Friday, August 30, 2013

Front Porch Fall Decor

 It's Friday!!! 
Yay for 3-day-weekends, and yay for football season kicking off. 
We have a busy weekend ahead of us with lots of food, friends and football. But before all of my guests arrive, I have a long list of to-do's. 
I can check the front porch off the list though. It's done. For now at least. 
We have a tiny front porch...I'm not even sure you could really call it a front porch. It's more of a pass through. 
It's not big enough to have big beautiful displays like the front porches below:
 source unknown
source unknown

However, it looks barren when nothing is there. 
Everything has to be small in scale when decorating this porch because I want my guests to feel welcome at the front door, not claustrophobic.  
I couldn't really get a good full scale picture of the porch. The brick wall kind of takes up the picture, but in person it's much more inviting...I promise:o)
And, yes, I did just water the plants before taking the shot. It looks like my pumpkins got a little excited;o) Guess this photo won't make it to Pinterest;o)
The mums really make the bench pop, and keep it from blending in with the massive boring brick wall behind it.
To try to keep things symmetrical, I brought a small teak chair from the backyard, and used it as a plant holder. The old granite ware pitcher has holes in the bottom of it, so it makes a perfect planter now.
I will most likely be adding more pumpkins and a possible mini hay bale, but that's where I will have to be patient. The pumpkins aren't quite ready, and we'll have plenty of pumpkin farm field trips to collect those:o)

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Crafty Confessions

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Good News and Bad News About Business Finance Planning

The past decade has provided an array of changes and problems for business finance planning. Because of the growing need for flexibility and contingency plans, a recurring piece of wisdom has emerged from some of the business and finance chaos: 

Always Have a Plan B.

Plan B is the good news.

So that I do not bury the lead, I want to make it crystal clear that the expanded appreciation of how important Plan B can prove to be for any individual or business is at the top of my list for the good news portion of this business finance planning discussion. Of course, I have never hidden how I feel about the critical value of having a Plan B. As you can see from the mosaic image which I produced above, I rarely miss an opportunity to feature Plan B in a front-and-center kind of way.

Another purpose for the business finance planning mosaic was to demonstrate in a visual way that everything can fit together quite nicely with a little (or a lot) of planning energy. Key concepts like strategy, solutions, experts, and help also deserve a seat at the table when formulating your own Plan B.

How important is Plan B?

To say it as succinctly as possible, always having a Plan B is a winning strategy. Having a solid Plan B mentality during the past five years has more often than not proven to be a critical difference between business survival and failure. What is your Plan B?

business finance planning
Always Have a Plan B

The bad news:
You can tell there is an oversupply of bad news when the primary good news is the increased appreciation about the importance of having a Plan B.

I am sorry to say that there is more bad news than there should be. This is due in large part to a political climate that is increasingly governed by the largest corporations, big banks, and of course their lobbyists. When the incomes for average individuals decline during what is hailed as a "recovery" by some biased politicians, you have the first clue as to the underlying problem that small businesses and individuals are currently facing.

During the last three years, the average income for individuals has shrunk from $51,000 to $45,000. Meanwhile corporate profits and the stock market have done very well. As they say, the rich get richer and the rest are still searching for Plan B.

Banks are still hoarding their riches and not lending normally to either small businesses or most individuals. In their own little good news bubble, the banking industry has launched an aggressive campaign to move into what they see as the next front. The world of payday lending programs is beckoning to the bankers. How could any respectable banker not pay attention to payday loans when they offer the easy opportunity to charge annualized interest rates of 300% to 600%? Never mind that they are illegal in some States (as they should be). This is why banks pay the big bucks to their lobbyists, isn't it?

