Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy! Happy! Win! Win!

Medium blank book with upcycled pulp-fiction cover

My major personal goal for 2009 is to develop a reliable habit of happiness; to reset my emotional default to positive; to consistently seek and savour joy, minimise misery, and sustain a sense of satisfaction with my life. It's an exciting, enjoyable project to be embarking on.

Some of the tools and resources I am directing towards this objective are mentally rehearsing/remembering pleasant events, choosing a positive spin when I'm talking about my life and putting glittery stickers on a star chart of happy-inducing activities. I have a pretty long happy-list, which includes both learning new things and making things with my hands.

So, learning a new handcraft is pretty much ecstasy for me. Lately I've been experimenting with stitching coils of fabric into vessels, a slow and satisfying process. Which so far has produced this lipped bowl:

and this asymmetrical lidded pot:

I'm quite excited about the possibilities for making very large objects with this technique, but like so many of the big ideas fermenting in my brain, it will have to wait until I am settled: big work is a liability in my-still transient lifestyle. In the meantime I am fine tuning my skills and my plans on a smaller scale.

I also made a whole bunch of blank books last week. They are hand sewn with 150gsm construction paper: sturdy for drawing, as well as list making or journal keeping, whatever you like to do in your blank books (and I like to do it all). I don't usually bother making blank books (being more interested in creating content), but I just needed a new notebook and it seemed less trouble to make one for myself to search out a good one I could afford. These pamphlet stitched babies are so quick and easy that once I got into the groove they just kept coming, til I ran out of cover stuff.

Mini notebooks covered with letterpress proofs

Another of the activities on my happy-list is giving gifts, so in the interests of adding more stickers to my star chart, I've decided to run the first official Bibliophilia giveaway!

I'm giving away a surprise parcel containing a variety of goodies handmade by me, including two blank books and a soft vessel (as pictured above). All you have to do is make a comment on this post sharing three or more of your own tried-and-true happiness resources: things that you choose when you need to get the smile back on your face.

All the entries received by 14 February will go in a hat and someone neutral will draw the winner's name. Plus I will post a collaborative uber-list of sources of joy as contributed by Bibliophilia readers. That's you! This is your chance to stop lurking and make a contribution to increasing the amount of joy on the planet in 2009!

Medium notebooks with upcycled LP covers
(my favourite is 'Air on the G string' staring the hot couple listening to the tranny in a horse paddock)


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a 'creating a reliable habit of happiness'.

Here are three that I use:

1. A cup of tea and a lie down. Not to be underestimated. Especially with biscuits.

2. Creating. A project allows one to exist in the moment away from all ones cares. When you finally arise from the project to exist in the world again, things probably haven't gotten any better, but here is this awesome thing that you made!

3. Reflection. It can take the form of journal keeping, photography, a long chat, or (for me) workbooking and blogging. It allows a purge if that's what needed, and a revisiting of ones past successes, and a reaffirmation of why you do what you do.

And if none of those work... A cup of tea, a biscuit, a lie down and a good book!

Penelope said...

How did you know I was a sucker for a "competition?"

1. A walk in the woods. Taking the dogs along is an even better idea.

2. Making a list. You have no idea how calming this is for me.

3. Give my daughter a hug and a kiss.

Anonymous said...

Weeeell - It's hard to chose only three but here are my faves...

1: Put on an old compilation tape you made years ago and be hit with nostalgia as the songs take you back in time...

2: Buy a lotto ticket at the checkout of the supermarket then give it to the person behind you as you leave and watch their look of shock as you say Good Luck...

3: Rearrange your house (assuming you have one - sorry M). It's such a treat to see everything in a new place, it's like you're seeing it for the first time again...

That's just a few but Meliors, I'll share one of the more profound that you've already started...I call it my NTS book (Note to Self). On a fresh page each time, I write a compliment someone might have given me - in quote marks with the persons name and date under it, or it might be a line from a song that is uplifting or has meaning to you right now, writing a personal best in the same fashion as tennis results are written ie: Meliors Sims Best New Inventive Use of Wool - 2009 etc.
The trick is not to dwell on any entries, in fact, forget about them until your Self needs some loving and reassurance, then you get to open just one page to see what you have to share with your Self.
(I've got more than a few of the beautiful comments you've given to me in mine!)
It's kind of like those A Guide to the Advanced Souls books where you dip in just for a few special words you can carry around with you for the next few days.

