29 March 2010


I woke up an hour late this morning, or an hour later than I intended. My first class is at 1pm, so waking up at 9am instead of 8 doesn't actually matter that much. Unless I have a paper to finish or a class to prep for, I guess, but I didn't today, so this is all irrelevant. What was I talking about?

Yes, okay, this morning--I woke up, did some dishes, had some coffee, and then instead of wasting time on the internet or something, I actually used my sewing machine. I pieced part of a green and black quilt that I started cutting out in... November? I'm pretty excited about it, partially because polka dots are involved but mostly because it occurred to me that it could be perfect for a certain World's Most Adorable Three Year Old, if I can find a good green & black print with cars, frogs, or octopuses. Or something like that. Possibly it will be a very weird baby quilt, as I'm planning to do some improvisational piecing, but whatever, I'll bind it with some of that satin blanket binding and he'll love it.

Anyway, the point! There is a point to all of this--today was pretty great. I woke up and sewed, school went fine, it was sunny and brisk, and I was happy to be alive.

Oh wow, I kind of want to punch myself in the face right now! "It was sunny, I love life," VOMIT. I'm turning into such a dirty hippy weirdo. Or something, I don't even know. I don't care though! I don't care. Today was lovely, and I am happy to be alive.

28 March 2010

spring cleaning

I'm a little in love with my serger. And with sewing. And knitting. I'm half done with 2 scarves; I got a bit stalled on both because I don't actually know how to switch to a new skein of yarn. I mean, you basically just tie a knot, but there seem to be several ways to do this, some better than others I think? I don't know, it's all very confusing. But fun! And my serger, oh my serger--so far, I've only modified a tank top (somewhat successfully) and made myself a pair of underwear (new favorite thing to do, though I still need to perfect my pattern), but I cannot get over how magical it is. It's so fast! And it cuts off the seam allowance and makes this perfect seam! And I really cannot believe how many different stitches my machine has. It's an Elna Pro 5DC (photo from yesterday!) that originally retailed for about $1100, sold between 1992-1997. I bought mine for much much less than that at Milwaukee Sewing Machine (which is an awesome store, by the way). It does everything but a cover stitch; even a chain stitch, which will come in handy when I make jeans, which will happen soon. And oh, I bought some amazing cotton jersey knit for t-shirts at Vogue Fabrics today, and some great sale t-shirt knits at Hancock last week. I have a truly ridiculous amount of fabric right now, and there are so many things I want to sew. I haven't felt this excited about sewing in a long time, and I am more determined than ever to find time to sew everyday. Which seems like a pipe dream, as I've been completely unsuccessful so far, but I need to make it happen. I feel a bit ridiculous about this, but I've been thinking so much this week about what I want my life to look like and where I want to be in five years, and I am less and less convinced that history and library science is where I want to be, at least in the near future. I want to get my PhD someday, I want to be a librarian someday, but I don't know anymore if those are things that I want to do immediately when I complete my MA/MLIS coursework.

Yikes, heavy! I cannot believe I have to go back to school tomorrow. Literally--I cannot quite imagine myself as a grad student right now. I'll have to figure that out within the next 12 hours or so, I guess. I'm sure I'll feel differently when I'm back at school tomorrow, but right now, I just want to quit school and make my living as a seamstress. Or something. Maybe I should just win the lottery, that would be lovely.


LOOKLOOKLOOK, originally uploaded by marinatina.

Here's a thing that I bought.

26 March 2010


heaven, originally uploaded by marinatina.

Hey guess what? Spring Break is amazing. I taught myself how to purl, so I can now theoretically knit anything. I made myself a pair of underwear, which is awesome and not at all weird so SHUT IT. I went to the fabric store pictured above, which is seriously honestly amazing. SR Harris is where you need to go if you sew. [My S key is all jacked up today. UGH.]

Oh, also, I bought a car! Well, I talked my credit union into financing a car on my behalf, so really, I bought myself another loan! But it is car shaped and black and has 4 doors and AC, so I'm pretty psyched.

Okay, the one thing I have kind of (but not really! I've gotten work done over Spring Break! Weird!) slacked on is school work, so I'm going to go do that. How are you?

15 March 2010


progress, originally uploaded by marinatina.

I learned how to knit this weekend. That's the yellow yarn I chose in the background of this photo; it's all ripply because I had to rip out most of the scarf I started because I keep making mistakes, which is frustrating mostly because I cannot figure out what I'm doing wrong. Lame.

The embroidery project is going much better. Slower, but mistake-free. I have to have that entire piece of Aida cloth embroidered by the end of the month, which will definitely happen, though it may be a very minimalist design. If I can move quick enough though, the whole piece will be full of that repeating design in blue, and then there will be many other colors filing in all the white space.

