A reading of Inspired You by Marian Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed

I admit I found this review in my draft folder. I read Inspired You last year as my son was in the hospital.

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Freeing my mind from the digital world of too much information and attempting to rest all at the same time, I picked up a copy of Inspired You by Marian Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed.

I do not remember how I came across Miss Mustard Seed. It may be when I wandered into Vintage Market, a lovely shop in downtown Turlock and learned about Chalk Paint and milk paint. Or I may have known about milk paint first. Somehow, someway, I came across the blog Miss Mustard Seed.

There are few blogs I follow regularly. There are even fewer I enjoy consistently. I avidly read anything Al Kresta posts, Catholic news commentator, or Elizabeth Scalia, and I bought book by both of them. If I found a blog by George Weigel I read it as well. These three have in common their Catholic faith, their insightful observations and wit to boot. Miss Mustard Seed is the first and only decorating blog I thoroughly enjoy.

What is it about Mrs. Marian Parsons?

To review why I have become attached to her blog and follow her consistently is also a way to review her book because her book naturally reflects many of the same messages as her blog.

Marian Parsons reveals her authentic self in her writing. Her writing style is good. Her photography is a peaceful feast for the eyes. The combination of the two is not always guaranteed in the blogosphere. She does it beautifully every time. In her tutorials, her stories, she somehow makes it all accessible by sharing her fears, her “just-winging-it,” and her faith in God. She never preaches, simply shares her experience. She is the only blogger I have read who emphasizes that the photograph you see online is not what it looks like in real life or on a normal basis. In her book, she includes photographs showing her home, unedited, and another as it really is day to day. She wants readers to know this is all obtainable. It is one thing to say it does not have to be perfect, and then every photograph is perfect so you walk away, possibly inspired, but not so encouraged. It is another thing to be vulnerable and say, “here is reality.”

While she expressed a difficulty in staying balanced, she expresses some key aspects of balance required when one loves to decorate. She does not hold back sharing the importance of decorating for your family instead of in spite of your family. As a Catholic wife and mother, I have seen my love of decorating and creative projects as a way to make a beautiful space for my family. I would have made different choices or used different styles if it were only about me, but I see this gift and these skills as part of my vocation to be used for my vocation, my call to love and serve the people I live with. Mrs. Parsons views it the same way. She refers to decorating as her love language for her family. What a beautiful concept!

Because it is tied into our vocation, I believe we should always make some effort. That effort does not have to be perfect. It will wax and wane.

I identify with her and I am learning from her. Over 6 years ago I began re-upholstering pieces but never dared venture towards zipper foots, zippers, piping, or slipcovers. One day, I plan on changing that largely in part because of her encouragement and the clarity of her instruction.

So thank you, Miss Mustard Seed!

The Good life – Part 2

Until I began this venture, I knew very little about running a small business. I’m no master at it now, but I’ve learned a lot. I wanted my business to be in Hughson so I could go in for a client session and then come home. I found out in the process that Hughson has a lot of support in place to help small business development. So I have not felt alone or lost in the process.

The office is picked out. The drawback of being in a small town is fewer options. But this one is a goldmine, I believe. It’s small, but the price is right, and I get to make it over, which would not be possible were I renting from someone else or part of a larger office building.

The plans must be economical. For years now I’ve lamented not knowing what I know now when I first set up a home for my husband and myself. When I think of the wedding money we wasted shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond with Ikea was so close! I know better now and I really get to put it to use.

If you’re going to meet with clients in a therapeutic setting (although this won’t be therapy, the environment must be similar to build rapport and trust), you’re going to need furniture. Folding chairs just won’t cut it.

I have extra furniture.



IMG_4248Home Fabrics and Rugs had a sale.



IMG_7392I didn’t get my corners just right and the chair looks so different to me with a solid fabric, but it’s still comfortable, which matters.

IMG_7396There is something to beautiful, nostalgic and romantic about old furniture. Apparently I have always felt this way. When I first upholstered the loveseat, I used the original nails, as a way of preserving the past.

That made it so easy to rip off the old fabric and add on something new, with staples this time.

The tufting on the loveseat did not go as desired, unfortunately, but I’m willing to live with it for now, or work with it, as the case may be. When I re-do it, I’ll put in new materials.

Other than the tufting, I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

IMG_7508I threw a pillow together for added comfort.

IMG_7510I also purchased a mirror for $30 for over the office bathroom sink. It’s shabby chic, so I plan to paint it to make it vintage chic. I don’t need shabby chic drawing out the shabby of the space. We need to elevate here!

I’m actually considering gold leafing this antique, rounded corners mirror and painting the bathroom walls a sort of Marsala (the Pantone color of the year) or Merlot. I’ll paint the office walls (now baby blue) in Collonade Gray since I still have left over from the house.

And after a quick stop at the consignment store, I’m in love with another piece of furniture.

IMG_7501A desk chair from the 30’s or 40’s will go with me to the new office. At a $40 steal, this is a beautifully solid and heavy piece, comfortable and in great shape. It’s missing one wheel but that is easy to fix.

Years ago I saw a chair like this at the thrift store and did not look closer. I’ve regretted that. That makes this doubly exciting to me.

More to come!