It all started with a drill

It all started with a drill - on giving yourself permission to say yes, via Funky Junk Interiors

 3 short years ago, I lived in a house made of tumbling bricks. Meaning, the place was falling apart. I didn’t know how to fix anything on my own, because I never had experience in doing so.

 And then I picked up a drill. It was a blue Makita cordless drill with a cute little LED light. It fit my hand like a glove, and I fell in love.

Once I grabbed hold of that first power tool and a mentor that had faith in me, I set about getting familiar with tearing things apart, and building them back up again. It was like a massive impossible metal door had just unlatched, and the more I did, the wider that door opened.

I learned how to do some welding and helped to weld the base of a parade float.

I learned how to work with tools and helped to build several large props for a mini golf.

I learned that my ideas were encouraged and worth hearing.

then…

 I learned how to say yes to an amazing group of people that wanted to help me.

I saved and learned what tools to buy so I didn’t have to keep borrowing others.

I learned to build some of the ideas that resided in my head, with tools and wood and everything.

I learned it was ok to upgrade your computer after 3 borrowed craptastic laptops. Because you’re worth it.

I learned that it was ok to loosen the death grip I had on new blog earnings (the fear of poverty runs deep) to buy my first SLR camera.

I learned to start taking better pictures by spending the time, fighting the battles from having no idea what I was doing to being stunned when something actually worked.

I learned it was ok to have a different decorating style than I’d ever seen out there.

I even learned I’d get sought out for certain opportunities because of it!

I said yes to opportunities to write.

I said yes to opportunities to fly and meet up with those that supported and followed my journey.

Know what? I’m glad I was broke and was absolutely FORCED to push my creativity. Otherwise Funky Junk Interiors would never have happened.

Funky Junk Interiors at Bella Rustica

These days I’m 50 years young (sorry, it’s not my birthday, I have edited to reflect that!) and basically have this new life. I now look at a project and have the confidence to know I could make it if I really wanted to. I could photograph it and maybe even get it published somewhere. And whatever I do, buy, go or try, it all has to do with what some may deem as work. Wow. Dream talk! How did all that happen?

It all started with a drill. 

And permission from myself to say YES.

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  1. Hi, Donna

    Your a blessings and I’m so happy for all your sucess. You inspire and so grateful for you always reminding me to not be afraid.
    Hugs,
    Vanessa

  2. Happy 50th Donna!
    Wow how far you came in living your dreams in just 3 short years, very inspirational indeed!
    Wish I was as far as you are already since my 50th is waiting for me in only 14 days *EEK* and it looks like I’ll will lose my job of 27 years this year (due to the bad economy here in Europe) and I so want to have the guts to follow my dreams without the fear of poverty too.
    Have a fabtastic day and new year of life!
    Carola

  3. Happy 50th Donna ~ I loved your story and am going to save it and print it out so that I can be encouraged by it as I start this next phase of my life. You are an amazing woman and I love reading your posts. You have come a long way in 3 short years.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady Lorraine

  4. Happy 50th Donna! Thank you for being the wonderful, inspiring you that you are, and for the encouragement that you offer up so freely. Have a very blessed day!
    Darlene

  5. So inspiring! I think we all have it within ourselves to pick up that drill, and your story is a perfect example. Thanks for all that you share!

    Kathy

    P.S. Have a fantastic day!

  6. You’re 50!?!

    You make 50 look so great and EASY! I’ll be 50 in a couple of years. I hope I ease into it has gracefully as you have.
    Love reading your posts–you share your honest heart. Blessings, Donna!
    Pat

  7. Happiest of birthdays to you! Congratulations on your new vision for your life :) If you lived in NY I’d bake you a cake for your birthday!

    Kisha

  8. Happy Birthday, Donna! Your blog is the first blog I subscribed to. I had set up a Pinterest account and saw your post of what could be made with wood pallets. I needed a sofa for my porch. From there, I added your blog. You are an inspiration to all of us in your determination of “can do” and plain grit. So very glad to see you writing your story. Keep on keeping on….fulfil those dreams.

    Take care.
    Emily

  9. Happy Birthday! I too had a great 50th birthday a couple of years ago — I realized that at 50 nothing much scared me anymore. As long as my kids and I were healthy we could tackle anything. I have been wanting to tackle more projects –thanks for the inspiration to just jump in and try. cdsmith322 at aol dot com

  10. What a GREAT post. I think this post reminds everyone that in just a short period of time we can achieve more than we ever dreamed possible! Even though I don’t post a comment often, if ever, I LOVE your blog. Have a wonderful Birthday!

