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Functional Rustic is Running the Day

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Functional Rustic Barn as the sun rises. www.FunctionalRustic.com

 

I’m running the day and knocking out tasks like crazy.

I. Love. It.

The 10 Inspirational Quotes blog was written and posted early today. Then I spent a few hours taking photos around the property, winterizing the barn and enjoying coffee by the wood burning stove with my husband and our dog.

Today I am working on some new pieces for upcoming craft shows and to sell at Countryside Craft & Antique Mall. They are not available in the Functional Rustic online store yet but you can find many of them in the Functional Rustic Etsy Store.

I encourage you to check out the Etsy store. I spent a considerable amount of time last week updating all of the products, photos and descriptions. When I first set up the Etsy store it took me over a week to take and edit photos, write out descriptions and all of the other steps involved in listing items for sale on Etsy. This time around I was able to make all the changes to the store in the course of one day. I am quite proud of myself.

The expert in anything was once a beginner..jpg
The expert in anything was once a beginner.

It has been year since I started Functional Rustic and the anniversary is providing me with the opportunity to reflect on how far I have come and how much I have learned. The Etsy store is a perfect example of this. The reason it went so quickly was because I was prepared. I have spent the year taking and editing product photos so when I had to do it last week it was second nature. I did not have to think about how to get the proper angles or correct lighting – because I practiced taking photos everyday for a year I now do it instinctively.

I do not consider myself an expert on building an online store – but I am knowledgeable. This time last year I was completely clueless. I had never used a hashtag #, never published a blog, never thought to sell something I created and never thought I would own my own business.

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Functional Rustic WordPress Website Statistics since August 2018.

I taught myself how to do all of this. Over 10,000 website visitors in the past three months and over 7 million monthly Pinterest views and over 1.6 K followers. (I promise to publish how I did it soon. I have over 50 photos that still need to be edited before I publish the final product. But please, feel free to ask any specific questions you have in the meantime.) I read articles & research papers, watched videos and listened to pod casts. I talked to other start up business owners, crafters and bloggers. I spent days viewing every TedTalk I could find on marketing, branding, and overcoming doubts.

Every single day I taught myself something new about how to start a business. ALSO – each week I taught myself a new DIY skill or project. The amount of knowledge and wisdom I have gained in the past year is astounding.

I really am in awe of what I have accomplished for myself this past year.

I want to see what happens if I dont give up

Like I said, I am getting a lot accomplished today. One of the more productive tasks I accomplished was making promo videos for my signs and chalkboards. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to properly demonstrate the size of my wooden signs and chalkboards. I am hopeful that the videos I took demonstrate it effectively.

I don’t know of any other signs that are thick enough to stand upright on a table. The thickness of the boards has always been the part of my signs that I find most unique. It’s hard to tell in the videos, but it was actually very windy. I’m shocked really, that none of them blew off the deck while I was filming. Ha.

Let me know what you think of the new products / videos below. I can use all the feedback I can get. Thanks in advance!

I’m off to create new projects….may your day be as inspiring as mine!

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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Happy Cow Videos from Functional Rustic

I’ve recently made a new friend, MsLuckyDuck. When she was a kid she had the privilege of living with a beautiful white, blind cow with blue eyes. Recalling her stories I immediately thought of her when I came across these videos of dancing cows.

I hope you enjoy the videos as much as I did.

Did you know that cows can dance? Did you know cows can skip?

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card 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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My First Craft Show as a Merchant – Functional Rustic

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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”.

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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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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

 

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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

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Belt Sander DIY Video Tutorial from Functional Rustic

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The belt sander is my favorite piece of equipment in the barn. I use it for just about every item I build for the Functional Rustic Store. This week’s DIY Tutorial from Functional Rustic is a video demonstrating how I use the belt sander. You will learn proper safety practices and the techniques I use with the sander to achieve the look I want on the wood.

The video tutorial below will answer any questions you may have about using a belt sander. The only bit of advice I forgot to mention in the video is to use a mask over your mouth to protect from inhaling saw dust. Sanding without a face mask will result in your nostrils and mouth being filled with saw dust. It’s gross. And  it is not at all healthy. I used to use a bandana to cover my mouth/nose, and that was better than nothing at all, but I now have actual wood working face masks.

