Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sofa Table

Here is a project that I did a few weeks back, and just never took the time to get it posted. I found this sofa table at a yard sale for $15. In it's original state, it was honey colored, and very well taken care of.
Of course, me being who I am, I couldn't just leave it in it's original state:o)
 Painting this table was a 3-step process. I spray painted a base coat of Krylon's Peekaboo Blue. I didn't worry about full coverage b/c I knew that I would be distressing it. I had just a smidge of the chalk paint left over, so I dry brushed a thin coat on top of the Peekaboo Blue.
Once that was dry, I sanded it to death. It was still a little too blue, so I dirtied it up with some Valspar antiquing glaze.
I found these glass knobs at Lowes. They were a necessity since every piece of furniture needs a little bling:o) 

It fits perfectly in our living room....It was meant to be...sigh:o)

Participating in these parties:

Furniture Feature Fridays

This project was featured at:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Dress for S.R.

 Yesterday I got the sewing bug again:o) I have been on a sewing hiatus after my encounter with the bridesmaid dresses that I worked on. It was actually nice to take a break...but now I am back.
I have had a beautiful stash of fabric that I have been putting off using for far too long now. I came across 
dress yesterday, and new I had to make a similar one. It is so sweet:o)
So here is my version of the "Summer Dress".
 My mother gave me some baby ric rac and I had to find a way to incorporate it on the dress. It adds just a little bit more to the ruffle don't you think? The lace that runs down the center front is some vintage lace I had in my stash...also given to me by my mother:o)
I am so happy with the results! 
I love visiting Girl.Inspired. She always has the most beautiful outfits for her girls...she is definitely "inspired" and very inspiring!
I am hoping to get some matching "4th of July" outfits made for the kids today during nap time...we'll see how that goes:o)

Participating in:

Whimsy Couture

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Super Hero Birthday Party Inspiration

As you all may have noticed, I have been M.I.A. here lately. This summer has been jam packed full of things. Playgroups, swim lessons, family gatherings, and cutting hair have been filling my days. The laundry room still isn't complete. I haven't had time to finish it. Next week should be a little slower, so maybe I will get around to it then:o)
I thought I would share with you all some Super Hero Party inspiration that I have come across here recently. E has begged for a Spiderman/Batman/Superman birthday party....a.k.a. Super Hero Party.
I have been scouring blogland for inspiration, and here are some of my faves.
For those of you who are new to this blog, I always start planning the kids' parties 3 months in advance....I LOVE PARTIES!!

Aren't these some great ideas? To check out more from these fabulous parties, click on the links below:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Makes Good Journalism?

Journalists and others concerned about the status of the news industry in North America and Europe keep arguing that we are getting poorer journalism because of the economic state of the industry. But when you ask them “what makes good journalism?” they find it nearly impossible to articulate the concept.

Those trying to articulate the elements good journalism tend to use comforting and immeasurable platitudes and to describe it through attributes based on professional practices: pursuit of truth, fairness, completeness, accuracy, verification, and coherence. These are not a definition of quality, but a listing of contributors to or elements of quality practices. Each attribute alone is not sufficient for good journalism and degree to which each contributes is unclear.

In practice, most of us settle on identifying journalistic quality by its absence or by its comparison to poor or average quality journalism. Thus we know it when we don’t see it or we describe by giving examples of excellent journalism.

Other industries are far better in establishing their definitions of quality. If you ask what is quality in washing machines, the answer is that it quality machines clean clothing more effectively, operate quietly, are safe, and are durable and reliable. All of those can be measured by specific indicators of dirt and stain removal, water and energy use, noise decibels generate, user injury rates, and breakdown rates. A quality manufacturer strives for better performance on those measures, provides effective support and service, handles feedback and complaints well, and strives for high customer satisfaction.

The reason quality journalism is difficult to describe is because it involves a body of practices and the mental activity that goes into those practices. Good journalism results from the information gathering and processing activities, PLUS the knowledge and mental processes applied to it.

