Friday, November 26, 2010

How to Change your Background

Okay. Ready for this super easy "How to Change your Blog Background" tutorial? Let's Do it.

Blogger's has a sweet Template Designer that eliminates the need to play around with that messy HTML code! It helps you change lots of options on your blog such as font colors, links, borders, templates, AND backgrounds!

This is especially nice if you want to create your own background from Digital Scrapbooking kits in Photoshop or another editing program and upload them directly through blogger. Or, you could just as easily choose any photo from your computer or on the web.

Here's how to change your blog's background:

1. From your blogger Dashboard click on "Design".

2. You should be taken to the "Page Elements" page under the "Design" tab. There's this nifty little "Template Designer" button. Click on it.

3. In the left column click on "Background" and next to the background image is a little down arrow. Click on that too.

4. A window pops up that looks like this. Click on "Upload Image" at the top left. Then you can "Browse" through your files to find an image for your background. They recommend 1800x1600 pixels.

I made my background image at 1600x1100 px/in and it ended up being too big and gets cut off on the bottom of the screen. Then I figured out that my computer monitor has a resolution of 1600x900, but in my browser window I have all the toolbars on top and bottom so the actual height that I can see is probably only about 675px. so that's why I can't see the whole background.

*TIP- If you are designing your own background from scratch*

Depending on other people's screen resolutions they might see more or less of the background than you can. A helpful tip  *You should try designing your website for your audience. But you might not know what type of screen resolutions your visitors have if you don't have analytics set up for your site..... That's okay. I have found that 1280x1024 and 1024x768 seems to be the most common sizes and I'll show you how to optimize your design for all screen types by tiling your image. So that, for instance, even I can see your design across my entire screen at 1600px wide.

Anyways, back to the tutorial.....

5. After your image has uploaded, click on it so it is highlighted in orange and hit "Done".

Now you should see this:

6.  Click on the drop down arrow next to "Alignment". Select the top middle button (which will pull your background up to the top of the window and center it).

7. Then click on the next drop down arrow below, mine says "Don't tile", I'm not sure if this is the default so yours might say something else.

Okay here's where it will matter what screen size other people have and how much of your background they will be able to see.

I think the best solution is to "Tile" your image. This means that your image will repeat on the sides and bottom of your website, which works out nicely if someone has a larger screen than your background image.  *If you choose "Don't tile" then other people with larger screen resolutions than your photo will see white space (mine is gray space) around your background image. Which doesn't look very pretty and appealing.   ;-)

Here's a few examples:

Tile Vertically *notice the gray areas to the sides where it is not tiled

Tile Horizontally *notice the bottom is gray, (the top is not because we aligned our image to the top).

Completely tiled (looks like 6 of the same picture)

"Don't Tile" option

Now keep in mind that in the above examples I have my browser zoomed way way out to see so much of the background.

8. Now this is a personal preference, but I like a "static" background, which means it doesn't move when you scroll up and down, so I leave "Scroll with page" unchecked.  But if your background has a nice repetitive style you might want to experiment with it. On the other hand, if your background is busy it might distract too much from your content with so much going on.

Play around with that for a second and decide which way you like best.

Almost done...........

9. Last thing to do is make our blog transparent so your background shows through. In the left column click on "Advanced", then "Backgrounds" in the second column.

Now Change all the color settings to "transparent".

**On a side note, if your background image is dark, or too busy and distracting you might want to leave these settings alone, but this is where you could change their color if you wanted.

10. Just click on "Apply to Blog" in the upper right hand corner to save your changes.

Yay! You're done! Good Job!  Now Click on "back to blogger" and it will take you back to your "page elements" tab. From there just click on "View Blog".

I hope everything worked for you and this tutorial was helpful, not confusing! :-) Aren't you so excited now that you can change your blog background as often as you like? I SURE AM!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Do you like?

So, I just learned how to change my blog's background, header, font, and font colors!!

It's about time too! I've been playing around with Photoshop long enough now to know a thing or two about Digital layouts..... which is exactly what I used for my background and header!!!

Do you want to know how I did it?? Guess what, it's SO easy! And tomorrow I'm gonna give you a walk through on how to do it.

BTW, the picture of my family in the Header is from 1 1/2 years ago, we all look a little different now.... and I am a brunette not blond anymore. :-)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

LadyBug Birthday Party

Let me start by saying, even though I put a lot of time and effort into this party I still didn't get even half of the things I wanted done for it in time........ I ended up scrapping a bunch of ideas, one of which was the adorable Happy Birthday banner than was halfway finished.  Sad.  :-(      I guess I really need to work on my time management skills if I want to make this into a business......   Anyway, here we go............

When I decided to do a Ladybug theme I had a brilliant idea to make the invitation into a Ladybug......... apparently I am not the only person to have this idea since there are about 15 other ladybug invites I found online. I scraplifted some ideas from different ones that I liked, then threw in some of my own ideas, and ended up with this.

