You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘personal Stories’ category.

I’ve been on a roll for quite some time now.  I’m not even sure how long it’s been… since pilot season I guess.  That would be last spring.  In my estimation, I’ve had approximately 11 days off since then. Today is not supposed to be one of them and I’ll likely start working right after I’m finished writing this, but, for now, I’m calling it a day off.

What does a person who works that many hours do on a day off? Glad you asked. 

I’m one of those crazy seamstresses who likes to use a rolling office chair at the machines. That way I can roll back and forth between machines to save time. It’s all about saving time you see. So, when the rolling begins to become more like work, I know I have to take some action and do some cleaning. Don’t get me wrong… I sweep my workshop out at least once a day and sometimes 2 or 3 times a day, depending on what the project is. I vacuum the entire shop at least once a week as well. I like a clean shop.  

Why refer to myself as a ‘crazy’ seamstress?  It’s the wheels…  the thread of a thousand garments is wrapped around each of the five wheels, binding them in place and making it impossible to roll any longer. What shall I do? 

Actually it’s not like I haven’t cleaned the caster before… I do it about once every 8-12 months…I think…. I don’t know… I lose track of time.

Today I have a window of opportunity…. I seize the moment, hoist my chair up onto my table and begin to hammer the casters of with my rubber mallet. Five in all, giving them a cursory inspection, I find that they’re worse than I had anticipated. 

                                                         

CostumePeople casters

Thread Stuffed Casters

This would call for the ‘caster de-threading tool kit!!

Caster De-Threading Tool Kit

Caster De-Threading Tool Kit

I took everything out to the back porch, where I began to work away at each wheel. First with the razor blade, then the pliers, and exacto knife.

Jammed Caster

Jammed Caster

Exacto Knife in Action

Exacto Knife in Action

I just kept jamming the knife in along the side and pried it upward to cut the threads, then I gently pulled the threads out. If you pull too hard the thread wraps tighter and is tougher to get out.  When you finally get it all out, you can use a lighter to burn out the last few threads.

Use a  lighter to burn/melt out the last bits of threads.

Use a lighter to burn/melt out the last bits of threads.

I was finally finished…

Five clean casters

Five clean casters

Can you believe the amount of thread I got out of these five casters? Amazing, right?  Ahhh… brings back memories…

Mound of thread removed from wheels

Mound of thread removed from wheels

I hammered the caster back into the chair legs and my faithful rolling chair is ready for action… which I’m about to take, by starting another project right NOW!

Back on my roll!

Back on my roll!

Advertisements

I think I was in grade five when I got frost bite on my toes while skiing at Monte Ste. Anne in Quebec.  What I do know is that I’ve had cold feet ever since.

Yeah, yeah you’re probably thinking, “Why does she always have to make these posts about herself? Get to the story already.”   … because it’s MY blog…and I’m getting to it…ok?

What’s the one thing in my closet I can’t live without? My sock drawer! Bet you didn’t see that one coming.  My sock drawer has the most amazing collection of hand knitted wool socks you can possibly imagine. Although I love ‘open toe’ season, I also really love my wool socks. Every time I go anywhere that I have to take my shoes off I immediately get compliments on my socks. I’m not kidding you! It happens ALL the time. And for good reason. I have memorable socks.My socks are amazing. Opening my sock drawer you will feast your eyes on an array of multi-coloured socks the likes of which you will probably never see anywhere else.

What's inside my sock drawer.

What’s inside my sock drawer.

Many years ago, my mom started knitting.  I was alway envious of that particular skill. I’m a lefty and knitting, although I have tried, always made me feel as though I had 6 thumbs and no fingers. So, when my mom started gifting me with not just wool socks, but hand made wool socks, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. My first pair were a heavy pair of cream coloured ones, and then another pair of cream ones followed. (sadly, one of those cream pairs has since gone to sock heaven… and I don’t mean the washing machine. I always take good care of my socks washing them by hand and rolling them in a towel to get the excess moisture out before hanging them to dry.  That way they last and last. Pretty sure that pair that’s now deceased was at least 20 years old. Mom’s socks aren’t just great because they’re wool. They’re great because they fit so well. They are shaped exactly to my foot when they are given to me. They aren’t tight, but never fall down or work their way down into the toe of my boot.   Genius!

My mom’s always been really busy for as long as I can remember. She’s an amazing cook, and her house, even though it’s almost always under renovations, always seems to look like it’s about to be photographed by ‘Martha’ herself.  When I was a little kid she bred dogs, trained them and even showed them at dog shows.  She has also been an artist for as long as I can remember, painting the sweetest acrylic on canvas paintings of houses, farms, animals etc.   She’s also painted many miniature pieces as well. Very charming. I really love her work, she has a great eye. She was an antique dealer when we lived in the east and I arrived home from school many afternoons to find her ‘stripping’ …furniture, that is. She was working out and doing yoga back before either were fashionable.  We always had a dog, a cat or two, chickens, sometimes goats, once a cow?, or did I dream that?  She’s even been a real estate agent.

These are only about one inch across!

These are only about one inch across!

Can you believe how cute these are?

Can you believe how cute these are?

Square Miniatures about an inch and a half wide.

Square Miniatures about an inch and a half wide.

