Join me as I embrace and share American country style by reclaiming the past...my family's past. Come along as I make my house a home on a $0 budget with reclaimed, repurposed, recycled and found treasures all out of my grandparent's old house, local junk shops and my parent's attic. And since we have to eat too, I'll sprinkle in some gardening, country recipes, and a whole lot of southern hospitality.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Watermarking photos and responding to criticism...

I started blogging over four years ago because I wanted to learn the art of tablescaping. I had been posting photos of my home and decor at HGTV's Rate My Space and really had gotten tired of the mean and nasty comments people would routinely leave, not just for me but for others as well. Blogging seemed to be such an encouraging and positive community. And it has been. 

Pin It

 When I started my blog, I never watermarked my photos. First, I thought no one would possibly ever "steal" my photos, and not doing facebook, etc., I honestly was not concerned about it. 


Once I started my facebook page and pinterest came about, I noticed my photos (particularly these I have posted here) being posted over and over again on pages that were growing by leaps and bounds and hundreds of thousands of followers, while I could post the same photo, which belonged to me, and literally lose followers. Not only did I not get credit, when comments were posted asking for the source, they would be deleted and comments banned directing them to me, or other blog/photo owners. I had already started adding my blog name to new photos, but at that point went back and watermarked older photos as well with a really obnoxious watermark. However, it did not make a difference since so many were already being circulated.


The last straw for me was when I discovered entire posts had been stolen and used for profit on other websites. It's one thing to share without giving credit, but to make a profit on someone else's work is stealing. I even found my photos stolen with the watermarks sloppily removed on large company websites.  I was honestly really angry, but there wasn't much I could do about it.


I finally settled on this watermark below, which clearly identifies the photo as mine and includes the URL for someone who sees it on facebook, pinterest, etc. 


As you can see, it's not fully opaque and small, but clearly marks me as the owner. Although, there are people who will just crop that out. I see it All. The. Time. 

So, while I have barely held my ground not only here on the blog, but also on facebook and pinterest, my photos have been shared and shared and pinned without anyone ever knowing where they came from. 

I have worked hard--especially the last year trying not only to grow my blog and page, but to give people an alternative to spending a lot of money decorating a home. Having recently had a beautiful 3,800 sf house and money to decorate it, I know firsthand how possible it is to make 1,500 sf into a warm and welcoming home with virtually no budget, and limitations that would drive most people  insane.  I want to share that. 

I also have enjoyed this being such a positive and encouraging community. Since the beginning, I have moderated comments mostly to avoid spam, which I get lots of, but also to keep track if someone asks a question or comments on an older post. I honestly did not get a negative comment until last week, and it was about my watermark being distracting, but became hurtful when I chose not to publish the comment, at which point more comments were submitted, which I ultimately chose to delete. I had planned to address the comment in a post on watermarking, but had not gotten to it. 

That said, it's my prerogative to publish comments or not. If a comment does not add to the post, or attacks me in some way, I don't have to publish it. There seems to be nothing but negative out there in the world, and I want people to visit here and have a little escape from anything discouraging. 

I try really hard to not do or say anything that will offend or hurt anyone...ever. However, I can't ultimately control how people perceive me or how they take what I write here. All I can do is hope that at least one person is encouraged or uplifted in some way and has a better day because of it. 

So...to sum things up --  I watermark the way I do for a reason. I'm sorry if anyone is offended or distracted by the watermarks, but they are there for a reason and they are my photos.

Also, I have an email address listed under the "contact"page that can be used for communication that might be personal in nature.

Ultimately, I hope people come by here and see something they don't see anywhere else and are encouraged to use what they already have to make their own homes better. It's pretty simple really. 

I appreciate and value each and every one of you who stop by and leave comments, and I hope you will continue to visit:-)



70 comments:

  1. Anita, I need to learn how to do this. Something else weird... I will have 59 views on a post from years ago. It happens all the time, but I can't tell where they are coming from. Makes you wonder.

