Thursday, August 7, 2014

Business Lesson #1: Finding the Perfect Place Just Doesn't Exist...So I found an Ugly Old Shack!

It has been quite some time since I even have seen this blog let alone written a post. So many things have been happening in my life that I just needed to regroup and refocus. I definitely have "artists brain" and yes, that is my own word and most certainly my own definition. Basically put I have been super scatter brained for the last year, simply trying to do way too much. I have been trying to find retail space and a place to live and or both in the same, working on new products, getting samples down, photographed, making furniture, getting a good load of supplies again, finding a place to keep all that I collected because I hadn't decided on a place to live yet. Just a TON of things all over the place, all while trying to maintain an existing business,and starting a non profit. Frankly, I had too many things on my plate. So here are few things I have learned divided into a few different blog posts just letting everyone know that Creatively Green is back! We are changing. I thought I would share a little bit about the problems I was facing as well as the life lessons and solutions I have come to realize in order to grow my business.

Problem #1: Finding Retail Space
I planned on living and working in the same place, it just became and overwhelming task. The goal of finding retail space in Denver was a very difficult task for a variety of reasons.The purpose of retail space goal was to serve a variety of purposes: an active free art studio specializing in recycled crafts, a retail location to sell all things recycled, storage for my online business, as well as a starting point for a non profit employing women in transition, as well as a place to live. "Mixed Use" was the understatement of the century. I originally began looking for a warehouse that I could build out BUT warehouse space is typically in an industrial area, not what I was looking for. My core business is online so I looked into office space as well, but then the issue was where in an office space do I find the space to live. If I am was going to pay between $1500-$2000 I wouldn't be able to afford a place to live. Quite the conundrum for sure.

Lesson Learned: Finding the Perfect Place Doesn't Exist
In early January, I submitted a proposal for a space right on Colfax, it needed a ton of work but could be suitable for a mixed use facility. I loved the building and the location but the rent was around $1600 a month and it needed a tremendous amount of work and I couldn't foresee how I would get all the work done as well as be able to do all of t he other things I had planned for Creatively Green. So after much thought, I made the decision to withdraw my offer. I decided that in order for me to do all of the things I had planned I needed to narrow my focus to one thing I could do to improve my business, so I chose to look for a new place to live that had an extra bedroom that I could work from. The goal from this point forward was to find a place to live that could serve as a place to rebuild my brand, add more products, and truly showcase what Creatively Green was and will now be. I needed a place to regroup and re-focus. Trying to find a space that could immediately do all the things I wanted for my business was an impossible task. I was never going to find that perfect place, it was always up to me to create my own space. That lesson learned, what I needed to do was find a place to start from. And so the search began to find an affordable 2 bedroom apartment in  Denver, Colorado. Did I mention that the average rent on a 2 bedroom apartment in Denver is around $1200? Not an easy task.

Solution: I found an ugly old shack house!
Yes I said ugly....and ugly was a generous term! So in  mid March after months of looking at possible apartments at ridiculously high prices for ridiculously small places, I had a possibility. A friend of mines sister lived in a small complex right on the border of Denver. Someone was moving out and there was open place available. All I knew was that the rent was $600 for a 2 bedroom, that alone was worth the look, well how bad could it be? Well whatever I imagined, it was soooo much worse! The area was questionable at best, and was located right off Colfax, also relatively questionable. Walking to the house was an experience, every single house in the complex had broken or blacked out windows, I honestly thought they were abandoned houses, I mean who could live there? I didn't even wanna walk inside the outside scared me to death! Well omg, when I looked inside it was so much worse than the outside, every single window had been broken. But I didnt even notice that because I was too busy looking at all the trash inside the house and the 17 different colored walls, every wall was a different color and not just one color they got creative and added 2 or 3 different colors to each and every wall. I was completely in shock. But then a brief moment of ahhh I attempted to walk through the house (there are no floors by the way, just the sub: the previous renters took the floor with them as well as all the locks on the doors apparantly cause I walked right in): As I made my way to the kitchen all of a sudden I was hit by lime green walls but then I saw that they took the cabinet doors off so they were exposed, so for one brief second I envisioned a country kitchen with bright exposed cabinets. And then my mind just switched modes, I had been so dissapointed lately looking at places, that my mind had switched off of all creativity and for one brief second in this ugly little shack house it switched back on. Could it be? Was it true? Did I get my mojo back while standing it what could possibly the dirt ugliest house....why yes I did! now I am creating my own space in a little ugly shack house. My goal is to redo the entire house including all furniture for under $1,000 using as much reclaimed and recycled materials. So coming soon to Creatively Green is the Shack House Makeover!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DIY Fall Acorn Wreath Tutorial: Easy Wreath for All Seasons

