September 12, 2012

What should I do with a blank wall in my office?

Filed under: Creativity,Workspace — lidia @ 10:00 am

Those of you that follow me on Pinterest may have seen my board “Blank wall in my office.” I’ve been collecting inspiration for, you guessed it, a blank wall in my office.

I know I could fill it with framed artwork, but I also want to make it functional. I find it useful to post designs-in-progress, so that’s one of my goals for the blank wall.

My criteria for the blank wall:

  1. Something I will enjoy looking at daily
  2. Ample room to post design work-in-progress
  3. A place to display finished project samples
  4. An area to collect ever-changing creative inspiration (i.e. a real-life Pinterest)
  5. Hanging methods that don’t damage the walls

So far, here are some nice ideas I’ve come across:

(all of which I think could be achieved with Command Strips/Hooks)

Clothesline and hangers | via Oh Joy Studio

Clipboards | via decor8 blog

Drapery wire and clips | via shelterness

What would you do/have you done with a blank wall in your office?

If you have a related board on Pinterest, share your link!

June 22, 2012

Shopping for creative inspiration (literally)

Filed under: Creativity,Workspace — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 3:29 pm

Latte cups, Hello Kitty candy...and magazines!

Yesterday, I went to Anthropologie on Southport Ave. in Lakeview in search of a magazine (Anthology). I ended up leaving with issues of Anthology and Uppercase Magazine (my two new favorite magazines, thank you)—plus a whole bunch of creative inspiration.

After inevitably trying on clothes, I found myself browsing—and becoming inspired by—the books, magazines and other lovely finds scattered throughout the store.

A few inspirational finds:

Because we had kids in tow, a stop at Candyality was a must. That’s where I saw a fabulous mini takeout box tin of Hello Kitty Fortune Candy. (again, would love to use in my office)

So, what’s my point (besides the fact that I like to shop)? Sometimes you have to go shopping for inspiration. Get out of your usual routine and keep an open mind. You may not find the perfect dress, but what you do find might be even better…

Anyone else find creative inspiration in retail spaces?

May 8, 2012

Lidia Varesco Design’s new studio: sneak peek

Filed under: Workspace — lidia @ 10:00 am

from left: paper swatchbook cabinet, The Boss on moving day, creative inspiration

I recently got kicked out of my home office. By my infant son, that is. Little One needed a room of his own, so I had to look for a new workspace. After working from home for 11+ years, renting an office had been a goal, so it was the perfect opportunity.

My new office is located in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago, just steps away from parks and coffee shops—an important feature for a creative who needs fresh air (and caffeine) to recharge and generate new ideas. The building is small, but has plenty of networking opportunities. (in fact, I already have a few potential projects…)

After I moved in, I worked with my good friend, professional organizer Elizabeth Lulu Miranda of Mercury Organizing Solutions to create organizing solutions for my office. She suggested filing away office supplies and paperwork not needed on a daily basis and keeping inspirational items (books, magazines, artwork) out in the open. See my bookshelf filled with creative goodies above. Stay tuned for a blog post elaborating on the organizing solutions!

Are you considering renting a workspace outside the home? Read my post on the Creative Freelancer Blog about making the jump to an office.

 

June 20, 2011

Put your dog to work

Filed under: Small Business,Workspace — Tags: , , — lidia @ 11:00 am

It's time to take a break!

Why should kids be the only ones who get a chance to peek into Mom & Dad’s workplace?

Mark your calendars: Friday, June 24 is Take Your Dog to Work Day!

In my case, I’m lucky to have Essie in the office regularly. Essie is a great office-mate. She doesn’t complain much. She’s a great stress-reliever and walking partner. Plus, I don’t even have to pay her (well, maybe in kibble). She also keeps me from hunching over my keyboard for hours on end. How can you resist a furry paw on your arm, begging you to go out? Now if only I could train her to fetch me a cup of coffee.

See Essie “hard at work” in the Take Your Dog to Work Day Photo Gallery.

Are you planning to take your dog to the office on Take Your Dog to Work Day?

Does your dog work with you full-time? Share in the comments!

February 4, 2011

Staying healthy at your desk

Filed under: Small Business,Workspace — Tags: , , — lidia @ 10:30 am

photo on flickr by Alsterstar

As small business owners, most of us spend hours at our desk without even realizing it. Dedicating long hours to your business can be a necessity—but it can also take a toll on your body

Read my latest post on the Creative Freelancer Blog for tips for staying healthy at your desk.

• • •

See all of my small business posts on the Creative Freelancer Blog here.

December 9, 2010

2011 calendars added to our online shop!

Fresh new colors for 2011!

2011 Quick Peek Calendars are now available in our business greetings online shop.

Small enough to fit in a laptop bag or on an office wall, but large enough to see a year at-a-glance. Great for planning vacations. Buy a couple and share with your office mates.

NEW for 2011: color palettes inspired by Pantone 2011 color trends, including one of my personal favorites: turquoise and terracotta.

Free shipping via first-class mail on Quick Peek Calendars!

Follow the Greetings by Lidia Varesco Design RSS feed or twitter page to see the latest designs.

