Nancy Lanza preferred to garden.
"We used to joke with her that she'd do all this landscaping that no one could see because it all was in the back (of the house)," Cullen said.
Nancy Lanza also collected guns, say those who knew her.
Dan Holmes, who owns a local landscaping business, said she showed off a rifle she recently purchased.
"She told me she'd go target shooting with her boys pretty often," Holmes said.
Nancy Lanza kept a lot of weapons, from assault rifles to handguns, at her home.
The weapons were for self-defense, said Marsha Lanza, Peter Lanza's sister.
Yet, Marsha Lanza said her former sister-in-law "never felt threatened." If she did, Marsha Lanza said, Nancy would have spoken up about it.
Nancy was self-reliant, a trait that she possibly picked up while growing up on a farm in New Hampshire, Marsha Lanza said.
At some point, she worked in finance in Boston and Connecticut, a friend said.
She was not a teacher, as some media had previously reported, the friend added.
Despite whatever problems Nancy Lanza might have been facing behind closed doors, on the outside she kept a cheerful face. Several people who knew her said she was incredibly social and warm.
Several nights a week, she got take-out from the My Place bar in Newtown.
CNN sat down with owners Louise, Mark and John Tambascio.
Louise recalled Nancy starting a conversation with her, and how they become fast friends.
"She's funny. We took to her," said Mark Tambascio. "She did a lot in town and was always on the go."
Louise Tambascio said Nancy Lanza worked in charities for people with AIDS, and said she was extremely generous.
Louise saw Nancy Lanza take out her checkbook and write checks to anyone who told her they were going through a rough time and needed money.
"She was very kind," Louise said.
Lanza was generally in a good mood, several people said.