blogging,  graphics,  writing

A new look…baby steps in blog-building

When I first relaunched my blog earlier this year, I wanted it to go live as soon as possible, so I somewhat hurriedly created a look I could live with for a while, but I knew I would eventually want to change it. Having resisted the temptation to constantly revise the appearance of my blog, but now having had some time to mull over what kind of look I wanted, it’s finally time to unveil it. It is far from perfect, but I like it. Even more, I’m proud because I did it myself. I considered using a template/background from one of the sites that supply them (there are some really cute ones at Shabby Blogs and The Cutest Blog on the Block, plus some great tutorials) but decided I wanted a completely custom look. This meant two things:

1. It would take longer, and

2. I would have to learn how to use HTML code finally.

Creating the graphic elements was fun, but then again, that’s been something I enjoy as a hobby since I learned just enough about it to be dangerous in a previous job. I experimented with all manner of backgrounds before coming up with this one. I don’t know why vintage French graphics are so alluring to me, but I find them charming. “C’est comme ca…” means “It’s like this…”, which I thought was totally appropriate. (Plus I hear this phrase fairly often in my job. Witnesses in court often say things like, “See, it’s like this….”, which is usually followed by something intriguing/incriminating/gross.)

And I just adore the photo of my son in the swing. Not a single care in the world.

I also took some stock social media buttons but put my own “shabby chic” kind of spin on them in a photo editor.

Turns out, HTML and CSS aren’t so scary after all (and open up all kind of possibilities), but then again, at this point I am just scratching the surface.

There are so many different ideas out there for blogs, and so many that I like, but this feels like me.

Technical stuff

What do I use for graphics? If you have a Mac (or an iPad), FX Photo Studio is a pretty user-friendly tool with tons of options. Also, iStudio Publisher does just about everything I need in a layout software. (I’m not a fan of spending big bucks on software when there are cheap alternatives that get the job done. That said, one of these days, I’m going to break down and get Adobe CS. As much for InDesign and Illustrator as for Photoshop.)

Some sites I found really helpful:

As a side note, I am a total font junkie. I have over 500 installed on my computer (and links to others I like saved on Pinterest, you know, in case I don’t already have one that works). And I love them all. Even Helvetica, which I hear may have been Steve Jobs’ favorite font. 

I plan on adding more features as I go, like tabs for recipes and other things. There’s just no telling, really.

I’m still learning, but I’m picking up more blogging skills everyday. Constructive criticism and any tips you’d like to share are welcome.

What do you think? And what are your favorite blog-building tips?


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