The first week in January is usually when I hit the ground running, but I’ve been in a post-holiday, pre-head-cold funk and have just wanted to curl up under a blanket and ignore the world!  I’m starting to come out of that, though, and it actually helped me a lot to put this post together and see everything that happened over 2016.  It’s sometimes easy to get lost in a daunting to-do list or pick out the things that didn’t happen as planned or dwell on shortcomings.  This post was a great reminder to me to celebrate the victories, accomplishments, and fun stuff!  And there was a lot of fun stuff.

So, here are the highlights for 2016…

We launched Farmhouse White in January and it has been our best selling color by far.  It was definitely a home run.


I worked on my hardest piece of upholstery ever, a tufted sofa.  It just about killed me, but I was able to finish it and it’s one of my favorite furniture makeovers ever.  I may even tackle another one if the opportunity ever presents itself.


I designed my first home decor product that was reproduced and sold through Decor Stealsa ticking stool slipcover.


I finished my parent’s coastal bedroom makeover



Whenever I go to their house, I peek in and it always makes me happy.  It really is a beautiful, restful space.


We also released our second MMS Milk Paint book – Look Book Two.


I found a renewed love for a craft I hadn’t tried since the 1980’s – cross stitching.   I only wish I had more time to do it!


I also had some very exciting magazine press this year including a feature in Country Living magazine, which had been a dream of mine for years.  You can see the behind-the-scenes details of that shoot HERE.


Lucketts was huge in 2016 and it took me months to prepare for it.  My crew and I finished some of my favorite pieces ever, though, during the marathon.

The standouts for me were this landscape dresser Kriste and I worked on together…


…and a pair of hardware cabinets


The Lucketts Spring Market ended up being one of the biggest highlights of the year and I was so proud of all of the goodies I was able to curate and create.


After Lucketts, I had big plans to step up the online retail side of my business, maybe even put together a sale in my area, but other opportunities came up and I shifted gears.  Within one week, I received three contracts for design work, each project in a different industry.  It was too exciting to resist.  I love new challenges and they came at just the right time.


In August, I went to Haven as the co-keynote speaker with my friend, Shaunna.  While I have taught and presented at conferences before, being the opening speaker was new for me.  I felt like I was going to vomit the morning of, but it really helped that I was presenting with a friend.  If anything, we’d make each other laugh.


At Haven, I also took a watercolor class from Lucy of Craftberry Bush.  I really just wanted to do something that was relaxing, but I found a new medium to love.


Since then, I have been “arting” up a storm – playing around with new mediums, practicing, discovering…


The most amazing thing about it is how perfectly my personal art renaissance coincided with my design work.  I’ve been able to use this new love in the new work I’ve been hired to do.

I even opened a Society6 shop to sell my artwork as motivation.

This fall, I had the opportunity to style and shoot a beautiful home in West Virginia for Romantic Homes magazine.  I’ll let you know when it’s available in print, but it was another great professional opportunity for me.


When I had the time, I did some tweaking on my house.

I painted my dining room table top in Farmhouse White


…transformed our guest room into a bedroom for Calvin


We also switched some things around in the family room.  I never knew I could love a sectional so much.


And, at the studio, I created a workspace to function better for my new design work and it has been such a great gift to myself.  I sit at that desk and I am ready to work.



And, we brought a new member into our family, Sebastian.  He is such an awesome dog and I can hardly remember what our house was like without him.


There are so many more things that happened…  I traveled to Montana, Colorado, Maine, and New Hampshire.  I started working with a business consultant and she really helped me work through some tough business decisions.  I tried other new things like electric guitar and canning homemade cherry pie filling.

It was a year of a lot of new things and I like that.

And here are my top posts written in 2016, according to Google Analytics –

  1. Favorite Ikea Finds
  2. Creating a Chippy Finish
  3. Sally’s Farmhouse Living Room
  4. Coastal Bedroom Makeover Reveal
  5. Things Have Changed
  6. Dear Reader | to the one with the stuff problem
  7. Lucketts Recap
  8. Best of 2015
  9. Styling Tips for the Home
  10. Tufted Sofa Reveal

While I’m sharing some of my own highlights, I thought I would also share some of the best things from some of my favorite bloggers and Instagrammers as well.  I get so much inspiration from this bunch!

