Blog

Story, Updates

Cold, Coffee & Comfort

First off, let me say, is it cold enough for you? A chilly morning it is here in Texas indeed.  Flurries in the forecast? I vaguely remember leaving the brisk winters of Boston behind over a decade ago, yet here I am… Cuddled up under the covers with a cup of coffee that I can’t keep warm.

I have my morning ritual: my alarm goes off and I sleepily slide on my slippers, shuffle to the kitchen, press brew on the coffee maker, and crawl back into bed until the smell of freshly brewed coffee permeates the house.  I then shuffle back to the coffee pot to blindly concoct my morning cup, take my first sip, and then the life of the day begins.  Admittedly, I shuffle back to bed and hold my cup close to my heart and think about the day before, the day at hand, and what I want for the next.  Every. Morning.

This has been my routine for years.  I could sleep an extra hour, but I have always taken great comfort in this routine.  I’ve tried to read or to write morning pages.  It just doesn’t work.   As I sit and write this, yes, I’ve been up for three hours already, none of the other morning rituals have ever worked for me.  In fact, the agitation I feel when I try and switch it up is so immense, it’s not worth it.  This is what makes us creatures of habit.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I am sharing this with you today.  I didn’t have it on my agenda to post a blog.  I suppose part of me needed to write, to open up, as my last few weeks have been rather tumultuous and I feel great guilt as I enjoy my cup of coffee, an addiction in and of itself, while another loved one struggles with their own; perhaps I am curious to know of others morning rituals to find peace before the chaos of the day ensues, either way, it feels good to be writing.

There is something about the gusts of wind howling from the window behind me, it reminds me of the back and forth of the ocean. It will be time to suit up to head outside soon enough, but until then, I sit with the pup, down comforter, and my cup.  However, your day begins, whatever it brings you, and what you bring to the table, I hope it is everything that you dream it to be.  Thanks for your continued readership.

xoxo, 

Laura Lee

 

DIY, Food, Recipes

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate & Pistachios

A few weeks ago, I snuck up to St. Louis to spend a few days with my mom and her wonderful husband.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.  While my folks were at work, I spent my mornings reading with the sunrise and coffee and taking walks around Historic Lafayette Park.  During the day, I would catch up on some much-needed adulting I needed to do then saunter off to my mom’s plot at the community garden to collect vegetables for dinner.  One night I whipped up this eggplant dish and accompanying main of stewed tomatoes and rainbow chard… more on that to come.  For now:

Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese, Pomegranate, & PistachiosIMG_2659 2.jpeg

  • 3-4 Japanese eggplant, sliced in half the long way
  • 1 four-ounce packet of goat cheese, crumbled
  • Pomegranate seeds, half a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup of roasted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon almond oil (I skimmed the oil off of an almond butter jar)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Place sliced eggplant facedown on a lightly oiled baking sheet, place in oven and bake until tender.  About 25 minutes
  3. Remove from the oven.  Flip eggplant cut side up and lightly glaze the cut surface with almond oil and squeeze lemon across the eggplant.
  4. Top eggplant with goat cheese, pomegranate, pistachios, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste
  5. For a little extra pizazz, you can, ever so sparingly, drizzle honey on top with a little extra sea salt.

Enjoy!

Brand, Embroidery, Recipes, Story, Updates

Good Things Are Happening

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Blueberry Basil Jam & Vanilla Ice Cream (recipe & photo from laura lee’s kitchen)

It’s been a pretty exciting week around here.  Last week the laura lee’s kitchen – digital cookbook went live on the website and is now available for download.  Not only that, but I was also featured in a write up by Voyage Houston this past week as well. This was the first little bit of press that made by laura lee has ever received.  It’s pretty exciting!

Two big firsts for me!  I’ve got plenty more firsts coming later this fall as well.  I’ve feverishly been working on a new “Fall” line of embroidery that will be featured in the rolling out of the new online store! Doesn’t that sound très trendy?  Not to mention, I may or may not already be in panic mode for the holiday gift ordering season.  It’s coming, whether I’m ready or not! In fact, make sure to get your orders in.

While I sip my spiced chai, I’ll be sitting here embroidering away.  If you haven’t purchased laura lee’s kitchen – digital cookbook, you can order it here.  And if you’re unsure about the cookbook, feel free to catch up on some more Laura Lee reading here in the Voyage Houston Article.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Fall Is Here

Just looking at the calendar today, I realized that we are officially in the first days of fall.  In Texas, it means there is one more month of the heat of summer before we can start pulling out long sleeve shirts and sweaters.  Even if it is just to wear them at night.  At our little homestead, we’re prepping the beds for fall, beginning to daydream of stacking firewood for winter, and pulling seeds from our catalog.

