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

If you ♥ your pet, check out Jenny Baughan’s custom portraits!

One of my friends who was visiting this us this Labor Day weekend commented “You’re the only friends I can think of who actually buy  other people’s art…and that’s cool!” I love surrounding myself with creative things (a real-life Pinterest, if you will) and also, how can I hope to be financially supported as an…read more

My packaging was featured in the Etsy Success Newsletter!

Yay! I was excited to open up my Etsy Success newsletter and see my nautical notebook packaging featured! Check out the full newsletter for more great packaging ideas. I also have an Amazing Packaging Pinterest board if you’re into that sort of thing.

Doing design work for the local NPR station has some great perks!

So just a quick note to say I’m super psyched that Jad Abumrad, co-host of the awesome NPR show Radiolab autographed the poster I created for his talk yesterday! I am officially an NPR geek haha. Check out the full story over at my OTHER blog Concertina Press where you can see the different versions of the…read more

Nautical Chart Notebooks

I had my last craft fair of the season yesterday so I spent the week making lots of these awesome notebook sets out of nautical charts. I live right near the ocean and have acquired quite a collection! I’m going to have a GIVEAWAY this week [UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed! Congratulations, Amanda from…read more

Colin’s Travel Journal – Two Stab Bound Books in a Custom Case

I received a commission from a return customer who wanted to get another journal for his son Colin’s upcoming travels around asia. I wanted to make something that reflected both where he came from (Cape Cod) and where he was going (Asia). I really love complex stitching patterns and this Marionette Japanese Stab Binding Tutorial…read more

Easy DIY Pizza Box Cat Bed!

Easy DIY Cat Bed out of a Pizza Box! (Your cat may have already MADE ONE without you even knowing!) Step 1 – Place a small pizza delivery box on the counter, preferably empty. Step 2 – Turn your back for *one minute* Step 3 – Ta-da! That’s it! Haha, ok so maybe this isn’t the…read more

Caterpillar Binding – Part 1

I’ve always been interested in the super ornate decorative bookbinding technique called the Caterpillar stitch – it looks like it sounds – actually, it looks a bit more like  a centipede…but bleeegghhhh centipedes are so gross! I’d rather say it looks like a caterpillar! Anyway, for an upcoming gardening themed book I’m making as a…read more

Tips for Everyday Creativity – Guest Post on Crescendoh.com

I was honored to be invited to guest post on Jenny Doh’s blog Crescendoh.com for the week of June 3-9. I hope you’ll hop over there and read my essay about everyday creativity! Here’s an excerpt: OK, I’ll admit it: I have a creative compulsion. For me, the need and desire to create new things…read more

Awesome Handmade Books: Pamphlet Stitch Bookbinding

So with so many bookbinding fans out there, I thought I would do a weekly roundup of some of my favorite handmade books out there on the internet, many of which I’ve conveniently rounded up on my Handmade Books + Journals Pinterest board. This week: Pamphlet Stitch Bindings! Yuzen Pamphlet Stitch Books by Ruth Bleakley…read more