the woman behind Eulalie

by | Jul 29, 2014 | My House | 44 comments

In my business, a lot of amazing things have come out of a random e-mail.  Checking my inbox is so fun and almost addicting for that reason.  I started working for through one e-mail and the milk paint line came out of an e-mail.  The woman behind my branding, Reni, sent me an e-mail one day, out of the blue.  My book and almost all of my magazine features all started with an e-mail.

I wrote a post a few years ago titled “I want a cow“.  I had seen a cow painting in a magazine that I loved and I really wanted something similar.  I wasn’t asking for anything from anyone, I was just putting it out there.

And I received an e-mail.

Cindy Austin, a talented artist, offered to paint a cow for me.  Neither of us knew where it would lead, but we decided that she would paint me a cow and I would show it off on my blog to advertise her Etsy shop.  She worked on it for a few weeks and then, one ordinary day, I received a huge box on my doorstep.  I recognized it was probably the painting and I immediately started to open the box.  I was trying to be quick and careful and I had butterflies in my stomach.  I had no idea what it would look like and if I would even like it.

In that box was the beautiful cow that came to be known as Eulalie.  I call her “Eu-LAY-lee” and Cindy calls her “EU-la-lee.”  Tom-ay-to, tom-mah-to.  She’s a beautiful cow.  The print of Eulalie has become a best seller for Cindy and has become a trademark of my style.  She’s also my favorite thing in our house.

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Our partnership has been so successful that Cindy painted a second cow for me – the young, flirtier and spotted Gwendolyn.

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I received that first e-mail in 2011 and now, three years later, Cindy and I finally got to meet each other.

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She just looks like an artist, doesn’t she?  We hugged and chatted and shopped at HomeGoods.  It was like connecting with an old friend.  And she had something new for me…

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She did ask me if I was done with cow paintings, but I don’t know if that’s possible.  It probably is, but I’m willing to test those limits.

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I’m thinking about hanging it in my living room, but I’m not sure, yet.  I’m going to find a frame and then hold it up on a few walls.

I’m so glad Cindy sent that first e-mail.  I’m sure she had those voices telling her not to, that it was a dumb idea and I would ignore it or say no or that it would never go anywhere.  She pushed those back, wrote the e-mail and hit the send button.  She took that step and it’s paid off for both of us.  Cindy gave me more than a few paintings.  She gave me a real love for art that I didn’t have before.

All because of an e-mail.

So, I think we might need to give this painting a name, right?

You can buy prints of Cindy’s work in her Etsy shop.


I received an exciting package today…

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…the proofs for the first MMSMP look book!  I admit that I was laughing out loud as I unrolled the prints.  It wasn’t funny, it was just so thrilling, I couldn’t help it.  We’ve been working on it so hard for so long and I can’t believe we actually did it.

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I spread them out on my living room floor and laid on my tummy, looking at every detail.

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It’s really not just a look book.  It’s more of a magazine with tutorials, tips, inspirational before & afters and spreads on all of the products.  We’re just a few days away from cranking out 5,000 of these and it’s a big, scary step.  It’s been so fun to work on, though, that I already have “look book two” in the works.  (I’ll share more details on them soon.)  They’ll be available for purchase at MMSMP retailers in a few weeks.


Lastly, it’s the final days of the 20% discount at Barn & Willow, if you’re interested in Belgian linen drapes like the ones in my family room.  The coupon code is JULYLINEN.

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  1. Michelle K

    Just a quick thank you Marian for everything you put out there. I’ve learned so much from reading your blog. It’s been such a pleasure to see you evolve over these last several years, thank you for taking us along and sharing so much of what you do & how you do it.
    Gratefully yours, ~Michelle~

  2. Mimi

    Ha! You made me laugh out loud with “the young, flirtier and spotted Gwendolyn.” 🙂 I guess I never thought of cows as being flirtatious. I will keep on the lookout for coy cows from now on…

    Congratulations on your look book! That has to be so rewarding to see the fruits of your labor nicely packaged together. What a treat for you and your readers. I can’t wait to see it!

  3. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline

    The new cow painting is my favorite! I’m a sucker for landscapes. It’s so pretty!

  4. Beth Cook

    Enjoyed the post. Is the smaller cow picture in the kitchen by Cindy as well?

    • marian

      No, that’s by Cari Humphry from Arkansas. She is so talented as well!

  5. Ginger Marshall

    Only 5000? I hope you don’t run out before I get my copy!

