I am so excited to finally roll out the red carpet and get this series launched. No more waiting, here we go-
Everyone talks, cooks, works, writes letters, decorates, wears clothes, and entertains…but what is it that makes some of us do it all with grace, ease, and panache, while the rest of us seem to be always searching for that “special something” that’s hard to define but instantly recognizable the minute we see it – that something is personal style. Over the years, I have observed individuals who possess a great sense of personal style from style icons of the past to the girl who lived down the hall from me in college who always conducted her life in a way that made me want to know more about her. How do these women know the protocol for living life with such flair? How did they create a style for themselves and infuse every detail of their lives with it? Are they born with it? It is my goal to find out and share it with you.
A good percentage of us believe all they require to have style is a huge bank account which allows them to dress head to toe in designer labels or to decorate using the latest trends, but having style is far more that. Authentic personal style is what this series
is all about.
I will be featuring one blogger every month who I think possesses true personal style and is a true original in the way they live, think, and decorate. I hope you will come along so you can see what traits the women I feature have in common as well as what makes them different. We will find what propels them to live in the most authentic way possible and perhaps inspire you to search for what is unique about YOU and the way you do things. With a bit of self-discovery and editing – I think all women can possess that “special something” for themselves and can live the most authentic life ever.
When most of us would run to HomeGoods if we needed a decorative runner for a table, Donna of Funky Junk Interiors heads the other way to the scrap yard and picks up some old fence pickets, paints them white and creates a truly unique table runner for her home without spending a cent.
She has a certain aesthetic of rusty and junky and carries it through to the smallest detail…
To me, Donna is a true original. Even when you look at her style compared to other “junk decorators”, Donna’s style is unique. If you follow Donna, then you know what I am talking about. I don’t even like rusty junk, but I am so drawn to her because she is so creative, is an out of the box thinker, and authentic in every way that I want to know everything about her.
She is confident and knows how to edit, edit, and edit some more until whatever she is working on is refined to the finished product she envisions – nothing more, nothing less – just right for her. She leads the way down her own path and never follows. Donna never apologizes for not living up to someone else’s standards, but her own.
Her rusty junk never ends up looking like rusty junk after she waves her magic wand over it. Below are a few of my favorite projects that Donna has created in her home:
Donna is quite open on her blog and anyone that reads her posts has gotten to know her style and tastes pretty well. I decided to ask her a few questions to learn more about how she thinks and a few that we would know the answers to if we were her best friend.
Diane: I knew I loved you and your blog when you posted your Mattress Spring Bulletin Board project. In the comments for that post you replied to someone saying that you were hesitant to press the “post” button after completing it, but you did. Where did that confidence come from? Your personal style was so evident in that project, I felt it was sheer genius, yet you hesitated. How do you think we can all learn to “just do” what feels right to us?
Donna: The confidence came from realizing this is who I was. There’s an audience for everything in life. If you stay with who you truly are, you’ll attract like minded individuals. I LOVE rusty junk, so a rusty junk bulletin board spoke to me. A fabric covered one in a picture frame, not so much. Pick and choose the things that speak to you and you’ll love what you create.
Diane: Your friend invites you to a small dinner party. What would you bring as a hostess gift? How would you wrap it?
Donna: If invited elsewhere, I always ask what I can bring. And it’s generally in a bag or a bowl. :) Other than that, if it’s around Christmas, they may get some of our favorite homemade cookies on a vintage plate. I have pretty simple tastes and my friends tend to be the same. I guess that’s why we’re friends. :)
Diane: If you were the First Lady of The United States or in your case, Canada, what would be your cause?
Donna: I’d love to see single women being educated in all things home repair. Working with tools, building things, repairing what needs to be fixed. We are capable of anything! However it’s difficult for single MOMS in particular. We’re home busy caring for our children. A center that teaches women with daycare attached? That works for me.
What do you know now, that you wished you knew when you were younger?
“What’s the rush?”
What is it about collecting junk and turning it into decorative items that appeals to you? Is there ever a discarded item that you’ll say “no” to?
It’s all about creativity. If you handed me a pillow case and asked me to make up a bed, I’d yawn. Hand me a pile of grain sacks or vintage postal bags and not only would you get a bed made, you may get a new quilt out of it! It’s all about the challenge to make something cool where no one has gone before. I will say no to rickety, dated or compressed wood pieces. But if it’s got great lines, it’s sturdy and solid wood, it’s mine!
