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Save Money & Support Local Business: Functional Rustic Approach

Functional Rustic has a promo code now! Use Promo Code: save50 when you check out at Functional Rustic and save 50% on your entire order. And, as always, Functional Rustic offers FAST and FREE delivery right to your door!

Save50 Promo Code
Use Promo Code SAVE50 at www.FunctionalRustic.com to save 50% PLUS FREE SHIPPING on the entire Functional Rustic inventory of handmade rustic décor. Valid thru 12/31/18.

I’m not ashamed to say that I am struggling to get the word out that Functional Rustic is a place to buy things – beautiful, handmade things at that! Apparently most stores use sales and promotional offers to get customers in the door – so Functional Rustic will too!

Sales and promotions are nice and all – but I am most proud of the new items I’ve created. The consistent piece of feedback that I have received is that Functional Rustic could benefit from a bit more color. It is this advice that inspired the purple, green and blue coat racks. Talk about colorful! Not only do I love the colors, but the round “hooks” are actually repurposed drawer handles. Gives them such a unique look!

The coat racks are fun to create but I promised myself I wouldn’t make any more until I sold what I already have. They are priced to sell so I will get to build more in not time. (If you want a coat rack but in a different color let me know and I will happily repaint it for you! Also, if you can’t make it to Countryside but want items you see from the pictures – let me know and I can arrange to have it delivered FREE.)

As of today, all of the new Functional Rustic items are in store at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall. The plan moving forward is to store all the new products at Countryside and pull them off the shelves as needed for craft shows. Keep an eye out for the monthly storewide sales (on top of already low prices) and receive at least 25% discounts on all Functional Rustic items.

Check out the new items at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall below!

Looking for a way to help a stranger this holiday season?

Small home business like Functional Rustic can’t afford the advertising that big retailers are able to utilize. We rely on individuals like you to help us introduce ourselves to the public. By sharing/liking posts from your friends (or strangers like me) you allow their products and ideas to be seen by hundreds more people.

Unexpected kindness is the most powerful...

Also, we also do happy a dance anytime someone interacts with our content. Seriously.

Each time Linda Schaub and Dutchll like something I published I grin from ear to ear and do a little dance. They are consistently supportive so I am fortunate to do my happy dance every day. It’s hard to say if their specific interactions increase visitors to the website – but the impact their support has on my confidence & motivation is worth more than any number of visitors. Thank you Linda and Dutch!

Some people believe it is only great power....

I also cannot say enough nice things about a woman I recently met named Anna Hitch. I met her and her husband at our last craft show and it was such a treat. Both she and her husband create beautiful handmade crafts. She works with yarn and he with leather. Anna gets a special shout out in the post because she consistently “likes” the Functional Rustic Facebook posts & she left my first review! Anna is my first non-family member to interact with my Functional Rustic Facebook so she is kind of big deal around here. Please help me say thank you to her by following Anna on Facebook and checking out her Etsy store. (Feel free to use the comment section to help me peer pressure her into starting her own website with an online store. 🙂 )

Thank you for reading and checking out my newest creations. I welcome your feedback in the comments below and wish you the happiest of holiday seasons.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Below are a few of the items available in the Functional Rustic Store:

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

“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



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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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

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My First Craft Show as a Merchant – Functional Rustic

Berkley Days Promo.png

Shopping at craft shows makes for a memorable day but, participating in a craft show from the other side of the table is a whole new experience.

My husband and I moved out to the country away from our lifelong suburban lifestyle in the summer of 2017. The physical move to a place I always dreamed of living inspired me to make very conscious changes to the rest of my life too.

Healthy self. Heal thy self.
Healthy self. Heal thy self.

Part of those conscious changes was focusing on what brings me joy and building the rest of my life around that concept. I find joy in being surrounded by nature, learning new things and inspiring others.

I am happy. Functional Rustic provides me the opportunity to intentionally live the life I want to live – a peaceful life. Peace and serenity, though they feel good, do not pay the bills.

Enter the Craft Show.

Craft Shows

I love shopping at craft shows. As a shopper it is exciting to see booth after booth of handmade crafts. Each booth is different and I never know what I will find.  Also, most of the people selling the craft actually made the craft themselves. In what other context do you have the chance to meet face-to-face with the person that built what you’re buying?

