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!

 

Embroidery, Story, Updates

Blossoms & The Bees

I know I always go over the top with “spring is here” posts, but I really can’t help it. Spring is my favorite season.  I cannot tell you how much joy tiny blossoms on grey branches brings me. This year, my excitement is amplified!

Last month, or maybe it was January, my partner and I took a class at Natural Gardener on fruit trees and pruning. Not only did I walk away with notes and a giant list of fruit trees and blackberry varieties I will have to get someday, but we were also fortunate enough to take home some pomegranate cuttings. Of course, it spurred a full-on cutting frenzy.

For those of you not familiar with cuttings, it’s when you take a small piece of a plant stem and plant it in soil and nurture it until it grows roots.  Well, little did we know that our pomegranate, peach and pear cuttings (taken later) were going to do so well!  They have leaves and the pear cuttings are even blossoming.  That weekend we took started cuttings from my mint plant as well, which is growing like a weed.

With the blossoms and warmer weather comes the bees. The soothing buzzing happens every afternoon around this hummingbird feeder.  Hopefully, they will begin to swarm soon and make a home in our new bee boxes. (More on that later). Rest assured these blossoms and the bees are giving me plenty of new embroidery ideas!

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!

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.

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!

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!

 

Brand, custom, Embroidery, Food, Updates

I’m Full & Ready for Tomorrow

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ll tell you what… Mine was one for the books. My jeans currently don’t fit, my cheeks hurt from laughing, and I couldn’t be more proud of the feast that I prepared. If you didn’t see what was on the menu, you can check out the list from a week ago, here.  I even tried my hand at my first cherry pie ever.  It wasn’t the prettiest, but it was definitely delicious.

Of course, I’ve already begun nibbling on leftovers with a turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce taco. There have already been mumblings of requests for more pecan pie to be made, which I will gladly oblige after writing this post.

Now that the food coma is starting to wear off, I’m getting excited about my online shop being live.  Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday and I’m feeling pretty official now that I have a humble little online store.  So, if you have been wanting to support local shops, artists, makers, and businesses, now is the time! Take a peek and get your orders in.  There is a page for embroidery, gift sets, and the cookbook.

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

 

 

 

Food, Updates

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving is almost here.  I admit it completely snuck up on me this year and on top of that I have signed myself up to cook a feast in someone else’s kitchen.  I love the holidays.  I love cooking for people.  So cue up the holiday music and let’s get ready.

The Menu

After careful consideration of everyone’s requests and dietary needs, I have curated a menu that I, myself, am looking forward to eating.

Turkey Day Menu

While I won’t be smoking the turkey, I will be feverishly prepping everything else in the days to come, like whipping up this coconut milk brown sugar ice cream this week.  I’ll even be dusting off my Grandmothers pecan pie recipe that she fine tuned and has been using since 1966. You can bet that everything will be made from fresh ingredients, homemade from scratch.  No canned yams or cream of mushroom here.

That being said, I’m so thankful to be spending the holiday with people I love and that love and have welcomed me into their family.  May you all have a wonderful time prepping for the Turkey Day Festivities!