My Plans for the Coming Year

water pitcher

I had checked out some productivity books from the library, but I returned them. They mostly contained tips, pages and pages of tips. I flipped through them, briefly, but then I decided I don’t need to read any more tips. I just need to get stuff done.

I took a true holiday for the end of 2012, barely looking in the direction of my computer and letting myself do whatever I chose. That’s why I finished the year covered with downy white feathers. Feathers in my hair, on my sweater, and stuck to my pants. I made pillows, which is something that I previously felt like I didn’t have time to do. I turned old pillows into new ones, and as I hand-stuffed clean pillow filling into new cases, I had to wonder what makes my brain come up with ideas like this? I don’t know.

I do know that the making of something was very soothing, almost meditative, and it made me feel like time stretched out more than the usual.

I think if I can concentrate on working through tasks and noticing the moments when I’m making something, I will find that place of calm even though my project list and work list is long.

I don’t want to be more awesome. I just want to be.

What do you like to make?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. My plans for the year include making deeper friendships, with others, but also with myself. I am putting less focus on to do lists and more on just Being. Being in the moment. I get so much joy from making things, and now that we blog, I feel pressured to take photos of everything. Sometimes, that just isn’t fun. I’m giving myself permission to, more often, choose joy, over productivity.
    Robin from Frugal Family Times´s last post…10 Tips to Save Money at the Great Wolf Lodge

  2. I like to make:
    new blog posts that really grab me
    big piles of stuff to get rid of

    Those things energize me. :)
    Katherine@YeOldCollegeTry´s last post…Declaring the January Goal

  3. “Make” is my word for 2013 (!)

    I agree with you, we spend too much time doing everything else BUT doing what we really want or need (in the existential sense, not the to-do-list sense) to do. So easy to get sucked in to articles, blog posts, magazines etc… that tell us how to do things but suck up the time we need to actually do them!

    My goal for 2013 is to create (loosely defined) something every day. It definitely soothes the soul. One of the things I want to do this year is write on my (poor neglected) blog more and this was one of the topics I wanted to write about!

    Thanks for the post, have a great day!

  4. Lovely. I agree that making things is so very, very satisfying. I’m reading a book on mending right now and just LOVING it.

    You may like this book: Shop Class as Soulcraft (I blogged it here:
    where the author describes how much people miss hands-on work and how much value that adds to our lives. No tips! But it’s dense reading, so maybe that’s not your thing, either.
    Margo, Thrift at Home´s last post…Easy-Peasy Lasagna

    • Love this, Margo! I’m always surprised at how people think we have it so great here in 21st century America because we have so much “free time”…not that there aren’t definite benefits to the technology (especially for medical emergencies), but from the biographies and journals I’ve read from times past it seems that people had more satisfying lives as they worked together with their hands. Hard work and hand made definitely has its own inherent rewards! :)

  5. I’m making a baby this year. :) Seriously though, I’m trying to remember that carrying a child is hard work (especially since my pregnancies are a little rough) and that this is simply a season where I have to let go more.
    Steph´s last post…Our 2013 Flexible Routine

    • Hooray! I’m making one too! Every time I get frustrated and feeling like I haven’t done anything, I remember that my baby used my body’s resources to generate millions of new cells. And it gets to sleep for 18 hours a day. I’m so with you on letting things go. We didn’t even put up our Christmas tree, which was a little sad, but it was one less thing to put away after the New Year. Congratulations and good luck!
      Jennie´s last post…Slow Down and Reevaluate

    • Making a baby — that’s so great — one of the best things we ever get to make. Like many other things worth making, sometimes much of the important and hard work is unseen.
      Bridget´s last post…God Isn’t Worried About His Reputation

  6. Nana Carol says:

    I will make my quiet time with God priority and all other things will flow out of that. I want to finally finish making several projects that have been hanging around… And, as for new projects, I want to make t-shirt quilt for my son.

  7. My 6-year-old was complaining less than 30 minutes ago that she’s “not growing fast enough.” ????? I told her that we don’t have control over how fast our bodies grow, but we DO have control over how our brains grow and ANY kind of learning – a new skill, a new bit of information, developing a new habit, whatever – is helping our brains to grow. This was my daily plug for “do your schoolwork” (we homeschool) but it kind of fits here too.

