New "Guess the Happy" game

Can you guess what this is?  

Put your happy hat on play my new "Guess the Happy" game

Here's how the game goes...

1. Look at the pictures and think about what kind of happiness this holds. 
2. Add your answer as a comment to this post.
3. A random winner will be selected from all the correct (or closest... or most creative) answers.
4. The winner will be getting something neat that provides happy!!  
5. Get going and enter now!! 
6. *BONUS* Become a fan and follow this blog to get an extra entry into the Happy Game!
7.  The prize will be announced and awarded by Friday, February 5th!

"_____________________________" = happiness!

(In this case... happiness is also entering a happy game!!)


Happy color, happy paper!

I have been following a few new blogs over the last two weeks and I'd like to share two of them with you.  The first one is called Yogademia.  Kiki is smart, sassy, and finds the best dresses to post about!  It's Kiki's post about using Yellow and Orange to help break away from any crazy winter funk that really got me going on a new project!  It seemed like such a simple thing for me to try and incorporate yellow and/or orange somewhere in my house. 

Then I ran across a second blog called Creature Comforts.  I was pointed to this post about how to make paper flowers (it's escaping me how I ran across it this moment), but I was lucky enough to land there and that's when the idea hit me!  I needed to make yellow and orange paper flowers!!!!!
 (how adorable is the little bird from Creature Comforts blog badge?)

I broke out my trusty construction paper pad which must be eons old.  I have not been able to bring myself to throw them out, even though some of the edges are faded and torn.  And I am ever so glad that I didn't!  Even faded and torn the paper was perfect for this project!  Here is the tutorial re-posted from Creature Comforts:

- construction paper
- scissors
- pencil
- glue
- patience
- imagination

1. Draw a spiral on a 4x4" square sheet of paper

2. Cut out spiral along the lines you have drawn
3. Begin rolling up the spiral from the outside
4. Keep on rolling until there is no more left to roll
5. Secure the end of the flower by either tucking it or gluing it
I noticed a couple of things as I went to do this myself.  First of all... I forgot to make the square round, by cutting off the corners the first time.  Second, I didn't make the starting end an straight line.  Third, I rolled my flower the wrong direction so it didn't roll right.  Fourth, I tried different types of paper like origami paper and found that the more ridgid the paper the better it went. 

Once I fixed those things I was amazed at just how easy this project is!  And how addicitive!!  Here is how my third or fourth attempt came out:

You can see my last goof here is that I used pen to mark the spriral which turned out to be very visible on the finished flower made of yellow paper.  I was also originally stuck with how to finish off the flower. 

Once you roll the whole spiral you are left with a little tail... you can decide at that point if you would rather tuck that tail into the center of the flower from the bottom up or glue it to the side.  I tried both methods and I think gluing was a bit more secure.  But defineitly try it both ways to see which one you like. 

I found it very easy to make these flowers while watching a movie and before I knew it I had a stash of them.
My next challenge was to figure out what to do with them!  I liked the picture of the flowers on the branches.  And, I wanted to display these in a place Mr. Happy and I would see them every day.  The more yellow we see... the more happy we would be, right?  Then it clicked.  I had some white branches left over from Christmas decorating (again, I couldn't bear to throw them out)... and I had a mantle that needed a make over.

Voila.  A step stool, few vases, oil painting, and cool deer family later... and I had this:
I'm so happy with the way it came out!!  It really does make me happy!  Here is more of a close up of each of the components.  Have I mentioned before how much I adore the brick in my living room??
This is adorable set of deer made out of metal that I recieved as a Christmas gift.  They have been herding themselves on my dining room table for some time, but I think they finish off the mantle nicely!
Notice the two vases I used are different shapes.  Don't be afraid to mix and match what you already have.  The unifying factor is that they are both clear glass.  Works for me!

What do you have in your house that is yellow and cheery this time of year?  Oh, and I have already thought of another way I am going to use this paper flower project, but I don't want to give away the secret just yet ;)

Completing an art project = happiness!

Making the living room a very cheery place to be = happiness!


