this is the project I’ve been working on…

Marian ParsonsArtistic Endeavors, Favorite Finds, Favorite Things, Writing a Book98 Comments

For the past several months, I have mentioned here and there that I’ve been working on various projects – writing, working on my house, and doing photo shoots.  These smaller projects are all a part of one big project.  This project hasn’t been a secret one, but I wanted to wait to announce it until I was a little further along in the process.

Here’s the big news…

1932 green underwood typewriter | miss mustard seed

I wrote a book!

Well, more accurately, I’m in the process of writing a book.  I wrote the complete manuscript and took hundreds of photos and turned them all in to start the editing and layout process a couple of weeks ago.  There is still a lot of work to do, but the heart of the work is complete.

So, let me rewind a bit and tell you the story of how this came about…

I have written a book before, Inspired You, published back in 2012.  I have always been very proud of that book and was even nominated for an ECPA award in the category of best new author.  The book was a learning experience and it pushed me creatively more than any other project.  I felt exhausted when I finished it and didn’t think I would have another book in me for a long time.  Maybe ever.  Over the years, I have felt a small pull to write other books and have all sorts of folders on my computer dedicated to ideas, but none of my ideas ever formulated enough to materialize into another full-scale book.

About three years ago, I started to feel the itch to write a book again.  I started dusting off some of my idea folders and decided I wanted to work with a literary agent this time.  I was referred to Jenni Burke of Illuminate Literary Agency, who works with a few of my published friends – Myquillyn Smith, Tsh Oxenreider, and Emily Lex.  It was the best decision I made.  Jenni helped me refine my ideas and put together a quality proposal and four complete chapters of the book.  All of that work done in advance helped me clarify and solidify my ideas, so any publisher who picked up the project would have a clear sense of who I am and what I wanted to say in this book.

The heart of this book was inspired by you, my readers.  When I moved to Minnesota, I felt a certain amount of disappointment when we bought a 13-year-old suburban home.  While it was a beautiful house that was perfectly situated for my family and business, it wasn’t the old house I wanted and I assumed it would make for boring blog content.  It wouldn’t be the charming old farmhouse I dreamed of fixing up, which would be rewarding to do and fun to share.  Who wants to follow the makeover of a pretty typical suburban four-square, beige house?  The feedback I received from my readers showed me my assumptions were completely wrong.  My home is a lot like their home and the journey of customizing my boring, beige house was relatable.

That became the story I wanted to tell – a story of injecting character and uniqueness into a home that was designed for broad appeal and to be as neutral as possible.  And it got a lot of serious attention from publishers, which is always a strong start for a book!  I’m excited to share that the publisher I’m working with is the Worthy Publishing imprint of Hachette Book Group.  They have been absolutely amazing to work with.  They have respected my vision for the book while challenging me to make it better.

So, over the past few months, I’ve been writing almost every day, completing projects in my home to feature in the book, and doing photoshoots in my home as well as a couple of beautiful local homes.  It has been a massive amount of work, but I feel like it’s some of the best work I’ve ever done.  It was also one of those massive projects that came easily and seemed to perpetuate energy instead of sap it.  Creating this book was a joy-filled process and I have been so happy and fulfilled while working on it.  I’m already filling up new idea folders for possible future books!  I am so proud of it and can’t wait until it’s edited, refined, printed, and available for you to purchase.  That will be in the fall of 2021, so we both have a little while to wait!

Until then, I am going to be keeping some projects and completed rooms under wraps, but I will share a few sneak peeks and previews.  It’s important to me that the photos and content feel fresh, even to my regular readers.  I think you’ll appreciate that when you finally get to flip through the book and see completed rooms and projects for the first time.

1932 green underwood typewriter | miss mustard seed

A few years ago, I realized I was breezing through accomplishments, successes, and experiences without much pause for celebration.  I was just always onto the next thing.  Since that realization, I have tried to be intentional about celebrating.  I have wanted a functioning antique typewriter for a while, so I decided that would be the way I would celebrate.  A typewriter seems like a fitting way to celebrate a book contract, don’t you think?  It would be something I could keep and enjoy for decades as a physical reminder of this experience.

I finally found my typewriter a few weeks ago…  a 1932 portable Underwood typewriter, refurbished by a sweet couple in Nice, France.

It is the dreamiest shade of green with beautiful white and silver keys.  I am still painfully slow at typing on it, but I have enjoyed every minute of clacking away.

