Little Stories – Playful Pieces

Ink sketches with fude pen by Soma @


Hi Everyone!  Little Stories are posts where I share unrelated odds and ends from my life and my atelier.  This one is full of playful little pieces.  Whenever I need a little push, I work on teeny tiny things.  They not only help me get going again,  they also often spark new ideas.  These little pieces that I worked on earlier are setting the stage for my winter break.


Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –



I always keep a stack of small pieces of inexpensive watercolor paper on my desk.   I paint simple things on those papers whenever I need to warm up before working on something larger.   Sometimes I also use them to try out new art supplies that I have purchased, but haven’t used yet.  There is never any pressure with these practice pieces.

Over the break, I plan to work with these new art supplies a bit more in-depth, and then share the results with you.




Japanese Kana Syllabary by Soma @


Japanese Syllabary


I was very fastidious about making good sweeping curves while drawing these flash cards of Japanese syllabary.  After 142 cards, I not only learned the characters well, they also provided good practice for drawing curves with a pen.

I will continue to work on my Japanese studies over the break.   This will include a trip to the Japanese store so we can start making authentic Japanese food at home.  I love to explore authentic cuisines from different countries, which is always a highlight of our travels.




Charlie's 18th birthday card - cat watercolor painting by Soma @


Our sweet Charlie turned 19 last Saturday


He LOVES cheesecake.  So for his birthdays, he gets a special treat – a very sizable portion of cheesecake.  My husband and he have a very special bond.  He was looking up at my husband to sit with him while he savored his birthday treat.

Although he is a perpetual kitten, I painted this dignified version of him in the library for his 18th birthday last year.   I am really quite excited about the new painting I am working on, featuring him celebrating his 19th birthday.




French link handmade book by Soma @


Although I love binding books with decorative stitches on the spine, I unfortunately don’t get to make these decorative books often.  That is another thing I want to work on over the break.  I already have a bunch of pages prepped to be bound in different styles.  When I make these books, I like to color coordinate everything. 




Handmade books and journals by Soma @


I sometimes zone out while making books.  That’s how I ended up binding these books all together, but they are lacking cover art.  That’s next for this stack of little journals.

Handmade journals are available in my shop



Fairy Lanterns Northern California Yellow Wildflower Art @ by Soma


New book covers will undoubtedly include some block carvings.  My head is teeming with new ideas and some of them are already penciled into my sketchbooks.   Time to sharpen those carving tools.  Keep an eye out for journals with new cover designs in the shop.




Ink sketches with fude pen by Soma @


A tree and a travelling woman.  I was really not in the mood to do much that day.  So I grabbed a few scrap pieces of paper and started drawing with a new $10 fude fountain pen.  Changing the angle of the nib of a fude fountain pen changes the line thickness.    I miss these impromptu drawings.  I would like to sit by the fireplace and do more of these as well.




Oaks in autumn at Yosemite photo by Soma @


Most importantly, before March shuts me indoors again, I plan to take many walks outside with my beloved camera.  I took this photo during our last visit to the mountains.  I can’t wait to go snowshoeing there among the trees and the stones. 




The Girl and Her Cat watercolor painting by Soma @


The time has come for me to go on my winter break.  I look forward to donning my favourite woolens and exploring the peaceful, sleepy world outside.  Inside the home, long hours of video game playing with my husband has become a tradition.  Ink and paper adventures also await me, along with the prospect of warm beverages, fireside reading, and kitty cuddles. 


Thank you so much for being here with me and for your lovely and encouraging words.   I will be back around February / March with a lot to share as well as new The Girl and Her Cat stories. 

Wishing you a safe and magical holiday season.   I hope you find a few playful pieces to unwind with during this time as well.

See you then,


I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please consider paying a visit to some of them.


P.S.  The Ink Torrents Graphics shop remains open.  I will continue to fulfill orders, as always.  I will also be available via email.  Thank you for continuing to shop from my store.




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My October Photo Project - autumn colours photo by Soma @

My October – Part I

My October Photo Project - autumn colours photo by Soma @


Hello Everyone!  After six long months of being confined indoors,  by the time October arrives, I am desperate to step outside and breathe in a lungful of fresh air.  I have been missing taking photos with my DSLR camera and lenses.   So, very suddenly at the beginning of the month, I decided to do a mini everyday photo project called My October.




My October Photo Project - travel time photo by Soma @



1st October – First travel dates are set.  Poring over maps and making notes for best photo spots and times.  I typically do most of my photography either very early in the morning or late in the afternoon.  The window of photography per day is very short, so I have to make the most of it.




