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getting off the merry-go-round


In my business I’ve had to make some tough decisions.  The hardest thing for me is to say no and to set limits.  I want to fly as high as my wings can carry me and I don’t want to be limited by things like sleep and time to crash on the sofa to watch a movie.  I love my work and I love being productive, so it’s hard for me to sit, be still and rest.  It’s hard for me to see the great potential in something and then say no to it and make a clear decision to not pursue it.

Well, after about a year of going back and forth about it in my mind, I have made the difficult decision to leave The Old Lucketts Store as a vendor.  I know, I know.  It’s Lucketts!  How could I leave Lucketts?!  I know I don’t need to justify myself to all of you, but I thought I would lay out how I came to that decision in the hopes that it might help others who are thinking through some tough business (or maybe even personal) decisions.


1.)  It’s a matter of money.  When I looked at my year end profit and loss statement, I was pretty amazed to see that 2/3 of my gross income came from my blog and freelance writing jobs, leaving only 1/3 from merchandise.  Of that 1/3, about 1/3 was made in just two events (the May fair and the Christmas open house.)  Then when I looked at my investments, I saw that I spent almost twice as much on pieces to resell than I did on supplies for photo shoots and materials for projects.  Now, I know there is a lot more earning potential at Lucketts and I simply haven’t had the time to put into it to get more out of it.  From a business perspective, I had to look at my income and make the decision to put more time and money into the area that’s getting the highest return – blogging and writing.

2.) It’s a matter of time.  I am regularly asked how I do all I do.  Well, the simple answer is that I’m often hanging-on-by-a-thread and flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and holding on-for-dear-life, which is fun, but it can be exhausting and overwhelming, too.  Over the past year, I have known that I needed to cut some things out.  I spend the majority of my time shopping for Lucketts, painting pieces for Lucketts, pricing for Lucketts, driving to Lucketts…you get the idea.  It’s a good 3-4 days of my week spent on Lucketts, which would be fine if that was my primary source of income, but since it’s not, it’s not a good return on my time.  What has kept me there for so long is all of the intangibles.  It’s great exposure.  I LOVE it.  I love working with the people there.  I love the interaction with my customer and readers.  All of those things made it tough to leave.

3.) It’s a matter of goals.  There is a lot more that I want to do.  I have ideas for new colors and products to go along with the milk paint line.  There is so much more I want to do with my blog to make it informative, functional, inviting, etc.  I have a list of house projects a mile long that have been put on the back burner for a couple of years.  I’m really excited about having the time to pursue those ideas.

4.) It’s a matter of reality.  I’m often called a machine, but the truth is that I’m not.  I have periods of burnout and I just had a long stretch of it.  I just wanted to lay on the couch and watch old episodes of ER.  I love all that I’m doing, but I can’t continue at this pace.  As much as I like to think I can keep piling exciting projects on, I can’t and it’s time I recognize that and make changes accordingly.


So, what does this mean for you, the reader?

Will I still write this blog?  YES!  That’s one reason I’m leaving Lucketts.  I want to be able to give more of my professional time to my blog.  I’m actually hoping to increase the number of posts I write each week and that slowing down in other areas will give me time to increase the content on my blog.  You see, I have had to work at such a rapid pace to keep my space filled at Lucketts that I can only show you a small percentage of what I do.  I rarely have time to film a video tutorial or take step-by-step pictures and I would love to do more of that.  I also want to give more attention to my house and blog all about that.  I have other ideas, too, about maybe expanding into sharing some foodie posts (Miss Mustard Seed’s Kitchen) and starting a companion blog with my husband (The Mustard Seed Workshop.)

Will I still refinish furniture to share on my blog and to sell?  Of course.  It’s what I do.  I don’t think I could handle NOT doing furniture!  I’m still going to be a vendor at the Lucketts Fair in May and I’ll probably do smaller pieces that I can make available for sale online.  I’m excited about setting my own pace and not having to worry about filling a physical space.  And would you believe I have furniture in my house that needs to be refinished and/or painted and I just haven’t had time to do it?  I’m also going to finally make some other things available for sale online like t-shirts, German Glass Glitter, some handmade items and vintage finds.  If my house starts to look like a storage unit, I’ll have a tag sale in my yard!



