a picture speaks 1000 words…

… but of course I have a few more to add.

Looks like the Toronto Police Services have been privatised recently…

"Mr. Police Officer, does this mean my Air Miles card is acceptable ID?"

Spotted at the corner of King and Peter this morning. This morning, there are more cops than real people down here.


As you can gather, I must be really peeved in order to be jolted out of my blog apathy!

Roll on, G-20…right out of town, preferably.

Disgruntledly yours,



an apology from our Prime Minister

Hello all: I should note that the subject line is rather misleading as this post will actually not contain any direct wording from our greatly esteemed PM, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper.

Mr. Harper is the guy on the right, in case you had a problem figuring it out.

WARNING/ATTENTION/ACHTUNG: this post will contain a political rant which might offend some Canajan readers, and which will probably make no sense to readers from other countries.  You may, accordingly, wish to skip to the (blurry) photos at the end.  Consider yourselves warned.

Mr. Harper has, however, spent lots of time in recent months apologising to all and sundry for stuff which happened away back before he was born.  Most recently (and in fact, he managed to pull off this one on a long weekend when people aren’t typically paying all that much attention), he apologised for an incident that took place in 1914 – 376 Sikh and other people from the Indian south continent came into Vancouver on a boat and were not let in to Canada.  Many were murdered upon their return to Calcutta, after spending two months on a dock in the Vancouver harbour.

Now, it’s not for me to say that the Canadian government shouldn’t apologise for that, really.  But, in fact, the community he tried to apologise to has rejected the apology, saying it should come from the House of Commons rather than from Mr. King Stephen Harper trying to gain favour in their community when he shows up for a festival.

And, frankly, I don’t know if these apologies matter whether they come from the legislature or not.  However, it seems that he should have figured this out by now because he’s already issued apologies to the First Nations (without offering up any cash to back it up.

He’s also apologised to the Chinese-Canadian community for a head tax imposed on newcomers between 1885 and 1923 – and offered compensation to those who actually paid the tax, or their children.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t most people that got penalised under this old system be dead now?  And I’ve had at least one client who tried to negotiate the compensation scheme and was told “without original documents, you get nothing.

Now, I think that Mr. Harper is actually quite shrewd (or rather, that his advisors are geniuses) by hitting on a great way to deflect from what’s going on now – just apologise for what has happened in the past.  I mean, we are a nation of people who are socialised to say “sorry” if someone else bumps into you on the street.  And – they say “sorry” too and everyone moves on.

So, the apology as a political concept makes a lot of sense… and hey, the guy is apologising for stuff which happened well before he was even born!  How Canadian… and how dishonest.

Why dishonest?  Because this party is doing a whole hell of a lot of stuff right now that someone fifty years down the road will no doubt be apologising for.  Stuff such as decimating our health care system, reducing public pension entitlements for those who have paid in for 40 years or more, and so forth.

But hey, someone’s sorry – so that must count.  But you don’t see him shedding any tears either:

So, Mr. Harper, thank you for apologising, and I’m sorry too.  In fact, I’m sorry that you’re not offering some of my homemade preserves to those who have been wronged in years past, such as my tomato jam:

… or my jalapeno/green bell pepper jelly:

So, Mr. Harper, should you read this, have my people call my people and we’ll set up a proper “apology basket” for you to give to everyone who has been historically wronged.  JJ is, after all, retired, and has lots of time to can produce.

Happy Tuesday!

stampeding into shamelessness

I’m well and truly off the wagon now, folks. Yup. Yesterday, I made yet another trip to one of the local Houses of Worship – on the pretext that I needed one of these:

For some reason I keep losing these. This is probably my fourth this year. I’m sure that one of these days I’m going to bump accidentally into a secret portal in my apartment and be faced with a whole pile of single socks, good wooden coat hangers (as opposed to crap wire ones from the dry cleaners’) and knitting needle measuring ruler thingies, all pointing and laughing at me.

So, of course I decided today that I was in huge need for one of these $3 thingamabobs. But did I go back to Romni, which is just down the street from my workplace? Hell, no.

Why not? Well, I felt the need to take a 25 minute walk (each way) in 30C/150C with the humidex (don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit, but “damn hot” will about cover it), that’s why.

It certainly wasn’t because Lettuce Knit (quite a hike away from my office, in the Kensington Market) is the only yarn shop in the city that carried Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn. No sirree Bob. Nope.

OK – so now you know the truth. I am a big fat liar.

But, really, how could I resist!

