Sunday, 3 August 2014

New Look is Coming Along

It's week 2 of Beautify your Blog. Erin's examples and instructions are really well done. The lesson was on Blog Layouts and Backgrounds.
New background

Erin gave us suggestions for finding wallpaper through Google. It turns out that getting the right wallpaper is tricky. They suggest that if you want to image to cover the full background of the blog, then the image should be 1800 x 1600 or greater. However, the image needs to be under 300k - that's quite small. So if you want a large image, the resolution has to be pretty low; and then you would only see the sides of the wallpaper behind your blog.

Another option is to find a smaller image and tile it. This can work very well, but it really depends on the image. I found a funky but not too strong image at Wallpaper It's relatively small; tiles well; has colour and interest without over-powering the page.

Following Erin's instructions, I also made the test blog wider. I think it's important to show more of the blog and less of the background!

First version of the new look
Although Erin suggests keeping the blog's background (where the writing is located) white, I just found the contrast to be too much. I played with many colours and the one I liked best was the cream. I actually loved the pale pink, but that didn't give the page enough contrast.

I'm not sure is this is my final background design but I'm going with this choice at this time. The great thing about the design is that it can be changed, and it's even easier than painting a room!

Second background choice
Second background choice
I guess I must of had reservations about my choice because after publishing this blog post and making the changes in the Learning & Design blog, I got an idea (oh oh!) When I took the picture of the blog above, it was with the Snipping Tool and I notices when I posted it that it was quite small in, why not take a snippet of one of the backgrounds that I liked but was too large, and see if this would work. Well, it did!
Second option for the new look

Now I have a dilemma - which image should I use? I'm going to post images of both images and blogs. I don't have to decide right away - and if you want to tell me which one you like best, that would be appreciated!

The next two lessons are about creating a header - I can't wait. It would be nice to create something that pops!

What I learned:

  • I loved playing with the background! I seem to be unable to choose anything that is really sedate.
  • Sometimes it's good to consider other tools such as the Snipping Tool to play with your images.
  • I also learned how to add a text gadget at the bottom of the blog to give credit for the image.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Beautifying My Blog Project

Welcome back!

I've been reading many blogs lately (usually of a quilty nature of course!) and came upon Sew at Home Mummy's Beautify your Blog series. There are twelve posts in the series which started a while ago so that her series is now finished. That's how I love series...finished! Now I won't have to wait to go from one post to the next.

The series was created by Erin Davis, an incredibly busy Sew at home mummy who tries to blog at least 3 times a week (that's my objective for the month!!) The series was created specifically for those using I'm going to follow the series and post my results in this blog as I go along.

Are you ready for a design adventure? I'll take that as a yes if you're still reading :-)

Week one Start Here:
There are a series of videos on how to get ready for this Adventure.

Video 1 is "How to back up your blog".  Well, since I really don't like my blog's template, I'm going to take a chance and not back it up. I'm sure that all will go well. Once I've changed my blog to something I love, I'll back it up!

Video 2 is "How to make a test blog". That's probably a good idea. I have created the test blog and will copy the positive results on this blog. I can also use my favourite Snipping Tool to take pictures of the not so positive results or anything else that will help you and I learn to beautify our blog.
Learning & Design Blog - Before Picture
Learning & Design Blog - Before

I've taken a shot of my Learning & Design: What a Combo! blog as it looks before taking this course. My objective is to beautify it!

Video 3 is about inserting a button within the post and on the side of the blog. Although I had figured out a while ago how to insert a button, I did learn something I had been wondering about.... and it's so simple!

I'm not sure if you can see it in the "before" photo, but the title over the button on the right is "Beautify Your Blog Series", which is redundant since that's what the button says! I was wondering how bloggers got comments like "Participating in..." within their side bar. It turns out that they write that comment as the title! You can also include more than one button in the same gadget. 

As for inserting a button in the post, if you don't want to work in html, you can click the button in the options section to "Interpret typed HTML". This means that you can paste the button information directly on your post page and it will interpret the html code for you. This is how I posted this button. I also followed her instructions for changing the alignment of the button from center to left of the page.
Sew at Home Mummy

I can't wait to play with my template. So far I've only changed it to Simple. Stay tuned for more changes.

What I learned:
  • Although I often work with html coding at work, I didn't really make the link to using it for things like the gadgets that are inserted on the blog page. It turns out that they follow the same principle as web pages. I didn't have the code to insert the Grandmother's Choice button but I followed the code pattern of the Beautify Your Blog button and Voila! Isn't it amazing when you can apply things that you know from one domain to another? Now that's real learning.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Ever After?

It's been almost a year... and I was stumped.

I thought that I would keep being inspired to keep up this blog through the fascinating world of course design. Wouldn't you know it, now that I have my certificate in Adult Ed., I'm really having a hard time finding it fascinating! Hopefully this is just temporary.

In my last post, I applied another template to my blog since I wanted to be more "serious". Well, it's just not ME! For something different, I've switched to a different template. This one looks like some wonderful batik fabric. As Oscar Wilde wrote: "Life is too important to be taken seriously", blogging, design, templates, etc.!

Since last August, I've taken another course through Continuing Education at the University of Toronto. This was Writing for the Web. Although I didn't blog throughout the course, I used it extensively to help me with my Quilting and Learning Blog. As I look back at my earlier blogs, I see the difference. It's mostly the details like:

  • creating appropriate links; 
  • knowing how to add Gadgets properly (those buttons on the left); 
  • using bullets and avoiding the "wall of words";
  • keeping a consistent style like my "What I learned" section at the end; as well as 
  • just knowing what to write about!

A recent post
One of my first posts

To continue on my learning journey, I've recently been participating in events offered by the quilting blogging community. Seeing and reading other bloggers' sites is a great way to appreciate what works from the reader's point of view. There's even a Blog Hop for new quilters hosted by Plum and June which includes advice from advanced bloggers to new bloggers. It's really great to read blogger's advice and to see these new bloggers. Getting involved is, however, a lot of work. The trick is to balance the time spent on the computer with actual quilting time.

What I learned:
  • Blogging is wonderful fun. I don't ever want to take it too seriously that I don't do it!
  • Learning can be done in so many ways, from taking a course; putting things into practice; to reading other people's blogs. 
  • Everything is so interconnected! I can use my design knowledge to create web pages and beautiful quilts as well as enjoy art more fully.