2016 – Plans and Projects

I usually spend the first few days of the year talking about and introducing each of my projects. But 2015 was a rough year for me that started with good intentions and then fizzled into lack of progress. After months and months of feeling like I didn’t want to do anything, I could see December looming in the horizon and I knew it was either time to buckle down and figure out my plan for 2016 or to not even bother making a plan.

To figure my way through this, I made three lists: areas to improve, reflection, things that make me happy. I decided these were the only things I wanted to focus on this year. Here’s what’s on each list:

Areas to Improve:

  • Sketching
  • Lettering
  • Health
  • Watercolors


  • Choose (choices I make)
  • Core Desired Feelings – how much I am honoring them
  • Daily journaling

Things that Make me Happy:

  • painting
  • weekly family photos
  • telling our stories
  • taking photos of our life
  • reading

I stared at my lists for a while and tried to see what projects might emerge. I knew I didn’t want to do weekly yearlong projects this year since Summer always goes awry for me and this Fall promises to be eventful with David starting at a new school. So I wanted a structure that was more flexible somehow. Though there were still a few things I wanted to be able to do weekly/daily as much as possible, ideally in a low-cost way. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Monday: OLW/Planning-> Living Intentionally: I have personal goals for 2016 but I want to make/share them more as I go along. I want to think purposefully each week and set goals, choices, projects for just that week. Maybe I can do that each Sunday night. We’ll see.
  • Tuesday: Stories -> Stories from 2016 I loved doing this project in 2015 even though I stopped halfway. For 2016, I plan to just do a photo and some journaling. I can always copy/paste into scrapbook pages later if I want to.
  • Wednesday: Reading -> A Book a Week is already set till 2017. Still reading voraciously. I love reading more than just about anything.
  • Thursday: Sketch/Reflection -> Today I Choose is a project just like Everyday Brave where I want to journal that day’s choices. How I want to choose, how I chose, how I’d like to choose next time, etc. I want to sketch as often as possible but I might also glue photos, collage, or do nothing. The goal is to get the reflection in there, the rest is bonus.
  • Friday: Family/Life Photos -> Weekly Diary will continue, I will do my best to keep up with it. On weeks we can’t take a photo, I will journal.

These are the only weekly projects I will commit to. And even these I might do more irregularly, we’ll see. These all mean something to me and I’d like to do them and I believe almost all are pretty doable.

Now. What I’d like to do for all the other items on my list is to create Monthly Projects. This has worked well for me in the past. I am not sure if it will again but I’d like to try. My goal is to do up to 20 items a month. Almost every month has 20-23 weekdays. I figure if I have 20 pieces, I am posting something almost every single work day and I have 20 pieces of art/craft each month. That’s 240 this year. Not too shabby. Not as much as I’ve produced some years, of course. But not a number to laugh at either. And even if I do only half of that, that’s pretty lovely, too. My plan is to start January with something I’ve already done and then see if I can get a bit ahead of myself. Also to keep my projects small and contained. To be kind to myself with whatever unfolds. Here are some preliminary ideas of what I plan to tackle.

  • January: Fashion Girls
  • February: Truth Cards
  • March: Life Book catchup
  • April: Collage
  • May: Daily Sketching
  • June: Handlettering
  • July: Doodling/Zentangle
  • August: Art Journaling
  • September: Today I know
  • October: Honoring my Word
  • November: words/quotes
  • December: December Daily

All of these might happen, none of them might happen. I might repeat projects. I might do wildly different things. I commit to doing something but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Here’s to a wonderful 2016. Here’s to being kinder. Here’s to doing more art. Here’s to making time to enjoy art. Here’s to learning new things. Here’s to practicing more. Here’s to creating a positive cycle.


10 comments to 2016 – Plans and Projects

  • Connie

    I’ve been doing the three projects/goals a month and it’s been working great. A year is such a long time and things can change. Every month is a “fresh start” making it easier.

  • Ange

    Karen, My OLW for 2016 is MAKE. I know I want my OLW to guide me through a creative year. Yesterday I was journaling (a daily habit I want to encourage) and made my way to want I want to achieve creatively this year. Here is my list
    Jan – 31 days of drawing with Lisa Congdon on Creativebug
    Feb – Layout a Day – LOAD 216
    Mar – Art Journal everyday
    Apr – Make at least 2 Cards everyday – each year i say I will make all the cards we will need for the year as I have SO MUCH scrapbooking stuff, but I never do. So this year the challenge is set
    May – Heritage Photos – scan and organise my family’s heritage photos
    Jun – Drawing Faces with Dina Wakley everyday.
    Jul – Simple line drawing everyday.
    Aug – Art Journal
    Sep – Scrapping from my own Stash Kits
    Oct – 31 day of Colouring – Kathy Rac
    Nov – Christmas Cards
    Dec – Christmas baking and/or Journal your Christmas with Shimelle

    Each time I look at this list i get exited, because i’m committing to creativity everyday but I love the variety i have chosen. Like you, I reserve the right to change my focus and add new opportunities to my schedule. Thanks for inspiring me again this year.

  • Mel

    I love that you have given yourself the option to change your mind and not do things if it doesn’t work out. That’s healthy. I also love all your ideas and take so much inspiration from these posts you do at the start of each year. Thanks for sharing Karen.

  • dawn

    Looking forward to it all!!! YAY for a new year and new projects!

  • Deb

    I am so thankful I stumbled on your blog. Perfect timing. But what does OWL mean?

  • I have just revisited after quite a long time away. I must say that it always inspires me to come to your site, and I walk away knowing that I can and want to do more creative projects. It is also great to be able to look back and see the progress. So many people are inspired you never know how you can impact on the life of another by just taking that step. So despite it being so far down in the year I intend to make a decision for the coming months on a few projects that will stretch me but will bring so much joy as well. Blessings!

  • Gayle Fox

    Hello!!! I have been all over your site here and forgive me if this is not the place to ask this but I”m probably lost and way off the page where I saw this…. Do you sell the beautiful Daily Mantra cards that you show? They just take my breath away. Or perhaps do you have a link to a place where you teach how to make these? I’m still having fun browsing your website and many links here. But I’d love to purchase or learn to make these Daily Mantra cards. JOY!!
    Thank you for inspiring and sharing your talents.

    • karenika

      Hello Gayle 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. Do you mean the ones I did for august? I did those for fun and already put them into my One Little Word album so I don’t think I could send it to you without damaging them otherwise I would have been happy to send. I can try to see if I can make a video of them if you’d like but probably not until November as I have two upcoming trips in October and I am not likely to have free time. Is that ok? thank you so much for your kind kind words.

  • Gayle Fox

    Hi Karen…how funny and serindiptious that I would re-visit your site today for inspiration and then find a note that I’d left you back in September yet had forgotten all about it. And here I find your response. Life is good indeed. So when I asked if you were selling your Daily Mantra Cards…I think at that time I was asking if you sold them in a shop or online. Maybe an etsy shop? I love/loved them so much that I wanted to try to recreate something like them for my own projects and journaling cards. Something to treasure. You mention that you might be able to make a video of them…would that mean that you have a YT channel? I’d love to follow you there if possible or find classes. You are so inspiring to me and I truly admire your Living Intentionally journal type entries. Do you offer some sort of pre-printed daily sheets for Living Intentionally entries? Okay.. that is enough. My mind runs quickly today! Day after Christmas and a New Year arrives..lots to look forward to.
    Thank you Karen…

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