Sunday 31 October 2010

Farewell Blogtoberfest – it’s Been a Blast! {Blogtoberfest #31}

So, 31 days of frantic blank page paranoia later, eh? 

I think I missed about 3 posts, but then Blogtoberfest crash-landed into the first few weeks of a very busy term, so I think I managed quite well. Yada Yada Yada

I have had such an amazing time that I thought I’d pick 10 (random and in no particular order!)  blogs that I first visited this month to share:

(if I missed you out this time round, please don't fret - I'm going to do this regularly)

(Don’t forget you can enter my final Blogtoberfest giveaway here until 7th Nov!)

Chantal Vincent Art
blog banner chantal
I love Chantal's funky prints and her avatar!  I collect ceramic cicadas and have one by my front door, so I feel we bonded without
even knowing! 

Cath has a great blog, balancing life, craft, kids and humour – we secretly bonded over one of her favourite books – The Art of Looking Sideways – one of mine too!  I loved the meme she did as we all started to run out of steam!

Sarah has some really gorgeous vintage style there – both thrifted and handmade – fab – especially the vintage knitting – we also share a love of beetroot, so I’m very squeaky about the beetroot hummus recipe


Sarah’s blog led me to Gertie’s – her first inspiration was to sew all 14 vintage styles from Vogue’s New Book for Better sewing – but there’s much much more – including some really fine tutorials


autumn 09 header2
What a lovely blog!  Great craftyness, super kids clothes, and a real feeling for family life.  Hard to pick a favourite post but I’m plumping for the rhubarb and lemon cake for the combination of lovely photography and stonkingly good recipe!

One Flew Over-3
What this lady can do with solid colours and beautiful quilting just amazes me – every piece is so tranquil and I want them all!  But her use of pattern is fantastic too – just look at Gerald!


bellgirl etsy logo 880

Annabel grows veg, sews, has kids and does all with a real zest for life.  I love her blog and we bonded over sewing nerdy platonic solids! 

Check out her dodecahedron bowling ball with these cute owls!


Larissa celebrates nature and sewing with such intelligence and wit – I was lucky enough to win her giveaway for one of her spirit dolls too!

spirit dolls gift
I speak Melsh

Blog header pic

I love Mel’s blog for her photography, her crafting and her sense of humour – take a look at the interview and the interview!

It’s All About the Fabric

all about

Emma’s blog is choc full of fantastic fabric addict drooling, great crafting and a fab vibe.
She had such a
fun giveaway (even though I didn’t win!) but the guessing was hysterical!

Not all these bloggers were necessarily part of Blogtoberfest, but if not, they left comments on those that were.  I visited about 200 Blogtoberfest blogs this month but maybe just as many again from comments …

I love the serendipity of comments sections – do you? How do you find new people to visit?  Do you feel that your Reader is out of control?! – tell all!

and in case you had amnesia while scrolling  … you can enter my final Pay it Forward Blogtoberfest giveaway here!

Sunday Stash #10 - Pay it Forward Giveaway - Sarah Fielke bundle –{Blogtoberfest # 31}

How cool is this?
I entered a giveaway on Sarah Fielke’s blog, launching her
‘From Little Things’ line of beautiful fabrics … and won …
Ripple dissolve a couple of weeks and look what landed softly on my doormat …
somebody stop me!
         sounds so unimportant …

… but look at the sender name!
aren’t these just delicious?

so now for the pay it forward bit …
I’ve had such an interesting three months of blogging.  I’ve learned so much and this month I’ve blog-hopped to some tremendous spaces through both Blogtoberfest and the Scrappy {Hoops} swap .
  • A big thank you to {tinniegirl} and CurlyPops for organising the fun-packed 31 days that was Blogtoberfest!
  • A big thank you to everyone who stopped by and left a comment or took part in the giveaways …
Everyone who has ever left a comment, or is a follower, automatically already has one chance to win half of my Sarah Fielke’s ‘From Little Things’ bundle.  (Yes, that’s 4 FQs, to be chosen by me) 

If you want a(nother) chance to win, just leave a comment below telling me what you’d do with them if they were to land on your doormat?

I’ll make the draw in a week – 7th November  

Gift with a bow Happy Sunday Gift with a bow

Saturday 30 October 2010

My {Nerdy} Creative Space #10 {Blogtoberfest #30}

My creative space this week has been spent entirely in the ether, in an attempt to have a bit of a template clean up and to organise my nerdy world a bit.

