Oh, my goodness…where to start?
My name is Janet, and I live in California, with my husband of 41 years.
This year I will turn 61 <groan> and it has occurred to me that unless I’m thinking I’m going to make it to 120, I’m way past middle-aged and into (dare I say it?) elderly <big shudder!> territory. That means that if I have any goals or desires to accomplish anything else in my life, I’d better get to it! I like to think I’m a very young 60, (isn’t 60 the new 40?) but let’s face it, the years don’t lie!
So, I’ve been contemplating how I want to spend the rest of my life, and the answer I continually come back to is “creatively!” And so I have set out on a creative “journey” of sorts. I want to experience everything yet to come in my life more creatively and with more flair. I had no preconceived ideas of where I was going when I started on this journey. At first it was just sharing all the creative things I love with you, but it’s now worked into a place where I share whatever is on my mind, creative or not! My goal had been just to head out and see where the winds took me, but I’m beginning to see some direction. I love fabric, paper, ribbons, metal, beads, paint, wood and all things old… I love imagining and designing and creating, and I hate being constrained to any one thing. I hope to blend all the things I love into treasures that others will want in their lives. I finally started painting, something I had ALWAYS wanted to do, but was afraid to try. Mixed media is a perfect term for what I’m most fond of! But, as I go along, I want to be mindful that it’s the people in my life that are the most important part of my world, and I need to balance my need to create with my need to spend time with them.
One of my friends asked where I got the name for my blog, and that’s easy…my favorite things in this world are shabby, rusty and old-looking, re-purposed…or “tattered and worn.” It’s style that is comfortable to me and works it’s way into most every aspect of my life, from clothing to decor, inside and out, in every medium. And, for an old gal who is for all intents and purposes, “re-purposing” herself, it seemed fitting!
And, rather than keep my journey to myself, I’d like to share it and what I learn along the way. I hope you will enjoy getting to know me and that perhaps somehow I am able to inspire you to set about on your own journey. So join me when you think about it, whether it’s to share the whole journey, week by week, or just to stop by and see what I’m up to from time to time.
MY STORY (or how I got here!)
I suppose I have always been “creative.”
I remember loving paper dolls as a child, but I never liked the clothes, so I’d draw my own, then cut them out (including the little tabs to hook them over the shoulders!) I wish my mom had kept them for me. I didn’t realize then what a treasure they would be, and neither did she, I guess.
My first attempt to “sell” my creations happened in high school. I started making “hippie” style jewelry, long dangling earrings and chokers, and selling them at the swap meet. I think I have a photo of my board somewhere. I’ll have to dig it out and maybe do a post on the early days!
Anyway, I quit jewelry making when I got married, and switched to 3 – dimensional decoupage and selling plaques and shadow boxes at the “Fiesta de’ Artes” in La Mirada, moved to No. Calif and took a break to have my two children, then started back up with a Christmas craft show in my home where I sold my Christmas ornaments. Then we moved further north and I hooked up with a group of creative people who were interested in selling their wares, but had no experience. We put our heads together and came up with “A Christmas Affair” which we held at my house for 2 years until we outgrew it and decided to move to the back room at the local museum for another 2 years. During those years I added numerous craft shows, but it seemed like I was gone a lot, and the idea of opening an actual store front seemed like the next logical step. Now mind you, this was all before the internet, and the explosion of web-based businesses! So, My Favorite Things was born.
Initially, the plan was to have a small workroom in the back of the tiny 480 square foot building on the main street of our town, where I would create the treasures I sold in the store. I remember so clearly wondering how I would EVER fill it, but between the things I made, putting my friend’s arts and crafts in on consignment and adding a few purchased lines, we opened in July of 1986. My very first sale took one of my largest pieces off the very front display, and I was crushed! It took awhile before I got used to the idea that all the stuff was actually for sale, not being displayed in a museum! Um, but there was an even bigger problem…there were not enough hours in the day to make the inventory, and run the store, so more and more of my energy was spent in buying and displaying and less in “making.” After only a year in the small building we moved down the street to a 2500 square hundred foot space, and the problem was even more pronounced. If I was going to stay in business, I would have to shift my creative focus.
And for the next 15 years, that’s what I did. I dabbled from time to time in new projects, and in adding a number of employees, all creative women who shared my vision, I was able to spend a bit more time designing with them, and we worked together to add a uniqueness to the shop that few gift shops have. Only in the last few years was I finally able to dedicate the majority of time to doing my “art.”
Then in 2004 my world changed when my 1st grandchild was born. She lived with her parents at the other end of the state, so we traveled back and forth, spending more and more time there and less at home, trying to run the store from afar. By 2006 I realized it was not going to work, and since I could now envision life without My Favorite Things, decided to sell it, or as I am fond of saying, “traded it in for grandchildren.”
In the 6 years since then I have been scrapbooking, sewing, gardening, cooking and crafting away, in between my duties as caregiver to my granddaughters while their parents work (there are now 3 grandchildren – although I only watch 2 regularly.) I’ve taken some on-line art classes, found my “tribe” of creatives who I adore, and am happily once again burning the candle at both ends.
I now have an on again/off again Etsy shop (it’s currently off!) and am frustrated with the progress AND direction of this journey, but I’m working my through it, albeit slowly at times. All I know for sure is that time (and with it, life!) flies whether you’re having fun or not, so I need to have fun!