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

Handmade Notebooks with Scientific Illustrations

So depending on how often you glance at the left sidebar of my blog, you may or may not know that in addition to bookbinding, I am also a wedding invitation and stationery designer. Concertina Press specializes in unusual wedding invitations featuring antique scientific illustrations collected (in scanned form, not paper form!) from my time spent…read more

Onionskin Bookbinding class at Penland School of Crafts

This summer I got to fulfill a dream of mine for many years, to attend the Penland School of Crafts in the mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. Ever since reading about it in the Penland Book of Handmade Books, I’ve wanted to go take a class. Well, after getting back from a week-long course…read more

Tiny little pamphlet books made just for fun

Today I’m showing off these cute little blue pamphlet stitch and perfect bound (glued spine) books I made – I printed out sheets of patterned paper myself – I have a fairly fancy Canon printer because I have a stationery business, and I have LOTS of black ink, so I experimented with printing my own…read more

5 Great How-to Books on Bookbinding

Are you interested in learning bookbinding, and wondering how you can get started binding your own books? Believe it or not, most of what I learned about making books by hand is self taught! Here are some of the most helpful do-it-yourself bookbinding books I’ve personally used, in order of easy to difficult with links…read more

Troubleshooting Tips for Suminagashi Paper Marbling

Suminagashi marbling is a Japanese paper marbling technique that involves floating sumi ink on water in concentric rings. While relatively easy, there are still a few things that can go wrong while you’re marbling, so here are some tips if you’re running into trouble on your marbled paper. This post was originally created to accompany my Suminagashi…read more

Handmade Wasp Journal

An oldie but a goodie – I can’t believe I made this almost exactly 2 years ago. For a while I was on a hardcover case-bound book bender, before I switched to coptic stitch books. Part of the reason I like coptic stitch better than the traditional “hardcover” book you see here is that you…read more

Little Paris Travel Journal

The story behind this little Paris-themed handmade book is that it’s the first I’ve made in over four months! This might not seem like such a long time, but because of a cross country move I’ve had to pack up nearly all of my bookbinding studio supplies and put them into storage. Right now I’m…read more

Suminagashi Marbled Handmade Journal

Suminagashi is a gorgeous type of paper marbling invented in Japan over 1,000 years ago. I wrote a post a while ago when I taught a suminagashi marbling class at Clark University and you can see every step of the process. Basically you float rings of black sumi ink (I really like using this Yasutomo…read more

Bookbinding Tutorial Secret Belgian Binding

It’s tutorial Tuesday! I am sharing great bookbinding tutorials I’ve found around the web on Tuesdays – today’s tutorial is about a mysterious sounding bookbinding style called “Secret Belgian Binding” – This binding was invented in the mid 1980s by Anne Goy, a Belgian bookbinder. She was looking for a Western version of the traditional…read more

Chevron Washi Tape Chain Stitch Journal

I love Washi Tape! A friend from Japan sent me a huge care package of washi tape, a thin Japanese masking tape with designs printed on it ( you can even get washi tape on Amazon)- I used the tape to create this pretty striped pattern on raw book board, and then sealed the whole…read more