Garden, Story, Updates

Mother Earth News Recap

Good morning, happy Monday! I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend.  I’m slowly on the mend, just feeling really running down, but at least my cough has subsided.  As I’m coming back around to feeling better, I realized I hadn’t shared too much about the Mother Earth News Conference that I was so excited about.

While Belton isn’t exactly a the thriving metropolis that you dream about spending a weekend away in, it sure had it’s gems. Saturday morning before the conference, we discovered a charming little coffee shop, Arusha Coffee, where we spent the bulk of time caffeinating when not at the conference.  Ample time was also spent day dreaming about future homestead plans, the idea for another new book, and more.

I digress…. the conference though was fun and educational.  Not all the speakers were as captivating as others, here are the highlights:

Texas Food Laws – there has been a major update on some of the Texas Cottage Laws for food makers like myself and I am happy to announce that I will be able to start selling some of my fermented goodies very soon.

Homestead Air B&B – while I don’t have a homestead geared up for a bed and breakfast, it’s nice to know that there are easy options out there when I am ready to go.

Other workshops and lectures I attended were Ladies in Homesteading, Growing Mushrooms, Homesteading Laws in Texas, Gardening in Small Spaces, and Companion Gardening, just to name a few. I’m looking forward to next years conference already!

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!

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!

Story, Updates

The Shop Is Open

IMG_2745Good morning, beautiful people! Despite being kept up later than expected, I was awake before the 5:15 am alarm came ringing.  I’m one cup of coffee in and I am just waiting for the sun to come up so I can get my day going!  I’m eagerly awaiting to load up my truck with bags of food to drive to a quaint little house in the woods in Canyon Lake, Texas. A little house where you cannot see any signs of a neighbor and the only thing that will give us away is the cloud of smoke billowing from the smoker that is about to make our beautifully smoked turkey tomorrow.

Embroidery-4That being said, there is still some work to be done in between baking pies and buttermilk rolls today.  In fact, last night I feverishly updated my online shop with embroidered goods and gift sets!  The furniture shopping page is still in the works as I figure out shipping, which may take some time! But I’m delighted with the first steps.  It hasn’t been easy getting all these things aligned and it’s taken much longer than anticipated.  I’ve been holding off getting the online shop up and going because I wanted to wait until it was absolutely perfect, but a year has passed and I’m still waiting.  Therefore, it was time to bite the bullet and get the shop launched.

So please, if you have a moment, take a look, perhaps get some ideas for your holiday shopping.  Also, remember to get any custom orders in by December 1 and you will receive 10% off!  You can get your ideas to me by contacting me here.

I’m so thankful for your continued support. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Gift of Giving Guide-4

 

 

 

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

 

Brand, Embroidery, Recipes, Story, Updates

Good Things Are Happening

IMG_1552
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.

 

 

 

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!

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.

 

 

Before & After, Story

Finding Balance

I’ve been sitting at my computer for the last thirty minutes surfing the internet, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

“Geez, there is something I need to be doing right now, but I can’t remember what it is.”

I know I have lots of work I need to do: updating menus, creating how-to guides, itineraries, checklists, blah, blah, blah.  I realize, now, thumbing through the pages of the web, that I need to take care of me.  I haven’t written something for me, you, a post in general, in weeks.  In fact, it’s been so long that I don’t really even care to check.

Don’t get me wrong, a promotion at work is always a good thing.  I’m thrilled to be working with wonderful people (I cannot stress that enough), a boss that cares about her business, employees, and that trusts me to do the right thing, and of course, a raise.  The thing that sucks me in the most is I have the opportunity to make a difference, like my furniture projects, I will leave it better than I found it.  The drawback is that I go head first with such gusto that I lose myself.

The not sleeping has started, my craft projects are collecting dust, my guitar.. ha!  I haven’t touched it since my last show.  Let me say this first: I am not complaining about work.  Nope. Not here.  What I am expressing is my disappointment with myself.  There needs to be balance: if I’m going to polish of a pint of ice cream, I need to do some yoga the next day; if I’m going to stay up late doing god knows what, I need to make sure I rest up somewhere; and if I’m going to throw myself into work 7 days a week, I need to schedule some time for me.

This initial workload will dissipate, but I can’t burn out before then.  I’ve been down this road before (flashbacks of working a 8-7/6 days a week in a windowless office, come to mind). Today marks the day that I will refocus and start balancing.  Okay, maybe not today as I am taking a break from steam cleaning the carpet in my apartment, but tomorrow.  Yes, tomorrow.  I have my music, my furniture, my embroidery, and more.  Thanks for listening and reading and your support.

Music, Story

From the Threshold

FullSizeRenderSpring is here and it perfumes the air. The hauntingly beautiful voice of Raina Rose fills the room from the tiny speakers of my Mac Desktop, the faint sound of milk foam popping as the bubbles settle into my coffee, the mist floating from the clouds to the treetops, the birds chirping, the humidity hanging in the air like a lovers arms that are holding you captive in bed, thankfully it’s still cool enough you don’t want to break away, just yet. A battle of the bands that seduces the senses that all seem to meet at the threshold of my apartment and the outside world.

My home is a private place.  Although, my apartment, for the most part, is always set for company, but rarely does it see any.  My front door is always open when I am home.  No one ever comes to it, but this week, maybe it was the Spring air, or time giving a little push, something changed.

My neighbor, Jack, has been feeding a stray cat for about six months.  He started out skittish, never allowing anyone near him, even Jack. I’ve tried to coax him closer to no avail.  These last few days, his little heart has softened.  Earlier this week, I was in my kitchen doing dishes and I went to my bedroom to grab something and there he was, sitting there as if to say, “Can I help you?” A couple days later, he sat on the threshold of my open front door and watched me as I tidied up my living room.  Yesterday, he came in and sat just on the inside of my door and listened to me practicing a lullaby for a gig I have next week.  He listened contently, ears perked, posture straight.  When I was finished he lowered his head, as if to nod in a approval, before he left in search of other adventures.

“Cat” has started a new trend.  Outside my door, I have an old wooden cart that holds my balcony garden.  If my door is not open, “Cat” will climb up on this cart and stand on the potted plants.  His head comes just above the window sill.  He bats on the screen with his paw until I give him notice.

It’s just a cat, but I eagerly await our next encounter.  Perhaps I am a cat lady in the making or he’s a symbol of good things to come.  Either way Spring always brings new life, new meaning, just waiting to blossom.