Since deciding to put High Cotton Closet to bed (for now at least), I am delightfully and joyfully focusing on my first passion, my art.
The reason behind saying goodbye to High Cotton Closet (my testimony): I had just had Will. You were a newborn. Hayley, you were adjusting to life with a baby brother. I was adjusting to life with two children. I was potty training Hayley with a 6 week old (potty chair in the living room next to the chair I nursed Will in). Life was crazy. We were making hue changes in life. We were sleep deprived. We were just overall turned upside down for a while. Eventually we got into a routine, this new crazy became our new normal and all was great, except my discontent of time. Time with my babies. Running a business takes time. A lot of time. Raising babies takes even more time, like 24/7. Never a break besides an occasional date night thanks to Grandparents. But I could feel the Lord working in my unrest.
After going wholesale with High Cotton for a spring line and having great success (we are now in 20 different boutiques in 4 different states and our reps were asking for more), it was time to create a Fall line. Whe it came down to it, Sally and I came to a crossroads and had to make a decision. Do we continue or do we put it on hold? I was stressed and didn’t know what to do. My job first and foremost is to be a mommy. And not only that, my goal is to be the very best mommy I could be. Sally wanted to be Grammie. And for both of us, this company was creeping in on both or that for us. And the more it creeped in, the harder it became. I started High Cotton to have a creative outlet for myself for a “side job”. So, I began to pray. And I prayed a lot. Lord, lead me in the direction you want for my life. Lord if you lead me to this, why are you calling me away from it? Lord what are you calling me to do? Lord PLEASE just clearly answer my question of “what should I do with High Cotton Closet moving forward”…and He did!
I screen shot a lot of things on my phone…ideas, quotes, etc. I was scrolling through m pictures and one picture stood out so clear to me. It was a quote that said “you can have it all, but you can’t have it all right now.” I know the Lord laid that on my heart. Then a few days later I was still praying. I needed confirmation, because frankly, there was money on the line and it stresses me out. We were in church and I cannot remember the topic of the sermon, and what scriptures were quoted, but all I know is the Pastor Brad said “you can have it all, but you can’t have it all right now.” Wow. Seriously? It couldn’t have been more clear…until I was listening to JoAnna Gaines testimony (a TV personality from HGTV). She too has small children (4) and also started her own company. Her story was much like mine. At the time she had two small children at home and opened a store. She felt the Lord leaving her away from it and she quoted “you can have it all, but you can’t have it all right now.” Wow. Just WOW!!! (She now has a successful shop, business empire, and television show just to name a few things). The Lord used me and spoke to me and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he was leading me away from that business. Yes, even among the success we lost money (because starting a business is expensive) but it couldn’t be more clear. My job is with my children and to be their mommy and I couldn’t be happier with my life and where I am now. That business was difficult to give up. I felt a piece of me was gone, a creative piece, but I know that I was in God’s will and he would lead me to what I was to do next, and he did….
Art. Yes, to be an artist. Finally. Ha! I have always loved art, creating it, seeing it, being inspired by it in all of its many forms. Being creative is my happy place and where I feel happy (but just so you know, I feel happiest with my family, but in my art studio is a close 2nd ). I have colored, painted, drawn, sculpted, built, and created my whole life. When it came time to fill out my college application, I had to declare a major and I instinctively picked studio art. Without hesitation I checked that box. Then people began to talk me out of it. They said I would be a starving artist. I doubted my ability and I chickened out. I switched to interior design and completed by degree in that field. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. It was creative, fun and I loved it. But…you want to talk about starving…I was a broke interior designer. Ha!
But now I am finally creating art and I am so happy. I am stepping out of my comfort zone and pushing myself. I can take on as much or as little as I want so that I do not have to sacrifice my time with you kiddos. I work on my projects when y’all are napping, or asleep for the night (although I try and work on needlepoint then) or when y’all are at Mother’s Day out. I put my projects on my Facebook and Instagram and I have had more commissions than I ever thought I would have. People are trusting me with family pictures, wedding invitations and decorations, paintings for their home, murals and more! I am so blessed and so happy that I can be creative and still have time with my precious babies! Above all else, I hope y’all are proud of me and know that whatever I do, I do it all with yalls best interest at heart. Here are some things I have done this year so far:
A birthday party invitation. Trying my hand at graphic design.
A mural for for baby Liv’s nursery
A hand lettered wedding sign
A horse picture for a Pay It Forward recipient. (Copic Marker)
A dog portrait (prismacolor)
Another puppy picture. This one to honor a pet who had passed. (Prismacolor)
The Davidge Family portrait (copic marker)
A bedroom wall mural for Conly Rose
A wooden palette with a football for a nursery
Another wooden palette for Daddy for our 5th (wooden) anniversary. For our bucket list to go to all 50 states.
A ballerina portrait of little Ashlynn (prismacolor)
Hand calligraphy for wedding invitations.
A fun fun beach portrait as a gift for my friends. (Copic markers)
A sailboat oat painting for a baby boy nursery. (Acrylic paint with wooden frame)
Two more ore paintings for the sailboat nursery as a baby shower gift
An an anniversary gift to Caitlin from Josh. He built a prayer bench for her and asked me to hand letter a bible verse on it for her.
Caitlin also asked me to make Josh a family portrait for their anniversary. (Copic marker and prismacolor)
The Cook kiddos portrait (copic markers and prismacolor)
The Bruce Family portrait. Jessica (mommy) was a sorority sister of mine and lost her baby at 32 weeks pregnant. She never had a chance to get a Family picture and asked me to create one with her little girl and baby that was gone. I was honored to do that for her. (Copic marker and prismacolor)
A portrait of baby Tinley and her mommy. Tinley has a heart condition and has been in the hospital since birth because of heart surgeries. This was a gift to her mom so she could have a picture without all of her medical equipment and tubes. (Prismacolor)
Caitlin and Josh picture (copic markers)
The Martin Family portrait (copic marker and prismacolor)
Anna Kate’s Homecoming parade posters.
And my favorite one by far…my beautiful Hayley bug. This was the first portrait I did that sparked my love for all of this. Over this short time after doing this I have rediscovered my love for art. (Prismacolor)
I love over being able to stay at home with you kiddos and still make time to express the talent the Lord gave me. Some people ask me “how do you do that with kids at home?” It isn’t always easy. Thank heaven for naps and Mother’s Day Out…ha! But there are still times I work on projects when y’all are here and awake. I want y’all to be there and see what I a, doing, even at a very young age. Hayley, you often get your coloring books and crayons and are creative right along side me and I LOVE that! Will, you usually make a mess with anything you can get into. Often times you play in my paint bottles and paint brushes, so in a way you are very much emerged in art, even at 17 months old. It isn’t always easy, and most times very messy, but I wouldn’t choose any other life….I LOVE it!
With all all the love in my heart,