Tuesday, July 30, 2013

why wasn't it on clearance?

With standing gigs at three different store, festivals, babysitting and housesitting I wouldn't know where I am supposed to be from hour to hour without my planner.
Last year I found the PERFECT planner: it is the right size for my purse, has monthly dividers for quick glances, has large boxes without lines, is spiral bound so I can tuck my pencil right in the binding, has heavy, protective covers and is even pink for goodness' sakes.
I love it.
However, it is a student planner, so July is the last month in my beloved planner.
sigh...
Last month I went to the same store where I bought my planner, but they didn't have any of the same design. They did have a jillion others so I spent over a half hour leafing through pages, fitting pencils, running pocket book tests, and generally trying to find an equivalent to what I have.
Finally I settled on an 18 month planner that is the same size, spiral bound, with both the plastic covers and large boxes; as an added bonus, it is burgundy. Plus, with it going from July this year through December of next year i'd be back on the regular world calendar instead of a school year calendar.
Yesterday I spent an hour modifying it to be exactly what I need:
- extraneous dividers and pages were cut out to make room for my pencil
- important pages were adhered to each other to give them extra weight
- all of the remaining pages were trimmed with a straight edge and exacto to make room for the tabs
- color  matched tabs were cut, labeled, and installed
It was perfect and ready to go to work.
I filled in all of my set work days for the next two months and then contacted Andrew to get his vacation dates.
That is when things started to get hinky.
He sent me dates that didn't match up with my calendar.
Of course he is also sick so I questioned and requestioned him.
After about 10 minutes of this I had a sickening epiphany:
It is a 2012/2013 book instead of a 2013/2014 book.
Mayhaps you are wondering how in the world I could have missed such a thing.
Did I mention that I looked through a jillion planners?
I must have just noticed the big 2013 on the title page and assumed it was July 2013 through December 2014.
Why wouldn't you title it "2012-2013 Planner"?
Besides, why would they have a planner on the shelves that is already 67% invalid?
Yes, it still had 6 good months in it, but you'd think they wouldn't be charging FULL PRICE for 6 months. One would think that the store would put something a full year past its starting date on sale. If there had been a sale sticker on it I would have examined it a bit more closely.
So after all that work I didn't have 17 months prepped; I had 5 months.
AAAAUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
After throwing a bit of a hissy in the studio and then placating myself by sharing sushi with fTM Amy I went to FOUR stores and still don't have a planner like the one that ends tomorrow.

I'll be right back.

Since yesterday I'd calmed down about it, but after typing out the story I was so incensed again that I ripped out all of the expired months from the burgundy planner.
mmmmmm...catharsis
 [it might not have been such a good idea to do it right over my lunch]
Now at least I have the next five months covered without the offensive pages mocking me every time I open the book.
That will give me time to contact the manufacturer of my pink planner to see if they still produce the model I love and if they sell it online.

watching paint dry

I am working a few paintings and collages in the NikCo studio right now.
It is always a good idea to have more than one going at a time because each layer of paint or glue or gesso or mod podge or whatever has to set before you add more stuff.
Late one night last week there was a moment where every single project was in process at the same time and I was sitting at my table watching paint dry.
Really.
Not sleepy enough to call it a night and not ready to begin something new I kinda just sat there for a few minutes thinking, What to do? What to do?
Which is how I ended up painting my nails three different colors.
These great Revlon colors are normally out of the Niki price range, but on sale with coupons I went nuts. Unable to decide which of my pretty new colors I wanted to wear it seemed perfectly reasonable at 1am to wear all three.
Beware lag time in the studio.


noteRon and I tried several different poses, angles, props and lighting while we were eating lunch and they were all terrible. This "artfully draped over flowers" pic was the best of the crappy bunch. Since he took it from directly above it looks like  I am trying to strangle the flowers - there will be no beauty in the world to rival my awesome nails!
And that is the best; you do not even want to know what it looked like I was doing to the flower vase.

