Wandering Wednesday #8: Altered books

altered book cover

Image by Bellah via Flickr

While browsing the internet at office one day about 7 years ago, I came across some fantastic altered book artists. A little research and digging around on what altered books are and how to create them threw up one interesting statement for me — when it comes to making altered books, there are no rules! At that time, I didn’t consider myself to be creative…I had repressed those instincts deep inside. But as I went through some altered artists’ websites and read about altered books and how to make them, I was in love!



– Altered art page from Life 101 by Modern Gypsy. See more pages on Shutterbug.

An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning. They may be as simple as adding a drawing or text to a page, or as complex as creating an intricate book sculpture. –  Wikipedia.com 

Sounds interesting? Then why don’t you try making your very own altered art in just 60 minutes!

As you learn more altered book techniques, or how-tos for any other form of collage or paper arts, you might find it helpful to create a techniques book to list out the process and experiment with the technique.

If you need some inspiration for more altered projects, Ink Stain Roni has a fabulous theme list that is sure to get your creative juices flowing.

And if you’re like me, you’ll love the eye candy on these two artists’ websites:

You can also take a peek at some of my altered art book spreads on my photoblog, Shutterbug.

Hope you enjoyed this little altered book tour!

Do you do any paper arts or other art and craft projects?

(Click to read older Wandering Wednesday posts)

i carry your heart with me – e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

— e.e. cummings

The world's most photographed cat

As you read this post, I will be on my way away from this maddening city…escaping to the sandy beaches of Rishikesh for some rest and relaxation. Three days away from work and home, to rest and recuperate along the banks of the River Ganga seems to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

While I’m away, though, I thought you’d enjoy seeing some pictures of the world’s most photographed cat, Pepo! 😉


Put your hands together for this lazy lil cat…


…her favorite position — curled up into a ball of fluffiness…

…as she looks out at you from under one paw…

….or reclines on her favorite chair by the balcony door.

She can be stern when she thinks the humans aren’t doing what she’s asking (or demanding) them to do…


…and is intensely curious, just like yours truly…


…and she’s all mine (oh ok! and the husband’s!)

I'm grateful for…

Gratitude , The Tall Ships' Races, Szczecin 2007

Image via Wikipedia

  • A husband who gives me the freedom to be and who supports my decision to not have babies
  • The ability to enjoy “me” time, guilt free, without wishing the husband was with me or feeling guilty about ignoring my “wifely duties”
  • Friends who make me feel special
  • Pepo, who fills our life with joy (she’s our cat, not our baby, in case you’re wondering! ;))
  • Being able to laugh at myself
  • Not feeling my age – no, I’m not that old, but a lot of people I knew were depressed when they hit their 30s; I was excited to turn 30! 😀
  • Taking responsibility for my weight and making sure I work out at least 3-4 times a week (yeah, that’s a big deal for me, BIG!)
  • A loving and supportive family, who have been there for me always. They may not have always supported all that I did, but they came around to my point of view anyways!
  • Being in a secure and happy place – I do have the occassional mood swing, but overall, I’m happy with who I am and where I am

So, what are you grateful for?

This list post is part of the SITS Content is King challenge.

Twinkie diet: a breakthrough for dieters?


Image via CNN Health

 A nutrition professor’s “unhealthy” Twinkie cake diet has created quite a storm lately. I saw a couple of tweets mention it yesterday, and then this morning, one of the blogs featured on Freshly Pressed on WordPress talked about the diet. In her post, Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life says:

“The man significantly cut his recommended daily calories…OF COURSE he’s going to lose weight!!!

Intrigued, I read through the article on CNN Health …and realized a couple of things…

  • Mark Haub is a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University who undertook this diet as a class experiment for a month. When he saw the benefits of the diet, he continued it until he reached a normal body mass index.
  • While on the diet:
    • He shed 27 pounds in two months
    • His body mass index went from 28.8 (overweight) to 24.9 (normal)
    • His “bad” cholesterol (LDL) dropped 20% and his “good” cholesterol (HDL) increased 20%
    • He reduced the level of triglycerides, a form of fat, by 39%
  • Haub consumed less than 1,800 calories a day on the diet, about 800 calories less than a man of Haub’s pre-dieting size usually consumes — 2,600 calories. Such a drastic reduction may not be “healthy,” but then apparently, eating only junk, processed food is “unhealthy” too!
  • Another interesting fact — to control the number of calories he consumed, Haub avoided meat, whole grains and fruits. Once he added meat into the diet, his cholesterol level increased.

