Posted on 13 Comments

Winter Duck Enclosure – Functional Rustic Approach

The Muscovy Ducks of Functional Rustic have a new enclosure for the winter. Everyone is very excited.

3 Muscovy Drakes

Last year I only had a handful of ducks so one barn stall was sufficient to house them. This year though, I have 12 large ducks to care for. I could eat some of them and keep the smaller stall, but I’ve had a lot of animal deaths this year and am not keen on adding to the list.



(Did you know that Muscovy Ducks taste more like beef than typical a water fowl? Muscovy ducks spend most of their time on land eating grass – same as cows. Although Muscovy do have water proofing oils, because they do not spend as much time in the water as other water birds they produce less oil and therefor taste differently.)

duck table.jpg

My chief complaint with the duck set up in the barn last year was the lack of proper lighting. There is a small window in the stall and a light bulb but, with the barn closed up it is very dark in the barn during the winter months. In order to keep the barn some what insulted in the cold Michigan winters I covered all of the openings with roofing paper last year. (I only used the roofing paper because I found a roll of it in the barn when we moved in. It was free and available so I made it work.) The roofing paper is black though, and blocked all of the sun light into the barn.



This year I wanted to make sure that if the ducks could not or did not want to go out in the snow they would still have lots of natural light. Added bonus, natural light in the stall means duck pictures and videos turn out better! To achieve this increased light while still keeping the barn insulated I chose to wrap the entire back of the barn with 6 mil plastic sheeting.

KIMG3003

The back of the Functional Rustic barn is a covered area with the south and east walls open to the outdoors. I hung the 6 mil plastic across all of the openings and secured it to the walls/ground with a carpentry stapler. I chose 6 mil plastic sheets because I wanted a plastic that was durable enough to endure Michigan weather but not too heavy to hang with staples. The 6 mil plastic sheeting works perfectly. Plus, it’s clear so the sunlight pours into the enclosure.




It is my hope that the clear plastic will provide some solar heating. The idea is that the warm sun rays will come into the barn and the plastic will keep the heat inside. I don’t expect it to be warm in the winter – but if I can keep the stall above freezing I would be thrilled.

Duck Enclosure Flooring

One of the new stalls off the back has rubber mat flooring that I added straw to while the other stall off the back of the barn has only a dirt floor. Last year I used the dirt floor of the duck stall to make compost. It worked splendidly. The poop was controlled, no bad smells and the floor actually gave off some heat.

The original duck floor consisted of dirt, straw, leaves and landscaping scraps. I added new layers as needed and mixed everything together to turn it into a compost floor. The ducks helped keep it mixed up by digging around in the floor for bugs. My pile of composting material on the floor started at about six inches deep. Over the past year of adding layers and housing ducks, the floor is a beautiful, rich compost nearly one foot deep. I plan to use my duck compost in the spring to plant the Functional Rustic orchard.



The plan with this year’s new dirt stall was to repeat what I did last year in the original duck stall. That was the plan. Ha. Michigan weather decided I needed a different approach this year. Functional Rustic is lucky to have acres of fallen leaves to collect and add to the compost pile. The kicker though, is the leaves need to be dry for me to use them.

Fall Trees.JPG

Well, Michigan has seen a fair amount of rain and now snow. I never collected the dry leaves. That’s a big problem for my compost floor. The snowfall over the weekend melted yesterday so the plan today was to rake up the leaves and store them in a dry place until they could be used.



Two inches of snow last night. Ugh. It looks beautiful and the ducks are adorable running through it – but the snow officially ends the search for leaves. So, today I started digging up the original compost floor. You see, the ducks have three stalls they can explore now. The rubber mat area, the new dirt area and the original duck stall. Since adding the plastic though, I have yet to see the ducks spend time in the original stall beyond using it to get outdoors.

sunrise fence 2.jpg

Well, if they wont be spending much time in the old stall – I don’t need that floor to be heated by compost. So, today I started digging up the original stall and moving the compost to the new plastic enclosed dirt area off the back of the barn. It is not as visually pleasing as fresh straw, but the coverage it provides is impressive. Plus, the floor I dug up is full of bugs that the ducks are having a grand old time hunting down. I continue to add layers of straw each day to promote more composting, keep the ducks feet dry and warm and to control the poop smells.



Duck Enclosure Walls

Initially hanging the plastic only took 30 minutes. However, the next few weeks involved lots of small fixes to make it just right. First of all, Muscovy Ducks have claws. When the plastic was first installed the ducks did not know what to make of it and tried flying through it. Ha. Amusing as it was to watch – they understandably freaked out when they hit the plastic and scratched at it with their claws. Needless to say, there are more than a few gashes repaired with duct tape.

The ducks aren’t the only ones flying into the plastic. There are a couple families of barn swallows living in there too. Despite the plastic being up for a few weeks now, the little sparrows continue to fly full speed into the plastic. It was funny at first but now I just feel bad for them. Someone is going to get hurt. I will say though, it is adorable to see 6 huge ducks on a wall with a family of tiny barn swallows perched beside them.

Fixing cuts in the plastic from sharp duck claws was the least of my problems. Wind was the bigger issue. The day we hung the plastic there was only a slight wind so everything seemed secure. Less than 24 hours later the wind was up to 40 mph gusts. Whole walls of plastic were falling off. Ugh.

When we (my husband and I) originally hung the plastic we placed the staples about 12 to 18 inches apart. Although the plastic was flat against the wall when it was stapled, the large gaps between the staples allowed wind to come in and blow the plastic around.

The bottom of the plastic sheeting was held down by stones and pavers. One big wind and the plastic slid out from underneath the stones as if they were pebbles. I found heavier items to hold down the bottom of the plastic, but since I still had the gaps in my stapling, wind was still coming in and causing the wind to whip around inside the stall – again causing the bottom to slide out and blow around.

KIMG3070.jpg

On another particularly windy day, I went out to the barn and examined where the wind was coming in. That is when I learned that my staples were to far apart. I immediately got the stapler and started stapling everything I could reach. That plastic was secure!! Having secured the plastic to the top and sides of the openings I thought I was all set.

Nope.


The plastic may be securely attached at the top, but the bottom is still loose. The stones and pavers are ok if the wind stays below 30 mph, but it’s Michigan, so that’s not going to happen. Again, I spent an hour just sitting in the duck stall trying to learn how the wind was moving around within the barn.

KIMG3069.jpg

As it happens, the wind is not actually getting into the barn. Apparently the plastic, although securely attached, is loose instead of taut so even if the staples hold strong, the plastic flaps back and forth. The flapping is what causes the stones to slide off the sheeting.

No amount of staples and stones was going to do the trick. The openings I am covering are over 12 ft x 12 ft. I need some sort of support in the middle to provide stability to the plastic. As it happens, I have a bunch of wire around the barn. The fencing around their enclosure came bound together with long pieces metal wire. I stretched that wire across the opening and duct taped it to the plastic on both sides.



Shockingly, it worked. Now that the plastic had the stiff wire in the middle I was able to get it to lay flush against the flat surfaces so it can be attached. Now the sheeting was able to pulled taut. Before stabilizing the plastic, even a small breeze caused the plastic move in or out. Stapling the plastic while it is blowing makes the final product flappy.

KIMG3068.jpg

No longer trusting the stones and pavers, I replace them with a wooden pallets. The pallets are heavier than the stones AND I can staple the plastic directly to it. Now the plastic is weighed down by the pallet while also being attached to it. Now when the wind blows the plastic barely moves at all.

It has been about week since I made the last repairs and I am proud to report that despite, strong winds, heavy rains and two snow falls – the enclosure is still in great shape. Also, the inside of the barn has remained consistently warmer than the outside. I am quite proud of what I accomplished.

KIMG1443.jpg

Winter Duck Feeding Routine

Another new change is how I feed the feather babies. Normally I pour their feed into a feeder and let them gorge. Since I secured the plastic walls though, the ducks don’t seem to want to leave. Staying in the barn all day means they are not exercising as much. To help keep them active I now distribute the food everywhere and make them hunt for it.

Spreading the food out forces the ducks to move around, keeps them from standing and pooping all day in the same spot and helps the compost floor to be turned regularly. Another benefit of spreading the food out is that everyone gets to eat at the same time. There is most definitely a pecking order in my barn. With one feeder, breakfast becomes a time for ducks to get bullied. I don’t like seeing the bigger ducks be mean to Larry and the smaller lady ducks. I know that this behavior is natural and healthy for ducks, but if I can prevent it from happening I will.

larry.jpg

I am pleased to report that since implementing this new approach Larry is looking much better as well. He was looking rough before – dirty, missing feathers and a generally an unkempt appearance. He’s a white duck that was coated brown with dirt. Poor guy looked miserable. Now, Larry is looking happy, bright and clean. He still gets picked on and chased around, but at least he has mouthfuls of food available wherever they chase him. (Interesting side note, Larry’s only son, Prodigy, is the duck that harasses him the most.)



In any case, the new enclosure has made for some happy feather babies and one very happy feather baby mama. Check out the videos below to see how the build enclosure progressed and how much the ducks love playing in it.

Written by: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic offers more than just stories about the Muscovy Ducks? Support local business and save money with handmade décor from the Functional Rustic Store. Below are some examples of what you can expect to find.

 

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Red

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

Advertisements
Posted on Leave a comment

2 Item Fire Starter DIY Tutorial by Functional Rustic

It’s cold outside. Winter is rolling in and bringing snow falls and bitter cold temperatures. Although it may be cold outside – the fire in the Functional Rustic wood stove is burning red hot.

sunrise barn.jpg

This will mark our second winter heating the house with our wood stove. My husband, Dave, spent the summer finding dead trees and cutting them into fire wood to heat our home. Check out the chain saw video tutorial with Dave HERE. Dave’s hard work has furnished us with approximately 10 chords of hard wood for burning.

chopped wood.jpg

Having a large supply of wood to burn is a great start – but there is more to an effective fire than just fuel. Being able to start the fire is the important part. Last year I used news paper – a lot of news paper – to start the fire each day. It worked – technically. However, I found that the massive amounts of newspaper created vast amounts of ash that ultimately extinguish the flames.

