February 2018 Favorites

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Favorite Things20 Comments

It’s the beginning of another month and that means it’s time to look back at some of my favorites from the previous month.  As I wrote this post, I realized that there is a theme of “spending” spread throughout the highlights.  Spending time with friends and family, how and when I spend money, spending energy on creative endeavors, and spending time appreciating accomplishments.

Here are my February favorites…

Dining Room & Office Wood Floors 


Oh my goodness, it’s amazing to have these done!  I still do a double-take every time I catch of glimpse of these rooms and I am just loving my office as it’s developing.  It’s pretty and practical and actually I’m working in the space a lot more, not just using it as storage for office-y stuff.

And I’m looking forward to refinishing the table in the dining room, putting down a rug, getting stuff on the walls, etc.

It’s just fun to see the transformation of this house.  I’m enjoying the process and the result.

Still Life Painting

This has been such a bright spot for me this month.  I didn’t know I would enjoy painting still lifes as much as I do!  It’s perhaps one of my least-favorite genres of art, but this exercise is changing my mind.  And I can already see how it’s making me a better artist.  I’m excited to venture into portraits and plein air landscape painting (just a fancy way to say painting from life outside).

I also put my paintings up for sale in an auction for the first time this month.  I was floored at how much some of them sold for, so thank you to everyone who bid.  It was bolstered my confidence to continue this pursuit.

Connecting & Snowshoeing

The women’s retreat at our church was in February and it was such a soul-nourishing time.  One of the highlights for me was going out snowshoeing with some of the women.  It was only for a short time and, between getting the equipment on, finding a trail good for both cross country skiing and snowshoeing, we were collectively a hot mess, but it was so refreshing and fun.

I told Jeff later that I felt like it was a little gift to me and a nudge for me to “get out there more”.  I’ve always been pretty content in my own company and that means I can spend days painting, working on my house, pecking away at the computer, without seeking out meaningful time with friends.

So, I’m working on that.  I’m actually taking breaks to go out for lunch, meeting up for a walk (when the weather was warm), and even just sending texts to let my new friends know I’m thinking about them and praying for them.

Small Organizing Steps

I’ve taken 10 minutes here and there to organize places in the house that were driving me nuts.  There are so many cabinets and closets and drawers that are still in the state they were in when we first settled into the house.  I just put stuff there, out of sight, to deal with later.  The lack of organization is really starting to irk me, though, especially when I’m looking for something I know I have and I can’t find it.

I’m a mild-mannered person, but I’ve found myself fuming mad while on an unsuccessful hunt for felt furniture pads or a specific drill bit.

I haven’t had time to tackle some of the larger organizing projects, like the garage, laundry room, my closet, etc., but I’m enjoying the small victories, like a tidy “junk drawer”.  Even Calvin noticed.  He opened the drawer and said, “Well, this isn’t junk anymore!”

Yes, my love for blue carries into purchases of pencils and poop bags.

Boys’ First Concert

For Christmas, we bought our family nose-bleed tickets for the Toby Mac concert in Minneapolis.  We just went this past weekend and it was so much fun!  The concert was great, but I’ve seen Toby Man several times before.  What was so fun for me was watching the boys respond to the music and to see their excitement when one of their favorite songs came on.  They also loved getting the phone flashlights out during slow songs and watching the light spread through the crowd like stars being unveiled in the night sky.

They both came home with overpriced t-shirts that fit them more like dresses and they were a little cranky the next day from lack of sleep, but it was worth it.

Seeing Dash & Albert Rug in Person

Remember the Dash & Albert rug design competition from last year?  Well, thanks to your votes, two of my rugs made it into production!  It’s been a long process, but I finally got to roll out one on the floor of my house!

It’s just a sample, so I have to take pictures, pet it, let my dog lay down on it, and then I have to send it back.  It’s so beautiful, though, and it was thrilling to see how it turned out!

The quality is great and the antique coverlet design translated just the way I wanted it to.

I will show the other one when it arrives and I’ll keep you posted when they are available to buy.


No/Low Spend February

As you probably know, my no-spend February turned into a low-spend February.  While I didn’t stick to the challenge as I laid it out, I learned a lot from it.  I got in the habit of tuning out advertising e-mails from stores I love.  I tried to use what I have before buying something new (sometimes with success and other times not.)  I put the breaks on mindless and impulsive purchases…not that I did that a lot, but any mindless and impulsive purchase isn’t a good idea!

I read a great article this month about mindless spending.  The author challenged the reader to think about all of the money they’ve wasted over the past year.  Would that add up to hundreds?  Thousands? The point wasn’t to lament misspent resources, but make better decisions in the future.  What could’ve been done with that money that would’ve been more valuable?

