Some of my finds | Light in the Basement

by | Sep 21, 2013 | Antiques, Favorite Finds, My House | 62 comments

I went out yesterday to do some shopping for my online shop and the Chapel Market coming up soon in Pike Road, Alabama.  October 19, to be exact.  Anyway, here are some things I found…

…some 1950’s horse ribbons…

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…a glass water bottle in a wooden crate (I’ve seen these made into killer lamps)…

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…a pretty piece of wood trim…

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…lots and lots of ironstone…

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…some flow blue plates and a “cow bowl”, which is exactly what it said on the tag…

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…a beautiful French chair (of course, I’m going to reupholster it)…

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(That’s just a tapestry-like fabric, by the way, not needle point, so don’t freak out.)

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The frame is very sturdy, though, and the wood is gorgeous…

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…this cane French chair…

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…oh, she’s a beauty.  Her seat is a little saggy, but we won’t hold that against her, will we?  (After all, we’ll all have saggy seats one day…)

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…this adorable mini wagon…

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I also found some homespun fabric, linen towels and a few other things.  It was a productive trip!  I don’t know when I’ll get more things listed in the online shop.  It’s tedious to photograph, measure and write about everything in order to post it and then I have to process, pack and ship the orders.  So, I’ll likely put things in here and there and it won’t ever be this huge shop, but a little thing on the side.  That’s the plan, anyway.


And today, my husband had a couple of guys over to help him with wiring florescent lights in the old part of the basement.  This space was dank and smelly, dark and dirty when we first moved in and it’s come a looooong way.  Most recently, we painted the walls and floor and then I’ve been purging and organizing the heck out of it.  It was looking better, but it was still really dark down there; lit by just a few single bulbs.  A few people suggested painted the ceiling, which would be awesome, but totally impractical with all of the cross beams and wire nests and pipes.  It would take days and days to get it all done and, honestly, I just don’t think it’s worth it. There are more fun things to paint in the world than my basement ceiling.  This is never going to be a pretty basement.  I just need it to be a functional one.

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So, they hung 12 florescent shop lights and it is amazing how bright that space is now.  I had to vacuum right away, because I could actually SEE how dirty everything still was, even after all of our cleaning and organizing.

We are going to make a screen for the boiler & water heater, so those aren’t visible, but otherwise we’re all set.  Once the stash of stuff for the Chapel Market is moved out, I’ll have space to paint, upholstery and create down there.

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Laundry even seems a little less like something I want to avoid at all cost. Well, maybe I won’t go that far, but it is nicer.

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I never thought I would walk down to the basement, lean against a pole and just linger there…soaking in the space.  But I have been this evening.

It is a far cry from the studio space of my dreams, but for now, I am thrilled to have it.


  1. elma

    What an awesome space!! It is nice to have it in the basement you can close the door and no one will see:) I want that French chair please!! Any white ironstone butter pats you want to get rid of??

  2. Deb Miller

    Oh, Marian, I can’t wait to see what you’re able to bring to Chapel Market! I live in North Alabama, and will make the trip to Pike Road to the market. (I hope that beautiful wood trim piece makes it! I’d love to have that!). Looking forward to it!!!

  3. Sharon in Chicago

    What, you think some readers would freaky out? What ever gives you that idea?

    Seriously, lovely stuff and a lovely space to stuff, er, store it.

  4. Kelly

    I had to laugh when you said not to freak out! Heh!

    I am SO in love with that mini wagon. Is there anyway I could buy it off of you? 🙂

    • cindy

      Not to be picky but it is a mini wheelbarrow – not a mini wagon. No farm people out there huh??

      • Kelly

        I grew up ion my grandparents farm. We call it wagon sometimes or a wheelbarrow like you said. It doesn’t matter how it’s said as long as it is understood what it is.

        MMS. I am still interested in buying that mini wagon, pretty please?

  5. Kristine

    Oh, how I wish I had a basement (or at least an equivalent space to store awesome stuff)! One day…maybe.
    Love your finds. That mini barrow is adorable. Perfect for a little boy’s room.

  6. Jackie

    In shops what often helps to keep a space bright along with the fluorescent lights is the addition of white vinyl or tin to the ceiling. Don’t get me wrong it looks great as it is, but painting the ceiling is definitely not the solution.

