Little Owl handmade journal book by Soma @

Little Stories – After Hours


Little Owl handmade journal book by Soma @



Hi Everyone!  Little Stories are posts I write every now and then where I share odds and ends that I work on or things that happen around me.  This time I want to share a few finishes consisting of knitting, sewing and this impromptu little owl book I made.  I love to keep my hands busy by working on projects like these, mostly after dinner.



Knitted mitts and hats by Soma @



Previously I wrote about an exchange that Mary and I did.  She made me an amazing artist apron ( you can see it here ) and I knitted her a couple of sets of hats and mitts.  Since Mary and I both love autumn colours, I had fun shopping as if I was buying the yarns for myself.

I used the patterns Westward Hat and Westward Mitts by Rebecca Woelber for this set.  The cable part of this design required my full attention.  I mostly worked on this one while my husband was playing a video game and I was “helping”.



Knitted mitts and hats by Soma @



For this set, I paired Prim hat by Andrea Mowry with Staghorn Mitts by Pamala Jane Patterns.  Both were quick knits and easy cables too.  They are not beginner patterns, but very well written.  If you are a generally a confident knitter, and want to try cable knitting, both of these are very good patterns.  Once you get used to the cable patterns, they don’t require so much attention either.

It was so wonderful to make them for a friend, and I am happy to hear that she got to use them a lot during the colder months.



Autumn Leaves Line art clip art @ by Soma Acharya



During the time I was knitting for Mary, I decided to donate my serger.   The lady who was fostering our kitten was delighted to hear that I would donate the serger to the Rescue.  She lives an hour away, and halfway along the way is a JoAnn fabric store.  I wanted to remake this blanket for our kitty Charlie ( You can read about it and download the leaves file for free here ), so my husband and I made a quick pit stop to pick up some fleece.



Double layer fleece kitty blankets by Soma @



I had to pick up some extra fleece for a few more kitty blankets, of course.  I cut the pieces in half to make them double-layered.  I like both the slow process of binding by hand, and also the look of hand binding.  Instead of matching bindings, I decided to use contrasting colours and designs.  They had to have an autumn and winter theme to them as those are my favourite seasons.  I specially love the wispy and wintry tree branches of the binding on the top blanket.


Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –



Now they are all ready for my little kitties when the weather turns cold around here.  These would make cosy and quick baby blankets too.




One of the original Fairy Lantern flower prints is going to a new home soon, as are a few of the everyday journals, which is always exciting!  They are available in the shop.



Little Owl handmade journal book by Soma @



Most of my work is thought through and planned ahead.   This little owl book, however, was a complete exception to that and was certainly not on the list.   At the end of one day, I was so mentally exhausted that I needed a feel-good project.  I had a little 2″ x 3″ book made from before that needed a cover.  I pulled out washi tape,  some scrap pieces of book binding boards, paper, micron pen, glue and scissors, and set to work.



Little Owl handmade journal book by Soma @



I didn’t even feel like drawing anything new.  I have always had a soft spot for owls.  I traced the owl from one of my old marker paintings, copied it on the cover and inked it with micron pen.  I love designs by Morris Brown, and I got this washi tape from Jet Pens recently.  After affixing the front and back covers to the book,  I attached the spine board with a strip of the wide washi tape.  I added some scrap washi tape triangles to the corners and the book was done.  It took me a total of around 30 minutes and it certainly uplifted my spirit quite a lot.  Paper, pen, glue and tape – ingredients for utter happiness.


These after hours projects have a calming effect on me.  While I work on them, I mentally prepare for the next day too.  Do any of you do anything special to wind down?  I would love to know.



I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay them a visit.  Also linking up with Favorite Finish Linky Party @ Meadow Mist Designs.


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Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

Handmade Everyday Journals @ by Soma


Hello Everyone! I hope this post finds you in good health and spirits.  My email is working reliably again, which is a relief.  During the unexpected break that I had to take,  I  worked steadily on my play-list.  Today I would love to share a few tips along with a couple of prints and journals I made during the break.



Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ by Soma



A few weeks ago, my husband got me a few wonderful carving tools so I could do detail work.  After making a quick and small sample piece to learn the tools, I started on a larger carving.




Lino Print Tool Reshaping @ by Soma



That was when I realised that one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched.   That’s because I didn’t purchase the sharpening supplies in time.  Instead of throwing it away, I decided to recreate the edge of the tool.  I started grinding the tip of the tool down using our large knife sharpening stone.  Once that was done, I started reshaping 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.  Finally I found the right angle, and it clicked.  It was a long process.  I wish I had taken a few “before” photos.  Now the tool is good as new again.


Lesson learned for me and a tip for you – if you get into carving, get the sharpening tools along with your carving tools, at least a strop and a good compound.  If you use the strop regularly, your tools will stay sharp for a very long time.




Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ by Soma



After reshaping the tool, I got to carving.  Because lino blocks are completely grey, it is sometimes hard to see the already carved lines.  I applied a layer of ink to the surface of the lino block before drawing or transferring the design.  On the above photo, I could easily tell what the carved block looked like due to the black ink I applied to the surface beforehand.


Carving Pro Tip – Apply ink to the surface of the lino block before carving.  That way you can see the carved lines much easier and avoid mistakes.




Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Northern California Wildflowers Lino Print @ by Soma



I forgot to take photos during the printing process.  I often get carried away, and only remember after I have finished printing.  With this one, I tested different kinds of paper.




Lino print on Japanese rice paper @ by Soma



I was also curious to see what prints would look like on Japanese rice paper.  So,  I pulled a couple of prints on that too.



Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –




While I like the crisp prints I get on the heavy paper, I fell in love with the prints on the rice paper.  The texture of the paper gives the print a beautiful organic look.  I love the way the blue looks on it.





Handmade Everyday Journals with Sailing After The Storm Lino Print @ by Soma



I also printed an old block that I had carved a while back.  I went the traditional route of black and white print for this one and could not be happier.




Handmade Everyday Journals @ by Soma




These prints made perfect covers for the Everyday Journals I started making.  I use them for note taking and light sketching.    It took a few trials before I got the binding and the look just the way I wanted it.  

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the detail photos –



Purchase Journals


I am smitten by the little Fairy Lantern wildflowers that dot the spring landscape here in northern California and the little fluttering butterflies that hover around them.  Now I get to see this print of the flowers every time I use my journal.



A little about the books –


Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –




As you know, I am really persnickety about paper.   I use high quality paper which is great for pencil, pen, and ink, as well as being very well suited for my fountain pens.

The pages have a subtle printed dot grid.  That way they are not intrusive, and I can use the journals for both drawing and writing.

Unlike other books on the market, these are NOT stapled. They are hand stitched using strong thread and have a reinforced spine for stability. 

The stitches are also not visible on the spine. They are hidden using my special method of binding.

My logo is on the back for authenticity.



Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –



Purchase Journals


I also made a set of  Sailing After The Storm Everyday Journals.  Visiting a marina and watching the sailboats always fills me with childlike happiness.  I am glad that this print is now a  journal cover too.



At 5.5″ x 7.5″,  these journals are the perfect size to carry around everywhere.   I use them for all kinds of notes such as gardening, travel, nature, or anything else. Specially with the dot grid printed pages, I can even use them for bullet journaling and calendar planning.

The journals are now available in my shopAs usual, you get the exact journals that I make for myself.   This way, I can share the joy of using traditionally-made journals filled with wonderful paper with you.  


A NOTE – I love writing code ( software engineer by trade ).   During the break, I added “My Account” and “Wishlist” to the shop.  You can now create an account to keep track of all of your orders and save items to your wishlist.



Handmade Everyday Journals @ by Soma



Many thanks to all of you who not only purchased journals from my shop, but also wrote back with happy words about how much you love the handmade journals.  You encouraged me to move forward and continue to create.

These are the first two journals I made, both of which are already in use by myself and my husband.  I hope you like the journals as much as I do and that you can use the carving tips I shared.  Let me know which colour and/or print is your favourite.   What would you use an Everyday Journal for?

Until next time,


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



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