Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vintage Pillow Case Dress

I thought I would share a dress I made today. One of the outreach programs for our Homemakers' club this year is to make Pillow Case Dresses for the Little Dresses for Africa program.
We needed a "prototype" to show at the county board meeting, and I was asked to make one. I had this beautiful vintage pillow case just hanging in the closet, and I knew it would be great for the demo dress & perfect for my S.R.
 The needlework on the bottom of the dress is all done by hand...it's beautiful!
 Instead of tying a bow on either shoulder, I decided to go with the "less-fuss" approach, and go for the one shoulder bow.
I can't wait for S.R. to wear this dress.
She squealed when she saw it. Hopefully that same enthusiasm will be there when spring arrives;o)

Taking a Minute to Breath...

This winter has been one of the strangest I can remember. It has felt like spring most of the winter months. It's been great for the kids because they have been able to spend a lot of time playing outside with our neighbors.
Yesterday, I decided I needed a break from all of the insanity that has been going on here lately...lack of sleep, and trying to catch up on that..homemakers club stuff...and then there is a certain someone's birthday coming up on Saturday as well:o)
Our neighborhood is nestled in beside a river, and there is a nice paved path and picnic tables there as well.
So we grabbed the wagon, some food & the dog and headed down to the river and had a wonderful little picnic.
I sat back, snapped pictures, and enjoyed just watching my children...just watching:o)

 E being silly, and S.R. mad because he "bonked her head."
 Flowers that S.R. picked for me
 Sweet smile

 Throwing rocks into the river

 Scosche waiting patiently as we eat in front of him:o)
 Sticks make great toys..E has a "gun"..go figure;o) And S.R. has a "smiley face."
 There is also a little playground beside the pool house, so they absolutely wanted to play on that.
 Our "Monkey" on the monkey bars...they both can cross them, and I love the look of accomplishment they have on their faces when they do!
We had a great time, and it was nice to take a moment and just breathe.
Now that our school week has officially started, it's time to hit the ground running, and there won't be any "breathing" until after the party Saturday:o)
I have a few sneak peaks that I will share with you guys as teasers throughout the week, so stay tuned!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wizard of Oz Mini Coloring Books

I am hard at work putting the finishing touches on The Wizard of Oz birthday party. The house has started to transform into Munchkin-land...it's actually really neat looking:o)
Since I am on a strict budget right now, I am trying to come up with inexpensive and free favors.
I am not usually one for handing out coloring books, but most of the girls attending love to color.
I found a site, Kids-n-Fun.com, that has a great selection of W.o.O. color sheets. I copied and pasted them in Publisher to turn them into a mini color book.
Here's how I did it.

Supplies you need:
Blue & white gingham paper cut into 9.25"x6" sheets(folded in half)
Print outs of Pages 1, 2 & Cover
Double sided tape
Sewing Machine
 Start out by printing your color sheets. To make them double sided, I printed page 1 first. I then laid the printed side UP into the printer with the Tin Man going in first...see pic below...& then printed page 2.
Once you have printed your pictures, fold into quarters with Dorothy being the first.

 Now trim very carefully across the top of the folds.
 Make sure to leave just a snippet in the very center..this will make it easier to keep everything in line when sewing the seam.
 Now fold it back in place. Line the middle seam of the gingham paper and the middle seam of the color sheets together, and run a basting stitch down the center. 
 It should look a little something like this.
 Adhere the Cover to the front, and you're done!
 A quick, easy & super inexpensive party favor.
I'll share their goody baskets very soon..they are adorable!!

To download each page, click on the links below.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Playing Around...

I have been M.I.A. for a bit.

 I had to go to the doctor on Tuesday because I was uber sick. I found out I have an upper respiratory infection. I am on meds right now, one being a steroid...I am tweaking my blog right now because I can't sleep because of said steroid...grr!

 I have been up since 12:00 a.m....it's now 4:10 a.m. 

Some good news...I have been decorating for S.R.'s birthday party this week. It's gone a lot slower just because I have felt miserable, but it's coming together. 
I hope to share some pics very soon:o)
I think I am going to try to lay back down:o)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

“The Best Degree for Start-up Success”

“So you want to start a company. You've finished your undergraduate degree and you're peering into the haze of your future. Would it be better to continue on to an MBA or do an advanced degree in a nerdy pursuit like engineering or mathematics? Sure, tech skills are hugely in demand and there are a few high-profile nerd success stories, but how often do pencil-necked geeks really succeed in business? Aren't polished, suited and suave MBA-types more common at the top? Not according to a recent white paper from Identified, tellingly entitled "Revenge of the Nerds."

Interested? Yes, it does sound intriguing, doesn’t it? It is the start of an article, written by a journalist, based on a report by a company called “Identified”. In the report, you can find that “Identified is the largest database of professional information on Facebook. Our database includes over 50 million Facebook users and over 1.2 billion data points on professionals’ work history, education and demographic data”.

In the report, based on the analysis of data obtained from Facebook, under the header “the best degree for start-up success”, Identified presents some “definitive conclusions” about “whether an MBA is worth the investment and if it really gets you to the top of the corporate food chain”. Let me no longer hold you in suspense (although I think by now you do see this one coming from a mile or two, like a Harry and Sally romance), the definitive conclusion is: “that if you want to build a company, an advanced degree in a subject like engineering beats an MBA any day”.

So I have read the report…

[insert deep sigh]

and – how shall I put it – I have a few doubts… ( = polite English euphemism)

Although Identified has “assembled a world class team of 15 engineers and data scientists to analyse this vast database and identify interesting trends, patterns and correlations” I am not entirely sure that they are not jumping to a few unwarranted conclusions. ( = polite English euphemism)

So, when they dig up from Facebook all the profiles of anyone listed as “CEO” or “founder”, they find that about ¾ are engineers and a mere ¼ are MBAs. (Actually, they don’t even find that, but let me not get distracted here). I have no quibbles with that; I am sure they do find what they find; after all, they do have “a world class team of 15 engineers and data scientists”, and a fact is a fact. What I have more quibbles with is how you get from that to the conclusion that if you want to build a company, an advanced degree in a subject like engineering beats an MBA any day.

Perhaps it may seem obvious and a legitimate conclusion to you: more CEOs have an engineering degree than an MBA, so surely getting an engineering degree is more likely to enable you to become a CEO? But, no, that is where it goes wrong; you cannot draw this conclusion from those data. Perhaps “a world class team of 15 engineers and data scientists [able] to analyse this vast database and identify interesting trends, patterns and correlations” are superbly able at digging up the data for you but, apparently, they are less skilled in drawing justifiable conclusions. (I am tempted to suggest that, for this, they would have been better off hiring an MBA, but will fiercely resist that temptation!)

The problem is, what we call, “unobserved heterogeneity”, coupled with some “selection bias”, finished with some “bollocks” (one of which is not a generally accepted statistical term) – and in this case there is lots of it. For example – to start with a simple one – perhaps there are simply a lot more engineers trying to start a company than MBAs. If there are 20 engineers trying to start a company and 9 of them succeed, while there are 5 MBAs trying it and 3 of them succeed, can you really conclude that an engineering degree is better for start-up success than an MBA?

But, you may object, why would there be more engineers who are trying to start a business? Alright then, since you insist, suppose out of the 10 engineers 9 succeed and out of the 10 MBAs only 3 do, but the 9 head $100,000 businesses and the three $100 million ones? Still so sure that an engineering degree is more useful to “get you to the top of the corporate food chain”? What about if the MBA companies have all been in existence for 15 years while all the engineering start-ups never make it past year 2?

And these are of course only very crude examples. There are likely more subtle processes going on as well. For instance, the same type of qualities that might make someone choose to do an engineering degree could prompt him or her to start a company, however, this same person might have been better off (in terms of being able to make the start-up a success) if s/he had done an MBA. And if you buy none of the above (because you are an engineer or about to be engaged to one) what about the following: people who chose to do an engineering degree are inherently smarter and more able people than MBAs, hence they start more and more successful companies. However, that still leaves wide open the possibility that such a very smart and able person would have been even more successful had s/he chosen to do an MBA before venturing.

I could go on for a while (and frankly I will) but I realise that none of my aforementioned scenarios will be the right one, yet the point is that there might very well be a bit going on of several of them. You cannot compare the ventures started by engineers with the ventures headed by MBAs, you can’t compare the two sets of people, you can’t conclude that engineers are more successful founding companies, and you certainly cannot conclude that getting an engineering degree makes you more likely to succeed in starting a business. So, what can you conclude from the finding that more CEOs/founders have a degree in engineering than an MBA? Well… precisely that; that more CEOs/founders have a degree in engineering than an MBA. And, I am sorry, not much else.

Real research (into such complex questions such as “what degree is most likely to lead to start-up success?) is more complex. And so will likely have to be the answer. For some type of businesses an MBA might be better, and for others an engineering degree. And some type of people might be more helped with an MBA, where other types are better off with an engineering degree. There is nothing wrong with deriving some interesting statistics from a database, but you have to be modest and honest about the conclusions you can link to them. It may sound more interesting if you claim that you find a definitive conclusion about what degree leads to start-up success – and it certainly will be more eagerly repeated by journalist and in subsequent tweets (as happened in this case) – but I am afraid that does not make it so.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Follower Button

Hey Guys!
Just wanted to let you all know that Google Friend Connect is shutting down March 1st...for those of you who have no clue what I am talking about...you remember that little button you clicked on my sidebar to become a follower? Well that little thing is going away.
However, I put a new little "follower" box up, so you can just click on it to become a "follower" again..
Easy Peasy:o)
And if you didn't know that you could sign up for emails, there is a little box for that too!

Drive-In Movie Night

Last night for Valentines Day, we celebrated at home with a Drive-In movie night. I made these Cars for the kids to sit in using some cardboard boxes, acrylic paint and foam sheets.
The kids LOVED them, and the hubs called me the best mom ever;o)
They were geared up and ready to go with their bean bags and travel pillows tucked inside for comfort.
 I attached little storage bins to the sides with clips to hold their food and drinks.
 Can you tell that S.R. wants to show off her Valentine card from her brother...when she opened it, she squealed and jumped up and down...unicorns are her favorite right now:o)
 ...and purple:o) Can you tell what the licence plate is supposed to say?
 E called his a hot wheels car:o)
And this was the concession area:o) These were some leftovers from E's 3rd birthday party...the decorations that is:o)

Our spread...
This is what was hanging under the refreshments sign. I just used publisher and one of the templates.

 And I had this hanging on the front door so that the hubs would know where to go when he arrived home...I found it online somewhere, copied and pasted in Publisher and added what I needed.
We had a fantastic evening, and the movie was really funny. I'd say that this was a great way to spend Valentines!! I hope our was as great as ours:o)

Participating in these Parties:

Design Dazzle

This was featured here:
Design Dazzle

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

I hope you all are having a fantastic day. I wanted to share the Smilebox Card that we sent out to our family.

                                 Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
This free digital ecard created with Smilebox

Also, since S.R. is still recovering from strep throat, we decided to have a special girls day in...including manicures...
 along with heart-shaped mini pizzas.
Can I just say that I love have a girly tom-boy:o)
We have lots of fun things planned for this evening. I can't wait to share it with you all later on this week!! Gotta go get Mr. E so we can get ready for the festivities!!
Have a great Valentines guys!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentine's Outfit

This weekend I got to work on a Valentines outfit for S.R. to wear...unfortunately, she will be wearing it at home:o( She had a really bad weekend, and after two doctor's visits, it was confirmed that baby girl has strep throat:o( This is a first in our household. Thankfully E is already on antibiotics for a double ear infection, so his chances of getting it are slim-to-none...the hubs and I?? Only time will tell:o/

Anyway, while perusing Pinterest the other day, I came across two different tutorials for little girl's skirts. You can find them HERE & HERE.

                                         I kind of used little tidbits from both, and came up with this.

 I wanted the shirt to have the skirt fabric tied in, so I cut out little hearts in the shirt itself, and added the strawberry fabric in behind...just "heat-bonded" it and stitched. Easy peasy:o)
This outfit was made possible by the abilities of my friend Stephanie's sewing machine...mine is still on the fritz & will need to be taken in for repairs...
Thanks Stephanie!!! 

We will be having our own little Valentines party at home tomorrow while E is at preschool, and that way she will still get to wear her new outfit. 
This shirt/skirt combo will be perfect for when spring & summer role around too.

Here's my sweet little sickly today...this is after her dose of Motrin...all smiles:o) Gotta love modern meds!!