Yeah, that got me thinking a lot!

My hope is to carry this into the rest of the year, so I can be more mindful about how and when I spend money for my business.  Ultimately, better management of my business finances means more personal income to reach our long-term goals.

Smart Phone Phonograph

During my low spend month, I did buy something that was frivolous. I thought about it for a couple of weeks, though, and then I went back for it.  It’s a smart phone holder/amplifier that has the styling of an old phonograph.  (Affiliate link.)  If you remember, I used to own a victrola, but I sold it when we moved.  This is a $17 modern kind-of-replacement that makes me smile.

It doesn’t plug in or have batteries, but it amplifies the sound through the material and design.  I listen to music a lot while I work and I have a nice bluetooth speaker in my studio, but it’s nice to have this low-tech version for my office.

It definitely doesn’t deliver BOSE-quality sound, but it makes the music louder and even gives it a old school sound.

Well, those are the high notes for me through February.  That was a lot for a short month!

What were your favorite things in February?


February 2018 Favorites

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20 Comments on “February 2018 Favorites”

  1. You may have mentioned in a another post but I missed it…where did you purchase the large baskets on top of the cabinet in your office?

    I have loved your blog from the beginning but never have posted. You share my great love of all things blue! Your blog is such an inspiration on many levels!


  2. of course l love your style. but most important l love how you juggle family, faith, work and just being you in this
    post every single day. you are sincerely an inspiration to me to do better. thank you miss m seed.


  3. I love the look on your sons’ faces at the concert, what joy. And I love the rug you designed. My favorite thing in February was the romantic Valentine’s meal I prepared for my husband, which was a copy of the romantic meal he fixed for me 26 Valentine’s ago the night he proposed. So of course Valentine’s Day is very special to us.

  4. What a thrill to see one of your designs transformed into an actual rug. It came out beautifully. I hope you consider doing more of them.

    You might consider including a two-dimensional depiction of Sebastian in a future design. You know, as in the photo of the sample with Sebastion on it.

  5. Oh my word!!!!! Your rug is absolutely gorgeous!!!!! I voted for yours back when we had the chance to vote. Glad 2 were chosen. What a busy month February was for you. That newest piece of furniture in your office is so no ce & what a practical piece too. Your projects are such an encouragement & your relationship with Christ comes out in your everyday life-as it should for all of us. Thank you for your posts.

  6. Oh my, I’m in love with your rug! SO beautiful. Congratulations! And I also love the photo of your happy sons.

  7. I, too, tried a low spend Feb. For me, over spender deluxe, it was a great month. Like you, I started using what I have and it is really freeing for several reasons. First, I didn’t have to listen to my husband complain. That’s the best reason of all. The other thing was it changed my viewpoint on need and want. Most of my spending has always been on want. I finally see that want sucks the money into a black hole of stuff instead of what I really want/need. Five dollars here and ten dollars there adds up to, for me, hundreds of thousands of wasted dollars. Now I am very sad, but much more aware of doing the right thing.

  8. I have loved your website for years!! Everything appeals to me – everything is beautiful!!

  9. Oh,oh,oh that rug is so beautiful. I voted and I am so glad they picked two of yours. I don’t have blue anywhere, but those rugs may make me rethink things here!

  10. I am thrilled that your rug designs made it to production!! I have been wondering what became of that process and am really excited for you and my house!! Can’t wait until they are available for sale. Congratulations, Miriam…you go girl!!

  11. I so really love your rug. I have always been a “blue and white girl” even back when I was young and everything was orange, avocado and harvest gold!! I have several Dash and Albert rugs and I was excited to vote for your rug as their quality is so good. I enjoy your blog as you have your own style , while so many do the newest trend. I so envy your art.

  12. So impressed by the rug! Sadly I don’t have a spot for it, but I’m trying to come up with one!

  13. I was touched by your comments about living in your own company. I too am extremely comfortable just living with me. Sometimes I even do so with my husband and live along side him rather than with him. Recently my father died and I was re-exposed to long-time family friends and friends of one of my sisters and realized how much I am robbing myself of the treasure that comes from cultivating friendships. It is a lot of effort and inconvenient, but invaluable in the end. I have decided to stop bragging about my self-sufficiency and self-reliance and put that energy into serving the “in-person friends I do have and cultivating new relationships.

  14. I love your blueberry painting! I love blueberries!!! You did an awesome job! I love your blue and white rug. I used to weave and I can definitely see the blue and white coverlet theme! Just gorgeous! Marian, I really love your post and all the things you right about are so interesting and creative. Keep on doing what you are doing!

  15. Marian — would you be willing to share the article about mindless spending. I believe my life would be better for reading it.

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