From posters on to needlepoint. In the early 1970’s needlepoint became very popular. At first mom enjoyed buying blank canvas and transferring one of my father’s and other artist’s paintings onto it and then doing the sewing. We had a lot of pillows on our couch. She needed to find a different venue. She and her sister Lee decided to join forces. Mom created the images. Together they silk screened them onto the canvas, packaged them with wool, and sold them at various craft fairs. The sisters enjoyed spending more time with each other. Their kits were popular. They decided to turn it into an actual business called The Idea Mill. Mom designed all sorts of products – Christmas ornaments, key fobs, toy cars and a lot more. My favorite was the baby blocks seen here.
They advertised in various magazines and sold them mail order and thru stores. Years after the business ended, Mom was still making these baby blocks for the new babies in her life. The only problem was that people loved them so much that they’d keep them on a shelf instead of letting the baby play with them.
When she was in her later 60′s she started taking jewelry making courses from a woman who had worked for Tiffany’s. The jewelry design part of her life had started. She spent countless hours weaving beads into beautiful chokers and bracelets. This was done for fun. A couple of stores sold them, but that was not the point. I think she loved buying the beads as much as making something with them. She seemed to have thousands of them. She was also happy to fix her friend’s jewelry, restringing pearl necklaces and the like. I remember her sitting at her card table set up in the living room in front of the TV so she could work and watch her favorite shows at the same time. (Northern Exposure and The West Wing later on.) She felt that the jewelry making was in her genes. This was her father’s profession. He was a diamond setter and also had a store in Brooklyn. As a little girl, she said she loved going to work with him and playing with all the semi precious stones.
She also liked spending the day with her friends. Lunch at the coffee shop and then back home to talk some more. She loved New York and enjoyed all that it offered.
And then in her 80’s she started a new life in Philadelphia. Stay tuned.