July 14, 2010

Let’s clear the air in the office—literally

Filed under: Workspace — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Snake plant (Sansevieria)

While I’ve recently kicked my outdoor urban gardening into high gear, I’ve always had lots of houseplants in my home and office. I recall my mom telling me long ago that plants clean the air—and by gosh, she was right.

Whether we realize it or not, our offices can harbor loads of air pollutants and irritants, such as laser toner dust, carpeting and dry cleaning chemical residue, and recirculated air. But our houseplant friends are here to save the day, helping to remove common air toxins—all while making your workspace more cheerful and inviting.

But don’t just take my (and my mom’s) word for it, read about a study from NASA on how houseplants help clean indoor air. Then go out and hit your local nursery.

Top air clearing plants:

  • Spider Plant
  • Philodendron
  • Peace Lily
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Janet Craig (Corn Plant)
  • Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plant)
  • Gerber daisy
  • English ivy

Most of these plants are easy to grow in an office, with some needing little or no light (great for a windowless cubicle).

Read how to choose and care for houseplants.

March 4, 2010

Clean up your office—and help Creative Pitch!

Filed under: Community Outreach,Design & Art,Workspace — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 7:46 pm

I’m betting that most of us (especially if we are artists or parents) have lots of art supplies that we don’t use. Now you have a chance to clean up your office… and help out local schools: donate them to Creative Pitch.

This Chicago-based organization collects art supplies (new or used in good condition) and donates them to local art teachers in need. The reality is that school budgets don’t always allow for basic art supplies—many teachers pay out of their own pocket for necessary supplies.

Let’s help them out by cleaning up our offices (or kids’ playrooms) and donating our unused art supplies. I have been participating in Creative Pitch for many years now, and I’m always delighted to receive an email from a happy art teacher.

Creative Pitch is currently seeking the following items:

  • markers
  • crayons
  • colored pencils
  • paper
  • scissors
  • stock photo/illustration books

Have items to donate? Email info@creativepitch.org to inform them of your donation items and/or to set up a drop off time. (NO OFFICE SUPPLIES, PLEASE.)

Learn more or make a donation to Creative Pitch here.

February 25, 2010

Take a new look at recycled papers

Filed under: Green,Workspace — Tags: , , — lidia @ 3:45 pm

When people used to think of recycled papers, they envisioned a brown paper bag or worse yet, a dirty white flimsy sheet. Well, welcome to the new world of recycled papers!

And here’s proof that more people are using recycled papers—from the latest New Leaf Paper newsletter:

…the number of leading environmental printing and writing grade papers produced in North America has more than doubled from 97 to 228 in the past 18 months (according to information released today by Canopy, a Vancouver based non-profit organization that works to improve the environmental performance of paper and wood companies, and a Steering Committee member of Environmental Paper Network.) The sharp increase in eco-paper options is the result of large paper buyers demanding more papers with ecological attributes, a growing trend despite recent troubles in the North American paper industry and global economy.

As I’ve been transitioning my line of greeting cards and stationery to 100% PCW recycled paper, I’ve done exhaustive research in this area. I’ve compiled a list of what I consider the best and brightest (literally!) recycled papers easily found in the marketplace now. Many are available in colors, in addition to white and off-white. And many are surprisingly affordable. So now there’s no reason not to think green when choosing paper for your business needs.

100% PCW recycled paper stocks:

(in alphabetical order)

A few recycled paper tips:

  1. Where can I buy them? recycled paper can be purchased in small quantities from online paper retailers such as The Paper Mill Store, which has a handy page showing all 100% recycled papers at-a-glance. You may also order directly from the paper mills—follow the links above for ordering info.
  2. How do I know it’s 100% recycled? Look for “100 PC” in the name or “100% postconsumer waste fiber” in the description
  3. Let your clients or customers know! If you’re using 100% PCW recycled paper to print your marketing pieces, you may want to let your customers know by printing the recycled symbol on the piece. This guide from The Paper Mill Store explains the correct way to use the various recycled symbols and provides a link to download the logos.

If I have forgotten any 100% recycled paper stocks, please write a comment and I’ll add to my list. Happy (recycled) printing!

December 30, 2009

Year-end wrap up

Filed under: Small Business,Workspace — Tags: , , — lidia @ 3:06 pm

photo by ttcopley

2009 is coming to a close and, in my quest for organization, I’m inspired by articles such as 10 things to Do Before the New Year (from Web Worker Daily).

Personally, I always do year-end organizing for my small business— it just feels right to start off the new year at least slightly more organized than you left the last one. My current routine includes the following….

  • Designing my 2010 Quick Peek Calendar to send to friends and clients.
  • Filing paperwork into project folders—or the recycle bin
  • Sorting and filing project samples—setting aside samples to enter into design competitions
  • Reconciling final bank statements
  • Filing financial statements and receipts—creating new folders for next year
  • Preparing and mailing client invoices
  • Paying bills
  • Cleaning up the email inbox
  • Assessing needs for office supplies or equipment could be purchased this year
  • Making end-of-year donations to my favorite nonprofit organizations

How are you spending the last few days of the year? Share your ideas!

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