Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Look-a-Like Spaces

Country Living's Renovating an Old House

Serendipitous? Today I saw a Country Living pin that reminded me of our home's hallway. So I thought I'd snap a shot and compare the two. Why? Because sometimes its nice to know you are not alone in your tastes and preferences.  Same bench style, same architecture,  similar photos, though...

I wish I had a pheasant to perch on our newel post!

Our entryway

Monday, March 19, 2012

Repurposing an Elevator Locker into Bath Storage

Hubby and his friend brought the vintage elevator locker into the house this weekend. Hubby wanted it out of his garage, and when he's motivated, he finds help!

Unfortunately, I was not as prepared, e.g. I did not power wash the greasy beast before moving it into the main level bathroom. So today, the locker and I bonded, over a bucket of soapy water.

Here's the pics of what will be our new bathroom storage cabinet. Pics of the interior of the locker to be revealed after I figure out how to hang shelves on metal. Any ideas?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Finding Local Inspiration

What a weekend!

Not only was the Denver-Metro temperature in the 60's, but treasure hunting was at its best! Below are my finds, and my Pindie Pinterest Challenge entries.

1. I'd never been to an estate sale where the police AND local news were in attendance, until this weekend. Thanks to Ashley of Dingaling Vintage, guest blogger over at The Horseshoe Market, I found out about "The House That Time Forgot." And who could forget this estate?! Packed to the brim with vintage clothes, paper ephemera dated early 1900's, and original art, the sale, hosted by Cobblestone Too!, was quite the adventure in treasure hunting and history.

I picked up this wood lined, antique suitcase marked W. J. Gibbs, Boulder, CO, No.7.

And a simple Colorado badge to add to my growing 'all things Colorado' collection.

2. If the estate sale wasn't enough, this weekend was the beginning of artisan market season too! So I headed over to the delightful Sugar Plum Bazaar and found a couple more goodies to call my own.

Colorado is a dry state, and I don't mean sans liquor. I mean the air is deadly to skin. So I was on the lookout for some lotion or salve to feed my parched hands and face, and found the delightful Elizabeth of Amber Bath ready to help me out. Not only does Elizabeth embody the indie artisan spirit, she was a joy to talk with as well. Check out her website, as well, her line is available at choice Whole Foods grocers. I walked away with the following frappe, SALVEation, and soap (the soap a freebie because I liked Amber Bath on FB--thanks Elizabeth!).

As you might expect amongst the artisan vendor crowd, Elizabeth was kind enough to introduce me to Sara of Make My Notebook--a line of hand silkscreened notebooks made to order based on color, filler paper, and binding. I love her simple yet bold designs. In addition to her notebooks, Sara had some garden planner binders for sale. I had to pick one up since I'm falling behind on my own garden planning!

So there you have it--my take-aways from the weekend! Thanks to all the artisan vendors who continue to inspire me on my creative journey!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pindi Pinterest Challenge!

Pinterest is addictive. It is so addictive that many of us Pinheads have put aside our own projects while we pin and repin other peoples' creative works. This is wrong. Fortunately, I've found support groups out there for folks like us.
Logo of The Pinterest Challenge
@ pinterestchallenge.com
In fact, there are quite a few Pinterest Challenges circling the blogosphere--asking Pinners to get off their heinies, unplug, and actually make something from one of their boards. (Hmm, I bet I've pinned one of the challenger's DIY projects on my Spud Projects board. I guess that doesn't count though...) 
An estate sale find--
a Dover Locker originally used to house elevator wires &
with a little elbow grease, I'll have new bathroom storage
So as a means to get (myself) motivated (but not quite require power tools) and in lieu of debating whether or not we are supposed to pin our own content, I challenge all Pindie readers to PIN YOUR BEAUTIES! 
Pin what makes your day-to-day more beautiful, inspiring, and creative, including, but not limited to:
  • ANY THING you treasure (got an estate sale or artisan market this weekend?)
  • ANY PROJECT that engages your creativity (yes, you can be an over-achiever and pin your 1-day DIY kitchen remodel, if you must...)
  • ANY ONE that makes you smile, laugh, or cry with joy (think animals, kids, strangers...)
  • ANY PLACE that feels like home or calls for you to stay, just a bit longer (e.g., a garden, chicken coop, park, etc.)
Take your picture (or pictures), pin them on Pinterest, and share your pin link/s back here at Pindie before by Monday the 12th so we can repin, share the love, and get motivating together! (And we can get the power tools out for the DIY on the next challenge :).)

Disclaimer: Pinterest is not associated with this Pindie Challenge. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pinning Away...But Who Really Cares?

You know a phenomenon is gaining traction when the critics come out. Yep, some folks out there don't like Pinterest. I kid you not.

What's at issue you ask?

1. Self-promotion.

My spuds' homemade crayon valentines
inspired by a Pinterest pin
Just this morning at Mile High Mamas, Joann faulted Pinterest, "You're not supposed to pin your own things." She explained how the pictures she and her husband have taken truly ARE her inspiration. Great! 

Though I still don't see the problem. 

As the site states, "Pinterest is designed to curate and share things you love. If there is a photo or project you're proud of, pin away! However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion."

