April 2021 Favorites

by | May 13, 2021 | Favorite Things | 11 comments

April just flew by for me, but it was a good month full of favorites.  It was my birthday month to boot, so I got lots of fun goodies.  Jeff and I are at that stage in life when we enjoy just getting some extra spending money so we can buy what we want.  I don’t know what bit of camping gear he might like and he doesn’t know which antique art supply I’ll be smitten with!  So, I did a little shopping for myself with some money from my used art supply sale and with my birthday money and bought an antique drafting box and a Victorian watercolor box.  Those are just two of my favorite things in April…

birthday watercolor box

As I said, this was one of my favorite things in April and it’s continued to be one of my favorite things.  I had acquired a Victorian-era Reeves watercolor box just after Christmas, but the interior pieces were all missing.  It’s a beautiful box and I like the versatility of it, but when I spotted this box on Etsy, I knew it was special and very well priced.  All of the interior compartments were intact and it came with four ceramic palettes, ceramic paint pans, a key, and the lock for the bottom drawer.  It was also in beautiful condition.  So, even though I wasn’t planning on purchasing another one, I knew I would regret not getting it.  I let it sit in my cart for 24 hours to make sure it wasn’t an impulse buy and then I purchased it.

victorian reeves watercolor box | miss mustard seed

And, let me tell you, I am so in love with this box.  Some of the joints were a little loose, so Jeff helped me glue it all up and now everything is good as new.  I filled some of the ceramic paint pans with my most-used colors and filled the box with fountain pens, pencils, brushes, erasers, and rulers…

victorian reeves watercolor box | miss mustard seed

I even added ribbon to some of the components that had lost their little “handles.”

victorian reeves watercolor box | miss mustard seed

I am in and out of that box most days and I am so glad I bought it.

I have also loved the antique drafting box I purchased (also off of Etsy.)  It came with beautiful brass tools and I’ve enjoyed using the ebony parallel ruler for architectural sketches, the ruling pens for some pen & ink projects, and the large brass compass for making my cyanometer.  Again, I am in and out of this box and lot when I’m working in my studio and it makes me smile every time.  I still need to figure out what everything does to get the most out of it.  Any old-school architects out there?

antique drafting box | miss mustard seed

sketching with Calvin

I’m going to share about this more in tomorrow’s post, but Calvin and I have been taking an online illustration class together and it has been so much fun.  Not only have we been sketching together, but we’ve both been in our sketchbooks almost daily since taking the class.  We need to go back and finish it, but it served its intended purpose and gave us the inspiration needed to sketch from life and imagination.

illustration class with Calvin | miss mustard seed

new website look

We launched the new look to my website in early April and, after several months of working on it, it’s awesome to be using it!  We had a few tweaks to iron out (and there are still a few things we’re working on), but I love how it looks each time I open a page.

color wheel | miss mustard seed

kitchin sketchbooks

Well, of course, these are a favorite!  I have been studying and making sketches from the Kitchin sketchbooks for about a month now and I have only just scratched the surface.  These are some of my most treasured items right now and I thoroughly enjoy my time spent with them.  I can’t wait to explore them even more and put some more structured ideas together for sharing these.

antique sketchbooks | george herbert kitchin | copyright | miss mustard seed


french art shop

One of the things I enjoy most about this online space is finding kindred spirits and I certainly found one in Hanna of The French Art shop.  She introduced herself to me as a potential blog sponsor, but we’ve since become Instagram friends and are following each other with genuine interest.  I have loved learning about her adventures in France along with her partner, Paul, and how they started a business from their love of vintage and antique art.  It has just been a joy and a pleasure.

