The Traveling Homebody

SwedenIs there such a thing as a homebody who loves to travel?

I like to be home. I’m content here in my world. My things, my people, my rules. I smile when I want, talk when I want, say what I want, wear what I want. I am me, fully, and completely, and without any veneer of polite civility when I am home.

I like it that way.

Oh sure, I enjoy myself when we go out for dinner, or attend our regular weekly classes. I’m sincerely happy to run into old friends at church. I like to say hello to Ray, and Floramene, my favorite checkers at the grocery. All in all though, I’d rather be home.

Unless, that is, you’re talking about going farther than the 10 mile radius that makes up my usual public domain.

If it involves a long highway, or better yet taxing down a runway…

If it means a complete change of scenery and perhaps even language, then I am in. Fully in.

San Antonio? Yes, but let’s go further…

 

San Antonio

Hawaii? Oh much beloved, pink palace, yes. Or… further…

 

Royal Hawaiian

London? With your old architecture and double decker buses and history and tea and “mind the gap” bellowing from the underground PA system. Yes! Now we’re talking. Or perhaps… further still…

 

London

 

Sweden. Oh Stockholm with all of the above plus a whole different language, water at the end of every street, the scent of waffles in the air and oh, just every little thing the same, but different.

StockhholmStockholm 2

 

Or maybe Tokyo. Or Kyoto. I could get lost there and be so happy.

KyotoEach of these places I have known and loved. In each one, I felt most assuredly at home in a way that I do not only 5 miles down the road. What is that? What is it, that makes this hermit’s heart fill with wanderlust? I don’t know.

I suppose it has something to do with being a woman who was once a little girl  who preferred  her room to just about anywhere else. She only wanted to sit on her bed for hours and hours – home, yes, but far away in the pages of a book.

There is a kind of adventuresome aloneness  in being far away.

Something to think about.

While I’m thinking, and until I manage to put another stamp in my passport, I will be home as much as possible, but also imagining new worlds with pen and ink.

 

Tiny Green HouseFlower Shop Close upEm's City(this little work in progress is a drawing is for my best friend, Emily. She has a new office in which she diligently works each day at paying the people who build buildings. I thought she needed some pretty ones to look at when her eyes get tired of numbers)

 

Birds and Winter Weeds

Bird and Winter Weed Doodles

 

Doodling birds and winter weeds today because those are the prettiest things around right about now. They’re both so full of anticipation for spring, don’t you think? All those little seedy things just waiting for growing, waiting to turn from gnarled brown bits to vibrant green and blossoms? All those little birds fattening up and beginning to think about love and nesting and such. We’re on the brink.

Winter Weeds  Winter Seed Pods House Finches  Birds on a Wire colorful birds copy

(*these little birds are available as a print in my shop, here)

Contained

I’ve always had a thing for containers.

Flowers in Bottles McCoy

Jars. Pots. Vases. Bowls.

As a little girl my great grandmother, my Momo, used to send me to the tub with empty butter containers, spice jars, cups and spoons, and I’d happily sit, filling, swirling, stirring, pouring until I was well and truly pruned and the water was frigid.

I don’t know what it is about putting stuff in containers, but I haven’t grown out of it, and I don’t intend to.

McCoy Red McCoy Blue McCoy Yellow McCoy Green

(*these collections of containers are available in my shop as prints individually here: turquoise, jade, poppy, and sunflower, or as a set of four, here. )

Winged Things

When my boys were small, we had kind of a thing for butterflies and moths.

We planted plants with the specific intention that they be eaten by bugs. We learned Latin names. We  foraged old fished tanks from Goodwill to serve as nurseries for caterpillars. We even joined a butterfly and moth society comprised almost entirely of retired men and… us.

Butterfly Jar Monarch Chrysalis

We set up tents in the backyard and in them  held experiments to find out which color flower our newly hatched butterflies preferred. We looked at wings under microscopes. We learned to stretch and preserve specimens.

Luna Collected

My boys are bigger now. They’ve got friends, and sports and reading lists and papers to write. Places to go. People to see. We don’t have the time to chase winged things that we once had.

