Local Park in Northern California by Soma @ InkTorrents.com

Little Stories – Seedlings

Local Park at sunset in Northern California by Soma @ InkTorrents.com


Hello Everyone!  I want to welcome all visitors, both old and new, here at InkTorrents.  This is where I have been sharing a bit of my atelier and my life.   This winter break was a tough one for me, which made a longer break necessary.  I do love the company of trees and mountains, so I visited a few natural places in Northern California for recovery.   At other times, I had my head buried in a sketchbook.  I look forward to sharing the photos and artwork with you over the next few posts.



As you know, photography is a very integral part of me.  For those of you who are new here,  I took one photo of my everyday surroundings per day for a year.  These photos played a big part in my life, and I have been sharing them here every now and then.

Here is the next set of my Simple365 photos.


Simple 365 – Set 9

Please Click on the image thumbnails to see the photos and read the captions.



I created a page with all the previously shared photos from Simple365.  I continue to add photos to that page as I share them here.  That way I can relive the journey through the year via black and white photos like in an old album.



Botanical ink making by Soma @ InkTorrents.com


Every now and then I make botanical paint from things I forage from my garden. 


Wild Child

I shared the basics of botanical ink making here.



Indigo and coreopsis seedlings by Soma @ InkTorrents.com



A few years ago, I got Indigo and Coreopsis seeds for the purpose of paint making.  I collect the seeds from both plants each year and save them in little seed packets.  Last week I had a great time sitting on the patio, sowing them in tiny little pots.  These green trays are great for a plant nursery.


Much to my surprise, I saw little seedlings emerge within just a few days.  I love watching them grow and look forward to the beautiful flowers and colours they will make.



Coreopsis seeds by Soma @ InkTorrents.com


I will write up a little tutorial on how to make these cute seed packets soon, in case you want to save or share seeds from your garden.



Yosemite Valley ink sketch by Soma @ InkTorrents.com


With a very frail 19+ year-old kitty at home, we have been limiting our travels to just a couple of days at a time, mostly within California.  I often spend the last afternoon of a trip drawing in a sketchbook while my husband reads. 

Visiting Yosemite in winter is a must for me.   I did this sketch in pencil while I was at Yosemite, didn’t have a pen with me then.  I wanted to leave it as-is, but my dear husband loves inked drawings. So, later on, I used a $10 fude pen for all the lines and a white gel pen for the snow.

I look forward to showing you more drawings and telling you a bit more about this sketchbook soon.



Lino carved vines by Soma @ InkTorrents.com


With the advent of March, my outside time became very limited due to severe allergies.  Since I couldn’t be outside enjoying the fresh air and flowers,  I started sketching and then carving this block.  This will join the everyday journal wildflowers collection covers.  I am very excited about printing this one and making a book with it.


These are just a few things from my winter break.  I have so much to share with you – ideas, tools and supplies, the makes, and of course photos from my travels.

Until next time,


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


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Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com 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 @ Inktorrents.com 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 @ Inktorrents.com 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 @ Inktorrents.com 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 @ Inktorrents.com 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 @ Inktorrents.com 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 @ Inktorrents.com 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 @ Inktorrents.com 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 @ Inktorrents.com 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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