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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Recipes on Pinterest

Anybody who follows me knows one of my obsessions lately has been Pinterest.  After a few months of “pinning” I discovered it to be a fantastic source of recipes.  When I first started my Pinterest preoccupation, I tried to limit myself to certain themes trying to focus on design themes that included architecture, interiors, landscaping with special attention to kitchen design. Knowing my collection of boards would soon mushroom out of control, I decidedly avoided topics that included fashion, cute kids and animals, literature, food, and travel so that I could attempt to make my ever-expanding collection manageable.

Well some 190 boards later, I’ve included art, travel and food into my mix of topics. It’s likely I’ll never try three fourths of the recipes I’ve collected.  Many of them are from other well known sources such as food.com, recipe.com,  Delish and other popular recipe sites, though most are from sources that other pinners have found on blogs that I would have never encountered on my own.  What all of these have in common is their visual appeal that makes them ‘pin’ popular. Of course, presentation is everything when it comes to making food appetizing.  Right?  One unfortunate side is that some pins do not link to a recipe but just a pretty picture.  So sorry in advance if you click on one of my pins that doesn’t lead to a recipe ~ they tricked me too!  You can find me on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/pamdesigns/

Here are a few of the recipes I’ve tried that I’ve found on Pinterest:

From the Busy Mom’s Recipe blog my favorite so far is this easy-to-make Asian chopped salad that uses inexpensive Ramen Noodles http://busymomrecipes1.blogspot.com/2011/06/oriental-salad-with-ramen-noodles.html.  I don’t think it was clear about which flavor to use, but I think the obvious one would be the Oriental flavor.  ImageDon’t skimp on the peanuts (unless you’re allergic to them) and don’t over-do it with the soy sauce in the dressing which will overpower the Oriental seasoning.

Another recipe that I like that is seasonal is this pumpkin coffee cake from prettygoodfood.com http://www.prettygoodfood.com/2012/02/pumpkin-coffee-cake-with-brown-sugar.html?m=1 .  I don’t use actual pumpkin for any of my pumpkin recipes.  I use butternut squash instead because I like the texture and flavor better.  When all of the Autumn posts started to manifest on Pinterest, along came all of the ‘pumpkin everything’ recipes.  Fine by me!  I’ve been counting the days until squash started showing up in the grocery stores. As soon as the butternut squash showed up, started buying them fresh.  I boil them until they’re soft, and freeze the mashed squash in two-cup bags which is the usual amount for most of the recipes I come across.   I love “pumpkin” flavor in everything from coffee drinks to ice cream.  I’ve also noticed a lot of not-sweet recipes lately that call for butternut squash that I want to try.  Image

This coffee cake recipe called for a glaze topping that I didn’t have all of the ingredients for.  So I made up my own ‘streusel topping’ with a cube of cold butter, 1/2 cup each of brown (packed) and white sugar, generous cinnamon (about two tablespoons–I like a lot) and a cup of chopped walnuts.  I blended it until it was crumbly and sprinkled it over the cake before baking.  It was wonderful, but made a huge batch that I think I will halve next time.

Another low calorie dessert is something called Aunt Betty’s 1-2-3 Cake from TheHiddenPantry Blog http://thehiddenpantry.blogspot.com/2011/11/aunt-bettys-1-2-3-cake.html that you can store as a dry mix and make individual servings in a coffee mug when your sweet tooth needs to be satisfied but not at the expense of your waistline.  The mix is very simple.  It’s just a box of angel food cake mix and a box of regular cake mix.  ~I’ve found the angel food cake mix is there primarily as a leavening agent but can have an overpowering flavor and texture.  If you want a more cake-like flavor and texture, mix only one half a box to angel food cake to a full box of cake mix.  You can make it any flavor you like.  Some I’ve tried are devils food, yellow cake, strawberry and lemon.  They are all delicious!  Image

Making the serving is as easy as 1-2-3!  You mix three tablespoons of the mix in a mug with two tablespoons of water.  Put it in the microwave for one minute. Top with a dollop of non-fat whipped topping. Done.

A recipe that was a hit at my house this summer was Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey that originated from the SheWearsManyHats Blog http://shewearsmanyhats.com/2011/11/mayonnaise-roasted-turkey/.  We had Thanksgiving a little early this year when my daughter and family, and my other kids and I all got together at the end of August.  This is a rare occasion as my kids are spread all up and down the West Coast and it’s hard to get us all in one spot at the same time.  This has never worked out during the Holiday Season, so we made our own and decided to have Thanksgiving early.  ImageIt doesn’t get any easier than this. You’ll want to try it in November for the ‘real’ Thanksgiving.  I’m going to for sure!

Latin cuisine is popular where I live and after being married to my Mexican husband for 20 years, I’ve learned to make some pretty decent “authentic” Mexican dishes.  Though I still like the Tex-Mex Gringo recipes I find.  He loves them too… calls them Taco-Tamale-Enchiladas ~pretty much because they all seem to have the same ingredients and taste very similar.  All can be fixed with a little Tapatio Sauce!Image

This enchilada casserole recipe from justgetoffyourbuttandbake.com blog   http://www.justgetoffyourbuttandbake.com/?p=3352 is a bit like a Mexican lasagne but has a lot of familiar taco flavors.  It’s really tasty and the leftovers freeze nicely for later.

One really great main dish recipe that’s fast to whip up is Parmesan Crusted Chicken that came from The Enchanted Cook blog http://theenchantedcook.blogspot.com/2011/10/parmesan-crusted-chicken-hellmanns-mayo.html via the Hellmans/BestFoods Mayo people.  Very few ingredients and easy to make. I didn’t have Italian herb bread crumbs, so I used the Panko I had on hand and added some Italian seasoning.Image