crafting, less fuss

tips to avoid pinterest overwhelm

The desire for people to create and “craft” has been around long before the days of blogging and Pinterest and the advent of DIY project tutorials. But with the advancement of visual resources such as blogs and now Pinterest, many women especially, are feeling the need to create everything from scratch, and to make it beautiful, make it “pin” worthy. It’s a lot of pressure that can be overwhelming and make a person want to just throw in the towel. I recently read a blog post floating all around the blogosphere basically saying that your kids need you, not Pinterest perfect celebrations and crafts. And while I wholeheartedly believe that, I also believe that you can still extract joy and fulfillment from creating, and be an example of creativity to your children, while not getting overwhelmed. Here’s a few tips and tricks that have worked for me.

To start at the top, my overall mantra for browsing Pinterest (and some blogs) is Get In, Get Out. What does this mean? Well I browse primarily when I am looking for inspiration for a specific idea, like my daughter’s mermaid themed birthday party, and that’s it. Spend just a few minutes searching the boards and pin 2-3 ideas, and then RUN! I try to limit my ‘browsing just for the heck of it time’ quite strictly. If I don’t, I’ll soon get lost in an obscene number of open tabs and I’ll start to feel overwhelmed and inadequate. The voices creep in and suddenly I’m thinking “I should be doing this, why can’t I create something so beautiful, why didn’t I think of that, ooh the kids would love that homemade teepee made out of recycled tarps and organic food based non-toxic paint that I whip up myself.” Browsing for inspiration should leave you feeling just that, inspired, not down.

Next, if you want to take up a DIY project, hone in on our specific skill set, and be realistic with yourself. In other words, if you’re not the most patient person, then taking on one of my seed bead jewelry projects that take hours to complete probably is not the best thing for you. Perhaps you’re a great painter, or a skilled graphic designer, therefore creating a themed party on paper or restoring an old dresser is the perfect project for you. I personally love making jewelry, so I’ve focused on that area for me, and I primarily invest money in jewelry making supplies. Which brings me to my next subject, spending money on supplies.

Invest Wisely. Unless you’re buying supplies that you will use continuously in the future, don’t spend more on your supplies than the actual project is worth or would cost you to purchase. This is a tricky one, especially for some sewing projects and even jewelry making projects. Places like Forever 21 and Target sell clothes and necklaces for as low as $2 a piece. It’s hard to compete with that. But if the quality of the product is better than said items at cheap discount stores, than it’s a wash. In addition, choose your projects thoughtfully and carefully, and beware of becoming a renegade hobbyist by investing in supplies all over the board for projects varying from sewing to scrap booking to planter gardening off of an apartment balcony. You simply can’t do it all and if you try, you’ll most likely end up frustrated and wasting money. Choose a couple of hobbies that you enjoy and are good at and stick with investing larger chunks of money in those areas.

Every now and then though a craft supply will strike my fancy so much that I just have to have it! The last time this happened was when I saw the line of Neon Glitter by Martha Stewart. $20 for glitter is not cheap, so in order to justify my purchase, I used my rule that I always use when purchasing clothes, and that is if I can think of at least 3 ways to use it, then it is worth the money. It’s no fun building up a closet full of craft supplies that you’ll never use again, it’s depressing in fact, so stick to buying only the things you love and know you can use again and again. By the way, since purchasing that awesome glitter I’ve used it to make notecards, decorate paper mache Easter eggs, as an accent for a manicure, and for my daughter’s mermaid themed birthday party. Money well spent.

Crafting can be relaxing when done in peace and quiet (in other words, no kids involved), but there’s a lot of valuable experience that can be taught and gained when you get your kids involved in your passion. When on the hunt for jewelry supplies, I always keep an eye out for beads and baubles my kids will enjoy and be able to work with as well. Large wooden and colorful beads that have large holes to string are perfect for kids and I often sit them down beside me while I’m creating, and set them up with a project of their own. Working with their hands fosters creativity, imagination, patience, focus and fine motor skills. Of course it’s more work, so if you’re in a hurry, avoid this process, but crafting is overall supposed to be fun, so allow your kids to share in on the fun. An added bonus of course is that it keeps them occupied while you’re creating.