Monday, July 29, 2013

and now my life is complete

I didn't even know that I needed this mash-up to exist until I saw that it does.
I wonder who thought this up and if it was after a fever dream.
I try to imagine the pitch meeting and subsequent memos.
I wish I knew where to send a thank you note.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Quick Quotes 9

Yesterday I had to open the Parisian Flea because Andrew was sick and needed to go to his doctor.
I was showing rings to one of our regular customers when he arrived late in the afternoon with prescriptions and shopping bags in hand.
After saying hello to both of us, he set down all of his bags and said, My Uncle Cupcake owns a farm.
No follow-up; just Uncle Cupcake owns a farm.
I was sure that the infection had spread to his brain.
The customer and I both looked at him like he was an alien.
After about a minute he continued,
My uncle's nickname is Cupcake, he is a farmer and it is his birthday soon; look at what I found and he held up a block printed birthday card of a farmer on a tractor pulling a cart with a GIANT cupcake in it.
ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
It all made perfect sense, but his delivery was so random that I am going to adopt that phrase for... well, something... it is too good not to utilize somehow.
this is NOT the card he bought, but a similar one that can be purchased here

Friday, July 26, 2013

I LOVE IT SO MUCH, what is it?

CONTEST UPDATE BELOW - 7/30/13

Is there anything better than unexpected packages waiting at your door?
The handwriting and postmark indicated the parcel came from fTM Frack so I immediately activated quarantine and explosive procedures.
Once the box was cleared to be opened I found a wee purple wrapped parcel (always a good sign) and a note: I saw this in Maine, thought of you for some reason. (which might be a good sign?)
Oh. My. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Look at that little creature.
Look at it!
So adorable it pains my spleen.
I want to cuddle it to pieces, though being made of prickly wood kinda hinders that.

However, I am really unclear on what animal this fabulous ornament represents.
Look at the those felty feet, people.
Could they be cuter?
No, they couldn't.
Those toes obviously say some sort of climbing creature.
Basic morphology makes me think rodent or soricomorph (shrews and moles).
It was made in the Philippines so maybe it is an adorable island animal I've never heard of.

The face, oh the face...

And those eyes...

I am in love with those eyes.

For blops of paint I find them very expressive.
To me they say Hi there!
and Do you have any yummies?

and Did you hear that; was it a predator?
and I am clinging to this rope cause it is my lifeline
 and Are you sure it wasn't a predator; I am cute and crunchy
and Do you want to be friends?
and  Be sure to shoot my good side
and Is this going on your blog?
and Thanks for bringing me to work
and I like this flower arrangement, but I could hide better in a tree
 and I kinda like you; you're pretty.
I am reminded of Scrat from Ice Age who makes me laugh so hard that milk comes out of my nose.

So, my friends, I need your help.
What animal do YOU think it is?
Also I am stuck on a name because it feels like a boy, but the only name that seems right is distinctly female. So also leave name suggestions in the comments;  i'll even think of some prize if I adopt one of your suggestions.


UPDATE: if you name my lovey I will custom create a 4 pack of cards to your specifications or issue you a $15 NikCo Etsy credit, your choice. Suggest as many names as want.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

umm, thank you?

I had another post planned for today,
but when I got to work I found that some kind, generous soul had left a big chunk of a car on the stoop.
That is freakin' random, even for Hampden.
It had obviously been carefully placed there.
It is 15 feet from the road.
Nicely balanced like a dirty plastic rainbow.
On the top step, no less.
You know there has to be a story, probably involving cheap wine and/or crappy beer.
Or a herd of evil unicorns.
Or maybe aliens.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

chop, chop, choppity, chop

You might recall that a few months ago I cut my hair into a shoulder length bob. I do this every couple of years for a change-up.
Last week my hair had reached that infuriating in-between length where I had to decide if I was gonna trim it back into the bob or grit my teeth and suffer through a month of crappy hair days to work on growing it long again.

I took Option C.

Yes, my friends, that is about four kittens worth of hair (i'm pretty sure that professional stylists describe units of hair by how much hair it would take to make a whole kitten) from my already not-very-long hair.