My only complaint about wearing a face mask is that it causes my eye protection to fog up every time I breathe. I welcome any advice on how to remedy that problem. The protective eye wear is necessary but ultimately useless if I cant see what I’m doing anyways.

Enjoy the Belt Sander DIY Tutorial Video below and let me know what you learned or any advice you have for me going forward.

 

 

Written by: Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just Tutorials? Find out what others already know by exploring the Functional Rustic Store. Below are a few of the items available that I created using the techniques displayed in the video.

 

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

 

“Meow Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

“Meow 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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10 Inspirational Quotes from Functional Rustic 9.20.18

10 Inspirational Quotations from Functional Rustic

10 Inspirational Quotes from Functional Rustic. Follow Functional Rustic and see all that Functional Rustic has to offer. Handcrafted Décor, Quotations, Tutorials and so much more.

  1. Never compare yourself to anyone, except the previous you.
Never compare youself to anyone, except the previous you.
Never compare yourself to anyone, except the previous you.

2. I’m letting go…..so I can be free.

I'm letting go....so I can be free.
I’m letting go…..so I can be free.

3. I’m going outside. So if anyone asks, I’m outstanding.

I'm going to stand outside. So if anyone asks I'm oustanding.
I’m going outside. So if anyone asks, I’m outstanding.

4. I’m being murdered by my own mind.

I'm being murdered by my own mind
I’m being murdered by my own mind.

5. I’ll make you smile when you feel weary and lift you up when you feel small. I’ll be right here for you to lean on ’til you feel brave and strong and tall.

I'll make you smile when you feel weary and lift you up when you feel small....
I’ll make you smile when you feel weary and lift you up when you feel small. I’ll be right here for you to lean on ’til you feel brave and strong and tall.

6. If you’re waiting for a sign, this is it.

If you're waiting for a sign this is it.
If you’re waiting for a sign, this is it.

7. If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. But if you schedule it, it’s real.

If you talk about it, its a dream. If you envision it....
If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. But if you schedule it, it’s real.

8. If you have accomplished all that you have planned for yourself, you have not planned enough.

If you have accomplished all that you planned for yourself, you have not planned enough.
If you have accomplished all that you have planned for yourself, you have not planned enough.

9. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

if-you-are-the-smartest-person-in-the-room-you-are-in-the-wrong-room.jpg
If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

10. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Did you know Functional Rustic provides more than just inspirational quotes? 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

 

“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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A September Day at Functional Rustic

I don’t need a reason to go outside and appreciate nature but it sure is great when I can find one.

Every morning I take a video of the sunrise over the pasture behind my barn. (Follow Functional Rustic on Instagram & Facebook and you can see it too!) I love watching the Blue Heron stalk the shores of the wetlands and sparrows dive bombing the tall grass to eat bugs. During the spring thaw there is even a family of beavers that can be seen swimming around the now flooded part of the yard.

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In the back drop of it all is a towering forest. My impulse is to write “towering trees” but when I look across the yard every morning I do not see trees – I simply see a forest. It is not until I venture beyond the wetlands into the woods that I truly appreciate the trees for the forest. There is a whole ecosystem on every tree, stump and twig. Life is everywhere.

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This is from my first time ever going into the woods.
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Got the Vibe stuck in the mud the first time I went back into the woods.

Part of the cycle of life in the forest is acorns dropping from the trees. I collect acorns and use them for crafts. Specifically I burn faces onto them. It was not until this spring that I got the idea to start collecting and crafting with acorns so the supply was minimal. But we’re heading into Autumn and the acorns are raining down. Literally, I get hit in the head with one.

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I use the wood burner to burn faces onto the acorns. Well, I used to. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of wood burner. I bump into things a lot and working with/around a very hot and flammable tool is not relaxing for me. All I see are the ways I will hurt myself or burn down the barn. Also, it takes awhile to burn those little faces on and I, apparently, lack the patience. Fortunately for me my husband LOVES to wood burn stuff. So, these days, I gather up the acorns and he turns them into the art.

