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everyone starts somewhere


I’ve been asked on a few occasions to share pictures of the ornaments I painted when I first started my business three years ago. I always felt a little embarrassed to show them, so I haven’t.   They’re not really my style, but I decided to keep the ones I didn’t sell.  I knew they were a part of the history of my business and great reminders that often times success comes out of failures and things don’t always go as planned.  I also painted each one of these by hand at a time when I really needed a creative outlet.  I stayed up late into the night and painted these over my kitchen counter while the rest of my family slept.  I would sneak some time with them while my then 1 1/2 year old was playing and my four month old was at my ankles.  These are certainly not the best things I ever made, but they are maybe the most special.  There will always be memories tied to them.  Memories of how my family encouraged me to start my business and how my mom drove me from shop to shop to find someone who would sell them on consignment.  They also remind me how far I’ve come and how much God has blessed this little endeavor of mine that was started at a tough time in my life and has grown beyond any expectation I had for it.




They’re also perfect for my family at this season of life.  My boys are now 3 and 4 and they love these ornaments.  They are colorful and durable and I don’t mind if they pull an airplane off the tree to fly it around the family room.


So now, I’m not embarrassed to show them off.  It’s important to share where I started.

…because everyone has to start somewhere.

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  1. Brenda says:

    Love this post. Thank you!

  2. They are actually very good. I have no idea how to do this so I am impressed! I love the tiny lettering, so neat and cute. Merry Christmas!!

  3. Thanks for posting this as an encouragement to all of us. I do have to say, I think the train is super cute and they are all actually really good! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  4. Marian — I have learned to not be ashamed of my first attempts at decorative painting. The second year I painted, I put all of my first projects away because they looked so clumsy. I then learned that they ARE part of my journey, my journey in life. As my abilities become limited from MS, I look back at those and am so thankful that I learned to paint before my skills were diminished. I remember something Oprah said years ago… If you don’t tell people how old you are, which year(s) are you willing to eliminate from your life’s journey? (paraphrased). You inspire me! Thank you!


  5. This is very true, the history of early efforts is telling, and you can see how far you’ve come and also that these things you weren’t certain of have their own charm. All in favour of robust decorations that children can actually enjoy, hands on!

  6. what a very nice sentimental posting. its service as a pep talk for those with less rose and more thorn shines through time. it must also feel good that as you look back, your character has remained true, even as documented samples of your art show change. not everyone can start at such a high point with something so personally meaningful, decorative and practical.
    happy holidays to you and yours, miss marion.

  7. Inspiring

  8. barbara says:

    vielen Dank, liebe Marian! Du kannst stolz sein auf all die Berge, die du bereits versetzt hast! go on and thank you for your honesty!

  9. I have always wondered about these! Thanks for showing them.

  10. Mosaic Diva says:

    I think the ornaments are precious! They would be perfect for those who put up a children’s tree where it is ok to touch and play with the ornaments. Love them!

  11. Thanx Marian!

    Great reminder that there’s still hope. I’m just starting out have gotten so discouraged during this growing/learning process of starting your own business. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback online, but am struggling locally to get the word out. In the meantime, the money keeps pouring out while it only trickles in. I know I need to be patient and trust, but it’s tough when the bank account is empty. Thanx for the inspiration.

    A hui hou ~ Shelly Andrade

  12. Thank you for the encouragement and for taking us on a look back at your journey!

  13. Linda S. in NE says:

    I have really enjoyed this post. So honest and true. I am glad you saved these ornaments because all are beautiful, and like you said, perfect for this time in your Son’s lives. Kudo’s to you for your honesty and strength to push through and continue forward during a difficult time. Linda S. in NE

  14. Becca Van Hoose says:

    I don’t see how you could have ever been embarrassed by these..they are so cute! All of your stuff is special and unique don’t ever feel like you need to be embarrassed.

  15. Vickie H. says:

    I actually think they are incredibly sweet! I am proud of you and proud FOR you that you took that first leap of faith. From little acorns……..! May you continue to have monumental success!

  16. Ha ha. That brings back memories! I stared painting snowmen on ball jars. Those are cute ornaments!

  17. It’s good to look back and see our progress and you definitely had a good start. Those ornaments are adorable and creative and I’m sure will be treasured for years to come. Thanks so much for sharing your process!

  18. So fun!!! And a great encouragement, too! I wondered how you lived with such niceness all around and little kids as well. I seem to find marker on unusual places in my house with my two year old being as mischievous as she is, and my 5 year old son just broke one of my nice crocks. It’s hard because my nine year old has to have markers and things, but my two year old uses them to torment me! I hate putting everything up or away til they’re older; life needs to be lived now. So I found great solace in decorating my little white tree on the porch with my own decorations and letting them have the main tree. But you’re right. The main tree holds the most treasured memories on it. :) Thanks for being “brave” and sharing! :)

  19. Girl, those ornaments are great! I would buy those in a second. I love kid oriented decor, I have 5 kids so I naturally lean that way…kid chic! Thanks for sharing, but those are def not embarrassing! As always, you are the homecoming queen! ha ha!

  20. Keepin’ it real Momma! We all have stuff we look back at that for us may be cringe worthy. But at the time, we loved them, and were proud of them, and they were great. And they tell a history. This was a great post.

  21. and though it’s been said, many times many ways… This was a very inspirational post, I’m sure you have helped many of us newbees to hang in there! and the ornaments are really cute! Thanks again!

  22. Very original and cute!

  23. I look back at some of my “crafts” and Christmas ornaments from years ago and like you, they bring back memories of where I was in life at the time. A few have been conveniently disposed of, but that’s our little secret.

