Friday, October 29, 2010

Music Sheet Wreath

I thought that I was done for the week, and then I got a little inspiration. I am not sure if you have visited Miss Mustard Seed, but if you haven't, you need to make your way on over. She creates some of the most beautiful pieces. So while looking at her blog yesterday, I ran across her Christmas tree.
She does a lot with sheet music, and everything she makes with it is BEAUTIMOUS.
I decided it was high time that I try to make something with sheet music. This is what I made yesterday during naptime.
I don't have sheet music, but I do have some old hymnals that haven't been used in years. I found one that was in pretty bad shape, and ripped it to bits. I knew that I would want to keep this wreath up year round, so I had a light bulb go off....
The center of the wreath is removable. I cut out a chipboard circle, and decorated it with the Halloween scrapbook paper I bought the other day. I even got to use my Cricut:o)
On the backside of the circle, I put a little velcro.
This is what the wreath looks like without the centerpiece. 
I guess I gotta head out to Hobby Lobby and get some more scrapbook paper so I can get to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas centerpieces.
Next, I am going to start making some ornaments with the left overs from the hymnal.
Check the side bar on the right to see the parties that I am participating in.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The hidden dangers of outsourcing

Outsourcing is one of those words that have become hideously fashionable in corporate lingo in the last 5 to 10 years. A business cynic – which obviously I am not! – might conjecture that perhaps it is popular because it appeals to some fundamental human desires for shirking and procrastination, finally telling managers “to stop doing certain stuff” rather than always pushing them “to do more”. I, as a more thoughtful business observer, on the contrary, think that outsourcing often makes sense, simply because you cannot, and should not try to do everything yourself. Other companies can sometimes do a particular thing better and more efficiently than you, if alone because they can bundle and specialise in it, and then you’re better off buying it from them.

Some companies take it a bit far though… Some time ago I was talking to a senior executive of a major airline and they actually had the idea that in the future they might be able to get rid of all their staff, facilities, pilots, planes, and so forth, and concentrate on “being the director of the chain”; that is, not actually do anything but tie together all the activities conducted by others. Hence, outsource everything accept for the coordination between all the parts. Well… here is my opinion: You can forget about that. Try that, and it won’t be long before nobody needs you anymore.

The classic example of that is IBM’s PC in the 1980s. It was IBM’s plan to outsource everything, add its brand name and just one little microchip connecting all the PC’s ingredients. They outsourced the PC’s microprocessors to some geeky guys who owned one of those founded-in-a-garage little companies in Palo Alto (the little company’s name was Intel) and the operating system to yet another geeky guy with big glasses heading a founded-in-a-garage little company in Seattle (the geeky guy’s name was Billy Gates), in the process provoking the genesis of the most powerful alliance the world of business has ever witnessed: Wintel (Windows and Intel).

Because following in IBM’s footsteps towards Palo Alto and Seattle were all the other computer manufacturers which copied the PC; hence buying their microprocessors from Intel and their operating system from Microsoft. And not for long, Intel, Microsoft and end users alike could not quite remember why they needed IBM in the first place and completely “disintermediated” them. It were Intel and Microsoft that reaped the great big benefits of the booming computer market and not grandfather Big Blue IBM, which ended up in a severe crisis as a result of it.

Hence, be careful with outsourcing; giving up control might get you more than you bargained for (especially if it concerns geeky guys in a garage).


These are the pumpkins we carved last weekend. We didn't go to a pumpkin patch and pick these out...we went the easy road and stopped by Fresh Market and grabbed their 3 for $10 deal....we're cheap, what can I say? We thought that the kids would enjoy getting to carve pumpkins, but as soon as the hubs pulled the top off the first pumpkin, and we heard a unanimous "EWWW", we knew that we would be doing this ALONE. Which was fine b/c we got to carve some really cool pumpkins, if I do say so myself:o)

