Side Yard Design

This is my design for our side yard of the home we purchased a year ago August. I can hardly believe we’ve been here for over a year already! Perhaps it’s because we’ve been working away at remodeling it bit by bit (on the inside) since we moved here. We’re about 3/4 done with the master bath and the Home Depot crew is coming to measure the floor for carpet for the master bedroom on Halloween. (I picked that day because I wouldn’t forget and the measure was free and would be good for up to a year.) I promise when we get the master bath done, I’ll post the before and after pics!

Meantime, I have been dreaming of what to do about our tiny outdoor space. I want it to be as low maintenance as possible. I’ve posted my ideas for the front and have “tried on” many paint colors. We’ve finally decided on a warm medium brown color. I think we could live with it for a long time and we really don’t like it’s current sad gray color.

Now to give you an idea of what the side yard is now:  There is a long metal awning that spans the whole side of the house. An item of contention between my husband and I. He wants to keep it but I think it’s a worthless eye sore. It’s a typical “mobile home” type. (You know the type– with the scrolling cheap metal support posts.) It is also on the northeast side of the house so really does nothing to protect the house from summer heat. It keeps the sun out on the side that could really use it. In the past year we’ve had rain approximately four days, so that’s not a great reason to keep it either. Most of all, it blocks the views of the great old pepper tree that is always home to a variety of birds and provides lovely filtered light. It also blocks the view of the gorgeous liquid amber that is turning multiple shades of gold and red this time of year.

In addition there is a very large shabby looking sad storage shed that takes up much of the space. It’s so bad that the last owners left lots of stuff in there because they simply didn’t want to go in there after it. I don’t want to either. So (one thing hubby and I agree on) it needs to go.

My plan? Replace them both with a great big deck that we would actually use. So here you go.

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Side Yard 2

Side Yard 3

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Side Yard 5

Side Yard 6

Side Yard 7

Here are my most recent proposed ideas for the front view that faces south:

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Notice there is no grass. We do not want to water or cut grass. (Overwatering is now considered a criminal offense here in CA so I’m sure this ‘zero scape’ would go over very well with the city if not our park managers.)

YouTube How To Everything

At one time when you wanted to know about something… you looked it up in a collection of books we once called encyclopedias. Parents of the 50′s and 60′s got a set of them when their children were little from a guy who went door to door convincing parents that their toddlers would never make it to college if they didn’t invest in a set. Never mind that by the time said toddler got to kindergarten they would be outdated. By middle school they used them to source their written reports anyway and the teachers were none the wiser (except when you copied directly out of one –dumb idea– they could tell). Then by the time the middle schoolers were in high school, they used the set that was a little newer in the school library and the home versions found their way into garage sales or became handy door stops or a mechanism for pressing flowers. All features that never got anybody into college.

Millennials have never known a world without computers. So if they tell their parents they have gone to “study at the library,” I would be suspicious. Though libraries usually have computers nowadays too. But kids likely have them at home as well. Early in the decade when you wanted to look something up. you could go to Wikipedia (the digital encyclopedia). Now you just Google  a topic and you’ll get lots of data. Tons of it! Probably way way more than you need and you have to shuffle through the ads of those who want to sell it to you, posted a picture of it on Pinterest, or links to numerous blogs that are totally unrelated.

Then God invented YouTube. (Actually it was invented by its founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in 2005, but I like to think God made the world ready for it.) Nowadays if you want to be a music star, you record YouTube videos to get discovered. You want to see the newest viral pet videos (dogs saying “I love you” or cats doing un cat-like things) you’ll find them on YouTube. Even the very word “viral” has gone from indicating a nasty bodily infection to be used more comonly as an indication of a social media comment or video’s popularity. My husband and I have discovered YouTube as handy (desperate) DIYers. You want to know how to do, make or fix anything, you can find a YouTube video for it. Usually there are LOTS of them.