I like to include an acorn or some other small trinket with any online order. It’s little extras in life that make people smile and this is how I chose to do it. Plus, the acorns are perfect for my product photos. They’re cute and help demonstrate the size of my items.

Green 3 Tier
3 Tier Wooden Tea Light Holder.

On this particular day (September 12, 2018) I went back into the woods to see if the acorns had started to fall. They are most definitely falling. I was able to fill an entire coffee can in under an hour.

This post isn’t about acorns though. I am writing today so I can show off pictures of the cool plant and animal life I came across while I was gathering the acorns. This one of those days where the journey is more important than the destination. Also, it is a testament to the things you can see if you just take the time to look.

I really need to start learning about fungi because they are everywhere. I knew there were several species but I never thought there would be so many in one place. If you can identify any of the species of fungi or insect included in this post, please educate me.

This first mushroom is what inspired me to specifically look for interesting things growing in the woods. This is a stump along the path to woods. I stopped by it in order to set down my coffee and that is when I saw the beauty pictured below.

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These white mushrooms pop out in the dark floor of the forest. I hope these are the mushrooms that turn into huge white balls. I will have to check back in a few days to find out.

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The mushrooms below remind me of bagels or some other toasted bread. I wanted to get them from different angles to show how thick they are but apparently there is a hornets nest in the ground about a foot away and they had other plans for me.

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The red mushrooms on the stick though, absolute favorite fungi of the day. I’ve never seen that before – fungi on a stick. It’s beautiful. A decomposing part of a branch is now the foundation upon which this fungus is building it’s life.

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I almost didn’t see the amazing creature in this next picture.

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I thought it was just a cob web or perhaps cocoon of some sort. It was not until I moved the stick to pick up an acorn that I realized someone was on the other side.

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Absolutely stunning. Who knew I had such a beautiful neighbor?!

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That little green guy with his pretty blue spots was my favorite picture of the day. Meeting that creature was not highlight of the day though. The following videos was not filmed in the woods but rather by the garage where I was dropping off my coffee can of acorns.

I reached down to pull open the garage and saw two worm like creatures fighting. Yes, fighting. I have never seen bugs or worms fight. It is absolutely amazing. I’m not certain what the species are but I’m guessing the big one is a millipede? You tell me and we’ll both know.

I am so glad I chose to search for my acorns today. If I had just been going for a walk in the woods instead of actively looking on the ground for a small acorn – I likely would not have noticed all of the life around me. Sure, I saw that white mushroom from across the forest, but not until I got close did I see the texture and beauty.

I don’t know why I’m so surprised by my magical day. There is always something new to see when appreciating the sights and sounds of Functional Rustic.

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.

“Meow Spoken Here” Wooden Ornament

“Meow 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 – 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

 

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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10 Inspirational Quotes from Functional Rustic 9.6.18

 

10 Inspirational Quotations from Functional Rustic
10 Inspirational Quotes from Functional Rustic Every Week Day Morning.

10 Inspirational Quotes from Functional Rustic. Follow Functional Rustic and see all that Functional Rustic has to offer. Handcrafted Décor, Quotations, Tutorials and so much more.

  1. Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Give me six hours to cut down a tree
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

2. I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero.

I dont want my struggle to make me
I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero.

3. You’re a total champ.

You're a total champ.
You’re a total champ.

4. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

The only person you are destined to become
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.

5. Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love.

Use your voice fro kindess, your ears for....
Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love.

6. Some people feel the rain others just get wet.

Some people feel the rain others just get wet
Some people feel the rain others just get wet.

7. Exist on your own terms. That is all.

Exist on your own terms. That is all.
Exist on your own terms. That is all.

8. Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.

Whenever you find yourself doubting how far...
Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.

9. Pay close attention to the people who don’t clap when you win.

Pay close attention to those....
Pay close attention to the people who don’t clap when you win.

10. Be yourself today, you look beautiful like that.

Be yourself today. You look beautiful like that.
Be yourself today, you look beautiful like that.

