Embroidery, Updates

Staying Sane & Stitching

Ok, ok… staying home is starting to get to me. I miss going out, I miss friends, I miss having a cup of coffee on a patio. Yes, I can see friends through Zoom and have a Cafe Au lait on my own porch, but after five months, it’s just not the same.

I have project after project to keep me occupied and flexing my creative muscles, but wow, what I’d give for a vacation. A beach sounds good right about now. (By all means, send me suggestions that are safe.) But alas, in Central Texas it’s slim pickin’s for beach options.

On the Upside

With all of the rain we’ve gotten the last week, I’ve had a little more time inside embroider which I find quite relaxing. I’ve brought out an old pattern from the archive. This is one of my favorites and my current garden has brought plenty of inspiration to start stitching this! “Eat your veggies” the age old mom saying at the majority of dinner tables, except ours! If you need an “eat your veggies” towel, you can purchase one in the shop.

Embroidery, Updates

Bluebonnets in Texas Towel

I feel like it’s been a minute since I last posted about what has been going on in the embroidery department. Needless to say, despite starting up a farm, canning, and refinishing furniture, I’m still stitching away. I’m upping the inventory in the Texas Towel Collection.

Texas Towel Collection

I’ve been slowly adding to the Texas Towel Collection. A couple of years ago, I designed these Bluebonnet in Texas towels and tested them out at the La Vallita Starving Artist Show. They flew out of my booth! I was completely sold out on the first day of the two-day event.

I’m looking forward to having the listed in the shop soon. You know, after I do a complete revamp that I’ve started this past weekend. If you cannot wait until the shop is up and running again, go ahead and contact me. I can get one shipped out to you!

Before & After, DIY, Homesteading, Updates

July Homestead Update

Can you believe we’re already through the first week of July?! With all the craziness in the world, it seems the days are flying by. To be honest, we are certainly keeping ourselves busy here at the Homestead. I wanted to give a quick update as many of you have expressed interest!

IMG_4208

Gardens

Our first bed is finally bearing fruit and veggies. We’ve enjoyed bell peppers, serranos, yellow tomatoes, and sweet potato greens. The rescue tomatoes we saved from Lowe’s are finally established and are now growing. We’ve built a third bed and have planted kale, cucumbers, acorn squash, radishes, and red onion. Our hanging garden is making huge progress, the sprouts are inching higher!

ChickensIMG_4298

Our five girls have been introduced to their lay boxes and we are hoping for farm fresh eggs next month! Earlier this week, we placed an order from a local hatchery for ten more baby chicks. We spent days researching and picked ten that are unique, beautiful, and will give us eggs just as diverse as their feathers. Stay tuned for cream-colored eggs, blue, green, and even red!

Aquaponics

Last week, we stumbled across a 250-gallon water tank which we will be setting up for an aquaponics system. We are looking forward to having fresh fish and healthy greens.

IMG_4300Worm Farm

One of the key ingredients to a functioning farm is healthy dirt. We’ve been trucking in dirt and compost to build our beds, but after a while it won’t be sustainable. Our compost bins are collecting kitchen scraps, chicken droppings, and mixed with worms, we’ll be making our own dirt in no time… ok, six months or so.

Thank you so much to everyone for your support and excitement during this process. All I can say right now in regards to all of this is, “Dreams really do come true.”

Before & After, custom, furniture, Updates

The Workshop is Open!

I have yet another exciting announcement to make: The workshop is now open! I know I’ve posted a few chairs here and a bench there, but the workshop is now fully operational and ready to take on larger pieces for custom refinishing work.

What does that mean?

What does that mean exactly? Well, if you have a dresser, a desk, perhaps a dining room table set that is in need of some TLC and elbow grease, it means that I now have the space to be able to refinish these pieces. It’s very exciting!