   

Mom and dad now live on Salt Spring Island. A place I often equate with paradise. You know… the place on the brochure where you wish you were, but just never seem to get there.  It’s always so nice and relaxing! Obviously, I don’t get over there as often as I’d like for this reason. Going to SSI means driving 45-50 minutes to the ferry terminal, waiting there for an hour at least (if you want to get on the intended ferry) 3 hours crossing (milk run) or 1.5 hours non-stop. There’s only one non-stop on Friday, Saturday and Sunday….any way, you get my point. It’s really time consuming…to go there and come back uses up half of your weekend.

We talk on the phone often though.  When I called to chat one afternoon a few years ago (I call more than every few years btw) my dad answered. He usually doesn’t answer the phone. We were chatting for a while before I asked where mom was. Imagine my surprise when he told me  “Oh…she’s hooking in Nanaimo”.  Ok…. I’ve been to Nanaimo a few times. Driven through really, so the first thing that came into my mind was this hotel that my brother and I used to joke about because it was called the “Ho”…short for the Tally Ho.

Well I know my mom’s an original and always an adventurer, but, I guess my mind was going down the wrong road altogether. Turns out mom and  a few of her ‘hooker’ friends from SSI were attending a rug hooking seminar that weekend and I don’t think it was at the Tally Ho… although if I’d been planning it, that would have been different.

Bug Rug

Bug Rug

Bugs

Bugs

Dragon Fly

Dragon Fly

Beatle

Beatle

And now for the Rooster series….

Rooster and Egg

Rooster and Egg

Brown Rooster

Brown Rooster

White Rooster

White Rooster

And some more little treats…

Lily

Lily

Frog on Leaf

Frog on Leaf

House

House

Kitten

Kitten

And finally one of my personal favorites…

Farm Animals

Farm Animals

My mom’s been hooking rugs for many years too. Just another of her many talents. Her work is absolutely impeccable, again, because she has an amazing ‘eye’, as I call it. It’s the ability to see things with clarity and recognize balanced composition and colours etc. making it seem natural to create beauty around you… at least that’s what I think it is. Anyway, that’s what mom’s alway done with everything in her life.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I lost my joy last year. Someone took it from me. I’ve been trying to get it back ever since. As Lucinda Williams says, ‘You took my joy, and I want it back’.

Yes, I’ve had a profile up on a dating site for a while now. It seems like the easiest way to make connections with guys who are wanting to meet women and are local. Maybe not as easy as it seems.

I’ve always been fairly open-minded when it comes to meeting new people and my philosophy has always been that you never know when or how you’re going to meet your new best friend.

I tackle the dating sites in the following manner.

1-The Picture. As shallow as this may seem, I look at the picture. If there is absolutely no attraction for me, I move along. If all the pictures are long shots that you really can’t make out a face in or if all the pictures are of their dogs, cars, bikes, tattoos, or showing all the stuff they’ve done, I dont’ like this. The dating site is for determining whether you’d like to spend an hour of your precious time to go and meet the person or not. I don’t need to see the details of their lives (let’s save that for later), just a few good head shots and a body shot to show posture and appearance.

2-The Profile. Next I read the profile. I look for warning signs. Some of the signs I look for are spelling and grammar. If there are a few type-o’s, no big deal, it happens. But, if there are more than a few, I see this as a problem. First of all, if you’re on a dating site, that means that you have access to a computer. If you have access to a computer, then you should also have access to spell check. Grammar, on the other hand is a pretty good indicator of whether or not the person was paying attention in school, if, indeed they even attended. If there is more than one reference to hockey of other spectator sports, I move on, because I can’t see myself enjoying watching sports. If they say they’re Vegan, I move on, because I’m a meat eater…. you see how that works? It’s just common sense.

3-The Plan. If we are both interested, I try to set up a meeting as soon as possible so I don’t end up wasting too much time with endless emails, etc.

4-The Meeting. This is the part I love the most. It’s so fun to meet new people. Sometimes you have a great time, but,  you just don’t feel the all important chemistry that is essential to a long term relationship. Other times you don’t even have a good time. Other times you feel their was a connection, but, it obviously wasn’t reciprocated, because the guy never asks you for a second date.

I’ve put off writing about this experience that I had, for several reasons. I guess mostly because I felt like an idiot. My screening process went sideways when I was faced with what seemed to be an intelligent, suave, gainfully employed, handsome man who was pursuing me passionately.

The day after we started communicating, was the day that he left for a job. He would be gone for 3 months on an oil rig off the coast of Scotland. He was a Director with the oil company Chevron and his pictures showed me that not only did he look amazing in an Armani suit, but that he had a real sense of style in his casual dress as well. He was handsome.

After he left for his job he told me he was glad to have the time to get to know me in the old fashioned, letter writing way before meeting me in person. It would give us time to learn about each other and ask many questions. Early on, one of the questions that he posed was this. “Are you really willing to give yourself wholeheartedly to a lifelong relationship”? I actually didn’t even answer him for a couple of days. I had never been asked that question before. Was I willing to do that, really? Or was I just looking for someone to date? After thinking for a few days I realized that I would have to be, otherwise, I would never be able to be 100% open and honest. I would not be open to receive the love of this man. I told him I was ready to work at building a relationship.

He was seemingly ecstatic upon hearing this news and began really telling me about his life. His childhood, his parents, his university days, his travels, his job, his daughter, the loss of his father when he was 18 and the loss of his wife just 10 years ago. He really opened up to me and I felt very close to him, although we had never met. After about a month of communicating every day, I didn’t hear from him one day and was worried. Two days went by and I was more worried. We were communicating on IM and he was offline. Finally, he came on line and told me his mom was sick in the hospital. His daughter was 16 had been living with her since her mom had died. She was now all alone in Spain with her grandmother in the hospital and he was worried sick and on the phone with her for the last few days. He didn’t want to worry me with it. He was trying to get off the rig he was on but, the helicopter would not come to pick him up until the following Monday.

