Be My Guest: Miss Mustard Seed

By Kate Riley June 21, 2010

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you had a fantastic Father’s Day !  Our family spent the afternoon in Sonoma, lunching, sight seeing, and wine tasting – it was pure bliss ! 

Today I have a special guest, one of my new favorite blogs to read each day for inspiration.  Some of you may know Marian of Miss Mustard Seed – I discovered her several months ago and I’ve been a loyal reader of her blog ever since. 

We have a lot in common – we both adore antiquing, painting, and decorating, and Marian has plenty of experience with refinishing furniture.   She followed her passion by establishing her own decorative painting business, and now she blogs all about her projects!   Please enjoy this conversation with my delightful friend Marian. 

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Q:   Well hello Miss Marian of Mustard Seed Creations, tell us a little about yourself, why doncha. 

marian 1 First of all, I am a youth pastor’s wife and stay-at-home mom to two toddler boys.  I am also the owner and one-woman-show of Mustard Seed Creations, my furniture, antique, and home décor business. 

I started a blog at the prompting of my website designer about ten months ago and I have loved every minute of it.  I have been a decorating and antique nut for about ten years and this business along with the blog gives me a wonderful outlet. 

For a few little known facts…I played Pluto at Disney World, I have a degree in Musical Theatre, I love to bake my own bread, and I can bend my right thumb backwards at a perfect 90 degree angle, which grosses some people out, but it’s a great parlor trick.  I also hate coffee, but love doughnuts. 


Q:  You’ve done some amazing work with paint.  Some of my favorites are your grain sack ottoman, bird & branch cabinet & aqua end tables that you unfairly sold to someone else recently.  :-) 

What are your favorite tools to work with when painting furniture ?

I am very fortunate to do this for a living, so I have awesome toys.  My favorite is my Graco 7.0 HVLP paint sprayer.  That thing gives me the best finish and saves me so much time. 

For decorative painting, one of my favorite tools is my projector.  I can take a pattern, sketch, or lettering, put it into the projector and then trace the image onto my wall or piece of furniture.  I don’t use it for everything, but it’s a way to get exactly what I want without having to worry about custom stencils or transfer paper.  I used it for the lettering on my antique sign made out of a headboard. 

marian 3    

Q:  How do you find the time to run a small painting business, and tend to your children?  Where do you strike the balance ?

marian 4I am constantly having to readjust my perspective and priorities to make sure things are not out of balance (or to correct them if they are.)  I don’t have a lot of spare time with two little ones who need a lot of attention, so I use whatever time I can get.  I work in the most efficient way I can. 

This means working on smaller things that I can do on my kitchen counter while my kids are playing and content and I save my larger projects for when they are sleeping or my hubby can watch them for me. 

I also work on multiple things at one time.  While primer is drying on a piece of furniture, I’m sanding another as stripper is doing its work on a table top, and the laundry is going while dinner is in the crock pot. 

Are you tired just reading this?  It’s crazy, but I love DIY and decorating, so it’s not a chore to make time for it.  It’s sometimes a chore to pull me away.


Q:  What’s your favorite thing about revamping furniture and blogging about it ?

marian dresser

I love taking a piece of furniture that cost less than a greasy lunch and turning it into something that looks like it’s out of a magazine. 

I must admit there is a certain amount of my ego that enjoys the kind comments on my blog, but I really like sharing a tutorial on a piece and then hearing how it inspired others to turn an off-cast piece of furniture into something they’re excited about.

At the end of the day that is what blogging is all about…sharing your knowledge and experience with others.




Q:  You recently did a series on starting a small business, can you give us the synopsis, plus your best tips on starting a small business ? 

I’m still working on this series and I can’t wait to get up some more posts about it.  The response has been amazing!  So far, I have shared my story and things to think about when you’re in the very early stages of starting a business


marian business card


Some posts that are in the hopper are “How to start a business with (almost) no money”, “Federal, State, & Local Requirements”, “Making Accounting Stress Free”, “Being Your Own Boss” and more.  I am really excited about it. 

I think the best broad advice I could give would be: go into business in a field you are passionate about and don’t go into debt unless you absolutely have to.  Starting a business can sound like this really big thing, but there are so many normal SAH moms, just like me, who did it.  You can too.  That’s what this series is all about.