    My personal MAKE for this year is in the realm of growing my brain is making better choices in reading material (I read a lot that is enjoyable but frivolous – I could use some more depth). I’ve also been learning to sew the past year or so, and it’s time to take it up a notch and build my skills. I enjoy making clothes for my girls and I want to expand from skirts to dresses.

    Thanks for the thought trigger!

  8. I can’t imagine you gleaning a lot from some productivity books. You seem so on the ball as it is! :)

    I make peanut butter sandwiches!
    Erica {let why lead}´s last post…Dreaming

  9. Hi Rachel,

    I’m a new reader, but I discovered your blog about a month ago and was able to read back over MANY of your older posts while you were taking a break. Your blog is lovely and I’ve really appreciated all of your advice on simple living. It seems to be common snese, but it has become more applicable for me in the past few weeks. I love the way you present your ideas and I’ve thouroughly enjoyed your writung style.

    As to the re-cycled pillows…I tried that last fall with old down pillows as well. Made a huge mess all over my apartment, but I loved my new sofa pillows. However, I quickly learned that I should have used a ticking liner. Feathers were still getting everywhere and my dog was eating them, haha! It’s never fun to re-do a project, but now I’m so happy with them and all 5 cost me less than one store-bought pillow.

  10. I like to try to make my house a hospitable oasis for my family and friends. I’m now gradually learning that this doesn’t have to be as complicated a process as historically I’ve tended to make it.

    I really appreciate your blog and perspective. Your voice is refreshing and helpful in a sea of myriad niche blogs.

    “I don’t want to be more awesome. I just want to be.” The importance of this can’t be overstated. We are human beings, not human doings.

    I have a neglected blog with only a few posts. Your post today made me think about something I wrote a while ago:

    If only I can remember and BE.

  11. I am definitely someone who would rather work with information, but even I am amazed at how fulfilled working with my hands can make me feel. Growing up, I spent a lot of time helping my dad on his farm. I miss that feeling of exhausted, happy glowing at the end of a hard day of manual labor. I definitely want to spend some more time this year with some intensive hands-on kitchen projects~canning, bread making, etc.

  12. I like to make memories with my family – especially my two grandchildren. And quilts. And dinner. My husband is SO appreciative of my cooking that it’s a delight to cook for him.´s last post…Butter vs. Margarine: Which is Better?

  13. I love making. Quilts, scarves, calligraphy-ified letters, jams, pickles, bread…

    Apparently I’m secretly an old-fashioned farmwife under my mathematician exterior façade.

    Congrats on your soul-renewing pillow-making session! Too often we (I include myself here, certainly) neglect doing those little satisfying things that actually fulfill us.

  14. My plan this year is to make a home. We’re moving next month into a place where we will probably be for several years. I refuse to let it feel temporary. I’m going to take your advice from the post (the first one I ever read!) about making an apartment feel permanent. It will be the place we take our baby home to, where it will have its first steps, and where we will grow as a family over the next few years. Nothing impermanent about that. I hope you have a great year!
    Jennie´s last post…Slow Down and Reevaluate

  15. Oh, that last line sings volumes to me: “I don’t want to be more awesome. I just want to be.” That pretty much sums up what I want from 2013. I don’t want to aspire to be a huge blog or a well-known name or someone with 1000’s of followers. I just want to take pretty pictures and write what my heart speaks and be.

    Thank you … thank you for this post.
    michelle @ this little light´s last post…No More “More” in 2013

  16. I LOVE how you returned your books. I am a library book whore and will bring home hoards of books then feel the guilt of not reading or implementing every single one. I think, like you, what I truly want is just to get things done. Alleluia!

    What I like to make is anything that gets my hands dirty and my mind working: food, kickstarting a woman’s confidence, paintings, useful blog posts, a garden. I just set up an easel in my office and am thrilled to see what I make in those moments when I don’t want to be more but just rather BE.

    Thanks for this fab post!

