Meet Janet Montrose. She lives in Pahoa, Hawaii and she makes masks. But hold that thought. I'll get back to that in a moment.
I first knew her as the artist who makes custom pillowcase sets under the name "Dreaming in Color Pillow Cases."
I bought this set for mom, intending to give it to her for Christmas.
I couldn't wait, though. With everything going on in the world I wanted to brighten her mood a bit, so mom got her present early.
Before Dreams, Janet did, well, just about everything.
"I have been a teacher for the hearing impaired, manager of a sushi bar, had a daycare , managed the men’s department and alterations at Macy’s, district customer service manager for BB&B and managed a tasting room at a boutique winery."
She did a lot of those things with her best gal pal, Nancy Botticelli.
"We moved here and she and I started a yearly boutique. I love fabric, color, and patterns ... so a no-brainer.
Boticelli died 4 years ago from cancer, and Janet misses her every day. Janet herself is a cancer survivor. So when the pandemic took over everyone's lives, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.
She started making masks-- and charging very little. $5 per mask, plus something else. Something special.
"For every order I fill," she says, "I make the same amount for health care workers and vet clinics. So your donations go to buying the elusive elastic. I'm getting creative and cutting large elastic into strips."
What a great service, I thought. So I bought eight of them.
"You just sent out a donation of eight masks," Janet told me. "The world thanks you."
There are a lot of people out there making masks. Many see an opportunity to provide something useful while turning a bit of a profit. That's the American way, after all.
Not Janet. For her, it's all about providing safety, and beauty, and giving back.
Go to Janet Montrose's Facebook page, Dreaming in Color Pillow Cases, to order custom pillowcases or masks.