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13 August 2015. Happy Books (and drunk advice)


I have been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms for a long time. There is a page on my website devoted to same entitled Aphorisms that may be of interest to some. This is probably a weird thing to collect. Still, aphorisms do not take up much space and never require any dusting. There are worse collections and I do so enjoy re-reading what others have said. Those are the smart folks, and I learn from them.

Decades ago I had a cigar box filled with blurbs from Reader's Digest, New Yorker cartoons, and newspaper articles that interested me. I still have them, except they are now in home-made books. Some call them Scrap Books and for a time they were quite popular. We have called mine Happy Books since day one.

Two pages from an older Happy Book:



Creating your own Happy Books (how-to)


Back in the 1980's I was faced with a wine box filled with scraps of paper, newspaper articles, pictures of food, etc. Originally they had been in a cigar box. Then the size of the collection grew and I found a small wooden wine box that became the new home for the items.

The contents were messy and disorganized.

There were recipes and pictures of steaks and salads. Our boat, the 40'er, did not originally have refrigeration so the pictures were Wishes and Dreams. I would dream of steak, while eating lobster. I know: it is a rough life, eh?

The papers, and there are a plethora of them, were simply put in the wine box. It was untidy and disorganized. Then one day I was at an art store and spotted a sketch book. It gave me the idea to take my wine box of paper clutter and turn it into a book easily perused.



That one book has turned into a series. I am now working on Book #10.


As you can see, I have included pretty pictures from magazines, art work from my children, and simply a collection of Stuff. It is however organized stuff, and that makes it lots better in my view.

All items are glued in using Elmer's. The cheap stuff doesn't last well. Also, I never use tape. It either dries and falls off or gets gummy and sticks everything together.

Gluing instructions: I have been doing paper crafts for decades and this is what works well for me. Put a small bead (a very thin stripe) of Elmer's around the perimeter 1/4" in from the edge. Then simply stick it to the paper. It does not take much and is never messy. Too much glue or too close to the edge will allow the glue ooze out. Less is better.


The Kidlet has the Happy Books now. I have the two
I am working on but all completed ones are at her house.

Blank sketch book 8.4" x 11.4"

If you wish to follow in my wake you will need both a large blank book and Elmer's glue.

Affiliate links

Elmer's Glue - 2pack

The original plan was for the children to swap books each year so one year Kidlet would have book Two and Son have One. The next year they would trade.

When they needed to calm down or just to relax a Happy Book would come out. They had times (surgeries for Son, or when Kidlet was sick) that they had to stay in bed. The Happy Books made their time there a bit better.

Almost every boater I know is a reader as well.


It was also easier to tell my children something second hand. To the kids I might be omnipotent, however anyone else was an expert and to be believed without doubt. At least that's the way it was with my duo.

The kidlets trusted the words of strangers, especially if in print, more than my own.

For instance one article told them what to do if they were ever in a vehicle with someone inebriated or who was driving recklessly. Instead of saying "slow down" the article advised them to say they were sick and going to throw up. Thus the driver would stop and they could get out.

Simple enough advice, and how often would a drunk pull over if you say 'slow down'? Let them think you're going to vomit in the vehicle and the brakes will go on immediately!


As for a way to stop a drunk running a boat in an imprudent manner, I suspect the same warning of impending sickness would have a similar effect.

One thing I do in every area is get the phone number for the FWC (Fish & Wildlife -- basically Florida's water cops) and the local Coast Guard station. Find the phone numbers for your cruising locale online or via VHF in advance of needing them.

Know this: If I see anyone acting like an idiot while boating I WILL CALL.

As a soloist I would not make a call on the VHF -- but a
simple phone call? In a heartbeat. Do not be stupid afloat.


Final advice on Happy Book creation:


Do not worry that your book is not perfect at the beginning. Like anything, with practice the pages will become more visually appealing. And too, when you first start you probably will not have the number of choices I had available. After all, I had been collecting for 30+ years!


Portrait style pages shown above, as is the norm for books.


Landscape pages

You also might have noticed that some of my pages are landscape (sideways) versus the more standard portrait style. Initially the pages that were oriented sideways were at the back of the book. Essentially I simply flipped the book over and started from the back working inward until the two met.

At some point I opted to make a second book with only landscape pages. This a better option and I wish I had done that from the get-go. But I did not and Good Enough continues to be a worthwhile mantra.

And really, it is not a big deal to read through with the standard pages then flip over and start from the back... the Precision part of me says it's wrong, however the Good Enough side of me says it's a-okay as is!

Go with Good Enough. It's always fun to see our progress over time and my Happy Books show that.

The first books are from me, afloat, and then when the children were young. There were Sesame Street things whereas now, none of that is present. The books show my growth as an individual, from childhood, through becoming a young mother. The Happy Books are a chronicle of my life and interests.

Today my articles in Happy Book #10 are far different than they were decades ago, and that is good too.

Some day they will be a peek into my world as it was. I hope my Grand and her children's children will find value in my collection. If not, I had fun making it so 'tis Good Enough for me.


Thus if you ever wonder what I am doing when I get busy, it is just possible I am working on or making more pages in my Happy Book. This is a legacy of sorts.

Minor Update on Engine: The newest mechanic has been hired. This is the third. It will take a couple weeks before he gets to it, but I am on his list. My Project Management skills have improved. The first two mechanics are history. My job seemed to be too small for the second mechanic. He was busy and with big, well-paying jobs. No malice, mind you. On the other hand, I am not going to tolerate disingenuous behavior either. If you say you will call by Friday... well, do so.

In the meantime, happy cruising to you all.

Addendum. 16 August 2015. I did not mention that the pages will become thick. Your sketch book will not close flat like it did when originally purchased. I leave ours opened on a table. And the rest are in the bookcase opened about half way and stacked.

Are you a scrap-book maker?
What other hobbies do you do afloat or ashore?

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2015, 2023

Categories: Entertainment, Organizing

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Aphorism Alert:  Imagination is intelligence having fun.

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