  11. Love the story; and you’re right – it is primarily important to give yourself permission first!

    I’m headed out on a limb, myself, this spring. I’m going to refer to your post often.

    Here is to the next adventure!

  12. The thing I love most about you and your story is that you didn’t let fear stop you. I know it was there but you took the next step past it, then the next and the next. And now, 3 years later, here you are! Meeting you in Sept was one of the highs of 2012 for me. I’m so glad that our paths have crossed and a bond formed. Here’s wishing that your birthday wishes come true, Donna! You are loved!

  13. Welcome to the Fabulous Fifties, Donna ! It really is a good decade. Have a very lovely Birthday Day, Birthday Week, and Birthday Month ! Stretch it out !

  14. Happy Birthday,Donna ,though at only 50 you’re still a kid! The best thing about my husband going to Afghanistan was it forced me to learn about tools. What fun! What power! Each time my daughter and i accomplished something new we gave a high five and said ‘girl power’! It is empowering and my husband was so proud of ME when he came home! Your blog was one of my first-thanks for the lessons and encouragement.

  15. Happy birthday Donna! Trust me when I say, 50 is the new 30!!! I feel more alive and creative at 55 than ever in my life! And by the way, I still say, your style could live in the heart of Texas. Until I read your blog, I thought you lived in the Hill Country near Austin. Thanks for writing and sharing your life and creations. Really, have a very happy birthday!

  16. Donna,
    Thanks so much for all your inspiration (it has really been a blessing to this old gal). Hope you have an awesome week.

    Blessings,
    Linda

    P.S. If you have time, stop by and enter my MMS milk paint GIVEAWAY:)

  17. You inspire me. That is exactly how I felt this past year when I began writing. I never ever thought I would publish my books. Now a whole series of four ebooks is on Amazon. I am on my second series and I love this new chapter in my life. http://amzn.to/SuRAN0

  18. Seems like we get our second or even third wind at the age of 50. I will be 50 next year, ssshhh, I didnt just say that… I also have started following my dreams by refinishing furniture, bringing old things back to life and making it people sit up and take notice. Almost like ourselves.. everyone wants to be noticed. Good luck with adventures. You have a fan in me :) <3 Grannie

  19. I found your story online last year and have been following you ever since. I love your writing style and enjoy reading about how you have made a comfy home for you and your son out of throw away wood and rusty junk. Even though it’s not my style (I’m more cottage)you are so talented and I love seeing the new things you come up with.

  20. And how grateful we are that you got that first drill into your hands! Being poor stinks. Really hard trials in life really stink. The trick is to do just what you did, learn from it, see what you can do to rebuild and then share your love and your new gifts with others. So fun to get the recap.

  21. I’m so inspired by you Donna, and am so grateful to be able to call you a friend. You are the true definition of success from perseverance and I couldn’t be more proud of you for that. I am so glad that you picked up that drill. You have changed a lot of lives with your testimony and individuality.

  22. What an awesome story. reminds me that even though we are at the bottom now, we can be at the top.. or at least a much higher space.. and sometimes it does take having no other options to make something our OPTION and focus

  23. Donna, I sat this morning a read “Your Story” with tissues and a cup of coffee (glad you suggested them!) it read like a book and I couldn’t stop. God certainly does have a plan for each and everyone of us and your story proves that. I’m enjoying my 50’s, but I think I’m going to try some new things (welding, chop saw)I got a new air compessor for Christmas! Thanks for sharing and the inspiration!

    Blessings,
    June G

  24. I thought I was being creative..Damn, I’m getting myself a drill!!..And I’m 57 yrs. young..

    Karen from Buffalo

  25. Love it! I got my first Makita many moons ago and I still have it. I love its size and it empowers me too Donna. I bought one for my window treatment business way back when. I learned to do all my own installations. There is nothing I think I can’t do these days. YOU were my inspiration~our styles so different but seeing what you were doing in blogland just made me want to try. Thank you so much for those early communications when I would pick your brain!! YOu deserve all great things…you ain’t seen nothing yet.

  26. And the really great thing is how it just blossomed from there. It appears with each new thing you try or discover you are ready to go out and try the next great thing. And we all benefit from that!

  27. I am so proud of you! You are an inspiration to so many, and an excellent role model. I, too, learned to use power tools because it was either do it myself, or it wouldn’t get done, and I wouldn’t trade the learning for anything. I know it is not your birthday, but I want to say Happy Birthday anyway. Not for the observation of the day of your birth, but for all you have become since then. And, especially, for the fact that you know what you have accomplished. You go, girl, you are one special lady!!!

