December Books of the Week

by | Jan 13, 2021 | a slice of life, Favorite Things | 6 comments

Well, it’s our last book of the week post for 2020 and I have decided to not continue with sharing a book for each week into 2021.  Instead, we’ll mix it up a little bit and I’ll just share some favorites from a variety of categories, including books.  I love my resource library, though, and I’m glad I shared 52 of my favorite books with you last year!  It gave me an excuse to visit some old favorites and to purchase some new ones to review.

Here are the books I picked to finish out the year…

The Painted Art Journal

I love just about everything that comes from Jeanne Oliver.  I bought her ruffled camera bag and some clothes from her website about 10 years ago!  Since then, I have followed her creative journey and we even met up for coffee when her family was visiting Gettysburg, PA.  She is not only a creative force but a great encourager and champion for other creatives.   The Painted Art Journal is an extension of all of that.  It is a book about creative play – about creating in an intentional way while also allowing happy accidents.  I tend to have a hard time letting go and just letting things happen when I’m creating.  I don’t like messes and that means I can miss out on the beauty that can be discovered when you drop your self-consciousness and just play.   It’s for that reason that I love this book and it has encouraged me to get into my sketchbooks and create without expectation more often.

The painted art journal | miss mustard seed

I’ve recently pulled it off the shelf again to revisit some of the exercises.

the painted art journal | miss mustard seed

Super Simple

I bought Half Baked Harvest Super Simple not noticing that the book was written by Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest!  When I got home and started looking through it, I was delighted to see that I had purchased one of her cookbooks.  I have enjoyed making many of the recipes that she shares on Instagram and her website.  This book is filled with wonderful, tasty recipes.  Beyond that, I love studying her food styling and photography.  She has an amazing talent for presenting food.  So, I’ve enjoyed this book from a culinary standpoint as well as a creative one.

half baked harvest | super simple | miss mustard seed

I made the cinnamon rolls in this book for Christmas (minus the chai flavoring) and they were the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.  They were the perfect balance of sweet icing/filling and savory bread.

half baked harvest | super simple | miss mustard seed

The Color Scheme Bible

I was introduced to The Color Scheme Bible in a Jeanne Oliver class taught by Melissa Fink.  I knew it would be right up my alley and it definitely is.  It’s a book for interior design specifically, but there are so many artistic and creative applications.  I immediately read through it and marked pages of color palettes I liked.

the color scheme bible | miss mustard seed

Using one of the color schemes in a painting or creative project would be a great way to break out of a slump and explore new color combinations.  It’s just another great resource to add to the shelf if you do a lot of design work (or you just love color!)

The color scheme bible | miss mustard seed

Encyclopedia of Sewing & Fabric Crafts

I selected Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing & Fabrics because it is another great resource if you like making things and exploring new mediums to create with.  The way I like to use this book is to look for project ideas or how to do something and then I’ll make it in my own way.

martha stewart's encyclopedia of sewing & fabric crafts | miss mustard seed

As with all of Martha’s books, the photography is clean and lovely and all of the information is detailed and from professionals who really know what they are doing.

martha stewart's encyclopedia of sewing & fabric crafts | miss mustard seed

The Perfect English Farmhouse

If you like farmhouse style or primitives, you will love Perfect English Farmhouse.  First of all, it’s just a beautiful book.  The photography is amazing and the homes featured are unique and interesting to study.  I also love that the styling is very relaxed.  The homes look lived-in and not overly edited and styled for the photos.  While I love a beautifully-styled photo, it’s refreshing to see the spaces are enjoyed and lived it.  It gives them rooms even more soul.

I looked through this one a lot over Christmas break, enjoying the old homes vicariously through the stories about the families who live there.

So, I felt like it was the perfect book to round out the year.

If you missed the rest of the books of the week that I shared in 2020, you can find them below…

January 2020

Making a Life | Martha Stewart’s Organizing | Essentialism | Slipcover Style | Daily Painting

February 2020

City Farmhouse Style | A Place for Everything | Color: A Visual History | Conscious Creativity

March 2020

The Life of a Bowerbird | New Americana | Making Winter | Painting Clouds & Skies in Oil

April 2020

The Art of Beatrix Potter | BHG New Cookbook | Nora Murphy’s Country House Style | BHG Trade Secrets | Simply Living Well

May 2020

The Art of Still Life | Cozy Minimalist Home | Creating a New Old House | Keep Going

June 2020

All Along You Were Blooming | Furniture Makes the Room | On Flowers | French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings | Get Your House Right

July 2020

New Farmhouse Style | Mastering Composition | Beautiful | Spruce

August 2020

The Stuff of Life | Old Home Love | Beginning Drawing Atelier | BHG Decorating Book 1961

September 2020

John Singer Sargent Portraits in Charcoal | Welcome Home | Great Country French Style | Arriving Home

October 2020

The Organic Artist | The Beauty of Home | Inspired You | In the Mood for Colour

November 2020

Landscape Painting: The Complete Guide | Pierre Deux’s French Country | Aged to Perfection | Shadow & Light



  1. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

    Ah books!
    I’d be a wealthy woman were it not for books and animal food.
    Thanks for the share; I see some new favorites.

  2. Sue

    Aw, I am sad to see the books of the month go as I really enjoyed the variety. However, I am sure you have plenty of beautiful things in store for us for 2021!

  3. Michele

    I have two other books by Ros Byam Shaw that I love! The photography and writing is inspiring. I need to reread them!

  4. Sandra

    What ! No more book reviews….please don’t cut us off completely

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh no…I will still do book reviews! I just won’t be doing it as a “book of the week” feature. I’ll review books either as a part of my favorites posts or in stand-alone posts on specific book topics.

  5. Rene Walker

    Thank you for your book reviews. During the pandemic when in person book shopping was not possible these reviews were a saving grace. I have ordered at least 8 of your recommended books and i have enjoyed each and every one. They brought joy, beauty and inspiration into my home.


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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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