Pinterest Projects

Have you ever been looking for something online (the perfect new jeans, a place to travel, paintings for your wall, a bridal shower gift, etc.) and come up with a whole list of possibilities? Maybe you added each website to your Favorite Places, or copied and pasted them into a Word document. Or, if you’re like me, you put the URL’s into an Excel spreadsheet along with store name, price and estimated sales tax. (Details!) Sure, you can applaud yourself for organization but constantly opening a documents and clicking links with no visual reference gets a little tedious. (I’ve also tried copying and pasting photos of potential items into a Word document but the formatting tends to get really messy.) Wouldn’t it be better to have an easily-referenced, environmentally-friendly, smart phone-compatible, completely visual option? There is!

Pinterest is an online “virtual pinboard” for any project you could ever dream of. When you see an image you like (whether on Pinterest or anywhere else on the web) you simply “pin it” to your board of choice. (If you want to swipe someone else’s pin, feel free! “Repinning” is highly encouraged.) When you go back to your board you can simply click on the pin, click on the image and be sent to the original URL. It’s as easy as that! You can have as many different boards as you like and they can be as silly or as serious as you want. If you see a pin on Pinterest that you’re fond of but you don’t really have a place for, you can “like” it and it will be added to your Likes page for easy reference. As for my boards they range from anything that makes me laugh to images that really get me thinking. I pin things I want to buy, skills I want to learn, styles I want to emulate, and ideas that might come in handy someday.

If you allow it, Pinterest will search through your Facebook friends and set you up to “follow” them. This means your homepage will be comprised all the pins (from newest to oldest) that your friends have recently pinned. If you get tired of one of their boards you can go to the board and click “Unfollow” at any time. Pinterest will also set you up to follow some of the most popular pinners (including Pinterest co-founders) who have the same interests as you.

I’m fairly new on Pinterest but I have had some really good times trying out of the tutorials I found on the site. Here is my first round of Pinterest projects.

DIY Scarf Tutorial

I saw this scarf and immediately thought, “I can do that!” I bought a cheap t-shirt at Forever 21 and went to town following the tutorial. It turned into a mini disaster. I worked on it for almost two hours but I still had a blast sitting on my living room floor watching Terra Nova. My suggestions for future success: use a thick t-shirt (mine was super thin) and don’t use a white t-shirt (mine looked like sad bedsheet strips tied together before I took it all apart and fashioned it into a laughable nautical-themed braided “scarf”).

Cost: Approx $7

Time: If done right it should be fairly quick

Video Tutorial: How to transfer a photo to a wood block

Source: via Debra on Pinterest

I was so excited to try this tutorial. I found inexpensive 12”x12” pieces of craft plywood at Robert’s. I read in the comments section of the video that you only really needed Gel Medium (made by Liquitex) so I saved a little money because I didn’t buy Mod Podge. I spent $3 to have my picture of choice enlarged at Costco. I tried the tutorial twice (once with a photography and once with a photocopy), failed miserably both times, and gave up.

Cost: Approx $15

Time: Unknown

DIY Ear Warmers

After my photo transfer failure I was worried the rest of my Pinterest project attempts would be doomed. Leah and I agreed to work on this ear warmers project at her house. I was excited to buy fleece and buttons since they were on sale. Leah showed me how to use her rotary cutter and cutting mat (now on my “must have list”) and I got acquainted with her sewing machine (I need one of those too). Three hours later I had my first ear warmer headband completed. I was elated with the result. On subsequent visits to Leah’s house I made four more (for gifts) and got quicker each time.

Cost: Approx $5 each

Time: About one hour each (once you’re warmed up)

Galaxy Nails Tutorial

I had no idea there were entire blogs dedicated to nail polish. Considering I have loved nail polish since seventh grade this was a very fun find. I had seen several instructions for “Galaxy Nails” and since I had lots of a colors and a foam paintbrush at my disposal, I went for it.

Here are the colors I used and my final result:

Cost: $0 (I already had all of the nail polish. My favorite brand, Nicole by OPI, costs about $8 at Target)

Time: About 30 minutes

White Floral Wreath

When I saw this pin I knew I had to try it. I had to buy the felt (the tutorial called for way too much – you only need ½ or ¾ yard), the Styrofoam ring and the push pins. I decided to get fancy so I also bought light blue sparkly tulle to add a frosty effect and spray adhesive in order to add translucent glitter which I already had. The most time-consuming part of the project was cutting out the felt circles. The most frustrating part was trying to fashion long strips of uncooperative tulle into five flowers for an accent. Now I know better than to try to follow this homemade wreath tutorial.

Cost: Approx $23 (I also bought a wreath hook for my door)

Time: About 2.5 hours (while watching TV)

Scrabble Tile Coasters

I fell in love with this project when I saw it but it took me some time to figure out who I could make it for. When it hit me I got really excited and ordered a set of Scrabble letters on Amazon. (If you are going to try to make this project I suggest saving some money and searching for used Scrabble games for sale.) The next step was hitting three different craft stores (so I could use three different coupons) to buy the cork, exacto knife, paint brush, wood stain marker pen, wood finish and wood glue. After I stained the name letters and let them dry I had a blast arranging the 5x5 design on each coaster to spell out hidden words. The tutorial warned against accidentally spelling swear words but after double- and triple-checking I was confident I was ready to glue the letters onto the cork. The result? A fun, personalized coaster for everyone!

