Making Sense (and Order) Out of Pinterest

Everyday Adventures

Sometimes it just feels good to organize something!

Decluttering and organizing are right up there with a nice hot shower for busting through a creative block, but even when I’m not facing a challenge it’s just nice to sit back and see a nice, orderly space, you know? And since so much of my day (and yours, too, admit it) is spent online, it’s important to do some digital organization from time to time.

(Even though it’s a lot easier to ignore a digital mess–chances are we’re not going to trip over it!)

My current task is to get Pinterest under control. I was an early adopter but slow to actually put my account to good use. When I started planning a wedding, though, it became a really useful tool. Not only is it great for it’s intended purpose–keeping track of visual elements in a pretty package–it’s great for communicating. I created a board of engagement shots I liked and sent it to my photographer and we were able to work many of them in. Some didn’t work as well as others, but at least we gave them a try!

These days I mostly use Pinterest for keeping track of recipes. At first this was my least favorite thing–I own well over a hundred cookbooks and don’t even cook from a recipe half the time, so why do I need to pin other people’s recipes? Because there’s so many tasty things to try, of course! I’m not going to go into my menu planning method in this post (because I already covered it here) but instead of bookmarking the recipes I want to try in my browser, I’ve been saving them to my Foodie Goodness board. It’s a lot easier to click on them through the Pinterest app on my phone when I’m in the kitchen than to scroll through the Chrome bookmarks (which also could use some serious housekeeping). Of course now that I’ve started doing that, the FG board is getting a little out of hand.

What I really wish was that Pinterest had a folder option or that I could nest boards inside of other boards. This would make my profile much more streamlined if I could have a board for Food with boards inside it for different types of recipes. Same with the wedding boards that I no longer need but don’t want to delete, either, because a) they’re still getting repins on a regular basis and b) I might want to refer back to the for other reasons.

Now, you can move pins between boards, but combining all my wedding or food boards would just get me right back where I started. Instead, I just try to keep my boards in groups that make sense to me (and hopefully anyone else looking at them).

If you’re already pretty Pinterest-savvy, these next few tips you probably already know. But I’ve learned never take anything for granted or to assume that what I think is common knowledge really is, so here are some basics on how to deal with your Pins if they start to get wild and wooly.

Rearranging Pinterest Boards

Click, hold, and drag the board where you want it!

Click, hold, and drag the board where you want it!

The easiest thing to do is to move an entire board to where you want it. To do that (from your computer, at least, I haven’t tried this on a tablet and the mobile app brings up other options when you press and hold a board) you click and hold your mouse over the board you want to move and just drag it around the screen. As you can see, the other boards will shift around, making room when you get close to one side or another of a board and you just lift off the mouse button when it’s where you want it.

I like to group my boards into like little clumps–so my house boards all together, my food boards all together, wedding boards all together (and those are now down towards the bottom of my profile since I don’t need to access them very often). Again, folders or a nesting function would be my biggest Pinterest wish, but until then I’ll just work with it like this.

Moving Pins from Board to Board

There’s two ways to do this (three if you count repinning a pin you’ve already pinned onto a different board, and how many times am I going to use the word pin today? the word is losing all meaning!).


Hover over a pin, click on the pencil icon along the top of the pin to bring up the Edit screen.

To move a single pin between boards, you just need to open the “Edit this Pin” window for the pin. If you hover over the pin some icons will appear at the top of the image, one of which is a pencil (aka the universal symbol for edit). Click it and this screen opens. You can select a different board from the drop-down menu or you can create a new board on the fly by just typing it in (there’s a text field that will show up when you click on the down arrow on the menu).

You can also update the description, website url, and location of the pin on this screen. Handy if you need to fix a link or the description is something like IMG_1245.jpg instead of something useful.

Alternately, if you’re in a board with a lot of pins that need to mass-migrate to another board, use the Move Pins button (it’s up along the top, above the actual pins).

This lets you click on several pins to move at once, very useful if you're subdividing your content!

This lets you click on several pins to move at once, very useful if you’re subdividing your content!

