WELCOME to Functional Rustic! Thanks for Stopping by. Reward yourself by seeing all that Functional Rustic has to offer. Explore Handmade Rustic Decor in the Store, Try a DIY Tutorial, Read Inspirational Quotes & Visit the Muscovy Ducks. So much to experience!
Originally published February 27, 2018. Updated August 2, 2018.
It’s 8 am. I’ve been “working” for two hours. I love it.
Functional Rustic is about inspiring and motivating others and quotations are a big part of that. It’s vital for me to read positive words first thing in the morning so I have been pinning quotes for years.
As I was typing this 5 deer came into the yard – just did a Facebook live about them. So cool – and also one of the reasons I get distracted when trying to work from home. Check out the video.
I’ve been pinning and making pins for the past two hours. This is a vital task for my business, but it didn’t feel like work at all. In fact, I was having so much fun that I forgot to film today’s sunrise. (Woe is me).
Today’s Lesson: If you’re making a change in your life – repurposing yourself – try your best to integrate things you already love to do into your plans.
It really is true: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Every morning I wake up, grab some coffee and head out to the barn to let the ducks out and watch the sunrise. It is a truly magical way to start each day. I still can’t believe that I am fortunate enough to be able to experience this beauty every single day.
In the rush of day to day life it is easy to forget to appreciate what is around me. The beauty of nature, the ingenuity of humans and how both intertwine to form the world we live in. There is so much to appreciate.
When I lived in the suburbs I dreamed of living in the country. I wanted a quiet place in the middle of the woods away from the hustle, bustle and noise that accompanies life.
Circumstances presented themselves that I was provided the opportunity to start my Happily Ever After life in my thirties. Only as they were reaching retirement were my parents able to follow their dream to live in the country.
The fact that I get to start my life off in my dream environment instead of working my whole life to earn it is humbling. I feel obligated to earn the privilege of living here. I have everything I could ever ask for laying before me – the possibilities are endless.
I pledge to maintain and improve the extensive ecosystem that calls my property home. I will approach each homestead project with enthusiasm because its a privilege I have that others do not. I will do my part to make better the lives of all the creatures I encounter in the magical world that is Functional Rustic.
Most of all, I will share my good fortune with others.
Since I moved out to Dryden, MI in 2017 I am making a concerted effort to live intentionally as the person I want to be. Part of that process is waking up early and spending the morning with my Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey.
A bright perk of being up early is being able to actually watch the sunrise. Living in suburbia, even if I wanted to wake up with the sunrise the view was ‘eh’. Functional Rustic is anything but ‘eh’.
Being in nature is therapeutic. The therapeutic aspect is a key reason I wanted to implement an outside daily routine. I guess going to and working in the barn are outdoorsy but the barn isn’t nature.
I know that I’m a creature of habit. My old habit was laying on the couch to ensure it didn’t run away. My old habit was making sure that cable companies did not go out of business from lack of viewership.
If being in nature is going to be my new goal I need some re-enforcement to maintain the new habit. That is when I started filming the sunrise. I am watching it anyway.
More importantly, on days when I am in a rush to get in and out of the barn for whatever reason, it is really easy to not take a minute to absorb the beauty around me.
To force me to take a moment to smell the flowers, so to speak, I take minute long videos and upload them on social media every day. I made enjoying nature a part of my daily routine and built in accountability by promising to continue sharing the experience with others each day.
Even when I am in a rush, spending 60 seconds every morning to document the wonderous sights around me is now a habit instead of a goal. Recording the video enables me to put an actual time on it. I am guaranteed at least one minute of peace a day.
Now that I have a new blog platform on which to share my story I will share those videos here as well. I already upload all my videos to YouTube each week but, daily sunrises deserve to be enjoyed daily not weekly.
I am still working on how best to present the videos and what time of day is most effective to publish them. I have a lot of ideas coming together at the same time (very, very exciting!) and as they are implemented I am learning how best to adjust my time management.
Below you can watch the videos from the past two weeks. Please let me know what you think and if you have any special requests for the kinds of videos you want to see.
Originally published February 26, 2018. Updated July 31, 2018.
I started my own business, and I have no idea what I’m doing.
I started my own business, and I have no idea what I’m doing.
Yep — that pretty much sums up the thoughts in my head right now. This blog is intended to be my place to share my journey as I intentionally repurpose my life — build my dreams out of what is in front of me. This is my diary.
That’s pretty messed up. I realize that I am about to base my livelihood on the personal blogging concept, but a diary used to be the place that we kept our secrets and our most private thoughts and fears. A personal place that we put tiny locks on to keep others out. Now, it’s a potential revenue stream.
My initial reaction to the concept is of disgust. The vanity of our generation to think that our personal struggles and day-to-day lives are not only of interest but also of value to others. It’s a very self-centered approach to life.