    • I am also a book whore – in fact, I’ve had to skulk out of the library sometimes because the number of books I had put on hold were too heavy to carry out by myself – that’s how bad it is :).
      Jenni/Life from the Roof´s last post…Finding hope in the suds

      • Jenni, that is SO funny! Mainly bc I can picture, remember, and most of all FEEL all of those books as they jabbed into my ribs from being stuffed in my bag and both arms. The things we do for books!

  17. I’m thinking about putting the farm on the market and moving 300 miles away to be closer to my family. My priority is always making time with God, in the mornings, then the day falls into place. Or, I’m better able to handle the stress that comes.
    I make a lot of things already…spin wool into yarn, knit, weave or felt wool and yarn, quilt, bake, sew. Sometimes I’ll get raw milk and churn butter. For me, life continues as is no matter where I live because I’ve already made a lot of good, solid choices.
    Next time you make feather pillows, try wiping yourself down with a dryer sheet. It helps prevent the static cling that attracts the feathers.
    Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm´s last post…YOU need to know…

  18. I’ve already drawn up my garden plan. I’m writing up a one year menu plan so I don’t have to think about dinner until 2014. I’d like to learn to make kefir soda this year since a bottle at Whole Foods cost me $3 last night–and that was the sale price!
    Zipporah Bird´s last post…INTERVIEW WITH CAROLINE: “The sad thing about my mom is she has outrun her usefulness.”

    • Menu for a whole year — that’s amazing! I can’t even follow a menu for a week. (I make it up as I go along to incorporate leftovers and whatever else).

      I just started making water kefir. It’s easy (compared to milk kefir) and my family loves it. I got my grains from Keysands through Amazon, and was very pleased with their service.
      Bridget´s last post…God Isn’t Worried About His Reputation

  19. This is so perfect to read today. I have been thinking about just being for a while. This morning, while I was cooking breakfast…which I actually like doing, I realized I was so ready for the food to be DONE. I wasn’t taking the time to enjoy my cooking hobby. I do this with a lot of things, especially since I run a creative blog. It can be so counter productive, so it is definitely my goal to enjoy the moments as I’m in them. Take in the writing, the crafting, the home decorating, the gardening, the cooking…just live and be blessed doing what I love!

  20. My word is LISTEN. Listen to the hurting, listen to my kids, listen to my husband, listen to God.

  21. Last month I made a pair of slippers. I got more joy out that–the making of them, and now the wearing of them. I, too, would like more of that kind of joy in the coming year.
    Rita@thissortaoldlife´s last post…DIY stairs from salvaged wood:<span class=”subtitle”>How we gave our split-entry stairs a frugal, green makeover</span>

  22. I like this post. My New Years resolution is to create. I want to feed my right brain as it’s been starved since becoming a mum. I’m not very excited about crafts and making things with my hands, but I used to play my instruments, journal, and bake for fun, now I do none of that and this year I want to begin again.

  23. I enjoy making things, and spend the bit of time I have for sewing making little table runners and quilts. I think this year, I want to do more knitting and repurposing.

    Last year I got a little bit creative with how I was working stains I couldn’t get out of clothing (who knew watermelon stains brown?!?) into the design or covering it up. I think I want to focus on that this year. Taking clothing that fits us but weren’t not wearing and turning it into something we’re willing to wear again. My daughter was extremely excited when I added butterflies to a skirt that had a couple of chocolate almond milk stains I couldn’t get out and she was able to wear her favourite skirt in public again.

  24. You’re so right — reading about doing can be a way of procrastinating the actual doing. And yes, being focused in the moment, rather than thinking ahead to the next thing (which list making seems to encourage) does seem to extend the day.

    I don’t know if it’s cultural, but we here in America, and quite possibly more so in the Northeast, tend to put a high value on productivity and achievement. It’s tough to get to the end of the day and realize you’ve “only” spent time visiting with your mom and dad.

    I struggle being okay with not getting anything “done.” But it’s so key to living stress free and really enjoying the people around you.
    Bridget´s last post…God Isn’t Worried About His Reputation

  25. I sat down to read this right after making a pot of chili and a batch of cookies. I really enjoy feeding my family and I want to do more cooking in 2013. Not “Food Network” cooking, just “it’s Tuesday night and we’re all hungry” cooking.