The Perks

My previous shop was a great place to get started and I rented it for years. I had great company, views, and space. While the new shop is just a little bit smaller, I have to say the perks are worth it. It is bright, has windows, airflow, cabinets, and most importantly, it’s sealed off from the elements. And… I’m rigging it up for AIR CONDITIONING! I cannot tell you the number of times I have dripped sweat into a finish and had to start over. This is so exciting. The best part? It’s right outside my front door. I can have coffee and stroll just a few feet to the shop and go back and refill on coffee in seconds. (Clearly, the coffee is important.)

All this being said, bring your rundown furniture to me for a furniture makeover. C’mon! Keep me in the shop as much as possible!

12 Day of Crafting, Embroidery, Updates

The Lone Star Towel

A couple months ago I had posted a blog about all the things I was going to do during the Covid-19 lockdown, well… I’m on my way to completing that list and then some. Between moving, starting a farm, refinishing furniture, and thoroughly enjoying my life, I am still managing to get in some embroidery time.

IMG_3241Texas Towels

The most popular towel that I make is the Texas Towel. You know, the one with the outline of Texas with a heart where Austin is… yea, that one! Well, I have never experienced as much state pride anywhere as I have in Texas. I thought it would only be appropriate to continue to feed the beast so to speak. I’ve stitched up “The Lone Star State” Towel. It’s already in the shop ready to make it’s way to your kitchen.

Stay tuned because I have more Texas-themed towels in the works with bluebonnets, flowers, and more.

 

Homesteading, Updates

June Update

Hello Everyone! 

I hope you are doing well during this time. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. The last I had written anything I had halted jam production and got some chickens. Since then, I’ve made some big changes, in a good way. Check out my little video for the update.

If you don’t feel like watching…

I’ve moved! My partner and I have moved into an adorable little cabin in the Texas Hill Country that sits on seven acres, has a fenced-in run for our girls, and a workshop. We’ve been insanely busy nesting and setting up shop. Since we’ve moved in, there has been chicken coop constructing, unpacking, bee and butterfly garden building, and vegetable garden planning. Did I mention there’s space for all our fruit trees and more? 

With all of the things going on, I’ve been trying to focus on all of the things I am grateful for and taking time to think about the direction I want made by laura lee to go towards. It is my hope that once our garden is up and running and producing enough food for us that I can begin making jams and pickles from food items solely from the Homestead. It will take time but very doable. 

I will be posting more regularly now that we are settled and have internet. I’m looking forward to sharing with you all things made by me, Laura Lee. I hope you are all doing well, safe, and healthy. Thank you for your continued support. 

       XOXO

    Laura Lee

Garden, Homesteading, Updates

Meet My Babies

I would like to take the time to formally introduce you to my new babies. My chicken babies, that is. Three weeks ago, ten little chicks from the New Braunfels Feed Supply Store made their way back to the homestead. The line of people at the store was out the front door at 7:30 AM. I guess Texans want the chicks!

The first thing everyone asks is, “Are they for eggs or eating?” These girls are for their eggs, just their eggs. In fact, we strategically picked the breeds for their laying ability.

  • Red Sex Links
  • Gold Sex Links
  • Buff Orpingtons
  • Black Sex Links
  • Polish Crested

Ok, the Polish Gal is more for show with her feather tufted cap, but the others are going to be good layers.

When we first brought the girls home, they were little balls of downy fluff. Three and a half weeks in, their feathers are pushing through, they are getting gangly and awkward, just like a teenager.  Their personalities are evolving and their curiosity is exciting. I’ve never raised chickens from just two days old and this is proving to be a learning experience. Forming a bond with them has been quite rewarding as well. While you may not think a little chicken can bond with a human, they certainly know who we are. Rosie always runs to my hand first and Vicky always to her daddy.

This is just the beginning of our chicken story and I’m looking forward to sharing more of our journey as we learn, raise, and collect eggs from our girls.