It is now above my shoulders and fully layered.
CHEEEEEEEEEEZ!
When I move my head little curls bounce every whicha direction which makes me want to dance even more than normal. [that is a lot, btw; fTM Amy's husband was once complaining about musicals, how unrealistic they were since no one actually broke into song and dance in real life and Amy replied, You've met Niki, right?]
This is the shortest my hair has been since I was 5 and a crazy neighbor girl went after me with a pair of scissors. I can't even  make a proper ponytail; which makes me suddenly realize that as cute as this cut is, mayhaps the heat of July might not have been the ideal time to try it out.
Oh well, i'll figure out something when i'm out in the heat; until then I think I am just going to swing my head around and giggle. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

i'm pretty sure it IS a law (state of course, not federal)

Since I no longer do a Mon-Fri 9-5 (or Mon-Fri 7-6 as was the case) I keep what is closer to my body's natural hours. That is, I sleep later and stay up later.
Night time is the right time in the Nikiverse.
Dinner, therefore, is often 8, 9 or 10pm. If I wait too much later than that I start to get a little odd as the blood sugar gets wobbly.
It is probably a good thing that I live alone because when this happens I tend to have arguments with myself or inanimate objects.
Case in point: on Sunday I was cooking tater tots around 11pm.
Tots are delicious as is, but i'd decided that I wanted them with a little cheese and a lot of Old Bay.  As the timer hit 2 minutes to go I went to the spice cabinet to get the Old Bay.
I didn't see it.

Now this isn't my house, but I am here often enough to know the kitchen pretty well and I know this is where spices are kept.
But it is a tall, narrow shelf, so maybe the can is behind something.
I move things around, lift things up, and stand on my tippitty-toes looking for the distinctive square, yellow metal container.
Nope.
Okay, I say out loud, maybe they have a bottle instead of a can; I mean I just bought a bottle instead of a can so maybe I just didn't see it cause I was looking for the can.
The shelves get tossed again, the timer rings to signal that the tots are ready and the Old Bay is nowhere to be found.
This is crazy, says I to absolutely no one without even a hint of irony.

The lower corner spinny shelves are where cooking things and staples are kept so I open it up and spy some dry rubs, including the house's favorite chili Lime from Stubb's.
This is where the Old Bay must be.
Spinning the top shelf all the way around yields no Old Bay.

Maybe they don't have any since they use so many other types of seasonings, I mused dejectedly, but then angrily replied to myself, No way, Niki; there isn't a house in Maryland that doesn't have Old Bay in it. It's like a LAW, for goodness sakes.
Come on, now; the tots are burning.


Which is when I notice the industrial sized spice containers on the very bottom, including, you guessed it:
Old Bay.
I knew it.
A house without Old Bay just isn't a home.

In case you were wondering,
the tater tots were fabulous.



ps- JP and KP you are out of tater tots

the simple answer isn't always obvious

Last night I was getting my daily blog post ready when the internet disappeared.
I mean, i'm sure the actual internet didn't disappear, but suddenly I was no longer a part of it.
Thinking the router might have had a blip, I went downstairs and reset it.
Back upstairs to my laptop.
No internet.
But now there is a window saying that the router needs a password.
Really?
Since I am housesitting I didn't know exactly what it wanted, but I know a few of the common passwords around here so I tried a bunch of user names and passwords.
Then I realized that it probably wanted the password form the back of the router.
Back downstairs, got the code, back upstairs, enter the code.
Nothing.
Then I realized that with that password there must be a specific assigned user name that I couldn't possibly guess.
Time to text JP.
He texted back a few questions, I replied and he texted back a suggestion.
Tried what he wanted.
Nothing.
A few minutes later he called my cell phone.
We talked through what I was seeing while he made suggestions.
Then we realized that he couldn't remember which password he used so maybe we'd do another reset.
Back downstairs to unplug the router instead of just hitting the button. Wait 20 seconds, plug it back in, back upstairs to check my laptop.
Nothing.
Back downstairs to turn on JP's computer. While it is booting up, he checks the password manager on his phone to find that he didn't enter this password.
Once his computer is running he has me open a browser hoping that the router password was saved and would automatically fill in.
It wasn't and it didn't.
Now we go through a jillion combinations of user names and passwords until HAZZAH we are in the router management program.
I am trying to describe what I see while he is trying to remember what the program looks like.
After a few minutes we realize that I am not on the same page as him, literally.
Random clicking of tabs gets me to the screen that he has been describing.
Right in the middle it says INTERNET STATUS: disconnected.
No doy, computer.
Tell us something we didn't know.
At this point we'd been on the phone for over 25 minutes trying to get this fixed. I am envisioning no internet until they get home in 10 days and JP is totally frustrated.
Exasperated he says pick up the phone and see if you have a dial tone.
silence
Yep, Fios was out; no phone and no internet.
And all we had to do to realize that was pick up the phone.
We said goodbye and I went home as it was almost 11pm and I wasn't waiting for Verizon to get their crapolla together.

