Landing in SignCraft Magazine through a passionate loophole

Landing in SignCraft Magazine through a passionate loophole - a story on how passion won the race via Funky Junk Interiors

I’ve been in the sign industry for approx 20 years now. And one thing I never even ATTEMPTED was to be in a popular sign magazine that everyone but EVERYONE in my trade collects.

This mag is called SignCraft. And it’s a big deal in my sign world. Let me fill you in why I felt I never had a chance to be in this publication.

My “I think I can” career.

I was an independent type. Right after high school I bolted for the back door from home with my mom’s borrowed pots and pans wanting to make a life of my own.

I had just landed a full time job at a major department store which was a BIG KAHUNA deal in those days. So I knew I would swing the rent and started making my own path. I knew I could do it if I worked hard. No doubt entered my mind.

I remember this day clear as ever. The first night I was in my apartment, I went all out. I made a wonderfully massive meal of meatballs and all the fixin’s and smiled, thinking to myself, “I never wanted to do this at home and here I am in my own kitchen doing it. THIS IS COOL!”

The department store paid great! I was raking in the dough. After payday I’d walk through the store at the end of my day and knew I could buy this or that with my money IF I wanted to. But nope! I was into SAVING now. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was fun for awhile. But then the store started shuffling, tossing me all over the place. I was in ladies wear, children’s wear, men’s wear, shoes (which I HATED except for the decadent leather smell in the stockroom) and luggage of all things. (eyes roll here)

I wasn’t loving it any longer, but it paid well, remember? 

The best days I had were when I spent time in ladie’s wear. I’d display the clothes on the floor in a way to guide your eye towards the back walls. You did this with color. 

But my very best days of all were when the store had warehouse sales. We could wear jeans that day and hand draw the signs. I’d make splashy graphics on all the tags and had a BLAST.

Well, it was a good thing I was saving all those coins because that full time job didn’t last forever. I was put down to part time.  Store restructuring. I was DEVASTATED. 

But I knew I could make it so I started selling Mary Kay Cosmetics on the side.

I did REALLY well. My parties were only suppose to be approx 8 people and I always booked in about 20. ๐Ÿ™‚

And then I got rear ended.

I was off work for about a year, battling with lawyers. I fought every day I was suppose to be healing but that’s the way that game is played.

When it was time to come back to work, I wasn’t doing all that well. My injuries played a big part in taking it easy, so I stayed on part time and did the best I could. 

But there was something funky going on with that store and they weren’t saying much. I had a bad feeling it was going under, so I started looking for other work. But this time it wasn’t about the money. I wanted to be happy.

Dare I look into a sign shop?!? I told myself why the heck not, and did it not knowing squat about the profession.

I took a drastic pay cut and went to work for my first sign shop. I hadn’t even touched a computer before but they taught me the basics I lit up like a Christmas tree and proved to be a real go getter.

And the department store? It went under.

And then the sign shop let me go. Without me understanding why.

But no matter. I was determined to find something else right away. And did. I landed working in another sign environment that same weekend, but this time on vehicles. 

With very little training, I was sent on the road to stripe vehicles. I worked on commission so if I worked hard, I earned. So I sorda taught myself and became pretty fluent at it. And did really well.

And then they let me go.

It was a small family run company and I really think they just wanted it to remain so.  I chose to walk away and resolved to rethink my chosen career path. Sheesh.. maybe I couldn’t do this after all.

And then I saw an ad in the paper. It was for a graphics class for half a year. Really?!? Well, I can do this! I mean, who’d fire me from school? ๐Ÿ™‚ I signed up and got in while drawing in unemployment. I bit the bullet and purchased my own sign equipment and learned by day and practiced at night. I read every manual I could get from the library and eventually surpassed the sign class. I ended up teaching the class what I learned myself at night.

Landing in SignCraft Magazine through a passionate loophole - a story on how passion won the race via Funky Junk Interiors

One day I remember the instructor holding up SignCraft which I had heard of. I glanced through those glossy pages and felt, “Wow…  that’s quite something to be that good!” But I told myself I could do this.

Remember that commission job I had previous? I visited each client and won them over. It wasn’t hard. They were frustrated I just vanished and were told I quit. No matter. They became my new clientele. I also pounded pavement for only 3 months and then the return work followed. (and I’ve never looked back) 

My biz led to eventually me teaching at the college that taught me, plus a storefront and employee. It grew so quickly I remember my accountant’s eyes when he saw the numbers. It gave me a feeling I’ll never forget.

I eventually did some travelling, meeting up with a group of great sign folks just like myself. I became part of their fray and made a lot of life long friends. And most of those friends landed in Signcraft.  I really was among incredibly talented people! And I remember thinking there was no way I could ever rank high enough to land in that magazine.

Know, lots more water went under the bridge at this point and others, however the most vital is when my marriage ended and I had to move with young son in tow. I was scared we wouldn’t make it. My total focus became about my son and his well being.

