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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Suddenly Smitten

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ by Soma


Hi Everyone!  Early Spring I came across the Golden Fairy Lantern wildflower and was instantly smitten by it.  Photographing these little flowers took me on an unexpected creative journey.  I painted them, made block prints, and hand bound books. Along the way I learned a lot about trying new ways when things do not work out as expected.  I love to experiment and play, so I was completely in my element.




Golden Fairy Lantern yellow Northern California Wildflower @ by Soma



The Golden Fairy Lantern is a flower that is endemic to Northern California.  These flowers are no larger than 0.5″.  I had to play with the camera settings a LOT before I could capture a few sharp photos of this beautiful little flower.




Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ by Soma



There are little green butterflies that I also see on the trail, the same kind that flutter around in our garden as well.  They are so sweet, I love watching them.  After coming home, I drew this picture of a butterfly with two Fairy Lantern flowers and set to painting it.




Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ by Soma



Then I ran into a little problem.  I could not paint them to my satisfaction using watercolours.   There was nothing wrong with them per se, but I was looking for something different than what I got on paper.  After painting a few flowers with unsatisfactory results, it was time to change course. 

I pulled out my markers, Inktense pencils and my FW acrylic inks.  I painted little areas on this sketch with each kind first to observe the behaviour.  I really liked the markers, but unfortunately the colours bled to the back of the paper.  So, I used the the FW inks instead.




Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ by Soma



This was one of the unsuccessful paintings.  Instead of throwing it away, I cut the part out that was alright and tried a few new things on it. It was great not to have to worry about lines and shapes here, but simply play with paint.  Then I pasted it on to one of my scrap book binding covers and it became a bookmark.




Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ by Soma



The FW inks worked a lot better for the painting, but there was something still missing.  Then I realised that I was trying very hard to copy the shadows from my reference photo and making a mess in the process. 

With “Let go, Luke” from Star Wars in my head, I put the photo away and started painting following my instincts.  It worked.




Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ by Soma



Once everything dried, I used watercolour pencils to add the details and shadows to the butterfly, and the painting was done.




Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ by Soma



However, the idea for a block carving was already stirring in my head.  I made another line drawing in my larger sketchbook.  I spent a lot of time smoothing out those curves in the drawing.  I decided not to ink the master copy in case an accidental nudge of the hand derailed the pen from the line.  I apologise for the faded photo, I draw with a light hand.




Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ by Soma



You know the rest.  The block was carved.  

Since I didn’t purchase sharpening supplies early,  one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched.   I decided to recreate the edge of the tool. 

I had never done this before, so of course I mucked up a few times and had to restart from the grinding-down step.  I finally found the right angle, and it clicked.  It was a long process. 




Lino print on Japanese rice paper @ by Soma



During the printing process my roller bid me adieu and applied ink unevenly on the board.  Get new roller, clean block, wait till it dries, repeat printing.

I played with printing on different kinds of paper,  both heavy paper and Japanese rice paper. 




Handmade Everyday Journals @ by Soma



I made bullet journals with the print on the cover.   I am using the blue journal for my Japanese studies.  A few of the others have also found new homes.  The journals are available in my shop.



Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

You can read about the carving and book binding here. 






As I get bored very easily when working on repetitive things, I very rarely work on multiple things with the  exact same picture.   However, I was smitten by these little flowers and I delved more and more into the world of creativity centering around them.  Each one was different enough and they tossed me a few challenges along the way.  It was fun to play along.

I hope you will also find something that piques your interest, and try something new and fun!

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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