thank you for your honesty

Marian ParsonsBalance, Running a Business39 Comments

On the way down to Atlanta and back last week, Kriste and I listened to the first two audio books in the Divergent series.  I’ve become a real fan of listening to “books on tape”, as I call them (and Jeff makes fun of me for it), when riding in the car for long periods of time.  It makes the trip so enjoyable.

The story brought up a conversation… which faction would you be in?  Kriste answered without hesitation.  “I would be in the happy farming community one.”  Amity.

I had to think about it for a minute.

“I think I would be in Candor.”


(And yes, I realize this whole conversation and the fact that I’m relaying it again on my blog, makes me a bit of a nerd at the moment, but hang in there with me!)

Kriste raised her eyebrows.  “Really?”  The answer sort of surprised me, too.  In the book, those in Candor are known for brutal honesty.  I am not brutally honest.  I like to craft things with tact and kindness, but I take truthfulness and honesty very seriously.  If you want to get into big trouble at the Parsons’ house, tell a lie.

So, when I wrote a post, asking for honest answers to a question, that’s exactly what I expected.  Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow.  Sometimes it feels like a kick in the side instead of a helping hand.  I knew this when I asked the question and it’s why I stressed so much that I wanted honesty.  That was the time when I wanted to hear the things you think, but never felt the freedom to tell me, because I never asked.

I didn’t just want encouragement, though I was so thankful for those who balanced critique with kindness and for those who felt protective of me.  I was asking for feedback, because I felt like something has been off and I knew that honest answers, positive and negative, would help me think through a few things.

Sort of like when you try on an outfit and you know it’s not the most flattering.  “Does this shirt look like a tent on me?  Are these pants too tight?” If it does, indeed, make you look less-than-your-best, a good friend is going to tell you when asked.  If you’re confident that the outfit makes you look great, you wouldn’t have asked in the first place, right?  You’d come out, twirl around, take a picture for Instagram and head on your way.

LIW Quote

I asked and you answered.  Thanks for taking the time to do that.  I could tell that a lot of thought and time went into those answers.  I could also tell that some of you really wanted to say those things and were thankful for the opportunity to do so.  The things that you shared have not hurt my feelings, but given me a new excitement about my blog and business.  They confirmed some of my suspicions and gave me permission to let go of things that aren’t working as well as they could be.  A lot of comments asked for things that I already have in the works or on the to-do list, so that was a nice confirmation as well.

Here’s what I’ve taken away and some things I’m thinking about…

Furniture Feature Friday – I’ve decided to retire the furniture link party that I’ve hosted for almost 6 years.  It’s time to move on and find other ways to feature fellow furniture-lovers.

dress and decorate

YouTube Videos – Design Ramblings, in the format we’ve been shooting in, just isn’t as good as it could be.  We are learning and getting better, but we’re going to make some changes and focus on how-to videos and makeovers.  We filmed a couple at Haven, so I’ll share those and go from there.

Arabesque Dresser B & A

Furniture Makeovers & Tutorials – Most of you asked for more of these.  These are two of my favorite things to do on my blog, so I’m going to step it up in this area.  I do have to take breaks now and then (like after cranking out over 50 pieces of furniture for Lucketts), but you understand that!

Budget Decorating – This was another common thing that was brought up and I’ve already been developing the idea of working in the homes and rooms of clients, so I can show how to use what they have and work within their budget to make a great room.  I’ll explain more on that and introduce you to my first client AKA guinea pig very soon.

Miss Mustard Seed-0368

Starting/Running a Business – I have been much quieter about my business in recent years than I used to be.  One of my passions is encouraging other entreprenuers, so in that spirit, I’m going to be more transparent about all of the hows and whys of my business.  I know it would be encouraging to aspiring business owners, because I have zero qualifications!

There’s more.  A lot more.  Pages of notes and ideas more, but I’m going to save those for other posts.  I just wanted to take the time to let you know that I took to heart what you shared.

I know this is my blog.  I know I can write whatever I want and I will.  But, I also know this blog is a glorified diary without my readers.  When I sit at the keyboard to write, it’s not just about what I want.  It’s about what you want, too.  I’m mindful of that balance and I want this blog to be a “happy place” for both of us.

thank you for your honesty

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39 Comments on “thank you for your honesty”

  1. I think you should blog about your furniture shopping trips! I know you won’t want to give hints about your “honey Holes” and you don’t have to do that, but just the process. Like a girls shopping trip for furniture to fix up and décor pieces. That would be fun!