Also, we make our fire first thing in the morning – around 5 am. At that hour, the house is dark and cold. The last thing I want to do when I wake up is waste time fighting with a fire. For that reason, I created fire starters to help me start the day off quickly. I just toss them in, add some wood and light a match.

KIMG3317

My fire starters light quickly but burn for awhile – a great combination for getting the fire started. Keep reading to learn how to make FREE fire starters with items you already have around your home.

Fire Starters DIY Tutorial

Fire Starters by Functional Rustic

Supplies: Dryer Lint & Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

Step One:

Gather lint from the lint trap in your dryer.

Step Two:

Gather empty toilet paper rolls.

KIMG3311

Step Three:

Stuff lint into the empty toilet paper tubes. (I was able to create three fire starts with one lint trap.)

Step Four:

Fold the ends of the tubes so that the lint stays inside.

KIMG3314

Step Five: (Optional)

Write fun messages on the tube or add any colors you want. If I was giving them as a gift I would write messages on them but, for my daily needs I keep them blank.

Step Six:

Share your creation with Functional Rustic on social media using #functionalrustic.

Congratulations! You made your very own fire starter.

Written by : Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just DIY Tutorials? Support a small, local business by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store. Below is a sample of what you can expect to find. Special orders welcome and shipping is FREE!

 

Wooden Thank You Card AQUA BLUE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

 

“Bark Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

"Bark Spoken Here" Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

Posted on Leave a comment

How To Dye Egg Whites Tutorial from Functional Rustic

In honor of the recent midterm election, Veterans Day weekend and the 2nd Annual Veterans Day Craft & Vendor Show that Functional Rustic has the honor of participating in tomorrow – Functional Rustic’s DIY Tutorial for this week is How to Dye Egg Whites. Specifically – how to dye them patriotic colors!

Instead of breaking the bank trying to decorate for your holiday gathering – turn the yummy food you are serving into the decorations!

How to dye egg whites tutorial

How to Dye egg whites Tutorial from Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com



How to Dye Egg Whites and Make Festive Deviled Eggs – DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Step One:
Fill a pot about half way with water and bring it to a rolling boil (very bubbly). The water should be able to completely cover all the eggs you are going to boil.

NOTE: When you add the eggs later the water level will increase so make sure you leave room in the pot for the water level to boil and rise later.

Boil water
Add water to a pot and bring it to a rolling boil. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Two:
Once the water is boiling add your eggs and boil for 15 minutes (Chicken Egg) 30 minutes (Turkey and Muscovy Duck Egg).

Boil eggs
Once the water is boiling add your eggs. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The Muscovy Duck and Bronze Turkey Eggs are much larger and take longer to cook.

Below is an example of a rolling boil – very bubbly.

Boil Eggs 1
Below is an example of a rolling boil – very bubbly. www.FunctionalRustic.com



Step Three:
Once the eggs are boiled remove them from the water and put them in an ice bath. (An Ice Bath is just a bowl with ice and water in it. The idea is to cool the eggs immediately so they stop cooking. Running them under cold water works too.)

Ice bath
After the eggs cook, add them to an ice bath to cool. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The white-ish egg is from the Muscovy, brown egg is chicken and the speckled egg is from the turkey.


Valencia Merble the Dog is all too happy to help with this tutorial. She loves snacking on the ice cubes!

Step Four:
Once the eggs have chilled you need to remove the shell. I start by tapping the ends on the cutting board so they crack.

Hard Boiled Egg
Crack the bottom of the egg to help remove the shell. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Then, I roll the egg on its side on the counter/cutting board until the sides crack too.

Roll the egg
Roll the egg on the counter to further crack the shell to remove. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The shell easily peels off the chicken egg now. Duck and Turkey eggs – well, I have yet to find a way to get the shell off without removing a lot of the egg white. I use the same approach but it does not turn out as pretty.

Peel the egg
The shell is easily removed from the egg now. www.FunctitonalRustic.com



Step Five:
Cut the egg lengthwise and remove the yolk (yellow stuff inside).

Cut the egg
Cut the egg lengthwise. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Set the yolks aside to make the filling later. Don’t be concerned if the yolk looks a little grey. It happens sometimes.

Remove yolk
Remove the yolk and set aside. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Six:
Fill a glass with about 1 cup of water and add 3 to 6 drops of food coloring to the water. I chose red and blue to honor the holiday weekend.

Put the egg whites into the colored water to soak for about 30 minutes.

Soak in food colorinng
Soak egg whites in colored water for 30 minutes. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Seven:
Mix the yellow egg yolks with miracle whip and yellow mustard. I don’t measure so I honestly cannot tell you how much I used of each. I just mix until it tastes the way I want.
This tutorial is more about teaching you how to make your eggs look festive and less about teaching your proper flavors.  You find different recipes Here . You find the flavors you like and Functional Rustic will teach you how to make it look festive!

Step Eight:
Once 30 minutes have passed on the egg whites soaking in the colored water – remove an egg to see if you like how the color looks. If you want it darker than soak it longer.
Remove the eggs from the colored water and pat the eggs dry with a paper towel.



