Create beauty

Create Beauty

I've spent the past few weeks pondering what my 'word' will be for 2017. Last year (the first year I chose a word to represent the coming year) my word was "get shit done in 2016". (Okay, it's more than one word, but you get the idea.)

It was the motto that I desperately needed, because I felt a little frozen. After a couple of summers spent navigating Lyme disease I had lost my oomph. And I was drowning in half-hearted, half-finished, procrastination-choked projects. From boxes in the basement to the thrift store donations that never seemed to make it to the thrift store to abandoned sweaters and quilts all in various stages of partially done, I was overwhelmed. 

It was time to finish what I had started.

And to some extent mission #getshitdonein2016 was a success. No, I didn't finish All of the Things That Need to be Finished last year, but I certainly completed some. I would hear myself saying (or more accurately shouting) the phrase to myself as I set to work on uncompleted tasks from weeks (or years) gone by. It helped me get over the hurdle of restarting projects that no longer inspired me.

Create Beauty

And the idea of a word instead of a resolution? That works for me. It's more inspiration and less pressure. 

Which begs the question of: what will 2017 hold?

What direction do I want to move that feels like a warm invitation rather than a harshly shouted command?

Create Beauty

On Christmas night, after our celebrations of Solstice and Christmas Eve were done, I told Pete that all I wanted a warm bowl potato-ham soup for dinner, and then I wanted to spend the evening just scrolling my Pinterest boards. (That classic Christmas combination.) And so I did. I checked out after dinner and curled up by the fire to search for a little inspiration.

And I was powerfully drawn to the notion of creating beauty in my world. 

Create Beauty

We moved to this crooked little farmhouse over four years ago. But because we rented her for nearly a year before buying, that means we moved in without painting, refinishing the wood floors, or pulling up the aging carpet, wallpaper, and linoleum. 

And once we were in we were in. And farm work was priority, so the rest had to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And the truth is, I don't really know how to begin. When four (crafty, disorganized, homeschooly) people are packed into 1200 square feet, how exactly do you empty and rework a room? Because there's really no where to go around here with a bed, dresser, and desk for a few days while we rework a room (except perhaps out into the snowbank).

And so we're been just living with the tan and cornflower blue wallpaper and gray vinyl floor. For years.

  Create Beauty

But I am hungering for beauty. I'm starving for it.

To sweep up the cobwebs that are hanging in our corners and dust the picture frames. To paint the hallway and hang some fresh art. To plant flowers around my house and while I'm at it maybe rip off the broken, decaying deck and build a pretty little white covered porch with a spindle railing. To cultivate beauty at ever turn. 

So I think that's my plan for 2017. To create a more beautiful world. Right here on the farm, and spreading outward from our little corner of Wisconsin. 

In the projects I create, in the words that I write, in the work that I do, in the way that I engage with the world. Beauty! Everywhere. It's time. And it's what I want more of in the coming year.

I'll keep you posted on what unfolds.

Create Beauty

P.S. If you're choosing a word for 2017 I'd love to hear what it is the comments below! 

P.P.S. If you're hungry for an evening of potato soup and Pinterest inspiration as well, you can find a few of my favorite (beautiful) pins here:


Beautiful Backyard

Garden & Farm

 Let me know if you'll need that soup recipe and I'll see what I can do.

Create Beauty


16 thoughts on “Create beauty

  1. Emily says:

    I love to have centering thoughts like this to guide me through the year. Thank you for the reminder/inspiration to find my 2017 word/phrase! My birthday is Friday and I have some time this week to do some soul searching before then!

  2. Jacquelyn says:

    This is a great idea. I think my goal this year is to be fully present. I find that a lot of the time I don’t accomplish what I want to get done because I get lost on the internet looking for the best way to approach it, whether it be cleaning, homeschooling, homesteading, etc… I need to just focus on our family and do what works for us rather than be worried about it being the correct way. There is plenty of great info online but I read so much and then try to implement all of it and we get off track of what we really want to do. Hopefully that makes sense. That’s why I love your blog. It’s never about the ‘best way’. Instead your posts always encourage me to find my inner truth.

  3. Angela K says:

    I know EXACTLY how you are feeling. I hadn’t thought of it in the words starving for beauty, but that is where I am at too. I don’t post to Instagram, but I follow many people simply for their beautiful photos. It adds something wonderful to my life. Something terribly needed. I was thinking of the word “clean” – a clean heart, a clean slate, a clean home…but I like “get shit done” too. I can not wait to see the beauty you create and share.

  4. Tünde says:

    I just read your article and wishing you from where I am everything nice and good that can be wished for your upcoming project of 2017.
    Health and endurance and strength for those days when you are remodeling and creating beauty in your little space and world with your loved ones.
    I don’t want to say that we are in the same shoes, but ….I am and….. we are ….in may ways 🙂
    Sending you warm wishes and thank you for the beauty you already created with your thoughts and writings in this post.

    Ditto that 🙂


  5. mb says:

    Dear Rachel — I love your idea re: choosing a theme/word/mantra for the year. Not sure about mine. Maybe persevere. Maybe patience. Maybe persevere with patience?

  6. Jill says:

    My father died unexpectedly on Christmas morning. My only regret is that I didn’t complete the grandparent oral interviews we planned to record that have been on my to do list for over a year. I haven’t nailed down my specific phrase/word yet, but it’s going to be along the lines of “now is the time” or something indicating putting important ideas off in lieu of the daily grind.

  7. Abby says:

    Rachel, I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled into your little corner of the blogosphere, but I’m so glad I did! We’re living overseas for a little while, and I would love nothing more then your recipe for potato soup and a night looking through some beautiful pinterest boards. I think it might take the edge off the homesickness. If you’re willing to share your recipe I’d love to scrounge up some ingredients tonight!

  8. Rachel Wolf says:

    Of course, Abby! Let’s try this:
    Creamy Potato Ham Soup

    1 large onion, diced
    2 Tb butter
    2-3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
    2 quarts/liters chicken stock
    6 medium yellow potatoes (or other non-baking potato), cubed
    Herbs: bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, dill, salt, pepper
    1-2 bunches of collard greens, kale, or other sturdy cooking green
    1/2 lb of ham, diced

    Salute onion in butter until it becomes translucent. Add garlic and briefly sauce. Add chicken stock, potatoes, and herbs. Simmer until potatoes are soft. Remove 1/3 of soup and puree with a submersible blender. Return to pot. Add collards and ham and cook until greens are tender but not overcooked (approximately 15 minutes for collards, 8 – 10 for kale). Adjust seasoning and enjoy! (We served it with live-fermented sauerkraut, added to the top after it cooled a bit. So good!)

  9. Liz says:

    I love this idea, of choosing a word or phrase for the coming year. But this year and last, I realized I wasn’t done with the first one I choose three years ago – “Love more, worry less.” I can’t remember if that was yours that I stole, or if I got it somewhere else. But every year it feels like the one I still need, so I go with it again!

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