Posts filed under ‘Aleene Jackson – Family History’
It was 57 years ago today that my mother Aleene was featured in the January 5, 1953 issue of LIFE Magazine. There is such an amazing, rich history of how today’s craft industry started and I am blessed to have been born to a creative legend.
As a child, I certainly didn’t realize my mother’s role in the craft industry. It really wasn’t until I started digging into the Aleene’s archives and started putting the people and places together through photos and news clippings that I started to truly realize what Mom accomplished starting at a very young age.
Mom started a florist business at the age of 19 when my Dad went off to serve in WWII. She knew little about flower arranging and nothing about running a business. Years later, a student introduced her to Formosan Wood Fibre and after securing the west coast distribution rights to this fascinating product, her business took off!
When she was featured in LIFE Magazine, she was 28 years old with 3 very active children at home (with two more children to come in the years ahead including me!).
In the 1950’s and 1960’s Mom built her California based business by making regular appearances on local Los Angeles and west coast television shows, but it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that today’s craft industry burst onto the scene when Mom came up with the brilliant idea to take her crafting business “on the road” with the Aleene’s Craftmakers Caravan. At that time, hobby stores and 5 and dime stores dotted the map but there were no craft stores.
I can go on and on with the history of this amazing woman who I call Mom and who inspired me to become a hard core crafter but you might enjoy your own tour of the history archives at my Inspired at Home website. There are lots more archive photos for me to sort through and post but I think you will enjoy the early years archives!
LOS OSOS, CA – Sunday afternoon – For the past couple of days, my mother Aleene has been visiting me before I leave this next week for a visit in Maryland with my sisters Candace and Tiffany.
Mom and I love to go to all of our favorite hang outs when she visits. We have a kind of ritual we follow when mom visits. First we both love The Tea Cozy in Cambria, California (on the Central Coast). It’s a lovely British tea house that has wonderful tea sandwiches, always an incredible soup and they have their own blends of amazing teas. Barry ‘ the Tea Master’ and his wife LeeAnne ‘the chef’ are absolutely amazing!!! I’m sorry we missed getting a photo of having tea, we were so ready to indulge we just missed the photo op. But we did manage to photo the shop.
Second we always like to go to all the gardens and nurseries in the area. Our first stop after our tea time was Cambria Pines Nursery, a wonderful space with all kinds of different gardens and delights! Second stop is The Garden Shed – a cute and whimsical garden area with lots of garden gadgets and decor for the garden. Right next door is the quaint Birds of a Feather shoppe. They have amazing little collections of vintage collectibles and do-dads. (Mom and I laughed when we saw a sprig of velvet leaves for sale for $10.00 when she used to sell them in her store for 39 cents). I bought a few vintage ribbons shaped liked leaves that I thought I would use on my newest Spirit Balls (featured in a new eBook that is launching this next week). I just had to show you how they packaged my purchase. (I only bought a couple of yards of each). It’s always so special when a shop makes the extra effort to embellish your purchase. I just love that!!!
Next stop Heart’s Ease (formerly owned by author Sharon Lovejoy.) It’s a delightful herb garden and store that Candace and I discovered over 20 years ago. The little cottage has herbal soaps, lotions, potpourri and a wonderful herb garden with garden statues sitting amongst the wonderful blooming hollyhocks and other gorgeous flowers. Mom enjoyed the hollyhock photo op!
Mom and I finished the day by parking our car by the ocean and watching the waves crash onto the rocks and had a glimpse of a dolphin, sea otters and sea lions frolicking in the waves.
We came back home to home-cooked spaghetti with yummy meatballs made by my hubby Harold.
Yes, it was a great visit!!! Thanks for visiting Mom! Next time, we will have to do our other favorite – Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur. Love Ya! >>Heidi
GRASONVILLE, MD – Monday night – On last night’s Inspired at Home Radio, Aleene shared lots of information on the history of the craft industry which started when she launched her Aleene’s Craftmakers Caravan in 1967. Listen questions included “What inspired you to formulate Aleene’s Glue? Going back to your first time on televsion – were you nervous? What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in crafting since you started in business?” And much more!
Listen to Aleene’s podcast interview – GO>>
GRASONVILLE, MD – Sunday morning – Whew! It has taken me weeks but I finally finished posting a new section of the Aleene Jackson Craft Museum! I’m really excited about this new posting because we have had so many requests about “where can I find Aleene’s Wood Fibre”. Unfortunately, it is no longer available, but the history of Wood Fibre and its role in the Aleene’s history is now available for you to read on-line!
So many people are familiar with the famous Aleene’s Tacky Glue but they are not aware of how Aleene actually got started in the creative business. In 1944, at the age of 19, she opened a retail florist shop in Arcadia, California while our father was serving in WWII. She closed that business after her first child (that would be Candace) was born and worked out of her house teaching classes. It was from that fresh flower business that Aleene launched her Make Your Own Corsage Kit. But, the constant stream of delivery truck to the house bringing floral making supplies started to get on the neighbor’s nerves so she opened a new retail store location in Rosemead, California.
