youtube & book reviews

by | Jul 20, 2021 | book reviews, Running a Business | 41 comments

As an entrepreneur in the ever-changing world of technology and social media platforms, I’m consistently assessing and reassessing what I do, where I share, how I share, what I spend my time on, etc.  Pinterest and Instagram weren’t even around when my blog launched!  And I shared on YouTube and Facebook in the pre-algorithm world.  Let me just take a minute to remember the good-ole-days when I just had to post in one place…

Okay, done.

The good news of all of this change is there are more ways to reach a wide audience.  The bad news is you have to pick and choose which platforms you’re going to focus on and how you’re best going to use them.  Unless you have a large team of people, you just can’t do them all and do them all well.  So, my focus over the past few years has been my blog, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.  My poor Twitter and YouTube accounts have pretty much been left to be raised by wolves.

miss mustard seed | youtube channel

Twitter can fend for itself until I figure out how/if I want to use it (and to what end.)  But, YouTube…I’ve been thinking a lot about YouTube.  Here are the reasons I think my YouTube channel deserves a little attention…  (I’m letting you into my business brain here.)

  1. YouTube is owned by Google (and Google basically runs the world.)  When people search for things on Google, guess what comes up at the top of the search?  Whoever is paying Google, first and foremost, and then videos.  Videos on YouTube.  When you make videos and share them on YouTube, your chance of coming up at the top of the first page on Google increases.
  2. YouTube is a monetized platform.  You can earn money just by posting content there.  Facebook and Instagram have added ways to make money directly on their platform (as opposed to indirectly by sending traffic to your site, selling a product or service, marketing, working with sponsors, promoting products, etc.), but they aren’t quite as obvious as YouTube.
  3. Video is a fun medium that can do some things better than words and pictures.  That’s why I’ve used it for tutorials over the years.  I could write paragraphs on making a slipcover (and I have), but it’s so much easier to tell you and show you.

So, my business and creative brains have both been thinking about my YouTube channel and how to invite it back into my work routine.  After doing some research and thinking through my own passions, a few clear subjects emerged that make a lot of sense to share on video.  Book reviews, art supply reviews, tours, and, of course, my old standby – tutorials.

new farmhouse style | book reviews | miss mustard seed

Book Reviews

Book reviews were the most obvious to me.  I’ve always felt a little bound when I’m sharing my book recommendations here.  I can share a few pictures and say a few things, but that’s not always enough to really give someone a good feel for the book.  When I shop for books to add to my library, it can be hard to find interior images, especially for books that are old or out of print.  What if an art book is full of black and white photos, the paper is poor quality, or there are only five plates?  That is not the kind of book I’m looking for and I’d like to know that before it gets delivered to my door.

Here is my first book review.  It’s a book I shared on here recently, Nature’s Palette, but it was fresh and I was excited about it.  You get to see all through the book and I share what I like about the book, so you can decide if it’s something you want to buy or add to your wish list.

I filmed a couple of reviews last Friday and I already made some notes for how I can make them better in the future.  I know these aren’t “viral video” material, but that’s not really my goal.  I want these videos to be a good resource.

art supply reviews | miss mustard seed

art supply reviews

I know that not all of my followers here are artists, so I try to temper my enthusiasm about art supplies and only share about them here and there.  But, YouTube is a perfect place to branch out and share about all of my favorites as well as things I’m testing out.  Again, I hope it will be a good resource and it gives me an opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the years of buying and testing out supplies to find my own favorites.  I can even include reviews on sewing/knitting/crochet supplies and DIY/woodworking tools.

art studio | yarn storage | DIY built-in shelf | miss mustard seed


I don’t know why I haven’t done more of this in the past!  Tours don’t have to be of a whole house or an entire room (although they could be), but they can be of a drawer, a workspace, a collection, a stash, a sketchbook an inspiration board.  I’d love to do more tours to give my readers a better, more interactive look at my spaces and things, how they are organized, and why I love them.

DIY lavender and rice pillow | miss mustard seed

lavender & rice hot/cold pillow tutorial


Of course, these have been mostly what I’ve posted on YouTube over the years, but I have learned a lot from the feedback I’ve received on those videos.  Some of the comments were brutal, but what I heard over and over again is “stop talking and just show us how to do XYZ.”  A part of the way I teach is to reassure and encourage, which involves a lot of talking.  And, I’m also just a talker.  I didn’t earn the name Marian Motor Mouth in third grade for holding my tongue.