That dog

Just a quick post this morning.  The pictures will do all the talking.  This is probably my favorite happy subject.  

Here she's laughing at me, "Ha! Mom, not the camera again"

"Wha?  What's over there?"

"Make sure you get me from my left side, here's my Zoolander face"

"Argg... are you still there with that camera?"

"Don't I look like an angel?  I can do a soft face.  Seeee..."

"Mom, really.  Are you done yet?"

"If I hold a treat on my nose can we call it even and you will put the camera down?"

"Hey!  Thought we had a deal?  Mom, your so silly.  I love ya!"

Yup, pup... you are an integral part of the Happy house!  I love you too!


Swa, swa, swa... swa, swap-aran!

You may remember that I signed up book swap with the lovely Kateigh from Poprocks and Photography.  Well, today we got our buddy assignment and I am so excited with the person I am paired up with!  

I went straight to my buddies blog and started looking around and found lots of inspiration for the book I will choose and the inscription that I will write!  We have been asked to mail our books by January 31st... which means I should try and get mine out by Saturday. 

It doesn't give me much time, but I think that's a good thing.  It means that I will have to make a solid speedy decision!  (Those are good executive qualities!)

This swap has made me more aware of inscriptions in books and it made me think back to my collection and ponder if I even had any with something written inside.  Right now, I can think of maybe one or two books.  I have set some time aside this week to look through them and re-read any inscriptions.  That should be fun!

This swap has also got me pondering... if I were to inscribe my blog to give to someone ... what would the inscription read?

How does this sound?  "Happiness is like an onion that you can't get enough of.  Your addicted to peeling back it's layers and revealing all the lovely flavors that are hidden..."  Wow, not sure where I was going with that.

Hmm... maybe I will start again, "Trying to put your hands around happiness is like trying to hold a slippery frog and a hot coal at the same time.  You can't hold either in your hands for very long, but for those brief seconds that you manage too, you feel like you are On Top of the World.  May this blog help you find yourself On Top of the World often!" 

I may need more practice at this!

Stepping out my comfort zone with an exciting book swap with a total stranger is scary and thrilling all at the same time!  Knowing I can get through this and enjoy it = happiness!

Singing the title of this post to the Barbara Ann song by the Beach Boys = happiness!!  

"Swa swa swa, swa swap-aran
Swa swa swa, swa swap-aran
Swa swa swa, swa swap-aran
You've got me swappin' and a mailin'
openin' and a postin'

Went to Poprocks
Looking for a laugh
Saw Swap-aran
So, I thought I'd take a chance
Swap-aran, help me plan
You've got me swappin' and a mailin'
openin' and a postin'

Tried to avoid
Tried to stay shy
Tried to not to do
But I knew it wouldn't do
Swap-aran, help me plan

You've got me swappin' and a mailin'
openin' and a postin'

Sweet Buns

It's lunch time.  And I have food on the brain.  This is a recent treat that was made in the Happy house!

I admit these aren't made from scratch.  Really all I did was pop open on of those pre-made roll cans and put them in the pan.  To make them a little more special I did make some extra frosting. 

I mixed powdered sugar with a few drops of water and a splash of vanilla extract.  Added a little extra yumminess to these delights!

Just look at the toasty, roasty, brown, goodness!!

Oh and how about the way the frosting warms and drizzles down the sides of the buns!

Last thing I did was to sprinkle a little bit of extra cinnamon on them for presentation and flavor.

Pretty now, right?  I really can't tell you the last time we have cinnamon buns or as I remember them being called ... sweet buns in the house. 

I think the sweet buns name comes from my Hawaiian side of the family.  Must be something that is sticking with me (no pun intended) from my childhood.  I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but if I remember I will be sure to share! 

These disappeared quite fast!  It's funny, looking back at my pictures I could have sworn I took a plating picture and for the life of me I don't see it. 

Making a special something as a treat and filling the house with the wonderful aroma of cinnamon = happiness!


Opens My Brain

Enjoying time outdoors is one of the biggest things that keeps me sane.  I think I mentioned this earlier, but it's really really true. 

