March 2018 Favorites

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Favorite Things31 Comments

Can you believe it’s already April?  Can you believe we just had a snow storm that dropped about 8″?!  Over Spring break?!  Can you believe I just turned the big 4-oh and I have joined the ranks of the middle-aged?  Yep.  That’s what’s going on.

Before we get too far into April, though, let me share some of my favorites from March…

Creative Getaway

I’ve already gushed about my creative getaway, but it has to make my favorites list.  It was such an amazing time…restful, inspiring, rejuvenating.  It was awesome all-around.  The weather was perfect and I enjoyed walking through the surf looking for shells as I listened to podcasts and audiobooks.  It was a time to focus just on myself and my business and where I wanted to head in this next decade of my life.


It was awesome and I already am looking forward to the next one.  In case you missed them, here are posts about the retreat…

Planning a creative retreat

Fear is not the boss

Open-handed recklessness & practical plans

The Big Three (Increasing productivity)

Words That Rocked (Podcasts & Books for Creatives)

Sorolla’s Paintings

I have been purchasing some art books over the past few weeks.  I already have quite a library of instructional painting/drawing books, but I wanted to buy some books that focused on paintings by masters and established painters.  There is a lot of value is seeing their style and examining what I like and what makes a painting great in my own eyes and in the eyes of the “people who decide that paintings are great.”  That whole thing is still a mystery to me…how one painting is amazing when it’s out of proportion and awkward, in my estimation, and another painting that I think is beautiful isn’t looked at as a serious piece of art.  It’s a shoulder-shrug-inducing thing, that’s for sure.

I bought art books that feature mostly impressionistic work, but also a few other styles.  Of course, I like Monet and Renoir and Sargent.   But I found an artist that I had never heard of and I just adore.  He’s my new favorite.   Joaquin Sorolla.  He captures so much movement and light in his paintings.  To me, they look like snapshots of his time and place… Men wrestling with a massive cart and oxen through the surf, children laying on their stomachs in the waves,  and women holding their hats in the breeze.

The other thing that is fascinating is how huge he painted!  And he didn’t just paint small on location and big in the studio, as is the fashion now.  He set up these huge canvases right on the beach.  Can you imagine how many times a stiff wind blew over one of those canvases or how much sand is incorporated in each work of art?  I love how he was impractical on such a large scale.  Well, this is what I want to paint and where I want to paint it.  

And he’s in spats and a fedora on the beach, which I also love.

I bought this Sorolla book on Amazon, if you’re interested.

Universal Thread Jeans

I needed to get a pair or two of capri pants to wear on my creative retreat, but as I was trying things on, I found these High Waisted Skinny Jeans by Universal Thread and they are great jeans.  I bought two pairs (one in regular length and one in short length for wearing with sandals.)  A good pair of jeans is hard to find, so I wanted to share!

Land’s End Swimsuits

And, I also needed a swimsuit.  It ended up being too cold, so I didn’t swim, but I wanted to share what I bought, since swimsuit shopping is pure torture.  I’ll shop for jeans and bras and even camping equipment for Jeff, but please don’t make me shop for swimsuits.

For the past few years, though, I have bought swimsuits exclusively from Land’s End .  They are swimsuits for women who hate shopping for swimsuits.  They address all of the trouble-spots, but still look cute.  I have some already and knew what works well on my shape, so I just ordered online, but you can find suits at many JC Penny stores to try them on in person.

This time, I ordered the Ultra High-Waisted Swim Mini and the Underwire Wrap Tankini Top.

They do have a good return policy if you buy online and need to return or exchange suits that don’t fit.

And, just wanted to point our they are offering 50% off one full-priced item with coupon code “FRESH”

Linen Sheets

When we upgraded to a king sized bed, one of the things that made me hesitant was the fact that we had really nice bedding for our queen.  I loved our quilt and our set of linen sheets.  Well, Saphyr Pure Linen sent us a new set of linen sheets for our king bed and they were the finishing touch on all of the layers of comfort.

It takes a little while to get used to the texture of linen sheets, but I love them.  And they get softer with each wash and better with age.

