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From pins to projects: Pinterest in real life

By Rachel Rodriguez, CNN
February 22, 2012 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Alissa Christensen says she's learned to sew, quilt and crochet by finding tutorials through Pinterest (left). The Las Vegas, Nevada, stay-at-home mom has used the site to find all kinds of things to create for her baby son, like <a href='http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-743625'>this blanket</a> (right). She says it was the first thing she ever sewed. Alissa Christensen says she's learned to sew, quilt and crochet by finding tutorials through Pinterest (left). The Las Vegas, Nevada, stay-at-home mom has used the site to find all kinds of things to create for her baby son, like this blanket (right). She says it was the first thing she ever sewed.
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Baby blanket
Crocheted hats
Ruffle cake
Peanut butter cupcakes
Pumpkin cream cheese bread
Pearl cluster necklace
Home office makeover
Book planter
Rhinestone monogram
Industrial lamp
Rocket packs
Nutella-banana popsicles
Paper stars
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pinterest is a rapidly growing, highly visual online "pinboard"
  • Users can collect items from around the Web and share them with friends
  • The site has gained quite a following in the crafting and DIY community
  • Browse the gallery above to see real-life projects inspired by images found through Pinterest

Editor's note: CNN partnered with Mashable to see how other Pinterest members are using the site to create real-life projects. Click through the photo gallery above to see the things Pinterest users have created (right) and the "pins" that inspired them (left).

(CNN) -- "There is a nasty bug going around," wrote Kelly Ishmael on her blog back in January. "A lot of my friends have been bitten by it and it is highly contagious."

Indeed, it is contagious -- particularly among women. Some might call it addictive, even. Nevertheless, no, this article doesn't belong in the health section. Because the bug that's infected Ishmael, her friends and thousands of women around the world is called Pinterest. And there's no known cure.

Pinterest, for the uninitiated, is a highly visual website that lets users collect -- or "pin" -- items from around the Web. The main thing that separates it from older social bookmarking sites, such as del.icio.us, is its emphasis on images. And it's that visual interest that makes Pinterest -- created by three men, by the way -- so popular among women, whether they're planning a wedding or looking for a craft to try with their girlfriends.

Pinterest grew 400% from September to December last year, and the site's users are about 58% women. Why the appeal? Pinterest user and social media consultant Colleen Pence thinks she knows the answer:

Why all the interest in Pinterest?

"Everything on Pinterest looks so appealing, so gorgeous, so effortless," she wrote on CNN iReport. "And somehow merely viewing these amazing things makes us feel that we can elevate ourselves and -- heck -- our lives to that level of sophistication, creativity and beauty if only we could make/wear/cook/say/invent those things too."

Pinboards, then, serve as inspiration for those who create them. But do those beautiful boards result in any real-life change or creativity? Pence is skeptical, and even Pinterest addict Ishmael admits that she usually spends more time pinning than doing.

"The problem with Pinterest, though, is that I spend a lot of time pinning, pinning, pinning and not enough time trying, trying, trying," she wrote on her blog. So she decided to challenge herself with a venture she's calling 52 Weeks of Pinspiration, during which she'll try out a different Pinterest-inspired project each week and blog about her experience and results.

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