    Blogging has changed a lot. I miss so many people who were first in our circles. Pinterest has changed blogging, too, I don't do Facebook or Pinterest. I can't do all three. I barely have time to blog!

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    1. I know...I barely have time to do anything!! What are you using to edit your photos?? I used Adobe Lightroom now and have several different ones I add when I export, but before that, I edited in iphoto, then added the watermark with "annotation" in "Preview" later.

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  2. Hurrah for you. Great post. It is really discouraging that a few can really spoil the pot for everyone. I think 99% of blogland is so kind and encouraging and then the 1% just screams so loud they want all of the attention. I watermark too and I also reserve the right to remove a comment that should not have been posted in the first place. Your home and your posts are all so encouraging, don't let the 1% get to you. I feel sorry for them, they must be very miserable people. Hugs, Marty

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    1. Marty, you are one of the first to come by and welcome me.:-) Thanks for always being encouraging and positive!

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  3. Dear Anita

    Just found your blog last week. I totally understand where you are coming from. Of course you own your photos and can do what you like with them. And of course you can reject mean comments, you are an amateur not a journalist and not bound to the principles of free speech.

    Your tablescapes are lovely.

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    1. Anita....herein lies the misconception of many.... You ARE a writer/publisher...you ARE a professional. You may or may not make a living writing this blog, but that doesn't increase or decrease the value of your blog...and most of all you ARE the owner of this space. :)

      I applaud you for taking the the time to explain something that really doesn't require an answer. My heart hurts for you and the pain you have gone through because of the greed and rudeness of others.

      Your spot here is one of grace and peace. Cover it in prayer and continue to bless and inspire. You do it well. May God bless you and your ministry from this space.

      [hugs]
      Diane

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    2. Ironically, I was a newspaper editor and journalist in the Air Force, lol, but things are so much different now with social media. Thank you Diane and GS Great Escaper for your encouragement:-) It means so much to me!!

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  4. Hola amiguita!
    Que pena me da de toda esta situación! I hate all this, I'm not savvy like you so I can't wáter mark, but maybe when you explain further, I can try it! Yes, there are rude people out there, although I haven't anything rude really, except one time I used the American flag as a table runner for a 4th. July table ad someone got mad, so I deleted the comment.
    I still delete what I don't like, usually spams or anonymous if I don't like them. You do such amazing and stunning work, it's no wonder they have the nerve to make money out of your work...I just don't know, this world is very sorprising at times!!!
    At one time I got a very pornographic blog that seemed to be from Brasil...I MEAN! Yes, blog has changed a lot, I miss so many of us that are not around anymore, but some wonderful ones like you are the ones that make me stay blogging, which I love to do and visit and I learn soo very much from you all!!!
    Have a wonderful weekend sweetie,
    FABBY

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    1. Hola Fabby, gracias por todo:-) I think Alycia emailed you about helping with watermarking, and I am working on a post also. Hugs:-)

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  5. So sorry to hear that you have had negative comments AND sorry to hear your pictures have been used elsewhere. It's amazing how nasty people can be. I mean it's not like you are being controversial with your blog or anything. There are plenty of argumentative and opinion oriented blogs out there if someone wants that type of thing! You are providing beautiful content and inspiration for us all to enjoy! Keep doing what you are doing and know that most people who read your blog really appreciate it!
    -Shelley

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    1. Lol, I know, you wouldn't think there would be any controversy here! I do hate conflict with passion and try like crazy to avoid it...especially because I want this to be a positive place. Thank you Shelley:-)

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  6. Gosh, I just don't understand the hit and run rude comments but so many bloggers have experienced them. Your photos are beautiful and the effort you put into your home is obvious. The heritage of your home and the way you take care of everything is beautiful.

    I hope you are able to slow down the theft that you've found. Can I ask, how do you find those pictures that have been taken without permission? Did you just run across them? I bet it's a surreal feeling to click on a website and see your images and your home. I wouldn't like that at all.

