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Myers Makes Kool-Aid Bags and More

By Blondell Peterson
November 2005

Jennifer Myers displays some of her craft creations.
Jennifer Myers displays some of her craft creations. (Photo by Steve McCaw)

tote bag
Kool-Aid Jammer tote bag, sewn by Jennifer Myers. (Photo by Steve McCaw)

Avery, Jennifer Myers' dog
"Avery," Jennifer Myers' dog smiles for the camera. Myers said Avery faithfully sits by or "on" her crafts while she works. (Photo by Steve McCaw)

What do most people do with Kool-aid jammer drink cartons after the juice is gone? Throw them away? Not Jennifer Myers. She makes lunch bags and tote bags out of the sturdy plastic boxes. That's just the latest craft project for the artist turned writer.

Anyone who asks Myers what she does in her spare time, will soon find out that she is a true artist at heart. And, she has found several ways to unleash that alter ego. Myers' "Clark Kent" personality by day is that of a writer-editor in the LSB lab. Mainly, she puts manuscripts in the correct format to submit to various scientific journals. Besides that she's the property custodian, and she's been known to organize supplies, clean desks, help with spring cleaning and "anything else that needs to be done."

By her own admission, she "likes to stay busy." From the looks of her list of craft projects, she does a good job of that. For the last seven years, she's been working at a paint-it-yourself ceramic studio on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, Myers said.

"I spent so much money at 'Paint the Earth,' I figured I might as well work there," she said. "I don't plan on leaving any time soon. I just really like it there-the whole process. The hands on stuff is great."

Myers says she knits, crochets, weaves baskets, makes gift baskets, paints pottery and Christmas ornaments, quilts, sews and grows violets from leaf cuttings. One of the violets was nearly 12 inches wide until she recently repotted it.

"I called one of the violets the 'siamese violet' because it had two faces," she said. "It's always been a little weird with two plants growing together. My husband just wants the kitchen sink back because it's covered with violets."

"My whole life I've always said I've got to have three bedrooms-one for me, one for the guests and one for the crafts," Myers said. "If somebody has questions about a craft I can probably answer it. I probably have it in my craft room."

"I have a wonderful husband, Bob, who agreed to the craft room and cut the bottoms out of all the Kool-aid packages and helped drink the Kool-aid so I could make the bags," she laughed. She laments that he won't have much time to wash Kool-aid boxes, now since he joined an RTP law firm "that has a lot of initials," but she's glad he got the position.

Besides her husband Bob, the other love in Myers' life is her Lab-Husky, Avery. Myers named her dog after the dormitory that she and Bob lived in at UNC Chapel Hill. Ironically Myers found Avery on the NIEHS Trading Post. "I wonder if any NIEHS employees adopted Avery's seven brothers and sisters," she said.

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