Talking about needles and pins brings up the subject using a thimble. Not much you can say here. Some people hate thimbles—I can’t sew without one! There are many kinds—leather thimbles, open-ended thimbles, stick-on thimbles, tailors thimbles, and so forth. Using a thimble will save your fingers. Plus it's easier to push the needle through thick fabrics or leather. Once you get used to sewing with one, you won't be able to sew without it.
Find one that fits your sewing style and use it. It will save your fingers. And your sewing will go that much faster!
Beeswax is used to smooth and strengthen thread. Don’t just run your thread through it and sew! It will come out goopy and leave little waxy bits on your fabric. Run your thread through the bee’s wax cake and then sandwich it between two sheets of paper. Printer paper works fine and is cheap. THEN press it with your iron—the wax will melt into the thread. It will slide through the fabric like greased lightning and won’t leave any white marks on the fabric!