We were trying to carve pumpkins of the characters that the kids would be dressing as for Halloween, but we couldn't find a template for Jessie, so these were the templates we chose. I carved the Buzz pumpkin... with a dull knife. 
He turned out pretty good for not having good tools. Hubs, the engineer, headed to the garage, grabbed his safety glasses and his Drimmel tool, and began to work. He finished the other two pumpkins before I got mine done. Ya'll, that's the way to go when carving pumpkins:o)
Didn't he do a FAB job? I think so:o)
Yesterday we spent the day at home b/c E had a tummy bug. He seems to be fine now, and hasn't had any "episodes" since before lunch. Hoping it was one of those mysterious 12 hour bugs...We did our best to keep S.R. away from him...we really don't want any sickness on Halloween. The kids are really pumped about it this year:o) 
I hope that you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!!
See you back here on Monday!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jessie Hat Tutorial

Today I am sharing a quick tutorial on how to make a Jessie hat. I am going to go ahead and apologize for not taking better pictures. I got so excited during the process that I forgot to take pictures along the way.
Anyway, the supplies you will need.
Cowboy Hat(I already had one left over from E's b-day party, but they have some at Hobby Lobby)
Red Spray Paint(if the hat isn't red already)
Red Yarn
Needle and Thread
Yellow Hair bow, or yellow ribbon
1" White Grosgrain Ribbon
And the really thin ribbon...not sure the size on it. 
Hot Glue Gun

I started out by spray painting the hat. I don't have step-by-step pictures. I just laid the hat on some newspaper, and sprayed a few coats on. Top and inside the brim. I didn't worry with the inside of the hat b/c no one will see that part.

Unwind the yarn and decide on a length for the ponytail. Remember to leave a little extra on the length because you will be braiding the ponytail. You will also need to decide on the thickness you want it to be.
Once you have figured out the length and thickness, tie the top off with a small piece of yarn.
Trim the bottom, so that there aren't any loops. Find something to lay on the yarn, and section the yarn into thirds. Start braiding.
When you are done, take another small piece of yarn and tie the bottom off.
The next step didn't get a picture either...sorry:o/
You will sew the braid to the inside back of the hat. You will want to use coordinating thread if possible. Just make sure that it is in there securely. After you have the braid sewn in, take the grosgrain ribbon and wrap it around the crown. Use your hot glue gun to secure the ribbon.
After that is all complete, it's time to sew in the thin ribbon. 
When sewing this in, make sure to leave it "loopy."  Such a funny word;o) When you have made it all the way around the hat, slide the needle thru a little piece of the brim on the underside so that you can tie it off. The picture shows you what I am talking about.
Tie a small little knot and trim.
Add a yellow hair bow at the bottom of the braid, and enjoy your little one in all of her cuteness:o)
See that pumpkin? I'll share the other pumpkins we carved tomorrow...They are awesome!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Toy Story's Jessie Costume(edited)

Complete Outfit:
Posting How-to for hat tomorrow. 
Just wanted to share how CA-UTE S.R. looked:o)

Ya'll, I am so excited with how S.R.'s costume is turning out. For the past 3 months, S.R. has been talking about dressing up as Jessie for Halloween. E is going to be Buzz, and I purchased his costume a month ago b/c I knew that it would be sold out soon. I kept looking for a Jessie costume, and I never saw one. I finally looked on Target's Website and they had one....for $35! I Don't Think So! And it was UGLY.
So for any of you gals out there who has a little's a tutorial on how to make your own for less....WAAAY less.

Materials Needed for the Shirt:
Long Sleeve Polo Shirt(mine came from Target for $4)
Yellow Fabric
Blue and White Felt
Heat Bond(from Walmart)
Red Fabric Marker(or Sharpie)
Red Ric Rac
Sticky Back Velcro

These shirts are in the boys' section at Target. I got a 4T. It is slightly long in the arms, which is perfect.

