January 2022 Favorites

by | Feb 9, 2022 | a slice of life, Favorite Things | 18 comments

Even though I wasn’t posting regularly through January, I still kept a list of some of my favorites when I would notice them.  I’ve learned that if I don’t write them down, I’ll forget all about them!  Sharing my favorites each month has encouraged me to pay attention to things I enjoy – what I buy, experience, watch, eat, listen to, or create.  It reminds me to pay attention to the little pleasures in life.  Even if you don’t share online, I would encourage you to do the same.  Keep a little list of your favorites each month and maybe share them with your family.  I have found that sharing this list with you each month helps me be more appreciative, which is always a good thing.

Here were some of my favorites from January – a smattering of small pleasures, pretty music, yummy food, and enjoyable creative endeavors.

book darts

Have you ever heard of book darts before?  I hadn’t and was delighted when I found a few marking the pages of a used book I purchased.  I ended up buying a couple of tins off of Amazon.  THESE are $10 for a set of 50 and THESE are $14 for a set of 125.  I wish I discovered these before Christmas, because they are a great stocking-stuffer for the bibliophiles, researchers, and students in your life.

book darts | studio supplies | miss mustard seed

When I read through a new art book, I’ll always mark pages I want to revisit for inspiration down the road.  When I’m feeling stuck, I’ll pick up a book with a lot of markers (or flags) in it and will look through it again, sometimes moving the markers to new pages or enjoying the marked pages afresh.  The book darts are tidy, reusable, and won’t damage the pages.

book darts | studio supplies | miss mustard seed

You know me and my supplies.  I’m always happy to find something new…

book darts | studio supplies | miss mustard seed


I’ve seen that so many of you have made the German pretzel/bretzel recipe I shared!  It really is a great recipe to have on hand for snow days, get-togethers, or just to have a warm, yummy snack. You can find the recipe HERE.

bavarian pretzels/bretzels recipe | miss mustard seed

bombas socks

I bought a pair of Bombas socks last year and they have become one of my favorite pairs of stocks, so I bought more with my Christmas money.  They are well-made, comfortable, and fit snuggly.  I bought THIS set of ankle socks for exercise and THIS set of crew socks to wear when it’s chilly.  I also got some wool calf socks for extra warmth.  They come in fun colors and patterns, which works well for me so I can clearly identify my socks when I’m folding laundry.  Bombas donates socks, t-shirts, and underwear to homeless shelters, which is a nice thing to support, too.

all creatures great and small

All Creatures Great & Small is back for a second season!  I just love this show.  It’s sweet and feel-good and I absolutely love watching the houses, scenery, and knitwear.  You can buy the season on Amazon or Apple or watch it on PBS/Masterpiece.  

All Creatures Great and Small | Season 2 | Miss Mustard Seed


I have loved knitting in the evenings when we’re just hanging out.  I just finished a hat, which wasn’t quite as engaging as making the Selbu mittens, so I’m going back to making another pair of mittens.  I’ve enjoyed the creative challenge and learning new technical skills.  You can read my tips on making Selbu mittens HERE.

knitting selbu mittens | miss mustard seed

I might do a tutorial eventually, but it would be coming from the perspective of a beginner knitter, which might be beneficial to some and not helpful at all to others.  There are knitting experts who would certainly be better to learn from, but it can sometimes be valuable to learn from someone who is just a few steps ahead of you instead of miles down the road.

knitting selbu mittens | miss mustard seed

percy gray’s work

My art buddy, Michelle Wooderson, introduced me to Percy Gray’s work and I bought a book she recommended to study his paintings.  (The book is called The Legacy of Percy Gray and is being sold online for the price of a used car, so if you’re interested, I’d suggest adding it to your wishlist and keeping an eye on it.  I bought my copy for about $50, so I suspect the price will settle down.)  Michelle and I definitely enable each other when it comes to buying art books!  (I shared my growing collection in THIS POST.)