  2. Sounds like some great things to come Marian! I do have to say that I’ve enjoyed every Design Ramblings and will truly miss it! I am looking forward to seeing your magic in clients homes. You are brave to have asked the questions!

  3. As always, you’ve handled this with grace… some comments were a bit harsh. Glad to see you feeling happy about your direction once again, and I’m looking forward to what’s coming next. Enjoy the journey, and we will be here right along with you!

  4. Oh I totally agree with Tara. I would love to know your thought process of how you shop. Or here is an idea how about you to invite some locals to go on a shopping trip with you. We could shop then take our treasures back to your shop and fix them up. Now that would be fun! You were very brave to ask your readers to truthfully tell you their feelings about your blog. I’m happy for you that you got some answers. I for one will miss FFF but look forward to all the new things you have in the works. I’m most excited in seeing what you do to your clients homes.

  5. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” – Proverbs 31: 25

    This verse immediately popped into my mind after reading your response here to all the feedback you have received this week, Marian. I think it takes a pretty remarkable person to be able to hear as much as you have heard, to process through it with a head as level and a heart/mind as open as yours, and to respond to it all with as much grace and humility as you have shown. Truly, remarkable… I do hope you’re feeling pretty proud of yourself right now – because you should be. 🙂

    I (for one) will miss the Feature Furniture Fridays and am sad to see them go. I thought they were a great way for your readers to connect/find one another as well as to showcase what they were doing at home to an audience they might not otherwise have access to on their own. Plus, it seemed like being chosen as a favorite was like a little goal to aspire to for those who were actually doing the makeovers and participating in the link party regularly. In those ways it almost seemed to serve as a way to “give back” to your readers – create a spotlight/platform, share your traffic, and offer a source of fresh inspiration every week while you’re at it. I am curious if any of the readers who expressed their boredom with the link party had been interacting regularly with it in any of those ways — the ways I am assuming it was intended to be utilized.

    That said, I certainly respect that chapters close and sometimes you just need to change things up for the sake of growth. I totally get that. I’m sure you will come up with plenty of new and exciting ways to make all those other things happen. I look forward to watching you do your thing!

    Excited for you! (And for me!) 😉
    – Megan

  6. May I just say how much I love stopping in almost every day to read your blog and especially to see the photos you’ve posted of transformations, finds, vignettes, etc. It’s one of the brightest spots of my day. Thanks for just being here, being you and doing what you do!


  7. Sounds like you made some wise choices.

    I have a question….picture me waving my hand in the air…..oh oh Miss Marion!!!!

    Do you pick your wall color or fabric first? My walls need to be a shade of green because I am doing a restoration and the original wall color was green. I found some fabric I like and have ordered samples. But then what about rugs. Maybe I should buy my rugs first? But then I really love these fabric samples.

    What is the order that you use to buy these big ticket items?

  8. I am super duper excited to see what you come up with working with clients to design a space to fit their needs and budget… that sounds awesome. Not so excited to see Furniture Feature Friday go! I loved that link-up when I first graduated college and was decorating my first apartment I would wait every week for the furniture feature friday link-up so that I could sit and look through every single idea. I thought it was just the best thing! I could get so much inspiration in one place! I understand that you’re moving on… but I’ll miss it.

  9. I didn’t comment on the other post, but will on this one. Glad you are dumping FFF and keeping Design Ramblings. I do enjoy listening to them but the ones I enjoy the most are the readers questions – wish there were more submissions with good topics for discussion. I tried to think of some to submit but couldn’t. I love Layla’s Pick My Presto where specific rooms and problem areas are addressed. Overall I love your blog and read it every evening. Keep up the good work!

  10. It is a rare gift to take criticism so constructively, using it to revitalize and reimagine your talents! I’m looking forward to any new directions you take–and to seeing how you find new inspiration in your older paths

  11. I am really excited to see how you put these new ideas into action. I have always loved it here and I know you will be true to your style when ramping things up. Looking forward to the evolution!

