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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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It’s been how many days since my last post?… Wow, 3 weeks, too long… Today, was the first full day I’ve been off in at least three weeks, but, I’m thinking that in reality it’s more like 6 weeks. I can’t really remember. What have I been doing?… I can’t really remember that either, but, I’ll try.

Let’s see… oh yeah, 26 costumes for Red Riding Hood, 9 costumes for Fairly Odd Parents, one suit, with long coat for Jim Byrnes‘ character on Sanctuary, 2 jacket linings for my friend, 10 pairs of pants for Sanctuary, 6 T-Shirt for Stargate Universe, and a skirt for myself…I draft the patterns, cut them out and construct them, so it’s fairly time consuming. As you know, I’m also working on my Buggy Bag® business, which has, for the most part been phone calls, emails, filling out forms, approving samples, Trademarks, Patents, manufacturing, Stuffed Articles Act Registrations, Duty Judgements, PO’s, Proforma Invoices, working with designers on hang tag designs, trying to line up bridge financing….shelling out much, much money…. which leads us to the real reason that I haven’t taken any time off. I need to finance my business start-up costs and, support my daughter and myself, at the same time. The build up to this falls commercial airing and it’s outcome is absolutely exciting! I have put so much into this thing… especially the wheelchair lap blanket, that I just can’t wait to get it out to more people. The feed back on last falls batch was so positive, that I just know that this falls’ line is going to be met with even more enthusiasm….it’s even better than before! The Stroller and Jogger models are really looking fantastic too. The commercial is going to focus mainly on them, with a 10 second spot on the wheelchair. The idea is to get a demographic read on the market based on the purchases made, through 150, 1 minute spots… This is going to be really interesting.

Because I work as a contractor, for the film and TV work that I do, I feel compelled to take everything I can possibly manage to do, and sometimes it gets so busy that I don’t see any time to relax… this has been one of those periods. It’s great though, because it is one of the things that I simply love doing.

Ok… well, that’s not quite true… even if I haven’t had a day off, I’ve taken many evenings to enjoy live music, dancing, friends and playing my guitar…. it’s just sometimes hard to squeeze all this fun into one lifetime!

Before I go, I just have to say that last night I went to see a Cuban band by the name of Wil Campa…. an absolutely sexy band and music… fantastic…. Which leads me to my next question… Why don’t more men learn how to dance cuban salsa? It is sooo sexy and at most events there are usually about 4 women to every guy. Last night the place was full of women wanting to dance… here is a link to a fantastic Cuban dance instructor if any of you guys want to learn… Latidos!

I’ve been so busy with costume work lately, but, not able to really talk about it too much. I’m making a leather coat at the moment, and as I was starting the sewing, I realized that, because it’s already been seen on TV, I can safely talk about what it is and what show it’s for.  It’s to replace one of the existing coats that was burned by the SPFX guys (thanks Darren!) in one of the episodes. The leather is proving to be a little more difficult than usual, in that I can’t seem to get the seams to flatten out. Usually I glue the seams down with transfer tape, but this particular leather is treated with something that is making it resist the glue. It’s also making my eyes burn something fierce! Quite strange I usually like to work with leather, but this one is not at all like most…. indeed it’s down right disagreeable!

Cutting out anything is always a challenge when the young Toopi feels that she should be involved. Usually, she’s diving under the patterns or fabric… this time she’s just acting as an extra weight.

Toopi "helps"

Here is a shot of the double jetted flap pocket during construction. The close up shows how spongey this particular leather is.

constructing the double-jetted flap pocket

topstitching underneath lower jet

you can see how thick it gets to sew through when there are many layers

The shoulder pad gives support and structure to this coat that has no canvas or fusing in it, while the lambswool in the crown of the sleeve helps to soften the head of the sleeve.

This is the collar and lapel and also shows the inner welt pocket and lining.

I just gave this back to the Assistant Designer, who will now take it to someone to do some really great heavy duty Keyhole Button Holes…  This coat weighs at least 15lbs….just a guess, based on how hard it was to wrestle it around the sewing machine! Luckily, the actor that wears it is a strapping tall fellow!

The show is Sanctuary, and the character is John Druitt, played by Christopher Heyerdahl.  The costume designer on the show is the very talented Christina McQuarrie, who has a long history in Vancouver-based Episodic TV.

Also, just wanted to add that all of the pics on this post were taken with my iPhone!

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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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