The bad news lesson to be learned from what banks are now doing with the money used to save them just five years ago is to realize what they are not doing with it at the same time. Commercial mortgages and working capital financing are just two of the things that most banks are not presently doing with their money in any significant way. By the way, many banks have also resumed their investment activities involving financial derivatives. For those who are not aware, the use of risky real estate derivatives by the banking wizards brought the economic world to its knees several years ago. I can only suppose that the bankers have figured out what they did wrong and are going to test their new theories with more taxpayer money.

Unsurprisingly, my small business finance planning solution for addressing the abundance of bad news is as follows:

Always Have a Plan B.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Painting a Pillow

Is anyone else being hammered by hot temperatures right now? Even though it's blazing hot here in the South, it hasn't deterred me from working away on Fall decor. I'm so glad you are back here today with me. I have a little tutorial on how to spruce up a plain burlap pillow using stencils and fabric paint.
 I found this image on Pinterest
I fell in love with the pillow and thought "how fun would that be on my new bench". 
If anyone knows the source of this photo, please let me know so I can give them credit. Thanks!!
So I gathered all the supplies I needed. 
A pillow form(purchased), burlap(purchased), stencils, black fabric paint, and paint brush. 
 I made the pillow cover, and added a zipper. I am really into adding zippers to pillows because it makes it easier to clean the covers. If you are able to do it, I would highly recommend it!!
After the pillow cover was made, I taped some paper to the width of the cover and traced the letters on the paper to see what it would look like on the pillow.
One word...dumb.
These are the only letter stencils I have, and they were waaay too big for the pillow, and waaay too swirly. I could barely read what they said. So I nixed the "Fall Greetings" idea and searched through other stencils I had.
 I found this one in the stash. Obviously it's been used before, but I can't quite remember for what..oh well:o)
I centered and taped the stencil to the burlap cover and painted away making sure not to push the paint under the stencil. If you have some spray adhesive for stencils, that would work great, but we don't use that fancy stuff around here...we just stick to the trusty old Scotch tape:o) 
Here is the finished stencil. Now you should wait until the paint dries before inserting the pillow form...or be like me and go ahead and put it in anyway:o)
And here is my new pillow on my new bench. The hubs keeps telling me I need to bring the bench back inside because it's too nice to be outside..he's so sweet. It's staying put for now:o)
I plan on sprucing this little area up some more with mums and pumpkins...can't wait to finish that up and share the final reveal.
On another note, say a little prayer for me. I go tomorrow to have a scan on my gallbladder. It's been acting wonky, and I have been feeling sub-par for the last 3 weeks. I'm hoping the doctors will find that it's only the gallbladder and get that sucker out of me. I'm ready to feel normal again!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Small Business Finance - Meant For Easy Finance To Businesses

If you are a baby business being again it is actual all-important for you that the business does not anytime lacks in funds or it may stop activity any time. Baby business accounts is carved out accurately for accouterment appropriate accounts to baby business humans and the accommodation is accustomed at aggressive absorption rate. This ensures that the accommodation is not a banking accountability on baby business. You can accommodated all business costs like affairs raw material, equipments, paying salaries or allowance accomplished ante etc through the loan. but you should be able-bodied abreast in the accommodation to yield it in a bigger way. Small business accounts appear in anchored or apart options. Anchored business accounts is meant for affair greater accommodation claim of your business. You can agreement your home or any bartering acreage as accessory of the loan. Anchored business accounts aswell is adopted for its lower absorption rate. The accommodation aswell can be calmly paid aback in 25 to30 years or beforehand as apparel to your circumstances. Anchored business accounts is aswell best ill-fitted to bad acclaim business humans as their acreage enables them to yield the accommodation admitting acclaim problems. Unsecured baby business accounts are accident chargeless loans for business humans as lenders accept it after collateral. But you get alone abate accommodation and it has to be paid aback in beneath duration. Aswell you would be paying absorption at college rate. Usually acceptable acclaim business humans are fabricated apart baby business finance. However, bad acclaim business humans are aswell acceptable if they accept a acceptable claim plan in abode that shows that they run a assisting business. Whether you yield anchored or apart baby business finance, the lender will aboriginal of all yield a abysmal attending into your blazon of business and will accept the accounts alone if he finds your business affairs bright. This necessitates for a acceptable the lender about your approaching business plan and that the accommodation will be invested in a benign way. Small business accounts can be sourced from banks or banking companies. But online lenders are advised as best antecedent of lower amount accounts for any business. So bigger administer to an online lender. Before that, analyze all lenders for ante to acquisition a acceptable offer.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fall Centerpiece

About two weeks ago, we had a little cold spell. The humidity was gone, and the weather was perfect. Just enough chill in the air that you had to grab a light jacket in the evenings. We actually built a fire and roasted marshmallows a couple nights in a row. It was wonderful!
Now we're back to the sticky-wearing-the-outside-weather..blech!
That cooler weather made me want Fall here in a bad sort of way. Fall is my most favorite time of the year, and I love decorating for it. Even though it's still August, I'm busting out the pumpkins, y'all!
September will eventually get here, Lord willing, so it's ok to have the pumpkins out, right?

Last Christmas, I used this planter for our center piece, and filled it with the same greenery, but just added Christmas-y stuff.
I wasn't sure if it would work for Fall because it was so green, but it seems to be working. 
The pictures are slightly over exposed, so the green is screaming right now, but in person, it's toned down:o)
 I found all of the little add-ins at Hobby Lobby.
 The sprigs and pumpkins are 40% off right now.
 I've had this little wire pumpkin for ages. Another yard sale find. It's the baby. Momma pumpkin is outside sitting beside the newly made-over bench
Oh yeah, I almost forgot..I made the table runner too. It's made from painter's drop cloth. I had a little extra leftover from a project I did for VBS. There was just enough length and width, thankfully. My other table runners were too skinny. I wanted this one to stand out, and not be hidden under the planter. I plan on fancying the runner up a bit, but that will be another project for another day.
I will have more Fall decorating and tutorials in upcoming posts so make sure to check back!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Old Bench Makeover

I started playing around with today...yep, I know I am behind the times. 
I'm going to have lots of fun with this new-to-me site! Notice the B & A collage picture...well it's more like A & B because I'm new to this collage making business. I'll get the hang of it...eventually.
Anywhoodles, today I am sharing a little bench makeover. 
This little guy was a yard sale find. It belonged to a little old man, and he used it as his work bench. As you can tell from the top, it got lots and lots of use. He passed away, and his wife had no use for it, so she sold it to me for $1. 

I'm really digging the painted furniture with the wooden tops, so this bench seemed like the perfect piece to try out that technique.
The top & sides of the bench seat had a thin veneer surrounding MDF. The seat had to go because, well, just look at it. It has seen better days. The 90's ivy green paint was definitely an eye sore as well. 
But there were good bones, and lots of hidden potential.
 Since I wanted the base to be white, I primed it with Valspar Primer from Lowes. Between coats, I had to rush the bench back inside because the humidity in the South is at 1000% right now. Terrible conditions for spray painting.
After the primer dried, I sprayed 2 coats of Valspar flat white paint. The reason I used flat was because that was what was sitting in the spray paint basket:o)
While the paint was drying, I worked on the bench seat. We had some leftover 2x6's from a previous project, and I cut them down to size. 
Then I used pressure treated 1x2's to brace the underside of the seat. No reason for pressure treat..just had that in the scrap stash.
The top was stained with a walnut stain. 
To keep from having to apply multiple coats of stain and waiting 3-4 hours in between coats, I let the stain sit on the boards for about 5 minutes before wiping away the excess.
That technique worked perfectly for me. I've never been known for my patience;o)
Once the stain had dried, I attached the base to the new seat. The power drill wouldn't reach inside the tiny holes for the screws, so I HAND screwed it to the seat....good thing I don't have carpal tunnel...yeesh!
I'm so pleased with the results, and I love how the wood grain pops on the seat. 
This bench will reside on our very miniature front porch. I can't wait to dress it up for fall. I have some really fun decorating projects in the works for fall decorating. 
Here's a sneak peak of one of. Make sure to come back to get inspired for your fall decorating!

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Are There Tax Deduction Limits for a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

tax deduction

There are many small businesses established as a single-member LLC (Limited Liability Company). In most cases there was a primary reason for a business owner to use this form of legal organization, and except in a few circumstances special tax treatment was not one of them.

Equally important, for the many individuals contemplating a business start-up or buying a business, the limited liability company structure is probably at least under serious consideration. For those of you who are still making up their mind about a legal form of ownership, detailed discussions with your tax and legal advisors should be a top priority. Although an LLC can have more than one owner (member), my discussion here will focus on the single-member version which is permitted in most States.

It is worth noting that LLC members can be individuals, other LLCs, corporations, or a foreign entity. Two examples of businesses that cannot legally operate as limited liability companies are insurance companies and banks. When there are two or more LLC members, the Internal Revenue Service will treat the LLC as a partnership unless Form 8832 (Entity Classification Election) is filed in order to declare the desire to be treated as a corporation.

Whether or not tax considerations were a secondary issue in your decision to operate as a single-member Limited Liability Company, filing our annual tax returns often raises some new issues and questions. If you have questions about some LLC aspects that you think are unique for your situation, you should have another visit with your tax expert.

As for an answer about the tax deduction limits for an LLC, there are no limits in the strictest sense. The IRS does have tax rules about what assets are actually at risk from losses, and based on the at-risk rules deductions cannot be greater than the assets actually at risk.

With the Internal Revenue Service, there can always be the risk of an IRS audit if reported tax losses appear unusually high. It is somewhat more realistic for a company in its initial year to justify losses in general. Once an LLC has existed for several years, the Internal Revenue Service is likely to review any patterns in losses versus profits. A general IRS expectation is that a business should be profitable for three of every five years.

If an LLC reports losses for three or more years out of a five-year period, it is at risk of being treated as a hobby. The primary tax consequence if this happens is that there will be some additional restrictions imposed on tax losses.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Burlap Wreath Tutorial
Since Fall is around the corner, and I have a few spare moments with the kiddos back in school, I have been able to catch up on some decor projects I have been wanting to tackle.
One of them being a burlap wreath. 
You can't have Fall without a burlap wreath. It's in the rule books somewhere...I'm sure of it. 
There are so many different styles. Raggedy, bubbly, smooth, etc. I went for more of a shabby look...sounds better than raggedy, right?
Today I'm sharing how quick and easy this project is.  
Your list of supplies:
3 yards of burlap(I used two colors)(Burlap is $3.99 at my Hobby Lobby. I used a 40% off Q)
Wire hanger(Joan Crawford would die)
Needle Nose pliers
Tape Measure
Start off by cutting your strips. I cut mine at 5" wide.
Then you will want to straighten out the wire hanger.
 Once all of the burlap is cut, do a fan fold. When finished, you will roughly have a 5x5 square.
Thread the wire hanger through the square. 
 While threading, the wire hanger was flopping around. This was driving Max was fun to watch;o)
After all of the burlap is threaded onto the hanger, twist the ends together. I ended up snipping about 3" off of each side.
Twist it all together as best you can.
Flip, and hang on a wreath stand.
This project took less than an hour from start to finish, and was less than $10. Easy peasy. I'll have some more step by step fall decor coming your way soon!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Drawer-Turned-Bathroom Shelf

