What’s a Temari Ball? It’s featured on this journal!

These handmade Temari Ball journals are kind of meta-handmade, because not only is the Chiyogami cover paper handmade in Japan, the colorful toy balls on the cover are also a depiction of a beautiful Japanese handicraft called Temari (手まり) Balls. Temari translates as “hand ball” and supposedly were sometimes used in games, but the idea…read more

Blue Cranes and Peach Clouds Twin Journals

This gorgeous crane paper is one of my new favorites! A big flock of white cranes flies across clear aquamarine sky, with golden swirling clouds. The aqua color perfectly compliments the other paper I used here, a vintage chiyogami pattern of golden clouds on a peach sunset sky. If you look closely you can also…read more

Waves and Blue Cherry Blossom Twin Journals

Don’t you love how the cherry blossoms coordinate on the two pieces of paper I used on the covers of this “twin journal” ? If you use chiyogami or yuzen paper as often as I do, you start to see trends and themes emerge. (All of a sudden I just pictured someone talking about the…read more

Lay Flat Journals in Bright Bold Colors

Feast your eyes on the rich, saturated colors of these beautiful lay-flat coptic stitch journals that I finished last week. In addition to Japanese Chiyogami paper, I also made a couple journals using some of my favorite new papers featuring hand marbled and hand stamped designs. While their patterns are totally opposite, something about the…read more

Cherry Blossom Twin Journals made with Chiyogami Paper

I was surprised to find out last Friday that my very first outing as a newborn baby was visiting the cherry trees in Washington D.C. 🌸 “you don’t remember?” My dad teased…but maybe I do remember, in a way, because I’ve always been drawn to cherry blossom imagery like on this Japanese paper – did…read more

Shibori Indigo Journals Made From Fabric I Hand-Dyed with Indigo

Here are some of the beautiful journals I created using the skills I learned in two of the workshops I took in 2018 – Shibori Tie Dye workshop at Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, Florida, taught by fiber artist Jane Callender and the Making Book Cloth Workshop in Asheville taught by bookbinder Sara Brooks. I love challenging…read more

Blue Waves French Link Journal with Golden Thread Detail

This lovely blue waves french link journal combines two of my favorite things: fancy stitching and decorative paper! I combined four different types of decorative paper in this book, a blue and gold florentine pattern made in Italy, a blue waves pattern and white flower pattern both made in Japan (this pack of five chiyogami…read more

Twin Journals Made from Colorful Japanese Chiyogami Paper Inlays

One of my favorite things about living in Florida is how bright and colorful everything is. No one blinks twice at an aqua or coral colored house, or my crazy purple hair. It’s interesting then, that one of my all time favorite bookbinding materials is this super colorful and vibrant Japanese Chiyogami paper since having…read more

Coyotes and Bears, Oh My! Handmade Journals Made From Recycled Paper

I created these wonderful laser-engraved journals featuring a fearsome grizzly bear and Wiley coyote almost exclusively from recycled materials. The covers are 100% recycled book board, and the inside unlined pages are 100% recycled. The only thing that isn’t recycled is the waxed linen thread that I used to stitch them together, but even that…read more

Washi Tape Journals with Ladder Back Coptic Stitch

They’re back! In 2015 I had the privilege of having my handmade journals included in Charlotte River’s book Little Book of Book Making: Timeless Techniques and Fresh Ideas for Beautiful Handmade Books. Doubly cool was that one of my journals was featured prominently on the cover of the Spanish-language edition called Cómo hacer tus propios…read more

Charitable Bookbinding Event

This March an online group I’m a part of, the Bookbinding Etsy Street Team (or B.E.S.T.) is hosting a drive to create handmade journals for the non profit organization, Chicago Books to Women in Prison. The benefits of journaling, putting your thoughts down on paper, has obvious benefit for women spending time  in prison (actually,…read more

Intermediate Bookbinding Fall Semester 2010

The final project in my Intermediate bookbinding class at the Falmouth Community school was a long stitch binding. This old German binding uses no glue to hold the pages in, instead the pages are sewn directly onto the cover. All of the books look really neat, especially when put in a row together. Here, Dodi…read more

Paper Marbling Video

Paper Marbling from Ruth Bleakley on Vimeo. I’ve had a couple of questions from students about the actual mechanics of paper marbling – it’s hard to describe in words, but I’ve created a nice little slideshow so you can see how it’s done! 1. Fill a tray with marbling “size” created from a mixture of…read more

Feature Friday: The Time is Now

Naomi of The Time Is Now offers an eclectic variety of needlepoint, notebooks and papercuts in her shop, all tied together by a cohesive style that encompasses vintage and natural imagery, bright colors and a healthy respect for negative space. I was fortunate enough to interview Naomi about her shop – you can read more…read more

Who doesn’t love a map?

I came across these beautiful topographical maps called “Geological Hazards of Northeast Clackamas County” in the dollar-a-pound thrift store tucked away inside an old Manila envelope – it was a great find and I just love the colors! And of course it’s for sale in my Etsy shop!

Feature Friday: Abby Try Again Photography

Abby of Abby Try Again photography craptures a dreamy, old fashioned look in her beautiful photos. She shoots on film, using vintage cameras, scenes of everyday things which are given new beauty when captured by the eye of an old camera (and seasoned photographer!). Here’s an interview we did last spring: Tell us about yourself Abby! Hi…read more

Marbled Papers Galore!

I’ve gone off on a tangent from bookbinding into making marbled paper, popular in the mid to late 19th century as endpapers in leatherbound books. Marbled paper is created by floating diluted watercolor paints onto a marbling “size” – water thickened with carragean (a type of seaweed) extract. The consistency of the marbling size is…read more

Featured Friday – MollyJey Papercuts

Mollyjey has beautiful handmade papercut dioramas in her Etsy shop, mostly in white with small touches of color. She was born in Locarno, Switzerland , a gorgeous mountain valley village on the southern border next to Italy – she then went to Florence, Italy where she studied Industrial Design and Communication. She speaks Italian, French…read more

Feature Friday: Joey’s Dream Garden

I can’t remember how I first found Joey’s Dream Garden, one of my favorite shops on Etsy, but I instantly fell in love with the adorable kitty and bunny brooches that Joey Ramone (no, the artist not the singer) is so good at making. Joey also offers gorgeous embroidery patterns, pretty hairclips and totes embellished with…read more

Octopus drawing sequence

I made a special accordion book about a year ago with a little red octopus in it – I documented the illustration so you could see the layers of ink go on. I love using drawing inks (I used Windsor-newton inks in this one) because you can layer them to make really rich colors –…read more