Voila! Ta-da! Proudly presenting Debbie Does Doodles 2.0… new and improved! *jazz hands & spirit fingers*
Based on six weeks or so of procrastinating and doodling and mock-ups, I’ve added new header and sidebar images, social media widgets, and a favicon – in the end these were super simple to make and could have been done weeks ago if I’d trusted my instincts and not put so much pressure on making it perfect.
I created the header by doodling on printer paper with a Sharpie (which made much bolder lines than the biro I used previously), scanning the images and then editing using Adobe Photoshop Elements. The fonts used are Pacifico and DK Limoen, both free for non-commercial uses.
The sidebar categories are clickable images, created by scanning strips of my favourite washi tape, reducing to the sidebar pixel width of 225, and then overlaying text in Lobster using PSE. My previous instinct would be to save these as .jpgs but with thanks to Kira of Her New Leaf I knew that these header and sidebar images would be cleaner as .pngs. The images were then uploaded to my WordPress media library and added to a text widget using this guidance from Pugly Pixel (by way of A Beautiful Mess). Similarly the ‘About Me’ tab uses a standard PSE shape cut-out and font NeoRetroDraw.
The social media icons are designed by Carrie Loves who offers loads of different icons in a rainbow of colours for free download. I downloaded a few of my favourite colours, mostly named after food funnily enough, and picked an assortment for this dolly mixture look.
I learned a lot about HTML in the course of implementing these changes. I’m already fairly confident in the basics but discovered just how much you can edit even on a free WordPress blog; at the moment I don’t have the CSS upgrade. There are some great tips online and I’m lucky to have an in-house expert to explain the bits I don’t get – developer boyfriends are the best. I’m planning on sharing some of those HTML tips and the Blogum specific coding used here at some point, but this post is long enough already.
As well as this visual resprucing, I’ve also decided on the following blogging guidelines:
Every post needs an image. Long posts need lots of images. The Internet is so visual and photographs or graphics speak volumes about the content of a post before the reader actually starts on the text part. I’ll admit to retrospectively adding an image to this very brief post last month to accentuate the brilliant quotation only after I realised a couple of days later how dull a text-only post made my home page look.
Compilation images should have numbers or captions, it just makes sense. It’s way easier to reference items on this image of nautical party inspiration than this image, where everything just floats. From a practical point of view, an image that’s clearly labelled is also more pinnable and identifiable on Pinterest, and allows me to use one of the many cool fonts I’m always going on about.
Looooong posts or posts containing lots and lots of images will be separated with the ‘Read More’ tag to avoid dominating the home page with one long post. It does require readers to click through to read the whole post though so I’ll still include an image before the tag in order to give a taste of what to expect.
I want to use my own photographs wherever I possibly can. And when I’m purposefully displaying someone else’s work (i.e. in an inspiration board) I’ll provide a link or credit (or both). I’ve been following this blogging etiquette already on the most part, but there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve needed an image of something obscure and have relied on a cheeky Google image search. Bad Debbie.
This is still a work in progress. The favicon needs improving, I’d like to add another page or two (for the project ideas currently churning around my mind), and better utilise the features of Blogum like the h6 header tag and image galleries. But for now, I’m happy to finally have a blog that I’m proud to show off. We’re hitting the town, my blog and I!