  12. I must say, the only reason I started reading your blog was because of FFF. I do hope someone picks up the torch and continues with it.

  13. I didn’t comment the other day because there were so many already, but I too, will miss FFF. Even when I stopped reading your other posts, I always came back on Friday to check the links and see what was featured. Not everything made my socks roll up and down (after a while many of the pieces and even the photo shoots looked like they had been run through a MMS photo-copy machine) but there were always at least three or four nuggets. The rather bland piece that had been covered in honeycomb veneer that was featured recently was truly inspiring. It is not a style that I would copy but it made me think about variations on the theme.

    Having said that, I just realized that you may have presented another blogger with a great opportunity, as Lisa suggested above. One man’s loss – another’s gain. I hope that the feature does live on maybe in a slightly revisited format where there is more variety and opportunities for inspiration.

    May I make one more comment, if it is not too late? One of the reasons that I stopped reading many blogs was that they took too long to load and/or they had such annoying interruptions like the pop-up ads at the bottom of your page. I understand that you make money from advertising revenue and I don’t begrudge you that. I just find the pop-ups at the bottom so annoying because I have to get rid of them before the page becomes interactive. I also feel like if people are inviting me to their blog and making money from it, then they have an obligation to invest in the fastest technology to make the visit worthwhile. By the way, I’ve never looked at Design Ramblings and probably never will no matter what you do. I’m not sure why – just not interested.

    Thank you for allowing all of us to share our thoughts. You have handled all of this with strength and grace as the quote above indicates.

    1. Totally agree with the FFF. This is how I have found several of the bloggers I follow. I am excited to see how you feature others though!

    2. There is a Chrome extension called AdBlock that you can install for free. It blocks all ads on a blog site. I, too, was ready to give up until a friend installed it for me. It is wonderful. You will find it in Chrome extensions.

  14. Sounds wonderful!!! Looking forward to “Decorating on a Budget”….keep up the great work…you are an inspiration!

  15. Well done and well said. This type if forthrightness and sincerity is what brings me to your blog each day. The makeovers are wonderful. Your home is lovely. BUT- you, Miss Mustard Seed, are what makes this space work so well. I appreciate what you share and the honest way in which you do so.

  16. Marian, first off, you were the only blog I followed for a couple years. Consistently, I read and still read every post. You’ve been so inspiring and encouraging to me.

    It takes someone very mature to ask for feedback and to handle it with such grace. Well done.

    I’m glad you got some confirmation on some changes you’ll be making. I’m a little sad to see FFF go, but I completely understand, by the way. I know it’s time for a change, and before I was a blogger (a short time ago), I thought, I don’t want to see other bloggers, I want to see Marian. So I totally get that. But I’m glad I got several weeks to interact with other fellow bloggers on my favorite blog. I feel blessed beyond measure to have been featured in my small beginning stage. Thank you!

    So, be blessed. You are being so faithful with what you have been given! It is such a joy to watch you. I’m excited for what else you have up your sleeve. 🙂

  17. Wow! So many comments and so much information! After having read just a fraction, I am sure it’s quite a bit of work, which brings me to my point. I don’t mind the ads. I realize nothing is free, and what you serve is delightful.
    That being said, I beg you not opt for the subscriber pop up. You know the one. The one that pops up even for subscribers. My computer is old and tired and some times that extra box just shuts it down.
    I’ve stopped following blogs just because I find that over the top.
    Thank you again…..

  18. So beautifully said!
    I’m so excited to see where this new chapter takes you! I love that I get a front & center seat on this journey!

    Keep up the great work! You’re an inspiration!

  19. I’m so glad to hear there’ll be more budget decorating – I also hope you include more how-to’s for us true novices. For example, I love the MDF boards wall you added to your guest room, but would like to know more details-did you have glue as well as nail the boards on; did you cut them or were they the right width (I can only find wide boards…) – sort of a decorating for dummies, and I’ll be the first one to admit I don’t know a thing about…a lot of things that require hands-on work! (I work on computers all day.)
    I don’t get the enthusiasm for FFF – there were some nice entries, but I’d much rather see your tableaus, or learn how-to do…something (like making quick curtains – loved that one).

