On with the happiness journal

My Altered Book: Work in Progress - Happy and Hysterically Happy

One of the problems I’ve had with the altered book is that I cannot drench it in too much water so watercolor has to be applied sparingly from here on, and not without protecting the spine by adding a layer of masking tape.  But I like working with watercolor.  So here’s the work around.

Last night I experimented on painting watercolor on some adhesive labels, printing the outline of letters and cutting them out.  (Yes, letter by letter.)  I actually liked how it came out.

It takes some effort to cut each letter but it was worth the effort.  I also plastered them onto the page without any lined guides or anything.  I like the casual “feel” of the piece.

I am actually thinking I’ll be journaling soon.  Up to this point, I’ve been creating journaling pages and journal prompts by plastering happiness quotes on the various layouts in the book.  The idea is for me to have a book to write about happy thoughts, memories and occasions.  This book is supposed to serve as an anchor during those times when challenges come my way, and I need a ‘reminder’ of the good and all that I’ve been blessed with.

Writing in a journal used to be a means for me to air out my mood or thought of the moment, but this journal is special because it focuses on the positive.  Working on its pages has actually afforded me a daily exercise of browsing for quotes on happiness, which in turn have brought a smile to my face and to my heart.

In the every day struggle of life, we often forget that we have been so blessed, and I am only human to admit that I need a reminder every now and again.

My Altered Book: Work in Progress Cut Out Letters - HAPPINESS

Meanwhile, my multi-page layout is “getting there”.  I’m still “repairing some pages, but I’m actually seeing the word “pop out”.  I’ve sort of stopped a layout or two after this and have concentrated on sprucing up the pages before it.

Another day ended, and another week ALMOST ended. Friday. (That made me smile.) I just wish this headache that’s crowding my head would go away. I’m glad I have a ride home — although it means a stop at the Filipino restaurant for dinner and maybe some supplies from the Filipino store — the car as against a nap on the express bus when I’m feeling like I’m feeling is a welcome respite.

Back to my altered book. I am going to do some “repairs” on the pages I’ve been working on. I completed another multi-page layout today (the set with the tags) by putting a quotation on each spread. They came out rather nicely and made the pages “journal entry ready”. (Pictures tomorrow.) I also love the set of quotes I grabbed from my now favorite quotations webside, The Quote Garden.

My swaps have been put on hold for the moment, but I will be busy writing a few postcards tonight. The Artist Trading Cards will have to wait until the weekend.

The only thing I don’t like about the evenings is that I usually get the urge to work on the altered book as I wind down closer to midnight. So sometimes when I start painting at 11:30pm perhaps, I don’t finish until a few minutes after midnight. I usually just let the layout dry anyway until the next morning.

Working on the altered book has really helped me to focus on the positive. There are moments at the start of the day when negative or heavy thoughts threaten to crowd my heart, and all I have to do is reach out for the book and open to the page of quotes and read two or three of them for a nudge to think about upbeat thoughts. It’s like an extra shot of espresso on the morning commute or anytime during the day.

Hits and misses

My Altered Book: Layout in Progress: HAPPINESS Multi page layout

This is the current layout I’m working on and as you can see, it is far from finished.  There are some mishaps that need correcting (like my “H” seems a little wobbly and will need some “beefing up”), and I might have made a mistake painting the panel across “S” in red in the same color.  Of course I can always cut out that portion that is not agreeing with the final look I have in mind so I can have the last “S” in bright yellow green over a different final background.  (I know I am making sense only to myself.)

I wanted to take a photo of the layouts uncut but I got too excited and cut it up over lunch today.  =(  I haven’t been good with the updates, but the other layouts have come out rather nicely.  I have the photos, I just haven’t had the time to write a blog post. 

The boy, for one, has sequestered my laptop over the weekend (since it was a long weekend because of Columbus Day today), and while I like typing on the iPad with my Zagfolio keyboard, it isn’t quite the same.  I have gotten used to editing pictures straight from my memory card, uploading to my Flickr account, then posting it as a graphic here, and no matter how others rave over the tablets, I still think they work best in helping us enjoy what’s online, but creating and pulling things together require more than they can offer.

I have proudly finished five ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) but I failed to take into account that today is a holiday — hence, no post office.  I dropped them off at the mailbox anyway, hoping to send them off on their merry way.  And I picked up some beautiful Yuzen Origami sheets for some Oriental ATCs due on Wednesday, and try as I might to find a suitable origami geisha or kimono doll tutorial, I am leaning towards doing a simple collage.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m in over my head with the swaps I’ve signed up for over at Swap-bot, but save for one major mistake in my pea-brained misunderstanding of instructions for one swap, I’ve been having a blast.

In fact, I got a surprise message today from a swap-partner-to-be for one of the ones I signed up for who appears to be reader number 8 of my blog.  It was one of those simple messages that made me smile and almost want to jump up and down for joy and do a happy dance.  Small world.. I did warn her, though, that she might have the wrong blog. (I thought I only had 7 readers.)  But the truth of the matter is, I am so amazed at what a small world this is for us to have actually bumped into each other on Swap-bot.  See, my blog is identified in my profile, and swap etiquette dictates that one should check out the profiles of the people you are sending out to to make it an extra special swap by taking into consideration what they want and don’t want.  And she found me.. or rather, we got assigned to be swap partners. =)

First day of school, etc.

I took a day off Thursday because it was the first day of school and (1) I had to walk the boy to school as his Dad is on a business trip to Singapore, and (2) I still would’ve gone to bring him in to sort out the classroom and new teachers and help him lug all the school supplies.  In previous years, I had opted to take a half day or just come in late, but yesterday, I decided I’d cut the stress and just take a day off.  Wise decision.

We walked hand in hand to school and as always, it was a fun walk for me as I relished holding my little guy’s hand.  He is very tactile and expressive like me and loves to walk arm in arm or hand in hand.  He’s all excited about school which is good.  I’m starting to have discussions about outfits and attires for school, though, and just this week, I got an “I’ve got a rep to protect, you know” with a grin from the boy.  He’s growing up too fast!

I had lunch with my new friend, Elaine, which I will write about in another post.  I got to work on a few things and then I had a personal mishap of sorts which caused me to have very little sleep last night, and I had to resort to some major contingency planning.  So I am at work with a headache (for lack of sleep) and not functioning 100%. I ‘ll live.  The good thing is it’s Friday, and I can probably make up for the lost sleep tonight.

My altered book is coming along nicely.  Finally, a title: A HAPPY LIFE.

I have finally found my “happiness” journal which I’ve read about and have been hoping to start.  Many encourage that we keep one because it is a good go-to book for those times when life presents us with its biggest challenges.  So you chronicle the “happy” to help you during those times when you are not or when you find yourself facing one of life’s challenges.  My now favorite author Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia fame suggests that for inner balance, she recommends keeping a journal for moments of happiness as well as sadness.

My Altered Book: Title Page: A HAPPY LIFE

Speaking of which, I’ve momentarily or for a bit now, set aside my “WHAT DO I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT?” writings.  But even if I no longer answer that question on a daily basis, I know the focus of my answer has shifted dramatically.  I will still write when an answer hits me, but right now, I have my sights focused on other things.  (I  can only write and draw so much!)