September’s Books of the Week

by | Oct 12, 2020 | a slice of life, Favorite Things, Uncategorized | 20 comments

Can you believe we’re already well into October?  This year seems so long yet so short.  I must say that I have really enjoyed sharing the books of the week on Instagram and here on the blog.  I love pouring over resource books and I have loved sharing some of my new and old favorites with you.  I still have so many more books left to share and I know there will always be new ones, so I’m starting to consider if I’ll keep sharing the books of the week feature into 2021.  Let me know if you enjoy them and want to read more reviews.

For now, here are my books of the week for September 2020…

John Singer Sargent Portraits in Charcoal

If you are into portraits, drawing, or John Singer Sargent, this book is a must!  It is absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorite JSS books ever.  I have several of them, but the printing on this one is so high quality and I love that the story of each portrait is told along with the drawing.

john singer sargent | portraits in charcoal | miss mustard seed

The prints are of such high quality that they really could be cut out and framed.  You might want to buy one to use for prints and one to actually read!  I hope to one day have the time to work through this book and do studies of many, if not all, of the portraits.  I know I would learn and grow so much in that process.

john singer sargent | portraits in charcoal | miss mustard seed

Welcome Home

My peer home blogger and sweet friend of over 10 years, Myquillyn Smith wrote Welcome Home, which recently became a New York Times bestseller!  (Congrats Myquillyn!)  We interviewed her on The Creative Exponent podcast (you can listen to that episode HERE) and she shared that she wrote this book out of a place a frustration.  She was frustrated with the seasonal and holiday decorating that was presented on social media and in magazines.  If you want to buy hundreds of pumpkins and mums, that’s fine, but she wanted to share a simpler, less expensive alternative for those who don’t or can’t.

welcome home | myquillyn smith | miss mustard seed

Myquillyn also has a brilliant way of putting things…simple, straightforward, inspiring, encouraging.  She’s all-around awesome and so is the book!

Great Country French Style

This is an older book that has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  My most loved books have paint on them and this one has little splotches and splatters of burnt umber from my mural and decorative painting days.  As a blue and white lover, I have always loved the cover…

great french country style | book review | miss mustard seed

The interior is a good mix of very traditional Provincial French Country and more classic, understated interpretations of French style.  In my opinion, about 90% of the book feels very timeless, with only 10% feeling a little late-90s, early 2000s.  You could insert most of these home features into a magazine today and they wouldn’t look out of place.  In my opinion, that’s an example of an excellent decorating book.

great french country style | book review | miss mustard seed

Arriving Home

This is a brand new book that I preordered and received the day it was officially released.  I just love everything James Farmer does and enjoyed his other book so much that ordering this one was a no-brainer.

arriving home | james t. farmer III | book review | miss mustard seed

The homes shown in this book are definitely high end, but there are so many wonderful takeaways for decorating-lovers on any budget – color, use of pattern, styling, furniture arrangements, pieces to look for at yard sales and antique stores, etc.  Every page is striking.  It’s a fantastic, classic decorating book.

arriving home | james t. farmer III | book review | miss mustard seed

Where Women Create

I’m cheating on this one a bit, but I had to select the latest Where Women Create magazine as a book of the week, because my studio made the cover!  I have loved Jo Packham’s books and magazines for years and never imagined I would one day be featured, much less on the cover.  If I knew it was going to be a cover shot, I would have styled it a little bit more!  Anyway, I won’t let that detract from the joy of it all.

where women create magazine | winter 2020 | miss mustard seed

I do consider this a book in the sense that it doesn’t have ads (so it’s packed full of content) and I keep every issue I purchase.  These aren’t the kind of periodicals that you store in a basket and clean out when the seasons change.  You keep them and go back to them as a resource again and again.

My favorite thing about Where Women Create is it combats the feeling I get from social media that everyone is doing the same thing.  There is such a wide variety of artists featured and I am always amazed at what people are creating and how they are making a living.  Whenever I finish reading an issue, I’m reminded that the world is big and the depth of human creativity is endless.  I find that to be encouraging and motivating.

where women create magazine | winter 2020 | miss mustard seed

You can purchase issues online or I always find them at Barnes & Noble.

I hope you enjoyed my books of the week picks for September!

Have you read any books you would recommend?

