Anticipating 2021 & A Look Back at 2020

Looking back at 2020, pivoting on home improvement projects, what recipes came out of the kitchen, and looking ahead to 2021.

limelight hydrangea and sunflowers

Now that 2020 is nearing an end, and it’s time to reflect back on everything this year has thrown at us, it’s really hard to know where to start! I think all of us would agree that this has been a challenging and difficult year. We’ve had to practice patience and perseverance. We have had to make changes and adaptations to our way of life in order to stay safe. We’ve missed our families, learned how to order groceries, become proficient (sort of) at FaceTime and Zoom, and somehow dealt with the fear and anxiety that comes as a result of a worldwide pandemic. (At the end of the post, three of my best blogging friends are sharing their thoughts too. More on that later.)

Even though there were many dark days in 2020, there were also happy times and accomplishments. Those are the things I am going to focus on today. Personally, I have much to be grateful for. My family is healthy and thriving. My kids have been working from home since March, and everyone has managed to stay safe. We planned very careful visits, and were able to spend time together. Although I have missed him terribly, my dad is healthy and still going strong. We keep in touch by talking every day, which is not enough, but I’m grateful for it all the same. 

Thanks to all of you, this blog has kept me busy and occupied, which in itself, is a huge blessing. Last year at this time, I added a new tag line to my blog title that read “where simple is best.” It is staying right where it is for 2021, and I plan to explore and share more ideas for simple living. Coming your way will be easy ideas for keeping your homes and gardens refreshed, without breaking the bank. If there is anything in particular you would like me to cover, please leave me a comment, or send an email to ann@onsuttonplace.com. I may not be able to swing some of the requests, but I would like to address as many as possible. I feel as though we all are kindred spirits, and I would love to know how I can help.

linen closet in small bathroom next to shower

BATHROOM RENOVATIONS

Even though I believe that simple really is best, sometimes big projects are necessary. I began 2020 determined to finally begin a kitchen remodel. I just knew this was going to be the year! But…like many things planned for 2020, that didn’t happen. We instead completely gutted and remodeled our two upstairs bathrooms, which were honestly much worse than the kitchen. To read how it all came about, and then came together, click the boxed link below.

2 Farmhouse Inspired Bathroom Renovations

small master bathroom decor

So, once again, I am optimistic that 2021 is the year we will tackle the kitchen. It’s been delayed or put off so many times that at this point, I absolutely cannot say it will happen for sure. I am hopeful though!

YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES

Making and photographing the recipes I share here are two of my favorite things about writing this blog. For 2021, I want to make more dinners for two, and more side dishes, including salads. There will, of course, be desserts as well! Here are your favorite recipes for 2020:

chicken caesar pasta salad in pyrex bowl

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2021

I am going to adopt the same attitude I had last year in regards to goals. I’m going to leave the goal-setting for another year, and just get through 2021 the best I can. Switching gears, and changing direction, became almost second nature to many of us this year, so I imagine the same will be true for 2021. 

Although not actually a goal for next year, I plan to share more basic decorating ideas here on the blog. Information you can use every day, and ideas that anyone can do. I will still be decorating for the seasons, and putzing around in the garden. You will be seeing the same old spaces, but with fresh and easy updates. 

hello doormat and sweet potato vine planter

There is something else that I want to tell you, and it’s very difficult. I’ve thought and thought about it, and have come to the conclusion that I just have to come right out and say it. So here goes…

If you have lost someone you love this year, because of COVID or any other reason, I am so very sorry. I am not able to find the words to adequately share my feelings…but I hope you know that where ever you are, you are in my prayers every day. God bless you, and know that the OSP family is thinking about you. 

Thank You

One last thing. I hope you all know how thankful I am for your visits to this blog. I am so grateful for your patience with the annoying ads, your support of my affiliate links, and the time you spend here. I know your time is limited, and I don’t take it for granted. While some bloggers concentrate on social media, I have chosen to put my blog first. My email list is growing, and I love creating content that’s attainable and affordable. I value your friendship, and look forward to all that’s waiting in 2021.

With that, I would like to send you along to see what my friends are sharing. 

end of year accomplishments hop

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60 Comments

  1. Linda Reiter says:

    I enjoy your blog. It is so relatable and just enough information. Are you doing your monthly calendars for phones? Did I miss the download? Thanks so much.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes…I sent the calendars at the end of December. I will email you the link!

  2. I get SO much from your blog. I love your idea of making things simpler. So refreshing. My request is could you do more crafts? I enjoyed your decoupaged terra cotta pots. Such an fun idea and easy to do. More please!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes! I would love to do more crafts. I will see what I can come up with! Happy New Year, Ann

  3. Jo Ann Newton says:

    Happy New Year Ann! Thank you for your beautiful blog. The ideas and photos are an
    inspiration to me and I always visit your site for creative, fresh ideas and simple beauty. I hope that you have a wonderful 2021.

