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Fake It Until You Make It Functional Rustic Approach

I am learning a lot of DIY lessons today – and I’m not thrilled about it. It is a creative day so I am coming up with new project ideas and trouble shooting problems on previous projects. So far, each project I have focused on has gotten worse. Ugh.

It started with pop cans. I have many ideas for crafts I can make out of  pop cans but today I was specifically trying to make a pumpkin. I still feel good about the concept however, executing it is proving harder than I’d like.

 

This is a very, very rough draft. The plan is three cans on the bottom, four in the middle and two one top. The idea is that once the cans are properly attached to each other and painted orange it will look like a pumpkin. The tops of the cans will be removed and then the back side becomes 9 little storage areas.

pop can no top.JPG

It keeps falling apart when I try to assemble it though. Gluing it is problematic because the points of contact for the cans is actually quite narrow. It is harder to glue round objects together than I anticipated. Ha. Needless to say, it is not going well and I am growing more and more frustrated – not deterred – just frustrated.

I will not let this hiccup sabotage the whole day. When I am frustrated with a project the most effective solution for me is to take a break. At first the break was just going for a walk and then returning to the project. When I returned though, I was having the same problems. (I can’t imagine why doing the exact thing I did before did not illicit a different result. Ha.)

Obviously taking a break did not fix my problem and I am still having difficulty focusing on the issue at hand. Trying to fix something while I’m already very irritated usually ends up in more things going wrong. So, instead of trying to problem solve when upset – I changed projects.

 

You may recall a recent post where I discussed repurposing a shutter I found. I love this project because it reminds me of all the Pinterest projects I looked at for years and convinced myself I did not have the talent to create.

The pictures do not show it very well, but the edges of the black chalk board and the white border are not straight. Personally I like the rough edges but, my husband pointed out, and I’m inclined to agree, people paying me money for it will expect straight lines.

So, after abandoning the pop can pumpkin project I turned to touching up the shutter chalk board. I used white paint to touch up the framing and put painters tape on the chalkboard part to protect it from drips.

Well….

Paint Peeling

After everything was dry and I removed the painters tape – the paint came off too. Uh Oh. This picture does not show it but, the paint is coming off in sheets. I now need to remove all the paint and start over.

Ugh.

This really is not that big of a problem. It is very fixable. Fixable problems are just new goals. The blow to my ego and motivation is because of the deadline I imposed on myself before I started. The plan was to do touch ups this morning and then head to Countryside Craft & Antique Mall so it can be sold. This is exactly the kind of eye catching item that will draw people in to the store display.

What I am inclined to do is curl up in a ball and throw an elaborate pity party in my mind. Just as I was preparing for my ‘party’ I remembered that I write a blog based on the premise of sharing my bad days and how I get through them in order to achieve my goal. A ‘pity party’ is not a solution.

You are going to want to give up. Don't.
You are going to want to give up. Don’t.

Fortunately for me I collect Quotes so I have a huge resource of positive words I can review to help me refocus my thoughts.

 

I’ve read my quotes and regained my motivation. I am ready to go! Took apart a shipping pallet, cut some boards and sanded them smooth. A true wood working day! Makes me feel very productive.

I enjoy building practical items like coat/towel racks and toilet paper holders. I like things to be functional. (shocking!) Creating something functional and pretty is the dream and provides a huge boost to my self confidence when I achieve it. With this in mind I am working on a coat rack today with the boards I prepped.

 

The boards are securely attached (I’ve had some problems with this recently so I am very pleased that I got it right the first time.). I even found cool items to repurpose as the hooks – wood post insulators for the electric fence. Very rustic. Very functional.

One might think that after reading my quotes and successfully attaching the boards that I would be feeling on top of the world. No. I am overwhelmed with doubt. I’m feeling unlucky today so I fear that when I go to paint this coat rack I will mess that project up too.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

That bring us to now. I was really hoping that writing this post would give me the boost of motivation I am looking for. It usually does. Normally when I write out my
‘problem’ I end up finding the solution.

.

.

.

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It’s been about 20 minutes since I wrote what you see above. In that time I wandered around aimlessly and dwelled on how I am allowing fear to dictate my day. Woe is me.