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    1. Thank you Stacey:-) Some I just ran across by googling things like "Mikasa Italian Countryside" and "Antique iron bed," and some of my facebook followers would alert me when they saw them on other pages. Most page owners are really nice about wanting to know the source, but there were a couple that would not allow even comments answering questions about where a photo came from. I run into them on pinterest also...especially when people drag and drop the photo then upload it themselves. It is surreal...especially when a photo has thousands of shares and likes.

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  7. I have seen some of my photos on pinterest without a credit or back link. I have not watermarked my photos, because I never thought they were worth stealing....but yet they have been stolen. So, now I have to take the time to learn how to do it and take the time to go back and watermark. My plans this year were to update my blog, so watermarking will be added to the list.

    I have been fortunate that I have only had a few not so nice comments, and yes I do delete them too.

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    1. That's what I thought Penny, and the older photos are the ones getting around, so you should definitely add a watermark. It is a pain though to go back through older posts. I just re-did the ones that were getting the most shares.

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  8. It is awful how photos get stolen and used with no credit back to the owner. Watermarks are a must even though they can get cropped out by thieves. I hope it is non bloggers complaining about the watermarks.

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    1. I had one so sloppily done that looked like it had been erased by a pencil eraser, lol. Yes...non-blogger.

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  9. You have such a beautiful blog, Anita!! I love to visit because you have so much wonderful inspiration in the way you create a stunning home!
    Mary Alice

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  10. You go, girl! I totally agree with you! Both your blog and pictures are beautiful!

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  11. Anita it's awful and it's done so much!! So sorry this happened to you...your posts are always full of beautiful inspiration! All the negative comments made me stop posting on RMS too!

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    1. Thank you Martina:-) It was awful, so blogging has been such a nice alternative to all that.

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  12. Good for you Anita! I noticed your new watermark and thought it great. We have to do this now, unfortunately. Not that my photos have been 'stolen' much (that I know of!) but I have watermarked for a long time now. And yes, it can be edited out but, at least we try. I hope it works better for you.

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    1. Pamela, you never know until you run across them. Your photos are always gorgeous:-)

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  13. I don't say much when I visit, but I've enjoyed your blog for a couple of years now. The photos of your home truly inspire unique, beautiful taste but also innovation with how you transform old things in a modern way. Love!! Good for you in being determined to own your photos and work!!! I am always here if you need an extra positive response! :)
    Blessings,
    Leslie

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    1. Leslie, thank you so much! That means a great deal to me:-)

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  14. I love visiting your blog and getting inspiration and ideas on home decor. Love, love your vintage style. I never really notice the watermarks, I just enjoy the photo! Hugs, Diane

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    1. Thank you Diane:-) I love sharing vintage and hope ultimately, that is what people see.

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  15. I love visiting your blog and I was truly inspired by your tablescapes with a decorating dilemma I'm having.

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    1. Hi Mary, I got your email, and will be responding back in a few. BTW....LOVE your dining room!!

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    2. Eeek...so excited to receive your reply, and thanks for the compliment!

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  16. Hello Anita, There is a very easy and free program called "Picmonkey" that lets you add text (watermarking) in different ways and into many different spaces of your photo "Watermarking" dated August 27,2012 which gives additional links on how you can report :"scrapers"( those who steal entire blogs and make money from them). Good Luck, Gina

    http://ginaceramics.blogspot.com/search/label/watermarking

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    1. Thank you Gina for the link!! I searched and searched for info and never found the right thing, so I will check it out.

