Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Start a blog. It's easy, really!

Starting a blog is easier than you think.  Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

1.  Go to www.blogger.com and create a username and password.  If you already have a google account, then you don't need to make a new one.

2.  Click on "new blog" and then choose a title for your blog and a blog address.  They will tell you if the name you want is already taken.

3.  Choose a template.  I chose "simple" for mine.  You can always change it anytime you want.

4.  Under "settings" you can decide if you want to make your blog private, semi-private or public.  You can add up to ten email addresses to get notified every time you post.  Under "posts and comments" within the "settings" button, you can decide who can comment and if it has to be cleared by you before it shows up on the blog.  Personally, I like anyone to comment (I can delete their comment at any time), I like it to show up instantly, I like to be verified by email when someone comments and I put the word verification option to "no".  I know that when I comment on other blogs, I hate having to prove I'm not a robot.  It takes too long.

5.  Under "gadgets" you can set up how your blog looks.  The "header" is always at the top, but you can choose what if anything is along the sides and you can move them around in any order you'd like.  You can add a picture of your family, your favorite site lists, a button taking the reader to another site and much more.

6.  If you click on "templates" and then "customize" you can change the look of your blog.  You can change the color of your background, choose different colors, fonts and sizes of the text and adjust the width of your header.

7.  If you want a fancier blog background, you can use a third party design from a site like www.thecutestblogontheblock.com and follow their instructions on how to embed their code into your blog template.

You can just use your blog name as your header or you can upload a picture to use.  If you want something fun and with a little more style, you can make your own header.  Don't get freaked out, it's easier than you think.

If you are familiar with Photoshop Elements, you can create one there.  I made this one for my family blog last week.  It should have only taken me about 15 minutes to make it but it took 30 because I couldn't decide on which brush to use.

1.  I made my canvas 1000 pixels by 250 pixels.  You can make your any size you want, but I generally stay between 850 and 1200 wide by 200 and 300 pixels tall.
2.  I dropped gray from the paint bucket into the background.
3.  I chose a brush from my collection and stamped it in white onto a new layer.  I took the opacity down a bit.
4.  Then I chose a fancy frame outline and placed it where I wanted it.
5.  I brought in my picture on a layer above the frame outline and clipped the photo to it (press Alt while hovering the move tool in the middle of the two layers on the layer pallet, then click when the cursor icon changes.)
6.  I finished it up by writing our name in white and adding drop shadow.

I made a header in Photoshop recently for my daughter's fundraiser blog, where she was trying to sell scarves.  It was a temporary blog so I just wanted something quick and easy but still cute.  I dropped some orange color, added some dots, made a heart from the custom shape tool, drew a pink rectangle along the top and added some text.  It took me around 5 minutes.

Then just the other day I ran across a tutorial online for creating a blog header in Picasa.  WHAT?!!  Awesome!  I love Picasa.  I had to try it.  It was so easy and fun.  It took me about 5 minutes to make this one. (Ann's note: It took her 5 minutes AFTER choosing her pictures.  That's the hardest part in this process.)

This is how you do it:

1.  Choose some pictures or papers in Picasa that you think you might want to use on your header.  If they come from different folders, then you'll need to hold them in your photo bin and make a virtual folder of them.

2.  Click on the "create photo collage" icon at the top of your folder that has the pictures you want to use.  It will send you over to the Picasa collage maker.

3.  Make sure you choose the "picture pile" setting.  It will allow you to move and resize your chosen photos.  You can then choose what kind of border, if any, you want on your pictures and a color or a picture background.

4.  If you click on the pictures in your "pile" and press delete, it will send them over to the hold bin on the left and you can grab them to reuse later if you choose.  Or you can click on "get more" and choose other photos or art to use from Picasa.

5.  Click on each picture and a gray circle will show.  You can use that to rotate and resize your photo.

6.  Place your photos where you would like them to be.  I tried to line mine up as straight and evenly spaced as I could get them (except for the third one.)  DO try to keep them on the top 1/2 of the collage, it looks funny at first but you want your collage to be long and skinny.  You will crop that bottom half off later, after you add text.

6.  When you are satisfied, click on the "create collage" button at the bottom left.

7.  Now you should be back to the main Picasa Page.  Find your created collage in the library file and click on it.  Now what comes up is the basic editing features.

8.  Find the Text button and click it.  Choose a font and size and color and write your title.  You can move the text wherever you want, even over the photos.  You can move and manipulate with the gray circle.  Remember that you want your header long and skinny so keep it up in the top 1/2 space.

9.  After you have your words down, click the "apply" button and you will go back to the basic edits.  You are going to crop your collage so it looks like a header, not a huge photo.  Press crop and and select around the area you want to be your header.  Make it even on all sides and bring the corp right under the writing.  Press apply when you are finished.

10.  Lastly, you will export your collage to your picture files (export button is down below.)  Choose to export it as 1024 pixels.

11.  Now go to the layout section of designing your blog and press edit on the header part (where your title is.)

12.  Choose your image (your collage) from your files where you sent it.  Make sure you press the "instead of title and description" button first and make sure the "shrink to fit button" is NOT checked before you upload your picture.

1 comment:

Wheelchair said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Transport Wheel Chair

Keep Posting:)