12 Day of Crafting, Embroidery, Updates

Keeping It Crafty

I thought about naming this blog post “Keeping it Crafty During COVID19” but honestly, I think I’m a little burnt out on seeing it COVID-19 in my newsfeed.  While I’m fully aware that this won’t be over anytime soon, I’ve got my ways of coping that don’t involve being glued to a computer screen.  For me, I do best when I stay busy.

I’m using this social distancing and self-isolation as a time to get work done, self reflect and really tackle that “someday I’ll do this” to-do list that I have been putting off for… forever.

This past weekend in the life of a crafter:

  1. Organized my craft shelf
  2. Prepped 20+ towels for embroidery
  3. Revived the “Can’t Touch This” Cactus Pattern
  4. Began embroidering a new patter: “The Lone Star State” Towel

Upcoming Projects:

  • Redoing taxes from previous years (yea, I know I’m torturing myself, but it’ll be worth it)
  • Doing this year’s taxes
  • Overhauling madebylauralee.com (if it’s the last thing I do, damn it!)
  • Somehow connecting with a few remaining Kickstarter Contributors that have not responded to any emails, updates, etc. to get them their incentives so I can sleep at night!

Other things I’ve been working on are making sure I keep my days are as structured as possible. For example, from 6 am to 7am, I enjoy my coffee, from 7-8 am I go for a walk and stretch, 9 am-3 PM it’s time for work.  I’m also making it a goal to reach out to one person that I haven’t spoken to in a while and actually call them!

These next few weeks will certainly be different, but we will get through!  Happy Self-Isolation, y’all!

 

DIY, Fermenting, Food, Recipes, Updates

Fermentation Friday

I think it’s been a whirlwind of a week, just the last few days even. As you may have read on my last blog post or the made by laura lee newsletter, I am suspending food production for the next few weeks.  For the time being, I will not be experimenting with fermented foods either.

It breaks my heart.  Really.  Why am I not experimenting as well as not selling?

I feel like holding off is the best-case scenario on selling jams, jellies, and sauerkrauts are the safest thing possible.  Despite being clean and sanitary beyond normal expectations, I’m a small business and I want to do what’s best for my customers, my own health, and the bigger picture. As far as playing with fermented foods, it’s too dang hard to get my hands on large amounts of produce to ferment.  The stores have been baren and farmers’ markets canceled.

So, let’s take a moment to celebrate all the beautiful and delicious veggies that I have been able to transform into probiotic filled food! Sauerkrauts, kimchis, and ginger, oh my! Below is the list with links you can revisit.  Thank you so much for your interest in this and I’m looking forward to when I can get back to it!  Until then… what should the next Friday blog be? I like this whole themed thing!

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

Canning, Updates

PSA: Canning & COVID-19

Good morning.  I realize the title doesn’t exactly lend itself to the happiest of morning vibes, but one worth making a quick announcement about.  While everyone’s news feeds are filled with talk of Coronavirus, toilet paper, and quarantine, I’ve been wondering what my best course of action is. Many gigs and events are getting canceled or rescheduled, and I just found out yesterday that my biggest art fair of the year has been canceled due to the virus.

As someone with a compromised immune system, I’m grateful for all the precautions that are being taken.  I’m sure others and the elderly would agree. That being said, moving forward I will be suspending all jam, jelly, and fermented food sales until further notice. As a small business that operates under the Cottage Food Laws, I always operate under the cleanest of conditions, but due to my concern about others’ health and immune system, I will be holding off food production for a while.  Due to the information available about the virus’s life span on plastic, etc. I don’t want to take any chances of passing it on.

Growing up, I was taught two rules:

  1. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.
  2. Better safe than sorry.

That being said, I am most definitely taking a financial hit with the cancelation of craft fairs and suspending food production for the time being.  I see an outpouring of support for all local businesses, artists and musicians at the moment, which makes me incredibly happy.   In the next two weeks, I will have new embroidery work on the website and be taking on any custom work, so if you’ve been thinking of a great birthday present for your Auntie Joan… now’s the time!

Thank you again for your support.  Stay healthy, friends… and share the TP!