June 2021 Favorites

by | Jul 13, 2021 | a slice of life, Favorite Things | 20 comments

June was one of those months with a lot of favorites.  I kept thinking, “Oh, I need to stop and write that down so I don’t forget to share it!”  I sort of love these favorites posts for that reason.  It makes me take note of the things I’m enjoying and I take some amount of pleasure in sharing them with others (and sometimes even getting feedback from people who enjoyed them as well.)  A theme that keeps popping up in early July for me is things are meant to be shared.  So, I hope you enjoy my favorites as I share them with you and I hope you’ll take some time to share a few of your favorites with me.

clarkson’s farm

Jeff and I started watching Clarkson’s Farm (available on Amazon Prime) on a whim and we absolutely loved it.  It’s funny, it’s heart-warming, it’s informative, and it’s beautiful to watch.  It’s the kind of show where you fall in love with the people, the scenery, and the story and you’re sad when it ends.  You wish you could hang out in that world just a little bit more.  If you need a good belly laugh, which, who doesn’t, this is a great show to check out.

The trailer and the show both have language in it, just as a warning.  I think the 16+ rating is very accurate and a good guide for parents.

biggest little farm

This movie, The Biggest Little Farm, was suggested to me by Shaunna.  She knows me well, so when she recommends something, I take note.  Jeff and I were on a farm kick after enjoying Clarkson’s Farm so thoroughly, so watching this documentary seemed like a natural next choice.  Oh man, this was so good!  It’s honest and engaging.  It’s both heart-breaking and heart-warming.  It really is a beautiful documentary that had me crying unexpected happy and sad tears at certain points.  I mean, who cries during a farm documentary?!  But, this one is special and definitely worth watching.

june 2021 favorites | the biggest little farm | miss mustard seed

the current war

Jeff has been reading about Tesla, so we picked the movie The Current War to watch to learn more about that time of innovation and the main players involved.  While this movie does tell a bit of Tesla’s story, the main characters are Edison and Westinghouse.  I found this movie fascinating (it sort of turns what we generally think of Edison on its head) and also inspiring.  There are so many lessons in it about learning, innovation, creativity, partnership, and entrepreneurship.

I also loved the stylistic choices of the director, the costumes, and set design.

june 2021 favorites | the current war | miss mustard seed

nature’s palette

I’ve been on a bit of an art-book-buying-bender lately, but I suppose there are worse vices in life.  The shelves in my studio are at critical mass, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping me.  I have slowed the pace a bit, so I can have a chance to read everything I’ve bought!  For some reason, I get a little anxious that the book will suddenly skyrocket in price, especially if it’s out of print.  There are a few books on my wishlist that are over $900!  (And we’re talking about an art book from the 1990s, not a leather-bound book from the 1400s with vellum pages.)  So, they’ll be sitting on my wishlist until sanity is restored.

Anyway, I knew I would like Nature’s Palette as soon as I saw the cover and description.  I also own a book by the same author, The Anatomy of Color, and it’s excellent.

june 2021 favorite | nature's palette book review | miss mustard seed

The book is based on Werner’s Nomenclature, which I learned about when I read the book Color: A Visual History from Newton to Modern Color Matching, which is also a great book for my fellow color nerds.  I was smitten with the little squares of color and the corresponding color names based on the natural world.  Nature’s Palette takes those little squares and runs with them in this book that is an absolute feast for the design and artistic eye.

june 2021 favorite | nature's palette book review | miss mustard seed

It is a history lesson, information about natural pigments, a color study, and a study of nature all spread on the pages of one book.  It’s so, so good and one of my recent favorite purchases.

june 2021 favorite | nature's palette book review | miss mustard seed

the story of painting

I honestly didn’t expect to love The Story of Painting as much as I did.  It has the feel and layout of a textbook, so I was expecting it to be a little dry, but a good resource book to have in my library.  I was actually reading it while I was waiting after a music practice at church and someone asked me what I was studying.  It looks that much like a school textbook!

