controlling the studio chaos…

by | Mar 31, 2016 | Artistic Endeavors, buying & selling antiques, Running a Business | 48 comments

As you may have guessed from all of the furniture reveal posts lately (and there are still more to come), the studio is getting pretty full!  We have a lot of space (about 2500 square feet), but we have “areas” for different tasks…shipping, storage, sewing, a counter and our desks, workshop area, and a work/staging/photography area.

I just realized as I’m typing this out that I should do a video tour!  It’s on the to-do list now.

So, the work/staging/photography area is the side of the studio that receives the best light and it’s where we are most often.  It’s where all of the painting, upholstering, refinishing and staging has been happening and it’s gotten a little out of control over the past few weeks.  Okay, a lot out of control.  It’s quite the maze.


Kriste has been getting twitchy just looking at it.  She’s the girl who usually puts all of my furniture in a line, like little school children.  She would give the mess a sideways look and I would tell her not to worry about it.  We’ll sort it out later.

Well, I had the studio to myself today and the mess was now distracting to me.  My creativity felt stuffed.  I wanted to paint, but instead, I stood, hands on hips, lips pursed, debating how I could tackle moving all of this furniture by myself.  I cranked up the music (Frank and Ella) and started scooting and high-stepping my way through the maze.

I can’t fully stage my space the way it will be at Lucketts, since I’ll be in a 20′ x 40′ tent this year, but I can at least make some groupings, so I can see what I need to finish the space.

I made a little living room grouping…


Yes, I’m going to sell my painted Mora clock…



I pretty much want to pack up that whole corner and take it home with me.


Arranging things like this really helps me see what I need to shop for and a lot of empty shelf space means I need more “smalls” or accessories.

mms-6049 mms-6061

I haven’t yet shared this sweet pine table/desk I picked up a couple of weeks ago.  I was drawn to the European look of it.  It would make a great side table, foyer/hall table or a small desk for letter writing or working on a laptop.


I also found two pairs of wooden shoes on separate shopping trips.  One adult pair…


…and one little itty-bitty, melt-your-heart sized pair…

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I actually had a pair of wooden shoes when I was a kid.  My dad was stationed in Germany and picked them up on his travels for me and my brother.  I loved them so much that I took them to school to wear as my “indoor” shoes during the winter months (when we had to change out of our snow gear). I’d be clogging through the hallways, thinking those shoes were the most amazing things.

Clearly, I wasn’t very cool.


I also set up a little eating area…


I’m still looking for a set of four chairs for this table…


The sibling to hardware cabinet no. 1 is the backdrop…


And I set up a kitchen area with the dry sink and a few other “kitchen-y” pieces.

mms-6068 mms-6069

I fit other pieces in around these larger groupings…


…and then tucked in all of the “littles”, which is my favorite part.


I can create these little moments and vignettes that will, hopefully, make people want to lean in, linger and make several rounds in my space to ensure they don’t miss any treasures.

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I also did some tidying up, ran the vacuum and priced some pieces waiting for their stickers and tags.  Kriste and my mom will be in the studio tomorrow to help with more painting and now I feel like we have the literal and creative space to get a lot done…


  1. Karen

    Now I have to mop the drool off of my keyboard LOL! Stunning! magnificent! amazing. I want it all.

  2. Lora

    I can’t quite tell what the ironstone thing is on the bottom shelf of the armoire in the “living room” but I know I need it!

  3. Victoria

    iPhone ad pop up ruining this post in both explorer and Bloglovin. Don’t know if you have any control over it but thought you’d want to know. It’s constantly taking you away to an ad site and won’t let me read the article

  4. karen

    Did you go to a Waldorf school by chance? Indoor shoes? My kids do…we love Steiner 🙂

    • marian

      I went to an American school mostly for military kids when I was wearing the wooden shoes. Otherwise I went to Department of Defense (DoD) schools when we lived on a military base.

  5. Debbie w

    Marian, I love your workspace….imagine all this in your home and basement!! Good luck at Luckett’s!

  6. Ariel

    I equate your space to heaven, every single find is something I would want in my home. Haha. Such lovely taste and beautiful work refinishing pieces, I would go nuts if I was able to go to the Spring Market and shop your space. Still working on talking my husband into it!

    It must be so exciting to see all your hard work coming together so beautifully. You are so close! I bet you have next to no left overs at the end…everything is just perfect and there is literally something for everyone!

  7. Ariel

    Also…is that Cindy Austin painting in the background your original that is used for staging or did you manage to get a print/giclee to sell at Luckett’s? That one is my absolute favorite, I would most definitely drive down to get my hands on it. Haha. She needs to sell that one in her etsy shop!

    • marian

      It is an original and she’s working on making prints available for it. I will post when they are available.

  8. Terri

    Looks amazing. I now understand how the small items really make a booth. I think you will sell out this year!

  9. Hannah Rose

    So jealous of the person who gets that Mora clock!!!

    • Robin Leach

      That’s what I want to know!

    • marian

      It is a reproduction that I painted, so I figure I can always get another one! I don’t really have the perfect spot for it in my house.

  10. Jenny

    Love the little wooden shoes!

  11. Kris

    Depending on the time of year, around my neck of the woods you wouldn’t be seen as odd wearing wooden shoes. I’m in west Michigan, which has a large Dutch population. Every spring in Holland, MI, there is a tulip festival, complete with folks dressed in traditional Dutch costumes, participating in dances, sweeping the streets, etc. It’s fun to see.

  12. DeAnna

    I think you’re pretty cool! I just love all the painted pieces and goods you’ve put together. Your vignettes are beautiful. I could move them into my home right now and be so happy 🙂 Love it all Marian. Have a wonderful day!

  13. Nan, Odessa, DE

    Didn’t spot he little “tall boy”. I would love to buy this piece!
    Don’t forget when you to the show to keep us “stay at homes” posted as you did before.

  14. Kay

    Now I’m thinking I need to be there on Friday as well! Are the quilts coming to Lucketts? There is always room for another vintage quilt at my house.

    • marian

      Yes. Everything in the pictures (from the second one down) will be coming to Lucketts.

  15. Linda

    I love it all. How much is that little table selling for. I am willing to pick it up.

  16. Jill

    Wow, that’s a lot of (great) stuff! How many truckloads will it take to transport all of your inventory to Lucketts (and when is the show)? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • marian

      Usually, we can fit everything in a 20′ truck along with my van and a pick-up truck, maybe with our open trailer. It is a lot this year, though!

  17. Marlene Stephenson

    So much i would like to have,but first i would have to part with some things. It’s all so very wonderful!!!!!!!!

  18. Melissa Leach

    I, too, am from Holland, Michigan. Your wooden shoes brought back so many happy memories. I’m not Dutch but when in Holland during Tulip Time everyone is Dutch, even the tulips 🙂

    Your Ironstone pieces are beautiful. Great job, you must be feeling fulfilled with your progress.

  19. Cheryl

    Wonderful things, wish I lived closer!! Great pictures!!

  20. phyllis henry

    I’ve finally stopped crying that I missed out on the brushes and French milled soap-I never knew they had been listed and….oh well. Perhaps you will make them available again for those of us who must shop online. Today my heart is taken with the small painted stool with the woven top. Ahhhhh-it is simply one of my favorites in the vignette. If you did the top of it, I hope you can share directions.
    Lastly, I fully understand the need to stage your “shop” as I’m sure it allows you the fantasy we all have to play furniture stylist. Perhaps it also makes it easier to part with your treasures if you have “lived” with them, even for a short time. The collection is unified and beautiful, so I expect that you will have trouble maintaining the look as pieces are purchased. I know that you will be artful to restock in the most thoughtful way, and I look forward to your stories upon your return. Good luck to you and all of the very blessed shoppers that can travel to meet you. Thanks again for sharing so much of how you process every detail of your designs and displays. I am always inspired by what you do.

    • marian

      I have ordered more brushes and soaps and will list them again soon! I’m sorry it all sells out so fast! I am working on some ideas to do more online selling, so customers who aren’t local and have more buying options from me.

      Yes, I love that stool!! When I bought it, the legs were unpainted, so it looked more mid-century modern, believe it or not. We painted the legs in Farmhouse White and it made the rushing pop. Kriste and I both love it, too.

      Yes, the booth looks pretty ransacked after just a few hours and I have to run around and rearrange, but that’s just how it goes!

  21. Amelia Green

    Can you tell me about the garde manger in the last photo? I love it! Where did you find it?

    Love reading your blog everyday!

    • marian

      I actually bought it from a wholesale company, so it is a reproduction. It was an add-on order to get me above the minimum order requirement. It was sort of a sad brown and didn’t look very special to me, so I painted it in Farmhouse White, screens and all, and I think it looks so much better! I’m going to share some more pictures of it and details on it.

  22. Rita C at Panoply

    Wowee, what a beautiful mess (and some, obviously, not messy at all) you’ve got going on in there! Um yea, I would think that corner you speak of would be perfect for your home. And that hardware cabinet is truly amazing. Love all the details you put into your styling, Marian. Anybody who shops Lucketts will be lucky to buy from your picks.

  23. Krista

    Love it all! Looks awesome! I agree with others…that clock would be hard to part with!

  24. Christina

    Oh, I want the blue quilts!! I have been looking for simple blue and white forever. We just moved to Texas after 12 years in The Netherlands and my house is ful of blue and white transferware. I even have an old cheese cart like they use in the Dutch cheese markets to hang them on!

  25. B Folk

    Your “smalls” and accent pieces really make the vignettes (the juggling pins, old fan, wooden shoes, birdcage, etc.). Please do post a follow-up or two after the Market for us far-away followers!

  26. Iris

    Everything is just gorgeous and that little glass cabinet at the end is to die for!

  27. Laurie

    What a good idea to get rid of the messy look by arranging stuff by room!

  28. Cheryl McIntire

    Oh I already have my ticket bought. I just need to shop your booth Marian. I love the clock the wooden shoes and the little pine table. All your things warm my heart

  29. Celeste Nelson

    This was helpful:) But what did you do before you had a nice studio space to work in? I’m still in the “garage”/ “wherever I can find” space:((
    Ps. I love MMS Milkpaint:)

  30. Patty Kasparian

    It was so great to peruse this post. Everything looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  31. Jenny Riley

    Oh to just spend a day in your studio!! I was wondering what the color is on that pretty dresser with the natural wood top? Farmhouse white? So pretty!

  32. Jen Banker

    Are you selling those quilts?!?

  33. Mercy

  34. Jennifer Banker

    I am so sad that I can’t make it to Luckett’s! I’ve already told my husband that I’m going next year, no matter what!!

  35. Marcia

    Love the studio organized “caos”! kisses ML

  36. Michelle

    I am so sad I can not make it to Luckett’s again this year. Every year you have more and more that I would love to buy. I love it all but the last two pictures caught my eye. I have been searching everywhere for juggling pins and that little display case is so sweet.

    I would love to spend a day in your studio. I love it all.

  37. Shawnett

    What are the skinny antique/vintage looking pins that resemble bowling pins called?

  38. Kathy

    I’m a new printerest person… And a senior ….. Are your “goodies” for sale and if so, how do I go about purchasing? I would like to purchase some iron stone and quilts.

  39. Amelia Green

    are you still planning on posting some more pictures of the garde manger? I would love to hear more about it.


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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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