Inspirational Shop Space – The Ironstone Nest

by | Jun 25, 2013 | Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint | 37 comments

You might think that I’m super organized when it comes to my blog.  That I have some fancy calendar where I schedule my posts months in advance.  That would be a totally rational assumption, since it is my business, after all.  That assumption would be wrong, though.  I just blog on the fly.  I’ve tried the calendar thing, but I always abandon it.  I like to write about what I’m excited about, what’s inspiring to me.  Well, thankfully, something super inspiring fell into my lap today.  My day was spent on hanging and mudding drywall, pulling off trim, cleaning, e-mail and paperwork, etc.  Stuff that is not exciting and not inspiring.  (Well, I did get a few exciting e-mails today…)

So, anyway, the awesome people who retail MMS Milk Paint have a Facebook group where they can share ideas, questions, successes, etc.  It’s always thrilling for me to see pictures of groups of folks who just finished a workshop or a really cool paint display or a beautifully achieved finish.  I am always inspired.

Today, I was stopped in my tracks.  I was inspired in a way that gives me butterflies and makes me want to skip out on my e-mail and be creative.  The girl responsible for the butterfly-inducing inspiration is Laura from The Ironstone Nest.  Of course, I had an instant kinship with her when I saw her blog name and we were both excited when the opportunity came up for her to become a retailer of MMSMP in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.



This is what her shop space looked like before…


…and this is the picture that made me giddy…

The Ironstone Nest1

Dang, girl!  Right?!  What white paint and pretty things can do to a space.

The Ironstone Nest2


I love seeing all of my colors on samples and in pretty glass jars.  And that sign?!  I am totally copying that some day, Laura.  I admit it fully that I want to come to Wisconsin and steal it off your wall.

I love the warm encouragement…

“Furniture Painting 101:

Have no fear.  Trust your instincts.  Your work is as unique and beautiful as you are.  There is no mistake that can’t be remedied with sandpaper. (Amen.)  Every expert was once a beginner.  Next workshop at The Nest is – “

Isn’t that lovely?  I feel like it addresses unspoken hesitations people might feel when signing up.

The Ironstone Nest3

I think the inspiration I feel looking at this space goes beyond just this space.  Don’t you feel like we’re a part of something really special?  This blog world is empowering women who might not think it would be possible to have their own shop or start their own business or write professionally or design a line or go wherever their dreams lead them.  Through the internet, we can find one another, cheer each other on, share ideas and watch amazing things happen to really awesome girls.  (I know there are guys out there, but you’re outnumbered here!) Anyway, it’s just cool and makes my heart swell.

The Ironstone Nest4


If you’d like to learn more about Laura, you can follow her on her blog, The Ironstone Nest.

If you’re interested in finding a MMSMP retailer near you, check out our Retailer Page.


  1. wendy

    your heart swelling is a scary thing because it is already so danged large. thank you. this is a nice post!

  2. Mary Beth @ Cupcakes and Crinoline

    What a wonderful and inspiring transformation/post ~ thanks so much for sharing.

    p.s. I’m a by-the-seat-of-my-pants blogger… I would so love to have posts scheduled….that would be much less stressful!

    Have a joy-filled week!

  3. Meike

    Marian, you must be one of the most generous and genuine people I’ve ever “met”. And as for Laura’s shop – it’s amazing. It feels like a place you can breathe and get tons of inspiration.

  4. gertie @ The Old Block House

    Together we are strong! Thank you for all the inspiration, information, encouragement, & strength that you give to each of us through your blog & sharing your own journey. I now have my shop, my booths, my online shop, an ever growing FB page, & a growing number of supporters – within six months, I should be able to reach my goal of complete self sufficiency!

  5. Laura @ The Turquoise Home

    Ooooohhhh, I love this too! And that sign. I want to steal it too … or just copy the heck out of it! I’m working on a junky old dresser tonight, and I love the feeling of creating a beautiful new look with something old. I know you do it all the time, but it never gets old, does it? Anyway, thanks for sharing this.

    I also love what you said about this reminding us that we’re apart of something bigger – where girls get to live out their dreams. That exactly how I feel about the DIY/home blogging community. This is my dream – to create a lovely home and be able to blog and share it with others. Such a dream come true. Feeds my soul and I would have never have done it if the community wasn’t here. Love!

  6. Robin

    You are so right, Marion! I love the look of the whole shop! Makes me wish Laura and the Ironstone Nest were in my neck of the woods! Great job, Laura! Wishing you a ton of success!

  7. rie

    Wow, love it! What a creative space. Love how she is focusing on the milk paint and LOVE the paint display in the jars! By the way, I have painted two things now in Lucketts Green. It’s really amazing…i love the depth of color you get with milk paint. It’s my new favorite thing!

  8. Becky

    WOWWWWWWW!!!!!!! I can totally see why you are beaming!!!! Her shop is AMAZING! I am in the biz of being self employed, too, and am always inspired to see what other women in the industry (antique dealer) do to their shops and or spaces they sell at. Thank you for sharing! I will have to check out her blog.

    Marian, I would like to learn more about being a distributor. Would you mind dropping me an email so we can chat? Thank you. 🙂

  9. Sue Pagels

    LOVE the transformation! And what is on that wall to the left? Book pages? I totally want to do that in my nook upstairs. Marian, I love the way you write – it is like you are standing there talking to us personally – so warm and genuine! Great post, as always. On another note, I am so NOT afraid to do things with paint/furniture/crafts, etc. I think it’s fun, exciting and I am the kind that dives right in, usually without any forethought, which can sometimes be a mistake, but actually seldom is. If I don’t like how something turns out, I add something else (another color, distressing, wax, etc) untill I like it! For some reason, it usually works out! I do have problems with the milk paint though which I haven’t mastered yet. About half way thru, it starts to become uneven and gives – what is the word? – like striations on the thing I am painting. It usually looks pretty cool, although I know I am doing something wrong! Probably not mixing it correctly (as stated above, sometimes I dive in too quickly! LOL)

  10. Ashlea

    This is SO super cute and inspiring! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  11. Michelle Nason

    I tried so hard to get to Laura’s Grand Opening. Couldn’t get my hubby to drive with me and My girlfriend was at Beaver Dam Races. I was so bummed. Next Time I will just go alone. Lovely shop Laura and Thanks for sharing a place here in Wisconsin.