My husband is a welder. It’s a job that he thoroughly enjoys. So much so that when he comes home from working all day, he’ll spend hours watching YouTube videos of welding techniques. So when we decided to remodel the master bathroom it had to be a mostly DIY endeavor. Since we had just finished the kitchen remodel that we paid others to do (except the floor that my husband did), we had run out of funds and couldn’t afford to have the bathroom done which we needed to do because everything leaked and smelled bad. Everything that we’ve done that we didn’t already know how to do (which was pretty much everything except the painting and installing the vinyl plank flooring) we learned watching YouTube –including hanging blinds, installing the toilet, hanging beadboard panels, plumbing the sinks, installing the GFCI outlet and light fixtures, and tiling the shower. We paid a contractor to crawl under the house to plumb the shower because we wouldn’t. There are spiders down there.

A few years ago when we bought and remodeled our last house, we bought several high-end appliances. When we moved to our present “project,” we took the refrigerator and laundry set with us. Recently had issues with both and, of course, the one-year warranty that came with them has expired. The refrigerator’s ice maker was still making ice but refused to dispense it through the door. I googled the brand (Samsung) and found lots and lots of complaints about some defect inherent in the model. Complaints seemed to fall on deaf ears from the manufacturer. One post I read lead me to research the problem on YouTube. Voile! Though I am unable to fix the problem as there are no broken parts, I learned how to “reset” the icemaker and “unstick” the mechanism to be able to get it to function. usappliance_2268_238924793

About the same time as the refrigerator problem, my washing machine decided to quit working too! It’s a Whirlpool Duet that (at the time I bought it) was the top of the line only three years ago. After filling and doing a wash cycle, it would read an error message: E01 and F01, and refuse to drain. So I got out the manual that it came with that basically said to call Whirlpool customer service. Upon doing so, the service agent suggested I see a YouTube video that showed how to determine if the drain hose was clogged which would cause the waste water pump not to function. She sent me the link which I shared with my husband. He took it a step further and did some additional YouTube investigating. He learned how to access a clean out near the pump. You wouldn’t believe what we found in there! Enough change to buy a Big Mac and assorted other stuff. Even a disposable lighter and we don’t even smoke! After chipping away at the sediment that was packed in as hard as cement, my handy hubby reinstalled the filter and put everything back together.  The solution to fixing my “digital” machine was purely mechanical! Now it works better than ever!

Whirlpool Duet

You can complain all you want to about our over-dependence on computers and the difficulty of sorting the true from the untrue. (Our parents used to say: “Don’t believe everything you read!” ) But I can report very good success from learning stuff via YouTube. Really, just common sense.

When One Door Closes…

suesMany of you have been hearing me say for quite awhile now that I am retiring. In fact I retired a few years back from kitchen and bath design, only to re-emerge a year or two later with a new business emphasis in 3D illustration of interiors. While I enjoyed the notion and activity of creating beautiful renderings, it never developed into anything more than a hobby. I came to the conclusion that I was tired of clients (and potential clients) who wanted me to work on their projects on contingency (I don’t get paid unless they sell the job to their clients), or for less than minimum wage. One guy even wanted me to do a project (or two) for free just to prove to him I could do it even though I sent him ‘sample projects’ that he raved about. I politely declined. Others couldn’t be bothered with signing an agreement ~ Yet these same people wouldn’t lift a finger for their own clients without one. While I know that times have been tough on everybody in the design and construction business, I think it is only fair to ask for reasonable compensation for my work. Work that I did because they couldn’t.  Adios Bitchachos!

There have been tell-tell signs that I’ve been moving in this direction. I haven’t updated my website for some time and my software is now two versions behind. I didn’t renew my business license or inform the powers that be of my new address when I moved. My computer is becoming something of a dinosaur and I’m not going to replace it until it absolutely will not surf the net anymore. (I had to restart it once while in the process of writing this post because it gets stuck.)

So I did all of the things today that one does to “close shop”. I closed my business bank account, ditched the business phone and virtual fax machine. In the near future, my website, pamdesigns.net wil be coming down. I sent letters to recent clients informing them and thanking them for their business. Feels rather strange as there are no lights to turn off nor a door to lock for the last time. Sadly, it just is. Because my business has been online for the past several years, it is going away with a silent breath that probably only I will hear.

