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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.


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 !


Spo-fans know when I complete a shirt I like to post its photo; I like to display my industry.

This ‘retro-style’ colorful cloth made a nifty shirt indeed. In it, I have a fancy to smoke a pipe, grill red meat, and vote for Eisenhower.

I was going to make it for “somebody” –  I didn’t know who, but (alas) it has a few errors.  One was blatant enough (to me anyway) I don’t want to give it to anyone, lest they spot the blemishes – and there goes my good Henley Street name.  So I will keep it myself, although it is a tad too big in the shoulders.
I am relieved to have a new frock for Someone reminds me  we go to Palm Springs this Friday.

Imagine showing up in PS in last year’s outfits?  How gauche.



October 23 is the Phoenix annual AIDS walk.  As a medical man I try to participate in medical fundraisers walks, but the AIDS awl remains my favorite.

Thanks to walks like this one, there has been a great amount of treatment advancements; AIDS is no longer the death-knell it was back in the 80s. Alas, it is no where near over. I will continue to walk until ‘there is a cure’. I will walk this year and every year until it’s over or I am over, whichever happens first.


In 2013 Harper joined us on the walk. She had her own site for fundraising – and the bitch took in so much money she won 2nd place!



She’s eager to take the crown this year, so Someone and I are putting all our pledges into one basket – hers.

If you are interested in sponsoring Harper, please click on her photo  in the upper left widget and pledge what you can. I will bless you, Harper will bless you and you will do a lot of good.

This year Harper’s cortege consists of these fine fellows, who are coming in for that weekend. We are pleased as punch to have them.



To entice Spo-fans into putting out (and I love it when they do) I am donating this newly crafted shirt for the person who pledges the most. It is a L-XL batik of blues and purples with a bit of brown in the collar.  I am pleased it is one of my better-made shirts.  I am willing to make a new shirt if the highest bidder would rather have a ‘small’ or something from another pattern. Harper needs to win that first place tiara !



It was a lovely week away; my annual trek to Canada was all I hoped it would be: food and good cheer with chums (thanks, William Laurent,Ron, and Patrick!!), great theatre, a happy family reunion, and some shopping. Here’s a photo of future shirts:


Now it’s back to the salt mines……

No, it’s not that bad! hohoho. It’s merely a matter of having no more trips or holidays for the rest of the year.** I suspect we have a lot of bills and repairs to attend. I want to be serious on losing some abdominal adiposity, so not eating out will save us money as well as calories. Life is to be rather austere for the rest of the year.

The late August trip to Canada marks me for the end of summer. I have a sense of the year ending. I need to take inventory as to how well I am doing my resolutions and if I have checked anything off on the bucket list. If this last week I’ve ate well and tasted good food. I want to make some soup and prepare some proper (albeit low-cal) meals. I’ve got books to read and exercises to do. Perhaps it is good we aren’t traveling for there is work to be done, indeed. Pretty soon the opera/symphony/ballet seasons all begin as well.

Well that’s all there is. I hope this week the Muses send me something fabulous on which to blog. Rumor has it Someone plans to post, so Keep Calm and Carry On.


**In October we hope to host Cubby and Nate, and there is a tentative excursion to Palm Spring in November if DougT and Leon AKA The Wild One solidify their plans, AND I lure Fearsome Beard and spouse to come a-visiting. So we won’t be completely asocial.



I made this shirt for a chum who has a couple of dachshunds. Dachshunds are curious curs, low and long, with very short legs, sort of like parentheses turned the wrong way. Owners of the breed are very fond of them. I worry though; I fear they are structurally weak. I’ve had enough engineering training to think badger-hounds would be more sturdy if between the bow and stern legs they had installed a third set amid-ship.

I am pleased the dachshunds on the shirt ‘line up’ when the fronts are buttoned. I hope the recipient enjoys the shirt. He is a proper gentleman; I fear a silly shirt like this may be not his style. Perhaps he will sense a loss of dignity to appear in public looking so. I may have to persuade him going on dog-walks while wearing this shirt will make him the talk of the town.


It’s mandatory I post a picture whenever I complete a shirt; it keeps a catalog of my industry.  This one is a pastiche of Japanese prints. It has cranes, flowers, fans – even a tsunami – but (alas!) no Godzilla or ramen.  I won’t keep this one; it is destined for a chum whom we will see next month when we are in Canada.  As usual, I fret a little it’s too small or too short (the shirt, not the chum). But the worst case scenario is merely I have to make another one.

Soup update:  Yesterday I made gazpacho (thanks Damienscot!!)  I will find out today if it is any good.  I realized I am ‘out of practice’ in my cooking skills. I need a ‘refresher course’ on how to chop vegetables quickly and efficaciously.  Perhaps I merely need practice. Anyway it was jolly good fun being in the kitchen preparing something special. I hope the soup turns out well, for I will be eating it for a week there is so much of it.  Someone won’t touch it, for he is not fond of gazpacho. Gazpacho always makes me smile thanks to the movie “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown“.  See it if you haven’t; you won’t ever eat gazpacho again without grinning.



Here’s another one

I call this my ‘bear’ shirt, for it has the colours of the bear community/flag.  The fabric is a bit too heavy for summertime; it would make a good shirt for the autumn given the colours.

A FB friend pointed out the red is next to the black, which means apparently I am not a poisonous snake but a harmless one. In a way I am disappointed. 🙂

$(KGrHqJ,!lgFHPLvUVbwBR70H,wnz!~~60_35I won’t be sewing for the next four weeks; the machine is at the repair shop. There is nothing wrong with it.  It dawned on me I’ve been using it continually (more or less) for years, maybe a decade, and it has never been serviced.

A few weeks ago I went to the Viking devision of the local Joanne’s for a consultation.

The lady-in-charge nearly swooned when she heard my tale. Apparently they ought to be cleaned and oiled on a regular basis. If there was a children protection service for abusive or negligent sewing machine owners, I’d be in Tent City by now wearing pink under drawers and being Sheriff Joe’s bitch.


I took the machine in and the lady (a bit dotty) took down my information. Apparently I never knew my machine had a subset name “Daisy”.  I always referred to it as “Viking”. This is like saying you drive a “Honda” but never “an Accord”.  “Daisy”, as the nameless device is now christened, is now in the shop for approximately 5-6 weeks. That seems a long time for a simple “COA” which is sewing code for “Clean, Oil, and Adjust”.  Alas, I am assured that is the waiting period. I thought to explain as a man and doctor at that I was entitled to be “first in line”, but I was prudent and said no such thing.


Soon I was back at home with a bag containing the foot pedal, the plastic slip cover, and the sundry feet and bobbins.  I am bereft of a machine until May.


This doesn’t mean I can’t do anything. I have plenty of fabric to measure and cut. I can get ready any number of shirts for Daisy’s return.

It looks a bit odd, not seeing it there, upon the counter in the family room.  I wonder if I will go through withdrawal or soon wonder why on earth was I sewing shirts in the first place.

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