It is thus labor intensive; it involves collecting, analysing, structuring and presenting information. The best journalism comes from knowledgeable and critical individuals determining what information is significant, backgrounding and contextualizing it, and thinking about and explaining its meaning. It is a creative and cognitive activity. It is difficult to articulate what makes good creative and cognitive activity and nearly impossible to measure these mental processes. Thus, we are forced to use surrogate measures of quality journalism.

Good journalism involves engaging language and fluid prose, but it is not merely a well written and good story; it is not necessarily evident in stories that make the most popular list of stories or are most shared on social media. Good journalism involves stories that have import, impact, and elements of exclusivity and uniqueness; it wrestles with issues of the day, elucidates social conditions, facilitates society in finding solutions to challenges, and is independent of all forms of power. Good journalism is rational and critical; it is infused with scepticism, but not cynicism.

Although it is difficult to effectively measure such attributes of quality journalism, it should be much easier to define and identify quality journalism providers. There are some surrogate and attribute measures available to rate them, such as the percentage of total costs devoted to editorial costs, the amount of serious news content, the percentage of content originated rather than acquired, the amount and handling of errors, levels of reader satisfaction, and brand reputation.

In the end, however, the question of what makes good journalism has to be answered by answering the queries: Good or valuable to WHOM? Good or valuable for WHAT? Only then can one begin to establish direct measures that determine the effectiveness of journalism in achieving those objectives.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Laundry Room-Part 1

I guess you noticed that last week was sort of hit or miss around here. Hubs stayed home last week....worked a little, and helped me a little. I decided on a whim that the laundry room needed a face lift....well we are still in recovery...WOW! 
We spent more time on that one small space than we usually do on a full size bedroom.
We are still putting the finishing touches on it, but I wanted to give a sneak peak:o)
The hubs built this riser for the washer and dryer....He's DA BOMB:o)
For the plans, go HERE.
baskets from Pier 1
Little decor action here. I'll share what these little guys are perched on in Part 2.
I will share with you a completed project.
This cabinet was purchased from a garage sale for $1. It's one of those cabinets that goes over the sink in your kitchen. I didn't know what I would do with it, but it was solid cherry, and a buck. I couldn't pass it up:o)
After much contemplation, I decided that this cabinet would make a perfect bench.
 I removed the doors and knocked out 2 of the dividers. I had the hubs add some rope wood trim around the perimeter of the opening, and add legs to the base.
This is one of the pieces I used the chalk paint on. I'll give my thoughts on chalk paint in Part 2.
 The cushion came from Target and is 30% off right now(score).  I'm so glad that I didn't have to make a cushion! I got lucky with the almost fits the bench perfectly...and it matches the rug!
Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 of the laundry room. We have just a few more added touches & the room will be complete!

Participating in:
Restored It Wednesdays

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Business June 15th 2011, "Monday On A Wednesday" Edition

This Wednesday, Monday night stops by the Business. Monday Night Foreplays that is.

Since debuting in November 2009, ForePlays has premiered more than 50 performances, serving up a (farm) fresh female perspective to the SF comedy scene. ForePlays has recently showcased special performances at “SF ImprovFest” and “SF SketchFest” at the Eureka Theater, “WomenROCK” at The Independent, “Comedy Brains” at The Marsh and “A Funny Night for Comedy” at Actors Theatre of San Francisco. ForePlays is committed to creating smart and original comedy while providing a consistent platform for talented female writers, actors, musicians and stand-up comedians in and near San Francisco.

Part of the behemoth Piano Fight sketch conglomerate, Monday Night Foreplays staged it's Spring performance series "Spring EGGstravaganza" on Monday nights this past April here at the Dark Room. The Business is excited to welcome it's stage-mates from the other side of Tuesday.

And as always, you have the steadfast Wednesday night Businessmen: Sean, Chris, Alex and Bucky. Burritos welcome.

