happy mail

by | Apr 16, 2020 | a slice of life, Favorite Things | 46 comments

Over the last couple of weeks, I received a few surprises in the mail from a few of my artist/maker friends.  Happy Mail has a whole new meaning now.  Everything that’s delivered is a thread connecting us to someone else…  someone who made something, packed something, delivered something.  When it’s just us at home, everything that comes in seems precious; a bright spot.  I think each of these packages would have felt like that even under the best of times, but in this time of isolation, they made me pause and appreciate thoughtfulness and connection.

When I opened my mailbox a few days ago, the scent of lavender wafted out.  Right away, it made me smile.  It’s my favorite scent and I breathed it in deeply before pulling my mail out into a plastic grocery bag to minimize touching it.  When I opened my mail later the next day (we’ve been letting it sit in the garage for 24 hours as an extra precaution for Calvin’s sake), I knew exactly what was giving off the scent.  It was lavender sachets made by m friend, Emily of Penny & Ivy

She made over 70 of them out of antique fabric scraps to ship out to her followers to brighten their day.  I knew of her generous plans, but I didn’t know that I could be a recipient.  They had their intended effect.  I tucked one in my yarn stash, another in a stack of linen towels, and another in my sock basket.  As I come across them in the future, disturbing them and releasing their scent, I’ll think of her and how she bestowed just a little bit of joy on 70+ people with scraps and leftovers… including me.

I knew the second package was coming, but I didn’t know what it would contain or when it would arrive.  When it showed up on my porch, it was hard to let it sit in my garage for 24 hours.  It built the anticipation like waiting for Christmas morning.  What goodies were in that box?!

When I finally got to open the box, I relished it…like slowly eating a delicious piece of cake.  I carefully unwrapped the tissue to reveal a monogrammed zipper pouch and a drawstring bag made of antique grain sacks, both by Susan of Dunn by Designs.

I have a few bags and pouches by Susan and they are all beautiful, well used and well-loved.  I use them for sketch pencils, crochet hooks, and make-up.  When she asked if she could send me a few of her newer designs, saying yes was a no-brainer.  I am testing the limits of seeing if there is such a thing as too many bags.  That answer has proved to be elusive thus far.

The drawstring back is a perfect to-go bag for crochet/knitting project.  The drawstring opening allows for a large skein of yarn or two and there are pockets so smaller supplies aren’t lost.

And I am smitten with the monogrammed pouch…

I love monograms even if they aren’t mine.  People don’t put their name or initials on something they don’t intend to keep for a long time.  I think it gives a piece value and importance.  It’s a proud proclamation that this thing is mine.  See my name on it?

As with all of her bags, the details are perfect and professional.  I took a few minutes to envy her sewing precision.

And she lined the back with a blue and white ticking stripe fabric…

The last package was a padded envelope that contained a little cotton drawstring bag containing two tiny oil paintings of eggs by the talented Amy Crews.   In a conversation I had with a couple of weeks ago, she told me about her “recession eggs” that she painted back in 2008 when many people couldn’t afford her larger works.  She started painting and selling eggs for those who wanted to own an original painting on a budget.

She went on to tell me that she loved painting eggs.  “They are like people – unique and fragile; an external shell protecting an internal treasure.”  I thought the sentiment was so beautiful.  I haven’t found the perfect spot for them, so I have them tucked in my art cabinet, but I had fun trying them in a few places…

It would be a little wink-and-nudge to have one hidden in my antique birdcage, don’t you think?

I also tried one on a mini easel I had from my mini landscape place cards

It looks really cute on the tiny easel, but I think the wood needs to be stained or painting.  That might be a project for down the road.

Thank you to Emily, Susan, and Amy for sending a little sunshine my way.

Since these were such a spot of joy for me, I decided I should have a giveaway to send to some of my readers!  So, I’ll be working on that over the next week or two.  I’m thinking some mini paintings, hand painted color charts, handmade dishcloth or two…

What have been some bright spots in your days lately?


  1. Michelle J

    I love the bags Susan made! What a perfect bag for storing crochet projects! Some bright spots in my day are the moments of quiet when my boys are playing nicely by themselves, the sunshine coming through the kitchen window, and practicing my painting from your classes!