Time elapsed from the internet disappearing until I knew what was wrong: 58 minutes.
Time it took to pick up the phone and test the dial tone: 3 seconds.
Time completely wasted that I will never get back: 57 minutes, 57 seconds

sigh...

actual phone call from today

My BFF normally calls in the morning and evening so that we can touch base and share our daily goals.
This morning I was out running errands when she phoned (not in a thousand years would she anticipate me already being at the bank at 9am) and missed her.
So once the groceries were put away (who am I kidding? the groceries made it to the fridge, but are still in the bags) I gave her a call back.
RING...
RING...
RING...
RING...
Rea (slightly out of breath): It figures you would call now. I just fell down. Let me call you back.
CLICK

That's right people, not only do I fall down myself, but now my mere presence heralds gravity's domination over us all.
My name is Niki and I am a Harbinger of Doom.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

reality is funnier than fiction

So how about this heat?
(statement in compliance with internet mandate that one must comment on the obvious)
The temperature is oppressive and horrible, but it IS July;
 one expects Maryland the be a humid furnace in July.
Drastic temperatures bother me more when they are unexpected: those sudden steamy or frigid days in Spring and Autumn that just  pop up, make you miserable and then disappear.
There was a stretch of four such icky days in May.
Coincidentally it was also the week that the AC broke at the Parisian Flea and that there was a photo shoot scheduled for the Baltimore Sun.
The pictures were to accompany this story about formal 1920's style parties.
Which means tuxedos.
Tuxedos in unseasonable heat.
Tuxedos in unseasonable heat without air-conditioning.
Here is the published photo of my boss, Andrew, by Gene Sweeney Jr.

He looks so dapper, right?


What you can't see is me hiding behind the sterling cases laughing hysterically and then calling Andrew's name to take this picture:
The best part of the shoot -besides the surrealistic hilarity of the whole thing- was that all of the champagne saucers were filled with real champagne which the three of us then drank, toasting to anything that popped into our heads.
Mayhaps that was a contributing factor to the hilarity.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

to that one piece of leftover pizza in the fridge of the house i am currently sitting

I will not eat you.
 
I am strong, steady and true.
 
 
...well...     DELICIOUS     ...damn.

 

Friday, July 19, 2013

pick a pearl

note: pictures from October 2010
 
About 10 years ago I decided that I wanted to buy jewelry as my souvenir on trips.
I usually get an inexpensive fridge magnet to have something touristy with the name of the place, but then save up my spending money to get a nicer piece of jewelry than I would normally allow myself to buy: a watch in Durham, sterling earrings in New Orleans and so on.
On my way back to the hotel after outrigger canoe surfing at Waikiki I walked through the huge street marketplace and was accosted (in the friendliest way possible) by a sweet girl hawking coupons to the Pearl in Oyster kiosk.
I was tired from rowing and punch drunk on sunshine and the ocean so I thought what the hey? After all, one of my favorite charms is the pearl I got from the Japanese diving pond at Sea World Ohio with my grandparents Craig back in 1908 (okay, maybe it was 1982, but it sure feels like 100 years ago).
With my purple 40% off coupon in hand, I carefully poked through the oyster bowl until I found the one I wanted.
I took the tapping very seriously
I've heard that other pick-a-pearl places you have to shout out some crazy phrases, but she just had me do the traditional three taps on my oyster before shucking that bad boy to reveal my lovely black pearl.
 
Even knowing that it is cultured (perfect natural pearls are even rarer than you think) in no way detracts from how beautiful it was after she cleaned and polished it with salt.
 
Now for the expensive part: finding a setting.
You don't have to buy a setting, but after seeing how gorgeous the pearl was, I knew that it had to be my Hawaii souvenir. There were some sterling cages for charm bracelets, but I just wasn't feeling them. My other pearl charm is actually on a necklace bail so I asked to look at necklace settings. There was a simple silver curve that reminded me of a wave which seemed fitting since i'd just come from the beach; it was perfect.
Next comes drilling (glad that isn't my job), gluing and setting. 
 
While my pearl was becoming a pendant, I got to pick another oyster and found double pinks. They however came home in a little bag as my pendant turned out to be a bit more expensive than I anticipated (about 3 times as much) because we looked at so many settings that I ended picking a white gold one which I thought was sterling. It was still within vacation souvenir parameters, but there was nothing left in the fund to make pink pearl earrings.
 
