Found antique smalls

by | Feb 1, 2018 | All Things Home, Antiques, Favorite Finds | 59 comments

My mom and I hit one of my favorite local antique shops last week in hopes of finding a few furniture pieces for the rooms we were working on while she was visiting.  As I shared earlier this week, we found a new art cabinet for my studio, which was on the list…

…but we also found a few smalls.  (“Smalls” are just little things, accessories, that you find at an antique/retail store.)

One thing I miss about having my studio, selling online, getting ready for an antique fair, etc. is shopping for smalls.  I really don’t need much for my current house, since I already have years of collected smalls.  I could probably stand to sell some, even!  So, I try to stay focused and not buy things just because I like them.  I try to think of how I’ll use them to make sure it’s not another thing that will end up in a cabinet or drawer.  (Remember how I like empty drawers and cabinets?)

But, I did find a few things I thought I would get some use out of.

First, these paper letters were $6.00 for the lot.  Aren’t they cute?!  They look like flash cards, but they are just individual letters and a whole mess of them.

I might do a few projects with them and/or use them for photo shoots.

The second thing I got was a little metal tin to turn into a mini-palette for oils.  I’ve seen these little “travel palettes” made in Altoid tins and the like and thought it would be fun to make one.  My mom pointed out that I could just get an Altoid tin.

“Yes, but then it wouldn’t be blue and it wouldn’t say ‘Nail Box’ and ‘American Steel & Wire Co.’ on it!”

Come on, mom!  Don’t you know me?!

I’m planning to just clean it up and cut pieces of palette paper to fit inside.

One thing I would like to work on is integrating art into my daily life.  Currently, most “art” and design work happens in my studio at set times.  I’m not one who would pull out a sketch book to do a quick study or practice.  I take sketch books waaaaaay too seriously!  Even as I’m sketching, I think about the embarrassment of someone finding my horrible drawings.  Anyway, all of that to say that I want to be ready to create on a small scale, wherever and whenever!

I also bought this beautiful, small wood box ($9).  It has the prettiest patina…

…and brass details.

I’ve been looking for a shallow box, also to use for art.  I can set up pastels or oils or whatever inside and it’s a great size to act as a palette and easel on the go.  It even has a little removable tray.  I’ll have a small piece of glass cut to fit inside and remove the velvet and it’ll be good to go!

Lastly, I bought this crayon box ($20).  I just bought it for general art supply storage, which is fitting, since it’s a crayon box!  Can you see the box/art supply theme going on, here?

I have a lot more to share about my mom’s visit.  Our productivity included making drapes for my bedroom, living room, and kitchen eating area.  We made the tie-up linen shades for three of the windows in the studio (we ran out of fabric or we would’ve done all six.)  We painted the playroom walls a dark gray and did tons of organizing in that room, the garage, and some in my studio.  We also, finally, painted the last wood studio wall.  I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, but I still have all of that to photograph and share.

Oh, and before I go, tomorrow, February 2, at 11:00 CST, I’ll be teaching a MMS Milk Paint live demo on the MMSMP Facebook page.  Hop over and join me, if you can!


  1. Carla from Kansas

    Fun stuff and I’m sure it was great having your mom visit! I just have to tell you that I think you look prettier and younger with short hair. Just my opinion.

    • Nicki

      Psst….there is something called tact that you seem to be completely missing. If you want to let someone know *you* think they look better one way over another, you might say, “I love your short hair! It’s so cute!” Pretty sure if someone publicly told you you would look younger and prettier with shorter hair, you’d be quite miffed initially, and you just might replay that comment over in your head a million times trying to figure out exactly what was meant by it.

      I think Marian is one of those rare people who looks good in many hairstyles, and I think it’s pretty fun that she doesn’t stick with the same one for years and years. 🙂

      • Elizabeth

        I understand what you are saying, Nicki, about the theoretically ideal way to communicate that you like a friend’s new look. But I don’t think Carla’s comment was out of line. It struck me as the type of response Marian and the rest of us get a lot of whenever we change our look, as if our peeps are casting votes for or against. I don’t take that kind of feedback as an insult in disguise. I actually Find it helpful, especially when I know that the person has my best interests at heart.

  2. Laurie

    Sorry, Carla. It’s the gorgeous smile (nothing to do with hair)! 🙂

  3. Robin

    What you accomplished during your mom’s visit would have taken most people months and months and months. Amazing.
    Time for a trip to an antiques store for me.

  4. Tracie

    I always love seeing your finds. So much fun. Will you be videoing your live demo. Unfortunately I am at work at the time. :/ Thanks

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, you will be able to replay it and I’ll share the link.