But, tutorials generally aren’t about chit-chat and people aren’t watching the video because they follow my blog.  They are watching it because it came upon it in a search and they want to know how to do something.  So, I’m going to make (and remake) tutorials with that in mind.  Short, informative, to the point, done.

For those who are video-watchers, what kind of videos would you like to see from me?  Are there any book review requests?  Anything you’d like a tour of?  You are my best resource for content and ideas.  When I’m mentoring other bloggers or content creators, even retailers, I say, “Questions are a compass.”  When people ask you, “How did you do that…” or “Where did you get that…”, those are pointing in a direction to new content you can create.  My dear blog readers, you have no idea how many great ideas you’ve given me over the years in your questions and comments.  Thank you for that!

Of course, I’m getting all of this renewed excitement for YouTube as I have a lot of work on my plate – recording the Feels Like You audiobook (Eep!), pre-book-launch stuff, taking on a batch of freelance articles, completing commissioned paintings, doing some freelance product design work, taking time for some of my own pet projects, finishing my basement, plus writing here on the blog!  Oh, and I’m getting ready for my next art sale!  It is set for Thursday, July 29, 2021, at 10:00 am EST.  I’ll be posting a preview soon and it will be including all of the paintings I did on my trip to Isle of Palms and Charleston.

original oil painting | house in charleston | marian parsons | miss mustard seed

Well, it all keeps me out of trouble…


  1. Camille Moore

    Fabulous ideas about YouTube, Marian! One other thing that comes to mind is that many who search YouTube do not speak English, so words can be more of a deterrent. I even like seeing how-to vids with no words at all because the accent can be distracting etc. Haha (I have a deep Southern accent so I’m sure I would annoy many! But I still may try my hand at videos. 🙂

    • Ronda

      Never my darling. Nothing better than a sweet southern accent.

    • Jessica

      I actually like your book reviews here to be honest. I have looked them up on Amazon to see if I’d be interested in purchasing them. I only go to U tube for instruction videos.
      I often read blogs, etc on my downtime which can be in bed or other. I often want to read vs listen because I don’t want to disturb my husband with listening to something he would not be interested in.
      By the way, we watched Clarkson’s farm after you reviewed it and loved it!.😁. So thanks.

  2. Ronda

    I admit, without shame, that I am a YouTube slut. I love it. All of your ideas of posting on YouTube are perfect and I highly encourage you to do so. As I am deaf, I would ask that you make your videos closed captioning friendly. Those are the videos that I watch for whatever content I am seeking.
    Blogs are another favorite as they share more information than other platforms. I can read them and see what is being described.
    I do hope you rescue your YouTube channel from the wolves and make it your own child again.
    Thank you for your consideration. R

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, thank you for the CC suggestion. I will look into adding that, especially since some of my newer videos have voiceovers.

    • Irene Greenberg

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. I am just starting a blog, as part of a social media strategy, and had not thought about YouTube. I’m an artist with an e-commerce site. It was very helpful to get your perspective at this point in time.

  3. Jo

    I love this! I loved being able to follow you without having to create another account for myself. Thank you for all you hard work!

  4. Andrea W

    I am addicted to You Tube……I can’t stop myself. Mostly tours….home, apartment, skoolies. I just love to see how we all decorate our homes. I am really addicted to watching all the Brit’s who are purchasing and restoring French Chateaus! It’s crazy good!

    • Julie | Home On The Hill

      Me too! I watched all the available Escape To the Chateau/DIY etc episodes on TV, so have started watching the You Tube channels for a few of the chateau owners.

      So now I have been having a French inspired decor DIY the last few months, had good success recreating French vintage breadboards for my kitchen & now working on a bed canopy from an old carved piece off a sideboard. LOL

  5. Sharon Dobbs

    I love YouTube also. I would love to see videos of you on your buying trips to an Antique stores. What you look for and what you finally buy and how much things cost in your area would be very interesting.

    • noreen

      I would love this too

    • Cheryle Podgorski

      YES – this is a fabulous idea! I never know how to choose a good piece and would love to hear Marian’s thought process on each piece she is considering.

  6. Charlotte

    I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with your channel! I love watching your Luckett’s haul (where you’d go shopping for smalls or things to sell at Luckett’s when you used to have a booth there) and your slipcovering/ reupholstering process. I will eventually reupholster my 70s reproduction cane barrel chair that I’ve had for like almost 10 years! I just need to watch your videos a couple more times before I have the courage to do so! Thank you for sharing and the inspiration!