To my astonishment, the phone kept ringing.  Work kept coming. I did what I needed to in order to survive but being a single parent was a big responsibility I took seriously. So I didn’t try and win awards or anything. I just did my work so I could parent my boy.

Then the big year long renovation happened to the house. After that was complete, I started playing with decorating and fired up Funky Junk.

It was then I started to work part time for friend Dan.  Dan is in SignCraft every month so it was rather fascinating to watch over the process of writing and photography and so forth.

While Funky Junk grew, so did my confidence. Dan taught me how to work with tools and I learned to play with my camera and honed my writing skills to the point where Dan noticed all the sign related things I was making, and encouraged me to submit to SignCraft. 

I laughed and put it off for a good long time. But I started getting in other magazines at this point. So all I could do was try right? 

What they hey… I think I can…

And did I?

Landing in Signcraft Magazine /

YES I DID!!! I landed in the July/August edition. But not really as a true blue signmaker.

I got in as a signmaker that used signs to decorate her home. ๐Ÿ™‚ The passionate loophole that created the “I know I can” magic.

Landing in Signcraft Magazine /

Landing in Signcraft Magazine /

To read the article, you can view the actual magazine PDF HERE.

Landing in SignCraft Magazine through a passionate loophole - a story on how passion won the race via Funky Junk Interiors

And not only did Tom give me a two page spread, they also featured an online tutorial of my Grocery sign. 

With a place to comment… ohhhh.. VERY blog like indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

So how do I REALLY feel about this major feat?

Landing in SignCraft Magazine through a passionate loophole - a story on how passion won the race via Funky Junk Interiors

No pride here. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s a total honor and privilege to be among such talented signmakers in SignCraft! Thanks Tom! 


You think you ‘can’t?’  I challenge you to think differently. 

I mean, how much more proof do you need?

– – – – –

When Tom from Signcraft visited my house... story on
But the story doesn’t end there…

Read Part 2 – When Signcraft came to visit my house…

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102 thoughts on “Landing in SignCraft Magazine through a passionate loophole

  1. Congratulations!!! And it’s not a loophole, it’s a sign! *pun intended* lol…when someone is as good as you are, “someones” like me want to see it, and magazines like Signcraft know they must show it!
    It’s all about inspiration! Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Great Job! I am proud of you. God has brought you so far through a lot of hard times and His schooling. You have done well! God bless you in all you do for Him and His glory!

  3. Hello Donna,
    Congratulations! You should be very proud to be published in Sign Craft magazine. I am second generation in the sign business and owed my own sign shop for over 16 years. For the last 10 years I have been working in the graphic design and loving it. Your work is Fabulous; you go girl. Thanks for sharing.
    Smiles, Paula

  4. Whenever something crappy happens, there’s always something better waiting around the next corner. That’s been my philosophy for the last three years and the more I say it to myself, the more it happens (and the crappy stuff isn’t happening as much anymore either!!).

    Congratulations Donna, you so deserve it!

  5. congratulations! I know it is a thrill to get into other publications but to make it into the one you admire so much is a real accomplishment.
    I also think it is no loophole, just a different perspective. You are inspiring others to think off the wall.

  6. Yay! Donna, I’m so proud of you.I love this story and your post. It has made my day! My week. I am so thrilled to read from start to finish your wonderful story. Navigating through rough waters….wow…so glad you took the time to tell all this. I agree with the poster above me…no loophole…just a different and wonderful perspective!

  7. So encouraging. Brings to mind the scripture from Phillipians…” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Thanks for the reminder of that promise.

  8. Congrats! It is so inspiring to see someone work so hard and be validated in such a way. Bloggers like you are such an inspiration and motivation to try things I have always been too afraid of failure to try. Thank you !

  9. Congratulations Donna – both on getting into the magazine and on going on that life-journey to get there. It’s an inspiring story and thank you for sharing it (and, although I don’t consider it an acceptable or even rational reason for firing someone I can totally see why that woman was intimidated by your looks! I will now aspire to be canned for being too attractive – keep your fingers crossed for me)

  10. Oh Donna, what a wonderful and inspirational story to start my day! You really should be so proud of yourself, and I’m sure your son’s proud of you too. You are setting such a good example for him. No matter how rough the road, it’s believing in yourself that makes you an all-terrain vehicle to take you anywhere you wanna go. You truly are the little engine that could!

    I paint home interiors (roller, faux, and murals), and according to my clients, I’ve gotten quite good at it. All of it through trial and error, along with lots of research online. Never thought I’d be getting paid for it, but when that first client hired me, I thought to myself, “I’ve never done that before, but let’s do it!”. Every time there’s a new challenge, I repeat that line. Thank you for continuing to remind me of the power of self-belief!

  11. Congratulations. Such a great story and I so enjoyed reading it this fine HOT summery day in Arizona. Keep up the good work and always remember… can! Have a great day.

