Everyone Starts Somewhere

by | Dec 18, 2011 | Holiday, my business story, Running a Business | 69 comments

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I’ve been asked on a few occasions to share pictures of the ornaments I painted when I first started my business three years ago. I always felt a little embarrassed to show them, so I haven’t.   They’re not really my style, but I decided to keep the ones I didn’t sell.  I knew they were a part of the history of my business and great reminders that often times success comes out of failures and things don’t always go as planned.  I also painted each one of these by hand at a time when I really needed a creative outlet.  I stayed up late into the night and painted these over my kitchen counter while the rest of my family slept.  I would sneak some time with them while my then 1 1/2 year old was playing and my four month old was at my ankles.  These are certainly not the best things I ever made, but they are maybe the most special.  There will always be memories tied to them.  Memories of how my family encouraged me to start my business and how my mom drove me from shop to shop to find someone who would sell them on consignment.  They also remind me how far I’ve come and how much God has blessed this little endeavor of mine that was started at a tough time in my life and has grown beyond any expectation I had for it.




They’re also perfect for my family at this season of life.  My boys are now 3 and 4 and they love these ornaments.  They are colorful and durable and I don’t mind if they pull an airplane off the tree to fly it around the family room.


So now, I’m not embarrassed to show them off.  It’s important to share where I started.

…because everyone has to start somewhere.

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    1. Brenda

      Love this post. Thank you!

    2. Jennifer Grenko

      They are actually very good. I have no idea how to do this so I am impressed! I love the tiny lettering, so neat and cute. Merry Christmas!!

    3. ange

      Thanks for posting this as an encouragement to all of us. I do have to say, I think the train is super cute and they are all actually really good! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    4. Melodye

      Marian — I have learned to not be ashamed of my first attempts at decorative painting. The second year I painted, I put all of my first projects away because they looked so clumsy. I then learned that they ARE part of my journey, my journey in life. As my abilities become limited from MS, I look back at those and am so thankful that I learned to paint before my skills were diminished. I remember something Oprah said years ago… If you don’t tell people how old you are, which year(s) are you willing to eliminate from your life’s journey? (paraphrased). You inspire me! Thank you!


    5. Tricia Rose

      This is very true, the history of early efforts is telling, and you can see how far you’ve come and also that these things you weren’t certain of have their own charm. All in favour of robust decorations that children can actually enjoy, hands on!

    6. wendy

      what a very nice sentimental posting. its service as a pep talk for those with less rose and more thorn shines through time. it must also feel good that as you look back, your character has remained true, even as documented samples of your art show change. not everyone can start at such a high point with something so personally meaningful, decorative and practical.
      happy holidays to you and yours, miss marion.

    7. Jacqueline


    8. barbara

      vielen Dank, liebe Marian! Du kannst stolz sein auf all die Berge, die du bereits versetzt hast! go on and thank you for your honesty!

    9. Gwen@theboldabode

      I have always wondered about these! Thanks for showing them.

    10. Mosaic Diva

      I think the ornaments are precious! They would be perfect for those who put up a children’s tree where it is ok to touch and play with the ornaments. Love them!

    11. Shelly Andrade

      Thanx Marian!

      Great reminder that there’s still hope. I’m just starting out have gotten so discouraged during this growing/learning process of starting your own business. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback online, but am struggling locally to get the word out. In the meantime, the money keeps pouring out while it only trickles in. I know I need to be patient and trust, but it’s tough when the bank account is empty. Thanx for the inspiration.

      A hui hou ~ Shelly Andrade

    12. Katie @ Wildwood Creek

      Thank you for the encouragement and for taking us on a look back at your journey!

    13. Linda S. in NE

      I have really enjoyed this post. So honest and true. I am glad you saved these ornaments because all are beautiful, and like you said, perfect for this time in your Son’s lives. Kudo’s to you for your honesty and strength to push through and continue forward during a difficult time. Linda S. in NE

    14. Becca Van Hoose

      I don’t see how you could have ever been embarrassed by these..they are so cute! All of your stuff is special and unique don’t ever feel like you need to be embarrassed.

    15. Vickie H.

      I actually think they are incredibly sweet! I am proud of you and proud FOR you that you took that first leap of faith. From little acorns……..! May you continue to have monumental success!

    16. Jennifer Rizzo

      Ha ha. That brings back memories! I stared painting snowmen on ball jars. Those are cute ornaments!

    17. Kris

      It’s good to look back and see our progress and you definitely had a good start. Those ornaments are adorable and creative and I’m sure will be treasured for years to come. Thanks so much for sharing your process!