Click on the check boxes on each image that you want to move, turning them red, and then click the now-red Move button up there on the top. This will open a window for you to select the destination board. You can also copy pins in bulk using this same screen, see the “Copy” button up there? Useful if you’re repinning some of your pins to a group board!

Editing Pinterest Boards

Change the name, add a description, and (sometimes) edit the cover image.

Change the name, add a description, and (sometimes) edit the cover image.

Below each board (when you’re on your profile, not within a specific board) is an Edit button that opens a screen where you can change some of the particulars of the board, including making it secret or not. Foodie Goodness wasn’t really working for me anymore–it was overgrown and had a lot of different types of food content inside. So I decided to rename it “Recipes to Try” and move all the rest of the stuff into other boards. (This is an ongoing process, there were almost 200 pins in that board!)

A word about editing cover images. When I was shifting and creating new boards I found that the boards created on the fly didn’t have cover images assigned and, horror of horrors, the Cover > Change option wasn’t showing up in the edit field?!?! After refreshing the screen a couple of times a randomly assigned cover image was at least showing up on the new boards, but only some had the option to edit the cover image. Almost all my old boards had it, though, so it could be something you need to allow a little time for.

When the Cover > Change option is there, though, you can flip through the pins on the board and even adjust what part (of tall images) is seen in the thumbnail. Some uber-users even create specific board covers (you can upload images directly to Pinterest, you don’t have to pin them from another site) to really spiff up their profile. I’ve not felt the need just yet, but I can see the appeal.

Commenting on Your Own Pins

Remind me if I liked this?

Remind me if I liked this?

It sounds a little vain or weird, right, commenting on your own pins? But Pinterest is a social network in its own right, and likes and comments can become valuable parts of a pin. I like to use it to follow-up on a recipe I’ve tried, for instance, to say if I liked it or if I would change something about it, were I to make it again. These sorts of notes are not only helpful to me, but could spark a conversation or help someone else who finds the pin later.

I still have a lot of pins to go through, but when I’m done (for this round) accessing the pins that I need will be easier and some things that I’ve pinned and forgotten about might move up on the to-do list!

When’s the last time you spent some time organizing your pins?

Why Templates Are a Girl’s Best Friend

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

I’m a scrapbooker from way back, but I haven’t been keeping up like I used to or taking many photos that don’t correspond to a blog post. To commemorate this last year before the wedding (and remind me to take pictures of the fun stuff), I’ve been putting together a layout per week for our Wedding Year scrapbook. Now, working full time, planning a wedding, and blogging about it are enough to keep me plenty busy–adding in scrapbooking might seem like adding more work rather than some much-needed relaxation.

For me, it all comes down to 3 things:

  • Digital scrapbooking
  • Project Life
  • Templates

The Digital Approach

While I do absolutely love paper and creating with it, physical scrapbooking was becoming less and less convenient with all of my photos being digital for the last several years. That love of paper that had me scoffing at digital scrapbooking 1o years ago has since enthusiastically embraced the digital approach for both the ease of integrating my digital images but also the fact that once a digital paper or embellishment is purchased, it doesn’t get “used up.” As someone who has more than once hoarded those last few sheets of a favorite paper, this is quite freeing.

And you can always print your pages out yourself or upload them to a photobook site and end up with very professional looking albums.

Just about any photo software that will handle layers can be used for digital scrapbooking and there are some programs out there specifically for it. I learned on Photoshop Elements (PSE) 3, “back in the day” with tutorials from ScrapGirls. While I’ve upgraded to full-on Photoshop for other projects, I still use PSE (version 9, now) for scrapping for the simpler interface.

Project Life

Project Life is a system devised by Becky Higgins that is meant to make saving photos and memories easy, streamlined, and low-pressure (though it’s but one of many pocket-style scrapbooking systems out there). By using divided pocket pages–like baseball card pages but more varied–and 2 sizes of inserts (4×6 and 3×4) all you have to do is slip in your photos and write on the journaling cards and you’ve got a scrapbook in no time flat.