1932 green underwood typewriter | miss mustard seed

In closing, I just want to say thank you!  Thank you for coaxing this idea out of me by your encouraging comments that proved my assumptions wrong.

I would not have written this book without you.

this is the project I’ve been working on…

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98 Comments on “this is the project I’ve been working on…”

  1. Bravo, Marian. Your encouragement makes us feel brave and much more willing to take chances. Hey, it’s just paint!

    1. Congratulations Marian! I am looking forward to your new book. Your remodeling projects are beautiful and they have given me encouragement, and ideas, to add character to our newer home. Your book can’t come quick enough!

  2. I love how you took a plain home and designed it to fit your own style and function. Looking forward to your book!

    1. What a wonderful story of a major accomplishment for you! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. When I was in college I had a green portable Royal typewriter and I’m sorry that I got rid of it. Your green typewriter is beautiful and a perfect way to celebrate! I love hearing from you and I can’t wait to read your published book!

  3. Congratulations on your book! It’s an incredible accomplishment. I think when things perpetuate energy rather than sap, that’s when you know you are on the right track!! I am a long time reader (even though I don’t comment too often).

  4. Congratulations! I’ve struggled with my suburban home also and your blog has given me lots of inspiration. I can’t wait to see what’s in the book!

  5. I wondered when we would see the “reveals” for the bathroom and other projects. Now I have the answer! Like you, I live in a newer (20-year-old) house and have worked hard to have it reflect my style and love of antiques. I still yearn for an early-20th-century California bungalow, but it wasn’t in the cards. Most of us don’t live in the house of our dreams. We live in houses that suit our needs for a specific time of life. The publishers definitely knew what they were doing when they tapped you to write a book about how to create a home we love out of the house in which we actually live. Congratulations to you and I look forward to seeing your book in 2021!

  6. Congratulations Marian! You are truly my favorite Instagrammer – love your content. Keep up the great work!

  7. Congratulations! I’m already looking forward to purchasing and reading your new book, as you’re my favorite person to follow on Instagram and on a blog!

  8. You should have written this…you have much to tell us. God has blessed you (and us) mightily…..and we are grateful. I love the typewriter. and you!

  9. Congratulations!!! I have loved following your journey for many years and can’t wait to pour over this book. You are an inspiration to us all!!!

  10. How exciting. I can’t wait for the book. Hope we get a lot of sneak peeks. I need something to look forward to. I live in Sioux Falls South Dakota so we had snow over the weekend too. Way too soon for me.

  11. This is wonderful news! I love your style and once the book release is announced, it will be a “one click” for me.

  12. That’s wonderful Marian. We are lucky to have you here to inspire us. So many of us live in builder grade homes that we just want to give some panashe. I remember when you painted your kitchen cupboards (a huge undertaking). I thought “well if she can do this – maybe I can too”. And I did but only because you paved the way.

  13. Yessss!!!!!! Congratulations. I really resonate with your style and have taken so much inspiration from both of your homes.

  14. Congratulations! Looking forward to not only reading it, but keeping it on my coffee table, because I know it will have another beautiful cover!

  15. I am SO excited and happy for you! So many people, like me, are going to love seeing inspiration and ideas for our suburban homes. Fall 2021 can’t come quick enough!
    Way to celebrate!

    Also, that typewriter is perfection!

  16. OH, I am excited to hear this news! Congratulations! I have your first book, and I have enjoyed pulling it off the shelf and rereading it every now and then. I look forward to getting your new book!

  17. Congratulations! This is exciting to hear and I will be on the list to get my own copy! I’ve loved all the changes you’ve made to make this house your home.

    Looking forward to seeing your book!

  18. Congratulations! This book will be successful because so many people can relate. I used to follow you years ago when before I started working.

    But I later lost track partly because while I enjoyed you and your work, it was frustrating to know my suburban home would never look like an charming older home. When I “found” you again a year ago, I was astonished that you were in a new home AND it was a suburban home that oozed charm.

    And you didn’t attain that charm by ripping everything down and rebuilding a custom interior. This is something that seems pretty rare in home design “entertainment” nowadays. So many shows are filled with unrealistic budgets, extraordinary lengthy renovations, and boring, neutral, minimalist or modern farmhouse design.

    I can’t wait to have this book.

