Christmas & Hanukkah

As the Holidays got closer I realized I wouldn't be able to make it to New York this year. It's bittersweet because it has been my only guaranteed trip back home since moving here. But I'm excited to spend my first Christmas in Chicago!

I've been planning gifts to send home, and let me tell you, my family is HUGE. I have 7 aunts and uncles, a single set of grandparents, and 7 cousins in New York. My mom lives in Maryland as well as my step-dad and his family. I'm not making something for everyone (obviously) but the few I'm focusing on are so hard to make decisions for! My family isn't really of the crafty persuasion, apart from my mom and step dad, so it can be a bit challenging. I've joined Crafty Christmas Club to blog about top secret gifts there. Not that my family actually reads this, but you know, for safe measure ;)

My planning has me thinking of what I really want. Not that I'm asking for anything because I hate putting wishlists together... But I couldn't resist because some things are just MUST-HAVEs for me. Like these gems:

Colette Pattern's adorable Macaron, because DUH!

A subscription to Crochet Today + May/June's Issue ft. that top!
Jen Oaks' Kitty Bon Bon Giclee Print & loosetooth's Mermaid Gocco Print! & the Twin Lens Holga + Color Flash from Photojojo!

Maybe some creepy old bearded man with astigmatism and an affinity towards milk & cookies is reading... One can only hope!!



When I was younger I absolutely adored hippos with all my heart! To be honest, I adored all animals with all my heart, but hippos and giraffes were at the top of my list. One day my dad made up a pretty elaborate story about "where I came from." The long and short of it was I was adopted from a family of hippos. I know. Kind of weird but just go with it... My dad started calling me Hippopotamuslee instead of Jaimielee and at first I hated it. He passed away when I was 8 years old, along with the nickname. It wasn't until recently that I became rather obsessed with it again. For my senior project in college I even created a small stationery company named Hip Oh! Paper Goods. The original logo transformed from this:

To this much cuter version (because seriously who doesn't love a hippo bum):

The other day I decided to create a mark for myself as Hippopotamuslee. All of my free time combined with a burning desire to revamp my blog led to this:

I'm really quite happy with them (me?), though I can't decide if I prefer my pencil sketch over my vector version. I set up a poll over to the right so you can vote! I've encouraged you to visit jaimieleedesign.com before and in the spirit of a redesign, I'm thinking of moving my blog to that domain (I'll let you know if/when). I'm even considering switching to WordPress. *GASP!* You'll still follow me, RIGHT??



I was determined to finish my Acorn Shrug last Wednesday night but I ran out of yarn. When I stopped to pick some more up the next day, the violet yarn was completely sold out! I mean, the world was legitimately trying to sabotage my productivity. Though it began to look more and more like a throw, I pulled through & finished it off with some stripes from my yarn stash. And now for some photos...

It's so big and bulky & I LOVE IT!!

Just for fun, I crocheted a big bow which was supposed to go on the "lapel" but it would've been wayyy too busy. If I attach it to some elastic, I think it'll make a really cute chunky headband. Now back to my Parkahh! muslin ;)



The minor progress I've made on the Parkahh! has really just been me shopping. I need to get a few more things like cording, cord locks, and a zipper but I did buy some mystery fabric. It may be polyester, so I'm trying to decide how I feel about that… Right now I'm leaning towards "it's pretty cute," though I flip back to "but it's polyester!" every now and then. I picked up muslin for what will be my very first muslin version of anything (ever), and found really inexpensive pyramid studs on Etsy. I plan on getting started once I finish my throw err, I mean shrug!

100 studs for $4.50 from eff-bombs!

$1.99 per yard from Vogue Fabrics!

Because it was a remnant, it had no label and we all know I have very limited knowledge of sewing, even less of fabrics! The right side (lighter) of the fabric has a slight shine to it, which you can't really see in the photo ;\ While the wrong side (darker) is matte. I can't decide which side I like/goes best with the studs…

Now for a new & exciting bonus project to add to my ever-growing list:

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

"Thousands of sketchbooks will be exhibited at galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the country. After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view. Anyone - from anywhere in the world - can be a part of the project."

Sounds awesome, right‽ The deadline to sign up is the 15th so there's still time. I encourage others to sign up too! I'm so excited to participate :D


Treats & Goodies

Chicago's fairs and markets never cease to bring me joy, especially when pastries are involved! With the cooler weather creeping in, most of them are wrapping up till next year but the few that stick it out during fall/winter are fabulous. Last weekend a great place called Logan Square Kitchen hosted a Halloween Pastry Market with local vendors. Of the few we tried, our favorites were:

Salted Caramel sells delicious caramel popcorn with either smoked pecans or bacon. Andrew tried and loved the bacon but the pecans—ZOMG!

Pecan Caramel Corn

Mayana Chocolate had a HUGE assortment. I really wish I'd gotten 100 more macarons though, they were absolutely adorable and delicious.

Sesame Macaron & Coconut Peanut Butter Brownie

Katherine Anne Confections are known for their amazing caramel and yet we only gobbled up samples of it. Their truffles are divine!

Spiced Rum Coconut Truffles

All of these pastries have reinforced my desire to go back to school. Pastry & Baking program, here I come? And here's one more for good measure: