Monday, May 5, 2008

Bring on the Blogger Magic

I mentioned a few days ago that I learned some new HTML tricks and began updating my own blog and the blog layouts of some of my friends. I wanted to link to few of those updated blogs now, and point you to the hacker sites that helped me immensely.

First and foremost, the three best Blogger Help Sites I've found are always in my sidebar. Blogger Buster is the easiest to use and navigate with an excellent search tool. Next best is Blogger Tips and Tricks with equally good information, it's just a little more difficult to navigate which is why it came in second. Hackosphere is third, primarily because I find most everything else I need to know on the other two sites. There are many more Blogger hacking sites out there, but since I'm not technically savvy, I need tech baby talk, and that's what I find at the sites suggested.

As for layouts I've modified, my own blog has been updated -- look around. I added a third column some time ago by modifying my Minima template, but I recently made all of my columns a bit narrower so I could add a free background I found online. I changed the color of my post background to white and changed the opacity to 100%. I built the new header at Scrapblog, saved it, cropped it, and uploaded it into Blogger. I love the repetition of the circles in the background and header.

For my friend Elizabeth, I changed the template from a three-column template she found online to the two-column Blogger Minima template. I added a third column, changed the background using an image I uploaded into Photobucket, changed the color and opacity of the post background, and created a header at Scrapblog. For the header, I used two of her favorite pictures, and built the header around them, using colors, textures, and elements that remind me of all things Elizabeth.

Amy has been my guinea pig. More than once she's logged in to post and found a totally new blog. I appreciate her patience immensely. She has the Minima template, and I built the header for her at Scrapblog using a picture her daughter Allie took. I added a background from an online source, changed the color and opacity of the post background, and made her two columns a bit wider to coordinate with the header.

To update my friend Randi's blog, I applied a background found online and used its colors as inspiration. We tried several headers and settled on the bright one that coordinates with the dots on the background. The cute picture of her kids' feet was swiped from her sidebar. As for the rest of the header, Randi found a Scrapblog template she liked, so I pulled the main components off of it and used it with the coordinating header background. Randi wanted a grey post background, so we tried shade after shade until we found one that coordinated with the blog background. The post title color was changed to orange to tie into the Mad About Martha button -- a site where Randi contributes. I was so pleased to discover thereafter that orange is a favorite color.

DeDe wanted something simple. She said, "I love blue and Monet." I also knew she loved purple. For her blog, I switched her to the Minima Blue template, made the two columns wider, built a header using a pretty Monet-esque image and her life verse, and changed her post title color to a purple that coordinates with her header.

Jenny's blog was the first one I put together without a lot of input, and I'm very pleased with the result. She mentioned she liked green and had a picture of the boys in the paintbrush. I'd just stumbled across that grey-green background and wanted to use it. Jenny also suggested some quote about little boys, though she didn't have a particular quote in mind -- I love the one I found and personally feel like it fits my impression of the James parents. In the header, I dropped in hints of pink. (Once when doing something scrapbooky with Jenny, she mentioned she dresses her boys in pink for Easter just so she can build a pink page. I thought she might like to look at some pink in her blog.) Because she's a piano teacher and loves music, I used Scrapblog stickers that incorporated sheet music and the other colors I'd chosen, and I feel they tie the whole thing together. Then, like everyone else, I made her two columns wider. Doing so compresses a post a bit, which means reading doesn't require as much scrolling and uploaded images with text beside fit much better.

Emily and my other friend Amy have blogs in progress. I made a new Scrapblog header for Emily, altered her column widths, and changed the post background color and opacity. I'm currently in the process of trying on red backgrounds. For Amy, I uploaded a background she found online and wanted to use, then I changed the post background color and opacity. I'm waiting to get some pictures from her and will build a header at that time.

The last blog layout I completed was for my friend Jennifer. First of all, I should point out that I belong to an Aggie family. Though I personally didn't graduate from Texas A&M, my husband did and he's extraordinarily passionate about his school. There has been a bitter rivalry between Texas A&M and The University of Texas since the beginning of time or that whole BEVO thing -- I can't remember which.

As for our family, our kids are seven and five, and I've only just now convinced James to allow our kids to consider other colleges. (I knew it may take years to change his mind, so the negotiations started before potty training.) After many long discussions, he's agreed to pay for any school the kids choose, as long as that school is not The University of Texas. (He's kidding, I hope.)

Anyway, with that issue out of the way, we've dressed our kids in maroon since birth, they know how to "Gig 'em" and "Whoop," we've taken them to so many Aggie games, and we taught them The Aggie War Hymn around the same time they were learning Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. My friend Jennifer, however, is a UT Grad and she and her family are equally passionate the other way.

That said, let me buffer what you're about to see with the Aggie War Hymn:

Also, let me quickly say that if there were an Aggie posted at the entrance to Heaven, this blog layout pretty much guarantees me a one-way ticket straight to the deepest, darkest, and most fiery chasm in Hell. (Particularly when I tell you it's one of my favorite layouts.) Here's Jennifer's blog.

Aggies of the world, have mercy on me.


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