  6. Teresa

    I just noticed in the picture with you and Cindy that her car’s headlights has eyelashes! Too cute!

  7. Yuko Jones | northfield gate

    The new cow painting is amazing. So soft and dreamy. I’m so glad Cindy shared her gift with you – we reader got to see her beautiful paintings! Your look book is gorgeous! So pastel and pretty.

  8. Andrea Miranda

    Omg!!! That new painting is AMAZING! What a talented lady she is!
    I have to admit that whenever I think of MMS’s decorating style, I get a mental picture of that cow painting sitting in your room. It’s almost become a logo for you in my head. I love cows too, so I totally identify with you…
    Thanks for your constant inspiration and beautiful blog-God bless you!

  9. Terri

    Love your blog and I commend you on your talents and determination. I’d like to keep reading, but lately very annoying ads keep playing while I’m on your blog. Any way to make them stop? I’ve looked around but don’t see a mute option. To make them even more annoying, they play repeatedly, just a few seconds off, so I’m hearing at least two of each ad at the same time. Sorry to complain, but thought you’d want to know how annoying it is.

    • Teresa Fredenburg

      Maybe just try muting your volume on your pc or whatever device you are viewing on? Just a suggestion, hope it works for you.

    • marian

      I’m so sorry! That would be annoying. I haven’t had any ads like that come up while on my blog, so I’m not sure where they are coming from…

      • Kim Wagner

        I don’t hear any ads playing.

    • Karen

      Turn on your pop up blocker.

  10. Emily @

    Marian, I remember that post of yours… saying you wanted a cow. Seems like yesterday. Your cows are BEE-u-TI-ful! I think this last one is lovely unframed. I can’t wait to hear what you name them!! xoxo, Emily

  11. Sara Jo Floyd

    Isn’t it amazing the affect a painting of an animal and the beautiful countryside can have on your soul? As an artist who has grown up on a farm in Oklahoma, the first things I ever painted were chickens, horses and cows. But after I got married I followed my husband to the big city, my farm animals on canvas were the only thing that kept me from complete home sickness. It took me almost five years but now I am happy to say we just purchased our little dream farm and I will be able to paint my animals from life again soon. Hope you find your little dream farm soon as well. Are you planning on having any real cows?

  12. Teresa Fredenburg

    I’m so glad the two of you finally got to meet! I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of knowing Cindy by email, I would love to meet her some day. She DOES look like an artist, very beautiful lady, both of you are! I’m with you about the cows, one can never have too many!

  13. LeeAnn

    Lovely new painting! My favorite so far. Cindy does such a great job of painting atmosphere and, of course, the cows personality. I was immediately struck with a name for this painting but I will wait until you post!

  14. ellery

    I am typically not a “cow” person, but Cindy’s cows have me over the moon. They really are beautiful paintings!

  15. Soiledrotten

    So much exciting news! I am so happy for you! The cows are just amazing. I almost purchased Gwendolyn…still thinking about it.
    Happy Day.

  16. debi m

    Love this post and yes you two look like old friends. I’ll be checking out her Etsy shop also. I definetly think you need the new cow painting – especially when you find your new home, too. There is so much negativity on the internet, but it makes you feel good when you discover the really nice and positive people who share your interests. I discovered your blog from a link on The Nestor. You should check out The Pioneer Woman’s blog, too (you probably do already). She has great photos of cows. I hope you find your new home/farm in the Gettysburg area soon. It took me two years to find our new forever home south of that town, and I couldn’t be happier.

  17. Carolyn

    I met her too! A friend and I were shopping in Hillsborough and walked into a shop where cow paintings were on display. I said “Wow! That looks like the cow in a blog I read” The owner heard me and called Cindy over and we had the Eulalie – Eu-la-lee discussion as well. Too funny! I do love all her cows!

  18. Carol

    I really can’t wait for the new look book. I know I will be pouring over it for days. Another way to get inspired ; )

  19. Toni ehle

    Love the new painting so much. How about Lucy and Ethel?

  20. Lori

    I just love her cow paintings and going to put them on my Christmas list! So exciting about your new book, I can’t wait.

  21. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

    Good lessons in this post…don’t let the voice of fear stop you from going forward; don’t be afraid to help others; without a vision, people perish and so many more.
    Congratulations on your new book; very well done!

  22. Patty

    You are probably too young to remember the TV show Designing Women but Julia spoke about old time names and Eulalie was one of the names she mentioned. She pronounced it like you do. I love the cow prints. I bought a small cast iron cow at a Flea Market and it is one of my favorite possessions.

