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!)

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 11.30.44 AM

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.

kit includes

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.

folding bkt

bonefolding bkt

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:

preawl bkt

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.

awling bkt

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.

awlingpages bkt

book kit tut

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.

sewing one

sewing two

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

sewing three

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

sewing four

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).

sewing five

sewing six

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

tying knot bkt

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!

finished bkt

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.

Time-Lapse Book Making/ studio noise #2

I forgot that I had started a video book making project when my partner and I first got to Toronto back in December. I wanted something that I could edit a bit more but I wasn’t really in the position to be buying software. Luckily I found this free stop-motion-maker online and recorded myself making a batch of books from beginning to end. It goes really fast because I didn’t have any control over the speed (which is actually pretty funny at times) but it gives you a pretty good idea of what the whole process is. Its recorded in steps over the course of a few days (hence the wardrobe and hairstyle changes) and has a few cameos of my partner Naryn. (pardon the smooch at the beginning, I couldn’t edit them! Very PG, no worries )

I am planning on doing it again, with a different program that has more editing capabilities, a real video camera instead of the computer one and some music.

…and for your listening pleasure today, I discovered this song just today from my super rad, finger-on-the-pulse-of-everything-awesome, sis-in-law who posted it on facebook and I think I just might be inlove…

craft show micromanaging

With the Halifax Crafters Christmas market a month (give or take) away, I am only just starting to freak out… I am sure a much more profound and severe freak out is on the horizon. I’ve now done a few of these craft shows and am only starting to get a kind of rhythm down for what to expect, how to get ready and how to manage making so many things! For the first time I’m micromanaging everything. I made a spreadsheet of what I wanted at the show and broke down all the materials, priced them out and then went about searching for the best places/ cheapest deals.

So after I got this mega-load of supplies in the post, I took a trip to the Dawson Printshop and Letterpress Studio at NSCAD University here in Halifax (where I also graduated from… this printshop is a priceless gem here in the city!), and went to work on this beautiful machine (also other machines, but this one is my favourite!):

Speaking of a priceless gem, this machine is actually called the “Peerless Gem”.

So, what would have taken me probably 2 full days of work with this guy:

… Took 4 hours with the Peerless Gem… Oh Cutterpede (thats what this little plastic cutter is called) When I use the print shop, I realize I am crazy for not using it more. Cutting insane quantities of paper with the Cutterpede or worse- by hand is one of the reasons my back is ruined (the other one is food service + bad shoes … damn you food service!!)

So now I have all this paper cut (so. much. paper.)

(this doesn’t look like that much paper… there are stacks behind me also.. I’m known to exaggerate, but really though, there’s a lot)

Also, yes that is the show Lost playing on the laptop…

So, instead of doing what I normally do, which is just to go at it at random, I am taking it slow and doing one thing all the way through and then moving onto the next thing. I have already gotten through awling and have made the tiniest of dents in the sewing.

I am guessing this will take at least until the 3rd or 4th season of Lost to complete (I know, I know…)

Even though things feel a bit slow getting done because of the way I am working, I think in the end I’ll save a ton of time doing things this way, which in and of itself is worth its weight in gold. It’s also just a great exercise in managing my attention problems…

After I’m through with all this sewing, I’ll prepare all those spines and then I get to the best part which is designing book covers. It’s killing me that I am not allowing myself to put down the sewing (my least favourite part!) and do something more fun, but I think this is just a much smarter way of working.

Someday, I swear I’ll learn some discipline.