Terry Cupples of Kennewick calls herself an idea person -- an inventor.
"I see a need and immediately begin to think of a way to fill it," she said. "I can't help it, it's the way I was raised. My dad always said, 'Find a need and fill it, and you'll succeed.' "
She has designed and marketed pet collars and door hangers. Her latest invention is a nursing blanket with a mesh insert.
"I call them my air-conditioned nursing blankets," she said.
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The idea came to her about a year ago. The problem that nursing mothers have is trying to stay covered up while breastfeeding babies pull and kick at the blanket. It was an issue Cupples struggled with years ago.
"And the problem hasn't gone away," she said.
The mesh insert helps keep the baby cooler and allows mother and child to maintain eye contact while nursing. And the blanket is not just for nursing.
"How many times have you seen parents toting a baby carrier, or see a carrier set in the seat of a grocery cart, with a blanket tossed over the baby?" Cupples asked.
Her blanket gives the baby a window on the world.
Cupples doesn't sew. Instead, she contracts to have the baby blankets and pet collars made in China.
The plush polyester blankets ($48) are 30-inches by 40-inches with a 10-by-8-inch soft mesh insert sewn in. They are available through her website, www.airconditionednursingblanket.com.
The love that Americans have for their pets inspired Cupples' line of decorative, reversible "Blue Collar/White Collar" and "Redneck" pet collars.
"These are strictly novelty collars. They're not meant for control," she said.
They are sold at www.terrycupplescollars.com. Cost is $15.
Cupples' door tags ($3) are on eBay. One tag -- Baby Behind Door -- cautions people to open the door carefully. Another tag, Don't Forget, lists items to remember when leaving the house including glasses, cellphone and keys.
"I'm always running out and forgetting something essential," she said.
-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org