Friday, August 26, 2011

Growing Pains

WARNING: Your input is required!!

My little bloggity-blog has been on my mind a LOT lately.  I feel like I've learned SO MUCH about design and decorating in the past few years, and this has been largely from blogs like all of yours that I read every day (does it take everyone else over an hour to catch up on all of the bogs you follow?  I think I'm waaaaay too addicted to this thing).  And I really feel like my projects are growing and maturing and I'm getting more gutsy with the things I trust myself to tackle. 

**Although I must remind myself that the first project I did was to completely repaint my kitchen cabinets, which I suppose was pretty "gutsy"**

I also felt pretty darned pleased with myself this week for being able to fit in time for blogging in my full time work schedule (I blogged one more time than I promised myself I would - success!), as well as learning to edit my photos which has been a longtime goal of mine, not that I have in any way "arrived."  This weekend I'm going to learn how to make buttons for my blog (using this tutorial!), which surely catapults me into the big leagues. ;)  I will have photo skills, original content, buttons, and 38 (as of today) followers.  I can't believe 1 person out there (apart from Eric who is forced by the ring on his left hand) wants to listen to me babble on about decor and food every day, much less 38 of you - so THANK YOU!!  You really have no idea how excited I get when I open up my inbox and I see that someone has commented - it makes my day!!

**I usually post a ton of pictures and since you're probably wondering if there will be any pictures in this post, I don't want to disappoint...
It's the best I could do on short notice.  Aaaaaanyway...

All of this being said (is this post going somewhere, you ask?  She's already posted about a llama in a scarf, what more could there be?), I feel like I can trust myself with blogging, meaning it's not a "fad" for me personally.  I've been doing this for over a year now, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep it up for even a month.  My enthusiasm keeps growing, and the people I've met are alone enough for me to keep continuing this journey. 

There's just one little fly in the ointment... One little thing that make me get a bit cringe-y (<- word?) when I look at my blog...  my layout.  I know, friends...  It's been the elephant in the room for a while hasn't it? You read my blog and wonder why I'm still using the standard Blogger templates?  (OK, you probably don't notice or care, let's be honest, but I do!)

Strangely Wonderfully, this blog has become something I'm really proud of.  I see people I haven't talked to in FOREVER and the first thing they mention is how they read my blog every day and love that I update regularly.  First off, I'm INCREDIBLY flattered, and then I start thinking about how I wish the look of my blog was more... me? 

It all boils down to this: I need suggestions for blog layouts.  And I'm going to get picky here and say that I want a layout that's ORIGINAL.  This means that I'm really not very interested in the free downloadable templates, unless they are unavailable to others after I download it.  (Is this snotty?  I hope not, I just want to be unique...)  I am willing to pay a reasonable amount ( < $50-ish) for someone to design one for me, if need be or to download a "limited edition" type thing, if such things exist.  I would love to have sections along the top where I could categorize projects (a "Ted" tab is a MUST), and an AMAZING looking header must be part of the deal.  Can anyone help?  Have you used anyone for your blog, or have you run across a blog designer who is just fantabulous??  I want to know!!  Thank you all for your help.  With your suggestions, this kitchen table will be a little more classy-looking soon. 

But while I can still get away with posting ridiculous oddities (honestly, will I ever NOT post ridiculous oddities??), here's a Texan para-sailing llama:

See, wasn't that undeniably enjoyable?  Happy Friday, friends!


  1. I have the ol' standard Blogger template and I think it works (you can tell me otherwise, I can take it..and it would be good to know!). I did everything on my blog myself. I am too cheap to spend money on the blog so I figure out ways to make things work! (You can make the separate pages (so Ted's head can get really big like Ike's) in the standard Blogger).

    E-mail me if you would like me to share my lack of wisdom! (decorandthedog at gmail)

  2. I feel your blogger pain, as I too am using a standard blogger template (with some tweaking here and there as well as a half finished header har har). I've gone through many changes with the blog, keeping elements I like, deleting those that are cumbersome and non-appealing. It will take some time, and growing pains to get everything 'just right' if you plan on finding the solution yourself.

    I would definitely check out some of the many blogger walk-throughs out there (via blogger forums & google) that give you step-by-step instructions on how to personalize your blog. CSS ans XHTML can be scary, but most of the walk-throughs all but hold your hand to get you through it.

    If you are looking for hobbyist coding or pro help, definitely check out people who are building their portfolios rather than those who have already established themselves with clients, as those just getting into the game will have more affordable & realistic quotes as well as time to dedicate to the project.

    Picnik, fotoflexr, GIMP and Picasa are great free options for use when tackling web design DIY.

    Check out

    She has great, easy-to-follow blog tutorials. She has how to create a background and things like that.

    Also, here are two bloggers who do design for what would be considered 'starter' rates:

    hope that helps :)

  3. I love those llama shots. :)

    Not to over-complicate things and ruin your life, but have you thought about making the switch to wordpress while you're redesigning? My need for a redesign is what prompted my switch, and it was a giant headache but SO worth it.

    OR -- stick with blogger. That's cool too. :)

    I bet if you could sketch out what you want your blog to look like, you could probably make it happen on your own, just by googling around. You're a savvy DIYer, you could totally do it!

    Good luck with whatever you choose!

  4. I've been doing my blog for over 3 years now without a fancy schmancy blog. One day I'd love Isaac to do a custom design for me, but I'm a firm believer that if the blog content is good (photos, DIY's, writing style, post orgainization, etc) your blog could be super ugly (which it's not!) and still gain in readership. I'd start with brainstorming what you want to blog to be, simply a weekend hobby, business, money maker, etc. Knowing how the life of your blog will really direct where & how you move forward I feel like. If it's just a hobby, using a template might not be such a bad option, ie: affordable. A custom blog design will run you thousands of dollars, which I feel would be necessary if the readership is up & content is good. Most blogs with a custom design job have upwards of 10,000 visits a month. The 300 visits I get a day, and still feeling my content isn't up to par, I've got my work cut out for me :) also have you thought about switching to wordpress? It's a lot simpler, cleaner, offers better service/templates, and if a custom design does come in the future the designer/programmer will most likely do it in wordpress, it's all going there (says my designer huz) Just a thought, could save a big headache down the road. Happy blogging! xoxo