Mission: Commission

IMG_0005I had a professor in college named Barbara Dowling.  She was tall, slender, with wild red hair, and the personality to match.  She once told me that when it comes to making stained glass windows (that was my focus by the way) it’s important to make sure that before you even begin to make a window, you’ve got a place to put it.  I think the same holds true for other types of art, and in this case craft, as well.

I love to embroider, as I’ve said many times before.  But like windows, I should follow the same advice that Ms. Dowling gave me, but I don’t. I have stacks of embroidered tea towels, dinner napkin sets, and more.  That’s why you can imagine that I was so thrilled to have been contacted by a couple of folks to do some commissioned embroidery work.

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embroidered apron

Above, a birthday present for one of the founders of the Commerce Street Supper Club.  (If you are in the Austin area and love food of any kind, you need to check them out.) I also did two pieces for someone else, although one is only shown currently, an embroidered apron.  It was so nice to be able to create something and give it a home.

I still have the itch to stitch, so if you are interested in taking some already embroidered towels off my hands or you want your own custom goodies, please contact me via email, Facebook, blog, etc.

For more pictures of already embroidered goods, check out: made by laura lee Etsy Shop

 

Late Night Tacos

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I love to eat, I think that is no secret at this point, but I must say I really don’t like eating late at night.  I’m certainly no nutritionist, but I’m pretty sure I am on to something.  Sometimes though I will get so hungry at 11 o’clock at night and I know I won’t be able to sleep with my stomach rumbling.  The other night, I gave in and made tacos!  Not your ordinary tacos.  I Instagram-ed a picture and posted it over social media and I have received some interest for the recipe.  So… here it is:

Late Night Tacos

2-3 cloves of garlic (chopped or diced)

Olive Oil (or whatever your preference for sautéing)

2-3 diced breakfast radishes

2-3 diced parsnips

2 purple cabbage leaves

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce (I use Mae Ploy)

Agave nectar

Taco Topping of your choice: avocado, cilantro, tomatoes, etc.

In a saute pan, caramelize the garlic with a little agave nectar on low heat.  Remove garlic from pan, add oil, sautee parsnips and radishes until softened, add desired amount of mae ploy. Add garlic back to pan.

Spoon parsnip, radish, garlic mixture into cabbage leaf taco shell.  Add garnishes and enjoy!

 

Turning Up the Volume

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Ok, I missed posting last week… My apologies, I must say the guilt factor is high.  All it takes is missing one or two posts, the next thing you know it’ll be a year.  That being said, I’ve had a lot going on! I am super excited to announce that I have taken on a little bit of a new role in the music world.  Inspired by my friend Lisa Kettyle and her past experience with music venues, I have started doing some booking and sound at the Firehouse Lounge on Monday nights for the Avi & Friends Songwriter Showcase.

As someone who works seven days a week, I never, let me say this differently, never, get to get out and go see live music.  Booking Monday nights has been a great way, and yes, somewhat selfish of me, to see music I wouldn’t normally get to see. It has been getting me super motivated and inspired to write some new songs myself.  This coming week I am beyond elated to be playing with Ann Sauder, Grace Park of The Deer, and Amy Sue Berlin, who just released a brand new album.

Booking and doing sound doesn’t seem like much I realize, but it is so nice to get paid for something I love doing.  It seems like a step in the right direction.  I feel more connected to the music community in Austin than ever before.

Speaking of the music community, earlier in this post I mentioned my friend, Lisa, well, I can’t think of a better time to mention someone that is working her tail off to create a stronger music community.  Lisa is in the midst of raising funds to open her own music venue.  She needs our support! Check out her indieegogo campaign here: The Chestnut Theater

Creating A Space

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When in the kitchen, to be prepared for cooking your meal or baking your dessert, the key to success is having your set up taken care of, your mise en place, meaning “everything in its place.” For me, being creative is no different.  I need my space ready to go. Not just having my tools handy or at least within arms reach, but having a space that is inspiring and visually stimulating.  I need to have bright colors, patterns, textures, unfinished art, art by others, etc. Anything and everything to get the juices flowing.

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The towers have boxes have dwindled drastically in the last month, two to go in fact.  Frames and posters are crawling up the walls like ants.  My craft nook saw the first of that today.  My last apartment didn’t have it’s own designated space for creativity which caused small projects to become a relatively clumsy task.  The new Pad de Laura Lee has its own wall.  My bulletin board, made by yours truly, tacked with items from my Mother, a handmade card by a fantastic artist, Nicole Donnelly, a postcard from my best friend sent during her worldly travels, and work from Megan King of MLK & toast. The work of others always helps me to feel motivated.  Thank you, ladies!

