Imaginary Travels

 

 

We have been camping at my favourite campground in the High Sierra mountains for many years now because of the cooler temperatures.  Every year, I think about painting the beautiful mountains that surround the campground.  However, we always end up walking the mountain trails, playing board games, reading and perusing the night sky with my telescope instead.

 

 

 

 

Last time I was feeling too sick to paint en plein air.  So I made a quick sketch in my logbook noting down the colours.  As soon as I felt a little better at home, I finished the painting.

 

 

 

 

Since I was at home, I was tempted to use a wider palette for the painting, but I decided to stick to my travelling paintbox instead.  I wanted to familiarize myself a lot more with my travel palette and switch out colours if needed.

 

I removed the clips that holds the pans in place to be able to fit in 4 more half pans in the middle of the 8-half-pan Fome palette, making it a 12-pan palette.  With the clips missing, the pans were loose.  I glued magnets to the bottom of the pans to keep them in place.  The box is tiny, smaller than a pack of playing cards.  I love that size so much that I have 2 of them.  I got mine at Jerry’s Artarama

 

 

 

 

Since I usually travel during colder times, my palette is a bit on the broody side.  However, if needed,  I can easily mix warm, sunny colours with them as I did for this painting.  I will write a full post on my travel palette one day.

Painting the mountains was a wonderful way to be transported there all over again.

 

 

 

 

Nights are getting cooler around here and I have been knitting again.  I realised that I never showed the hat I had already made before going to Scotland earlier this year. 

I used a pattern called Winter Wish.  It includes both a chart and written instructions, which I prefer.  I added one extra pattern repeat to fit my large head (I am not joking) and a few more rows of the garter stitch rib.  I learned Brioche stitch for this hat; it turned out to be simpler than I had imagined. 

 

Youtube tutorial by Very Pink Knits for Brioche Stitch.

Youtube tutorial by The Unapologetic Knitter for Brioche In the Round.

 

 

 

 

The hat kept me toasty warm on the cold and windy days in Scotland.  I even lent it to my husband as he got sick half-way through our visit.  He liked it so much that he requested I make one for him as well.  The hat I had made for him was not quite as warm as this one.

You have heard me say, warm knits always make me think of faraway places.  Can’t wait to cast one for him.

 

I will link up on Janine’s Wool On Sundays, it has been awhile.

 

 

 

 

I made progress with the alphabet series painting.  B took a long time to think of all the details I wanted to include.  My sketchbook travels with me and I within it.  I am now ready to ink and watercolour it.  Can you guess what it is?

 

Until next time,
-Soma

 

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

 

 

Dreaming Into The Night

Astrophotography Orion Nebula in Orion Constellation | Whims And Fancies

 

 

After a long gap due to being sick, I stepped outside under the night sky last week with my telescope.  My books and the night sky were two stable things in my life as a child.  Orion was the first constellation I learned about and he promptly became my friend.  I would chat away with this imposing figure in the winter sky and that continues even now.  His visit every year gets me excited about winter.  I intended to capture starlight from the Orion Nebula before I have to say goodbye to my starry friend.

 

 

Pleiades Star Cluster | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Astrophotography is a very time-consuming process which requires taking many a photo of the same object over a long span of time.  I wrapped myself up with many layers of clothing for a long, cold night outside.  Unfortunately, the wind had plans of its own, nudging my telescope around by being overtly playful that night.  After 45 minutes and only 4 good photos, I decided to stop and continue on another night.  I spent rest of the time enjoying being outside under the stars, dreaming of being a little closer to them.

 

 

Orange Maine Coon Cat | Whims And Fancies

 

 

My husband loves to spoil this boy by feeding him extra portions of kitty food.   He was an extremely happy boy that day, full of extra food.  I gave him the Union Jack pillow, and we shared the castle quilt to stay warm together.  He purred and dreamed beside me while I knitted into the night.

 

 

Socks Knitting Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Lulled into a peaceful state with the gentle purring of my cat, it didn’t take long for me to start dreaming as well.  Ever since I was a child, I wanted to travel more than anything.  Knitting warm woolens always makes me specially dream of the North.  Basking in new travel plans in my head, I worked toward finishing my very first pair of knitted socks.  These are keeping my perpetually cold feet wonderfully warm.

 

 

Dreams Are The Touchstones Of Our Characters Thoreau - Dreaming Into The Night | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Afterwards, while flipping through an old book, I found this tucked inside.   I assumed it came with the book until I realised the rubber stamps used on this were mine!  I have no recollection of when I made this.  I suppose such is the nature of dreams.

We don’t remember all of them, but some occasionally surface to remind us to continue to dream, reach for the stars and hope for change.