As a social person that enjoys learning, attending a craft fair is the perfect day for me. A craft fair affords me the opportunity to engage with people about something for which they have a passion. Every crafter has a story to tell; how they did it, why they did it. Seeing their passion as they share their story inspires me to seek the same for myself.

Art is not what you see, its what you make others see.
Art is not what you see, it’s what you make others see.

Also, anything bought at a craft fair immediately becomes a conversation piece. “Check out this unique table I bought at the craft show last weekend”. “Remember that day at the annual craft show when we bought that salvaged barn wood sign?” “Oh my gosh, I’ve never seen anything like that before!” “Such a clever way to repurpose those items”.

Back to Nature Collage 1.jpg
Back to Nature Tea Light Holder from Functional Rustic. Made from salvaged wood, pine cones, twigs and hand painted stones.

In addition to the stories behind each item I create, there is also a story behind how each of those items got before the customers eyes. This is the story of how I went from craft show shopper to craft show merchant in pursuit of the life I always dreamed of living.

How I signed up for the Craft Show

I created an online store on the Functional Rustic website as well as an Etsy store. However, craft shows are the most effective place to sell crafts, especially when just starting out.

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Functional Rustic salvages wood and other unique items to create Rustic Décor. www.FunctionalRustic.com

A friend of my sister, Tina, is also a creator and heard about what I was doing. Honestly, I do not recall if I initially reached out to her or if she reached out to me. What I do know is the universe worked it’s magic to put us in each other’s lives.

Tina shared that she was being pressured by friends and family to sell her art at the Berkley Days Craft Fair. Knowing that I too was entering the crafting scene and needed a venue to sell my goods, she invited me to join her.

Craft show booths need to be signed up for in advance. Most craft shows have their booths rented months in advance of the actual show. So, if you want to participate in craft shows you need to plan ahead and book early. 

Success occurs when opportunity meets preperation
Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.

We agreed to split the cost of the booth. From my initial research you can expect to pay between $100 and $400 to rent a booth at a craft show for a weekend. The booth size was large so it was no problem to combine our items into the same space. Also, both of us generally work alone. If I did not pair up with her I would be by myself for the entire weekend and so would she.

As far as the actual sign up, Tina handled all of that. As I understand she just emailed the coordinator and said we wanted a booth. Since it is a juried show we included some pictures of our items as well as a brief description of what we sell. Once we were approved payment was sent. The whole process was actually very easy.

Juried craft shows mean that the venue wants to preview what you are selling. This enables them to do quality control up front to ensure that items being sold are appropriate for the venue. For example: Selling nude sculptures at a children’s craft fair would be inappropriate.

Preparing for the Craft Show

I did not have to worry about creating a bunch of items specifically to sell at the craft show because I already had an inventory on hand for my online store. Instead of creating new products I focused on building my business presence online in order to later promote the craft show.

Although I was not actively working on tasks for the show itself I was always thinking about it. I can’t even count the number of times I walked past the shelves I built and tried to imagine how I could show them off in my display. I also drew out blue prints for the various ways the booth could be set up. (As it turns out I did not actually use any of the designs I thought of before hand. Ha.)

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I wanted to make sure that the set up encouraged people to engage with the merchandise and had a natural flow to it. This is an easy thing to say but much harder to actually create. Having spent years attending shows though, I had an idea of what kind of set up I enjoy interacting with and tried to replicate that.

Below you can watch Prodigy, Muscovy Duckling of Functional Rustic, helping me prepare.

I also had to figure out how to actually display my items. I create furniture and home décor. Specifically I was selling shelves, signs and candle holders. The shelves were great at displaying the candles but when I sell the shelf I have no where to display the rest of my products. Also, how do I display my signs?

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Functional Rustic salvages wood and other unique items to create Rustic Home Décor. www.FunctionalRustic.com

In my head I worked out elaborate tables and displays I could build out of pallet wood. It was gorgeous. As I was creating the display in my mind I was provided the opportunity to participate in a yard sale. The yard sale provided me the perfect chance to field test my display ideas. Read about my first yard sale here.

I learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t work through selling at the yard sale. Building off of that knowledge I felt better prepared to actually start the build process for my craft show display.

Making the Craft Show Display

Making a craft show display is no different than making an in-store or window display. Catching the attention of those walking by is critical. I agonized over this. I researched and re-researched effective display techniques.

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The beginning stages of building my craft show display table for www.FunctionalRustic.com

I had a display all worked out in my mind …. and then I read the guidelines for the show. I didn’t even know there were rules. Ha. Some of the rules were having table cloths down to the floor, covering all your tables at the end of the night and bringing your own fire extinguisher. Theses were understandable requests but I had to make some major tweaks to the table design with my new found information.

Be sure to read all of the guidelines associated with a show before signing up. Every show has their own set of rules and requirements. It can be frustrating to have to look for a fire extinguisher or change a table display at the last minute. Also, the size of your the booths vary from show to show so make sure your display fits in your assigned space.

The yard sale let me work out the kinks in displaying my shelves and candle holders so the actual table where I display my signs and ornaments was the priority.

 

In order to capture attention I wanted to make sure I had color contrast. I achieved this by draping brown burlap over the sides of the table and placing a stunning, hand woven white table cloth across the top.

I still needed a way to display my signs though. I chose the burlap to play off of the rustic theme of Functional Rustic and I decided to use chicken wire to hang the signs off the side of the table.

I drilled holes in the side of the table so that I could attach the chicken wire with bolts. The combination of the burlap, chicken fencing and hand made table cloth really encompassed the look I was going for.

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I drilled holes in the side of the Oyster Table so I could attach my chicken wire to hang my signs from. www.FunctionalRustic.com

This look also provided a lot of texture and dimension. I’m sure there is a psychology behind why texture is effective – all I know is it works. Soft fabric table cloth, rough fabric burlap, cold metal fencing, warm wooden shelves and brightly hand painted wooden décor. Everything about it says “touch me” which is the look I was going for.

Related to providing dimension – I needed to add varying heights too. To accomplish this I built display stands to hang my signs on. (These stands are also great for displaying jewelry and to be used as a phone charging station.) The stands were colored with either white or red deck stain so in addition to height on the table I also had color contrast.

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Multi Function Indoor/Outdoor Display Stands by Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Colors are important in a good display. If I’m being honest, I continue to struggle with this. For this craft show at least, I relied on the contrasting colors of my shelves the different colors of the candle holders to provide pops of color to my display. The key with properly utilizing color in your display is to capture the attention of whoever is walking past. Contrast draws people’s attention.

Setting Up for the Craft Show

The first day of the show was a Friday evening. They allowed the merchants to come set up starting in the early afternoon. I arrived as early as possible. I needed every minute of the set up time so I’m glad I arrived early. It takes quite a bit of time to carry items from the drop off zone all the way to the booth. I did not account for carrying time when I scheduled my set up.

The biggest hinderance for setting up my display was the items themselves. The shelves are not light or fun to move long distances alone. I still want to sell them but in the future I will likely only try to sell one or two at a time instead of six of them.

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Pallet Shelving by Functional Rustic. Big storage for small spaces. www.FunctionalRustic.com

When creating your display remember that you will have to set up your display, then take down and carry out your display out a few days later. And, you have limited time to set up so, a very elaborate display may not be recommended. My shelves may look great but, logistically I need another approach.

What I found most surprising was how different the space looked than I had envisioned. I staged my items at home many times before actually arriving at the show. However, when everything was set up and the back drop of all the other booths was there – it looked a lot different than I thought it would.

 

Let the Show Begin

It is 5 pm on Friday and the doors are officially open. My display is set up but I continue to fuss with it. Move this over an inch and swap that sign for this one.

I was actually expecting a flood of people to pour into the show as soon as the clock hit 5. (This was an indoor craft show.) That didn’t happen. The experienced crafters said that the turn out this year was very low. Apparently this is usually a profitable venue but, for whatever reason, the people just weren’t coming in the door this year.

 

Having very little foot traffic provided me the opportunity to get to know Tina better. We had crossed paths a few times before but never actually had a real conversation until that day. Needless to say, I really like her and I understand why my sister became her friend. Also, I love her work.