  24. It’s funny how things change, but always great to see where we started! Love this.

  25. Pam James says:

    Love it. The ornaments are darling and I’d buy them today–but a far cry from the German glass glitter that was this year. You’ve come a long way, Baby!

  26. These ornaments are not, I repeat, NOT failures. I think they are perfect for trees in homes with a new pet, and young children! When my daughter was a toddler I did not want to take away the Christmas spirit and fun of the tree and its ornaments from her! Our tree was mostly covered with felt ornaments and paper chains. All of the vintage glass ornaments from my childhood as well as ones I had purchased when I lived in Germany were kept stored away for a more safe Christmas in the future! I think that you had just more of that type of ornaments for sale that you had buyers for. They are creative, well-made and perfect!

    Mary in Oregon

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      Thanks, Mary! Yes, I didn’t mean the ornaments were failures, but my efforts in selling them were marked by a few failures.

      • Kim Wagner says:

        Well it did not help that we were trying to sell them just 3 weeks before Christmas. But those ornaments got your foot in the door – and I love mine. They were made with love and care and were truly the beginning of something that we could have never imagined. Mama Mustardsed

  27. They are sweet! I totally know what you’re saying too. Now that my kids are all grown up I cherish the ornaments I made when they were babes, but don’t really want to show them off either. Proof that it is the memories worth cherishing, not the material things. Little Bit

  28. I love that you shared this part of you with us. This brings back the memories of my beginner designs too. I often stumble across old photos of my crosses made back in 2003 and I blush, then I think of the changes my designs have gone thru and then I smile, because just as you said, “everyone has to begin somewhere”. How true those words are. Your ornaments will be on your grand children’s tree someday, wow! how cool is that? :)
    Merry Christmas,

  29. oh my gosh, I’m coveting your handwriting right now! I especially love the choo choo. And so what if it isn’t your style… they are a beautiful part of your journey! Thanks so much for sharing these precious parts of the MMS history :)

  30. I think the ornaments are very cute…. really like the “jingle bells”.
    Thanks for sharing these. I have recently begun quilting and hope to sell things I make. This was an encouragement to me to continue to follow the dream the Lord has put in my heart.

  31. DebZorn says:

    I love your ornaments. I love that they’re durable. My oldest daughter has four children. When she put up her Christmas tree, she also invests in a new bottle of super glue :)

  32. Awwwwww, they’re adorable. See…. even then you needed to create.. and you found a way to do it, even if you had to wait until everyone was in bed….

    I love love your story of success


  33. What a heart warming post (full of cute eye candy too)! I just had clients in and was explaining how our tree is soooo different from the formal trees of my past…. They loved all the kid friendly/handmade ornaments probably better than they might have my vintage treasures. i think family history is important and makes the holidays special. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and talent! I’m excited to follow your book adventures and fun in 2012!!!
    Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family,

  34. Calli says:

    Thank you for sharing so much of your journey and reminding us we all start somewhere. You are an inspiration.

  35. Thank you for sharing the ornaments and this story. Very inspiring. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

  36. This is a beautiful story. I love them even more now that I know the background.

  37. Heather Lucas says:

    Thanks for sharing! I think they are too cute and Im totally blown away with the lettering. This story made my eyes well up, the beginning is always the hardest part.

  38. As with everything, it shows that we’ve made progress and gained experience and learned from where we’ve started. I think the ornaments are actually pretty cute -especially for your children and at least they have something that their momma made for them that they can cherish for a lifetime and pass on their children.

  39. I think the snowflake one is adorable! And you’re right, we do all start somewhere! It’s an important lesson to remember.

  40. There is a biblical reference in the OT about “not despising the day of small beginnings.” I just wrote on my blog about some of my first creations. If I were making that same creation now I would make different choices. But it is part of my journey. :-)

    Merry Christmas!


  41. You Know…. It sort of bothers me that you would be posting about being embarrased about these ornaments…..what does that say to others posting things that are just as precious….as they are precious…. Being creative, in any stage, is what makes creativity a message from the soul!!!!! Enjoy all of your precious creeations this holiday season.

  42. Powerful words “everyone has to start somewhere” that lead me to begin and quit second-guessing. I spend too much time seeking perfection, wondering if everyone will like, and need to just go for it. Thanks.

  43. Good evening Marian,
    Remember our conversation at Lucketts when we talked about how we both started out painting murals? Well now we have something else in common…back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I would stay up late after my two boys went to bed and I would paint my holiday ornaments, little folk art houses and assorted decorative painting projects. I still have many of them and display them proudly. They remind me how far I have come and I would not have missed that journey for anything.

    After all…it is all about the journey..right?

    Merry Christmas my friend,
    Janet xox
    The Empty Nest

  44. Thanks for sharing. I love the choo-choo train and the snowflake, but most of all the message.

  45. Great post… I will always remember those words and try to pass them on!

  46. Brittany says:

    What a wonderful post. I always know I can come here to be uplifted or find inspiration. You truly are such a neat person. It’s good to be proud of where you started. I love the ornaments, perfect for little hands! Your so creative!

  47. I love these ornaments! The are wonderful!

  48. These adorable ornaments are also proof that simple can be beautiful, as well.

  49. I’m not usually much of a commenter, but I just have to say “thanks” for posting this. Being a relatively new, and small, blogger I love to see how the big guys started out. Helps to know that we all have to start somewhere and their is always potential. Love your handmade ornaments. Thanks again for sharing, liz

  50. Ashley Werner says:

    Love this! Thanks for being so honest! It really helps to see how someone who is so successful started out:). I have a little shop and second guess myself a lot and when i go back to look at what i first sold, i am always a bit embarrassed so this was a wonderful reminder that we all start somewhere! Thanks!

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