Monday, October 8, 2012

Not Pin-spired

We've all seen this room on Pinterest, right?

At first glance, I just LOVED it.  I thought the idea of the hanging bookshelves all over the wall was brilliant.  I instantly imagined our basement "reading nook" looking like that!

And what could be easier to plan an Elmo themed birthday party than steal all these ideas! (I admit, they are pretty friggen cute)

Or when I went to my scrapbooking retreat and found this on Pinterest.  I instantly decided that I wanted to make a scrapbook page that looked the same.  I just needed to take have a similar event happen, then take some pictures that resembled those pics, buy similar paper & embellishments-- again, all I would need to do is copy it.

And somewhere, in the midst of all this 'repinning' and 'liking' I began to "dislike".  A lot.  I started seeing all these posts on facebook of birthday cakes that looked like tennis balls, or cupcakes that looked like butterflies, and adorable penets that were strung across babies' rooms spelling out their names.  And every time I would see one of these posts, I'd think: "I saw that on Pinterest.  That didn't come from your brain."--and I got annoyed.

Now, I'm all about hosting a cute party or making a cute craft and I'm all about finding inspiration.  And people have been sharing their ideas and using others' ideas as inspiration for decades.  This type of inspiration used to be called "magazines" or "books" or "craft club" and now it's called "Pinterest".  I think what bothers me most about Pinterst is the total lack of creativity it lets people get away with.  Maybe this is just because I am a self-proclaimed creative person, and I like the feeling of "racking my brain" for an idea.  But I think it's just too easy to totally 100% steal someone else's idea and one more way for us to turn off our brains in today's society.

It's kind of like good artwork.  Sometimes you see it and think, "I could do that" or "I could have made that".  But You DIDN'T.  And coming up with the idea is half of the art!  Same as little projects.  Yes, we all can probably duplicate many of the things we see, but creating it is what makes it art!

When I was a kid, I remember my mom coming up with super party games for our birthday parties.  One year, it was a Cabbage Patch Kid theme and she made a giant "Pin the nose on the Cabbage Patch" poster.  Another year, we did a Halloween theme and she created a scavenger hut of things we needed to find door-to-door in our neighborhood.  At home she made an "office" for my sister by removing the lower bunk bed, placing curtains across the top and setting a little desk and bookshelf inside.  She wallpapered round ice-cream bins to use for cute storage and labeled household items on index cards when we were learning to read.  And she did this because she was a creative person-- who probably got an idea from some magazine or friendly conversation.  If Pinterest would have been around in the 80's, her ideas would've been all over it!

My second beef with Pinterest is how it makes me panicky and anxious.  Is everyone out there excelling at everything?   Does everyone have cute sayings on their walls?  Because in our house, we don't have cute sayings on our walls and we probably never will.  Does everyone spend a day planning a 3 year old birthday party?  Because whatever happened to picking up a birthday cake and some balloons at Hy-Vee and calling it good?  You won't find me whipping up an entire themed birthday party and I'm definitely not going to be making cupcakes in the shape Elmos.  C's school birthday treats will probably be pre-packaged Little Debbie snacks, not "butterflies" made out of clothes pins and baggies.     Pinterest leaves me with the feeling that everyone else is doing it better than me.  And I don't like that.  Because honestly, I'm probably doing just fine.


  1. well done! I like this part..."BUT YOU DIDN'T". Thanks for sharing!

  2. I guess I have to disagree with you on this one, because I don't see how your distinction of your mom's parties ("And she did this because she was a creative person-- who probably got an idea from some magazine or friendly conversation.") is much different than if she'd have seen it on Pinterest. Now I know your mama, and know she's an amazingly creative woman. But I tend to think that half of creativity is finding inspiration and turning a project into your own. Which is exactly how I use Pinterest.

    I liken it to going into an expensive boutique, getting inspiration to make something cool on a much smaller budget. I've done that my whole life. Creating an outfit out of non-designer clothes that looks just as cool as one you've seen in a magazine, painting an old table with a shabby chic whitewash when I could've bought one just like it at an upscale shop for 10x more, etc. I don't see Pinterest as anything different than that.

    I also don't think things like birthday party themes, etc. are "art" in the sense that they shouldn't be duplicated without consent. Back when Brie was a kid everyone had a Barney themed birthday party. And that was before the internet and Pinterest! :)

    I don't know... I think Pinterest is a great way to come up with ideas, especially things like craft ideas for the kids, etc.

    But the recipes for food that would make your arteries clog up in a second? GOD, those have got to be stopped. :D

  3. I like to pin things on Pinterest... not really recreate them. haha -- I like to think about all the time I have to do them...and then realize that time does not exist. I have tried quite a few recipes -- and brought to life some photography ideas I found on there -- but I am not a decorator by any means -- and I am not a person that can glue things and make them look amazing. I am also a minimalist when it comes to decorating -- and I don't own cute vintage pieces - so half the stuff on there would look out of place in my house if I DID do them.

  4. Ha. I thought more about this over lunch today. I think perhaps my vehement opposition to your post is my way of defending my addiction.


    1. Ha! It's easy to get addicted to! I think I have to "not" like it because it makes me feel crappy about all the projects I love that I will never ever ever have the time or energy or motivation to create. :)

    2. It's funny - I've been working on a blog post about the evils of HGTV. (For me, not the whole world.) I have been watching WAY too much of it and in the end, it makes me feel like my house is somehow not good enough and that I should improve, improve, improve. And that's dumb. I love my house even without granite countertops, travertine tile, etc. Anyway. I might just have to work your pinterest post into mine somehow. I definitely see the parallels in thought.