  7. Jodi

    Welllllll, if you’re just going to sell from here I would LOVE that big tureen bowl on the table!lol Your space looks amazing! Btw, I just got my first two pieces of English Ironstone yesterday and they are in perfect condition. So excited <3

  8. Jodi

    Forgot to mention that it always amazes me that you find SO much Ironstone because where I live, it’s hard to find. Got lucky yesterday and my collection has started:)

  9. Donna

    Great finds, and I would linger also in that basement! Don’t you love it when everything is clean. OK, how to restore that cane, and I’m sure it needs conditioning. somehow put a board across the top, clamp in on somehow. turn it over. take a washcloth or small towel, wet it, wring it out and lay it on the cane, and leave it for at least a week, until the washcloth or towel is totally dry. (my french cane bench took a couple of days beyond the drying of the washcloth to complete dry and tighten) it will condition it, and it will shrink and be tight and happy as can be. Cane needs moisture, or it will become dry and brittle. I recently learned this from a cane expert, and confirmed it on the internet. amazing. I tried it and it does work. Looking forward to the online store being up. 🙂

  10. Ramona

    Do I need to register to attend the Pike Road market? Love, love, love your blog!

  11. The Prudent Homemaker

    What an amazing space! Basements are almost non-existent where I live. You are very blessed to have such a HUGE space in which to create and work.

    I cannot help but think that you would enjoy your space by the washer and dryer more if you had a pretty piece of furniture where the laundry essentials rest (perhaps your soap in a glass jar with a scoop inside if you use powdered soap) and some artwork over the washer and dryer.

  12. Glenda Beeler

    Hello! Your basement looks like a good place to work. I think I noticed a couple of ironstone soup tureens in your stash.. Are you selling those? If so, how much?

  13. Colette

    Hello there!

    What is the pattern/make of that cow bowl? It looks like it could be J&G Meakin…just curious as it’s very similar to a brown set I have.
    Gorgeous finds by the way, little bit jealous all the way up here in Canada!

  14. Suzanne Benner

    Marian…I have been reading your blog for a couple of years…and I check it every day!
    When you re-upholster your French chairs, what kind of stapler do you use?
    I’m concerned about the narrow piece of wood around the back. I did buy a nuematic ( sp?) stapler, but concerned I can’t get staples that are fine enough.

  15. Teresa

    Marian…you really scored big time yesterday! I had to laugh because you found some of things I am looking for when I go to Round Top antique show in another week. I am also on the hunt for some small antlers to use during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I found some but they were all too big. BTW…your basement looks so organized and clean now.

  16. karen R. Holleman

    I love seeing this side to you…this is why I fell in love with your blog, book, style and persona (from as much I can get via these means). Knowing that your dirty (and clean/folded) laundry is staring you smack in the face as you create, inspire others is reassuring to me that you’re still this grounded, home spun, relatable mom/wife/daughter/sister/friend/church member and designer/artist/boss/etc. Thanks for reminding us about your “realness”.

    From those who admire you from afar!!!

  17. mary eguia

    You are pretty amazing.

  18. Di@Cottage-wishes

    Oh Marion I want that wagon and ironstone butter pats, are they on your shop now, I would love it if you could give me a price!! Di@Cottage-wishes

  19. Heather ;) :) :)

    OH, what a blessing to have such a large basement storage space for all your goodies 😉 🙂 I think that large glass bottle in the wood crate was a fantastic find,, for sure 😉 🙂 Have a great weekend. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 😉

  20. Ren Taylor

    I had to chuckle when I saw the chandelier in your basement! Everything looks great!

  21. Lynn Mosher

    Ooo…love the French chairs, especially the caned one. I have two very similar ones but they are upholstered. I’m trying to decide what to do with them. To paint or not. Look forward to seeing what you do with that one.

  22. Mary

    I have a similar basement space and used FULL SPECTRUM bulbs in my fluorescent light fixtures. More closely approximates natural light. Made a huge difference.
    And – I am considering getting a sprayer and spray painting the ceiling – rafters – duct work. A lot less labor.

    • Kari

      Those are great ideas! I’m totally going to do that too! Now, I better get off of this blog before I have more projects than I can handle in a year! 🙂

  23. Nancy Carr

    What a great space for creating.

  24. Betsie Johnson

    You should feel very proud of yourself! It’s an amazing transformation. You need to hire someone to help run the online business. Young people are looking for jobs and they are all tech/camera savy. You can’t do everything……..and how is the body transformation coming along? Just curious. Seems like a sensible program….