Oh – and while I was there I had to pick up a lonely little skein of Bobby Blue (as in “No Sirree Bob”, I guess!) Malabrigo laceweight as well:

But I don’t feel so bad about this – because Amy told me: “Malabrigo doesn’t count”. I’m a very gullible person, and I do hope that she has not led me down the garden path toward bankruptcy….

What makes me feel a bit better about all of this is that I’m apparently not the only one who’s getting up to hijinks this week, apparently – and mine are far cheaper than some. You see, this week the Calgary Stampede is taking place. Now, I’ve never been to Calgary but if you have ever lived in Canada and watched any news programme during the month of July, you’ll know all about this WestFest, where all the oil millionaires/billionaires, politicians and other high rollers turn up to watch some rodeo and eat some high-priced beef.

Now, according to CTV News the other evening, that’s not all these guys do. They actually had a segment on the late news discussing how some of these guys also come to gamble and pick up women. They even quoted a pro female saying it was by far the most lucrative week of the year.

I think they did, anyway. You see, I cannot find this story anywhere on their website – I do remember seeing it though, if only because it really really hurts to spit Vex alcopop out your nose when you start laughing with your mouth full. JJ confirms that this was on.

But instead, all I could find on the CTV website was this: Calgary drops suits for Stetsons during Stampede.

More like “drops trou”, no?!

I mean, really – let’s face it, these prime ministers must get up to all sorts of nonsense when they’re on the road – and especially when they get to dress up in cowboy drag. Why else would Pierre Trudeau have been showing his stuff there, for example?

Now, as for Jean Chretien, I’m not so sure:

Now, I must say that I really like his wife’s cowboy boots – in fact, I want them. But what was up with those puddlejumper jeans, Jean?!? Did the Prime Minsterial budget not extend to a pair of jeans that actually fit, or did you spend it all on the 10 gallon hat?!?

And then there’s always my favourite, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, our current fearless leader who allows Geo. Bush to address him as though they’re hanging out on a street corner somewhere (I mean, really. “Yo, Harper“??? WTF???? When he pulled this stunt a few years back with Tony Blair, the British were reportedly offended. And, to my view, the British were right.) and simply giggles and blushes smiles. I’m not so sure, however, that it’s wild women he’s after…

I mean, first he poses for this cheesecake photo back in 2005:

Is that lipstick he’s wearing?!? I mean, really. Doesn’t he look as though he just stepped off the cover of a Village People LP?

So, then he hid I was not able to find any photos of Harper at the Stampede in 2006 – but this is what he turned up in in 2007:

So, what’s up with the pink shirt?? Well, apparently he said it was to show support for fundraising efforts for breast cancer. Well, that’s heartwarming and all, Steve – but if you really cared about people who suffer from breast cancer (or cancer of any kind, for that matter), you wouldn’t be doing your bit to destroy universal health care as we know it. But I’m ranting digressing now.

Suffice it to say that, sported by an arch-convervative like Harper, the colour pink speaks volumes. But this year, his image consultants have he’s decided to go butch:

Now, I haven’t been in a women’s bar for a while now – but the last time I went to one, this was pretty much the uniform.

So, Steve, I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what cute little outfit you come up with for next year’s Stampede! How about something like this, for example?

Fetching, isn’t it?

Happy Wednesday!

a parable for the 21st Century

Well, gang – being as it’s Saturday and I’m recovering from a drinking session with the gnomes busy at housework, I thought I’d reprise a post that I put up on another blog I started in a blog binge last month.

So, if any of you have read it on the other blog, my apologies and I’ll be back tomorrow with more gnome adventures (there’s a new member of the Gnome family!!!) and maybe even some photos of knitting.

And, JJ and I are off later today on a trip to Michael’s craft superstore.  Yippee!

Now for my little fable.  WARNING/AVERTISSEMENT/ACHTUNG: if you are a member of the Conservative Party… well, read at your peril.  And don’t whine to me that you weren’t warned!


There is a land far, far north of where most people live, and in that land is a little fiefdom called Kanadha. Many people flocked to Kanadha, even though it was a fiefdom, because it was one of the best and brightest places in the world.

However, Kanadha mostly exists in the shadow to its neighbour to the south, Murca. Murca is far larger than Kanadha and is run by a group of dictators known as the Archconservative Party. This is their leader, Exalted Ruler Godfrey. However, Mr. Godfrey prefers to be known as “God” – and this is what most of his people call him (although some of them give him the surname “Damn” underneath their breath).