  5. Susie

    Love your finds. I just have to comment to Carla. Why would you even make a comment like that. Rude and cruel. What is wrong with you. She looks wonderful either way. Making comments on someone’s personal appearance like that is unacceptable.

  6. Susan

    I would have purchased every one of the “smalls” you selected. Nice finds! I am blown away by the number of projects you and your mom finished! Did you wear your sweet mother out? 😁 What fun you two had! Sure would love to see of photo of the two of you!

  7. Sandy

    Love the little art treasures! Sometimes it’s the littlest thing you find that can make your day!

  8. Heather

    Just want to say I have have been enjoying your Instagram tremendously. We have been through a difficult time the last five months and it has been a pleasure to be inspired to paint again and more. Thank you.

    • Marian Parsons

      I’m so glad to hear!! 🙂

    • Donna

      I agree, its the first thing I look for when I pull up Instragram on my phone….I make sure I’m away from everyone, because I want to hear….keep it up….I love it!

  9. Connie

    Great finds! I can’t wait to see all those projects you & your mom knocked out so please hurry & shoot some pics & post!! I agree with Robin, it would take most of us forever to do all that! Can y’all come visit me ( & my to do list ) in the warm sunny south? Only 4 hours from the beach!

  10. Sharon

    Great looking cabinet. Where did you order new pulls and label holders?

  11. Donna

    I adore little boxes, and that one you scored, Heart smile!

  12. Betsy

    Marian, I wish I could shop with you! You always find the best “finds”. I check your site every day to see if there are any paintings for sale but I can see you have been one busy bee. : )

    • Marian Parsons

      Not yet, but there will be soon!

  13. amy

    super fun finds! Lovin’ how your Studio is coming together….and how you are adding Art to your life!

  14. Barbara

    I am amazed at all the things you get done, Marian!!! You are an inspiration and a motivator!!!! And as a side note regarding the compliment above, here is my 2 cents…….The written word via text, or posts, etc., is so hard to decipher. Tone, intent and attitude are hard to read. I kinda have the feeling that what Carla said was really meant to be a nice compliment and she might not have realized how it came out. That is when GRACE enters. And, Marian, I see grace in you!!!! Blessings to you Marian! We all love you and think you are beautiful inside and out!!!

  15. Carla from Kansas

    Well, I am so sorry that my post appeared rude to some of you. It was not meant that way at all. And I have actually had people say that to me and it made me consider which way I thought I did look best. I did not say Marian you are ugly with long hair!! She is not!! Marion is lovely but with her long hair all I (personally me) see is her hair and with it short I see her pretty face. And truly tone, intent and attitude can be hard to judge in an email. Some of the answers I got I consider rude. So it’s all in perspective. I have followed Marian for years and love her smile and her testimony.

    • Teresa

      I for one certainly didn’t read your comment as rude or cruel. I think you were just making a statement how Marians shorter haircut accented her beautiful face and smile. Marian has a thick beautiful hair either long or short and we as women always like to change our styles around from time to time. I do agree the shorter style is really flattering on her. I wish people wont read things the wrong way when there wasn’t nothing mean or cruel implied.

    • Samantha

      Carla – I also did not take your comment about Marian’s hair style change as rude at all – and, especially not cruel! I also love her new style & think it absolutely brings out her gorgeous smile & I love the way it emphasizes her eyes & bone structure!! I do wish people would give more grace & “benefit of the doubt”!! <3

  16. Angela

    Well said Barbara, I find when people respond to inappropriate comments they sometimes sound no better than the person who made the comment in the first place and then it becomes a back and forth of such nasty and so far off of what the blogger came here to share with us all today. I often tell my co-works to read an email with a smile on your face and happy in your voice, you will find it comes across so differently

    • Karen

      I agree Angela….I guess what is important is how Marian felt about the comment. I think “girlfriends” just do that. If our girlfriends cannot, will not , be honest with us about our fashion/hair choices, then who will ? I appreciate my friends who do that. I may not always take them up on their ideas, but I listen and take it in for future choices. I think the comment was made from someone who appreciates and respects Marion, and feels close enough to her in a friendly way, to make such a comment. No biggy.

  17. Sheila

    To have your focus and energy for a month!! Ah, who am I kidding. I’d want it forever. Love what you’re doing so far and I look forward to seeing how your business evolves in Minnesota.

