My desk-sitting days pretty much ended when I left the corporate world over 12 years ago.   Since then, I prefer to spread out on the floor or a large table, perch at the kitchen counter, or prop a laptop on my lap while I lounge on the sofa.  I have had a desk at the studio for a couple of years, but I rarely, if ever sat at it.  It was basically a large, disorganized filing cabinet and catch-all.  I always preferred to take over one of our worktables and save my “desk work” for home.

But the nature of my work is changing, so I’ve been adapting my work space, one piece at a time  It started with the drafting table, which is a perfect place to sketch and paint.


…and I recently finished the art cabinet, where I can store supplies, tools, and papers.


And then I needed a desk.  At first, I cringed at having a desk that I would plan to sit at!  I sloughed off the traditional desk and looked for tables or other large non-desk work surfaces.  I finally resigned to the fact that people the world over use desks for work, because all of those drawers come in handy.

So, I started looking for an actual desk.  I wanted one that was deep, so I had plenty of work surface, sturdy, and with functional storage.  Immediately, a traditional “teacher’s desk” seemed like the answer.

I found a few for a good price on craigslist, but the condition looked really rough, so I waited.  My mom and I stumbled across this one when we were out antiquing and, while at $225 it was a bit more expensive than others I had looked at, it was in perfect working order and worth the extra expense in my estimation.



I love that this desk is so deep and it has working pull-out writing surfaces on both sides.  I bet those will come in handy.


And the drawers have many of the original wood dividers still, so things don’t slide around as the drawers are opened and closed.


Even though it’s blue, my mom pointed out that it’s not “one of my blues”, so I am repainting it.  I love blue, but I want the desk to be white, so it is neutral and works well with the art cabinet.  Kriste and I took turns painting it in MMS Milk Paint Grain Sack today and it’s looking really good!

I also worked on some organizational stuff today and, when we only had about 20 minutes left in the work day, I was ready to purge and organize the entire studio!  I just got the bug!  Since that project would take more than 20 minutes, it had to wait for another day.

I’ll share more on the work space as it comes together…


PS – I am going to start a blog series in January about the business side of blogging and what I do.  I am going to answer some questions I’ve had recently about my work space, organization, balance, etc., but will also address other things like advertising, revenue streams, expenses, etc. I definitely don’t have all of the answers, but if you have a question you would like me to answer in that series, please leave a comment letting me know!

Also, if there is a “dear reader” post you would like me to write, leave a suggestion for that as well.


  1. Kristyn Baker

    I found almost the same exact desk on Craigslist a year ago! It was a city workers desk. I’ve thought about painting it but could t visualize what color to use. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

  2. Brenda

    Do you ever have “not bought” remorse? One of my “not bought” pieces was a large partner desk that looked a lot like yours. I had many ideas on what to do with it. It was even my preferred color, green. ( I know you thought I was going to say blue!) However, it was a great price but my husband asked me that terrible practical question; Where are you going to put that? Sometimes the voice of reason stinks! I still think of that desk!

  3. Tori

    I just wanted to let you know that your blog posts are something I look forward to everyday. Whether it is a simple “goat bell” post or a detailed tutorial, I thoroughly enjoy them all. Thank you for taking the time to inspire me.

  4. Wendy from

    So excited for your January series!
    I have a question.
    What were/are the top five ways to grow a blog?

  5. Jan

    My main question is how on earth do you find time and energy to do all this stuff? I’m in awe at your energy level. Please tell me you are actually twins!

  6. Donna Doble-Brown

    Oh my gosh! I’ve been looking too for the perfect desk and this would be it! Good choice! LOVE it! ???

  7. Elizabeth

    I love the teachers desk. Great find…

    Since you ask for suggestions, here’s one… I like the fact that you discuss your mistakes and challenges openly in your blog — such as the way the paint was too patchy when you first painted the multi drawer cabinets recently. You fixed the paint beautifully. My suggestion is to describe and photograph the messy, creative process of how you transform that project into a successful one. I think it’d help people like me who get overwhelmed or discouraged and give up.


  8. Susan

    Your work space is going to be lovely. I would like to see a photo with you in it at the drawing table painting!

  9. Diane

    I’m going to reinforce what Tori said in her comment. Your adventures in watercolor have left me speechless. I adore art in its many media, but am flummoxed by the peculiar demands and singular rewards of watercolor. So, here’s a paint brush salute to you for that!

    My version of stepping out has been to rustle through the pile of salvaged wood that I scavenged from the side of the road and to paint a couple of winter scenes. Nothing too elaborate, (and using designs lifted from Pinterest posts) but a start. Thanks for continuing to grow and encouraging the rest of us to take chances.

  10. Carla from Kansas

    I’d like to know how you decide who to partner with. For example Society6, they take such a big chunk of the purchase price. How do you decide if it is worth it.