Step Nine:
Add the yolk filling to the newly dyed egg whites. Fancy people, as I like to call them, put their filling into a plastic bag, cut the corner off, and then pipe the filling into the egg. I am not a fancy person, ha, so I use a spoon.

After my yolk filling is spooned into the egg white (now red and blue) I sprinkle Paprika on top for a little flavor and a bit more color. Smoked Paprika is also delicious (again, find the flavor that best suits you.)

Patriotic egg whites 1
Turn boring eggs into Patriotic Centerpieces. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Ten:
Take pictures of your creation and share it with Functional Rustic on Social Media. And of course – eat that festive décor knowing it was your DIY creation!


Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than weekly tutorials? Check out the selection of handmade rustic home decor in the Functional Rustic Store.

Wooden Thank You Card RED

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Countersink a Screw – DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic

I appreciate the rough-around-the-edges style of rustic furniture and décor. Untreated wood. Exposed screws. Dents. Scuff marks. I love when a piece looks like it has a story to tell.

All of my creations for Functional Rustic have a story. They are rough around the edges because they have had a rough life to this point. Instead of hiding what the wood has been through I try to highlight how the scars make it beautifully unique.

The “rough” look sounds good and is an easier look to accomplish for a beginner but it comes with some obstacles. I knew nothing about wood working when I started this repurposing business and even today I feel like I still know very little. However, I am learning new approaches and techniques every day.



One of the techniques I recently learned was how to countersink a screw. If you are anything like I was a month ago than you have no idea what that means. Fear not – Functional Rustic is here to teach you.

My house is filled with tables, shelves and décor I built out of repurposed pallets. I don’t have a brick and mortar store so my “warehouse” is also my actual house. My sister and her boyfriend came into town for the holidays and had a chance to see my creations.

I asked Jon, the boyfriend from across the pond (Since originally writing this piece the boyfriend has become a husband. They had a sky dive wedding!), what he thought of my creations. As he slid his hand across the top of my pallet coffee table he remarks, “If you countersink the screws it wont catch on people’s clothing.”

“Screw you Jon”, was my first thought. I’m proud of this table. I worked very hard on it. I put a lot of time, energy and creativity into building it. I love how the screws look. The screws are from the original pallet and deserve to be highlighted. Screw you Jon for not appreciating my work.

Of course what I said was, “Thanks Jon, that’s a good idea.” So, I hated him for a couple minutes and then thought about what he was saying. I may like how the screws look but I really don’t like catching clothing on a screw head.



I chose to stop hating him for his really good idea and instead confessed that I had no idea what countersinking actually is (that was embarrassing as the only employee in a wood working business) and asked if he could teach me.

DIY Tutorial – How to Countersink a Screw

Step One:
Drill the pilot hole for your screw as you normally would. (Pilot hole is a hole that is slightly smaller than the size of the screw. It allows the screw to enter the wood and also stay in place.)

Step Two:
After you drill your pilot hole find a drill bit that is the same size as the head of the screw. (The head of the screw is the top where the screw driver would go.)

Countersink Screw 7
Find a drill bit that is larger than the head of the screw. Here is the original drill bit and the larger drill bit. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Three:
Center the larger drill bit on the originally pilot hole. Drill down a couple millimeters (Jon is from England so I will use the metric system in my description, ha.) Basically, give the button on the drill a small push. You only want to make a shallow hole.

Step Four:
Drill your screw into the hole as you normally would. Because of the wider hole at the top of the pilot hole, the head of the screw will be flush with or just below the surface of the wood.

Drill your screw into the hole. Notice how the screw head is now flush with the surface of the wood.

Congratulations! Your countersunk your screw!!

Step Five:
Take pictures of your countersinking skills and share them with Functional Rustic on DIY Project of Facebook.

I use the countersinking technique when I create these:

Countersinking the screws prevents gaps from forming between the boards when I create the 3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holders.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Save on handmade home décor by shopping the online Functional Rustic Store.
FREE SHIPPING!

Wooden Thank You Card ORANGE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00



The banners included in this post are Affiliate Links.

Posted on 2 Comments

25 DIY Halloween Costumes Presented by Functional Rustic

This week’s DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic is not actually from Functional Rustic. I recently found a website created by a remarkable woman, Lasamoa. Just as I am repurposing myself to build the life I always wanted, she too is creating the life she wants for herself.

I had high hopes of publishing a tutorial about how to repurpose a shutter into a Functionally Rustic Chalk Board today. Well….as is often the case with repurposing projects, things did not go as planned. Ha. You can read about my struggles Here.

Writing tutorials each week is something I do to encourage myself to learn new things each week. Sharing them with you enables you to learn the new skill or craft too. I am learning a lot – but not in a way conducive to writing a tutorial for others to follow.

The duck enclosure requires my immediate attention today. As a result I am not in a position to learn a new skill AND write a tutorial for you today. (One of the things I learned this week is the importance of a back up plan if my DIY project does not actually get done.) Lucky for all of us, I found Lasamoa and her website: lifeoneastpowersdrive.com.