As a side note, I named my Belgian schoolboy Audrick after this reader’s story…

“Old soulful-looking boy in the painting. When I was growing up we had a neighbor, a wonderful, kind man from Belgian.
His name was Audrick. He was a painter too!!! He was a master craftsman and could fix anything. He believed in reusing and “making do with a little elbow grease”….as he put it. He had a son named Phillippe. When you said the boy was from Belgium I immediately thought of dear Audrick.”

the french art shop | antique painting | mural | dining room | miss mustard seed

Feels Like Home Reveal

Not only did I enjoy finally sharing the book name and cover of Feels Like Home with my blog and social media audience, but the response was amazing!  Even though the book doesn’t come out until September, it shot to number one on Amazon in several categories on the day of the reveal.  Thank you for that!  I really love this book and it was so nice to see it being well-received so early in the process.

Feels Like Home Book | Miss Mustard Seed | #feelslikehomebook


interviewing Philippa Stanton

Oh man, talking about kindred spirits, Shaunna and I had the chance to interview Philippa Stanton of @5ftinf on Instagram and author of Conscious Creativity and she was just delightful!  It was such an inspiring conversation and if you need a creative pick-me-up and a smile, I suggest you put it on the next time you’re working on something or out for a walk.  You can find that episode HERE.

Philippa Stanton | @5ftinf | Conscious Creativity | Miss Mustard Seed

making a cyanometer

This was one of those projects that felt completely indulgent, but I loved it!  (You can find my post on it HERE.)  It was so fun to make and it has proven to be a useful tool when painting and studying the sky.  I do plan to make a little video tutorial showing the mixing process soon.

how to make a cyanometer | miss mustard seed

Those were some of my favorites in April.  What were yours?



  1. Gloria

    You are amazing. Your April sounds exciting! Mine not so much but you have given me inspiration. I cannot find how to sign up for your oil painting class that is ion another website. Can you direct me please? Hope I am not too late for the discount! Love you!

    • Wendy York

      I love that colored sketch! Really makes it come to life 😍. Hey don’t forget that little antique book of sketches from around Paris that I sent you copies of a couple of years ago 😊. (I probably should have just sent you the book itself instead!) Maybe you can find some there you would want to sketch now too 😁

      • Marian Parsons

        Yes, I do remember those pictures! I saved a few of them. 🙂 Do you have the name of the book? I can look for it…

  2. Lucinda Jean Lally

    My favorite in April was receiving my first vintage oil painting from the French art shop.. Thank you so much for your promo of Hannah and Paul.. They shipped my purchase quickly and I absolutely love it. The painting actually reminds me of an art print I saw on your website or perhaps it was on society 6. Anyway, thank you for inspiring me to look for unique one if a kind art and finding such a wonderful source for that. Thank you also for inspiring me to collect ironstone. I am loving the process of searching and finding those special ironstone items.. So fun to learn and appreciate the history of each item. I also have started to learn how to bring old furniture back to life using milk paint. Without your inspiration I don’t think I would have found a way to explore creativity in such a practical and fun way! Continuing to learn and grow here!

    • Amy

      Hi Marian!

      I can tell you one thing that I LOVE…..Calvin’s illustrations! Those utensil and pencil “characters” are just the best. I am a collector of children’s books, mainly because of the fabulous illustrations and his made my day. Thank you, Calvin!

  3. Addie

    Oh!! Marian,
    I am so happy to hear you named your boy, Audrick. He was a kind, artistic, caring, helping neighbor. Always ready to lend a hand. He would be humbled to know you named your painting after him.
    Thank you for sharing your home and talents with us.

  4. Rosemary Gregory

    This goes back to a few days ago when you mentioned you were going to a beach outside of Charleston. Hoping it is Kiawah. I just returned from two weeks there where I have a home. Maybe you are renting my home!! Hoping you have a wonderful time!

  5. Rita

    Sounded like a wonderful month. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  6. monique odman

    And so the boy is Audrick.
    Little correction the boy is BELGIAN and the country is BELGIUM, easy mistake to make.
    Your son Calvin’s drawings are promising and humoristic too.

  7. Suz

    Your vintage boxes are lovely! I was hoping someone would comment with more info about your drafting tools; I’m curious too. I have a similar box that was my grandfather’s – he was a civil engineer in the mid-1900s and I’ve always just loved that box (even though I don’t use the tools like you!).


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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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