Blog

Embroidery, Updates

Embroidery Festivities

I realized it’s been some time since I’ve posted anything from the Embroidery Department.  I didn’t want you think I had been neglecting it, as that certainly has not been the case.  In fact, I’ve been quite busy in preparation for the Annual Starving Artist Fair in San Antonio hosted by the Little Church of La Villita.

I start preparing for this two-day event the first of the year.  I have restocked my inventory of “I Heart Texas” Towels from the Christmas rush (thanks to the Austin 360 article) I am beginning to stock “Yellow Rose of Texas” Towels as well.  This year, I am excited to announce a new design of “Our Lady Guadalupe.” I’m envisioning this towel will come to life with vibrant colors.

It’s funny… I don’t think the majority of people realize all the work that goes into just one towel. People only think about the time it takes to stitch the design, which can sometimes take hours on its’ own.  I wash and dry all my towels before I embroider them, then there is time to create the patterns, transfer the design to the towel, stitching them, then washing, drying, and ironing again… It takes hours, even days to make just one towel. That is why hand embroidery is considered a lost art.

I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoy the time it takes to produce one of these works of art.  Enjoyment through every stitch.  I will have the “Our Lady of Guadalupe” will be in the shop soon! Keep a look out… of course, I’ll probably post a blog when she’s ready.

Canning, Fermenting, Food

Fermentation Fridays

Welcome to Fermentation Fridays.  I’ve decided I have gotten so into making fermented things that I want to make this a regular Friday post for the foreseeable future.  Not to mention there seems to be some interest in it, especially after my last post.  So, you can join me in the fermenting process not to mention enjoy watching the successes and failures as I learn.

Sauerkraut

It’s not everyones favorite way to eat cabbage.  I know it took me sometime to enjoy sauerkraut after years of my West Texas German Grandmothers cooking.  I won’t go into detail but it’s been a decade and I can finally enjoy purple cabbage. In honor of the German side of my family, I’d like to introduce to you: The Zesty German.

Before getting started, I highly recommend having some sort of Fermentation Crock on hand.  Whether you buy one, this is the one I have, make one which you can find plenty of videos on YouTube, or use multiple 32 ounce Mason Jars with the Ziplock-bag method.

The Zesty German

This is not for the faint of heart.  There is enough garlic in this recipe to cure whatever ails you. If you’re scared of garlic or have a first date anytime within a week, you can definitely cut back on the garlic.

  • 5-6 pounds of green cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 TBSP caraway seeds
  • 1 TBSP red pepper chili flakes

*Important: make sure that everything is as clean as possible from the vegetables to utensils and containers*

  1. Slice cabbage in thin chunks.  How you prefer your sauerkraut is up to you. If you like it in a small diced format or perhaps long and thin strips (which is how I like mine).
  2. In small batches, mix salt and cabbage and let salt begin to draw the water out of the cabbage and transfer to the fermentation crock. Then continue to massage and mix the salt/cabbage. Juices will begin to release.
  3. If you have whey from your previous sauerkraut mixture, go ahead and add a tablespoon.  If you don’t… don’t worry!
  4. Mix in smashed/minced garlic, caraway seeds, and chili flakes making sure to massage all items together.
  5. Use weight to make sure the cabbage mix is condensed and covered fully by liquid.
  6. Cover your container and set in a cool, dark place for 7-14 days.  (I always go with ten).

Note:  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Cards, Fermenting, Mixed Media, Story

How Romantic…

While we’re still technically in January, February is pretty much here.  I would have forgotten that means Valentine’s Day if I hadn’t treated myself to a getaway weekend in Belton, TX.  Belton, Texas you might ask?  It doesn’t really have too much going for it except their big convention center.  Why would I go there? Well, I’m delighted to announce that I bought tickets to go to the Annual Mother Earth News Fair. It is a collection of workshops and lectures for homesteaders and farmers.

I am beyond excited.  I have been checking in on speakers almost daily to see who has been added to the list.  Last year, I learned so much like how to start successfully fermenting things, which you can see I’ve been putting to good use by my last blog post.

So how is this romantic? Well, technically it’s not, but I absolutely love learning about homesteading, soil care, chicken raising, bee keeping, mushroom growing and more. Getting back to the point though…

Valentine’s Day! It’s something I’ve never been too keen on whether I’m romantically involved or not, but I get pretty excited about this little fruit and veg Valentine’s Day cards either way! You can take a look at the shop for more!