Understand that the universe is giving you challenges to help you to become...
Understand that the universe is giving you challenges to help you to become the greatest version of yourself. 

Then I had a realization. “Understand that the universe is giving you challenges to help you to become the greatest version of yourself”. Although my goal for the day was to build something, the universe has a different goal. I am realizing that my purpose today is to share my struggle.

It has been awhile since I wrote about overcoming the emotional/psychological obstacles I encounter as I start my own business. I haven’t been sharing those stories because I have not been thinking about them. It’s not that I was staying positive but rather that I was in denial.

Instead of acknowledging the doubts, fears and failures I was experiencing I pretended I did not have them. I pushed through and just did my job. That approach is effective to a point. It is the ‘fake it til you make it’ approach. However, faking it is not facing it.

And that lesson is what the day is about. The obstacles that came up today are really small issues. These are not things that usually get in my way. To the contrary, I normally become more determined and inspired when things go ‘wrong’ in the creative process. The fact that I am having such a strong reaction to such a small trigger is what needs to be addressed. The universe provided me with situations today that reminded me where my focus needs to be.

You cant change what you refuse to confront
You can’t change what you refuse to confront.

Lesson of the Day: Faking it is not facing it.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

 

Wooden Thank You Card PINK

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.

KIMG2792
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.

KIMG2788
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.
KIMG2790
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

 

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.

Overcoming Doubts Before Opening to the Public Title.png
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.

Welcome Sign.jpg
“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.

I dont want my struggle to make me.png
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

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How Often Should I Post Blogs – Functional Rustic Approach

Originally published March 7, 2018. Updated August 8, 2018. 

How Often to Post Blogs .png
Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it! How Often Should I Post Blogs – A Functional Rustic Approach.

I’ve started my own DIY blog but I don’t know how often I should post my tutorials. Right now I have a lot of time on my hand because its too cold to work in the barn. (That’s a lie. I mean, it is 20 degrees….but I could easily bundle up and start breaking down pallets and building things. But it is the excuse I’m using today) Because I’m not building all day I have more time to write.

The extra time has enabled me to start the Functional Rustic blog that talks about my day to day obstacles and successes while starting my own DIY business.

(UPDATE: when I first published this piece 5 months ago my blog was called My Repurposed Life. However, someone else already has a trademark on that name. I did not know about her trademark until I had published several blogs under that title. I had to go back and edit every link I had that used her trademarked name. She was really nice about it. I saw the error and informed her of my mistake and my plans to remedy the situation long before she knew I even existed. However, if you ever see something from Functional Rustic that also promotes my original My Repurposed Life blog, please let me know so I can delete the link. But learn from my mistakes when you start your blog and do your research before you publish. She too published tutorials – check ’em out here.)

It is easy to share my thoughts daily – and I don’t need a schedule for that – but I don’t know yet how often to post my tutorials.

I posted a tutorial this morning and plan to write two more today. My impulse is to post it immediately but, I am trying to establish some sort of schedule for myself regarding publishing content. That way my readers can depend on me for quality, timely content.

Ok – so this post was intended to ask you how often I should post. However, in the process of asking for your advice, I think I figured out what I need to do.

Plan: Post DIY tutorials weekly – Friday. That way people can complete that week’s DIY project over the weekend. I can write tutorials as I think of them and just save them for publication on a weekly schedule.

To think….I have been trying to decide this question for a week or so now – but not until I reached out to get feedback from others did I realize my solution.

Lesson of the day: Put a voice to your questions and they will be answered.

Follow Functional Rustic on Social Media for the latest content.

Written by Sarah Palmer – Owner, Functional Rustic

Posted on 2 Comments

Finding Accountability When I’m the Boss – Functional Rustic Approach

Originally Published on February 28, 2018. Updated on August 6, 2018.

I am not a product of my circumstances...
I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.

I’m a small business owner so no one tells me what to do. Sounds great, but without anyone to tell me what to do I don’t know what to do.

