How to use Pinterest

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I suspect a large part of that is down to Pinterest. I have so many hobbies and not much free time in which to spend messing around on the computer. I used to spend what little free time I had blogging. Now I just lose hours of it to Pinterest.

If you know how to use it it’s a brilliant site, but it’s only good if you actually use the things you pin. I started off by collecting things like a slightly manic magpie and at first it was a lot of stuff I just liked the look of but which was slightly pointless.

My epiphany came in the form of story boards. As I was writing A Kiss From the Grave, I started a board for it and began pinning things onto it that reminded me of the story – pins that looked like characters from the book or music that reminded me of the book. I pinned objects that appeared, like the Rene Lalique powder box and the Richard Burlet paintings. I pinned scary videos – linking from YouTube to Pinterest is absurdly easy – you just go to the Share tab and click on the little red P button.

I then started boards for other books, ones I haven’t written yet but which I know the general idea for. It’s quite inspirational and it allows your readers to see where you’re going with things. It helps them to see inside your mind and imagine the stories in the way that I see them.

I have craft boards too – things I’d like to try now I have a sewing machine and a room big enough to felt large items in. I’ve had a couple of projects in mind for a while – I want to make a skirt and my mum has asked me for a felted coat. I’ve also been planning leg warmers or spats for a while, so they’ve been pinned. I think the trick is to just click the ❤ (like) button for pins you think are pretty and repin things that actually come with tutorials attached.

I've also been using it for recipes a lot, lately. We've tried a whole bunch of things and liked all of them, especially the white bean and herb soup. I did chicken stuffed with cream cheese and spinach, which was delicious. I also made inverted bruschetta, which was made by slicing a tomato and baking it with a parmesan, garlic, herb and breadcrumb crust. They were tasty, although a little heavy on the garlic!

I saw one this morning that we *have* to try! It's pancakes with crispy bacon INSIDE them!! They're going to be ace, especially served with scrambled eggs for an epic breakfast 🙂

I digress…the thing with pinterest is that it's too easy to get stuck in a higgeldy piggeldy mess. the trick is to plan ahead. If you want to start recipe boards, break them down. Don't just pin everything to one. Have a board for chicken, a board for fish and a board for red meats. Have a board for soups, one for vegetables and one for desserts. Have a separate one for baking or ice cream or whatever. The point is to plan ahead so that they're easy to navigate when you've collected dozens of food related pins.

The same goes for crafts. Break them down into separate disciplines (sewing, chainmaille, felting etc). If you have a specific project that you need to do some research for, give it its own board. My leg warmers for example, I started pinning the pictures to a board for felting as I came across them and now I have to wade through dozens of other felted pictures to find them. I should have started a board for the project but I was new to pinterest then. I didn't realise how easy it was to lose things.

The other really handy thing to do is use it as a virtual library. There are a lot of books on there and you can pin them to boards for books you own, books you've read or books you want to own. If you're sad (like me) you have a spreadsheet of your book collection which is only useful if you have your computer to hand. If you don't and you're in a charity shop and they have a stack of books by your favourite author and you can't remember which ones you have, you can log into Pinterest on a smartphone to double check.

I have one for tutorials on how to do my hair. I'm not the most glamorous of ladies and I only collect simple updos that work with long hair. The few I've tried have been great and I'm still learning. I will be glamorous one day!!

I also collect my yoga workouts on there. There are a few pictures of positions that are handy for incorporating into a workout, but I've also linked tutorials from YouTube onto there so I can go on every weekend and pick whichever ones I feel like doing.

I have one board that's just full of pictures of dachshund puppies. It's what I look at when I'm feeling down.

There's no limit on the number of boards you can have and no limit to the number of things you can pin with each one. Use it as a learning tool, a gathering tool for everything from workouts to music, a library or a place for inspiration. You can follow other pinners too, your favourite authors or other crafters who consistently post tutorials you like the look of.

I hope this is helpful to those of you that are Pinterest newbies. You can always ask me if you want a hand or check me out here: http://www.pinterest.com/alylonna/ In any event, embark upon your Pinterest adventure today 🙂

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