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

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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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New Renderings

Wow –it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything to this blog.  Sorry for being ‘off the radar’ for a bit. I’ve been ill for a few weeks and my ‘social media presence’ has suffered while I’ve been off feeling sorry for myself.  Well –f*** that! Time to get back in the game! While I’ve been away, I’ve actually been diligently working on some renderings. These are part of a project called Spanish Colonial ~ Dreaming of Todos Santos.

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….And an homage to the arrival of spring.Alternate ColorFront View

Long distance information, give me Memphis Tennessee…

Those are the beginning lyrics of “Memphis” by Johnny Rivers.  Why Memphis?  Well, as you might guess I’m planning to visit there. “Long distance” certainly as I am in California and have never been to Tennessee. I have recently been notified that the Blogger 19 are having a reunion in Memphis this coming July. I’m not big on traveling and I would probably never go there if not for the generosity of Brizo Faucets.9922638-green-memphis-tennessee-usa-highway-sign-on-cloud-background

I am a member of the original group of 19 kitchen design bloggers that were invited to attend the Fashion Week activities hosted by Brizo Faucets (already more than three years ago) in New York that included a runway show by fashion designer Jason Wu. Jason has been a long time collaborator with Brizo in their advertising campaigns and has since designed a line of faucets for Brizo.wu faucet If you don’t know Jason’s work by this connection with Brizo, then you might know him as the fashion designer that designed both inaugural ball gowns for Michelle Obama. Since then, Brizo has continued to host groups of design bloggers and the groups of ’19’ now number over 100.

Again, why Memphis? And especially, why the South in July? I believe it is because it is the headquarters for Delta Faucet that Brizo is a division of and they have facilities that can accommodate such a large group. I was also able determine that faucets are manufactured in nearby Jackson.  OK –these are deductions I’ve made from my internet sleuthing and I may be adding 2 + 2 and coming up with 6, but I’m sure more information about the event will be arriving soon.skyline

Truth be known, I’d go even if it were going to be on the salt flats of the Mojave in summer! I am very excited at the prospect of meeting up with my original B19 compadres as well as many members of the newer groups that I have become acquainted with through my social networking activities. I’ve only met a few of them in person, but am looking forward to meeting many more. I’m also happy to see our benefactors once again of Brizo and MSL who came up with this zany and cleaver idea to organize these otherwise unconnected and vastly dispersed individuals who have a vague and varied commonality of interest in kitchen and bath design that they have noted through their blogs.  Our “members” are spread throughout the US and Canada. We even have one that is from England!

“Help me, information, more than that I cannot add
Only that I miss her and all the fun we had
Marie is only six years old, information please
Try to put me through to her in Memphis Tennessee…”

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/johnny_rivers/

In the Spirit of Things

Am I hearing the distant and faint “jingle, jangle” of Christmas bells?  No, I’m hearing them loud and clear coming from my TV!  And I don’t want to be.  I am simply amazed at how much earlier year after year the folks responsible for the commercialization of the Holiday Season manage to con us into decking our halls with the latest trends in festive baubles and bling.  It’s too early folks!  I don’t want to sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner and see my Christmas Tree.  And, when I do put up my tree, it is going to look pretty much like it did last year.  I want the children at my table (if I had them) to have dreams of the pumpkin pie -not sugar plums- dancing through their little heads.  (Actually I haven’t a clue what sugar plums are and have obviously never made them.)  Though I certainly expect they shall be dropping hints about what they hope to discover on Christmas morning-  under the tree that is NOT up yet.  Yesseree –I’m a nostalgic traditionalist and love the notion of the holidays as I have dreamed of them my entire life.  While I dream of change in politics (such as may occur as a result of Obamacare)… when it comes to holiday traditions, I do not.  Some things should never change.  The unfolding of the seasons this time of the year is the one thing that makes the passing of summer tolerable. (We don’t get to see much in the way of seasonal changes here on the California Central Coast, so I have to be content with the images I’ve found on Pinterest and the Autumn wallpaper and screensaver I created for my computer screen.)   I’m not getting any younger, so I want the unfolding to drag on as long as possible.

My Facebook  friend Pat recently bought a house.  Since retiring from a career of many years as a flight attendant she is finally going to spend her Holiday Season at home and is finally getting to celebrate Christmas on Christmas.  She posted a picture of her tree that she recently put up in her new home.  It is lovely!  A comment followed by another FB friend to her post  “You’ve been in the air toooo long; It’s Happy Thanksgiving then Merry Christmas !!!! LOL 😉;) Hope you have BOTH!!!!! :)”  Considering her history ~she gets a pass I think.

Don’t get me started on the new “Black Thursday” that used to be “Black Friday”!  No, I haven’t done my Christmas shopping and this does not inspire me to jump in head first either.  I guess not everybody is going to be slaving over a hot stove putting a Thanksgiving meal together that usually eats up the major part of the day -a preoccupation that pretty much negates any opportunity to hit the mall at the crack of dawn in search of  ‘deals’.  Do I care that retailers are screwing their employees out of holiday family time?  No not really~ jobs are hard to come by these days and most people I’ve talked to are grateful for the opportunity to earn the cash.  Many of them are the ‘extra help’ hired for the Holiday Season anyway (earlier this season than before).  It’s pretty much expected if you work in retail.  Sorry guys.  I’m likely to do my shopping right here behind my computer screen as I mostly have for the past several years.  The lines are much shorter.

Many commercials this year are now focused squarely on the New Normal with a holiday twist.  I love that the TV gods have seen fit to allow gays to be portrayed on TV shows as parents, lovers, spouses, and well rounded respectable  individuals that have jobs and pay their taxes ~and not serial killers or serial victims set out to destroy the moral fabric of American society.  What I don’t love is that during the limited space and time continuum of a TV commercial, it is done with whiny insipid people who come across as ‘queeny’ so that you get that they’re gay.   Somehow, I’m anticipating a backlash in the future of TV programming ~ but perhaps my expectations are futile.  Laundry, dish cleaning,  toilet and floor scrubbing are still done pretty exclusively by middle class women of child-bearing age as they have been since the television was invented.  Good changes in the history of TV:  people of color do not necessarily get killed off first.  Bad changes:  Have you noticed it’s recently become OK to say “shit” during prime time on some networks?  Expected changes:  A commercial suggesting you give your same-sex partner the latest flavor  in KY for Christmas this year or what Santa will be giving Mrs. Santa this year because he’s started a daily regimen of Cialis.  ¡Oye! ~I’m so glad I don’t have little kids at home anymore so that I don’t have to explain stuff!

If you must put up a tree before Thanksgiving, this one is really cute! Love the owls!

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to end this post on a more pleasant ( and less snarky) fashion.  To celebrate the day in the spirit for which the day was made, I want to give thanks for all that I am grateful for.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a wonderful home that has been recently remodeled with the kitchen of my dreams and the dust has settled.  I have a wonderful loving husband and three fabulous children and two brilliant and beautiful grandchildren that I am soooo proud of.  I voted in an election and am happy to say pretty much everything I voted for passed (which just never ever has happened in my life before) and my hope for change (in areas with actual importance)  has found new vigor.  I am grateful also that you have taken the time to read my meanderings and allowed me a brief moment on the soap box.  I truly hope you and yours have a wonderful Holiday Season the way you want it to be.

Avatar

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Last week I went to see the movie Avatar with son Jason (@rjasonh) which was something I’d been longing to do for quite a awhile.  Ever since I saw the previews for it when the family went to see a 3-D movie during the holidays and before all of the award show hoopla, it has been on the back of my mind.  I’m grateful that it is so popular that it’s hung around our movie theater for this long as if it were waiting for me to clear my calendar.  Yeah sure!  It’s that good –and even now still drawing viewers and gaining fans. 