Fall is in full force in Denver, how about everyone else? Well I have been busy like a bee this month and thought I would share a very simple tutorial for a holiday wreath. I have made quite a few of these over the years and do sell some in my Etsy store. Why are they so popular?

Well that answer is clear, they are so versatile. They are simple and elegant and work for all seasons. By begining with a simple design, maybe a few coats here and there of spray paint, you can really make a statement, with a very simple project.

And well, now that fall is here, let me share a very easy way to get the same look as those high end Anthropology wreaths for a tenth of the cost.

Supplies Needed:
 * Acorns (or nuts or wooden beads)
* Floral wreath
* Hot Glue-gun

In just a few easy steps, a beautiful wreath is complete.

Step 1:  Gather a nice size bag of acorns, such as these. These are super plentiful in Colorado but you can purchase the acorns loosely online here if you dont have them readily available in your area. You will need a good sized bag, enough to cover and entire wreath, at least 100.

 Step 2: Begin by attaching the acorns, which have been cleaned and baked either diagonally or horizontally on the straw wreath. NOTE: Be very careful and glue directly onto the straw, take the wrapping off the wreath, hot glue does not work very well when glued to plastic. I like to begin in the center of the wreath and work my way to the outer walls. Just stay in the same direction, lining the acorns up one against the other.

Dont worry too much about doing the back side, noone sees it anyway and it helps the wreath to lay flat against the door. As you move towards the outside, just keep layering the acorns, in a row, and continue along until you are 100% covered all the way around.

Step 3: This is it, if you choose , paint the wreath, many colors work just fine, and add a ribbon. I like to give mine a quick once over with a can of sealant, easily purchased at a home store like Home Depot...and tahdah... a simple yet elegant wreath...

And if you want to get fancy, give it a coat of color....perhaps a winter white with a big red ribbon, perfect for Christmas!

Perhaps a Nice Sunflower Yellow

or a Crisp Green

Pretty In Pink?

However you choose it, its a simple understated wreath, change the color of the ribbon and you have a wreath for all seasons....dont have time to do it yourself, or not so worries..

We have them for sale in our etsy store, you choose your color and your ribbon choice...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Officially Humbled, Homeless, and Eternally Grateful....

Well it has been quite some time since I posted here on the blog and well sometimes there just isn't enough room in one post to catch everyone up on what exactly happened in the last 3 years. Unfortunately my personal life went on a whirlwind to say the least. I would love to say it has been a blast, but it has been more of an explosion and as a result a lot of lessons learned and a tremendous amount of humility gained.

Without going into huge detail, I was forced to leave my home a little over 2.5 years ago due to a very destructive and abusive relationship that completely took over my life, literally packed up and went into a safehouse. Spent some time being officially homeless, officially humbled, and officially grateful.

Everything in my life got turned upside down including my business, my friends, my family, my entire life. But I am alive, relatively well, and back to creating green in 2013.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Give wings to your old sticker packages with this angelic trading card!