Canning, DIY, Fermenting, Food, Uncategorized

The Gift of Sauerkraut

I don’t know if I took a moment to brag at all, but I must have been a good girl for 2019 because I got some pretty awesome gifts. One of which was a fermentation pot.  While some of you may crinkle your nose at the thought of anything fermented… you’ll find me over here doing a little dance dreaming of all the fermented goodies I’m about to hunker down and make.

Since it had been about six years since I had made sauerkraut I started off with a basic, I mean basic, sauerkraut recipe for my first batch. Cabbage and salt.  Let me tell you, while simple, this batch was a-bubble-ing during the fermentation process! Whoo! Think of all those probiotics!

I’ve already started my second batch, which will be appropriately named “The Zesty German.” The Zesty German contains cabbage, caraway seeds, red chili flakes, and garlic… lots and lots of garlic.  In fact, my kitchen smells of sweet fermenting garlic and I can’t help but giggle with giddiness every time I open that particular cabinet.

I’m already planning my next batch that will contain purple cabbage and beets! Stay tuned for recipes in the next sauerkraut blog!

Before & After, custom, DIY, furniture

Raising the Bar

Raising the bar… or at least, trying to.  It’s been a little bit of a nutty week over here and I feel like I can’t quite seem to bounce back from last week.  Why am I so flustered? Well, my truck got broken into, laptop stolen and much more. As someone that lives out of her laptop between blogs, marketing, social media, editing pictures, etc. it’s been a little bit of a whirlwind with changing passwords, locking screens, and calling all sorts of agencies from banks to the IRS and everything in between.

With all the craziness, I’ve been trying to focus on the things that matter.  A laptop and window can be replaced. While the majority of my pictures and documents were online or backed up, some of the most recent work wasn’t. Therefore, I’ve just been focusing on creating new things to share. Some of the images that I can’t get back are the high resolution pictures of this new bar I refinished.  I think the iPhone pictures will work for now though.

This little bar cart was a curbside find by it’s current owner.  It was in need of some serious structural work, before receiving a light sand and a coat of paint. After the repairs were made, the first coat of paint was applied only to discover Home Depot mixed me the wrong color! Now, knowing that there is no return policy on paint, I decided to improvise and mix what paints I had in the shop instead.  I ended up with a cool charcoal grey coated with an ebony stain.  A much better fit rather than the vibrant navy that had been first applied.  The hardware was upgraded and she was ready to return home!

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DIY, Food, Recipes

Roasted Red Carrots & Onions

Ok, so my last post was “I’m not doing any resolutions this year” but that doesn’t mean I’m not eating healthy over here! I thought it was time to share a delightful, healthy, and easy recipe for you to try this New Year. I will keep my intro short as I am coming to find, reading a thesis in order to get to a recipe is…. Annoying! 

Roasted Red Carrots & Onions

  • 1 bunch JBG red carrots, cut lengthwise 
  • 1 red onion, sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (I use avocado oil, but olive oil works)
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (2 to roast, 1 after)
  • Salt pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons JBG parsley, minced
  • Pomegranate seeds for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven at 425ºF
  2. Toss carrots, onions, oil, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in a baking sheet
  3. Place in the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes or until onions began to caramelize, mark sure to toss halfway through 
  4. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  5. Garnish with parsley and pomegranate seeds
  6. Enjoy!

Note: I highly recommend using a high-quality balsamic vinegar.  It makes all the difference in the world as far as flavor. 

If you want to try more delicious recipes, go ahead and check out my cookbook

Book of the Month, Story, Updates

Goals vs. Resolutions

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result involving intention setting, planning, preparing, and taking realistic action.

New Year, new goals, and, of course, new resolutions. Have any of you already given up? Usually, by this point, my resolutions have been cast to the wind. This year, I’m trying something new… no resolutions. I’m not going to try and eat better or lose weight or save money, basically, tell myself I’m going to all these things and then be upset six months later that I haven’t done it. So, I will tell you the changes I’ve already made in what I’m doing and plans my goals by the end of the month. 

Change 1

I sit at a desk for the majority of my week, whether it’s for my own business or someone else’s. I’ve already begun making a more concerted effort to hit 10K steps a day. I know it’s what you’re supposed to be doing, but I haven’t. In the first five days of 2020, I lost three pounds without trying. 

Change 2

This one I didn’t even mean to happen, but it has.  I’ve started reading more. That’s right, halfway through January and I’ve already completed two books. I feel engaged, my brain is working, and more importantly, I feel inspired. 

Change 3

Reinvesting in my dreams. Sounds strange, right? As someone that sells jams, embroidered towels and refinished furniture, you’d think I’d be pretty invested with these time-intensive labors of love. Well, I am certainly invested. But, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and with 2019, I did exactly that. 

