New space, new sketchbooks

Last week, my partner and I decided that it was time our bedroom got a little bigger. We’re expecting a third soon enough and figuring that we’d probably want optimum cuddle space, we decided to switch our bedroom and my end of our studio. Except for getting the box spring hopelessly caught in the stairwell for a good hour, it was a really quick and easy move (we got it out magically and we plan on not leaving this place for several years… can’t wait to do that again!). Here is my studio in the living room in transition:

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and here’s the new space!

Still needing some shelf space and probably one last good clean, but it’s working out lovely.. Now to get that sewing machine fixed up….

Finally- sending out these, the first two books made in the new space. These are the books that I had started in my last post. Super soft, covered in dereskin and pigskin suedes, filled with 140lb watercolour paper and fitted with a back pocket and strap for closin’. Get em while they’re hot! Custom made, $90 plus shipping, you pick the leather.

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, über 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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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.

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It’s literally the same thing every year, every season. It’s almost August and I feel like the whole summer has just been passing me by. Then I stop to think about all the things that have been going on or have happened and I realize that I’ve been so busy that no wonder time is just flying on by…. Still, I think I need to be spending more time in bodies of water and around campfires.

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So, the biggest event that’s taken place in the last few weeks was the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council’s Summer Show. This was my first NSDCC event as a member and I have to say, it was pretty fantastic.  For three days every summer, the NSDCC sets up a bunch of tents and invites their members to come show the public what their all about. Ceramicists, woodworkers, textile artists, visual artists, designers and more come from all over the province with beautiful displays and set ups. I was really inspired, not just by the work itself, but by the displays that some folks put together. I try to change up my display throughout the day and then completely change it from day to day, but I definitely had the gears working away thinking about some kind of structure I can build… I left this weekend with lots of things to work on/work out/make better (too many things) for the holiday craft season.

Here are a few shots from the weekend I took with my phone:

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And here’s my table:

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∞recycled packaging∞

I changed up my packing a bit for this show also. I have been meaning to put some effort into this for a while and eventually I am going to have to redesign everything about Mule Mother to make it a bit more cohesive. This is always the way I go about things though. Eventually, Mule Mother will evolve into its perfect self. Until then, here’s some newer, simpler, still totally recycled packaging me and Naryn came up with that’s starting to head into the right direction…

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Instead of writing a description on each and every tag, I’ve started to identify the different kinds of books I make, separate them into different categories and write a general description. The description lettering is acetone transferred on and the “Mule Mother Books” on the front is a stamp.  Since I use so many different types of materials, it’s a bit difficult to keep up with labelling so extensively. This is much more simple and probably a lot more professional looking than what I had going on before.

(example)

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Those tags would pull at the paper strip and rip it so I’d have to keep taking the packaging on and off so much. As much as I liked using the leather strips, they just weren’t working for me.

I have some really great custom books I’ve just finished and some more on the go, but I’ll save that for the next post!