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!

 

Before & After, Uncategorized, Updates

I’m Back. Really.

img_1369Really.  To say that I’ve been a little quiet may in fact be the biggest understatement since my last blog post and should cover the understatement bases for the remainder of 2019.   I have come back to life.  In fact, Life is kind of what got in the way.  So much has changed since my last post, I don’t even know where to begin. Rather than recapping and rehashing the last year or so, what I will focus on are the things that have recently taken place to get me back on track.

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

I have found my tribe.  I have teamed up with some amazing people to help push me forward, grow, learn… and learn things that I really needed to know to help grow laura lee… like that online store, a better website, etc.  It’ll be a slow process to build, but I’ll get there.  Despite sometimes what I think, I can’t do everything by myself.  This team is the A-Team.

New Home… New Homestead

To wrap up 2018… I moved.  I left my adorable little apartment that I’ve called home for five years and completely uprooted myself to a little home in the country.  I’m surrounded by hundreds of acres of rolling hills, cows, pastures, some trees, and John Deere tractors.  I’m greeted by the wagging tales of dogs every morning and coffee already brewed.  (*note: we have not trained the dogs to make coffee yet) I will start prepping my garden beds this week so that I can start growing my own produce for my canned goods!

More Updates:

  • I have not forgotten about Kickstarter Incentives. I have learned that I signed myself up for too complicated of incentives, which is taking me much longer to fill. My sincerest apologies… thank you for your patience.
  • I’m still working on the cookbook.  I will post a teaser soon.
  • I now live on the same property as my furniture shop, you can expect to see more updates about that once I finish unpacking boxes.
  • I’ve fallen in love, despite my greatest attempt not to.
  • I am working on a new line of embroidery goods.
  • There are workshops/classes being planned.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for a made by laura lee Youtube channel coming soon.

If any of ya’ll are still reading my humble little blog… thank you.  It’s good to be back.  I appreciate you.

Canning, Food, Uncategorized

Pump Up the Jams!

Oh, how I love a good food pun.

Yes, PUMP up the jams!  Last weekend at the ABGB Austin Flea Market, I had a record breaking sales weekend, outside of the holiday season.  This week, I am a jam making fool!  I cannot believe that I am wiped out of stock.

Now, I would have been standing over the stove sooner, but I certainly didn’t foresee blowing out my back, which had me laid up for a few days.  Still a little tender, I got to it this weekend!

I’m kicking off the fall with blackberry rosemary jam.  This one is slowly becoming a silent favorite amongst regulars. It’s got the sweetness from the fruit (obviously), I leave the seeds in for a little bit of tooth and texture, the rosemary adds a touch of savory and is quite aromatic.  I’ve heard folks tell me they put it on an english muffin with butter, others use it as a last minute touch on grilled pork chops, etc.  I, myself, love it with brie! Whether it’s on grilled cheese or a condiment on a burger with arugula and more brie, of course.

Check out the upcoming craft fair schedule over the coming weeks to pick up some Blackberry Rosemary Jam to add to your cupboard.

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Canning, Uncategorized

Cool as a Cuke

It’s Summer.  It’s hot and some of my favorite vegetables are in season: okra, shishito peppers, and tomatoes.  Watermelon (yes, I realize this is a fruit) and cucumbers are runners up and with cucumbers means PICKLES!

I’ve been waiting since January, when I finished my last jar of bread and butter pickles, for cucumbers to make their come back.  I made sure to get some at the HOPE Farmer’s Market from Johnson’s Backyard Garden this weekend.

I spent Sunday afternoon slicing, packing, and brining these crisp cucumbers.  I still use the recipe Grandmother, Nettie, gave me.  It’s still on the same piece of paper she typed it up on her typewriter eight years ago.  My Grandmother passed away a few years ago and my family is delighted that her recipe was passed on.

That being said…

Austinites! I will be selling these pints of pickles at the HOPE Farmer’s Market this Sunday.  Swing by and get you some!  They’re just like Nettie used to make!

 

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12 Day of Crafting, Canning, Embroidery, Uncategorized

A Partidge & A Pear Tree

Today is the final day before the Handmade Holiday Show at OPA! I thought I would take a moment to share one more post with you before the big day! As promised in my last post on Wednesday, I have something a little on the matchy-matchy side.  To stick with the “what’s in season” category, I thought it only appropriate that pears should be included.  I will have pear embroidered tea towels as well as a pear canned good.  I’m feeling somewhat mysterious this morning and thinking that I might not actually reveal what the pear canned good is… just to leave you hanging, curious, and inquisitive.  Maybe you’ll feel so inspired as to come out tomorrow afternoon?

Hope to see you there, lovelies.