On the made by laura lee front, I’ve been working up my own plans as well.  I have made the decision to begin phasing out of performing on a regular basis to solely focus on crafting, canning, refinishing furniture, and more.  I will be rolling out a new line next month too, just in time for Christmas shopping. While it feels too soon to even mutter those words before the Halloween decorations are put out, the holidays will be here before you know it!  There will be some major work done to the website too.

I’m excited to share with you my progress along the way.  Thank you for your continued support.  Have a great week and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

 

 

Fermenting, Recipes

Some Like It Hot

Back in February, I attended the Mother Earth News Conference where I sat in many a talk, workshops, and more.  One of the workshops I sat in on was Kristen Shockey’s of Ferment Works.  In just a short hour, Shockey covered the basics of fermenting and was also able to walk the crowd through making mustard and hot sauce. 

Since then I’ve made several batches of hot sauce and experimented with the different mustards.  In fact, in this house, I can’t make them fast enough and have to make double batches.  I’ve been tweaking them a little bit and adding more hot peppers. Because we like it hot, you know, spicy.

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Fermented Hot Sauce

  • 2 bell peppers
  • 5 habaneros (I actually use 6)
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • Mason jar
  • Blender
  • Gloves for cutting peppers
  • Make sure cutting board, mason jar, and all other equipment is clean
  • Remove stems and seeds from the peppers, and chop
  • Place all peppers and salt in the blender.  Blend until smooth
  • Pour into the mason jar.  Make sure sauce fills the jar at least 3/4 full 
  • Screw the lid on tight and store in a dark cabinet
  • Twice a day, unscrew the lid enough to let the air escape.  This is called burping.  (I literally say, “It’s time to burp the babies”)
  • You can let your hot sauce ferment anywhere from 3-14 days.  I typically ferment mine for two weeks.  

This is great on everything that you would put hot sauce on eggs, tacos, beans, and rice, etc.   

Brand, Food, Recipes

Kickstarting with the Cookbook

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 5.18.22 PMIt has now been a little over a week since I have finished the Kickstarter Cookbook.  It was definitely an undertaking and I learned a lot about myself.  I like to bite off more than I can chew, every bit of pun intended.  At first, this little cookbook was only supposed to be a little pamphlet or mini-cookbook.  Of course, I got carried away with the spectacular idea of “go big or go home.”  I began compiling over 100 recipes, photos, etc.

What was I thinking?!  After being talked off the ledge, I reigned it in and put together a reasonably sized book for the Kickstarter Incentive.  I am incredibly pleased on the final product and believe I have something worth bringing to publishers for a bigger project as well as the potential for more books down the line.

If you donated to my Kickstarter a couple years ago, please make sure to check for updates from Kickstarter.  To access the cookbook, you must check your email for the link and password for the cookbook download. The emails come from Kickstarter, not me, and are titled “Project Update: #6, etc.”. If you are having trouble accessing the link, please email me at lauraleeimhoff@gmail.com. If you’ve moved or haven’t completed the initial survey, please update your information so I can get your incentive to you.

I’m very excited to be getting these out to you so I can begin focusing on the next steps.  Thank you for your continued support!

 

Before & After, DIY, Garden

Down & Dirty

IMG_1016The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and, clearly, reorganizing my shop wasn’t enough in the getting dirty department. This past week I brought in four yards of dirt to revive what once was a kitchen garden.  

It needed a little love, but after cutting down the three-foot tall weeds, laying down cardboard, layering leaves and compost, I laid down the dirt, with a little help from the manpower on the property.  What can I say, I’m not in the shape I used to be, after hauling 3.5 yards with a shovel and wheel-borrow, I was a little tuckered out and needed to call in reinforcements.

The manpower also framed in our garden gate, restructured our compost bins, and got the worm farm constructed and operational.  

While we are not quite out of the clutches of the late winter freezes, (it was 20 degrees here two nights ago), we’re looking forward to seeing the following lovelies in the sprout for eating, canning, and more: beets, basil, carrots, collards, and rainbow chard!

 

DIY, furniture, Uncategorized

Spring Cleaning

With moving and sprucing up a new (older) home, I feel like I’ve actually been Spring Cleaning for months.  But now that Spring, however slowly, is on her way in, the real tidying up can begin.  In my last post, I mentioned the longing to be in my wood shop.  If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been lacking in the refinished furniture department quite a bit.  