I think these brief snaps start to capture how just a change of scenry can calm my whole perpective on things. 

Just look at the blueness of the sky!  I also adore the shadows coming down from the trees and how the ice on the lake reflects sun!

This is an interesting combination of snow tracks, reflections from the water gathering on the top of the ice, the perfectly centered hill in the background, and the siloette of the trees.  Sigh!  Can you feel that tension in your shoulders releasing?

I couldn't resist the beaten bottoms of these boats.  The colors are more muted then I remember them being in the warmer weather, but I feel like each one has a story to tell or an adventure it's meant to go on.  Each one seems like it could burst with happiness if it was only released from it's chains and allowed to be free!
Are you becoming more aware of your breathing... it's slowing... calming?

The wispy clouds and grass make the lake look lazy and relaxed in this snap.  The wind was gentle and chilly, but the sun made up for that!
Are you letting your eyes relax and letting the hike come to you?

Of course a hike wouldn't be complete without the company of the fearless Katie hunter. 

Do you know that at one point, long before Katie came home with Mr. Happy and I ... I feared that she wouldn't like to hike or even like the outdoors for that matter?  It's a bit silly now, but I feared that this adventurous outdoors loving couple would have a couch potato of a dog that didn't want to get dirty. 

I am so glad that my worrying was so silly.  Now I am convinced that just by saying the word D-O-G... you are saying outdoor loving, nose to the ground, covered in dirt, and happier than heck!  She's the best hiking buddy I could have ever dreamed of!  Mr. Happy thinks so too!
Are you feeling the corners of your mouth rise into a smile... and maybe even let out a little chuckle?

The sun was brighter than it had been for quite some time and it made for a wonderful dance through the woods.  I slowed the pace a little with my obessive picture taking, but now.. looking back I am so glad I did.  Just look at how a few rocks and green moss can have so much character!
Are you feeling your feet planted on the ground?  Sturdy and strong and ready to support you?

This picture reminds me of chaos and order.  Bet you didn't think those two things could be harmoniously side by side?  Well, take a closer look.  The straight order of the trees.  Each one the proper thickness and all standing straight at attention... not a soldier out of line. 

Contrast that with the chaotic pile of mishapen and snow covered rocks.  The sizes are all different, they aren't in any noticable pattern.  They are all free spirits collected and strewn in a place of order.  Nature's reminder of the saying, "it takes all kinds."
Are you feeling your toes flex with the reminder that you can do all sorts of things?

Oddly enough, even when these types of rocks are placed in some pattern of order they manage to find their own way, their independence to do what is best.  For some that means staying in this rock wall and for others it meant finding a way out of the norm and wiggling or moving or flat out running till it felt more comfortable. 

A reminder to me that I don't always have to stay perfectly lined up and do what is expected.  A reminder that sometimes I need to find the strength to wiggle and do what feels best!
Can you feel your fingers extend and stretch reminding you that so much is within your reach?

I know these aren't your typical "hiking" thoughts, but I think that's what I am trying to say. 
Take a slow breath inwards and let it out even slower... now you can start to feel what hiking does to my brain!  It makes me aware, it brings in abundant oxygen, it lifts me up!

The walking opens my brain.  It lets my brain breath.  It lets me take a new angle on a thought.  I think Mr. Happy and I have made all of our best, biggest, and most live changing decisions in some form or another on a hike.  Heck, our first date was even a hike (20 miles or so)!

Finding ways to be comfortable in your own brain = happiness!

Remembering the power of walking in the woods as a way to tackle life's crazy big dilemas = happiness!


Bit of a crazy morning over here in Happy world, but I wanted to share this great puddle reflection that I took a few days ago.   The way the mud looks, the color of the sky, the trees and pebbles... all of it makes me smile! 

Today, I have some pretty hiking photos to bring you of last weeks' adventure through the woods and an update on The Happiness Project (my energy feels better... so I'm doing something right!!)

Finding new ways to look at the same 'ole thing = happiness!


The Happiness Project

When I started this blog... my goal was to really try and define what happiness is, what it means, what it looks like, what it feels like.  It's been fun to capture those stomach giggling moments in a photo or five.  