Check out the DIY Halloween costumes she collected:

25 Ridiculously Easy and Fun DIY Halloween Costumes for Everyone

lifeoneastpowersdrive halloween tutorial
25 Ridiculously Easy, Fun & For Everyone DIY Halloween Costumes from www.LifeOnEastPowersDrive.com

 

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic also creates Handmade Rustic Décor? FREE SHIPPING when you shop in the Functional Rustic Store.

 

Wooden Thank You Card SILVER

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

Posted on 1 Comment

Learning How NOT to Repurpose a Shutter – Functional Rustic Approach

I am well on my way to learning 10,000 ways not to turn a shutter into a chalk board!

I have not failed..jpg

My inclination is to dwell on this or give up. I salvaged a bunch of plastic shutters and have high hopes of what I can repurpose them into. Making them into rustic chalk boards is on the top of my list.

Plastic Shutter
Plastic Shutter

I had some success when I first started the project. From afar the piece looked great. The blue of the shutter was quaint, the white popped and drew in your attention and the black board was distinctive and functional. But, looking good from afar is not the same as looking good.

Shutter Chalk Board Organizer
Salvaged Shutter Chalkboard Organizer.

The picture above is after two coats of white deck stain and two or three coats of chalkboard paint. All of the painting was done free hand so the lines were not at all straight. That is the “from afar” part that looks good. From across the room it is stunning but, when you get close, my skills as a novice are evident.

I am well aware that I am not a professional painter. I’m proud of what I created though. However, I made ‘mistakes’ and I am learning from them. My free hand painting attempt did not provide the clean lines I wanted so I found another approach. I put painters tape along the edges so that when I put the final coat of paint on the edges would be straight.

Paint Peeling

Well that didn’t work as I expected. The paint is peeling off in strips! What looked ok before, now looks like trash. Ugh.

No worries. I will try again.

Failure is proof that you tried. Now go try again..jpg

The chalk board paint is very thick – as is the deck stain. I theorize that the thickness of the paints plus the tape played some sort of factor in my peeling situation. To remedy that I will use spray paint instead of  a colored stain. The edges are taped in a straight line so there should not be any problems.

Well….It doesn’t look great, but I can totally visualize what it could look like with the chalkboard paint added on. I actually sprayed the silver paint last week but couldn’t decide if I wanted to paint the frame of the board or just keep it the natural blue color. Obviously I opted to paint it white for this project. Part of the reason I am choosing to paint it is to see if I will have the same peeling problems when they are painted next to each other like this.

KIMG3102

The dark one is actually red with blue painters tape on it – but the picture does not show it very well. You can see that I used tape to mark straight lines where I want to pain the chalk board. I am hopeful this approach will give me the clean lines I am looking for.

 

Moment of truth time. The shutters each have two coats of chalk board paint on them and have been dry for over 24 hours. I make sure to remove the tape slowly to prevent any of the paint from peeling off.

KIMG3118KIMG3120KIMG3121KIMG3119

Look! I found more ways that don’t work. Once again the paint is peeling off. At least this time most of the chalk board paint actually stayed on. Ugh. I don’t like it. BUT….I did learn that the color scheme looks good. Silver with white with black works nice. Also, I am able to compare how different the white is between the spray paint and the stain. They present completely differently. The spray paint is shiny and bright while the stain and matte and more of a cream color. #themoreyouknow

KIMG3123

Even the red shutter had some issues. Again, from afar, it looks pretty good. The videos below better demonstrate the issues with the chalk board paint peeling. The paint is very thick and because the plastic is not absorbent, the paint just sits on top and can be easily ripped off when the tape is removed.

 

What has me more frustrated than the chalk board paint peeling is that the spray paint peeled too. I thought for sure that because it was such a thin layer of paint that I would be fine. Nope. Also, I learned that the mist from the spray paint gets everywhere. That is to say, my stream of paint may be on one end of the shutter, but when the wind picks up small amounts of paint are spread everywhere. The best example is the center of the silver shutter. While the tape was still on the shutter the center of the shutter appeared silver. Not until the tape was removed did it become evident that my light mist of white paint actually significantly colored the center of the shutter.

Oooops.

 

So, I’m not sure how to proceed from here. An argument could be made that someone else may appreciate the ‘mistakes’ as creative quirks to the piece. The parts that I see as an ‘ooops’ may be the one-of-a-kind touch someone else is looking for.

What do you think? Should I try to sell it as is or scrap it completely?

What suggestions do you have to help me moving forward?

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Never give up.jpg

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than a blog – Check what others already know by shopping for Handmade Rustic Décor in the Functional Rustic Store.

 

Wooden Thank You Card ORANGE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

 

Mini Chalk Board – Blue by Functional Rustic

The Mini Chalk Board by Functional Rustic is the fun and quirky handmade conversation piece you never knew you needed. The mini chalk board is made form repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint/chalkboard paint. Measurements: 19 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in.

$15.00

Posted on Leave a comment

Pop Can Wall Flower Tutorial from Functional Rustic

It’s fall in Michigan. The trees are changing color, the days are getting shorter and the temperature is getting colder with each gust of wind. The changing of the season is beautiful but it also marks the end of the blooming season for most flowers.

