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.

 

 

Winter Warmth

Old York street light with Sennelier watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

Lately, my head has been full of plans for the future and a growing list of things to accomplish, matched only by my lackluster state of mind.  A few months ago, I took a photo of a street light while exploring the old city of York, and have wanted to paint this ever since.

On Tuesday, as I finally made myself put the paint-loaded brush to paper, the ease came back.  Painting the weathered stones and the walls was quite cathartic, and the warm light became the proverbial beacon.

 

Thank You for keeping me going with your lovely supportive words and personal emails sharing memories evoked by my work.

 

 

Tule Elk at Point Reyes | Whims And Fancies

 

More photos from Pt. Reyes on A Day At The Sea Post

 

A few weeks ago we went back to Point Reyes National Seashore.  On our way back, we came across these Tule elks grazing right by the roadside. They were introduced back after their extirpation from this region in the 1850s.  Warms my heart to see them back in their natural habitat.

 

 

Tule elks at Point Reyes | Whims And Fancies

 

Last rays of the setting sun

 

Harvest Hat Knitting Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

I made a pair of mitts for my friend Kris before.  It was about time I made this matching hat for her.  This hat, along with a few other things made it out there on Monday.  She loves it and said the hat snuggles her ears too.  Perfect!

 

 

Lego Harry Potter Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

About the quilt in the Playing In The Rain post

 

I was happy to finish my Patronus quilt in July.  This Lego Harry Potter quilt is now keeping me warm during the winter nights.  I love reading my book snuggled under it with a mug of hot chocolate made lovingly by my husband.

 

Whims And Fancies patterns have raised a wonderful sum of approximately $1400 through different fundraisers this year.  That sum does not include the money I donated/will donate from the pattern sales.  Thank You so much for donating and purchasing the patterns.

 

 

Yosemite | Whims And Fancies

 

Yosemite And I – A post about why I love it there so much

 
We haven’t had much rain or snow here this year.  Instead, our beautiful California has been burning from north to south.  Snow-covered landscape has been scarce this year, as has the winter rain.

 

Colonial House quilt pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

Post about a holiday in Kings Canyon inspired wall hanging

Pattern on Craftsy and Etsy

 

That photo I took of Yosemite reminded me of sitting by a large stone fireplace, sipping on a warm drink after a wonderful day out in the snow.  The parks here have common rooms with warm fires in large stone fireplaces.  We will not be going to the Sierra mountains this year, but that won’t stop me dreaming of my favourite place.

 

 

Black And White Sewing | Whims And Fancies

 

 

At home, looking out of the window at the bare trees and at the bookshelves beside the window gave me an idea for a small sewing project.

 

The time has come for my holiday hibernation away from the computer.  This year with everything that has been going on, I will need this time to gather myself more than ever.  Time to bask in the warmth that old man winter brings to me.  This comes in the guise of admiring my favourite star clusters during the long winter nights,  and walks wearing my favourite woolens during the days. 

Inside the home, long hours of video game playing with my husband has become a tradition.  I love to paint in the soft winter sunlight.  Ink and paper adventures await me, along with the prospect of a warm beverage, fireside and kitty cuddles. 

 

Happy Holidays, everyone!  I wish you a warm and safe holiday season full of wonder and magic!

-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  They are great for inspiration, please pay a visit to some of them.

 

Sketchbook – October 2017

Sketchbook 2017 - Nigel The Orange Cat | Whims And Fancies

 

Meet Mr. Nigel Forsythe Castleton, proprietor of the Lost Pages Bookstore.  Owing to the bookstore being in a very old stone building, it is very drafty and cold, even on the warmest of days.  Mr. Castleton loves nothing more than to spend his days in the bookstore, but the poor thing is always very cold even though he is made of wool.  Luckily, the bookstore has a wonderfully big fireplace, where he keeps the fire going at all times.  He pours himself a glass of ginger wine and sits by the fireplace, perusing those lost pages.

 

He is my first foray into making knitted toys.  I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the pattern I originally started following, since it has mistakes.  I ended up making most of Nigel on my own.  He was such a relaxing thing to make.

Since Mr. Castleton loves that fire in his fireplace so much, he makes me think of winter.  Just in time too.  I am linking up with Winter Project Linky Party hosted by Jennifer at Thistlebear.

Of course, me being me, I had to make a cat and promptly give him a story.  Lost Pages was the very first painting in this little sketchbook, the last 5 pages of which I get to share with you today.