***Edited to add: These LadyBug Invitations 
are now for sale in my ETSY shop!!***

I wanted the invitation to be square, not ladybug shaped, but just sticking the ladybug onto paper didn't appeal to me, so I added a cute punched border. The wings are hinged with brads to open and close. They are embossed with a raised swirl design and I made the black dots with black embossing powder on cardstock cut into circles so they are really shiny and plastic-y.  I don't think that's a!

I found the clever wording somewhere and thought it was adorable so I just customized it to fit our party. If you click on the picture it will take you to the pic where you can see it larger.

Had to have googly eyes of course, and I added the beaded antennae strung onto wire so they are moveable. The invites were just so fun and interactive that several of the little girls loved playing with it!

This is just too cute not to share, my friend wrote this to me......

"Sophie and I will be at the party for sure. She can't wait. She was showing Claire (1 month old baby) the invitation telling her that she gets to go to a party and Claire was following the invitation with her eyes. I guess she likes the black and red and white. Anyways, now whenever Claire cries, Sophie runs to get the invitation to make her stop crying. It's pretty cute!"

So Sweet! Moving on.........

*WARNING!* Like all my other party posts, this one has over 30 pictures....heehee.

I made little tutus, wings, and headband antennae for all the children to wear. It was soooo cute!

Once again, I didn't have a photographer.... so this picture was taken after most the kids had already arrived. When you walk into the house, I had the tutus lined up on the edge of a table with the wings and headbands lined up on top. I made 12 sets of wings, 8 tutus (for only the girls), and 15 headbands. As the kids arrived I dressed them all up by the door and they went off to run around with the other ladybugs. If anyone is interested, here's the links for instructions to make the tutus and wings.

Wings, Tutus, Ribbon, Cutting Tulle

I only had one game for them planned, it worked out since they were going to have dinner there wasn't a lot of time for games. We had two Elefun games going at the same time. The Elephant blows a puff of air and some little butterfly thingy's fly out of this long plastic trunk. Then the kids run around catching them in their nets. It was chaotic, but fun.

Of course you also have to pick them up and put them back in the elephant to keep the game going lol!
There was also a bunch of toys around the kids played with.

At the beginning of the party this part of the ceiling was COVERED in ballons. But, the kids were having a great time trying to get them down, so it looked like this by the time I got a picture of it.

For dinner we made Spaghetti and Meatballs with Garlic Bread for everyone, kids and parents too! I figured at least if they got messy it wouldn't show on their red and black clothes! Lol! :-) I put some black spots (made with vinyl) on the glass pitcher that had red Kool-Aid in it and on all the children's cups.

By the way, my husband cooked the dinner! He was such a big help doing that for me!!

There wasn't a lot of candy or treats, since most of the kids were under 3 and I figured with dinner and cake and ice cream we didn't need a lot of sweets. So there was cake, cupcakes, and cookies. That's it.

I tried my hand at making a ladybug shaped cake. Not too bad I think... Nothing glamorous or anything, but turned out cute.

Ethan was so sweet helping EmmaLee blow out the candles and clapping for her! Then chowing down on some cake!

EmmaLee got cold in her short sleeve shirt so we borrowed a sweater (which kills me that it doesn't match) while she was opening some presents. Plus it was sad that it covered up the shirt I made for her in all these photos.

Oh yeah, I made her a "6" shirt. I used a scrap of the shiny red fabric I used for the wing elastics and table cover. I just printed out a 6 from my computer (reversed) and glued it to the back of some fusible heat and bond. Then ironed the heat and bond to the back of the red fabric. Cut out the number, peeled off the backing of the heat and bond, then ironed it onto the shirt. I wanted to sew around the number so it didn't start to peel off while she wore it but since the shirt was cotton I was afraid it would stretch weird in my sewing machine. I just ironed some interfacing to the inside of the shirt before sewing and it worked perfectly!

I asked my artistic friend Carolyn (black and pink baby shower) to make a cardboard mushroom for me to use as a prop and portrait background. She did an amazing job!

I had Tyson attach some boards to it so it would stand up on its own, but I made sure to crop the boards out of most the photos. The grassy background is a roll of paper I bought at Michaels. Who knew they had stuff like that there!!?

You can see the roll of paper in the photo below.

And, lastly here are some of the cute portraits I got. I'm no photographer.... so if you know of someone who will do it for me for a future event (cheap), I would love to hear! But... I can't afford  $50 for someone to take pictures for 30 minutes.... That's like paying $100/ hour!  It seems that's the going rate right now for an amateur photographer. Which is a killer deal for family portraits, or baby photos, or whatever.... but a little over my current party budget. :-( Maybe once I get an actual paying gig........ Did I just say "gig"?!!! HaHa!

Sadly, I didn't have time to make my signature "matching shirt", which is something I want to do so I will coordinate with my party's theme. So I'm in red and black.

Thanks for looking! Hope you liked my party! Pass along my info if you know someone who wants help throwing a party!! I really need some clients! Lol!

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