I’d heard about it a couple years ago (and mentally kicked myself for not trying out a similar idea many years prior) but didn’t want to go back to paper scrapping. Behold, the official Project Life digital kits are available at (though I bought my kit and template when they were still partnered with Jessica Sprague). What’s even better is that with the popularity of Project Life on the rise, several sites have similar products available. ScrapGirls has their Pocket Life line, and several designers over on The DigiChick (my 2 favorite shops) have Project 52 offerings that are compatible.

Of course, with digital scrapbooking, anything can be used with the Project Life base system, especially if you use the templates.


Just like writers who stare at a blank page/screen, feel anxious and can’t start writing, scrappers sometimes have a similar block. Recently I’ve become a total template convert as all I have to do is pick my photos, papers, and maybe a few embellishments and start clipping them to the template layers and, boom, there’s my page! Of course, when you scrap digitally you can turn and flip the templates to get a bit more variety (there are only 7 basic page layouts with Project Life, but you can certainly branch out to other templates, too).

But the Project Life-style templates, based on 4×6 and 3×4 spaces, are perfectly suited to both digital camera images as well as those cell phone shots we’ve all been taking. And if you take a lot of photos, then the simple grids are going to be your best friends.

To show you just how easy it is, I took screenshots while I put together this layout, week 9 of our wedding year album:

Week 9, Dec 29, 2012 to Jan 4, 2013

Week 9, Dec 29, 2012 to Jan 4, 2013 (all photos personal)

Step 1: choose your photos

First I pick out my photos to see what I’m working with. Lots of photos mean a template with more spots, fewer photos mean bigger spots to take up more space.

Step 2: Pick your templates

Then I look through my templates to see which ones I want to use. In the back in a Project Life template and in front is a template from eNKay Design’s Project 365 line. Then I decided which would be the left side of the layout and which one the right.

Step 3: Start placing your photos

I rotated the 365 layout to get the photo spots in the orientation I wanted them, then added my first photo to fill the large, vertical block on the page, sizing it up to fill the space or maybe a little bigger. Make sure the photo is above the layer you want the photo to fill and clip it (Ctrl+G on a PC, Mac is Cmd+G, I believe) to that layer. This makes the photo (or whatever) show only where the template shape is “active” so it trims it to shape without actually cutting the image, and you can nudge it around to get the best view.

Step 4: Finish putting your photos in place

Place your photos wherever they best fit so you can see how much space you still have to work with.
You can combine different layer elements by merging them, like I did with the 4 3×4 slots in the upper right, then clipping the image to the merged set. It’s a nice little trick when you want to use larger pictures in smaller slots for effect. And it’s so much easier than cutting and corner-rounding 1 picture into 4, right?

Step 5: Save your work!

Right about now is a good time to do a “Save As” and name your file something other than the template name (you don’t want to overwrite your original template files with the changes you make, since you might want to use them in their original form sometime later).

Step 6: Pick out some papers and embellishments

Then I pick out some papers and embellishments to clip to the background and blank template spots

Step 7: Add your papers and embellishments to the pages

Now the fun part! Clip the papers to the template areas and start to place your embellishments on top of them. For efficiency’s sake I like to merge layers and them clip the paper file once, unless I need some of the elements overlapping others. The more layers, the bigger the file size, you know? But embellishments just need to be positioned above the layer you want them to rest on, they usually don’t get clipped (again, this is a bonus of digital–not everything had to fit exactly in the “pockets”).

Step 8: Add journaling spaces

I like using a mix of patterns, but patterns aren’t always great for journaling on, so I use the shape tool to make “clear” areas filled with a lighter version of one of the colors already in the layout (and then added a texture fill to it because I have issues with flat colors). Remove any layers you don’t want in your final layout (like journaling place-holders and title bits).

Step 9: Add the wordy bits and additional embellishments

Use your words! Add journaling to the open areas, titles, and then any additional embellishments to finish out the layout. That’s it!

And that’s just how simple it is.

Whether you’re saving the wedding planning memories, putting together a photo-book of your engagement photos, or even scrapbooking your honeymoon pictures, templates can make the process much smoother. Templates (Project Life or otherwise) are also great for learning composition skills and branching out of your usual style.