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I like being retired. Not a financially savvy move, but one that I am content with. I am not destitute nor am I wealthy (or ever will be) in either case. I am enjoying doing the things I would never be able to do if I were tied to a job and hope to be able to get back into creating art as I did many years ago. One thing you can count on, I and this blog are not going away. I may not be making a living at it, but I am and will always identify myself as a designer and an artist. Just passing a milestone in my life like many others that are life changing (like graduating from school, taking a first job, getting married or kicking the last birdy out of the nest).

Really Bad Days 2

Of Pinterest

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It’s seems surreal to me that I’ve been “pinning” for more than a couple of years now.  I tried looking into my profile on the site to see when I actually joined Pinterest and couldn’t find it. I know it’s been more than a year that I converted my account to a pro account as a means of exhibiting my portfolio of work (and perhaps drumming up some business).  I’m guessing that happened about the same time I changed my business emphasis to 3D computer rendering from kitchen design and drafting. What I do remember is all of the hoopla about the ethics of the program and concerns over copyright infringements.  I caught a lot of flack from some and even lost a few Facebook ‘friends’ in the process. Especially those in the art and design community who take real issue with the idea that I might be giving away my work for free (or worse) stealing theirs! I recall my comment at the time was something like: “If you don’t want people to share images on Pinterest, then don’t put it on the internet!”  Seemed rather simple to me.

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I was surprised to discover one of my original computer renderings on somebody’s website one day who obviously found it on the internet (probably on Pinterest or even possibly from my own website PamDesigns.net). They didn’t claim to have created it. Just borrowed the image for their site. It would have been nice to have been asked or at least given credit for it.  Just the same, I was flattered that of all the gazillion images out there in the electronic ether, they found mine and decided it was perfect for their purposes. Purposes that were pretty benign. So I didn’t raise a stink about it. Recalling my statement regarding putting stuff out there on the interwebs… I stood behind my comment. I put it out there and felt that in doing so relinquished any control or possible monetization I might have received otherwise. My theory –the (so far) free internet is cheap advertising and the best way I know of to get my work out there without leaving the comfort of my office chair.

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“How’s that workin’ out for ya?” chided the naysayers. My response: “Not so good.” I’ve not received much business over the internet, via my website, Pinterest boards or any other social networking activity I’ve been involved in over the past six or so years since I first opened my Twitter account. So I have to say LOUD AND CLEAR FOR ALL THE WORLD TO HEAR that social media is not a magic pill for marketing a business. The emperor is in fact naked as a J-bird. There is still no replacement for the tried and true reasons for most business success that has existed since long before social media, computers, cell phones or even TVs were ever invented. If you are successful in business, you know what those reasons are. I’m not going into that in this post.

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“So why do it?” you might ask. I continue my pinning obsession for the same reason I began it. Because it’s fun. For the most part, it’s electronic scrap booking. I now claim 252 boards which contain 83,000+ pins. Aside from just a few of those boards exhibiting my own work, my boards are divided up into my various areas of interest. I do this by ‘coding’ my board titles. Certain very large areas of interest such as recipes have the words A Recipe ~ at the beginning of each board’s title. This makes it easy for me to locate boards to file pins in. OK –I know this makes me sound a little OCD –perhaps if the shoe fits (and can be counted and organized)… ;-)

9cb3a1c39ca3a5b77dba8aa031336905If an area of interest is somewhat small, I’ll give it a unique title. For example, one of my recent favorites is a board called “A Country Life” that has images of  life on the farm that remind me of growing up on my folk’s farm in Southern Oregon. I also have a board called “I LUV Oregon” because I lived there for a big part of my life and still visit once in awhile. One aspect of  social networking has been since it’s inception (probably due to the now defunct My Space and emphasized with Twitter) is the goal of gaining followers. I remember how flattered I felt when my Twitter following reached a few thousand. I never failed to post dozens of #FF (Follow Friday) mentions weekly and made it my mission to “Tweet” at least five times a day seven days a week. I remember the controversy over issues about “original tweets vs. re-tweets”, promoting business tweets vs. spam, and over tweeting…  In the past year or so, my Tweets have dwindled to just a couple a week and most of those are Pins.