So Will I video

I saw this video at our Easter service at church and found it so moving.  Since I go to church on Saturday nights, the Easter service was still in March for me, so this favorite snuck in at the last minute.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did…

This has been spring break for the boys, so I haven’t been in my normal work routine.  It’s been kind of nice, though.  I am ready for walks and hiking and bike rides, but I actually enjoyed being cozied up inside this week, hanging on to the last bit of winter weather.

Spring does need to make an appearance soon, though, because I have some projects on my list…

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


March 2018 Favorites

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31 Comments on “March 2018 Favorites”

  1. Happy Birthday, Marian. I turn 65 on Monday and I’m trying to make myself believe this isn’t actually the start of old age, though the Medicare card makes that difficult! Thankful for good health and so many blessings. Thanks for sharing the video, it’s beautiful.

  2. I took up painting a few years ago and love the impressionists as well. I was not familiar with Sorolla-Whoa ! His work is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  3. You are so correct, Land’s End has the best bathing suits for woman hands down! Thanks so much for the jeans hint. I’m eyeing the linen sheets.

  4. LOVED the video! Thanks for that. I have such a hard time with some religious language due to bad experiences in the past and the visuals here just cut through all of that. Thanks for sharing something so grounding. I think seeing the wonder of God in action translates across the board, regardless of denomination.

    And I have loved my 40’s. No worries for you there. Besides, you are still a total babe. It’s all good friend.

    All the best,
    The Other Marian

  5. Your video makes me in awe of our wonderful God! And you are not alone with the snow. I grow very weary of it & can’t wait for warmer temps. And, of course, Happy Birthday!!

  6. Happy Birthday Marian.
    Life gets even better after 40. As the kids get older you have more freedom to explore and try new things. And possibly more courage and self confidence to try them. Look how far you’ve come since you first brought those pieces in to the local shop to sell on consignment. Can’t wait to see what you’re up to next.

  7. Wow, you never cease to amaze me with your God given talent and wisdom. The video was beautiful, and left me almost speechless.

    As I am closing into the last years of my 60s……ahem……believe me when I tell you that your life is just now beginning! Just a different chapter. You are good at taking the time to savor each moment. Don’t ever give that up!

    Much love to my sister in Christ……blessings!

  8. Happy 40th, Marian!! I’m 3 yrs into my 40’s I love this time in my life. Praying you find so much fulfillment in your 40’s to all He places before you.

  9. I have so enjoyed your blog, Marian and don’t think I have commented yet. Happy birthday! Forties were wonderful! I am just starting my fifties and the landscape is changing, but I am learning and growing! I am listening to So Will I a second time, and sending it to several friends. Thanks for sharing! There is so much in this post! Yes on Lands End! So excited to meet Sorollo!!! Going to use it for our next picture study in our homeschool (Charlotte Mason style). I can’t wait to read through all the retreat links! I have not yet taken my own, personal retreat, but facilitated my first retreat for our local Pregnancy Care Center for women seeking healing after the loss of a child and oh, my! It was an amazing 4 days. I can’t wait to plan a personal retreat! Thank you for sharing your craft and your heart. I am getting ready to try my hand at my first milk-pain transformation, so I am going to watch (and re-watch) everything I can here.

  10. I’m so glad that you discovered Sorolla. His beach paintings make me happy. One, called “Sisters” just radiates childhood joy!

  11. Happy Birthday Marian! Always look forward to your Miss Mustard Seed email! I am interested in learning how to paint, so love your journey and the art you have created. I bought watercolors to start with. I would be interested in what books you have bought and would recommend. That even includes those books that are not about watercolors. I read with interest your post about gouache. I’ve seen the word but never really knew what type of medium it was – only that it was probably French! Looking forward to your booklist if possible.

  12. Well, don’t put up your dancing shoes just yet, sister! Haven’t you heard that 40 is the new 30? I loved my 40’s and 50’s. It is a time when your young self makes peace with your maturing self. It is great!
    You are so inspiring! Thanks for the introduction to Sorollo and the ” I will video”. I looked back at your post on choosing paint for art journaling and learned so much. What a great way to record your trip.
    Happy new decade!

  13. Two of my favorite artists are American painter Edward Potthast, he paints incredible children and sea scapes in a impressionist style and a really fun current artist, Susan Wallace Barnes! love her style and her colors!

