LED bulbs versus an LED fixture

Our finished basement had the world’s worst light fixtures. They were curvy metal track lights with halogen bulbs that were constantly burning out, leaving the basement darker and dingier than it already was.

While I was converting our basement playroom into my new home office I knew I had to spring for better light fixtures. I went with two 16-inch Orinoco flush-mount fixtures ($39.99 each) with LED bulbs. They take three 60W bulbs, and they’re clean and simple — basically just huge white circles with three chrome clips.

For my “studio,” a.k.a. the laundry room where I paint and use my power tools, I decided to try an actual LED fixture. I picked a 13-inch Luminus for $59.99. It’s supposed to work for 25,000 hours, which is almost 23 years if you keep it on for three hours a day — plus you never need to change a light bulb.

They look REALLY similar, don’t they? Two flat white circles? So why did I choose regular fixtures with LED bulbs for one room, and a full-blown LED fixture for the adjacent room?

Continue reading in my weekly DIY column, My Handmade Home …

What I’m learning about oil painting

Back in January I shared that my Christmas present from my husband was OIL PAINTING LESSONS — yeaaaaaaaah! — so I thought it was time for an update.

Remember my lemons? Well, our class runs in four-week sessions and I managed to finish my painting during the fourth and final class of the first session. (I’m partway through the second session now — more on that later!)

I took pictures of my progress at the end of each class so I could see how the lemons (and everything else in the painting) were changing from week to week.

During my first two-hour class, I gridded out the picture, sketched it onto the canvas, and did my “underpainting” a.k.a. It’s Just The Base Layer, Heather, Don’t Freak Out.

What I'm learning about oil painting {Heather's Handmade Life}
Two hours in …

During the second class, I added some detail to the picture frame (teeny tiny nervous brushstrokes) and my instructors described how to start making certain areas lighter or darker — “highlighting and shadowing.” Instead of a watery-looking green background that was mostly one colour, I darkened the right side which gave everything a bit more dimension.

One instructor kept urging me to put “big white splotches” on the lemons for their highlight, and I was SO FRIGGING SKEPTICAL because since when does a “big white splotch” sound like something that’s gonna turn out nicely? Really? But I did it, and she was SO RIGHT. Now I’m all about the big white splotch. 😉  Read More

When your kids accidentally watch Bad Moms Christmas

The kids and I had a VERY interesting conversation last night, a full eight nights after they returned from a weekend at my mom’s. Apparently, in between repeat viewings of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, they screened … something else.

MY INNOCENT CHILD, AGE 7: “Yeah, we saw this movie where the lady’s job was massaging vaginas.”

ME: “WHAT?! What are you talking about? WHAT DID YOU WATCH?!”

CHILD: “It was called, like, The Bad Moms Have A Christmas.”


An excellent movie. Just not for a five-year-old and a seven-year-old.

Read More