2093c5859d3fe8f6cca11a548f632592Ironically, my Pinterest following is almost 30,000 at this point. I count but a few of my Pinterest followers as ‘friends’ because we’ve been sharing pins long enough that I recognize their names. Many were Facebook friends to begin with. It was never my intention to mass a following on Pinterest. As I’ve stated in the past, my interest in Pinterest started out as a self-serving obsession. It just so happens that there seem to be a lot of people out there who have the same interests as I do that are pretty commonplace  ~ like food, travel, gardening, art and interior decoration. I’ve a few boards that speak more about my personality like the “Whimsey” board or the “# Things_To_Know_Before_Dying” Board (written on purpose like a Twitter hash tag) where I relegate comments that I find funny or  political satire and issues. I even have a board where I pin this blog’s posts! I also have some unique board titles like “Mermaids and Seafaring Folk” and “Sueños del Estilo Español” .

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Aside for the inception of the “pro” format developed by Pinterest that has a slightly different formatting that the original format (and I can’t really remember what that was), Pinterest has evolved and features have been added. One significant feature is that you are alerted now when you try to pin an image that you previously pinned. They even tell you which board you pinned it to. It works about 80 percent of the time. I still troll my boards for duplicates. However, there have been times that I will purposely pin an image to more than one board.

03655326dd6f4771a8519783169a2f88There are rules. You are not supposed to pin an image without consent from the owner or creator of  it.  That is a loosely enforced rule. Actually, Pinterest doesn’t remove images unless the copyright owner requests it to be. At least weekly I get a notice that one or more of my pins has been removed. They are always sure to tell me it’s not a reflection on me because I unwittingly got it from somebody else. Thanks Pinterest!

38856d4410e324ecd09b0629d06d25b9Most of the ‘rules’ I’ve run into have been contrived by other users. One such ‘rule’ came from a woman who decided to proclaim in her profile that anybody pinning more than 10 pins from any of her numerous boards would be blocked from further pinning of her boards stating that doing so was ‘bad Pinterest etiquette’. So… she blocked me and sent me a pin to let me (and all the world) know what bad pin thief I was. Well I otta!!!!! and I did. I blocked her back. Bitch.

I have rules (self imposed really).

  1. I don’t belong to group boards because they become insufferably long and often end up off topic.
  2. I wish there was a board size limit of 1000 pins. (I limit mine to that amount.) It just makes it easier to find stuff.
  3. I make sure the ‘cover pin’ for each board is still a pin on that board. It drives me crazy when I go to somebody’s board because I was inspired by the cover pin just to find out after scrolling through 3000 pins that it’s no longer there!
  4. I don’t allow other people to pin to my boards. (see rule #1) I have only one board from my son that we share –it’s of his dog Mila Wolfavich.
  5. I don’t pin anything to do with clothing fashion, makeup or little kid’s room interiors or parenting. I did my stint. I’m over it.

A newer feature on Pinterest is the ability to make hidden boards. These come in handy for pro designers, architects and such who want to make boards specifically for their customers. I haven’t tried it but I think it’s a great feature. If I wasn’t retired, I’d probably use it.

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Some things I wish they would fix:  Dragging and dropping pins from one board to another would be nice. Currently you can drag and drop boards from one location in your collection of boards, but you cannot rearrange or change the sequence of pins within a board. You have to change the pin details in order to move a pin from one board to another. This gets pretty time consuming when creating a new board because the existing one is too full. I do this frequently (probably evidentiary of my burgeoning OCD).

b9d2f058a6255780cbad8e98c5ef4ddbOther pet peeves:

  1. Pinning an image of a recipe and discovering that it does not link directly to a recipe.
  2. Trying to move a pin from one board to another and being told I can’t because the pin has been reported as a link to spam “by somebody” unknown. Yet it’s allowed to remain on the board I put it in. Doesn’t make sense to me.
  3. People who think I know what the brand and color name is of the paint on the wall in the room.  How the Hell should I know? Is it too hard to click through to the origin of the pin to ask the manufacturer or original pinner? Jeesh! It’s amazing how many people assume that I am the original pinner of anything except my original work. Duh!
  4. Nonsensical comments on my pins. Glad you think it’s “beautiful” but I’d rather have a conversation beyond that if you are going to go to the trouble of commenting on one of my pins.

