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I was running late. Had to drop off a costume to Sanctuary first and then whip over to Costco for some chocolates. I thought it would be nice to be able to offer visitors a treat when they stopped in to chat. I had put together a little slide show loop of pics from photo shoots, and had that on the end of my table playing on my laptop. The other end of the tabel had a list I had made up of all the retail locations where you could buy Cairns Technical Gear, some brochures and business cards. In the centre was a sample of the Cairns Full Protection Lap Blanket for wheelchair users and the Cairns Rain Protection Apron for scooter users.

I was a little disappointed by the location of my table. It was in the middle of the east side of the room, and because there was a projection screen in that corner, the lights were off. This wasn’t an issue for any of the tables around the outside of the room because they had spot lights aimed at their tables. In between presentations they would turn on the ceiling lights and cast some light onto my table… this is where the bowl of chocolates come in….

...all that glitters... and smells like chocolate...

I had some past customers come by to visit me and see the new product, which was a real pleasure for me. One of the customers who dropped by already owns two of the Cairns Full Protection Lap Blankets, one in each colour. It was the first time that I met her and it was such a treat. She was using her red one that day.

See how dark it is?

She was the second customer, that I had not met before, who approached my table for a chat. I just love that part of the Abilities Expo. I get to meet the people after they’ve been using the product for a winter and find out what they think, get their views and talk about new ideas.

I even had someone I’d been chatting with on Twitter come by and introduce himself. He writes a cool blog ‘Priority Seating’ about accessibility on transit in Vancouver. His Twitter handle is @nextstoporbust, if you’d like to join him. It’s so nice to be able to put a face to a name.

I had Rina Liddle and Prophecy Sun stop by from LiddleWorks to chat… we would be meeting up again later in the week to do a photo shoot.

Me and Rina

Me and Prophecy Sun

The afternoon was a whir of visitors and lots of people that came by 3 and 4 times to grab one of the chocolates. It was fun to watch as some people would saunter by for the 2nd time and act like they didn’t notice the bowl, only to turn back and grab a few more for later.

The entertainment was really good. The CanDance Team performed to a number by the Black Eyed Peas. And there was also a singer/guitar player that I really liked, Glenn David Loft. I’ve looked all over for the info and can’t seem to find it. Here’s a picture of him. If anyone knows his name, let me know in the comments.

For the last month I’ve been trying to find an active, younger guy who would like to assist me in my design process. I’m designing a pair of adapted street-wear pants that would be appealing to younger hip guys, that don’t want to look like they’re wearing adapted pants. Then, from across the room I spotted the best looking man I’ve seen in years. I started having one of those moments where I was thinking…”I can’t approach him… he’s WAY too good looking”. I’m glad I did because he was not only interested in helping me, but, he was full of ideas and enthusiasm. I’m looking forward to having the time to work on this new project.

Our friends Ken and June showed up for a chat as well. They have modeled for us in the past and are much fun to chat with. They have both been so supportive of what I’m doing.

Ken and June

The afternoon was a whir of visitors and lots of people that came by 3 and 4 times to grab one of the chocolates. It was fun to watch as some people would saunter by for the 2nd time and act like they didn’t notice the bowl, only to turn back and grab a few more for later. Can’t wait til next year. It’s a great event that ConnecTra Society puts on at the Roundhouse in Vancouver.

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I look forward to this each year, and this, my third year was no different. (more details on the project in last years post) I got up early (for a Sunday), got showered and dressed in black with my jewels and headed downtown to the Rennaisance Hotel. It was a glorious, sunny Vancouver morning as I cruised along Hastings St. with a big smile on my face. A cup of coffee, good music, sunshine, the expectations of a fun-filled day, compiled with the fact that the big vehicle cruising along beside me, contained an unusually comfortable looking passenger.

Cute guy in the car next to me.

This year Deb told us that the parkade across the street was only $6 on Weekends, so I pulled up in front of the Hotel and unloaded my two sewing machines and my sewing kit, went to park and then skipped back across the street into the Hotel Lobby. One of the guys there gave me a hand up to the event, which was great, because I would have had to make 2 trips otherwise, since my coffee was taking priority.

Every year the alterations area is set up on the stage by Deb, the day ahead, then everyone who comes brings a machine or two. I was the last one to arrive and I think there were about 10 of us this year. It’s alway so much fun to see everyone, and it was particularly nice to be asked by several people how the Buggy Bag business is going. We had a chance to catch up with each other for the first half hour and then it was dress time!

The entire Ballroom is transformed for the day. There are racks and racks of dresses and suits, tables and tables of shoes, accessories, undergarments, there are hair stations and make-up stations, rows and rows of change rooms and food and drink stations. It is amazing.

Our job is to alter the dresses that the girls pick out. Our team is made up of volunteers who are professionals in film costume, or the garment industry. Deb does all the fittings and then hangs the dresses up where we then choose which one we want to work on.

Here’s a picture of Deb at work marking a dress for alterations.

Deb works her magic on the fitting platform.

Here’s a shot of Petra working on a silver lame dress.

Petra's cutting so fast her scissors are a blur.

I think it was while I was working on this dress that a very sweet ‘godmother’ came up to me and said, “I’m looking for the dress my ‘goddaughter’ picked out… it’s got a crinoline  and glass beads”. I looked around the room and smiled back at her and asked… “can you give me any more detail?” Then she laughed, as she realized she had described all the dresses that were up there.

Here’s a shot of me working on the pretty lace dress with six layers of tulle to be hemmed.

Here’s Ruth, enveloped by frothy tulle….

Often we had to get down on the floor to get the hem straight through all the layers. Here’s Rosalie doing just that.

Rosalie

Here’s a picture of Sarah and Jayne working together on a piece.

Deb shortens a hem.

One of the team, I wanted to take a picture of because she had the cutest shoes with tape measures for bows  on. Her name was Kathryn and she designs very elegant bridal wear.

All the photos with black frames were taken by the incredibly creative Enigma Arcana Designs.

The whole day ends with a wand with a chocolate star on the tip… a thank you from the amazing organizers of the Cinderella Project.

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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.

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