On Friday April 1, 1949, Aleene ran this ad in the Los Angeles Examiner announcing that the Aleene’s Make Your Own Corsage Kit was available for purchase at Bullock’s Downtown (Los Angeles).
As you read on in the Aleene Jackson Craft Museum history, you will learn how Aleene quickly outgrew her Rosemead store location and expanded her business with the addition of Formosan Wood Fibre which brought her to national attention with her television appearances and feature in the January 5, 1953 issue of Life Magazine.
This new addition to the Museum is a fun read! I had so much fun reading and researching and scanning and putting it together. I hope you enjoy it! >>Tiff
GRASONVILLE, MD – Sunday morning – Just an update. Mom (Aleene ) wanted everyone to know that she felt the picture of her with Hazel Pearson made her look fat and that her hair wasn’t styled that day.
So just for the record . . . Mom you look wonderful, fabulous, magnificent! I think she’s an amazing example of how we should all lo0k and feel at age 85. >>Candace
GRASONVILLE, MD – Monday morning – Well, here it is — my first “real” winter storm since my arrival late last summer on the Chesapeake Bay.
It did snow a few inches when Heidi was visiting last month but now we have a real storm! Yes, all my dear California friends and family, that is about 6″ of snow piled on top of the diving board at the bottom right of this photo. I am grateful to be sitting at my computer working on scanning photos for the Aleene Jackson Craft Museum all snuggled up in my warm sweater and sweatpants drinking a hot cup of lavender and garden sage tea. How’s that for a fine Monday morning!
As I am busy scanning and tagging photos, I thought I would share one of my favorite photos from the Aleene’s Craft Caravan days. This photo would have been taken in 1968 when the Craft Caravan kicked off at the Pasadena Convention Center (Pasadena,CA ). I’ll be posting a whole section on the Craft Caravan on the Aleene’s Jackson Craft Museum but here’s just one of the photos documenting this amazing day. Yes, that is an entire city block of women lined up for this event. (The line actually turned the corner and ran for two city blocks! When was the last time you saw crowds like this lined up for ANY craft event???) Over 20,000 ladies (and I’m sure a few guys) attended this event. Remember, at this time, there were few independent craft stores, there were none of the craft stores that we frequent today, so this was a rare opportunity for craft consumers to learn about new craft techniques. They were obviously hungry for all this creativity!
Well, it’s time to get back to scanning and sorting and immersing myself in creative history. >>Creatively yours, Tiffany
LOS OSOS, CA – Sunday morning – Well, last weekend rolled into this weekend very quickly! Brian and family left last Sunday just as I was leaving to take granddaughter Savannah back to boarding school (she’s been on semester break) and I thought it would be a perfect time to go visit Mom who lives about 2-1/2 hours away. She had been having computer challenges — or so she said — she is really doing quite well on her computer skills since she just got a computer — at age 85!
We decided to go into the Los Angeles area last Monday to visit Hazel Pearson Willliams who just turned 95. Here’s a picture that I took of Aleene and Hazel during their visit! (Mom would like everyone to know that since last Monday, she has had a haircut and now sports a cute-chic short hair-do.) Did you know that Hazel and Aleene started their separate businesses around the same time back in the 1940’s. They were friendly business rivals and have remained friends all these years. Hazel has even lived in the same house for 60 years. It was a wonderful visit and amazing what this 95-year old does with her time every day for the past 11+ years. She and members of her church put together shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, socks, anything that will fit and sends these boxes to kids in need in the Phillipines. The first year she sent 400 boxes and last year she sent over 4,ooo. (Now they have started to send larger items in bigger boxes.) Each shoe box is wrapped with gift wrap paper by a volunteer. Hazel does all the co-ordinating for all the supplies to arrive in time for packing. Some things are donated and other items she finds at amazing prices. She receives letters from all the people that she sends to and she writes backs to each and every one. Her office is at her dining room table. Her garage is full of supplies that are awaiting sorting. Her patio is full of items going in the big boxes – slightly used shoes, small tvs, jackets, and she tells me one of the missionaries is starting to teach sewing, and needs sewing machines. I am totally in awe of this lady. Wow!!
Well, we were able to pull her away for a lunch at one of our old favorites ‘ North Woods Inn’ in San Gabriel. With yummy cheese bread and amazing red cabbage salad we enjoyed our feast. We delivered Hazel back to her busy outpost and sat on her patio with her for awhile. (I use to play on this very patio as a small child!!!) We also checked out the orchids growing all over her yard ( she says they just grow… she doesn’t do anything to them), then we had to say goodbye for now. It was fun seeing Mom and Hazel together again. It was a wonderful visit. >>Love Heidi
(P.S. If someone reading this post would like to donate to Hazel’s Shoe Boxes. Just let us know,we will put you in touch with this amazing project.)