    18. Pumpkin Pie Painter

      So fun!!! And a great encouragement, too! I wondered how you lived with such niceness all around and little kids as well. I seem to find marker on unusual places in my house with my two year old being as mischievous as she is, and my 5 year old son just broke one of my nice crocks. It’s hard because my nine year old has to have markers and things, but my two year old uses them to torment me! I hate putting everything up or away til they’re older; life needs to be lived now. So I found great solace in decorating my little white tree on the porch with my own decorations and letting them have the main tree. But you’re right. The main tree holds the most treasured memories on it. 🙂 Thanks for being “brave” and sharing! 🙂

    19. Beth

      Girl, those ornaments are great! I would buy those in a second. I love kid oriented decor, I have 5 kids so I naturally lean that way…kid chic! Thanks for sharing, but those are def not embarrassing! As always, you are the homecoming queen! ha ha!

    20. Ginger

      Keepin’ it real Momma! We all have stuff we look back at that for us may be cringe worthy. But at the time, we loved them, and were proud of them, and they were great. And they tell a history. This was a great post.

    21. Lorrie

      and though it’s been said, many times many ways… This was a very inspirational post, I’m sure you have helped many of us newbees to hang in there! and the ornaments are really cute! Thanks again!

    22. Tatyana

      Very original and cute!

    23. Vickie

      I look back at some of my “crafts” and Christmas ornaments from years ago and like you, they bring back memories of where I was in life at the time. A few have been conveniently disposed of, but that’s our little secret.

    24. Debbie~refreshrestyle

      It’s funny how things change, but always great to see where we started! Love this.

    25. Pam James

      Love it. The ornaments are darling and I’d buy them today–but a far cry from the German glass glitter that was this year. You’ve come a long way, Baby!

    26. Mary in Oregon

      These ornaments are not, I repeat, NOT failures. I think they are perfect for trees in homes with a new pet, and young children! When my daughter was a toddler I did not want to take away the Christmas spirit and fun of the tree and its ornaments from her! Our tree was mostly covered with felt ornaments and paper chains. All of the vintage glass ornaments from my childhood as well as ones I had purchased when I lived in Germany were kept stored away for a more safe Christmas in the future! I think that you had just more of that type of ornaments for sale that you had buyers for. They are creative, well-made and perfect!

      Mary in Oregon

      • Miss Mustard Seed

        Thanks, Mary! Yes, I didn’t mean the ornaments were failures, but my efforts in selling them were marked by a few failures.

        • Kim Wagner

          Well it did not help that we were trying to sell them just 3 weeks before Christmas. But those ornaments got your foot in the door – and I love mine. They were made with love and care and were truly the beginning of something that we could have never imagined. Mama Mustardsed

    27. Little Bit

      They are sweet! I totally know what you’re saying too. Now that my kids are all grown up I cherish the ornaments I made when they were babes, but don’t really want to show them off either. Proof that it is the memories worth cherishing, not the material things. Little Bit

    28. Cindi @ Rustique Art

      I love that you shared this part of you with us. This brings back the memories of my beginner designs too. I often stumble across old photos of my crosses made back in 2003 and I blush, then I think of the changes my designs have gone thru and then I smile, because just as you said, “everyone has to begin somewhere”. How true those words are. Your ornaments will be on your grand children’s tree someday, wow! how cool is that? 🙂
      Merry Christmas,

    29. jamie

      oh my gosh, I’m coveting your handwriting right now! I especially love the choo choo. And so what if it isn’t your style… they are a beautiful part of your journey! Thanks so much for sharing these precious parts of the MMS history 🙂

    30. Debbie G

      I think the ornaments are very cute…. really like the “jingle bells”.
      Thanks for sharing these. I have recently begun quilting and hope to sell things I make. This was an encouragement to me to continue to follow the dream the Lord has put in my heart.

    31. DebZorn

      I love your ornaments. I love that they’re durable. My oldest daughter has four children. When she put up her Christmas tree, she also invests in a new bottle of super glue 🙂

    32. Cindy

      Awwwwww, they’re adorable. See…. even then you needed to create.. and you found a way to do it, even if you had to wait until everyone was in bed….

      I love love your story of success


    33. Leslie @ Farm Fresh Fun

      What a heart warming post (full of cute eye candy too)! I just had clients in and was explaining how our tree is soooo different from the formal trees of my past…. They loved all the kid friendly/handmade ornaments probably better than they might have my vintage treasures. i think family history is important and makes the holidays special. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and talent! I’m excited to follow your book adventures and fun in 2012!!!
      Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family,

    34. Calli

      Thank you for sharing so much of your journey and reminding us we all start somewhere. You are an inspiration.

    35. Danielle

      Thank you for sharing the ornaments and this story. Very inspiring. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

    36. Traci Remley

      This is a beautiful story. I love them even more now that I know the background.

    37. Heather Lucas

      Thanks for sharing! I think they are too cute and Im totally blown away with the lettering. This story made my eyes well up, the beginning is always the hardest part.

    38. Beth Marohn

      As with everything, it shows that we’ve made progress and gained experience and learned from where we’ve started. I think the ornaments are actually pretty cute -especially for your children and at least they have something that their momma made for them that they can cherish for a lifetime and pass on their children.

    39. Sarah

      I think the snowflake one is adorable! And you’re right, we do all start somewhere! It’s an important lesson to remember.

    40. Dixie Redmond

      There is a biblical reference in the OT about “not despising the day of small beginnings.” I just wrote on my blog about some of my first creations. If I were making that same creation now I would make different choices. But it is part of my journey. 🙂

      Merry Christmas!


    41. Cecelia DuPriest

      You Know…. It sort of bothers me that you would be posting about being embarrased about these ornaments…..what does that say to others posting things that are just as precious….as they are precious…. Being creative, in any stage, is what makes creativity a message from the soul!!!!! Enjoy all of your precious creeations this holiday season.

    42. Susan

      Powerful words “everyone has to start somewhere” that lead me to begin and quit second-guessing. I spend too much time seeking perfection, wondering if everyone will like, and need to just go for it. Thanks.

      • Miss Mustard Seed

        Awesome. I wish you the best, Susan.

    43. janet metzger

      Good evening Marian,
      Remember our conversation at Lucketts when we talked about how we both started out painting murals? Well now we have something else in common…back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I would stay up late after my two boys went to bed and I would paint my holiday ornaments, little folk art houses and assorted decorative painting projects. I still have many of them and display them proudly. They remind me how far I have come and I would not have missed that journey for anything.

      After all…it is all about the journey..right?

      Merry Christmas my friend,
      Janet xox
      The Empty Nest

      • Miss Mustard Seed

        Yes, well said. 🙂

    44. Jeannie-JB

      Thanks for sharing. I love the choo-choo train and the snowflake, but most of all the message.

    45. Doris

      Great post… I will always remember those words and try to pass them on!

    46. Brittany

      What a wonderful post. I always know I can come here to be uplifted or find inspiration. You truly are such a neat person. It’s good to be proud of where you started. I love the ornaments, perfect for little hands! Your so creative!

    47. SueAnn

      I love these ornaments! The are wonderful!

    48. Leslie R.

      These adorable ornaments are also proof that simple can be beautiful, as well.

    49. Designing Domesticity

      I’m not usually much of a commenter, but I just have to say “thanks” for posting this. Being a relatively new, and small, blogger I love to see how the big guys started out. Helps to know that we all have to start somewhere and their is always potential. Love your handmade ornaments. Thanks again for sharing, liz

    50. Ashley Werner

      Love this! Thanks for being so honest! It really helps to see how someone who is so successful started out:). I have a little shop and second guess myself a lot and when i go back to look at what i first sold, i am always a bit embarrassed so this was a wonderful reminder that we all start somewhere! Thanks!

    51. Linda Leyble

      Hey Marian – the ornaments are lovely. I made a few ornaments many years ago and I wish I still had them (but I gave them to my kids and as gifts). I took my kids’ old sweaters and made tree and gingerbread ornaments out of them. The starting point never really matters – it’s “the start” that’s important. When I first started doing decorative painting in 2001, I just did my own house and I practiced on sample boards in my basement. It took awhile to get me out of my own house and into a paying customer’s house…but I took the plunge (even though it was a bit safer after having practiced at home!).

      I find now that I just “do” things and I feel confident that I will figure things out. I am doing home staging and some design work as well. I think that my success in the decorative painting world gave me a lot of confidence. But, again, I had to start somewhere…but at least I started.

      Just wanted to let you know that I finally am getting a SLR camera for Christmas. I can’t wait. And I am migrating my blog from Blogger to WordPress.

      Thank for all your wonderful inspiration. You are a treasure! Merry Christmas to you and your family.


    52. Joi

      Well, I just think they are plum adorable! You really underestimate yourself, Marian!

      I just gave our youngest son the ornaments I painted many years ago my first Christmas as a new wife. They were wooden, and in a kit you punched out and painted with little pots of acrylic paint with a child’s plastic paint brush. It’s a wonder they turned out at all with that flimsy little brush, but they remain a memory of that first Christmas, and all the Christmases since.