Where as I repurpose items with the intention of giving them a new function, Tina repurposes with the intention of saving items from landfill. She turns miscellaneous items into impressive works of art and jewelry. Our crafts really compliment each other.

Despite not having the foot traffic I was hoping for, I still had the opportunity to engage with a lot of people. I also sold enough to make back my booth rental fee plus a couple bucks. I’m proud and consider it a success.

People watching is fun. People watching as a merchant at a craft fair is more fun. My instinct when I encounter someone is to look them in the eye and smile. In my day to day life this is a good quality. It’s actually a good quality in sales too but, the responses it gets when I’m in the merchant role are amusing.

Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.
Always believe something wonderful is about to happen.

Don’t get me wrong, many people smile back and/or say hello. However, people ignore vendors in a lot of different ways. Most people just do the “eyes down on the products never make eye contact” approach. Others accidently make eye contact but play it off as something across the room that has them so distracted they cannot see or hear anything else. And a shocking number of people suddenly need to examine the entire contents of their purse or pocket after making eye contact with a merchant. Did you know that making eye contact with a smiling person selling something causes the person to suddenly notice all the lint on their clothes? Ha. My favorite is, in response to a simple smile and a Hi, “uh, I’m just looking.” and then they literally turn their back to me and continue to admire the merchandise. It’s fascinating.

I don’t take it personally. I’ve done all of these things at some point in my life. I get it. People don’t want to be sold something. I know I don’t. That’s why I don’t try to get people to buy things. Of course, an argument could be made that me not trying to sell things is why people are not buying them. Hmmm…..

The problem is not the problem, the problem is
The problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude to the problem.

People did buy things though. And many more provided unprompted praise for the craftsmanship and creativity. My ego loved it.

However, I still had doubts about the prices due to so few sales so far that weekend. So, on the last day of the show when a customer asked the price for an item I provided the listed price and added “or whatever you think – make me an offer.”

He immediately and sternly responded, “No. Your price is your price. This is the price you want for it and that’s what I will pay.” He then said he would be back later to buy it. I felt great about what he said but assumed I would never see him again after he left. Well, not only did he return he also bought TWO signs at full price. Apparently I’m doing something right!

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Rustic Furniture and Home Décor from Functional Rustic. www.FunctionalRustic.com

Another ego boost came when a couple stopped by and asked if I sold my shelves in the art gallery down the street. Don’t get me wrong, I like the shelf and think it’s pretty and very functional, but art? What an amazing compliment to receive. An art gallery is for “real” artists. Especially for someone just entering the arts/crafts scene hearing feedback like that is incredible.

People First

As much as participating in the craft show is about selling my creations and making money, it is also about introducing my brand and spreading awareness for the Functional Rustic website. This is where I had the most fun.

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A frequent ice breaker I used with shoppers was to ask if they do Do-It-Yourself projects. If they say yes then I ask about what they create. This approach enabled me to see many pictures of impressive projects from tiki bars to decorative soap to ball gowns.

Every single person that shared their DIY story did so with a huge smile & sense of pride. For a few minutes I got to share that moment with them. I smiled with them when they discussed overcoming this obstacle or gifting that craft to their loved one. Then I encourage them to go to my website if they are looking for ideas for new projects or I send them to DIY Projects of Facebook where they can share pictures and stories from their DIY endeavors.

Sell the problem you solve, not the product.
Sell the problem you solve, not the product.

For the shoppers that report not being a DIYer I ask what is something they always wanted to try. Generally I get to know them and their interests. At some point I will have the opportunity to naturally transition the conversation to telling them about Functional Rustic Tutorials. “Never did a do-it-yourself project? Now you can with a tutorial from Functional Rustic.” Promoting the craft tutorials is huge for parents of young kids. They can’t take my card fast enough when I say I have free easy crafts to do. Ha.

Not only did I get to meet many dynamic and interesting people I was also able to promote the website in a way that addressed their personal interests. Instead of just saying “check out my website” I can refer them to a particular blog post or a specific video of the Muscovy ducks.

End of the Show

I spent the weekend at the craft fair working my booth. For that reason, I was unable to shop at the craft fair or really talk to any of the other crafters. My biggest regret from the show was not connecting with other merchants more.

