milk crate & a peek at the settee

by | Oct 7, 2014 | Artistic Endeavors, Favorite Finds, Hand Painted Furniture, upholstery | 36 comments

When Kriste and I went shopping last Friday, I was looking mostly for pieces to sell at the Chapel Market, but I was also looking for one specific piece for a specific photo shoot – a milk crate.  I didn’t have a particular style in mind, but I figured I would know it when I saw it.  And I did.  Kriste and I spotted this beauty and there was a silent acknowledgement at the awesomeness of the milk crate.  Maybe there was a slight gasp, but words didn’t need to be exchanged.  I turned it around to look at the price.  It was $59.  I cringed.  That’s a lot more than the $20 range I had in mind.

I looked up at Kriste, “It’s $59.  Do you think that’s worth it?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Yeah.  I thought so.”

I’ve learned in my years of hunting for antiques that sometimes it’s better to get one really cool thing that’s a bit higher priced, than a few things that are mediocre for the same amount.  This concept was so counter to my stretch-every-dollar-as-far-as-it-can-go mentality that I use to shop with.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love hunting for bargains, but I learned that leaving with a trunk full of stuff for $150 wasn’t as sweet if I left behind the one $150 thing that I really loved.  Anyway, here’s the milk crate…

antique milk crate | miss mustard seed

antique milk crate | miss mustard seed

antique milk crate | miss mustard seed


It was sitting on one of the workshop tables and I grabbed it as I was setting things up to take some pictures of the victorian settee.  I just snapped some pictures today and will do a proper photo shoot tomorrow.  Here is a preview…

page from nature book | miss mustard seed

antique milk crate | miss mustard seed

antique milk crate | miss mustard seed

antique settee, industrial crate & dress form | miss mustard seed

I might change things up a bit more tomorrow.  I am having a blast setting up a “room” to give some life to the piece of furniture I’m photographing.  It’s so much more satisfying than just lining it up against the wall.  I’ll probably share the official before & after of the settee tomorrow, but we’ll see what else is going on.  I’ll also style and photograph one of the empire dressers that I painted in the blue from our European line of milk paint colors

Would it be mean to share it when the colors aren’t available until January 2015?


  1. Lin

    Oh no not mean at all to share the new color on the dresser! The milk crate is just adorable and the settee turned out so pretty! I just can’t get over the bargain you got with the industrial cart.

  2. B Folk

    Share away! I love to see everything that you do. Also, the pinned-up page of animals looks as if it was taken from an old encyclopedia or schoolbook about “exotic” animals, where did you get it? I am a sucker for old illustrations! The settee is lookin’ good in the background! Thanks for all the fun and inspiration.

    • marian

      I found it at an antique shop and thought it was so neat. I only bought the single page, so I don’t know what book it was out of.

  3. Pamela @ Flower Patch Farmhouse

    I love that you don’t clutter up your scenes with too much. It is so calming and serene to have just a few well chosen things. The settee is looking great. We do get stuck in the rut of getting more for the money but sometimes more doesn’t make us as content as that one great item. Plus in the business world it is great to think ….hmm, come tax time it is a write off anyways. That is the bookkeeper side of me coming out.

  4. Kari from Meadowview Farm

    Oh so so lovely! Would like to climb right into the pictures!
    The milk crate is perfect, worth every penny!

  5. Rhonda

    I love the “room” you have staged here! I do think the cost of the cart offset the cost of the milk crate! Lucky you with your great finds!

    • marian

      Yes! I think the bargains balance out the splurges. That’s how I feel about the furniture on my house. 🙂

  6. Cindy

    THAT is one epic milk crate! I’m so glad you didn’t pass it up. I also love the furniture factory cart with the white top, have to go find the blog post about it… Love the print with the squirrels and animals hanging on the door too. All that with the settee is such a great photo…


  7. JeanFB

    Ok, I’m moving into your studio. Don’t worry I’ll stay out of the way.. you won’t even know I’m there. I’ll even clean up my crumbs. Its just sooooooo pretty!!!!! I can’t stand it! Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing your space. 🙂

  8. Pamela H.

    Love the milk crate. I have been shopping for antiques and vintage for years and years — I have never seen a milk crate like your new treasure. Maybe I should visit PA?

  9. Teresa

    What a great find! The milk crate looks gorgeous on that cart. Using industrial pieces can come off looking cold and hard looking at times but by pairing them with softer pieces such as the settee the two styles blend together beautifully. I must say that since you have been in your new studio your styling and staging skills are blowing me away!

  10. Lori Swearingen

    Marian, I’ve been following your blog for several years, and I don’t think I’ve ever lefts comment.
    I love everything you do! It’s so exciting seeing your studio come together. The pictures of the settee
    Are beautiful, love the whole vignette. It’s probably one of my favorites. Lori Swearingen

  11. Alice R.

    No, not mean, go ahead and wet our appetite! That milk crate IS special. Love the metal on the edges, and the writing from the diary. Smart buy, I think.