Since the start of 2020, I have been actively, and I mean very actively, taking the time to make sure that everything that I do outside of my work for other people is specifically geared towards made by laura lee and its, and my, future. From consciously asking myself, “Does this get me closer to my goal?” Or “Is this worth the time and energy of investing in?”  Let me tell you, the last couple of weeks have been very different. 

Now, while I’m not rolling in the dough just yet, I believe the small monthly goals I have set for my business over the next 12-months will get me there. My goals are quantitative and insanely, type-A specific. I’ve learned that this type of specificity is crucial in accomplishing goals. With that, I’m looking forward to sharing the journey with you this next year. 

Let’s go get ‘em!

custom, furniture

Home Decor & the New Year

Happy New Year! 

I sincerely hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and rang in the New Year surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones.  I, myself, had a very quiet holiday and spent it with friends and their family. It was filled with cooking, of course, and a little bit more lazy time than I typically allow myself.  2020 is here though and chomping at the bit so it’s back to “work”.  

Besides cooking up a storm and experimenting with new recipes, I’ve been getting a little more time in my shop these past few weeks. While the cooler weather doesn’t necessarily agree with my fingers, some of the pieces that I’ve been completing have got me, let’s say, starry-eyed. 

Request for a Galaxy Desk

One of my favorite things about doing custom work is the challenge. It gets my brain going in a different way. When this client approached me about a desk, I was over the moon. She set her parameters: purple and if you can make it galaxy-themed that would be great.  Admittedly, a galaxy themed desk wasn’t something I had done before but with a little inventiveness, I think this Facebook Marketplace find that was scuffed up, drab brown, and some minor structural damage is now sturdy, smooth, and a touch over the top.  A desk this glam needed a chair to match so I grabbed one from my overstock of chairs and threw some paint and velvet on it… BIG BANG! 

 

Midnight Blue Chair

As I previously mentioned, I have an overstock of chairs in the shop.  It’s one of those items that people gift to me to refinish and flip. This particular chair I decided to refinish and give back to the owner this holiday season. Knowing their favorite color was blue made it pretty easy.  These chairs are American-made and hard to come by. Oddly enough, it’s the second one to come through my shop.  While this one had some chew marks on the legs from a puppy, I chose to sand it down and keep the blemishes as I thought it added character and it’s something for the owner to chuckle at. After, I painted it a deep blue, applied a walnut stain to the exposed wood, and finished it with wax. 

If you’re in the Austin area and have a piece of furniture in need of some TLC, don’t hesitate to contact me! I’d love to help.

Brand, Canning, DIY, Mixed Media, Recipes, Updates

Pickles & Press

What a whirlwind of a week it’s been… Well, I guess almost two since my last post! I’ve since been an embroidery machine as made by laura lee was featured in the Austin 360 (by the Austin American Statesman) Holiday Foodie Gift Guide! This is the biggest bit of press that my little handmade business and blog has received yet.

In between embroidering Texas Towels, I took breaks by baking banana bread and pecan pie as well as whipping a quick batch of refrigerator pickles. I love having pickles around as a cool, crips snack or a great addition to a cheese plate or sandwich.  Here’s a quick and easy recipe for you!  Oh yea, these are a little zingy!

Quick Zingy Fridge Pickles

  • 2 32-ounce mason jars
  • 3 cups of cider vinegar
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cucumbers, washed & sliced
  • 6-10 small sweet peppers, washes, quartered, and seeds removed (you can use bell peppers instead)
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons pickling spice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Version 2

  1. Clean and prep cucumbers, peppers, onions, and garlic
  2. Stuff clean mason jars with cucumbers, peppers, and onions
  3. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, water, garlic, salt, sugar, and spices then bring to a boil
  4. When vinegar mixture has come to a rolling boil, place mason jars in the sink and pour the mixture into mason jars
  5. Place lids on the jars and wipe down outside of any spills
  6. While cooling, place jars on a towel on the counter (towel acts as a buffer so the hot glass does not cool too quickly and shatter). Leave jars out until room temperature
  7. Place jars in the fridge.  Pickles will be ready in a day or two
  8. Enjoy!

 

Uncategorized

Cyber Monday = Cookbook Sale

cyber mondayThank you to everyone that shopped this weekend in honor of Small Business Saturday! I’m delighted that I’ve got my first few online orders and even some custom orders for the holiday!

That being said, I wanted to join the cool kid and let you know I’m offering a 50% off sale for a download of my digital cookbook – laura lee’s kitchen. If you’ve been interested, now is the time! As my mom would say…”Five dollars, no hollers!”