Who wouldn't want to get behind that philosophy? Don't we have enough social media opportunities with our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, and RSS feeds to self-promote our ideas and wares? Sometimes I feel like my on-line existence is a virtual billboard advertising myself. What relief to inspire AND be inspired by others' art and creativity simultaneously. 

In other words, pin your stuff AND pin others stuff. Karma baby, karma.

2. Liability.

Undeniably, we live in a litigious state. And the boundaries of ownership on the net have yet to be totally defined and sanctioned. Pinterest critics worry that copyright infringements are only multiplied by the rampant pinning of uncredited content. In effect, they say, pinners are stealing images.

Kal Barteski’s Campaign to
Educate and Protect
Online Content and Creators
As a former academic trained to pay homage to original sources, I'm not blind to the unchecked pinning and repinning of non-credited pics on Pinterest. I can empathize with Liz, who wrote over @ ScoutieGirl, of her growing uneasy using Pinterest. 

While Liz took great pains to credit sources, including using description fields to cite creators and double-checking original links, she worried these steps were not enough. The nagging feeling remained, for her, because once she pinned something, that pin's future was out of her hands. 

To be sure, Pinterest states that a pin can be removed at any time if it infringes on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Further, repeat Pinterest offenders may be prohibited from pinning any new content. But all it takes is a cursory look at a sample of boards and one finds that, indeed, many pins are not properly linked to the original source. So what DOES this mean to creators? to pinners? to copyright on the web?

In the end, critics are upset that they can't pin their own images or can't (safely) pin others' images. They simply can't be bothered with another social media site when they are already overwhelmed with the tweets, pokes, and tumbles found elsewhere on the web. They don't get the point. Why pin in the first place?

Yet, I see value. The lure of the filled pinboard remains stronger than the risk of liability (or the risk of self-negation). I see potential. Potential for supporting artistic commerce, for example.

But since I'm not pinning my own collections just yet (I want to complete The Makerie photography class first!), the critics have raised an important issue--do local artisans want to be pinned at all?

What's your reaction to being pinned on Local Pindies?

Monday, February 27, 2012

So You Want to be a Creative eh?

I took a (creative) leap this past Saturday. Well, the leap occurred a few weeks prior when I emailed The Makerie--the Boulder-based retreat for creatives--to see if I could volunteer my labor for the event. I wasn't sure hubby and I could scrap together the funds to enroll as a participant, so I deduced that, maybe, I could get some of that creative inspiration simply by proximity.

My filled Crock-Pot
Fortuitously I sent my email in time to be invited to participate in the first annual soup swap for Makerie volunteers. So this past Saturday I whipped up my favorite Roasted Butternut Squash and Italian Sausage bisque and headed to the Savory Spice Shop in Boulder to meet the famous maker of The Makerie and the women helping to make her vision a reality.

Amidst the lovely jars of freshly ground seasonings, I mingled with the creatives. The marketing force behind the Horseshoe Market. The owner of Old Glory Antiques. Knitting teacher genius from Common Threads. And one of the Flygals of Firefly Handmade. Oh no, no I wasn't intimidated (!).

Then, when asked, "What do you make?," I found myself searching for an answer that would justify my presence. Why didn't I anticipate such a question given the audience? Hmm, I stammered. I read blogs about design, decor, and art. I shop at vintage, handmade markets. I pin all my favorite local indie artists. I encourage craft with my kids. Oh, and I go to Goodwill, a lot.

I knew I wasn't REALLY answering the question. How could I? I didn't have a claim to fame! Dare say, a poser amongst genuines???

Photo from Art Therapy Association of Colorado
So when it came time to do a round robin of introductions, I began my monologue with, "I'm not an artist but...". I'm not sure what I said after that, but I do know that The Makerie maker then used my "apology" to emphasize the motivation behind starting the retreat. (Never mind I taught public speaking during grad school and know better than to begin a public speech with self-deprecation!).

She described The Makerie retreat as a space to play, to create, and to be inspired. In this sense, we are ALL artists, she continued; since our day-to-day lives are often over-scheduled and over plugged-in, simply retreating for a few days to the wonder of all that surrounds us is a gift, the gift of The Makerie.

Ok, I bought the vision hook, line, and sinker, and long before the smell of yummy soups! Creativity IS important--to work, to parenting, to our souls.

Yet, I keep asking myself. What makes an artist? Who can claim that moniker? Only professionally trained and educated painters, sculptors, or fabric designers?  Seems limiting (at the same time, they earned the title...). What about those of us who ASPIRE to have an integrated, creative work life? What do we call ourselves?

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's a Revolution I Tell You

I made a glaring omission yesterday.

You see, I didn't mention the obvious: WOMEN are the ones driving the success of Pinterest. Tagged as “tumblr for ladiez”, the new belle of the ball of social media is in fact primarily used by women. While the stats are seemingly up for grabs, one article suggests as much as 97% of users are female. Quite frankly, the pinking of Pinterest deserves much more discussion.

Attributes have been made about the feminine design of the logo. Others suggest that style of the boards is inherently feminine as well. But design alone can't be reason women use Pinterest more than men.

Perhaps Pinterest is simply a space to express women's creativity? Yes, we (women) understand the site is like retail therapy, without the debt. We pin clothes we can't afford. We pin mansions as if they were a possibility. But we do so knowingly. Sonia Saraiya says it best:

"... I’ve noticed something interesting about the Pinterest community: There’s a self-awareness to this aspiration, too. A common type of pin that floats around from time to time reads something like this: “Pinterest: to plan the weddings we can’t afford, to raise the children we don’t have, and decorate the houses we don’t live in.” It seems like most of us on Pinterest are in on the joke — we’re buying into a fantasy lifestyle, and selling it to each other. Some of us may be using our boards to plan a real-life event, or to give us ideas for a concrete occurrence, but I think most of us are updating our dream scrapbooks — fully aware those dreams may never happen, but indulging in the fantasy anyway."

I appreciate the irony of the delusion. But I believe there is a subversive element present as well. Creative subversion. Creative inspiration. After all, it takes a certain set of eyes to curate a look, a house, an aspiration. 

Why not make the dreams a reality? If part of the pull for women on Pinterest is beautifying their worlds, use the platform to show HOW this can be done. There is plenty of evidence already present that this is the case. From pins of repurposing household goods to saving money at the grocery store, women ARE making their fantasy more attainable, even sustainable. 

Vintage Cake Toppers on Etsy @ Hattiecat's Vintage Emporium 
So whose to say Pinterest can't be a wonderful companion to Etsy--the premier homemade and vintage marketplace? After all, you can pin goods from Etsy and even the price point will show up on the photo, making it that much easier for indie-artisans across the globe to market their wares. Whose to say it can't become the go-to site for locals looking for artisans and craft markets in their community? Whose to say Pinterest can't be the women supporting women hub? Because, after all, women are the ones driving the home-made revolution!

And that is what Pindie is all about. Women. Art. Craft. Creating. A. New. Local. Indie. Economy. 

In what ways can you envision using Pindie to support women?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pinning the Ideal Self

"I don't get it."

"Huh?" I asked, a bit indignantly. "What's not to get?"

"I mean, what's the purpose?" hubby continued, "You just look at and pin pictures. Why?"

At first I was taken aback by his question. It was late in the evening. We were in bed. I had just shown hubby one of my favorite curated boards--@ the Homestead--and was particularly smitten with a recent pin. I wanted confirmation of my latest pursuit, not scrutiny. It seemed so OBVIOUS why I would enjoy Pinterest! But I swallowed my ego, tried not to take the question personally (after all, I had been spending an inordinate amount of time on the social media site...), and considered his question. Fair enough. 

Why DO I pin? What IS the purpose of Pinterest?

In less than 2 years time from its launch, Pinterest has become one of the top social media sites with over 10 million users. How's it work? After getting an invitation to the site and logging on through Facebook or Twitter, users then "pin" favorite web images in an on-line bulletin board or 'pinboard' as it's called. You can create different boards based on interests ranging from fashion to travel to home decor and design. Not only does the site create 'communities' of people based on their likes (you can 'follow' boards or people of your choosing), it's an excellent way to find all things local as compared to the big box offerings found on FB sponsored links. As Jeff Bercovici writes, "It’s more like a craft fair where people go to exhibit their wares, check out other vendors’ offerings, or do a bit of both." Well, now that makes sense to a woman like me who LOVES ALL THINGS HOMEMADE.

Which leads me to what I should've told my hubby last night...I pin because:

1. Pinterest is like going to craft markets without leaving the house! I can peruse all my favorite local indie-crafters and make pinboards of all the vendors I want to visit and support at the upcoming local artisan markets including Sugar Plum Bazaar, Firefly Handmade at the Makerie, and Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market to name a few favorites.

2. Pinterest is like going to a thrift store without spending money! Yes, I will be the first to volunteer to go to the grocery store because the Goodwill is right next door. Just like the second hand store, Pinterest merchandise is constantly changing. You truly never know what you're going to find. And since the pull of the hunt is ever-present, Pinterest serves with its 24-7 hours. 

And at the end of the day, let's be honest.

3. Pinterest allows me to curate my ideal self. I collect all my treasures on-line, arrange them into neat categories, and in doing so, create the most flawless picture of my likes, finds, and desires. As Sonia Saraiya over at Persephone suggests when likening Pinterest as the new women’s magazine, “I feverishly add to my boards with the same diligence I papered the walls of my bedroom [as a teen] — to reflect some idea of who I am, and further, who I want to be.” I agree. I pin myself. I want to be a locavore. I want to repurpose. I want to be crafty. I want to be an artist. I want to be a writer. I want to be a decorator. And I want to be a (sub)urban homesteader. And I have pictures to prove it!

So while it has its issues, no, you can't (currently) pin from FB, and, yes, sometimes Pinterest can't find the image on a particular web page which makes pinning sometimes cumbersome, the draw of the social scrapbooking site remains unequivocally addictive. As Lydia Dishman opens her Fast Company article, "I would have written this article sooner, but I was busy on Pinterest."

So why do YOU Pinterest?