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  17. Hi Anita! I'm so sorry to hear your beautiful photography has been stolen! I have heard of this happening before. I'm all for the watermarks, I use them, but Iike yours better. About the negative comments, that's what my previous post was all about, mine hiding behind Anonymous. Hateful, hurtful. Like you, I would never post anything hurtful but this person made something of my post that was just not right. We just have to pray for these pitiful people. You're very talented, Anita, and it's a shame others would steal your beautiful work. Thanks for this post.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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    1. It is SO hard Shelia:-) I am very sensitive to how I come across to people, and agonize when accused of something I could have never in a million years intended. Thank you:-)

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  18. What's up with the negative Nancy's coming out of the woodwork? It's your blog. Your photos. Simple as that. If they don't like he aesthetics of a watermark, then they could POLITELY discuss the pros and cons with you, but ultimately realize it is your decision.

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    1. This person just wouldn't let it drop Pam, at which point I thought it didn't need to be published on the blog, and still leaves me comments nightly. I have come to dread seeing I have comments--not knowing what's going to be there and it's extremely hurtful.

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  19. Your tablescapes are fantastic and I love stopping by your blog.. Angi

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  20. It's too bad that a few spoil it for the many. I have watermarked off and on, mostly off because I don't like seeing my photos with my name on them, but I do understand why they must be used. I have found in the past that the people who have complained to me are not even bloggers. They just read and take from us without any idea how much time, effort, and money it takes to create a blog that others would want to visit. I don't get many comments and rarely a nasty one, and it's probably because I don't have that much traffic on my blog. Maybe that is a blessing after all.
    Keep up the good work, you have a most lovely blog.
    Cindy

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    1. Cindy, thank you:-) I don't think I get that much traffic here either, but you never know what people are taking away, so make sure you always watermark your photos...that will also help with traffic.

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  21. I've heard this from other bloggers and suppose it is a problem. I always try to give the source credit when I repost on Pinterest, but a lot of times, it has already been removed like you mentioned. One of my friends won't pin anything unless the credit is given. Having said that, I cannot imagine people posting negative things on ANYONE's blog, ever, however, I suppose there are such unfortunate people out there. How unhappy they must be! For the majority who read blogs, it is for the pleasure, the beauty of the photos, the ideas some are so gracious to share with us readers. Ignore those negative-nancy's and keep on going!

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    1. Thank you Lynn:-) I too have pins I have no idea where they came from and it's difficult to go back and find a source. A lot of pins with no credit are from magazines so it would be impossible to trace them, unless you happened to see the magazine, which in some cases I have.

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  22. Anita, I don't know HOW to do a watermark OR how to see if anyone has "stolen" my photos. I am very UNtech savvy, sadly!! This is a GREAT post and I am so sorry that anyone would leave a negative or nasty comment to you. You absolutely can publish or NOT publish any comments!!! I love your blog, your faith, your spirit and your inspiration! Please don't let a few trolls ruin it for you. XO, Pinky

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    1. Pinky, you need to watermark! I think Alycia emailed you about it?? I'm going to do a post on it, though shortly. Thank you:-)

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  23. I'm fairly new to Pinterest (less than a year), but I suspect some of your photos appear there without proper credit because of the way pins were re-pinned. I have always gone back to the source and pinned from there, but not everyone did that. However, Pinterest has made changes so now when you re-pin, you are always pinning from the original source. This should help with one of the issues you were having, but of course, it doesn't fix what's already out there.

    I always enjoy your blog, especially your tablescapes and your beautiful wood counters. I agree with others who have posted encouragement to not let the 1% get to you.

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    1. Thanks Jeannie, I really appreciate that:-) Yes, it is impossible on pinterest and that's one reason why I wish I had watermarked in the beginning because it wouldn't matter where it was pinned from, the info would be there.

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  24. Anita, Thank you for sharing this information. I have nice pictures, but not over the top, or professional. I would be upset to think that someone might be using them on their own blog and pretending they are me or using them for profit. I think I know how to make a watermark, so I will do some experimenting. I'm sorry that your photos were stolen and also sorry that anyone would make unkind remarks. Sincerely, Kathi

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    1. Thanks Kathi:-) My older, point and shoot photos are the ones out there, and the people who steal whole posts don't care how good they are, so of it happened to me, it can happen to anyone. Definitely watermark your photos. I am planing a post on how to do it too.