  18. marge

    girl I wish i had your energy, were building a house ans
    d I would like to invite you and your mom over for a month, we own a table top store and a womens clothing store so you could get a new wardrobe and a few fun things for your house you two get more done in a weekend than i get done in a month, your amazing so fun to follow

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha, tempting!! I think my husband and boys would miss me for a month!

  19. Mary M

    About the crayon box……… They used to package cheese (Velveta shape) in boxes like that with the name stamped on the sides.

    Remember Prince Albert in the Can anyone? lol I love those little Altoid boxes. I use one in
    with my knitting for those little plastic knitting markers and a darning needle. Fits very nicely
    with my knitting stuff.

  20. Gilda

    we used those little letters in grade school with a grey flannel board with pockets to create words

  21. Kathy Dawson

    Can I just say how lucky you are to have a mom who is “game” to treasure hunt with you and help you with your projects?? My mother passed away almost 7 years ago and I dearly miss having her by my side during similar outings. She was my partner in crime, making projects that were sometimes a bit onerous, fun. I valued her opinions and advice (even thought I didn’t always take them), her ideas, and her willingness to do whatever I needed help with. Sounds like your mom is a jewel. Treasure your time together!

  22. nancy

    Hi Marion,

    Love your shorter hair and big, beautiful smile!

    Do you sell a green chalk paint similar to your new green piece in your studio? Love the green!

    Thank you,

  23. Julie

    Love all the” smalls “ that you found! I too love “smalls “ and have them all over the house! Love your studio too.

  24. Carole Prisk

    I missed the part where Marion asked for our opinion on her hair.

  25. Shelly

    Yes Marian, reading Kathy’s comment rang true to me also. I loved running around with my Mom. She was game to anything I wanted to do, just so we could be together! Your relationship with your Mom reminds me of ours. She was 64 when she passed and was the picture of health! That was seventeen years ago and I still miss her everyday! Enjoy your Mom time, and have fun and deep conversations, that is what you will cherish all your life. Make great memories with her. You are a Blessing For her As She is to you!

  26. Pat

    Some ladies look good in long hair. Some look good in short hair. But,
    you, Marian, look good in BOTH…jealous!

  27. Linda Greenwood

    Isn’t it a joy and blessing to have a wonderful mother. Enjoy every minute with her.

  28. Karen K from Buffalo

    I had fun finding some smalls the other day at a nearby antique store, too!! I can’t believe what you have accomplished since your Mother arrived!! Were you ladies drinking those energy drinks?? lol Can’t wait for the pictures you have for us & you’ve inspired me to go to another antique mall this weekend. My Mother passed away about a year & a half ago & there were a few things that I regret not taking from her house & I’m now on the hunt for them.

  29. Nancy P

    I am sucker for small tins and wooden boxes too. And if I find wood cigar boxes, I’m in heaven. I think I should start painting again just so I can have a travel Palette! Please dhow us yours when they’re finished.

  30. Jackie

    Wow!! Marian probably never thought she would become a fashion blog!!! Marian you are lovely regardless – inside and out – I am not siding with the comments one way or the other – I enjoy your blogs because it keeps me away from the everyday bickering that happens in the news – I know I am not alone to state that lets keep bickering away from all of this – it’s not the first time – I remember someone being upset about oranges used for decorations at the holidays

  31. karen

    I love the tin box…I make jewelry out of tin and I could sure put that to use!

  32. ColoradoMomof5 sad to see all the bullies on here. Grow up. It was a compliment to Marian.

  33. Starr

    Great fun with your Mom! Sounds like the kind of visit my daughter and I have. Sand, paint, caulk and paint some more then sew! Lol

  34. Norma Rolader

    What some awesome finds

  35. Jennifer Rogers

    I’m a kindergarten teacher and I love your crayon box! I met you in Chatfield at Adourn and so enjoyed talking to you. If you ever want a tour of Lanesboro and a few area antique shops let me know!

  36. Danielle

    Will you offer a tutorial on the tie up linen shades you made for your studio? Also what would you say is the sewing level needed to make them, are they fairly easy or more difficult? I would love to try!

  37. B. Folk

    Loved the recounting of the exchange between you and your mom about just using an Altoid tin. I finally got rid of one (not a mint tin, it was from another company) that I kept hair ties and clips in, because it was mostly yellow, and I don’t have any yellow decor in my home (unless one counts yellow legal notepads, pill bottles, and such). Sometimes, it’s the “smalls” that all add up to make a “big” impact!

  38. Leila

    Curious why you will cut glassblowing for the little box. What will you do with it?

