studio/office makeover!


In the year+ since we’ve lived in this old house, I’ve been repeatedly struck by how a seemingly bland space  – one that seems to have small square footage, poor light, strange window placement, a completely depressing paint color, etc — can easily be lightened and brightened and brought to life, and, in the end, barely resemble the room it once was.  It can become, as in the case of my finally-finished studio/office, one’s very favorite room to be in.  What strikes me even more is how much these changes — slow as they may come — can alter so significantly one’s mood, one’s level of creativity, and one’s experience of work and play.

I’ve finally, finally put some finished art-on-the-wall touches to this little office of mine, and I’m happy as a lark now, being in here and letting the space multi-function as it needs to.  Do you like Befores and Afters?  Oh, I just adore them! Here’s a little tour of the Treelife office/studio.

Above you’ll see the photo I took when walking through this house when it was for sale.

And here it is with it’s strange-smelling, badly stained carpeting and beige walls.

Awhile back, we put on our face masks and pulled up the carpet…to reveal some seriously damaged wood floors and about 1000 staples sticking up.  In walks this lovely man who went at it for 3 days pulling up staples, and then we hired some professional floor sanders.


And a year later, here she is.  This room needed to function in several ways — as a space for me to do my writing and ceremony-planning, and also a place to have my client calls, including some in-person meetings with folks.  It also, of course, needed to house my large collections of fabric and craft supplies and be a space where I was set up to work for an hour here and an hour there on all of my projects.

I’ve always felt inspired by rooms painted very bright, light blues and this color makes me smile every time I walk in here.  After we painted, we brought in as much of our leftover or salvaged furniture that we thought could work, including some re-purposed old cd shelving for my quilting fabrics and a beloved old desk that has moved along with me for the last 25 years.

What we didn’t have, we found at resale shops and at IKEA, including some new light fixtures.

After sewing a fresh cover for my ironing board, getting everything organized onto shelves and into baskets, and splurging a bit on this fabulous up-cycled rug from an etsy shop that I had had my eye on for years, I was getting close.

A few fabric buckets, a pegboard project, and a tiny-quilt-top-turned-wall-hanging finally finished, and I was good to go.

I especially love how this space works for sewing prep — ABOVE, or having clients here — BELOW.

And most of all, I cherish the hours I get to sit at my desk, connecting with clients, connecting with you on this blog, and bringing to life workshops and ceremonies and all the things in my work world that keep me feeling connected to myself.

Oh, it’s just amazing what a space can do.




home science station


I notice, as time goes by and our curiosity grows, that there’s more and more of a desire to bring the outdoors in.  That is, as babies (or at least, my baby) become less-baby-more-toddler, the natural tendencies to seek, to study, and to collect things come into focus.

I’ve been taking a wonderful e-course called Playful Learning where I’m discovering all about how (and why) to collect materials and create spaces in my home that are more conducive to, you guessed it, playing and learning.  What’s really cool about the course is that it appeals directly to the things that are important to me — I suppose you could say, to my parenting values.  It does so in a way that helps me feel really capable and creative when I’m thinking about how to make our home more user-friendly, specifically, for kids.  And it’s funny thing — as much as I know in my heart I care a lot about exposing my child to art and music and science and nature and reading and writing …I also see myself sometimes making counter-productive choices to that end — like putting all the art supplies on an unreachable shelf, or being uptight about getting a little dirt on my floors. This course is helping me realign my desires for my home with my desires for my child (and my life) — you know, like a good coach would.

With Orlis’ growing proclivity towards hunting and gathering, I decided to start with creating a space that emphasizes things found.   One of the first homework assignments for the course is to locate some viable nooks and crannies throughout your living space that might transform easily into child-centered spaces.  I found this one, smack dab in the center of our living room.  I mean, is this wall just begging to be a toddler-sized science center, or what?  The lucky happenstance is, when we first moved in, we hung this wonderful painting of some cracks in the sidewalk by my very talented aunt on the wall.  She’s a big-time inspiration to me for all things having to do with capturing the beauty and complexity of the natural world.  I had her gorgeous-but-lonely painting sitting there all by her herself in the perfect-sized nook for a little table and the beginnings of some found things.  What better object to set the scene?

I made the very easy one-word banner from Handmade Home and within an hour had the whole bite-size Science Station assembled.  A few garage sale items re-purposed (like the little wooden board which is actually an old game piece), some family heirloom pottery, a few sprigs of lavender from our driveway and some mint from our herb garden, some of the rocks Orlis has been bringing indoors, a handful of sand and a postcard procured from our recent trip to the coast, and a flower in a jelly jar, Orlis’ collection basket, and a beloved piece of feedsack fabric to provide a backdrop.  All of it was in the house or just outside, and now it’s here, displayed, for further discovery.     

