Easy Easter Craft: Make a pretty paper covered Easter egg from a real eggshell

pretty paper covered easter egg

Easter is coming, and that means Easter eggs! Here’s a tutorial I wrote a couple years ago and updated recently about using pretty Japanese paper to cover hollow eggshells, making a decoupage Easter egg that will last forever! This is a great way for paper crafters or bookbinders to use small scraps of pretty paper to make seasonal springtime gifts.


Oregon Geological Topographic Map Journal

Colorful Topographic Map Journal handmade by Ruth Bleakley with a coptic stitch binding that lays flat when opened

This book may still be available for sale, check my etsy shop: Oregon Geological Map Journal

Back in 2009 I took an extended trip to Portland, Oregon and while I was there, I came upon an amazing collection of colorful topographic maps entitled “Geological Hazards Maps of Northeast Clackmas County, Oregon” in a thrift store. I loved the unusual orange, yellow, blue and even salmon pink colors in the maps and knew I had to have them!

Topographic Map Journal of Oregon handbound by book artist Ruth Bleakley

I kept those maps around for YEARS, waiting for the perfect time…ok that’s a lie, actually they got kind of buried underneath all of my other paper, and I came across them when pawing through my flat files (flat files are also called map drawers, and I lucked out and got mine used for a very good price!) – you can see the actual moment of discovery here:

(on a side note, I get lots of my paper from Paper Source, they have a gorgeous selection of handmade papers from Japan, Nepal, Italy, Thailand, you name it!)

If you visit my instagram page, you can see lots of photos of the different stages of construction for this particular journal and many others that I’m working on at this very moment. I created several journals using the same maps, so check my shop to see if I have any left.

A cool gift for a geologist Topographic Map Journal handmade by Ruth Bleakley
Here’s where I put a tiny ad for Paper Source, the store I would live inside of if I could – their gift wrap is very pretty and is a less expensive option for book covers:


Niagara Falls Wedding Guestbook

Niagara Falls nautical chart guestbook - front and back covers - by bookbinder Ruth Bleakley

Niagara Falls nautical chart guestbook by bookbinder Ruth Bleakley
This one of a kind guestbook was created by me for folks getting married at Niagara Falls, with a beautiful vintage nautical chart of the area. I remember one year I got to see the falls twice; once on a beautiful warm May day (on my way to a wedding that took place on a roller coaster) and once on a freezing cold February day when everything was glistening with ice. This is a one-of-a-kind nautical chart guestbook – When I say one of a kind, I mean it! I don’t have any other charts of Niagara Falls right now, so when it sells, that’s it! (You can check to see if it’s still available for sale by clicking here: Niagara Falls Guestbook)

I stitched this 7″x9″ (7″x18″ when opened) hardcover guest book together by hand and it is filled with 36 pages (72 sides, front and back) of creamy 90 lb drawing paper.

The book is hand-sewn with a coptic stitch, a type of braided binding that I did with blue waxed Irish Linen thread, which is really strong. Check out this blog post to see a big stack of handmade nautical chart guestbooks (all of these have been sold)

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll be able to see process photos for the creation of this and many other books.


Watercolor French Link Stitch Journal aka The Barnacle Book

Handmade Journal coptic stitch variation with french link stitch bookbinding by Ruth Bleakley

I always get excited when I create a new design for my handmade journals. This one that I’m calling the “Barnacle Book” is a handmade french link stitch journal for sale in my etsy shop and it combines my love of watercolor and illustration with my love of technical stitching patterns.

This little handmade […]

Blue Coptic Journal With Marbled Covers – Crazy Zebra Stripe Action!

Handmade Journal Coptic Bound with Black and Blue Suminagashi Covers by Ruth Bleakley

This little journal might be blue, but you won’t be if you make it yours (it’s for sale in my Etsy shop) This small handmade blank book features light blue filler paper made from recycled blue jeans and covers made from marbleized blue, black and white paper.

I made the paper using this marbling […]

Miniature Book Christmas Tree Ornaments

tiny book ornaments handmade by bookbinder Ruth Bleakley

Handmade tiny book ornaments are back in my etsy shop! These little book ornaments are a great gift for librarians, your book club or for published authors.


The covers are made with scrap papers leftover when I make my larger books. I love the color and pattern on Japanese chiyogami paper – each […]

Poppy Watercolor Sketchbook handmade gift for an Artist or Gardener

Poppy watercolor sketchbook by Ruth Bleakley

Art journaling is a fun alternative to traditional journaling with writing – if you’re an artist looking to keep your drawing or painting skills sharp, or simply experience the world more visually, keeping your memories in an artist journal by drawing or painting your daily experiences is a fun way to remember things. […]

Handmade Notebooks with Scientific Illustrations

Pufferfish Notebook handmade by Ruth Bleakley

So depending on how often you glance at the left sidebar of my blog, you may or may not know that in addition to bookbinding, I am also a wedding invitation and stationery designer. Concertina Press specializes in unusual wedding invitations featuring antique scientific illustrations collected (in scanned form, not paper form!) from my […]

Onionskin Bookbinding class at Penland School of Crafts

Ruth Bleakley bookbinding at Penland School of Crafts

This summer I got to fulfill a dream of mine for many years, to attend the Penland School of Crafts in the mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. Ever since reading about it in the Penland Book of Handmade Books, I’ve wanted to go take a class. Well, after getting back from a week-long […]

Tiny little pamphlet books made just for fun

Blue Dot Handmade Books by Ruth Bleakley

Today I’m showing off these cute little blue pamphlet stitch and perfect bound (glued spine) books I made – I printed out sheets of patterned paper myself – I have a fairly fancy Canon printer because I have a stationery business, and I have LOTS of black ink, so I experimented with printing my […]