I don’t spend as much time as I used to on Pinterest. Usually an hour or so when I first get up in the morning with a cup of coffee after I’ve gone through the email. I spend more time going through my existing pin boards as it seems I don’t see as much new stuff anymore. Don’t get me wrong. Pinterest has enriched my life in ways I could not have anticipated. It’s been the source of inspiration for much of my creativity since I’ve found it as is displayed throughout my home and my work. I just think my participation has leveled out so that I don’t spend an unhealthy amount of time at it.

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It’s seems to be my stopping point for my search for time-wasting endeavors I’ve taken into the world of ‘social networking’. Perhaps because it’s less about social networking (for me) and more about scrap booking and collecting ideas. The images in this post are taken from my board titled “Of Pinterest”. If you want to find the sources for any of them, you’ll have to go to the Pinterest site to my board. If you click on the image, it will hopefully direct you to the source link. If not, please accept my apology and lack of due diligence –it just may be an image without a URL attached.

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Master Suite Progress

The progress is s..l…o….w… For a number of reasons. In particular, my husband is doing most of the work. Much of it is learning as he goes and dealing with a less than plumb and level structure. He is doing this on weekends which means dragging out the tools and making multiple trips to Home Depot. He’s putting up the beadboard in the bath room –a two weekend process so it seems. Just the same, I am SO grateful that he is doing it and he is enjoying making stuff. I think especially because it’s different than what he does the rest of the time as a welder and fabricator for a custom door and window company.

 

In any case, we are still waiting on the parts of the shower that arrived damaged and missing from our order (clear back in April). We’re dealing with an East Coast vendor and the product is coming from Canada. Wondering if it’s worth the savings gained over having one made custom locally at this point. I’ve given them a deadline of this coming week. Then we will be negotiating a refund and starting over.

 

In the meantime, I’ve created some renderings for the master bedroom that adjoins the master bath. We decided to paint the walls instead of doing the beadboard in the bedroom and did something of a reverse color scheme. This will be the only room in our house with wall-to-wall carpet. The bedding I actually have. It’s Pottery Barn’s “Secret Garden” collection. It’s been discontinued, so I’ve been trying to search down some pillow shams on line to make the window valances out of.  So far, I could only find one available on ebay (I need two) and it’s pricey. The side chairs are currently used in the dining room and I am looking for some fabric similar to that used in the rendering to make slip covers out of. I really don’t need these chairs in the dining room, so it is perfect to use them in the bedroom and have them available when we have need for extra seating in the dining room. The rest of the furniture is similar to that which I already have. The highboy may get painted a white wash (as shown) though I haven’t decided yet.  And of course I’m going to be hanging some of the quilts on the wall that my mom made.

Pottery Barn "Secret Garden" bedding.

Pottery Barn “Secret Garden” bedding.

 

Master Bedroom Suite ~ view 1

Master Bedroom Suite ~ view 1

 

Master Bedroom Suite ~ view 2

Master Bedroom Suite ~ view 2

I’ve decided to change the color scheme a bit and cover the chairs in a solid linen fabric in a teal color that coordinates with the Pottery Barn print and I think will go well with the green carpet and wall color.  (I think there’s enough green). I actually found some decorator fabric on line for only $6/yard and no shipping or tax. It’s called Sea Foam Blue and has several shades of the color in it giving it a lovely texture. I’m getting enough to add a bed skirt as well. Still looking for some pieces online of the Pottery Barn Secret Garden collection to make the valances and accent pillows out of . I have faith they will show up eventually. If not, I had the idea that I could take apart the duvet cover and make a coverlet out of one side and use the rest of the fabric for the valances and accent pillows. Bedroom View 1B   Bedroom View 2B

3D rendering is a great way to make color choices. Though the furniture is not identical (but very similar in size, finish and scale), the fabrics and finishes are ‘real world’ . They are actually screen shots taken of online samples or photographs and applied to the models.