  28. Wow, everyone, thank-you so much! I haven’t been able to keep up to the emails, so sorry. Just please know how very much your words have touched me.

    But I’m turning the focus back on you. This message was meant to hit you in all the right places because all it takes is a little confidence in yourself. You’re next! :)

  29. Excellent! So very pleased for you. I have always wanted to build and work with power tools and have yet really picked one up save for a mouse sander! Some day!

  30. I have to say that is quite inspiring. Also, i found your post “The 5 boring steps to exciting success! – journal 2″ quite encouraging and invigorating. You are not only giving tips on how to renovate house and reuse thing, but also seeding positive energy in people’s minds.

  31. What I love most about your amazing story is the love story. Your community and church showed their love for you and you accepted that love. There were a lot of tears, pain and hard work too, but mostly love. Just beautiful.

    ~Lisa in NC

  32. Hi Donna.
    I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the words you took the time to write today.
    I, too, am 50 something and am trying to start my life over with, what seems like, much of nothing (I have no talent and no tools).
    I lost a great job 5 years ago through company downsizing. At the time, I thought I was being smart. We had a years notice so I decided I would get a license to sell real estate and I would be all set for a new career. Might know it, only a few months before our office doors closed, the real estate market blew up in my face. I spent the last 5 years struggling with a terrible housing market, snotty lawyers, impossible lending institutions, stubborn sellers, and rude buyers. My blood pressure just couldn’t take it any more so, in March of last year, I turned in my license (that I worked so hard to earn) and walked away from real estate. I literally stood in the middle of my living room, looked around a cried. For hours, I just cried. I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. I felt like such a failure.
    One afternoon a few weeks later, I found myself scrolling through Pintrest and I came across so many cool pictures of repainted this and rebuilt that. Blogs filled with tutorials and so many great ideas. It wasn’t until I started reading the stories of the wonderful women behind these beautifully illustrated pictures that I started to realize that I was just like them (except they were young and talented and I felt so old and … well, no talent).
    I needed something to do that would help me feel like I had a purpose. I needed a reason to get out of bed in the morning. An old chair that my mother-in-law was throwing out was my first victim. I figured if I destroyed it, I wasn’t out anything but my time. I took the seat off, stripped away the padding, used my husbands big clunky old drill armed with bits for cutting holes, and proceeded to cut out a bunch of little holes until I had a huge hole in the middle of the seat. I screwed the seat back to the chair, painted the whole thing in bright, happy yellows, plopped a big pot of red geraniums in the middle of that seat, and gave my new planter to my mother for Mother’s day. It came out so pretty. Mom loved it, and she got so many compliments on it, and I was hooked. I now have a small booth in a local shop where I sell the odd and end furniture I’ve repainted and rebuilt and, although I’m not yet able to make a living out of doing it, I’m much happier. I’m looking forward to building up my own set of tools and you can bet a drill (and possibly a scroll saw) will be the first on my list.
    Thank you again for being such an inspiration.
    P.S….one of your pallet makeovers was the first cool picture I came across on Pintrest. Thank you!

  33. Oh my gosh Donna, your story sounds like mine. I know that breathless, tired feeling. I’m so glad you’re on your way to new and wonderful things and I love your brilliant junk. I do a lot of things with brilliant junk, like make myself a fire place guard out of old iron railings. Welding is not that hard after all. Although at first I made splattered spiders…lol! They were great splattered spiders though.
    Linked thru Folk.

  34. Donna, I truly think that you are one of the most inspirational women I know!! I love everything that you do and create… But I love your story even more!! Thank you for sharing with us daily. Thank you for using your gifts and talents to encourage everyone that comes across your path and journey!! You truly glorify Him in all that you do!! So humble, so genuine, so real, and so inspirational!!
    ~Lori

  35. You inspire me. You have inspired me all along, even though I don’t comment often enough. You have inspired me so many times with creative projects and today you inspire my heart with your words. Thank you – you have no idea how timely they are to me! I’m so very happy that doing your thing has brought so much positivity and success your way!!

  36. What an amazing journal entry. You have accomplished so much and learned the most important lesson of all…..that you can do ANYTHING! The sky is the limit!

    You are such a rock star!
    karianne

  37. Thanks for the inspiration! Just what I needed to help me push forward. I am a little (like about 10 yrs) older, but hey, still have a lot of life left to pursue what I want to do and get done. 50?. Are you sure? lol. Wish I would have looked as good as you when I was 30!!