  4. Jeanie Nichols says:

    Ann, I love your blog and look forward to reading it. I appreciate all the time and effort you put into it. Thank you for sharing your home and thoughts.

  5. I almost lost my husband due to Covid back in early November and if it wasn’t for the Lord performing a miracle in healing him I would have. Thank you so much for the positivity your blog brings and I pray the Lord’s blessings for you in the coming year. I hope this is the year you get your kitchen; you deserve it.

  6. Like you, our family is safe and healthy but our hearts break for so many who have experienced loss. Your blog is a blessing which branches out far and wide. Thanks for sharing your heart and home.

  7. I have been following your blog fior years . I love that you use products that are affordable for us to replicate.
    I love your home . Prayers to you and your family in the coming year .

  8. Ann, I’m in my late 60s and only read a few blogs but yours is absolutely one of my favorites. I prefer cozy, farmhouse style. I love the way you have incorporated that style into your traditional home but didn’t throw everything you already had out the window. I also appreciate you using what you already have and changing it in small ways to make it fresh. Sometimes “big” changes are necessary but I like it that you do a lot of research before undertaking any large project and diligently try to stay on a budget. I’m looking so forward to what you and your husband decide to do in your kitchen. Thanks for being transparent to your readers and letting us know that you truly care. It honestly means a lot.

  9. Love you, Ann and so appreciate you and your blog! I’m new this year! Going to try those delicious looking lemon cookies! Happy and Healthy New Year wishes to you and your family!

  10. auntie em says:

    I really appreciate your lovely posts and pretty printables. You are so inspiring.
    I printed out your sweet floral calendar this fall and instead of hanging it up and I have put the pages plus some note pages in page protectors in a small simple plastic binder, like the kids use for handing in essays and papers. It is now waterproof, wrinkle proof and with its bright red cover, easy to find. I can use a white board marker on the plastic page protectors or slide the page out and write things down that I want to keep permanently. I printed the calendar pages all out back to back so they line up. A little tedious but makes the book less bulky.
    When I open it up, your pretty floral designs make the days look a little more blessed and pretty.
    Thank you so much for sharing and taking the time to inspire us!
    A very Happy and Safe New Year to you and all your family.

  11. Cynthia Glenn says:

    I am a retired woman in my upper 60’s who loves to decorate for all of the seasons. As a result, I have acquired a lot of stuff over the years and am wondering how does one go about scaling back as they age. I don’t want a minimalist look but I realize the time will come when I can’t decorate to the level I am accustomed to. Can you please address what to get rid of and how to decorate on a simpler level, but still look nice. Thank you! Love following you!

  12. Ann, your calm and kind nature shines in your posts. I appreciate the way you show how to repurpose what we have and to create a home that is comfortable., simple and welcoming. Thank you for addressing COVID too. I know we all need a break from the virus and other problems of the world, but I think it is right and important to acknowledge the tremendous losses people have suffered this year too. Silence comes across as callousness, and I have more respect for you for expressing yourself. Let’s hope for health and healing in 2021, and may we create beauty and spread goodwill at home and in the world.

  13. What a lovely post, Ann! It is SO you. So kind, so thoughtful, so full of talent and with an undercurrent of flexibility. I love your outlook and I can’t wait to see your brand new kitchen that I know you will complete this coming year…

    Or the year after… ;-) Whenever it comes, I’ll be looking forward to seeing it! ❤️

  14. Wanda McDaniel says:

    Thank you, Ann! You’re a bright star in our Covid days!

  15. Thank you so much for being a calm and kind voice in the midst of this distressing and chaotic time. Looking forward to better times ahead.

  16. Lovely post Ann. Your blog is such a delight to read. The words about Covid, were beautifully said and mean a lot to me and I am sure your other readers. I so look forward to reading your blog and will do so in 2021. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those suffering so in this pandemic.

  17. Ann, I always enjoy reading your blog with such inspiring ideas. Most of all, I appreciate the fact that you are taking the COVID-19 virus seriously and sharing you feelings with others. I no longer follow a blogger that said she didn’t buy into the “hype” about the virus. It isn’t “hype” to anyone that has suffered from the disease or lost a loved one, or is a front line worker risking their life to help those that are sick or dying. If everyone followed the protocols recommended by scientists, we would get COVID-19 under control a lot quicker. Thank you again, and stay safe! Here’s to a New Year that is full of hope!

  18. Marianne Hamilton says:

    Ann, I’m fairly new to your blog and I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your posts. Really looking forward to 2021 and reading your posts, trying new recipes and all your printable. Happy New Year and brighter days in 2021.

  19. Lovely post Ann I simply can’t get enough of those new bathrooms! So glad your family is doing well.

  20. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to all that you will share in the new year.Wishing you health and happiness in the New Year.