For some reason I thought that when the show was over I was going to have a chance to chat up some of the other people participating in the show. I don’t know why I thought that. The show is over. I’m tired. I’m far from home. I want to go and so does everyone else.

TIP: Network during the show when things are slow instead of after when everyone is busy trying to leave.

Packing everything up to go home was actually pretty straight forward. So much quicker to take apart the display than to set it up. It was also a treat to watch how seasoned craft show people take apart their displays. In a matter of minutes they have everything packed up into plastic totes and are ready to load into the car. This is not their first rodeo!

 

Overall, I am very happy about how my first craft show. I met interesting people, learned helpful feedback for my business and made a profit! I thought participating in a craft show as a shopper was interesting but, being on the other side of the table is an even more exciting experience!

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

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

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Procrastination is Productivity: A Functional Rustic Approach

I’m having a very productive, creative week. I love it. What I find most amusing is that I had set the goal for myself to post a blog every day this week (in addition to the 10 Inspirational Quotes). Well, that didn’t happen. Ha.

While actively not writing the posts I intended to, I built a bunch of new items for Functional Rustic. I love when that happens. The things I create when I am supposed to be doing something else are often my favorites.

I’m off to create more but here a few of the items.

Wooden Thank You Cards

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Wooden Thank You Cards.

 

 

Fire Wood Holder

Bathroom Décor

 

Salvaged Shutter Chalk Board Organizer

 

What do you think?

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic.

 

Wooden Thank You Card LIME GREEN

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

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Troubleshooting the New Display Cart for Functional Rustic

Today is one of those work days that is both fun and frustrating. I am signing up for craft shows and am trying to work out how my new display cart will fit in the various sized booths at the different events.

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Plan to use this bakery cart we got at a garage sale as the center piece for all my items at craft shows.

I just got the wagon and am so excited about it. Picked it up at a garage sale for only $75!! (Everything is better when it’s on sale.) Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it look both Functional AND Rustic? It is light weight and rolls very easily. I really could not think of a better craft show display for my items than a functioning bakery cart/wagon.

Adding to the excitement of the cart, I adore the people we bought it from. She is a teacher and he is a social worker. Just like me and Dave (I’m the social worker and my husband is the teacher)! What are the odds of that happening? AND…I recently lost a bunch of weight and needed new clothes on a budget – her clothes fit me perfectly! It is always an added treat when a purchase comes with a memorable story.

The cart barely fits into the bed of the truck but it does fit and it was not hard to get it up into the bed. Ratchet straps worked great to keep it secure and I will find a large tarp to protect it from the Michigan weather during transport. Unloading the cart is simple because of how light it is and the fact that it rolls. Mostly though, it will make transporting my items into the show so much easier. Everything about this cart is amazing.

(The fact that it rolls was very convenient today. Just as I finished taking the video and pictures it started to rain. With only one hand I was able to lift and push it into the garage in seconds and without anything falling off!)

Today was the first day I really took the time to play with the cart. This is the fun part. Most of my inventory is in store at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall but I do have enough currently on hand to see how items will fit on my new cart. Also, when I build my new items for the upcoming shows I can design them with the display cart in mind.

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Front view of the new Functional Rustic display cart with my creations on it.

Setting everything up and admiring my handy work is a fun way to spend my morning. I often feel like I have not built enough or have not come up with a wide enough variety of items for Functional Rustic but, as I try to fit everything on the cart I am provided with tangible evidence of my hard work.

It is a very proud feeling. Most of the creations I built were done so as a way to cope with the stressors of life. These things only exist because I was feeling sad/angry/anxious and needed a way to cope with those feelings. These are the physical manifestations of my coping skills. I am literally displaying my fears and insecurities to the public in the hopes they will give me money so they can take them home with them.

I find it to be an interesting business model.

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Side view of the Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.
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Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.
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Back view of the Functional Rustic cart with my creations and a pallet storage shelf containing chalk boards.

My new cart is 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. I have a craft show I am signing up for and the booth size is 10 feet wide and 7 feet deep. Most craft events I know about have booths of 10×10 so my initial plan for the display was for it be facing forward so all the items are visible and people can walk around the whole cart. Like I said though, 8 foot cart – 7 foot space.

