Like all new Mamas I’ve had my share of those dreaded moments when you realise your new baby is at last asleep snuggled in your arms (aka within sniffing distance of the boob), but that you are trapped at least three feet away from the bottle of water / remote control / phone, that you desperately need. And your husband isn’t even around to hear you hissing a ‘silent’ roar!
So as it’s not long to go before I become that rather comfie prisoner of a new, snuggly feeding baby I’m being very organised and trying to make some sense out of the chaos that is my online world and (in theory) set me up for some reading on the phone and tablet during those afternoons on the couch Note: the reality of having three kids under 5 at home from about three weeks after my due date is waaay more likely to be the real impediment to my enjoyment of anything really! Judge me not. Hormones are talking. It’s possible I’m quite delusional. Let me off please.
Anyway, I’ve taken the hatchet to my ridiculously massive web accounts in a vague attempt to make sure I see the stuff I want to see, which all too often I seem to miss these days dealing with the main ones I like: Pinterest, Bloglovin and Ravelry. And while I’m at it I added some well overdue info for my Marino / Fairview Crafting ladies on two of the sites I’ve been barking on about for ages but keep forgetting to give them the low down on.
For anyone who doesn’t know it (insert: slavishly prowl it) Pinterest is a free ‘scrap booking’ site that allows you to create a profile, to store articles, recipes, patterns, videos etc. onto individual boards accessed via a private user name and password.
It takes away the need to print and endlessly lose articles and frankly saves you much heartache looking for something you really wanted not to lose! I particularly love it for the craft and recipes stuff – plus there are endless styling and fashion pages that – along with the exercise ones, I’ll ‘pin’ for later. Much later.
To set up your own profile you just need an email address and a user name. It just takes a minute and you can make your settings as private or as public as you like. To get my own account started I took a root around the ‘followings’ of some of my favourite sites to get myself started and this was a great short cut to some fab sites. My account is at www.pinterest.com/thebusymamas – fire ahead and have a root around.
The key advantage of Pinterest is that you can narrow the focus of your search really easily. You can search under any key word and find pinners, boards or pins of relevance very fast. You can also follow individual people and also individual boards – so, for example, if you want to follow my crochet board but have no interest in recipes, then you can single out that board only so that you get to see every pin I post on that board. This really helps to whittle down the veritable landslide of information that you could face on Pinterest and is a brilliant way of finding new sites to follow. Most blogs and websites also now feature a ‘Pin It’ button which you can use to store a link to an external article so watch out for that when you’re reading something you may want to find later.
One of the main disadvantages of Pinterest is that you have to watch out for the quality of the sources. You can be pinning stuff which traces to a completely pants source (recipes and patterns that don’t compute for example, or find that the cardi you were looking forward to making was just an uploaded Jpeg with no link to a source). Also – as it had for me, it can get a bit messy and out of hand to the point that some housekeeping – i.e. culling, is needed. That’s the point my own account had gotten to but now it’s as organised as it’s going to ever get and all obscure file names have hopefully been done away with and things should be where I can find them. Should.
Blogs and Bloglovin
I’ve long relied on the ‘Blogs I follow’ part of my Blogger Dashboard to follow about 50 blogs, and signed up by about 10 more by email. I tend to read the email ones but noticed that I was increasingly barely seeing the ones on Blogger.
I’d previously set up a Bloglovin account – again a free account that creates a newsfeed of posts from blogs that you follow, but had let it fall by the wayside. Like Pinterest you can easily find bloggers and people that you want to follow and can have a good nosey around other people’s reading lists. Bloglovin also recommends blogs you might like, so it really is a great resource for finding sites you might not normally be aware of.
Bloglovin has great links between other social networks such as Pinterest so when you do find something you like, it’s super-easy to bookmark it for later.
So I resurrected my Bloglovin account and cleaned up my following and made sure to sign up to all the ones I like (particularly the very entertaining Irish Parenting Bloggers ones). For anyone who saw me unsubscribe in Blogger rest assured I’m following you stalker-style on Bloglovin! I swear! I set up Bloglovin as a default opening page on my laptop and tablet and (in theory) I should stay on top of my blogs (and away from the Daily Mail) from now on.
Again the ladies in the Knitting and Crochet Circle are well overdue a post on the joys of Ravelry. Largely unknown to non-yarn (knitting and crochet) fanatics, Ravelry is a free social network with over 3 million members that allows you to record and store information on yarn, patterns, stitch ‘n’ bitch groups and endless amounts of other stuff. Again, it’s free and simple to join.
The biggest things I rely on it for are:
– keeping track of my stash of yarn (handy way to keep track of the large mounds of yarm hidden in various places where my husband can’t find it!)
– getting free or fairly cheap patterns
– finding details on yarns for when I want to do a substitution
– tips and tutorials – particularly on patterns I am about to start or am struggling with.
A brilliant feature is that if you have a yarn in your ‘stash’ you can see the literally hundreds of projects that have been competed using it – and readers are really generous with their tips on what works too. I’ve found a really good range of patterns this way and felt happy to swap yarns that I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen otherwise.
I also set up a Group there last year for our community Knitting and Crochet Circle so if I post an update Ravelry sends it out to group members. I have to admit I’ve been a bit lax about posting in it but I’m certain, what with all the time I’m about to have on my hands I can start to use it more! Everyone is more than welcome to come and join: we’re at: Marino / Fairview Knitting and Crochet.
So, having at last sorted out the veritable mess that are my accounts, has anyone any other handy suggestions from anyone for other sites I should be using?