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.
(*these little birds are available as a print in my shop, here)
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.
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.
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.
(These geometric butterflies are available as a print in my Etsy shop, here)
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.
Out come the steaming bowls of thyme.
And again, I daydream about the granny I’ll become one day. The sort with an ever-green garden of magical healing things.
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.
An original drawing by Stefani Austin, available as a print here.
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.
“Apothecary” – an original illustration, available as a print in my Etsy shop
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.
Bare trees giving up all their secrets – little hollows and woodpeckers and nests that were once hidden.
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.
*this little house in the Winter Woods is available as a print in my shop.
Things carted home in pockets.
It’s a habit.
It can’t be helped.
I think it started with crystal pebbles on the playground in kindergarten.
I’m 40 now and I still can’t pass a feather or a pretty rock or a leaf by.
Now you know.
*this piece is available as a print in my shop.