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  25. This is one reason I hardly ever post, am not on FB or other such things. I do love to be here and say watermark to your heart's content. Unfortunately, people are people and all I know is it will come back and bite them eventually. Reap what we sew.

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    1. No kidding Erin!! I had a worse issue with facebook when I posted a photo with scripture on it. I guess I either develop a thicker skin or stop posting, lol.

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  26. Oh, but you have lit a fire under me with this one!!! Girl, I feel your pain! Stand your ground, and don't let anyone wear you down. You put your heart and soul and creativity into your blog (not to mention your time!), and how you run it is YOUR BUSINESS. Whoever commented about your watermark being distracted is obviously not a blogger, not a blogger with anything worth stealing, someone trying to steal your stuff and therefore trying to get you to stop watermarking it, or just plain stupid. In these days of outright plagiarism and theft, it is nothing short of prudent to watermark each and every photograph in the way you see fit to, if not stop them altogether, at least slow them down. It's a shame that people feel entitled to stealing other people's intellectual property. I understand admiring photos, wanting to refer back to those photos and thus "pinning them", wanting to share photos....but to do so without proper and due credit is s-t-e-a-l-i-n-g!!! I started out not watermarking at all until I found someone was stealing my stuff for profit. They had been putting photos of my work on a video for wedding planning! As SOON as I started watermarking my stuff, I noticed those visits to my site stopped. I went a step further a few months later by watermarking across the content in strategic places. If they want to try and erase or crop out the watermark, they're going to lose a significant part of the creative content that made it worth stealing in the first place. I don't care if some find it "distracting." Guess what? I find it even MORE distracting that people have the gall to just up and steal what doesn't belong to them without so much as a how do you do!!!

    The laws and opportunities allowed by blog service providers seem to fall on the side of the bad guys. That's really too bad. All we can do is work like the dickens to protect ourselves in whatever way we see fit. So I say, "WATERMARK TO YOUR HEART'S CONTENT!!!" As for people leaving egregious comments that only serve to upset, distract or weaken you...girl, you KNOW that's their intention!!! Brush it off like the dandruff of life that it is!!! Don't let those idiots with no life and no talent put you in a position to second guess yourself or change things that you know are in your best interest as a blog owner.

    OK...I've ranted enough. Believe me...I could go on and on and on and on about this subject! It just chafes me to the bone! Just know that many of those dopes who complain about this, that, or the other are just trying to get a rise out of you. Delete their butts and go on with your bad self, girl! You know you rock! EVERYBODY who has half a brain and even a smidgen of style knows you rock! I could pat you on the back 'til you bruise!!! :-)

    Have a wonderful weekend, and keep rockin' the way you do! Meanwhile, I'm going to get in touch with some of the ladies who said they don't know how to watermark to try and lend them a hand. We ALL have to band together to stop these lowlife hacks from stealing our thunder!

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    1. Alycia thank you:-) Thanks for offering to help with watermarking also. You are too funny, lol, and making me laugh:-)

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  27. I am so sorry for the few ugly folks who put in their 2 cents worth. I am not a blogger, but a follower who enjoys your blog and appreciates the time and effort it entails. As for unkind comments, yes you have the right to delete them. I've read on Susan's blog, Between Naps on the Porch, that her pics are stolen also, so don't feel alone. Just keep doing what your heart tells you and we will keep enjoying it! Vicki in Louisville KY

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    1. Thank you Vicki, I really appreciate you coming by to visit:-)

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  28. I love Pinterest but it really bothers me when I can't find the original link. I will not pin or repin something if it's not the original. I've commented & asked people if they know the original source & never had a reply ever on it through Pinterest - though I have had one blogger go back & try to find the source of something she posted on her blog.

