ramblings, workshops & open by chance

by | Dec 9, 2014 | Artistic Endeavors, Decorating, Holiday | 32 comments

As we work in the studio, Kriste & I talk a lot about decorating.  We chat endlessly about styles, trends, what’s inspiring us now, blogs we like, what we think is being overdone, etc.  Having worked alone for such a long time, I love the interaction and find it makes me think through my own tastes and choices and it broadens my horizons a bit.  One day, we were chatting and I stopped what I was doing and looked up at Kriste.  “We need to put this on camera.”  And that was it.  We decided that day that we would start a weekly video series called “Design Ramblings.”  Actually, we tried to come up with a name that was more clever, combining our blog names, Rosemary & Thyme and Miss Mustard Seed, but everything that combined those two names sounded like we would be talking about gardening or cooking.  We also like that “ramblings” sounds casual…we’re not claiming to be experts on everything style & decor related.  We just love it and enjoy talking about it, so take from it what you will.

The first ramble is about decorating for Christmas.  We don’t have a theme song, logo or title screen, yet, but you have to start somewhere.  Right?  You’ll never make a weekly video series if you never make the first one.  So, here we go…matching plaid shirts and all…

We have a long list of topics to chat about, but we’d love to answer questions and cover topics you’re interested in as well.  Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


We finally have the first Mustard Seed Studio workshops on the calendar!  I really wanted to have one scheduled before the end of the year, but it just felt too cramped.  I didn’t want to stuff a workshop in just for the sake of meeting some arbitrary goal.  The studio is mostly ready to receive guests, although it is a creative space, so there are usually fabric scraps and glitter all over the floor and the tables are usually covered in cups of mixed paint and the latest items we’re listing in the shop.  That’s what this space is for, though, so I embrace it and all of the mess.

We decided to try back-to-back workshops, so we can have a focused time each month when we’re set up and ready for customers.  The first workshop is Friday, January 23, from 10:00-noon.  This is a milk paint 101 class for beginners who want to learn the basics of milk paint and the other products we carry in our line.

The second workshop is Saturday, January 24, from 10:00 – 3:00 and this is a bring-your-own-furniture class.  I always enjoy these, because you get to see so many different pieces, styles, colors, finishes, etc.  It’s a great teaching and learning experience and is geared towards people who have at least some painting experience under their belt.

Both classes are limited to 12, so the atmosphere will be intimate and relaxed.  You can purchase the classes and see all of the details in the links above or HERE.  I am so excited about them!

We’ll provide snacks and drinks for both workshops and lunch for the longer event on Saturday.  We’ve been working for months to create a functional and fun space for just this sort of thing…

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Each attendee will get some goodies to take home as well, including an MMSMP apron, a Look Book, a sample bag of paint, etc.

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And we will provide all of the supplies and paint, including the new European color line!

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MMSMP products as well as some antiques will be available for purchase.

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We’ll be teaching two workshops/month (usually) and will vary the times and topics to keep things fresh.  I’ve been kicking around workshop ideas for styling/photography, blogging, starting a business, upholstery, slipcovering and more.  I also love the idea of having some “open studio” sessions where woman can sign up to come for free and work on projects.  It would be sort of the idea of a sewing circle.  We can each work on our own projects, but receive input, help and creative energy from others.

So, I hope I get to see 24 of you in just a few weeks!


While I’m talking about the studio, I’ve been meaning to share the lettering that was custom-made for the doors by Leen the Graphics Queen.  I remember hearing her name when I first joined the blog world and it’s been so fun to meet her in person and watch her business grow.  Cutting vinyls for business doors isn’t her speciality, but she offers a huge assortment of wall decals for front doors, nursery walls, photo backdrops and even offers canvas art and paper prints.  Her site is a great resource for just about anything wall related!

This is what she made for me…

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Reni of Bliss & Tell Branding Co designed the layout/font for me.  I didn’t want to have set studio hours, so I decided to make them “open by chance or by appointment only”.  That way, I don’t feel like a slave to the studio on the days I just want to work at home or go shopping.

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The other door displays the MSI logo designed by Laura Dryer when I first started my business.  (Oooo…those doors need a good cleaning!)

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These decals let people know what is going on behind those doors, but it’s not a huge sign that will attract passers-by to stop in all the time.  The studio will be more “officially” open in January, if you’d like to come pay us a visit.