12 Day of Crafting, Canning, Food, Uncategorized

When Life Gives You Oranges

FullSizeRenderWhen I first started experimenting with canning I asked everyone what there favorite jam or jelly was.  The people pleaser inside of me was eager to make an impression.  Naturally, I asked my mother. She was quick to let me know that her favorite flavor out of a jar was lemon curd.  I was quick to learn that it is one of mine too.

Being in Texas we have the luxury of having some really great organic citrus grown in our backyard in McAllen, TX.  G&S Grove, check them out. (Seriously, the best grapefruit I’ve ever had.) So why does delicious curd have to stop with lemons?

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I heard through the grapefruit vine that a friend liked grapefruit curd, viola, it appeared!  I had done a blend of grapefruit and orange, which was delightful! This holiday season, I will be introducing straight up orange curd! Yes, I certainly tried my darn-dest not to eat it all before canning it up!

I will have these little babies available at the Holiday Handmade Show at OPA! this Saturday!  See you there!

12 Day of Crafting, Canning

12 Days of Crafting: Day 7

Day 7: An Apple & A Brandy A Day

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An apple a day keeps the doctor a way!  I had a relative who lived to be 103 and I asked her, “what’s your secret?” She said, “Go for awalk every morning. Then they say to eat an apple a day, but I don’t really like apples all that much unless they’re in pie.  I make sure to have a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed in the morning and a glass of wine every afternoon.  If you don’t have wine, a brandy will do.”

Well, in honor of her, I have put together a brandied apple butter that will be available next Saturday at the Bluebonnet Bazaar.

(I apologize that this is such a short post, but I am so into the little crafty creation that I am making right now that I won’t want to be away too long!)

12 Day of Crafting, Canning

12 Days of Crafting: Day 5

Day 5: Lemon Curd

Out of all the things I put in jars, lemon curd is the one thing that sometimes doesn’t even make it into the jars.  I started making lemon curd for my Mothers Birthday, which happens to be in close proximity to Mothers Day, and after sampling it to make sure taste and consistency was right, I found my new addiction.  Not much has changed since I started making lemon curd a few years ago. I actually started doubling my recipe in order to really nail down the quality control!

My other favorite part of making lemon curd is swirling stirring the mixture until it sets, hence the video above!  Make sure to mark your calendars for the Bluebonnet Bazaar on Saturday, December 13th because the jars are limited!

12 Day of Crafting, Canning, Uncategorized

12 Days of Crafting: Day 3

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Day 3: Drop a Beet, Yo

It is no secret that I love beets.  I love them pickled, roasted, fried, and tattooed on my leg, boiled, you name it. Beyond the delightful taste, the brilliant colors have always been something that has gotten me too.  I don’t even mind my hands being pink for days.  So now that beets are in season, it should be no surprise that I am picking them up at the farmers market like they are going out of style. This past Sunday, I stopped by the Johnson’s Backyard Garden booth and loaded up on about 5 pounds of beets in order to whip up a batch of my Lemon and Clove Pickled Beets!

I find that beets are always on the sweeter side when they are pickled, because of the amount of sugar that is in them naturally.  I like to play off of the sweetness with a little bit of tartness from the lemon and the slightest spice from cloves.  Cloves and lemon can both be tricky because a little bit can go a long way, not to mention, paired with the wrong beet, it can turn into a bitter situation.  I find that this early in the winter season, the beets are perfect: small and sweet.

These pints will be available at the Bluebonnet Bazaar on December 13th!  They are great in salads and sandwiches (think peppery arugula and goat cheese) or just right out of the jar!

For more information on the Bluebonnet Bazaar: Click here!

12 Day of Crafting, Canning

12 Days of Crafting

 

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It’s December 1st! Bust out the Christmas tree, deck the halls, get ready to roast some chestnuts, and so on.  I can hear the carols playing already. Although, I’m not as gung ho as my dear friend, Lindsey of Sweet Tweats, (you should totally check out her page, by the way), I have been putting a splash of eggnog in my coffee for a couple of weeks now and I am definitely looking forward to seeing my family for a White Christmas in the Northeast.

But what’s got me the most excited about the Christmas season this year? Crafting!   I will be participating in my first craft fair!  This is something I have always wanted to do.  Admittedly, it has always seemed a little far out of reach and intimidating, but I’m doing it! I will be a vendor at the BluebonnetBazaar!IMG_1368

This little market will be taking place on Saturday, December 13th in South Austin.  Everyday leading up to the Bazaar, I will share a post highlighting an item that I have made and will be available at my booth.

IMG_1370This post is dedicated to Day 1 of the 12 Days of Crafting: Blackberry Bourbon Jam! This jam is the perfect blend of tart, caramelized, spiced goodness.  My apartment now smells like a bourbon distillery after cooking the jam down for a few hours.  I even had a neighbor know on my door to let me know how great it smelled!

For more information on the Bluebonnet Bazaar, check out their Facebook Event with updates and other links: Bluebonnet Bazaar Facebook Event