School is back in session here, so I actually have time to sit down and do some posts. I realized today that there are several projects that I talked about on Facebook, but never posted about them, so I 'm going to have to get with it:o)
Speaking of Facebook, the LEGO Table has been unbelievably popular. Y'all have been blowin' up my feed! It's already more popular than my Menu Board...cuh-razy!
So today is all about this cute little shelf that's hanging in our newly remodeled half bath.
This is where I started. I found this drawer, along with another on the side of the road when I was on my way to drop S.R. off for preschool last year. The hubs wasn't happy about it, so to the attic it went and sat for over a year. 
I've seen a lot of drawer-to-shelf makeovers here lately but I really didn't know where I would put one until I was in need of a shelf for the bathroom. Awesome!
 I was not about to sand this piece down because I didn't know what kind of paint was on the drawer, nor did I know how many coats there I do..there were 4 coats people! Yowza!
I used a paint stripper that I purchased from Lowes. I have never used it before, and even though the directions said WEAR A MASK,  I didn't listen. If you're going to use paint stripper, WEAR A MASK! The fumes are horrendous, and you feel like you're lungs are on fire. I thought that by having the garage doors open, that it would provide plenty of, that would be a big fat NO.
So, lesson learned.
 This stuff worked pretty quickly, thankfully. 
 What are those dark spots inside the drawer? Mashed bugs...gross, I know, but I figured if this stuff could strip paint, it would definitely strip a dead bug...and it did;o)
 My original intent for this shelf was to spray paint it after getting the paint off, but after applying two different coats of the paint stripper, I decided that I really liked the way the older colors were popping through. I gave it a light sanding, and then had the hubs add the shelf because I was having a time with getting it level. I spray painted the shelf white, and distressed it a bit for attaching it to the drawer.
I found the robe hook at Walmart and the hubs added that as well.
This is such a neat shelf, and adds a lot of character to this small space.
So who's going to go dumpster diving and find themselves an old drawer? If you decide to take on this project, I would love to see how yours turned out!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Get It in Writing

Get It in Writing

“Get it in writing” is a common piece of legal wisdom often shared by attorneys and business experts. It is true that many verbal agreements become disagreements under a wide variety of circumstances. But getting it in writing does not always prove to be a magical solution.

There are frequent examples of litigation and legal proceedings when a written document is the subject of argument and lawsuits. Is that contract clause enforceable? Did the officers and directors of the corporation really mean what they said in the corporate by-laws?

But the Uniform Commercial Code does in fact require that certain agreements be put into writing. Whenever personal property is being leased or a security interest (collateral) is part of a financial transaction, “Get it in writing” is mandatory. If the parties believe that anything in a contract cannot be completed within a year, “Get it in writing.” Another case where a written agreement is not optional is based on the monetary amount of goods to be sold ($5000 or more).

There are also many important and valuable forms of business writing which have little or nothing to do with legal conditions and contracts but nevertheless serve as excellent examples of another useful “Get it in writing” perspective. As a primary illustration of this, business proposals provide cost-effective solutions for several common small business problems.

Companies of all sizes are interested in increasing their sales and operating revenues. Small business owners are constantly in search of business development strategies which will consistently deliver effective marketing results. While some small businesses are still actively looking for the best solution to this common problem, many companies are relying on a dependable and trusted sales communication strategy that they discovered many years ago:

Business Proposal Writing

It is not totally clear when some businesses lost interest in the business writing activities that surround the proposal process. One tentative conclusion is that expansion of the internet and related technologies caused some executives and marketing managers to go in new directions for developing business and proposals were simply left behind. Another theory is that corporate downsizing targeted specialized employees such as those whose primary mission was responding to Requests for Proposals (RFP).

Whatever the explanation, quality business writing has been in a steady decline for several decades. Without talented business writers, most attempts at preparing proposals are doomed to failure. This self-fulfilling prophecy is yet another reason to explain why business proposals have become virtually extinct in some quarters.

There are several different kinds of business proposals, and some companies will benefit by using every possible variation. For businesses wanting to stick their toe in the water to see whether they should jump in or not, the use of an unsolicited business proposal strategy is both prudent and cost-effective. This approach is diametrically-opposed to the RFP process mentioned earlier and will involve a delicate balance of high-quality business writing and business development skills. It is an ideal solution for small business owners who are willing to be aggressive, proactive, and creative.

