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I made another shirt. This one is a commission/request from Spo-fan Raven. He and I worked together to find the right fabric, he sent it, and off I went to work. At times the shirt felt cursed; almost everything had an impediment.  At one point I had to make the decision to take it all apart in order to redo the collar.  However it came out OK. The pocket is a little off-center. All my shirts have a ‘quirk’ to them. His texts convey he is happy. Off it goes this week.



Yesterday I spent some time frantically looking for a Spo-shirt only to realize I had given it away. Oops. It is an ill wind that blows nobody good, for it prompted me to do an inventory of what’s been made and who has what. If I may be so bold as to compare my sewing to artistry, I know of artists who keep a careful catalog of what they make and where their work goes.  Others make’em and leave it to Fate.  I love a list, so I decided to make one. It was a bit of a treasure hunt and logic puzzle deducing such. In the end it wasn’t really hard to do. I have photos; I have blog and journal entries. Like jigsaw puzzle pieces they were put together into a pastiche.  Actually, it was jolly good fun.

On my bucket list is to make 100 shirts. It turns out I have made 90.  I have 44. The other 46 were given away as gifts. That’s ~ 50% kept and 50% given.  I now know the who has what Shirt. Alas there are five shirts ‘lost’ to me; they were made for friends who have disappeared. (1)

Most keepers of Spo-shirts have one shirt. However, ten have more than one. The ‘record’ is DougT who has six shirts.(2)

My shirt rack is sagging with foudroyant fabric of forty four shirts. In 2016 I plan to be picky as to what I make for myself. Future fabrics must be fabulous – no rubbish.

Perhaps I need to consider throwing old ones out. These oldsters are ‘retired’ as they are faded, dog-eared, and frankly not made well compared to later creations. They are at a proverbial ‘B” table, hanging in the guest room closet. I seldom wear them but neither I can’t get myself to throw them out.  I see them as old and faithful servants who have worked hard and deserve to rest.

I don’t quite recall when I made my first shirt (3) but as a hobby (or artistic expression) I have not lost the joy. Hobbies should be fun, and this one remains so. I hope if/when I grow bored with sewing I will feel guilt-less to put it down. But  hat doesn’t seem to be the case yet.  I have ten shirts to go to reach one hundred.  Maybe there were be one hundred more. Who can say.



(1) I admit I am more sad about the loss of the contact with shirts than the loss of the friends. But that’s the risk of given things away.

(2) His are all butterflies and bugs. DougT attends an annual convention of bug-nuts. He has to have a new gown each year, lest there is talk.

(3) I recall I was living in Ann Arbor at the time, so the circa is 2000-2005.  I should pull out my journals as figure this out precisely.

Addendum: thank goodness for my journals!  I found this:

9 February 2002  “I started my shirt sewing project with the Key West blue trial pattern. The parts [paper pattern] are cut out; fabric is washed. Ready for pins and cutting. I need someone to show me how to use a sewing machine.”

6 April 2002  “I have finished the shirt – resewing the R sleeve, fixing the collar, sew [sic] on the pocket, cut button holes. It only needs the buttons. It has puckers and wrinkles and crooked seams, but I am so pleased with it. Next shirt will be so much easier and better. How nice to end on Easter. “



This entry isn’t long, profound, or witty’; it is merely another “shirt post”.

I friend of Chinese heritage requested a Spo-shirt for his birthday.  He says cranes are good luck; he wished for a shirt ‘with cranes’. I think this suffices.

I hope he has lots of luck.


As a thank you he offered me a good bottle of bourbon or to take us to China in 2017.  What a deal.

Home life news seems dull and commonplace to the writer but often is of interest to the reader.  Perhaps it is resembles the medicine cabinet where there is a mild thrill to have a look-see even if the contents are mundane.

I’m afraid mine is quite dull and commonplace. My office looks quite well now the objects d’art are up.  I am back in the gym, slowly regaining stamina after a long hiatus from last month’s pneumonia.  My diet is going fair; Someone’s more austere diet is even more successful.  I get up, walk Harper, and go to work. After work I partake exercise then come home for supper. After some paperwork I seem to be turning in early.  I lead a dull life.

So here are some photos to amuse and germinate comments.


Spo-fans may recall my courageous encounter with mutant spiders while visiting Ottawa this July.  As a reward for valor I got this marvelous T-shirt.  You can’t read the writing but it is in French. It translates to “I hugged the spider and lived to tell the tale” 


Speaking of Ottawa I purchased a print of the painting “The Death of General Wolfe” which hangs in their gallery.  The print now hangs in my office. So far no patient has voiced any interest in it, probably because they are focused on getting the amphetamines.  I’ve stopped telling the story of General Wolfe as no one has a clue (or interest) who he was.