    • Karen

      How exciting! One thing I don’t know where to find information on is old furniture repair, drawers that stick, chairs that wiggle, chipped veneer. And tips on what are “good” pieces to purchase vs what to avoid. Not a taste thing, but what issue aren’t worth or cannot be repaired.

      Also I’m finding that “good” antique furniture is getting harder to find now that more people are flipping stuff. So what more modern pieces can be repurposed to look authentically old?

  7. Sandra

    Yes yes yes….I usually don’t watch YouTube but I love following you so I did and I did enjoy it and thought you did very well! Keep ‘em coming….a follow artist and decorator

  8. Crystal Brown

    huh! I’ve never ever watched a Youtube vid for a book review! I’m not sure I will, but it’s intriguing. I mostly read blogs because, well, they’re informative, I can take my time and I enjoy good photographs. Confession? I skip the videos because most aren’t well done and I don’t want to waste my time, it’s like watching the local car guy ads on late night TV, painful. But I also admit of the few vids I watched you do about milk painting, I enjoyed. So I’ll take a break from my music videos and give your channel a view or two or three. I’m a voracious reader and think seeing parts of a book would be helpful in decreasing those why did I buy this? moments. Yours is one of the few blogs I’ve stuck with for years and I enjoy it very much, so I’m happy you are still creating content!

  9. PJ

    Thank you! I can never get enough of book reviews. I watch You Tube videos while on my exercise bike each morning and afternoon and will be sure to subscribe to your channel.

  10. Anne Dee

    I’d love to watch all the videos you’ve suggested above. Also, how about wardrobe videos – talking about your wardrobe, where you shop, and you in your clothes? I’d also like to see, before Christmas, videos of rooms before and after you decorate for the holidays. I’d like to see how much you change a room when you decorate for Christmas, ie how much you remove before you add decorations. Gardening projects are fun to watch too. See you over on YouTube!

  11. Sandy

    You are such a sweetie. I’d like to let you know that I have loved the chit chat in the video tutorials. I learned to crotchet from you and the encouragement you gave over and over again was a blessing. It felt like visiting with a friend. And during COVID that was a real gift. Thanks for all the positivity that you place out there in all of the venues you use. And hey, keeping out of trouble is a real bonus!

  12. Linda

    I find the breadth of your talent so inspiring. Your COVID painting lessons, crochet articles, no spend February, etc. all helped me be more engaged in creativity in ways that tend to get lost in business of life. I’ll consume your content wherever you make it available!

  13. Denise Collins

    YouTube was how I found your art videos.. I was searching for art instructions and happened upon your YouTube.. I soaked up every art video you made and I’m taking your Atelier course.. so I’m happy you are considering doing YouTube again

  14. Helene

    Will you still be using Facebook

    • Marian Parsons

      yes! I’ll still be on the platforms I’m using now, but I’ll add more YouTube in the mix like I used to. The videos will be embedded in a post, so those who want to read can read and those who want to watch can watch. I try to make it so people who use specific platforms can still see what I’m up to.

  15. Ann

    Yes!! Your renewed interest in YT matches my internet use. I do not use FB or Twitter. I have veered away from Pinterest as it seems to me to lost what it used to have, less a tool for wonderful browsing and more about weeding through ads and repeat posts. I check on the Instagram accounts I follow for fashion, home decor, recipes, painting, and inspiration. However, my main source of internet fun is YouTube. I have discovered videos on British mudlarking, walks in nature, northern lights, make-up tutorials, dogs playing, etc. I don’t post, and am just an entertained viewer.
    Thanks for asking what we want to see and learn! Sketching, painting, how to make colors work together (whether in home decor, clothing, painting…) are my votes. (I am currently taking your Atelier class). And I like your voice! I rewind your instruction painting videos over and over to catch up with you.
    Thank you, Marian!

  16. Linda Silber

    Love to use YouTube and would enjoy seeing your videos. Very exciting news!

  17. K. Rochester

    I would love for you to do some video reviews on your favorite home decor books. I was browsing ebay earlier today and was disappointed that you basically on see the front cover. Anything you would recommend would certainly inspire me!

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I definitely will! I love decorating books, too.