    • Love that! Embracing simple, cozy cooking is so nice. (As my pot roast is in the crockpot and my store-bought rolls are on the table).

  26. Not pillows, that’s for sure. ;)

    I make blog posts and lots of food and I’ve even actually done a few crafts (gasp!) with Eleanor lately.

    On my list this year: try making rosettes one more time, and if it’s a miserable failure like last time get rid of the rosette irons that are taking up valuable pantry space!
    Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm´s last post…Classics Catch-Up Challenge: The Participants

  27. Make? Food! the more people who will crowd around my kitchen to eat it, the merrier! And in this winter season, I will make stuff at my sewing machine, beautiful things out of fabrics that looked useless before I cut them up. I just finished cutting a big pile of bright colored heavy knits into 2 inch squares, sewed them in rows of triangles onto a denim backing, and made 3 lovely bright rugs that will decorate a bedside, or cushion the floor at the kitchen sink. It’s so exciting to make something beautiful and useful out of stuff that would have been tossed out.

    • Mattie, I love your first three sentences there! Do you have any tips on feeding a crowd?? I feel the same way, and food is the main expense in our budget. We have five little ones and live on about $22K a year (my husband is a hardworking teacher in a very small community) and I am always trying to find good ways to stretch the food budget while still providing excellent meals and offering lots of hospitality. Would love your thoughts if you have time!! :)

      • Practice is what trains in a good cook. I didn’t know much about cooking when I got married. 7 babies all grown to adulthood, and many many Sunday afternoon crowds have helped me to learn.
        Mostly I cook for crowds the same food I cook for my family, only larger quantities. I raise a large garden and freeze or can a lot of food each year, so I always have food available. That helps tremendously to cut expenses, because shopping for food, there’s so much temptation!
        Good basic foods make good food. Good potatoes simply prepared are good. I guess that’s what I’ve learned mostly, start with good food, prepare it simply, and your guests will be happy.

  28. I don’t really “make” anything, but in 2012, I re-visited an old hobby I used to have…cross-stitch. I finished a birth announcement for my grandson, and I’m working on an old world map design for my son’s room. I did find a pattern to make a ruffled shirt out of old t-shirts, and I’d like to try that soon.

  29. I want to make a new life for myself, starting with a walk across Europe, this year. That’s starting in the summer, and until then, I am determined to do the necessary (or what I think is necessary) planning without losing track of the *now*. I have a tendency to fall into ruts and forget to do the important things — which are usually the creative ones, writing, cooking, trying to include music-making in my life — and I don’t want to do that, or lose focus at work, while I have such an exciting prospect ahead. I suppose I’m still in the place of wanting to be awesome . . . but I’m trying to learn just to be me.
    Victoria´s last post…The Plan

  30. Your post sounds like you are enjoying the coziness of the season. Not sure if it is the pregnancy horomones or the start of the new year, but I am motivated like no other! Trying to keep up (or catch up) with my blog and photo business. Need to take some pointers from you and to just be…….

    Happy New Year!!
    Kristina Blake´s last post…Adding to our little family

  31. Nice to hear from you, Rachel. Feathers! :)

    I’m turning both more inward AND outward to learn what will be my role as I embrace the post-hands-on-parenting stage of my life.
    Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life´s last post…Book Report: Overdressed &#8212; the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion

  32. I really like to make things, but the other day I came across my fabric collection and I felt a pang of guilt. So many beautiful fabrics and so little time to use them! And all that money I’d spent! I think it’s ok to abandon a project when life changes, or your interests change. These holidays I’m giving myself a break from too many projects.
    Zoe´s last post…Challenge: make time in your day for a break

  33. I hear what you say about the calm you feel while making something. I am a multi- crafter. I enjoy knitting, and paper crafting. I a m a do it yourself of anything, but my problem is to find a reason for it all. Also, a balance!

  34. Oops….I really do need to stop reading about things and just do them instead!

    One of my resolutions (which I’ve worked on every day but one so far!) is to finish all the started-but-unfinished sewing projects in my sewing room. There’s an embarrassing number in there. I’m almost done with a couture tailored jacket that was supposed to be finished in December ’09!