Flash forward more than 2 years and my beautiful, expensive pearl pendant (which an appraiser told me has a little diamond chip at the end of the wave that I never noticed) still had not been worn because I didn't have the correct chain for it. I knew that I wanted something kinda long - between 24 and 36 inches- and would prefer a snake or box chain.
While doing NikCo supply shopping on EBay I found the perfect chain for $1.99!
[to my amazement and disappointment it turned out to be sterling silver when it arrived; I know that should make me even happier about the deal, but it means I have to polish it...yech]
I wore my Hawaiian black pearl for the first times just a few weeks ago.
 
It makes me really happy.
 
Mental Morsel - the oysters people eat are not pearl oysters; in fact they aren't closely related at all
 
ps-hey Rea, look: it's a Hawaii post!

Zachary's button

My nephew heard me talking to his mom -my BFF- about getting a pretty NikCo button for the blog's sidebar to link to my Etsy store instead of the icky, boring link that is there now.
 I knew that there are sites where you can make them pretty easily.
Z piped up that he'd been working on his HTML and would like to make a button for me.
Well okey-dokey then.
Right before he left for camp this week he emailed that he was pretty sure he had it done, but needed the pic that I wanted as my button; even at 12 he knows that branding is everything.
Here ya go, Z:
Thanks for all of your hard work.
Look for my new button in the sidebar sometime soon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

returning to my pillow after housesitting



also the explanation for no post yesterday
;-)
 

Monday, July 15, 2013

a touch of perspective

A friend inquired if I find it hard to housesit in places where there are animals since I don't have any pets of my own.
It is a mixed bag to be certain.
I like animals and miss owning my own; it is great to borrow someone else's.
 Plus, who doesn't love cuddling with adorable balls of fur while watching Netflix until the wee hours of the morning?
The flip side is that I have been high on antihistamines for almost 10 days. I'm not allergic to fur on a day-to-day basis, but if there is a critter sleeping on the bed with me (or, you know, four of them) I have to take Claritin to be able to breathe when I wake up.
And litter boxes... enough said, right?
But even when a dog goes missing -he's under the bed pretending that he can't hear you- or a cat steals a sub roll from your plate -this is a different cat than the poptart cat; did they not get the memo about being carnivores- or the sister dogs refuse to go out to pee without each other and one of them doesn't want to go out right this second or a cat wants to play poof fetch for an hour -yes, one of the cats plays fetch like a dog- it doesn't really bother me when I remind myself of this:
video
Imagine fifteen hundred miles of that.
If that didn't send me over the edge, I doubt anything that happens in the ordinary course of a week of housesitting is going to break me.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

mmmmmmm... dessert

fTMs Miriam and Felicia have shared an apartment for a year; at the end of the summer their lease is up. Tonite they hosted one more gathering: a dessert and wine party.
There were so many yummy things from cookies to granite to brownies to ice cream to cobbler to pumpkin dumplings in coconut milk. We had champagne and chocolate zinfandel and orange ummmm.... some wine type that starts with an M.

But there are no pictures.
I was far too engrossed in tasting everything and chatting to remember to take pictures.
However, my favorite thing all evening was so delicious that I am willing to post about it with a shutterstock photo.

Abby showed up with champagne (there is a lot left over from her sister's wedding) which Scott opened and poured all around.
Into my glass went some of Miriam's homemade raspberry granita.
Can you say BUBBLES?
PINK BUBBLES!
It was so, so, so good that I went back for more and I don't normally drink two of anything.
You have to make some granita this summer and toss it into some champagne: chilly, refreshing, yummy and BUBBLEY!

UPDATE: Thanks to Debbie for naming the orange wine I had last night as a moscato.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tang

A person's pantry tells a lot about them.
When housesitting i enjoy trying to glean insight into my friends' day to day lives by checking out the pantry. [and alphabetizing their spices because who in the world would look for the garlic powder next to the cinnamon?]
For instance, you can tell that a family with a few young children live in a house where Nilla Wafers and Shells and Cheese are purchased in bulk.

wait...


what's that tucked behind the Nilla Wafers?

TANG?
I didn't even know they still made this stuff.
I loved Tang as a kid.
The last time i had it must have been decades ago and i'm pretty sure it involved copious amounts of cheap, crappy vodka.
I definitely got have some Tang.





