The Happiness Project

Book Cover Makeover and Review

First the Makeover:

happiness

This Cover Makeover Challenge was two weeks ago, but Jack wanted to read the book first so he could help me figure out what to design. I chose an Edmund Dulac illustration and a bluebird illustration from a vintage crate label. I would never have known to put the bluebird on the cover unless Jack hadn’t read the book!

library croppedCover Makeover Artist: Toby

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Sponsored by Lucile de Godoy and DesleyJane.  Go HERE for all the covers for the previous week’s challenge!  

Now for the original cover and the review:

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 The Happiness Project
Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Gretchen Rubin
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2009

So apparently there’s been this happiness movement I’ve not been a part of – I only discovered the book through another blogger who challenged her readers to makeover the cover (Toby finally finished the cover – see above).  Interesting subject – making happiness a project. That’s something cats don’t worry about; we are about as blissful as you can get most of the time. But you humans – you really need help. So with the help of Toby’s humom, here’s what we thought of the book:

There are thirteen chapters – the author divided up her project by working on a specific concern each month plus an introductory chapter. I’ll try to synthesize the chapter into one thought or quote!

Getting Started – I really liked the Secrets of Adulthood list, which includes: “You don’t have to be good at everything.” “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you – and vice versa.” “Over-the-counter medicines are very effective.”  –   Simple but profound advice.

January: Boost Energy – “I dreaded doing the clutter cleaning, because it seemed like such an enormous job, and it was an enormous job, but every time I looked around and saw the extra space and order, I registered a little jolt of energy.”  Pg 31   –   Toby’s humom liked this chapter so much she has started another purge through their house.

February: Remember Love – “When you give up expecting a spouse to change (within reason), you lessen anger and resentment, and that creates a more loving atmosphere in a marriage.”  Pg 68   –  The same holds for any relationship, really. For instance, my humom (Toby’s aunt) expected me to stop wanting to go outside and to stop patrolling my territory. Since she has finally given up the notion of keeping me tied down, I am a lot more affectionate with her (‘cause she’s not smothering me!!)

March: Aim Higher – “. . . I realized that for my own part, I was much more likely to take risks, reach out to others, and expose myself to rejection and failure when I felt happy.” Pg 88    –  In other words, rejection sucks but it is a necessary part of growth.

April: Lighten Up – “The days are long, but the years are short.”  Pg 97   –   Humans need to understand what the superior feline knows instinctively – that life is to be lived and savored moment by moment. Look at the peaceful cat curled up on your laptop. She is not concerned at all about your deadlines. She simply knows that is the best place to sleep in that moment and so that is what she does.

May: Be Serious About Play – “. . . happiness isn’t something we should consider only when life is going well and also isn’t something we should consider only when life is going badly.” Pg 140   –   Yes, even adults must play. For fun I like to harass Psycho, the cat next door. Now, that’s what I call play time!!

June: Make Time for Friends – “Friendship thrives on interconnection, and it’s both energizing and comforting to feel that you’re building not just friendships but a social network.” Pg 160 Especially when you’re all howling at the moon.

July: Buy Some Happiness – “Money. It’s a good servant but a bad master.”  Pg 190   –  Me? I love money because it buys me food that I don’t have to catch. Other than that, I don’t need it to  be happy!

August: Contemplate the Heavens – “Surely, I’d hoped, I could change my life without changing my life, by finding more happiness in my own kitchen.”  Pg 210    –  Sometimes we have to commune with our spirit in order to contemplate the Spirit.

September: Pursue a Passion – “ . . . I first had to recognize my passion. Done. My next step was to make time for it, to find ways to integrate my passion into my ordinary days, and to stop measuring myself against some irrelevant standard of efficiency.”  Pgs 222-223  –   This is a big thing to the humans in my life. They find it much easier to ignore what they love in order to do what they must to get through the day. And you know what’s at the end of the day? The end of the day. The difference is, are you happier at day’s end or worried about tomorrow?

October: Pay Attention – “This month, I sought to find other strategies that would help me pay attention and stay in the moment. I also hoped to stimulate my brain to think in new ways – to jolt myself out of automatic behavior and to awaken sleepy parts of my mind.”  Pgs 237-238  –  Another human issue!! You need to spend more time chasing bugs or weird red lights on the wall to sharpen your focus and brain!!

November: Keep a Contented Heart – “One fact of human nature is that people have ‘a negativity bias’: we react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good.” Pg 273  –  I have nothing to say to that one!!

December: Boot Camp Perfect – “When I reached out for them, I found that the ruby slippers had been on my feet all along; the bluebird was singing outside my kitchen window.”  Pg 289  –  Where? Where’s the bluebird? – ’cause I want him!!

I really enjoyed this book; the author’s passion for the subject is infectious and it makes me want to change my life right now (without changing my life, of course!). Her ideas and suggestions for making and keeping resolutions are simple – simple in a deep, life-changing way.  Her book is immensely readable – nonfiction can be boring at times. By writing potentially dull material that is peppered with personal memories the author keeps the information both light and profound at the same time. The book I read was a library book, but it is one I will potentially reread, so we will be getting a copy for our own stacks. It will go on the shelf labeled “Read once a year for continued personal growth.”