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Having unfinished projects out in sight is definitely a great motivator to get into gear and get making too! Now there are a couple of projects that always get pushed to the back burner by something new and exciting. Sometimes unfinished art can be just as pleasing to look at, like the handmade ornaments that I have piled in a basket. Also having rolls of fabric exploding out of wooden crates is another way I keep inspired.  I am so eager to set up my sewing machine, stitch together new masterpieces, and more… Thank you for staying tuned to this episode of made by laura lee.

 

 

Getting Back in the Groove

Beautiful flowers from the market! A perfect house warming present from Brenna Peterson of The Commerce Supper Club.

Beautiful flowers from the market! A perfect house warming present from Brenna Peterson of The Commerce Supper Club.

It’s been quite a long time since my last blog post.  An embarrassingly long time, that is.  Sometimes life just gets in the way.  I’ve house sat, couch surfed, travelled, and most recently (and finally, I might add) moved into a brand new apartment.  There is something about nesting in a new home that is very much like a new beginning.

Looking back at the last year or so… I do have to pat myself on the back because I have completed everything on my 2013 To Do List (see “A Big To Do”)  These were all big steps in the right direction.  But what now? I’m not sure.  Unpacking the mountains of boxes? Hanging pictures on the walls? Rearranging furniture? In short, making a home.  A cozy, comfort place where I can nurture my creative juices so that I can say, “Why, yes… this is made by Laura Lee.”

Although, this may not be my most eloquent post or heart felt, I wanted to take a moment and thank you in advance for your support for those that maybe reading.

2 Doors

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This gallery contains 17 photos.

They say when one door closes another opens.  We all know it to be true.  That being said I would like to dedicate this post to Johnson’s Backyard Garden as a farewell.  I was with JBG for three years and … Continue reading

Embroidery At It’s Best

IMG_0020_2A year ago, a couple girlfriends and I took an embroidery class at a small sewing shop, appropriately named Stitch Lab.   Embroidering was something I always wanted to pick up, but the thought of needle and thread, or any needlework craft, seemed very intimidating.  My Grandmother is incredible with a needle and thread.  She could sew anything. Her embroidery and cross stitch work, all done by hand, looked as perfect as if it were done by a machine.  I felt like I had a lot to live up to.  I realize when you are learning something new you have to be very kind to yourself.  Even thoughI know this, when I get in front of people, I immediately feel as if I have to get it right, and perfect, on the first try.  I will say, it was a humbling experience. French knots and the stem stitch were the only things standing in my way from my first timer perfection.

Immediately after taking the class, I became an embroidery fool.  Sitting and impatiently waiting at the Doctor’s office, I would bust out my needle and hoop.  Every time I send off a gift basket of jams & jellies, I would throw in a towel.  It is therapeutic and relaxing.  It forces me to slow down in a wold that is constantly go, Go, GO! The best thing I have gotten out of embroidery is the bond that has been created between my Grandmother and I.  Whenever I start a new towel, napkin, bag, etc. I always think of my Grandmother.  Would this be something she would want in her kitchen? On her table?  I have been completely in love with embroidering flour sack towels with herbs or produce.  I have gotten the Nettie Stamp of Approval.  Now, I’m not quite to her level of mastery, but I think I’m on my way!

First You Take A Leek…

Ok, I realize this is a little bit of an alarming title, but I am so excited leeks are back in season! As some of you know, I work at the farmers market for Johnson’s Backyard Garden. You can fully expect to see me every Saturday and Sunday morning hustling veggies. Nothing makes me happier! (ok, there are a few things…but as far as work goes, this is pretty awesome.) Anyway, leeks are back!

I have an odd love of leeks. It all started as a kid, when my Dad and I were in this tiny book store in Long Island. My Dad picked up this bright green cook book with the title, “First You Take A Leek” He and I were in stitches laughing so hard. We actually got asked to leave! Unfortunately, we didn’t end up getting the book, but to this day I still think about it every time I see leeks.

How do I cook my leeks? Well, I am so glad you asked!

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- 1 bunch of JBG leeks
– 1 Tbs. butter
– 1 Tbs. sesame oil
– 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a saute pan. Add leeks. Let them cook down and soften. Add sesame oil. Keep cooking them down until they caramelize and then add sesame seeds.
*Note: I like to watch my sodium intake, but I recommend adding salt to taste. Great as a side dish!

Don’t believe me on the cook book, order it here: First You Take a Leek