  12. Congratulations Donna I am so proud of you… hooray for you.

    Good things come to good people. You have worked hard and deserve every bit of glory. Keep on truckin my friend. I have a really good feeling this is just the beginning of a wonderful new adventure.

    Hugs, Deb

  13. A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to you Donna! You deserve it and more! I have been a fan of your painted sign stairs for so long now….just thinking what I could do with my wood ones! Hey…..what did you ever buy with your giveaway win over at Jeanne Oliver Designs???

  14. Congratulations!!!!! That is so awesome. I can relate a bit because of things happening with my profession…except they in no way involve my blog. The two things just don’t connect as fabulously as yours did. Way to go!!!!!

  15. oh donna you are such an inspiration to all of us. i dont need a 2nd job now but when i retire i want to do some junkie decor stuff. i turned sexy 60 yesterday and my husband is going to get me a nikon 5000. store was out of stock so should come in on fri. next is camera classes. i went to all my fav blogs and wrote down all the cameras they know blogs are not just decor they are about life as well ;). you have a wonderful spirit. love ya girl

  16. Wow! Congrats! It’s so great to read this right now. I just (like a few mins ago) committed to having my art featured on a prominent website and I keep going back and forth between the tears welling up and trying not to throw up!

    Congrats! I so love seeing your success and am encouraged by knowing you’re working hard to acheive it and I’m not the only one who has to try so hard to make it happen ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing your pursuit.

  17. Donna, I want to leave my comment first, and then I will read the others. I am so cotton-pickin’ proud of you, I could just burst at the seams!! Congratulations on everything you have accomplished. Linda S. in NE

  18. You finally kicked your train in its little caboose and did it. It all starts with an “I think I can!” said like the little engine that could. I am so happy for you. If only they could see you now. Their green envy turned into green cash for you and it has just kept going. Way to go! Now you get the last laugh on them.

  19. You ARE very good at what you do, sign-wise as well as decorator-wise!! Congratulations!!

    I did what you have done, only on a much smaller scale, by having had projects published in a national scrapbook magazine. There was no two-page spread with article, but a huge deal for me none-the-less, since it’s taken me 3 years to get published. So, I can imagine the ginormous elation you must be feeling about the Signcraft magazine article!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    P.S. Some of your work (& life) history sounds quite similar to some of my own too.

  20. Donna, I am so, so, SO happy for you!!! The spread is fantastic (with the very stairs drew me into becoming a fan of yours, btw).

    Thank you, too, for sharing your story. I’ve gone through lots of hard times (financial & more), and have been feeling a bit in the dumps this week – going through more difficult times again, sigh.

    Reading your story is inspiring me – I know I have to figure out a way to pick myself up by my bootstraps – and get going!

    Big <<<>>> to you, Donna!!

  21. In Texas we have an expression for exuberent joy…”yeeeeehaw” and if your an Aggie from A&M right here in Texas you say “whoooop” when your excited and if you ever wondered just how amazingly creative you are…Jeff Foxworthy(comedian) would say “here’s your sign?”

    This is just so stink’n cool!!!!

  22. That is awesome- CONGRATULATIONS!
    Whenever I hear, (or even think to myself!) “you can’t”- hell or high water, I’m going to do it with gusto! Go big or go home!
    Kerry at

  23. Congratulations on a well deserved recognition. Your story is so uplifting and real. It is so wonderful to see your talent truly recognized in a professional way. Continued success in all you do. Big Hugs to you!

  24. congrats! that’s such exciting news, especially with all your hard work and dedication! it’s funny – my summer job while in graphic design school was at a sign shop and it included applying graphics to vehicles too – fun until I had to work on a new garbage truck and I felt like I was hanging like a monkey ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Congratulations! Just found you this week and am enjoying your blog. Keep up the great work. Continue to enjoy and share your passion. You are a treasure – so happy to have found your inspiring story.

  26. Congrats!!! I’ve enjoyed your blog for quite some time. Now others can find out about you and your work in a major publication. Yeah for you.

  27. You SO deserve this recognition, Donna! I hope you know how many of us out here are continually inspired by your gift of sign making! Kudos! Congrats! and BIG HUGS to you, girlie! ๐Ÿ™‚

    xoxo laurie

  28. Hi Donna, I’ve read some of your inspiring posts over the past few months. Nothing sugar coated, hard working, real life, reap what you sow, genuine…and with an original style.
    Thank you for hosting the party. I linked up the best homemade vanilla extract to make now, for holiday giving.

  29. You have such a great story Donna! Congrats on all of your amazing accomplishments. I chose your blog to read with my coffee today and appreciate you sharing all of these really important tips with us. xoxo

  30. I love this post…not sure how I missed it before!
    Our paths are so similar, it’s kinda eerie!
    Congrats on the Signcraft spread, that is the coolest!!

  31. I really enjoyed reading your story. You see you never go to work a day in your life! Keep signing and decorating your home and posting it so we fellow funky junkers can be inspired!

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