Visionary crafter Donna Williams turns old trash into new treasures.
Where someone else might see a rusty sign or wood scraps, Donna Williams sees amazing design potential. We chatted with Donna about her blog, Funky Junk Interiors, (www.funkyjunkinteriors.net) and how she uses her creative eye to turn abandoned trash into gorgeous treasure.
CW: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started with creative crafting, like upcycling and DIY home décor?
Donna: Collecting junk became a hobby of mine out of necessity. After renovations on my home were complete, I didn’t have any leftover finances for decorating. So, I started curbside diving in order to find unique elements and objects I could transform. My first find was an old grocery sign and within two days I had a new headboard! I knew I was onto something and kept going.
CW: What changes has your blog undergone since you started?
Donna: As I’ve progressed with my projects, both my photography and building skills improved. I’m still in complete awe that I’m taking photos with an SLR camera and that I can build something without it tumbling down! Both of these accomplishments weren’t easy to develop and took an incredible amount of head-banging frustration, but I kept trying.
CW: What kind of relationship do you have with your readers and what are some of your most popular projects?
Donna: I actually feel very close to my readers. I’m an avid Facebook user and find the back and forth chatting really creates the most amazing community. Their loyal support is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed.
My goal has always been to encourage. Those without funds can have a beautiful home and those without carpentry skills can build and create. So my blogging mantra continues to be easy projects anyone can pull off that are ultra affordable. One of my most popular posts is my Painted Wooden Crate Stairs project. Usually anything with reclaimed lumber or old signs is a reader favorite.
CW: How do you balance blogging and family life?
Donna: Balancing everything continues to be a challenge, but being self-employed with my own sign company for the past 20 years has allowed me some flexibility. Blogging and the opportunities that come with it are slowly taking over.
The best way I’ve found to balance it all is to set time limits on my various projects, so I can at least make a little progress on everything without leaving some things high and dry. Keeping and following to-do lists is also key. (Now I just need to follow my own advice!)
CW: What are some of the best places you’d suggest for finding funky junk that can be recycled into unique home décor?
Donna: My favorite place to shop for junk is either the curb or thrift stores. I look for relics that are practically free so they remain affordable and a challenge to make amazing. I tend to go after stuff no one else wants, which is fine by me!
CW: How do you decide what a piece of rusty junk can be turned into–its potential? Where does your inspiration come from?
Donna: When I get a new piece, I’ll walk through the house with it, and literally, anything goes! Anything can be anything. I’ll hold up the piece and dream of what it could be and do. While I adore browsing other fabulous blogs and Pinterest for inspiration, my main source of ideas comes from going offline and developing my own inventions. I always strive to create something I haven’t seen done before. I’m passionate about being original.
CW: What has been your biggest trash to treasure challenge to date?
Donna: When I wanted a rustic outdoor sofa rather than something all the big box stores offered up, I decided to build my own. (And I figured if I could pull that off, I could do most anything.) So my Pallet Outdoor Sofa was born out of pallet wood and cedar planks given to me by a neighbor. Even though I’m not a very experienced builder, my sofa went on to win a Canada-wide upcycle challenge. I was so thrilled to win a cordless drill, particularly because building the pallet sofa burnt out my last one!
Check out Donna’s craft tutorials for a DIY Antiqued Painted Sign and Vintage Drop Cloth Curtains. For more information about Donna and her blog, visit her at Funky Junk Interiors. Craft photography by Donna Williams.