Several months ago, I went to drop my boys off in Philly (that’s where their dad lives) and I needed some dresses, so I stopped in a local clothing store, Forman Mills–a place where you can get stuff dirt cheap if you can handle being in the ghetto.  It’s a huge, canary yellow building a few blocks from his place, and I just dropped in for a few minutes before starting the three hour trip to my bf’s house.  I walked in the place, and I hadn’t been there for months, but I swear I didn’t remember it having an upstairs fabric section.  Of course, fabric warehouse piqued my interest and I walked up the twenty stairs into fabric heaven.  I couldn’t believe it had so many great fabrics and trims for SO CHEAP!  I’m a Renaissance Faire fan, and I have been known to make a few elaborate dresses/costumes for the Faire in my day.  This was truly a glorious day.  I could outfit my whole extended family for a hundred bucks in that store.  Anyone who has made a period dress before knows that stuff ain’t cheap!!!

Fast-forward a couple months to Halloween, and my son Andrew decided he wanted to be Papa Smurf.  I was thrilled to go back to my childhood for a time, and told him I’d make him the costume.  His brother wanted to be a magician and we had his costume already in our costume box, so I had the time, and I knew I could do something cool.  I told their dad I was going to take them to Forman Mills to choose fabric before dropping them off, and he said, “What?  They don’t have an upstairs,” much less a fabric warehouse.  I argued that they did, I had been there.  BUT, sure enough, when I drove to the store, I realized it was a SECOND yellow building across the street and I had in fact gone to the JOMAR Store by accident.  No wonder I never saw that fabric department upstairs before.  Anyway, it was one of those times where a mistake changed my life for the better, but I hate it when he’s right…

The boys and I went up and picked out yards and yards of fabric and trim for the costume.  It really didn’t take nearly as much as I bought, but it was SOOOO cheap that I bought a lot of extra.  We wandered around for an hour looking before deciding on the perfect red and blue fabrics, and some white fringe for the beard.  I went to work the next week sewing the costume.  I had no patterns, so I had to make it up, but thanks to an existing pair of sweats and a long-sleeved shirt in his closet, I sketched a pattern, added a little bit for error and sewed it up.  It took less than a day total, and I couldn’t believe just how cute it came out.

So I entered it in a contest, sponsored by JOMAR called their “Show Your Jomar” contest.  This store sells everything, not just fabric, so there were hundreds, if not thousands of entrants and they had some really great photos of clothing/models/costumes, a little bit of everything.  I was tickled pink when they told me my photo had won one of their monthly prizes (a $200 gc to the store) for October.  Andrew was elated and we were so proud of each other.  I posted the link on my facebook and the whole nine yards.  Very exciting!

Then December rolled around and I got another phone call from their advertising agency, we were in the running for one of the six grand prizes for the year.  WOO HOO!  I told Andrew and he said, “Mom, I’m just happy that we are in the finals, even if I don’t win,” and at that point, I knew I had the best kid in the world.  We waited out the next two weeks patiently and yesterday I got the call.  WE HAD WON!  After a total OMGOMGOMG moment, I cleared my head enough to give the lady the information she needed, and listen to the prizes he had won.  This contest was serious business, no kidding.  He won so many great things, and I never expected anything like this.  He won a Star-of-the-Day photo shoot.  He gets the whole hair/makeup/stylist routine, and he gets to keep his favorite outfit from the day.  He won two tickets to see the Harlem Globe Trotters.  We got another $200 gift certificate to the store (Mommy is happy about this one!) and he gets an iPad2!  Holy cow!!!  I still can’t believe it, really.  I knew it was a cute costume, but this was beyond all my expectations.

I need to thank JOMAR Stores, so my crafty project of the day will likely be a thank you card.  We had a mini-celebration yesterday after dinner when I finally told him he was a winner.  It was SOOOO hard to wait.  I made brownies, and Kyle helped me pick out a couple balloons at the dollar store.  And speaking of Kyle–he knew the entire day, and didn’t breathe a WORD to Andrew about the surprise (he’s 5).  I was so proud of them both yesterday.  I snapped a few photos of him when I told him, and although the brownies kept me from getting that first expression, the ones that ensued were pretty priceless too!  I think I’ll work my card around one of those shots.


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