When Social Media Becomes a Bad Idea

I was reading some blogs that I sporadically visit and came across a link to a post regarding copyright and Pinterest on Michelle Allen’s blog.  If you use Pinterest, I suggest you read this.  It certainly got me thinking and I went in and removed all of my boards and pins for things I do not have express permission to use. 

I had one of the artists who is teaching at ADAA 2012 recommend Pinterest to me as a place to promote ADAA classes, so I requested an invite from a friend of mine who’s very connected in the social media world.  I have to admit, I’m not a social media evangelist, not even a fast follower.  My day job is in the high tech industry, and I get more than enough screen time between 8am and 6pm, so I’m not inclined to spend more time on the computer when I get home.  Unless of course, I’m not particularly motivated to do yard, house, or art work.  Even then, I’m still an introvert online, preferring small groups of friends to large groups.  I’m sure I disappoint Facebook and Google+.  In fact, the only reason I’m on Facebook is to promote my work and All Dolls Are Art.  I get on only when I need to post something about the conference, and while I’m there, I check in with my SiL and my friends.

Because I’m an artist, producing both art work and patterns, I’ve got more than a passing interest in copyright.  I’m careful to watermark my photos and to never post hi-res images online.  I am fully aware that any content I post on Facebook is outside of my control. 

Because I work in high-tech, I pay attention to privacy issues.  It constantly amazes me how much information people are willing to give up in order to use Social Media.  When Google’s Privacy Policy Changes were announced, I went in and changed my settings to prevent, as much as possible, tracking.  I’ve been reading up on how to prevent tracking through Wiki’s on Wired Online and other outlets.  If you want to learn more about this, I recommend The Electronic Privacy Information Center.  If you live in Europe, you are in much better shape, as the EU has already started to tackle online privacy.  I get that there are good reasons to track what I do online.  I love that I can see recommendations on Amazon and that they can keep items in my wishlist and my shopping cart if I have to leave the site for some reason.  I opted in to that.  As far as I’m aware, I haven’t gotten any spam, or snail mail spam, from companies who have purchased information about my reading and listening preferences from Amazon.  The article in the link to DDK’s blog makes me want to go read their privacy policy though. 

I happened to ask a person that I know through my day job why Europeans’ have such a different view of privacy.  His response was “Can you imagine how much MORE damage Hitler could have done if he’d had access to the amount of information that is collected on people today?”  His response seems a bit extreme, but he’s got a point.  Of course, he’s also German.  But it does make you think.  Would the Arab Spring have made it off the ground if those in charge of things had been able to force all electronic communication through their filters?  If they’d been able to find the people planning to protest in Tarir Square BEFORE the protests started?

We Americans take our Freedom of Speech and Rights to Assemble very seriously.  Today, political campaigns are making use of all of the data mined on citizens in the US to “target” advertising for particular towns.  Translation, they are so able to predict what message will resonate with a particular demographic that they can say what we want to hear instead of what they really intend to do.  Regardless of your political affiliation, that should scare you.  Because when they are saying what you want to hear, you believe them, you vote for them, and they get in office and they don’t have any reason to respond to your needs, issues, complaints.  An example of targeted advertising using data mining provided to me by a co-worker:  A national retail chain, using data mining techniques noticed by looking at search terms used by a particular young woman that she was likely to be pregnant.  This retailer then targeted advertising to this young woman that featured items needed in pregnancy.  Her father saw one of these targeted ads.  You see what happens next?  Nothing good.

What do we do about this?  It’s hard to see a way to a reasonable solution.  So, for now, I will not participate in Pinterest, except where I have express permission to use a photograph or it is my own.  I am going to go read privacy policies for the online communities I participate in.  I’m going to pay attention to the policy and legislative activity around privacy.  I’m going to do a better job of formulating and articulating privacy policies for online communities I manage.  I will be more vocal on the topic of online privacy and will advocate for simpler, easier to use and find privacy policies.  Because we shouldn’t need a law degree to figure out what we’re signing away.  What will you do?

A Start To Something

I am participating in an art doll collaboration, called Coolabertion.  The deadline to mail is coming up Saturday and I spent this evening doing my doll body start.  The guidelines were to start the doll body (at least two parts) but not to finish it.  Since I have too many balls up in the air right now, the easiest thing for me to do was to make something I already know how to make – like the same pattern I just made for Zelava.  This time, I just did the head and the torso. 

As I was needlesculpting the face tonight, I discovered that I did the nose wrong on Zelava.  Well, not wrong so much as just out of order.  In doing this, I also discovered that I liked the out of order process better.  It was easier than what I did tonight.

Since this doll is going on a journey and I’m offering her fate and completion up to others, I could chose fabric that made me happy for her body.  I’ve been working on the constraints imposed by others for such a long time that it was marvelously fun working in a palette that I wanted to work with!  That’s not to say that the other projects I’m working on aren’t colors I like, just that I could pick a wild fabric for her body (so I did) just because I could.

It was a very stressful day that started last night.  I won’t go into details here, but, suffice it to say there was significant distraction and emotional duress added to all of the pressure I already put myself under that this doll has been named Serenity – after the AA prayer.  Because boy do I ever need strength, serenity, and wisdom right now.  And the number of needles I bent and number of times I knotted my thread tonight are just proof that I’m wrapped too tightly around my personal axel!  So, without further ado – here’s Serenity.  I’ll be posting more about her on the Coolab Blog in the next couple of days, but wanted to show that I have actually done something this evening.



Struggling with Videos

I have been struggling with adding audio to my needle sculpting videos.  I am about to give up.  I can’t get the audio overlade so that it sounds natural (as opposed to like a robot) and you can actually hear it.  I am officially giving up.

I am going to do another head this weekend and will narrate while sculpting.

On another note, Diane from SD sent me the loveliest package as a thank-you.  It contained a hand-carved stamps and some fabric she’s been practicing surface design techniques on.  I’ll take pictures tomorrow night and will post.

Next Tutorial Coming Soon


I have been struggling with getting my Needle sculpting video tutorial together.  I resolved, after the 3rd Book Binding tutorial to find software which would compress the video to make it faster to upload and faster to stream.  I purchased Adobe Premier Elements based on a recommendation weekend before last.  I installed it on my laptop, probably not the smartest move, and pointed it to my video files.  It pulled in the files, or appeared to, but the only video I got was a single line across the screen.  The audio was there, but no video.

After much searching, I figured out the issue last night.  The video output of the Flip camera is not compatible with a lot of the video editing software (Adobe Premier included).  To get the MPEG4 output into PE, you must first import it into Windows Movie Maker, piece it back together (because with larger files, it splits them up into irregularly sized bits), and export it as a DV-NTSC file.  Once that is done, you can open it in PE and start working on it.

That said – I can now figure out how to record the audio on top – narrating while sculpting is not multi-tasking that I can do.  I can needle sculpt, or I can talk about sculpting.  I can’t do both simultaneously well.  So, over the next few days, I’ll add the narration to my 3 videos of the needle sculpting progress and will get them uploaded to Blip.TV for your viewing pleasure.

A Long Baggy Day


It was a long day and I was not in the greatest of moods so I didn’t want to work on Mars.  I got his tunic started last night, but after some contemplation, decided to redo the side seams and make them more straight than A-line. 

In an effort to de-clutter my mind, I cleaned off a space on the floor and mopped up.  Then I pulled out the fabric I’ve been collecting to make shopping bags, drafted my pattern, and got busy cutting out and sewing.  I finished the last of the six bags up a few minutes ago.  The pattern is from the Quilting Arts Gifts Issue 2008.


I love the fabric.  It is such happy fabric.  I also picked up ribbon to match at Hobby Lobby last weekend and used that for the ties.  It’s happy ribbon as well.

flower_bag dots

sewing stripes birdies


Three of these are going to my Sister-in-Law.  The other three I am keeping.



Warning… what follows is a whiny pity party.  Read at your own risk.

I am really kind of down.  I have had a house guest for the last week, and haven’t had any quiet time.  I have been cooking and cleaning and keeping the guest busy and have had no time to relax.  Even being in my studio today wasn’t relaxing.  It’s just so out of my comfort zone to have someone in my house 24-7.  I guess I am just really selfish.  I’ve lived alone, except for my cats, for 12 years and I like things a certain way.  I turn out lights if I’m not in a room.  I don’t turn them on during the day at all.  I can eat when I want and don’t have to consider what someone else wants or not.  I don’t have to pick up after someone else or do their dishes.  I don’t have to talk to anyone in the morning (the cats really don’t count) or any time I don’t want to on the weekends. 

I just want to get away.  sigh. 

Pity party over. 

My house guest is my Dad, so I really feel guilty for feeling this way.  He’s here looking for a job.  Another reason to feel guilty.  So, here’s where I suck up and deal and go to bed.  I will start again tomorrow and will hopefully be in a better frame of mind.  Mars awaits.