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


Update – I have updated the journals to be landscape format.  The design is much better displayed this way.  The size is 5.0″ x 7.5″.

I also made a set of  Summer Sailboat 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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Wolf watercolour painting @ by Soma

Wandering Camera – Curiosity and Creativity

Wolf watercolour painting @ by Soma


Hi Everyone! I needed to take a break last week, so I moved Wandering Camera to this week. This month the photos are a mixed bag. I took a few photos of the lunar eclipse through a telescope. The Girl and Her Cat are continuing their adventures in the north while I continue to work in my atelier.



Lunar Eclipse May 2022 Photos @ by Soma


I had intended to use my telescope for the lunar eclipse, so I got everything set up the night before.  The forecast had also called for clear skies, so I thought I was all set.  Then the not-so-proverbial clouds rolled in the next day.  Nevertheless, we decided to spend the evening in the garden and hope for the best. 

Time went by and then, very suddenly, my husband spotted the moon.  I have been watching and photographing lunar eclipses for a while now, and this one was particularly dark.  We could barely see it.  Even a thin layer of cloud made it completely invisible.  It came out  just long enough for me to take this photo of totality, then it went into hiding behind the clouds again.  



Lunar Eclipse May 2022 Photos @ by Soma


I almost gave up hope of  seeing the exit which I find most interesting.   However,  just when the exit started, the clouds parted to reveal a crystal clear moon.    During the entry and exit phases, Earth’s Ozone layer scatters red light.  It also lets through some blue light which is otherwise filtered out by the atmosphere.  The blue band along with Earth’s shadow cast over the moon are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

I am looking forward to spending a lot more time under the stars, browsing the sky with my telescope.  I love the blend of curiosity and creativity they evoke in me.


I have been keeping a very short ( no more than 5-7 items) play-list to stay focused and fulfill my curiosity.  I like calling it a play-list instead of a to-do list because I much prefer a playground over a classroom.  This certainly was at the top of that list.



Block Printing


Fairy Lanterns Northern California Yellow Wildflower Art @ by Soma


Getting acquainted with the new tools my husband got for me on a small piece before I start working on a large project.  I couldn’t pass up a chance of taking a b&w photo before starting on the large project.



Fairy Lanterns Northern California Yellow Wildflower Art @ by Soma


The large one is almost finished.  I will share more of my process and something very special next week.



Distant Pages


In the meantime The Girl and Her Cat have ventured further into the stories of the north.   This blue book of paintings was inspired by my love of all things north, specially mythology and stories.

Please click on the image thumbnails to see the pictures and read about their wanderings –




The Shepherd


Wolf watercolour painting @ by Soma


I would have loved to hear the stories of ancient voyages the shepherd is telling them, but those stories are for their ears only.


Not only did my husband and I have a week of anxiety (it’s all fine now), but lately there is also nothing but grimness everywhere.   I needed a break to curl in within my own world that only resides in my head.  I do hope these posts give you some joy.  I am looking forward to sharing more creative and curious adventures with you soon.


I look forward to seeing your photos and reading about them.


Wandering Camera art and photo linky party @ by Soma Acharya


Wandering Camera starts on the last Thursday of every month.  Photos, art and creative-themed posts, including other linky parties are all welcome.

You can continue to link up multiple posts.  

Please add a link back to this website. 

Have fun!!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

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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