Mule Mother’s Etsy shop is back in action

Finally putting some long awaited energy into the shop….I’ve had it with the sad looking page!

I’ll be posting things throughout the day, so go ahead and take a peek… (click on the screen shot and it’ll take you there!)

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tibs pop up and other glorious february things

So this past weekend I took the ferry across to Dartmouth to join the Halifax Crafters Society at Two If By Sea cafe for the second Pop-Up Show, this time….in the key of love. A good time was had by all, love was successfully spread in the form of crafty goodness and sweet tunes from CKDU. Here are some photos from the day

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Looking forward to the next pop-up!

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This months workshop is already filling up, so if you’re in Halifax and interested, email ASAP!

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and one last thing!

Just a few more days till Valentines Day, grab a DIY Love Kit at Plan B Merchants Co-op on Gottingen St. or at Mule Mother’s studio on Falkland St. (just drop a line first!)

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You don’t know love till you’ve made a book with your sweetheart.

Or read one out loud with.

Or written one together.

This just made me think of that John Waters quote…

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I couldn’t agree more my strange friend.

Cogswell Shake-Up

This past month I had the privilege of working with Breakhouse Inc., a local design firm here in Halifax, NS, on a project to re-imagine the highway infrastructure known as the Cogswell Interchange. The Cogswell Interchange was built in the late sixties in an effort to address urban renewal in the city. It was first phase of a plan to eventually construct a (most likely godawful) expressway along the waterfront that would have led to the demolition of several historic buildings in the process. The folks of Halifax at the time rallied against this expressway, fearing the loss of the lovely historic properties as they’re now known, and so the expressway was never constructed, the buildings were kept but the interchange remained.

I live very close to the Cogswell Interchange actually, and when I first moved to Halifax, it stood smack in between where I lived and my university. I was so convinced I couldn’t walk or ride my bike there (isn’t it illegal to walk along the side of the highway?), that I ended up cycling up and down Duke St. for the first month or so, which like all streets downtown, is incredibly steep. Getting to school was great but getting back home, well… it sucked. It wasn’t until I walked home with a friend who lived close by that I learned despite the Interchange looking completely pedestrian and cyclist unfriendly, folks do brave the “road to nowhere” on foot and bicycle.

The Cogswell Shake Up was an event organized to bring several organizations, firms and individuals together to dream up/ brainstorm/ re imagine better uses of the land. Nothing to be set in stone, the idea behind Shake-Up was to see what the public wanted. The best part was that presentations were not allowed to be given in powerpoint (something for which the organizers were exempt of for some reason…?) so folks really had to put some creative energies into their proposals.

The good people at Breakhouse came together and made a long list of everything from the practical (green spaces) to the fantastical (ferris wheels and zip-lines!). Pairing the list down only slightly, partner and creative director (and also cousin-extraordinaire) Peter Wünsch contacted myself and local artist/architect Emma Fitzgerald to take these ideas and turn them into something fun and interactive. Their aim was to take the list of ideas, have Emma illustrate them into 5 different frames, then have me construct a kind of 3 dimensional viewer using separated frames with bellows, similar to something Peter had seen in one of his kids’ children’s books.

Here is a visual aid as this is likely confusing to just explain in print:

This is what it looks like when you pick it up…

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And here it is from the top:

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Then as you look in the front peephole, move your eyes around and focus on different parts of the imaginarium…

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We initially planned to have enough of these tiny imaginariums for everyone to take home with them but there were close to 250 people in attendance so we did our best..With the help Peter and my boyfriend, Naryn, I managed to squeeze out 30 (haha) which doesn’t seem like much, but geesh! these things take a bit of time… For having about a week to design, illustrate, tweak and construct the project, I’d say we did pretty darn good myself.

The construction was really similar to making the little back pockets in the back of my books. They were actually fairly quick to construct, once all the pieces were cut and scored (this perhaps took the longest) and the bellows had to be improvised a bit… The lengths of paper I had weren’t long enough to accomodate the whole so I had to glue extra bellows on to have the proper length. (actually that probably took a while as well…)

A bit of my workspace covered in multi-colour bellows:

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What a mess…

(this is actually it’s normal state, let’s be honest)

The Shake Up itself was pretty interesting. There were a ton of people in a pretty small exhibition space so it was a bit hard to take it all in, but it was great to see what different groups of people dreamt up.

Here’s a shot of the Breakhouse set up with Emma. Pardon the crappy picture quality! Took these with my phone…

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 I also made two really big imaginariums that had wooden paint sticks attached so you could pick up and stretch it far away from you:

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I love this image of the 3 ladies scoping out the imaginariums…!

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My favourite part of this project was doing something pretty book-arts related using no books. And by that I just mean that its awesome to see/ think about/dream up / scheme new ways to explore my craft and what I do especially in the context of collaboration.

Coming soon…

••∆•• new and exciting custom projects ••∆••

••∆•• the NSDCC Summer Craft fair ••∆••

••∆•• more music I promise… been super slacking…••∆••

••∆•• new Mule Mother Retail Spots!••∆••

cozy new studio set up

cozy new studio set up

Here’s another super phone panorama shot of my new studio space (which was my bedroom until now). My partner and I decided to rearrange our place to make more room for creating, friends and inspiration and less room for the computer screen in the living room : )
It’s full of glorious natural light and I think we’re already much more productive. I forgot how much I love working in a space with another person (especially this guy).