  18. Dionne Street

    I would love to know who inspires you. Who are your favorite bloggers and what are your favorite websites whether it is cooking, collecting, reading, decorating, fashion, drawing, painting, travel, or shopping. I have found bloggers I follow from other bloggers who recommended them. I follow about 20 blogs a week regularly and I would love to know your favorites!

  19. Susan

    I really loved the book review. Thank you for attaching to your blog. I am afraid I would forget to look for you on youtube, but your blog is already in my mailbox, and reminds me to look at pretty and interesting things for few minutes. I am a book “addict” and so I am really looking forward to more of your reviews.

  20. Carole Prisk

    I like YouTube and prefer videos to podcasts. I would love to see you thrift/antique, give advice on buying and flipping antiques. I like home decor, garden and how to videos. I would like an exploration of antiquing styles and how to implement them. For example how is cottagecore different from farmhouse, what makes French country different from American country, or English country? I learned to crochet with you and dabbled a little in painting. I like fashion advice and book recommendations too.

  21. Pam

    Have you tried DuckDuckGo? We have been using for several years. You will see more search results than Google.

    DuckDuckGo is an internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by showing all users the same search results for a given search term.
    Check out the App and give it a try. You will never go back to Google.

  22. MaryS

    Like so many of the others, I go to You Tube to watch demonstrations on how to do
    things, how to fix things and how to make things. Like sewing, I’m always looking for
    ideas, etc. and tips to help me. I’ll watch you no matter what you decide to do. Just
    keep posting and I’ll be reading what you put out there. So kind of you to ask our opinion.

  23. Mo

    When I am watching a video of an artist painting or sketching I like to see the materials that they use in the beginning. What I don’t like though is a long description of each item. I will fast forward the video if they do this. I also like for them to get right at it and begin the process that I searched for rather than a long intro. Again, I will fast forward through it. I will however sit mesmerized as they paint or sketch something. I think in this crazy world we are just too stretched for time. Love your blogs Marian.

  24. Margot

    Although I enjoy YouTube and like tutorials there, I often like to have a print tutorial as it’s easier to follow step-by-step (no back and forth hunting for *that* spot in the video). And I am like Jessica above in that no sound aids in not disturbing my husband’s sleep while I catch up on my blogs. I’ll add that there are some videos I’ve hated watching because the music they’ve used as background while they complete steps or whatever was jarring.

  25. Elaine

    I love your painting tutorials. I can’t afford all the original landscapes I want, so I am trying to learn to do my own. Plus it’s a fun, time limited project. You have a relaxed style and delivery I really enjoy.

  26. Jayne McLeod

    With all of my heart I wish YOU would continue teaching and sharing what YOU are doing, using what makes YOU fulfilled and happy. Please remember that it is not possible to please all the people all the time. You are in charge here, these are your site(s),your interests and how blessed are we all that you are kind enough to share and teach and encourage (me) and others on it. Do not be conformed to the world, do not become stressed out by what someone else wants or says, please ENJOY what you love and thank you for sharing those loves with others (and using as many words as you’d like too !!)

  27. Yvette Ford

    I love that you take the time to share of all your creativity, ingenuity and talent. You explain everything thoughtfully in the process, like a teacher.
    Thank U…

  28. Stacey

    Closed captioning please! Same deal with not disturbing my husband but also I have severe loss of hearing in one ear and you can’t lip read a voice over 😆😄

  29. Stacey

    I should add that I admire your work ethic, your creativity, your organized approach, the amount of thought you put into everything, your appreciation of things that aren’t new, your willingness to share especially in the articulate way that you do, as well as liking your color palette and general style. I love your milk paint and I love the name MissMustardSeed and what it refers to. You are often a few moments of quiet sanity in a chaotic day, which is always a blessing. Just sayin’…

  30. Karen

    Marian, I love how generously you share what you know and learn with us. I connect with you through your blog, YouTube, and Instagram. The art tutorials are a huge help to those of us who feel inspired to create. Also I enjoy book reviews as you have been doing them, color charts with color blends, sketchbooks, your art tools and painters boxes. I would like more information on plein air painting and what materials are needed, artist brushes and how you use them, side-by-side comparison of watercolor, gouache, acrylic, oil painting, how to use your drafting tools for art, and how to make our own water colors. I also enjoy your podcast and the information you and Shauna share. Thank you again for your encouragement and zest for knowledge.

  31. Sheri Morton

    Thanks so much for a glimpse into your business brain, Marian! Learning stuff I did not know! 🙂


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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