Wednesday, January 25, 2012

From My Mad Pinning Skills Comes - The Pinterest Tutorial

As you all know I’m moderately obsessed with a website call Pinterest. When people ask me what Pinterest is my first reaction is to laugh evilly and say “internet crack.” But a better way to describe it is a massive bookmark function that moves with you and even gives you suggestions on what to bookmark. Do you ever come across a website or article and say, “Wow this is great I need to remember this!” and then forget? With Pinterest you don’t have that problem you just “pin” the website/picture/video/blog/etc to one of your “boards” and you can go back to it whenever you want. It’s great because unlike the bookmarks in your web browser it moves computer to computer with you. And my favorite part is that you see what everyone else has pinned and you get to “steal” those pins from people.

I’ve been trying to get my twitter/blog bff, Nina, to get on Pinterest for a while now. And finally a few days ago she said she was ready and to send her an invite! That was promptly followed by a DM tweet saying, “I’m confused.” So I quickly banged out a few helpful tips and emailed them off joking that I should blog a Pinterest tutorial. She and a half dozen other people said yes please blog it! So here it is Pintrest tutorial extraordinaire.
This by all means isn’t everything you need to know but it is enough to get you started and get you comfortable. I’ve broken my tips out into two sections, the bare basics and hints/tips to make everything run smoother.

The Basics:
1) In the beginning follow lots of people so you can get lots of ideas – What makes Pinterest so great is that you’re not scouring Google to find what you want someone else already did the searching! Even for stuff you didn’t know you wanted/needed/loved until you saw it on Pintrest.

2) If you click on the red Pinterest logo at the top you will return to what I call your "wall". Your wall is comprised of all the pins that only people you follow have pinned, in order of most recent. Clicking on the red Pintrest logo is also like hitting “refresh” it will update your wall to the most recent pins.

NOTE: If you have friend who follow the same people you follow you will most likely see lots of repeats as people "steal" other people’s pins.

3) Right under the red Pinterest logo are headers. Hover over the "Everything" with your mouse and you can choose categories of pins you want to see. These will be from EVERYONE on Pinterest not just people you follow. If you find yourself repinning someone a lot follow them so they show up on your wall.

4) Speaking of repining, you’re asking “what’s that mean anyway?” That's when you're on Pintrest (not an outside website) see something you like and want to save it to one of your boards. Repinning puts it to a specific board making it easier to find and it will show up on your and your follower’s walls.

5) But wait what’s a board? It’s especially a category. I have a food board that I call “Nomtastic”, a shoe board that I call “Shoes I drool over”, and a… ahem… goodies board that I call “Things I could look at all day long” (go check that one out, you can thank me later). You can call them anything you like and create as many as you want. This helps keep your pins organized and thereby easier to find later when you actually want to make that lamp out of a mason jar. You can access your boards by hovering over your user name in the upper right hand conver and clicking on Boards.

This is what your just your board page will look like. Click on individual boards to see which pins you've added.

6) Clicking on pin will bring you to that pins specific page within Pinterest. This will give you no more information than what you’ve already seen. Click on it again and you go to the original website.

7) Pinning an original pin. You can download a button to your web browser so you can pin original pages. This is found by clicking on the About drop down menu. So let’s say you're out on a blog and see a tutorial on decorating that you love and want to keep. You use the downloaded button to pin it to your decorating board. The only frustrating thing about this is that you have to download this button on each computer you want to pin from. Since I can’t download stuff to my work computer I can pin original pins from there… I mean really? What am I supposed to do all day if I can’t pin?

8) You can tag someone in a pin if you think they'd like it by using the @ symbol. It should give you a drop down of people’s names just like twitter or facebook.

9) Don't trust the "recent activity" bar on your right it lies. It's not recent at all.

Tips to on getting the most out of Pinterest:

1) What about liking? Liking just sticks a pin on one mass like page. Pins that you like will NOT show up on anyone’s wall and it will not show on your board. I rarely use this function.

2) Speaking of board. Here’s a tip – create as many boards as you like. As my friend Sarah put it, “I’d rather have 15 boards and be able to find something fast.” This really depends on what type of pinner you are. I love to pin, I pin everything I see and think I might like it, then go back later and examine it to see if I really like it. For me it’s important to have lots of specific boards. For others who are very picky about what they pin it’s not such a big deal (they don’t have close to 3,000 pins like some unnamed pin obsessed bloggers who won’t be named).

3) Pinterest starts you out with a set of boards for generic categories. You can easily create new boards. When you go to pin or repin something scroll down to the very bottom of your boards list and click on create new, type in what you want your board to be called and there you have it.

4) Be warned when you're on the Everything page or one of the category pages (i.e. NOT your wall) be very careful that if you want to see something in detail you right click and open it in a new tab or window. If you click on the pin then try to get back to the original search page, even if you use the back arrow it refreshes and gives you all new pins. I've lost pins this way and spent way to long trying to relocate them.

For example you’re on the Geek page and see a Star Trek poster that you just love and right next to it is a Hunger Games bracelet that you can’t live without. If you click on the Star Trek poster to get a closer look then back arrow so that you can repin the Hunger Games bracelet it won’t be there and you’ll tear your hair out refreshing and search for it for a week. Been there, done that. Save yourself the headache and hair loss.

