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

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

Niagara Falls Wedding Guestbook

This one of a kind guestbook was created by me for folks getting married at Niagara Falls, with a beautiful vintage nautical chart of the area. I remember one year I got to see the falls twice; once on a beautiful warm May day (on my way to a wedding that took place on a…read more

Watercolor French Link Stitch Journal aka The Barnacle Book

I always get excited when I create a new design for my handmade journals. This one that I’m calling the “Barnacle Book” is a handmade french link stitch journal for sale in my etsy shop and it combines my love of watercolor and illustration with my love of technical stitching patterns. This little handmade book…read more

Blue Coptic Journal With Marbled Covers – Crazy Zebra Stripe Action!

This little journal might be blue, but you won’t be if you make it yours (it’s for sale in my Etsy shop) This small handmade blank book features light blue filler paper made from recycled blue jeans and covers made from marbleized blue, black and white paper. I made the paper using this marbling kit (not…read more