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What I Do

Diana Jefferson, 53, Gift-Basket Maker

Then I saw those baskets they sell at drugstores around holidays. I thought if they can sell those with nothing hardly in them, I could buy baskets myself and fill them up. I have been doing that for four years. I make just enough money to get by.

I'm 53 years old. I had a knee replacement, twice on the same knee. That was eight months ago. My left knee is next. As long as I'm busy with my hands I'm fine.

All I see every day is baskets. Right now I have about 200 of them in my apartment. I buy them wherever they're on sale. I hit the discount bins. People at CVS and Wal-Mart know me.

Easter is the best time. I sell out every year. Last year, on Good Friday I went down to Third and Broad with a U-Haul and sold 150 baskets.

Usually I start with 100. Then when Easter is about a week or two away I make more. This year is a bit better for me. I have rainy-day money. I'm going to invest a little and put it all in Easter.

Believe it or not, people wonder how I know what to put in the baskets when I never had children. But I do. I get Blue's Clues, Pooh, Tigger — and don't forget Barney. I put candy in there, too. Some parents don't want their kids to have too much. I have a little twisty at the top and whatever they want in there I put in or take out.

I'm usually at Third and Broad. I got the bus line, people coming and going to work and to lunch. I try to make deals for parents who have to buy for three or four kids. I have $8 baskets. They can go for as much as $40. The bigger the basket the higher the price. Some people like to splurge a little bit. And my baskets are a whole lot better than the ones in the store.

— Interviewed by Brandon Walters, Photographed by Scott Elmquist.

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