Big changes and the NSDCC Christmas Market

Woo! It’s been a while, but I’ve been oh so busy… First off, I had a baby. Little Maple Lux came into our lives early in the morning on Saturday November 8th riding in on the tails of some beautifully cold air and bright sunshine. She’s without a doubt¬†the coolest and most chill little creature I’ve ever met. Life is surprisingly the same but utterly different. Here we are writing this blog post with cheesy giddy smiles:

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Maple came along at a pretty crazy time, the height of the holiday craft show season. I pretty much finished my stock before her due date, but towards the end of my pregnancy, those last few weeks, I (as well as my partner) could not concentrate on a damn thing… So hard to stay focused, all we could do was go on long long walks and watch netflix… So I didn’t get everything done in time, BUT some magical grandma elves swooped in and saved the day! Both my mum and my partners mum arrived in Halifax right after Maple was born and whipped up all of my last minute tasks; making mini books, ornaments, building my set up and feeding us delicious food ūüôā Needless to say, I could not have pulled off last weekends NSDCC Christmas Market without these ladies and my wonderful partner.

Here is my mother in law pouring us all a much needed glass of wine and my mom working away at mini books:

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In the end, the show was fantastic! Maple was such a trooper, she pretty much rocked the entire 3 days all the while winning the hearts of everyone who saw her. So proud of this little one…

Here’s a slideshow of the event..

 

Actually made an effort to go around and snap some photos now that I had a crew working for me!

So getting all ready for this weekends Halifax Crafters Society’s Holiday Market! Three days this year in honour of its 10th anniversary. I do know they are on the lookout for some swell volunteers, so do get in touch if you want to be a part of the magic!

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tricky fixes

This past week I had a very interesting request for a wedding guest book on the fly. They¬†asked me to bind a children’s book the groom had written a few years back that would serve as their guest book. They decided on a Japanese stab binding and some lovely book cloth, but the process was a bit tricky so I had to get crafty fixing this bugger up. The loose pages they provided me with came from the proofer and were pretty roughly cut, not leaving a whole lot of room for the spine space that stab bindings require. After carefully trimming the pages down, I decided to add little extenders to each page with some white acid free paper. I feel like I’ve done this before, this same fix up, and then realized that there is a bulk where the original pages overlap with the extenders. To solve this problem I glued in some spacers so that the spine thickness would be even throughout. I left it a bit rough because I liked how it looked rather than attempting to make it all flush and having it be not quite so (what I wouldn’t give for a nice big stack cutter!). I think it came out really sweet looking and the bride told me it was a hit which made me very happy. Here are a few images I snapped of the process…

 

I love projects like this, so sentimental, practical, functional and a bit of a challenge.

So aside from a few project I have on the go in the next few weeks, including another miniature leather bound book with author Meghan Marentette (!!), I’m just getting ready for this weekends workshop at Patch Halifax and then the Etsy Made in Canada show on the 27th at the Forum. Still need to get my applications together for the Halifax Crafters Holiday show, a 3 day event this year to celebrate¬†10 years of the HFX Crafters (hot damn!) and the NSDCC Christmas show. Life is pretty bonkers at the moment, only to get far far crazier… My goal is to have all my holiday show stuff ready by mid-October so I can spend the (hopefully?) two weeks before this baby arrives (please be on time little bean….) getting cozy and doing random things around the house like organizing the junk drawer and baking and cooking like a crazy person. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… but a girl can dream, right?

Pt. 2 of new things debuted last weekend, the weekend and some new projects

Woops

I forgot to follow up on this post, just got too busy with the NSDCC summer show that completely let it slip! I always think I’m ahead of the game till the last minute…

SO I’ve been working on some great new printed books ( meaning books with a specific purpose instead of blank books) that finally came¬†together for last¬†weekends craft show. The first is something I’ve gotten quite a few requests for which are wine journals. I love a good glass of wine as much as anyone and I usually end up buying the same bottle as good wine can get pretty pricey. But after a few bottles it does get pretty tough to tell which ones you really loved and why you liked them so much. To solve this little problem, I designed a nice little book where you can write all the specifics, paste on the actual label and give it your stamp of approval or a note to never buy it again.
I bound two different styles, a coptic version and a case bound version… I think they came out pretty classy if I do say so myself.

