bottling pigments & other creative rabbit holes

by | Mar 12, 2020 | Art, Artistic Endeavors, Creative Play, Home Studio, My House, Oil Painting | 23 comments

“But to be quite oneself, one must first waste a little time.”  – Elizabeth Bowen

In this busy season, I have found more of a need to fiercely protect time that is unhurried; when I permit myself to chase some creative rabbits down a few holes.  It’s in those unhurried times that we find our creative selves and discover new things.  The other day, I did just that.  I bounced from pouring artist’s pigments into pretty cork bottles, labeling them with thin masking tape, to cutting flowers, and then arranging and taking pictures of all of it.

It was necessary time; gloriously well-spent, wasted time.

It wasn’t about the act of bottling the pigments, although it put pretty things into pretty containers that I can display.  It was about interacting with pretty things and seeing where we went together.

I played and arranged and took pictures while I sang with my music and time slowly passed.

I did end up getting all of the pigments bottled between the flat lays and photoshoots.

And I put them on the shelf of the green vintage cart.  I don’t need them readily available, but I just want to have them in the open where I can admire them.

This particular creative rabbit hole ended up chasing up fresh ideas that led me down new trails and holes this week.

As someone who loves productivity, I used to view these detours as a waste and I would fight them.  It had to have something physical and clearly, immediately valuable to show for my time.  I believe it is maturity and experience that has convinced me otherwise.  The time is immensely valuable, even if it isn’t evident right away.  There is an unwinding and a searching that happens in those quiet times.

I hope you give yourself that gift.

Be bored for a little while, leave some time unplanned, and put something in pretty bottles with hand-written labels just for the sake of creating something that is beautiful to you…


  1. beverlee lyons

    Great advice and beautiful, too.
    Thank you.

  2. MaryLisa

    The apothecary jars are so cool!! The soft pallet is so lovely! Time very well spent.

  3. carla Stanley

    love your ideas! I was wondering where you got your apothecary jars.

  4. Patty

    This was a lovely post. I know I shouldn’t feel as though I need to justify my quiet time but sometimes I do. Thank you for your unintended permission.

  5. Camay

    I love days when I can waste time doing little creative things. So relaxing!

  6. Nancy

    With all of the depressing news, I plan to go down a rabbit hole and eat lots of carrots! I am going to take your advice and be productive by just simply organizing my threads and buttons. Maybe next week, I will tackle my fabric stash. The green pigment is just lovely. What is the color? iI couldn’t quite make out the label. Is there a furniture paint in this color? I want to paint my sewing table and this particular green is the ONE.

  7. Alice

    Your blog and your home and your talent is a feast for the eyes and soul soothing. Thank you for the time and effort that it takes to share it.

  8. Angela

    Will you please share where you got your bottles.

  9. Missy

    Your pigment bottles are beautiful. I love the days when I give myself permission to just “play” or fall down a rabbit hole. Those are the moments that feed my soul like nothing else. It is good to see and read about others who are also drawn to the visually beautiful in everyday life. It doesn’t have to be art, photography, or architecture, but simply how certain items purposefully placed in our homes may complement each other and make us smile. All my life I have been rearranging furniture, tweaking the pillow collection, repainting the walls or kitchen cabinets, etc., all in an effort to bring more of the underlying beauty out of my surroundings. Thank you for the daily feast for the eyes and food for the soul. I believe God is pleased when we use our talents and bring joy to others.

  10. Naomi S

    How fun and pretty the colors are. How do you use the pigments, Marian?

  11. Martha Bradford

    I was wondering how you used them also?!

  12. Lisa P

    Ahhhhh, this post is a wonderful reminder of the value of play. Thank you!

  13. Heather

    🥰🥰🥰Thank you for these thoughts and pictures! I love your acceptance and enjoyment of “rabbit holes”. Thanks for taking us along and inviting us to follow our own. What a gift!

  14. Jean

    I have mastered unproductive time but the price is a layer of guilt. I also have a good collection of dry pigments and make my own gouache. I haven’t thought about them in years. Might just have to play with them again!

  15. Michael Wurm Jr

    I love this so much! Gosh, I need to force myself into some creative time. This is giving me the encouragement!!

    Like others have asked, I’m curious where you got your bottles AND that really thin tape.

    xo Michael

    • Marian Parsons

      I’m so glad this inspired you! I got the bottles from Hobby Lobby and the tape is 1/4″ masking tape. I bought it in the drafting section at Hobby Lobby and off of Amazon.

      • Michael Wurm Jr

        Hobby Lobby for the win! I never think to go there. I guess I need to make a visit. Thank you!!

        xo Michael

  16. Sue

    Oh, yes. I enjoy puttering with my supplies as much as using them. It makes me happy to see them looking like art themselves. One of my favorites was putting MMS Milk Paint samples into tiny mason jars and making labels for the tops by sprinkling a bit of the paint on top with a drop of water and “finger painting” the lids. Another favorite is tearing up vintage sheets to use as paint rags, putting a bunch of vintage handkerchiefs in a basket on the bookshelf to take down and go through when I need to de-stress…I could go on and on LOL. All to say that -yes!- puttering is never wasted time. ❤️

  17. Sharon Rexroad

    Down-time (and being messy) led me to creating my first Doily Magic quilt. So I never discount time spent letting my creative juices just flow in whatever direction they want to flow.

  18. monique

    I bought pigments in Provence and have them displayed in my art/craft room but in their original pretty in the ones you have chosen.And all these colors are just so relaxing w/ your index card painting.

  19. Margaret Robinson

    If you did the wonderful paintings on the files, you need to think about making them available to your public. These are gorgeous and whilst I have pretty/ingenious ones from our local stores, these would be fun to have too. Beautiful colors!

  20. Chanell

    Yes where did you find those jars!

  21. Kathy

    I love everything about this post! The colors are so relaxing. Can you tell me what the sample paint squares are painted on. Material?


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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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