Written by Sarah Palmer, Owner – Functional Rustic

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

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

“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

 

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

Posted on 21 Comments

Overcoming Doubts Before Opening to the Public – A Functional Rustic Approach

Originally Published April 30, 2018. Updated September 5, 2018.

My business is opening to the public in a few days and I am a whirlwind of emotions.

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Overcoming Doubts Before Opening to the Public – A Functional Rustic Approach.

I started Functional Rustic about six months ago. I began the business intending to repurpose salvaged wood into furniture and décor and sell it at craft shows. However, winter is a horrible time of year to try to find local craft shows in Michigan.

Realizing the difficulties in selling crafts without a craft show; I started the Functional Rustic website. I took pictures of everything I built and uploaded them to the site. I even set up an online store through Facebook and Etsy.

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“Welcome” Wooden Sign by Functional Rustic.

No one was coming to the website, Facebook page or Etsy store. I felt like such a failure during those early days. (It may be only six months ago but it feels like a lifetime.) I researched everything I could find about building an online business.

The basic principle behind promoting a website is to give visitors a reason to come. I chose to start a blog as a way of increasing interest and awareness for Functional Rustic.

The blog idea came at an ideal time for me. First, it was winter in Michigan so it was quite cold outside. Below freezing temperatures are not ideal for wood working and painting. Second, I hurt my elbow and was unable to build anything anyway.

A little background on me: my youth was spent playing travel ice hockey. For that reason, my instinct when I am hurt or injured is to push through and suck it up. I’m not trying to be tough – I’m trying to stay in the game. For instance, I tore my ACL (a ligament in the knee) during a pre-season skate. It was excruciating. Doctors said I would need surgery to repair it. This was my junior year of high school so I was reaching the point where college scouts could talk to me about playing hockey for them. It was the worst possible time for a high school athlete to have an injury. As I said earlier, the doctors said I needed surgery. However, they also said that because the ligament was torn I could not injure the ACL any more than I already had. I interpreted that as meaning that I could still play hockey if I was able to cope with the pain. Long story short – not only did I continue to play that season but we had over 80 games that year, won the State Championship AND the National Championship. I had surgery on my knee the day after we won nationals. That experience though, changed me. It reinforced a very bad habit of not taking care of myself. It also taught me that I can push through a great deal of pain to achieve a goal. The thing is, just because I can do something does not mean I should.

I mention the high pain tolerance because when I hurt my elbow I did not see my doctor. I figured if I simply rested it would get better. Of course I didn’t actually rest it so, a few months later I officially injured the elbow (Medial epicondylitis & right lateral epicondylitis – aka golfers elbow and tennis elbow.)

Now it was time to see a doctor. I couldn’t even move the arm, much less hold anything in my hand. If I’m willing to see a doctor though, then something is very wrong. How did I allow the pain to get so bad?

You were unsure which pain was worse
You were unsure which pain is worse – the shock of what happened or the ache of what never will.

I cried a lot in the week between scheduling my appointment with the doctor and actually seeing him. I wasn’t crying because I was hurt (ok, maybe a few of the tears were from physical pain); I was crying because my dream of starting my own business by creating décor may now not be possible. My stubbornness in seeing a doctor was sabotaging my goals.

I finally saw the doctor and sat sheepishly as he explained all the reasons that waiting to see him could seriously have jeopardized my recovery. He prescribed a couple of anti-inflammatory pain killers and some physical therapy and I was all set. I may have been feeling physically better after following the doctor’s orders but, the impact on my self confidence and hope for Functional Rustic being successful were greatly impacted.

Adding to the fears of running my own business, I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder). For me IBS/GERD means chronic fatigue, pain and nausea. It also means that there are days when I physically cannot do anything. I have been lucky since I moved to the country that I haven’t had any major episodes, but at anytime I could be out of commission for several days. As the only employee of Functional Rustic, I cant afford to not do anything for my business for a week simply because I feel sick. I need an approach that promotes both physical wellness and business success.

