Blog

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.

IMG_2086

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.

img_0351.jpg

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!

 

Food, Recipes

Sneak Peak: Cookbook Recipe

Good morning.

I’m currently sitting here at my antique kitchen table, cup of coffee tucked next to my lap top, with a picturesque view of the countryside.  The birds are chirping, the dogs are snoring, and I, admittedly, am still waking up.  The sun seems to be a little slow to shine this morning as well.

While the coffee is surging into my bloodstream, I recall my last post where I promised a little bit of a teaser to the cookbook that I am writing.  With well over 75 recipes, I had a difficult time choosing just one to share with you.  Below, I think you will find an appropriate recipe for these Texas winter months.

Wilted Bacon Fennel Salad

Fennel.  I had never really had fennel before I started working for a local farm here in Austin.  I’m not a huge fan of anything licorice, but fennel with the right flavor combinations can transform itself into a spectacular little touch to the right dish.  Fennel is currently in season along with citrus and kale so this salad is the perfect fresh addition to spruce up any winter table setting. 

  • Wilted Bacon Kale Salad2 bulbs fennel, 1/4 inch thick, sliced.  1 inch or less length
  • 1 pound applewood smoked bacon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1.5 oranges diced
  • Juice from half of an orange
  • 1 tablespoon Cider vinegar
  • 2 table spoon agave
  • Salt pepper to taste

 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Chop off ends fennel, leaving bulb and the heartier ends of the stalks.  Remove the outer shell of the fennel bulbs and cut in half.  Slice fennel into 1/4 inch thick slices. 
  • Cut 1 pound of bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.  (just use kitchen scissors, it’ll save you any aggravation of cutting with a knife and you can cut a couple pieces at a time)
  • In a baking sheet, mix bacon and fennel making sure to break up the fennel and bacon. 
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until bacon is cooked and fennel is browned.
  • While bacon/fennel mixture is cooking, course chop kale and put in a large bowl. 
  • Zest one orange, after zesting dice up 1.5 oranges.   Squeeze the juice from the remaining half of the orange onto the kale. 
  • Add vinegar and agave into the bowl.  Toss and massage the liquids into the kale.  
  • Remove the fennel and bacon from the oven and strain the excess bacon fat from tray.  
  • While still warm, mix the fennel and bacon with the kale and dressing. The heat from will wilt the kale slightly. 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Bon apetit!

*Note: It’s no secret, at least I don’t think, that I love bacon.  This recipe does call for a pound, which can seem a little, how do you say? Overboard?  If your arteries clog at the thought, use less! You do you.

**Note: This recipe does not keep well as left overs, not that there ever is when I make it for friends.

 

Before & After, Uncategorized, Updates

I’m Back. Really.

img_1369Really.  To say that I’ve been a little quiet may in fact be the biggest understatement since my last blog post and should cover the understatement bases for the remainder of 2019.   I have come back to life.  In fact, Life is kind of what got in the way.  So much has changed since my last post, I don’t even know where to begin. Rather than recapping and rehashing the last year or so, what I will focus on are the things that have recently taken place to get me back on track.

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

I have found my tribe.  I have teamed up with some amazing people to help push me forward, grow, learn… and learn things that I really needed to know to help grow laura lee… like that online store, a better website, etc.  It’ll be a slow process to build, but I’ll get there.  Despite sometimes what I think, I can’t do everything by myself.  This team is the A-Team.

New Home… New Homestead

To wrap up 2018… I moved.  I left my adorable little apartment that I’ve called home for five years and completely uprooted myself to a little home in the country.  I’m surrounded by hundreds of acres of rolling hills, cows, pastures, some trees, and John Deere tractors.  I’m greeted by the wagging tales of dogs every morning and coffee already brewed.  (*note: we have not trained the dogs to make coffee yet) I will start prepping my garden beds this week so that I can start growing my own produce for my canned goods!

More Updates:

  • I have not forgotten about Kickstarter Incentives. I have learned that I signed myself up for too complicated of incentives, which is taking me much longer to fill. My sincerest apologies… thank you for your patience.
  • I’m still working on the cookbook.  I will post a teaser soon.
  • I now live on the same property as my furniture shop, you can expect to see more updates about that once I finish unpacking boxes.
  • I’ve fallen in love, despite my greatest attempt not to.
  • I am working on a new line of embroidery goods.
  • There are workshops/classes being planned.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for a made by laura lee Youtube channel coming soon.

If any of ya’ll are still reading my humble little blog… thank you.  It’s good to be back.  I appreciate you.

Uncategorized

Laura Lee Online Concert Series

You asked and I am here to deliver!  Laura Lee in an Online Concert Series.  While I wish I could drop everything and go on tour for all of you on the West Coast and in the Northeast…. I can’t do that at the moment.  www.geodun.com

Online Concert Series Dates

  • Thursday, October 5th – 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM (Central Time)
  • Tuesday, October 10th – 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM (Central Time)
  • Tuesday, October 17th – 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM (Central Time)
  • Tuesday, October 24th – 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM (Central Time)

(If I get a large amount of feedback about a different time or day, I’m happy to switch a few up)

As some of you may know I’ve been dealing with some medical issues and bills for a little while now. Just when I thought I was in the clear and made the jump to self employment, mother nature had some different plans.
I will be hosting online shows once a week with a digital tip jar to help see if I can’t lessen the stress of some the medical bills that have been and will be coming in.
I feel as if I have already asked for enough help with the recent Kickstarter that I held back in May for my business, which I have no intention of paying my medical bills with, because that wouldn’t be a responsible use of that money. Folks have urged me to host a GoFund me but I feel as I don’t have the energy to be aggressive trying to make it successful when I need to be taking care of myself.
I love to sing. I love to play. I would like to sing and play for you. There are very few things that make me happy and carefree as singing does.
Let me be clear, a donation to the tip jar is not required to participate in the show. The more that participate, the merrier.
Thank you all for the support. In fact, it’s because of you I’m even brave enough to throw these mini fundraisers. Without it, I’d be sitting here stressing which only makes things worse. Thank you. All of my love.

To Donate:

 CLICK HERE