This is a rare photo of God wearing evening dress. God doesn’t like wearing tuxedos, actually, because he likes to pretend to be a man of the people. However, from time to time he finds his tuxedo a useful tool to intimidate visiting dignitaries, such as The Right Honourable Steve.

Oops, sorry – wrong photo. This is actually the Father of Confederation, Sir John Eh?. However, the new guy, Steve is the current Supreme Lord and Master of Kanadha. He spends most of his time drinking, lying to his serfs and forcing the other nobility to keep silent about whatever it is he is up to, for example, hanging out with suspicious characters:

This is his way of emulating God, with whom he pretends to be best friends. No one is sure whether he actually believes this to be the case or not.

One thing is certain though – Steve has allowed God to scare him about the possibility of harm from this man, Lucifer.

Now, no one knows very much about Lucifer at all. According to God and Steve, Lucifer is a lawless type who hates Murca and should therefore be extinguished. However, people in Kanadha and Murca are not quite sure where he lives, what he believes in, and even whether this army exists or not. (God and Steve might actually know the truth – but if they do, they certainly have not been sharing it with their people).

Despite this, lots of money is spent every year by both Murca and Kanadha to engage in combat like activity far, far away in countries where Lucifer may or may not be found.

In Kanadha, they get the money for this fighting from people like this:

This is taxpayer John Doe. He is just one of millions of Kanadhonians who pay lots of tax money every year to Steve and the rest of the lords. He doesn’t really know where all of that money goes, as that is secret information known only to Steve and his Inner Circle of other nobility.

(It should be noted that In Kanatha, there is currently no right for taxpayers like John to vote. John doesn’t really think that is a big deal because he never voted when it was allowed anyway. Having said that, he does like complaining, though.

People like John, however, typically do not complain about the people in charge, because it’s easier to blame other people like themselves for all the problems in Kanadhian society. Steve encourages this, because it distracts the people and helps them forget that they are actually living in a fiefdom.)

Here are some other taxpayers, Quack and Daisy Duck:

You may have noticed that Quack and Daisy look quite different from one another, and from John Doe. This is because Kanadha is a multicultural fiefdom, although the Lords and Masters all still look like Steve (and like God, for that matter).

Quack and Daisy are hardworking types who don’t really have a lot of time to question what is going on in the wider world. Or maybe they just don’t care.

But that’s not a very kind thing to suggest, really, because I’m sure they’re busy looking after their two kids.

First up: Tina Duck.

Tina is still a young, naive little thing who doesn’t quite understand yet how the world works. Sometimes, especially after being picked on at school because her parents look different from one another, she wonders why everyone just can’t get along.

Everyone, that is, except her and her little brother, that is:

This is Brat Duck. He’s prone to stealing Tina’s crown and running around with it for kicks. He also squawks loudly, sometimes incessantly. This makes him potentially much better suited to get on in the fierdom and the wider world than Tina, unfortunately.

And finally, there is me, your humble chronicler, (Kris)tina.

I live in a place very much like Kanadha. It’s called Trana.

In Trana, unlike in Kanatha and Murca, there is no supreme being. Oh, wait, I’m wrong: of course there is a supreme being in Trana – the Almighty D*llar.

And here I must confess that I actually misled you a bit above. In fact, the Almighty D*llar is also the Supreme Being in both Kanadha and Murca. God and Steve just pretend to be the top entities, really.

I’m not allowed to show you photos here, just as I am not allowed to type out the name in full without changing a letter. However, in Kanadha one version of the Almighty D*llar looks like this, and in Murca like this. The version that you buy things with is referred to as a “dollar”.

As you can see, the Almighty D*llar is a shapeshifter which presents Itself amongst the rulers and mortals who spend their lives in search of it in various forms. And these days, you need at least one hundred of them to buy anything that you need.)

Trana is not a fiefdom, but some – nay, most – days it’s hard for me to believe that.

So, I just content myself with fondling luxury silk yarn, smoking cigarettes and indulging in general apathy like everyone else surrounding me.


social responsibility and … booze?

Well, summer has arrived!!!

How do I know? Because the LCBO has come out with its early summer issue of the Food and Drink magazine!

Now, this has got to be the best free mag going! Not only does it have lots of free yummy recipes:

(A note: if you’re trying to diet, never, ever look at this magazine. Although the photos look so good that you could probably end up eating the paper they’re printed on…)

…but also lots of important lifestyle tips. I mean, I don’t know how much longer I can survive without buying some chocolate covered sunflower seeds:

…Dufflet chocolate bark:

…or a $32.00 lemon juicer!