By Sunday, he called me crying… his mom had passed away and he hadn’t made it back in time to say goodbye or to be there with his daughter. He would be heading there tomorrow and would make funeral arrangements and then bring his daughter back to Canada to live. It was very sad. I spoke to his daughter on the phone and she sounded like a very sad, sweet girl.  I felt so bad for both of them.

He informed me before he left that his company wanted him to come back to the rig to finish his contract because there was a problem and they needed him to solve it. He asked me to help him decide what to do because he wanted to take my opinion into account. I told him he should do what he needs to do… we would meet whenever he got home.

He went back to work and then within the week I didn’t hear from him again, and again knew that something was wrong. The next day he told me, that he had gotten word that his daughter had run away from the house where she was staying because she was upset to be left there while he worked for another 2 months. Having lost her mom 10 years earlier, she was not taking the death of her grandmother well at all. I was very worried about her. I have a 15 year old daughter myself and I know how it would feel if mine were to runaway and I had no way of getting there to look for her. Finally, the next day he let me know that she had phoned and was at her friends house safe and sound. All was good. He could not wait to finish this job and be on his way back home to meet me.

All the time we would message each other, he would call me at least every couple to days just to say hi and he would send me more pictures of himself. With stories to go along with them. Once, I asked what his room was like on the rig. He told me it was really pretty good because he’s a Director. About half an hour went by and he sent me a picture of himself looking right into the camera. Said he looked all over for candles to make it look romantic for me. It was so sweet of him.

The following week the problem at work had been determined to be a part that he and a team would have to go to Beijing to replace. They would leave next week, make sure the part got on a boat back to the rig and he would then have 5 days where he would be able to come home and visit me, before returning to work. I was ecstatic. I could hardly wait.

They were in Beijing for about a week. He said they were just about to wrap it up and he’d be here by the weekend… that’s when I stopped hearing from him. I thought maybe I would get a call that he was here in Vancouver. He would surprise me. Three days went by, before I got the call that something was terribly wrong. He had gone to make the transaction for the part on his own instead of waiting (he was in a hurry to get home to see me). When he came out with the money, he was attacked and robbed. He was stabbed by one of them with a broken bottle. His company was holding him responsible and the authorities found it suspicious and took his passport until an investigation could be done. A week went by. He was a wreck… he was deserted there by his company, he was out of cash and had no access to any money, he was kicked out of his hotel and hadn’t eaten in days… He needed me to send money. If I had any I would, but, I’m so sorry I can’t… I looked up the address for the Australian Consulate  for him and told him to go there to get help. He was offended by this and I thought it was because he was so distraught and not thinking straight.

I called the Consulate myself and explained what was going on with him. I asked what the best plan of action was in this situation and told the woman that I was extremely worried. That’s when the helpful woman on the phone asked me if I had ever met ‘this person’ in real life. I admitted that I had not. She asked the name and I gave it to her  with his date of birth. She was gone for a few minutes and when she came back on she explained to me that this person did not exist. There was no record for this person.

I didn’t let on that I knew this and I didn’t want to believe it, but, in the back of my mind, I knew, I’d been had. I didn’t go back online for about a week. He came on IM immediately and told me he had a big surprise. He was at the airport and on his home. He told me that he wouldn’t be seeing me though, because I had not stuck by his side. I had disappeared when things got tough. He was right. I was a bad friend. I had left him when things were tough. Surely, there must have been a mistake with the consulate… maybe, I had spelled his name wrong.

That’s when he became abusive to me for the first time. I said there was nothing I could do about the way he felt and could not make him care about me. He said he was sorry but, he had fallen in love with me and I had let him down. He said that I had loved him too, but, I would never get to meet him now.  I replied that he had indeed, fallen in love with me, but, that I had fallen in love with an idea. A fantasy. I told him that I had found out he didn’t exist. He admitted that it was true… he was a scammer. He told me his real name was Gerard and that he lived in Ghana. He told me that he had no other way to make money.

This man created a story that was so rich and full of emotion… he preyed on my soul and entangled himself into my heart by using his own mothers death, his daughter, his wife’s death, his tears.

It’s been 5 months since my joy was taken. I think it’s now slowly returning, but, I’m not sure I’ll be as open to trust in the future.

Really, it wasn’t one of those “wow.. that was quite the Gong Show” sort of events. It was a fundraiser for Interfit Integrated Fitness Society. It’s an event that I not only attended last year, but will likely become known as a ‘regular’ at in the future. This years’ event was themed as a ‘Gong Show’, with lots of entertainers attempting to upstage one another in front of a panel of judges, with mallet ready to strike the gong.  There were the good, the bad and the ugly, and the utterly breathtaking, rocking and hypnotizing. It was sheer entertainment.

Silent Auction Table

My friend Rina from LiddleWorks came with me,  and we bought a glass of wine and began making our way along the super long table sporting all of the donated items that were up for silent auction. There were a huge variety  of items ranging from vacation get-a-ways, original art, jewelry, sports accessories, and of course there was my very own contribution, Cairns Technical Gear (aka. buggy bag, story to follow) Wheelchair Blanket,… oh, and not to forget the huge beanbag cushion. Lots of cool stuff. We bid on many items and then staked out a seat on the groovy low white leather ottomans  in the centre of the room. All the couch seats were already gone, or we would have been there.