  19. 1st: so thrilled & happy for you on this well deserved & perfect for you endeavor!!
    2nd: thrilled for we followers, especially me since we have a brand new home 2 hours away from our home town & old home of the past 33 years! It’s new with lovely high-end details but much more modern than I would have usually chosen. But our son-in-law is the builder so we know how well built it is, it was ready to move directly into when ours sold months before we even contemplated putting it on the market, & it was a model home with many high end features that we may not have been able to afford if he had built us a custom home of our choosing. And it’s 5 minutes from our 4 grandchildren -so it is Perfect!! But I would like it to reflect us a bit more and you are the perfect guiding light for me follow toward that end!

  20. How wonderful! Your talents never cease to amaze me. So excited to see this! I know it will be beautiful and inspiring! Congratulations!

  21. Wow! This sounds like the perfect book for so many of us! I wish we didn’t have to wait so long!

  22. Congrats on the book ! That’s so exciting. I love old typewriters and yours is a beauty ! I have one from my childhood and my grandson is so curious about how it functions with paper and no electricity !!! On a side note… I found your lovely pear platter at a local shop called The Tattered Tulip in Lockport, NY. It is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for being there for us and giving so much of yourself.

  23. Oh, this is wonderful news!! Congratulations! Can’t wait to see your book release. I think the vintage typewriter is the perfect present to yourself!

  24. What a delightful outcome for all the hard work you have pour into your “builder house”…. M, it’s not builder any more! It’s amazing, full of inspiration, tips, tutorials, …. everything good! Our styles differ but I share and celebrate your talent and creativity with friends and clients! I do long for your ability to set deadlines and stick to them! Much success and congratulations! Well deserved!

  25. WOW!!! I cannot believe what you pack into a day…..a life!!! You are AMAZING!!!! Love all that you do.
    Congrats!!! You work hard and it shows. Love your home, blog and sweet personality.
    You are truly blessed by God!!!!

  26. Wonderful! Wonderful! Please let us know when we can purchase the book. Move over Joanna Gaines,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  27. Brava! You are an amazing woman! I have enjoyed tuning in to see you transform your house and I know your book will be on my coffee table next year! Congratulations Marian!

  28. I love your continued evolving creative process and appreciate your fearlessness in expanding your horizons on many different endeavors. I feel a connection on many fronts to your projects, some I just admire others I have embraced myself. I think creative souls are just marvelous and we need more outlets to showcase. Can’t wait for the book.

  29. Congratulations! I bought your last book and am looking forward ti buying the new one. You are very creative and clever and your hard work pays off.

  30. That is so great Marian! I was just thinking last week that you seem extra happy in your live Facebook stories lately 😁. Can’t wait to see the finished product! (Fun that you are including some other homes as well.)

  31. Congratulations!! This is wonderful news. Can’t wait to read your new book. I live in an 8 year old house in the city that we purchased new after selling our farm. Making it feel comfortable, cozy, classical, unique, lived in….has been our greatest challenge. I soooo need your book.

  32. This is wonderful news for you and us ! When it is time to pre order make sure we know because that’s so important !
    We are considering building a home in a year so maybe you’ll have a some good ideas for me to incorporate right from the get go.

  33. Such wonderful news, and so deserving! Hope you also talk about elements of design to help readers think through their own home’s possibilities. We already know they’ll be fantastic photography. Can’t wait…congratulations!

  34. So happy for you Marian ! I have been a faithful follower of you for years !
    It’s great to see everything you do each day. Continue to share your many talents , God given

  35. Congratulations! I look forward to purchasing your new book. I purchased your book, Inspired You, and still refer back to it fairly often. You are so talented in so many areas. Keep inspiring all of us!

  36. This was such a delightful post, Marian! And I think the Underwood is probably THE coolest author gift ever. I’m so happy for you, thrilled about this book, and excited to help you share it with the world! Big hugs and high fives!

  37. Hi Marian,
    Again, I say, you are just AMAZING. I know people use that word with reckless abandon but the meaning of the word is absolute when it describes you. I am always excited to open your email to see what you’ve done next! You are indeed an inspiration – and I don’t know how you manage all that you do in a day – wife, mother, author, painter, designer, seamstress, photographer and so much more. Now, we all have to wait for another year to get your book… but it’s always good to have something to look forward to. I can’t wait!!