 Q:  What project(s) are you most proud of ? 

It’s totally not eye candy, but I am really proud of my Star Wars Mural.  I had no idea I could paint Jango Fett or X-Wing Fighters as well as I did!   

marian x wing


I also love my guestroom.  I’ll sometimes walk up the steps just to sit in that room and look around.  The space is “me” to a “t.”


marian guest


Q:  Finally, I need to know how many times have you been sung the song, ‘Marian, Madam Librarian’.  Just curious. 

Ha!  Waaaaay too many times.  I remember my gifted & talented teacher in kindergarten singing that song to me.  It is quite handy, though; when people call me Marianne, Miriam, or Marilyn.  I’ll just say, no, it’s like ‘Marian, Madam Librarian’ or ‘Maid Marian’ of Robin Hood.  People almost always remember my name after that.

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Why thank you Miss Mustard Seed for being my guest today !   This is what I love so much about blogging:  the opportunity to meet and connect with creative and talented people.   I’m looking forward to Marian’s continuing series on starting a business, and I hope you will follow along too!  You can see even more of Marian’s painting portfolio here, and follow her daily adventures on her blog.  

Cheers friends, wishing you a lovely summer day !   I’ll be painting the wainscoting in the living room that we worked on over the weekend – hope to have pictures to show you soon  . . .



  1. thanks for featuring marian- she is fabulous! i am a follower of hers already and was so happy to see her here today. :)

  2. Thanks for the interview. I am a follower of her also but I did not realize she’s only been blogging for 10 months! I thought it’s been years. She’s so good at it!

  3. Marian does the most fabulous work, what a fun read!! I learned several things I didn’t know about her and am even more impressed now! Janell

  4. This was a great interview. I see many people refer to Miss Marian’s blog but it is nice to learn more about the person. I had to laugh at her excitement over her “farm finds.”
    Knowing that she enjoys musical theatre and played Pluto makes her seen more real and approachable.
    I look forward to reading more of your interviews.

  5. Great interview of an incredible blogger. Miss Mustard Seed is one of my must-reads and I am looking forward to her business series.

  6. Thanks for this great interview with Marian. I am a huge fan of her blog and I had the pleasure of meeting her recently. Marian is absolutely the sweetest and most genuine person…in addition to being a talented artist.

  7. Great questions! I thoroughly enjoyed reading new info about my blog buddy. :) Her blog is one of my absolute daily reads. There’s so much to learn and be inspired by in every single picture. And even in how the picture is taken. You’re missing out if you aren’t following MMS. And Kate! :)


  8. I can bend both of my thumbs backwards. You are right, everyone thinks it’s weird. Do you think it has something to do with being creative???

  9. Marion has such talent, I don’t even try to imitate, just enjoy! Lovely to hear more of her, and I love her guest room too (but who doesn’t!).

  10. Terrific interview! I haven’t visited Marian’s blog but after reading your questions and her responses, she seems like a breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to hop over and check it out.

  11. Miss Mustard Seed is one of my favorite blogs. She’s so warm, down to earth and soooo talented. I read her blog pretty faithfully. Her style inspired my first furniture project and it turned out pretty neat.

    Thanks for featuring Marian, this was lots of fun!

    Nancy @ Nancy’s Daily Dish

  12. Great interview, thanks! I seem to be the only one who has not seen her blog! Loved, loved, loved the aqua end tables!!! :)

  13. Olá Kate!!!
    Estou impressionada com a sua criatividade em realizar projetos de decoração.
    Espero que futuramente eu possa, construir o meu proprio projeto assim como você.
    Sou uma pessoa com pouco recurso financeiro,mas acredito que com talento e criatividade é
    possivel, olhar para algo e conseguir ver por varios angulos , a beleza que a vida tem.
    Parabéns para você que mesmo de tão longe conseguiu tirar o melhor de mim.Moro no Brasil,
    numa cidada do interio de São Paulo. Até mais, estou acompanhando seu blog.

  14. Wow, Marian is way cool. Love her down to earth style! I’m adding her site to my home page!

  15. Hey!
    Thank you so much for posting this, it has really inspired me to start up my blog!
    I love reading your blog, it is very creative. Keep up the good work!

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