I am finding that the lack of accountability to someone else is one of my greatest obstacles. I set goals for myself and achieve them proudly, but are my goals the “right” goals for growing my business? Without someone else to talk to about this I get lost in my thoughts – my fears.

Having someone tell me what the expectations are for the day or week is very helpful for me. I always had a great deal of independence in my jobs, but there was always a specific goal and an understood means of accomplishing it.

Example: Goal – Help people cope with their mental illness. As a social worker I accomplished this task by working in an out patient mental health clinic as a therapist. I had a detailed job description (even if it did not detail ALL of my responsibilities), empirically tested approaches to treatment, colleagues to conference with and patients right in front of me to provide feedback on successes and failures. On top of that, I had supervisors making sure I am completing necessary paperwork and submitting them on deadlines.

These are things that irritated me when I was an employee. “I know how to do my job, leave me alone!” And I did know how to do my job – but that’s because someone taught me. Most importantly, I had other people to lean on. If I didn’t know how best to document something – I could ask someone. If I was doubting my capabilities – a coworker could set me straight.

Well, I’m the only person here. Also, I work from home so I don’t even have strangers to interact with during the day. It’s incredibly frustrating, and lonely.

I need someone to bounce ideas off of. Or at the very least, someone to blurt out ideas to in the hopes that one of us will remember that super creative idea. It’s not so much that I doubt the quality of my work – but rather that I don’t know if my efforts are getting the results I want. (To provide inspiration and support to others that are building their dreams with what they have in front of them.)

And, as the only person here I have no one to assess what tasks are priorities. Everything I do for Functional Rustic is important. What needs to be done today? What tasks need to be done first and which can be delayed?

Do I create new pieces or build up the inventory I already have? Do I write a blog about my thinking process or a DIY tutorial blog. What pictures will I need for the blog? Do those pics have the website on it yet? What are the proper tags and descriptions to put on each photo so search engines find it? How often should I be updating my Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Am I posting enough content to Facebook, DIY Projects of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Medium and YouTube? Am I linking to all my social media accounts when I write blogs? How much time should I be spending on each activity. Oh, and did I mention that I am learning all of this as I go so each task involves hours of research on how to complete it effectively?

I could go on and on.

The hope is that the Functional Rustic Blog will help me focus my energies. If I tell you, the reader, I am going to accomplish certain tasks – I will. With so many tasks to complete it is easy to not do one thing but still feel productive because I accomplished other objectives. However, that thing I didn’t do – still isn’t done. I work under the assumption that people are reading my content and that if I say I’m going to post something by the end of the week – that reader will expect to see it by the end of the week.

So, I’m putting it out there – putting myself out there. Either no one reads this – and I’m exactly where I was before writing it OR people do read it and either like or don’t like it. But at least I have feedback. AND – I now have someone to be accountable to.

Today’s Lesson: Just because you are the only employee doesn’t mean you can’t have accountability.

Follow Functional Rustic on Social Media for the latest content.

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 – Gold

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

 

 

“Mr & Mr/True Love” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Mr & Mr/True Love” 2 side 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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Never Work a Day in Your Life; Functional Rustic Approach

Originally published February‎ ‎27‎, ‎2018. Updated August 2, 2018.

Choose a job you love.jpg
Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.

It’s 8 am. I’ve been “working” for two hours. I love it.

Functional Rustic is about inspiring and motivating others and quotations are a big part of that. It’s vital for me to read positive words first thing in the morning so I have been pinning quotes for years.

As I was typing this 5 deer came into the yard – just did a Facebook live about them. So cool – and also one of the reasons I get distracted when trying to work from home. Check out the video.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FFunctionalRusticBarn%2Fvideos%2F151408035545410%2F&width=500&show_text=false&height=500&appId

I’ve been pinning and making pins for the past two hours. This is a vital task for my business, but it didn’t feel like work at all. In fact, I was having so much fun that I forgot to film today’s sunrise. (Woe is me).

Today’s Lesson: If you’re making a change in your life – repurposing yourself – try your best to integrate things you already love to do into your plans.

It really is true: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

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 – Gold

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

 

 

“Mr & Mr/True Love” 2 sided Wooden Ornament

“Mr & Mr/True Love” 2 side 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