  38. I’m not exactly sure why, but this beautiful post brought tears to my eyes. I have loved following your blog since you were painting furniture with spray paint – Heirloom White, I believe! The thing I have loved most and have told my friends when describing your blog, is how generous you are. With your skills, your knowledge, and your time. And now you have written us a book! Congratulations and thank you! You have made me a better person by modeling transparency, consistency, humility and staying true to yourself. I will be so happy to see this latest work.

  39. That’s great news! I suspected as much when you were taking all your photo equipment and props to other homes. I can’t wait for the book to come out!

  40. Congrats Marian!! We will all be with you during this process and I can’t wait for your new book. That typewriter is absolutely dreamy.

  41. I’ve been waiting for this day to come for YEARS! Super excited about the new book and following your launch journey too. I’ve been with you from the beginning so I know this is a huge deal! Congratulations you deserve all the good things coming your way. Big hugs!

  42. Congratulations! I feel like we are dear friends, as I look forward to all of my visits with you. You are the kind of friend who encourages, motivates, and dreams. And it is fun to celebrate with you!

  43. Your last three sentences….so special. I really really felt it. There are very few bloggers…. actually, none….let’s be honest that I read every day like yours. I scroll your blog and IG like a magazine. We LOVE everything you do really. You have encouraged us to paint walls, furniture and canvas, to re-upholster chairs and put fabric on walls. We collect ironstone and have a new love for grain sacks. I don’t even know what I am writing lol….and it really has nothing to do with why you are writting this book but maybe it’s just to say…. Thank You! Oh and to say Congratulations!

  44. I’m so excited for you. Congratulations! It’s going to be a long year waiting for your book to purchase but look forward to it.

  45. You are so very lucky to have so many people cheering you on for everything you do. Most people in this world never get this blessing.

  46. Wow- congratulations on this newest accomplishment , Marian! I will be looking forward to the book!

  47. This is fantastic Marian! Huge congratulations- you are so talented and have found such a great platform for all your creative adventures! I’m still going over some of the painting tutorials which have been very helpful …if only I had your painting abilities!! Can’t wait to see the book.

  48. Congratulations and all best wishes on the new book! This sounds very relatable and on point. I love your first book and so look forward
    To enjoying the upcoming one as well. Such a welcome subject to help us all. Thank you and best of luck!

  49. Marian you are a rockstar! There is nothing you can’t do and you do it with grace and humility. Cannot wait until fall 2021!

  50. Yay! I’m a longtime fan of your work through the years, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing the book next year! Good news, Marian, thanks for sharing, as always!

  51. Congratulations on your upcoming book and I look forward to the opportunity to read every word and view every photo over and over again. I have followed you for a while and I love your energy, admire your talent and appreciate that you unselfishly share it with us. Loving the way you document your journey in such a beautiful way. 🍂🍁🌻

  52. How exciting ! I can’t waitto get my hands on it. Gonna be so hard to wait. I have your other books, I keep right next to my bed, with my bible,lol .

  53. How exciting for you! I bet your family is proud of you. Love following your blog and instagram. It was exciting when you moved to Rochester..I have lived here all my life…extra exciting when you first moved here and I saw you in Hobby Lobby!! Maybe next time I will say something 🙂

  54. Yay! I can’t wait to see the book. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed making it for all of us to enjoy reading, and for helping the “Average Jane” refurbish her ordinary suburban home. And yes, that typewriter is just gorgeous.

  55. Yea! Can’t wait for your new book! I have been so encouraged by your blogs as I try to make our new-to-us home OURS. By the way, I learned how to type on one of those wonderful old typewriters. When the electric typewriters came out, I thought we were on easy street! LOL! How times have changed!

  56. Wow!! I am so inspired by everything you do and to see you push through the idea that your neutral home would not be interesting to us is just one more thing to be inspired by! I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!! Congratulations and blessings to you for more to come!!

  57. Congratulations Marian! I cannot believe how much you can accomplish ! Your home is gorgeous all
    Of your painting g projects are phenomenal.

    Now a book ! Looking forward to seeing it all!

  58. Congratulations Marian! LOTS of people are moving into different homes these days and I feel that your book will be very timely in terms of helping lots of us achieve our own “look.” Best of luck as you inch toward the finish line! You always do run a great race!

  59. Congrats! So where do you find all this time to write, photoshoot, paint, podcast, knit, decorate…and raise a family!! Good for you! But I’m exhausted….!!