Anyway, I love his tonal landscapes, specifically the way he handles trees.  I’ve been doing some studies of some of his paintings and have learned so much about muted colors.

percy gray oil tree study | miss mustard seed

I’ve done one oil study and a couple in acrylics in my sketchbook and I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned and applying it to some original works.

percy gray acrylic sketchbook study | miss mustard seed

Speaking of my sketchbook, after racing through three of them last year, I stalled out on the fourth.  I picked it back up again in January, though, and it has felt good to make sure I draw or paint every day.  (You can see my sketchbook tours HERE.)

percy gray acrylic sketchbook study | miss mustard seed

Ghirardelli 72% chocolate chips

There’s just no way around it…I love dark chocolate.  I converted to dark chocolate a few years ago and keep edging a little bit darker.  I have learned that 72% seems to be just perfect for me.  Not too sweet and not too bitter.  Just right.  Now, Ghirardelli is making 72% dark chocolate chips and I am all in.  I’ll grab a little handful when I need something sweet and chocolatey.  I like to keep them in the fridge, so they have just a little bit of a crunch, too.

the newton brothers’ music

I have added several songs by the Newton brothers to my Writing Playlist recently.  They are known for making soundtracks for movies and series by Mike Flanagan.  Those movies are typically in the horror genre, so the music is haunting, but it’s beautiful as well.  They make some very interesting choices, too, like using melodies from hymns.  Anyway, you can find that Apple playlist HERE, which mostly consists of music from movies, series, and shows.  I always keep my ears perked for new songs I want to add to my various playlists.

taking a break

Oh man…while my winter break wasn’t really what I planned it to be, it was still a sweet part of January.  Taking a step back from the online world was good for me in so many ways and, even after just three weeks, I can tell that my perspective changed.  I have also been even more prolific creatively, especially when it comes to painting in the studio. And, of course, the cats loved all of the extra lap time and attention.  Normally I’m flitting about the house, but I really did get in a lot of rest during the break.

calico cat by the fire | miss mustard seed

I hope you had a great January filled with favorites.  Share a few below if they come to mind!

You can find more of my monthly favorites HERE.




  1. Teddee Grace

    Thanks for the book dart tip. Your cat in the basket already looks like a painting.

  2. Beverlee Lyons

    I love seeing you learn and find new avenues. Jeff is a lucky man.

  3. Elena MacDermant

    When it comes to pairing socks for a family of 5, I came up with a better way and no more piles of onsies! Use a sock keeper. You can buy them on Amazon or you can make them for free. Use the top of the gallon of milk. Put an X In it with an exacto knife. Dirty socks go from feet to keeper to laundry. From washer to dryer and back into the drawers. Repeat each night! No more unmatched piles of socks!

  4. sharon

    your cats are beautiful and adorable. Love seeing them.

  5. Ann C

    I appreciate the tip about Book Darts. I have granddaughters who are sure to appreciate them.
    I discovered cut tulips in the flower section of our local grocery. They give me hope for spring, and last much longer than I had anticipated.
    I started a paint by number that I purchased over a year ago.
    I left my wind chime out this winter and enjoy hearing it just as much now as in the summer. Not sure why I thought it was a summer yard ornament.

  6. Babs

    I adore “All Creatures Great and Small” and find I look forward so much to Sunday night so I can watch it. The scenery is spectacular and I love the house, clothes and well, just everything. I tape it so I can rewatch all the episodes…guess that’s a little much but what the heck. I would rather be in the dales than in the real world.

  7. Alli for Short

    Probably the strangest “Favorites” ever, but:
    As time permits I read through some of the comments on Miss Mustard Seed’s blogs & every once & a while of late I have been completely floored by a commenter’s negativity, or statement of opinion as fact, or general unkindness… for a second I have been tempted to be snarky too. But I am continually impressed by the grace in which they are responded to, and the positivity and support of others. And I have to say that has been one of my very favorite things. Comradery and friendliness winning the day.
    And I covet that typewriter.

    • Babs

      I, too, have noticed this and am amazed at Marian’s graceful replies. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. My mother always told me if I couldn’t say anything nice …not to say anything at all.