Here's one just for you...
"Don't dream it - Be it"
Frank N Furter
Rocky Horror Picture Show

Hugs Dearest and can't wait to see you soon ;-)

rayna said...

ooh fun!

My favourite happiness tricks are:

1. blowing bubbles with Tara
2. starting a new stitching project - although this does mean I have more started projects than finished ones...
3. opening iTunes and finding a band I used to love listening to when I was younger and turning it up LOUD
4. and if I really, really need it, just getting out into nature. Be it the beach or forest or anything not a city!

Can't wait to read more happiness tricks.


bex said...

Yeah, totally hanging out for other ideas for inducing happiness. It's something I'd like to work on more for myself.

1. Ocean. Being in it, being on it, looking at it, being near it. It's all good.
2. Hugging my household cat. Best blood pressure reducer EVER.
3. Playing silly games at circus. Actually, circus as a whole, but especially the games bit. Like the ones you played in primary school. Get a bunch of friends together and play hug tiggy in the park. Promise you'll feel happy.

Victoria said...

Ahhhh, competitions!

1. being inspired to paint and having it turn out well

2. old re-runs of Seinfeld

3. twilight

4. swimming laps in any body of water

Great idea and wonderful giveaways

Jane in Dunedin said...

*squeal and clappy hands* a giveaway competition! From YOU! *crossing fingers* etc

I too am trying to do the same as you (must be a fire horse in the Year of the Earth Ox thing?). In doing so I have enlisted the help of Stephanie Dowrick's two books a) Choosing Happiness - Life and Soul Essentials and b) The Almost Perfect Marriage. Simple yet profound ideas that in themselves induce a state of "oh yes, it IS that simple."

1. First on my list of happy inducing things is getting a loving, reassuring hug (usually from Ian)

2. Getting or giving a soothing foot or neck massage

3. Being "in the moment" in a beautiful spot (like the rock garden seats in the Botanic Garden, listening to Blues Music on a sunny, summery afternoon, eating a picnic lunch.

4. Finding the perfect shoes in your size on sale in a recycled clothing store!

Jane in Dunedin said...

PS Have you seen Seven Pounds which co-stars a beautiful letter press print maker with two printing machines. A beautiful emotional moving movie actually - "a three tissue" rating from me. However you can't really talk about it much without giving too much away....

nzConrad said...

1. Cheesy Sci-fi DVD, or a Jilly Cooper novel
The point here is wonderful escapist fiction. Couch and loads of comfy pillows optional.

2. Taking a walk someplace quiet and pretty
Around my part of the world my two favourites are the south coast, or the ridge that runs from the Wind Turbine to the Radar Dome.

3. Visiting friends
I really can't overstate the happiness quotient of spending time with friends.

Tim Jones said...

1. Writing. Those times when I can concentrate on writing, without any distractions - they don't happen as often as I want, but I love them when they do happen.

2. Playing cricket with my son. We take a bat, a ball and (if we're feeling really energetic) a set of stumps to a nearby field and take turns batting and bowling, to an audience of appreciative tui and the occasional jogger.

3. Having a bath. A long, deep, hot bath, taking a book with me so I can remember to drop it just outside the bath before I fall asleep.

Sylvie said...

Anything with Children.

Sally said...

hello, hello (delurk)
ooh, I'm incredibly impacted by the nts book by E.

three things I lurv ...
1. making a chocolate cake, frosting it, and then sitting down to EAT it with cup of joe

2. late night bouts of manic creativity, ie putting crap tv on sitting down on the floor in front of it with cup of green tea, watercolours, block of wood, or some sewing project and just forgetting about the time

3. taking some 'pocket money' and hitting a few favourite op shops, allowing a whole afternoon to hunt and gather

hurrah - feeling cheerier already!

rachlovestheweb said...

1) Watching my faaavourite TV shows (e.g. House MD, Outrageous Fortune) with a bestie - it's the highlight of our week and we spend days anticipating it, and then analysing the episode later!!

2) Sunday morning a big lazy big pancake cookup with friends. Yummalicious!!

3) Walking up a hill, (plenty to choose from in Welly), and finding a good "happy place" to sit, play, and realise how beautiful it is here and how lucky I am to live here!