I’ve also gotten more than a few requests for lined books and specifically half lined and half blank. I thought this was genius so I designed a layout and people seem to be really into it! Here are a few of those covered in leather and book cloth:

The last product to debut over the weekend were these here pregnancy journals! I’ve kept one of my own 2 subject notebooks as a kind of “pregnancy journal” because I usually dig stream of consciousness kind of journalling and I tend to lump all of life’s events into the continuous stream rather than separating them all out into separate vessels (that’s kind of a lie, I actually have a¬†book called “Pregnancy Journal” but it’s really¬†more of a book that tells you what’s happening physiologically to you and the babe everyday of the pregnancy and leaves little spaces here and there to write notes and things. The bulk of my “pregnancy writing” (really just writing while being preggo) is done in my regular old journal…. very long explanation with not just one but TWO sets of parenthesis).

So, anyways I was pretty ignorant of the variety of pregnancy journal out there and when I started to have a look around I found that a lot of them were a bit kitschy and ‘pretty’ and very structured which lots of ladies dig, but I wasn’t really into. Many preggo journals have a¬†lot of questions that leave tiny spaces to answer where I thought I would need pages and/or there were too many questions and/or they were super conventional and very gendered and/or they were just really flowery and overly feminine which is great for lots of ladies… But I couldn’t see myself using one. I figured there might be lots of pregnant women out there who just wanted some lines and spaces to fill in their thoughts while being pregnant, and that’s it. So I designed the Mule Mother Pregnancy Journal as a kind of bare bones, √ľber simplified preggo journal for the gals who want just that. I added in a few questions at the beginning because I liked the idea of being prompted a bit. Being newly pregnant, it’s nice to have a few questions asked of you that make your gears start working. There are so many things that go through your head! It can be a little maddening at times… So I constructed the book with three thick signatures, sewn pamphlet style, and each signature is a new trimester. The layout is just like the lined book in that one side of the spread is lined and one is blank because I liked having the option of making doodles and pasting things in if you wanted to. I included a back pocket as well and a strap to keep it all closed and then left a few pages at the end to write in the birth story. (I’ve heard so many ladies tell me to write down what happened at the birth as soon as you can because you tend to forget what the hell just happened.)

So here are the first 5 that I made and I’m sure that after my own babe is born I might modify it a bit here and there. I thought I’d also make a baby book with some of the same considerations in mind and include some of my own visual art (because I also make art! It’s just taken a bit of a back seat since I started the book biz…), but I think I’ll have a better idea of a great¬†baby book once I have my own babe and see what kinds of things I’d want to record.

Ok now the weekend! The NSDCC Summer Show was great, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect and the staff and volunteers were, as usual, were incredible and superhero-like. Here are a few shots I took:

So finally, just one last thing, these sketchbooks are getting so popular! I love making them and they are awesome sketchbooks, so meaty and satisfying, covered in leather and filled with lovely 140lb watercolour paper… Here are two in the works. If you’re interested in your very own custom sketchbook, they have 60 pages (120 sides), measure 8×8″ and are $90 plus shipping (taxes in) and you can pick two suede colours from my leather selection to cover the book. They usually take about a week/ week and a half for me to finish and send out to you. Send me a message if you’re interested or have any questions!

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new things debuting this weekend- pt.1

Just in time for wedding season, I’ll have a slew of beautiful handmade guest books and photo albums to choose from at the NSDCC Summer Show this weekend.

Here are a few sneak peeks:

 

Fat leather sketchbooks and upcoming show news

I had a lovely gal from BC ask me to make her a custom leather sketchbook recently, one very similar to the one I made for local Nova Scoria artist Daina Scarola for her¬†Painted Road Project. I really love this style of book, the thickness, the material, the weight… It’s inspiring just to hold it. Here are a few shots of the finished book I sent out last week.