Being in someone else's kitchen is a constant guessing game.
 Pitcher... pitcher... pitcher... where is there a pitcher?
You know, a giant measuring cup will work just as well.
I made this Tang at 2am, put it in the fridge and drank it nice and cold with breakfast.
Tastes just like i remember: yummy in an odd way.
Thank you NASA for popularizing Tang; i enjoy it, even if Buzz Aldrin doesn't.

Now for the Mental Morsel of today's blog post:
It should surprise no one that the inventor of Tang -William A Mitchell- also invented Cool Whip and Pop Rocks: "foods" that are also as tasty as they are unnatural.

Friday, July 12, 2013

why the samurai armor at the Walter's Art Gallery is less intimidating than it should be


Emblazoned dragon,
Angry grimace. WAIT, what's that? 

Bunnies are not fierce.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bastille Day sale

UPDATED

I spent the entire day sorting and pricing vintage jewelry at my Thursday gig -
The Parisian Flea in Hampden.
sigh... so many lovely, sparkly things

Bastille Day is Sunday
and the store is celebrating all this weekend.
The kickoff tomorrow night will feature
champagne and fabulous deals.
 
Andrew hasn't announced all of the sales yet, but I can give you an inside scoop that costume jewelry will be on sale and that there are a lot of pieces for sale that haven't been seen before.
A LOT of pieces.
Trust me on this one; I think I touched more cool jewelry today than I have in the last two months.
Go say HI to Andrew, have some champagne and for the love of Pete
 buy some jewelry -
I have to put away any of the stuff I got out today that doesn't sell.
source
  Here is the list of what's on sale this weekend;
 I think Andrew has lost his mind.
 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

basic bovine anatomy

This is Rea's cow Bess, the first week of May:
Look closely.
Do you notice anything odd about this cow.
Look again; i'll wait here.
Did you notice that she appears to have a few too many legs?
I count six.
Either Rickki has been milking a giant furry insect (ewwwwwwwwwwww),
she bought a two-legged goat from Craig's list,
or there is something else going on.
That makes more sense.

yes, I really AM this adorable


This is Weldon.




Well it was Weldon,
at four weeks old.







Now that he's over three months old he looks more like this.:
We grow up so fast, don't we?

just a little longer

The Plan was to give myself six months to get NikCo up and running.
At the end of that six months I found that I still had so much to do and had been frugal enough that I could give myself six more months.
In 21 days that six months will be over.
What to do, what to do.
It feels like things are finally starting to come together, starting to happen.
I have a clear vision of I want NikCo to be, what I want to accomplish.
Do I dare to keep to this path?
Do I dare to forgo the security of a real job?
Do I dare to pursue the dream?
You bet your bippy I dare.
This week's quote is from one of my favorite authors, Erma Bombeck. That lady could crack me up like no one else and in the next line bring me to tears.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.' 





note: Gotta acknowledge that I yesterday I was post-less. Congrats if you had July 9th in the pool. I'll see if I can get two out tonight to make up for it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

did she say fairy godmother?

Long, long ago (3 months) I announced that I was making a fairy godmother costume (mentioned it in passing in a small print post script).
You see, I was going to be the Fairy Godmother at the Soroptomist Princess Tea - a fundraiser we do where girls dress like princesses, have tea and cookies, create sparkly crafts, etc. The Fairy Godmother reads princess stories to them and leads the Princess Parade.
I volunteered to do it way back in November because, well... have you met me?
Anyhoo, the club owns a very nice costume that looks like the FGM from Cinderella, who obviously did not have any boobs. It fit great except across the chest where it cut off my ability to breathe; honestly, my diaphragm couldn't move.
The logical answer?
Make another costume, of course, because you know I am such a great seamstress.
Yes, I am so untalented with a needle that I was afraid to just add a little fabric for breathing room to the top of the professional costume because I was sure I would ruin it, but create a gown from scratch? NO PROBS.
It had to be long, pretty, a bit matronly and not look like a princess.
I found a great sparkly silver sweater set at Goodwill that was way too big so the matronly part was covered. Plus I figured I could just make a skirt instead of the whole gown.
After a long time in Joanne Fabrics I found lining on sale and decided on lavender because 1) I love purple, 2)  purple is royal, and 3) there are no Princesses that wear lavender.
How much do you need? inquired the helpful cutting lady.
Four, no five yards.
Maybe five and a half.
Let's see how much is on the bolt, was my brilliant, well-informed answer.
So I ended up with six yards of this lavender fabric..
Easily twice as much as I needed

When you buy fabric off of a bolt it is folded in half; when I unfolded my piece at home it turns out that it was about the same width as my height. I was planning on using the selvage edge as my hem anyway (cut me some slack all of you sewers out there who just gasped; the dress was for three hours with six-year olds and I have never made any clothes from scratch) so to avoid more cutting I revise my design from a skirt back to a full gown.

