Studio Diary: Starting the Year with Focus

My Studio Diary: January 2, 2019

My Studio Diaries gather raw and real inspirations and insights of life in my studio. They are not finished pieces but works in progress intended to let you in to the world of this one creative heart.

It’s always exciting to step into the New Year, to start to feel the energy and character of the time ahead. Since celebrating this last Winter’s Solstice, something has felt different, like I have moved from one phase of my life into another. Instead of the resistance and agitation I have experienced with the changes over the past several years, now it simply feels right. What a relief!

Vision Cards & Focus Areas

This shift brought a particularly wonderful energy to my yearly tradition of creating Vision Cards between Christmas and New Year’s.  Each card is like a mini dreamboard for the Focus Areas of my life, the priorities I have actively chosen for the year ahead. My focus areas for 2019 are:

The Studio
Do Good

Most of these categories have been with me for years but for the first time in a long time there are some absolute newbies. Welcome, Enrichment and Beauty! I’m so glad you are here.

This year I also incorporated Vision Cards into the Winter Yearbook so that people could have a chance to explore their Focus Areas in this way and have a beautiful home for them too. I created mine on large index cards, as I always do, but then scanned and printed them so I could add them to my yearbook. I am already loving flipping through and revisiting these touchstones. It’s helping me feel wonderfully grounded as I build the year ahead.

My New Schedule

After all the work of Planning Day and Vision Cards, I feel very clear on 2019. I want to also be clear on how I can spend my time in a way that supports those plans and so I have been working on my schedule. I started by looking through all that I had written and pulling out the things I wanted to do on a daily, weekly, seasonal and yearly basis. Then I tried to figure out how I could make that happen. I started with the dailies. I assigned each task an estimated time and then assigned each one a time of day. I quickly noticed how full my days became and that gave me a clue that my plans might be unrealistic. I decided to work with the schedule for a week or two, adjusting as I go, until I can figure out how to get it to fit just right. Today was the first day and honestly, it was uncomfortable – and I’m not even back in the Studio full-time! The discomfort might mean my plans are overly ambitious and need to be adjusted or it might be the normal discomfort of change. I did manage to get a lot done!

Though I am not a huge fan of the word ‘balance,’ (I tend to like a little more verve and excitement than that word evokes) I do know that at the end of the day, when I put my head on my pillow, I feel best and sleep best when I managed three things: I got something done, I had time to relax and I was able to do something that I wanted to do.  For me this triad represents a balanced day of work, rest and play. I managed that today.

Constellation Cloche


The biggest project in the year ahead is our total home renovation. It looks like we finally have a date for our plans to go to committee: January 23rd. If all goes well, we should be packing and moving in February-March and starting work on the house in April.  If this schedule plays out, we’ll be moving into this just as the Studio transitions to the spring-summer season. This should hopefully allow me to set a manageable schedule.

In the meantime, Justin and I are dreaming, researching, planning and hoping. Over the holidays I created a Mood Board and that really helped us make sure we are on the same page. Two people can easily say, “clean lines” and “comfortable” without meaning the same thing! I gathered several images from Pinterest and put them together in OneNote. When I showed it to Justin he said, “Yes, that’s it exactly.” Yes!

Our overarching desire is to create a sense of “home.” What that looks like is different for everyone and we are discovering what it means for us. We know that we want it to be simple and elegant and also to feel inviting and comfortable.

As we make plans and think about our home, our lives and our things, it’s just perfect that Netflix has added Tidying Up with Marie Kondo to their schedule. I’ve watched a couple of episodes and been primarily moved by what it means to honour what we have – and what we let go of. Marie’s approach inspired me to take a seat on our landing and connect to our home, to tell her how much we appreciate her and how she has sheltered us and our loved ones. I acknowledged the limits of our care and our hope to do better and introduced the plans for our renovation and how we deeply wanted to honour her identity as a 100-year-old house. (It’s her birthday this year.) It felt good and right and I look forward to continuing to build our relationship with this house as we discover more and more how to create a sense of home.


One of the core practices of my Well-Being Focus Area is moving my body. I’m a very kinesthetic person but the majority of my work involves sitting at a desk. It’s important that I work in activities to get myself moving and grooving.  Since my gym closed last year, I have had a hard time finding the next right thing but one thing that is a definite blessing in my life is a regular “Walk & Listen”. Getting out for a walk, no matter the weather, and listening to an audiobook has enriched my life so deeply. Not only is the physical activity great, but I am finally engaged in books again! I had virtually stopped reading because I just couldn’t find the time plus I didn’t want to add one more sedentary activity to my list!  Today not only did I get out and enjoy a book but also I experienced the beauty of new falling snow and the beauty of many, many lights and holiday decorations in the neighbourhood. This activity manages to check off many of my Focus Areas: well-being, enrichment, beauty and life!


When I got back from my walk, it was time to make dinner. After the indulgences of the holiday season, it’s good to get back to focusing on healthier choices. Even though it feels like a summer meal, we made a recent family favourite: Greek Bowls with Meatballs over Couscous from Life Tastes Good. Justin was enthusiastic with the meatballs and so we had enough to freeze and enjoy another day.

That’s a Wrap

I finished my night with a hot cup of tea and some planning for what remains of the week. Though I am still officially on holidays, I am aware of how much is coming in the days ahead. I couldn’t sleep until I wrote down my core priorities: Awakenings, creating the spring Studio Yearbook and preparing for the reno hearing. Once I was clear that those were the projects that required my time and attention for the coming weeks, I felt more at ease and able to draw the day to a close.


  1. scr4pl80 says:

    Good insights here about scheduling your day. I find that because I work from home I don’t have a “set schedule” and yet this coming few months I will be having to go work “in an office” for the first time in a long time and I need to figure out how to get everything done. Thanks!

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