Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pinterest: Decoded

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Time for baking, decorating, crafting, and shopping...which means it's the ultimate season of Pinterest.

And isn't Pinterest just the best? So full of clever tips and tricks, crafts and clothes, recipes and projects, it really is a wealth of information. Last year, around Valentine's Day, I found the cutest topiaries that I loved and just had to make for my front door. Two trips to Michael's, a visit to Hobby Lobby, and half a paycheck later, mine didn't turn out exactly the way the instructions assured me they would:

I mean, bless. Although the website promised the overpriced paint I bought would not destroy the premium Styrofoam, it gobbled it right up, and left splotchy, discolored places all over those allegedly "simple" heart shapes. The best part of the project was February 15 when I threw the whole mess of it in our curbside trash can.

I've had a few more pinning ups and downs, most recently, with an "easy and delicious" red velvet trifle I decided to make for a Christmas party last week. I had a terrible plague head cold, and so the thought of something comforting and festive, while still simple to prepare was too much to resist. Imagine my surprise when not one, but two hours passed before the confection was complete? And, upon tasting, I found this oh-so-promising red velvet trifle not as delicious as Little Debbie or as appetizing as Entenmann's. Oh, Pinterest, you got me again.

So quick and easy that I almost missed the party.

It's taken me a while, and several epic fails, to discover what exactly all that Pinterest information actually means. If you go into it naively, you will suffer greatly. Allow me to put my pain to good use and decode what Pinterest is really trying to say in those clever little descriptions that accompany each pin:

Elegant: This will look absolutely nothing like the picture. In all likelihood, it will turn out burned, bruised, smudged, smushed, cracked, and/or busted.

Quick and easy: Go ahead and make this, we dare you. Double dog dare you. And kiss the rest of your day goodbye. Watch the sun set, and then rise again, as you attempt to find the end of your crafting journey. Take a long swig of Red Bull and a big dose of patience, and pretend you don't hear that cosmic evil laugh the entire time you are working.

Inexpensive and fun: I hope you don't have any plans for the next four straight days, and that you have an excellent credit rating that can help with a low interest rate to finance your little project. From experience, "inexpensive" is a Pinterest term that only applies to millionaires or shoplifters. The rest of us are going to feel the pinch when we get that mile long receipt and have to pay in installments. But hey, isn't that all part of the "fun?"

Simple: Any idiot can do it. As long as that idiot is part MacGyver, part Martha Stewart. As my grandma was fond of saying, get right with the Lord before you try this one, because you're probably going to need a miracle.

Takes less than (insert amazingly small number here) minutes!: Based on my experience, it would be wise to quadruple the given number of minutes and use that as your base time. Add extra time if you are prone to any of the following: exhaustion, fits of rage, crying, bathroom breaks, or any type of daily routine.

The only recipe you will ever need: Likely so because the crushing blow delivered to your self esteem after attempting said recipe will result in you never, ever, cooking again and instead paying a caterer or professional to handle the culinary situation instead. Still, it's the only recipe you'll ever need. Sob.

You must try this: Simply put, misery loves company. Please try this so that you can feel my pain and enter this special inner circle of hell created just for Pinterest-trusting souls who haven't yet learned the code.

Worth the effort: Ah, here it is. The granddaddy of them all. If you attempt any project labeled this way, you are a masochist. When Pinterest-speak admits that there is effort required, you can bet it will be Herculean. Get your game face on and may the odds be ever in your favor. God speed. At the very least, you will walk away with a story to tell your grandchildren about one day.

In all fairness, I've made a few things that were relatively easy and inexpensive. I can't for the life of me think of any of them now, but I'm certain they exist, otherwise I wouldn't keep going back to the site for more, right? Maybe it's the thrill of the chase, the art of the challenge that keeps me pinning, trying, failing, pinning, cursing, pinning. While I've had cocktails fall flat, cookies crumble, cake chaos, dinner disasters, and crafts crap out, it can't all be impossible; my Pinterest hope springs eternal. If all else fails, there's always the humor section. Because nothing cures shattered domestic dreams like a Pinterest-worthy inspiring quote.

A quote from Pinterest, seemingly about Pinterest. Happy crafting!

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