-Soma

 

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

 

Walking In Warm Woolens

California Wine Country Morning Sunlit Tree Photography | Whims And Fancies

 

 

Last Wednesday morning I was up around 3:30 AM to view the lunar eclipse.  I was mostly outside until the total eclipse finished, shortly after 6:00 AM.  After being in the crisp, cold morning air for so long, I was too awake to go back to bed.  My husband was up with me.  So once the first rays of daylight started showing across the eastern sky, we put our hiking boots on and hit the trail.

 

The frosty ground was lazily lit up by the morning sun, turning it dazzling white.  As the frost slowly melted, the ground was filled with myriad sparkling diamond-bright water droplets.

 

 

California Wine Country Mustard Flowers Photography | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The yellow mustard flowers were peeking through the bare grape vines.

 

 

Menelaos Fingerless Mittens Knitting Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

 

It was cold, so I got to wear my new mitts.  I made them using the Menelaos pattern.  The pattern has the design only on the back side of the hand, but I wrapped the design around on the palm side as well. I used my own thumb technique too.  The pattern is very easy to follow and makes very cosy mitts.

 

 

Hat And Fingerless Mitts Knitting Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

 

My husband quite often drops by the local yarn store to pick up small surprises for me.  I made the Paragon Toque with the red yarn that he got for me, but there wasn’t enough to make a set of matching mitts.  He and the proprietor of the shop picked out the grey yarn for me.  I was a little sceptical at first, but I love the set now.  They kept me warm all throughout the hike.

 

 

California Wine Country Morning Fog Photography | Whims And Fancies

 

 

The valley was filled with morning fog, looking like a white sea.  This is the turning point of our hike.  Needless to say, we were extremely tired from waking up that early and after such a long hike, but…what a view!!  I love our local parks!

 

-Soma

 

Related Links –

Photos of the January 2018 Lunar Eclipse
Paragon Toque Pattern
Menelaos Mitts Pattern

 

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

 

Holiday Happiness

Sun Bow | Whims And Fancies

 

It was a very good holiday.  It started with a 4-mile run/hike in the park after quite a few foot injuries over the last 12 months.  As I stopped for a breather, I looked up and was greeted by a beautiful sun bow which I have never seen before.  Even though my latest broken toe suffered a little after the run, it felt so good to be out there under the open sky again.

 

 

Annual Book Drive At Barnes And Noble | Whims And Fancies

 

We went to the Barnes And Noble bookstore for the annual children’s book drive. We have been doing this for over a decade now.  Every year, we happily browse through the children’s section to pick out books, then purchase them at the register and leave them there to be distributed amongst disadvantaged children.  I hope these books provide them an escape like they still do for me.

 

 

Sticky Toffy Pudding Nigella Lawson | Whims And Fancies

 

Once a year, I indulge the child in me by eating my favourite dessert – sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice cream – for breakfast.  I make it using Nigella Lawson’s easy recipe with reduced sugar for the sauce.

Imagine me sitting in my pyjamas, wearing fluffy house shoes, firing up the video game console with a bowl of this on my lap. 

 

 

Artists And Craftsman Art Supply | Whims And Fancies

 

We visited the Artists And Craftsman art supply store in San Francisco.  My husband waited very patiently with me while I browsed the shop.  During this first visit, I was elated to find so many of my favourite art supplies under the same roof.  Afterwards, we walked up to one of the many cafes in the area for a fabulous lunch ending with a decadent tiramisu.

 

 

Fabric basket | Whims And Fancies

 

I received a package from Kris.  The box was packed with sweet little things, beautiful fabrics, a hand-embroidered pincushion AND this lovely basket using penguin fabric.

I often paint sitting at the dining table. It gets great afternoon light.  Now I have this lovely basket to carry all my art supplies over from my atelier to the table.

 

 

Watercolour Paint Swatches | Whims And Fancies

 

New Year’s Eve, I started making paint swatches.  Approximately 7 hours later, after watching a few of our favourite movies and having a few small drinks, I finished painting all the swatches at 3:30 AM.  I made a total of 151 cards.

 

 

 

I also played with a few design ideas for new projects.  I am using very bold, minimalist graphics for this set.

 

 

Napa Woodland Hike | Whims And Fancies

 

The holiday concluded with a long hike on Saturday, followed by a mountain trail hike for my birthday on Sunday.  I had to nurse the injured foot, but that was not going to thwart me.  I suffer from severe acrophobia.  Mountain hikes are great for facing my fear.  My camera provides the distraction and my husband is the best companion.  The trail was exceptionally quiet that day and we had an exhilarating woodland hike.

 

My pre-holiday ennui has now disappeared.  I have a number of plans for the future.  Taking that next step is always daunting, but I feel ready to face that fear.  I can’t wait to share with you these new ideas.

-Soma

 

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