I’ve been wanting to change things here for a while, but haven’t had the time to sit and let my inner geek play with deeper stuff like code.  

I was so utterly physically exhausted after my trip to Cardiff & Bristol with 30 students (very slow walkers with no traffic sense!) that it seemed the perfect time to knuckle down and zone out in front of my screen.

I’ve embedded the links to where I found the nerdy tweaking tutorials/resources to save you time searching for this stuff.  If you want to cut to the chase they’re also in a little list at the bottom of this post!
EmbroideryHoop4So, first some blog de-stashing:
  • Out goes the polka dot template from Shabby Blogs - lovely as it is, it was doing my head in a bit – I feel the need for more white space! They do have some lovely templates, buttons and winkies though.
  • <-- In comes a third column to keep things tidy

  • In comes a ME ME ME page - tab at the top - to keep the sidebars free for NOW stuff!

  • In comes a new coloured tag/label cloud (using this great RGB colour chart – my top tip is to choose 2 colours that contrast strongly because then you get a better range of colours for frequency)

  • In come much more flexible comments from intensedebate – I first saw this on The Coffee Lady’s blog and really liked it - now I can reply to your comments inline with them, rather than under the latest comment – or directly by email.  You can either embed it as a widget (which is easier but may make your page load more slowly) or straight into the template code (not that tricky – but save your template first!)

EmbroideryHoop4Talking of Dashboards - I use the Blogger In Draft dashboard – I never knew it existed but it’s so much better than the standard one, if you haven’t tried it … settings and stats are easily navigated through.
I’ve been experimenting with widgets that let visitors post links, so far I’m quite happy with this one at inlinkz, but I’m going to try this one at Linkytools next for more blog-hopping opportunities.

EmbroideryHoop4 I’ve changed my Blog Reader - Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always used Google Reader and I love it.

But with my current state of dodgy internet connection and less time in the evenings because of work or being on the go, I really need a reader that I can use offline.  

It took a while, but then I found Feed Demon
feed demon

Yay!  Love at first sight – you can get it to “prefetch” all your unread items (you can customise this really well so that it even saves links) and then you can read at your leisure … 

If, like me, you’re subscribed to what looks like the entire interweb, it takes a while to fetch, so my next geeky task is to start tagging the blogs I follow so that I can further tweak the Demon …

And finally, I’ve changed how I write my blog – for good!
My daily blogging through Blogtoberfest left me increasingly frustrated with how New Blogger resembles New Labour with all its broken promises … so, I’ve been trying out Windows Live Writer for the past couple of weeks – you may have noticed how much better the pictures are ‘sitting’ within the page, and how much more consistent things like line breaks are? 

I can’t tell you how much it sticks in my craw to rave about a Microsoft product, but rave I must! It’s a quick and easy download, you can import your blog theme (and all the tags) for accurate previews, WORK OFFLINE, save locally and upload to draft or publish, including publishing in advance. 

It allows you to do so much more than the conventional Blogger interface. Tables are a doddle, as are pictures, videos, hyperlinking and colours.   

I love it to pieces and I thank all the people out there in the Blogolopolis who gave it a go and good reviews for me to follow suit.

Honestly, if you just try ONE THING, give it a go! You won’t look back and you’ll soon forget all that awful clunky action on Blogger. It also has a word count! 

ahem … 846 words – time to stop!

EmbroideryHoop4So, that’s the end of my geeky nerdy round up – *phew* Thanks for sticking with it and I hope you find something useful!  Here are all the links again, without my gabbing:
I’ll be back with some yummy sewing stuff to see out Blogtoberfest in style … 

In the meantime, why not take the new comments form out for a spin with your top nerdy/blogging tip, or tell me what you think of my new look? 

Tuesday 26 October 2010

A little interlude ... {Blogtoberfest #26}

Hello fellow Blogolopolis dwellers 

A brief interlude while I sit on a coach for a day or two on some university trips!  

First off to Cardiff

Then on to Bristol ...

I'll try to get a proper post in somewhere along the line 

The Hexies and the {Hoop} are good travelling companions! 
(which is more than can be said for 30 international teenagers at 7am!)


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