Ella Claire | City Farmhouse | French Country Cottage | Miss Mustard Seed

My Sweet Savannah | Craftberry Bush | Rooms for Rent | Shades of Blue Interiors

Jennifer Rizzo | Kindred Vintage | Liz Marie Blog

Thanks to all of my readers, followers, and friends who have supported me through 2016.  Thanks for your comments, encouragement, and critiques.  Thank you for spending time out of your busy schedule reading this blog.  Thanks for allowing this blog to be a creative outlet.

Thank you.


  1. Marsha Kern

    You had a wonderful year! You are so talented and I love your style!

  2. Shannon // Style Emulator

    You’ve had a busy year–no wonder you’re sick! 😉 Congrats on all you’ve done and accomplished. Truly inspiring. I do think Sebastian looks like the best part, though. Hope you get to feeling better, and that 2017 is just as wonderful. <3

  3. Laura

    Wow that was quite a year! Thank you for always inspiring your readers and encouraging me to try new things. It warms my heart to see Sebastian a part of your family!
    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  4. Lyn

    Lovely! Your pup Sebastian looks a lot like my pup Morgan!

  5. Linda

    Wow- this is impressive. What a great exercise to complete. Surely it gives you a sense of accomplishment, as well as motivation and confidence! You are inspirational to so many of us!

  6. Jean

    Bravo — you really have no limits. I start my day with your blog — thanks for always being there. Best of everything in 2017.

  7. Deborah Delosreyes

    Have a wonderful 2017 too!! I drooled over the tuffed couch makeover and I love farmhouse white.

  8. Joanne B.

    I did some laundry. Does that count?

    • Bristol Sunset

      LOL!!! Glad to know I’m not the only one. ?

    • Karen

      This made me laugh so hard! Seriously!
      Marian, you’re a true inspiration! I noticed that the google analytics list had Sally’s Farmhouse living room as #3. Did I miss the final reveal? I’ve been waiting for this one.

  9. Cheryl Licht

    That is mind blowing and a job well done!!! It’s so fun watching you continue learn and grow and you continue to inspire the world around you. Thank you! I loved all the recap, even though I read your posts everyday, but my favorite has to be that tufted sofa — it’s one of those things that make my heart go pitter patter.

    May this year be so very blessed as you soar into new adventures!

    ❤️ Cheryl

  10. Wendy D.

    Marian, you are always inspire me and I thank you for that. It has been awhile since you painted the top of your dining room table and I was wondering how it is holding up? The reason I ask is because I so want to take that leap and paint the top of my table white also. Thank you once again for all that you do!

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      It’s holding up very well! It’s our dining table, so we don’t eat on it every day, but it does get “dumped on” a lot, since it’s right near the front door! It is also a barn door, so it lends itself to the rustic look, dings and dents. I haven’t noticed any wear or watermarks, though.

  11. Denise Cox

    WOW, Marion!! You HAVE had a STUPENDOUS year!! 2017 can only be better!!!

  12. Bristol Sunset

    Wow! I continue to enjoy following your journey. Thank you for sharing all that you do. It’s great to feel the enthusiasm coming through in your words. Wishing you and your family all the best for a healthy and happy new year that is filled with all good blessings.


    Happy New Year, Marion!
    I just to let you know that the favorite part of my 2016 Christmas decorating was the addition of two of your Society6 prints, in Dollar Tree frames! They flanked either side of my shiny white pencil tree which I decorated sparingly. The scene was one of my all-time favorites. I am keeping it decorated a little longer than usual because…I can’t bare to see it all go! If I get a decent photo, I will send it to you. I’d like others to know that thanks to you, I was able to beautify on quite a tight budget! I may even have to find a year-round spot for those prints. THANK YOU *THANK YOU*THANK YOU***

  14. Judy

    I’m just wondering if you really allow your dog to use your white sofa, like you have pictured. I have a little Yorkie and even after a few weeks ,she would have my furniture dirty.

  15. MaryLisa Noyes

    It was a terrific year for all the sharing of your ideas. You inspired me as a collector and as a person who likes to change things around! I’m hoping to travel to Lucketts this year. Thank you!

  16. Melanie Hays

    You so inspire me! You give so many of us, that love to create, HOPE! I used to cross stitch and after seeing yours, I am getting back into it! Thanks so much Marian for all that you share and I will never forget the time I got to spend with you and your mom. I learned so much that day and also got to have a peak into two lovely people’s hearts. I hope your 2017 is even better and that you have no more colds!!!