Like I said, it was a tough decision and I felt a little panicked after I gave my notice.  My business has been retail-driven for a long time, but now that I have a blog, product line and a book, it’s time to focus on those things and I think my business will be the better for it in the long run.  Thank you so much to Suzanne and all of the vendors at Lucketts for taking me under your wing, fluffing and filling my space when I was writing my book, and for being so encouraging and inspiring.  It’s an amazing store and I’m so honored I had a chance to be a part of it.

I’ll share some of my goals for 2013 later this week.  I’d also love some feedback on what you would like to see (or see more of) on my blog.  Please let me know…

PS – Since I’m leaving Lucketts, I’m selling my beautiful antique Belgium display case.  It is a break-down piece, meaning it comes apart to move and can be reassembled.  It has been outfitted with a full mirror back and shelves (it used to be a wardrobe with hanging space.)  It’s for sale at Lucketts for $900 and would be great if you need a lot of storage or display, especially in a shop or craft room.  It’s painted in ASCP Old White on the interior and MMS Shutter Gray on the outside.  I didn’t paint it, so I’m not sure if it’s waxed.  I don’t think so.  I wish I had room in my house for it, because it’s a special piece, but I don’t.  Here it is…



Sigh…the trim and legs are amazing.

I’m also selling my French armoire that was in my office and featured in the winter edition of Flea Market Style.  This one isn’t an antique, but is a very well-made, sturdy piece of furniture with beautiful hardware and hinges.  I painted it in a mix of ASCP Louis Blue and Paris Gray with Old White details.  It’s waxed in ASCP soft wax.  The interior is painted in Antoinette with Old white details.  It’s available for sale at Lucketts for $425.

PPS – Go Redskins.

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  1. Vicky says:

    Best of luck! I found your blog awhile back and will be glad to get more of MMS.

  2. Marian, I couldn’t be happier for you! It has been so much fun to see your business grow and change over the past year! It’s funny – I’m thinking this year may be the year I find a space to start selling my stuff – and you are moving on past that! You are such an inspiration. my brother gave me your book for Christmas and I have been reading it a little this evening. We spent the past 10 days in Kansas at my Sister’s house and today we traveled 15+ hours home to ohio. I’m ready to see where 2013 takes all of us creative spirits! God bless you in everything He has in store for you!
    I would highly encourage you to have a sale at your house! I just did that right before Christmas – I staged all my handmade stuff in my own living room and opened it up – it was very impromptu and I didn’t advertise more than email, blog and facebook and it was great! I will be doing it again.

  3. There comes a time when we all have to assess what is truly important in the scheme of things…I think that you have made a good decision…while I know you must have enjoyed your booth at Lucketts, I can see how much time it must have taken to keep it up….I wish you joy…and I feel that you have decided to have more “joy” in your life by having more time for yourself and your family….I look forward to your many wonderful projects and blog posts in 2013…Happy New Year to you and your family…and enjoy those re-runs of ER!!!

  4. Congrats! Your dreams and hard work have gotten you to where you are! Follow your instincts they are good, they have driven you to where you are. You have done so well for yourself and I am sure you have many more dreams to follow. You need to do what is best for you, your family and your business…that’s what all your hard work was for! I wish you the best of luck in 2013, and I can’t wait to see what you bring us in the new year!
    Go Marian!

  5. Caroline says:

    Wow Marian – that must have been such a hard decision for you. You are quite right when you say that sometimes, especially in business, you have to make such difficult choices. Whatever your choice, if it is the right thing for you, then it’s the right thing to do. You have worked long and hard in setting up your business and your success is well deserved. While I am sure you will be missed at Lucketts I am relieved to know we will still be able to share in your amazing creativity through your blog and your other writings. I have enjoyed/am enjoying your book so much – I’m already looking forward to the next one! All the very best for a Happy and Blessed 2013 – and Thank You for all that you have done in 2012.

  6. Blessings to you in your decision and am so happy you will continue blogging. As another person said, your blog is the first one I read everyday. I look forward to learning more from you in the new year. May God bless you!

  7. Robin says:

    Good for you! I can’t imagine the life of a blogger. We reap the benefits but it has to be exhausting. Thank you for sharing your talents!