Advance tickets:

Quick Baby DIY Tip

Here is a quick tip for all of you mommies out there with youngin's....I mean really young;o)
Most people have those little tubs for their babies or a bath chair hammock. If you are in a pinch or out traveling and can't take it with you, here is a quick solution.
Use a giant sponge as your go-to.
Here are the step-by-step pictures in how to create a head rest for your baby's noggin.

Easy peasy, right?
Is that not one of the sweetest faces you have ever seen? I'm thinking model material!;o)
I want to thank my Best Bud for sending me this quick tute. She's quite crafty, you know:o)
I spent most of yesterday working on some furniture(using my chalk paint...details to follow). Today I'll be painting walls, and in between coats, hitting the pool. Can't wait to share what we have been working on!!
Have a great day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Fun Fest Linky Party-Week 3

I hope you all had a great weekend! We had a fabulous weekend! The hubs and I got to attend a Vanderbilt baseball game Friday night with my dad and sister. It was awesome!
More to share about that later on;o)
And Saturday, we all attended my dad's company picnic at A Cowboy Town near Nashville. We had a blast there. The kids LOVED it! They got to ride horses, play fun games, & play on water slides.
I'll have some pictures to share with you later on this week....hopefully:o)

Now, let's get down to business.:o)

Here are the highlights from last week's party:

submitted by Mommy Minded

submitted by Making Memories.

submitted by Secret Pie Shoppe

submitted by This Too

Thanks for participating girls:o) You guys are great! Make sure to grab a featured button on the left side bar!!
I'm taking a break on the linky party this week. I have a few projects in the works for this week, and we have been having a few computer issues...
thanks to our "sweet little angels"
so posts may be few and far between this week. 
If you haven't signed up to receive email updates for new posts, make sure to do so. That way you won't miss out on any new postings.
Have a great day, ya'll!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Faves

I missed last week's Friday Faves...not sure what I had going on...I have slept since then;o)
This week has been uber busy with appointments, playdates, and a sun scorching day at the water park yesterday that left us all burnt to a crisp, but happy as larks:o)
Next time I will make sure to check the expiration date on the sunscreen BEFORE we hit the pool!!!
So here are my favorites from last week, since I didn't have a chance to check anyone's blog out this week:o)

Lizzy painted this beautiful Diamond Pattern Wall in her bathroom. Gorgeous! Love that shower curtain too:o)

Would you believe that these are not real coffee mugs? I had to do a double take:o) Head over to Diary of a Ladybird, and check out her Hot Chocolate (fondant) Cupcakes.

This Picnic Blanket is so simple and yet so genius. Head to Infarrantly Creative and see how simple it is to make one yourself...and the best part..NO SEWING:o)

And last but but not least, I love these Watermelon Shaped Cookies. These would be perfect for a summer party. Head over to Glorious Treats to see what else they've got cookin'.

Thanks to you all for being such inspirations! Grab a "I've been Featured Button" if you like
(on the left sidebar)
and wear it proudly:o)
I hope that you all have a fantastic weekend. We plan to have a bit of fun tomorrow. Next week I hope to tackle a few more projects and share some new finds.
Plus I will have a 300 Follower Giveaway!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Business LA Edition June 24th, 2011

The Business is back at in LA again this month on Friday June 24th! This will be our last show at The Improv Lab, and we want to thank them for everything...and go out with a BANG! so bring all your folks and their folks and let’s do this!

Alex will not be making it this month, but Chris, Sean and Bucky will. And we have a few ringers up our sleeve to more that make up for it. Plus the Medically Transported Burrito Raffle returns!

