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Changes In Kwan’s, a home based business
Kwan’s Crafts began quite awhile ago. To me, it was just yesterday. But now I am a Grandmother so time has passed.
My Mom, and three friends, Jackie, Isabelle and Eloise first started this little enterprise in the 1960’s in the basement of our house. I don’t know who came up with the idea. I just remember when they would gather in the hobby room and I would hear endless hours of happy voices and laughter. Their big plan for success was to take dried flowers and other small objects and put them in to a resin mold. Once dried, the discs became mobiles that were hung in windows. Every window in our house were adorned with these mobiles. Whenever we would drive anywhere Mom had her scissors and old phone books read to clip and press anything she saw that she thought she might use. I still have found old phone books, underneath something heavy that would press and dry the flowers. They all felt they had hit the big league when a store in Aspen,Colorado began to sell their art. Now Mom could take frequent trips to Aspen to go visit The Tom Thumb Gallery, and see their artwork. Most of the time I would go along with these very enthusiastic ladies. Lunch, and shopping and checking in with the Tom Thumb became a regular routine.
I am not sure when this phase of Kwan’s drew this a close. I think everyone’s families were growing up and other interests came along. But in the 80’s I was starting my family and along came a new Kwan’s Crafts idea. I have always loved sewing and crafts. I even took a sewing machine with me to collage. In the 80’s appliqué was becoming very popular and with that and quilt designs I officially launched my version of Kwan’s. Mom was equally enthusiastic about this new version. My daughters never knew what it was like to wear just a “plain” shirt. If it did not have a design already, I would sew one on. This seeped out to many of their friend’s wardrobes as well. Mom and I and Tiffany and Suki were walking billboards, displaying my latest designs. Mom and the girls would now trek with me to all the Quilt and Fabric stores where I was hopeful to sell my wares. I don’t think I ever topped the enthusiasm that everyone got when the original Kwan’s was discovered by Aspen, Colorado. But I got in to a whole new world, one I never invisioned, the Internet, the Global Community.
I am a baby boomer baby. Growing up in the 50’s I always remember my Mom carrying her knitting bag. It was probably more important to her than her purse. It went everywhere with her. Whenever she had an idle moment, out would come the yarn and needles. I always could tell the difference between a handmade sweater and a “store bought” one. We would drive up to Aspen, CO to their Scandinavian shop to look for buttons and yarn. Scottsdale, Arizona also had such a shop that Mom loved. Grand Junction had one knit shop during the 50’s and 60’s. It was located near the downtown. As Mom explained it, it was run by three “old maid” sisters out of the large Victorian house. I remember sitting in their very filled living room listening to my Mom and all the ladies laughing and the faint clink of knitting needles. New yarns were brought out to sell. Lots of show and tell. The atmosphere was full of gentle laughter. I don’t really remember the “old maid” sisters. They were supposed to be master, master knitters and would guide Mom through her patterns. I do remember cats and cats and more cats. While Mom would knit I would roam around this huge old house and follow the cats about. I never went upstairs where the sisters lived but I would follow the cats to the large, distinguished staircase and watch them disappear. I learned to knit too as time went on. But by the late 60’s we were all wanting to be with our friends listening to this new, rock and roll sound that we could listen to on our portable radios and on our record players. Mom continued to knit up in to her 90’s. Painful arthritus had set in. But I remember one of her last projects was a hat for Skyelar, her Great Granddaughter. Mom would tell me that her “count” was off and the hat was a little to pointy. She thought Skyelar rather resembled a gnome with her pointy hat! My daughter Tiffany would bring her beautiful baby wearing this hat, over to see us. Tiffany being Korean and her husband being Norwegian we thought the gnome look was quite acceptable.
Being able to imagine and create is such a gift.
I remember reading a book in the 80’s titled “Passages”. The life transitions we make through life. The point I was in then was how to raise two lovely daughters. My passion then was crafting. Now I am in the Grandma phase. Crafting is still my passion. Now I however have two new wonders in my life to incorporate into my Crafting life. My dear Granddaughter and my ever challenging computer iPad and a blog. Skyelar and I are off on this new phase. We have lots of wonderfully exciting new things to explore and write about.
I hope you will follow my blog, allthingsfamilyfriendly.com