Haub had set out to prove that in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most — not the nutritional value of the food. As the above markers show, his premise held up.

Haub says: “That’s where the head scratching comes. What does that mean? Does that mean I’m healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we’re missing something?”

Before his Twinkie diet, Haubb tried to eat a healthy diet that included whole grains, dietary fiber, berries and bananas, vegetables and occasional treats like pizza. But he says that there seemed to be a disconnect between eating healthy and being healthy. “It may not be the same. I was eating healthier, but I wasn’t healthy. I was eating too much.”

This indicates that what really matters is portion control and moderation, rather than total removal and denial.

“I just think it’s unrealistic to expect people to totally drop these foods for vegetables and fruits. It may be healthy, but not realistic.” — Mark Haub

To all the nay-sayers and people who are up in arms at this unhealthy diet, I say don’t look at what he ate, look at what he proved!

Will I go out and start buying processed junk and throw out the veggies and fruits? No! But the next time I feel like some indulgence, I won’t feel so guilty no more!

Here’s what I learnt from Haub’s breakthrough experiment:

  • Count. Your. Calories.
  • Reduce meat consumption.
  • Be aware of portion control — just because something is healthy, doesn’t mean you can eat it in huge quantities!
  • Junk doesn’t deserve the bad rep it’s got — consumed knowledgably, it ain’t gonna kill ya!

Of course, a much longer-term study will need to be carried out to find out what affects the lack of fruits and vegetables could have on long-term health. In the meanwhile, the next time you’re dieting, if you really feel like that packet of chips, reach out for it. Just be aware of the number of calories you consumed!

So, what do you think about the Twinkie diet?

Wandering Wednesday #7: Meet Paulo Coelho

The tribes challenge at SITS helped us form some great bloggy relationships. I’ve already done one blog post swap with Jacki. Now I’ve done a guest post for Meaghan! Read what I wrote on her blog here, and don’t forget to check out her blog while you’re at it!

Moving on to the Wandering Wednesday post…

Davos (Switzerland) - The Brazilian writer Pau...

Image via Wikipedia

Paulo Coelho is one of the most influential authors of this century. He is also one of my favorites. I’ve enjoyed all of his books – be it his best-selling The Alchemist, which has spent 150 weeks on the New York Times Bestselling list and is one of the Top 20 Bestselling Books from all times,  or the beautifully romantic By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept, or the powerful 11 Minutes. Needless to say, I also keep up with Coleho’s blog. Here are some of my favorite posts from Paulo Coelho’s blog.

If you read Coelho, you’ll know that he talks a lot about personal legends. But what is a personal legend and how do you find it? Read The hero’s journey to find an interesting summary of the journey each and everyone of us must undertake if we want to live a live that justifies our existence and face our Personal Legend.

In The four forces, Coelho presents four short tales that illustrate how building our soul requires Four Invisible Forces, namely love, death, power and time.

What is happiness? is a question that most of us have grappled with, including Coelho, who shares his thoughts on this question in this interesting post.

I love the way Coelho shares his thoughts and time with his fans. In Twenty years later: Between Ekaterinburg and Novosibirsk, Coelho shares snippets of this thoughts, almost in diary fashion, as he travels through Siberia on a 90-day pilgrimage to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first time he followed the Road to Santiago.

So, who is your favorite author? If you’re a Paulo Coelho fan, which of his book(s) do you like best?

(Click to read older Wandering Wednesday posts)

I do not love – Pablo Neruda

I do not love

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms,
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.
Thanks to your love a certain fragrance,
risen darkly from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride,
so I love you because I know no other way than this:
where “I” does not exist, nor “you,”
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
So close that your eyes close and I fall asleep.