I wish, I wish, I wishhhh

I really wish my mom would have taught me how to sew when I was a child! I'm so sad about it right now. She went to Parson's. She worked with Calvin Klein straight out of college. She even had her own boutique in Georgetown right before I was born! Yet she never once sat me down and showed me how a sewing machine worked. I remember always thinking to myself "why does her sewing machine look so different from regular ones?" Turns out she had an amazing industrial serger and I never got a chance to use it! WHAT THE HECK, MOM?!

Why this sudden flood of emotion, you ask? THIS:


Can I just say that I died when these images loaded on my screen at about 5am this morning?! Ahhhhhhhhh! The patterns are on sale for $6.99 from $30 regular price! Do I dare buy them? I should. Then I'll send them to my mom and demand restitution because I should know everything there is to know about sewing!

She's got some 'splainin' to do...


Oh, technology...

Andrew and I were borrowing internet from one of our neighbors. At first I felt pretty guilty but we never hogged it enough to where it was a problem... or so I thought! "Cher" has since disappeared from our wireless options and we've been without internet since last week. Kind of sucks, kind of rules? I'm sooo easily sucked into the land of twitter & blogs and before I know it, it's 3 in the afternoon and I've done absolutely nothing with my day. So here's to productivity!

Now I can focus on finishing my website and working on all of my projects. I haven't actually started any of my summer sewing because none of my patterns have arrived yet. But Andrew needed a cycling cap so I took a shot at sewing one and it turned out pretty decent. The darts could use a little help and the bill could stand to be lengthened a bit, but all in all I'd say it's a success.

The fabric is a thrifted bed sheet!

My tomato plant is flourishing despite the unnamed creatures crawling in the dirt. I'm trying my hardest to look BEYOND them and accept that it's just part of nature. Look at all the little baby tomatoes!! I'm so proud, they're growing up so fast! The flowers literally bloomed out of no where and within a week teeny tiny little green balls were forming. Look at the amazing difference one week made:

I'm so happy :)

The bugs have gotten the best of my lettuce plants and it breaks my heart a little but whatever. My basil seems to be ok and my goodness, my "hostas" are huge now! Still living in exile outside though...



My first dress was based on a sew-along I found about a month or so after it ended, so I made it my mission to find some current and upcoming ones to join. I came across two awesome blogs featuring equally awesome sew-alongs that I knew I had to be a part of. Self-Stitched-September is hosted by Zoe who just wrapped up a challenge called Me-Made-May which I missed. She asks you to take the pledge if you're planning to participate so here is my statement of intent:
I, Jaimielee, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-September. I endeavor to wear only handmade and refashioned items of clothing and accessories/jewelery every day for the duration of September 2010, with the exception of sportswear and cycling gear.
The Summer Essentials Sew-Along is hosted by Ali who is asking participants to sew "five(-ish) warm-weather friendly pieces by August(-ish)" - the ish is just right for me. So far I'm think I'll try my hand at a pair of shorts, maybe even a romper! God, would that even be appropriate?? There will definitely be a skirt, at least one dress, possibly a t-shirt depending on whether or not I'm willing to kill myself with stretch knits (yikes), a blouse and a tunic. I'm so excited! Last weekend I picked up 3 dresses and 2 t-shirts to refashion from the Salvation Army so I'll count those towards my September projects and I'll try to keep completely handmade stuff for the summer projects. This is going to be so fun, challenging and stressful and I can't wait to get started :)


Slightly obsessed, kind of addicted...

The smell of fresh bread filling the apartment has become addictive. This past weekend I baked two loaves using bread flour and whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. They were delicious but for some reason no where near the awesomeness of my first loaf.

Love the different shades

The whole wheat definitely had an earthy taste. I liked it but I think it would have done better with some honey mixed in and oats sprinkled on the crust. Maybe next time... Andrew came home from work the other day and told me his coworkers had been pining for his bread during lunch. Hah! Apparently now I'm taking bread orders? It's actually pretty awesome yet scary because I can't taste it before I give it away ;( I really hope it's good! Since I was making a loaf for other people, I decided what the hell and made another one for us. This time with cheddar mixed in. That's five whole loaves under my belt and I've blogged & tweeted about all of them. For this, I am sorry.

Thanks to this super easy recipe, I also made schiacciata last night! Even though it's supposed to be used for making sandwiches, it replaced the crust for our "pizza" tonight. With proper planning, I would have baked everything at once, toppings and all but whatevs. It was so light and airy and mmm. I never knew I'd love baking/bread making this much. Although, I HATE how hot it gets in the apartment when baking at 500° for hours. It is not fun. At all. Forgive the crappy iphone photo, all other cameras were out of commission.

Before & after resting for an hour!


I used garlic, tomatoes, onions, yellow peppers, parmesan & mozzarella for toppings. It was kind of like a sicilian style pizza but without any sauce. Totally delicious. Andrew said when he was in Italy, they'd serve it sliced in half and pressed like a panino. That'll definitely be the plan next time I make it.


Patterns Galore!