    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Yeah, I need to do an update on that. I’m still working on it! I’ve lost 22 lbs and built a lot of muscle. I still have about 10 lbs to lose, though.

      Yes, Id love to hire help, but if I bring on someone hourly, I have to get workers comp and it comp and do payroll…

  25. Barbara Moore

    I wish I could casually go out and find such yummy things. I try to shop at the thrift shops and antique malls. But all I see is tons and tons and tons of junk. Certainly no cool chairs or vintage linen – or mini wagons, either! Or if I do stumble over something very cool, it seems to have a ginormous price tag attached. *sigh*. I need to move to your neck of the woods!

  26. Gilda

    the glass bottle in the crate is called a carboy (not sure of the spelling).

  27. julie

    You are VERY lucky to have that kind of workspace. I think most of us would be thrilled with it — I know I would!! I do the same thing with my garage after I’ve tidied it up…I just go out there to soak up all the organization!!!! 🙂

  28. Marlene

    No freaky out here – Paint, girl, paint and recover!! That’s why we love to do what we do!

  29. Jamie

    Marian, I love those horse awards! Are you going to sell them in your online shop??
    Jamie @

  30. Kathy

    Love all the treasures, mine from yesterday were pale in comparison to yours. Oh and the basement! Wonderful! Just looks so neat and organized too! I would love that space, as I think any of these lovely ladies on here would. I have a small area in the garage for painting, not the ideal area either, then a small room for sewing and where I keep my other supplies. I say do what your vision is, if painting and recovering is what you think a piece needs then don’t worry about what a few people think……

  31. Rachel

    Love the tiny wheel barrow.

  32. Anita Ward

    Marian, not only are your pieces fabulous, but your basement spot is too. I’m like so many of the above. Here in upstate SC, I can’t find some of tour great treasures. Since I have been following your blog , I have yet to find any ironstone and I do want to start a collection! I do hope you will add some of your pieces to your online shop, I will continue to check more often now! I also love that little red wheelbarrow!!!!!!!!! Thanks for posting all your “stuff” and ideas! I love your paint and am anxiously awaiting the release of your new colors!

    • Tricia @ Simplicity in the South

      Hi Anita! I was just looking at the comment above mine and saw that you live in upstate SC too! I haven’t been able to find ironstone either.

    • Jodi Dean

      I had posted that I have a hard time finding it too! I scour ebay but everything is so overpriced. Etsy is another good place. Anyone have any other suggestions? I did find a cute place yesterday where I found one old silver napkin ring that was engraved with a D….seriously? I was meant to have it! Just have to polish it up and find some “siblings” for it. I also got an ironstone soap holder for the kitchen and a Fortnum & Mason bowl. I just love old advertising pottery from England as well:) Good luck with your search!

  33. Tricia @ Simplicity in the South

    Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to take my ‘saggy seat’ shopping with you one day. 🙂 You always come home with the best finds.

  34. Kari

    Inspirational! I am so motivated to finish revamping my “Loffice”- My laundry room/office. Thanks for the motivation I work better in an organized space as well. My apt’s in college were never so clean as when I had an impending exam! 🙂

  35. Charlotte

    Hi Marian! Your blog has reminded me how much I love French furniture. I am also reminded that the furniture pieces in my home do not have to match or be part of a set to be beautiful. I have been searching for a French chair that needs some love; but the ones I have found are well beyond my price range. Should I expect chairs that need some love to be expensive?

  36. Lisa @ Lisas Creative Designs

    Oh what a great spot to work in! I am cramped in my garage when I work on a project. My garage is also houses my shipping station and is used for storage. I wish I had room to spread out a bit more. Love your latest finds. I have a box of old horse ribbons in my closet waiting to be hung in my Equestrian inspired master bedroom that I have been working on for months. I won each and every one of them back in my riding days so they mean a lot to me. They are not from the 50’s though! LOL. Late 80’s early 90’s.

  37. Linda Sue Carter

    I live in Texas. We have no basements. Lucky you!

  38. Beth

    I will not covet. I will not covet. I will not covet……

  39. Ajay

    That is a great transformation, and i loved that glass water bottle in a wooden crate. That is very innovative..