  14. Happy birthday Marian! I hope each year – and each decade – is better than the last for you! ❤️

    I studied with artist Ron Ranson years ago and you may want to check out his work and techniques. He was a impressionist artist who worked in oils and watercolor (and gauche) so there may be something there for you.

    Loving the new direction of your blog!

  15. I love impressionists artists as well. When I saw this one in your post I thought it was Mary Cassatt. I’ve never heard of Sorolla and will certainly have a look at the book on Amazon. Beautiful !! Thanks for sharing with us.

  16. Thanks for sharing! When I studied in Spain over 20 years ago I also discovered Sorolla too! He was by far my favorite, Degas and Picasso’s early work are great too! Picasso before he started his abstract work. This has brought back great memories for me,
    Thank you!

  17. Happy Birthday but I thought you were still mid-thirties! Like, you froze in age from when I first started reading your blog five years ago! Enjoy the gifts and many blessings, each day is so sweet.

  18. Happy Birthday. So much to say. First, I’m loving my 40s and hope you do, too. Second, the jeans recommendation will be taken seriously. Jeans are harder for me to find than bathing suits. Third, the videos are lovely. Thanks for sharing. Amy

  19. Marion…..thank you, thank you for this posting. I have finally found the name of this painter!!! I purchased the oil painting, the Women Holding Their hats in the Breeze, for 50 Euros about 10 years ago in Barcelona, Spain at an antiques/flea market. I loved the painting so much, I had the shop keeper take it out of it’s frame (wasn’t the nicest anyway) and he rolled it up for me and I bought a tube to protect it. I have been searching the name of the painter for years. I love impressionist painters as well. I took a picture of the painting but I can’t seem to paste it onto this comment field.
    I have been loving your instagram posts on your painting series and soooo impressed with your talent. I am sure you could make a good copy of the Women Holding their Hats in the Breeze. You are such an inspiration Marion.

  20. Happy Birthday, Marian. The forties are nothing! I just hit 60 and getting older is not for sissies! Enjoy your “young time!” Love your blog and all your projects. Not sure what’s up with that anonymous post though……people need to get real. Last night at mass, our homily was about forgiveness leading to PEACE… was an awesome message. Peace be with YOU.

  21. Hi Marian,

    Happy belated birthday. I love Sorolla too, I have had the opportunity to visit the Sorolla Museum in Madrid, his house was converted into his museum and it’s lovely to visit particularly in the spring. If you have the opportunity in the future don’t miss it. I also wanted to tell you how much I like your new master bedroom. The colors and furnishings you have chosen are so perfect for a bedroom retreat, it makes me want to take a nap.

  22. Hi Marion,

    If you have a chance check out Mary Whyte. She is a water color artist and she is amazing. I’ve seen her a few times at The Portrait Society Conference. I think you would enjoy seeing her work and reading about her.
    I’ve been so inspired with your improvement with your oil painting. I’m going to try to do the daily painting. Keep up the good work.

  23. Wow you’ve given me a new artist to follow, those paintings are gorgeous.

    I’ll return the favor and give you two you may or may not have discovered.
    First a contemporary artist named Vladimir Volgov, a Russian artist who mostly paints beautiful ladies and children with the most incredible layers of light and shadows. They literally seem to glow from within. There are a lot of works on line.

    Also, Louis Iscart, a nineteenth century sketch artist who drew beautiful ladies and animals that are simply exquisite and sometimes mischievous (he also has a body of work in the erotica category, so be forewarned). Most of his work is sketched and then softly colored and sometimes done in all one tone. He started out as an artist for ladies fashion books.

    I hope you will enjoy these!

  24. You might want to look at the Scottish Colourists. I discovered them in Glasgow last year and there are some lovely paintings.

  25. Good Morning I am wondering if you have finished the guest bedroom and made the curtains out of the P Kaufman fabric garden craft in Yolk? I am redoing my guest bedroom and was so lucky to find that exact fabric for $9/yd. I love how you decorate and I think your rooms are so warm and inviting. So I decided to wait and see if you had finished that room and try to replicate it in my little vacation house in Missouri. I put up bamboo shades yesterday (inside mount), washed my windows and now I am thinking I need to change the wall color but waiting on you to decide what color you are going to use. Hope you don’t mind my doing that. Most of my house is BM gray owl which I love!! Wishing you a wonderful day!! thank you. Sincerely Helen

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