A Little Hideaway and a New Shop

by Stefani on 20-May-2013

Hello there friends! Has it really been 3 months since I posted last? I know I’ve said it all before, but I’m certain, absolutely certain, that time is speeding up.

Anyhow, how’ve you been?

It’s been an eventful three months here. My eldest took his first solo airplane trip to… are you sitting down?…. Japan. He had a life-altering kind of adventure. We haven’t even begun to weed through all of the stories and photos, but you can read a little bit about his experience here.

We’ve also been working hard to alter the color of our thumbs from deathly black to greeeeeeen! We put in several raised beds, read up and dug in. As of now, we’ve got honest to goodness green tomatoes, baby peppers, teeny tiny little beans and itty bitty little zucchini. So far so good!

Studio Garden

Our next endeavor is to put up some netting to keep out the pesky birds and squirrels. For the first time ever, dare I say it, I’m thinking we might actually get to eat vegetables that we grew ourselves!

green juliet tomatoes

Can you believe it? I’ve been dreaming up all sorts of salsas and sauces to use up the mountains and mountains of tomatoes that we’ll achieve (fingers firmly crossed). This weekend though, we discovered Green BLTs at the 290 Cafe… fried green tomatoes, bacon, lettuce, and avocado on Texas Toast. Holy. Heavens they’re tasty! I intend to make more of those and add some peppers into the mix!

Just behind the garden you can see something else that is somewhat new and very dear to me. My very own little hideaway.

Years ago, that building was my father-n-law’s wood shop. As a kid, my husband helped him build it. Then after we bought the house as young marrieds it became a kind of dude hang out spot. Years later it was my husband’s office, then an RC helicopter shop. And now? It is a cottage studio all for me. I firmly believe that it is this building’s best incarnation yet. A place to draw and dream, listen to music or enjoy the quiet, read and create and just be. For this hermit of a girl (hermitess?) it is a blessing of the highest order. It was all my sweet Mr. Blue Yonder’s idea. That man is good to me. Truly.

I do love my men, my treasures, more than anything, but solitude and quiet, cleanliness and space? Well they do make those things rarities.

Having my own studio space gives me the  chance to drift between two worlds – the beautiful, raucous chaos of living alongside my band of merry men, and the still, pretty, pleasures of a peaceful cottage tucked away among the flowers.

I am blessed indeed.

Studio Desk


I even got a “haint blue” ceiling.  In my opinion, every good southern girl should have a haint blue ceiling in her life!

Markers in Sugar Mold

All that new, clean, pretty space has lead to many many blissful minutes (okay, hours) spent putting those markers to good use.

Healing Garden Chicken OtomiStefani Austin Illustrations 1 Stefani Austin Illustrations 2

If you are so inclined, you can visit my shop on Etsy and take a gander. There are currently only a few little listings, but as with our garden, I have high hopes that good things will continue to spring up there.

To borrow a phrase from the incomparable Garrison Keillor, “Be well. Do good work. Stay in touch!”

Kez May 21, 2013 at 6:50 am

Wow, your son’s trip looks amazing! And I LOVE your hide-away – I could do with one like that myself 🙂

Lisa Clarke May 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Ooh, Stefani, I am so jealous of your little cottage! Long have I dreamed of a hideaway like that – someplace to decorate entirely as I want to, and to keep all of my creative supplies handy. Enjoy it!

Heather May 21, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Love your green! That garden looks great; I keep trying here in Arizona. Not an easy task. And your new studio – Wooo Hooo!

Catherine June 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm

It’s nice to have a Room of Your Own especially when your life is running full of testosterone. Your garden is beautiful. I’m going to try canning salsa this summer – with tomatoes from a farm down the road – my yard sits in semi-shade so no tomatoes.

BTW, with your encouragement, I learned to bake bread-it gave my brain and my hands something in lieu of hovering while my youngest battled her homework!

I’m glad you are writing in this space!

Susan June 29, 2013 at 11:04 pm

I’m a little slow to the mark here with your last post. But such loveliness all around! What a wonderful treat to have your own space to retreat to… may you have many wonderful inspiring hours in there.

Kristin July 29, 2013 at 11:01 am


Great stuff happening at at Blue Yonder Ranch! Love your Etsy shop. Shared it on FB. Neat for you to have a lovely working space like that. How cool for your son to go to Japan too.

Ansley August 12, 2013 at 8:52 am

what a beautiful room you have created! and your art is just fab!
please continue….want more!

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