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

Unlined Journals with Marbled Covers and French Link Stitch Binding

If you look back on my Indigo and Gold Branches French Link Stitch Journal post (that’s the journal pictured below in the middle) you’ll notice the beautiful blue, green, gold and black marbled paper that I used on the inside end pages. I can’t pretend to have some kind of top-secret source for that gorgeous…read more

Shimmering Hand Painted Fish Journal

Many years ago, one of my favorite types of books to make were hand-painted ones, but with the discovery of Japanese Chiyogami paper, I got away from that for a while, but now that I have the amazing Glowforge laser cutter, I’m back at the hand-painting game! This fish journal is a great example of…read more

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