  8. Susan

    Total trust; not many cat’s will expose their tummies like this! The look on it’s face is precious. Those yellow and white mittens are gorgeous, I think that pattern would be wonderful as a vest or scarf. I will check out “All Creatures Great and Small.”

  9. Karen

    Christmas of 2020 I felt very crafty and borrowed a food dehydrator and dried lemons, limes, and oranges and put together, in my opinion, one of the prettiest sets of cellophane bags of stovetop potpourri to give all my neighbors. I enjoyed the look of the dried citrus so much. Over Thanksgiving last year I observed a shop I follow on Facebook offer classes on making a beautiful garland of dried oranges, fresh rosemary, and cinnamon sticks. They aren’t local aren’t even in my state. I saw that garland and thought, “I can make that!” So over January I borrowed the food dehydrator again and dried some big oranges I found at the grocery. The craft was put on the back burner briefly as our local grocers had absolutely no fresh rosemary. Last weekend I finally found one small package of fresh rosemary and sat down with some twine and a yarn needle and made 2 garlands from the dried fruit. They look so pretty (almost like stained glass) hanging in the windows. The fruit is on the bottom, topped with a sprig of rosemary and a cinnamon stick on top. I space them apart about 5 or 6 inches. It was an easy and satisfying craft during the cold evenings in late January-early February. My husband and I have also become very engrossed in Paramount’s 1883. It starts Tim and Faith McGraw. If you’ve not seen it, it’s really good. It’s gritty and rough and has some strong language, though, just a warning.

  10. Sarina van der Watt

    I would love to know what type of oil paints you use and your favourite colours that you use in your paintings, I love your colours!

  11. Nancy Johnson

    Speaking of Percy Gray, his home and studio in Monterey, Casa Bonifacio, was for sale some time ago. I went to an open house and didn’t want to leave. Also known as the Sherman Rose Adobe, the home comes with a story worth Googling. And . . . thanks for your recent art book recommendations. I bought the Whistler/Hiffernan catalog on Amazon. (I’ve been known to take a travel detour to see a good Whistler.) Hardcover and still in its original shrink-wrap, it came the next day. Only $4! What a treasure.

  12. Beth Battista

    Totally unrelated to your favorite things post, but I love the rug that your cat is on! Could you share the details? Also love the idea of book darts!

  13. Nancy Johnson

    After teasing the story of the Sherman Rose Adobe, I found that Googling it wasn’t so simple. I finally located this: While Lieutenant William T. Sherman was stationed at Monterey in the late 1840s, he called several times at the home where Señorita Maria Ygnacia Bonifacio lived. On one of these visits, so the story goes, he unpinned a rose from his uniform (a most unlikely embellishment) and planted it in her garden, saying that if it took root and grew, their love would endure. The flower grew into a marvelous rose tree (or so the story goes) that almost covered the adobe and was the admiration of tourists for many years. Sherman never returned and Señorita Bonifacio never married. — Historic Spots in California, 4th edition, page 229.

  14. Lola

    Thank you Marian for posting your favourite things. I found myself smiling when I scrolled down to see your adorable kitty camouflaged in her little basket. That in itself could be a greeting card. I also thank you for suggesting a good old fashioned wholesome show that the whole family can watch together, since that is a rarity. You really do inspire me!

  15. Cheri

    Your Favorite Things posts are a favorite of mine. They usually get me thinking of my gratitude list and all that I am thankful for in my life. Connecting with you is definitely on my list 🙂

  16. mary m

    I learned this hack from a mother of two boys. She taught them to cuff their socks when they removed them for the dirty laundry. Believe it or not my kids followed suit. I dont think we ever lost socks. To this day I still do it.
    about the Bombas socks. We bought the socks and I thought they were the worst socks ever. They seemed narrow and hard to put on. I doanated them to a thrift shop. I really wanted to love them because they donated socks to the homeless, Sorry.

  17. Debbie

    The last picture could make a very cute painting….just sayin’….


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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