If you missed previous books of the week, you can find them here…

January 2020

Making a Life | Martha Stewart’s Organizing | Essentialism | Slipcover Style | Daily Painting

February 2020

City Farmhouse Style | A Place for Everything | Color: A Visual History | Conscious Creativity

March 2020

The Life of a Bowerbird | New Americana | Making Winter | Painting Clouds & Skies in Oil

April 2020

The Art of Beatrix Potter | BHG New Cookbook | Nora Murphy’s Country House Style | BHG Trade Secrets | Simply Living Well

May 2020

The Art of Still Life | Cozy Minimalist Home | Creating a New Old House | Keep Going

June 2020

All Along You Were Blooming | Furniture Makes the Room | On Flowers | French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings | Get Your House Right

July 2020

New Farmhouse Style | Mastering Composition | Beautiful | Spruce

August 2020

The Stuff of Life | Old Home Love | Beginning Drawing Atelier | BHG Decorating Book 1961



  1. Terri

    Sending congratulations to you on being published in “Where Women Create”. It’s a great resource! Always appreciate your book recommendations!

  2. Jo7nes

    I purchased “Where Women Create” at Whole Foods this past weekend. I was immediately drawn to the cover thinking, ‘that looks like Miss Mustard Seed’. Duh! It was Miss Mustard Seed. I agree with your review that it is full of amazing women and the spaces they have created for expressing their talents. I have read it cover to cover and find it inspiring.
    I love you featuring books that have influenced you and that you are willing to recommend. I immediately go to my public library’s website to see what I can find. I’ve even gotten them to purchase a couple of books they didn’t already have. I’m just this week reading two Terry John Woods books per your recommendation. I just drink in all the ideas and beautiful images.
    I must say, Marian, I think you are wonderfully amazing!

  3. Amy

    I love your book of the week posts! It is always fun to see your good finds…thank you for sharing!

  4. Sheri

    Please don’t do away with your book recommendations. I look forward to this feature each month with great anticipation. It provides so much inspiration. I have purchased many of them and gotten so many from the library also. When I look them up, it often times leads me down a rabbit hole where I discover others! Pure enjoyment and so inspiring. You’re amazing Marian!

  5. beverlee b lyons

    wow, that is a lot of good stuff right there. I want you to do the charcoal studies….that is my favorite style you have done.
    I buy Where Women Create at Michaels ….right by the check out. I have to say yours is the best. Followed by White Flower Farmhouse. But, they all have something we can take away and use.


  6. Shelly

    Yes, please on the book reviews! Our tastes are the same and I get the books you show unless I already have them! I don’t paint, but they seem like good choices for those who do!

  7. Monique Denoncin

    John Singer Sargent, a painter love. I cannot spend any money right now, but I will remember later if life gets kinder. Thanks for posting it.

  8. Darlene

    I love your book of the week or month recommendations. You got me buying books again!! Please don’t stop!

  9. Rachelle

    I just saw Myquillyn book on Saturday. It’s on my Christmas list.
    How nice that your work room is on the cover. Will need to look for it next time I’m out.

  10. Michele

    Love your book of the week posts. I have purchased several of them after your recommendation.

  11. Nanette Racine

    Yes, please keep doing the reviews. I’ve bought at least one from your recommendations, “A Kitchen in France”. I almost never purchase cookbooks because of the internet and the ease of finding recipes. It was so pretty though, I couldn’t resist.

  12. Teddee Grace

    Poring over books is a favorite pastime. Thanks for continuing to provide inspiration.

  13. Leone

    Congratulations on you cover story. Because you did not “style it more” for the magazine, it makes the studio all the more real for the readers. Everything you do gives people hope that they can accomplish similar results. We appreciate seeing how life is with all the variations.

  14. Kim

    John Singer Sargent is one of the greatest painters ever. How he could so accurately paint textures, such as silk or velvet, or luminosity of skin is beyond me. I’m sure the sketch book would be interesting to read!

  15. Irene Kelly

    Just love Jo Packham”s Where Women Create magazines and I must say I have a large library of them along with so many of the Stampington series issues. Jo has been a leader in the craft industry by first publishing counted cross stitch books and now the Create series. The photography is excellent in all and so inspiring to the reader on how to organize our studios as well as ideas on creating wonderful crafts. I love your suggestions on books and I have purchased many of the books you have listed. So please keep giving us ideas on your favorites. Thank You ! !

  16. Clorinda

    I love your book of the month. I have bought several off your recommendations. Thanks for a great blog. I love it.

  17. Terry

    Personally I love your books of the week and hope you continue. I have purchased many and not been disappointed once. BTW congrats, I didn’t even know the magazine existed. See what a service you are providing.

  18. Sharon Rexroad

    What a magical moment, seeing your studio on the cover! Kudos!

  19. Laura Bair

    I’ve scoured the “Where Women Create” magazine website for subscription costs and was unsuccessful. Am I missing it??? Thanks for the inspiration you instill!!

  20. Kellie

    I love your books of the week and I just purchased a copy of “Where Women Create”. I always pour over every page and love reading the stories. I come away so inspired. Thank you for your recommendations!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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…


Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!


Articles by Date


our sponsors

Bliss and Tell Branding Company