American Dream Disaster

Just watched the final episode of American Dream Builders and I am now very satisfied that I have retired. If design trends are to be lead by the likes of Nate Berkus’ posturing and ego maniacal ramblings, I’m glad to be out of it! He clearly ran the show and made me wonder why they even had the other judges who seemed there just to back up his opinions. I was disappointed in Monica Pederson and  frankly confounded by the very presence of Eddie George as a design judge at all. I’m not a football fan, so up until this show never heard of him before.  His lack of design knowledge and expertise was obvious as he acquiesced time and time again to Nate’s and Monica’s comments and opinions.American Dream Builders - Season 1 Design competition shows (like any other reality TV competition shows) are fraught with tension and drama. If they were just about design, the only people who would likely watch them would be other designers which is certainly not the direction a major network wants to go and it would probably only air at 6 a.m. on PBS. So, following the pattern as expected, this show was definitely high drama.. but not original by any means. The only thing different besides this show and HGTV’s Design Star was the lack of the “White Room Competition” and the network. I guess I should not overlook the infusion of  character borrowed from the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Show with the “Neighborhood Counsels” Blah, blah, blah… (Kept wondering when they were gonna yell at somebody to move a bus!)

 

Like many design shows that are on HGTV that I watch, I find myself watching the opening set up for the episode (first five or so minutes) and then fast forwarding to the end to see the results. However, the final episode for this show was the exception. I did skip through a lot of the process stuff in the middle which I found just obnoxious. I felt the approaches to the projects of the two very different finalists, Jay and Lukas, were worth taking in because they were so different. Jay is a builder and his approach was clearly ‘team’ based as would be expected by a home builder working with a team of talented people on a large, high-end project. It made sense to me that he would take advantage of the individual talents of his team and direct them.  I imagined it must have been a bit like herding cats at worst and conducting a orchestra at best. These are the attributes that one would expect of a design-build contractor. In the end, I felt the project reflected a culmination of many talented creative minds orchestrated in a single direction, but you could see the individual efforts on the team shine through. I felt this was intended, not by accident. This is what I would expect of a Dream Builder. American Dream Builders Based on the comments of Nate and Monica, Lukas should be considered a phenom in the world of design. His approach was to maintain total control of the project in a dictatorial fashion so that he could maintain a strict sense of continuity and project a single design aesthetic throughout the entirety of his project from the smallest detail to the ‘big picture’ idea. His design aesthetic appealed most to Nate and that is what won the competition for him… (Never mind that Eddie just kept his trap shut and Monica nearly collapsed when she saw the black painted box.) Not that it reflected anything to do with the family that owned the place or what they would want nor even the building vernacular of the location. This building would fit right in Chicago, Copenhagen or Milan. Not Ventura, CA, or in any other tropical or subtropical beach location in the US. A beach house it was not. Forward thinking? Not so much.  Wow factor? Certainly.  There were elements of the project I liked, but overall, I’m glad I didn’t own it, have to pay taxes on it and perhaps have to try to sell it in today’s marketplace in that location. American Dream Builders Ultimately, Nate Berkus lead the show in a direction that betrayed it’s title: American Dream Builder. It had little to do with building and everything to do with decorating and design. They are not one in the same. Just because you work on a whole bunch of building projects as a designer, that does not make you a builder. The three judges were not builders and one of them was a football player (HUH?????).   Nate commented that he didn’t think Jay should win because he didn’t think he was capable of doing the entire design of his project as it was on his own. To me that was the beauty of his project, that as a builder he was able to orchestrate the talents of a group of highly diverse designers which resulted in a project that superseded the abilities of any single team member.

