christmas decorating begins & other things

by | Nov 27, 2016 | All Things Home, Decorating, Holiday | 34 comments

The past couple of years, I have reserved Christmas decorating for myself and my family.  I shared what I did on my blog, but I wasn’t doing things just to blog about them.

I needed it after years of Christmas going until February (due to photo shoots), circling back again in April (for freelance projects), and making an early appearance in September (for retail.)  By the time December rolled around, I was, quite unfortunately, weary of Christmas.  I have always loved the Christmas season and decorating for it, but having it so intertwined with work sucked some of the joy out of it.  (Sort of like the years I spent working at Disney.  It’s a magical place, but it becomes slightly less so when you see the underbelly of it all.)

The past couple of years have really helped bring back the joy.  Kriste & I “played hooky” from work one day last December to make gingerbread houses and ornaments.  I only set up one big tree and didn’t feel like every room needed to be decked out.  I took my time decorating, creating a festive ambiance, while keeping things simple.  Last year, I even took a full week of vacation time, which I hadn’t done completely (without at least scheduling posts ahead of time) since I first started my blog.

Our family tradition has always been to decorate right after Thanksgiving, so that’s what we’re doing again this year.  During our trip to Raleigh to enjoy turkey and football with Jeff’s family, I picked up a few Christmas decorations to add to what I already had.

I bought these sweet metal house ornaments from Michael’s…


…the “jingle stars” from Harris Teeter ( of all random places)…


…and the wooden snowflakes from HomeGoods.  I bought all of the ones I could find at the HomeGoods closest to me to hang on my chandelier, but I found a few more in Raleigh to add to the collection and I’ll use them as ornaments on the tree.


Speaking of HomeGoods, I’m looking for another set of these French steak knives (photographed below.)  They come in sets of six at HomeGoods, but I’ve only been able to find one set. If you come across a cream set and would be willing to snag it for me, I would buy it and pay shipping, etc.  (They can be found online, but they are a lot more expensive.)  Someone found them for me, so thanks to everyone who looked!!  You are all awesome.


Anyway, back to Christmas!  I wanted to force some paper whites this year, so I bought some bulbs and they are under way!


They look a little like alien tentacles at this point, but I’m holding out hope that they’ll be beautiful by Christmas.

I nestled them in some small rocks topped with a little moss and added some water.  Hopefully I did it right!


…and, I got my first order from Society6 – a couple of pillows and some cards.


This is the “Hope Your Christmas Rocks” pillow


Lats week, I added a snowman I painted for my mom.  I gave her the original for her birthday, because she was the one who requested a snowman.  I added it to the Society6 shop, though, and she ordered the design in an iPhone case.


I really worked on using warm and cool colors to show light in this one and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out.  Well, I always waffle between being proud of something and wanting to throw it in the trash!  I try to focus on the former instead of the latter, so I don’t quit the endeavor altogether.


It does help me to remember that art is a discipline, not just a creative outlet.  Practice is crucial for improvement.  So, after unpacking and getting out a few Christmas decorations, I stole away some time to practice.

I was inspired by a Bible verse I heard referenced a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve started carrying around a small notebook and lately, it’s not unusual for me to pull it out and feverishly scribble an idea or doodle.  I told Jeff I have to do it or else I am so focused on not forgetting the idea that I can’t focus on anything else!  I write it down and then I can relax. So, the verse I jotted down was Psalm 33:7 – He gathers the waters of the sea into jars…”  What beautiful imagery and I immediately wanted to paint it.

This is my first practice painting…


I’m going to look at more jars and more whales and take another stab at it, but I wanted to share my progress.

So, this week should be fun.  Painting, decorating, making gingerbread houses, moving into my art cabinet, AND I have a meeting about the Lucketts Spring Market!  Yes, already.  The planning and push to our biggest event of the year isn’t in the too distant future.

But first, Christmas…


  1. Susan Guynes

    I went out after you purchased the knives and found only one set. I have been on the hunt for another set for myself. If I find more I will let you know. Now to go hunt down the snowflakes!

    • marian

      Susan, another readers found two sets. Since I just need one, she is offering to ship the other set to you. Send me an e-mail if you’re interested!

      • Susan Guynes

        I sent you an email.

  2. Kathy Nelson

    I was delighted to see the snowman print in your Society 6 collection, and I ordered one of the snowman pillows. It came yesterday and I was surprised that it came with the insert. I collect and am drawn to snowmen, which makes me an expert on them:), and I love it. And now I have a Miss Mustard Seed snowman in my collection. I know that you consider your art a work in progress but you did a beautiful job on him. Happy Decorating! Kathy

  3. Brittany

    That whale in the jar is adorable! You are so talented!