So, have I swayed you over to the digital template side of scrapbooks?

How To | Joined Name Banner

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

It was the Wednesday night before our Saturday engagement shoot and I get the hare-brained idea to make us a banner to use as a photo prop.

Now, before we go any further, I want to assure you this story has a happy ending, as evidenced by this awesome shot from the day of:

Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography, cropping by me (mostly to remove our kissy-faces)

Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography, cropping by me (mostly to remove our kissy-faces)

But it wasn’t guaranteed when I went to start.

You see, just after Christmas I treated myself to an addition to my craft room: an eCraft electronic die cutter. I’d just gotten it, and barely used it so far, but I figured I should be able to have it cut out the letters and leaves with no problem.

Yeah… Not so much. When you’re learning a new tool it helps to be smarter than the machine and the software that powers it. I know, now, what I did that made the first night so tough on myself, but it wasn’t much consolation when I spent 3 hours and I don’t even know how many sheets of card stock trying to cut out 2 sets of 9 letters. In the end, the cutter did save me a lot of time, once I got out of my own way.

Eventually I did get my letters cut out–one set of slightly larger, silhouetted dark shapes for the backgrounds and a set of speckled ivory card stock letters for the fronts. The lighter card stock just wasn’t doing it for me, plain, though, so I set them out and spritzed them with some Glimmer Mist in Burlap and Gold. At that point it was late and they had to dry, so I called it for part 1.

Adding a little dimension and sparkle never hurts.

Adding a little dimension and sparkle never hurts.

The next night it was time to dress up the letters and finish the cutting. I found a free cutting file from that had just what I was looking for: a grape leaf, and it was layered, too! Thankfully this night’s cutting went much smoother (a few hiccups, but I got the hang of it) and before long I had plenty of layered leaves cut out, assembled, and put together with the letter sets and let them dry for the night.

The leaves got scattered among the letters.

The leaves got scattered among the letters.

I also cut out the rounded squares for the letters and leaves to rest on. I found this coppery, embossed paper with grapes and leaves on it in my stash–no telling how long it had been there, but I was happy I’d hoarded it.

My canvas was thin enough where I could fold it double and still cut through with ease. I cut some extras just in case I screwed one up.

My canvas was thin enough where I could fold it double and still cut through with ease. I cut some extras just in case I screwed one up.

With this much done, though, I could finally decide how big each of my pennants needed to be and what shape would work best. Sure, the inverted triangle is pretty standard, but I’m still on a square kick so wanted something blockier. Plain squares weren’t quite right, either, so we went with a pentagon that looks like a little house upside down. I cut those shapes out of some lightweight canvas I had lying around (again, being a craft-supply-hoarder pays off) with pinking shears so I wouldn’t have to hem anything. The pentagons are 5 inches wide and 5 1/2 inches long from top edge to point.

Laid-out banner bits.

Laid-out banner bits.

Now, usually I’d spell out our names my name-his name, ladies first and all that, but I knew that with us standing to hold the banner, I’d need to be on the left if my engagement ring was to show (something I knew our photographer would prefer, if nothing else). I could have held his name and he mine, but it would have bugged me to no end, so I put his name first so it’d look right in the pictures. It works well that we have names of equal length, too, but that’s  just luck.

Mr. Road Trip was actually okay with the banner as-is, but I couldn’t leave it that plain. It just went against every decorative fiber of my being, so to the stash I went.

The grapes and leaves also got a touch of metallic watercolors for a little highlighting sparkle.

The grapes and leaves also got a touch of metallic watercolors for a little highlighting sparkle.

I started by adding some strips of lace along the top edge and added another rounded square in a darker color behind the copper to make it pop more. The other edges were still awfully bare and I was nearly out of time for night 2, and I knew there was no way I’d have time to do any stitching on Friday night. Then I remembered my beloved fabric paints and pens. A few quick swoops around the edges with green and some purple grape clusters and my edges finally looked finished.

Just hanging out, like banners do.

Just hanging out, like banners do.