  1. Jo

    I really liked the video. Very interesting and good tips. I’m wondering, tho, if it would be more fun for you and all of us if you actually filmed while you were working. That way we could listen to what you say, but we’d also get to watch the masters at work!! There must be projects you do while sitting at a table and you could just as easily have the camera turned on then. But either way, keep it up!! Very fun thing for us to look forward to.

    • marian

      Yes, after this first one, we decided we need to show pictures of what we’re talking about as well as do more than just sit and talk. We’re learning as we go… 🙂

  2. Emma

    Have you googled “blue ceramic tree ornaments”? There are many that in my opinion would look good on a tree in your houe.

  3. Lynne

    My heart skipped a beat to read about the upcoming classes, I was so excited…then complete disappointment. Weekday classes are out since I work full time, but you did mention varying times and days, so that’s good. Unfortunately, the cost is so prohibitive that I’ll just have to be content watching youtube videos and learning by trial and error in my own basement workshop. I wish you the best, and thanks for continuing to inspire us with your ideas!

  4. marian

    Yes, we will be having workshops at different times and at different price points to try to make them accessible for everyone. These are just the first! 🙂

  5. katie near chicago

    Yes, for more videos, and yes, please, have some props with which to demonstrate. I felt like the Ramblings were a repetition of what we already know of your decorating style. And without anything shown, other than your cute faces, there’s no hook.

    Would be interested in demonstration of blackboard lettering/drawing. And maybe show how your Christmas decorating this year can become Winter decorating, with the removal of a few baubles or whatever. I love the pix you did of photo ops, showing the addition and subtraction of items and explaining why. That kind of demonstration could be the basic structure for these ramblings. . . .

    and on I ramble . . .

  6. Emma

    What kind of nativity scene do you use with your decor? eBay has a beautiful James Shore one with blue tones..

  7. Catherine

    I’m from Texas but I will actually be in your neck of the woods over the holidays (visiting my husband’s family in Carlisle). I was hoping you would have a workshop during that time, but I understand not wanting to rush. I’ve read your blog for years and have gleaned so much inspiration from you. Hopefully the next time I’m in PA I will be able to finally meet you in person and take a class! I can’t wait to follow along vicariously until then.

  8. Teresa

    Marian & Kriste,
    I enjoyed watching your video and listening to your thoughts on various styles, trends and influences for Christmas decorating. I especially love that both of you have embraced a more neutral, natural and wintery décor for the season.. This style is something I have embraced myself over the past two years. Nothing in my book looks more beautiful than crisp whites and greenery topped with a few sprinkles of vintage!

    Looking forward to seeing more “Ramblings” and good luck with the upcoming workshops in January.

    • Teresa

      I too like Katie’s suggestion of doing a demonstration video in the future of chalkboard lettering and writing. I see others do chalkboards and it looks like a piece of art and mine looks like something a first grader scribbled on the blackboard.

  9. Sanchia holmes

    Being in the UK I’m bursting to see the new European colours…when might we get a peek?

  10. Joanne Boulter

    I just love your blog and the amazing things that you share. Your paint and supplies are amazing!

    Thanx, Jo

  11. Vicki

    Thank you for the tip about Leen the Graphics Queen. It’s exactly what I need for a store display I need to make!

  12. Jelena

    So many exciting things happening in the studio! Hope you have pleasantly busy and creative new year, Marian.
    Oh, and I love the door decals, especially the wording for your hours of business. 🙂

  13. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline

    Advent tip: my mom started hiding our advent treats in the house with a hint left in the calendar. At least one year the hints were bible verses that related some way to where the treat was hiding. For example, Leviticus 20:24 – “milk and honey” treat might be in pantry with honey or refrigerator with milk. We loved the years when she did this! So fun and sometimes a challenge!

  14. Kelly

    I LOVE the “Open by Chance or by Appointment” sign. What a great way to give yourself license to have creative days outside the studio!

  15. Caroline Longstaffe

    Great to watch your video, wish I was close enough to join you in a class. I have used chalk paint with great success and love it, is your milk paint similar! Thank you for sharing your lovely ideas!

  16. Kimberly H

    Love the ramblings! I too agree that running the camera while you are working is a great idea. There are so many topics you cover each week on your blog that would also be amazing to hear you discuss on camera. Your love and knowledge of ironstone is one, certainly decorating, painting furniture – and watching you paint would be a bonus! Informational videos about your paint would be great. I get the “warm & fuzzy” feeling just looking at photos of your studio. Watching you guys work as you talk and/or videoing in one of your photo staging areas would be very appealing too. Love your book and want to thank you for being so inspiring!

