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  • Writer's pictureSuitman

December 2017 - Painting Shirts for Festivus

Updated: Jan 27, 2018

I began painting later than I should have.

I have an abstract, pattern-making style when painting

1/12/2017 - Friday

I finally got around to washing the soap making bowls etc. The remnants in them had plenty of time to become hard soap rather than still being oily.

Fully saponified remnants

to clean off the containers

We held the last meeting of the Semi-Colons reading group at the Unibar so that it was even more sociable than usual. The reading itself was very well received.

2/12/2017 - Saturday

We held a PSST executive meeting to discuss ‘O Week’ and Clubs Day which are coming up in late February and early March. We decided to hold a derive/psychogeography/treasure hunt in ‘O Week’ and to cook stuff on Clubs Day.

3/12/2017 - Sunday

Social lunch at Top Choice

4/12/2017 - Monday

I’ve been a bit unsettled the last few days. It was the 11th anniversary of my partner’s death on the 2nd and it seems to be affecting me more than usual.

5/12/2017 - Tuesday

The dodgy batch of soap I’ve been using works well. This piece eventually regained its original colouring, but not until it was nearly finished.

The dodgy soap is now white

and orange is appearing

(see the point of transition

from white).

I started cleaning the table as a mind-numbing activity, using leftover soap pieces. This requires fine detail scraping and takes a long time to make very little progress.

6/12/2017 - Wednesday

I continued to do more on the table.

7/12/2017 - Thursday

A friend came to visit. We went to lunch and I tried Sharna’s deep-fried spiced-tofu... not bad. I also gave her some soaps for Xmas and for her birthday which is coming up on the 17th.

Evidence of my trying tofu

8/12/2017 - Friday

I had a meeting with my principle supervisor today. I explained that I have not been very productive over the past week due to personal issues. I also need to get better organised more generally, to make progress across many areas, including making, web development and maintenance (blog), and reading and writing. Jo advised me to develop a writing ‘practice’, where I am writing regularly to develop a ‘style’.

I kept the tie-dye shirts out of the washing until I was ready to do them manually. Today I soaked them separately and noticed that they lost heaps of dye.

Four containers…

one for each shirt…

Note the colour of

the dye-water

9/12/2017 - Saturday

I rinsed the shirts while I had a shower.

The dye has bled into some

shirts more than others…

(Notice the shirts 2nd from the left and at far right no longer retain white)

I went to Dad’s for lunch. He’s getting more adventurous in his creativity and used a good bit of chilli (which he used to avoid).

Celebration dinner for a close friend’s acceptance to do her Research Masters with a group of about 10. A few of us came back to continue chatting afterwards.

The socialising continues

at home

10/12/2017 - Sunday

I did a bit more work on the website (Search Engine Optimisation).

I found out that my son's coming for Christmas, which means I need to get involved more with the whole thing than I would have otherwise.

11/12/2017 - Monday

I cut the multi-coloured soap into more conventional sizing. This has left a few ‘soap stick’ off-cuts that may be ok for shaving.

Soap off-cuts

I hand-washed three of the four shirts I’d recently tie-dyed. Luckily, I chose to wash them separately again because plenty of dye came out again.

2nd wash/soak and

there's still lots of

dye loss

12/12/2017 - Tuesday

I contacted Josh (who ran the tie-dye workshop) to see if I can get access to his equipment to make a few tie-dye shirts for Xmas.

13/12/2017 - Wednesday

I went to the op shop to buy shirts for tie-dying as Xmas presents.

Shirts from the


I made Happy Festivus cards to send and give to people for Xmas.

Home-made Xmas cards


14/12/2017 - Thursday

I went to the market and bought a bag of oranges to make a big batch of marmalade for Xmas presents.

I put a few decorations up ready for Xmas. I’m using a tree that my nephew made at pre-school out of newspaper and wrapped in tinsel. He is now fifteen, so the tree has done well to survive over ten years.

I began reading and writing about a book recommended by my supervisor Andrew. The book is a collection of essays concerned with the contemporary incarnation of the spectacle; spectacle 2.0, which is a digital melding of media, capitalism, and everyday life. I read the preface by Douglas Kellnor, who first used the term ‘media spectacle’ in the mid-1990s, amid the rise of cable news and the 24 hour news cycle, as well as new-media and the internet.