  35. Just BE! So fabulous – because we ARE already awesome. Finding what makes us come alive is one of the best discoveries in life. The next best discovery is DOING it. Happy New Year!

  36. “I don’t want to be more awesome. I just want to be.”

    Thank you for this. It is perfect and exactly what I want for myself.

  37. Your blog posts are just the best! I love the short, but potent message you send your readers. I like making a room feel brand new by bringing in a recycled (from another room) piece of furniture, a new picture frame or something else decorative. This year “I want to be” as well. Not punch a clock and worry about the time so much and rush. Just be. Happy 2013!
    Paige´s last post…True

  38. Oohh.. I totally agree.. I don’t want to obsess over someone else’s pinboards and creations.. All I want is to savor every minute of what I do.. with intention, peace and focus. Whether it is working on my business, baking cupcakes and cookies with my 5-year old, or watching a cricket match with my husband. Savor the moments.
    Prerna@The Mom Writes´s last post…The 7-Step Guide to an Online Business in 2013 {Downloadable Template Included}

  39. I like to make food. I hate cleaning up, but the chopping, mixing, blending, baking, blanching, etc. of cooking is meditative for me.

  40. Oh Rachel, you have spoken the words I couldn’t express! I called it being in a funk. I, too, just want to be. I feel like the world, my business, my family expect more of me. I have taken some time to make things these last 6 weeks (although they didn’t result in feathers in my hair). I have done a bit of sewing and learned to make paracord bracelets.

    Any tips on how an overachiever lets go of the guilt and can “just be”?
    Thanks for this post!
    Natalie´s last post…It’s a New Year and It’s Time to Reset

  41. I have been struggling to find a way to do everything on my TO DO(Doo) list, and I think I like your idea best. Pick one, tackle it and don’t worry about anything else. Brilliance. :)
    Terrye´s last post…Life Lessons From The Angry Birds

  42. This is so refreshing and honest, Rachel.

    Instead of trying to eek out even more productivity in even less time, to take a step back and ask yourself if this is what YOU want is great.

    This year? I hope to figure out what I want. :)

  43. Thank goodness I am finally at an age where I’ve learned to just take a deep breath and do what I know deep down in my heart is best for me and my family. I’m embarrassed to admit this. but I used to be so intimidated by all the blogs I read, I just felt like these were superwomen and then there was me. I got over that a long time ago and now just read a handful of blogs that truly reach out and inspire me (such as yours!) I laugh at the tons of “simplifying” books out there, the bottom line is finding what works best for you and whichever way you choose to achieve these goals, that’s okay too!

    Since Christmas I’ve been knitting up a storm, funky hats with matching mittens, not sure what I’m going to do with all of them (probably donate) and instead of beating myself up constantly over what I “should be doing”, I’m loving the moments of just being and the repetitive motion of my knitting needles. And you know what? It’s okay!

  44. I succumbed to my creative urges this Christmas. For the last few years I’ve been making photo books for each of my foster kids. I make copies for their parents, grandparents and a copy for each child too. It shows all the things we’ve done through the year and gives their birth families something they can hang on to on those tough days. This Christmas I just ran out of time, so I got each child involved in painting some small block canvases which I already had. They did the finger painting which was the background, I chose a photo and glued it on to the canvas, then each night I sat and playing with painting over the canvas and the photo, bringing it all together. So each child was able to give their bio families a lovely little piece of art, featuring themselves. Now, I’ve still got to do those photo books, but without the time pressure.

  45. 2012 was a year of changes for me: I had to leave my church home of 12 years and am searching for a new church; I was offered the opportunity to begin a new career at the age of 52; I’ve made and daily make the choice to become healthy for the next half of my life; I’ve stepped up my creative enterprise to a business level. These changes were for my benefit, to give me hope and a future that I certainly didn’t see coming a year ago, but they also bring a necessity for deliberate planning and preparation in order to be successful. If I don’t make a plan to work on studying for the licensing exam for the new job, I’ll not succeed. If I don’t make a plan to create new fiber pieces for my creative enterprise, I’ll not succeed. If I don’t choose daily to eat something healthier, to walk to and from the new job (.9 mile each way), I’ll not succeed. I know that all these changes were in God’s plan for me, and if I don’t plan my time with Him, I’ll not succeed in hearing and seeing where He wants me to be this year. For me, the word for 2013, the focus of 2013, is PLAN.