To start out, you want to remove the buttons. (My apologies for the brightness of the pictures. I was doing this at night, so I had to use the flash.) If your button holes are too large like this one, go ahead and use a zig zag stitch to close it up.
 Next you will want to place the velcro where the buttons and button holes used to be.
If you squint, you can see the velcro;o)
Pretty easy so far, right?:o) Now you will want to grab your yellow fabric and heat bond. We will be making the yellow cuffs of the sleeves. 
Measure the width of the bottom of the sleeve, just above the cuff on the shirt. Add a 1/2" to that measurement. Decide how long you want your cuff to be. I made mine about 4". 
Cut your Heat Bond the dimensions that you measured out and lay on your yellow fabric. You will want to leave enough room to fold the fabric over once you have adhered the heat bond.
Follow the instructions for the Heat Bond. 
Once the fabric has cooled, cut around the edges where the fabric was adhered.
Now you will want to cut off the cuff on shirt. It will make it easier to sew the yellow cuff on.
Back to the yellow cuff. With Right sides facing, sew a 1/4" seam allowance on the edge.
Here comes the tricky part. And I hope I get this right:o) Take the RIGHT side of the cuff and the WRONG side of the sleeve and match raw edges. Sew a 1/4" seam. 
Flip the cuff out and fold it back on the sleeve. Press, and stitch in place.

Next are the buttons. You can use blue or grey felt for this, but all I had was blue. You will need to cut out 3 different sized circles. I cut a 2", 1.5" & a slightly more than 1" circle. If you have a circle cutter, it makes this task really simple. 
Use these circles as your patterns. The Largest and Medium circle will be the buttons for the front of the shirt. Cut 2 Blue Large Circles. Cut 2 Medium White Circles.
Cut the same amount for each from the Heat Bond. Apply the bottom circles first and then the top. Since felt is a little thicker, you will need to hold the iron down a few seconds longer for the heat to penetrate.

For the cuffs of the sleeves, you will use the Medium and Smallest Circles for your patterns. Same steps as above, just make sure to apply on the BACKS of the sleeves.
Go back to your yellow fabric. You are going to lay the fabric on top of the shirt and trace around the neck and sleeves. Use a fabric pencil if you have one. Make sure to make the points down at the bottom of the breast.
Cut along the lines that you traced and you should have something that looks like this.
Once you have it the way you want it, cut out more Heat Bond and apply it to the back of the fabric. Lay it back on top of the shirt exactly where you will be ironing it in place, and grab your scissors again. You need to cut a slit where the shirt opens up. Now iron in place.
Use the square side of your ironing board to make things easier.
We're almost there....
Grab your pencil again. This is the part that may scare some of you....Free Hand time;o) I used a picture I found online of Jessie and just free handed the squiggly red lines on the yellow. Use a pencil first and then go back over it with your red marker.
The pencil lines show up a little better on this picture.
Once you have the lines where you want them, trace over them with the red marker and it should look a little something like this.
Next, sew your ric rac along the bottom edge of the yellow.
And that's it for the shirt. 
In all I think the shirt cost about $6-$8. Thankfully I already had some of this stuff.
Now for the Cow Print Chaps.
Jessie's are attached just below the hip bone, but I made these to go all the way up to the waist.

Materials needed for the Chaps:
Cow Print Fabric(1/2 yd for 4T. Can get this at Walmart)
Black Double Wide Bias Tape
Pattern for Pants(Front side only)

Cut out 2 FRONT pant legs from any pants pattern
Stitch seam along crotch. Press seam. Sew bias tape all the way around edges, except for the waist line. Just outside edges.

Next you need to fold down the waist to make a the hole for the elastic. I folded down 2". Turn under the raw edges and press. Stitch the seam.
For the belt, I used the left over Bias Tape and a 10" piece of elastic. I sewed the bias tape on either end of the elastic. Run the belt thru the opening at the waist. Stitch ends to secure.
These cost around $3.50 to make.
So for less that $12, I made this super cute costume..
 Easy as pie and now you can have some pie since you saved all that money by making your own:o)
If you have any questions on this tutorial, please feel free to email me. I am not always clear on my instructions;o)

On Monday, I will share with you all the hat that goes with this costume....Ya'll have a great weekend, ya hear!