Heres a super easy way to give new life to all of your scrapbooking and sticker packaging. With just a few supplies you can create a beautiful artist trading card just like this. I recycled an old sticker package and used it as the base for my atc. It works just like a transparency. I attached some pretty vintage lace in the center and then simply layered from there. I used some vintage clip art, added some intermittent sparkles, and for a simple trim I added some gold embroidery floss. Easy peasy! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Citrus Slices NEW Cardstock Collection!

. Our new collection of cardstock is themed just like our theme for our shows: The Candy Shoppe Collection. We have introduced 4 new cardstock collections to our themed packs. 

First, our Citrus Slices Collection: named after you guessed it: Citrus Slices Candy.
Lovely and yummy citrus collection is just perfect for the summertime!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Creatively Green is headed to New Joisey!

Thats's right folks, Creatively Green is going on tour! We will be exhibiting at the Scrapbook Expo show in Somerset, New Jersey. The show dates are May 21 & May 22nd.  If you are in the area, certainly stop by the show! In addition, we are teaching 4 amazing classes. We will be posting some of our classes in the coming weeks as well as upcoming show schedules- we may be coming to a town near you!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dont Trash It- Treasure It:: 24 Treasures Hiding In Your Home Right Now!

Don't Trash It - Treasure It
24 Treasures Hiding In Your Home Right Now!

Welcome to our Earth Day Extravaganza! 
I know every company out there is doing some "Big Ole Promo" or fancy blog hop. It is simply predictable- and well I hate predictable!  So instead of doing some big promo, or some fancy predictable blog hop, we @ Creatively Green have decided to give you what we do best- a gigantic amount of  inspiration!

Please enjoy our Earth Day blog post, it is by far and to date our largest post yet and includes a compilation of past and present projects created by myself and our very talented design team. There are over 100 projects featured in this post, as well as some seriously fun and fabulous tutorials, created as always with everything but the kitchen sink!

We have all worked really hard to bring you something a little different this time around- so please leave us comments! 

Make sure to read all the way down to the end, for a chance to win a very special giveaway of some of our NEW RELEASED lines.

We sincerely hope you enjoy Earth Day 2010, from all of us here at Creatively Green!

And so without further hesitation, please enjoy our Earth Day Countdown of 24 Treasure hiding in your home right now!
 # 24: Glass Bottles
 Something that's probably already sitting in your recycling bin, whether its a beer bottle or water bottle, there are great ways to decorate your home and beyond using recycled glass bottles.
Remember, my holiday gift giving idea: 
Simple Beer Bottles can be decorated with leftover scraps and filled with hot Nicole G: You can find full instructions HERE!
or check out this recycled Perrier bottle created by Amy-DT..... ( I can only imagine it filled with some fresh flowers, what a great every day gift!)

#23 Pop Tops
We're not just about saving just the bottles, save it all! Soda pop tops can be some of the simplest things to keep on hand.I use pop bottle lids as "risers" kinda a cheap easy way to add a little lift to an embellishment. Cheaper than pop dots!
Heres a great example of what I mean when I say "riser"- Here is a cut pic of a project I did of a small candy dish- its really an old cd, a recycled duncan hines warm delights bowl, I used the pop top, to create the 3d flower for the Nicole G: You can find full instructions HERE!

For a super cute idea- how about some pop top magnets....created by Jackie-DT....You can find a full tutorial HERE on exactly how to make these adorable magnets!

***BONUS Tip: Pop Tops as Snack Cups***

Have any kiddos in the house?..soda pop tops and even milk carton tops are perfect to keep on hand in the house, remove the white insert (easy- tip of butter knife under the edge) and these become little snack cups for dry foods like raisins, crackers, or cheerios!! 
They are the right size for little hands- deep enough for a small serving! Ali-DT

#22 Juice Lids
How about some cute lid tags- now these are for Christmas, but what a neat little tie on for any holiday or birthday- created by Jackie-DT-

#21: Foil From Coffee Containers
You can create a lovely coordinating gift packaging set from simply using punches or a die cutter.... start with a pretty tag....created by Ali-DT....
 now add a matching gift topper, and that shiny silver will make any project glow! Ali-DT

#20: Cardboard
Remember the 3d Snow Buddies, cute little snowman gift tags created with cardboard and scrap Nicole G: You can find full instructions located HERE!

