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This is me…

Social media is a weird, weird thing.  Down right bizarre at times.  We are connected to so many people and sometimes that connection can feel deep even though we are mere cyber acquaintances.  To the point that if I ran into one of these acquaintances in the store I’d be inclined to say hi and ask how their kids are doing…by name might I add!  Pretty odd but I love connecting with people even if it’s in make believe land.

It is very easy to put people in a box though.  To see a snapshot and decide that their life must be easy or that they’ve got it made.  We all have a story though and here is mine.

This is what I like to call bullet point writing.  A run down of the last 39.9 years of my life.  Here we go!

I was born in Beaufort, South Carolina.

I’m the baby of the family….youngest of 3 girls.

I moved to Memphis when I was 2.

As I kid I rearranged every room in my house and played with vintage clothes and hats.

I loved Pride and Prejudice.  My parents rented the movie from the library over and over and over again just so I could watch it and play along.

Drawing was my first love…I still have sketches of all of my stuffed animals.

I was painfully shy and quiet until I hit high school and then I only came out of my shell around my friends.

I am an introvert. And I love it.

I loved art in high school and took it all 4 years.

I got in a wreck the week I got my drivers license.

My first job was working in the Mayor’s office at the City of Germantown at the age of 16.  It was a great job!

I went to The University of Memphis and lived on campus.

I held leadership roles in just about every single organization you can imagine.  I had really come out of my shell by college.

I was in a sorority…go Alpha Gam!  (I love squirrels and pearls:)

I took ZERO art in college out of rebellion.

I met my husband when I was 19 at a campus bible study.  I wrote in my journal that night that I would marry him.

I had heart surgery for Supra Ventricular Tachycardia when I was 19 after having heart rates of over 200 beats per minute for hours on end. I was terrified and had many days of worry up til the surgery.  That was the first time I can remember God clearly speaking to me.

I got married when I was 21 and I’m still married!

I graduated college a year after our wedding.

My husband decided AFTER we got married that he wanted to pursue his passion of flying airplanes…..AFTER!

I’m terrified of flying.

A month after he started flying lessons September 11th happened.

I helped put him through flight school. It was very expensive.

Years and years and years of broke living followed.

He went to a flight school that was 3.5 months of intensive training in Florida and I had to stay and work in Memphis.  It felt like an eternity.

Fast forward to 2004 and we had our first baby after 9 months of trying.  We were thrilled!

The next year we moved to Huntsville, AL for my husband’s first ever flying job and made a whopping salary of $12k a year! Yep, you read that right.  Husband, wife, baby on $12k a year.

We were too proud to use food stamps although looking back I wish we had.  We survived on sandwiches and the kindness of family.

An arsonist set fire to our apartment while my baby and I were home alone inside.  We literally had to escape.  I wasn’t ‘ok’ for quite a while.  We lost almost all we had and the mentally disturbed man went to jail.

We moved back to Memphis and my husband got a new job shortly thereafter.  We felt like we had it made.

In early 2009, when the economy was collapsing, my husband was laid off.

My hubby had no job and then I got pregnant with our third child.

He worked any odd jobs he could during that year….mowed lawns, cleaned windows,  etc.  I worked at a Mother’s Day Out so that I could make money and take my two kids with me.  God provided.  We worked hard.

It was that year that birthed my ART career.  I am so grateful to have been without or I may have never started.

I was painting on the side anytime I could and started doing paint parties.

In late 2009 my husband was offered an opportunity to fly surveillance as a contractor in Iraq…our baby was due at the end of December.

December 29, 2009 Hampton was born.

January 6, 2010 my husband left.  He was gone 98 days.

I was a single mom for a short time in comparison to others and it was the hardest thing I have ever done.  Military wives you have my uttermost respect.

Dark days and nights followed.  All I could do was pray every time that sweet baby woke me up at 2am on those cold winter nights.

I cried a lot.

And cried some more.

My sweet mom was with me along the way.  She drove my daughter to school every single day and I am forever grateful.

I had one friend who came over to visit with me every single Monday night.  What a gift that was!!!!!!! God bless her!

April felt like a lifetime away but we finally made it!

That reunion was absolutely precious.

We were never separated for that long again.  That was true misery.

Shortly after his return he was offered another flying job with a hard schedule.  It was tough but we had done tougher.

October 2011 we had our 4th baby.  He definitely rounded out our family.

February 2012 my husband got his dream job….11 years after he started on this path to becoming an airline pilot.  I’m so proud of him!

I’ve been painting for 10 years now.  10 years!  Hard for me to believe.  God has blessed me all along the way and I am thankful to get to do what I truly love.

Here we are today.  Life hasn’t always been easy and it won’t always be.  But keep going.  Put one foot in front of the other.  There will always be peaks and valleys.  The valleys help us appreciate the peaks.

Remember to appreciate what you’ve got….family, health, life.

Thanks for following along.  Here’s to more life stories in the future.

XOXO

katie

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When Less is Truly More

I’ve been quiet lately.  Like, really really quiet.

I completed my holiday commission list one month ago today.  I was planning on no more than 2 restful weeks off and then back at it!  Did I mention that was one month ago today?

Let’s rewind to December 27th.  As I cleaned up the last bits of wrapping paper and put away the last of the Christmas decorations I became restless about the amount of ‘things’ I had added to my home after the tornado of Christmas had hit.  The aftermath was all around me.  And if I’m being totally honest with myself, it had been building, not for a couple of months, but for 18 years.

18 years of accumulation.  18 years of marriage, kids, buying, buying, buying…..keeping, keeping, keeping.  Things come in, things do not go out.  Sure, I donate occasionally to the local Goodwill but never enough to put a dent in the amount of stuff we have.  It was starting to suffocate me.