If you had a fairy godmother what would you wish for?
The selfish me wishes for that little cabin in front of a lake. My mind is generally so busy that I strive for solitude at times and water gives me peace.
The compassionate me wishes that every person that went to work disliking their job would start believing in themselves and chose to fill her world with her passions instead.
What is the one thing you never do around your house?
Chop firewood. But that’s only because I can’t. :) If I’m physically capable of doing something, there’s no excuse not to.
Is Dan your man? Or just the best helper buddy a DIY girl could ever ask for?
Dan and his wife live in the same town we do. Not only are they our friends, I also help him out when an extra set of hands is needed for his business. Dan’s an artist so we get each other. He’s also a wonderful mentor and motivator for anyone around him. So if I’m in his vicinity, I’m also the fortunate recipient of his good advice and helpful demeanor. And it goes both ways. I’m there in a flash if needed as well. That’s just what friends do for each other.
You seem so good with the tech side of blogging – all the HTML gobbily gook. I was recently amazed to see how you created a page with visual links to some of your more popular projects – with a Mcklinky. How clever. Have you learned the technical aspects of a blogging as you go or do you read up on it?
Everything I know, I’ve learned on my own from late night reading. Google is your best friend for most anything. :) But more than just reading, one needs to do it to really get it. Rather than hesitate and ask around, I’d rather hack at it and figure it out.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Injury free. Definitely! An achy back doesn’t sit well with my metabolism. I love to do way more than I should and wish I had the health to dig ditches again. I mean, if I wanted to. :)
What is your most treasured possession?
If we’re talking people, that would be my son. If trinkets. my computer, camera and tools are all equally vital for where I’m headed. You take one of those away, part of me would die. :)
What does personal style mean to you?
Something that is YOU, through and through. You don’t worry about being like someone; you just work on what YOU love. I like to see what others can create without looking at the catalogues first. To see what they can conjure up all on their own.
What advice do you have for your readers on how to find their personal style?
Pick out an object you LOVE and study it. Then work around that given object with other things you love. In no time, you’ll have built surroundings that you will adore. And really, that’s all that matters.
Now it is time for some fun fill in the blank questions.
I find____________the most challenging thing about blogging.
Time management. Big time! It’s just that when passion takes over, the clock simply stops ticking.:)
After reading the book ____________, it changed my life.
A book didn’t change my life. A group of people that knocked on my door one day and didn’t leave for nearly 2 years did. The group that helped renovate my broken home changed my faith in people and God. It was the most amazing experience ever.
Quote I like to live by is…
“How can you not love your surroundings when you surround yourself with all the things you love?” ~ me
The best ideas come to me at unexpected moments, like when I am…
doing anything and everything. I think and dream all the time. My mind never stops.
My most fabulous recent discovery is… that my faith is guiding me to a good place.
I kick start my day with… freshly brewed coffee. Without fail!
The best advice I ever received was… ‘Just do it.’
The one tool I can’t live without is… my Makita cordless drill. EVER.
You will never find me wearing… a bikini!
If you turned on my car radio right now it would be tuned to… my son’s favorite radio station. I think it’s called The Beat. It’s pretty up beat for certain!
A little known fact about me is… I don’t really enjoy cooking. It cuts into my creative time. :)
I am really proud of the fact that… in the last 5 years, I learned how to tow a travel trailer, work with tools, figure out how to be a single parent, write a blog, work a mac and software with no manuals, and much much more. The moral here? Self sufficiency mixed with passion is a wonderful place to be!
It is my hope that getting to know a little bit more about Donna will help you think about what makes you unique.
How can you consistently communicate who you are in all that you do – from the way you dress to how you decorate your home. What inspires you? What attracts you? What do you love? Is it a certain color, a passion for anything shiny, books, a certain era, nature?
Living with personal style is about trusting your gut instinct. It is about confidence and being sure of who you are, how you want to live and going for it in the face of the influences of your peers and the media. We don’t trust our instincts enough and never evolve into the style we are supposed to evolve to – we worry about what someone will think, or how someone else is going to perceive us. Go with your instincts, don’t question them – don’t look back. You will learn they are ever present to lead you to live confidently with authenticity.
Living with personal style removes any possibility that you should do things in any other way.
Personal style begins with YOU.