Use cardboard inners to create your own "stamp" by Ali-DT

Looking for something cute for your kitchen, how about a themed holiday chalkboard, and you can even make your own chalkboard paint. Full instructions for both homemade chalkboard paint recipe and simple easy holiday chalkboards HERE!
  And how about some cardboard on your dinner table! Create these easy napkin rings for any occasion with just 1 punch! - Nicole G: You can find instructions HERE!

#19: Old Containers

 Recycled Kitchen Wipes Container- altered as a gift basket...created by Marcie-DT

Travel much...reuse those little sample size shampoo Amy-DT.You can find full instructions located HERE!
 Another fab little project created by Jennifer-DT on how to turn an odd shaped container into a great gift box- You can find full instructions HERE!

#18: Egg Cartons
Egg Carton Candy & Cookie Containers by Nicole G

Egg Carton Album made with paper bags by Nicole G: Featured on Scrapscene!
Egg Carton Bulletin Board by Nicole G

#17: Broken Lightbulbs
How about some pretty vintage ornaments or household decorations...
Cupcake Decoration: Painted lightbulb in a cupcake Nicole G
You can find full instructions HERE!
 Ice Cream Cone Ornament: Made with an upside down lightbulb in a real sugar Nicole G: You can find full instructions HERE!

Vintage Rock Salt Ornament by Nicole G: You can find full instructions HERE!
#16: Newspaper and Old Cards
At a loss with what to do with all those valentines from your kids- gorgeous layout created by Marcie- DT showcasing a great way to recycle those Valentines: You can find instructions HERE!

Use newspaper to create your own scruffy Ali-DT
Newspaper and graphic prints make great backgrounds on Marcie- DT

#15: Itty Bitty Broken Stuff ( barrettes, toys, puzzle pieces)
If you have a kitchen, then you have a "junk drawer"- I know Im not the only one! Time to go through it, I bet you have tiny little broken things just waiting to be used in a creative way-

Simple clean lined layout- just black and white- using only scraps, a small square punch, and some itty bitty pieces of barrettes, some broken magnets and a few leftover Nicole T-DT

Great wall collage using broken barrettes and tiny broken Nicole T- DT
Use those leftover puzzle pieces to create a collaged wall hanging. You can assemble any basic shape for any holiday, once glued, just paint all one Nicole G- You can find full instructions HERE!

#14: Junk Mail & Magazines
Love Gossip mags? Well dont ditch them after your finished reading the latest dish on your favorite stars? How about scrapping a page about your favorite stars? Jackie-DT
  or perhaps a favorite actor? Jackie-DT

Use your punches and cut out images ( flower border)  from mailers and flyers to create a nice graphic focal point to a Ali-DT
How about a fun project to do with your children on rainy day! Create magazine wall art- you can use just about any shape out there, and its just old magazines and cardboard and even a great way to use up those stupid packing peanuts! - Nicole G
You can find full instructions HERE! 

Too Cool Teenager wont let you scrap them? Scrap what they are in Jackie-DT

#13: Old CD's
String old cd's up to create lovely wall Jackie-DT
 How about a mini Jennifer-DT

made from old Jennifer-DT
Perfect gift for a new arrival! Jackie-DT

#12: Aluminum Cans & Tins
Reused metal lunchbox....ny Nicole T-DT
Reused juice cans for some much needed Jennifer-DT
Altered Candy Jackie-DT
Paint much? Use those leftover paint cans....( I know they are in your garage right now!!!)

