Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quilling Project Finished!

It's DONE!!!  I am so glad to have one of my Cultural Arts entries finished:o) Remember the other day when  I gave you a sneak peek and asked you to guess what I was making? One of you smarty-pants, and I'm not naming names;o) said it was a Smurf....well I would have to agree that it is the same color scheme as the Smurfs.....but, um,'s not a Smurf:o)
Would you have ever guessed that this Smurf-looking thing,
would have been this?
Definitely NOT Smurfette;o) On the way home from Orlando I decided that S.R. needed a quilled Cinderella...don't ask why:o)
 Anywhoodles, I used this picture of Cinderella as my guide.

Me likey:o) And so does S.R.!!

Now I need to get it framed so that it doesn't come apart. Poor S.R. won't see this again until Christmas morning.
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Design Dazzle

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kimbo's crafts

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Travel Pillow

I hope you all had a great weekend. Things around here are slightly less than crazy but truly bordering insanity;o) I have been busy with projects and being a homemaker:o) My best bud from high school sent me some pics the other day of a quick travel pillow idea she whipped up for her son. They had a long road trip ahead of them, so she needed something to keep her little man busy. 
She hot glued a clipboard to a travel pillow.
Super simple!
 I love that it opens up. Perfect for storing writing utensils and extra paper.
 Nift-o nifty, eh?
She really needs to start her own crafty blog! She always has clever ideas...maybe we can talk her into it;o)
I hope to share a Batman Cape table runner with you guys within the next day or two. I just need to take the time to make pictures:o)
Happy Tuesday...what's left of it;o)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Boards and fraud – who gets the sack and who gets to stay?

We have seen lots of corporate scandals over the past decade, and in many of these cases the boards of directors were up for some heavy criticism. Whether it was Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, or one of the toppled investment banks, their boards took some flack, since of course they are ultimately responsible for the corporation’s actions.

But what happens to such directors? What happens to these people in the business elite when their company, for example, is caught being involved in financial fraud? Well, perhaps not surprisingly – and this may come as a relief – they often get the sack (as research by Professor Arthaud-Day from from Kansas State University and colleagues convincingly showed). Directors associated with financial misrepresentations are often dismissed from the board of their fraudulent company but, interestingly, subsequently they also regularly get the boot at another board. As you may know, outside directors often serve on the boards of multiple companies and a study by Professor Srinivasan from the Harvard Business School showed that they lose about 25 percent of these (rather lucrative) jobs if one of the companies in their portfolio is caught up in fraud.

Yet, this also implies that 75 percent of companies retain a particular board member, even though he or she is compromised having served on the board of another company while it was committing fraud. And that begs the question, what firms decide to retain such a tainted board member, and which ones decide give them the sack?

Professors Amanda Cowen and Jeremy Marcel from the University of Virginia decided to examine this. They managed to collect data on 277 directors who served on multiple boards concurrently, one of which was associated with financial fraud. Their statistical analysis showed that companies that were covered by more equity analysts and governance-rating agencies were more likely to dismiss compromised board members; up to twice as likely. These external observers apparently serve as a bit of watchdog. However, surprisingly, when a company had a relatively large number of public pension fund investors amongst its shareholders, they were less likely to dismiss a compromised board member. Cowen and Marcel speculated that this was because these pension fund shareholders do the monitoring themselves, so that they don’t care much about the company’s directors; tainted or not.

You also have to realize who does the firing; and that is the rest of the board. Cowen and Marcel’s research also showed that very prestigious, well-networked boards were less likely to fire their tainted fellow director. It is well known that boards of directors form a rather cliquish corporate elite. It is not easy to find your way into this world, but once your solidly in, not even a little financial fraud is going to convince your corporate buddies to throw you out.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What I am Working on...

Can you tell what this is?
 Or what it will be?
I am trying my hand at quilling. I have been working on my entries for the Homemakers' Cultural Arts Fair scheduled for the end of September. Qulling is one of the categories. 
On our way back from FL, I decided I would make S.R. a picture using the art of quilling. It is very time consuming, but it makes beautiful art....let's hope that my first attempt looks like what I want it to;o)
Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Free-To-Me Crafts: Basket Weave Hair Bow Holder

The other day I saw the cutest tutorial on how to make a hair bow holder using ribbon and a picture frame. I thought that I had bookmarked it, but apparently not. I can't seem to find it anywhere. It was so cute!!
So I definitely cannot take credit for this idea...if any of you know who created it, let me know so I can do a link back, please!
Anyway, we were having an issue with S.R.'s hair bow holder. We were running out of room.

Here is what I made for her to fix the problem.

This project was of no cost to me. I had all of the materials on hand. A friend of mine gave me this picture frame a few months back. I am slowly becoming the person who everyone wants to give their junk to, and I secretly LOVE it!!! Hubs...not so much;o)
Any-whoodles, she was a sad little frame:o( 

She needed some love, so I painted her with Krylon's Premium Silver Foil Metallic Spray Paint. It was the only full bottle of spray paint I had:o) I have a ton of ribbon my mother gave me, so I used coordinating ribbons and created a basket weave pattern and hot glued the ends just inside the lip of the frame where the glass usually rests.

This project took me 30 minutes to complete after painting, and was FREE! You really can't beat that:o)
Now we have more room for new hair bows!!

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Domestically Speaking

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mommy Chore Chart

I have some new things to share with you all this week, but no pictures yet, so stay tuned to see what I have going on.
I have a presentation for Homemaker's Club on Tuesday...25 Ways to be a Cheaper Housekeeper. Sounds exciting, huh?  Anyway, I like to have a little something to give to everyone to take home. I decided that I would make chore charts as hand outs for the girls. Most of them are grandmothers at this point, but I knew that a lot of you guys were still just mommies, so I made two different versions.
This is just a little way to break up the everyday cleaning that we do as keepers of our home. I know that I usually try to do everything in one day, and then I become crabby from pure exhaustion.
This is a tool to make things a little easier on us all.....who doesn't want that:o)
If you will notice, I gave you "The Lord's Day" off;o)
Click on the links below, to download your chore chart.

Hopefully this can ease the frustration of cleaning house! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Coupon Deals at Publix

I headed out to Publix this morning after dropping my sweets off at school to score some deals.
I have been couponing for about 6 months now, and it has cut my grocery bill in half. It is so much work, but it has really helped out
These are my items I purchased:
2 packs of Chinet Napkins
2 Boxes of Uncle Ben's Rice
2 packs of Knorr Pasta Sides
4 packs of Seattle's Best coffee....this is the hubs favorite!!
1 Box of cake mix...for E's b-day party coming up in 4 weeks!
1 tub of icing
3 containers of Resolve Spray and Wash
 And this was my total:
I was pretty stoked:o) I am not an extreme couponer, or the total would have been 63 cents:o) Those people have a sickness!!
Anyway, I attend church with a girl who has her own coupon website. It's called 

She is always posting great deals, whether it be grocery stores or online sites. You should definitely swing by her way and check out what deals are going on. You can also sign up for emails which is a great way to stay up to date on sales. If you are a facebooker, show her some love & LIKE The Coupon Centsation Fan Page.
Have a great Wednesday...I am headed to the bonus room to de-clutter and take a bunch of toys to the local thrift store.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So, you think you have a strategy? Five poor excuses for a strategy

Most companies do not have a strategy. Ok, I admit it, I do not have any solid statistics (if such a thing were possible) as evidence to back up this statement, but I do see a heck of a lot of companies, strategy directors, and CEOs present their “strategies” and I tell you, I think 9 out of 10 (at least) don’t actually have one.

Sure, it depends on the all-evasive question “what is strategy?” but even if you would take the most lenient of definitions, few companies actually have one. Let me not tire you with some real strategy textbook definitions but if I would just put it as “you know what you are doing, and why”, most firms would already fall short on this one.

Most companies and CEOs do not have a good rationale of why they are doing the things they are doing, and how this should lead to superior performance.

I’d say there are 3 types of CEOs here: 1) CEOs who think they have a strategy; they are the most abundant; 2) CEOs who pretend to think that they have a strategy, but deep down they are really very hesitant because they fear they don’t actually have one (and they’re probably right); these are generally quite a bit more clever than the first category, but alas fewer in numbers; 3) CEOs who do have a strategy; there are preciously few of them, but invariably they head very successful companies.

So what do all these CEOs do, when confronted with the question “what is your strategy?” Well, of course they will retaliate with a powerpoint presentation, headed by the title “our strategy”, and there is stuff on it. It just ain’t strategy.

Let me present you with five such common excuses for a strategy or, put differently, five examples of why the things on the powerpoint are not strategy:

Are you really making choices?

Strategy, above all, is about making choices; choices in terms of what you do and what you do not do. Future Plc for example has chosen to focus on specialty magazines for young males (decent magazines, by the way…) in English. This contains some very clear choices. The point is that what they are throwing away, i.e. choosing not to focus on is meaningful. They concerns things that could have made them money as well. For example, magazines for middle aged women might potentially be very profitable, but that is just not what they want to do, because they think concentrating on a clear set of consumers and products will help them do better. Most companies don’t do this; they cannot resist the temptation of also doing other things which, on an individual basis, look attractive. As a consequence, they end up with a bunch of stuff that appears attractive, but strangely enough they don’t manage to turn them into a profitable proposition.

Or do you just stick to what you were doing anyway…?

Another variant of this is the straightjacket of path dependency, meaning that companies write up their strategy in such a way that everything fits into it that they were doing anyway. And there might be nothing wrong with that, if it so happens that what you were doing anyway represents a nice coherent set of activities. Yet, more often than not, strategies adapted to what you were doing anyway results in some vague, amorphous statement that would have been better off in a beginners’ class on esoteric poetry, because it is meaningless and does not imply any real choice. The worst of the lot I have seen (although low on poetic value) was Ahold’s poor excuse for a strategy, which ended up doing so many different things in so many different corners of the world that they resided to calling their strategy “multi-format, multi-local, multi-channel”. This – not coincidentally – was shortly before the company collapsed.

Your choices have no relationship with value creation (you’re in “The Matrix”)

Sometimes companies make some choices, but it is wholly unclear why these choices would do you any good? It is not just about making choices, you need a good explanation why these choices are going to create you a heck of a lot of value. Without such logic, I cannot call it a strategy. Let me give you an example, which happens to be the most common strategy I have seen among multinational corporations: The Matrix. On the horizontal axis, one puts countries; on the vertical axis, one puts business lines. And the strategy is to tick boxes, as many as possible, as quickly as possible (preferably through acquisitions). But why would performing all your activities in all your countries be a good strategy? If you can give me an explanation of why this would lead to superior value creation, I might label it a strategy, but such an explanation is usually conspicuously absent. Without a proper rationalisation of why your choices are going to help you create value, I cannot call it a strategy.

You’re mistaking objectives for strategy

“We want to be number 1 or 2 in all the markets we operate in”. Ever heard that one? I think it is bollocks. A CEO who wrote to me the other day, after having read my book (“Business Exposed”), said of most of these things proclaimed to be strategies that they were like saying “I am going to win the 400 meters during the 2012 Olympics by running faster than anyone else”. Yes, that is very nice, but the real question is “how?” We want to be number 1 or 2 in the market; we want to grow 50 percent next year; we want to be the world’s pre-eminent business school, and so on. These are goals; these are objectives, and possibly very good and lofty ones, but strategy they are not. You need an idea and a rationale – a strategy – of how you are going to achieve all this. Without it, they are an aspiration, but certainly not a strategy.

Nobody knows about it

The final mistake I have seen, but scarily common, of why CEOs who think they have a strategy don’t actually have one (despite circumventing all of the above pitfalls), is because none of their lower ranked employees actually knows about it. A strategy is only really a strategy if people in the organisation alter their behaviour as a result of it. And in order to achieve that, they should know about it… Strategy by itself does nothing; the powerpoint presentation – regardless of how colourful and fine-tuned – is not going to resort to improved performance unless the choices and priorities it contains result into actions by middle managers and people on the work floor. A good litmus test is to simply ask around; if people within the organisation do not give you the same coherent story, chances are you do not have a strategy, no matter how colourful your powerpoints.

Guest Post- Back Pack Buddies

Today we have guest poster, Deanna, from Just Deanna.
She is a mother of 4, and is always up to something crafty. Deanna is sharing with us how to make some cute backpack buddies.
Take it away Deanna!

Hello!  I am Deanna of Just Deanna.
A little blog with sewing and crafting tutorials and lots of other miscellany. 
Glad to be here visiting Crystal's great blog.  :)
This summer I hosted a little craft club for my kids and their friends. 
At our last one, for a fun back to school project, we made these fun backpack buddies with shrinky dink paper.
They are super simple to make and the kids seem to really love them. 
You can use them as a key chain as well.

Supplies we used:
frosted shrinky dink paper,
colored pencils,
and a hole punch.
For this project I printed up a bunch of fun characters and other shapes for them to use. 
They traced around the picture and colored in with colored pencils.
You should color on the rough side of the paper.
You'll want the picture to be about the size of half a sheet of shrinky dink paper.
  If little ones struggle with the paper shifting over their picture, just tape it down on the sides.
White pencil will show up once they are baked.
Next, cut around the picture leaving room around the picture.
 If you cut around skinny parts, they break off easily. 
Finally before baking punch a hole in the top.
Bake according to the directions in the package.
Once cooled, we used large jump rings to attach to the hole and then to a key ring. 
Then we attached them to a zipper on their backpack.
Thanks for letting me guest on your blog, Crystal!  :)

Thanks Deanna, for sharing such a fun back to school craft!
Make sure to show Deanna some love, and check out her great ideas!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Business August 17th 2011, "I Feel Witty" Edition

Jesse Elias and Issac Witty join The Business this Wednesday, which will most likely cause a pulsing force-field of quirky and awkward delivery styles to envelop the entire theater. That means it will be very very funny night.

The Business is excited to welcome Issac Witty's unique and hilarious comedy style, which has been featured on the Late Show with David Letterman, A Prairie Home Companion, Comedy Central, and Bob and Tom radio show just to name a few. His CD "Zero Balance" was released last year on the Rooftop Comedy label. There is much to be said of his delivery, which feels both classic and completely left field at the same time. All in all, Issac Witty is very...Issac Witty. You'll see what I mean.

Jesse Elias is probably too smart for his own good, but obviously not smart enough to stay away from a career in stand-up comedy, and audiences all over the Bay Area are all the better for that oversight.

A recent winner of the not-even-close-to-prestigi​ ous Twisted Biscuit competition, Jesse made a smashing debut at the Punch Line comedy club recently, and is following up with his premier here at the Dark Room.

As always we start at a very 8pm, we cost a very $5 and have a very good burrito radius around the theater. Be very here.

Vacay Pics....

We have been M.I.A. for a week because we were vacationing in sunny Florida. We decided on a whim that we would drive down at night. That was the QUIETEST trip we have ever taken:o) We arrived around 10 a.m. and hit the beach. The hubs and I were completely zonked, but knew the kids wouldn't be able to wait to see the beach. This was the view from our balcony:
 Not too bad, ehh?
Here are my sweets getting their piggies wet.
 After 3 days on the beach, we headed to Orlando. We did a character dinner with Cinderella and Prince Charming.
Here is S.R. with one of her favorite princesses.
 E was actually very excited about meeting Prince Charming.
 S.R.....not so much:o)
 Step sister #1
 Step Sister #2
 There were kids all around us who had these great looking cupcakes. We found out that they were for birthdays....they felt sorry for our little ones and let them have one to share....E's birthday is in a few weeks, so that's how they justified it:o)

 We spent a day at Universal Studios. Here are the kids sporting their shirts that I made them. We had several ask if they were twins.
This is after lunch all tuckered out. It was soooooo hot that day. The hubs and I haven't sweat that much since we were college athletes:o) Did you spot the fans that I wrapped around the stroller bars? Dollar Tree....they were great for the kids, and the blades were made of foam.
 Now this is funny.....E begged for a magic wand from Harry Potter land. Here he is showing off his new Dumbledore wand.
 Here he is asking if it's okay to wave his new magic wand.
 Here is the look of utter disappointment when he realizes that magic wands aren't real.
 Here is the discussion of how magic is make-believe. 
Thankfully he was completely okay after realizing magic is pretend. He loves his wand and has been "zapping" everything in sight. S.R. got a fluffy unicorn and takes it everywhere she goes.
We had a fantastic trip, but I am glad to be home....the kids start preschool tomorrow. 
What am I going to do with myself?!?!?
Possibly lay in the fetal position in a corner and cry??? I am sure that I will get over it;o)
Any-whoodles, be on the look out for another guest post.
Have a great Monday!!!