    Jeremiah 29:11


  46. My plan for this year is to make my blog better and actually make some money to recover hosting costs. I like truly like many things and I write about it as it comes. I hope it will click, as truly like sharing info.

    I also want spend more quality time for family members, I seemed to be always busy doing something online….without much success so far.

    I am thankful for many good things in life though and I want to also see that when I look at down things that do not work.

    Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last post…Unschooling : Method of learning

  47. I’ve been learning to knit this past year. Took a class called Building Blocks at a local yarn shop but had to stop going due to a scheduling conflict. I’ve continued at home with the book from the class. It’s slow going, but I love it. I’m making a blanket.

    Making things with felt is something else I’ve been enjoying.

    I really enjoying making blog posts even though my only readers are my step-mom and my daughter. Hehe. I don’t mind. I still enjoy it.

    It is definitely a blessing to get make things.

    Hey, My kids make messes. :-)

  48. Even though it has nothing to do with your post, when I read the title it reminded me to have more fun with my kids. When I read, “covered in downy white feathers”, all I could imagine was making a fun mess with my kids. We’ve been pretty serious lately and I need to remember to lighten up sometimes. I might buy some pillows just for a good pillow fight. Thanks!

  49. We’re putting our house on the market in the spring with hopes of moving to a better school district so my plans for the next few months include a LOT of decluttering. I started in my craft room and really looked at all the supplies, books, patterns, etc. that have been hanging out in there, mostly neglected. Little by little, I’m letting 95% of it go. I will still be creative. I will still make things. If I need supplies for a specific project, I’ll by them. But holding onto all those things “because I might do something with them someday” has made me LESS creative over the past year because I’m so overwhelmed by it all. So I guess what I’m making most right now is space: Space to enjoy my home, space for someone else to see its potential, space for wonderful new possibilities to take root.

  50. Nicole W. says:

    I have been reading your blog for several years because I really like who you are. I’ve learned to be more me though you. Thank you.

  51. Little origami boxes out of old Christmas cards is my soothing productive-for-no-reason activity. It is never on my List. I don’t need them. Still, it is therapeutic and satisfying.

  52. I love your last sentence: “I don’t want to be more awesome. I just want to be.”

    Many times, we do things for the satisfaction of surpassing others or ourselves, and miss out lots of things in life. I don’t have a resolution for 2013. I just want to be living in the present and enjoying the present.

  53. I think that is so awesome that you made feather pillows. My mom used to make them. Even today feather pillows are our preference to sleep on! I had tried to contact you from your contact page but it kept saying that it couldn’t go through. Could you please contact me? Thanks So Much!

  54. I have come to love mending things. Putting a Monster patch on my daughter’s pants gives me immense pleasure for relitively little effort. She gets a new pair of pants that are super fun and personalized just for her, I get a moment of quiet, some creativity time and the satisfaction of having made something useful and helped someone out.

    I love your ending line. I, too, am not striving to reinvent anything this year, just to sink back into this life and soak it all up.

  55. I am in the middle of a book called, “Crochet Saved my Life,” and what was interesting was how much the simple act of touching something, making something with your hands, was therapeutic. It encouraged me to start knitting again, but just dishcloths so far. They aren’t really “worth it” in terms of how much money they save, but oh, the calming effect! Much cheaper than therapy.

    I also made the big leap and moved my youngest, who will be 2 in March, to join his two older brothers in the same room. They have slept together pretty well so far, and the biggest part of it is that our middle room is now freed up to be a craft room. I have a lot of embroidery thread, fabric, a sewing machine, etc. that I’m setting up in there and my husband is going to help me build a corner Pottery Barn Bedford inspired desk unit from’s plans.
    Jenni/Life from the Roof´s last post…Finding hope in the suds

  56. Amen. I unexpectedly lost someone who was a second mom to me shortly after the new year and it has made me so much more aware of being. Being with people. Being in the moment. Simple, meditative actions of life we take for granted.