  12. Kellie Coombs

    Not mean at all. Please share. We are all so excited for you and the blessing of your ministry for Him. I just ordered Kitchen Scale this morning for a double bed for our guest room. I’m going undertone it in Shutter Gray first, Kitchen Scale on top. I think the coverage will go better that way. When are you hosting classes? I am itching to come up!

  13. Catherine

    I love the “living room” you set up. I can’t get over how perfect your studio space is. It really allows your pieces to shine. I’m so glad you’ve kept that dress form around. I know how much you like to recycle your props so I was afraid you decided to let her go! Can’t wait to see the European line of colors!!


    Marian! I’m feeling a decidedly “industrial” vibe coming from you these past few posts! What’s up with that??

  15. knorm5

    that industrial cart was an awesome bargain and is beyond perfect!

  16. Connie

    Oh my that milk crate is from my area, Allentown is Eastern PA

  17. Anita

    I just love the settee. I’m usually online at night when you post, so I read through quickly. Then it comes in my email the next day while I’m at work. I read again lol It’s like a nice mid-day treat from the grind of ugly numbers.

  18. Michelle

    The whole thing looks great I love the door propped up behind in blue so serene. Yes show us the European line of colors to have so etching to look forward to.

  19. Grace

    Others had my idea of moving into your studio. 🙂 It could be a studio/bed and breakfast. Maybe a little too chaotic.

    Your styling creativity is AMAZING! Everything looks beautiful. Who would have thought of the page on the door…so great.

  20. Sophie Dean

    I love the Milk Crate…. I always think that even if you have a budget f that one piece is exactly what you’ve been looking for there’s no question about grabbing it, all too often I’ll obsess but no buy and by the time I realise that I am in love with the item its gone!!

  21. Susan

    Not mean at all; something to look forward to. The milk crate is awesome! You had to have it to go with your bottles.

  22. Kim

    Beautiful – I love your style!

    Did you recover the settee? I would love to know how to do such work.

  23. Dianne

    I can’t believe that you already recovered the settee! Everything goes so well together. You really have a wonderful vision! Love your new space!!!

  24. Danielle

    Gorgeous! The milk crate, the settee and “the room”! Love it all!

  25. Kathryn

    I find it’s easy to splurge when someone else tells me to go-for-it; when it’s not their money. Ha! But on a different note, January 2015 is right around the corner. We can all get going on our project ideas in time to order the new paint. Glad you’re having so much fun with your space.Congrats! Splurge on (Kriste…that means keep up the good work!).

  26. KATHY B.

    Hi, The industrial cart is so neat in that space!! Thought the milk crate price was too high till I saw the metal sides! We don’t see that kind in New England. One of these days I have to spend a few hours in Pa. Have always found cool antiques in that state! I f you ever find an original metal dairy creamer holder I will buy it from you!

  27. Jelena

    No, I don’t think it would be mean to share that blue dresser. If nothing else, it would build excitement about the new European paint colors. I think you might have people lining up to buy milk paint in January if they see what you did with that dresser.

    As for the milk crate, I think it looks great, and was worth the money you paid for it.
    Also, I was excited to see the Victorian settee, but now it seems a little too “bland” for my taste. I think the beautiful wood carving accents got “lost” with all those neutral colors. How about some antiquing wax to help them spring to life again? Also, I was hoping for the grain sack upholstery to have some stripes on it… Oh, well… It’s probably just me – having to have a bit of color with the neutrals. 🙂

  28. Winnie

    Money well spent on the crate – it’s perfection. And your shopping credo has been proven to me many times during all my years of flea market shopping! Good find. But I’m sorry to have to disagree with you on the sofa. The light color of the upholstery makes the white of the settee look like skim milk. I have made that mistake myself – just thinning out the depth of the white. It’s a visual thing, I guess, and surely a matter of taste, too! All your work is fabulous!

  29. Kati B ~ FurnishMyWay

    That settee looks gorgeous! Can’t wait to see the whole thing. The detailing on the frame is wonderful.

  30. Lindsay Eidahl

    I love old wood crates like this. I have a couple myself. Your pictures always look so nice! I would love all that natural light! What a fun job to have two places to decorate….. a lot of work, but a lot of fun! 😉

  31. Christy Keyton

    That last photo about killed me, it was so awesome! And this Christy echoes your Kriste about the milk crate, “oh, yeah!”

  32. Alexis

    Hands down, the BEST milk crate I’ve ever seen! Well worth it!

  33. Pam

    Can you please share the kind of beautiful fabric you used on the settee? I have a Victorian sofa that was my mothers that I am going to recover. Love all your work and ideas.

  34. Jenna

    I am obsessed with the door behind the settee! The color on it just pops & is so beautiful. Can you share which color that is? Thanks 🙂


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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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