One of the questions we get asked most often is “How did you learn how to do that?” When most people see us building things, making things, fixing things and otherwise working with our hands, they tend to assume that someone taught us. The truth is, B and I aren’t unusual in any way. We don’t come from especially crafty families and we didn’t grow up doing this stuff with our parents. For the most part, we’ve learned everything ourselves. So for anyone who is wondering, “How did you learn how to do that?” I wanted to spend some time talking about how we learn: how we learn to do things, where we learn, who we learn from, what our favorite tools for learning are, etc.
Part 1: The Internet is for Craft Porn
We are incredibly lucky to be living in the Internet Age. Much of what we do (including this blog) would be extremely difficult or impossible without the Internet. The web is probably our #1 resource for learning. As most of you know, it can be a powerful and also overwhelming tool. Here is how we use the Internet to learn things, followed by some of our favorite resources.
- Search selectively. Creating the right search terms, whether on Google or a more specialized site, is vital to finding the information we need. We highly recommend paying attention to this sort of thing. Also, use the right search tool. Google is not always the best option. We also use Wikipedia, other wikis, Instructables, Pinterest, and Etsy. With all of these services, it is important to craft your search query carefully and effectively.
- Check multiple sources. When we are doing a project based on an Internet tutorial or trying to figure out a new technique, we always check multiple sources. Relying on a single source doesn’t give us enough information about what could go wrong or alternative right solutions. We want to find out the greatest range of other people’s tips and experiences and also find out the full range of possibilities for our projects. This means we search for the same things in multiple places, read more than one article, and spend time doing our research before we get started.
- Use blogrolls. When I first discovered the online crafting world, blogrolls were my gateway
blogdrug. I found one author who was publishing tutorials, read their whole site, and then explored every other site on their blogroll. If there is a blog you really like, most likely the author has linked to other sites you will also like and find useful. This is how we have found some of the most helpful blogs in our arsenal (for building plans, painting tips, crafting tutorials, decorating ideas, and more).
Here is a list of our favorite Internet resources.