I have been staring at the cart and rearranging items for the better part of an hour trying to come up with the best way to utilize my new cart space and properly display my creations. I am finding myself becoming frustrated and was hoping you could help me troubleshoot my project for the day.

I need to sign up for the show ASAP but have concerns that I may need to purchase two booths to accommodate my new cart. I really want to make the cart fit in one booth so as to keep my buy-in costs lower. The event will provide table and chairs to everyone but I don’t want to look like everyone else. In a show full of tables a cart will stand out and draw people in.

I welcome any feed back and advice you are willing to share. Once I am officially signed up for my events I will share the dates and locations so you can mark you calendars and come out and join me. And, obviously, if you want to buy anything you see in the video/pictures let me know. Everything is for sale and shipping is FREE!

Thank you in advance for taking the time to help me out. I started my own business & have no idea what I’m doing so I appreciate all the guidance I can get.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

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

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided 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

Mini Chalk Board – Green 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

 

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Toilet Paper Holder Shelf: Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Originally Published March 16, 2018. Updated August 3, 2018.

TP Holder Title Page
Pallet Shelf Toilet Paper Holder by Functional Rustic.

How we start our day is the foundation for how the day will go. For most people the first room they enter when they wake up, and the place they spend their time getting ready for the day, is the bathroom.

The bathroom is the one room we all spend time in each day. Why not make that space a daily reminder of how capable and creative you are by personalizing it to match your personality and your needs.

Old TP Holder
The Toilet Paper Holder that came with the house.

I don’t know about you, but my phone comes with me to the bathroom. It’s not the end of the world to just set the phone on the bathroom floor when I need to use my hands — but a shelf would add more function to the space. The TP holder that came with the house was decorative, but I wanted to make it my own.

Adding a shelf helped the phone situation, allowed for a scented candle to be safely close by and gave the bland bathroom a rustic touch! Functional and Rustic — what a concept! What I didn’t know would happen though, was how seeing and interacting with my new TP holder would improve my mood each day.

I kid you not — I smile every time I see it. “I built that!” I start every morning with a reminder that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to. Creating something that looks great and has many practical uses is empowering. Being useful, and not just pretty, I think is what does it for me. Build it for yourself and you will see what I mean.

Below you will find step-by-step instructions for how I built my Rustic TP Holder Shelf out of a recycled pallet board. I use pallets because it is what I have around. You can use what ever wood you have available. Also — the length, width and depth of the boards is completely up to you but my approach requires that the board be at least 5/8 inch thick.

TP Holder w Candle
Rustic, handmade Toilet Paper Holder made from repurposed pallet wood.

DIY Tutorial for Rustic TP Holder Shelf

Step One:
Using a ruler and pencil mark where you want to cut the board. I made each of my boards 12 inches long. My board is 38 inches long so I measured 12 inches from one end made a line and then measured another 12 inches and drew the other line. You can make it any size you want.

Mark and Measure Boards
Step One: Measure out two 12 inch boards to prepare to cut.

Step Two:
Cut your boards where you marked them. I used a table saw that I got for a steal off of Craigslist but, any saw will work. Be sure to always practice good safety and wear eye protection and gloves anytime you are using machinery or saws.

TP Holder cut board
Step Two: Cut the boards where marked.
TP Holder cut boards
Step Two: Cut the boards where marked.

Step Three:
Sand your boards. I use a table sander for all my sanding (got it from the same guy on Craigslist that sold the saw!) This is a small project so sanding by hand is doable. If sanding by hand, I recommend wrapping the sand paper around a small piece of lumber before sanding so you have a flat sanding surface.

Mainly you want to remove any of the sharp or frayed edges. I used 60 grit sand paper. (grit is how coarse the sand paper is. The lower the number, the more coarse. For smoother finishes use higher grits.)

Sand Paper
Sand Paper comes in different grits for different jobs.
Belt Sander TP Holder Board
Step Three: Sand your boards.

Step Four:
Get the boards in position. This was the trickiest part for me. Not because it is that difficult, but because I really did not want to use the vice. I tried many times to do it by hand but because I was by myself I couldn’t keep boards straight. If you have a partner though, the vice may not be necessary.

