Pinterest good for organization, but can be addicting

Julie Gastineau, left, and Tabatha Sackett socialize as they create Valentine’s Day gifts for friends and family at Gastineau’s Grand Junction home. The women are making the gifts using ideas they found on Pinterest.

Self-confessed “Pinterest addicts” Julie Gastineau, left, and Tabatha Sackett create decorative plaques and a photo holder for Valentine’s Day gifts on a recent afternoon at Gastineau’s home.

Julie Gastineau, left, and Tabatha Sackett ponder their designs and approach to a pair of large decorative plaques that they are making as gifts at Gastineau’s home.

Using tiles from Scrabble games they found at yard sales, Julie Gastineau and Tabatha Sackett create a special Valentine’s Day present with a touch of glue, a heart background and a simple frame.

Like “Googled” and “Facebooked,” the latest technology-related verb, “pinned,” may change the way you use technology for everyday life.

The social image-sharing website Pinterest allows users to create a kind of web-based scrapbook of ideas, a method of organizing images and linking back to their original websites. Basically, you can pin anything you find “pinteresting” or want to save for “pinspiration.”

The rise in popularity of Pinterest has created a way for homemakers to share ideas on decorating, crafts, saving money, recipes, gardening and do-it-yourself projects, among other things.

Pinterest busted into the top 50 most visited websites in the United States last year, with an estimated 25.3 million unique visitors, according to An August 2012, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project study revealed that Pinterest users in the United States are much more likely to be women (19 percent of all female Internet users are on Pinterest, compared to 5 percent of male Internet users).

Grand Junction residents Julie Gastineau and Tabatha Sackett not only fit the demographic of Pinterest users, they are self-proclaimed Pinterest addicts.

These are crafty gals who peruse home decorations in stores to spark ideas. They have jars of loose Scrabble game letters just waiting to spell out something cute or meaningful. If you’re looking for a particular scrap of felt or fancy paper, they probably have it squirreled away. And they know how to use power tools.

“It’s like, my life,” said Sackett, as Gastineau nodded and laughed.

The two friends started using Pinterest about two years ago, when participants still needed an invitation to join the site. Today, Gastineau admits that she might be a little more obsessed with Pinterest than Sackett. Indeed, Gastineau boasts 4,325 pins compared to Sackett’s 2,449.

Although, Sackett is the one who will call or text Gastineau to let her know, “I’m pinning something RIGHT NOW and you should look at it!”

If either of them manage to have a spare moment during the day, they’re probably skimming through ideas on Pinterest.

The friends’ Pinterest boards speak volumes about them. They’re obviously mothers to teenagers, boys and girls. They both gravitate toward a shabby chic kind of décor, with distressed wooden signs and lots of burlap crafts. They both work with children (they have school-related pin boards). They both love baseball, and they love being friends — they keep boards on their own pages dedicated to each other.

Over the past two years, they’ve made a lot of projects. Gastineau’s favorite Pinterest-inspired projects include a distressed wooden sign that says, “You are loved,” while Sackett’s are the baseball snowman ornaments she made.

Their favorite recipes are the one-pan spicy sausage pasta pinned on Sackett’s board and for Gastineau, pretty much all the desserts on her board. Gastineau has 94 pins of ONLY cupcakes and 143 of cookies.

Sackett’s “favorite recipes” board (with 480 pins) features a plethora of slow-cooker, one-pot meals, gooey desserts and frosty drinks.

Gastineau, a second-grade teacher at Shelledy Elementary School, said she also uses Pinterest to gather ideas for her home away from home — her classroom, especially for subject-related areas and holiday parties.

Sackett, an instructional aide at Pear Park Elementary School, also has hundreds of school-related pins. “It’s a great way for teachers to share ideas,” she said. “You get tons of free stuff.”

Last summer, Gastineau collected ideas for her son’s wedding and dedicated a whole board to the occasion. Her teenage daughter, Madi, uses Pinterest to collect fashion and style ideas, beauty tips, cupcake recipes, inspiring and hilarious quotes, and the occasional photo of a hot celebrity.

Pinterest suggests pre-set categories for organizing your ideas, but you can create any board you like. You can even create super-secret boards that others can’t see, which could come in handy if you don’t want to seem antsy about organizing a wedding when you don’t even have a ring yet, or you’re gathering ideas for decorating a nursery and aren’t ready to share the news.

For me, the predecessor of Pinterest was the bookmark feature on my web browser. This allowed me to keep track of websites I liked, but I often lost track of exactly what I liked so much and couldn’t remember why I bookmarked it. There were other attempts to do this with pages such as

Pinterest has pretty much eclipsed those other methods as a great way to keep an online library of ideas organized. When it first started, the website required an invitation, but now is open to everyone.

One friend confessed that she avoids looking at other people’s Pinterest boards because some of them have thousands of pins and it makes her feel inferior.

My personal theory is that many people just get pin-happy and don’t actually attempt many of the ideas (not Gastineau and Sackett, obviously). Pinterest is kind of like flipping through magazines, you might see an idea and think, “I should do that,” or, “That looks good,” but then you get distracted and move on.

To keep track of the Pinterest projects I’ve actually done, I teamed up with a friend and created a “Mission Accomplished” board on which we can both pin items. These group boards are great for sharing, so I don’t have to go through someone else’s hundreds of pins to find one recipe or project. Then we can add notes to let others know that we modified a recipe or if a project was a hit or a flop (hint: any homemade air freshener project that uses gelatin is a BAD idea).

One of Pinterest’s features that I didn’t anticipate is the ability to follow any other user’s pinboards, whether or not I know that person. I can see if someone re-pins something from my page, and if I notice that someone is doing that a lot, I check out their boards, because I wonder if they have similar interests. Often, they do, so I follow that person and form connections with other users, whom I have never met in real life.

Even President Obama has a Pinterest account, started last year by his campaign team. The first lady signed up shortly thereafter. Many retailers also have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, discovering that they can use it effectively for marketing their products when consumers share their pins.

For information, check out The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has its own Pinterest page there. To locate it, search for “The Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction.”

Erin McIntyre is a writer, master gardener and owner of the gourmet pickle company, Yum Pickles. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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