  23. Kimberly

    Cindy is a rock star! I just love and adore her! Isn’t she wonderful? I’ve not yet had the pleasure of meeting her in real life, but I sure would love to. I bought a *huge* (30 x 40 inch!) original oil painting of a gorgeous white horse from her, and it is a statement piece, not only because of it’s size but because of the subject matter and the way Cindy executed it. She’s an amazingly talented artist with a beautiful soul all wrapped up in a lovely package. She is totally the kind of girl that would drive a car with eyelashes on it! 😀 The new painting she did is lovely, so pastoral, and of course is going to look so nice in your home. One of these days I will own one of her sheep paintings …

  24. sandy

    I would call the new painting “Ladies Who Lunch” – that is if the cows are ladies. I can’t tell 🙂

  25. Tracy

    Beautiful paintings. Just wondering how the giclee prints compare to the paintings? The website sells the prints. Maybe some readers may know? I believe yours are paintings?

  26. Cindy@DIYbeautify

    What a great story Marian! Wouldn’t it be fun if you bought a farmhouse with a cow…and Cindy could paint YOUR cow?! I think you’ve singlehandedly changed the blogging world’s view of livestock by your beautiful demonstration of HOW to display a cow in your home…and have it look absolutely breathtaking!

  27. Jelena

    Love the new cow painting! Too bad Cindy is not painting chickens and roosters. I love all of her cow prints and the sheep too, but my house only accommodates birds, chickens, and roosters. 🙂

    Oh, and it looks like the look book will be a hit once it’s printed.

  28. Jessica

    From the pictures, the lookbook looks totally awesome! I’m going to have to find where I can find one so that I can drool over all the awesomeness that it contains, and daydream about painting all my furniture. 😀

  29. Lee

    Cindy is a fellow artist and blogger friend of myself, her work is gorgeous and her cows are absolutely delightful. So pleased you have another of her works, I can’t wait to see where you hang it.

    How also exciting for your first look book, the proofs look great, you must be thrilled. A very exciting year for you. So glad you got to meet Cindy, maybe if I get over to the USA at some point I can meet you both at a blog conference. I am inspired by both of you…Cindy for the fact she gets so much more painting done than me and she has a full time job and a blog…and you for your inspiration for your blog and your amazing business ideas. I am sure, a God given talent to both of you.

    Lee 🙂

  30. Maryanne

    Oh my gosh, Marian! I don’t usually leave comments on blogs, but the two times (including this one) I did, they were on yours! Your post today really spoke to me – I too adore cows and have quite a few paintings of them. I’m saving my pennies to purchase one of Cindy’s cow paintings – they are so soulful. We live on a farm that back in the day was a working dairy farm and there is a pasture of cows right across the road from us. We can see them and hear them moo from our wraparound porch. Very blessed. Also, you mentioned how some really good things have grown from emails – I hope received mine a couple of days ago! !

  31. Cynthia

    Great story. Love, LOVE the new painting. It should be entitled, “The Journey”, or something to that effect. I like cows well enough, but it was the road that really spoke to me. Enjoy your new beauty!

  32. Ming

    OMG! I am sooooo jealous… I love this 3rd painting from Cindy…. I wonder… if I wrote Cindy an email, just maybe she’d paint ME a cow too! My favs are the holstein cows but Eulalie had me in love at first sight!

  33. Kimberly Lane

    Love the new cow painting…how about “The Finish Line” or “Grazing Ladies”?

  34. reni

    Marian…i remember that first email…and how excited i was to get your email back! i hope we can hug-it-out in person someday. it’s gonna happen….for sure!

  35. marian

    Oh, definitely. That ended up being a very life-changing e-mail for both of us, I think. 🙂

  36. Chrissy

    Appreciate you and sharing your blessings with a lot of known and unknown individuals. How about “Bovine Mist” or “Bucolic Mist” ?

  37. Jeanne Taylor

    Your blog is part of my daily ritual, so inspiring! This painting reminded me so much of the early mornings in Germany when my dad was stationed in Stuttgart in the mid 50’s and again when my spouse was stationed in Fulda from 86-91…loved it! How about “Tillie and Tallulah” ?

  38. Jennifer

    Gwendolyn is divine, I love black & white cows. Her face, eyes & lashes look so soulful, how can you be anything but calm when you look at her!

  39. Lisa @ Farmhouse on Boone

    What a neat story! She is such a talented artist and her work complements your home perfectly:)


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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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