TP Boards in a Vice
Step Four: Align the boards for assembly.

I wanted my screws to be hidden so I drilled from the side of the board that would be against the wall. Line up the long edge of the board you want as your shelf against the side of the board you want on the wall.

(My pallet boards are 3.5 inches wide and 5/8 inch thick. When I attach the boards it will stick out from the wall 3.5 5/8 inches. If I had the screws exposed on the top of my shelf it would only come out 3.5 inches from the wall.)

Step Five:
Attach the boards using screws. I use one inch screws. With the boards in the vice (or held by a friend) drill two holes through the flat part of the board into the edge of the second board. Insert your screws.

Add screws while it is in the vice
Step Five: Attach the boards with screws.

Step Six:
Paint. I used spray paint for this project but you can use whatever kind you would like. I removed the original white toilet paper holder from the wall and painted that at the same time. I recently found a can of metallic colored paint and the metal TP holder was a great project to test it on.

Spray paint he boards
Step Six: Paint.
Spray paint the TP holder rod
Step Six: Paint.

A few things to note. I did my painting in less than ideal circumstances. It was a breezy 15 degrees outside when I did this. Also — everything is covered in snow. I could have sprayed them in the house where it was warm, dry and not windy or in the barn where it was dry and not windy— but I opted for in front of the barn because that was where I usually do things.

(Painting outside was really just habit. I did a lot of painting over the summer and always in front of the barn. Apparently I trained my brain that when it is time to paint something that is the place you do it. At least I thought to put an empty bag of duck feed underneath — summer time it would have been just gone on the ground.)

I mention the weather for a few reasons. For one, it took an hour to dry each coat instead of just a few minutes. Two, snow kept blowing onto it making the paint run or stay tacky. And three, if the paint can is outside in the cold too long the spray consistency gets all messed up.

I used three coats of white spray paint on the pallet shelf and two coats of metallic spray paint on the TP roll holder. Don’t try to paint it all at once. Paint different sides at a time and make sure they are completely dry before placing them down on a surface. (Ask me how I know, ha.)

Step Seven:
Attach the TP holder and the shelf to the wall. My original TP holder was screwed into the wall with two 2 inch screws. I just reused those. First I had to decide where to connect it to the shelf. Once I had it where I wanted it I marked the board so I would know where to drill. Then I drilled the two holes.

Attach TP holder to the wall
Step Seven: Attach the TP Holder Shelf to the wall.

So now I have my holes drilled, two screws, the shelf and the holder. I cant hold the shelf in place and the holder and screw it in at the same time. So, I pre-screwed it together. Basically I inserted the screws through the holes attaching the pieces but, I only put the screw in enough so just the tip is poking out. Now, I find the holes in the wall and can place the tips of the screws into the holes. This lets me make sure everything is lined up and attached and that I don’t have to wait for my husband to come home and help.

Step Eight:
Decorate and enjoy.

I love the scented candle being on the shelf for a few reasons. One, I like playing with fire — ha. Two, scented candles smell good. Three, I don’t like to turn the lights on early in the morning but I do need to see. The candle is a soft light that doesn’t blind me first thing in the morning.

Tp Holder with Candle
Decorate your new shelf!
TP Holder 1
Personalize your shelf with your own unique touches.

Step Nine:
Take pictures and share your creation with Functional Rustic on DIY Project of Facebook or use #functionalrustic when you share on social media.

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.

 

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

 

 

“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

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I Started My Own Business & I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

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.png
I Started My Own Business and I Have No Idea What I’m Doing. www.FunctionalRustic.com
Functional Rustic Sign
www.FunctionalRustic.com Handmade Rustic Décor, DIY Tutorials, Quotations and Muscovy Ducks

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.

Back to Nature Tea Light Holder
Back to Nature Tea Light Holder. Made from salvaged wood, hand painted rocks, pine cones and twigs.

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.)

Palmer Park
The pallet that inspired the dream that is Functional Rustic.

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.

Product Collage
Functional Rustic repurposes pallet wood and other unique items to create handmade Functional Rustic Décor.

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.