Rina and me

Looks like I’m making some wise-crack out of the corner of my mouth….

All the volunteers at the event were dressed in 70’s outfits, some of which were just stellar.

Gong Show MC

We were also entertained by a very handsome man who kept bringing little yummy bits over for us to sample.

Yummy.... um... hors d'œuvres...

One of the entertainers that really stick out in my mind was a very young guitar player that played so beautifully, in the realm of Steve Vai…  wow… he’s going to be even more amazing when he gets older. And the best part of his act was the fact that he was sporting the long, free-flowing hair of the 80’s rocker… totally fit into the gong-show theme.

Here’s a picture I took of Interfit founder Brian Bell.

Brian Bell

Last year I promised myself that I would take my good camera with me, but, I forgot, so you get my iPhone pics instead. Maybe next year I’ll remember.

 

 

 

 

This friend, I hadn’t seen in 23 years. I lived in Kingston, Ontario in a past life. This other life, the one that ended 23 years ago, when I loaded my stereo, speakers and albums into the back of my Ford Ranger. I would have brought other things, if there had been room, but, what can I say? Music took priority. Still does today, but, now my stereo would fit into carry-on luggage.

I always had a bit of a ‘thing’ for Don, so when he told me he was coming out to Vancouver with a band that he does sound for, I was a bit anxious and a lot curious. We had dinner plans for the night of his arrival which ended up being just in time for dinner, since they were stuck on the runway in Toronto for 5 hours. It was really great to see Don. After so many years, it was oddly comforting to see him… we had not changed at all… well, we both look 23 years older, but, the rest was the same. We enjoyed a long, relaxing dinner at the Keg, with much, much catching up.

The next day at 1pm, was the Pacific Contact time slot the band had come to Vancouver to appear in. I was excited to see the Abrams Brothers do their thing, and I was not to be disappointed. James on fiddle, John on guitar and Elijah on bass. They performed 3 songs with an amazing level of energy and showmanship.

Don and I sat and watched Flying Bob while the guys got their gear packed up, and then we left and I had the honour of not only meeting the band but loading them all into the back seat of my 2-door Honda Accord … with all their instruments. It was a tight ride back to the hotel, where they went and changed and put their belongings into lock-up for the rest of the day. We loaded back into the car, and I was immediately transformed into ‘Tour Guide Slightly Extraordinaire’.

Out Kingsway to Main and then through the downtown East side, through Gas Town and then around Stanley Park. Stopped at the Totem Poles and a super BIG tree. Then, around the park again, since I missed the exit onto the bridge…back around and onto the Lions Gate Bridge, where John did some ‘through the roof’ Vlogging…. U-Turn…. back over the bridge to Denman Street. We parked there and walked to English Bay, where I took this picture of The Band.

 

James, John and Elijah and a bunch of laughing guys

 

We then headed SouthEast and took a spin down Granville, or at least as much of Granville as we were allowed to drive on. We were all really hungry by that time so we headed back to my place for a bit and to pick up my daughter to join us for dinner. Now we had a small challenge… I had to take everyone over to the restaurant in two car loads because it was starting to pour rain, and  we didn’t want to get soaked walking over.

We ate a wonderful burger dinner at Burgers Etc. on Hastings Street, compliments of the boys in the band, then headed back to my place to look at a few photos from 1985 of Don and myself, and  had a few laughs at our expense.

Here we are now… I was going to put a couple of the ’84 shots in but, I couldn’t get my incompetent HP scanner to scan the shots… note to self: never purchase another HP product… EVER!

 

...surrounded by laughing guys...

I then drove the guys back to the Hilton in Metrotown, where we said out goodbyes. It was a really fun weekend and a wonderful visit with an old friend and some new ones. Miss you guys already… hope you picked up some BC gigs while you were here! See you again soon.

 

Last Friday I got my insurance renewal notice. Of course I got the notice that I have to go through Air Care, as my car is what they would consider a ‘throw away’. I decided that I should go right away, because I’m not much for procrastinating and I don’t want to be having to rush around at the last minute, if it doesn’t pass. I just had the girl in to see her mechanic and he had mentioned that she had a hole in her muffler. I decided to give him a quick call before heading over to the Air Care Station. He said not to worry about it… just go and see what happens… ok, I will.

Here I am in the line up at Air Care. It’s such a beautiful day… nothing could go wrong! I decide to tweet about the fact that I’m the sixth car in the line up. Low and behold, somebody was actually manning the Air Care Twitter account and I got a response immediately!

Got up a bit closer… the line moves fairly fast and they started letting cars into bay 4.

I decide that I would not keep my car running and I only moved my car after each two cars moved ahead…. I was having fun, listening to the radio, tweeting and taking pictures with my iPhone.

I got right up to the next one to go in, when the unthinkable happened…

Apparently too much of a good thing. I walked into the bay while people in all the other cars in the line were sitting there wondering, ‘what’s this woman doing WALKING in?’

He assured me that it happens all the time. Not sure, but, I’m thinking he was just being nice.

She started up and purred like a kitten. I pulled up to the first section where I was told to present my papers and $ and put on my emergency brake.

Looks like I’m in for the $45 dollar deal. Thank goodness they have the in-car ATM machine!