But we remember. We remember watching new wet wings dry. We remember the awe, and it lives in us still. Maybe one day, one day soon, we’ll dust off those nets again and run through fields.

Until then, we’ll dream, and draw and paint and carve winged things. Yes.

Carving Wings Painting Butterflies Block printing wings Geometric Butterflies

(These geometric butterflies are available as a print in my Etsy shop, here)

Healing Garden

It’s that time of year.

When the wind shifts, and the skies clear, and the air warms, and the birds sing and… the cedar trees reduce us all to coughing, aching, eye-watering, sniveling wretches.

Blerg.

Out come the steaming bowls of thyme.

Thyme Tent

And again, I daydream about the granny I’ll become one day. The sort with an ever-green garden of magical healing things.

Honeysuckle.

honeysuckle

Lavender.

 

 

lavender

 

And… well, that’s all I’ve managed to grow thus far.

But that’s cool. I’ve got some time until I’m a granny. I’ve got some time to figure out how to grow all the things that nourish and heal.

For now, thyme, lavender, honeysuckle and… Nyquil.

Healing Garden

An original drawing by Stefani Austin, available as a print here.

Apothecary

There is a little drawing on my wall, and a dusty container of lye in my garage, and both are telling me it’s been far too long since we’ve made soap.

Spring is coming, friends.

It’s time for the hippy in me to make a flower crown and get her soap on, yo.

It’s time for some calendula and honey, some basil and lemon, some goggles and rubber gloves.

Oh yes it is.

making soapcutting soap  carefully cutting soapapothecary in progressbreakfast and the apothecary

apothecary 2

“Apothecary” – an original illustration, available as a print in my Etsy shop

Outside Inside

 

 

zinnias

There’s just something about fresh flowers in the house, isn’t there?

Every now and again, I tell myself that I should do that more – pick a few along my walk, buy a bunch at the grocery store.

Because really, what day isn’t made better with flowers?

 

daisies and coneflowers

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not real thrilled about the end of winter.

I love winter I do, with all it’s cozy, sitting by the fire, baking, layers of blankets gloriousness.

And yes, I do love spring too. Open windows, bare feet, pie and fiddle music.

It’s just that here, spring lasts about two days before it’s hotter than seven kinds of hell for way too dang long.

Sigh.

Here it comes.

roses and lavendar

I think I’ll buy some flowers today. I think I’ll draw some flowers today. I think I’ll make spring last just as long as I can.

Because really, what season isn’t made better by flowers?

Kitchen Window

(This piece, Kitchen Window, is available as a print in my shop here)

Hello Postcard

 

A Little House In A Field of Flowers

Sunflower close up country roads

I live in the suburbs.

That used to really bother me. I longed for land, an orchard, a barn, woods in which to ramble, soil in which to plant.

It’s not my season for that. My boys ride bikes to their friends’ houses, to the movies, to get an ice cream. Their music lessons are nearby. Their classes and scout group and church functions aren’t far. Their lives are full, rich. Their lives are here, in the middle of it all. The suburbs aren’t all bad.

And me? I have my little cottage studio. I have a front row seat to boyhood. I’ve got coffee shops and books store and the nearness of my own friends.

Still, sometimes my heart longs for a little yellow house surrounded by fields of flowers.

One day, maybe.

sunflower studio

Country House

 

*to see more of this little house and order a print, visit my Etsy shop here.

Winter Woods

I think winter is my very favorite time for rambling in the woods.

The woods are simplified in winter. Everything is stripped away – everything but the lovely bones of what remains.

horsemint wafer ash cocleburs

Still.

Quiet.

No snakes!

Bare trees giving up all their secrets – little hollows and woodpeckers and nests that were once hidden.

winter curiosities

If I had my way, I’d have a little winter cabin in which to hibernate. A little cabin for sleeping and cooking, reading and dreaming, drawing and writing. A little cabin where there is always something simmering on the stove, always a fire in the fireplace, always the love of someone dear.

Yes.

LIttle House in the Winter Woods*this little house in the Winter Woods is available as a print in my shop.