    I don't blog but I love to read them & I hate that information gets stolen this way. I've ready about many times over. I will add, one blog I follow always calls the person on it - even big companies. She emails & politely asks her photographs to be removed. In one instance the they refused (in this instance a it was a print magazine with a site) the backlash was so bad they finally removed it with an apology. But who knows if they stole again? You only find out by accident.

    As far as cranky commenters go, if they have enough time to argue over something they have a choice about - they don't have to read your blog - they have too much free time. Let them go with no second thought. There are many great readers out there without worrying about ones you can't please.

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    1. Thanks Jenny:-) What drives me crazy on pinterest are recipes that have no link to the recipe.

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  29. Anita,

    I know that I have pinned images from your blog and also, repinned your images from other pinners. I apologize if my pins were done without the credit going to your blog or with the watermark removed. (I can say that I am not guilty of removing the watermark...I don't know how to do that!) I will make sure that I always pin directing from your wonderful blog. Your home is lovely and I look forward to all your posts.

    After seeing your kitchen, I had to have one of the scales you have sitting on your counter. I now have one!!!

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    1. Oh Tawn, you don't need to apologize...I'm sure you wouldn't remove a watermark:-) There are lots of pins out there of older photos and the way they get around, it would be hard to find a source, so that's one big reason I watermark now. That way it won't matter where it is pinned from, at least it will be identifiable. So glad you found a scale!!

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  30. Keep on watermarking! I, too, have struggled with seeing my photos all over the internet with no credit given. It's so VERY annoying!

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  31. I have pinned many of your pictures to my Pinterest boards.... I don't blog... I pin them because I absolutely love love love your style of decorating and your talents and abilities to turn your gorgeous house into an amazing HOME... also, like so many others... we head your way every single year to enjoy the beauty of the mountains.... soooo when I first discovered your blog and learned a little about you and where you lived... how could I help myself... :) I was sold!!! But ... upon reading this post , I was literally hoping you were not about to say you were shutting down your blog..... BUT I WILL ... look at my pinterest board and see if your watermark is there and clearly seen.... I agree totally with what you are saying ..it really boils down to good ole' fashioned "Integrity" doesn't it.... thank you Anita!!!

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  32. I LOVE your blog - and I'm always encouraged and inspired when I stop by to visit. Thank you for sharing from your heart in this post. This is YOUR blog and these are YOUR photos. That's what I love about what you share - it's so you! I'm sorry you've had to deal with negative comments and the photo-stealing issue. Hang in there and keep deciding what comments to post and which ones aren't deserving of being shared on your blog.
    ~Adrienne~

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  33. Your blog is wonderful, I am sorry for all the trouble you have encountered. I happy you did a post on it.

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  34. I totally agree with you. I have been doing the same with my pictures. I really enjoy reading your blog and have gotten alot of ideas from you.

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  35. I like your watermark. It led me to your blog...and I found you on Pinterest (your wooden countertops!!!! LOVE) ...so glad they didn't crop it off :). I really enjoy looking at all of your great ideas and your beautiful home.

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  36. I don't find your watermarks distracting and as others state it is a way to find your blog, so from a marketing angle it makes absolute sense. From a legal standpoint if people remove your watermark they could face hefty fines.It also helps remind those who think anything posted online is free or public domain that images are NOT free for the taking. I don't see how anyone can be offended by a watermark, that is a bit odd. Yes some of them are distracting, but in the end how we choose to showcase our work online is up to each of us. Absolute joy to visit your blog, watermarks and ALL ;)

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  37. Thank you for having a goal of a Positive Blog. I agree, too many negative people. This is our hobby, business or just for fun. We just want to share, some thing we love to do. We should engourage each other, with suggestions, likes and positive words. Thank you for sharing. As for me no Blog yet, just my facebook account.

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  38. Your blog is lovely...I have been reading since you began, and I have never seen anything hurtful or un-positive!!
    Can you watermark with 2Thessalonians 3:3...substituting "me" for "you" ;^)
    Blessings to you,
    J

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