Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Major Overhaul on One of My Blogs (2)

Change is always difficult but I find major changes to my blogs are a bit more difficult mainly because I get used to their look and feel.  Overhauling my cooking blog created more than a few doubts, a bit of nostalgia and more than a healthy dose of frustration.  I like Blogger's Rounders template so used that for 5 of my then six blogs.  I modified and tweaked that template by using backgrounds, headers and title graphics that I made myself.  This time I decided to go with a new template called Picture Window by Josh Peterson.  So here is how the overhaul went.

  • template - The new template is sleeker and more streamlined than Rounders while keeping a couple of elements like the rounded corners.  I liked that the new template has a scrolling main panel simply because I like that type of movement on blogs.
  • colours - I kept the pink and grey theme. The pink has been a trademark of my cooking blog since it began because at that time my kitchen actually was pink.  When we moved here in 2007 the kitchen was green so I tried to update my cooking blog colours to reflect the new kitchen.  That was met with an outcry from my readers who wanted the pink.  The new background is the same background used in the pink and grey polkadot background just stripped down to colour and texture only.  The grey just compliments pink nicely reminding me of a favourite pink and grey jumper I had as a child. 
  • title header - I've have had my own titles headers almost since the start of this blog.  A title header was one of the first graphics I made for my cooking blog.  The name of the blog came from an actual wooden hanging decoration building that stands about 10 - inches tall.  It graced the top of the bulkhead of my then pink kitchen so despite not having a lot of experience at that time with Photoshop® I decided to take a picture of the building then worked painfully to remove the background.  After much frustration I finally had the building sans background so worked on making my first header.  That building has remained part of my title ever since.  When I tried to update the header to show the graphic there was a a bit of a blogger glitch so it wouldn't upload but it did leave the title of the blog in plain font.  So I changed the colour then increased the size as a temporary fix but I actually liked the way it looked so created a new title graphic using Apple Chancery font complete with drop shadow and background to fit the existing background without the building graphic.  The next day I tried uploading the finished graphic and finally got it to work.  I liked the looks of the new header so decided for the first time to go with a simpler header. 
  • graphics - I removed a lot of graphics like the sub-title headers.  Even though the existing ones were optimized they no longer fit the new design.  At the moment I am liking the sleeker, cleaner design without the sub-title graphics but I may make a set of new ones using Apple Chancery front. 
  • page tabs - I added page tabs for some of the information such as copyright policy to make it easier to find.  The tabs highlight this information as a link to load only when a reader is interested so I like that idea.
  • lower sidebar split - I liked that the sidebar allows the splitting of the lower sidebar.  I used that feature to shorten the length of the sidebar while keeping most of the same content.
  • a clean-up - I went through widgets and sidebar links eliminating all that no longer suited the blog. 
  • a new information area - I added an area above posts as a for your information zone.  I'll use this space for important information, polls, contests and that type of thing.
Problems:
  • So far the major problem I'm having is changing my blog background using CSS editor in the advanced tab of template designer.  I've tried several times but it hasn't worked.  The current background is in place using javascript so if a reader has JS turned off they don't see the blog as it should be seen.  Every time I turn off the JS to see how the CSS background works it reverts to the original background by the auther.


2 comments:

John | English Wilderness said...

I love the new design. Did you figure out the background problem in the end? It should be possible to use body {background: url(http://website.com/background.jpg)} in the custom CSS. If not, it's fairly easy to edit the template code.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi John :) Thanks so much! I got the background to work but occasionally onload it still shows the original background of the theme so will go into edit html and change it there.

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