5) This is a personal preference for me. When doing original pins make sure you pin the actual POST not the blog itself so that when people click on the pin they’re not searching someone’s entire blog to find the post they wanted.

6) Likewise be specific in your descriptions. (I'm guilty of this) People often use the "description" box to make their comments about a pin and that makes it REALLY hard to search for things on Pinterest.

7) Change your email setting or you'll go crazy. Only get notifications with someone comments on your pin. One thing I and others find frustrating is that there is no notification when someone @mentions you. Pinterest if you’re reading this PLEASE add an option to get a notification when someone @mentions you. Kthanks.

8) High traffic times – like in the evenings when all those moms are trying to unwind – is when Pinterest is at its worse. One friend said 502 was the worst number ever because that’s the error message you get when Pinterest dies. BE PATIENT! If you click “repin” and nothing happens please wait, if you keep reclicking on it you’ll end up with 10 of the same pin… and we’ll all see 10 of the same pin because we’re following you. I’ve found opening new tabs helps, that way the system can take as long as it needs to repin and I can continue to peruse my wall.

9) Finally unfollow my "things that make me LOL" board because I tend to over pin there and drive people crazy :)

I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful!! My friend Kristin really hit the nail on the head when she said you just have to play with it until you’re comfortable, learn as you go. I found Pinterest really overwhelming and confusing when I first started. Then I became psycho mass pinner. And now things have evened out… a little bit. It’s great having a place to store my ideas and gain new ones. Pinterest is really only as good as you want it to be and it really is only what you put into it. I’ve recently set up an “Articles to Keep” board because I got tired of losing internet articles that I felt I would have a need to reference back to later. It’s not something I would think of as a common use for Pinterest (most people associate it with recipes, crafts and decorating) but that’s the beauty of it, finding ways to utilize it.

All you Pinterest veterans out there, what advice would you give to neophyte pinners?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Decorating... Slowly

It's been a year and a half since I bought the house and decorating is going ssssssssssssllllllllllooooooowwwwwwwwwwllllllyyyyy. Very slowly. I've been buying pieces of furniture here and there and little bits of art to put on the walls.

And of course there are all the wonderful ideas I get from pintrest! My first DIY home decoration was a push-pin board. I started out with a basic picture frame from Ikea:

I then spent entirely too long deciding on what type of fabric I wanted to use. I ended up at Joann's with my sis and mom for two hours searching through various fabrics and settled on a beautiful yellow and blue bird print. I also got two complementary fabrics which will go towards making a jewelry holder and something not yet decided.

I took the glass out of the frame and used the cardboard backing as a base. I wavered between using cork board, foam, or batting as the main material but then had a brilliant idea. I cut up my old yoga mat and used two layers of that.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

I then hot glued the pieces of yoga mat onto the card board. This was a pain because I was used a $3 glue gun. Note to self invest in a decent glue gun. I then made sure the doctored up cardboard would fit back into the frame and used my X-acto knife to smooth out some edges. I cut my fabric so that I had about an inch border on all sides and then stapled it on to the cardboard.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Once I got it back in the frame I was able to hang it up and ta-da a homemade fabric covered push-pin board!! My next project will be to made funky matching push-pins and a matching jewelry holder.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Book Roll

It's probably wrong that I'm taking the time to write this post when I have yet to write Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hunger Games posts... But I've been waiting to do this all year.

I joined the 2011 Reading Challenge with a goal of 50 books. I was then inspired by the lovely Nina Badzin to read a book a week. I had no life at the beginning of 2011 and was burning through books at a rate much faster than one a week so I decided to really challenge myself and upped the goal to 100 books. I was right on target until about October. Life got busy, book club books slowed me down, Game of Thrones really slowed me down and I burnt out. I think during the entire month of October I finished all of one book.

To offset that between December 26th and 30th I read 5 books, bringing my total for 2011 to 88 books. In addition to that I discovered books on tape... or more appropriately books on MP3. I listened to a total of 20 books. So you might say I exceeded my goal... Although I'm not convinced that listening to a book counts as "reading" a book.

So here you go the 88 books I read in 2011:

I keep getting asked which was my favorite and what I'd recommend and those are such hard questions to answer because there are so many good qualities to almost all of the books I've read. But I've tried to pick some category winners:

Least Favorite Adult: Follow the River or Tinkers.
Least Favorite Young Adult: the entire House of Night series
Best Adult Paranormal Series: Fever
Best Young Adult Paranormal Series: Mortal Instruments or Vampire Academy

If I had to choose an overall favorite: Hunger Games
Honorable Mentions: Divergent, The Graveyard Book, and The Giver

Honestly as I look over the book covers I loved so many of them and depending on your genre preferences I could recommend 95% of them to one person or another. It makes me sad that I can't include ALL of them on my favorites list.

I'm going to aim for a goal of 52 books in 2012. I don't think I'll have a problem reaching that goal but I do plan on reading at least 8 classics and 2 non-fiction. I'd love to hear about your 2011 reads and plans for 2012!

Happy New Year... or as Lanna says Have a New Year!