Mysteries of the Cosmos Journals

Inspiration strikes… The thing I love most about these journals is how well the two black and purple papers go together, even though I aquired them years apart. This is certainly a case of me being inspired by my materials. When I get stuck, or run out of bookbinding ideas, a quick trip to (one…read more

Marbled Circle Artist Book

I’m so excited to unveil a new style of handmade artist book. It features a luxurious Japanese silk book cloth cover, with precision circle inlay that features stunning, one-of-a-kind marbled paper. I like the idea of a book containing a hidden surprise, so I used the same beautiful paper for the inside endpapers as well….read more

Golden Cranes Journal

This is a very special journal I made all in one go. By that I mean, I was “in the crunch” for at least 8 hours putting the finishing touches on it, adding gold leaf, cutting out birds with an exacto knife, hand-painting in tiny bird beaks. Also somehow I managed to make it without…read more

What’s a Temari Ball? It’s featured on this journal!

These handmade Temari Ball journals are kind of meta-handmade, because not only is the Chiyogami cover paper handmade in Japan, the colorful toy balls on the cover are also a depiction of a beautiful Japanese handicraft called Temari (手まり) Balls. Temari translates as “hand ball” and supposedly were sometimes used in games, but the idea…read more

Blue Cranes and Peach Clouds Twin Journals

This gorgeous crane paper is one of my new favorites! A big flock of white cranes flies across clear aquamarine sky, with golden swirling clouds. The aqua color perfectly compliments the other paper I used here, a vintage chiyogami pattern of golden clouds on a peach sunset sky. If you look closely you can also…read more

Waves and Blue Cherry Blossom Twin Journals

Don’t you love how the cherry blossoms coordinate on the two pieces of paper I used on the covers of this “twin journal” ? If you use chiyogami or yuzen paper as often as I do, you start to see trends and themes emerge. (All of a sudden I just pictured someone talking about the…read more

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

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