Forced to be stupid

Jessica Nolan, a researcher at the University of Arkansas, was interested in persuading residents of a particular California Community to conserve more energy at home. For this purpose, she designed four types of notes, to be delivered to people’s homes. These notes (roughly) said the following:

1. do it because it helps the environment
2. do it because it benefits society
3. do it because it saves you money
4. do it because everybody else is already doing it

Before using the notes, she knocked on a number of residents’ doors and asked them which of the four arguments would most likely persuade them. Pretty much everybody said, “Not the fourth! (I care about the environment, I care about society, I certainly care about money, but I couldn’t care less about what everybody else is doing”). But did they?

Subsequently, Jessica sneaked out at night and hammered one of the four notes on each door in the community.

Some time after that, she went back to check people’s meter readings. And guess what: households that had received the fourth note (“everybody else is doing it”) had by far the biggest reduction in energy consumption.

We are hugely affected in our decision-making and behaviour by our notion of what others are doing, although we usually don’t quite realise it (and deny it vigorously!). We might think that “oh no, I don’t care what others are doing” but reality is: we do. It is only human

Even top managers can be almost human (or at least some of them). For example, there is a lot of research on what influences managers’ strategic decisions (e.g. whether to choose strategic option A or B). And guess what, it’s imitation.

There is research on where firms choose to locate their new plants, whether or not they enter a particular market, adopt a new type of organizational structure, a governance instrument, etc. etc. Consistently, results show that managers are led by one simple question: “what are my competitors doing?” And then just do the same thing.

The problem is, sometimes what your competitors are doing is stupid. For example, research has indicated that (in certain industries) ISO9000 quality norms are counter-productive. Yet, throughout the 1990s firms imitated each other anyway and adopted the system.

And it gets worse. Sometimes, if you’re the odd one out that does not adopt the new practice, you start to look “illegitimate”. Analysts, shareholders, customers and so on start asking questions: “everybody else is doing it; shouldn’t you?” “Surely, everybody else can not be wrong”. But yes they can!

In this case – because customers start to shun them, investors criticize them, analysts downgrade them, etc. – firms may actually start to suffer from not having adopted the silly practice.

This places pressure on the firm to also act stupid, just to fit in, and be accepted. It takes a brave firm, to stop such a vicious cycle of imitation.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Rearranging

Here's a question for you....what do you guys think about an ottoman coffee table? I am thinking that the ottomans upstairs are going to have to be replaced soon b/c someone's hubby keeps sitting his behind on ours and has squished it to bits while playing XBOX....I need something soft b/c the kids are usually jumping on the couch up there.
Anyway, I told you guys yesterday that I went on a rearranging spree. I have had some issues with S.R.'s room. It was starting to feel a little lot cramped. I did some fanagling, and this is what happened.
Her room is so much more spacious now. I moved her dollhouse bookshelf into the closet. The closet door had to be removed b/c the kids kept leaning on it, and it came loose from the frame. I think I am going to leave it like this and maybe hang some curtains from the inside?? Sounds kinda fun to me;o)
Since S.R. doesn't have a dresser, we have to get creative with storage. Some of her clothes are in the baskets on the shelf, others are hanging on the right. Poor thing needs some winter clothes!! It's starting to get a little chilly here, at least in the mornings, and she doesn't have much.
This area hasn't changed much other than moving the roadside chair to this corner. 
Her room WILL have a new paint color soon....I just have to figure out which color. I am so tired of these creamy yellow walls....they are so BLAH!
I didn't want to leave little man out. These are some things that have been added to his room over the past few weeks. I left the lay out of his room the way it was b/c his room is finished, except for 2 more pieces, (and they have to be made). 
A yard sale lamp for $3. Very masculine I think. Hubs wanted it for his office...HA!
And another addition...planets mobile. Thanks to Papa and Gia for this one. E. was so happy to have some planets hanging below the stars on his ceiling.

His room is a little dark, but this is a larger view with the planet mobile. I think it looks great!

Have a fabulous Tuesday!!