Lighting-offA year ago I rearranged my office hopeful that with the change I would use more of my desk for work.. and not storage. While that change was met with success, there was a downside. My workspace was never particularly well lit and now a cloudy day could make my desk even more dark and gloomy.

The photo on the right is my office on a mostly sunny day, without any lights on.

Nice and inviting, right?

No. I’ve been asking for an improvement in my lighting almost since we moved in almost four years ago.

While working on other home improvement projects, we decided to upgrade the lights in my husband’s office (we had the same lighting fixture). While his office offers better natural lighting, this new lighting was remarkable. I kept making excuses to work in his office.

And so I renewed my campaign for new lighting. E agreed completely, it just took us a while to source the solution.

My office is also trickier to light. It’s in the basement and I have odd bits of infrastructure to work around.

The solution? LEDs. The LED recessed lighting fixture is much smaller than a standard can.

It was a small adventure to run the wiring (we actually encountered some insulation. Given the lack of it in this house, this came as a surprise) but once that was set up, the installation was a breeze. If you are not comfortable with this sort of project, please hire a licensed electrician.

The change is remarkable. I’ve been very productive this week. Despite some late night label-maker-fun to the contrary I’m happier.

Monday-Lighting-dark-outside Thursday-Lighting-on

On the left is my office Monday morning when it was so dark outside that my neighbor’s landscape lights turned on thinking it was night! To the right is my office this afternoon and it’s partly cloudy. There isn’t much change from Monday’s photo (other than a messier desk and rotating the gimbal) but in this case, the lack of natural fluctuations makes me happy.

Have you recently made a small change to make your work area more inviting?

my not so green thumb

I confess, I kill houseplants.

Since our Shadow is a digger and many houseplants I like are toxic to cats, we don’t have much green inside the house.

Last summer after mum came home from her heart health saga, she gifted me with some very special cuttings. I dutifully planted them and put them into our custom shelving unit in the dining area high above my head since aloe is toxic to cats (and dogs). These are special as they come from a plant my grandmother grew!


Now, I know it doesn’t get as much sun as it should in this location and I definitely did not have to fret I over watered. I think I watered this poor cutting three times in the past six months. Last week I realized it had been quite some time since the last watering so I gave it a drink. I think I may have shocked it, the beautiful long tendril finally gave up life this week and I have a new task for Sunday. Repotting.

Are you a killer of houseplants? Do you have to put reminder post-it notes so you water? What’s your favourite non-toxic to pets indoor plant?

That reminds me, I should go check on our bamboo shoot.

on food & cooking …

Another reason posting was sparse these past few months is beyond everything else going on, we remodeled the kitchen. Yes, we. E and I do almost all the work on the house. There are a few things we hire out for safety (gas lines are top of that list) and sanity (I don’t do ceilings), but most of it gets done through our own blood, sweat, and yes sometimes tears. There are still a few small items lingering on the punch list, but it is very nice to have a functioning kitchen that is suited to my cooking style and needs.

So, I did what I normally do. I started a new notebook in celebration. Since keeping a knitting notebook has brought me continued improvement and success, I finally started a notebook to record the cooking experiences and experiments and make a note of what works… and what doesn’t.

Yes, until mid-September, the one who has a notebook for everything, didn’t have one for cooking. I’m not sure why. I opted to go with a cheap composition book instead of a more expensive notebook. I print out recipes and glue them in. It’s covered in various splatters. Will it last for generations? Probably not, but that’s ok. When it’s full, I’ll scan and archive useful pages.

I used it to organize and manage thanksgiving prep. It made everything much easier not to have to flip around many different books or websites looking for what I needed. In addition to every recipe, it has pages with the grocery list, menu, and the all important order of the oven. I also made notes of things not to do in the future, such as leave the squash lasagna (modified gluten-free) uncovered and warming in the oven for two hours because guests were stuck in traffic.

I don’t post much about food because I take terrible food photos. I don’t have the patience to work on getting that perfect shot in perfect light. I cook for nourishment, not for blogging. However, instagram has taken over my camera and when I’m not taking photos of the cat or my daily coffee mug(s), chances are the photo is of dinner prep. Something has fallen into place for me with the use of the service. I’m not sure if it’s that I’m taking more photos so I’m composing better (such as when I participated in my own project 365), the square cropping, the easy-to-add filters to add grain and hide my imperfect (yet improved) lighting, or what but I’ve had a surprising amount of positive feedback on these photos.

Does the combination of the new kitchen, the new notebook, and instagram mean more posts on food? Maybe. In time I hope to offer those who need to feed a kosher, gluten-free, almost-vegan ideas and inspiration.

Here’s a teasing preview of the kitchen. Shadow approves.

(link to photo: instagram | flickr)

found: one desk

I’m always amazed to find a desk under all the stuff that piles up. It continues to surprise me how despite this digital age (and a scanner) my desk still becomes the dumping ground. It took two hours to arrive at this point and I’m still procrastinating sorting through the paper inbox.

I need to because my knitting notebook is missing and there are pattern design notes I’d rather not have to recreate.

Dear Autumn,

This year, I’m ready for you.

The Leaf Eater should make composting a bit more streamlined and make moving the piles of leaves easier. I’ll try to provide feedback once we use it. I’m also looking into a chipper.