Finally, Friday night, between pin-curling my hair and grabbing the rest of our props, I glued down the lace bits (something I only did for time’s sake–I’m usually quite adamant about sewing fabric to fabric) and the letter clusters and set the 1/4-inch eyelets in each corner. I had a surplus of 1″ binder rings so used those to link the individual pennants together. Turns out they stretched perfectly from one end of our mantle to the other, so that’s where they’re hanging out when not being used for wedding props.

Not counting the cutter (because it’s not strictly a wedding purchase, I plan to use it for lots of things well after the wedding crafting has passed), I spent a grand total of nothing on this project–I had all the supplies in my stash. Can’t beat that when you’re on a budget, right?

Just in Time for Christmas

Everyday Adventures

So, back in September I’d posted a picture of a sweet little wrapping job I’d done on a small gift box. Remember?

A request was placed that I show you how it was done and it’s been on my to-do list ever since. I apologize for the delay, but I hope you’ll agree that this is just the perfect time of year for this sort of thing, what with all the gift giving going on.

(Direct link for the feed readers: Rose-Wrap Tissue-Wrapped Gift Wrapping Tutorial)

Now there is a little bit of math involved, but that’s only so you know how wide your tissue paper needs to be in order to have the petal-ish bits be not too short or not too long (though you can always fix the long with a few snips).

I promise it’s simple:

[Width of the box (along the top) + Height of the box (along the side)] x 3 = Width of your tissue paper

See, simple! Theoretically you could wrap any box like this as long as you could get tissue paper wide enough. (As far as length’s concerned, you just want it to be fairly long–enough to go around the entire package 3-4 times.)

So, for the video my gift box was about 3 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch tall (3.5+1=4.5) and so 3 times that was 13 1/2 inches (4.5 x 3=13.5). I rounded up to be on the safe side and trimmed my tissue paper to 14 inches (and since the paper was folded in half, you see me measuring only 7 inches in the video).

I promise, that’s all of the technical know-how, the rest is squishing and scrunching and playing with paper!

This “rose” came out looking less rose-ish than my first one, but it still gets the point across, so don’t worry about getting a perfect flower look, just do your best and I’m sure the giftee will love it!

How She Did It: Window to the World 4×6 Art Card


So, a while back I shared about a 4×6 art card swap I’d participated in that used several different techniques: collage, embossing, watercolor pencils, and word art.

Rose Colored Glasses 4x6 Swap piece

Well, after that post the Blond Duck herself (of A Duck in her Pond and Words & Whimsy) asked for a tutorial and while it took me a little longer to get to this than I’d planned, I’m happy to say I finally bit the bullet this weekend and created a similar card and filmed the entire process.

I still have a bit to learn when it comes to making these sorts of process videos, but I hope this helps disspell some of the “mystery” of heat embossing, watercolor resist and collage for those who haven’t given it a try yet.

(Direct link for the feed-readers: Window to the World: 4×6 Process Video w/Embossing Demo)

There you have it. Any questions?

The entire process, start-to-finish, took about half an hour. Some parts took longer than usual because I was explaining for the benefit of the camera, but then I also don’t show the time spent flipping through the magazine looking for words and images to use. So 30 minutes is about right. A 4×6 art card is one of those great instant-gratification projects and I hope you’ll give it a go and, even more, hope that you’ll share what you’ve been up to.

Now that I’ve finally gone and done this first video, I’m kind of excited to do more and will try to plan ahead enough on future posts where it might be appropriate. That said, I’m also open to requests, so just let me know if there’s something you’d like to see explained a bit more, demonstrated, or just a bird’s eye view of and I’ll do my best!

Oh, and in the spirit of true confessions, I committed one of my crafter’s pet peeves and I can’t believe I did it. During the course of the 30 minute video I must have said Mod Podge a few dozen times (some during those sped-up portions where you are spared my blathering) and, upon play-back, I heard myself (just once–but it was enough) call it “Modge” Podge. I thought about going back and dubbing the right word in, but I figured I might as well leave it and fess up rather than spend ages trying to get a seemless fix in place.

Keepin’ it real!