My October Photo Project - The Halloween Tree photo by Soma @



2nd October – I always read The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury in October.  I used to visit an old bookstore in Los Angeles.  The proprietor was a wonderful lady who saved this copy for me.  The shop has since sadly closed down, but the book has fond memories for me.  I have even read it by campfires, so there may be a few soot marks here and there in the book.




My October Photo Project - yellow chrysanthemums photo by Soma @



3rd October – Yellow Chrysanthemums.  I have had this wee plant for close to two decades now.  The extreme heat wave this year took a toll on it.  I spruced it up however, and the buds are starting to bloom like starbursts.  This means my favourite seasons are here.




My October Photo Project - Orange Maine Coon Tavish photo by Soma @



4th October –  October colour – Orange.  “Hi! I am Tavish.  Nice to meet you.”   He spends his days with me while I work in my room.




My October Photo Project - camera lens photo by Soma @



5h October – Getting ready for some extensive photography days.   My camera and I go way back.  My best friends and my security blanket.   It is well-travelled and bear many marks of spending time outdoors.  Now it is time for some generous TLC. 




My October Photo Project - treasure kitty photo by Soma @



6th October – A little treasure.  I had the most wonderful art teacher in high school.  She had a fabulous teacher’s assistant who gave me this reference photo for painting.  I lost the painting, but the photo survived.  I don’t know if this kitty even belonged to anyone, but I feel like she belongs to me and she has become my oldest kitty friend.  I get most anxious when I misplace this photo.  Now she is going to reside in my sketchbook, which is more of a painter’s notebook.  The photo actually has some splatters of the green watercolour paint I used all those years ago.




My October Photo Project - staying cozy photo by Soma @



7th October – Getting cosy.  Much to my delight, it gets very cold in my room and I love to get cosy and warm.  The old blanket is my most favourite.  All my kitties have grown up on it.  They pile up on it on the cold days when we read, watch tv or play video games together.  I am wrapped in those memories whenever I use this blanket.




My October Photo Project - mud stained boots photo by Soma @



8th October – Mud-stained boots.  I love to do photography in what is known as “bad weather”.   If I am to be a storm chaser, then I better keep my gear in tiptop shape.  Time to clean these up, check for damage, and have them ready for the outdoors.




My October Photo Project - LEGO Harry Potter Advent calendar photo by Soma @



9th October – I open my Advent calendar in October!  I get the Lego Harry Potter one every year and save it until the next October.  I love to walk into my room every morning with a cup of coffee and open those little windows, one per day. 




My October Photo Project - black walnut pods photo by Soma @ 


10th October – Garden surprise.  We have two HUGE trees flanking our backyard: a black walnut tree and a redwood tree.  They both shed a lot starting in October.  Sometimes I come across little treasures on the ground that the trees drop for me to find.  Here’s a little look at what happens far up there, at the top of the tree.  I had to use my macro lens to take the details, it is tiny!




My October Photo Project - autumn colours photo by Soma @



11th October –  Sun glow.  Our Japanese Maple sadly suffered much heat damage from the steady 49 C / 120 F temperatures we had for a few days during late summer, and from the drought.  The sun-facing leaves are all burnt.  We started the TLC right away and are seeing signs of life returning.   The leaves turn  into little rubies glinting in the last firelight of the sun.  I get to see the drama unfold every day through my window starting about this time of year while I sit at my desk and work.




My October Photo Project - forest cat Maine Coon Pemberley photo by Soma @



12th October –  Late autumn Forest.  I often imagine hearing a sudden whisper of winds blowing through the leaves, and a part of the forest floor transforms into a cat form.  She goes by the name Pemberley.  Just like the wind, she is never still.




Everyday Bullet Journal Fairy Lantern Flowers made by Soma @



An extra photo –  Before I wrap up I want to share this little story with you.  Recently, this everyday bullet journal I made travelled to its new home.  During an email exchange, she shared about the things she made from my quilt patterns and how they are enjoyed by her family, one of whom lives in Italy.  She also mentioned that this journal is going to travel to Spain to her granddaughter who is studying there.  I love hearing these stories specially on the days when I am lacking motivation and wondering if all the artwork I do and write about has any purpose.  

The journals are available in my shop.


If you are new here, I suffer from really bad allergies to the point where I can’t breathe and get chest constriction.  Even though I am super excited about being outside after so long, I have been feeling a bit lack luster lately.  I can always rely on photography to give me much-needed focus.  So this is first half of My October.  It is such a magical month!  Let me know your favourite thing about October.  I love to read little stories in the comments.

Until next time,


I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.   They are always a source of new inspirations.  Please pay them a visit.



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