Fall at Functional Rustic.JPG
The changing colors of the leaves on the tress around Functional Rustic.

The bright pops of color that flowers provide during the spring and summer months provide such a boost to my mood each day. I won’t let the changing season get in the way of having flowers to admire though! Functional Rustic is about building what I want with what is in front of me. I want to see flowers – so that is what I’m going to do!

Using items I already have laying around I created a quick, easy and FREE way to make my own flowers that bloom year round and can’t be killed!

Pop Can Wall Flower – DIY TUTORIAL

Pop Can Wall Flower DIY Tutorial

Supplies: Pop Can, Scissors, Paint (marker works too), String

Step One:
Rinse out an empty pop can.

pop can 1
Step One: Rinse out an empty pop can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Two:
Using a knife or scissors puncture the can along the ridge on the top of the can. Cut along that ridge until the top of the can is removed.

 

Step Three:
Cut down the length of the can until you reach the ridge at the bottom of the can.

pop can 4
Step Three: Cut down the length of the can until you reach the ridge at the bottom of the can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

Step Four:
Just as you did for the top of the can, cut along the ridge of the bottom of the can until it is removed.

 

 

 

Step Five:
Using the scissors, make small cuts into the bottom part of the can that you just removed. Cut all the way down to the next ridge in the bottom of the can. See below.

5
Step Five: Make small cuts into the bottom part of the can that you just removed. Cut all the way down to the next ridge in the bottom of the can. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tip: Wear gloves when you do this project or be very careful the edges are sharp.

 

 

Step Six:
Flatten down the pieces you just cut. Sort of like turning the can inside out. I flatten them down because I am going to paint them next and it is easier if they are flat.

Trim the jagged edges so that the ends of the pieces are similarly straight. I actually liked how it looked when it had the jagged edges, but I struggled when trying to paint them so I recommend trimming.

9
Step Six: Flatten and Trim the Edges. Step Seven: Paint. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

 

 

Step Seven:
Paint your flower. I use oil based paint markers for my flower. Permanent marker, spray paint, and nail polish are other ways to color your flower.

10
Step Seven: Paint your flower. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

Step Eight:
Puncture a hole in one of the “petals” so you can hang the flower.

The scissors or knife you used to cut the can work but I used a  hammer and nail because I wanted a round hole instead of a slit. And using a hammer is fun. 🙂

11
Step Eight: Puncture a hole in one of the “petals” so you can hang the flower. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Nine:
Thread a string through the hole and tie a knot so you can hang it.

You can use anything for your string. I use thread, twine and wire right now but I plan to test out fishing line and floss next. Get creative with it.

 

Instead of hanging your flower you could also glue a stick to it and put it in a flower pot. Again, get creative with it.

Step Ten:
Take pictures of your creation and share it on DIY Projects of Facebook.

 

Written By: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card RED

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

Posted on Leave a comment

T-Shirt Rope Toy DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Don’t throw away those old t-shirts until you read this!

rope toy title 1
T-Shirt Rope Toy Tutorial from Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Chewing on things appears to be our rescue dog’s favorite thing to do. And oh boy can she chew. She was given at least six dog toys at her first Christmas and by Valentines Day they were all destroyed. Maintaining her chewing habit was going to cost us a fortune! Unable to find a rope toy that could stand up to her mighty mouth I decided to make my own.

rope toy 21
Use T-Shirts to make toys for your dog or cat. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Using only t-shirts and scissors I created handmade toys for my animals.

KIMG2450
Rope Toy made from T-Shirts. www.FunctionalRustic.com

I grabbed a pair of scissors and a t-shirt from the good will donation pile and was on my way. My first attempt took longer than I care to admit but by the second I was a pro. Everyone got handmade dog toys that year!
You can create your own handmade gift for the animal in your life. Making a durable rope toy is not only easy but practically FREE! Keep reading and/or watch the video at the bottom to learn how I did it.
T-Shirt Rope Toy Tutorial from Functional Rustic
Materials
Old T-Shirt
Scissors
Approx. 15 minutes to complete
Directions
Step One:
Laying T-Shirt on a flat surface, use the scissors to cut from the bottom corner of the shirt up the seam to the sleeves. Do this on both sides of the shirt.

rope toy 23
Cut from the bottom corner of the shirt up to the sleeve. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Two:
Cut along the seams of each sleeve to remove the sleeves from the shirt.

rope toy 24
Cut along the seams of each sleeve. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Three:
Cut along the seam on the shoulder. At this point you should have two sleeves, a front and a back.

rope toy 25.jpg
Remove sleeves but cutting along the seams. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Four:
Set the sleeves aside. Cut the front and the back of the shirt into strips. Start at the shoulder and cut down to the bottom of the shirt. The strips should be at least an inch wide but could be as large as one third of the front or back of a shirt. I wanted to make several toys so I made my strips smaller.

KIMG0802.jpg
Cut the T-Shirt into strips. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Five:
Choose three of the fabric strips you just cut and tie the ends together.

KIMG2443
Select the 3 pieces of fabric you want to use. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tie the ends of two strips together with a double knot and then tie the third strip to the knot. At this point there should be a lot of fabric hanging down one side and only three small pieces at the top. Continue to tie the small pieces to one another so you have a couple double knots on the top.