Not one to give up; I changed the focus of Functional Rustic from just an online store to a DIY resource and source for coping with anxiety and depressive symptoms. As much as it was a business strategy, mostly it was a coping mechanism for dealing with my stressors. I posted things on the website that made me happy and made me feel like I am contributing positively to society. I will lead by example.

It was when I started focusing on taking care of me and helping to inspire others with my experiences that Functional Rustic started to take off. When the focus was making money I was miserable and no one came to the website. As soon as I stopped focusing on earning that dollar and instead focused on just sharing positivity and my life lessons, my website went from 100 visitors a month to over 7,000 a month.

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I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero.

So, for the past four months I have been building my online presence and increasing awareness for Functional Rustic. I have not thought much about increasing my inventory due to the weather and my injury. However, it is starting to warm outside and my elbow is healed. The time has come to start building again.

I am thrilled to be able to start creating and repurposing again – but I’m also scared. I’m having doubts about my ability to do all of this by myself. Promoting the website, writing blogs and managing social media already take much of my day. That was fine when I was injured and it was snowing, but now I need those hours to build actual products.

Where am I going to find the time to complete everything I need to do? As my success increases so do my responsibilities. I actually wrote a blog about this exact fear here.
That brings us to today. I have been invited to participate in a multi-family garage sale this weekend. I couldn’t be happier about the venue as a location for introducing Functional Rustic to the public.

M15 Garage Sale
M-15 Garage Sale. 60 miles of garage, yard and barn sales.

However, my current inventory is sparse. Everything on the website is everything I have. One of each. Since I have no idea what the public will like and want to buy, I did not build duplicates. I was really hoping that people would be shopping in the online store and I could get an idea of what the public liked. Since I have made no sales in the online store – I have no idea what, if anything, people want.

After I write this post I plan to go to the barn and start building. (hmmm….I wonder if this post is longer than I intended because I am avoiding starting my next task?) I still have no idea what I’m going to build though, and it is definitely stressing me out. I did great when I was focused on sharing and teaching – but building the products is about making money.

I may have a graduate level education – but both of my degrees are in Social Work not business. Social Work is about people – not money. In fact, a social worker’s life is devoted to achieving great things with little-to-no resources or money. Those skills are helpful for starting a business – but less helpful when trying to sell actual items.

Eureka! I figured it out. After writing that last paragraph I read through what I have written so far in this post and found the solution to my problem. (Imagine that, the solution was in front of me all along.)

Sometimes life is about risking everything
Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.

Right now I am letting fear dictate my actions. Instead of focusing on things I know will make me feel good I am directing my attention to the uncomfortable feelings and negative thoughts I have. What I need to do is change my focus.

www.FunctionalRustic.com is more successful than I ever could have imagined at this stage of the game. I accomplished this success by staying true to my original goal of building the life I want. I want to feel at peace. I want to be healthy. I want to inspire others.

The signs and shelves I create make me happy. I feel proud of myself each time I complete a project. My designs are intentionally simple because the point of them is to inspire others that they too can build something like this for themselves. I want people to see what I build and say, “I could build that.”.

I am confident that if I stay true to the vision of inspiring others with what I create then the money part will work itself out.

Functional Rustic Product Collage
Whether I am repurposing a pop can into a plant marker, bending a fork into a business card holder or salvaging discarded pallet wood and creating rustic home décor – there is no shortage of possibilities for the Functional Rustic inventory.

Through sharing my story I intend to demonstrate to others that success can still be achieved even if you are feeling overwhelmed. It is inspiring to see someone struggle yet still achieve greatness. As I work through my doubts I find comfort in knowing that the people I look up to also struggled when they were at this stage.

Functional Rustic is about sharing my story in an effort to inspire others to realize what they want their story to say. Today when I head out to the barn to start building I am going to focus on creating things that make me smile instead of things that will earn me money.

This new mindset is not going to give me more hours in the day to accomplish what I want to do but, it does get me excited to get something done. More importantly, it properly prepares me to accomplish my goals.

Give me six hours to cut down a tree.png
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

I would love to wrap this post up with an eloquent summary and sage advice but, honestly, I really want to get out in the barn now and start playing with my power tools and pallets.