Writing is the key to it all.

Many businesses have individuals who possess average to above-average sales skills but somehow the sales results keep slipping. In an explanation using some logic terminology, selling is what is referred to as a "necessary but not sufficient" condition for business success. In other words, sales abilities only go so far but often fall short of the mark. Could it be possible that effective and high-quality business writing is the key missing ingredient?

While everyone should indeed have a Plan B, writing effective business proposals should probably qualify as a Plan A in the great majority of everyday business life. Get it in writing.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Half Bath Makeover

We put the finishing touches on our half bath this weekend. I am thrilled with the end result. It's definitely more my taste than the "before".
I found my inspiration from The Lettered Cottage. I absolutely looove their blog, and if you haven't checked them out yet, you should really take the time to do so. You'll be glad you did. 

I get so excited every time I walk by this room.
This was the before. Chocolate brown, and it looked like a hole in the wall...literally.
We are putting in an in-home salon because I am a hair stylist, and one of the requirements is to have access to a bathroom from the salon area. Thankfully, the half bath is right beside the area we will have the salon. The hubs cut out the drywall, and made an opening for the new door. He made a brace above the frame to make sure everything was stable. 
                                                          This view is actually taken from the laundry room, where the salon will be. The laundry room is next on the to-do list. I'll probably do a step by step of that room because there will be some MAJOR changes in there.
 Once the door was in place, the hubs started adding the horizontal wood planks. The hubs and I debated on whether to make our planks go vertical like the inspiration room, or to do horizontal. Cost was the winning factor, so we chose to go horizontal. We went with the 
 cheaper version, instead of what we used in the kids' bathroom. If we do this in any other rooms in the house, we will be using the pre-made stuff. It's not nearly as cheap, but it's definitely more mechanical engineer friendly;o) 
Most bloggy DIY'ers were using a nickel to space their planks, but we went with a dime. Just a personal choice...
This shelf is one of my faves in the room. In it's previous existence, it was a drawer.
 I found the drawer on the side of the road about a year ago. A true trash to treasure makeover. Later this week, I'll share the steps I went through to achieve the final look.
My original intent was to strip the paint off of the drawer and repaint it. After stripping most of the 4 coats of paint off, I decided to stick with what was left on the drawer. I loved the vintage look of the chippy paint.
 We added a robe hook to the side of the shelf to hang a towel on. By keeping the towel off of the wooden planks, it will hopefully keep the boards from getting as wet, and having those nasty drip lines running down the wall. 
This light fixture was a Lowes purchase. I wired it myself...I felt kind of pumped afterwards;o) The mirror was also purchased from Lowes.
In the inspiration bathroom, they used wallpaper at the top of their walls. I am quite fearful when it comes to wallpaper. It tends to go in and out of style, and I have yet to hear of someone who just LOVES taking it down when it comes time to change. This is the second time in 4 years that I have redone this bathroom, so I went with something a little less permanent...stencils. The stencil was purchased from Hobby Lobby. It took me 4  PAINSTAKING HOURS  to do this tiny space. I hated Like for reals. I'm so glad that I stuck it out, though. It turned out exactly how I had hoped.
This is the new door leading to the laundry room. Looks like it's been there the whole time, doesn't it?
I'm so glad to have this tiny space complete. The hubs and I had a few moments where we felt claustrophobic, but our hard work paid off!!
Here's a list of the items we purchased, if you're interested.
Oval Mirror-Lowes
Light Fixture-Lowes
Soap Dispenser-Marshalls
Robe Hook-Walmart
Stencil-Hobby Lobby
Wall Color on Planks-Wedgewood Grey-Benjamin Moore

Make sure to stay tuned to see how I transformed the roadside drawer into a shelf!

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Creations by Kara