Nearly a month ago, I hauled myself to the self-help section of the local bookstore with the idea that somewhere amongst the crowded bookshelves, I would discover the Fountain of Happiness. Naive, I know, but nothing I'd read so far had even come close to solving the borderline unease and frustration I'd been feeling the last couple of months. There I was, stuck between a pile of twenty plus nightmare dates and enough business calculus to make my head spin. I was desperate to escape it all. After scanning every inch of shelving, I came upon one feasible, practical option, "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. The New York Times Bestseller hosted a great big pic of the sky and a yellow title on it's cover. Inside, was a month-to-month, self-formulated happiness experiment. The goal: How to be happier. Once I had the book in hand, I thought "Great, an objective, realistic analysis on happiness." Forget the fru-fru stuff! Been there, done that. So, I brought the book home with me, plopped myself on the couch and started reading...
So, I confess, upon first read, I only made it so far as to February, "Remembering Love". It's emphasis was marriage, and how one can attain a greater level of happiness by being a more agreeable spouse. Number one, I'm not married, but widowed. Number Two, books that talk about marriage, make me miserable. Laugh. Once I hit February, I closed the book and put it away..though only temporarily. Eventually, I got over myself.
After the fallout with Jeff last week, I decided it was the perfect time to start a new project. Projects are healthy. A project is a makeshift distraction from everything else. And that's when I got to thinking...about "The Happiness Project", again. Ok, so I caved. I took the book out, scanned it, and then it came to me, "Mapping Happiness". I figured if Gretchen could pull off a full year of happiness research, I could at least pull off three months..and that's where the fun begins!
I'm on a mission this Summer, to figure out what makes ME happy. I want you to join me on this journey. To get you on board, I've created a tutorial called "Mapping Happiness". The premise is simple. For the next three months, I plan to categorically set-out to identify who, and what, makes me happy. I figure that by focusing on the more positive aspects of my life, I'll know which to invest in when life throws me a curve ball. Also, rumor has it that by practicing acts of happiness, we, in-turn, "feel" happier. I figure it's time to put the theory to the test!
Mapping Happiness Details
At least twice a week, note "TWO" favorable moments of genuine happiness. Capture the specifics, including photos if able. Store them in a small album that you can take with you anywhere.
Sit down at least once a week, at your art space/desk/table, and take time to reflect upon the moments you've written about. This is to help expedite the next step.
Gather an assortment of papers, embellishments, vintage craft supplies, and whatever else you'd like to work with in producing what is to become, your happiness board!
Create a small "happiness" card that is based solely on a recorded "Happy Moment" - jot down the specifics on the backside of the card. Note the date and time, as well, and any names/titles that are relevant/important. *What might need reminding twenty years from now?
As far as card designs are concerned, there are no boundaries. Think of this whole thing as a form of self-expression. Just go with what you feel - and be honest about it. This isn't about perfection. What is it you want to say, and how do you want to go about saying it? Craft from the heart.
After completing a card, attach it to your "happiness" board using either office clips, wood clips, ribbon, rings, etc.
By Summer's end, your board should be filled with small notes of "happiness". Display the board where you think you'll most benefit from it. Mine will hang in my studio. I spend most my evenings in the room, and it's usually then that my mind is most active. I also love to have my art work nearby..it's comforting, and inspiring.
The Goal: Acknowledge what makes you happy. Repeat.
So, how exactly does the tutorial work? I'm going to share with you my most personal moments of happiness. Each week, on my blog, a card will present with a thorough set of instructions and a briefing on the experience that inspired it. I'll share with you the usual step-by-step photos, and the techniques I often turn too for bringing to life the layers and details that often define my work. From there, you're welcome to use any techniques or ideas you find presented. I only ask that they be credited accordingly.
Tomorrow, I'm going to return with a FULL presentation of board-making instructions. It's rather simple to put together, but you'll want to locate a sturdy, man-handling staple gun. You'll also want to think about purchasing a frame as well..the bigger, the better! You're going to need lots of room for bragging about them happy moments!! Laugh. I picked mine up at the ol'Michaels Craft Store in their open frame section. I purchased it with a 40% off coupon. Be prepared, open frames aren't cheap. I'm a sucker for Gold though, and this gilded gold frame couldn't escape without my taking it home. ;)
Also, search out a large sheet of patterned paper (Paper Source, or misc.art store), a matching-size mat board, ribbon, clips, and a general spray adhesive. For patterned paper, I chose the map of Italy as it's eclectic and neutral enough to not distract from the cards.
I look forward to hearing what you think about the project!! HAPPY crafting!