One of the best parts of having a theme for a retail space, whether it’s a booth at a market or a small shop, is focus.  Your theme keeps the items you’re collecting cohesive, so they look better together in a display.  Better displays mean that customers can more easily envision items in their own homes, which will hopefully lead to better sales.


With the theme of Farmhouse White, we’re painting a lot of things in…well, Farmhouse White.  But, we need to add some other whites in, so the booth doesn’t look flat.  As I’ve mentioned before, the key to white is layers, texture, and using many shades of white that all play nicely with one another.

So, I’m pulling out the other whites in our line, Linen, Grain Sack and Ironstone, along with some custom-mixed whites.  And that means a lot of things are going to be painted some shade of white.

I found this somewhat sad mid-century clock that’s usually not my thing, but I loved the face!  He has such a sweet face, doesn’t he?


I pulled out those metal bits and painted the body of the clock in Linen.  It chipped here and there and turned out great.  It’s not a functioning clock (since the second hand is hanging out at the bottom of the face), but it’s a nice little decorative accent.



And I also picked up some well-used juggling clubs.  They were a little yellowish and not all that old, but the price was right and I thought they would be fun to paint.


I painted them in Linen as well with a Boxwood stripe.


I distressed them with 100 grit sandpaper to bring out all of those dents and dings and take the newness off of the paint.


I then applied Furniture Wax to seal the paint (I used the lavender-scented wax, which was heavenly), followed up some Antiquing Wax to add a little patina.  I could have applied Antiquing Wax directly, but it would have stained the paint.  I wanted it to be subtle and the layer of Furniture Wax makes the Antiquing Wax easier to control.



And, while the Linen paint was out, I painted the inside of the doors on the cabinet I purchased a couple of weeks ago.


I love the cabinet, but the inside of the doors were driving me nuts!  I knew I would probably display it in the booth with at least one door open, so it needed to be painted.


Ah, much better.

And, I’m not sure if I’m going to sell it or not, but I painted the gramophone horn I bought last year.  It was a pretty yellow, but I wanted to make it neutral, so it also received a couple coats of Linen.

mms-5199 mms-5201

It chipped and flaked in all of the right ways.



Since it’s not a practical or functional piece, I just left the chipping paint alone.


So, lots of white paint.  And lots more to come…


  1. Sheila

    i love white!

  2. Angie

    It’s looks so beautiful in white 🙂 Love your blog, Marian, will follow!

  3. Mercedes

    The video ad, right above related posts, keeps yanking me down making it impossible to read the post. Any idea what is going on with that? Maybe there is some setting on my browser I need to change?

  4. Deanna Rabe

    As much as I love color, I adore white!

  5. Sarah

    Love all your white changes. The gramophone horn looks like a huge flower-refreshed Ng for Spring.

  6. dolores

    Always amazes me how many different whites there are and thank you for showing us we can use them together!:)

    Here’s a question I”m sure you have asked but I didn’t find any info in your FAQ….can I use your milk paint on floors? We have some raw pine flooring in our kids’ rooms and I wasn thinking of checker-boarding them!:)

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Milk paint is the best for raw wood, since it soaks in like a stain. It would be perfect for raw pine floors!

  7. Peg

    I have a wonderful chippy BIG window that I plan on hanging. Is your furniture wax a good choice to seal it before I do?

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      I would suggest the Tough Coat. It’s non-yellowing and does a fantastic job sealing chippy paint.

  8. G.S.

    I’m almost afraid to ask this, but here it is: Does it ever concern you that you are irreparably destroying the old patina of the pieces you paint? I’m not criticizing, just asking.

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Patina is a huge factor on whether or not I paint a piece. I have a juggling pins that are much older and a gorgeous warm wood and I would never paint them. These were newer with with glossy finish and a yellow-ish tone. I wasn’t taking anything away from them with paint.

      If I do paint old wood that has a pretty patina, it’s almost always because of damage to the finish somewhere or I feel like I can improve upon it by painting it. I try not to paint over wood that I think is really special.