  21. Ann you are a treasure and a breath of fresh air !! I am so happy that I found your blog. I love how down to earth you are and how you always give such easy and attainable ideas for a happy, comfortable home. It has been a pleasure to look forward to your emails and I am so looking forward to seeing what you will be sharing next year! Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 20201.

  22. KittyLovr says:

    Thank you, Ann, for staying true to your roots. I know that I can always find the answer I am looking for on your blog…I sometimes search through years past to find a recipe or search for a porch decorating tip…..and in a year of unsettled times, this blog has been one of comfort and consistency! Wishing you a healthly 2021…and a remodeled kitchen!

  23. Ann, I’m a newer follower and I look forward to your blog in 2021. Wishing you health and happiness in the new year.

  24. I agree with another poster that Instagram is difficult to follow. I love your blog Ann. I am down to only a few that I read and I so enjoy them.
    Glad your dad is well. My mom is 80 with COPD and still smokes 4 packs a day so if she were to catch this Covid 19 virus it would take her for sure.
    2020 has been extremely rough and you are one of many bloggers that actually talked out loud directly about it. Thanks for not skirting around it. It’s effect has been awful and your honesty is appreciated.
    I look forward to your help and advice in 2021.
    Bless you!

  25. Rebecca M says:

    Hi Ann! I love that you have a blog and it comes in my mailbox. I had a few blogs that I followed that now only have Instagram. I quit following them. I don’t enjoy the Instagram format at all. I like how an email/blog reads. I know it’s probably old fashioned but 🤷🏼‍♀️!
    I enjoy everything about your blog! I like that you are down to earth and don’t spend $100 on a throw pillow.
    I wish you and your family a very blessed New Year!
    P.S. I’m very very happy that your Dad has stayed Covid free too!🙏🏻

  26. Karla A Bannerman says:

    5 stars
    I love your idea of not having goals, I usually try to have at least one goal, but in 2020 everything went by the wayside. I am retired, on the back side of my 70’s and figure my goal in 2021 will be just to stay sane. I have my hubby, my dog Otis, and my sewing and quilting, so maybe if I would have a goal, it would to just keep busy.
    Have a blessed rest of 2020 and a Happy,healthy 2021..

  27. Kristi Flournoy says:

    I genuinely love your blog! Thank you always for the calendar and easy recipes and beautiful printables as well as gardening advice. I just got the planters you have for Christmas :)

  28. 5 stars
    Your blog has been one of the blessings in my life this last year. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to.
    My husbands favorite meal is your easy dutch oven beef stew. We have it at least once a month and it makes me so happy how excited he gets when he walks in the door from work and smells it.

  29. Linda Snow says:

    Hi Ann! Thanks for your wonderful blog! Could you please tell me where you got the white and blue wash basin in the beginning picture- white bowl with blue and white pitcher? I would love to get one of these. Thanks!

  30. Thank you, Ann, for ALL you share with your readers! A safe & healthy New Year!

  31. Thank you for all your great ideas and recipes….wishing you all the best in 2021!

  32. Linda Kozacek says:

    Thank you—something bright and cheery to look forward to in my inbox every day.

  33. Barb Holt says:

    Thank you, Ann, for sharing your ideas, recipes and words of encouragement, especially during these times of uncertainty and frustration! You have brought sunshine into my life for several years!
    Blessings of hope, joy and peace to you and your family in 2021!

  34. Ann… I love your blog which highlights recipes, crafts, decorating ideas that are attainable for the average person. Thank you for keeping it simple et beautiful. I love that you posted you will be focusing on some basic decorating ideas. That was going to be my suggestion. I love your taste and welcome your ideas. I am about to embark on some major updating of my house now that all my children are out of the house. Boy does my house need it.:/ Happy New Year to you!

  35. Ann, your blog is such a refreshing, down to earth, inspiration to so many !
    Your heartfelt message is comforting & appreciated !
    This has been a difficult year for so many & perhaps has taught a good many more the value of family & friends !
    At the end of the day it’s the simple things in life that are important.
    Thank you for sharing & caring so deeply !
    Wishing you a healthy, happy, New Year !

  36. Loryl Fisher says:

    Ann, you are the first blogger I started following when I left a job I had loved for years but needed to move on from for personal and health reasons. You brightened those first few days of “what do I do now?” All these years later you’re one I still follow and trust. Your home is beautiful and has encouraged me to simplify mine. Your recipes are always delicious and have become some of my family’s favorites. I love to decorate my porch and yours alway inspire me to use what I have with maybe just adding one new thing. I wish you all the happiness and health in the new year. And as I turn the page in my journal to a new month I use your beautiful calendars as I did all last year. Thank you !