My poor neglected shop had really become a storage unit while the dust settled on the home front.  And as soon as it settled, I went ahead and stirred it all up again, with the appropriate respirator, of course. 

This past weekend, I completely reorganized my shop space.  I mean, moved every piece of furniture, took out every paintbrush, went through every container of stain and paint.  I’m grateful for the pot of coffee faithfully by my side to help aid in the process. 

I said farewell to several pieces of furniture that were past salvaging, made a list of new items to join the shop, and have cataloged all the pieces I will be refinishing soon. 

I wanted to share with you what I have in store for these pieces!

Wood Chairs – Pair

These wooden chairs are in great condition.  They’ll be getting a light sanding, painted either red or more of a dark turquoise (still deciding) with a stained finish, and reupholstered with this Frida Kahlo fabric.  

Dresser

This dresser came from Germany in the 1960s.  It does have some water damage on the bottom and I will do what I can to salvage this part of it.  I’m thinking of painting with a dark grey and having these fabulous leather wrapped brass pulls from Anthropologie for the outer handles. 

Dresser

Coffee Table

Someone gifted me this coffee table a while back.  I’ve been so intimidated by the veneer, but I think I have found a solution.  Inspired by the painted benches at Fresa’s Restaurant on South First in Austin.

 

Chairs- Set of 6

I posted these chairs way back when.  They have beautiful yet simple carved designs in the back.  I wanted to stay true to the originals on these.  I’ve begun staining them a little darker than how they came to me.  I’m planning on refinishing the seats in a plush velvet, perhaps turquoise.

 

1916 Vanity 

This little beauty needs a lot of work.  Removing the original paint is a beast of an undertaking, and the mirror frames need a lot of work too.  I have every intent on keeping the original glass, despite its age and blemishes.  I’ve started painting it pink.  That’s not too much, right?

China Cabinet 

I’m not going to lie, I wish I had space for this piece myself.  I am planning on painting it a light grey with a walnut stain and keeping the legs with the original wood and, of course, getting glass in the door.

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If any pieces speak to you, let me know. I’d love to find a home for these gems and make more room for neglected pieces to come in for love and a spruce. 

Contact me at lauralee@madebylauralee.com

Garden, Story

Spring Is On Its Way

Spring in Texas has its ups and downs.  This year has proven to be no exception.  With 90 degree weather this past Friday to 32 degrees two nights later, there is really no way to know what to expect.  I don’t envy the weatherman’s job right about now, I’m sure he’s receiving hate mail.

The animals are all feisty with the cold weather and the poor plants don’t know what to do.  Every time the sun comes out, they jump at the chance to bloom, only to retreat the following day.  I, myself, am getting a little cabin fever.  While I love a roaring fire in our living room, I’m itching to plant seeds, prep space for the chickens, and work in my wood shop. 

In the Northeast, there were always sure-fire signs that Spring was really on the way.  While Groundhog Day was always a charming notion, however unreliable, my Father always said when the crocus and iris are in bloom, Spring is just around the corner.  

You can imagine my excitement and, admittedly, an overwhelming sense of relief to see the white iris blossoming outside our little farmhouse this past weekend.  Not only a white flag from Winter, but the solid green light and invitation from Spring to finally start prepping the beds for planting.  

Happy Spring, ya’ll!  She’s just about here!

Embroidery, Updates

Like A Boss

Back when I managed Opa Coffee & Wine Bar, I had my bad ass team, who no matter how tired, how hungover, how whatever they could be, showed up through thick and thin and owned it like a boss.  I’ve always seemed to surround myself with badasses.  In the music scene, the craft community, and, now, in my very own home, badasses.  I’m lucky to know such amazing people.

Every now and then though, in the midst of working two part time jobs, renovating rooms, building gardens, vacuuming up after three dogs, doing dishes, and building a business, feeling like I can’t keep up is definitely a cloud that follows me around.  Sometimes, we can’t do it all.  Sometimes, we can.

I always opt for the later of the two previous statements.  I can do it all. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting everything on hold, taking a nap, and regrouping.  Other times, it’s just powering through.  This week, I took a little time to embroider.  There is nothing like stopping to stitch “#girlboss” for a couple of hours…. talk about meditating on your intention. IMG_0972.jpg

We all need to take time to tell ourselves that we are a boss.  We can keep persisting.  We can follow and live our dreams.  With that, I hope you take time today remind yourself of the same.  The girl boss in me bows to the girl boss in you.  Have a great day!