Lay Flat Journals in Bright Bold Colors

Feast your eyes on the rich, saturated colors of these beautiful lay-flat coptic stitch journals that I finished last week. In addition to Japanese Chiyogami paper, I also made a couple journals using some of my favorite new papers featuring hand marbled and hand stamped designs. While their patterns are totally opposite, something about the…read more

Cherry Blossom Twin Journals made with Chiyogami Paper

I was surprised to find out last Friday that my very first outing as a newborn baby was visiting the cherry trees in Washington D.C. 🌸 “you don’t remember?” My dad teased…but maybe I do remember, in a way, because I’ve always been drawn to cherry blossom imagery like on this Japanese paper – did…read more

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

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 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