Making Plans

Woman in cozy scene with a book and tea.

It’s the time of year where the first signs of spring are revealing themselves. The dark and restful time of winter is passing and the spring restlessness is coming in. It’s when I start to dream of all the ways I could spruce up the rooms I’ve being spending my time in these past, cold months.

Woman in cozy scene with a book and tea.

My budget is small and my house is old, but maybe I’ll be able to improve a few things over the sunny months ahead. The dream shed/green house might be out of reach – and I really should remove the troubled chimney – but maybe I’ll be able to rework a chunk of the front garden, repaint the basement stairwell a brighter, cleaner colour, or refinish the hallway floor with the broken tiles. Maybe I’ll scrap all that so I can replace my old furnace with a new, eco-friendly heat pump and the dog and I won’t have to spend July on the deck with our feet in a kiddie pool to keep cool without air conditioning.

Woman in cozy scene with a book and tea.

Sweatshirt Muttonhead
Jeans Angry Rabbit

This is the time of year for dreaming, setting goals, and making plans. I’m a true homebody and love spending my time fixing up my 97 year old American Foursquare. I can’t wait to see which projects I get to work on this year.

Woman in cozy scene with a book and tea. Woman in cozy scene with a book and tea.


Workspace | Sophster-Toaster

I’ve been working from home for years, so my space and routines were already set up when the rest of the world suddenly joined me. I had lots of time to work out the kinks of having my workspace within my home. From starting my business in a tiny apartment, to working out of a larger apartment, to now a house, I kept a few things constant throughout the years to help foster creativity, productivity and work/life balance. Here are my tips for working from home in the long term.

Workspace | Sophster-Toaster

Keep your workspaces and home spaces defined.

For me, my workspace is currently a whole room upstairs and a few shelves in the basement but, in the past, it has been just a corner of a bedroom. Keeping your work stuff in its own place, and not letting your personal things gather there either, will help you keep the spaces separate in your mind and help you avoid the stress of living at work.

Take breaks outside of your workspace.

If possible, avoid working, eating and entertaining yourself all in the same place. It’s easier to be productive at work, and relaxed at home if you can divide these places by activity.

Try to keep your home tidy.

It’s difficult to concentrate in a cluttered space and those chores that need doing will nag you in a whole different way when they’re all around you. It’s best to keep on top of things now so they can’t overwhelm you later.

Set a schedule and stick to it.

Get up at the same time, take lunch at the same time, stop working at the same time, everyday. If you have pets at home, this will also help them get onto an agreeable routine.

Get dressed.

I am my most creative in the morning, so I will frequently start working in my pajamas, but I always feel like my serious work day starts when I’m dressed, brushed and ready to meet the world.

Set goals for how much you want to get done in a day, in a week.

You know when you’re at work, and out of things to do – or out of inspiration – but can’t go home yet, so you just find busy work or distractions to pass the time? Those moments will happen at home too, but you’ll actually be able to do something useful with that time! If you have all your goals plotted out, you’ll know when you can take a break to catch up on home stuff or, conversely, when you really need to stop chasing those distractions.

Set boundaries with friends and family.

People will think that because you work from home, you are always available. Don’t be afraid to say no to random drop-ins or doing things outside of your job, outside of your scheduled working hours.

Workspace | Sophster-Toaster Workspace | Sophster-Toaster

Glasses Warby Parker
Shirt Sophster-Toaster
Jeans Angry Rabbit
Shoes Vans

All photos by me.

Shallot Hill

Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster

My husband grew up on a (relatively) small vegetable farm his father named Shallot Hill. My father-in-law maintained the farm while commuting a couple hours a day to teach screen printing and other skills to prisoners. When the prison closed, he went full time with his passion, started the lengthy process to go organic – before it was trendy – and tried to grow the best versions of the most interesting things he could find. He grew purple carrots, blue potatoes, red basil, strangely shaped squashes, and many other things that, growing up in a small town, I had never heard of before… like shallots. He became a trusted source for beautiful and weird local produce at every fancy restaurant in town, but was best known for his incredible garlic.

Every time we visit the farm, we load up on everything that’s in season, but especially garlic and shallots. We must have overdone it at Christmas, because we found a big bag of what my husband expertly and matter-of-factly called “seed garlic” in the basement last weekend. We couldn’t let such beautiful garlic go to waste, so we planted it on the next warm and sunny day.

Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster

Top Gale’s Vintage Clothing Collection
Jeans Angry Rabbit
Glasses Warby Parker

Shallot Hill | Sophster-Toaster

Photos by me and Matt Harrison.

In Like a Lamb

In Like a Lamb | Sophster-Toaster

After two cold and stormy springs that had me in mittens until May, it looks like our luck is turning around and we’re going to get a sweet and soft spring this year. March arrived with warm sunshine and gentle breezes and has only had a few dips into wintery weather since. Even this snowy day couldn’t stop me from pulling some choice spring dresses from their spare closet cocoon and declaring it Canadian t-shirt weather.

In Like a Lamb | Sophster-Toaster In Like a Lamb | Sophster-Toaster In Like a Lamb | Sophster-Toaster In Like a Lamb | Sophster-Toaster In Like a Lamb | Sophster-Toaster

Glasses Warby Parker
Earrings Just A Little This That (other colours)
T-shirt Sophster-Toaster
Pants Angry Rabbit
Boots L.L.Bean

All photos by me.