To quote Keane:

"Last time, the Medically Transported Burrito was a carnitas burrito from El Farolito. Life is like a Medically Transported Burrito Raffle: you never know what you're going to get. And sometimes you have to make an effort to heat things up."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Business June 8th 2011, "Nato Green & Mystery Guest" Edition

Evidently, Nato Green is also a shade of camouflage.
Our Nato Green however rarely conceals his position (when it comes to politics)

Bucky's taking a well-deserved night off, but Chris, Alex, and Sean are back, with two very special guests. First off, we have Nato Green, creator of Iron Comic, co-founder of Laughter Against the Machine, and frequent guest to The Business. His appearances are so frequent and beloved, he's earned the coveted title of "Fifth Businessman", which originally belonged to Billy Preston. A former union organizer turned full-time comedian, Nato promises to delight friends of The Business, though he himself might prefer to perform at The Worker-Owned Cooperative.

We also have a special mystery guest visiting from Los Angeles. We can't reveal his or her identity, but we can offer these clues:

- bigger than a breadbox
- smaller than a bread truck
- has visited The Business before
- not Gallagher
- name rhymes with "Shave Gazelle"

That last clue is false. But the show will be awesome, and admission costs a non-mysterious five dollars. 8 PM, B.Y.O.Burrito.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Fun Fest Linky Party-Week 2

Great news! We have hit the 300 Follower mark! How exciting, right?
I think there needs to be a giveaway to celebrate:o) Be on the look out;o)

I want to thank those who participated last week in the first Summer Fun Fest Linky Party. This week, I am going to change it up a bit. This week will be a free-for-all. I want to know what you are doing this summer. What projects do you have going on? What are you cooking? What are you doing with your kids? Anything you want to share is fair game:o)

Here are some highlights from last week:

Show these girls some love and visit their sites!
If you guys were highlighted, go ahead and grab a Featured Button.

Now it's your turn! Show us what you are up to this summer...besides melting in this heat:o)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Five mistaken beliefs business leaders have about innovation

The vast majority of companies want to be innovative, coming up with new products, business models and better ways of doing things. However, innovation is not so easy to achieve. A CEO cannot just order it, and so it will be. You have to carefully manage an organisation so that, over time, innovations will emerge. And CEOs often make a number of common mistakes, that hamper rather than induce such processes.

Believe the numbers
One common mistake is to insist on “seeing the numbers” too much too soon. “What is the size of the market?”, “what is the Net Presen Value calculation?”, “payback time?”, and so on. What they are forgetting is that, for a truly innovative product, for example, it is impossible to reliably produce any numbers. If a CEO insists on hard numbers before the project is even started, it will by sheer definition kill off any truly innovative ones, simply because you cannot compute the size of a market that does not exist yet.

One CEO who understood this well was Intel’s Andy Grove, at the time that an engineer proposed to him to work on something called a “microprocessor”. The engineer could not produce any numbers, consumer research, and not even a good idea in what sort of applications this product was going to be used, but Grove gave permission and a budget anyway. It made Intel one of the most successful companies the world of business has ever witnessed.

Believe success has been attained
Another innovation killer is sustained financial success. We call it the success trap. When an organisation becomes very good at something, top of its industry, it usually starts to focus on the thing (product, technology, or business model) that made its success, crowding out other options and points of view. Initially, this may make it even more successful, but there is going to come a time that its business context is going to change: new technologies, consumer preferences or foreign entrants emerge. And then the company and its top management finds itself trapped in the one thing it does so well, rigidly believing that what brought it its success, will continue to make it prosper. But, in reality, it is rapidly becoming obsolete.

A great illustration of this is the 43 companies featured in the famous business book “In search of excellence” by Peters and Waterman in 1982. These companies were considered to be the most excellent companies in the world at the time but, at present, only 5 of them would still make the list; many of them having disappeared altogether (e.g. Atari, Tupperware, Digital). It illustrates that, paradoxically, it is especially the most successful companies, the top performers of their industry that find it difficult to adapt and survive when the world around them changes.

Believe they know the competition
What always strikes me, if I ask a CEO (or anyone else in an organisation for that matter) “who is your main competitor?”, they always reply with the company that is most like them. And subsequently they can tell me anything about that firm; its strength, weaknesses, products and plans. But in a way, when it comes to innovation, that is slightly delusional. The company that is most like you is really the least important competitor, simply because they are in the same boat as you are.