  4. Marsha Kern

    It all is lovely! You are so talented.

  5. Lisa Phipps

    Hi Marian,
    I received the sheep rectangular pillow Friday. It’s adorable. It goes perfectly with the “2nd Landscape Dresser” that I purchased from you in July. Both the dresser and the pillow are beautiful and I love them!! Can’t wait to see your house decorated. Merry Christmas!!

  6. Laurinda Dawson

    Will the whale in the jar be on Society 6? It’s darling!

  7. Brandy

    Love the whale in the jar! Great visual for the verse.

  8. Geri

    Love the Little metal house ornaments from Michael’s, Are they available this year>? Thank you

    • marian

      Yes! I just bought them a few days ago. I did wipe out the entire bin at my Michael’s, though!

      • Geri

        Oh I sure hope they still have them at my Michael’s, How many different ones were there, Love, Love them, so adorable. I will check my HomeGoods tomorrow morning for the steak knives and let u know.

  9. Vicki K

    Love how you painted the trees in the Snowman painting! –

  10. Helen

    Just ordered 3 of the “Hope your Christmas rocks” pillows. One for myself and 2 for gifts. Love your work and your blog.

  11. MaryLisa Noyes

    You could try Tuesday Morning for the knives.

  12. debbie

    I will look at my local HomeGoods for the knives. I bought the adorable rocking horse pillow cover. If you ever decide to sell the blue checked French chairs you have the rocking horse pillow on, I would love to purchase them. I had some exactly like them (different fabric) that I loved and in one of my many moves, I sold them regrettably. My sweet mom who has passed gave them to me. I rarely regret selling anything but those are the exception.

  13. Denise Cox

    Marian, I love ALL all of your watercolor works!! I wish I had one of each! And I so enjoy how you create/design your vignettes onto your furniture pieces. If I lived close to you, I would be buying all your pieces!!!! Plus, I adore and collect snowmen and your rendition is lovely. Keep up the great work and thank-you so much for sharing with us.

  14. Deb

    I really love your art!
    Tha whale in the jar is fun!

  15. Mary Kaiser

    What type and brand of paper do you use for your watercolor? You have inspired me to try my hand at it!

  16. Cheryl

    You’re so talented!! It’s funny how an artist can criticize their own work and not see the beauty that others can see. But you are right about one thing, practice is always needed to improve. Love your whale in the jar and your snowman. Actually everything you have done I have loved. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  17. Karen

    Hi Marian.

    Just received the hemp sheets that I ordered .

    Beautiful packaging and the sheets were as beautiful as you described. I am dropping them off at my upholsterer on Wednesday for my set of French chairs. Thanks so much!!
    Your stuff is lovely.


  18. Wendy

    I absolutely love your watercolor paintings, especially your blue and white toile. Will you be adding it to your Society6 shop? I would love to purchase it.



  19. Sandi Allen

    Love, Love, Love the Snowman painting!
    Snowmen are my absolute favorite and your is beautiful!


  20. Randi

    I am loving those snowflakes! You are on your way to some lovely Christmas decorating!

  21. Sada

    All so gorgeous….the pillow, the snowflakes…..the quote….beautiful!

  22. Terri

    I will check my store for your knives. crossing fingers!

  23. Amanda Dawdy


    I have those knives you are in need of. I’m in Las Vegas and picked them up this weekend (they looked amazing on your table). I think there was another set of the white if you need them as well. I can run back and grab them. Let me know and I will ship to the address requested.


  24. Rosana

    I sent you an email earlier today about the knives you were looking for. Let me know if you didn’t get it.

  25. Pat Lingner

    I just ordered the Hope Your Christmas Rocks pillow a couple of days ago after seeing the print on The Purple Hydrangeas FB post! I was originally looking at the print then saw the pillow, I can’t wait for it to arrive! I have a small wooden rocking horse that always comes out at Christmas and can’t wait to pair it up with the pillow!
    Love your blog and your art!

  26. patti colin

    Were the wooden snowflakes purchased at HomeGoods, if not can you advise where you purchased them. Than you.. You are an amazing inspiration to the Holidays…..

    • marian

      I bought some at HomeGoods and some at TJMaxx, so I would look at both places.

  27. Sheila

    I love those ornaments you found, so off to Home Goods, TJ Maxx, and Michaels I went. I didn’t find anything. I did find some nice laser cut snowflake ornaments at Michaels I’ll paint and Home Goods had the cutest strings of wooden lights. I might go back for those.

  28. Jared

    The imagery from the KJV would be cool to paint as well: He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Love the paintings!


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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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