too much) stuff over the past 8 months living in various locations and taking trips back and forth to here and there…I have had my moments where I just wanted to toss it all out for a more simple life but I didn’t because as organized as I am, I love my stuff!  I will say that after moving so much around for so long, I have learned to edit more quickly and more often.  I have many hobbies that require stuff like knitting, sewing, cooking, gardening, reading and more so I doubt I will ever be living a super minimalist lifestyle.  If you have ever lived somewhere temporarily with the majority of  your stuff in storage you probably know the feeling and just know, you are not alone and you will have certainly learned some valuable things about yourself before it’s all over.  I have learned to keep things sorted and separated by category (in bags, boxes and bins), to stick to some kind of regular routine and pattern, edit often and a bit more ruthlessly than I use to, get good rest (because all this moving is exhausting) and probably most importantly I have learned to be flexible and make due with what I have where I am.  I also make a lot of lists and check and double check where I’ve put things, especially if its a very important item.  We have traveled with a portable file box and our fireproof safe box for certain important things and this gives me peace of mind, it’s really a scaled down version of my normal system.

Have you ever lived like a gypsy?  If so did you love it and what did you learn?

All this moving

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 18, 2012

Makeover Monday::Kitchen Edition

by heatherkp

Disclaimer:: These photo’s are not very good and I apologize, I think those of you who regularly read my blog know that I’m normally a much better photographer.  These were taken with  my new phone and I’m still getting use to the settings.  Okay, on with it.  This project was in a very small home (just over 800 Sq’) in the historic Byrnes Down neighborhood.  The homes in this neighborhood were built in the 40’s as “war homes” and their sizes reflect this historic fact.  This particular house is the home of 2 adults and 2 kids who love to cook and entertain but their very limited cabinet/cupboard space has made it challenging.   In the 4 hours we worked, we tackled 6 of the 8 cabinets in the kitchen.  These 6 cabinets must hold ALL the food and dishes.  The remaining 2 cabinets are under the sink and above the refrigerator.

Above the sink-Open cabinet

Because this is an open cabinet (i.e. dust will accumulate etc) I wanted it to be filled with frequently used items that were not cluttered looking so we opted for glasses and a few serving pieces.  The top shelf contains seasonal and less used items.

Dishes and Glasses

The daily china and smaller glasses stayed in this cabinet.  Less frequently used barware was moved to the dining room and a shelf riser was installed to double the amount of short glassware and coffee mug storage.  Again the top shelf contains fine china and less frequently used items.

Lower Storage Left

The opposite side of the kitchen (this is a galley style kitchen) only contains 4 cabinets.  This side has a trash can that lives in front of one side so the left had to store less frequently used items such as larger serving pieces and small appliances/accessories.  Whenever possible I like to use containers to keep like items together, this makes it easy to locate the items when you need them and know exactly where to put them away.  We took advantage of the tall space to use another riser for canned goods.  A few frequently used utensils hang on the inside of the door since there are only 2 drawers in this kitchen.

Lower Storage Right

This side (of the oven/stove) holds the cooking items and every day items used to make the kids lunches.  By corralling all the wraps, bags, foil etc. into a door mounted unit these items are now easily accessible without bending down and digging through the cookware.  The deep cabinets allowed for this good size unit to be installed and the other door can still be used if needed.  Doors are a great place to store things when space is tight.

Food Storage Upper Left

All the food staples need to fit into two cabinets less than 30″ wide.  The other drawback to these cabinets is the lack of shelving, with only 2 useable shelves in each it was necessary to bring in shelf risers to accommodate more storage.  The client may install additional risers or shelves in the future to fit even more in but we decided to work within boundaries of only purchasing 4 items (2 shelf risers, one stepped spice rack and the inside the door unit for the foil etc). The top shelf contains baking goods and other less frequently used foods.

Food Storage Upper Right

Lastly the upper right cabinet contains the more frequently used breakfast and snack foods as well as pastas, rice and other staples on the top shelf (where a step stool can be used to access them relatively easily).  When its constantly necessary to use a step stool I recommend finding a small collapsible one that can be mounted on the wall or slid into a tight space for easy accessibility.

Shortly after leaving this client she sent me this email:

“So excited to use our organized kitchen! Thank you Heather!”

As with all organizing projects it’s important to re-evaluate how well the changes you made are working for you.  I will follow up with this client to tweak things and be sure the “system” is working for them.

June 17, 2012

Sunday Savings

by heatherkp

It’s Sunday again & it seems that it’s the only day have been posting recently, I’m hoping to change that this week.  Okay, so this week there are loads of savings on electronic gadgets for Fathers day which may or may not help you with organizing (depends on what you really Need).

To start things out with a different listing, lets take a look at what Dollar General has.  Go to their website for your local weekly circular, what I’ve posted here is for the Charleston area. There are an assortment of storage boxes (brand unknown) from Medium storage to “sweater”-12qt and shoe boxes.  I always prefer clear boxes so you can see what you’ve got and those shoe size boxes come in handy anywhere from the kitchen to the bathroom and anywhere in between-unlike some people I do NOT use them to store most of my shoes, just those that are rarely worn.

$6 Storage Totes (20 Gallon)

$3.50 Sweater Boxes (12 Qt)

$1 shoe boxes (6 Qt)

I admit that I have a perchance for Target (am I sounding old for using a word like that?-I’m not old, just like to shake up my vocab occasionally)…so you may see them here every week as long as they have something organizing related on sale.  This week it’s storage bins and shelves. This type of heavy duty wire shelf can easily be modified with the addition of corrugated plastic sheets cut to fit each shelf so that things don’t fall through the slots.  They are great for garages, basements, sheds, attics or any other “industrial” space.

Hefty clear latching storage bins

Metal “wire” shelving

Corrugated plastic sheeting (don’t get me started on located a recycled version of this stuff! Apparently it doesn’t yet exist…& it should!)

Seems like it’s a bit slim pickings this week but both Bed Bath and Beyond and the Container Store are carrying sales over from previous weeks so just look back to last week to see what they had that’s still on sale!

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June 17, 2012

My Father in Fotos

by heatherkp

I am blessed and lucky to still have my father in my life and hopefully for many more years to come!  I was reminiscing this weekend since I’m not with my dad this year.  I love my dad for sooo many reasons but probably most of all for being a man of faith, discipline, humility, generosity, service and honor.

Here’s looking back through photo’s of him (and I together)

Me (1.5 weeks old) and Dad

And along comes my brother…

Summer vacation on the water

Me & motorcycle man!

“Giving” me away…

Fathers day in Annapolis

Happy Birthday hug