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 – Part II

My October Photo Project - Pumpkins watercolor painting by Soma @


Hi Everyone!  Hope you are having a good autumn.  I was going to post the rest of my daily October photos last week.  However, a winter storm came to the Sierra mountains, and I couldn’t help but pack the bags and head toward it.  I am so happy to say that we were welcomed by much-needed snow which, for those of us who live in the west, is more precious than gold these days.  So, without further ado, here are the rest of my October photos.



My October Photo Project - Redwood cones photo by Soma @


13th – Journalling.  Our tall redwood tree loves to shed a LOT in October and I love picking up these cones.   They make a beautiful red stain.  Looking forward to sketching these four in my nature journal.



My October Photo Project - Coreopsis seeds photo by Soma @


14th – Bounty.  October is when I collect seeds from two of my dye plants, Coreopsis and Indigo.   I made the little seed packets myself.  Didn’t realise until I took the photo that the yellow/gold paper I used for the packet matches the Coreopsis seed pods.




15th – Trust.  This little one LOVES to play all day long with his kitty siblings, but does not quite trust us humans yet.  I treasure those rare occasions when I can get close to him.  I had all of 5 minutes to take a few photos.  Those blue eyes make me think of rain.  We are a kindred soul, he is smitten by winter just as much as I am.  He is Merwyn, the sea friend.



My October Photo Project - Pumpkin patch at Napa, California photo by Soma @


16th – Autumn afternoon.  Walking on soft straw, looking at some alien-looking pumpkins on a beautiful October afternoon.



My October Photo Project - Lego Harry Potter Advent Calendar photo by Soma @


17th – Advent calendar week 2.  I open my advent calendar in October.  This is Harry waiting at the Leaky Cauldron.



My October Photo Project - Oak galls photo by Soma @


18th –  Foraging.  I couldn’t find any acorns at the local park, but found quite a few oak galls.  I collected a few to make iron gall ink at home.



My October Photo Project - Butternut squash photo by Soma @


19th – Favourite.  Every October I look forward to getting butternut squash.  I often pick up a few extra and store them in a dry place so I can enjoy them off season.  Instead of the grocery store, this year I got them at the pumpkin patch.  I never noticed the star pattern and  green lines that extend from the stem on the grocery store ones.



My October Photo Project - First fire photo by Soma @


20th – Warmth.  The first fire of the season is always so special.  Read by a warm fire in my little library surrounded by books and cats, then end the night listening to the music of embers before bedtime. 



My October Photo Project - Shorter Days photo by Soma @


21th – Stargazing time.  I miss stargazing during the days of long daylight.  Those nights are just not long enough to set up the telescope for extended stargazing before bedtime.  I would be completely lost in the spring and summer sky.  However, with longer nights, I probably know the autumn and winter sky better than my own backyard.



My October Photo Project - My telescope photo by Soma @


22nd – Getting ready for the night out.  I don’t even remember when I fell in love with the stars.  My books and the night sky were the two stable things during my childhood.  I use this one for astrophotography, and I use my 10″ telescope mostly for exploring the night sky.



My October Photo Project - Knitting blue fingerless mitts photo by Soma @


23rd – Peaceful.  I find the act of knitting to be extremely peaceful.  This blue yarn matches the eye colour of my sweet kitty.



My October Photo Project - Lego Harry Potter Advent Calendar photo by Soma @


24th – 3rd week of advent calendar.  Harry is getting ready for Hogwarts.



My October Photo Project - Something Wicked This Way Comes photo by Soma @


25th – Something Wicked This Way Comes.  I read that book by Ray Bradbury in high school, and the story haunted me for a very long time.  A few years ago, I mustered up enough courage to read it again, and I am glad to say that Dark’s Pandemonium does not haunt me any more.  This wagon always reminds me of the book and in turn, to find my courage.



My October Photo Project - Trick or Treat photo by Soma @


26th – Trick or Treat.  Made little bags with colouring book, stickers, pencils, notepad, bookmark and of course ghoulish candy for the little monsters.  I made 48 bags and they were all gone, plus additional candies and pencils.  Happy little moments.




27th – Old Friend.  Charlie is our oldest friend, just three weeks away from being 19.  Don’t let his calm face fool you.  He is super naughty and playful.  I had to wait till he was mostly sleepy to take this picture of our Charlie!  He loves to “sing”, which is to say he bellows his heart out.  If I reciprocate by making the same sounds, he continues on with me.  It’s a lot of fun to sing along with him.



My October Photo Project - Autumn Leaves and Halloween Adventure quilt by Soma @


28th – Charlie’s Adventure.  He also has been the source of many a story and fun artwork over the years, and he has always been my Halloween kitty.  I designed the patterns and made this quilt around a little story I wrote called Charlie’s Adventure.  I make sure to use this quilt every October.  The story and the quilt details are all here on Charlie’s Adventure  if you want to share it with a little one in your family.



My October Photo Project - Lego Harry Potter Advent Calendar photo by Soma @


29th – Last week of advent calendar.  Adventures are always so much more fun when shared with friends.  Harry finally joins his friends for his train journey to Hogwarts.



My October Photo Project - pumpkin watercolour painting by Soma @


30th – Magic.  Everything turns a bit magical as All Hallows Eve approaches.  I tapped into that magic to paint these pumpkins.



My October Photo Project - Little Lego boy photo by Soma @


31th – All Hallows Eve.  My little desk-buddy is ready for Halloween with his pet spider.  He is a bit shy and finds Trick or Treat to be a daunting task.  However, he gave it a go anyway and enjoyed it quite a bit in the end.


Here are My October 1 – 12 photos


My October – Part I



Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –



Tavish the twin, Pemberley the autumn forest

Merwyn the sea friend and Charlie the musician


That finishes my 31 photos for 31 days of October.  It was so wonderful to reacquaint myself with my best friend, my camera.  I was feeling very lackluster at the beginning of the month, but taking these photos really stoked my motivation.  I do hope you liked the photos and the anecdotes.  From our family to yours Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Autumn!  I will see you in December.




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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