KIMG2444
Tie two pieces of fabric together at the ends. www.FunctionalRustic.com
KIMG2445
Tie the third piece of fabric to the first two. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Tie everything as TIGHT as you can. With each knot, tug on all the fabric strips. Tug the way your dog would to ensure it is secure. If your short ends are too short to make many double knots it’s no problem, your original knots connecting the three strips together should be strong enough.

Tip: To ensure a tight start to the braid, wrap one of the strips around your toe (or another small secure item) before you start the braid. Watch the video for more information.

Step Six:
Braid the strips of fabric together. Braid them TIGHT! The braid should be so tight that it becomes stiff. In addition to the tight braid you will also need to add a few more knots. Every two or three inches you will want to tie some more knots. (Ex. tie strip A to strip B then tie strip C to strip A then tie strip C to strip B. How you tie the strips together is less important as the knot securing the braid above it.)

rope toy 3.jpg
Braid the strips together. www.FunctionalRustic.com
KIMG2446
Tie knots every few inches. www.FunctionalRustic.com
KIMG2441.jpg
Leave the ends long to make tassels. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Seven:
You should still have quite a bit of fabric hanging down.

KIMG2447.jpg
Continue to braid and tie knots every few inches. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Continue to tightly braid the strips and add knots as needed for stability. Once you get toward the end of the fabric you will want to save some fabric so you can tie several more knots.

KIMG2452.jpg
Adding knots in the braid helps to keep it secure. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The knots at the end keep the braid in place and provide a hand/mouth hold.

KIMG2450
Rope toy made from repurposed t-shirts. www.FunctionalRustic.com
rope toy 18.jpg
Valencia Merble the Dog loves her rope toy. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Step Eight: (optional)
Add a handle for your dog rope to make it even more unique. Remember that small gap that was created when you wrapped the fabric piece around something small but secure? Well, using the discarded shirt sleeves and that hole you can add handle.

KIMG2449.jpg
Adding a handle keeps your hand safe from teeth and drool. www.FunctionalRustic.com
KIMG2442.jpg
Adding a handle keeps you from having to bend over to play with your furry friend. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Take the seam of one of the sleeves and push it through the little hole. This will be tough because the hole should not be very big. Once the seam is all the way through you should have one part of the sleeve hole on each side of the toy. Grab one of the sleeve ends and pull it through the hole on the other side. Once you pull it tight it should form a secure handle that looks like the sleeve.

rope toy 9.jpg
Thread one of the sleeves through the “toe hole”. www.FunctionalRustic.com
rope toy 10.jpg
Use the t-shirt sleeve as a handle. www.FunctionalRustic.com

If you are willing to sacrifice a few t-shirts you can make some very colorful chew toys for your furry friend. Although these toys are durable they are also very light. Makes for a great cat toy too!

Watch the T-Shirt Rope Toy Video Tutorial from Functional Rustic


Written by: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Originally Published at www.FunctionalRustic.com

Written by Sarah Palmer, Owner – Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just Tutorials? Find out what others already know by shopping in the Functional Rustic Store.

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

“Happy Holidays” Wooden Ornament

“Happy Holidays” Wooden Ornament by Functional Rustic is handcrafted from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted with oil paint. Twine is used to hang the ornament. Free Shipping.

$10.00

 

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Black

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic adds a rustic elegance to any space. The 3 Tier Tea Light Candle Holder is made from repurposed pallet wood and hand painted. Free Shipping.

$15.00

Posted on Leave a comment

Reciprocating Saw TUTORIAL from Functional Rustic

Power tools are fun. Power tools that can destroy a piece of lumber in seconds are even more fun. With this sentiment in mind, Functional Rustic is proud to present this week’s DIY Tutorial teaching you the basics of a reciprocating saw and how to safely use a reciprocating saw to break apart a wooden shipping pallet.

Title Page Saw tutorial
How to Use a Reciprocating Saw: DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic www.FunctionalRustic.com

The reciprocating saw is a small yet powerful tool that will make quick work of any boards that need to be rough cut. In addition to being effective it is also fairly straight forward to work with.

There are three main parts to a reciprocating saw.

3 parts to reciprocating saw.png
There are three main components of a reciprocating saw: saw blade, battery and saw. www.FunctionalRustic.com

3 Main Parts of Reciprocating Saw

1. Saw Blade

There are different sizes and uses for reciprocating saw blades. Some saw blades are intended for metal while others are better for wood. Also, you will find that the blades come in various sizes. Use which ever blade is most appropriate for your project.

Reciprocating-Saw-Blade.jpg
Reciprocating Saw Blade. www.FunctionalRustic.com

You many notice that my saw blade is silver and white. When new, the blade was white. However, the paint wears away the more it is used and that is why my blade has two colors.

When I first started cutting pallet wood with the reciprocating saw I used the longer saw blade. The blade became bent and unusable – I suspect that my body movements in reaction to the force of the saw caused the longer blade to bend. For that reason, I plan to only use the longer blades for thicker pieces of wood instead of on the thinner pallet boards.