  12. Carol

    Wow!! I love stories like this, it is so inspirational. I want to clean up my craft space !!! Thanks for the post and I am adding her blog to my favorites 🙂

  13. Jenn C.

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am in the process of getting ready for my first flea market booth and this encouragement was exactly what I needed today! I’ve been wanting to make a business out of refinishing furniture for ages and am finally taking the plunge with a booth at Canton First Monday in a few months.

  14. Soiledrotten


  15. Ann

    Oh my goodness, I want to jump on a plane and go visit The Ironstone Nest today! What a transformation that inspires all of us to just stop being afraid and go for it! Thank you for sharing, Marian. You are the best at inspiring and keeping it real!

  16. camille @ Chez Moi

    What a pretty space! What makes it extra lovely is the sign and what it conveys-encouragement to TRY. I love that! Well done, Laura!!! Truly beautiful!

  17. Debbie refresh resytle

    We just found Laura yesterday! What timing we have 🙂 I need some jars filled with MMS Milk Paint!

  18. Shannon

    That’s a pretty smoking hot dress too!

  19. Carla

    I wish the Internet had been around when I was younger. I can imagine that I might have had a totally different profession if it had. Alas, it came along later in my life. The positive I have heard about that is that I don’t have to be “untagging” items on Facebook of all of the stupid things I did when younger and don’t want them to live on in infamy! But seriously the blogging community has really changed a lot of things in this world and it’s never to late to join.

  20. Angie W

    I love it. She really transformed that into a comfortable studio space. And her inspriational board is perfect! You really do need to get a sign like that.

  21. cheapdiva

    Yahoo! I live in WI (Milwaukee) and have kids in Madison (Sun Prairie) so I absolutely be going there on my next visit to the “kids”!!!

  22. Susan MacIsaac

    Thoroughly enjoy your blogg.that really is a sweet shop, not only do I like the large sign but the smaller one on the door.”be your own kind of beautiful.” I have been painting furniture for more years than I cafe to admit(a lady never tells her age) but I have never had the oppertunity to use milk paint. Any distributers in eastern Canada? Maritime provinces that is .

  23. ruth

    Neat shop! I have just gotten my first MMS paint in shutter gray. Can’t wait to use it!

  24. cara fox

    oh my goodness!! that is amazing, refreshing and just dang beautiful!! I suggest she make the sign and sell it to those of us who retail MMSMP. thanks for sharing, that was just the inspiration I needed!!.

  25. Wendy

    Omg! Love this space! I’m soooo inspired! My dream & passion is to start a business refinishing future & hopefully own a shop like Laura’s with a bit of beach flare ( since I live on eastern LI) fully stocked with Milk paint of course! Thank you so much for sharing Marian & thank you for inspiring me everyday! Your blog has really changed my life! Wendy

  26. Greer

    Just today I had the latest in a never-ending line of customers asking how to paint a piece of furniture that “looks as good as” what I sell in my shop. They seem almost afraid to pick up a paint brush. I wish I’d thought of something like the chalkboard advice, because its what I tell my customers daily. “Don’t be afraid…if you don’t like the outcome you can always re-paint it! Be flexible & willing to deviate from your original vision. Go where the piece & the paint take you. I promise you that most of the pieces you see and love began with a plan that was either modified mid-project or abandoned altogether.”

    I do love the neat , clean, colorful & creative shop space inspired by you & your product line. Keep that inspiration coming MMS!

  27. Claudine

    Dear Marian, I love her shop! And the name, of course! ALready liked her on FB and subscribed to the blog!
    Oh, I need to read you more… I miss my blog, and since I have made the change form blogspot to WordPress I am having a harder time blogging and connect to other bloggers.
    I am glad to know you don’t have a schedule! But I also, I might add, you have no lack of creativity, and always a bunch of stuff to blog about, right?? That was so generous of you to write this post, I am sure Laura will get lots of new followers!!!! I LOVE the sign, too!!!

  28. Laura

    When I read the quote from the sign, I had tears well up in my eyes. That is so special and so true. Something that everyone needs to hear at some point. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Angie

    I needed this post today – thanks!

  30. Dara

    Dang, girl! I didn’t know you chicks up north knew how to say “dang!”
    Love ya!

  31. James

    Hey, i had to look at the pic for at least 3x just to confirm that it is really the same place. It looked really different, good job

  32. Erin

    It is funny Marian, I was empowered to start making things I wanted for my home based upon inspiration from you…and then I gifted similar things things to others… and now I occasionally am commissioned to make and sell those items! You have changed my life in the empowerment department for sure, and in turn I am passing that on. Love the space and it has a wonderful feel you are right, hope you get to visit her sometime!

  33. william wizard

    I know right, I do tend to see them all around, but I think that’s because I’m always on the look out. I would try the loading area of your local home improvement store, or any store that would receive large shipments of items … maybe even the grocery store. Good luck!!

  34. Frances

    I have only just seen this post – the room looks beautiful & is now a space where wonderful things can happen! But why ‘101’? It seems bizarre to use the universal synonym for a torture chamber, a void for free spirit & speech (Orwell’s 1984) in such an engaging place.


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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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