#11: Clothing Labels
We spend so much time keeping up with the latest and the greatest- Have you seen some of the clothing tags out there now? They are too cool to be ditchin-
Great layout featuring clothing tags as a border Nicole T- DT. Featured on Ella Publishing!

#10:  Boxes ( Any and all)

 Boo to You! Holiday Centerpiece created from cereal boxes- by Amy-DT

Altered Crayon Box by Amy-DT

Recycled Cereal Box Turned Handy Dandy Gift Amy -DT

Here's a great way to recycle old cigarette boxes! Turn them into holiday treat boxes for the kids! Dont like the smoke smell, we have that covered too! You can find full instructions HERE as well as a super easy way to remove "smoke" smell from any item!

Altered Milk Carton by Amy -DT

Teachers Gift Bag created from a cereal box- by Amy-DT

***Bonus tip*** Looking for that perfect something for your wall- how about some presents on the wall! You'll love this easy tip for holiday decorating! You can find full instructions HERE!

#9: Wrapping Paper & Gift Bags
Now I KNOW everyone out there has a stash of gift bags and wrapping paper- perhaps in the closet of items waiting to be re- gifted? Whether its a drawer full of Victoria Secret gift bags, or brown paper lunch sacs, or just a tiny piece of pretty wrapping paper- I know we all save those pretty things from gifts we receive! Its time to dig into that stash!

Wrapping paper is perhaps one of my favorite things to recycle! It is one of the most underutilized scrapping items out there. First its relatively cheap in comparison to scrapbook paper, and guess what- its patterned paper! Why not use it just like you would patterned paper! You dont need alot- but you get alot!

Tweet This- Adorable Hanging Bird created by Amy-DT using simple gift tissue. You can find full instructions HERE!

Simply elegant layout showcasing some scrap pieces of petite flower wrapping paper- 
by Nicole T- DT

Second- you can buy it in WIDE sheets- which means its perfect for altering big items- your dont have to line up the edges! One sheet covers the entire project! I covered this entire box with one sheet of recycled gift tissue! Nicole G
 Whoops- but my papers torn- well of course it is- you cant unwrap a gift without tearing the paper- that's the fun of it! Use those leftover torn pieces- it gives a layout character! Nicole T-DT
Got a bunch of ugly bags- use them as storage, get them out of the drawer and into your closet!
Choose gift bags that are too used to "give" away. Tape up any spots needing reinforcing. Check bottom! Decide what goes in each bag.Label if desired.Fill bags. Hang on a strong wooden hanger. Hang them in your closet and you have the perfect organizing solution for whatever you want off the floor! Ali- DT

You can find a full tutorial HERE!
 Now I think we all know you can create gift bags from lunch sacs- and reuse ugly bags by recovering to create a custom bag such Ali-DT
 And another pretty bag created by Amy-DT! You can find a full tutorial HERE on how to create this bag and a few more!

One more for the road- got cutesie novelty paper floating around- cut out the images! Dragon was cut from wrapping Ali-DT

#8: Scrapbooking Packaging ( Plastic packaging)
Reuse those plastic containers your stickers come in to create a cute little thank you Ali-DT
How about saving that cookie liner and using it to sort out little Ali- DT
Looking for the perfect gift for a scrapper or card maker in your life- I just adore this little tub created by Ali-DT
It is made from a plastic container and was transformed into an
"Idea Generator Container" - luv it!

#7: Whats hiding in your cushions?
How about using that spare change you find under the seat cushions for something creative? Jennifer-DT

#6: Plastic Cups
The simple plastic cup transformed into a cute candy Nicole G: You can find full instructions located HERE!

Havin a party? Make some cute earrings with those leftover solo Nicole G
Another lovely candy treat holder - its just a cup!- Nicole G: You can find full instructions located HERE!

