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.


56 thoughts on “Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

  • Christine October 12, 2022 at 13:03

    I make journals too but leave my stitching visible. Yours are lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  • Dixie September 10, 2022 at 07:55

    Beautiful carvings and wonderful notebooks, Soma.
    I love the rice paper Fairy Lantern print.
    Notebooks in blue, green and red are
    my favourites. BUT the one on kraft paper looks so fetching too. :)

  • Juliet (craftygreenpoet) September 6, 2022 at 06:30

    Those are both lovely designs! It’s also interesting to see how they work on different papers.

  • Angie September 1, 2022 at 21:53

    Soma – beautiful creative work. Incredible carving – the details are so intricate. Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

  • Valerie-Jael August 31, 2022 at 05:16

    Hi Soma, your prints are so pretty, and they look wonderful on your beautiful journals. I used to do a lot of lino carving, but I can’t grasp the tools properly these days. But I could make some more prints of what i have, that would be something. Have a great week, hugs, Valerie

  • Linda August 30, 2022 at 05:12

    Good morning Soma! I know I’ve already commented, but I jump at the chance to revisit your post. This time through I noticed your excellent samples of different inks and papers. You are a great teacher as well as artist.
    Thank you for sharing with us at To Do Tuesday!

  • Nikki - Notes of Life August 29, 2022 at 07:45

    These look wonderful. Great work!

  • Peabea August 28, 2022 at 10:45

    How satisfying that must be to see the end product. Beautiful.

  • Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs August 28, 2022 at 04:13

    Just wow! You are so talented Soma. These journals are stunning and the carvings are so impressive. LOVE your work! :) x

  • RachelSwirl August 27, 2022 at 10:31

    It’s been far too long since I last did Lino printing – your work is simply amazing! Thanks for sharing and for linking up with #MySundaySnapshot.

  • Sarah MumofThree World August 26, 2022 at 23:08

    Your prints look amazing and I’m very impressed by the way you managed to reshape your tool to get it working again!

  • Tammie August 26, 2022 at 18:31

    beautiful carving
    made for a beautiful print/s
    and wonderful journal covers
    so much goodness

  • Jill August 26, 2022 at 14:47

    Your work is amazing. I really enjoyed seeing your work.

    P.S/ I just realized what town you live in.
    I was very fortunate to be able to visit your town back in 2007.
    It is one of favorite memories visiting that beautiful town.

  • Raquel August 26, 2022 at 06:38

    What beautiful notebooks, very well designed! Hugs

  • Alison Hall August 25, 2022 at 08:01

    Your carvings are beautiful Soma! I love your notebooks. Thanks for the tips too.

  • Anne August 24, 2022 at 03:48

    Is there no end to your talents? I adore your notebooks what a fantastic design.

  • Divya August 24, 2022 at 00:07

    The carvings look great, Soma. It’s nice to see the textures on the carving block, too.
    I’m curious about the printing process, now. I’d love to see it. :)

  • Sallie August 23, 2022 at 14:20

    You do such beautiful work Soma!

  • Ruth August 23, 2022 at 02:04

    Your journals are beautiful! You are so talented.

  • Andrée August 22, 2022 at 13:51

    Hi Soma, your journals are gorgeous. I’ve started making little accordion books. It’s not quite as much fun as stitching, but almost :-)

  • Michelle August 22, 2022 at 11:06

    Your journals are amazing, Soma. I love the carved stamps you used to embellish the covers. Just fabulous!

  • Kim Carberry August 22, 2022 at 02:03

    Beautiful work. The carving tools sound wonderful and good idea about sharpening an old one. The prints looks fantastic.

  • Natasha Mairs August 22, 2022 at 01:10

    These are really lovely. Don’ think I could make something as good as these. #MMBC

  • NatureFootstep August 21, 2022 at 10:15

    wow this is wonderful. You must have learned very quickly how to use the tools. It looks like you have done it for years. You became a pro really quick. Amazing! :)

  • The Joyful Quilter August 21, 2022 at 06:46

    Ah! I should have known when you were re-binding your spiral notebooks that you were working on an idea for the shop. Great tip about the lino carving, Soma!

  • Lydia C. Lee August 20, 2022 at 23:34

    These are really amazing!

  • Louise (Fundy Blue) August 20, 2022 at 13:42

    Your carvings and prints are awesome, Soma! I especially like the lovely flowers. Happy creating!

  • Linda Calverley August 20, 2022 at 09:56

    Your carvings are fabulous!

  • Lavender Dreams August 20, 2022 at 07:34

    They are very beautiful and a lot of work goes into them! Very nicely done!

  • Amy Johnson August 20, 2022 at 06:44

    Wow! Incredible. You are such an amazing artist.

  • Mary August 20, 2022 at 06:17

    This was such a fascinating read, Soma. Your work is amazing, but reading the process you use is intriguing. My mind would have a hard time working in reverse so that my design would be the part that printed. I have a hard enough time keeping my knives sharpened. I can’t imagine doing the small tools. BUT……your journals are stunning. The papers are so beautiful and well planned -perfection all around.