Oh, I love this little table already, and I know, as time passes it will change and change a hundred times as the seasons do and so do our fascinations with the great big world.  I know we’ll easily find many things to pile and gather in the shelf below, and I know the living things will die and be replaced with other tangible items of interest.  For now, it’s simple and easy, this little science station — the perfect place for a toddler to bring in his outdoor treasures for more handling and organizing, and deeper relationship.

And so far, there have been no bugs and no dead rodents.  Let’s wait and see….



big day for the blog

Notice anything different?

There are few things I enjoy more than befores/afters — of almost anything, but especially of rooms made-over.  As you may have noticed,  I do appreciate a fresh coat of paint, a bit of wallpaper, a re-purposed piece of furniture, some fresh art on the walls.  I also love a good system — baskets, hooks, like things together — anything to create a little order.  A good friend of mine recently sent me before/after photos of her re-organized laundry room and I was salivating.

The superficial changes of a space enthrall me, but I also love the layer deeper — that is, the idea that a space has become more usable, more liveable.  That a fresh tone may have been set by a new color or a nod to feng shui.

And thus, I bring you 2 transformations today. The 1st is a quick before and after of a corner of my home.  Of all the work we’ve done on the house, this space underwent the largest transformation.  It was outdated and stifling — a passageway I wanted to run through just to get out of it and into something more pleasing.   Brace yourself now for one of the ugliest photos you will ever see on this blog:

With a coat of paint, a couple of rugs, and some quilts on the wall it has become a bonus playspace — one of my favorite places in the whole house to be.

Ah, let’s all take a collective breath of fresh air.

And with that, I bring you transformation #2.

This ole’ blog of mine was starting to feel a little outdated — not horrible, but certainly not being all she could be.  Here’s the Before:

…and all around you today, you see the After.

So, would you like to take a brief tour?  Here are a few of my favorite new features:

1. I’d like to direct your attention first over to the right hand margin here: ————————————————————————————–>

Worried you’ll miss a good post?  Worry no longer.  At the top of the page you’ll see it’s a whole lot easier to SUBSCRIBE to the Treelife blog  You can get updates via email, or if you are more technically-inclined, via RSS.  In other words, you don’t have to miss anything. Just subscribe and you’ll always know when the posts go up!  (And, I promise not to share your email address with anyone else…or to email you incessantly.)

2.  Wondering about how to work with me?  Wonder no longer.  You’ll see just below the Subscribe options that the easy link to the main Treelife site — via the button, WORK WITH ME.  If you go to my main site, there’s loads of information about my work as a ceremony officiant, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

3.  Looking for some inspiration?  Again, look no further than right over here ————————————————————————————->

I’ll keep this little area updated with the books that are currently inspiring me, including the ones I’m cooking with and reading to my toddler.  If you click on the links, it will take you directly to Powell’s Books online where you can purchase books.

4. Which brings me to my very favorite of the updates here on the Treelife blog: the Bookshop!  The easiest way to enter my bookshop is by clicking on BOOKSHOP in the menu above, just below the photo of me.  There are lots of bookshelves I have loaded up with books that I’ve found inspiring  — on topics ranging from sewing to parenting to creating rituals and ceremonies.  Powell’s books is a wonderful, locally-owned company operated by good people who use many sustainable and fair-trade practices, so if you are going to shop online, it’s a great place to do it.  *Buying books via the Treelife blog (any book, not just the ones I link to) benefits both Treelife and Powell’s, not to mention your edification, so it’s a triple win.  Plus, they ship for free if you spend over $50. So, once you enter through my blog, feel free to shop with the browser and buy any book under the sun.*

5. Wanting to share the Treelife Blog with other people in your life?  Yearn no longer –  it’s easy now.  Using the buttons at the bottom of the post, you can Like us on Facebook, Pin us on Pinterest, or email any particular post to a friend.  Sharing is just buttons away.

6. Dying to share your thoughts?  Don’t die!  I’d love to hear from you.  I appreciate each and every comment posted here on the Comments board (below and at the top of each post) and try to respond as often as I can.

and finally, 7.  Seeking an opportunity to Sponser the Treelife Blog?  You are in luck.  I love playing matchmaker between businesses I want to support and my wonderful readers.  Ad space is now available on the Treelife Blog.  Go to the Contact page above for more information.


As for Afters, I think we are through.  Please feel free to comment on this (and any) post and let me know what you think of the new look and usability!  I’d love to hear from you.