All he needs now is my Odometer reading….

Now, I’m allowed to pull ahead… The guy at the next section is beckoning… but, something is wrong. My car isn’t moving. Turns out he isn’t beckoning after all… he’s motioning to me to release my emergency brake!  I never use my emergency brake and I didn’t remember being told to put it on only minutes ago… now I feel silly…

I’m now in the booth watching my girl go through the rigorous testing that is done a BC Air Care. I can’t help but wonder… will she pass their careful scrutiny?

You can see the monitor above the big fan, that the technician has to pay attention to as he holds her petal to the floor.

I’m in the room… I can see her, but, I can’t get to her! she’s under a great deal of stress!

Finally, the door opens and I’m allowed to get back into my car. The next step is to pull up and get the print out of the results.

As you can see, the result is, that I get pretty bad gas mileage. Gee… I already knew that!

Turns out that my 92 Honda still has lower emissions that a brand new Ford Taurus! Compare!

I love twitter! I love my iPhone! I love my Honda! I love my mechanic! I think I even love AirCareBC!… although it may not have been such a good experience without Twitter and my iPhone!

I’ve been having a really hard time posting anything lately…. I’m always trying to keep it ‘light’ and ‘positive’, so when times are tough, I find myself with very little to say.

Time to lay it all out there… to bare my soul, as they say, or as close as I can get to that.

Last Christmas, my daughter and I kept a really low profile. We stayed home by ourselves. We went out for dinner one night and saw a movie with coupons someone had given us. We put up our tree and enjoyed our new little kitten, who entertained us by running up the centre of the tree, over and over again.

As this year winds down, I’m asking myself, how the heck I ended up here… more broke than last Christmas, wondering how on earth I’m going to pay my rent.  I feel like I worked every second last year and really didn’t have time to even stop to evaluate my finances. I just had to keep moving ahead with my goals with little time to stop and reflect on my personal situation.

I’m just going to start by trying to remember all the things that I did accomplish or put into action.

In the fall of 2009, I started working with Teresa, from Blacklake, who I’ve been working with ever since to establish quality manufacturing for a price that would make it possible to start selling Buggy Bag® at wholesale to retailers.  The manufacturing costs here made the price untouchable at that level, so I was only able to sell  the product one at a time, directly to end users… I wanted more people to be able to find it and use it.

The year 2010 started out with work for the movie ‘A-Team‘, going to a local theatre to fix a velvet stage curtain, and the construction of some Fencing Jackets for the Arts Club Theatre.

Much work with Rina from Liddleworks, and a photo shoot with the lovely Jessie Claveau for our new flyer which Rina designed.

Got my first set of samples back from Hong Kong. They looked pretty good, but, I wanted to make some changes to the fabrics, and components, and see what the prices would be like….shipping costs $350

My generous friends took my daughter and I to Whistler for Easter weekend where I was able to prove to my self that I could still ski. That weekend was such fun!

Went to the Dragon’s Den auditions and was told I didn’t have enough sales to move ahead. That was fine, and it was a benefit to me to work on the numbers etc. with Rina before hand. These exercises always shed light on the value of planning ahead and setting goals. My friend Wendy from PumpEase made it through the auditions, and onto the show which aired in October.

I was contacted by LandMark Direct, who do TV commercials like the ‘As Seen On TV’ ads. I decided to have them make a 1 minute commercial for me that would run in 150 spots across the US. The purpose being to test the market to evaluate where advertising $ are best spent. I sent some samples of the Stroller, Jogger and Wheelchair weather blankets, and the process began.

Received another round of samples from the factory … shipping $340

I met with the SCISN Board for the Rick Hansen Institute where I met with Gary McPherson about designing some custom wheelchair weather protection for him. I made a few sales there and met some lovely and inspiring people. It was through my work for former Vancouver mayer Sam Sullivan, that I ended up there. I had done a custom wheelchair poncho for him in the fall of 2009.

I did a bit of work for a friend who had a contract to do some costumes for the Olympics. Then, an old school friend of mine moved back here from Singapore. She needed a place to land while she settled back into the Vancouver workplace and found a place to live. It was really nice having Kai here for that time and we had many fun times and good meals together. We went to many free Olympic festivities. It was really fun being in Vancouver at that time!

I shortened many, many sleeves for a TV show called ‘Human Target‘, did some pattern work for two local women’s wear designers, then I headed over to my friend Deb’s studio to help her with a bunch of gaberdine 50’s styles she was manufacturing for a TV show called ‘Fringe‘. I think I spent a few weeks over there. Nice to get out of my place… even though my place is like heaven, I still get lonely… I know I talked her ear off… I miss working with people.

Got another set of samples back, decided to focus on just the three main products for now, because of the minimum order quantities. The zippers and fabrics now looked good, but we still have to work on the reflective logo…. shipping costs $275

Found a US Patent and Trademark Lawyer and started to proceed with this process…$2500 later, I find out that even though, I have the trademark Buggy Bag Registered here in Canada and have owned the buggybag.com address since 1998, and I make and sell mobility accessories…. they feel that there will be some ‘confusion’ with the other company that makes shopping cart covers and uses my name only with an extra “g” on the end….I should have applied for the US TM back when this company first offered to buy my URL…. who knew they would just add another ‘g’ to the name. The patent is still in process… and the cost is unknown, but a fair guess would land it in the $10,000 range.

