The other day I got the itch to give my blog a face lift. You see, having lived only in apartments for all of my adult life thus far, there’s only so much decorative change you can do. Changing up furniture, picture frames, etc. is just about all you can do to add some color and character to the white blah-ness of apartments. Sadly, changing up furniture is expensive. Soooo expensive. It’s just not too doable on a recent college grad budget. Plus, adding more furniture to an already cramped space can make it way too busy. Also, I’m not a huge fan of making picture frames colors that aren’t pretty neutral because I want them to jive with just about any paint color when that blessed day comes that I can paint the walls. I might change my mind in the future when I actually have a location conducive to spray paint application. It’s just not an option right now.
Anyway, the face of my blog is something I can change as often as I desire. And for free. It’s great. As I don’t have a job right now, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to crank out a new look that I’m pretty satisfied with. And it didn’t even take me that long! Here are a few things I did:
- I found a color scheme on Pinterest that I liked and used it as a springboard. Here is my inspiration:
- From there I created a background using GIMP. Let me tell you about GIMP. A while ago I was reading a post about creating blog backgrounds from the Kevin & Amanda blog, and she highly recommended GIMP. It’s moderately similar to Photoshop, but it’s free. Score! If you’re interested in GIMP, the link to the download is on the K&A post I mentioned earlier. It’s taken some time to get a feel for how to work GIMP (and it helps that my husband is a graphic designer and knows Photoshop well), but I’ve finally got some basics down solidly enough to create a simple background from scratch. The hardest part was figuring out which colors to use. I originally wanted the green to be the main color, but I fell in love with the dark blue with the brown. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself! How did I get the exact colors from my inspiration picture to my blog? This beautiful little browser app for Firefox and Chrome called Colorzilla. It allows you to pinpoint any color on the internet and it automatically copies the color code to your clipboard so you can paste it into whatever program you’re using. It’s so magical.
- I also made a banner, but not quite from scratch. I found these free shapes on Pinterest. They’re for Photoshop, but my husband opened them up on his computer and converted them to a different format that works with GIMP. Then I found the swirls and went with a symmetric placement. I added my blog name and voila!
- Of course, I went into my blog template and adjusted the colors to work with my color scheme. I also had to do a little extra work to change the color of my post title and gadget title, as I have something kind of special going on there. When I started my blog, there weren’t very many font options and they were boring. So I found this tutorial from Kevin & Amanda to put a custom font for the post title, gadget title, and post date. Plus Kevin & Amanda have tons of super cute free fonts that are easy to put on your computer. There are a lot more font options now for blogger, but it’s kind of fun to have the option of doing any font. So I’ve kept my custom font on there, since changing the color and size aren’t very hard–just an extra step.
- Lastly, I finally caved and got the pages bar. I didn’t really know what to put on there, so I looked at a lot of different blogs to see what other people did with their bars. A lot of people had post categories on their bars, so I decided to go in that direction. At first I felt like I my writing was too random to categorize, but as I started tagging my previous posts I found they all fit pretty neatly into a handful of categories. It’s nice to see that after two years my blog actually has some persisting themes! This gives me a little more direction for the future.
Even though I always like the outcome of my facelifts, I do get a little sad when I’m done. Being done and having a good end product means I should wait a while before making any more drastic changes. So I just anxiously wait around until I get tired of how my blog looks. While I wait I think I’ll make a small repertoire of backgrounds and I think I’ve got a way to share them on here. We’ll see when that happens, but it’s in the future.