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

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!

 

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!

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

Before & After, DIY, furniture, Uncategorized

Chair SALE


Chair Sale. That’s right, I said SALE. I’ve never had to have a studio sale but my workspace is flooded with one off chairs. These babies have yet to be refinished. I will finish them to your liking. You can buy one or two or all six. (One chair, Chair 6, is already refinished.)
I’m desperate to make space for some bigger pieces that are needing to be refinished but I can’t do it with these lovelies taking up valuable space.
I will be selling these babies for $50 a piece.
Contact me ASAP to let me know what chair you’d like and how you’d like it. lauralee@madebylauralee.com

DIY, Uncategorized

“Do Your Homework”

FullSizeRender“Do your homework,” words I dreaded back in high school.  They were words I lived by in college.  Almost ten years later, I am dusting them off along with other skills from academia for my next venture. That being said, I am a planner.  Anyone that I work with or am super close to could tell you that.  I plan out my week down to the hour.  It sounds a little OCD or Type A, but it’s the only way I can work 50 hours a week and start my own business.

Yes, I said it…. Start my own business. The cat is out of the bag.

I’ve learned over the last few months that I could make money selling my crafts as a hobby, but I am sure that I can make a living if I put forth more effort.  While I am not planning on turning in my two weeks to my employer, whom I love dearly, anytime soon;  I am in the “doing my homework” phase, planning, and spreading the word.

I never thought that spreading the word would be so valuable, but it is amazing the amount of people that have come out of the woodwork to share their experiences and offer their help.  I’m so grateful for the overwhelming support I’ve received in the last two weeks.  I know it’s only going to get better, plus my creative juices are flowing more than ever and I just want to create.  If only there were a few more hours in the day!

Updates since last week:

  1. madebylauralee.wordpress is now madebylauralee.com
  2. I will be hearing from my lovely graphic designer this week with what I hope to be a logo!
  3. I have started my extensive crafting schedule for the next two months for the Starving Artist Craft Fair in San Antonio.
  4. I have acquired two “new” pieces for refinishing.

I cannot articulate my excitement  for these new projects and what lays ahead.  Thank you for your support!

DIY, furniture, Story, Uncategorized

One, Six, The Year of Legit

IMG_3459Yes, this year, 2016, is going to be my year of becoming just a little bit more legit. I really don’t care that it sounds corny.  I’m making things happen.

I have high hopes for the next twelve months.  Some of these dreams I’m hesitant to share, mainly because I’m afraid that someone will try and talk me out of them or, if they don’t happen by December 31st at midnight, that I will feel like a complete and utter failure.

So… Let’s talk about what has happened since the ringing in of the New Year.

  1. I have moved my work into an artist studio so that I have a place to start refinishing furniture.
  2. I have met with a graphic designer who is going to help me with a logo, branding, and advertisements.
  3. I have received an overwhelming amount of support, interest, new clients, and donated or inexpensive, high quality furniture to start building an inventory.
  4. I have sent in an application to the biggest craft fair in my craft fair attending history for April 2-3 in San Antonio.
  5. I am in the works of landing my first whole sale account for my handmade wares.

12495224_10208666719885058_7315349647363472479_nNot bad for only being 18 days into the New Year, right? I’m so excited.  So excited.  I’m proud of what I am doing too.  I have a lot to learn… like bookkeeping, accounting, writing a business plan. All that fun stuff… It’s a little overwhelming too, but in a healthy way.  It’s comforting knowing I’m getting closer to something I really, really want. It’s going to be an adventure and I hope you’ll enjoy my updates: good, bad, and the crafty.

 

 

DIY, Mixed Media, Uncategorized

Austin’s Got Talent Part 1

It’s true.  Although, it’s not like I need to be the one to tell ya’ll that.  I think a more specific statement that I am trying to make is… “Daaaaaamn, my friends are bad ass.”

Let me back up just a little bit.  This past Friday, I met with my friend, Lisa.  This girl takes the cake on just about everything: musician, networking, event planning, starting up her own venue, kicking off a new publication, and pedi-cabbing, just to name a few.  After forty minutes of shooting the shit (as they say) we can put together an event with a side of fundraising in less than twenty minutes.  (link is here) Feeling motivated from our pow-wow and my overwhelmingly successful craft fair on Saturday, I have been determined to continue with my own bad-assery.  In fact, I am taking on a lot this week as I am excited to say that I have to restock my entire inventory before my next event, which brings me to….. details on that.

I will be one of the many female vendors participating in the Hysteria ‘Zine Release Party. What is Hysteria ‘Zine?  Well, let me explain.  Lisa, the rad friend I was telling you about, she has put together a publication, or in this case ‘zine, to provide a safe platform to present stories, art, articles, etc from a female perspective. The release party is going to be a huge event!  Woman supporting one another, coming together to express themselves, their views, and share their work.  Seriously, I can’t wait… but for now I’ll have to because I have to get back to crafting for the event!

I hope to see you there!