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

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 wedding 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…read more

Japanese Style Notebooks with Chiyogami Paper Covers

I absolutely love the bright colors of Japanese handmade paper – what better way than to showcase them on small notebooks that I’ve bound in the traditional Japanese style of stab binding? The purple crane paper, pink cherry blossom paper, and blue plum blossom paper (top right, left and bottom left) are all a type…read more

Suminagashi Journal with Fanned Ripples

Suminagashi is the ancient art of Japanese paper marbling where calligraphy ink is floated on top of water in concentric rings and then a print is taken with handmade Japanese washi paper. I did an extra step with this paper and fanned it before taking the print, which caused the lightly jagged edges. I love…read more

Gorgeous Chiyogami Paper Journals : Waves, Goldfish and Plum Blossoms

I have a huge weakness for decorative paper – I get stingy when it comes to buying new clothes, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to spending money on fancy handmade paper! Fortunately I can turn that fancy paper into journals, and share it (*cough* sell it) to you! The coptic stitch binding on these…read more