  2. Krista

    That was some really cute happy mail you received! As for bright spots for me – I’m a morning stocker at Menards in Michigan, so I am working through this unusual time. And I have encountered some of the kindest guests! These particular stranger-angels make it a point to tell me thank you for working. They are bright and cheerful and it just seems like it’s their special duty to remind people that it’s okay. And it is okay because God is good. Always.
    Another bright spot, my sister dropped off donuts for me from our favorite coffee place. (She had them in a bag which she hung on my door knob.) I can’t wait to hug her and have coffee with her in person!
    Your blog and Instagram stories are another bright spot that I look forward to each day. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

    • Leslie

      I received the lavender sachets too and they are so cute! Also, thank you for your live art videos! This week I am enjoying making color charts so much and wow, are they useful!. Could you share what color you used in the snipet of the color chart with the egg paintings? It’s the perfect French blue!

  3. Cherri Raines

    Could I please ask where you ordered the bias tape roll that was pictured yesterday? Thank you!

    • Marian Parsons

      I ordered it from an Etsy shop, but they are unfortunately sold out now.

  4. Jean M Clayton

    My happy spot was my stimulus check, my plan is to scour Etsy for beautiful wonderful items. Thanks Marion, I do enjoy your blog!

  5. elle

    I had a bright spot last week when I was able to snag a pick-up time to get some groceries. That was huge! But this week — sigh! It is a tough one. Can’t get a time to get groceries though I have to remind myself that something will work out maybe tomorrow or the next day to set a pick up date for a week hence. Times like this these little treasures are far from little! And your happy memories will attach to these momentos and bring you joy again and again. Nice for you.

  6. Elizabeth

    What a fun post! And yes totally agree with the new appreciation for mail. Such talent sent directly to your mailbox this week! I like the idea of a giveaway too! I think I will need to do that shortly after this baby arrives!!

  7. Bonita

    Being able to work during these times and grateful for my job!

  8. Judeth

    Pickup and delivery has been my happy spot. I did not realize how much time I was spending on shopping for my husband dogs. I so appreciate all the workers who have done this chore for me. You too, I look so forward to your stories, ideas and the time you share to teach us something new. Thanks alot.

  9. Kristine

    How lovely that you are the recipient of these beautiful gifts! I was struck by how they visually look so much like your own particular style. That’s not exactly the right word, but the colors, textures and shapes seemed to fit right in with your world. The bright spot in my day is sitting here working at my dining table, with my living room prettily dressed for spring. And I am listening to the birds outside singing. I never really listened to them, and I am amazed at the variety of songs, tones, and volumes.

  10. beverlee lyons

    you are always a bright spot. I have just maintained my happy and my peace, somehow through this by keeping my faith in place.
    you rec’d some treasures, and I am happy to know someone appreciated you enough to know just what you would love.

  11. Jan Dearborn

    Wouldn’t it be lovely if Amazon and other online stores could provide the personal touch, but they find providing proper wrapping too challenging to bother. I hope everyone begins to shop locally, it is critical to support businesses during and after this crisis. A shop owner told me, “yes, maybe I can’t compete with warehouse stores, but when it comes time for fundraising of the local little league teams, I am there to contribute, it should be a mutual relationship.”

  12. Grand Pam

    My bright spot was a chalk message drawn on our sidewalk by a sweet young family from church for my 71st birthday. I love each of your post for yours is a happy spot for me.

  13. Ruby Sugar

    I absolutely love the bag containing your yarn! How kind of your friends to send you a little sunshine. Long ago I learned to knit and it was my passion until the reality of three growing children took hold (I also made all my first born toddler clothes, cute little shorts with white shirts with collars made of same materials as the shorts), when my girls came along, I made their clothes as well, until they started school. Anyway, I digress. I have not knitted in years and had no desire to take it up again but I was intrigued by your crocheted dishcloths. The only crochet I ever did was finishing the edges on knitted items. During this time of quarantine, I have made 8 and will continue until all the yarn purchased is gone (online shopping frenzy). Thank you for inspiring us to take up something new!

  14. Tammy Marquardt

    What treasures you’ve received in the mail. I have been busily working on wool projects, many pin cushion patterns I’ve collected over the years. Finally putting them all together. Trying to stay busy with handiwork to keep my mind busy. Missing my sweet grandbabies who I normally babysit.