      And while I’m here, I just want to say thank you for all the time you dedicate to blogging, teaching and inspiring us all. I so enjoy visiting with you each day.

      May the joy and peace of our Saviour’s birth hold you and your family close this Christmas.

      Merry Christmas!!

    53. hal

      Miss M.
      I love your ornaments, but the sentiment is even better. I have an orn. that my mom painted. She doesn’t have the muscle control to paint anymore. So it is really special. I wish that I had the “Home Sweet Home” sign that used to hang over her bedroom door.
      Happiest of Holidays to you!

    54. Melissa Darr

      I love that you put these ornaments up there! They’re cute!

    55. Kathy Donchak

      You seem to have such great timing for me. Thank you for sharing how you have grown in your business. On those days when things do not come together perfectly it is so refreshing to see even MMS started somewhere as well. Cheers to you and your success and many blessings to you and yours in the year to come!

    56. Karen

      This is so sweet! I am so happy you kept some of them, they are definitely a part of your history. So fun your boys can enjoy them too.

    57. Denise

      Thank you so much for this. I have to admit- over the last year I have gone to several of the huge blogs (including you) and looked over the first year posts. It was encouraging to see the birth of amazing bloggers and that we all start somewhere and the growth that ensues. Inspired!

    58. Theresa

      They are wonderful! Love the train one the best…my son loves trains and would have love to have bought one of your ornaments for him…choo..choo 😉 BTW – Your home was worth the wait. Your Christmas decor is lovely!

    59. Erin Kinsey

      Love this post! I am in your shoes…but three years ago, I am currently working on getting my own shop open, up late making “crafts”, 2yr old going crazy and a very clingy 4mos on my hip. I love crafts, design, anything I can repurpose! I love you blog and this post has given me hope that I can do this and handle the challenges that go along with the venture! Have a blessed New Year!

    60. Lisa

      This is just what I was looking for this late night with too many ideas spinning in my head that I just can’t sleep. I have been wanting to do something on my own with a complete and utter fear of failure and at the same time an equal fear of success. I’ve been stuck with some amazing ideas and no idea how to get started. I need some focus, so seeing this, maybe I’ll pick one of those amazing ideas and go for it. With a “start”, maybe the others will follow:).

    61. Mimi

      God Bless you! thank you for your encouraging words. i am in that stage in life with precious little ones who need my time and attention in most every area of life….then night comes and though exhausted there is this little dream and passion to create so i stay up:) humble beginings and yes, we must start somewhere. good to hear your story!

    62. Goedele

      Encouraging words. I haven’t started a business yet, but I’m dreaming … And for the first time in life I take my dream seriously. It’s encouraging to read that even you started somewhere (though I like the ornaments).


    63. Dorrie B.

      I have to say, I’ve not been able to sleep, with what seems like a million thoughts running around in my mind. I popped online at precisely 4:52 AM in hopes that I might tire, and fall back asleep. I’ll regret it in the morning I’m sure, but I just had too keep reading. Your words and your posts have hit home for me in such a huge way. At the end of the day, everyone starts somewhere. My beginning will no doubt be different than the next persons. My motivations however, are very much the same as yours. I’m raising 5 children, and while I love being a mommy, I so desperately needed something that was my own that gave me definition apart from being a mom. I really wanted something that provided me with a creative outlet and gave me an avenue to create a home….a haven really, that would be reflective of where we are in our lives at this very moment. The notion of a few extra bucks in our pockets was also pretty enticing :-). I’m sure you’ve heard it many times over, but please know it’s from my heart when I say, you’ve been such an inspiration to me. You’ve helped me realize that what is meant to be, will be and it will happen precisely when it’s supposed to. You’ve inspired me to take a leap of faith. The above website is underway and all because of a little mustard seed inspiration 🙂 Thank you a million times over. xo

    64. Kelly

      Thank you. I really needed this! I’ve been trying to find my “start” at “something” for a very long time now. I’m creative. Passionate. Motivated. But I lack confidence in my work and taste.

      These ornaments are very, very special! I hope you keep them forever.

    65. becky

      I am newer to your blog (but not new to your book and milk paint ). Somehow this post found me tonight and started a few years back at mydinning room table,late at night while everyone was sleeping. My much needed income and outlet. I never imagined where it would take lil ole me. But me 2 not my style at first but I grew into me. Now I am taking a leap of faith and going for that next chapter . Xoxo


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    2. The Nudge… | junque*in*the*trunk - […] MMS post somehow found me on her blog late one night …. this one here https://missmustardseed.com/2011/12/everyone-starts-somewhere/ . I started at my…


    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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