Believe Pallet Sign
“Believe” Pallet Sign by Functional Rustic.

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.

Product Collage 2

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.

birch tree quote
Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. New quotes published daily by Functional Rustic.

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.

pine trees
Pine trees tower of the Functional Rustic grounds.

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.

You dont build a business
You don’t build a business, you build people and then people build the business. Quotes published daily by Functional Rustic.

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.

hope pallet sign
“Hope” Pallet Sign by Functional Rustic.

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.

Back pasture quote
Promise yourself to see the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Quotes published daily by Functional Rustic.

I started my own business and I have no idea what I’m doing — and that’s the point.

Written by Sarah Palmer, Owner – Functional Rustic

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

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

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

 

 

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Baby It’s Hot/Cold Outside” 2 sided 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

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Personalized Thank You Card Tutorial from Functional Rustic

Originally published March 2, 2018. Updated July 27, 2018.

The holiday season is over and you probably have gift cards your friends and family generously gifted you. The money may be spent but the card can still be useful. Instead of just throwing that empty gift card into the trash, take a few minutes to create a thoughtful, personalized gift for someone else.

Painted Thank You Gift Card
An Amazon Gift Card Repurposed into a Unique Thank You Card.

I chose to turn my gift card into a thank you card, but the possibilities are endless for what you can write/draw on it. I’ve recently started making a concerted effort to express gratitude for kind gestures and friendly people I encounter. I try to accomplish this by keeping some sort of handmade thank you token on me, like this repurposed gift card, to give to people that do good deeds.

Imagine how great it would feel if someone handed this to you for simply holding a door open or smiling at them. Great positive re-enforcement! You better believe the person receiving this is more likely to repeat the kind act after being so thoughtfully recognized.
Below you will find an easy to follow tutorial that will teach you how to DIY your own personalized gift.

Repurpose a Gift Card Tutorial

Step One:
Clean off any residue or dirt that may be on the card. I used dish soap to get what ever sticky substance had found its way onto my card. I think a sucker melted onto mine. Ha.

Amazon Card
The money has been spent and this gift card is ready to be repurposed.

Step Two:
Set up a work station that has a lot of ventilation. It was particularly windy this day and I  learned a very important DIY tip. With the card being so light, it’s important to make sure it is placed somewhere the wind won’t pick it up and fling it across the lawn.

(Ask me how I know, ha.)

Spray Pain and Gift Card
Prepping my area to paint the gift card.

Step Three:
Apply your first coat of paint. Notice that the logo still shows through? That’s ok. I freaked out when I saw how little it covered initially. It seemed like the paint was having trouble covering the smooth surface. Don’t worry — more paint does the trick.

Next time I do this project I will sand the front of the card a bit. Perhaps a more rough surface will allow the paint to adhere better. Darker paint wouldn’t hurt either.

One Coat Paint on Gift Card
One coat of paint does not seem to be enough coverage.

Step Four:
Apply your second coat of spray paint. This is said to be “no drip” paint. Well, that’s debatable. I sprayed a heavy coat and because the card was not completely flat I had dripping. NOTE: make sure to do this on a flat surface to minimize dripping.

Second Coat Paint on Gift Card
Second coat of paint looks good but more is needed.

Step Five:
Apply third coat of spray paint.
Ooooops…..the wind took the card for a ride across the lawn while the third coat was drying.

Third Coat Pain on Gift Card
Third coat of paint would have been sufficient if it hadn’t blown into the grass.

Step Six:
Apply fourth coat of spray paint.
NOTE: If your card looks great after one or two coats — you can stop adding coats of paint.

Painted Gift Card
Fourth coat of paint on the gift card.

Step Seven:
Use a paint marker to write whatever message you want. I imagine a permanent marker would work too — but I have a lot of paint markers so I use those.

Thank You Gift Card
I used a paint marker to write my personal thank you message.

Step Eight:
Flip the card over and repeat the painting steps on the back side of the card.

OR

Only paint the front side of a gift card that has money on it as a way to personalize a cash gift.

Step Nine:
Take pictures of your creation and share it with other DIY enthusiasts on DIY Projects of Facebook.

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.

 

3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder – Orange

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

 

 

“Quack Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

“Quack 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