(But here, gentle reader, I must confess that I actually now own one of these. In my defence, JJ bought it for me as a gift, knowing how much I love lemon, and it cost quite a bit less than $32.00 where he got it.)

And, here’s the perfect hostess gift for the next time you need one: a “chip ‘n dip” set

Only $240.00!! (Hmmm… how many bags of chips could I actually buy with that, though – and hey, they taste the same coming right out of the bag, no?).

Now, the only reason that the LCBO can actually offer this mag for free (which, by the way, has in past inspired a complaint to the Ombudsman from companies which actually sell their magazines) is that it is government controlled.

That’s right, folks – here in Ontario the government sells us our liquor. At a premium, of course.

What cheeses me off more though of late is that we’re also paying to get lectured while buying booze these days. For example, the LCBO used to have plastic bags like this:

Now, let me tell you, these bags were famous. They were the best plastic bags ever. This was the topic of many of those banal smoking area or elevator chats. Seriously. You could have a whole five minute conversation on “Don’t the LCBO have the best bags?”. I even know one landlord rep who used them as briefcases!

Well, alas, no more. Seemingly overnight, they discontinued the plastic bags in order to save the environment. So, instead, you can get either a free (paper) bag – great if you’ve driven in your gaz guzzling SUV to the liquor store, not so great if you are walking any distance – or, you can have one of these “enviro-bags”:

…which costs $1.95.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a good idea to do away with plastic bags. However, because they didn’t bother to announce that they were doing this but landed it on us, I was actually forced to buy one of their bags when I stopped in on the way home from work one day.

But then perhaps whinging like this is not socially responsible of me. As a consumer, however, I’m just getting tired of corporations taking the moral high ground, lecturing me about my (lack of) commitment to the environment, then turning a profit from it.

It strikes me that if the LCBO were really serious about encouraging people to use these bags (rather than paper, which as I understand it, involves trees being cut down), they would sell them at cost. And although I don’t know for certain I would venture to say that the LCBO does not itself pay $1.95 for each bag.

I mean, it’s not as though they’re hurting any!

The LCBO transferred a record $1.275-billion dividend, not including taxes, to the Ontario government in fiscal 2006-07. It is the 13th straight year the LCBO has increased its dividend to the province and the fourth consecutive year the dividend has topped $1 billion.

I’d love to know how much of next year’s billion plus “dividend” (is this a fancy word for “profit”?) relates to the sale of enviro-bags, myself.

And is it “socially responsible”, pray tell, to hawk $240 chip bowls rather than encouraging people to donate that kind of money to – oh, I don’t know – Mothers Against Drunk Driving, perhaps?!



How to Make Your Very Own Straightjacket!

(or: Brouhaha’s Tips for Faking it When You Don’t Know How to Sew)

Have you gazed with envy, nay, hatred, upon those friends or acquaintances who whip up haute couture garments effortlessly and cheaply on their sewing machine, then tell you “oh, it’s easy”? Are you a knitter who is used to needles at least 3 mm thick and deathly afraid of those baby pointed things that can do real damage?

If so, fear not. You, too, can make beautiful couture garments with no sewing experience – and on the (super duper) cheap!

And you probably won’t break skin by stabbing yourself with a sewing needle… if you take it gently. Just read on.

“Tried and Not True” Tips will be inset for your convenience. (I initially thought of calling this “What Not To Do”. But of course, you’re free to do what you want. And maybe what didn’t work for me will work very well for you!)

EXPERIENCED SEAMSTERS PLEASE READ THIS: This blog post is in no way intended to minimise your great expertise and highly polished finished results. On the contrary. Please view it as an attempt by a sewing-challenged individual to attempt to reach step two on the ladder to your vaunted heights without shelling out for lessons or instructional materials.

My sewing example for today is my project entitled Fit to Be Tied.

1. Pick a theme for your piece

I’m not going to insult anyone here with the term “optional” (usually in parentheses). I have thrown far too many recipe books off the balcony because of this one seemingly inoffensive little word. Of course (for example) cayenne pepper in a chicken dish is “optional”. So is the chicken, and everything else down from there. When I grow up I’m going to write a million-selling cookbook called “If You Can Hold Your Finger In It For As Long As It Takes You To Count To 14 Without Your Finger Burning, It’s Time To Move On To The Next Step” (a time-honoured Greek cooking tip in the recipe for yogourt, guaranteed to ensure that no one else can actually replicate your award-winning recipe. (Um… guess I’d better work on that title).

