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A place of her own

Fiber artist takes a ‘no rules’ approach to retirement

Created date

June 26th, 2014
woman showing off her beaded necklace

When Diane Evans attended craft fairs across the country as a designer of counted-thread embroidery, she told her customers she wasn’t the needlework police and wouldn’t wag her finger if they missed a stitch. “You should make your needlework your own creation,” she told them. 

She wanted that same respect and flexibility in a retirement community—and that’s exactly what Grove, Erickson Living’s community in Delaware County, Pa., offers her. At Maris Grove, Diane’s life is her own creation.

Being a somewhat unconventional person, she can relax at Maris Grove. “There are no police to say I can’t do a jigsaw puzzle all day if I want,” says Diane.

She has been known to do just that, to settle in at the puzzle table in a corner of her great room. Puzzles provide welcome but challenging breaks from beadwork and knitting.

Her current passion, making beaded jewelry, evolved from her practice of embellishing her counted needlework with beads. Fashioning jewelry also requires less workspace. 

Unconventional space for an unconventional woman

Diane’s one-bedroom, one-bathroom, Brighton-style apartment home is budget-friendly and much easier to maintain than her previous four-bedroom house.

“If it gets a little messy, it’s just me here,” Diane says. “I had a perfectionist fetish in my 20s, but no longer.”

Her Brighton boasts important amenities like a washer and dryer, a bay window, and a kitchen with a cut-through in the wall it shares with the great room. “I have to have light [streaming in],” she says. 

Her home also features a spacious walk-through closet and a walk-in shower.

She’s furnished her home to accommodate her interests. 

For example: Diane dislikes cooking, so she doesn’t need a dining table. She eats most of her meals in Maris Grove’s Coebourn Café, and she can host visiting family members in one of Maris Grove’s three restaurants or its Grove Pub & Bistro. 

So a worktable inhabits the “dining area” of Diane’s great room. Clustered underneath it sit fat bags of yarn she’ll turn into lap robes for residents at Rose Court, Maris Grove’s on-site rehabilitation and continuing care neighborhood.

Neat stacks of clear plastic bead boxes stand along a great room wall where other people might place a hutch. Diane stores additional beads in her bedroom.

Balancing private time with people time

She belongs to Maris Grove’s Fiber Arts group. It meets in the Brinton Clubhouse creative arts studio, where Diane’s jewelry is often on display. 

The group appeals to her because “we do our own thing,” she says. The women work on their own projects, but mainly they socialize.

And Diane does enjoy socializing. While she might concentrate on her jewelry-making all morning long, at mealtime, her social side comes out. 

She’s a friendly, welcoming face at lunch and dinner. While she might be the first person at a table in the campus café, in no time she’s gathered a host of neighbors around her. Diane never dines alone.