I think I had an epiphany when I went to find something in a closet and realized that I couldn’t find one useful thing in that closet as I dug for X item.  Sure someone might find use from the items in there, but not me.  Not in years.  Why am I keeping these things just to keep them??  I MIGHT use them one day?  I MIGHT need that item when…..fill in the blank.  How insane am I? Not only was the stuff cluttering my house but it was cluttering my mind.

So I began to CLEAN OUT.  It started with a closet in our extra bedroom all because I needed to store our faux Christmas tree in that closet and I wanted the closet to be BARE!  I pulled everything out of that dang closet and purged, purged, and purged some more until I could purge no more.  Then the room attached to the closet was calling my name.  So I did the same thing to that room!

About this time I started to notice that everyone around me was watching a show called ‘Tidying Up’ with Marie Kondo.  I’ve been a fan of hers for years so I began to watch the show while I purged!  Well, if you didn’t figure, I am a visual learner.  Her methods came alive as I watched people let go of THE STUFF on each episode.  This sent me into hyper drive with a new found purpose behind my purging.

See, I don’t want to be defined by my things.  I don’t want stuff to own me.  At what point are we consuming in a compulsory way??  Blindly bringing things into our lives because we are told it will make us happy?  Buying the next ____ because everyone tells you that if you own that then it means you are successful.

I listen to, and love, the podcast by The Minimalists.  If you don’t listen to it I highly recommend it.  (They also have an amazing documentary on Netflix called ‘Minimalism’.)  They so clearly define the difference between bringing things into our lives because they truly add value versus consuming because that is what we’ve been conditioned to do.  Simple but mind-blowing.

I have been purging for 3 weeks now.  I have yet to pick up a paint brush because I simply cannot split my attention in two at the moment.  Every fiber in my body has needed to be present in order to successfully do this.  I know that may sound silly to some of you and that is ok.  It has been a really fun process for me and I’m still nowhere near finished.  I do have the bulk of the work out of the way though and that will allow me to return to work very soon.

I want to encourage you…if you have a cluttered mind, are frustrated often or have an uneasy feeling every time you open a drawer or closet, I urge you to get rid of the excess in your life.  I cannot tell you the burden it has lifted from my brain and will continue to lift as I continue to purge.  No it doesn’t solve all of life’s problems by any means but it sure has helped my headspace.  Give it a try….you’ll be happy you did!

XOXO

Katie

 

How to pick out ART!!

Hey guys it’s ME!

Sometimes when you’re asked the same question many times you feel the need to tell everyone!  So….how do you pick out the perfect painting for a particular spot??

I think there are 4 main things you need to look for.  And I’m going to share them with you!

  1. SIZE- This one may be self explanatory but make sure you know the rough size you are looking for before you start your search.  That will help to narrow it down to a select few when you are out and about searching for that perfect piece.  If you’re not exactly sure what size you need then I recommend using painters tape to make a “canvas” on the wall.  I would start with standard sizes like 24×24, 30×40, 36×36, 36×48, 40×40, 48×48, etc.  Leave the tape up for a few days and look at it on the wall every time you pass through the room….you will know if it’s too big, too small, or just right!
  2. COLOR- The right painting will either tie your room together or make a statement on its own….or maybe both!  You will want to choose colors that compliment what you already have in your space.  If you have a neutral room and you want the art to make its own statement then you can go with pretty much any color palette you want!
  3. SUBJECT- With art, I always think it is a good idea to MIX!  I personally like to see a mixture of subjects in a room.  For example, in my hallway (right off my dining room) I have a an abstract portrait of my kids.  Therefore, in my dining room I went with a landscape that is impressionistic but not abstract like the piece in the hall.  I also have two framed prints that hang in the entry just on the other side of the dining room to further mix it up the elements…..see how that all works together?  The point is, try not to have ALL of the same type of art in your home.  It makes it a whole lot more interesting if you mix it up!
  4. LOVE- Guys, YOU HAVE TO LOVE THE PAINTING!!  I want my collectors to have a personal and instant connection with my art.  If you are ‘out and about’ and you see a piece that speaks to your soul (and you can afford it) then BUY IT!!!  Don’t overthink it!  I believe in this rule so much that I would even go as far as to say rules 1-3 don’t even have to apply here…but if the size, color and subject all fit the bill then that is all the more reason why you should BUY THE ART!  You will be happy you did and there won’t be a day that goes by that it won’t make you smile every time you see it hanging on your wall!

That is it! My simple guide to buying art. Til next time…

XOXO- Katie

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Ummmmm….

Yeah that’s how I titled my very first blog post.  Why?  Well, as you will soon figure out, I am no writer!  I read somewhere recently that we are all writers.  We all have the ability to write.  We all have a voice.  Ok, true but that doesn’t mean it will be eloquent.  That certainly doesn’t mean it will flow.  My grammar will be bad.  As you can see from the first part of this post I am correct.  But I will come to you anyway and drone on and on about my life and share my thoughts.  I’m not going to try to be something I’m not and I will write to you just the same way I talk…I guess that is what they mean by ‘having a voice’, right??

My goal with this blog is to share my life.  I want to dive deeper than what I can share in a tiny square image on a social media app…I mean, let’s be honest, do we all read those captions anyway??  I want to share my experiences of being a wife and mom while I navigate the ups and downs of building an art business… all while trying to find that unicorn we call BALANCE.  I want to tell y’all more about myself!  Oh gosh, I’m already scared.  Be gentle guys!  Love y’all!IMG_8593

XOXO Katie