But, don’t let the scholastic visual of this book fool you.  It is fascinating if you’re interested in art.

june 2021 favorites | the story of painting book review | miss mustard seed

First of all, it has beautiful paintings in it and introduced me to some artists I didn’t yet know.  It’s also a very interesting tour through the history of art, painting, painting techniques, mediums, pigments, and styles.

june 2021 favorites | the story of painting book review | miss mustard seed

I learned so many things that I didn’t know and it gave me a lot of ideas and inspiration as well as an appreciation for the creativity, ingenuity, and audacity of the artists who have come before me.  It was a surprisingly good read.

june 2021 favorites | the story of painting book review | miss mustard seed

etsy tees

If you have watched me on Instagram Stories over the years, you may have noticed that I have a “uniform” during my workdays.  You’ll almost always see me in the same heather gray or heather navy t-shirts or hoodies, all designs that I sold a few years ago to promote my blog and MMS Milk Paint.  The nice thing about designing your own t-shirts and sweatshirts is that you can pick the shirt blanks that fit you the best.  So, this wardrobe of t-shirts and hoodies has been very well-worn and well-loved.  Almost all of them have at least one spot of paint on them and have been washed so many times the fabric is slowly thinning and wearing away.

It was time to get some new t-shirts!  We are planning to come out with some with The Creative Exponent, but we’ve run into a few hitches.  So, while I’m waiting, I bought some shirts off of Etsy and I just love them!  They are the Bella + Canvas unisex tri-blend tee and I love the fit.  It’s soft, it washes well, they aren’t see-through, they are long enough for my torso, and they are comfy.  (Several of these sellers carry a women’s cut if you prefer that sort of fit.)

june 21 favorite artist t-shirts | miss mustard seed

It’s a good day to make some art is my favorite one (I ordered it in two colors), but they are all really cute shirts and it’s given my uniform a little much-needed update.  I did question ordering an “artist” t-shirt, but I’m going to claim the label and not overthink things!

(The shirts are all linked below.  I ordered most of them in navy or heathered navy, but I did get one in the heathered mauve to mix it up!)

june 2021 favorites | design & artist t-shirts from etsy | miss mustard seed

Pemberly Tee | Cat Tee | Good Day to Make Art Tee | Eat Sleep Design Tee | Artist Tee

target jeans

I also needed to address my jeans.  I had a lot of them, but many of them were ill-fitting.  Too tight, too big, too big at the waist, too small at the thighs, too long, or just not flattering.  I keep them thinking, “Well, they’ll fit when…”  Fill that in with whatever the rationalization is of the day.  When I lose weight, when I find the right shirt to wear with them, when I exercise more.  I’ve been following some great people on Instagram who preach (for lack of a better word) body positivity.  I think there can be a fine line between being content with being unhealthy and being content with a healthy body that just doesn’t look like the fashion industry’s idea of beauty.  I’m somewhere in the middle.  I am working on moving more and being healthier and fit, but I don’t have to strive for something that, quite honestly, I’m not ever going to achieve.

All of this deep talk to say that I needed to get rid of jeans that didn’t fit or I didn’t feel great in and only keep/buy ones that are “heck-yes” jeans.  They look good, they are comfortable, and I feel good in them.  Guess what, when I have a few pairs that fit that description, I’ll wear them a lot more than I’ll wear baggy, paint splatter sweatpants!

So, I did that.  I tried on every single pair and only kept the ones that were awesome.  (It was just a few pairs.)  And I found some jeans at Target that fit me very well.  I can either wear the larger sizes in the regular jeans or the smallest size in the plus jeans.  I’ve learned to try on both because one might be cut better to fit my shape than the other.  I’m really working on not worrying about what it says on the label, but how they feel and look.

I cuff the first pair of cropped jeans so they don’t look so boxy, but they are cute and comfy with a t-shirt.

june 2021 favorites | jeans from target | miss mustard seed

cropped mid-rise jeans | mid-rise skinny jeans | high-rise cropped jeans

summer schedule

And lastly, while it’s a challenge trying to work with the boys being home from school, I really enjoy the more relaxed pace of our summer schedule.  There are no lunches to pack, uniforms to wash, or homework to do.  We all sleep in a little bit and stay up a little later (except Jeff who is an early bird.)  The boys stay out until it’s dark, playing with the neighborhood kids.  I look forward to the structure and quiet, uninterrupted days of the school year, but I’m also relishing this sweet time.

What were some of your favorites in June?


  1. Betsy

    What a great posting. My husband and I watched the first episode of Clarkson’s Farm but didn’t feel one way or another about it. I’m thinking we need to watch more. Several people have told me to stick with it. Thanks for all the suggestions especially the jeans links. My body’s not perfect by any stretch and jeans are an issue. Enjoy your summer with the family. Time goes so quickly.