  60. Congratulations! This is wonderful news and I’m so excited for you. I think you are one of the hardest working bloggers out there. Your content is always interesting, fresh and beautiful, and you are a great teacher. I have learned so much from you, and I can’t wait to buy your book!

  61. Hello Marian – LOVED this post! so inspiring! and i really LOVE the typewriter pic! I am sending you a link to an incredibly charming and interesting independent film all about manual typewriters starring Tom Hanks, “California Typewriter.” Good for a cozy movie night.
    I rarely purchase books but I will definitely be interested in your new book when it comes out!

  62. CAN NOT WAIT!!!!! Your first book gets read and re-read all the time and this one will too. So excited for you and I will be on the pre-order list also!!! Congratulations!!!!!

  63. Congratulations on your latest book!! I think you have several books you’ll write and bless us with in the future. And that vintage typewriter is a dream and suits you to a “t.” Thank you for sharing your many, many talents. ♥

  64. Oh wow! This is the best news I’ve had in DAYS. Your book, Inspired You was a turning point in my decorating life. That’s when I began using my Grandmother’s silver, when I stopped saving things and began using them. I’ve recommended your book countless times. So yay you! I will pre-order the moment it’s available. And thank you for all the inspiration over the years. My dream was an old farmhouse, my reality is a house in the burbs. I’ve written about Loving the Home You’re In more often than I care to say…… numerous projects and changes to help me add character o a builder box house and help me love the home I’M in. Your future book will probably become well thumbed.

  65. Yea for you – and for us!
    So happy that you realized the blessings of your home and that God has indeed placed you there as gift from him 🙂
    More people live in track homes, and they get great value reading how you’ve fixed it up.

  66. I am so proud of you. I am 76 and not that I can do the things you do as well I have been blessed with many talents. The sad thing is I have not really done anything with them. You are such a wonder and blessed to be born at a time when women can do “stuff”. Bravo. No to change the subject but I still have my little Smith Corona typewriter my Mother gave me for my15th birthday. The return arm is broken and I would love to have it repaired.
    Is it awfully expensive? Are these the only people you know who repair typewriters. I have it on display and my great granddaughters saw it last week and were absolutely amazed at how it worked. So fun! Thank you for this wonderful post and sharing your exciting news>

  67. I have a confession. For many, many years I read your blog every day. Many days I would read old posts that were before I found you. Your writing style flowed so easily and I felt like we were kindred spirits because our interests were the same. Then my mom died and I needed something to do that kept my mind and body very busy. I caught the cut flower farming bug and dove in head first. I spent every waking moment learning about flowers and I didn’t have time to read your posts. All that to say that I just popped in to check on you and this post has made my day! I’m so proud of you. And….I’ve missed you.

  68. You are a woman of many talents! Congratulations on your book and many more. We are all looking forward to purchasing and reading it and putting it on our coffee tables with our other best finds! I too live in the burbs and was not crazy about my house but have come to love it. It’s all about what you turn it in to. Congratulations again and can’t wait for the day it is available to all of us!!!😊

  69. So interesting to read this idea for your new book. I moved not long after you did & brought a couple dozen favorite magazines that made it thru the huge decluttering needed to move. I’ve been going thru them when I take a bubblebath and opened one last week to an article that showcased your last home. I remembered how much I LOVED that article. Full of charm and history. But, afterwards I thought about how much I enjoy your new Minnesota home even more and seeing you develop the style that fits your family in that building. Looking forward to your new book.

  70. Oh, my dear Miss Mustard Seed!!! Hugs and congratulations to you!!! I am thrilled just as your other readers are with the news of this new book. A BOOK! Not a video, not a post but an old fashioned book! But I think you have written two books already. It was The Home Design Doodle Book I purchased at my local Christian bookstore which first introduced me to you. Then I started reading your blog.

    Your blog is a jewel. I don’t do much social media, but I can’t resist reading every blog you create. I think your style, while it may not always be my taste, is inspiring to us who need a kick start, a how-to, and a you go, girl to do our own projects. your transparency and honesty are so relative to us, the ordinary Jane Does who wish for a dream home and are stuck in a builder spec house. Your writing and photography are very professional.

    As if a book isn’t a cupcake enough, the icing is that green typewriter! Is that French on the keys? I love it!

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