Fun stuff. This weekend was pretty okay. Schoolwork during the day, fun times with friends at night, and I learned how to knit! I've tried and failed to figure it out before, so until this weekend it seemed like something I would never be able to do. So that's cool, knowing that maybe I should not be so defeatist.

Also, I played bingo at the Potawatomi casino on Saturday night, and that shit is intense. I went with two of my friends, and we were envisioning VFW-style bingo, lots of beer and cigarettes and talking and also bingo. Not exactly--the numbers moved too fast to talk during games, and we were afraid to talk during the extra games (you can buy cards for extra games, but we didn't) for fear of distracting people and getting punched or something. Weird, but definitely fun to do once.

Alright, back to the real word. Papers to grade, presentation to prepare. So glad spring break is next week.

12 March 2010

shoot me now


Can you spot the problem here? I just finally realized that all of the work I've done this morning was wrong and pointless. Trying very hard to believe that doesn't say something meaningful/symbolic about my stupid life right now.

09 March 2010


hmong embroidery

Very beginnings of a cross stitch project, inspired by that piece of Hmong embroidery. Longer story there, but I'll get to that some other day. I am trying very hard to focus on the idea of endurance, specifically the building of it. Don't feel bad for my failings, just focus on doing a little better/more each day. I don't know if it's really working.

08 March 2010

things that are awesome

1. Coming home to this:

baked pasta!

2. While waiting for the delicious baked pasta to finish baking, I decided to do a tiny bit of sewing. Weird! I experimented with some scrap knit fabric using my old machine, and it went well, so I sewed the seams of a knit tank top I cut out two months ago.* It went pretty well, I think! No puckering, seemingly strong seams; I am completely unsure how to judge whether I sewed it correctly because knit fabric is stretchy and weird and everyone else is so nervous about knits that I am too, kind of? But I think maybe it's going to be okay? Also, the fit is pretty good, though I need to finish the seams and then hem the bottom & armholes** which will hopefully take care of the weird puckering at the bust. I could probably have also cut a size smaller,*** and I hope I'm not tempting fate by getting excited before it's completely done, but yeah, positive sewing energy!

*holy shit, winter break was two months ago?!
**Do you hem an armhole? Is armhole the right word? What's an "armscye"? Any sewers out there?
***WHAT?! Smaller size? Weird.

06 March 2010


grandma's sewing machine

I signed up for a sewing class! It's six weeks long and focuses on garment sewing. I've sewn clothes before, mostly through figuring things out as I go along, and I'm super super psyched to have someone show me the right way to do things.

Of course, the first week of the sewing class had to be the same week that I took my new machine in to get serviced. (BTW, I highly recommend buying a machine at Milwaukee Sewing Machine, or probably any local store. One year warranty, including a free tuneup, and they extend the warranty another year if you take a class about how to use your machine. I put that off forever, so I'm taking it next Friday when I pick up my machine, which happens to be a day before my original warranty would've expired.) So, this week I'll be sewing on Grandma's machine! Little bit nervous, as it was starting to act up and skip stitches right before I bought my new machine. Probably it needs to be serviced, but somehow I've never been able to justify spending $80 to get my second sewing machine serviced. I'm sure it'll be fine for this week though; I think we'll just be going over basics, which will possibly be boring but hopefully will teach me some new things. I'm just excited that I'll have an excuse to sew at least once a week for the next month and a half.

02 March 2010



I am trying to live in the moment more. I don't know what that has to do with these flowers, really. Something about paying attention to my surroundings or something? I don't know. Kind of an okay photo, though I wish I had paid more attention to the floorboards when taking it. As it is, it makes me a little dizzy. That 'live in the moment' thing though, that's really something I've been thinking about a lot lately, or consciously attempting to think about & incorporate into my life. I've been doing yoga nearly everyday, which is quite nice. I've been trying to focus more on enjoying the process of things like reading for school, cleaning, and grading. It's quite difficult to enjoy the process of grading, I've found. I wish I could say that I've been working on enjoying the process of sewing (or any kind of crafting), but that would be a dirty lie. Maybe this weekend? I need to get my Janome serviced, so I'm thinking I might mess around with my vintage Singer. Anyway, yes, I am trying to live in the moment, but also paradoxically pay more attention to the long-term. I feel like the past six months or so have been heavily structured around getting through the day rather than any kind of long-term planning or preparation, and I am a bit tired of that.

Okay. Anyway. Back to enjoying [...] the process of reading & writing.

01 March 2010


this is what the inside of my head looks like

I am maybe kind of sort of doing one of those Project 365 things. A photo a day for a year? Maybe? I don't know. Cannot decide. I have definitely taken a photo a day for at least a few days now. Anyway, exciting obvs, this photo is (a) what happens when I remember my new "photo a day" thing at 10pm at night and (b) what the inside of my head looks like now, pretty much. Work work work.

Two unrelated things: I made some pretty okay lasagna last night, which I'm feeling good about. And--I forgot the second thing! Fuck.