  15. Carole Prisk

    Bright spots have been lacking lately. An item I ordered came broken and could not be replaced, although the company said my money would be refunded. I have tried to the point of exasperation to get a PayPal SNAFU sorted out, and although I ordered supplies to crochet and oil paint with you only portions of the orders arrived. No yarn for the washcloth and only one paint color and one brush came in. There was a big snowstorm on Sunday and snowbanks are still four feet deep. Woe is me.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that! PayPal had a conflict resolution center, so I would suggest filing a complaint with them. They usually favor the side of the buyer. eBay, Etsy, and Amazon all have similar protection policies.

  16. Tracy

    I’m looking forward to my Etsy purchase arriving next week! I ordered 2 homemade pillow cases in a designer linen fabric that I really like, they were a splurge for me but my birthday fell during the 2 weeks I was sick with the Covid-19 virus which meant I had to quarantine even further in a bedroom away from my husband and kids. I figured I needed a little celebration for getting through that!

  17. Amy

    Hi Marian! Wow, that was a ton of fun, and all were perfect surprises! Not sure I would’ve made it for the 24 hours! I must say that the brightest spots in my days, lately, come from nature! I wanted to remove my winter wreath from our front door only to find a big bird’s nest right in the center. A robin has laid one egg per day for four days straight! Those eggs are stunning! I live in a rural area, and noticed that the neighbor’s cow had twin calves a few days ago….identical, right down to a small spot on the back of their necks. Times are crazy, but there is promise everywhere if we just look for it!

  18. Susan

    Love the recession egg paintings. They are such lovely gems. I would buy mini paintings if you had them

  19. Sandi

    Sweet little egg paintings on a tiny easel! Love that idea .

  20. Patricia Kasparian

    Lovely gifts 🙂 I love anything mini – those egg paintings are sweet!

  21. Cheryl

    Everything is so lovely! 💙 How wonderful for you!

  22. Terri

    My bright spot has come from spending time in my sister’s gardens getting them ready for warm weather. My husband passed a few months ago and I sold our property and moved to be near family. Just getting out in the sunshine and hands in the earth working with plants helps me to feel better and helps my sister while she teaches online.

  23. Angela

    My bright spots are when my iPad rings and it’s my 4 year old nephew who makes me laugh until the tears are rolling down my face and when I wipe my tears with a tissue he asks….”why are you crying auntie Angie?” and I tell him they are tears of joy. I miss hugging him so much!
    My second is Friday afternoons when I get to oil paint. Thank you for that!

  24. Jami

    In this age of technology where information, movies, reading, and IM’ing are right at our fingertips, who knew snail mail could still be so relevant?! Not just receiving something wonderful, but the kindness shown by someone who was thoughtful and cared enough to use an old fashioned service to remind us that we’re special.

  25. Mary Kaiser

    Your blog has been my bright spot, I love seeing what your up to and how you are making your home so beautiful one project at a time. You are so inspiring and I LOVE your style.

  26. Charlotte

    Such a thoughtful and wonderful gift!! All of them! My happy spot is the morning sun in my living room/dining room around 7am as the sun streams in and everything is warm. Paired with a cup of coffee, it’s a bright spot during these crazy days. And receiving my happy “email” mail notification of a new blog post from you, Leslie at my 100 year old home, and from Thistlewood. Thank you for sharing!

  27. Paula

    A bright spot for me was receiving a box in the mail today with a lovely Mary Carol platter with a wheel barrow graphic on it. I had this same platter displayed on my kitchen countertop, and a few months ago my sweet hubby accidentally knocked it over, breaking it in half. He felt terrible! Unbeknownst to me, he put a watch on eBay for one (by the way, that is the perfect place to find just about anything!) and one finally showed up and he grabbed it! I will treasure this one far more than the original, because where I once just saw a cool platter, now I see love!

  28. Mary S

    Happy Mail… Love that concept! You have some very wonderful and thoughtful friends. Good for you! I love ALL your gifts. The little eggs on the tiny easel is just so cute on your
    pantry cabinet.

    Now, I know what Happy Mail is! Thank you for sharing your treasures.

  29. Cynthia Johnson

    Just plain sweet, kind, and thoughtful! To have such lovely friends 💕

  30. Jenn

    That little zippered pouch is absolutely stunning!!