Lately, this blog is turning paths slightly.  I am learning that connecting with others is uber happy!  Hearing about how readers are enjoying this happy makes me happy!  And, as I reach out of my comfort zone more and more to find others talking about happy... I am finding that not only am I not alone, but it seems like there are a LOT of other 'happies' out there!  And guess what?  They are talking about happy too!  Be still my heart!!  

I have (just this morning) found an AMAZING happy spot.  It's called The Happiness Project. I couldn't wait a second later to share it.  It's not just a place about a book about happy.  It's not just a bunch of tips about happy.  It has a challenge about happy.  (I'm one of those personalities that can't turn down a good 'ole fashion challenge).  

It's called the 2010 Happiness Challenge!!!  
I can't tell you how timely it is that I am finding this!!!

Happiness Project

I'm going to jump in with both feet!

Gretchen, from The Happiness Project, is giving a focus for each month and then weekly resolutions to help shape a happier you.  January is all about Energy.  And this week's resolution is "Tackle a Nagging Task."

I sort of cringed that this is the week that I am jumping in on.  Why couldn't I have started with January Week 1 "Get More Sleep?"  I think the answer is obvious.  I need to tackle some seriously nagging tasks.  Gretchen reminds that holding on to nagging tasks will drain you.  And if you can cross even just one off, then you will get a HUGE energy burst! 

So here goes.  I thought a good start would be to make a list of all my nagging tasks.  You may want to close your eyes for this part...
  1. Make a dentist appointment, and go
  2. Pick up my quilting project and decide the rest of the pattern
  3. Finish putting together my craft room, so it's my santuary again
  4. Put windshield washer fluid in my car and wash the windows
  5. Take my prescription to the pharmacy
  6. Take a yoga class -- get over my shyness and just go
  7. Decide what education (masters, certification..) I will pursue this year
You can open your eyes again.  Phew.

That's a lot of stuff holding back my energy.  Now, I only have to do one of these, but what was recommended is that you wake up and tackle (works for me)... I wonder if I can do one these each morning for the next seven days?  I will be back Monday with a progress report.

I am so darn excited to get this going and see what kind of results I get.  Anyone else doing this already or want to try it with me? 

"Happy people make people happy"


Winter colors

I don't know about you.. but when I think of winter color I shriek in terror.

Winter doesn't have amazing, inspiring, vivid colors?  It a dullsville palette of white, gray, brown, mud, and did I mention gray?

Well, I am trying to push past this thinking... open my eyes and see if that really holds true. 
Have you noticed that on a sunny winter day the sky tends to have the most amazing saturated blues?

Mr. Happy took Katie and I on a mini hike over the weekend and I was amazed at how much color I found.  The color all seemed so intense, so powerful, so energized. 

Just look at this delishious emerald moss!!

How about the orange peel colored fungi on the tree? Intense!

The other side of the fallen branch had a minty pastel fungi.  Delicate!

I couldn't get over the textures on this branch.  Looks a lot like a coral garden that you would find in a warm carribean sea!  Spongy and golden interlocked those beautiful cream tables.

Here you can see the creme tables even have a splash of lime on them!

I'm not sure what it is about colors right now.  Maybe I am feeling so color deprived that even the tiniest bit of color is coming across so intensly.  I feel like I am trying to suck up every color memory I can right now as I dream of spring flowers and leaves.

It also may be that I am about to create new art work for the next art show and I am simply looking for inspiration. 

Either way... look around and really take notice of the beautiful winter colors that surround you!

Finding intense gorgeous colors in the sea of winter gray's = happiness!


Das Bubbles

Sometimes you need and excuse try something new and celebrate a "Why the Heck Not Day" with a bottle of bubbly.  I tried the new Barefoot White Zinfandel Champagne.  It was a fun treat!

I really like how the bubbles look like fireworks or a volcano erupting on the surface.  This was the first time I tried to photograph moving bubbles and have to say I laughed A LOT in the process!

My "Why the Heck Not Day" was this past Sunday... when will your "Why the Heck Not Day" be?

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