  2. Lydia Langston

    Loved Clarkson’s Farm and think Natures Palette might be a must have. Thanks for all the great posts.

  3. Kellie

    Thank you so much for sharing! I need to get some t-shirts! I love our summer schedule too! It’s such a nice change of pace. Happy Summer

  4. Tanya

    You find the greatest books!

  5. jean

    Jeremey Clarkson used to live on the Isle of Man which is where my father grew up and went to school. Looks as though this farm, though, is in Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds. A bucket list location!! And I LOVE Target jeans – I have such a hard time finding jeans long enough and their skinny long is perfect!! Thanks for all your continued inspiration!

  6. Beth

    Love your curly hair !!!

  7. Charmaine

    What a great post! Thank you for the movie/program recommendations. The jeans topic resonates with me. I did the same thing with mine about a month ago. Found some on sale at Costco that fit and feel just great. My body is normal, not model-perfect, so I embrace it 🙂

  8. Sharon

    Loved watching the car show with my son that the Clarkson guy was in so am looking forward to this new one. Thank you!

  9. Sheri

    Started to listen to the trailer of Clarkson’s Farm and clicked it off pretty fast. I don’t tolerate the language being used. I’ll stick to reading books and I can then control what I read and skip the rest. Love reading!

  10. Julie | Home On The Hill

    Great post Marian. I see Clarkson’s show from the opposite view than most who watch it as I own an alpaca farm here in rural Australia & I can totally relate to the farmers eye rolls when the ‘city boy’ is clueless about farming, very amusing. 😀

    Hopefully Clarkson’s show will help people better understand that farms are not just bucolic scenes in a Constable painting, but places were people both struggle with hard physical jobs or heart wrenching emotional & financial losses, as well as the joy of living in the wide open spaces & the self empowering strength that comes from accepting the responsibility of nurturing new life as it springs from the ground, or is born in your back yard. (baby alpacas make it all worthwhile – a cuteness overload if there ever was one!)

    I run workshops on our farm for would be alpaca farmers & it’s so rewarding teaching people the ins & outs of farming. At times it can be amusing like a scene from Clarkson’s show, especially when the subject of animal reproduction is discussed – in detail! LOL

    As hard some days as farming is, after 20 years on the land I could never return to the suburban life I grew up in – I have never felt so alive or so connected to the cycles of nature, or to the people in my area as I do here on my farm in my small rural town, where the sense of community is strong from the shared every day experiences of rural living. 🙂

  11. Karen B.

    I’ll have to check out Clarkson’s Farm. I absolutely loved Biggest Little Farm. It was so informative as well as heartwarming.

  12. Addie

    Just think…..some day they will make an artist book and YOU will be one of the featured artist in the book!!!!

    The picture of you in the T-shirt…..WHY would you ever straighten those beautiful curls???!!!!

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you! I wear my hair curly a lot these days, but I straighten it sometimes when I don’t want to deal with what turns into a nest after sleeping on it!

      • Ruby Sugar

        I love Clarkson’s farm. My family is English so just looking at the countryside brings me joy. The language is a little raw but for me it doesn’t take away from the storyline. I love your curly hair!!

  13. Hannah

    What a lovely list of favourites! I’ve been meaning to watch Clarkson’s Farm for so long now, so it’s good to know that you enjoy it too xx

  14. Victoria

    Thanks for sharing! Checking out the t-shirts, and I needed to hear it about the jeans lol! You are not someone I have ever considered “plus size” so it makes me feel better that sometimes I need jeans from that section too.

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! Oh yeah, I’m a very average size, so it seems a little off to me, but I think our sizing system is skewed.

  15. Karen

    Clarkson’s Farm, yes! I’ve been enjoying that with my husband and one of our teenagers. I’ll be sorry when we watch the last one.


    Hi Marian.

    I have the DK Art School book An Introduction to Art Techniques, and I really love it. It looks very similar to the one you mentioned in this post…so that might be one you would want to buy. I think I bought it at Barnes & Noble, but it would have been about 15 years ago.

    Take care,
    New Hampshire

  17. Maria

    It is so nice to read your take on buying jeans!! I am a jeans & t shirt girl so I can relate. The take away for me is the comment about the fashion industry’s idea of beauty.
    I am finally so glad that we are not all cut from the same size 2 cloth:)
    Thanks for sharing your faves!!!!


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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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