new custom work

I’ve had the opportunity to work on some pretty fantastic custom books in the past few months. Wedding guest books and photo albums have been picking up big time which has been really great because I am finding that I am getting a lot of requests that really work with my aesthetic. And that’s always nice.

The last big custom job I did was a gift from someone I had as a customer at a cafe I used to work at. He, along with about 25 other fellows, were mentored by this one doctor (for whom the book was for) who seemed to have had a pretty profound impact on all of these peoples lives and careers. The book was comprised of pictures and stories from each of the fellows dating back to the 70’s and as recent as the late 90’s. The words and pictures in the book are really lovely and I was so honoured to have had a small part in the story of this remarkable guy.

Here’s the book finished:



The book is covered with brown suede and linen book cloth. For the end papers I used my favourite St. Armand paper.


I took a few photographs while I was making the book and I always mean to take more! I tend to get absorbed in what I’m doing and before I know it I missed capturing some integral step… Anywho…


This image on the left is the suede attached to the covers before the linen cloth and spine are attached. The right image is measuring out the corner cloth and the bottom is the cover before it is used to case in the text block.


tiny little books

The next project I have been working on is with this really awesome author I met at the Halifax Crafters Spring Fair. We’re working together to make some prototypes of tiny story books. The process has been unbelievably enjoyable as we are both in love with tiny things and just seem to click really well. Here’s a few shots of the books I have made for her so far.

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Sewn up •

2013-07-23 21.23.24 This kills me… It’s just so goddamn cute! Tiny text block with mull, spine strip and head bands.

2013-07-23 21.27.58-1All ready to be cased in while fat cat sleeps in background •

2013-07-27 19.01.33-1• And finally all done up in orange suede. Oh my. What a handsome little bugger.

I wanted to do another style of book so I printed the text out and made a miniature Japanese stab sewn binding version (below)

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from wanting a book made to getting it in the mail

binding styles• When I get a custom order for a book with printed matter, the first step is getting the material that the book will contain and formatting it on the computer. The book, depending on the type of binding style, needs to be formatted correctly so that after it’s printed, it will read in the right order.  I made this PDF (left) to send to folks who inquire about a custom book so I can get a better idea of what they have in mind.

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I use inDesign to lay out the book and I use a number of visual aids to help me format the book in the right order. Although it might seem/ look ridiculous, for books that will be sewn with signatures, I use this long scroll piece of paper (right) that I made a guide on to format the book on the computer. Since I’ve done this a few times, I’ve picked up on the formula that the pages go in, but I am very much a visual thinker and need to look at what I am working out in order for me to get it right, especially in this case…!

After I’ve formatted all the material I’ve been given, I send off a PDF version of the layout of the book. This way, you can run through it with a fine tooth comb and make any last changes. Once I get the OK, I send it off to be printed.

In terms of the colours and materials the book is covered with, I usually will ask for any favourites and with some ideas in mind, search through my ever changing material stash. If I don’t have just the right thing on me, then I hit the streets and search my go-to thrift shops, fabric spots and the leather stops and send off some pictures of the materials I’ve collected.  After that, I keep you in the loop with updates, insights and ideas until everything is finished and I send it off to you wrapped nice and spify- your own hand-bound, published work.

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Here’s a few other custom books I’ve finished up this past month:

D+T- the story of one young couples’ very long relationship. A wedding gift written by the bride to the groom.




WHEAT- A book of poems written by one sister. A surprise gift from the other sister to the poet.






These are custom wedding guest books, so they’re blank on the inside and sewn together with paper perfect for writing or drawing or attaching photographs.



I am working on one more guest book for right now that is in a style I haven’t worked with a whole lot and it’s coming along really beautifully, so I’ll post that when it’s all finished.

Aside from this, I am in the midst of a really big project (probably the biggest and most involved project yet!) working with an old cook book. I am scanning each handwritten page, correcting them in Photoshop and then reprinting and binding the book. This such a huge project for Mule Mother and I am learning a ton from it. More on that later…

For now, I’ll leave you this pic of our plot in the North End community garden. Trying to soak up all that summer has left to offer but I have to admit, I did think for just a second about that cool crisp autumn air and smile just a bit… (This image is actually a few weeks old, so things are actually quite a bit more full…!)



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!


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


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 🙂

the beauty of antique photo

Sometimes I love the print on the back of an antique studio portait as much as I love the photograph itself. This one is so incredibly beautiful! For a while I wasn’t reinforcing the images on a stronger board because I didn’t want to have to cover the gorgeous designs on the back of some of the portraits. This meant though that the cover wasn’t as strong as the back of the book and I like to build books that will survive anything (except water and, I don’t know, a wild animal… there’s nothing I can do about that… for now). I’ve managed to separate some of the photos in half so I can use the front and the back as the front and back of a book… But this is kind of super hard and I can only pull it off sometimes without ruining the photograph. Trying to figure out how to use both sides of the images while maintaining the structure of the book and using the original image… 

This is a book I managed to split:


And here’s another beautiful studio logo: