Answers to Questions – Cameras, Prices & Blogs

by | Sep 29, 2010 | Photography, Running a Business | 95 comments

I’ve received a few questions in response to Tuesday’s post and I thought I would share the answers with everyone.  This post is very wordy and long, but I truly hope this helps those who have questions…

Camera Advice
First, I was asked to recommend a decent low-cost camera.  I have not been a point-n-shoot girl for years, so I really don’t know what good bargains are out there.  I do know that you can take awesome pictures with a point-n-shoot camera, though.  Ms. Funky Junk herself, Donna, is a great example of that.  Check out the photography on her blog.  (She’s an award winning photographer with her point-n-shoot!)  Read through her Photography Workshop Series for all of her tips and tricks.

When it comes to buying a camera, I would highly, highly suggest that you save your pennies and buy a digital SLR by either Nikon or Cannon.  I’m a Nikon girl, myself, but both are excellent brands.  I bought a Nikon SLR package years ago from 17th Street Photo and included a zoom (70-300) lens.  The camera package came with a 35mm SLR body, a 28-80 lens, a tripod, bag, warranty and a bunch of other accessories.  The reason I went with Nikon is that they have made the same SLR lens socket for decades, so I know any Nikon lenses I buy will work with any Nikon camera.  When it came time to go digital, all I needed to buy was the body.  I bought a refurbished D50 with birthday money for about $300…I think.  I’ve had this camera for about three years and I love it.  Here are some things to look out for when you’re buying a camera…

There are some very suspect companies that sell cameras online, so make sure you check out reviews and customer feedback before making a purchase.  17th Street Photo and B and H are my go-to places for camera gear.

Don’t buy a camera that is “grey market” or “US Warranty.”  It means you have to send your camera to Asia if there’s ever a problem with it.  Look for “USA.”

Educate yourself on how to use your camera.  It doesn’t make sense to spend almost $1000 on a camera and lenses if you use it like a point-n-shoot.  Read the manual and/or take a workshop on digital photography.

As I said on Tuesday, photography is very important if you want a successful blog and want to sell online.  It’s worth putting some time and money into it.  You’ll definitely get it all back.  (And you’ll be a better family photographer to boot!)

The absolute best thing you can do to improve your photography right away is to shut off the flash and use natural light.  Try it.  You may be surprised what even a dinky camera can do.

What Price is Right?
I received a few questions about pricing and this is something I’ve discussed with other vendors and designers as well.  Some people have a formula, like investment + labor + desired profit = price, but it’s much more of a “soft” thing for me. It’s a gut feel.  I make a huge profit on some things (like a pair of end tables I bought for $3.00 and sold for $180) and I make a small profit on other things.  People are always telling me my prices are too low and I’m working on it, but I’m a cheap person and a DIYer, so it’s hard for me to imagine paying a lot for something.  I also like to keep my pieces affordable for the average person (like me.)  So, take it or leave it, here are some principles I follow.

Remember the old saying, “You make your money when you buy.”  That is so true in this business.  You make a bigger profit when you shop smart.  I don’t buy antiques if I can’t at least double the price and I try to keep my furniture purchases around $20-40.  I pay more for a piece if it’s really substantial or really special.  This takes a learning curve.  I’ve made a lot of dumb purchases and I’m sure I’ll make more.  Just go with your gut, buy things you like, and buy things that are usable and make sense for your market.

Pay Yourself.  When I first started with my ornaments, I thought, “I paid $.30 for the ornament and already had the paint, so I’ll charge about $2.00 for the ornament.”  OK…that’s stupid.  It took me a long time to hand paint each one, so I was paying myself $1.70 for all of that work.  It just wasn’t worth it (which is one reason why I don’t paint those anymore!)  Make sure you’re giving yourself a reasonable hourly rate for your work and focus on projects that will give you the most bang for your buck.

Know Your Market.  If you sell at a junky flea market (between the tube sock lady and 1990’s computer equipment guy), you’re not going to be able to charge a lot for your pieces.  People just aren’t coming to buy high end and expensive pieces.  If you’re selling in a chic shop or at a popular antique market, your venue will support a higher price tag.

“If demand is greater than supply, your prices are too low.”  My brother always tells me this after I sell out of something fast.   (Have I mentioned before that he’s the one who named me “Miss Mustard Seed”?)  If things are flying out of your space and you can’t keep up, this is a good indicator that you need to increase your prices or you need to teach your toddlers how to make glittered letters and sheet music wreaths.  (Just kidding.  No need to call the child labor department.)

Lower is not always better.  Sometimes when I price things really low, in my mom’s opinion, I’m reminded that people might think there’s something wrong with it or it’s a piece of crap.  (I was going to say “junk” instead of “crap”, but we like junk around here, don’t we?)  Make sure you’re not underselling yourself or your stuff.

Higher is not always better.  I have seen ridiculous prices on total pieces of crap.  I mean, unbelievable.  Or even really high prices on things that are nice, but they’re nowhere near as nice as people think they are.  Just because something is old, “collectible”, or you love it, doesn’t mean it’s worth a lot.  Be realistic and listen if people are consistently telling you your prices are too high.  I tend to err on the side of pricing things too low, because I want to move inventory.  I’d rather sell something for $200 and move it in a few weeks or months than sell it at $300 after it’s been sitting around for a few years.

Ask for advice, but stay within your comfort zone.  I’m always asking people what they think of a price on something or what they would pay for something.  It helps me to stay in a realistic range.  Ultimately, you need to go with what you’re comfortable with.  You have to be proud of your product and know it’s worth what you’re asking.  If you’re unsure about it, ask around until you get a better feel.

About Blogging
You do not need a designer to start a blog.  Just go to Blogger and click on “Create a Blog.”  Pick a template you like, add the side bar gadgets you want, and go from there.  (Dreamy Whites is an excellent example of this.  Maria uses a simple template, but has a gorgeous blog and it is growing like a weed!)  My blog was really simple when I started and I learned along the way.  Google questions you have or ask other bloggers.  A lot of people helped me and gave me tips along the way.  My designer (she does my blog, website, business cards, everything) is a close friend, so that’s handy.  She’s in school right now, so I’m her guinea pig and class projects. Tap into the techies in your life (if you have teenagers, give them about an hour with your blog and they’ll get you set up) and then worry about getting a designer when your blog is becoming profitable.  Here are some tips on growing your blog.

Leave lots of comments on blogs you like.  When I first started I would leave comments everywhere and often.  I’d visit the blogs of other people who left comments on blogs I liked.  Eventually, people started visiting me and leaving comments.  Then, they’d start following me.  I remember the excitement of reaching 10…20…100 followers.

Participate in lots of parties.  Now this doesn’t mean you should SPAM every party you see.  Link up to the ones that are appropriate for your post and link back to their party.  Also, visit other people participating in the party and leave comments.  You don’t want to be the guest who shows up, eats the appetizers and leaves without talking to anyone, right?  You’ll see your hits, comments, and followers grow immediately from these parties.

Make a button.  It doesn’t take much to make a button.  Again, ask a tech savvy teenager to help and you’ll be up an running in no time.  People can then grab your button and spread the word about your blog.

Make friends.  Leave personal comments and send personal e-mails to people you really like.  It doesn’t matter how big or small they are, you never know who will become a good blog buddy and will help to promote you.  And please…be gracious and nice.  I’ve come across and heard of some really pushy people who insist their blog be added to a side bar or who make a case out of people not linking back to their party.  Just relax and let things happen naturally.

Be you…someone else is already taken.  If you try to make your blog a carbon copy of a blog you like…well…why go to the copy if you can visit the original, right?  We all share ideas and are inspired by others, but do it in your own way.  Put your own spin and style on your blog.  Be authentic and creative  People will eat it up!

The last thing, which is most important, is your posts have to be good to gain followers and subscribers.  Write about things that you love that others will be interested in reading about.  Take great pictures and give good information.  People love tutorials, tips, how-to’s, before and afters, makeovers, and clever ideas.  Think about what you love about your favorite magazine and bring that to your blog (on a one-woman-show scale.)

Now, there are a lot of experts out there in these areas, so feel free to chime in.  What camera do you like or want?  How do you feel about pricing your wares or the prices you see on Etsy, antique malls or shops?  What do you love or hate about certain blogs (no names on the hate part, let’s be kind!)

It’s “open mic” comment time and I’m all ears.

Miss Mustard Seed


  1. Anna See

    Super helpful post! I have been considering painting some furniture to sell and I'm so nervous about the whole proposition. Thanks for this info and for your very helpful blog!
    xo, A

  2. Terry @ La Bella Vie

    Oh I love all these tips! I have been looking at camera's so this is timely for me right before Christmas:)
    Also I love all the blog tips. I am fairly new at the blogging thing and want it to be a good but haven't learned all the stuff that makes for a great blog. so again very timely for me right now!
    Thank you for all you do and all the inspiration!
    Most sincerely, Terry

  3. EmTea Designs

    Thanks for all the tips! You are one inspiring lady! 🙂

  4. SueBee

    Great post! I just rented a space in an Antique Mall for the first time and pricing is the hardest part. I'm with you on not over pricing. And your blogging tips are great also. I do try to follow them.
    Enjoy your week!

  5. Erika

    First off, I love you. Awkward?! but so true. I appreciate that you are willing to share all you know with those of us just starting out. I particularly appreciate your advice on pricing as I am just about to open up my own little shop and have been stressing out over that very topic . Thank you!
    P.S. I'm not a weirdo stalker, just a devout follower…so you don't have to be worried.

  6. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal

    Lots of great advice. I hope to one day have a shop or a booth. I would be like you and probably under price everything. Now, if you can just tell us how to get some confidence to get it all going!

  7. Ali Richardson

    I am definitely not an expert, but I am a "thrifty" shopper. I too am a DIY-er (for personal use, not professional) so how-to's and tutorials on blogs are GREAT! I definitely love when blogs are personal. I really don't enjoy reading a blog that belongs to someone fabulous, but they constantly put prictures from Country Living Magazine, or a Pottery Barn catalogue 9etc). Keep it real and light…& most of all, have fun!

  8. Trista

    Wow, thanks so much for this post. It is very encouraging to me as I have lately been looking around blogland and feeling like my blog is so inferior to everyone else. This was just what i needed to get my mojo back.

  9. Kathryn

    This is one of the reasons I love your blog so much. You're as nice as you are talented. Thanks for always sharing such great tips and advice!


      Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in
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  10. Kirra Sue

    This post was so timely & just so encouraging! About two months ago I became a licensed business owner & antique seller & I am such a baby at all of it! I'm learning & learning each day..but man, there's SO much to learn! I especially appreciated your advice on pricing! People keep telling me the vintage items in my etsy shop are priced too low…but I just don't want to price something higher than what I would pay for it! And I'm a cheapie when it comes to shopping- I love me a deal! I want to keep them low enough to move them on out but to be honest, I'm not sure I'm making ANY money this way! Again, lots to learn. Thanks again for all the advice too on blogging! Such a great post! Have LOVED your blog for awhile & just appreciate you passing on your wisdom to us newbies!! xo

  11. Eliza

    I love your blog, though I'm not at all into doing furniture makeovers myself. I'm definitely a fan of blogs that update often, preferably at least twice a week with diy/text heavy posts, or daily if the posts are mostly pretty images. I also appreciate links to the exact source of the image- there's nothing worse than trying to search an entire blog or site to find out more about a specific photo.

  12. Finding Home

    Thanks so much for the great information. I have been "dreaming" of expanding my business in a new direction for some time. I was sick about a month ago and stuck on the couch. I took the time to really start digging into the blog world. Your blog is actually the one that gave me the confidence to start moving forward. Still plotting my steps carefully. Now, you have encouraged me to let you know that you encouraged me! Thanks on all fronts!

  13. Sarah

    I have a Nikon camera and absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing all the blogging tips, they are very helpful.

  14. homehinges

    Great post. I really appreciate all the advice. I'm looking at cameras right now, not just for my blog, but for my life and family and children as well. It would be so nice to get quality photos of my kids that I can cherish forever. The blog advice was really great as well. I don't sell anything right now but maybe one day.

  15. Junk Fairy

    A big THANK-YOU for your post on posting and blogging!! You gave your advice so easily!! Anyone will feel inspired and empowered. I a newbie and still trying to work out the kinks. Your blog is an inspiring! I hope to get better!
    Happy Junking!!!

  16. TYRaines

    I've been following your blog for a little while now and have enjoyed it immensely. I really love your projects with before and after pictures. In fact you inspired me to purchase a few items from garage sales for refinishing for an upcoming holiday boutique. Thanks for the tips today and I'll let you know how those projects come out!

  17. Cheech

    I too, have a Nikon D5000! I just bought it this year as a package deal through Costco. I haven't regretted a day.
    I love your blog, too! Thanks for the tips!

  18. fiberdoodles

    Wonderful post! I have been in the market for a new camera; something more than a point and shoot. Although somedays I am challenged with just that. But I do professional quilting for others and my meezily little p&s; is not making the cut on getting the just of my work.

    I hear you on the not charging enough. I have been accused of the very same thing. I just don't have it in me to charge out the ying-yang for something. I think I'm fair and reasonable and if because I have a 6 month wait means I'm "cheap" well at least I'm sleeping at night ;0)

  19. Miranda

    I love this post. Thanks for all the great tips. You're one of my most favorite blogs to visit, and most of it is attributed to your gentle and unassuming personality. 🙂

  20. Random Musings

    I LOVED this post.. and its the first I have seen of yours I clicked here from somewhere…

    I am going to look around.. thanks for the tips!

  21. Funky Junk Interiors

    I'll be directing traffic ALOT to this post, so thanks for the length of it. 🙂

    And for the kudos. Although I was able to fake my point and shoot shot to an actual win in a photo contest, I'm still counting the days until I land a REAL camera. 🙂


  22. Classy Clutter

    You are amazing! Not only super talented but so sweet and helpful! I'm a daily reader of Miss Mustard Seed and you are so inspiring. Thank you for all of your helpful posts! Especially about blogging and photography. 🙂

    Mallory @ ClassyClutter

  23. Karen Hetzer

    Every time I visit your blog my respect for you grows. This post is so spot on! I just want to add…location, location, location. I'll be closing my shop at the end of next week. Even though I had the most generous landlord, and I too was very careful about purchasing proper used furniture at ridiculously low prices and my pricing was more than competitive, the shop did not thrive. The shop even though located in an art appreciative community was awkwardly situated on a busy street with fast moving traffic and little to no place to easily park…..location, location, location.
    I'd also add….make sure you have the means to advertise and a couple of months rent stashed away until things get rolling, I did not.
    Now I'd love to learn about selling online…..any tips you can share about that?

  24. kathie

    GREAT advice, every bit of it! Thank you!

  25. Tracey

    Hi Marian! I came over from my friend Maria's blog. Your pumpkin project was so fabulous! I loved it! And you have given some really great advice here…

    🙂 T

  26. Bethany

    Lots of great advice! The timing of this post was perfect. I have an Etsy store, and I am just starting to reevaluate my pricing.

    Thank you!

  27. Ellen

    Every bit of it …..excellent advice!…..smiles.

  28. Tammy

    Marian-I've followed your blog for sometime…just realized today that I have never clicked that " FOLLOW" button…You are definetly one of my favorite blogs. I love your style , you always give great tutorials and advice. Todays post was the best! My blog has been up about 4 months now, I just hit 50 followers today – YAH!!
    I have a booth and will be opening an ETSY shop very soon.
    I know I'll use all of the tips you passed along …THANKS!!
    Have a great day!
    Tammy 🙂

  29. Tammy

    Marian-I've followed your blog for sometime…just realized today that I have never clicked that " FOLLOW" button…You are definetly one of my favorite blogs. I love your style , you always give great tutorials and advice. Todays post was the best! My blog has been up about 4 months now, I just hit 50 followers today – YAH!!
    I have a booth and will be opening an ETSY shop very soon.
    I know I'll use all of the tips you passed along …THANKS!!
    Have a great day!
    Tammy 🙂

  30. LouLou

    Marian, You are simply the best…. My favorite of all time… You rock.

  31. Katie @ the copper coconut

    Thanks for the tips! I have just started blogging in the last few months and I can totally tell when I leave comments or join parties that I get a "flood" of followers! Your blog is one of my favorites. Thanks!

  32. Linden Townhouse

    Fantastic, helpful advice! Thanks so much for answering my question about cameras.

  33. Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun

    As always you are so generous in sharing of yourself! You have a unique combination of strengths and talents and there is for sure only one you!!! (Love that Seuss.) So happy your business is growing by leaps n bounds. Sad we're drowning and not playing tho!
    warning my garish reds n golds are not nearly as elegant as your restrained fall decor!

  34. Sammi (Stormy Hen Living)

    Thanks for all the inspiration. Your posts are great confidence builders for someone just starting out. I'm in the first stages of research, buying "junk" and building inventory, and looking for retail space. My brain and notebooks are full of ideas…finding your blog was that little extra push that I needed to actually take those first baby steps of doing and not just dreaming. Now…any suggestions for a sewing machine for someone on a budget ($400-$600 range)…I'm finding that I need to upgrade from my low-end Brother machine.

  35. Sandra

    Thank you so much for all of the wonderful tips! I have a Canon Rebel XT that my husband gave me for Christmas in 2007 and I love it! It is perfect for me:) Thanks again for all of your tips.

  36. Mrs. Sutton

    Totally FABULOUS post! This is the first time that I have visited you, and I'm delighted to have found you. I started blogging in July this year after blog reading and 'lurking' for at least two years. It took ages to gather up the courage to write my first post – it always felt like something that only creative or trained people could do! I'm muddling along now, but your tips are informative and spot on. I'm going to follow and come back for more – Thank you!! xxx

  37. SueAnn

    Love this post!! Great tips! I have a Cannon Rebel!! And a point and shot Minolta. Love them both!!

  38. Lisa

    Great advice! I just found your blog, it's wonderful, I've gotten so many ideas allready.

  39. Tamra

    As always, Miss M., great post!

    Thank you,


  40. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    Great post! These are all questions I have been pondering in the last few months trying to get my blog and glorified hobby off the ground. It's hard to know where to turn when getting started. Your tips and insight are greatly appreciated!

  41. whirligigdaisy

    Thanks for your generosity of information. I think having a generous spirit comes back to you. Karma, baby.

  42. she dreams big!

    I've walked away from many a treasure when the price is way out of proportion and always think 'wouldn't they rather sell it for a little less than to lug it all the way home again'? I guess we all think our junk is more valuable than it really is. I read recently on another blog that you need to include absolutely every little step it takes to create something when determining price. The time is takes to package and put on the stamp, the time and wear and tear on your car when purchasing supplies, etc. My gosh, my camera straps would sell for $50 if I included all that. Not feasible! I'd rather have the goodwill of my customers! Some items may just be lost leaders but customers will return to purchase the larger items.

    LOVE my Canon T2i! Thanks for all of your generosity when giving tips and tutorials. Not all bloggers are willing to share like you. You have me as a follower for life!

  43. Gaia

    Thank you for your tips…I defenitely need to improve my followers!!!

  44. Alycia Wicker

    Nice post and so very true 🙂 Hope all is well in the land of Miss Mustard Seed

  45. Glenda @ Magnolia Bend Drive

    Miss Mustard, this is all so very helpful. You have no idea how many times you have inspired to try something different. I feel like your a friend of mine!

  46. 【ツ】 ⒶⓃⓃⒺ 【ツ】

    This post is such great timing for me! I'm in the beginning stages of revamping my blog, and giving it a whole new visual spin. Thanks for sharing such great tips!!!

  47. Missy @ Chateau Chic Boutique

    Hi Marian! I'll try not to go on and on but…I literally think the Lord lead me to your blog at the perfect time. I've been selling "junk" for several years but has just recently considered it more than a hobby (partially due to the economy). I have enjoyed your blog immensely, you are very inspiring to me personally. You strike a great balance of seller and teacher I guess you could say. I admire how transparent you have been with everyone – in such a down to earth way. I have worried about saying what I pay for something or how I made something, charging too much or too little. Sometimes my prices seem high for specific items I make but they are just plain costly to do (my appliqued items mostly).
    I was actually planning on emailing you this week to ask you some questions like these and more specifically to my situation, how do you schedule your TIME having 2 small children at home? I have 3 kids 9, 5 and 2. You just really seem to have it all figured out. I feel very disorganized with my time and my stuff. Any tips?
    Sincerest Blessings to you,

  48. freckled laundry

    I cannot even tell you how much I appreciate this post Marian! You have such a helping heart. These are all things that I wanted to ask you but didn't want to seem bothersome. (Not that you'd get bothered…but still…you're a busy gal.) Very helpful. Thank you!

    I'm still a newer blogger and have made some mistakes (and some good decisions, too) along the way…still learning and I thank you for preventing me from making a few more.

    I think the bottom line and what makes me email subscribe to a blog is originality, creativity, and just being authentic.

    There really isn't much I 'hate' in blogging other than intense post rants and raves. I'm all for expressing one's opinion and sometimes things displease us, but there's a way to get that out there other than insulting your audience and complaining… sometimes over the course of many posts. In my opinion, if you don't like a blog, don't read it. If link party etiquette is bothersome, don't host them (or join them).

    I appreciate your post on pricing. I've found that handmade things are a labor of love and there is no way to compensate that. I'd have to sell my shoes for $100 to barely comp the labor…and that ain't happening. Ha! When trying to determine a price, I asked my readers and got so much wonderful and helpful feedback.

    Sorry for the missing chapter of War & Peace here.


  49. Erika

    I have always appreciated how honest you are about your learning curve. Your tips are incredibly helpful and are being filed:)

    There is/was a popular blog. But the blogger began to leave negative comments about the visitor's comments! It was such turn-off and a disappointment. I definitely believe that how you treat others is very important even if it is over the web.

  50. Melanie @ Addicted to Homes

    I love all your thoughts and tips, thank you! I have a P&S; and I went to Funky Junk's link like you posted, it was great info for me too! Thank you also for being so open about what makes you successful.

  51. Kara

    Love this post! So many useful tips! I just found your blog through my sister and have really been enjoying it. Take care! 🙂

  52. Debe

    Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. First saw you on So You Think…., lost you and found you again on Dreamy Whites. Spent all day off & on cruising back through all I have missed. You just RoCk girl! Love you slant on life & great stuff we find along the way. You make it great, I just find stuff. Envy your talent!!

  53. Jan Johnson

    I just read the photographing tips over at Funky Junks blog. Since getting a nice camera and investing in software is not an option for me right now, it was WAY helpful. I'm in the process of opening an etsy store and I know the secret to having better sales is great photos. Thanks for the link!

  54. Sarah @ Cozy.Cottage.Cute.

    Hmmmm, you've got me thinking about cameras. It's so hard to decide! I've been wanting my first SLR camera and am looking at the Canon Rebel and the equivalent Nikon camera. I can't wait but the decision-making is SO hard!

    Thanks for the tips. 🙂

  55. Holly @ Roller Coaster Life

    great post!

    I WANT A CANON REBEL t2i!!!! I'm hoping I have been a good girl this year and Santa will bring me one!

  56. Kristy

    Thanks for the tips! I would love to have a DSLR but I have to save my pennies first…and dimes and quarters and anything else of value! lol One day! 🙂

  57. michelle

    Thank you so much for all that great advice!! Photography has been a love and a pain for me! I have taken SOOO many pictures of things and played with them on Picasa and they don't seem to turn out! I am now reading Donna's post about photography, I am sure that I can find some good tips there as well. I have a Canon Powershot SX120IS and I love it!

    Love your blog, love your creativity and your ambition! I hope all is well and you are feeling better and your store is running smoothly!! 🙂

  58. nutpi

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and recommendations! I started my dog blog a year ago and my 'Anything" blog just a few months back. It is very exciting and I it makes me use my time better. I try new things, make new things because I want to post things to my blog…

    I love your blog and your ideas and talents! You are very inspirational!

  59. Krista Benskin

    Thank you soooo much for all of your helpful advice. I have just started blogging and would like to take time to generate more followers. Thanks again!

  60. Melissa

    I have an older, by older I mean it takes film (gasp! they still make that stuff?), Cannon. I also have a Cannon point and shoot. The p and s does reasonable good photos, mostly if you are outside or have lots of natural light. I am still learning to use light to the best advantage. I love my older Cannon, I have a 75 to 300 zoom lens, as well as the standard lens it comes with. I dream of getting a Cannon digital SLR, my dad has one and it is awesome! The thing I love about Cannon, the lens on my "old" Cannon will fit the one I dream of!

    So, if you don't have a techie friend or teenager to help, how do you make a button? I know it can't be that hard, but my sis and I have both been trying to figure it out, with out much success. Does someone have a good tutorial? Thanks!

  61. Deb

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful tips! I really enjoy your blog! Deb

  62. Lo

    This is one of the most helpful, encouraging, and uplifting blog post I have read in a long time. And it is exactly what I needed to read. I'm actually just starting a little side business and this is just so helpful. Even just for my blog too. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

    Anyway, thank you so much for being you. Its always a joy to hear what you think and see what you do!

  63. Dreamy Whites

    Hello Marian,
    I just love this post! This is one of things that I love about you! You are so informative and give out the best advice…….. and are so encouraging…..
    This is such valuable information….that is so hard to find…
    I want to thank you for being a guest on my blog.
    It was so much fun to have you share one of your great tutorials.
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Take Care,
    THank you Marian for the nice complement too : ))
    You are too kind.

  64. Gilding Lilies

    Thank you son much for the tips, every little bit helps. I'm working hard to grow my blog. I appreciate the advice.

  65. Simony

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a nice post! You have answered all my questions and this is not the first time you do it! You are very kind and hope you will continue to inspire us!
    Have a great weekend!

  66. I'm just sayin'

    Very new to the blog world. Love love your blog and I look forward to many happy visits to come. Thank you for such a wealth of knowledge and beauty.

  67. I'm just sayin'

    Very new to the blog world. Love love your blog and I look forward to many happy visits to come. Thank you for such a wealth of knowledge and beauty.

  68. Brittney

    Awesome Post and very helpful advice! I just recently rented a flea market booth and have had such a hard time with knowing what price to put on things. I also just painted my first piece of furniture and unloaded it today to sell:) We'll see how it goes! And obviously I have a thing or two to learn on blogging since I didnt take a before picture of the furniture! I appreciate your blog and it has given me so much inspiration!!! Thank you!

  69. hadassah

    Great post! It's interesting to hear about your camera, pricing, etc. b/c I always LOVE your pictures. 🙂 I have a Nikon P90 which is still a point and shoot, but a super nice one with 24x zoom! I really need to read the rest of the manual tho b/c I don't know how to use all the great manual options on it (to make pictures look more like a DSLR camera's!).

  70. very merry vintage style

    Lots of good ideas here. I am a Nikon girl, D80. Best accessory? A tripod for clear, clear pictures. Now, off to create a "button!"

  71. Restoration House

    Thank you so much for this posting. It was so inspiring and helpful. You actually contributed to my taking the plunge yesterday in fact! Such a learning curve. Thank God for two of my daughters who were able to help me in some of the process. Please continue with these helpful postings (as well as all the other great ones) I'm gleaning right after you!

  72. Restoration House

    Hi Marian,
    Thank you so much for this posting. You have been so helpful and inspiring. You have contributed to my taking the plunge into blog world yesterday! Such a learning curve, I'm so thankful for my daughter's who helped me along in the process. Please continue with blogs like these (as well as the other great ones). So appreciative of your willingness to share what you have learned. Please continue as I will be gleaning right behind you.


  73. Tara

    Thank you for sharing these tips. I am new to the Blogger world and love getting new info. I love your blog and am a new follower. Thanks!

  74. felicité


    We-ell seeing as you suggest asking other bloggers about aspects of their blog, i'm going to take you up on the offer!!

    I'm just wondering how you get multiple 'pages' on your blog at the top? For example on the Mustard Seed blog, you have the 'home' 'gallery' 'contact' etc buttons, where you can make distinction between categories- I can't find a gadget that will let me do this on my page… HELP? 🙂

    I would be much obliged if you could help me out, or even do a post on blog design using blogger?!!!

    (Pretty please?) xox Felicity

  75. Tres French Hens

    Thank you so much for your tips on blogging. I finally took the leap and started my own blog…much to your credit! Your information is so helpful and I look forward to following you and learning more. If you get a chance to check me out and give me some feedback it would be much appreciated. You have a beautiful blog!

  76. Amy

    Well Hello Miss Mustard Seed!
    I have been reading your blog for about three hours straight. Now I feel like I know you. I am a new blogger and have just yesterday come into an arm load of antique pieces. How cool is that? Just the start I need, I think. I am so excited to see where this may take me and what I will do with them. I have found so much helpful information on your blog that my head is whirling.
    Anyhow, I am very grateful.

  77. vosges paris

    This is a great post… I love the tips on good blogging I find you writing exact the things I tell people to do if they ask me, funny how you talk about Maris, I was her first ever guest who emailed her personally 😉
    … you and me Ms Musterd seed, we are thinking very alike about blogging policy!

    Al the best

  78. Katy

    Such great and helpful advice! Thanks for sharing! I love your blog and am a new fan! I posted about your awesome union jack dresser and plan on painting my bderoom dresser that way…thanks for the inspiration and hope it was ok to post about it. Blessings to you…I'll be back again soon! Katy

  79. Lily Dily

    Wow..I just read your post and learned so much! I rent a space in a antique mall and have so much fun. I agree, the pricing is the hardest part. It is getting easier, you do have to go with your gut. I am still learning. Thanks for your tips. I enjoy your blog….thanks Lily Dily

  80. Mae

    If I said, "I love you", would you be freaked out? Please don't be. What you have done here for all of us is nothing short of selfless, gracious, totally inspiring, and … loving.

    Thank you!

  81. Mimi

    I'm just now reading this great post of yours since I didn't start blogging until November 2010 but I have been a follower and loving your blog for a good while. Thank you so much for posts like this that inform, educate, and make others feel like we are moving in the right direction. Sometimes we all need a little boost of confidence and that's what you have done here. Also, you are so right that everyone should take into account all costs especially the time they spend creating their product.
    Thanks for the inspiration! It means so much.

  82. Amy

    Just wanted to tell you that I think your site is really wonderful, along with all of your projects. I have been lapping them up ever since I (recently) found you! We are just getting ready to break ground on our house and so I can't get enough! I ended up with a Nikon D3000… still not totally sure how to work it, but they sure are fun to play with!

  83. DebbieG

    Thank you so much for just being so "down to earth"….your advice is right on. I just wish I had the energy. I obviously have not found my "sweet spot"….thank you again for your wonderful work. Blessings.

  84. Cindi @ Rustique Art

    This best part about a great blog…is going back to read older posts that inspire and teach you at the same time. I'm a long time fan and reader of your awesome blog, I comment now but it took awhile, you might not ever get me to shut up now.

    Camera: I'm shopping right now, looking and looking but educating myself along the way. What I found extremely helpful were the reviews on Wow, there are so awesome people out there who take a lot of time to leave in depth reviews, which is so helpful for people like me…a novice! Leaning toward a Nikkon though.

    Pricing: As a person who designs, creates and sells her products I can speak with experience about paying yourself. It's crucial to consider your cost of goods used to make the products but just as important to factor in your time. Pricing gets easier as your confidence in what you do and create builds. We are our worst critics, so do your homework and stand firm on your pricing. But be flexible and make adjustments if needed. After awhile it just becomes second nature when setting a price.

    Blogs: love to read them! and chat on them.

    Blogging: what's that saying? "practice makes perfect" 🙂 okay, maybe not perfect, but just begin, be consistent, interesting and let it flow. I've found it's not my gift, but I still like to play at it and it's a good place to bring my real "gift" into view of others!

  85. Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home}

    Great post. I'm a little late to the party, but went into your archives, interested in your thoughts about cameras. Thanks for being yourself!

  86. Jessica @ Nuchey's Mommy

    Hey! I just saw this post on your linkin while reading todays post ! good camera info & I got some good blogging tips 2 🙂 thanks!

  87. PJ

    Thank you for helpful tips. I greatly appreciate you taking time to give out helps. I am new at blogging and am grateful for any advice.

  88. Jen

    Thank you so much for this comprehensive guide. I’ve been working on building my business (refurbishing furniture) and was looking for what steps to take next. This is all very helpful and inspiring! And your furniture is one of my sources for inspiration. It’s beeeaauuttiful!!!!

  89. Teresa Lewis

    I saw the beautiful desk you painted through Pinterest. It is the one you did back in 2011, in April. I had a question about the desk itself. Do you know much about the company that made it and the age of the desk. The reason I ask is that I have the same desk. I bought it at an antique mall. It wasn’t painted nearly as pretty as the way you did yours, IMO. But I am really into knowing the origins of the pieces I buy. Mine has a Huntley Furniture stamp on the inside of the middle drawer but I don’t know the style or how old my piece is. I stripped the paint down and found that it was a pretty sturdy piece of furniture. I have gotten it down to the raw wood, pretty much. I guess they painted it because of the circular burn mark on the top of the desk (which I think might sand off but if not I will stain the desk dark enough that you won’t be able to tell anyway. Just looks like someone set a hot tea kettle on the desk near the edge because it’s about that size. Anyway back to my point. I didn’t know if you made any inquiries into the history of your piece. Mine doesn’t have the two inside wood appliques like yours, just the ones on the outside edge of the top right and left drawers. However when I stripped the paint off, there was evidence that the same wood appliques adorned the inner spots next to the middle “pencil drawer”. They must have fallen off. So then I knew that our desks were identical. I was hoping to find the same wood applique “drops” so that I could replace them but I haven’t been able to find the exact same ones. So I thought I would see what you know about the desk you bought and refurbished. I am guessing you didn’t keep it, but that you sold it in your shop or your booth or something. If you don’t remember the piece or don’t know much more about it, like style or age of the piece, that’s fine. I just thought since you are the only other person that I have found that had the exact same desk, I could ask you and see if I could get some insight as to history of the piece I have. I also hoped it would also give me a clue as to where I could find the replacements for the missing wood appliques. I have looked at the big stores like Home Depot and Lowes and I have looked on line but could not find the same ones. I might have to just leave them off. I hate to make do with something that doesn’t quite match and possibly ruin the value of the piece. I actually bought the desk to be my vanity. I am trying to find some ideas on how to finish it. I am not sure I want to repaint it. My house is mostly cherry stained furniture and my bedroom furniture is a medium dark stained wood as well. Just don’t know if putting a painted piece in there would clash with my other furniture in the room. I do like the way you did your desk but I don’t know if I have the skill to make mine look that good.

    Thank you for your patience in reading this rant.

    Teresa Lewis


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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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