  • Linda August 20, 2022 at 05:20

    Soma your process is fascinating. I would not have imagined I would read every word and want to ask questions. If I lived close I would want a tour of your workspace – lol! I created an account and have put a journal on my Wishlist. They are so beautiful. I think I would use it as an art journal. I used to have a simple notebook and kept all kinds of likes and loves, pictures of houses, colors, gardens. I got out of the habit. Several things I’ve read lately have nudged me to doing it again, so thank you for the reminder. :)

  • Eileen August 20, 2022 at 02:56

    Hello Soma,
    You were busy on your break, I hope your shop does well. The carving and the prints are lovely.
    I like the print on your journals, both the flower and the sailboat look wonderful.
    Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. Thank you for leaving me a comment.

  • Bill August 20, 2022 at 01:49

    Always a pleasure to read your blog and look at how you do your work. When I was an apprentice instrument maker I had to learn how to sharpen a twist drill on a grinder, needless to say it did take a few try’s to get it right. Now I retired I tend to make things with wood but to be honest I still have not got the hang of sharpening a chisel

  • riitta k August 19, 2022 at 22:56

    You have created some beautiful carvings and books. Your carving reminded me of my late aunt. as little girl I loved to see her to carve. And the printing process was oh so interesting as well.

  • Veronica Lee August 19, 2022 at 21:51

    You did a terrific job with that carving, Soma.
    Your artwork is always amazing ❤️❤️

  • Su-sieee! Mac August 19, 2022 at 19:38

    Your artwork and journals are beautiful, Soma, and inviting! I appreciate learning how you carved out your prints. You’re an amazing soul. ❤️

  • Andrea Priebe August 19, 2022 at 13:02

    I have been in many art classes, but have never had the privilege of learning to carve blocks for printing … or taking it to the next step of binding my own books. Your talents and knowledge are impressive. I will meander through your shop and look for gifts for my friends. Thank you for this wonderful exposure … I look forward to seeing more in the future.

    Andrea @ From the Sol

  • tomthebackroadstraveller August 19, 2022 at 07:32

    …simple and simply lovely.

  • Gillena Cox August 19, 2022 at 06:28

    Yes i do remember carving some and making some prints. That was a lobg time ago. Your prints are gorgeous.

    Happy Friday.
    Thanks for linking to Art For Fun Friday


  • Debbie August 19, 2022 at 06:18

    a forgotten art, one i don’t see people working on these day. we carved those blocks back in art class when i was in high school in the 70’s, that’s a lot of work. your journals are so pretty, so original…one of a kind.

    your work is gorgeous!!

  • Sue August 18, 2022 at 22:41

    Beautiful carvings and prints Soma.

  • stylefrontier August 18, 2022 at 21:14

    wow the prints turn out to be so interesting and fabulous! love the florals one

  • Connie Griffin August 18, 2022 at 18:49

    Oh wow you did a fantastic job with that carving, my hubby is good at that but me not so much, I think a lot of it is worried I will hurt myself.
    I too love texture in the papers, it is hard for me to sometimes get a good stamp on them but I do like the look of them. Good luck with your new product :)

  • Erika N August 18, 2022 at 17:38

    What beautiful prints. And you did some fantastic block carvings too. I like how you printed the images on those book covers. Hugs-Erika

  • A ShutterBug Explores August 18, 2022 at 15:52

    Your prints are divinely carved and printed ~ beautiful ~ Xo

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  • Carola Bartz August 18, 2022 at 15:40

    I remember back in high school I did a class on lino carving and really liked it. I haven’t done it ever since. The flower is so beautiful and delicate, and I love it on the rice paper. Such a wonderful combination!

  • Carol August 18, 2022 at 14:43

    I am always amazed at how talented you are.

  • Debra She Who Seeks August 18, 2022 at 14:12

    I love both those prints and especially the gorgeous clouds in the sailboat one!

  • Joanne August 18, 2022 at 13:40

    Oh, I haven’t made my own printing blocks since college and this post reminded me of how much I enjoyed that process. What a great tip about inking the block to see the carving in more detail against the background. Your prints are just lovely and I too love how it looks on the rice paper.

  • Christine August 18, 2022 at 12:58

    Wonderful work Soma, the cutting looks so intricate.

  • Kathy August 18, 2022 at 12:52

    Good afternoon, I enjoyed reading this post very much. Do you use these carvings as a stamp with ink? or do you have a printing press of some sort? I have a few blog friends that make their own carvings for stamps.
    I love both of these prints, we see sailboats once in awhile here on lake in the ozarks, Missouri, and I really love the wildflower very much. Do your journal books lie flat? can they be used with watercolors? Thanks for sharing your art with us.

    1. Kathy August 18, 2022 at 12:56

      Hi I just visited your shop and I see you have journals for watercolors thanks

      1. Kathy August 18, 2022 at 13:03

        oh and I really love the rice paper print-is that an option for a journal cover? or not strong enough thanks much

  • Susan August 18, 2022 at 10:21

    I love the flower print journals. I especially like the flower print on the rice paper. The “swirly” design in the paper goes perfectly with the flower. I am sure it would with the boat too. I would probably use one of these for writing down quotes I like or lists of books I want to read or even music motifs.

  • Karen August 18, 2022 at 05:59

    those are so pretty – I love the prints that you made for the covers and the paper with the faint dots on it. You can see all the work you put into these and it must be so relaxing for you

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