I may still be experiencing a whirlwind of emotions regarding my introduction to the public but, those emotions are now of determination rather than doubt.

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

Posted on 14 Comments

So That Happened – A Functional Rustic Barn Story

So That Happend A Functional Rustic Barn Story.png

I live a charmed life. I am reminded of this fact every morning when I go outside. I’m surrounded by the tranquil sights and sounds of nature. After all, I basically live in the middle of the woods. Deer hang out in the yard, a Blue Heron is living in the pond and a family of Beavers call our wetlands home.

Life is a collection of moments.
Life is a collection of moments.

The cherry on top of the charmed sundae I call my life though, are my Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey. Until a year ago I didn’t even know Muscovy Ducks or Bronze Turkeys existed, much less believed I would ever call them my friends. These quirky feather friends continue to take me on new adventures each and every day.

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Gladys (left), Bronze Turkey with 2 Muscovy Drakes – Brutus (top) and Larry (bottom). Some of the birds of Functional Rustic. All of the birds are about six months old in this photo.

The birds teach great life lessons and are actually wonderful role models for me.

The ducks welcoming the turkey, Gladys, into their flock reminds me of the importance of welcoming others into my circle and accepting people as they are.

Seeing Amelia Air Duck build a nest in an empty box in the barn (instead of in the nesting box I built her) teaches me to think outside of the box. (Haha…a duck in a box inspires me to think outside of the box.)

And watching Gladys stay near the barn for over a month after she was attacked (neighbor dog ripped out all her feathers on her back and breast) instead of heading to the pond with her duck friends highlighted the importance of taking care of myself.

Gladys and Sarah
Me (the human) with Gladys (the Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic). She finally got the courage to go to the pond so I did a photo shoot with her to celebrate.

The Muscovy Ducks and Bronze Turkey of Functional Rustic teach me a lot about ducks and turkeys too. For instance, Muscovy duck eggs are twice the size of extra large chicken eggs and a bronze turkey egg is twice the size of the Muscovy egg.

Eggs
Bronze Turkey Egg. Muscovy Duck Egg. Large Chicken Egg.

Today’s lesson from the Muscovy Ducks was also about eggs – making the eggs that is. That’s right folks, I’ve got duck porn for you!

The morning started out normal enough. I was filming the sunrise and decided to get some video of the birds. Usually these videos are of them wiggling their butts, eating or swimming – duck stuff. Today though, I happened upon Brutus, Goldie and Amelia Air Duck in a duck ménages à trois.

So here is how I think this all happened. Amelia Air Duck started to lay eggs in an empty box in the barn again. Yesterday I cleaned out her nest so I could eat them. Realizing that her nest is no longer safe (someone did steal all of her eggs after all!) she needed a new, safe place to lay her eggs.

Goldie, the other Muscovy Hen, is currently sitting on eggs. I theorize that Amelia Air Duck decided that laying her egg onto Goldie’s nest would keep her egg safe. The flaw in that plan though, is that Goldie is not just gonna get off her eggs because Amelia wants her to. So, again I am just theorizing, Amelia just climbs on top of Goldie and lays the egg on top of Goldie.

However, while Amelia Air Duck is trying to pop one out Brutus sees a great opportunity to pop one in – so to speak. When I walk on the scene all I see is Goldie on her eggs, Amelia Air Duck on top of Goldie and Brutus on top of Amelia – duck humping his little heart out.

I still can’t believe how fresh that egg was. It was hot, not warm, hot. And wet. So fresh it had duck juices on it. I didn’t even know that fluids were involved. Now that I think about it though, I’m quite happy to learn that my little ladies have some lubrication to get their eggs out.

To round out the morning it only seemed fitting to get at least one video that wasn’t pornographic. The video below is a typical morning in the Functional Rustic Barn – birds eating while I fill the pool and hose out the barn. Once the coffee is made I fill up my cup and head out the barn see what lessons are to be learned that day.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

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

Below are just a few of the handcrafted items available.

 

“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

 

 

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