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.





Greetings.  Forgive the substantial delay.  We’ve been up to our ears in this wildly exciting and overwhelming thing called “homemaking.”  We are stimulated, engaged, and exhausted, piling up too many projects and racing against our own deadlines to get them done.  (Know the feeling?)  We are ever-anxious to have our home really feel like home, and thus…the sometimes frantic and sometimes slow-as-honey processes of settling.

We are, finally, greeting our belongings.  Those belongings we deemed worthy of a cross-country pack-and-move — those very same belongings we were doing just fine living without for 2 full weeks.  In fact, we were having quite a lot of fun inhabiting our space without bumping into things, and wondering — why do we have 12 coffee mugs, when we really only need 2?  What about 10 sweaters?  100 cds?  Two of most things is more than enough, I’m learning.

But still, we greeted our stuff with anticipation and welcome, hoping the meaning much of it carries would imbue our home with some warmth, symbol, memory, and color.

We are reminded, over and over again, how much little ones do not need toys.

That a pile of moving blankets and some boxes to move around are more fun than anything else could ever be.

We are enjoying all the “help” that a 17-month-old likes to contribute.

We are gazing with tired eyes at paint cans, old, and new, and attempting to differentiate between the many whites.

We are doing disgusting things we’ve never done before — pulling up carpeting and finding that sometimes what you discover underneath a layer of old covering is a whole lot of dust, dirt, and damage.

The coach in me adores the symbolism in this process, especially — that sometimes when we peel back layers and reveal parts of ourselves we haven’t seen in a while, it’s not pretty at first.  And…it’s worth keeping it revealed.  A little fresh air and some polish can really go a long way.

We are doing our best to maintain some sense of rhythm in our days, and marking the special holidays with a bit of fanfare, despite what seems like workmen everywhere, and lots of noise, mess, and boxes.  I’ve learned, with some obvious error, that rhythms, for little ones, are especially important during times of transition and upheaval.  I take a moment every morning to remind myself of this  — to take a good look at my child before I look at my piles and lists.  I remind myself why I’m bothering to “homemake” in the 1st place — it is to create a comfortable, vibrant space for learning and loving — a place I hope people will gather often.  It is not for impressing people.  I remind myself we can learn and love and gather just fine with paint tape on the walls and boxes still lingering, waiting to be unpacked.

We are [still] graciously accepting help from friends…hoping they like pancakes and guacamole (not together), and pasta every night.  And lots of all of that.

We are hoping these friends don’t mind that we are still borrowing their skillets, and still asking them to use these skillets as a plate as they dine on the floor.

And hoping they’ll forgive the messes if we keep serving more ice cream and wine….on the floor.

(They don’t seem to mind.)

We are finding ourselves tickled by the guerrilla gardening that seems to be creeping into our yard — I think the neighbor girls have gone wild planting these little purple flowers.

I’ll leave them alone for sure.  They bring bee visitors.  We like that.

We are enjoying the hints of spring, including some pretty sunshine-y days, that keep gracing us with their presence.

We are venturing down the block and enjoying, so much, the small and beautiful luxuries that life in a smaller city offers — sidewalks…driveways…parking…quiet.  Green.

We are pausing to notice where we are and who surrounds us.  We are stockpiling “before” pictures and hoping that soon enough, we’ll start posting some “afters.”

And, we are thanking our lucky stars (and all who align them) that we are living this life…this good life.


10 Unorthodox Ideas for Curing Yourself of an Incurable Disease



Today is the beginning of a 10-Day Celebration on the Treelife Coaching Blog where I will reveal, One Day and One Way at a time, my Unorthodox Ideas for Curing Yourself of an Incurable Disease.  For a little backstory and today’s kick-off idea — Unorthodox Idea #1, read on…and come back tomorrow — there will be more waiting for you.

Two years ago, I cured myself of Lupus.  Perhaps you know someone with Lupus and you might have heard that this autoimmune disease is “incurable” — which means that once you have it, you have it for life.  Like many diseases, Lupus can manifest in variant degrees.  In some cases Lupus is deadly, in others it means a lifetime of painful symptoms, and in other cases it is mild and controlled, but always present.  In my case, it’s gone.

The number one question I get from friends, family, and anyone who visits my website and reads my biography is this: “How did you do it?”  Whenever someone asks that, I realize what they are really asking is:  How can they cure themselves (or someone they love) of something incurable?

The answer to that question is both complex and simple.  The complexity lies in the fact that we are all so unique as individuals.  Therefore, we have to find the kind of solutions that work best for us. This is true with any kind of issue or problem.  Assuming I can generalize about any kind of solution for anything would grossly undermine your instinctive ways in the world.  Therefore, I simply can’t give you a secret number to call or a magic potion.  I can’t tell you exactly what to eat, what doctor to visit, or what book to read (although I have some ideas).  I certainly can’t assure you that you will “Be Free of your [Incurable Disease] in 30 days if you just Follow these Simple Steps.”  I wish I could guarantee instantaneous and miraculous healing for anyone who is suffering.

What I can do is this: I can tell you that you have a lot more power than you might think to cure yourself of whatever is ailing you. I can offer you my non-strategic, unorthodox, and non-guaranteed approaches to a disease-free life in the hopes that there will be something in there for you of value.  I can say that this journey of self-healing really is a journey, and it doesn’t stop when it’s over.  If doing these things doesn’t cure you of your disease, they will, I think, at least, cure you of not believing in yourself.  Which is to say, it’s worth a try, right?

Unorthodox Idea #1 Decide You Can.

If this article was titled “1 Unorthodox Idea for Curing Yourself of an Incurable Disease” this would be the 1.  The simple act of deciding the impossible is possible — and moreover that sheer will is more powerful than nearly anything — is not only the most potent gift you can give yourself, but also the only place to start on a journey of self-healing.

When something is labeled “incurable” — too many of us take that to be law.  The end.  In truth, “incurable” simply means a cure hasn’t been discovered or recorded yet.  Until now; until you.  Shifting your perspective to look at it that way makes a diagnosis like “incurable” more like the beginning of a journey (and less like a death sentence).  Begin with deciding you are the cure.

See you tomorrow for Unorthodox Idea #2.