  17. Gretchen W.

    Do you think it would be possible to broadcast live from a web cam? It would be a great way for all of to have the chance to be there too!! (For those of us that live far far away) ????!!!!! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It is heart warming to see a person who is following their Dream and enjoying every minute!!!! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas filled with love , health, and much Happiness!
    I also have a wish for you and the New Year coming! I wish for you to have a year filled with inspirational brainstorming that is; as always – creative, insightful and filled with your God given talent !
    Can’t wait to see what whimsical visions spark you enthusiasm in the months to come! You are God Gifted !

  18. Kathryn

    I wish your aprons were in your signature blue and white!!

  19. Ali Foster Claypoole

    Hi Miss Mustard Seed,
    Baby blogger here. I would love to learn more about photography from you. Including a bit about editing? I can’t believe how much I’m learning everyday already, but why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from others?

  20. Sally

    I thought the video was great! How about this ” Thyme to muse with Miss Mustard Seed”‘ it’s a thought huh? Merry Christmas!

  21. Deb Packard

    Hopefully I can do a workshop soon, Keep up with the videos, hoping you get a TV show!!!!

  22. Amy

    Thanks for the video! You mentioned decorating with a real tree and greens. I would love to have a real tree every year, but our artificial tree helps keep our Christmas budget down. However, I do get fresh pine trimmings free from a guy who sells tree down the road, and I put those around the house. My suggestion for your video is to look at the camera more and less at each other so we feel like you’re talking to us! I’m no pro, just my personal thought! By the way, thanks so much for your drop cloth slipcover video tutorial. I was able to slip cover a chair last year by watching you!

  23. tina

    You’re both lovely to listen to and I very much appreciate you taking the time to share a video. It’s no small feat to create even the simplest video and I’m thrilled you’ll be doing this regularly. However, creative, industrious, and talented ladies that you are, I believe one day you may look back at this video and be horrified that you chose for your ‘set’ to sit half-hidden behind a blank table top. Nothin’ wrong with that table and I realize there’s no camera operator to move the camera around, but maybe you could have been in front of the table (which could have been lightly styled) and just half-sitting on it or leaning against it or even just had your chairs sitting in front of it, slightly angled toward one another, in a casual manner. Or even better, maybe just use various areas of your studio and work spaces as your set. I realize this may require more work and planning, dealing with various lighting situations, props, etc… However, this would add depth, visual interest, and better reflect what you’re about. Sorry! I could go on and on as you’ve really pushed my buttons with this. My head is bursting with suggestions that I need not go on about. I look forward to your next episode. 🙂

  24. tina

    Ugh! I just read the comment I posted and realize I sound like a pompous know-it-all. Please feel free to delete it and I’ll try not to comment before thinking. And definitely not before 9 a.m. Thanks!

    • marian

      LOL…no, it was wonderful feedback and I thought the exact same things when I watched it for the first time. What in the world were we thinking with the white wall and blank table?! 🙂 It’s all a part of learning as we go and we want to make them engaging to watch, so I appreciate the constructive criticism.

  25. Kristi

    Why don’t you guys shoot the video while your tinkering away in the studio? A ten minute video of you chatting at the table was kinda long. I skipped ahead to see if there was any action. I wanted to see you elfing around wrapping pretty bows and glittering everything in sight. Maybe edit in some funny elevator music and list followers comments or questions? It would be more interesting and could totally snowball into the funniest ramblings. Plus I think we all want to see you creating magic and coming up with ideas as it unfolds in reality! I guess you need a video guy or girl now!

  26. Kristi

    I hope I didn’t sound like a know it all either! I’m sure you talented ladies will come up with brilliant rambling videos that will bedazzle us!

    • marian

      No, your feedback was great!

  27. Liz M

    Wonderful start, ladies!!! You are definitely on the right track with your “Ramblings”! Great feedback from your followers! Definitely move that table so we can see your awesome studio- you can’t know the exuberance and inspiration your followers get gazing at your wonderful furniture, your fabulous vintage finds/props and clever creations- your amazing scale, cabinets, sideboard, dress form, buntings, your husband’s handiwork… I would love for one of you to carry the camera around and give us a “tour” of your awesome studio!! Can’t wait for your next “Ramblings”!

  28. Shirley@Housepitality Designs

    So happy that you are opening in January….I will be up your way often in 2015…anxious to see your new place!…


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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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