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws

jack 071115aaReviewer: Jack

  Gretchen Rubin

Some of her other books

     

 

The Romantic Manifesto

ayn rand 3

This week’s cover challenge is for The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand – a book of essays (plus one short story) about Ms Rand’s belief that the Romantic Period of Art is “the greatest achievement in art history.” We tried getting the book from the library to read but they don’t have a copy (it’s a good thing to have a relative in the library system – we can get mom’s sister to order one for the City!). So we had to settle with reading about it on Wikipedia and the Ayn Rand website (links below).  Here’s what we did:

Having no photographs that meet the requirements, I chose and illustration from Romantic Period illustrator, Arthur Rackham
Having no photographs that meet the requirements, I chose an illustration from Romantic Period illustrator, Arthur Rackham . . .
Softened the focus and added fog through PicMonkey. . .
Softened the focus and added fog through PicMonkey. . .
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Added text, plus a quote from Ms Rand and I was finished!

As promised here are links to to the sites I read for research:

The Romantic Manifesto, 1969 edition.jpg Wikipedia   about aro Ayn Rand website

Also, Please check out this link from a fellow blogger who discusses the Romantic Period in fashion terms. Very interesting!!

https://fashionbackwards.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/a-world-of-romantics-in-the-historic-sense/

PS – you should follow this blog if you like fashion even one iota!!

Here are  some additional covers:

the romantic manifesto 1969 the romantic manifesto 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ...   

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Sponsored by Lucile de Godoy and DesleyJaneGo HERE for all the covers for last week’s challenge!  

library croppedCover Makeover Artist: Toby

The Long Kiss Goodnight

long kiss goodnight

This week’s cover challenge is for the movie poster, The Long Kiss Goodnight. Another movie we haven’t seen, but we did our due diligence in researching. We didn’t want to focus on the violent aspect of the movie so we focused on the duality aspect instead (the duality of the main character’s past and present, good versus evil, violence versus peace).

I chose two pictures from artist Edmund Dulac.
I chose two pictures from artist Edmund Dulac. . .

 

. . . pictures that I felt represented duality of life - I reversed the singers so they would face the haunts/
. . . pictures that I felt represented duality of life – I reversed the singers so they would face the haunts.

 

I combined the two photos into one. . .
I combined the two photos into one. . .

 

I added some fog to tone the brightness down . . .
I added some fog to tone the brightness down . . .

 

long kiss goodnight
Added text and was finished!

The Long Kiss  Original covers 

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Sponsored by Lucile de Godoy and DesleyJaneGo HERE for all the covers for last week’s challenge!  

cropped-nov-18a-2006.jpgCover Copy Makeover Artist: Toby

On Golden Pond

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This week the cover makeover challenge is for the movie poster for On Golden Pond. We’ve not seen the movie but certainly know about it. Since the story revolves around an old married couple, we decided to use an old photo of mom’s great-grand parents! Here’s my process:

Base Photo, canal behind my auntie's house.
Base Photo, canal behind my auntie’s house.
Granpa ad Granma Jones
Granpa and Granma Jones
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overlaid the couple over the canal and cropped
tinted the background to blend with the couple
tinted the background to blend with the couple
added tint to the water to create a 'golden pond?'
added tint to the water to create a ‘golden pond’
added a pair of loons
added a pair of loons
added text and saved it!!
added text and saved it!!

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Sponsored by Lucile de Godoy and DesleyJaneGo HERE for all the covers for last weeks challenge!  

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Cover Copy Makeover Artist – Toby

Cover Makeover – Pink Floyd albums

ds 2

pf 10

This week the Cover Makeover Challenge is for two album covers for Pink Floyd. The Board loves Pink Floyd but that didn’t mean we didn’t need to do some research (thanks, Wikipedia!)

The Dark Side of the Moon, according to Wikipedia, “lyrical themes include conflict, greed, the passage of time, death, and insanity . . . The five tracks on each side reflect various stages of human life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat, exploring the nature of the human. experience.”  After some thought this is what we came up with:

The Clock face on the Tower at the Palace of Westminster from the internet.
The base photo – the Clock face on the Tower at the Palace of Westminster from the internet.
The moon showing it's dark side.
The moon showing it’s dark side.
I overlayed the moon on top of the clock face.
I overlayed the moon on top of the clock face.
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I added the text – I wanted to focus on time and the Parliament clock face was perfect to use!! 

Here’s the original – dark side of the moon

The next album, The Division Bell, is one I wasn’t familiar with. According to Wikipedia, “deals with themes of communication and the idea that talking can solve many of life’s problems.”  So I thought about these vintage family photos. Taken in the mid-1950s, they show mom’s relatives. They’re all gone now except for my mom’s mom (she’s to the right of the door).

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I cropped and overlaid 4 photos, focusing on interaction between the people.
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One final photo to overlay and fade in. . .
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I overlaid this scrap paper (from PicMonkey).
And then clicked on the effect I liked - a negative effect on part of the photo - I liked it. Added text and loved it!!
And then clicked on the effect I liked – a negative effect on part of the photo – I liked it. 
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Added text and loved it!!

Here’s the original – pink_floyd_-_division_bell-2

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Sponsored by Lucile de Godoy and DesleyJaneGo HERE for all the covers for last weeks challenge!  

library cropped Cover Makeover Artist – Toby