I Was Featured in I Love Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers!

Ruth Bleakley in I Love Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers

Is there anything more exciting than seeing your name in print? (except maybe in the police blotter in the newspaper) I am thrilled to reveal that I was featured in Charlotte Rivers’ latest publication I Love Handmade Books , also published under the title The Little Book of Book Making in the US.

I’m not a big goal-setter – some people swear by writing down goals, making “vision boards”, changing their computer passwords to remind them daily of goals – all of these are great ideas, but a little Type-A for me. HOWEVER, I will admit that a couple years ago I did say, out loud, “I’d love to be in a craft book someday”. WELL GUESS WHAT, THAT DAY IS…well, actually many days ago, I just never got around to blogging about it, shame on me!

Accordion books by Ruth Bleakley featured in I Love Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers

About a year ago, Charlotte Rivers, author of  The Little Book of Letterpress  sent me an email asking if I’d like to participate in her upcoming collection of handmade books! After shrieking like a little girl, I typed back something much more professional like “yes I’d love to, thank you for considering me!”

If you’re wondering HOW I got in a craft book, I don’t have the exact answer, but I suspect Charlotte found me online because I take lots and lots of photos of my work, and I’ve worked hard to learn to use both my camera and Photoshop so that I can show my books off in their best light. Then I post them to Flickr or my blog (I’ve had this blog since 2007) and that means when authors are looking around for crafters to feature, and type in “handmade book” into the Google, hopefully I come up! Keep in mind I put my stuff out there for 7 years before this great opportunity came along, so it’s not a matter of “going viral” or any of that other internet-speak.

Coptic Stitch Books handmade by Ruth Bleakley featured in I Love Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers

I was just one of many talented bookbinders and book artists featured in the colorful 176-page book, described thusly by Amazon: “Making books by hand has never been cooler, with this inspiring guide to 30 top bookmakers working today, plus 21 tutorials for essential techniques to make your own books.”

I furnished the photos myself, I was asked to provide up to 40, and I decided to offer as many as I could!

When the book arrived (just after I arrived home from the Penland School of Crafts) I was absolutely excited and delighted to find that I’d been featured multiple times!

Since I am only featured in the book and not an author, I don’t get any royalties from the sales, but if you purchase the book through this link (and yes, the cover is different, because this is the US version – the content is all the same) : The Little Book of Handmade Books – then I’ll get a small percentage of the sales price at no additional cost to you as part of the Amazon affiliate program.

Suminagashi Paper Marbling tutorial in I love Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers


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

Niagra 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 […]

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 […]