The panorama comes out a bit wonky, but you get the idea!

Studio Panorama

My super smart phone never ceases to amaze and confuse me. Here is a new fun little toy that has all the sudden popped up on my phones camera. ( I used to resent camera phones sooooo very much, but I’m getting too old to be that angry and they’re actually pretty fun…. I still miss my film cameras though…)
Anyways here’s a weird panoramic shot of my studio that’s a bit funny looking but you get the idea.

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Maybe I should have cleaned before I did that… Oh well, its authentic that’s for sure !

DIY Book Kit Tutorial

I’ve been wanting to do this post for a while now- Just in case the directions are not crystal clear in the DIY Book Kit or, if you don’t have a kit, were thinking about picking one up and you want to see exactly what your signing up for…. Here’s a little picture tutorial on how to put together your kit. I’ve also been having a hard time placing an appropriate age on these suckers… There are some pretty clever 6, 7, 8 year olds that could swing this no prob, but everyone is different and if you had a young’un in mind that might be into making books, you can see for yourself if you think they’re up for it! (I would say DIY Book Kits are good for anyone 12 and up to be on the safe side…)

Here goes.

THIS IS YOUR KIT (ruler and butter knife not included ) *I would suggest decorating the cover before binding! I left mine blank so you can see a bit clearer.

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So after you made yourself a pretty little cover, your going to start off by folding the cover and every page individually. Make sure the folds are as even as possible. Use that butter knife to really press the creases down. The better they’re creased, the better the book will stay closed.

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Next your going to awl the cover and pages so you have a guide for your sewing. Start with one of the inside pages and the cover paper. Place the inner paper inside the cover paper and line them up evenly. The cover paper is a bit bigger than the inside paper, so make sure the paper is tucked in nice and evenly, leaving the same amount of room on each side like the picture:

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Now, using your ruler, measure to the middle of the inside paper and poke a hole. (It’s good to have a cut mat or something underneath like a piece of cardboard to protect your table!) Then measure halfway between the middle hole and the edge of the inside paper and poke another hole. Do the same on the other side making sure the t-pin goes right through both sheets.

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Using that first piece of inside paper with the poked holes as a template, individually poke holes in each sheet then stack together so the holes are lined up.

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Now place the stacked inside pages in the cover paper, lining up the awl-ed holes and get your needle and thread ready.

Your going to start from inside the book coming out the centre hole and pulling the thread through leaving about 3 inches. Hold onto that with your thumb so it doesn’t fall through when your tightening the thread.

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Now, from the outside of the book, go down through the right hand hole back inside the book.

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Passing the middle hole inside the book, go out the left hand hole.

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Pull nice and taught (remembering to keep your thumb on the bit hanging out in the middle). Now from the outside of the book, go in through the middle hole. It’s very important that the string running along the middle of the spine lays in between where you initially came in and where the end is coming out (see pic).

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Now for the knot. Just remember left over right, right over left.

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1. Pulling nice and taught (not too hard or you’ll rip the paper!)

2. Left thread over right

3. Over and under and pull tight

4. Right over left

5. Over and under and pull tight

6. Trim ends

Remember if your kit has 2 books, keep that needle threaded and repeat on the next book.

Place the finished books under some heavy books or blocks over night and your done!

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If you’ve got yourself a DIY Book Kit and you’ve finished your masterpieces, I would love love love to see them! Please do post them to the Mule Mother facebook page for all the world to see and admire.

Crazy Christmas Craft-ness Comedown…

The past few weeks have been a bit of a shit show… As much as you try to prepare yourself for any kind of deadline, there seems to always be insanity right up to the end (maybe this is just me?) As soon as Naryn and I got back form Toronto in September, we hit the ground running; him with his thesis in Architecture and myself with preparing for Xmas crafty business. So, in my supreme naivete, I actually thought I’d be sitting pretty, relaxed and ready to rock for the Crafters Holiday Market…. This was not (and will probably never be) the case… And then, my beloved grandfather passed away, with his funeral landing on the first day of the Halifax Crafters Holiday market, in Montreal…

Super boyfriend and in-laws to the rescue..!

With the unbelievable support of my partner and his folks, I was able to cut out to Montreal for 2 days, visit with my family, say goodbye to my grandpa and have my table set up and looking amazing with a total babe working for me (that’d be Naryn)…

Here’s what the set up looked like!

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and here’s a shot of Naryn I took when I finally arrived on Sunday …

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The show was amazing! There are so many unbelievably talented people in Halifax it’s incredible… Unfortunately, I couldn’t get around to some of the tables at the market because I wanted hang out at my table for the little bit of time left the market was open. There are so many folks there and it takes time to get around and see it all.

Every year I learn so many new things I should or shouldn’t be doing, what things are working and what aren’t and where I should be putting my energy and this year was no exception. It’s hard not to feel like I should be doing something every second I am able to with all these new ideas brewing…But for now I will relax and drink some rum (and eggnog), read a book and write some music.

Here’s some new ideas I’m thinking about for the new year…

-Teaming up with a photographer and making photo albums and guest books for whatever event they’re shooting

-New fabric boxes.

-Spring workshops

-Themed DIY book kits

…and probably so much more, but I’m on break so it’ll have to wait 🙂