I like how the words my design make it sound like I had any idea of what I was doing. In fact, I had done it as a geometry problem: I need it to be this circumference for a few inches under my arms, then this circumference across my breasts, then this circumference for the length of the rest of my torso, then my waist and then my hips. I decided how large of a circle I wanted it to be around me at the floor (or the poofiness as I was calling it in my head). Then it was just connecting all of the circles with lines.
Easy-peasy.
[it totally made sense in my head. I explained it twice to my mom who used to design and sketch dresses when she was a teenager. She was dubious at best]

After giving the fabric a quick iron I assembled my tailoring tools:
pins, measuring tape, Sharpie and hammer


"Measure twice, cut once" applies to fabric as well as wood so I was very careful to pin and mark the fabric so that I would only have to make one seam: basically it was just a somewhat modified, graduating cylinder transitioning to a cone. (I wonder if there is a name for that shape)
Pinning all along the seam before cutting the fabric was the most time consuming part.
My straight pins were MIA so safety pins had to do the job. With the cardigan I figured I could just pin the top so the pins ran along the cut line, but where I was going to have run the skirt through the sewing machine I pinned across the line as Jean Kake taught me.


Hands down the scariest part was cutting the fabric.
You can't uncut something, people.
With my Grandma Craig's fabric scissors in hand I took a deep breath and just did it.



Sewing time!
Jean -the Quilted Cupcake master herself- had given me a sewing machine and shown me how to thread and run it since Home Ec was a zillion years ago. Frankly, I was terrible in sewing back then, ironing the side of my hand and running the needle over my finger, but I did great with Jean.
In fact I took all of these pictures during the process because I wanted her to see that I used the knowledge and machine she gave me.
One tiny problem: the machine would not bring up the bobbin thread.
 I threaded the needle several times, took out the needle and reset it, tried the thread from the back and the front, took out the bobbin and reset it several times, all to no avail. Everything looked right over and over again, but every time I used the wheel to lower the needle no bobbin thread came up with the needle thread.
AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH
I spent about 25 minutes trying to get it to work until finally I snapped and yelled at the machine, Oh yeah? You think you can twart me? Defeat me? I am a tool user, you stupid machine. I will make this @#$%^ dress even if I have to staple the whole thing together.
So I did.
Ever stapled a floor length, pooffy skirt? I don't recommend it. 
Tea time arrived and I donned my totally jerry-rigged gown: skirt stapled, bodice tucked and pinned around my bra and neckline rolled and shaped with a purple flower brooch from 1988.
With my silver wand and a bottle of purple glitter tucked into the sleeves of my sweater, hair curled and pinned with flowers and butterflies and a matching lavender crown I was ready to whip up some magic.
The tea was so fun.
As the Fairy Godmother I ended up emceeing the afternoon, making all of the announcements and such. The book a chose -a great newish book about urban princesses called The Princess of 8th St by Linas Alsenes- went over great with the girls. After pouring tea and assisting with crafts, i taught them how to royal wave (we did screw in the light bulb) and curtsy, which they did on command in the craziest parade/follow the leader I have ever had the pleasure to lead.
Of course everything was done with handfuls of purple glitter thrown in the air, over me, over the girls, everywhere. In fact as I left afterwards to go to work at the Parisian Flea (yes, I went in costume just to see what my boss would say. He about died laughing in the doorway as I put money in the meter and then asked if I brought other clothes with me) I looked down to realize that I was caked with glitter.
sorry about the gratuitous cleavage; that's my POV,
not the way it looked to the girls 
Later I was informed that I am now Fairy Godmother for life.
Maybe with nine months lead time I can actually get a gown sewn for the next tea.
Newspaper coverage of the event here.