Had Lawyers read contract with Landmark Direct… $500

Found out I need some very pricey licences to be able to sell a ‘stuffed’ article in Ontario, Quebec or Manitoba. One for each province and for each year at $500 each! Ouch, there goes my rent for that month.

Next, I stumbled across a blog written by the mom of a beautiful little guy by the knick-name of Bugg. I was moved by her ability to document their life and the wonderful quality of her blog photos. http://thebuggslife.blogspot.com/ I sent this little guy a Buggy Bag Stroller Blanket to use on his tiny wheelchair. I was so happy to meet this family and help make Bugg’s outings a bit cozier. We still keep in touch and I hope to one day meet them in person.

I then built some leather dresses for the character ‘Ginn’ on ‘Stragate Universe‘, and started working on another dog movie called ‘Treasure Buddies‘ featuring lots of cute children’s costumes, and also squeezed in an alteration of a down jacket for the movie ‘The Big Year‘, hemmed some shirts for ‘Ice Road Terror‘, and a bunch more custom work for ‘Stargate Universe’.

Got some more manufacturer samples still with issues …. shipping $400

It was around this time that I met a great guy by the name of Brian Bell, the founder of Interfit in North Vancouver. Some friends and I went to their fundraiser, which I also blogged about.

Got many different script revisions over this time and finally approved one and then had to get the money together before the commercial production could begin…. $3000

I made 9 pairs double layer fleece leg warmers for Sam Sullivan to give out to his associates, the moved onto yet more alterations for ‘The Big Year’, much more work for ‘Stargate Universe’ and the leather coat I made for ‘Sanctuary‘, which I also blogged about. It was right around this time that I got the sad news that Gary McPherson had passed away.

More one on one work with Liddleworks… business plan.

Got a first copy of the actual commercial. It looked great and I was really happy with how our conversations went. I was so apprehensive about the whole thing to begin with and the amount of $, but, if everything went well we would be getting lots of sales and valuable information about the marketplace, not to mention the commercial to use in whatever way we liked…$3500

More work with Liddleworks… hangtag designs…. three tags with usage illustrations. Had a friend help with the french translations and found a hangtag manufacturer close to the factory in China.

I made a dozen various aprons for ‘Red Riding Hood‘ before starting on the years fun show…. ‘The Fairly Odd Parents’ I always have fun working for Angus Strathie and this show was no exception! Many wonderful costumes for this show.

More work on business plan…more $$$ I owe Liddleworks.

Right after that I had the pleasure of meeting Jim Byrnes and making him a pair of trousers and an overcoat for ‘Sanctuary’.

A man I  spent two years trying to forget, suddenly appears in my life again, only to vanish again two months later.

Another photo shoot featuring 5 wheelchair models and one stroller model, a mom and a sweet working dog…$600

Pay for hang tags… $1100

September finally rolled around, the commercial was ready to air, the production was in place and would be ready to ship at the end of Sept. I had to decide where to have the product shipped to, and decided that most of the sales would likely be from the US, so I found a ‘pick and pack’ place in Blaine.

Volunteered at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships. So fun, met lots of athletes and got to see some of the games.

Commercial aired to no sales and therefore no stats… frustrating, but, must keep looking ahead.

Landmark proposed an agreement to sell the product through catalogue sales.

Lawyer read another contract…. $500.

Chris, my brother and I head down to the ABC Kids show in Vegas to see what the competition is like, what to expect when we go to the show as a vendor, evaluate what kind of a booth we need,  to look for sales reps and get a bit of R&R. We walked hundreds of miles that week and most of it was in the convention centre. We also, visited just about every hotel in the  city, we won $76, and we had some fantastic meals.

Launched new version of the Web Site that has been in the works for many months… it looks great and it’s only Phase I! Was immediately “de-friended” on facebook by the fellow that did the last version of the website.

Went on a sailing trip to Molly’s Reach with some friends, which was another stellar weekend!

Product is ready to ship, need to get financing… bank turned me down… evidently I should have bought an apartment instead of trying to make this great product available… at least that’s what they would have me believe!

Went to a private investor, who saw the real reason I’m doing all of this and wants to help make it happen…. $17,000 debt

Landed the product in Canada and the US and took delivery the same day that we had our Buggy Bag reception for friends, customers and media…$550. Had a blast even though no media showed up, the important people were there. Including David Rountree, who I met when I volunteered at the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships back in September. He brought his ‘Floor-Board‘ for all of us to try. Sylvi MacCormac was a special musical guest at our event, who was also one of our models at the last shoot. We felt so honoured.

Inspected the shipment that arrived here in my living room with Teresa from Blacklake. We realized there was a small QC issue with the shipment and had to look at our options…. do we send them back? I’m totally against that idea. I try a few different methods to deal with the issue and discover that I can solve it 100% with the use of my commercial iron.

One of the perks of working in film is the ‘wrap party’ at the end of the show. I went to 4 wrap parties and a gala benefit for Spinal Cord  Injury. I wore the same outfit to 3 of them!

Got an order for the stroller and jogger blanket from Babies’R’Us… a small trial order for the Canadian web site.

Had to buy a Universal Bar Code number for the company… $500

Dear friend Barbara passed away, which left me in a blue funk for some time. Sadly missed.

More work for  the TV shows ‘Stargate Universe’ and ‘V‘.

Teresa and I head down to the States to deal with the QC issue on that part of the shipment. One day and two very sore backs later and we are back in Vancouver, satisfied that the product is 100% perfect.

