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Out of My Comfort Zone

What have you done to get out of your comfort zone?  Going out on a Friday night (when you much rather be at home in your pjs eating pizza and drinking wine by yourself)?  Making the first move?  Skydiving?

Well, for me…. it’s something pretty crazy: Asking for help.

Sounds easy, right?

Wrong.

This is absolutely soul crushing for me.  I’ve always been able to take on anything: folding laundry, doing dishes, vacuuming for an entire household all at age twelve, doing the jobs of three different positions throughout my career while only getting paid for one, working 60 hours a week with a debilitating illness. Now at thirty years old, I’m getting over it.  I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and I am asking for help.  It is absolutely terrifying.

What’s all the build up?  What am I asking for?  Short answer: your money.  Long answer: I would like your help in helping me grow made by laura lee not just as a blog but as a brand and as a business.  Help me be the next Martha Stewart, minus the felony. Check out the Kickstarter video!  It’s beautiful and I am so proud.  I hope you will be just as proud as me to be apart of it.

HELP MADE BY LAURA LEE GROW!

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Furniture for the Fight: April

Furniture for the Fight! Yea!  With every month that passes I am more and more excited about this project.  The entire month of April in this little project has been carved out for Earth Day.  The environment and our planet is so precious.  It’s the only one we’ve got.  So that being said, I have the following transformation below dedicated to Earth Justice.

A little backstory….

I went to the giant garage sale held at the Palmer Event’s Center here in Austin.  It was hosted by a local church and was overwhelmingly large.  It took me thirty minutes alone just to go through the furniture section of the sale.  I spotted this beauty right away.  I flagged down there nearest attendant and settled up.  I felt like she had so much personality that was just being masked by the plain wood finish.  She got loaded up in my truck and got taken to the studio.

I gave her a light sanding and applied a moss green milk paint, distressed the paint, and applied a clear wax finish. My favorite part was replacing the old hardware with the beautiful pink knobs from Anthropologie.

Seriously, I want to keep this piece, which is how I feel more and more as I keep refinishing pieces. Please, my 650 sp. ft. apartment is starting to look more and more like a furniture and home decor store!  Again, a percentage of the proceeds will go to Earth Justice!  Email me if you are interested (lauralee@madebylauralee.com)

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Furniture for the Fight: March

March is Women’s History Month.  It wasn’t always a whole month.  It started off as a day (March 8th), it then turned to a week, and then, thanks to Jimmy Carter in ’87, we got a month.  Way to go, ladies! After the recent election, I think some of us were thinking a lot more about women’s rights and equality.  (Side note: it’s hard not to get a little political on this, I apologize.)  I think Hilary Clinton opened our eyes to what we are able to accomplish.  If it wasn’t what she has done, there was something that resounded in me within her concession speech.  More on that in a moment.  Another thing I was particularly drawn to was her consistent attire color choice.  Ok, ok, I know it sounds crazy, but she always was selective on the color of her pantsuit.  Colors have meaning.  White and purple are the colors of the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Pair that with this quote from her concession speech,

“And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

This quote gets me every time.  It got me thinking.  I know what I go through every day regarding self-doubt, fear of not achieving my goals, etc.  We cannot pass this on to future generations.  So, my contribution for Furniture for the Fight this month is this dresser.  A percentage of the proceeds will go to Running Start.  An organization that helps young girls to become leaders.

A little back story:

This dresser was donated to me by a super rad lady friend.  She is always the first to stand up and be vocal on behalf of all women and minorities, call her representatives, and, overall, just a bad ass babe. That being said, I knew this piece already had some good juju.  In order to get to the core of that juju though, I had to use a little elbow grease and sand down the already peeling finish.  This piece had a little structual work that needed to be done so I made sure get the joints strong again, fill in some wholes, put in some extra braces.  After, I painted her, in honor of women’s suffrage, antique white.  I applied walnut wax finish and buffed it off to give it an antique finish.  I applied Danish oil to the inside of the drawers to give the wood a natural golden glow.  I then replaced the traditional drawer pulls with mercury gold knobs and line the drawer with white and gold paper.  And vioala!

This dresser is FOR SALE.  it is $435 (after tax) and 25% will go to Running Start.

Please contact me at lauralee (at) madebylauralee (dot) com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nevertheless She Persisted

I feel that this, like many women, is our mantra.  It always has been, we just never really embraced it like we do now.  This is not meant to be a hyped up political rant, but an appreciation for what we do on the daily.  To the women that have children and still work 40+hrs a week and keep a family together, to my single lady friends who are pursuing their dreams and don’t let anything stop them, to my friends that are married and work crazy hours and are still able to be the perfect wife, the list could go on forever.

We all continue on.  We get knocked down and fall on our face and still get up looking just as fabulous. So in honor or Elizabeth Warren and all my fierce fellow female warriors, I stitched up a little something special for the Musicians Artist Fair at One-2-One Bar yesterday.

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Let me just say, these little ladies were a hit.  To be honest, I didn’t expect to sell so many, so I will be stitching up more as fast as I can.  If you are interested in one of these, shoot me an email, comment below, whatever you’d like, and I’ll make sure to get one to you!