 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Alien Planet Painting Derwent Metallic Watercolour Pencils & Winsor Newton ink | Whims And Fancies

 

Alien World

 

A very Technicolor alien world.  Nothing in this world is shy about its use of colour.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Elemental Doorway Painting Sennelier Caput Mortuum Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

Elemental Doorway

 

The Ancients of this world used a type of white element for their ‘ironwork’ on wood with Caput Mortuum stain.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Steampunk Fleur De Lis Painting Marker & Winsor Newton Ink | Whims And Fancies

 

Steampunk Fleur de Lis

 

This steam-powered golden Fleur de Lis is floating through time and space.  I love the challenge of figuring out how a steampunk mechanism might work. 

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Lavender Field Painting Derwent Pastel Pencils | Whims And Fancies

 

Lavender Field

 

The stone farmhouse not only has a lovely view, but the heady aroma of lavender makes it an even more inviting place.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Solar Eclipse Nebulosity Schmincke Horadam Ivory Black Watercolour | Whims And Fancies

 

Eclipse Nebulosity

 

I wanted the sense of nebulosity of the solar corona extending into the background space, as if space itself is made of a black nebula that, like the solar corona, is only visible during an eclipse.

 

Photographing the eclipse was a special event for me, and I had to make this one my last painting in this sketchbook.  You can follow our journey to capture the solar eclipse on this post.

 

Sketchbook 2017 - Stillman & Birn Sketchbooks | Whims And Fancies

 

I am exclusively using Stillman And Birn Beta sketchbooks for these little paintings.  I love to see the side of a finished sketchbook, with its wavy pages and colours peeking out.  I have already started on my next sketchbook, and I can’t wait to see what journey awaits me in that one.

 

Previous Sketchbook Pages

June 2017

July 2017

 

 

Charlie’s Adventure – A little Halloween story

 

Much to my horror and surprise, I completely missed the mark on Halloween this year.  It was not until a cute little Winnie The Pooh rang the doorbell that I remembered why.  Good thing I wasn’t without candy!

Charlie and the rest us hope you had a good All Hallows Eve, whether or not you celebrate Halloween!

 

-Soma

 

I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page. Please pay a visit to some of them, they are a lot of fun!

 

Yorkshire Skies

Yorkshire Skies | Whims And Fancies

 

There really is no doubting that the Yorkshire countryside is a beautiful place.   The hills, valleys, limestone cliffs, heather and waterfalls make for a very tranquil setting.  For me, being in the north and the remoteness of the places adds another sense of enigma to Yorkshire.  Last year, during our roadtrip through England, we spent a few days in Yorkshire, visiting the countryside that I dreamt of so often.

Many months ago I got a beautiful skein of yarn very aptly named Yorkshire Skies.  I just had to make a pair of mitts with it before we visited Yorkshire.

 

Hermione hat and mittens with Yorkshire Skies Yarn | Whims And Fancies

 

I was looking for a pattern that would show off the yarn, and came across Hermione’s Fingerless Gloves on Ravelry.   I managed to finish knitting the mittens the night before our flight.  I was so determined to wear them in Yorkshire that I finished weaving in the stray yarn during the one-hour travel time to the airport. 

Once we were back, I noticed I had enough yarn left to make a matching hat.  The hat pattern was written for worsted weight yarn.  Since I was using smaller size knitting needles for my fingering weight yarn, I added two extra cables to my hat.  That resulted in just 1 extra stitch at the end after the decreasing was done.  It was a tad big for my head, but one run through the dryer in low heat setting made it just the perfect size for me.

 

Malham Cove Yorkshire | Whims And Fancies

 

View from Malham Cove in late summer

 

Malham Cove Yorkshire | Whims And Fancies

 

Malham Cove in late winter

 

As we peregrinated the streets and countryside of Yorkshire, I was smiling happily while wearing my mittens.  My husband and I fell in love with Yorkshire so much that I planned our next England roadtrip earlier this year fully around Yorkshire with a few added days in Derbyshire.  I took both of these photos from Malham Cove, one of my favourite hikes.

 

Whitby Sea with Winsor Newton Waterbased Oil | Whims And Fancies

 

Sunset At Whitby

Of course, very soon after our return I had to paint a picture of the beautiful skies we saw in Yorkshire.  This was my first time playing with oil, and I could not have picked a better subject to paint.

 

Sailboat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

The painting, in turn, had me look back at a pattern I had designed a long time ago.  Sewing this block is going to be my One Monthly Goal for this month.  I know I will be thinking of the beautiful skies.

 

Yorkshire Moors Heather with acrylic | Whims And Fancies

 

I am also very sure that Yorkshire will continue to surface now and then in my paintings.  Currently I am working on this acrylic painting of heather in the Yorkshire Moors while listening to stories.

 

My Orange Maine Coon Kitty | Whims And Fancies

 

My kitty sleeps and purrs beside me, hopefully dreaming of a happy place.  I love a peaceful life.  Whenever I can get it, I enjoy it to the fullest!

 

See you next time,
-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.