Embarking on a Creative Journey: Goals, Growth, and Good Times in the New Year

Amanda Coen

Another great year

Here’s to another great year of striving and achieving all that we can for ourselves and those near and dear to us. Let us also extend a little goodwill, energy, and good intention to those outside our circle who need our care from time to time. Happy New Year to all of you who pass my door and those who don’t.

I believe that when we are responsible and intentional in positive ways, and when we are kind in our day-to-day actions and interactions with all living beings and the earth, it causes a ripple that resonates far out into the world and helps counteract energies that are less hospitable.

Creativity & Healthy Self-expression

I've observed that creativity and healthy self-expression act as a balm not only for the mind but also for the world. Have you ever seen the joy on a child’s face as she makes finger paintings on a big sheet of paper? Whether the paint is all over the place or neatly confined between the lines, it's a little happy adventure bringing her unique joy, color, and feeling into the world. Similarly, a grown-up glowing with delight and innocent pride while painting, knitting, baking, carving, or writing experiences the same life-affirming joy. It's not only good but essential to share that joy.

As we step into the new year, I'm excited and a little cautious, and that's okay. I want to take stock and I want to set a few goals. Much of the year I have my nose well into work and striving mode and taking stock helps me to keep more or less on track, and feel that the striving is worthwhile. I might miss a few goals entirely by the end of a year. That is ok as long as I move forward in their direction. Do you set goals or make resolutions?

Strides Were Made

Last year, I made strides with Parade Handmade. My subscriber list has grown, which is magical because it’s not an easy feat. More great people are on board who love to hear about all the creative goings-on. Another great thing is that my Parade Handmade YouTube channel is going strong. I created 72 videos, most of them were creative projects, and some included instructions, spreading the joy of creativity and the ethos of Parade Handmade.

What are your goals for this year? I would love it if you shared some in the comments, and I will share some of mine with you now. We could strive for our own personal goals all together.

What are my goals for this year?

Some are for Parade Handmade and my fabulous email subscribers and/or customers who are wonderfully supportive and interested in this little creative corner of the internet and the creative endeavors of those who contribute to Parade Handmade. Some goals are personal. Some are for my family and friends. I have quite a few goals, and I will share some of them with you. I don’t think my goals are much different from the norm, but these are the ones that are relevant to me at the moment.

My big personal goal for this year is to spend time in the studio developing my art themes. This will require a lot of dream time. Hurray! In reality, I started again in late 2022 before Christmas but only with a little dabble here and there for Christmas cards and a little fun with Gnomes and such.

Gnome Day Tripper by Amanda Coen - Parade Handmade

love my little Gnome, and I have many more ideas for him and his exploits. I am bursting with other ideas too, having held back for quite a while. I love animals, so they will probably feature in a big way. I have started a little painting of ‘Miss Prim,’ which I’m looking forward to finishing.

I Am Odd in That Way

This year, I imagine many people are thinking similarly. I want to become fitter and regain flexibility. In my way, I read that it’s good to allocate 15 minutes a day to begin with, for stretching and gradually extend the time to 30 minutes to include core muscle building through various exercises. I will walk more too. - Yet to be arranged. I don’t like suggestions or encouragement in this area. I am odd that way. I don’t want a regular gym buddy or support network, though it works for some. I’ll sort it out. Desk work is not the best way to maintain fitness levels. Neither is painting. I think this plan is doable.

I want to get out more on the weekends. I want to see other places, feed my curiosity, and share new experiences with my husband. We always have a lark when we visit a new town, and it doesn’t have to be abroad either. Just something to enthuse over and get inspired about, even if it’s a rummage in a small-town charity shop, a reclamation yard, or a stroll in a big garden (that has a cafe, maybe) belonging to a big house on the edge of a small town. A small gallery of paintings, photographs, or 3D creations is lovely to encounter, as is a sculpture trail, a bookshop, or a coffee stop with a view or at least people-watching potential. It’s great for sketch work studies for paintings.


I  remember a beloved uncle of my father who brought us to fancy hotels to have tea and cake from time to time for a treat. He wanted to show us how to feel comfortable and worthy to be in beautiful hotels and fancy places and he taught me that having a cuppa in a beautiful place doesn’t actually cost more than enjoying it in a cafe and it can enhance your life to experience it from time to time. So I'll hopefully do more of that.

I Really Like a Bit of Space

Many of us have a desire for more space in our homes. While I’m all for keeping a healthy stockpile of creative materials, I really like a bit of space to move around and keep things where I can find them. Therefore, I want to declutter my workspaces to make them more streamlined and functional.

I want to do the little jobs that have built up in the house that would make life easier for both my husband and me, such as adding a shelf in a cupboard here and there. I want to rejig the furniture layout so it makes more space and more sense. I am sure many of you are in the same boat or similar.

We planted fruit and veg in the back garden last year instead of flowers as usual and learned a lot about what our little spot can yield without adding much soil or extra nutrients. Not as much yield as we hoped. Every garden is different, well, we knew that but wanted to experiment. The onions we harvested were bigger than when they went into the ground—only just. The carrots we sowed and planted were so-so, though quite tiny by all accounts. We had one bunch of grapes and obviously need to get on top of branding for the wine company we will start up this year. Licensing, logo, labels, cellars, bottling, and haulage, not to mention export licenses etc. (Only joking. That’s not our bag at all, though I do love a drop of nice wine.) We had a bit of success, in fact, and we ‘harvested,’ processed, and stored quite a bit of produce. This year we’ll try again with a year of experience in this little patch behind us.

Beautiful Spring Collections Coming Soon!

For Parade Handmade, I am working on a beautiful Spring Collections Gift Guide to introduce my new collections which are on their way, representing the suggestions, preferences, leanings, and hints of those who so kindly threw their hat in the ring and commented with their viewpoints.

That’s all I’m saying for now… The products are still in the making stage, and there’s a lot of work to be done before they make it onto the pages of my Spring Collections Gift Guide. Most of it is fun work, and some of it not so much fun, like listing, for example, but all of it is time-consuming work nonetheless.

Please bear with me there will also be a few other changes but I promise to keep you posted, but you will be in the know sooner if you sign up for my email list.
I will say bye bye for now and wish you all the best with your own new year 2024 endeavours and plans, Amanda

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