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Aprons are special calling for El Dorado Hills lady

By: Art Garcia, Telegraph Correspondent
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Seven years ago, while working as a volunteer at the Snowline Hospice thrift store in Cameron Park, Corrine Javelet of El Dorado Hills was asked by the manager if she could sew.

“No,” replied Javelet.

“Can’t you make an apron?” the manager asked.

Javelet (“Ja-va-lay”) couldn’t but she learned and since the manager’s query, has handmade 3,700 aprons she’s given to the hospice store, where they’re sold for $12 each.

The aprons, all of them with lining, sell out quickly. Some purchased there have been seen in retail windows in Placerville and Apple Hill, with $29 price tags.

Javelet as of last week had made 464 aprons so far this year at a pace of about three a day. She’s in her tidy converted three-car garage workshop by 7:30 or 7:45 six mornings a week, making aprons using the same patterns she began with.

“They haven’t changed a bit,” says Javelet, a spry 81-year-old with sparkling blue eyes, who walks two-and-a-half miles daily. Because of a knee replacement three years ago, she can’t go the three-and-a-half-mile distance of her husband, Gene, who’s 91. The couple has been married 61 years.

Denise Samuel, a fitness director at Snap Fitness in El Dorado Hills, is an admirer Javelet’s work. “They look like designer aprons,” said Samuel, herself a seamstress.

Javelet, who has been a volunteer at the hospice thrift store 13 years, used to garden and “read a lot,” but has given up both. “I don’t have time,” she said. “Making aprons is my hobby.”

She receives no reimbursement for fabric, other materials or time invested in making her aprons. Javelet’s reward is satisfaction.

“They love the aprons at the hospice store,” she remarked. “They can’t wait for me to get there” with her latest delivery of aprons, some designed by personal request.

A neighbor and the mother of Javelet’s daughter-in-law in San Diego send her fabric, including shirts, T-shirts and accessory items, purchased at thrift stores and garage sales. Her church, Church of the Foothills, also feeds her material. She’s even made an apron from a window valance.

In earlier days, Javelet modeled in Sacramento for about 10 years and played roles in small theater. “It was fun, when I thought I could sing and dance,” she laughed while showing a visitor a scrapbook of magazine and newspaper clippings of her in modeling and performing poses.

In showing her current selection of aprons ready for a trip to the hospice thrift store, Javelet notices a loose thread on one of the aprons. She picks at it carefully, saying, “Oops! Quality control.”

Javelet and husband Gene live in a prim and neat home off Bass Lake Road. The couple met while both were working at the old Sacramento Army Depot, where she was a librarian and he was a purchasing agent. Gene has been retired 33 years.

Javelet was born in Connecticut and raised on a truck farm in New York. “I’m a farm girl. I was my step-father’s right-hand ‘man’,” she said, working a farm with 1,000 mostly apple trees and 1,000 chickens.

She moved from New York to Sacramento in 1948. The Javelets left Sacramento for El Dorado Hills 14 years ago. The couple has two sons, living in Denver and San Diego, and a daughter who resides in Rescue.