  31. MMP

    You have my initials too so it catches my attention to see my initials there…

  32. Lesley C Ferguson

    Hi Marian, I adore #AmyCrews miniature egg paintings. I love things in miniature, being a Woman of Extremes I love all things that come in opposite ends of whatever spectrum they relate too! My bright spot has been decorating my Hallway, I’ve almost finished as I write this. I’ve gone from mostly White walls, Wood and pale grey lino floors to Rose/Blush Gold Walls, even darker Wood, Baskets and lots of rugs (to cover most of the lino floor)! I’m very pleased that I managed it ALL 🙌 on my own!

  33. Lin Shultz

    I have been staying in with the exception of grocery shopping every couple of weeks and doing my daily morning walks. Most of my time indoors has been spent making fabric masks for my community. I am not charging for them, just giving them to anyone that needs them. I leave them in a basket on the front porch to allow for a no contact pick up. My bright spot is finding a donation left by the recipient of the package of masks. This allows me to buy more fabric to make more masks.

  34. Diane Lanford

    How sweet are those! I now have new people to follow. I love those German seed sack, be still my heart. And those eggs…so cool. I have been busy stiching, I free stich and embroidery vintage materials making pins, prayer flags, upcycling clothes.

    I joined you while painting and it made my day! Thank you for your uplifting posts.

  35. Vanessa

    Hi. I follow you on Instagram and Facebook. Loving your art classes and going crazy , because I can’t join you yet . Most of my paints are somewhere in boxes as we move to our new built dream home.
    I’ve watched your house tour video and I was intrigued that you didn’t put any green in your studio. Well now you did. Its so beautiful.
    I know you posted once where you got your beautiful easel. I keep looking, but I can’t find it. Please tell me. I’m designing my craftroom and I need a new one. My simple easel broke during moving.
    My happy spot? We are slowly moving (because of covid19, everything has to be scheduled differently)into the new house and opening our storage boxes after 9 months; is pure joy.
    I can’t wait to catch up painting with you. I’ll glance at today’s painting session later! Thank you for being so inspiring Marian. ❤
    Vanessa Prohaska

  36. Irene Kelly

    My contribution to society during these trying times are cards that I make and will leave on porches of friends. My birthday was last week and I realized that people cannot get out to buy cards but can always use that so called old fashioned system called the US mail to send cards etc. Plus I have been sending cards to friends far away to just say hello.And I have purchased some of the Dunn Designs pouches because of your former blog post. Marion will you please share your instructions for the masks you made ? Thank you for sharing !

  37. Angela Franklin

    My bright spots this week have been receiving letters in the mail from my grandkids who live in Michigan. They seem to be thriving with their mama teaching them, particularly our oldest grandson who is autistic (his school aide is able to come by the house to help with his lessons). They are studying Oregon, where I live, and sent us letters about the state rock of Oregon being the thunder egg. My late parents used to look for thunder eggs when they would visit Central Oregon. I’m hoping to find one at their house (my dad passes away in January) so I can send it to them. I sent packets of flower seeds to my granddaughter so she could plant some with her mom (my daughter). I think this time has given us a new appreciation for writing letters. Love your posts and look forward to them every day.

  38. Sandy

    Such thoughtful friends sending lovely gifts. You are indeed blessed.

  39. Jennifer

    I loved your story about receiving the packages. I too, have been excited recently about receiving packages of any kind. In this time of isolation I am happy to receive even the smallest most mundane things. I eagerly look forward to deliveries. Thank you for sharing.

  40. Cheri Dietzman

    I love those pouches and bags! They are for sure on my wishlist!

  41. Dana

    I have two bright spots today! One is that my hubby and I all but finished installing 2 1/4″ hardwood flooring in our MBR and closet since we’ve been stuck inside. I decided if we had to be in we may as well be productive. Just a few more pieces of quarter round to go tomorrow and it’s done.
    The second bright spot was the delivery of a pole to hold four bird feeders that the squirrels can’t climb on! The squirrels do not appreciate the corn cobs that I buy for them.
    Loved your little egg painting in your birdcage!

  42. Karyn

    Wow, what wonderful gifts you have received! I love the idea of sharing some tokens in the mail to brighten a friends day. I’m particularly fond of your crocheted glass “cozies.” I hope you’ll consider those in your gift giving.


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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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