2. Battery

The typical reciprocating saw uses an 18.0 volt battery or has a power cord attached. Battery operated saws allow for more mobility than the corded saw but have a limited supply of energy and need to be recharged often. My battery usually dies after a couple pallets so if I am breaking down more than two or three pallets than I need back up batteries. Fortunately it was not difficult to find multi-pack replacements online.

Once I learned how to attach and remove the 18.0 volt battery using the saw was quick and easy. Before I was taught how to do it though, I had quite a bit of awkward fumbling.

First, not all batteries look the same. The ones I have pictured have two different colors which make finding the release buttons easy. The first battery I encountered was solid black and the button was not as obvious.

Second, not all 18.0 volt batteries are the same size. In fact, the replacement batteries I have shown are rather large and awkward to handle with my hand size – perfectly normal hand size – compared to the original Ryobi batter that came with the saw.

18 Volt Battery.jpg
18.0 Volt Battery. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The black portion of the battery is the bottom and the yellow part is what is inserted into the saw. Inserting the battery simply involves putting the yellow part into the battery hole in the bottom of the saw.

Insert Battery into Saw Bottom.jpg
Insert 18.0 Volt battery into the bottom of the reciprocating saw. www.FunctionalRustic.com

To remove the battery from the saw you need to press both of the release buttons on the battery and pull the battery out of the saw. The release buttons are yellow on my batteries. As pictured above, to remove the battery I squeeze both the yellow buttons while also pulling up on the battery.

3.Reciprocating Saw

There are five components of the reciprocating saw that you need to be familiar with in order to use it.

Saw Description.png
There are five main components to a reciprocating saw. www.FunctionalRustic.com

5 Reciprocating Saw Components

1. The Battery Location
The battery is inserted into the bottom of the saw handle. There will be a hole for the 18.0 Volt battery to plug in.

2. The Power Button
The power button is located on the handle of the reciprocating saw. To turn the saw on and move the blade you squeeze the button. The harder you squeeze the button the faster the saw cuts.

3. The lock button

The lock button is an important safety precaution. This button slides back and forth and allows you to lock the blade in place. For safety reasons it is always recommended that the saw be locked when not in use. The button is located on the top of the saw and slides right and left.

Locked Saw.jpg
Locked Reciprocating Saw. www.FunctionalRustic.com

The picture above shows a saw that is locked as demonstrated by the closed lock icon. When the button is moved to the right the saw becomes unlocked as show by the open lock icon as demonstrated below.

Unlocked Saw.jpg
This saw blade is in the unlocked position. www.FunctionalRustic.com

4. Saw Blade Release

The saw blade is attached to the reciprocating saw with a saw blade release located toward the front of the saw.

Open Release Tab.jpg
Fold the blade release up in order to release the blade. www.FunctionalRustic.com

As pictured above, when the saw blade release is folded upward the lock is open and the blade can be inserted or removed. As pictured below, when the saw blade release is closed the blade is securely attached to the saw.

Closed release Tab
Fold the blade release down to lock the blade in place. www.FunctionalRustic.com

5. Saw Blade Location

The saw blade is inserted into the front of the saw. Only when the saw blade release is open can the blade be successfully inserted. The part of the blade that has a hole in it is inserted into front of the reciprocating saw. The teeth, or sharp edges of the saw, should be facing downward. Once the saw blade is properly inserted into the hole the saw blade release can be closed to lock it in place.

Insert Saw Blade.jpg
Insert the blade into the front part of the saw. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Safety First!

In addition to knowing about your saw it is also important to practice basic safety anytime you are working with power tools.

1. Wear protective eyewear to keep your eyes safe from flying debris.
2. Avoid baggy clothing so it does not interfere with power tool usage.
3. Wear work gloves to ensure a firm grip on the machinery.
4. If saw dust will be developing than be sure to wear breathing masks.
5. Always cut away from your body to minimize risk of injury.

Now that you know the basics of how the Reciprocating Saw works watch the video below to see how I use it to cut a wooden shipping pallet.

Use the comment section below to provide your feedback.

Written by: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card RED

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00

Posted on Leave a comment

How To Make Your Voice Heard – Functional Rustic Tutorial

The most important Do It Yourself (DIY) project you will ever do is vote and participate in the civic process. To help you achieve this goal Functional Rustic is providing you with the tools you need to get started.

Use the resources provided to build the life you always wanted and
make your voice heard.

Contact Phone Numbers for Representatives of Congress

 

Contact Phone Numbers for Representatives of the Senate

 

Register to Vote Here

 

If you dont stand for something you will fall for anything..JPG

 

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card PURPLE

Measures 3.5 in x 3.5 in x 5/8 in. The handmade Wooden Thank You Card by Functional Rustic is the unique thank you gift you didn’t know you were looking for until now. The Functional Rustic Wooden Thank You Card is small enough to fit in your pocket and durable enough to take with you wherever you go. PLUS, the Wooden Thank You Card is made from a salvaged wood shipping pallet and then hand painted with oil paints. Every single Wooden Thank You Card is unique making each card a truly one-of-a-kind expression of gratitude.

$10.00