We launched our pattern design company in the fall of 1993, and our business took off like crazy. I was still working full time as a CPA at the Department of Airports, spending late nights and long weekend hours filling orders and creating new designs. Something had to give!
In January of 1997 I tossed my pantyhose aside, purchased a tiny house on the west side of town and began to set up shop. My dad transformed an old lady house into my super cool new store that opened on April 1, 1997. The shop was in the front, the classroom was in the dining room, and my office and bedroom were in the back.
April Fools’ Day is a day of celebration in my world. Not only did we officially open the public on April 1st, but exactly one year later I met Mr. SWAK on a blind date. He spied me out in the front yard and wanted to meet me. Fortunately his step-mother worked at the post office, where I was a frequent visitor because of our booming mail order business, and was able to set us up!
A short while after meeting Keith, a tiny adorable kitten showed up on the front porch of the shop.
Penelope quickly made herself at home, becoming our shop cat. She had a sneezing problem, so I took her to the OSU vet school for testing. Even though she was only there overnight, her absence was noted. Penelope started getting cards and well wishes in the mail!
After moving downtown, I would tote her back and forth from home until Mason was born. I just couldn’t lug both of them around with me! We lost Penelope to bone cancer in the fall of 2011.
Mom’s friend Marie came to visit the summer after we opened, and I left the two of them in charge while I was away at market. I returned home on my birthday, only to be greeted by tacky plastic flowers lining my driveway, an old lady “come in” sign hanging in the window, and pink flamingos in the yard. Best of all, both mom and Marie had fallen asleep on the couch…during shop hours! I think they had stayed up too late chatting and knitting.
The flamingos are still perched in our shop, everything else went in the trash. We had a lot of good times in the tiny green house!