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

Handmade Watercolor Sketchbooks with Laser Engraved Covers!

I’ve spent the last week making these watercolor sketchbooks filled with 48 pages of Canson 140lb/300g watercolor paper and…best of all…LASER ENGRAVED COVERS! They are perfect to take on a trip or use as a daily art journal because they are compact, the binding allows them to lie flat for easy painting and sketching, they…read more

Katazome-shi Journals Made with Stencil-dyed paper

After my visit to Suzuki Shofudo, the 120 year old Japanese paper store in Kyoto, you can imagine my excitement to get home and make some beautiful new journals with my new paper! But how could I showcase the wonderful colors and patterns? I decided to try a new type of cover design that would…read more

Day 2: Suzuki Shofudo, a 120 year-old Katazome Paper Store in Kyoto

“NIPPON NI IKITAI!!” – this part of a series of posts and I highly recommend you start from the beginning of this crazy story: Re: Japanese media inquiry, Possible Filming Request Day two! I couldn’t believe I’d only been in Japan for one full day – it was still a “Mystery Tour” so I had no…read more

Suminagashi Marbled Paper Journals

I thought you might like to see how some of the paper I received in Japan was put to good use in these gorgeous one of a kind journals. I got to witness this paper being marbled for a Japanese TV show I was on – you can read about it here: Paper Marbling in Kyoto ….read more

Suminagashi Kimono Marbling – Day One Continued

“NIPPON NI IKITAI!!” – this part of a series of posts and I highly recommend you start from the beginning of this crazy story: Re: Japanese media inquiry, Possible Filming Request We walked down the hallway, past the paper marbling room, into a huge room, with an enormously long, narrow marbling tray in it! In the…read more

Nature Journals Made From Upcycled Calendar Pages

These coptic stitch nature journals were made from a gorgeous calendar I’d been saving, saying “I’m sure I can make something out of this…” The journals I made lay totally flat when they’re opened up, which makes writing or sketching easy. This one of a kind journal is the perfect gift for a nature lover,…read more

Day one of the Mystery Tour – Suminagashi Paper Marbling

“NIPPON NI IKITAI!!” – this part of a series of posts and I highly recommend you start from the beginning of this crazy story: Re: Japanese media inquiry, Possible Filming Request Day one in Japan: we started bright and early, catching the 7:30 AM bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto, with a brief stop at Starbucks…read more

I won a free trip to Japan!…Now what?

“NIPPON NI IKITAI!!” – if you missed part 1, I highly recommend you start from the beginning of this crazy story: Re: Japanese media inquiry, Possible Filming Request I won the trip to Japan! …now what? I emailed the casting coordinator, Naomichi – he said to “wait patiently, and don’t talk about the trip on…read more

If you were to go to Japan…

“NIPPON NI IKITAI!!” – if you missed part 1, I highly recommend you start from the beginning of this crazy story: Re: Japanese media inquiry, Possible Filming Request When we left off, the mania of the day of filming had been perfectly captured and distilled into the act of me running across my backyard, yelling…read more

Re: Japanese Media Inquiry, Possible Filming Request

It all started with an email on Tuesday, July 12th, 2016. I had just returned from my 9th anniversary vacation to the Florida Keys to learn how to scuba dive, I was tired and not exactly in “work mode” yet – when I saw this waiting for me in my inbox: What?! The first thing I thought…read more