The most threatening competition often comes from a completely different angle: an adjacent industry, innovative start-up, or substitute. And that is a phenomenon of all times. Sailing shipping companies suffered from the steam engine, radial tyre champion Firestone was brought to its knees by the introduction of bias tyres, newspapers are being squeezed by the internet, while watchmakers suffer from the fact that nowadays everybody already has the time at hand on a mobile phone or laptop. Thinking your biggest competitor is the company most like you, will leave a company dangerously exposed to outside innovation.

Believe that because everybody had always done it this way, it is the best way of doing things
Industries are rife with habits and business practices from which no-one can quite remember why we do them this way. When challenging a CEO on one of those business practices, he lamented to me “Freek, everybody does it this way, and everybody has always been doing it this way; if it wasn’t the best way of doing things, I am sure it would have disappeared by now”.

And standard economic theory would support his point of view: The market is darwinian, therefore it should be weeding out bad practices. But, in reality, he is wrong. In many businesses, practices emerged with good reason, but once the circumstances changed, firms carried on using them for no reason whatsoever. Did newspapers have to be printed for so long on ridiculously large (and expensive) sheets of paper? Heck no; the english law, set up in 1712, that newspapers were going to be taxed based on the number of pages they printed was abolished in 1855. Could low-cost airlines not have worked many years earlier? Are buyback guarantees in book publishing (set up during the Great Depression) really still needed? Is detailingin the pharmaceutical industry still a useful practice? That everybody does it this way is no reason not to challenge it. The greatest innovations often come from challenging industry convention.

Believe the customer
The final error CEOs often make when it comes to innovation, is to ask their customers for their opinion. Pretty much any company I know has a yearly customer survey. However, there are two things wrong with this. Firstly, these people are already your customer; sure they are going to be satisfied with you; the others have already long voted with their feet. We call it selection bias. You are selecting to ask the ones who already like you, but what about the ones who don’t?

Secondly, even when a company is asking potential customers about their ideas for innovation, in the form of market research, it is tricky. It is usually some shape or form of asking respondents whether they would like (and buy) the new idea. Consumer research often is useful but not for truly innovative ideas and markets that do not exist yet. Research on the fax machine came back unambiguous: every respondent answered that they would never buy a machine like that; likewise for the mobile phone. As Farooq Chaudhry, producer at the highly innovative Akram Khan Dance Company, once put it to me: “Customers? Forget about them”; if you want to be really innovative, you have to be leading the customers; not be led by them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Milk Can Table

Last weekend I got a wild hair and decided to tackle a ton of projects that have been sitting in our garage for MONTHS. The hubs was getting a little flustered with all of the junk stacked up in there, so I finally bit the bullet and got down to business.
My mother gave me this milk can who knows how long ago;o). It belonged to one of her friends, and had been painted a taupe color. For the longest time I didn't know what I wanted to do with it, but after wandering thru Lowes the other day, I knew it had to be a table:o)
The table top was around $17...a little more than I would normally pay for something, but I needed the 24" round top so it would look proportional. I used one coat of primer and 2 coats of Cherry Red by Krylon for the paint. Because the top of the milk can was such an odd shape with concave and convex curves, nailing or screwing the table top down wasn't an option. So I decided that liquid nails was the way to go.
Here it is nested between our two chairs:o)
Isn't it so sweet?:o)
Here is the other side of the seating area.
The seat cushions came from Old Time Pottery. The swing was shorter than the cushion, so I wacked the ends off and stitched it back up

Other Projects we have going on around here: 
Here is our BIG work in progress...the hubs has been busy working to create privacy off the back patio. This is Stage 1. 
He has done a FANTASTIC job!
 The side of the house

My container garden:o)
can't wait to "harvest" these veggies!!
I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!

Participating in: