Minggu, 30 Juni 2013

Someone New and a Special Giveaway!

Today, I am beyond grateful to be featured as the "Someone New" at The Hands-On Teacher in First! It's always special to be able to link up with other blogs and bloggers, and this is a particular treat! In honor of the occasion, I am hosting my very first giveaway!

I have just finished preparing all of my organizational labels for my classroom! They are printed, laminated, cut, and ready to be added to every drawer, box, and basket in my room. :)

Have a look:

These are available in the Tally Tales TPT store as the Labels, Labels, Labels! product. The packet includes printable labels, which may be used to organize group tubs, reading instruction supplies, math manipulatives, art supplies, classroom jobs, center rotations, and more! When applicable, individual labels contain corresponding images to make them more kid-friendly for younger students. All labels are visually appealing with a combination of playful font, bright colors and designs, and clipart images. Also included are blank labels that may be customized to fit the needs of your classroom. 

Now, here's the best part: I am making the entire packet available for free through this giveaway! 

The even better-than-best part: Two people will have a chance to win!

To enter the giveaway, you may either submit a comment below this post (make sure you include your email address on the comment, please!), or you may subscribe as a new follower to The Tally Tales blog (either through Google+ or Bloglovin')! Of course, you can always choose to do both! :) Winners will be chosen completely at random. One winner will be selected from among the new followers, while another winner will be selected from among the comments. The winner will be announced on Friday, July 5th, so you have a week to enter and share the giveaway with your friends! ;)

C-DOT Gets a Second Life, but will it be successful?

India has seen a telecom boom over the last decade and today has 700-800 million mobile phone connections. But, though thousands of crores of investments have gone into creating the infrastructure for telecom services in India, very little of the equipment has been sourced from, or manufactured in, India.

Why has this happened? The simple answer is that we failed to build up a competitive telecom equipment manufacturing industry in India. Till the 1980s, telecom was a public sector monopoly with the Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) set up to manufacture exchange equipment and telephone instruments. ITI followed the traditional model of sourcing technology from other countries/companies and manufacturing products under licence. Though it had its own R&D, it never succeeded in developing good products of its own. ITI’s woes were compounded by poor decisions on technology and investment – for example, ITI set up a crossbar exchange manufacturing facility in Rae Bareli just when this technology was being phased out elsewhere in the world. Later, ITI’s first move into modern electronic switching systems was located at a new plant in Mankapur (UP) which had absolutely no ecosystem to support it.

C-DOT: History and Achievements

The first serious effort to build indigenous capability in switching technology was the creation of the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT) in 1984. Under the leadership of Sam Pitroda, C-DOT took on the challenge of developing Electronic Private Automatic Branch Exchanges (EPABX), Rural Automatic Exchanges (RAX) and Main Automatic Exchanges(MAX) suitable for Indian conditions (high temperatures, high dust levels, poor handling, power fluctuation, etc.) at low cost. While the first two were developed on time, and were comparable to the best in the world at the time they were developed, the MAX (a much more complex project) took longer, though it was ultimately able to meet the specifications of the then monopoly Department of Telecommunications (DOT).

The main impact of C-DOT’s technology was ushering in an era of nation-wide connectivity, providing the base for the huge network of “STD booths” that dotted the country by the late 1980s. The low prices of C-DOT’s equipment resulted in multinational telecom vendors lowering the prices of their own equipment as well. C-DOT played a stellar role in building local skills and capabilities – in the 1980s (remember this was before the software and IT revolution took root in India), C-DOT provided challenging opportunities for Indian engineers, and C-DOT projects were the first large projects where structured software development processes were used.

In its early years, C-DOT benefited from the relationship its charismatic founder Sam Pitroda enjoyed with Rajiv Gandhi. C-DOT got sufficient funding to develop its equipment, and was allowed flexibility in its organizational arrangements to pursue its mission. But full credit should go to Sam and his team for demonstrating the ability to develop complex products in India at a time when local capabilities were limited.
However, Sam’s rapport with the Congress government proved a mixed blessing when the Congress lost power and was replaced by the VP Singh and Chandrashekar governments. He was literally hounded out of C-DOT.

After completing the MAX project, CDOT went through tough times. Apart from the shift in economic philosophy of the country, the telecom environment in India changed, with the shift from the DOT (now BSNL) to private players; from fixed lines to mobile; and to convergence of information and communication technologies. It’s not surprising that CDOT found it difficult to cope with these changes. Globally, the telecom equipment industry also suffered serious convulsions after a peak during the dotcom boom resulting in bankruptcies (Nortel), consolidation (Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia-Siemens) and the birth and success of new players, particularly from China (Huawei, ZTE).

C-DOT: Second Life?

So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that C-DOT is today getting a new lease of life under the leadership of VVR Sastry (former CMD of BEL) and Vipin Tyagi. My first meeting with Vipin was fortuitous – we were fellow speakers at a seminar organized by a Ghaziabad college last year. We had some sporadic correspondence after that. I finally got an opportunity to visit C-DOT and interact with some of their people when I was invited to speak at a C-DOT internal symposium recently.

In terms of hard infrastructure, I must say that the government has provided the best to C-DOT. It has a fully-equipped, modern campus in South Delhi, a far cry from the rented premises where C-DOT used to operate earlier. I was impressed by the motivation and expertise of C-DOT’s young engineers – they look very committed to the challenging tasks they have at hand.

C-DOT’s bigger challenges today lie in the areas of strategy (technology, product choices) and business models. The current leadership of C-DOT has made some focused choices that make sense: upgradation of the existing installed network of 30,000 RAXs (which were built essentially for voice) to handle data with contemporary technology; a Shared Radio Access Network, which will allow upto three operators to share infrastructure, thus bringing down the cost of rural wireless access; and a Data Rural Application Exchange (DRAX) which helps provide people who are not computer savvy access to broadband information and services. A major thrust of work is on C-DOT’s GPON family of products, optical networking products that will create the long term backbone for advanced digital data access. (Picture below shows Vipin Tyagi and I standing in front of one of the GPON products.)

Many of C-DOT’s current products have an Indian flavor – they are designed to meet Indian requirements but incorporate current technology and have a low cost base. This is a good approach, one that is being followed already by leading Indian telecom players like Tejas Networks (see my earlier post) and even multinationals like Cisco (see another post on ASR901, Cisco’s successful cell site router, developed by Cisco in India). But, what is still not clear is how will C-DOT’s technologies and products reach the market?

Will C-DOT Succeed?

C-DOT is following the same approach they followed earlier – licensing their technologies to multiple Indian companies, who will then take them to market. I wonder whether this will work. In the case of C-DOT’s earlier switching products, remember that they were developed at a time when self-reliance was an official policy of the government, and there was a single (monopoly) telecom services provider owned by the government. Today, there are multiple service providers across the country, and the state-owned BSNL and MTNL are both in poor shape. Competition is fierce and there are frequent allegations of some multinational vendors “dumping” their equipment in India. It is not clear as to how C-DOT’s licensees will deal with this challenge. Pre-qualification requirements (such as proof of operation in networks for a defined duration) that were earlier used to delay and thwart the induction of IIT Madras’s TENET network’s solutions may come up again. And, though the new Preferential Market Access norms for products manufactured in India have been announced, it’s anyone’s guess how effectively they will be implemented.

I always felt, and continue to believe, that we made a major mistake in our failure to create one or more integrated telecommunication equipment companies. ITI never had distinctive technological capabilities of its own; but C-DOT as a technology organization always remains one step away from the market. This prevents it from dynamically responding to market and technology changes. It is instructive to remember that most Chinese companies had their origin in government laboratories, and were the result of spin-offs from these laboratories.

Today, it is not essential for a technology organization to do manufacturing itself. Most companies using electronic technologies (including iconic companies like Apple) rely on specialized third parties like Flextronics or Foxconn to take care of manufacturing. But decisions on technology, brand, products, marketing and pricing need to be taken under one roof in order to be competitive in a fast-changing marketplace. The licensing model doesn’t support such an approach.

C-DOT looks poised to create great technologies and products. But will these reach the marketplace?

Jumat, 28 Juni 2013

Best sangria ever

Welcome to Friday, whoot! Hope your week was great and you have an even better weekend planned!

First up, I’m over at SAS Interiors today sharing how I strive to create a meaningful home:


It’s a great series with some fabulous bloggers contributing – check it out! Thanks for having me Jenna!

So today I’m sharing one of my very favorite recipes…of the liquid kind. :) I figured I’d post it today so maybe you can make it yourselves and toast to the weekend, yes?

Aw yeah.

So a lovely reader shared this sangria with me years ago – I needed a good one for an event coming up and sent out the call on Twitter. I’ve tried a lot of sangria in my day (well not a LOT, but a few…you know. Whatever.) and it’s hard to find one that has the right amount of sweet and fruitiness.

Here’s the thing – the initial cost of the ingredients is a little expensive. The liquor needed is about 20 bucks and then you’ll need to buy a few things to make it each time (most of which we already have). But the expensive stuff will last you a really really long time – so over time it’s not too crazy bad.

Here’s what you’ll need:

classic sangria recipe

1 1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp triple sec
1/2 cup brandy
1 bottle (750 ml) fruity red wine (the cheaper, the sweeter, the better) :)
3 tbsp sugar
2-3 cinnamon sticks
lemon/orange/lime or even strawberry, pineapple, whatever!
1 1/2 cup chilled lemon/lime sparkling water

You’ll want to mix the first six ingredients (hold off on the lemon/lime water) and stir. Next up, cut the fruit into slices:

classic sangria recipe

One of the reasons I love this drink is because it’s such a pretty one to serve. :)

Just make sure to clean the fruit well before slicing since you will be adding it to the drink:

classic sangria recipe

Side note – we like our orange juice with pulp. Usually I make this with OJ without it (it’s clearer) but I was using what we had this time.

This is where I like to let it steep in the fridge for a while – preferably over night. But it is still super delicious right away too. My sister-in-law had some right after I mixed it last night and it was yummy, but letting it sit really deepens the flavor.

Right before you serve it (after letting it steep for awhile or right after mixing everything), add the lemon lime sparkling water – this is what gives it a slight fizz. So good!

I make this for every party or girl’s night and it’s always a hit. My SIL and I were reminiscing tonight how my father-in-law loved sangria and would always order it when we went out to new restaurants. Thing is he would always turn up his nose after trying it and it made us laugh every time – he could never find one that was just right.

But I’m proud to say he LOVED my sangria. ;)

Hope you’ll try it and love it too!: best sangria recipe

Have a great weekend, cheers!   

Economic History at MIT

Peter Temin tells the story in a new paper called The Rise and Fall of Economic History at MIT.

Rabu, 26 Juni 2013

Too many spoons in the kitchen

Heyyyy all! How is your week going?

So you get that play on words? Cooks in the kitchen? Spoons? Well…maybe by the end of this post it will be clever.

I’m SO happy to be done with the powder room – have I mentioned that?? There’s a million reasons (hello…functioning bathroom) but one of the big ones is that I can finally start addressing some of the other little projects around the house. I told myself I would hold off until I got the bathroom done.

I told you a few months ago that I’m slowly but surely attacking the clutter hot spots around our house. At this rate I’ll be done next year in time to start it all over again, but whatever.

I’m on a mission in our kitchen to declutter the countertops. Mostly – not completely clear them off, but be smarter about the things we have out. I know it’s probably silly but lately all the utensils next to the stove were driving me crazy:

Especially considering we have a drawer right there that I use for the rest of the utensils:

utensil drawer organization

Problem was, as you can see – it was a hot mess. Every time I’d put something away I would have to try to close the drawer about five times before I finally got it shut. ;)

I realized it was getting a little ridiculous – who needs all those spoons? Really? Especially for someone who rarely hardly ever occasionally cooks? So I took about 15 minutes to declutter the situation.

You’ll notice the wonky drawer organizers in that pic above – that was a little DIY project I did years ago. (I saw the idea at Stephanie’s site here.) At the time I didn’t secure them well enough so they weren’t working so great.

All I did was take scrap wood from the garage and cut it to the width of the drawer and then nail it in. Stephanie just used glue for hers but that didn’t hold well enough for me. So I needed to add one more nail to each side to make them more secure and I used the little trick I used years ago:

utensil drawer organization

I used my Frogtape to mark off where the wood was so I could nail into it without missing. Does that make sense? Cause otherwise this happens:

(The nail didn’t hit the wood and came out the side.)

Obviously you still need to have good aim. Gah!

In hindsight I wish I would have installed the wood slats the long way instead of across, but if I remember right I was trying to work with scraps of wood I already had.

So once the organizers were secure again I started the purging and reorganizing. The bigger items went into a cabinet in the kitchen with like items and all the grilling stuff went outside underneath the grill:

By the way, those little marshmallow sticks telescope out and are perfect for making smores! :) I got them at the Target dollar spot last summer, not sure if they still have them.

We had doubles and triples of plenty, which I pared down. And then I found things that I have NO idea why we had:

Uhhhh…what are those?

I was able to purge plenty so now I don’t even need the holder next to the stove anymore, which was my goal:

gumball fish bowl

On a side note, Squish the Fish is doing AWESOME! We’ve had this Squish for three years now and he’s the most spoiled fish I’ve ever known. My husband loves him. You can see more about the gumball fish tank here.

But let’s marvel at the lovely utensil drawer, with a (little) room to spare:

utensil drawer organization One drawer done, eleventy billion to go.

And one thing you don’t ever think you’ll do until you blog – take a picture of your utensil drawer and share it with the world.

This little spot makes me feel like I did a lot – I find decrapifying is a lot more manageable when I tackle little bits at a time.

So do you have too many spoons in your kitchen? Can you close your utensil drawer??

Senin, 24 Juni 2013

The Performance of a Lifetime

Dark or light side?

Hello all! Hope you had a great weekend! We took a little road trip to the Chicago area for a couple drum corp shows (for hubby), Legoland (for the kiddo) and IKEA (for me). It was a fun, quick trip!

So now that the powder room is done I’m moving on to a room I’ve been itching to change up for a while – our master bedroom. I made some changes earlier this year using things I already had, and the room got a few other changes a couple years ago.

We have a new addition coming to the room that kind of spurred a new redo on but I’ve been wanting to change some things up for a while – No. 1 on my list is getting rid of the striped wall behind our bed. It’s given me the itches for a few years now.

But my biggest dilemma before I can really get moving is the wall color – I’m torn between the allure of a deep, dark wall color and the light and bright look. I STILL can’t decide. Every time I think I have I see a new picture and it takes me back to the dark side. Or light. Or dark.

You get the idea.

I’m drawn to the moody, comfy feeling of a dark room:

dark walls bedroom


Did you notice the trim is painted the same color as the walls? What do you think of that?

Although if I went dark I would keep the headboard light like Dear Lillie’s room:

dark brown walls white bedding

The light bedding brightens up the room and gives great contrast – I’m a lover of contrast you know.

I actually have a sample of a deep navy color like Carmel’s room:

dark walls dark wood bed

Mine has a little more of an aqua tint to it, if that makes any sense – like a peacock blue. Can I just say how much I LOVE that mirror above her bed too??

In general I think it’s easier to pull in colors with a lighter room, but I love how color was used in this room, even with the dark walls:

dark walls with aqua and blue


I do love the pop of pink with the dark chocolate walls in this bedroom:

brown walls white bedding


Just not sure the hubby would go for that. ;)

Here’s a great example of how a darker color completely changes the look of a room:

light room redo to dark walls


There’s plenty of other changes too, but isn’t funny how much bigger it looks in a dark color? You always think it will be the opposite but that’s not always the case.

But here’s the thing – I’m finding I’m loving the power of a neutral wall color. It’s soothing, yes, but it also allows you more options when it comes to decorating with color:

decorating with color lighter walls

My friend Layla’s old master bedroom is one of my favorites:

cottage style bedroom I love that the walls and bedding are light but the room is still so warm and colorful.

I think it’s evident by my photos (and recent projects) that I’m loving the wall planks:

white walls, black and green accents


I just adore that room – I think every room can take some black pieces and this looks amazing with the white walls and green accents. Love!

And no, I’m not planking our bedroom walls – I need a break from the painting for awhile. ;)

Of course it doesn’t have to be white on the walls – I don’t think I could do an all white room anyway. This greige-ish space is just beautiful:

light room with blue and greenI love that you could pull in pretty much any accent color and it would work. It’s that a gorgeous room?

I love this blue color too – and it proves that a lighter color can still offer plenty of contrast against white trim:

two story bedroom


I also love that there are plenty of darker accents in there (rug, chairs, ottomans) that offer some depth without making the room really heavy.

Overall I just love the idea of a calming, serene space:

molding same color as walls


But the thing is, our current wall color is darker (Tornado Watch at Lowe’s) and it feels super cozy too:

dark walls bedroom

A dark room feels like a hug to me, a lighter one feels like a big breath of fresh air.

Decisions, decisions.

A few months ago I was getting ready to slap a deep color on the walls, now I’m leaning big time toward a light color. I think I’m ready for a change!

What is your favorite for a bedroom – dark or light? Do/did you struggle with your wall color like me or did you know exactly what you wanted? Do tell!

P.S. I also painted the Bub’s room a dark blue but kept it light with lots of white trim – you can see it here.


An excerpt from a new poetry collection on economics:

An Economist

Economists study how society produces and distributes its scarce resources.

An economist pretends to know
Why things are made and how they flow.
He studies men’s biggest woe,
He wants it all, what to forego.

Like a machine with unseen gears
Through greed a solution appears.
By making what men hold most dear
Profits are earned by serving peers.

To boost theirs and the common's gain
Become experts in their domains.
To make one thing well they attain,
Through trade the rest they obtain.

But their profits diverge by much.
Those with great tools earn a whole bunch.
Tools like machines, schooling and such
Boost production so very much.

Focus on Bank Liabilities, Not Bank Assets

John Cochrane has a great column in today's Wall Street Journal on how to create a better banking system.  He says that we should focus on the nature of bank liabilities (demand deposits, in particular) rather than on the riskiness of bank assets.

Back in 1993, in my discussant's comments on an Akerlof-Romer article on the savings and loan crisis, I made a similar argument.  Here is an excerpt of what I then wrote:

Traditional banks are peculiar institutions. Traditional banks have depositors who want short-term, liquid, riskless assets. Yet these deposits are backed by long-term, illiquid, risky loans. This incongruity is fundamental. As we have seen, it cannot be easily fixed by a government policy such as deposit insurance.

There is, however, a simple, market-based solution: mutual funds. Individuals who want truly riskless assets can invest in mutual funds that hold only Treasury bills. Those who are willing to undertake greater risk can invest in mutual funds that hold privately issued CDs, bonds, or equities. Long-term, illiquid loans could be made by finance companies, which would raise funds by issuing equity and bonds. In the world I am describing, all household assets would be perfectly liquid. Preventing bank runs---he original motivation for deposit insurance--would be unnecessary, because changes in demand for various assets would be reflected in market prices.

In essence, the system we have now is one in which finance companies are themselves financed with demand deposits. Yet these finance companies hold assets--long-term bank loans--that are risky and illiquid, much in the same way that fixed capital is risky and liquid. Imagine that the auto industry financed itself with demand deposits. Undoubtedly, self-fulfilling "runs" on GM and Ford would be common, and the auto industry would be highly unstable. Indeed, the auto industry would probably be a major source of macroeconomic instability. The best solution, of course, would not be deposit insurance and regulation of the auto industry, but a change in the way the industry financed itself.

Minggu, 23 Juni 2013

Can Higher Education Drive Social Change? The Case of Ford Foundation's International Fellowships Program

In just a week from now, the curtains will close for the last time on the stage of the Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships Program (IFP), an ambitious effort to use higher education to promote social change. Under the IFP, agents for social change from a variety of disadvantaged backgrounds from 22 countries were provided scholarships for postgraduate education to some of the best universities in the world. The goal? – to equip them with the confidence, perspective, and tools to enable them to return to their communities and play a much more impactful role in their transformation.
India was a major participant in, and beneficiary of, the IFP. 330 outstanding individuals from India were granted the Fellowship since its inception in 2000. They come from parts of the country with the greatest challenges, and most of them faced multiple dimensions of disadvantage arising from caste, religion, gender, economic deprivation and physical disability.

My Exposure to the Potential of the IFP

I had the good fortune to experience at close quarters the potential benefits of a programme like the IFP. In mid-2009, the director of IIM Bangalore asked me to set up a structured mechanism to support the students admitted under India’s Persons with Disabilities Act. I started off by looking at what other leading institutions in India had done in this respect, and visited the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi which had what was believed to be the most comprehensive infrastructure for disability support. But we figured out the most appropriate way of creating better access for students with disability only after I met Meenu Bhambhani at a meeting of the CII Karnataka Disability Forum.

In just a few minutes of discussion with Meenu, I found that she had in her head the entire blueprint for the creation of an Office of Disability Services (ODS). She saw the ODS as the nucleus for providing students with disabilities an educational and life experience on par with what other students received. Not only was Meenu keen to share this with us, she went one step further offering to provide seed support from her company to help us set up an ODS at IIMB. Over the next few years, Meenu was our mentor for the ODS as she goaded, coaxed and prodded us to set it up to the highest standards.

Meenu is one of the 330 Indian IFP Fellows. As part of the IFP, she did a Masters in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois, and that’s where she not only learnt about how an ODS works, but also saw one working at first hand. Before IFP, Meenu was an Assistant Commissioner for Disabilities in her home state of Rajasthan where she struggled to overcome bureaucratic constraints to make an impact. Today, she is the head of CSR for a prominent IT company, and she has spearheaded the creation of a disability-friendly workplace in her company resulting in it becoming one of the biggest employers of persons with disability in India. She has taken up the challenge of making India’s elite institutions of higher education disability-friendly, and after working with us at IIMB has shifted her attention to other highly ranked institutions.

If Meenu’s experience is anything to go by, programmes like the IFP have tremendous potential to be successful as catalysts of social change. But that didn’t happen by chance.

IFP Design

The IFP’s India office has recently published a wonderfully inspiring book titled Opening Doors that documents the philosophy, objectives, process and outcomes of the IFP in India. A few features of the IFP stand out:

  • A four stage rigorous yet empathetic selection process to select the most appropriate candidates for the Fellowship. I was impressed by the efforts they took to spread information about the fellowships across the states they targeted. And, to uncover the potential of individual candidates. They realized, for example, that for people who grew up amidst considerable hardship, prior academic performance may not be a good indicator of scholastic aptitude and ability to cope with a challenging academic programme.

  • Careful matching of Fellows to academic programmes and institutions. The IFP office in India worked one-on-one with each selected Fellow to identify the courses that would best suit their interests and domains of activity. They then worked with each Fellow on the entire application process.

  • Elaborate preparatory coaching and study. Each Fellow spent several months on filling gaps in their knowledge of English and academic subjects prior to leaving to the University where they had been admitted. Fellows were also coached on how to adjust to a different culture, and about social etiquette in that country. All these efforts were very important because the Fellows had been out in the field for a long time after their initial degrees and were therefore not immediately ready to step into a graduate classroom in the US or UK.

  • Close mentoring and continuous support. Not surprisingly, in spite of the careful preparation, many of the Fellows experienced serious challenges when they entered academic campuses in the developed world, as the expectations and experience were quite unlike anything they had seen before. Many of them also had to cope with personal challenges such as deaths of close relatives while they were pursuing the Fellowship. The IFP India office played an important role as loco parentis in helping the Fellows weather these challenges.

Some Reflections on Higher Education and Social Change

Higher education can undoubtedly benefit individuals. It is a powerful vehicle for economic stability and social advancement. That’s the rationale behind the scholarship programme of the Foundation for Excellence, an organization that I have had the privilege to be associated with. FFE provides scholarships for undergraduate education in engineering and medicine to students with outstanding academic backgrounds but disadvantaged economic circumstances. We have seen how FFE’s scholarships can transform the lives of these students and their immediate families.

But can higher education of an individual have a large societal impact? The designers of the IFP believe the answer is “Yes.” The short essays on individual Fellows in Opening Doors, and the survey conducted among the Fellows suggest that the opportunity to study in a high quality graduate programme outside India gave Fellows an opportunity to reflect on their lives and aspirations in a completely different setting. This allowed them to take a fresh perspective and re-calibrate their expectations of themselves. The experience not only sharpened their ability to think critically, but also gave them a new set of frameworks and tools that would enable them to enhance the scope of their impact. More than anything else, it increased their confidence and motivation.

While it’s still too early to do a detailed cost-benefit analysis of the IFP, if Meenu’s experience is anything to go by, it has changed the canvas on which Fellows can paint and the arena in which they can play. I, for one, will be watching with considerable anticipation, how the IFP India Fellows evolve.

But, to end on another more sobering note, I really wonder – when will educational institutions in India be able to provide an educational experience similar to what the IFP Fellows received in the US and the UK? Will that happen in our lifetimes?

Jumat, 21 Juni 2013

DIY nautical oar art

HEY there! Thanks SO much for all the lovely comments on the powder room post! I’m working on answering your questions so stay tuned if I haven’t gotten back to you yet!

I wanted to show you how I made over one of my favorite parts of the room (there are a lot of them) – the boat oar I found at a vintage mart a few months ago:

vintage boat oar redo

I first showed it to you in this post and as of a few days ago it still looked like that. :) This little redo seriously took about 20 minutes, and that was with paint drying!

I started out by wiping it down to prep it for paint:

vintage boat oar redo

I let it dry and then mixed some white paint (I used my CeCe Caldwell stuff, but regular white paint would do just fine. Flat may work better for this particular look.) with a little bit of water:

vintage boat oar redo

I didn’t want the oar to be covered completely – I wanted it to have a “wash” kind of look and this did it:

paint mixed with water for a wash

The nice thing is when it’s watered down a bit it takes even less time to dry. :)

I let it dry about ten minutes, and then used my delicate FrogTape to start marking where I wanted my stripes:

vintage boat oar redo

That one was on the handle -- I just searched striped boat oar images and kind of winged the design.

I taped off each section, painted and took the tape off immediately. I did that just because I knew even though the paint was dry to the touch it wasn’t cured and the tape may remove it. I take my tape off right away whenever I do stripes anyway so I get a really sharp line.

I moved on to the wider part and did a little stripe first:

vintage boat oar redo

When I pulled off that tape it did pull up a little bit of the paint, but I actually liked the look so I didn’t worry about it. I didn’t want it to look perfect anyway. ;)

Then I made a wider one in the middle:

nautical stripes boat oar

You can see there that I cut the FrogTape down the middle for skinnier pieces. Since I was working so fast I didn’t want to put the tape down over the red paint I had just done – this allowed me to keep working quickly. :)

I did all the red stripes, hung the oar in the bathroom and then realized I wanted to pull in some of that blue tone in the room. I had it over at the vanity/sink, but everything around the toilet was red.

So I grabbed the blue paint I used on this post (it worked perfectly!) and added a few more skinny stripes:

nautical stripes boat oar

I gotta be honest…I squealed a little when I saw how it all finished. ;) It was so stinkin’ cute!:

nautical stripes boat oar

I think adding that little bit of blue was a good call – it ties the whole room together!

To hang it I just nailed a picture hanger thing to the back of the handle at the top.

In the real life you can see much more of the bottom of the oar because you see it from higher up than in the pics:

wood planked wall bathroom So that’s how the cutest little oar art came to be! It was super fast and I used paint I already had – the oar itself was $10. Love it!

The room isn’t exactly nautical themed but I think it still works – you don’t need to follow a specific theme to make something you love work in a room!

Thanks again for all the sweet comments my friends! Have a GREAT weekend!

Rabu, 19 Juni 2013

Powder room redo, complete!

Well, the time is here. After ten five three long years, the powder room is finally. done.

It is a GLORIOUS DAY people!! I’m seriously so excited to have this room complete, and I’m even more excited that I LOVE it so!

Let’s go back a little bit first, shall we? Pretty sure this room has been five colors now. I’ve never even shown you the before before, but here’s the before since I’ve been blogging: 

brown bathroom

It was in my dramatic days. :) I had a love of all things chocolate brown.

I painted it years back but it was still a mess – holes in the walls, only one coat and the brown was popping through, and then I started the wall treatment forever ago and it sat like this for a while:

wood plank walls

And then I got the planking done and things started to come together, but I think a lot of you thought I was losing it a little bit:

wood plank walls

Did you see my vision? Or did you think I was losing my mind? Or creating a room that looks “a little bit like a barn” as my SWEET husband said?

Well, he finally sees what I had in my head…now. I admit it doesn’t always come together till the very end. Part of the reason this one took so long is I couldn’t decide on a final vision for it – I had a few ideas over the years but finally last year inspiration really hit, in the form of the Bub’s art:

The whole space was inspired by the beautiful colors in this art – at first I was going to paint the walls a bright red, (as you can see above), but I realized quickly that it was going to be too much.

Instead I went neutral but that’s allowed me to really have fun with color in this space:

white wood planked walls

By powder room standards this is a big one. Don’t I know it.

Painting all those wood planks made me want to poke my eyes out:

white wood planked walls The end result was SO worth it though.

Would I do it again?

It may be too soon to ask. ;)

It’s hard to get good shots of this room with my normal lens so I used a wide angle and it made parts of the photos blurry, sorry about that. But I wanted you to be able to see it as I do (without my contacts in, obviously):  white bathroom with red and blue

The room also took a while because I decided last year to continue the wood floors into the room, but waited until it fit in the budget (it ended up costing $300) and the timing worked – we had to pull everything out of the room to have them done:

red blue floral rug

We went without a toilet for a couple weeks and without a sink for a couple months. A fully functioning bathroom is highly underrated. ;)

I adore the dark floors in there. They really warm up the room, especially against all that white trim. Gah. My favorite! I got that rug from Target about a year ago, maybe two? It’s been a while. I loved the colors in it, and when I realized how well the Bub’s artwork matched I knew my plan was meant to be!

It’s also hard to take pics of this room because there’s so little natural light. So bear with me on these! Here’s a good shot of all of the planking that went on in here:

bathroom with planked walls

Remember when I showed you the process and mentioned that I didn’t worry about the seams and lines of the wood planks matching up? Well, the board and batten trim I put over everything is the reason why:

white wood planked walls

The wood planking I used only came in eight foot lengths, so I knew I’d have to cut them down on that long wall. The b and b look was perfect for hiding all that not-so-good stuff! It’s SO not perfect people, it never is!

You can see a good shot of the wall treatment and the new trim around the doors here:

board and batten over planks walls

I’m SO glad I decided to rip out the trim and redo those doors!

Here’s the linen closet door with it’s craftsman trim:

DIY craftsman trim

It makes such a difference!! Luscious.

We used to have a pedestal sink in this bathroom:

And I loved the faucet but the sink was not my favorite. I did like it when we moved in because it was different than a regular vanity that I was used to. But eventually I missed having some storage.

So we went with the IKEA bathroom vanity instead – the only major purchase for this room (other than the floors):

IKEA Hemnes bathroom vanity

The vanity and sink together came in under $300. I shopped all over the place and still found that to be the best deal for the size. I LOVE the sink – it’s so nice to have room for the soap dispenser!

I’ll blog about that whole piece more soon:

oval mirror over bathroom sink

The lights are one of my favorite parts of the room – I found them at Home Depot and just thought they were so different. Kind of vintagey, I love them!:

vintage looking bathroom lights

They also match the new faucet perfectly – couldn’t have worked any better!

You can see in this old pic that we used to have one light fixture above the sink:

I always wanted to do two separate lights, I just love that look!

So that we did:

two lights over bathroom mirror

It brought the light down almost a foot and I just like the lighting better this way in here.

You can see in this area how I mixed blues and reds in the room – again pulling from the art and the rug. It’s a combo you wouldn’t think would work just talking about it, but I LOVE how fresh and pretty it is against the white! I think they work great together!

The blue is more of an aqua blue, but I also used a little true aqua in here too – in the knobs I told you about here and the vase on the vanity:

hydrangea in vase

It’s really a candle holder but I think it works even better as a vase. ;)

The towel is that darker blue and the stuff near the toilet pulls in more of the red:

white room, blue and red decor

I meant to put those lights on a dimmer before I took pics, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m not touching this room again for awhile! Girl needs a break.

You may recognize the boat oar from my last post. ;) It got a little redo and I stinkin’ love it:

striped boat oar art

So that area about the toilet is hard, don’t you think? I struggle with what to do there – a starburst mirror would be pretty but I already have one mirror on that wall, and do people really want a mirror there? Uh. No.

I almost hung shelves there to fill and decorate, but in the end I wanted it to be simple – I didn’t want a lot of stuff in there. The oar was a perfect fit and it totally makes me smile when I see it. :) (Although I may hang it higher since the toilet paper blocks some of it.)

I really, really adore how it all came together (and I better!!) – it’s so fresh and fun and I really couldn’t be happier. It was a TON of work, not gonna lie. Those planked walls…the installation really isn’t bad, it’s the painting. If I was smart I would have installed it all and then sprayed it before the floors were put in. But oh well…live and learn. I survived. :) 

Here’s a before and after shot – the dark brown we had for years and the light, bright and colorful version we have today:

wood planked walls, bathroom

The total cost was about $1000 for the whole room, which I didn’t think was too bad considering we have hardwoods in there and a new vanity, sink, mirror, faucet, light fixtures and new walls. Oh and that was spread out over a span of about a year, so that helped too.

That’s why I take forever to do all my spaces, don'tcha know? To spread out the costs. ;) (That kind of is true actually. That and I just take forever.)

Anyway, here’s a source list for many of the items and I’ll follow up with more detail on the sink and vanity!

Rug – Target a couple years ago
Frame – Goodwill
Oar – thrift sale
TP holder – HomeGoods last year (I painted it) I just saw some more last week!
Light fixtures – Home Depot
Vanity, sink – IKEA
Faucet – Lowe’s
Mirror – Home Depot
Wood for walls – Lowe’s (see here for how to)

Any other questions? Let me know and I’ll answer them! I did a little happy jig yesterday because this room is finished and I love how it turned out. Can you believe IT’S FINALLY DONE? Sorry for yelling but IT’S FINALLY DONE!!!