Little Stories – Holiday Happenings

California Redwoods National Park - photo by Soma Acharya



Hi Everyone!!  A very fond welcome to all my new and old visitors.  I have had quite an eventful winter break.  On two occasions, my husband and I first drove down to Southern California and then also to the north.  Apart from being outside and travelling, I have also been busy in my little atelier with sorting out projects, planning, painting, book binding, etc.   I LOVE to bake, so I have been playing with recipes too.  I have one to share with you today along with my other holiday happenings!



Katsushika Hokusai Fuji woodblock print - photo by Soma Acharya



This year I swapped out my snowshoes and outdoor boots with my city boots.  I was all set to go to the Eastern Sierra to play in the snow.  Then I found out at the last minute that Bowers Museum in Anaheim is hosting an exhibit of an extensive collection of  Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock prints from the British Museum.  As a block printer myself, I could not pass up the chance to see these original prints up close.  Needless to say, it was an incredible visit and it happened to be on my birthday weekend.



Japanese ink Kakimori and Shikori Miruai - photo by Soma Acharya



Afterwards we visited a few book shops and stationary stores there.   I got several incredibly beautiful Japanese inks for my birthday from my husband.  I love the simple joy of playing with these inks and writing Japanese with a brush.   I am excited about using these inks for both writing with fountain pens and for drawing.



Juki Sewing Machine - photo by Soma Acharya



I recently got a new sewing machine.  To familiarize myself with the new machine, I started making something that is nothing fancy but very special – blankets for my kitties who love to sleep on them.   I “quilt” them with wavy lines.




Bobcat quilt pattern - by Soma Acharya

 I made this bobcat pattern for a school mascot as a custom order


I used to design paper piecing quilt patterns.  For non quilters, it is a type of pattern that enables me to create almost any picture with fabric, like this bobcat.   The challenge in writing these patterns is that every sewing line (seam) has to be a straight line.  The curves are all made of straight lines.  I start with drawing the picture and then start drawing lines where the seams will go.  Figuring out the way each piece connects to another is like creating a puzzle.

You can see my currently available patterns in my shop.   I took a break from designing patterns, but I am excited to say that during this break I started working on a new one.  I will share as soon as it is ready.



Compass Mariner's Star quilt pattern - by Soma Acharya



During the holidays, Rebecca Magee shared photos with me of this beautiful quilt she made.



Compass Mariner's Star quilt pattern - by Soma Acharya



She used my Compass Needle pattern for the stars in the middle.  Isn’t the quilt gorgeous?!! 




Truman Fruitcake recipe - photo by Soma Acharya



Due to severe food allergies, I can’t have store-bought fruit cakes and I am not really very fond of alcohol-steeped desert.  I recently happened on a recipe from the President Truman household that was posted by the National Park Service.  I made a few modifications to fit our taste and we really love it.

I am sharing both the original and my modified version with my notes.  I posted the recipe on this page all on its own so you can bookmark it directly.   I hope you like it.



California Redwoods National Park - photo by Soma Acharya



I usually make a “official” end to my winter break with a visit to the majestic Redwood forests along the California coast.   It is a very contemplative time for me.  I took this photo from the car one morning.   Not the best photo technically, but I love the atmosphere.



Redwood cone ink drawing - by Soma Acharya

Purchase handmade journals


At home, I finished a long-awaited drawing of the redwood cones collected from my own backyard in my nature journal which I made.


These are just a few things from my winter break.  I have so much more to share with you, from both my atelier and my  travels.  Thank you so much for continuing to visit me.   It is great to see familiar as well as new “faces” here.

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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Wandering Camera – Muir Woods

Muir Woods | Whims And Fancies



This Wandering Camera started with an innocuous conversation that turned into a morning excursion.  A few weeks back, my husband and I went to get haircuts during a cold and wet morning.  The lady who cuts my hair is usually very quiet.  However, the weather outside got us talking about Muir Woods.  She had visited Muir Woods recently after a rainstorm and loved how the forest transformed into a wet and misty place.



Muir Woods | Whims And Fancies



I am one of those few people who love winter.  When we lived in southern California, we used to come up to San Francisco during the winter months to enjoy the crisp and cold, wet and windy weather, often visiting Muir Woods as well.  Sadly, even though we live so much closer to it now, we haven’t gone there once since we moved up here to northern California.  After having that chat with her though, it was inevitable that we visit.



Muir Woods | Whims And Fancies



I would have loved to photograph the forest after the rain, but I happily settled for an early morning cloud layer before the sun broke through it.  Muir Woods is about a 70-mile drive from our place.  So, to get an early start, we woke up while it was still dark outside.



Muir Woods | Whims And Fancies



The place was exactly as we remembered it.  I even recognised a couple of the mighty coastal redwood trees by the markings on their trunks from our visits all those years ago.



Muir Woods | Whims And Fancies



Even though the redwoods dominate this landscape, we saw many other plants growing in the forest under the shade of the tall trees.



Muir Woods | Whims And Fancies



After a couple of hours, the sun was high enough to come through the forest foliage.  Only a few rays could penetrate the thick canopy of leaves high above us.



Muir Woods | Whims And Fancies



I love how dramatic the fall leaves look against the dark background of the redwood trees.



Muir Woods | Whims And Fancies



As the sun continued to rise, some of the early morning magic started to dissipate, so we decided to head back.



Downpour Rain Painting | Whims And Fancies

Downpour – a marker and colour-pencils drawing


Although we didn’t get to walk in the rain, it was still wonderful to visit the forest.  We had a fabulous downpour last week and it is continuing into this week.  Both my husband and I love to walk in rain and snow, they make us ecstatically happy.  We will be revisiting Muir Woods very soon, this time hopefully wearing our wet-weather clothing.


I will be going into my winter hiatus soon to enjoy my favourite season, so there won’t be a Wandering Camera next month.  We will resume again in January.


Camera And Photography Linky Party | Whims And Fancies


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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