  8. Happy New Year Marian~you have been making all the right decisions up to this point…so follow your gut. I LOVE that display case….its a beauty!~

  9. Marian,
    I am a new fan. I came to you via a Just a Girl post and The Lettered Cottage post (both using your milk paint). I bought your book for myself for Christmas. I check into your blog every morning before I start Etsy work or mom duties. I am so glad you were able to take the time to look inward (and on paper!) and find what works for you and reassess your focus. I too feel there are not enough hours in the day!!! I think you being able to focus on home projects will be great–improving your personal space and tons of blog info. for us! I am hearing this from alot of the women (in the past few months) on the blogs I follow. They are refocusing and doing what works for them and their family–getting off the merry-go-round! Best to you in 2013! I look forward to a whole year of following along. Congrats on all of your success to date!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I understand the reason for leaving Lucketts. I have “booths” in two different shops in two different towns. There are a lot of times I would just like to quit, but one is in my best friend’s shop. It’s a lot of work, I love it, but I get over-whelmed at times and I don’t blog. Your blog is my VERY favorite and I subscribe to quite a few. I look forward to the new blogs, they sound so interesting. I love to read about projects, even if I never get around to actually doing them. I look forward to reading your book this year. That is the only New Year’s resolution I have! So take care of yourself and God bless you and your family.

  11. Thx for sharing the part about chilling on the couch. I am a creative person who pushes myself ***very*** hard. With all the responsibilities of real-life, I find that my creative pursuits get pushed aside. I read blogs like yours and push myself all the more. I ask myself, “Why can’t you be more productive and achieve more of your goals?’ And I push myself harder. I know it is important to be more balanced to avoid burn-out. This was a good reminder to evaluate priorities and maintain focus… because… none of us can “have it all”. I constantly remind myself that my family and God are my top priorities. And, in my creative life, I need to maintain the proper focus to achieve the maximum use of my 24 hours.

    • P.S. Wondering why, when I click on my name I am taken to the wrong blog… My blog is just for the record :)

      •… need to drink more coffee…if you read this comment would you delete the last two… I am crazy… my blog is…. ha ha… only been writing it for 5 years…wow… what a way to introduce myself :(

  12. I don’t know how you haven’t gone over the edge yet with all you do! Enjoy every minute of your life. On a side note: I just got my Christmas present from my daughter yesterday (U.S. mail@#$) and it was a copy of your book, signed by you in Havre de Grace MD. I was absolutely thrilled. Thank you for the nice inscription. She also got me some of the antiquing wax and hemp oil, I can’t wait to use them.

  13. Hey Marian. Good for you. I have a small business at Building Character in Lancaster, PA, and I understand how much work it is to maintain it. I am the sole proprietor, and I do it all. I’m glad for you that you are moving forward and not letting the familiar hold you back. Blessings to you!
    Fondly, Tami Howse

  14. Hard choices I know, I have always wondered at how you do all that you do. I used to be able to do so much more but now in my 50s I have slowed way down and I decide what is good for me as well. I have tried blogging and have an Etsy shop. The blog is so hard for me to keep up with I have decided only to blog once a month so I can continue to do projects and blog about them, but not feel guilty if I don’t do it every week. I work full time so that throws a monkey wrench into all my projects anyway. So I say to you, be kind to you. Don’t make MMS do more than she would make another person.

    My sweet husband bought me an antique rocking horse very like the one you have, I have loved it since I first saw it.

    I just bought your book and can’t wait to read it. Love all you do and love your blog.

  15. Bev Ritch says:

    Having never had a creative bone in my body, I have found your blog so thrilling and inspirational. So happy to hear you will continue to blog and with that sharing your pieces to. I haven;t had the oppotunity to try your Milk Paint yet and can’t wait until I can! Right now I am stuch with acrylics and latex, but just getting started is exciting for me. Being on a low budget, I was thrilled to find Paint Pods at my local Ace hardware store last week. With these, I can get my feet wet so to speak. Just little projects to get the feel for how to make magic like yours happen. I too check your blog every day for more inspirational posts and ideas.

    Good luck in your new adventures!! I have lots of reading to catch up and get to watch and see what happens next too!

    Happy New Year!

    (ps. I sort of got my first ‘order’ this morning…from my brother, who would like a sign for our house…not a paid order, but it will help in getting noticed down the road,) so thank you so much for getting me on the right track to something fun and rewarding!

  16. Good luck to you and hope you can come to Ohio in the spring. I am starting your paint sales in January. Hope this goes well. I find my store and business a wonderful diversion from my supt of schools position. The life change for me is less stress and using my creative thoughts. Love your blog. Very down to earth and real.

  17. Rachel says:

    I know they will really miss you at Luckett’s. Wish I could have shopped there while you were there, but you have to do what’s right for you.

  18. What a beautiful post and a great reminder that balance is important in this thing called life. Sometimes closing one door leads to the opening of many more. Here’s to you, Marian! Here’s to you!