(Considering the purpose of my business is to motivate, inspire and teach — I’m off to a very questionable start.)
Last year I made a conscious choice to repurpose my life — to build my dreams with what is in front of me. It sounds so cliché or like one of the quotes I pin to Pinterest each day — but it’s true.
I decided who I wanted to be and started acting like her.
I envied people on Pinterest or Etsy that took a pallet and created something cool out of it. Or just had a problem and found a crafty fun solution. I wanted to be them — have their skill and creativity.
So, I started telling people I do wood working and repurposing projects. It wasn’t a lie — technically I had built things out of wood before and over the years I have repurposed many items around the house. There is a lot more to the story — but in short, because I told people I did DIY projects I then felt obligated to at least try to DIY something.
Now, at this time in my life I’m an emotional wreck. Trying to sell a house (that apparently had mold that needed remediation), buying a house, moving an hour into rural Michigan, Being responsible for 10 acres of land, feeling displaced by the new surroundings, finding a new career after leaving clinical social work, mourning the death of several friends and continuing to cope with already present anxiety and depressive symptoms.
I was exhausted. My beautiful surroundings got me through it. And finding the pallets and scrap wood the previous owner left behind. (During the tour of the house I mentioned to the sellers that I did wood working — when we bought the house the previous owners not only left all their scrap wood and pallets behind but offered to bring all the left-over wood they had from the barn they were constructing at their new home. They did this expressly because I told them I enjoyed wood working and repurposing pallets. If I hadn’t shared, they wouldn’t have shared.)
I just began building stuff. It wasn’t for any real purpose — just to see if I could. I looked at pictures on Pinterest and tried to replicate them. I failed a lot. But what I ended up with was still really good. I was proud of myself. Considering how I was feeling at the time, being able to feel pride instead of grief or exhaustion was exhilarating. And being able to build housing to protect my ducklings made me feel a sense of security I was lacking after recent unexpected deaths.
Now when I told people that I did woodworking I could show them a picture of something I created. Most people responded the same way I would have just a few months before, “That’s cool — I could never do anything like that. How did you do it? Where do you sell them?”
It was never about impressing others — I only wanted to show myself that I could do it. But when others said that I did something that they couldn’t do — I felt good. It may not be a good thing to say out loud — but I really enjoy being better at something than someone else.
But I wasn’t better than them. I wasn’t doing something that they cannot do. They are no different than I was just a few months before. I’m simply doing something that they haven’t tried yet.
This realization in no way impacted my sense of achievement, but it did make me realize that there are a lot of people out there that could benefit from the empowering feeling of a DIY project.
So now I had a barn full of projects I created, ideas for a DIY blog and a need for a new career. Functional Rustic is born. I could sell the stuff I build and write a tutorial for each item. Buy it or Build it Yourself with Functional Rustic.
It’s a great idea — but I don’t actually know how to build many things. There is no way I can pop out an original DIY tutorial on a consistent enough basis to garner any attention. And, DIY tutorials are helpful but not motivational or particularly eye catching. Needless to say, that thought pattern filled me with self-doubt and killed my inspiration and motivation to build anything. I was paralyzed by the magnitude of what I was going to have to do to accomplish my goal. And I was going to be doing it alone.
To get myself out of the pattern of self-doubt I turned again to Pinterest to read through the collection of quotes I have gathered over the years for just such an occasion. As I’m scrolling I see that almost every single quote has the website for a business on it and a link to their page. So I did the same.
I was feeling optimistic again. I’d taken a very effective coping skill and turned it into not only a means of advertising but also a source of inspiration for others that need a little boost of motivation. Creating quote pins and posting them is how I start my day now. Every. Single Day. Some people get pumped up going for a run or can’t start their day without taking a long shower — motivational quotes is what I utilize to get a good start to my day. I found a way to make something I love, something that I already have at my disposal — into an integral part of my livelihood.
The quotes have me motivated but, I still struggle with the creative aspect of repurposing at times. When that happens I just go for a walk around the yard. The property is stunning so it isn’t difficult to be inspired. The previous owner designed the landscape with great attention to detail. Many of the plants hold medicinal value and the flower beds are always in bloom with various bright colors. The diverse eco-systems she developed encourages diverse populations of birds, butterflies, frogs, deer and other wildlife.
If these sights and experiences inspire me — sharing them with others may inspire them too! The photos and videos also provide a behind the scenes look into where the items I sell are being crafted. If I had to choose between a wooden sign made in a factory or a wooden sign made in a barn shared with ducks and a turkey — I’m going with the barn.
Once again, I took my coping skill of going for a walk in nature into a vital aspect of my personal business.
Now it’s time to spread the word. Weeks of research on SEO’s hashtags, product tags, html codes etc. I’ve read blogs, watched TED Talks and signed up for several social media sites. (In the future I will detail what I did, what worked, what didn’t) The technical aspects are important but are my least favorite part of this process.