Thanks ya’ll!  Keep persisting!

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Furniture for the Fight: February

Another month of 2017 has come and gone.  This month is Black History Month.  I have refinished a 1940’s vanity stool to donate a percentage of the proceeds to go to National Association of the Advancement of Colored People.

Here is a little backstory on the stool:

I found this stool in a thrift shop in South Austin.  It seemed unassuming and like a quick easy project for the shortest month of the year. Undecided, I carried around the store while I continued browsing.  I was quickly approached by three other women for the stool. “Are you going to buy that, honey?” Third time was the charm and swayed my decision to bring it home with me.

There was nothing quick and easy about refinishing this stool.  Nothing.  After removing the cushion, which was hard as a rock, I began on stripping the paint.  It took 12 hours, multiple studio trips, half of quart of paint stripper, and 5 sheets of sandpaper to remove the 7 layers of paint! There were multiple shades of blue, white, black, grey, and green.  After sanding it down, patching up scrapes, and using dremel tool to redefine some of the wood work on the legs, I was finally able to start painting.

I chose a royal blue paint, gold accents, and, of course, walnut stain.  The royal blue I thought would be an excellent contrast to the gold and orange fabric I found for the seat cushion.  Oh, and this seat cushion!  Reupholstering this was no joke.  I began removing the layer of fabric expecting to find the batting and cushion form underneath.  I was very wrong.  There was another layer of fabric underneath, I pulled back to find yet another, and another.  Seven layers of fabric total, each individually nailed to the seat.  I stopped counting upholstery nails after about 175 of them.  I added padding to the seat and put her back together.

Here she is….   I will be making a pair of pillows with the remaining fabric.  More on that next week.

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Star Wars & Serendipity

I was never a fan of Star Wars.  Gasp!  I know, right?  When we were kids, my father used to make my brother and I watch the original trilogy over and over (and over) again.  As a girl that was more interested in ponies than storm troopers, it was difficult to stay engaged.  Fast forward to 2016, I revisited the original Star Wars movies.  I decided there had to be more going for it than Harrison Fords ultimate babe-dom and the intrigue of the Ewoks.  Of course, there was.

It’s funny how a movie made over 30 years ago is still wildly popular as it is today.  The amazing part is that it will most likely carry on for another few decades.  Why do I think that?

This past December I got commissioned to make a stool for a little boys Christmas present.  When given the option of cars, planes, or Star Wars, something in my heart told me to go for Star Wars.  It seemed like a no brainer.  I fashioned what I thought to be a perfect gift.  Only days, after he received it, Carrie Fisher passed away.  By a twist of fait, the most bad ass princess of all times passed away just in time for the next generation to carry out their love of Star Wars.

 

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2017 Furniture for the Fight

img_5261The first of the year always has me taking to my journal feverishly planning all the things I want to accomplish for the year.  Not just vague resolutions such as, loose weight or save more money, but I mean a comprehensive plan with dates, timelines, what to do when, who to email, etc. While I’d love to drop some weight, that is at the bottom of my list.

This year rather than a resolution, I have taken on a year long project.  Let me explain…

Like many of you, I found after the 2016 election that I was beside myself.  I felt so helpless.  My heart weighed heavy for myself, women, minorities, LBGTQ, people of different religions, the list goes on and on and on.  While I sit here white and realizing I do have an advantage over others, I won’t get hit quite as hard, but still… my ovaries tremble.

But I’m just one person?  I have my day job, I work too much, I’m trying to be more creative on a regular basis. There are only so many hours in the day and so much coffee I’m willing to drink before I slip into cardiac arrest.  What can I do?

Here’s what I’ve come up with…

For every group that our dear President Elect has thrown under the bus during his campaigning days, I will be devoting one month to each group.  While I quickly realize this could easily keep me busy for the next four years, one year is where I’m starting.  For every month/group, I will be refinishing a piece of furniture influenced by this group.  Here is the best part: for every piece I sell, I will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to an organization to support the cause.  Here is the outline so far:

January is National Mentoring Month and will be donating to Big Brother Big Sister

February is Black History Month and will be donating to the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People

March is Women’s History Month and will be donating to Running Start

April has Earth Day and will be donating to Earth Justice

May is Immigrant Asian American Month will be donating to National Immigration Forum

June is LGBT Pride Month and will be donating to Lambda Legal

July will be dedicating to our Muslim Neighbors (due to the end of Eid Al Fitr) and will be donating to the Council of American Islamic Relations

August is dedicated to Water Preservation and will be donating to the Sierra Club

September is Ovarian and Prostate Awareness Month and will be donating to Planned Parenthood (most likely in Mike Pence’s name)

October is Hispanic Month and will be donating to Boarder Angels

November is Native American Heritage Month and will be donating to Native American Rights Fund

December is devoted to Civil Liberties and will be donating to ACLU

If you have read this far… Thank you.  What can you do to help? Help me spread the word.  Please.  We all can make a difference in a million little ways.  This is mine.

Happy New Year… Here’s to a better 2017.