  37. Elisa Decker says:

    Your words are so beautifully written. It has been a rough year for so many but I am hoping and feeling positive that 2021 will be better. I truly look forward to your emails and enjoy all of your ideas and inspirations. Looking forward to what next year brings. Best wishes to you and your family for a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

  38. Thank you for sharing your talents with us, Ann. I feel like I am a welcome guest in your home every time I visit your blog. I’m so glad I joined your email list a few months ago!

  39. Carol Heartfelt Whimsies says:

    Ann—I love your blog! One of my very favorites! Your uncluttered yet cozy aesthetic is what draws me to you! That’s a hard look to achieve and you do it so well!
    May 2021 be safe, healthy and professionally rewarding!

  40. Ann, you are always inspiring in your words and talents. I get so many wonderful ideas a d recipes here. I pray you and your family will have a Blessed 2021.

  41. Happy New Year, Ann! I always look forward to reading your blog. I love that your decorating ideas, recipes and gardening tips are easy to replicate, budget friendly and beautiful! Thanks for the inspiration and to you and your family, a happy, healthy 2021.
    Beth in NH

  42. Jan Brown says:

    The Rustic Bread is now my favorite go-to bread recipe! I used to be “afraid” of yeast and then found your recipe. Now I make it every week! Tonight is grilled cheese sandwiches on your Rustic Bread….so easy!
    Have a wonderful New Year, Ann!

  43. Joni Tyner says:

    What a lovely post, especially praying for those who have lost loved ones. It’s so great to stay focused on the important things. I live food abs decorations, but faith and family are always first.

  44. Anne Marie Gorman says:

    5 stars
    Thank you for your thoughtful and reflective blog. Those are my sentiments exactly about 2020 and looking forward to 2021. I have much to be thankful for.

  45. Dear Ann, First – all good thoughts for the year ahead. I look forward to it with optimism and maybe even excitement. Such a lovely summary of 2020 you just shared. I say YES to the kitchen! So many of your ideas are now part of my hom and for that I always say thank you to my “Ohio friend!

  46. 5 stars
    Thank you Ann! I have a folder in my email box that is titled Ann Sutton for emails like this that I can go back and refer to.

    Happy New Year and let’s hope and pray 2021 will be a better year.

    Sandy

  47. Happy Healthy New Year to us all ……like you I see 2021 much of the same as 2020…..social. distance anyway sad……..but we made this 2020……like to know who won the gift cards….. just curious……Thank You for your blog thou I’m new I have enjoyed this year and have tryed some strawberry butter the best . ..

  48. 5 stars
    Your blog has been so refreshing and I always look forward to new entries. During 2020, I have lost 6 friends/family members….NONE to COVID…but nevertheless, sorrow has been a frequent visitor. Thank you for sharing moments of cheer!

  49. Sheila DelCharco says:

    Ann, I really enjoy your blog. While I have curated and pruned which blogs I follow (simplicity!), yours always makes the cut. I love your style and I love your tone. Thank you for giving us a piece of yourself in your blog. I have cut WAY back on reading social media but I still follow my favorite blogs, so thank you for focusing your time and attention there. One area I would love for you to address is how do you organize and tackle paper. This is still an area that I cannot seem to master! The paper piles up, and I no longer have littles! I’d love to see your system. Thanks for asking!

  50. Your reflection could have been written by me…..but alas I am not as eloquent. Your decorating style and your choice to simplify and be practical are “right up my alley”. So I will be faithfully reading and absorbing all you come up with in 2021!

  51. Kelly Spehar says:

    Ann,
    I tried your lemon shortbread cookies. Let me say they were a HUGE hit. I was asked to make some for friends to share with their families. I love to bake, although I am not the best.
    Thank you for your blog and inspiration. I look forward to reading it. Also, I absolutely love your prints that you share. I have printed and framed so many of them.
    Thank you again for sharing!
    Happy New Year.
    Kelly

  52. Hi Ann, I love your blog and even though I am over the pond and our house is tiny compared to a lot of American homes I feel that we are on the same wavelength and I have been inspired by your blog in so many ways over the years. Like everyone else I am looking forward to 2021 even though we don’t really know how things will go, although with the vaccines hopefully we can nail the virus and get back to some degree of “normal”.

    Wishing you all the best for the new year.

  53. Thank you Ann for a wholesome , down to earth, real approach to life and living. In a world which can be chaotic your blog is lovely and welcome! Happy New Year!

  54. Hoping & praying we all have a wonderful & Happy New Year!

  55. I love the fact that you keep it simple and from the heart! May you be blessed with love, joy and peace ! Happy new year and stay safe! God bless you!

  56. Melody Walsh says:

    5 stars
    I am looking forward to your simple living ideas. As always you and I seem to share the same ideas . Your style has influenced me for a very long time, thank you!

  57. Sheri House says:

    Your blog is like a breath of fresh air. It’s never over the top. Thank you so much for all you share.