(UPDATE: Several months later I now know how to the technical tasks and really enjoy them. The more I understand how it all works the more excited I get to complete it.)
The part of social media I enjoy is the social part. Most of my time on social media platforms is spent looking for other DIY enthusiasts. I compliment them when I appreciate their creativity and ask questions to learn to do it myself. Asking people how they accomplished something makes them feel good — makes them feel respected and knowledgeable.
I know I feel amazing when someone provides genuine feedback on something I created or takes an interest in what I’m doing. Functional Rustic enables me to do that for others as my career. That single interaction is what all this is for.
All the projects, quotes, pictures, videos and stories I share are done so with the express purpose of having a positive impact on an individual — to hopefully spark a lifelong passion or be a catalyst for change in someone’s life. At the very least, I want Functional Rustic to be a pleasant distraction in an otherwise stressful day.
(UPDATE: analytics I have for my website show that most of my visitors come between the hours of 9 and 5. My goal of being a distraction for people during the work day succeeded!)
Each new addition to Functional Rustic is another extension of me — my quotes, my creations, my pictures, my animals (my God this is a very self-centered, egotistical business plan, ha). Until now though, I have been avoiding what makes Functional Rustic truly stand out — Me.
My choice to live intentionally — my failures — my successes — my sense of powerlessness — my self-doubt — my determination — my creativity — my obstacles — my story is Functional Rustic. For that reason — despite my initial feeling of disgust toward personal blogs as a business — I get it now and I support it.
That’s what this blog is all about — the story of I’m building my dreams with what I have in front of me. I’ve repurposed my actions and thoughts to make my dreams a reality. My insecurities are now advertisements. My being distracted by the ducks is now a reason for people to tune in. My failures in creating a project turn in to amusing How Not To stories.
When I am scouring the internet looking for advice on how to do whatever it is that I’m doing — I am drawn to the stories that are personal. I like knowing that someone else felt the same insecurities when they started their own business or felt scared when they tried something completely new. I am inspired by seeing others face their fears or recognize opportunities where they previously only saw obstacles. I thrive on reading of people succeeding despite the odds being against them.
And that is why I’m sharing my story as I build the life I want with what I have in front of me.
I started my own business and I have no idea what I’m doing — and that’s the point.
I am new to the blogging world (ish). At the same time I was getting started with writing a blog the website host I use, GoDaddy, developed a Beta blog program. It was a no brainer to use the blog already featured on the site.
When I first started writing the GoDaddy blog program was more than sufficient for my needs. However, as my blogging and coding skills improve so must the features I want in a blogging platform.
To GoDaddy’s credit, they are constantly making changes that improve the overall blogging experience, but they just haven’t made the changes I need in the time frame I need them.
Mostly, GoDaddy Blog does not allow comments or the ability to embed videos. A large part of what Functional Rustic publishes is DIY tutorial videos. Having to send a blog reader to YouTube in order to experience the visual part of the tutorial is annoying. Also, I want people to come and stay on my website, sending them away defeats the point.
And not allowing comments? I’m trying to build a community of people that share my fondness for learning new things, hanging out with cute animals and seeing the beauty in life. Community is difficult when no one can interact with each other.
Needless to say, I am in the process of transferring my blog posts from GoDaddy to WordPress. Oh yeah, another annoying GoDaddy feature, they do not allow you to electronically transfer your content to a new webhost. For that reason, unless I renew my website hosting with them in October, all the content on www.FunctionalRustic.com is gone.
For that reason, I will be republishing all my previous blog posts from the original Functional Rustic Blog here to the WordPress blog.
New content will still be published regularly but you will be seeing quite a few posts from 2017. I’m looking forward to reading through them though. I shared the techniques for how I planned to build my business and am looking forward to re-reading what I started out doing to see what worked and what didn’t.
As I head off to transfer more content, please enjoy some videos I have EMBEDDED below. 🙂 Feel free to COMMENT on them too. Haha.
At Functional Rustic, when the chain saw comes out that means my husband Dave is about to cut logs in preparation for heating our home with the wood all winter. It gets cold in Michigan so cutting and collecting all of that wood is no small task. Thankfully, Dave agreed to take some time out of his busy day teach me and you how he changes a chain saw blade.
This week’s DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic is a video staring my amazing husband Dave. Normally in a Functional Rustic DIY Tutorial I (Sarah) would write out all of the steps in the process to accompany the video tutorial. However, Dave did a phenomenal job teaching us how to change the chain saw chain in his video that I am choosing not to add a step by step tutorial to go with it.
Watch the video Here or at the link below to learn from Dave how to change the saw on a chain saw. Changing a Chain Saw Chain Tutorial Video:
Instead of providing step by step instructions about changing the chain saw chain, I am going to take use the remainder of this DIY Tutorial to talk about all the work Dave does around Functional Rustic. (Functional Rustic is a business I run out of our home/barn).
Doing it yourself does not have to mean doing it alone.
I am appreciative that Dave agreed to star in a tutorial for Functional Rustic and proud that he did such a great job – on his first try no less!! I am the only employee of Functional Rustic. I am solely responsible for every photo, video, website edit, tutorial etc. but as much as I complete all of these tasks on my own, I am able to do so more effectively because I have Dave behind the scenes providing support.
Dave is a Social Studies teacher during the school year and performs at local venues playing bass guitar with Motor City Acoustic Band. Check out their website to hear how they sound, see where they are playing next and how to book them for your venue or private event.
First and foremost – I never would have thought to start my own business if Dave had never encouraged me. Dave saw what I was building and suggested the idea that people may want to buy what I build. He most definitely planted the seed for Functional Rustic.
Allowing/encouraging me to take over the entire barn and large portions of the house for my business – talk about a great husband. It would be completely reasonable for him to insist that work be done in only certain areas. He has learned I am happiest and complete my best work when I am able to spread everything out in front of me and see it all at the same time from different angles. #happywifehappylife
Dave also provides more hands on work. He is a strong guy and if you think I am not going to use his muscles to my full advantage, you are sorely mistaken. With the exception of all the online parts associated with Functional Rustic, all the work involved is very laborious.
Having a second set of hands to carry, build and destroy things with me is incredibly helpful. Many hands make for light work. Also, Dave taught me how to use most of the tools I have so obviously he knows what he is doing. He also works faster than I do. (I get distracted more easily by the ducks and turkey. Ha.)
Each time Functional Rustic has had an in-person sale – Dave was there. He missed one day of the craft show due to having a show for MCAB the same day. He made more money than I did that night so he was definitely where he needed to be!
Loading the truck/jeep is not a quick task – even with two people. The shelves I build are made of pallets so they are large and durable – but they still need to be transported with care to protect the paint.
Carrying heavy items and putting them into the truck is one thing, but Dave is also learning, aptly I might add, how to support me when I’m freaking out about the show/sale. I’ve noticed that the more we load and unload the vehicles, the less stressful it all becomes.
In addition to lifting heavy things needed for Functional Rustic – he finds them too! He often comes home with a truck full of items I can repurpose.
I mentioned Dave the musician, but he is what I call Traditionally Artistic as well. He can draw! I’m admittedly jealous at how well he can write/paint whimsical letters. I’m proud when my hand writing is at least legible. Ha, we all have our strengths. Below is a picture of a sign he made for me – he hand drew the letters and then wood burned them onto a perfectly sanded piece of barn wood we salvaged.
Dave being naturally artistic enables him to provide helpful feedback on my creations and ideas for new projects. He is very talented and I want to hire him, but his substitute teaching is our only source of income now so probably better to keep him where he is. I will just appreciate him for the summer months.
The most important thing that Dave does for me, does for Functional Rustic, is believe in me.
He shows his belief by showing up. Literally – he is physically there. He doesn’t need to be. I always planned on being alone for shows anyway – his physical presence validates my optimism. This may be my show but he his by my side the whole way. Awwww.
Just recently Dave got to work on getting craft shows booked. I am especially pleased about this kind of help. I am going through some emotional growth changes right now. Positive growth is good but comes with growing pains. Needless to say this has been a high growth week for me. Ha. And Dave completing the necessary tasks of the business while I complete my emotional growing pains has been supportive on many levels.
First, craft fairs are how Functional Rustic sells the handmade rustic furniture and décor created. We are trying out to different venues but, craft fairs will be a primary money source.
Second, he was able to spend an afternoon finding out all the necessary information to get us signed up. (Stay Tuned to find out where to find us!) A task like that requires at least an afternoon and I struggled to make the time. I have actually compiled several of these lists in the past year but have long missed the deadlines to sign up. Dave providing the time and follow through is just what I need in order to focus on things like writing blogs and tutorials.
Third, Dave did the leg work without being asked. He saw it was on the Functional Rustic to-do list and he to-did it. It took me several months to get used to being a business owner/sole employee and to find a system that worked for me and the environment I wanted.
Not long after I found my rhythm (about two weeks ago) for doing everything that needed to be done for the business by myself Dave was added to the process. As I stated – he is good at what he does, hard working and efficient but, a second person was not part of the system I just established.
It is taking me time to adjust to having a second person. I feel responsible for the growth of the business and trusting someone else to do what needs to be done has been a challenge.
Thankfully for me, I have Dave by my side to face these challenges. We have come a long way together and each day we improve. Functional Rustic may be a business I am doing-myself but being open to the support of others enables me to actually do what I need to do for myself.
Remember, doing it yourself is great but sometimes in order to do it yourself you need a little support from a friend.