Art Nouveau Sparrow Journal

Sparrow Art Nouveau Coptic Journal handmade by bookbinder Ruth Bleakley

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 is what makes this handmade journal extra special. You can see if it’s still available in my etsy shop here: Art Nouveau Sparrow Journal .

Bookbinding project pictures from Ruth Bleakley - finished covers on Sparrow Art Nouveau book Bookbinding project pictures from Ruth Bleakley - choosing thread color for a Sparrow Art Nouveau book

I had a display of my handmade books and journals up at my local library; one of the library volunteers told me that she used to do lots of paper crafting decades ago, but not anymore, and would I like to have some of her supplies? Of course I said yes! She gave me 4 different books of vintage luxury gift wrap based on floral wallpaper patterns at the turn of the century! The patterns are so pretty that I couldn’t resist combining them so that you’d get to see more than just one.

Sparrow Art Nouveau Journal handmade by bookbinder Ruth Bleakley - 7

This little blank journal that I created contains 160 pages of 100% recycled filler paper made by a family-owned paper mill in Michigan, run by hydroelectric power. The filler paper is smooth, and thick enough that ink won’t show though. The book is hand sewn with a bookbinding technique called Coptic stitch that allows it to lie completely flat when you open it. Thus makes it perfect for journaling because you don’t have to hold it open with one hand while you write.

If you follow me on Instagram, I posted process photos when I made this journal, including a few videos.

Art Nouveau Sparrow Journal process pics by bookbinder Ruth Bleakley

Sparrow Art Nouveau Journal handmade by bookbinder Ruth Bleakley - 5 Sparrow Art Nouveau Journal handmade by bookbinder Ruth Bleakley - 7

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beautiful designs, such lovely paper!
I was wondering what thread you used and where you got it from? It’s such a beautiful colour and looks very well made, I’ve been struggling to find some.
Also, do you have any tips on making sure the book doesn’t end up ‘wobbly’. I pull my stitches tight, but my last books didn’t turn out so well.


Hi Becki!

Thank you for your kind words! My #1 tip on making sure that your coptic stitch isn’t “wobbly” is that you use waxed linen thread – it can be quite expensive, but I found an amazon seller that sells it in 10 yard lengths at a reasonable price, so you can get a collection of colors without it being too expensive:

Good luck!


Thank so much!
I do have some waxed linen thread, but I’ve been practising with just normal embroidery thread. Glad to know that the waxed stuff holds better!

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