However, if you just want something to wear and don’t feel like importing deep symbolism into it, use your best judgment. I’m certain it will be better than mine. End of side rant.

I came across the base materials for this at the Goodwill:

My base theme became immediately apparent to me: anti-corporate law!!! (see my Lawsuitproject if you want more background on this theme).

The secondary theme (which quickly became the main theme) – straitjackets – came some time later. About halfway through the project I wondered if I hadn’t internalised The Tudors a bit too much. Then I thought that I was dwelling too much on work a bit too much. Finally it came to me: the piece was meant to represent:

(a) the tyranny of the corporate workplace;
(b) the fact that men wearing colourful ties tend to run the world, which constrains the rest of us.

Then I could sleep. 😉

2. Make Sure You Have All Your Materials:

The materials I used are the following:

– sewing needle (make sure it’s fairly sharp and small enough to let beads pass over, if you’re using them)
– 6/0 beads or seed beads – I used about 500 in this project
– buttons (vintage or otherwise)

You will also need:

– thread (I know, I know… but I started trying to do this project without thread!!!). I picked a fairly resilient type, in black. Any colour that doesn’t clash with the main colours of your piece will do.
– sharp scissors (fabric ones preferable – I know the sewing gods will frown upon me, but I just got a Singer pair at Loblaws for $8 that seems to do the trick).
– straight pins with the cute little colours at the end (available at most quality dollar stores or a fabric store)

You may also like to have handy:

– a seam ripper
– a thimble
– a dressform

(I did my work mostly on Aphrodite, my trusty dressform. It would help if you had one of those… if only to lay out your design. If not, I think you could improvise with a dress hanger and a shower rail).

2a. Find some appropriate music or television viewing to craft by.

While I made this piece, I listened to the following albums ad nauseam:

(Yes – ABBA. Don’t rag me about listening to ABBA. I am a big fan – and this album is my favourite. Bet you didn’t know that ABBA has dark music, either. If you don’t believe me, click this link. Bjorn and Benny must have been on the outs when this one was penned! I suspect these lyrics largely affected the more paranoid content of the vest, not to mention the straitjacket theme, actually.

And while we’re on the topic of musical preferences, let it be known that I was listening to so-called “lounge music” well before those who are too cool for school started to remix it and turn it into 21st century nightclub fodder. OK?!

Television viewing for crafting in the JB household tends toward:
– Dr. House reruns
– Law and Order reruns
– The Food Network
– British police procedurals and legal dramas (my current fave is Judge John Deed. Gotta love those wigs!!
– nature programmes (but only if JJ insists)
– science programmes (ditto re. JJ)

3. Decide how you want to put together your base materials.

I started designing the piece from the front and left the back for later (and in the process, completely changed my mind… more later).

Drape the neckties around your form (or hanger) until you see what you want to do. A criss-cross pattern worked for me:

If it’s not evident from the photo, I used six neckties on the front (for a small). They were arranged in an alternating pattern of [fat end, skinny end]. If you can figure out how to make a top with all of the fat ends in the front, please do advise.

Do not worry if all or your neckties are not of identical width. It will all come out in the wash.

4. Pin the ties as you’d like to sew them, then sew them one by one.

Tried and Not True:I decided that it would be a really good idea to use my new favourite toy, the gluegun, to assemble this piece in full with no sewing. Mistake. It did seem like a good idea at least to adhere the neckties to the top with the gluegun and skip the pinning out. Until glue blobs like this started to happen:

Not only is it virtually impossible to sew through these (when the glue fails to adhere and your neckties start falling off), but you might end up with impossible to remove blobs that show!

(What does the government do when you call them in a panic complaining about errant glue blobs?
They initiate a top level cover up! Quelle surprise!)

So – use the glue gun at your peril, and don’t say you weren’t warned!!

I used running stitch for the outside edges, and cross-stitch (from my vague recollection of needlepoint) to attach two ties together in the centre. This took a very long time… mostly because I only realised at the very last minute that I was doing the cross-stitch incorrectly. Any google search done with that word will probably yield you simple and accurate instructions for both).

This is an example of my rather lame running stitch:
5. Apply beads if you’d like

I’m going to confess that the only reason I thought about using beads was that my stitching looks so atrocious that I figured no one would notice with sparkly beads. Did it work?
I should note that I only put beads where I had used the running stitch. The cross stitch also looked rather ridiculous, but I figured it had a Frankensteinish sort of appeal (you will note that I don’t offer a close-up view, however).

