I learned to sew from my mother's good friend, Marsha Davis. In the 8th grade I took sewing lessons at school, from "Mrs Otis with the toilet paper hat". At home we had an old brown sewing machine called the Reversew, which broke down about every 2 weeks. When I turned 13, my mother, on the sly, took out a loan to buy me a new sewing machine. It was the best gift ever. I remember my mother saying, "It even sews through wooden matchsticks!" It did.
I love to sew, and to invent things. Fabric can solve any problem. When I rushed sororities in college, I was "the girl with the turtle purse", yes, anatomically correct legs, tail, and all. I needed a quick bedroom, and made the "tent room", with screen windows and a door flap. I think my worst invention was my anti mosquito body bag, made of old sheets, which covered my whole body like a mitten with 2 thumbs, which seemed to let the mosquitos in, not out.
When my 2 boys needed sun protection, and I dragged my childhood cabana out of my parents' attic. I covered it with new fabric. Though it did look silly, people used to comment on it. My husband, ill at the time, loved the cabana, because he couldn't tolerate the sun. I became single quite suddenly, and a couple of years later, sitting on the beach with my parents and 2 boys, I looked at that ugly redo cabana and thought, "Gee, I should make these myself."My father knew a machinist who could help me with the metal, and soon, I designed the fabric to fit the first aluminum frame.
Saltwater Canvas Beach Cabanas officially started in 1991. The first cabana measured 43" wide for children, then 64" for families, then 84" for bigger families and hotels.
When I started swimming again, I needed a bag for the Y shower. I used the mesh that the cabana windows were made of. After a few tries, copying an old clothespin bag, the shower bag arrived.