December rolled around with no movie or tv work for me, so I started making phone calls. I always said I wasn’t a sales person, but, one call led to another and another and by mid December I had already shown the wheelchair weather blanket to at least 7 places and got it into 4 stores and 10 locations in the lower mainland. This is the easiest thing in the world to sell. It just makes sense because it’s easy to use and  it helps people stay warm. I’ve been focusing on the  wheelchair weather blanket, but, also got the jogger weather blanket into two stores as well.

I read a blog that really touched me and I responded by sending a wheelchair lap blanket to the autor, Patrick, for his wife Patti. The response I got was worth every bit of the hard work I’ve done this year!

I put 2 paid ads on Craig’s List one in Seattle area and one in NYC, looking for commissioned sales reps to rep the wheelchair weather blanket… $50. There may be a few potentials among the responses… I sure hope so. And it looks like I may have a rep in the Chicago area, who is a friend of Teresa’s…. Yeah!

Ok… now it makes sense!  As a single mom, with no financial help from anywhere, I’m just getting deeper and deeper in debt. This year of business has cost a lot. I’m financing my business with my income from film work, my lines of credit and those kind enough to help me.  My coffee maker, my kettle, my watch, a computer, and my hair dryer have all become incapacitated in the last couple of months… not sure if I’m just noticing all of this because I can’t fix or replace them at the moment….but, it just adds to my anxiety levels. I have to keep reminding myself of the quote I put up on my facebook wall a while back:

‎”I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” — John D. Rockefeller

I sure hope that’s true… because my intention is to keep on keeping on, no matter what, because I believe that it is the right thing to do, and to continue to count my blessings.

This year I:

posted 171 times on the facebook fan page….

tweeted 684 times….

wrote 28 blog posts….

responded to 479 emails about the offshore production….

did work for 16 different production companies

responded to 275 emails from Liddleworks….

added a store front to my FB page as a way to sell old stock…

had 750 Buggy Bag units manufactured

took 49 guitar lessons….

spent 60 hours in dance classes….

got to 99% on Brain Challenge….

hugged my daughter 730 times….

toilet trained my cat….

After reflecting on the past year, I know what my blessings are as clearly as I know everything is going to turn out great.

I’m thankful for my daughter, my brother, my parents, my friends, my guides, my supporters, my vision, my health, my atitude, my customers, my humour,  my suppliers, my teachers, my dance partners, my employers, my mentors and everyone who has crossed my path for whatever reason…..please know that every single one of you are responsible for at least two of the things I’m grateful for.

I’ve been asking on Twitter if anyone would like to hear a bit about the building of the Stargate Atlantis Wraith Queen costumes. I say ‘a bit’ because… well, it was some time ago and I don’t have pics from building the first one, but, I’ll give it my best  from what I can remember.

I had just finished a four year stint working as the head cutter in the costume shop on a show by the name of Andromeda. One of my friends was co-ordinator for SG-1 and SG-Atlantis…. yes, two distinctly different shows working out of the same costume shop! A huge job for a shop co-ordinator, but, my friend is that kind of amazing. She asked me if I’d like to come and cut as part of her huge team in her shop, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with her again.

The designer for Stargate Universe was Christina McQuarrie and she gave me the honour and challenge of executing one of her amazing designs for the Wraith Queen. This one was to be made out of a white leather, and utilized a textured pale kid leather along with white StingRay.

As I said, I didn’t have any pics of this, so I found these ones on-line to jog my memory. It seems that the top pics may be action figures… how exciting to think that one of the costumes that I built was made into an action figure!

The coat was very fitted in the top and if I recall, we padded out the bust (a common thing to do) You will notice that the top two pics have blue trim… this is not the original costume. This is someone else’s interpretation of it. The lower pic is an on-set shot and shows the more subtle contrast of the different leathers. The waist cincher was the most difficult aspect of the costume. It was cut out of stingray, which is similar to cutting through a piece of glass that is glued to leather! Very, very horrible to work with. Couple that with the fact that it was bound with leather to finish the edges…. huge job.

The contrast pieces were made out of a lovely textured leather that I backed onto another leather to add stability. They were cut into asymmetrical patterns which were then riveted together and onto the garment. Cuffs were done in the same way and they had an interesting shape on the back side. The over belt was also made in the same way.

You know, it’s funny, the amount of work, time and money that goes into one of these costumes is just amazing… especially when you take into account that I can barely make out what it was or see any of the details from the pics, and I made it! I can only imagine what someone would go through to duplicate it from guess work!

Actually, I can imagine, as I was hired once to duplicate all the dresses from the Titanic as part of a touring theatre exhibit…. I sat for hours and drew pics frame by frame from the movie and I still had to use my imagination for almost all of the backs! I’ll save that story for another post.

I just found this picture of the original costume taken by the set supervisor. It’s a really good shot that shows the details and the fact that there was no blue on the costume.

 

 

That was my only season working in the shop at Stargate… many changes happened after that….   Christina McQuarrie moved on to become the illustrious designer of Sanctuary, I started doing contract cutting from my own studio and Valerie Halverson took over as designer of Atlantis (she is now the designer on SG-Universe)

Valerie asked me to do the next Wraith Queen that I built. This was the Hive Queen, her thrown was amazing and she was all connected into it. It looked like some kind of a web/goo…. creepy….

This dress was constructed from the base up. We started with a foundation garment. I cut and stretched the two layers of fabric over the bust, and then hand stitched it onto the bra to give it stability and shape.