Avatar is not the kind of movie you can wait to see when it comes out on video.  You really do need to see it in 3-D and on the big screen with the big sound.  So, unless you have a state-of-the art home theatre and the capability of viewing polarized video in 3-D in high def on a really big screen and with surround sound, it’s totally worth the few extra dollars for the cheap 3-D glasses and a movie theatre experience.  Jason said he loved the musical score.  I have to admit, I was so enthralled with the visuals, I never even noticed the music.   There was music?

Many have pooh-hooed the story line.  If you think of the characters as fifteen-foot-tall blue American Indians with tails and features that make them look more feline-descended than sapien, well yes, the story starts to seem a bit familiar and perhaps a little trite.  Add to that, the movie is over two hours long!  So what is it about this movie that has the attention and adoration of all sorts of people of all ages?

For me it is the animation. I’ve been amazed by animators my whole life.  Ever since I first saw Bambi as a little girl.  Then later when Disney released The Lion King and that never-ending water buffalo stampede over the hill and across the plain illustrated so realistically that you could feel the rumble and practically choke on the dust.  That movie came out when my younger son, Mico, was a toddler –we watched it in the theatre initially and then the video at home at least a hundred times.  “Ha-cu-na Ma-ta-ta!”

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I’ve been so captivated by the animator’s craft, that I’ve even dabbled in computer rendering as a part of my kitchen design practice.  Maybe, it is this process that makes me appreciate the work of movie animators all the more.  However, I have to say Avatar is WAY beyond anything I’ve seen before.  Usually, while watching an animated movie, there is always that sense that it isn’t real no matter how great the animation or story is.  While watching Avatar I totally got caught up in the visuals and soon “forgot” that there are no fifteen-foot blue people that fly on big pre-historic looking bird thingys and live under a tree that is bigger than the city I live in.  So well integrated was the “live” with the animated, it was easier to just take it all in rather than try to keep track of what is and what was imagined.  Anyway, the imagined was just soooo cool, you just wouldn’t want to.

Rose Bowl 2010 – Go Ducks!

 

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The fledgling Ducks took the Rose Bowl trophy the first time in 1917 when they played against the University of Pennsylvania.

   

Anybody who knows me well will tell you I am not a football fan… I don’t know the names of many pro or college teams or the people who play for them. (I could hum a few bars if you want!)  I know very little about the intricacies of the game but have a general knowledge of its basics.  You’d think I’d have a little more interest having been raised in a family (my mom’s side) that were nuts about it.  Every holiday, my grandparents and uncles were huddled around the set –all day watching the games.  My grandmother was the biggest sports enthusiast of them all and would watch every game she could.  I also had an ex who was a Tight End (Oh yes he did!) for the football team at the high school we attended.  But for some reason, it just never stuck (the marriage or the game) for me.

I am however, a UO alumnus, and am interested actually excited about the Ducks going to the Rose Bowl once again.  The last time they were in Pasadena was 1995, the year before I graduated.  They lost to Penn State, 38 to 20.  I have a souvenir “UO Rose Bowl” Christmas ornament I bought for a buck at the UO Bookstore later that January.  Of the four times the Ducks have been to the Rose Bowl, the only time they ever won was the 1917 game.  This New Year’s Day will be Rose Bowl attempt #5 –this time against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State has been to the Rose Bowl 12 times and have won 5 of those games.

To catch up on who’s doing what so I’ll at least sound like I know a little about what I’m talking about, I’ve been reading Duck Feed: Rose Bowl http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=204863181 on goducks.com “The official site of Oregon athletics.”  “ESPN SportsCenter anchor Neil Everett, an Oregon alum, closed practice with a pep talk to the team. Everett was presumably named after his grandfather Neil Morfitt, who played for the Ducks in the 1920 Rose Bowl loss to Harvard. "Win one for Neil Everett’s Grandpa" doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as "Win one for the Gipper," but it was a solid speech none the less.”

So Friday I’ll be watching the game with my dad.  We’ll argue about everything –politics, religion, the usual—but when it comes to the game, at least this time maybe I’ll sound a little intelligent.  Since I know Dad isn’t a regular fan, I might be able to BS my way through it…. Awww who am I kidding!  I can’t possibly BS the worlds greatest BSer. 

Go Ducks!

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