I am making two little shirts, one for Princess-Goddess and the other for Warrior-Queen. They are well under four week. These mini-shirts are covered in fairies and glitter. The shirts are going to be too big, alas, but I hope the munchkins grow into them. Meanwhile they can function as pajamas.

Here is my favorite coaster.


I am tired. Nighty-night.  I hope to have something more erudite and profound anon.

Rumor has it there are people who can put together a week’s worth of clothing and travel items in a flash a few hours before they leave for their flight. I am not one of them; I am a poor packer.  Although we leave Friday I am already beginning to pack. It takes me a few days to gather up the items I believe necessary and to figure out what ensembles are needed. Although I vow overtime to ‘pack light’ I still manage to create a trousseau worthy of a two week’s voyage on one of the more luxurious cruise lines.  Grandmother lived by the philosophy if she went somewhere and she realized something was behind she either a) lived without or b) bought a new one.  My inner boy scout finds this antithesis to ‘be prepared’.  I start making a list of ‘things that shan’t be missed’ days ahead of the departure. Throughout the week I will be minding my own business, when there is a sudden interjection into my thinking like the word ‘headphones’. I pull out my list and write that down. On the eve of the departure day I check off the list to ascertain nothing is left behind.  This gallimaufry ranges from vitals (tickets, money, passport, and backscratcher) to the frivolous (sudoku puzzles for the airplane and baby bottles of bourbon).

I also start packing clothes days in advance. This isn’t like the mentioned items, as it is jolly good fun. I’ve developed a tradition (or is it a superstition?) I must make a new shirt for each major holiday. As I am going to Canada, here’s the latest number:

Wearing it I hope to ‘blend in’ as a Newfoundlander and no one will suspect I am a Yankee tourist. A few Canadian FB friends are too polite to tell me directly I am living in a fool’s paradise but I rather like it.

The first round of packing always reveals either extreme: I have packed too much or too little.  I make adjustments. I know enough to ‘leave some room’ for I buy things when on holiday.

Some Spo-fans may be wondering if Someone is similar. No,  he is not. He packs while I am working so I never see how he manages it but he is expert at packing. He rivals Mary Poppins with her carpet bag when it comes to packing things, and he always packs the minimal. He tends to wear the same shirt several time (horror!)

Sometimes I can sweet talk him into packing my things for me and he manages every time (clever man!) to get whatever I laid out into the one suitcase.

This is the real secret to successful suitcase packing: get someone to do it for you.

It is very late and I am very tired from a long work day. I suppose if I was more rested this entry would be well written or longer in length. But I have been waiting what seems a very long while to write this and tonight I can. I didn’t want to wait..


Today I got back the shirt I made for the late Wayne Cajun. I am greatly indebted to Ron T. (the dear!) who made the phone calls to save it before it was hauled away. Later he retrieved it and popped it in the post.  The package greeted me when I got home this evening.

I suppose I was being selfish, but when I heard of his passing I realized I wanted his shirt. There are a few shirts I’ve made for people who have disappeared and never to be seen again, but this was the first time a Spo-shirt recipient has died. I couldn’t abide the thought the shirt was going to Goodwill along with his clothes without sentiment where it would cease to be a treasure. I began to feel Wayne would similarly disappear if I did not get back this gift.

It is said we die twice: the first time is our physical death and the second time is when no one alive remembers us. So long as I have this shirt to remind me of him, Wayne will live on in my mind and memory. Perhaps I won’t wear it, but have it hang in my closet as as sort of ‘retired’ garment.

I am very glad to have known Wayne and to have made him a shirt. I am grateful to have it back. I smell olives.

Butterfly Cajun

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and next weekend is Father’s birthday, so the old man has been much on my mind. I don’t recall how old he will be. I know one of the reasons why I can’t remember his age is I don’t like to face the fact he is gettnig old, frail, and – taboo word – in the dying process. Not that he is ill, but he has ailments. Father and I are alike as two peas in looks and temperament. When I use FaceTime it is like looking into the mirror of Dorien Grey. “This is what I will look like in twenty-five years”. Someone says he never has to wonder what i would be like ‘when I’m 64″ for he knows this way.  Next weekend is my high school reunion; I am looking forward to attending it, but not as much as a boat ride with Father and what brothers may come in for the occasion. There is nothing Father likes better than being with his family on his speed boat, chasing freighters on Lake St. Clair.  For the occasion I have made him this shirt :


It is full up of nautical flags. His favorite jacket of all time is made from an old nautical flag. After forty years of wearing it the threadbare spencer is literally falling apart; this shirt is a close-enough thing and I hope he likes it.