 

As a trained and experienced designer myself, I have to look seriously at Lukas as a professional designer because he was (as he stated) self-taught. It shows that he does not understand nor respect the processes that professional designers go through to solve design problems.  He is clearly an artist, and when it comes to residential design I would call him a stylist or a decorator –a professional designer is a stretch. One of the key things a designer does is develop a program that includes the desires of the client. The format of the show did not allow for much of this. I would have loved to have been a mouse in the corner when the ‘black box’ beach house was revealed to the family. I’ll bet their jaws hit the ground in unison! Not in awe but in “Oh Hell, what have we got ourselves into!” I wonder how long after the taping of that episode will it be before they have a really big repainting party (if they haven’t already)?   While I can respect that a great deal of design has to do with art and creativity. there is much more involved. Marrying artistic expression and design problem solving is not an easy thing to do. But that is what is at the essence of good design. If the problems don’t get solved then the design is lacking.

 

Next I want to see a show called American Dream Decorator and the judges should be two builders and a tennis player.

Virtual Reality

top-10-best-free-online-cloud-storage-servicesLately my computer has been telling me I’ve nearly filled my hard drive. My hard drive is capable of holding nearly a terabyte of data and I was down to less than one gig.  One gig seems like a lot to me. I recall when hard drives went all the way up to three, we thought that was a lot. So what’s all this stuff on my computer now that has eaten up all that space that I thought (when I purchased this computer) couldn’t possibly be used up in a lifetime?

I realized that I’ve had a PC in my home for almost 20 years now and in that time I’ve been collecting music. I’ve had five computers and have lost at least half of that collection due to Windows crashing and having to replace the system (at least once).  (My back up system was a collection of CD’s -that has now long since vanished through various moves and garage sales.) Then I discovered thumb drives… and I lost them… and now I’m hoping I’ll discover them again… wherever they are!  That all changed with the advent of  iTunes. I have all types of music because there isn’t very much I don’t care for. It’s my weakness, my addiction and my indulgence. The only type I don’t care for is most hip-hop or rap. Though my son does, and he downloads it onto my computer as well. I like sharing my music library with him because he’s introduced me to some awesome (non-hip-hop) stuff. I love most of his surfer/skateboarder alternative stuff and he loves my oldies from the 60′s and 70′s.

I also have a lot of photos saved on my hard drive. These are mostly family photos from a collection that was my dad’s taken over much of his life as a professional photographer and salvaged by my youngest brother when Dad passed away a few years ago. He spent months digitizing film media and actual photos. There’s a lot!

So this past weekend I’ve finally invested heavily in “cloud” storage. Not financially — but in confidence and adjusting my faith in something that I cannot see nor touch. Kind of like belief in God, or that one has an actual brain— You can’t touch it, you can’t see it, but you know it’s there and you would have a hard time functioning if you believed it suddenly wasn’t there. I’m a skeptic for sure –about the existence of the Biblical God (not about my brain). In the same way, I’ve been skeptical about cloud storage –not that it exists, but that it would be a trustworthy place to store some of the things that I hold most valuable. I know that the “cloud” is actually a network of satellites orbiting around the earth. My “what if’s” range from atmospheric conditions causing my data to be lost mid transmission to a meteor shower knocking the satellite out of the sky that has my stuff on it! I’ve never heard of these things actually happen to anybody… but you never know.  But what the heck –can’t be any worse than Windows taking a dive or losing my teeny tiny thumb drives… right?!

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So I spent the better part of the weekend uploading the bulk of my precious photos and music library to Sugar Sync and deleting the files off of my hard drive. A huge leap of faith on my part. At first there was this terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach with each deleted hard-drive file. It went easier after a time to the point of monotony. iTunes as expected had no difficulty finding my tunes in the cloud. A side bonus –Sugar Sync has a player too.

In the end, I was able to salvage only 13 gigs of storage. I’m keenly aware that most of the data on the drive is programs that mushroomed in size when I converted from 32 bit Windows to 64. I also have a lot of big programs like Chief Architect that is a downloaded program and takes up probably the most space because it does so much. I’m also estimating that a lot of space is taken up with systems backups and updates that happen automatically. I’m guessing that some of those occurred last night because half of my newly cultivated space was already gone. On the bright side, I’m happy to say the cloud still holds my cherished files.