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Functional Rustic is Running the Day

Functional Rustic Barn as the sun rises.


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.

WordPress Stats 102318.JPG
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.


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Threatened with Legal Action after Unfriending Someone on Facebook

Last month Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the senate judiciary committee regarding her sexual assault when she was younger. I believe her. I admire her courage in coming forward. On Facebook, I shared stories and memes expressing my support for her and all women struggling with trauma.

A guy I was friends with on Facebook did not share my support of women and used the comment section to say so. I was actually grateful for his demeaning response because it taught me I would benefit from no longer seeing his comments and posts on my Facebook newsfeed.


Problem solved. Or so I thought…

Apparently I was not the only person who did not appreciate what he was saying on the internet. Someone saw what he posted in the comments and chose to inform his employer. It seems his employer gave credence to the complaint and reprimanded him in some way. The only reason I am aware of the complaint against him is because of the following message that he sent to me 2 days later:

Guy on Facebook: “I’m glad to see you deleted me becasue I was about to do the same to you. I do want you to know that your actions or your friends actions of calling my work to report something I posted on a social media site where I’m free to Express my 1st amendment rights could have major repercussions on my employment or advancement through the company. If that does occur I will be taking legal action against anyone involved in calling my corporate office all phone records have been recorded and I’m not taking this issue lightly. If you cant handle other people’s words and opinions you should not be part of a social media website.”

This exchange occurred two weeks ago and I am still dumbfounded that he chose this as his response to being reprimanded at work for things he said on Facebook. I was happy just unfriending him. I whole heartedly support whoever filed the initial complaint – but I was satisfied with simply not associating with him anymore.

His threat stuck with me though. The threat itself is laughable; I know this. The troubling part is that he thought to make the threat in the first place. Two days later I even gave him the opportunity to apologize or at least back track on his threat.

He chose instead to double down.

That was disappointing. If he had apologized or at least made some excuse of “I was drunk” or “I shouldn’t have been sending messages when I was angry” – basically anything other than doubling down on his threat – I would have forgotten all about the incident and moved on with my life.

These past few weeks though – his threat has been eating away at me. I know he has no legal grounds but I have to wonder – who else has he threatened / will threaten with legal action or some other retaliation? I am in a position to defend myself if I need to – but what about the next person? What about the next innocent bystander that he decides to threaten because he is facing a consequence for something that he said/did?

He is a manager for an appliance store. He is in a position of authority over others. He has the potential to seriously impact the lives of those working beneath him. Is this how he handles complaints? Is this the type of work environment he fosters? If I say nothing I am siding with him. If I say nothing I am teaching him that threats are the solution. If I say nothing I am emboldening him to do it again to someone else – to someone who does not have the courage or resources to stand up to him.

First thing this morning – I forwarded the messages he sent to me to his employer.

He may not have a legal case against me for unfriending him or forwarding a message he sent me- but he can still hurt me and Functional Rustic. I am keenly aware of this. I know that by doing the right thing, standing up for myself and others, I am inviting him to retaliate. Once he figures out he can’t sue he will want to lash out even more.

I hope he doesn’t. I’ve known him for 15 years – there is a reason we were friends in the first place. I’ve always known him to be a descent guy. The fact that I saw him as a descent guy makes all of this so much harder. I’m not trying to ruin his life. I’m not trying to destroy his career.

But here is the thing – I’m not responsible for his life. I’m not responsible for his actions. I’m not responsible for his words. I’m not responsible for the actions of his employer. I’m not responsible for the consequences of his actions.

I am responsible for my actions, my words, my life. I choose my destiny. I choose standing up to intimidation instead of backing down. I choose confronting the things that could hurt me instead of avoiding them. I choose to defend my boundaries and no longer permit violations.

I choose me.

I believe in me.

Just as I stand with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford – I also stand, proudly, by myself. I hold my head high today knowing my actions properly reflect my character. I hold my head high today knowing I advocated for me. I hold my head high today knowing I faced my fears. I hold my head high today knowing that someone may read my story and feel empowered to do the same for themselves.

I don’t know what the future holds or how all of this will play out but, I know I am ready, willing and capable to do whatever it takes to live the life I want and become the person I want to be.

Chin up princess or the crown slips.

Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.

For what its worth it is never too late to be whoever you want to be....Exaine what you tolerate.

Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. Right is right, even if no one is doing it.Praying for the woman I will be in 5 years

Speak with honesty. think with sincerity

Start over, my darling. Be brave enough to find the life....

She need a hero so that is what she became


Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic


Wooden Thank You Card SILVER

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


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Thank you in advance for taking the time and consideration to help me improve the Functional Rustic website.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic


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.



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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.
Functional Rustic Sign 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.




“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.