In an attempt to beat the blues of non-stop rain yesterday, I decided to splurge on some McCall's patterns (regardless of their difficulty). I'm sure I just bought myself a world of frustration, annoyance & pain BUT I DON'T CARE! Look at how cute this crap is:



I'm definitely using my imagination with some of these but that's ok because it's all about my fabric choices and small modifications, right? Did I mention each pattern was just 99¢?! I've been really inspired by a ton of blogs these last few days. The biggest theme is being self sufficient, which I've always been a huge fan of. My commitment to these sew-along challenges will be to wear (mostly) homemade clothes. I'd love to wear my own creations for the duration of the summer/LIFE but let's be real. I've only sewn one successful garment to date.


Great success!

Andrew did it! He participated in his first track race(s) and came in 3rd in the 5 lap scratch (5 laps & whoever gets to the finish line 1st, 2nd, 3rd wins)! I'm so proud of him. It was so much fun to watch although I spent most of the time he was on the track looking through a viewfinder. Half Acre hosted the event and their announcer was hilarious. The other races were:

Win-and-Out first person to cross the finish line gets 1st, then another lap, first person to cross gets 2nd, another lap, etc…
Unknown Distance the riders have between 3-20 laps to go with a mad sprint to the finish line after the announcer randomly rings the bell.
Miss-and-Out last person to cross the finish line for each lap is eliminated until there are 3 people left. Then they sprint to the finish.
Chariot (my favorite) each rider gets a push to start from someone holding their bike & they go for a single lap. It's pretty hilarious because some people barely move an inch!

Unfortunately it's been raining all day so tonight's clinic is canceled. I'm excited to go with him next week though. I'll only be there for support and to watch because fixed is still too much for me to handle without having a full blown panic attack...


Being KNEAD-y

I've been kind of obsessed with bread this week. I think the sourdough we picked up from Dill Pickle Food Co-op is to blame. It was so amazing, I probably got it in my head that I could and should be making my own. I found an awesome pizza dough recipe that was SO easy I can't believe I hadn't tried it before. I topped it with grated parmesan, fresh mozzarella, shaved asparagus I'd tossed with a clove of garlic (minced) and red pepper flakes, scallions, a touch of truffle oil, squeeze of lemon AND eggs (I know, I put eggs on everything). Andrew & I died. One bite and it was over, pizza heaven. We don’t even own a pizza stone or pan, just used the back of two cookie sheets and it worked beautifully. Originally I'd planned to make one and share it but upon telling Andrew, he immediately informed me he'd be eating one entirely to himself. I'm so glad I made two! We had enough left over for lunch the next day :)

Even Princess couldn't resist


I decided the next logical step would be to make a loaf. I don't have a stand mixer or a bread maker but apparently there's no need for 'em anyway! Thanks to Jim Lahey and The New York Times (way back in '06), I found this insanely simple recipe for no-knead bread. I'm a bit late to the game, oh about 4 years, but whatever... It still works and I can't believe I've made homemade pizza dough & a loaf of bread all in the same week!

Tastes surprisingly similar to sourdough!

I let it rise for an extra 6hrs, totaling a full 24hrs. It was hard to just let it sit and be patient but it was well worth the wait. I finally pulled it out of the dutch oven around 1am and allowed it to cool overnight. The moment the 7:15 alarm went off, we jumped out of bed & started slicing, not so much as a "good morning" was uttered between us.

Tonight is the opening night for category 5 racing (beginners) and I'll be watching alone because Andrew is participating!! I'm so freggin' excited I can't even stand it. I really hope it doesn't get rained out ;(



A while back I found out about Growing Power, here's an excerpt from their site:

"Growing Power is national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner."

They offer super cheap market baskets weekly and deliver them to various farmer's markets around the city for you to pick them up! Since Garfield Park Conservatory was having their last plant sale of the season, I went ahead and ordered a sustainable basket to be picked up there. Come Saturday morning, I was overcome with excitement for my veggies. We got to the conservatory and picked up a large brown bag with my name written on it. I signed over a check for $28 and was on my merry way. Promises of "approximately 10-12 varieties (18-22 pounds) of certified organic and sustainably grown produce…" filled my head, making me giddy to get home and cook something! Then, I suddenly thought, "man, this bag is pretty light! I was expecting almost 20lbs worth of… wait a minute…" My bag only included 8 varieties and weighed closer to 10lbs ;( After looking through the bag a bit, Andrew took an apple and I decided to pull out the lone cucumber and, sit down for this one guys, IT HAD A PRODUCE STICKER ON IT! *GASP!*

"Product of Mexico"

Seriously the saddest three words of my Saturday. What happened to the locally and sustainably grown promises?! It was a very sad moment for me. I felt like I'd been duped. Simple, gullible Jaimielee… you just paid $28 to have someone go the the grocery store for you. What were my 8 varieties? Corn, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes, green onions, broccoli, apples, and a Mexican cucumber.

Looking beyond the yield of my bag, I went on to the plant sale and bought lettuce, sweet basil and a pair of (forgive my ignorance if I'm wrong) hostas (probably wrong).

Such cuties!

I wish I had better sun exposure in the apartment or better yet, a yard. I'm tempted to ask my neighbors to let me use a couple square feet of their completely unused, under appreciated, overgrown with weeds, and neglected yard. Can you tell I'm jealous? Then I'll be able to grow some Puerto Rican cucumbers.