  20. Marian, you are awesome, I’ve always thought so, & I’ve been following you for years. Thanks for your courage in sharing what you plan to keep, change, and move on from…it’s inspiring to watch your process as you continue to take your business & brand to new levels!

  21. I second all the changes you plan on making! I am most interested in close up photos of the furniture painting/staining process. All the steps. All the color options. On various woods. Accurate colors. I want to be more certain than I am now of what the results would be on my furniture [Victorian walnut dresser and 60s’ dark oak sewing desk] before I radically alter them. The green and blue options interest me the most.

    I enjoy all that you share except for Design Ramblings and Furniture Feature Friday. But I do understand the need to take a break with producing blogs everyday! You are my favorite blog 😉 !!

  22. I love this and I love that you are taking to heart and really hearing all of us. Thank you for being you and I can’t wait to see & hear about these changes! One of my vintage/furniture inspirations was from you so I can wait to hear more about the business side 🙂

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

  23. Dang it! I personally love Design Ramblings. I don’t want it gone. No one I know in real life likes to talk about the topics you and Kriste discuss – you know, house stuff, furniture, design trends, etc. I know, I need better friends, but what can you do? ? I will miss it.

  24. Oh, I must have missed the post when you asked for input! You never cease to amaze me! I love that you allow yourself to be vulnerable and that you are also willing to change things up (you’ve had so much success, it would be easy to become overly confident). Thank you for inspiring us not only with your artistic abilities, but also with your strong character.
    I love your post because you lean toward very traditional decor and furniture, but with a very young and updated flair. You keep me challenged! You are the only blog I have continued to follow, and have followed your for many years! Thank you!
    Besides loving you and your blog, my only input would be that I would truly miss FFF. I miss a few posts here and there, but never miss a FFF! Oh well! Carry on and God bless!

  25. I love all the changes you have in store….sounds exciting! While its impossible to make everyone happy, I think you really listened to what many of your readers gave you feedback on.

    I especially like the changes you are making to Design Ramblings. I didn’t want to see this go away just a format change.

  26. Oh, I SOOOO hope you will travel some when using reader’s homes to decorate. I would love for you to come to Springfield, MO and re-do my living room!!

    I have read before where you have put yourself out there and just asked so I will follow suit… I’m asking! LOL

  27. You are older than your years and have a heart of gold. Honesty is always the best policy and I know I often wonder how much to share. I’d love to get more tips on how to turn an antique/gift/paint shop, into a profitable business sooner. I had a customer ask today if my prices were firm. I looked at the item, to make sure I had priced it correctly. I told her that I work really hard to price things affordably. Then, I shared the fact that my shop will be 3 years old in October and I haven’t taken a paycheck in all this time. I wasn’t whining, but just stating a fact, in a way she could understand. It’s not a normal practice for me, but I felt safe to share this with her. She understood. We connected. That’s what life is all about and what you do so beautifully, Marian.

  28. Well, here goes (and when you’re my age, honesty is not only important, dishonesty steals time you may or may not have later): I am a very small blog with two or three regular readers. Your FFF gave me a much needed boost on those weeks when I posted, and the few times I was featured I actually felt like a real blogger, something it’s hard to feel when you get a half-dozen hits a day. I do read your blog on occasion, but FFF was a regular for me. I know whatever you do, you will be enormously successful, and I wish you all the best!!

  29. I missed commenting on your feedback request post– but I do love your blog, your voice, and your style! I would actually love to see a series of tutorials on how you decorate and hand-letter your big chalkboards. They always look classic and beautiful, and make such a great statement visually. I know there are lots of lettering tutorials out there, but I like your style best! Thanks for all the great work– your blog is so inspiring!

  30. I knew it was coming, but I will miss FFF. Through FFF, I found other blogs which I regularly follow. So, other bloggers have gained new readers from your generosity. Also, I almost always got a new idea or two from FFF. Will somebody out there, please continue the FFF-style posts?
    That said, I remain a loyal Miss Mustard Seed follower! Looking forward to whatever you do.

  31. Marian, I’m a ‘backward reader’, therefore I have no idea what this is about. But even though I haven’t even read the comments, I can already say that I view you as a honest blogger and you wouldn’t have the number and kind of comments if you weren’t…. And now, off I go to search for your former post!
    Bon courage, in any case 🙂

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