  9. Carolyn

    Marian, you certainly have the eye for matching a piece of furniture to a color that would look best.
    And if your eye fools you now and then, you have the confidence and are not afraid to do it over.
    I really admire your talent. Carolyn in NC

  10. Lin

    Your design aesthetic is just amazing! I always love every piece that you do!! I sure wish I loved near you so I could come to a class and also attend Luckett’s to purchase some of your pieces!! God has blessed you so with an awesome talent!

  11. Lin

    Sorry…lived near you

  12. Wynne Snell

    I was just wondering if the crocheted glass cozies are vintage or if someone recently made them for you? Would love to find someone who sells them!!

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      They were vintage, but I would love to find someone to make them, too!

  13. Casey

    Beautiful! I have a few pieces I’d love to paint like these 🙂

  14. Robin

    I grew up in the retail furniture business and had the pleasure of attending the High Point Furniture Market twice a year for 25 years! I visited a lot of gorgeous showrooms with beautifully designed displays. But the one display I will always remember was in the Pennsylvania House showroom. The designer created the most interesting visual experience…He chose to upholster every accent chair in their line in a white linen and hung the chairs on the wall. It was stunning and simply elegant. Instead of your eye being drawn to the vibrant colors of a chintz, or jacquard or silk, your eye focused on the elegant shape of each chair…Your booth of painted pieces in various shades of white will be breath taking!

  15. Debra

    As a crabby old teacher of mine used to say “Even a broken clock is right twice a day”, so the broken clock looks great to me. While my natural inclination is more toward color, I really appreciate the way you’ve shown us how to combine whites and it’s a beautiful look.
    I really admire you for the way you’ve started your business from what you had available to you, worked hard, and built it up. You are very inspirational to me ( even tho I’m old enough to be your mom ) Just goes to show we can encourage one another right where we are, no matter what age or stage of life we are in.
    Wishing you many blessings today!

  16. Ashlea

    This is coming together so beautifully. I always love seeing how you display things in you booth each year (virtually that is) My husband and I went away for the weekend, and visited several shops that used old doorway mouldings with ornate details as the frame for display shelves, a butlers pantry that was reinvented to hold used books, part of a wall with ornate stone windows rebuilt to stand as a backdrop to pretty items and an old dresser… I love creative displays. I especially love your farmhouse white theme this year 🙂

  17. judith

    What lovely photography – as usual. Are you sure the clock is mid-century? It looks Art Deco to me. I would be tempted to try and replace the movement to get it functioning.

  18. Sada

    Each item is so beautiful….

  19. jo @Simple Pleasures Vintage Reimagined

    I love the phonograph horn! I see it wired up and used with an Edison bulb as a light fixture! The clock is adorable and reminded me I have a non working wall clock that could use a coat of paint. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  20. Dianne Ploude

    Love all the white and look forward to seeing more of what you do to blend the tones, as I need to learn this! :O)

  21. Camille

    Everything is so beautiful, you really have the talent for transforming unusual items into trendy vintage farmhouse decor! Love it!!

  22. Eve @ Design Café

    I love love love the cute clock transformation! I have a similar one somewhere but it never went with any of my stuff, I think I will follow your example and paint it pretty 🙂

  23. sandra

    You are amazing as usual….you have no idea how many people are inspired by you.


  24. Dianne

    Yes, I agree with Sandra, amazing as always. The clock, pins, doors look amazing with their transformation. You continue to be an inspiration and give us courage to transform old items.

  25. Cindy

    You’re right, painting the inside of the cabinet door was like “ahhhhhh” after it was painted. … and that clock does have the best little face ever. The numbers are so cute, and it totally has a personality. Every one of these things looks so much better painted white… and it appears “linen” looks good on everything!


  26. Lauren

    Love all of these pieces, I have an obsession with white everything lately!

    Lauren | Lovely Decor


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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