  17. Naomi S.

    Marian, you did a ton of amazing things in 2016! I’m impressed at the new frontiers you’ve traveled. You worked so hard almost all the time and you still seem to be in a great mood! I’ve enjoyed so much reading about all of your projects and travels on your blog. You know yours is the second blog I started to read and although I ‘ve added others Miss Mustard Seed remains my all-time favorite.

    I hope this next year is as interesting and fun and full of accomplishments as the last year. That is, unless you would rather it be a little more slow-moving and non-productive! Maybe you’d like a long rest, but that’s not what I’m hearing from you! Anyway, I’ll be checking in daily to see what’s up. Happy, Prosperous New Year!

    p.s. You know while I was looking at the photos from 2016, I realized that I check in these days as much to see and read about Sebastian as I do anything else! He’s definitely a draw! So handsome! He’s one celebrity I’d really like to meet. After you, of course!

  18. Cindy

    I always enjoy reading and seeing your new accomplishments and adventures. You are truly talented and inspiring. You’re also down to Earth and a comfort to those of us who may be stuck in a creative dilemma or haven’t achieved our finished goals. I just love ya! Happy 2017 and may God continue to bless you and yours!
    Sincerely Cindy S


    Wow, Marian! What a great year you have had with all your accomplishments! You are so blessed with all your many talents! Your posts are wonderful and we who read your posts benefit so much from all you do — and you explain everything so well.

    Thanks, so much, for all you do for us!

    Sebastian looks so cute on your sofa! So happy that he has such a loving home!

    Bless you, Marian! Have a blessed weekend!

  20. Lauri

    Love the print over the sofa.

  21. Val Finnegan

    Marian, You are such a talented artist in so many areas. Look back on 2016 and be proud of all that
    you have accomplished!!! I am in awe of all your abilities. You are such a delight to follow.
    Keep up the great work!

  22. Gail

    What an amazing and productive year you have had. I love everything you do and always look forward to reading your blog posts. You have been the inspiration for me to cover my couch and love seat and paint several pieces of furniture over the years. Your written words of encouragement, about things not having to being perfect , kept playing in my head as i plugged along on the projects and made mistakes along the way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, encouragement and talents with all of us. You definitely have a special gift!!!

  23. Cindy Redman

    I love the recap. How did you do all that!? The ticking stool slipcover is adorable! I missed it on decor steals… …and i think the sectional is wonderful. I love the fabric on it and the color.
    Of course you know i died over the tufted sofa. I found a similar sofa at a more high end consignment store with the price starting at 1129.00 and dropping each month until it was finally around $800.00. I finally gave in and called to make them an offer and it was gone. A couple of blocks from the consignment store is the Durham Rescue mission… and i just wondered if maybe the owner didn’t want it back – that they would take it there.and donate it. Then… i was like nah – if they did it would be gone. Two weeks later i went to look for something else, and the sofa was there for $150.00! It was the coolest thing ever to pull that tag and buy that sofa. It’s not as pretty as yours, but it’s close enough. Anyway, if i hadn’t seen your tufted sofa and how amazing it looked, i might never had been on the lookout for something similar

  24. HeidiCT

    Congratulations what an amazing year!

  25. Tracie

    I love your home, style, and new addition to the family. You definitely have your own unique design voice. I have been writing comments in different parts of your blog. 🙂 I think being original doesn’t take wealth or a talent only “other people” can have. That is how we doubt ourselves instead of thinking in agreement with Jesus. We think about what we lack. WE can do it.

    Your home is lovely and from the heart. The first word I thought of when I got your book was “heartfelt.” Or “heart felt.” I thought, “That is the feeling I want my home to have, too.” I think it does. I hope so.

    You wrote a wonderful book, and I hope you write another later on. 🙂

  26. Charlotte Rector

    Love your blog!! You are a wealth of info and inspiration!! I realize you are bombarded by questions but where did you find the French style sofa (totally amazing)? This is exactly what I have been looking for—just found a French style headboard that I am wanting to tuft–well–maybe not me but someone who has the patience!! Thanks☺

  27. Tracy

    When ..Oh when your TV show going to be ?
    It would be so amazing see you go through all these adventures and journeys and watch your creativity as it happens !
    Waiting ..and hoping someday soon ?

  28. Kristine Price

    You were born to do what you do


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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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