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This Day in My History


The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

~ Albert Einstein

Yesterday's Entries

2000: Not Everyday Can Be Exciting
  "Bad" Girls
2002:  Hurdles
2003:  You Musta Been a Beautiful Baby


Breakfast:  Cornbread, banana
Lunch:  Cheese Sandwich
Dinner:  Leftover Chili


Our Glorious Leader's press conference
Show Biz Moms and Dads


Bel Canto
by Ann Patchett

Buy my stuff at Lulu!


  • Used book stores.  Used book stores are the good thing about every day!

  • I saw the mark-up for the dance article and it's very impressive!  It will appear tomorrow.

  • Cold bottled water.  My lifesblood!


14 April 2004

What’s the first thing we learn when we are little kids and begin to take an interest in books?  Mommy takes the crayon out of our hand and tells we're not supposed to color in the books.

When you hold the book upside down, or try to tear the pages out of the book, Mommy tells you to treat the book nicely and that we don’t tear pages out of books.

I remember when I got to grammar school. It was a Catholic school and undoubtedly money was tight so at the end of every year, the whole class would spend a day working with erasers and bleach to remove all the marks that had been made on the pages or on the edges of the books, so that when the next class came in, they would be all clean and new-looking.

Books are not for writing in, for pasting in, for coloring in, for painting in.

Unless they are books that you are going to "alter."

I’ve just discovered a new art form, sort of an extension of scrapbooking... and perhaps a modern day version of the ancient art of the illustrated manuscript. It’s called "altered books."

One of the people on one of the e-mail lists to which I belong happened to mention altered books. She’s a crafty person and this was a new craft. She was very excited about getting involved. Others on the list chimed in with interest and in no time we had an "altered book circle."

Now, I’m not a crafty person. I can be artsy now and then, but I don’t consider myself artistic. However, I was getting kind of jealous as I read the discussion about the altered book project and I finally decided--what the hell. I wanted to be involved too.

So the deal is that we each choose our own hardback book with a theme we want the rest of the group to work on. The work in each book will reflect the subject of the book. We complete 3-5 pages of the book in a month and at the end of the month, we send the book on to the next person on the list so they can add to it. There are 7 of us on the list, so in 7 months, we’ll get our own book back and see how each person has interpreted our theme.

I had a great idea. I thought it would be fun to take an old photography book--one of those how-to books–and decorate it with photo-related things, photos I’ve taken, camera pix, etc. I had it all worked out in my mind, at least how to begin.

With all the books in this house, it certainly seemed like I could find a book on photography, but I was unsuccessful.  However, there are used book stores in town and certainly I’d find something there.

Again, no. I found a large photography section, but it was all photo books, expensive coffee-table type books with beautiful photos in them and I sure couldn’t even think about cutting them up, folding the pages, painting them, pasting on them, or in any way disfiguring them. Even if I called it "altering" them and even if I called in an art project.

So that left me without a brainstorm. I thought maybe I’d look for something about animals, and moved to the next section, the natural history section, where I found a lot of great books which were either much too expensive, or were photo books already, or were paperbacks, which wouldn’t be sturdy enough. what now?

I found a "back to nature" book, on the order of "Walden Pond," which seemed perfect. The price was right. It was hard cover. It had some nice passages in it that I thought would be fun to work into a design and I had just about decided that this would be perfect. It didn’t exactly speak to my soul, but time is growing short if I’m to decorate 3-5 pages and get the book sent on by the end of the month.

Just to be on the safe side, I carried my potential choice around while I looked at other books. Some whispered to me, but none called to me. In every case, price was the first determining factor. If I’m going to disfigure alter a book, I didn’t want to pay more than $10 for it. (Already I was feeling pretty stupid buying a book to use when we have ‘lebendy-seben’ books upstairs from which I could choose!)

Finally I came to a section that I’d never thought of before and my brain started clicking. I chose one book and checked it out. I could do fun things with this book. Then I saw another one which was even older (and $1 cheaper). It was published in 1946 and based on my personality and my own particular style, I think it will be perfect. I bought it.

When I came home I started flipping through the book and the ideas began flowing. I think I’ve made the perfect choice. For me. Now, I’d TELL you about it, but that would spoil the surprise for when I finish it and mail it along. But when I do, I’ll post pictures of my first attempt at disfiguring....altering a book and turning it into an art project.

Don’t tell my Mom, though, will you? She’ll be appalled and probably hide my crayons.


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Samples of altered book pages done by other people

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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Weight Lost to date:  43.8 lbs

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Created 3/29/04

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