15/12/2017 - Friday

I made a batch of markalade with 6 of the oranges (which was 1/3). I’ll still need to make another two batches… or one double size batch.

I still haven’t heard back from Josh and don’t feel I have time to order a range of dyes so I went and bought some fabric paint to make Xmas t-shirts.

16/12/2017 - Saturday

I went and bought some fabric spray paint to get a move on with the shirts as some need to be sent to Tasmania and time is short.

17/12/2017 - Sunday

I painted the two shirts I will be posting… and another one that will be part of my Xmas giving.

A collared shirt

18/12/2017 - Monday

I posted the shirts and made a double batch of markalade with the remaining oranges using more sugar, but still less than recommended. The result is still a bit too runny as it hasn’t set.

19/12/2017 - Tuesday

I’ve been using soap crumbs that have accumulated from the cutting process to clean my lounge room table, which is over-due for a spruce up.

I bought some more shirts for painting from the Op Shop. Giving a new life to previously used items in this way provides a guilt free way to give gifts and provides the opportunity for artistic pleasure through creating.

I did some more shirt painting.

A watery looking

collared shirt

20/12/2017 - Wednesday

I bought some more fabric paint (not premixed sprayers) which I will dilute for use in spray bottles, and an apron for Suitman’s soap-making.

I did some more shirt painting

21/12/2017 - Thursday

My son Gareth arrived today for a 3 week stay. He has a disability and will require constant attention. I will take a break from reading and writing but will maintain my practice.

I gave shirts as gifts to a couple of friends and they want to try painting too (adding black to the ones I’d given them and other items from their own wardrobe).

22/12/2017 - Friday

I made a large dip for nibbles while entertaining / socialising over the next few days.

Another friend came with Xmas gifts wrapped in newspaper (which is what I’m doing)

I did some more shirt painting for Xmas, and showed friends who’d been over yesterday how I do them. They modified the shirts I’d given them yesterday and painted items they’d brought, including a pair of shorts.

A more radical looking

collared shirt

23/12/2017 - Saturday

I wrapped presents in newspaper. This worked well because I used the middle ‘blank’ line between each two-page spread to write details on… No tag required… (although I did use sticky tape).

Newspaper wrapped

Festivus presents

Some friends came over for early gift giving. I gave everyone a painted shirt. We’re having a picnic tomorrow and it was suggested that everyone wear their new shirt. What a bright and colourful bunch we’ll be. Interestingly, this will create its own aesthetic of sameness, even though each shirt is individually painted and different.

24/12/2017 - Sunday

We all wore our painted shirts to the Xmas Eve picnic. Everyone made something to take. I took ham sliced from the huge leg I’d been given and a loaf of bread.

25/12/2017 - Monday

I cooked a potato bake to take along with the dip to Xmas lunch with the family at Dad’s.

26/12/2017 - Tuesday

Day of eating leftovers… hehehe. This is a great way to reduce waste.

27/12/2017 - Wednesday

I played a few games of snooker with Gareth and my Dad today (on the big tables at Western Suburbs Leagues Club) and we had lunch at a restaurant in Wollongong. (Support local business)

I was given a hand-me-down iPhone 6 for Christmas, which means I’ve got a better camera… yay… however, I lost a lot of images I’d taken of shirt painting etc. because my previous iPhone 4 had filled up its back-up facility months ago and I didn’t think about that when doing the switch. Consequently, I lost any photos I had not already removed from the old phone before transferring data to the new one.


I played more snooker with Gareth and Dad after lunch at Dad’s.


Gareth and I went to Matt and Deniz’ for a yummy home-made dinner.

30/12/2017 - Saturday

Gareth and I went to lunch at Dad’s. He made a great schnitzel with veg.

31/12/2017 - Sunday

I made strawberry and apple jam today. I’ve been trying to get jam to set without adding pectin (i.e. trying to get pectin and citric acid naturally - hence the apple and lemon juice), and using less sugar. I’ve finally accepted that I need high sugar as part of the preserving process and that I may need to add pectin if I want to ‘bind’ the juices and fruit. This is essential to preserve long term without refrigeration.

Strawberries and apples

in the pan ready to be


I need to use to the

equivalent amount

of sugar as fruit


Sugar is added after

the fruit has been

cooking for a while.

Filling jars

using a ladle.

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