I would like my parents to move out here for the climate and the advantage there are no stairs in the house. He is too polite to tell me he would sooner eat rats in Tewkesbury for how can I, his #1 Son (one of nature’s bachelors) ever hope to compete against Sons #2-4 who all have grandchildren? Not a chance.  Besides, he is quite happy where he is. He never complains – ever. He is one of the most content and fortunate fellows I have ever known. So happy Father’s Day and happy birthday too. May this next year be your best one yet.   I look forward to having a snort with him (no rubbish) and taking him out for the obligatory small chocolate cone.


Here are some Spo-bits of little importance but perhaps of some interest.


The sewing machine has returned from the repair shop, which allows me to get going on some long-delayed projects. I finally finished this groovy style creamsicle shirt for Sandy who lives in faraway Australia. Perhaps in gratitude he can send me some sort of Aussie imperial tid-bits to try. I have never had vegemite.

Last weekend Someone discovered we have a cactus growing on our roof. It is of the genus opuntia (prickly pear). How it got there is a mystery and how we failed to notice it is another. He climbed onto the roof and extracted it (no small feat). The handling and transportation of cacti is a ticklish endeavor for they are covered in needles both sharp and irritating. No gloves are impervious to them.  We managed to get it transported into a poolside pot but not before us suffering terrible pokes. Ironically the tiny needles are worse than the biggens, for they latch onto the skin and become ensconced like nobody’s business.  My hands still itch from the pricks.


Last weekend I saw the new Avengers movie and I am happy to report I did not throw up. Spo-fans may remember I get motion sickness watching quick movements and scene changes on wide screens. There are only seven basic stories.* Marvel Comics follow the first universal story: “Slaying the Monster”. Usually this story starts with one or a few people realizing there is a monster out and about. In the second part of Slaying the Monster thems who know try to convince the others there is a monster loose. This is unsuccessful until phase #3 of the narration occurs when the monster is out and obvious. The Avenger movie was intriguing that it skipped parts #1 and #2 and got right to the battle. The movie presumes the viewer already knows the drama personae and let’s not waste time but get right to the fighting of the monster.**  Afterward the movie we went home to find the cactus on the roof. As far at that story went it followed “Slaying the monster” beautifully. I just hope there is no sequel.


* Details are provided upon request for those curious on the topic.

** Did I ever tell you I have been told on more than one occasion I resemble Robert Downy Jr.?

It’s another “I made a shirt and I am showing it off’ entry….

Although this time I made two of them more of less at the same time.
The first is an ersatz tarot card fabric. I made it for a friend who is coming to town this week:


I hope he likes it. The ‘purist’ in me finds the pseudo-cards not to my taste.


I realize I’ve been making a lot of shirts for others. The ratio of gift-shirts to “keepers” is predominately the former. So I made this gecko shirt for myself:


It is how I like them: bright, colourful, and bold – like my men.


Now – I must finish the ‘orange’ shirt for Sandy G. in faraway Australia, the rusty/red for Raven (the dear!), and two little fairy shirts for my nieces Princess-Goddess and Warrior-Queen who come a-visiting in April.

The 2014 journal informs me I made ten shirts last year.* Eight of them were made for a specific somebody or given away on impulse. I wonder if Mr. Lauren or Mr. Hilfiger feels like I do about their design-wear: there is a simple satisfaction men are out and about in ‘my label’. I need to verify this, but I believe I’ve made eighty shirts in total, most of them for people well over four feet. Last night I took inventory of shelf o’fabrics to see what trends lies ahead for the 2015 Spo collection.



Friend Joel is coming to town in March for his annual go-out-of-Chicago spring holiday. He requested this fabric; it has whimsical ersatz Tarot cards on it.  As he asked for it last March I better get it done!



Another request comes from blogger buddy Sandy. He has an appentence for orange. He sent me this orange lovely. When finished, it goes to Australia. I will have the honor of having my first shirt ‘down under’.



Lurking in the back of the fabric shelf is this lovely item. I recall I bought it for a Canadian but then he lost interest in the thing. So it is an ‘orphan’ fabric. Once made I will give it to someone north of the border, if I can find a willing recipient. It is slightly indecorous for Canuck-wear.



Doris (the dear!) sent me this fabric some time ago. I’ve been stalling on it as its pattern is quite large. I think an XL-XXL shirt is warranted to do the pattern half justice. It will probably be made into a shirt first and then I will figure out for whom.



Sometime I buy something only to lose interest in it. This green hibiscus pattern is a good example. It’s not a bad. I think it is just outgoing enough for my taste. I like them bright, bold, and wild – like my men.



Finally, these geckos are jolly good fun. I may keep this one for my own.  Or not. I’ve learned some of the fun in shirt making is discovering what happens to them. Ya never know!


*Not bad, either !

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