Teflon Folders vs Bone Folders – which one is better for bookbinding?

I’m pleased to announce I have a limited number of teflon folders available for sale in my online shop at RuthBleakley.etsy.com. Read on for more information about what makes these bookbinding tools so wonderful and different from regular bone folders. What is a Teflon folder, anyway? Well, a traditional bone folder is a thin stick…read more

Shibori Tie Dye Class with Jane Callender at Aya Fiber Studio

To celebrate my 33rd birthday on March 22nd, I made a special week-long trip to Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, Florida to learn stitched Shibori tie dye from world-renowned fiber artist and author, Jane “Cali” Callender. Her book “Stitched Shibori”  is not only gorgeous to look at; it also provides lots of practical instruction about…read more

Honeybee Journals Make a Great Gift for Beekeepers

You can buy this bee journal in my online shop 166 pages, unlined, lays flat when opened I created this journal in honor of one of our most important pollinators – bees! Did you know more than $15 billion a year in U.S. crops are pollinated by bees, including apples, berries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, alfalfa, and…read more

Book Cloth Workshop in Asheville and Cape Cod Shibori Journals

Are you like me? Do you have a stash of beautiful fabric that you buy “just because” or say “I’ll make something out of this someday!” – me too…and I don’t even sew! Haha. When I saw the class, “Making Book Cloth”, being offered last fall at Asheville Bookworks I was intrigued…and I thought, “FINALLY…read more

French Link Journals with Blue Indigo and Gold Branches

I’ve loved the French Link Stitch ever since I first learned about it in a college bookbinding course. It’s very old, and traditionally it’s used on the INSIDE of a hardcover book, the interlocking stitches were thought to make the text block sturdier than simple straight stitches across the signatures. With exposed bindings like the…read more

Honeybee and Daisy French Link Stitch Journals

My love affair with my Glowforge laser cutter continues with these beautiful hand painted nature journals featuring the very pretty and intricate French Link Stitch Binding. The first step for these journals was engraving the covers using a super-hot laser beam to actually burn the black lines of the design into the acid-free bookboard. (You…read more

What is that weird looking monkey? It’s a Koboldmaki!

What in the world is that? Some kind of weird monkey with a human face? I had no idea either, in fact I saved this image as “Weird Monkey.tif” on my computer until some top-notch google sleuthery turned up that this thing is called a Koboldmaki! That’s right! It’s real! Not only that, this little…read more

Cat Journals! The Perfect Gift for Cat-Loving Writers

Oh my goodness. I feel as though I’ve achieved some kind of next-level journal making thanks to my Glowforge laser cutter (appropriately timed for Transfiguration Sunday). In fact, my hilarious friend Ellen summed it up nicely for me: Guess what, friends? it’s time for ALL CAT ART, ALL THE TIME! Let’s begin with the amazing laser cutter, which…read more

Daisy Journal with Hand-painted Lasercut Covers

I have been having so much fun with my new Glowforge laser cutter (long awaited) – one of my favorite things is that it can cut through book board! It can cut the sewing holes and everything! Watch this (with the sound off though, it sounds like a freaking jet engine): AMAZING!!!!  After I engraved…read more

Cape Cod Nautical Chart Journals

Did you know that nautical charts expire? OK maybe “expire” isn’t the right word, but given the ever-changing nature of the coast and the sea floor below, not to mention construction hazards, shipping lanes and “unexploded ordinances”, whatever those are 💣 (I’ve seen them on the charts!) they need to be updated every now and…read more

Upcoming Classes at Falmouth Community School

Attention Bibliophiles! I have some last minute additions to my fall bookbinding workshop schedule. I’ll be substituting in for Michael Bushy’s Falmouth Community School classes, starting Sept. 28th. The classes go for three weeks and are just $49 plus a $25 materials fee. You can see a full catalog of classes here (opens a PDF)…read more

Featured Artist: Pistoles Press

Pistoles Press is one of my favorite shops on Etsy, and Lana creates beautiful  hand-pulled woodblock prints with an asian/art nouveau flair. I have several sets of her prints hanging in her house – Three lovely tree prints in black and white by Lambert Press From her blog, “Lana is a member of the McGuffey…read more

Yummy Strawberries!

I love small cute things and the alpine strawberries I’ve been growing the past two years totally fit the bill. They grow perfectly here on Cape Cod (did you know that Cape Cod was the top producer of strawberries east of the Mississippi at the turn of the 20th century?) which is fortunate because I…read more

Leather Longstitch Pocket Journal Production Photos

This spring someone gave me a book of leather samples – I’m not sure where they are from, maybe an upholsterer – but they came in two shades of brown and a beautiful bright red. I had four peices total, of really nice quality fairly thick leather, and I was trying to think of what…read more

A full view of the cover

My sister Martha finds all kinds of great things when she’s out and about sifting through flea markets, thrift stores and estate sales and she sent me this gorgeous hand-painted paper that decorates the cover. This journal was sewn in a style of binding called the Coptic stitch, which not only looks beautiful but also…read more

Cute Thank You Notes!

I purchased these adorable thank you cards from the Paper Tyger in Falmouth, MA – they are super duper cute! You can buy them on their website too – they are letter-pressed on 100% recycled paper and made in New York. The letterpress gives the card a nice embossed feel. The only strange thing I…read more

Gold-leaf fire breathing dragon!

Here’s Ian’s finished journal – the cover illustration was hand-drawn by me and then inlaid into the cover (I very carefully cut the faux  leather cover to allow the drawing to sit flush with the cover of the book). The dragon is breathing gold-leaf fire! You can check out photos of the re-covering process here…read more

Lassco CR 20 Corner Rounder

After staying up late hawkishly watching an online auction for a Lassco Corner Rounder CR-20 , I was able to swoop in at the last minute (literally 45 seconds) and win it at the great price of $62! New, they retail for $150. The Corner Rounder does just what the name says – it can…read more

Custom Fabric Printing

Spoonflower.com allows you to print custom fabrics by uploading your own digital images.

Miniature Book of Boston

When I was working in a library a few summers ago I came across a beautiful old map of Boston from 1858 – I made several copies of it, and one of them I used on the cover of this book. After transferring the image on to silk using a solvent transfer method, I painted…read more