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

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

Oregon Topographic Map Journals

Who doesn’t love a gorgeous map? I found these great vintage topographic maps in a shop while visiting Oregon, and they depict “Geographic Hazards of Clackmas County”. The maps we’re used to seeing are road maps (well, these days with GPS maybe we AREN’T used to seeing road maps…) but these maps show the layout…read more

Red Leaf French Link Stitch Journal

I live in Florida, so we don’t see much in the way of “fall colors”, so this journal is my tribute to the red, orange, yellow and gold of autumn, but also reminds me of a fiery Florida sunset! You can see if it’s still available in my online shop here: Red Leaf French Link Stitch…read more

Art Nouveau Sparrow Journal

This little sparrow journal is the perfect handmade gift for a bird watcher or gardener. I even sewed it with a special type of bookbinding method called Coptic stitch so that it lies perfectly flat when you open it, making it easy to write in. This stitch is impossible to do with a machine, which…read more

Secret Belgian Binding Workshop at Asheville Bookworks

This summer I was feeling a little bored with my usual coptic stitch, and I thought I’d look into taking a class at Asheville Bookworks in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. Last year I took a wonderful week long class at nearby Penland School of Crafts  and when I was in Asheville I took a peek into Bookworks…read more

I Was Featured in I Love Handmade Books by Charlotte Rivers!

Is there anything more exciting than seeing your name in print? (except maybe in the police blotter in the newspaper) I am thrilled to reveal that I was featured in Charlotte Rivers’ latest publication I Love Handmade Books , also published under the title The Little Book of Book Making in the US. I’m not a big goal-setter – some people swear by writing down…read more

Oregon Geological Topographic Map Journal

This book may still be available for sale, check my etsy shop: Oregon Geological Map Journal Back in 2009 I took an extended trip to Portland, Oregon and while I was there, I came upon an amazing collection of colorful topographic maps entitled “Geological Hazards Maps of Northeast Clackmas County, Oregon” in a thrift store. I…read more