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my story

Oh, my goodness…where to start?

My name is Janet, and I live in California, with my husband of 44+ years.

I turned 64 <groan> this year 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 had 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 set out on a creative “journey” of sorts. I am determined 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 out. 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, and although I see some direction from time to time, I’m still just exploring. 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 progress 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 adventure.  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, the brick and mortar store, 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.” But my goal of having a store good enough to be featured in a magazine was never realized.

In the years since then I have been scrapbooking, sewing, gardening, cooking, crafting, and of course, blogging away, in between my duties as caregiver to my 4 grandchildren while their parents work. 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. Mr. Tattered and I have also been doing a LOT of traveling. It’s proving to be a crazy, wonderful life – one I could never have PLANNED, and I’m loving it!

All I know for sure is that time (and with it, life!) flies whether you’re having fun or not, so I’m going to have fun. I really do hope you’ll join me.

24 responses »

  1. Way To Go!!! It’s quite cathartic to put yourself ‘out there’ and to expose inner-mosts and all, but now you can CelEbrATe this accomplishment! See you back at the cage! (Denise) 😉

    Reply
  2. Hello Fellow Flyer, Wow that’s quite a story. I would have love to seen your shop and bet it was very fun. I wish you well on this new journey. No need to be scared look all you’ve done before. I’m sure if you raised children and now grand kiddies you can raise your creative self once again.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Amy! I know, huh? I’ve been surprised at how nervous I’ve been given that I’ve been in nearly the same place before. But that was then, and this is now. It’s a whole different world than the one I faced 20+ years ago. For one, I was in a community where I knew a gazzillion people, and my success with the Christmas Affaire really helped to launch the store. Now I’m feeling out of my element! Plus, by jumping into a blog about ME, I’m selling myself instead of a product!

      Reply
  3. Amacing story, , Janet, is shows me that we should not cling to our jobs so much, we have to let go when the time is right………….We have to be able to trade one thing for another that is more important..
    Yasmin V.

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  4. saw your bird on the daily truth on Brave Girls daily truth I live near Lodi not to far from you 🙂 came to check out your blog! deffinitely going to be following from now on! You already seem like quite the inspiration! -Marie

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    • Thank you Marie. I just love Brave Girls! I met Melody at The Creative Connection this year. She is amazing, and I’ve been signed up for her daily affirmations ever since! Hope to see you around here a lot!

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  5. It is awesome! so inspirational! I’d love to make a bird for the daily truth 🙂 wow! I’d love to do a soul restoration to much money for me tho lol >.< you deffinitely will! I started reading thge daily truths during my husband's last deployment 🙂 they're really wonderful!

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    • Well, then do it! They accept any medium. Just make your piece, photograph it and e-mail it to them. It is a totally random pick, not like it is being judged! Go for it Brave girl!

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  6. Janet- what a great story and told so well! I have to admit that I loved hearing from someone that has been through some of the same life experiences that I have. So many of the creative blogs I read are from the “younger” crowd! Yeah for all of the things we have accomplished in our lives and now onto more creative journeys for ourselves!! THanks for sharing!

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  7. Great job, Janet. I am impressed. You’re a very “interested” and interesting person. You will not let the moss grow under YOUR feet. And, by the way, 60 is not what it used to be. You’re in your prime.

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  8. I sooooo miss you and your store!! You make the world around you buzz and tickle. Never change, Girlfriend.

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    • Well, You’re coming through as anonymous, but because I noticed that “Penny” shared this post on Facebook, I’m guessing, it’s you, Penny? Thank you so much! You are so sweet. Buzz and tickle – I love it!

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  9. I’m glad you connected with us! The link I got in the SITS Tribe email didn’t work :(. I’m always in awe of creative people who can repurpose and make things look awesome :)!

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  10. Hi, Janet, I just came across your blog and read your story. So much of it resonated with me. I am younger – – – just 58 years old (really, not much younger). I have enjoyed all kinds of crafts all my life, although I have never taken the steps to sell them, except for my on again, off again Etsy shop, too. My husband passed away many years ago, and I recently left the home I had lived in for 33 years to move to the town in another part of my state where my grandchildren live. I love being close to them (I only have 2 grandchildren – both boys) but really miss my home town. So I feel a kindred spirit in you….. I’ll be checking back regularly. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen on your blog so far!

    Reply
  11. Lisa, that’s so sweet! Thank you, and I’ll look forward to getting to know you!

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  12. samantha thompson

    Hello I am doing a research project and I’ve noticed your mixed media art and I’ve decided to do my research project on you but I have to interview you either on the phone or on email. But if course I have to ask permission first, so could you? I will try to contact you on Facebook through the private message. I hope you will cooperate with my art class project. 🙂

    Reply
  13. Hi Janet – You sound a fun person! We’re the same age and I too am creative, an artist and writer from the UK. I’m also a wild westerner (Kitty Le Roy, a Calamity Jane character) and a traveller. I’ve also got a zillion other interests, and am in the process of recovering from years of depression. My brilliant husband of 35 years looked after me and now we’re heading towards a life that we can love, and finding your site has been very inspiring. Thank you!

    Jo UK

    Reply
  14. I really enjoyed reading your story. Your life has been full and beautiful and it’s wonderful to hear that you’ve found a new creative energy after all this time. I look forward to reading more of your adventures. x

    Reply

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