  40. Shawn Angulo

    Hello Marian, Its Shawn right up the road from you in Hagerstown. Just wondering if there would be any chance that you might be able to let me look at and purchase some of your ironstone possibly before you take it to the place your going to in October. I am just getting started in my collection. If so can you possibly email me to let me know. I also might be interested in that farm table you have with the aqua legs if that is going to be for sale.. Well looking forward to hearing from you. ps. Just asking, no hurt feelings whatever the answer, lol!

  41. vicki

    where oh where do you go shopping and bring home so many fabulous things all in one day?? It could take a summer’s full of trolling tag sales, thrift stores etc to do that well!!
    Enjoy your space!!

  42. Valerie

    Saw an idea that might work for a screen that you mentioned. Take however many you need – louvered closet doors? and then to support them, free standing on the floor….a 2×6, cut long enough to balance a door (18″-24″), and notch the board section out wide enough for the door to stand in. Hope that makes sense. 😀

  43. Anne Boykin

    Dear MMS, I’m so excited because I’m going to see you in Alabama! So bring all your great stuff with you and I’ll be happy to buy a thing or two. So happy that your shopping is going so well. Hugs, Anne Boykin

  44. Connie Nolan

    This is off topic but dying to know. Do you do any prep work when spraying your metals with oiled rubbed bronze. especially like brass pieces. thanks

  45. Pamela

    You are so right about all the work into having an online shop, especially if your products are one of a kind. The amount of time and work put into photographing, editing those photos, listing with a complete description not to mention the packaging and shipping is way more than the actual time spent making said product. I have tons of paintings and signs I have not gotten listed on my website yet as the special orders coming in are taking up my time. But when I am tripping over all my stuff to list in my studio/workshop space then I know it is time to take a day to just work on listing. Plus I can’t sell them if no one can even see them yet. 🙂
    Your workshop looks great. I am needing to take a day to add some shop lights to my basement just so I can see what is stored there (it is not quite full height so you have to crouch to get around but it still has some great space to tuck things away in until you need them).

  46. Kate

    How many people have a pink upholstered chair in their laundry room? It would make doing laundry sort of …elegant.

    I have to ask you: Do you like working under florescent lights? Half of my workroom/laundry room has florescent lights; the other half has an incandescent with a ceiling fan. My next home improvement project is to rip out the florescents. I hate them. They’re sure bright, but I just don’t like the light. Besides bothering my eyes, it makes me feel like I’m in a lab or hospital (or my cinder block high school). Bad memories.

  47. Dijana

    Hello M,

    I love ALL of your finds. Where do you find all of those things??? Oh, I know you won’t share you rascal you :-))))

    But I must say, your basement just left me breathless. Good organisational skills!

    Good luck at the next market…wish I lived closer to it I would definitely stop by to browse, buy and if nothing else to introduce myself.

    Lots of hugs from a gal in NYC…Dijana

  48. vicky

    Paint the ceiling. It will be gorgeous. Have you ever seen before and after pictures of painted basement ceilings? AMAZING

  49. Linda@Coastal Charm

    In am so looking forward to meeting you after four years and shopping your wonderful goodies at The Chapel Market.


  50. Brandi

    The best results of a painted basement ceiling involve using a sprayer….probably not practical to mask off everything down there. soooo….

    I’ve staple gunned cheap white bed sheets to the ceilings of basements…it works great.

  51. Debbie

    I have a question that is not really about your post. It seems that whenever I use polycrylic over white painted furniture, and I just use the lightest coat, it still seems to yellow in spots. Why is that? I am so frustrated. Thank you in advance.

  52. Paula J

    um, WOW!!!

    I LoveLoveLove the bank of wire racks! I think you just solved my never ending space issue for our walk-in attic. Two or three should do the trick for me.

    You rock!

  53. Gayle

    LoveLoveLove your website, your style…came across it when at the Hobnob Market site, and will be back very soon! (I’m at work…)
    : )

  54. Cindy

    Oh yeah… it’s like a gabillion times better! and the space looks so totally functional now. Cute seeing your folded laundry in the pink chair too. I can’t believe you found that cow bowl – and those chairs are insanely wonderful… oh my gosh!


  55. Denise

    I just showed my husband your space. So jealous. We desperately need to organize all the junk. I only have our garage (which is small for a 2 car garage anyway) and a tiny studio. So tough to store everything efficiently before a show!! Someday…..


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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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