  19. Good for you Marian! Kinda cool that you are so busy and doing well with your book and your blog that you have these choices!


  20. Growth brings change by its very nature. So grow, girl, and be happy!

  21. Hi Marian, I just discovered your work recently from an email my sister sent me and have been lurking for a while. Just wanted to say how much I admire your work in the few weeks I’ve gotten to follow along. And my sister and I are both kicking ourselves for not knowing you were at Lucketts in Leesburg until now! She lives right in the area. Anyway, wishing you best of luck on all of your ventures and am excited to be “following along.” Happy New Year.

  22. Rachal says:

    Yay for your decision! On one hand I am so happy for you and on the other hand, I was going to swing by Luckett’s this weekend to pick up some milk paint to try – I kid you not! What is the best way for me to pick up some paint given the changes that are happening?

    Love you. Love your blog. Love the inspiration you provide! Keep up the great work Marian!

  23. Dear Marian,
    I am surprised by your decision, but I think it will be great for you!
    I hope it does free up some of your time to spend with your family, too!!!
    What you wrote resonates with me as I am just starting my business and thinking about renting a store. I have weighed that option and thought that is not the best for me right now.
    Reading your post gave me reassurance that I am doing the right thing. We can’t do it all, even when it seems we can.
    I really appreciate you being so honest and telling us how it is.
    Wishing you a 2013 full of health, joy and success!

  24. Miss Marian, God is so good! Yesterday I visited a site to consider renting retail space from and left it thinking of the time involved in set up, rotating stock, display, display!!! yikes…
    so how perfect to bring my cup of coffee to your blog 1st thing this morning. Closed my retail space July 1st and have been working madly trying to set up my blog, thinking along the same lines as you. It’s amazing how much time retail has taken from my family and my home, but there is still such a desire to create and share, so will dial it back and try for more balance this year. Looking forward to following your new path and trust you will continue sharing each step as you have for the years I’ve been reading you. Thank you for always, always being considerate of your readers and for being you. You have been a blessing to me in many, many ways.

  25. Wonderfully said marian. Just this month I decided to close my brick and mortar shop and strictly go online and to an antique mall. I have prayed and I feel the timing is right. Like you said, why do we feel the need to justify ourselves. Love your blog.

  26. Cally says:

    Hi Marian –

    I am very interested in your Belgium Display Case! Is there any chance of getting it shipped after it’s broken down (freight I assume)? If you could email me I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thanks again!

  27. Julie says:

    I received your book for Christmas and am savoring each page and picture. Congrats on making what I know must have been an extremely difficult decision. HTTR!

  28. With change comes opportunity. It sounds like you are at peace with your decision, which is such a gift. Blessings to you.

  29. Lou Ann Bremers says:

    One if the things that makes me look forward to your blog posts is that you still offer information and advice as well as tutorials. I also follow Alt’d, not sure about that spelling, and recently I noticed that they are one of your retail outlets for milk paint. I think you are going to be there for promotional visit this coming weekend. Their blog consists only ads for their merchandise now and since I live in the DFW area, a long way from Houston, I am not interested in knowing what they have for sale. I’m also not interested in their blog cause they don’t furnish info anymore regarding “how to” only buy this. I feel the same way about Designer Dad’s blog. You have always been interesting and worth my time so to speak. I can’t come to Luckettes so I’m thrilled that you’ll give that up for spending time on your other pursuits which I love!! I guess I’m selfish cause you are still my first and my favorite!

  30. Deborah Kennedy says:

    Awesome….All the best in your new Adventure..:)

  31. i don’t know what Lucketts is…i’m so new to blogs, but i can’t afford new furniture and happened upon this…i saw a segment and thought i would old little furniture looks beautiful…i hope to see you help me make my home wonderful

  32. Are we related??? ‘Cept I am not a huge ER watcher! LOL!!! I would love to know your thoughts on doing TV segments. I’ve been on morning televesion 3 times in the fall painting things for them. This is for no payment. They’ve asked me to come on again….but!!!! I am trying to weigh the value of EXPOSURE with the amount of time it takes to get it all ready and am just not sure. Thoughts?????

  33. Yeah, that’s a tough one. Exposure is always a good reason to do something, but sometimes we think we’re getting good exposure, but it’s not really doing much…you know? If you enjoy it and you think it’s paying off, then do it. If it’s a drain and you can’t see any tangible benefit, maybe say no.

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