#5: Old T Shirts & Appliques
Have a stained shirt but with a cool design...just cut it out! You can cut up old shirts with cool appliques or graphic prints to use on your projects!
Gorgeous layout created by cutting up an old t shirt with a pretty graphic motif- that recycled element just makes this layout POP! Ali- DT

Pretty card using an applique from a stained Ali-DT
Embroidered accents trimmed from a skirt used as embellishments for a memorial Ali-DT

#4: Buttons:
Whether its a torn shirt or your waistline got a bigger, your guaranteed to have a stash of buttons in your home.....Here are some creative ways to use that stash- perhaps create the focal point on a layout by using a cluster of buttons as Jackie- DT did on this lovely layout!
How about a great way to organize all those button-
Check out this great way to store your buttons by Ali-DT
Looking for some more creative ways to use recycled buttons...look HERE  for a full tutorial on how to use recycled buttons- by Ali-DT.

#3: Old Denim Jeans & Fabric...
Use up that silk scarf you know longer wear by cutting out the images and using them on layouts- shown here by Ali-DT
You can find a full tutorial HERE!
Use leftover fabric in your home to add that sentimental aspect to a layout- shown here by 
incorporating "curtains" created from actual fabric used in the Nicole T-DT

Create your own unique page border using left over pieces of denim Ali-DT
Or perhaps something for your table or for the picnic pack...Utensil Holder
You can find a full tutorial HERE! - by Ali-DT
 Create your own denim border - by Ali-DT

Looking for that perfect piece of texture? Leftover fabric adds that special touch to this beautiful Marcie-DT

Create just the right little flower using leftover fabric Nicole T-DT

How about a simple little denim pocket on a layout.....just the right touch! Marcie-DT
Or perhaps some cute costume - Super Mario?
Created by Ali-DT
You can find a full tutorial HERE!

#2: Old Address Labels
Reused old address labels and mismatched tupperware make great Nicole G: You can find full instructions HERE: Featured on Planet Green & Scrapscene!
 Add a few more together and create a nice focal point on a Nicole G: You can find full instructions HERE! Featured on Planet Green & Scrapscene!

Use leftovers and cover some tupperware containers for some great Nicole G: You can find full instructions HERE! Featured project on Planet Green!
# 1: Don't forget about whats actually in your kitchen!
-Dry Beans.......
Dry goods make great embellies....perfect for the Nicole G: You can find full instructions HERE!

- Cinnamon Sticks....
hot glue cinnamon sticks around an inexpensive candle for a quick gift, by Nicole G: You can find full instructions for this and many more easy cinnamon stick crafts HERE!
How about using those aspirin and pill bottles to hold $$ gifts for a teen birthday?
Created by Ali-DT

Ok, now for the fun part, we have spent tons of hours putting this together and while we know not everyone can be online for just 1 day ( Earth Day), we would like your input and your comments! Our intention for this post was to INSPIRE you- so here's the deal! 

 We are releasing an entire collection of NEW product lines come May 1st! 
So here are 2 chances to get your hands on some of our new released goods! 

Chance #1:
Very simply, leave a comment on this post @ what project you liked best or what inspired you the most! You have until May 15th, to post your comments- and we will choose a few random ladies or men to receive a sampling of some of our new wares.....

Heres a little teaser of some our NEW to be released goods:
  Junk Mail Taglets
Rock Salt Glitters: Ocean Blue
True Vintage Wax Sealed Jar Kits
New Citrus Slices Cardstock Collection

& Much More!

Show me YOUR Trash! Chance #2
Creatively Green Guest DT Call!
1. Tell us what has inspired you about this post and SHOW us what you like to do with your TRASH!  
2.  Send us your best trash to treasure projects, by May 15th, 2010 to 
Include a small paragraph @ what inspired you about this post, what project you liked best and why, and tell us whats so cool about your garbage! 
3. All submissions will be featured on our blog as well as on our online gallery.
4. We will choose our best (3) projects and that designer will be a featured Guest Designer for May, June or July. So get those creative juices flowing and send us your best- for chance to play with our best!