And if you don’t have kids, involve your friends. While craft nights with girlfriends are usually not the most “productive”, it’s usually a lot more fun. Plus it’s a great way to either split the cost of supplies, or burn through supplies that you have in abundance that you know you’ll never get through.

These are the main pearls of wisdom I can share with you all, and while I know many of them are pretty much common sense, it’s nice to sometimes get a little reminder. I hope they help a bit. And P.S., these tips are ones I’ve gained only after making several mistakes of my own, like spending about $200 on card making supplies once only to never use them again. I’m hoping to save you the same headache and frustration ;)

Contributor Links: For The Love Of :: Four Flights of Fancy :: @fourflights

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  • Reply erin aka eef April 25, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Great advice! I actually just posted about how Pinterest and blogging are kind of getting me down!

  • Reply Natalie @ NS Pottery April 25, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Great advice!! Love this quote- “Browsing for inspiration should leave you feeling just that, inspired, not down.”

  • Reply Cheri @ Sharing Cheri April 25, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Love this! Thank you… So true. A tip I use for craft days: I let my friends bring hubbies and kids. This way the girls escape the guys get time to guy stuff while watching the kids who are running around playing with each other. It gets crazy and crowded, but it works and we love it!

  • Reply Rae April 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I love your get-in-get-out idea. very smart.

    At the beginning of this year, I also went through my “to make” page, and chose 12 that I thought I could do, both in budget and time in the year. Some are longer-term projects, others are things that could be done in an afternoon. It’s helped me focus on what I want to do, without feeling like I have to do all the things!v

    • Reply Anna April 30, 2012 at 1:34 am

      I love the choosing 12 projects at the beginning of the year idea. I think I may have to do the same. I often find myself getting overwhelmed with projects I’d like to do and narrowing down to the ones I’m very passionate about.

  • Reply Jacqui of Baby Boy Bakery April 26, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Great advice!!
    Loved this post! A lot of what you said is so important to remember!

  • Reply Johanna @ My Home Tableau April 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    What a great helpful post. I only go into Pinterest when I have a mission. Whether I’m looking for party ideas for a specific party, ideas to decorate my son’s birthday cake, etc…it definitely saves time and keeps me from being overwhelmed!

  • Reply Emily @Random Recycling April 29, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I’ll say too that Pinterest has changed my blog posts too…I want every food recipe shot to be “pin-worthy.” I do appreciate how it has encouraged me to improve my photo skills, but in the end, if the recipe isn’t good or easy to understand, it doesn’t make it any good.

  • Reply Anna April 30, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I very much appreciate this post. I’m still new enough to Pinterest to find myself getting sucked in. I like the idea of going in for ideas on specific projects. Thank you for the great advice.

  • Reply Breanne April 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I couldn’t agree more and I appreciate the simplicity of how to use Pinterest as a tool. Not to let it (or any other screen application- blogs, fb, twitter etc) use us. It can be so easy to get obsessed with everyone else’s ‘perfect life’ to forget how perfect my life is for me.

    I think I’ve swung the Pinterest gamut to being totally obessed to only pinning stuff I will actually cook, and actually craft. I love it for toddler ideas and creative decor on the cheap. I’m a visual person so it works well for me. =)

    • Reply Andrea Howe May 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      I tend to now primarily pin to 2-3 boards: My style board, DIY ideas and my Kids Crafts/For the Kids I Love board. Not much else anymore. Those are the things I’m most interested in so I focus on those areas!

  • Reply Jennifer H. May 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I’ve taken to only repinning things that I realistically think I would like to do (other than my one board labeled ‘pipedream’). When I actually accomplish the project, I move it to my board labeled ‘Done’.

    • Reply Andrea Howe May 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Wow, now this is a cool idea, to have a “pipedream” board and to also have a “done” board. I may have to do that. Then you could write a little review on each pin and let people know how it turned out! Thanks for sharing!

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