  11. Cheryl

    I agree with Jan, how do you do all this?? I think you have a twin also, lol!! Love the desk, can’t wait to see the finished results. Love the idea of the business side of your blog in a series, I can’t seem to sell anything but it could be that the things I have are not what people want. You are such an inspiration, happy holidays!!

  12. Jennifer Baker

    I would LOVE to know how much you recommend buying certain pieces for. Like, how much should you pay for a desk to resell, etc.

  13. Lori

    I have a desk like that I bought for my daughter! I paid $50 for it at a garage sale and it’s still in it’s unpainted wood condition. Never thought about painting it. Daughter wanted to get rid of it but she does love that color blue. Wonder if she’d like it painted (even though she isn’t a fan of painted furniture). {She cried whenever Hilde would paint the furniture on Trading Spaces many years ago–hahaha}.

    • Julie

      I miss the show Trading Spaces!

  14. Julie

    I agree with Tori thanks for the inspiration!! Love the desk.

  15. Peggy

    Ok so can I just hang my head here…. we had the same desk or at least one that looked identical. I sold it two years ago at a yard sale for $45. That being said two of the legs had been chewed up by the previous owner’s. I loved that desk but just did not have a use any longer as it was one of three that we owned. Sellers remorse? Just the tiniest bit as I still miss that desk but we did get it for a steal $25 and it served its purpose while we homeschooled. And yes two of my boys did carve their initials on it…. to add just another layer to its history. Enjoy your new desk for years to come! You will love it I’m sure!!!

  16. Ginni

    Completely random but I know your love of all things blue and white AND a good deal. Search for this ribbon on WalMart’s website, Wired Canvas With Blue Stripe Ribbon, 2.5″ x 15′. (I promise it’s not spam or a virus, I just didn’t know of another way for you to look it up.) I bought some over the weekend and it is amazing for the price.

    • Sheila

      Do you remember the price? I looked it up on the Walmart website and it looks nice but no price listed . Thanks.

  17. Char

    Thanks in advance for the new blog series. I know it will be, like all your posts, creative and informative. My question is – can you recommend a simple to use blogging software for those of us who want to test the waters (and ourselves)?

  18. Kathy Hoffman

    I refinished my desk (similar in size to yours) and couldn’t decide if I wanted to part with it…..I kept it and love that I did! I redid the top and left it wood, painted the bottom white, distressed it and added vintage glass yellow knobs! Love! Looking forward to the business side of your blog.

  19. Julie

    I’m interested in revenue streams for my blog. I really dislike the ads that come up so frequently on some of my favorite blogs, and stop reading because of them. The pop ups at the bottom that won’t close etc. Can you give us tips on how to manage that?

  20. Cheri

    I am a teacher who uses that style of desk everyday at school. The pull outs are my absolute favorite part of the desk and are always in use! I refinished mine and it is beautiful!

  21. Judi

    I’d just like to thank you for all you do for us as budding entrepreneurs. Your website and blog have for me personally been the inspiration I needed to begin my little online business. Everything you post is an inspiration in one way or another. Thank you for your complete honesty about your self-doubts, discouragements, mistakes and ultimate triumphs. You are very real and your total honesty is so refreshing. I very much look forward to your new blog in January. Wishing you the warmest of holidays

  22. Amy Darking

    Your posts come to my inbox so frequently and I know that you’re a stay at home mom and probably have so many collaborations going on…how do you find a way to balance everything? Do you ever sleep??! Lol


  23. marylisa noyes

    Very Very cool. This is so timely for me as I had a well known company do my craft room/office and it did not turn out well due to their workman so I am back to square one. Looking at your pieces I am now considering individual cabinets rather than built in ones. I thought storage would be more adjustable with open shelving but it does put a more contemporary look to the room which is not what I I want. Thanks again…

  24. Amanda Freed

    Hi! I am really excited that you will be a blogging series for beginners at the start of the year. I have been trying to get a blog off the ground for the past year and a half and I always get stumped. I Have a few questions. How do I get through the design stage by myself? for someone who is very web-designing illiterate and can’t afford to shell out $4,000 – $7,000 to get a blog designed by professional web builders. I find Blogspot to be okay but still hard to work through and not the quality I would like it to be. How do you get in touch with companies like Lowes, Home Depot, or paint companies to land sponsored home projects to do a DIY project for the blog? And finally, how do you go about setting up the paying system for advertising and getting the money into your account, as well as getting companies to advertise on you your blog and actually physically adding it to your blog page? I would so appreciate it if you could help bring some clarity to any of these loaded questions and thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to help us beginners out.

    – Amanda

  25. Alissa

    Do you know what the brand and name of the blue paint and the stain colors are? I’m in love with this desk. Those colors are amazing. I know you repainted it, but I’m crossing my fingers that you know the name of those colors.

    • Marian Parsons

      No, sorry, but I don’t. It was painted that color when I bought it. It is similar to Flow Blue that is in Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint line… perhaps mixed with French Enamel.

  26. Alissa

    Thank you so much. I’ll look into that.


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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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