 

She really loved the finished product and hopefully the word will spread and I’ll get to make some more. I think the next one I make will be for myself.

 

This week I’m getting ready for my second NSDCC Summer Show¬†in Victoria Park here in Halifax. Last year¬†was great despite one rainy day (which oddly enough was my busiest) and I’m sure this year will be even better. I have a few new books I’m pretty stocked on like wine journals, address books, a pregnancy journal and some great wedding albums and guest books that are looking pretty fab. So I’m going to now get off the computer and get to work so I’m not kicking myself in the pants come Thursday. ¬†See you all there!

June came and went, part 3- Full Circle Festival and Avondale Art Fair

After a few weeks of fun family filled awesome-ness, Naryn and I took off to the country for the Full Circle Festival and the Avondale Art Fair. The two events are not related, but I had applied for the craft show and bought tickets for the festival realizing after that they were the same weekend. Luckily for me they were within walking distance, more or less.
The festival was such a great break from the past few weeks of running around and life in general. Sleeping outside and live music are two of my favourite things and so many of our buds were performing over the weekend, that it made for a magical couple of days. It was a bit chilly the first night, as we came just a wee bit unprepared (never trust the weather report, how many times must I learn this lesson…) but as the weekend carried on it got warmer and brighter. I think this is the festivals fourth year and from what I understand it was its busiest. I’m pretty sure the whole weekend was sold out. So many little families with dancing babies and smiling friends and beautiful scenery. I’m sure we’ll be back next year with the little bean. Here are a few images from the weekend. If it looks familiar it’s because the festival takes place in the same spot as the Heritage Artisans in Action even I did at the beginning of the month. (As always I should have taken more pictures…)

Saturday morning I snuck out from the festival to spend the day up the road at the Avondale Art Fair at the Avondale Sky Winery. A beautiful spot on a lovely piece of land, fields of grapes growing in the background. The winery building is an old church with lots of beautiful stained glass inside and funny church things left over like the collection box that has different holes for different types of donations like “poor”, “general offering” and “special offering”….Oy vey…

The fair had a great collection of artisans, lots of folks whom I met for the first time at last years NSDCC Summer Show. The weather around the province seemed to keep people at home despite the dry windy weather we were having at the winery. But I think over all there was a decent crowd and it’s always nice to chat with folks about what I do and send a few business cards out in the world. Here’s what the day looked like:

So there we go… June’s almost over and I’m flabbergasted at how fast that all went… It’s kind of terrifying…
Working on some fun custom pieces and projects, some more summer shows are coming up and hopefully I’ll get it together to organize a workshop by the end of this month, fingers crossed.

shows & news

I am up bright and early getting the last bit of things done before I head down to the Cunard Centre to set up for this years NSDCC Christmas show… Here’s the poster!:

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This will be my first time taking part in the Christmas Show and I am thrilled to be there this year. If the summer show was any indication, this is going to be a really fantastic weekend! Looking forward to being blown away by the NSDCC members work and reconnecting with some buds I met in the summertime. Not to mention those amazing volunteers! They are pretty spectacular.

A bit of business news:

Mule Mother Books has been approved for funding through the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF)! I have painstakingly spent the last few months working on my first business plan and I had never read sweeter words than those that the program officer had sent me after I submitted my plan. “… it was very detailed and I have rarely seen one with that much precision in the information given, well done!” ¬†I was pretty flabbergasted… and proud of myself, a feeling I don’t often allow to come to the surface. But this time, I’m giving myself a pat on the back because I have worked so hard to make and grow this business despite all the negative thoughts, lack of funds, tiny spaces, back aches and whatever else… I am awesome. ok that’s enough of that.

Anyways, this funding is going to make a huge difference in operations and I am feeling super confident about the next year… hooray!