Cost: Let’s just say it was pricey

Time: About 2 hours


All in all I hope this was a helpful introduction to Pinterest. I have had a lot of fun on the site and now that I have a quick and easy way to organize visual information and ideas I can’t wait until it’s time to plan my next big vacation or redecorate my home. Just let me know if you need one of those elusive email invites in order to join. Happy Pinning!


Winter of Will

Thanks to a long and lavish Christmas break I have some extra work to do at the gym. After a few hours’ debate I pulled myself off the couch, changed into my workout clothes and headed out. Tonight’s gym visit required a little more brain power than normal (I had to figure out how to work the brand new treadmill) but it was well worth it. Perhaps I spent too much time decoding the fancy control panel on the treadmill. By the time I got back into the locker room and stood in front of my locker I had completely forgotten the combination to my lock.

I bought the lock in 2009 for my trip to Brazil and I keep a copy of the combination in a hiding spot in my closet. I could have sworn the three numbers in my combination were 2, 6 and 36. I tried every arrangement of those numbers before forcing myself to step back, sit down and think again. Maybe it was 2, 6, and 32. After several failed attempts I started thinking of ways to contact my roommate so she could go into my closet, find the combination and read it to me. Since we are in a most fantastic age of cell phones I only have two phone numbers memorized: my dad’s cell number and my home phone number in California. The only thing I could think of was asking the staff members at the front desk if I could use their phone to call my mom and then asking her to email my roommate and having my roommate call the gym. I stopped myself short when I realized they probably wouldn’t allow me to dial a long distance number.

Convinced I was going to have to ask a staff member to cut my lock off I knew I only had once choice. I had to clear my thoughts of all possible combinations and wait for the image of the written combination to pop into my head. I tore my eyes away from the word “Master” engraved on the lock. Consciously steering my mind away from the thing I needed most led me on a hopscotch-like tangent of number-free contemplations. Just as I was delving into a random idea free of any useful purpose a combination came to mind. I thought for sure I had already tried it but I reached for the lock one more time. After turning the dial for the third time I pulled down on the lock and POP! It opened. I was very happy to leave the locker room and everyone who had seen me staring at the lock hopelessly.

I walked out to the parking lot with my trusty Master lock in hand and a line from “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley came to mind: “I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul.” I was happy that the little lock had forced me to stop and really think, “Who’s in charge here?” I had to either remember a short combination of numbers or find someone to bail me out of a frustrating situation. Luckily the numbers finally hit me and although I might have spent 5 or 10 extra minutes in the locker room I still exercised a bit of willpower by going to the gym in the first place.

Sometimes I feel like will is a muscle that needs to be strengthened into a rock hard form and other times I feel like it needs to be stretched and tenderized. There are many things I want this year (heck, I feel like I have the whole year planned out!) but I know it will be a balancing act between my will and God’s. I want to push myself to accomplish more but I want to do it for the right reasons. In all, I want the will to wait, try, learn, sacrifice, and be present for others. You could call these my New Year’s Resolutions.

Willing to Wait

All good things come to those who wait, right? Let’s hope so! There are certain things about my life that I wish I could change but when things don’t go according to my plan I want to have more patience and wait for “the right time.” However I will be mindful of the words of George Jackson, “Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it’s cowardice.”

Willing to Try

“Make voyages. Attempt them. There is nothing else.” Tennessee Williams

When I was younger I was a big chicken. I always felt too scared to try out for soccer teams, too scared to audition for plays, etc. This year I would like to put myself out there (not in a dating sense, more in a “try new things” sense) and reach for greater things. (Yes, I’m purposefully being vague. If things go well I’ll blog about it, trust me.)

Willing to Learn

“The greatest intellectual capacities are only found in connection with a vehement and passionate will.” Arthur Schopenhauer

I want to look back in 12 months and think of all the things I learned. Life lessons can be painful but I hope to learn lots of enjoyable things along the way.

Willing to Sacrifice

I enjoy Christmas’s glad tidings of the birth of the Savior but in all honesty I prefer to consider Easter Sunday’s reminder of Christ’s sacrifice. Matthew 26:39 tells of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” A few verses later Jesus asks the disciples to stay awake and keep watch while he is in the garden, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” (Matthew 26:41). Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice and I would like to give something back. I think being more watchful and prayerful would be a good start for me.

Willing to Be Present

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt

I have a lot of dreams but I can’t neglect the present. Someday, somehow a few of my dreams might come true. In the meantime I have to work with what I already have. I want to be available for my friends and family. Above all else I need to resist the urge to escape reality.

I really hope your new year is starting off strong. I hope mine will have more focus now that I’ve put all of this into words. While daydreaming might not always be the most productive activity, sometimes it can bring to mind a most important fact or idea (or in my case a combination). I hope the numbers line up for you this year and things fall into place. If you find yourself reeling from a failed attempt at a new endeavor just remember these words from Winston Churchill, “In war, as in life, it is often necessary, when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.”