This dress had a centre back invisible zipper and the skirt split in the centre front and had a long train.

The pic shows what a disaster zone my apartment turns into when I’m working… actually it looks pretty good in this shot!

The outer fabric layer is a gold mesh with sequins in it. It’s really effective because of its random nature.

I was good about taking pictures of the dress, but, I didn’t get any of the building of the the outer layer. The outer layer was like a leather corset, but it was not boned. The leather was extremely stiff and didn’t need any support. It was an embossed, stiffened cow hide that had a shiny finish. The whole thing was built by draping it and stitching it as I went. I then bound all the raw edges with a soft lamb. I think this was a very strong and effective costume for the Hive Queen. Lots of make up though.

If you have any questions you can follow me on Twitter and ask away…. @BuggyBag

I promised in my last post that I would let you know how I enjoyed the games. The first couple of Wheelchair Rugby games that I saw were while I was volunteering the day after my last post. I saw four games that day. There are two games being played simultaneously, so you can watch both at the same time. CAN v GBR, USA v GER, SWE v FIN and NSL v  ARG, were the four games I got to see that day.

All of the games were action packed and crazy and just a whole lot of fun to watch. It was fun volunteering. That day the stands were absolutely packed with schools from the lower mainland. A lot of the kids had made banners and were making lots of noise, so the air was vibrant surrounding those games. I enjoyed watching some of the guys I had met in the athletes lounge the day before, out there playing so hard. It was so much that I rushed back to the ticket desk and bought 4 tickets for Friday night. CAN v USA game.

Not sure if they call this the "Tip Off" or not....

I took my daughter and 2 of her friends to the game. Girls night was off to a good start. The Richmond Oval is such a beautiful building… unfortunately, we were a bit late getting going and by the time we got there, all the seats were taken in front of the CAN v USA game. We were able to sit just between the two games closer to the side of the GER v FIN game. Canada and the US were 1 point apart throughout the entire game… it was super close for all 4 periods, with Canada leading.

Canada leads....

The girls enjoyed the games just as much as I did and between the four of us, I think we figured out the basic rules of the game.

Nabilah, Emma, Devi and I... self portrait

I felt a bit sorry for the Germany and Finland teams because everybody was watching the Canada v USA game and kind of ignoring their game…. that part didn’t feel right, but, I guess that’s par for the course when there are two games being played at the same time….

This shot shows the German team watching the Canada USA game along side with some of the other athletes.  In the end USA overtook Canada and won by one point….and we headed home, all of us now, Murder Ball fans.

Last Friday I start a 3-day stint as a volunteer for the 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships. It was a slow start of putting promotional packages together and  poking holes in the credential holders and attaching the lanyards to them. It was still fun because the company was good…

Me, two other volunteers and a mountain of lanyards...

This morning started out at the Sheraton Hotel, with me merchandising some swag in the athletes lounge… that was fun. I was to keep the shirts, posters, pins, etc. in order and make sure that any visitors to the lounge had what they needed. I had lots of people come in to buy games shirts and I bought one of the delicious chocolates.

Games shirts and stuff

A few guys from team Sweden came in for a rousing game of foosball.

Foosball

Then, later in the afternoon, they were seen playing doubles tennis…

Doubles Tennis Match

Then there were the guys from the UK that were Rocking out on Rock Band

Rock Band Team GBR

Manni and Ash shot a great game of pool, although it turned out that Ash was a bit of a “shark”… it was a fun game to watch.

Manni and Ash

I met David Rountree, the inventor of the Floor-Board Wii Platform for wheelchairs. This is a really neat thing. The platform is designed to  be seated right on top of the Wii Balance Board. It tips/rocks down at the back as the wheelchair pushes onto it and then it even back out when the chair is perfectly balanced on the platform….Game On!

Original Floor-Board

David demonstrated to me how it worked and showed me how easy it is to slalom…yet later when I tried it myself, it proved to be much more difficult!

Tight Slalom David!

Travis from Canada, Vancouver to be more precise, gave it a whirl too.

David and Travis

From what David was saying, he’s just about to get the 3rd prototype back from the factory, each one better and lighter than it’s predecessor. I can understand what he’s going through, trying to get this great product out and into the hands of people that will use and love it. I feel like we have a lot in common when it comes to moving our products ahead…I have a lot of the same issues when it comes to buggy bag… it’s a long road, but, certainly an enjoyable journey.

David and 2nd prototype

I had such a great day and met so many wonderful people… I can’t wait til tomorrow when I go and volunteer at the Richmond Oval. I’ve never been there before and hopefully I will get to glimpse a few minutes of these sold out games.

Court 1                         Court 2

9:30               1 CAN v GBR 2 USA v GER

12:00             3 SWE v FIN             4 NZL v ARG

These are the games that will be on when I’m there tomorrow…. there will be others, but, not while I’m there. I’ve never seen the famous game of MurderBall played, but, I’m told it is very exciting…. anyway, I will let you know in my next post.

buggy bag® mobility products

Buggy Bag® Mobility Products is dedicated to helping loved ones stay warm and dry while on the go. Buggy Bag® Stroller, Jogger and Wheelchair blankets protect against the cold and wet, while offering visibility in low light conditions.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,718 other followers

del.icio.us

Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Twitter

Follow BuggyBag on Twitter

Time Lines

December 2018
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

buggy bag®

Advertisements