Pinterest & Teens: A “Good Thing”?

I heard a sweet sound in the house over the past weekend I haven’t heard in a long time: the whirr of the sewing machine. A sewing machine, I might add, that I bought on a Black Friday years ago, getting up at four in the morning for a “Door Buster Special”.  Allison was 10 at the time, determined to become a fashion designer and learn how to sew, and I was determined to help foster that creativity…

Ah, my daughters and I were once such a crafty bunch.  I’m reminded of that a lot—in the garden, where stepping stones the kids and I made (out of cement mix and pizza boxes) still mark a path behind a rosemary bush; in the kitchen, where a few “cut-out” photo magnets we made (out of extra photos, glue, and flat, promotional magnets from area businesses) still remain on the fridge; in my closet, where once in awhile I’ll run into the formerly white Keds I had the girls paint all over after the shoes got too dingy to remain white; and in my office, which is still decorated with items from the many “art camps” both girls used to attend (a paper mache’ pig, a framed painting of Saturn)…  looking in the family scrapbooks the other day, I was reminded that Emmie’s 4th birthday party was held at a craft store and Allison’s 9th was at a mosaic shop…there are also a few home décor projects still left around the house that I made on my own…

But sadly, we all got too busy with other interests to make time for our crafty sides.  I did hold out hope that we might get inspired, by keeping small bins of art supplies within easy reach–  beads, fun foam, shells, stickers, fabric scraps, popsicle sticks, construction paper, modeling clay (whew-are we done yet?), a glue gun, markers, chalk, crayons, colored pencils, stencils, paint…but, those supplies have mostly sat untouched, with the exception of being used to make football spirit banners and the occasional science fair display board.

Leave it to Pinterest to awaken the “sleeping craft giant”. The now “third most popular social network in the U.S.” which allows people to share ideas and photos of all sorts of things has become a Mecca for those interested in do-it-yourself projects, and Allison has become, (do I dare say it?) a “Pinhead”.  Just when I thought I was going to face a battle over spring clothes, she has inexpensively transformed and repurposed several items in her closet and created new items with a little fabric, rhinestones, and “mambo yarn”.  And this is one mom who is a lot happier saying “yes” to purchasing a new jar of Mod Podge than a new pair of shoes from Urban Outfitters.  I think I’ve made more trips to Michaels, Hobby Lobby, the Wal Mart fabric aisle and Jo-Ann these past few weeks than I did the last few years…

Is this Arts and Crafts Revival going on in our house just another fleeting teen girl obsession? I hope not.  Because not only has it been good for the budget, it’s a much better way for kids to spend free time than watching reality TV.  Also, I love how Pinterest (and another favorite site of hers called P.S.– I Made This) encourages recycling.  Pinterest can be social, too, and not just in an online way— when Allison recently made a maxi dress (using only a tank top, thread, and two yards of fabric) she invited a friend to come over to the house and make one with her.  And, her completed projects have inspired me toward completing a few of my own “shelved” projects, and caused Emmie to say, “I want to take sewing lessons this summer.”

True, Pinterest can be addictive. It was described on comScore as “exceptionally sticky and keeps its users engaged for long periods of time” and by Washington Post writer Petula Dvorak as “digital crack for women”,  “a black hole time suck” and a place where you “advertise only your hopes and dreams, the Stilton Gold style you aspire to, rather than the Velveeta life you live.” And maybe all that is sad and alarming when it’s adult women who are sucking away their time in that way, wishfully staring at their phone screens.  But for teens that are already hooked into their phones/computers almost 24/7, I’d rather have them looking at Pinterest than Facebook, especially when they get off their butts and actually make something as a result.

There has been some “collateral damage” in our house—there is now a long, noticeable scratch on the dining room’s wood floor (from cutting fabric?) and another on the dining room table, straight pins rattling around in the vacuum cleaner (and still hiding in the carpet) and traces of multicolored micro-glitter showing up all over the house, but, I’d rather be a crafty household than a perfect one. 

Maybe it’s time for me to take on the project of transforming an unused room (that once housed our foreign exchange student) into a sewing/craft room.  I’ll bet I know where I can get some ideas…

9 thoughts on “Pinterest & Teens: A “Good Thing”?”

  1. My oldest asked me to send her an invite a couple of weeks ago and loves it, too. Her boards consist primarily of cool nail art techniques but I’m betting the craft bug will re-bite her soon, too!

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