I did also put beads around the bottom of the top (that’s confusing, isn’t it? you know what I mean) and anouth the points of some of the neckties).

If you’re trying this at home, sew the front neckties up to the shoulder seam of the top you’re using, unless you have a better idea that involves less sewing (and please do advise me if so!).

6. Decide whether you can live with assymetry.

Why are neckties all different lengths, anyway? I must confess that my type-A side was not happy with the uneven edge left by the neckties at the front (and back). However, I was too lazy to figure out what to do about it. So, we’ll just call this a “design feature” . I gather assymmetrical hemlines are in these days, anyway. Good time for me to take up sewing!

7. Decide what you want to do with the back of your piece.

Initially, I had thought I would want to go with a criss-cross like at the front of the piece. But by the time I had finished that (try stabbing through layers of glue and neckties with a small needle if you think I’m impatient. I warped three of them!), I decided that wasn’t going to happen.

My first option was this peacock-like arrangement:

Then JJ (who was patiently sitting by, as always – I’m very lucky that way) said “Why don’t you try this?”
Good idea!!

I should note that JJs idea, however, also involved sewing all the ends down after they had been weaved together at the top. As you will imagine, I wasn’t into it. I slept on it (barely) and thought that the braiding would work well with what had by this point become the straitjacket theme:

Originally I thought it would be OK to leave the weaved/braided portion loose (and if this were only to be an art piece, I would have left it like that). However, I realised that this was probably not practical for wearing, especially when negotiating the ever-crowded and obnoxious transit system. So, I decided to affix the weaved portion together with little beads and side stitching with more beads:

There is one bead in the centre of each “weaved” portion.

I then braided the remaining pieces partway. The braids are affixed with buttons which I sewed on:

Part of the logic for this was that they would be easy enough to take off (provided they don’t fall off by themselves, given my execrable sewing skills) if I wanted to go the “peacock” route in future.

For this reason (as well as through general laziness), I decided not to affix the braids. They are hanging loose. I’ll let you know if this proves irritating when I wear the piece to work on Tuesday.

8. Give your sleeves some fancy cuffs!

I had decided partway through that I would use my two extra neckties to try to make some cuffs for the sleeves.

This allowed me the fascinating perpective of a dissected necktie (and from what I remember from grade 8, far preferable to frog dissection, and no formaldehyde! I get enough of that in my cigarette ration anyway…)

Far more flimsy than I had thought! I guess I believed, given what I see on the news every night, that neckties are the 20th/21st century version of armour. Then again, maybe they are, given that everything these days is made out of plastic where it used to be made from metal….

But I digress. Here are the instructions:

(a) Cut a piece off the bottom of your necktie, about 3-4″ higher than the top of the point (see above).

(b) Sew the cut edges together with running stitch leaving about 1/2″ border, then trim rough edges.

Tried but Not True Tip: by this point I fancied myself to be quite the sewing genius. I also knew from all of my vast sewing experience that it is often advisable to turn things inside out. Hence:Check me out!! So brilliant… I stitched merrily away, and revealed my new creation, only to find this:

Oops. This is what I told myself:
I then did the correct thing, which was to stuff the sewed necktie cuff into the sleeve rightways up, pin it and sew it (of course I didn’t take a photo because I was so peeved with myself and just trying not to pitch the entire project off the balcony.) But here was the final result:
Nice, eh? I added a vintage button as a mock cufflink as well.

9. Add whichever finishing details you desire (or whichever you need to cover up flaws, more frankly).

For example, I added these two buttons to cover up a fray in one of the ties:

(It didn’t quite seem to work, but hey).

This, in my view, necessitated adding another button on the other side for balance:(I have no idea where the other button for this Zodiac pair is. It does display my sign, however (upside down in the photo – as JJ would say, nothing changes!) and so I was content.

I also decided to add beads along the seams (in the hope that it would even out some of the unevenness in sewing the ties to the front, as it happens – or at least, distract from it):

… and, every elegant piece deserves a lable:

(tiefed from one of the neckties – and part of the anti-corporate message):

I also put a lovely inside label which quite fits my interest in crafting:

And – that’s about it! (isn’t that enough!). All this to say that – even if you don’t sew, you too can have a lovely bespoke item in just nine steps (and with virtually no bloodshed):

Happy crafting! The tutorial is free – all I ask, if you actually use it, is that you drop me a line with a photo of the results (and whether I can publish them here or not – either is cool, of course).