  39. Leila

    No idea why it says glassblowing when I was trying to say a glass piece. Autocorrect I guess. 😀

  40. Dee

    I love old wood boxes- yours is a great little box. Old mahogany and walnut wood looks great as it ages.
    BTW I had to laugh out loud when I read your post heading….in Ireland and England and in some areas of the east coast USA where I was raised “smalls” means underwear. smile

  41. Sandi Graham

    I am a sucker for little boxes and love to use them for my art. I have converted several cigar boxes for Plein Air
    Pastel painting pochade boxes . I have used a smaller Altoid box for carrying just a few pastels to a sketch class.
    I have even used a weekly pill box to squeeze some tube water colors in for use with quick studies on a trip.
    I just finishes painting a wooden palette for a gift for a fellow artist. You can see it on my blog Marian.
    I’m not making them to sell , just for fun. Did sell a nice landscape at a gallery recently. Each time someone pays hard money for my art l feel validated as an artist. You are so talented! Love to follow your blog! My best to you!

  42. Cynthia

    Would your mom like to come visit me in my new home :). You two are amazing and accomplish so much! I collect tin boxes and love the one you found. Of course I noticed that “Denver” was printed on the box. My new home. I hope I can embrace mine as you are embracing yours. Way to go.
    Fondly, Cynthia

  43. Nancy A

    I completely agree with you, Carla! We think of Marian as our friend, do we not!? And just as with any other friend, we do not have to be overly cautious about every word we say. I personally love it when a friend tells me I look younger for some reason.

  44. Liz

    Oh my !!! Same here! I get up at 5 am and the first thing I do is pull up Instagram stories and Miss Mustard Seed webpage to see the latest posts.

  45. Liz

    Oh my !!! Same here! I get up at 5 am and the first thing I do is pull up Instagram stories and Miss Mustard Seed webpage to see the latest posts. My start of the day with a cup of coffee.

  46. Trudy

    I believe your box with velvet is a silver storage box. The pieces of silver would sit in the crevices of the tray and they won’t tarnish. That is also why it locks. Of course, you can use it however you like but I believe that was it’s original use. I wish I had one that size for all my odd bits of silver!

  47. Cindy

    Your relationship with your mom sounds exactly like my daughter and I. Only my daughter is the one who reminds me of things that I don’t care to hear…..a.k.a the altoids tin. lol We have different ways of thinking towards our art, but we make such a great pair. I think you and I are pretty lucky. 😉 And that crayon box….wow. I love it.

  48. Shawn

    My gosh ladies I cant believe the bulling that is going on amongst all of you. I thought we are about empowering each other not tearing each other down. Especially it all being directed at one person! We all know that Carla wasn’t being mean to Marion. She simply shared (like she said in her post) In my opinion I think your hair looks better styled shorter. And this has made the whole post a lot less enjoyable as I have forgotten what the post was about. And if I were Carla I proably would have just cried and not wanted to comment on anything again. Why is it that we need to pick apart anything and everything in this world anymore. Let Marian defend herself in a respectful way privately if she thought Carlas comment was rude. Most of the times the blogger creates these post for us to enjoy! Lets just try and do that and do like my mom always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all!! I just want to say sorry Carla. I felt so hurt for you! And Marion I love all your little smalls because smalls are what adds the finishing touches to our homes. And a lot of times they seem to tell a story about the owner of the home just by looking at them. Missing you from Hagerstown , Md. Shawn

  49. Gina

    The paper letters take me way back to first and second grade. We had a box of paper letters at each of our desks, and they were my favorite things. I used to love to just grab a bunch of letters in my hands and stare at them. No wonder i grew up an English major, loving to write.


  1. Thistlekeeping - Thistlewood Farm - […] These thrift store finds […]


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…

Let's Connect


Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!

decorating, projects, and recipes for Winter

  • decorating for Christmas in a “new ” house
    When I was in high school, we moved into a newly-built house the day after Christmas.  It was a little strange, but it felt like a part of Christmas.  My […]
  • my top 15 favorite Christmas crafts
    Last year, I was particularly in the mood to get crafty for Christmas.  Some years, I just want to focus on big-picture decorating, but last year, it was the details […]
  • christmas decorating sources 2022
    I think 2021 was my favorite year so far when it comes to decorating for Christmas.  I started early because I felt like it and I genuinely enjoyed the process, […]
  • salt dough ornament molds
    Too soon?  Yes, of course, it’s too soon for Christmas posts, but I am starting to think about Christmas projects and decorations.  I really enjoyed making things for Christmas last […]


Articles by Date


our sponsors



Bliss and Tell Branding Company


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This