Tiny Blogger Cheats

Hey there! I'm back with week #2 of my summer blogging series.  This week is all about tiny Blogger cheats to make your blogging life better and easier.  
I swear there is someone, somewhere at Google headquarters that comes up with ways to make my blogging life more difficult.  This first cheat is evidence of that.
One random day, I was installing a blog and adding an image to the sidebar.  Like I've done a million times.  Except that day (and everyday since then), Blogger refused to let me add an image without giving it a title.  Except the image was the title of the sidebar.  For example:
This graphic would look pretty stupid with the title Archive above it.  After searching on the Internet foreverrrrrrrrrrr, I found a little piece of code:
<!-- -->
Put this nonsense in as your title, and it tells Blogger you don't want a title.  Because, you know, leaving it blank would be too obvious.  
Then one day, Blogger decided it would make your pictures look nicer.  Except they make your pictures look like dingy laundry.  I first found out about this when a blogger emailed me because her whites were not so white.  
After much digging and googling and researching, I found out that Google decided it would auto enhance your pictures.  You have to go into Google+ to tell it to stop.  I think that was a tricky way to get everyone to go onto Google+.  Here's how you can tell Blogger to cut it out:
Need to center something on your sidebar or in a post?  Just add
<center>
at the beginning of the code and
</center>
to the end of it.  This comes in handy for us type A folks.  When you have 7 buttons on your sidebar, and 6 of them are centered, but one is not . . . .
The dreaded black background.  If that #4 was the first image in my post, it would show up as my thumbnail.  Except it would look like this as the thumbnail in a reader's Bloglovin feed:
Because this is a round image is a png file, it has a transparent background.  That empty background gets filled in as black most places because the Internet that sees images as rectangles.  You can easily open a png file in Pixlr, Picasa, Pic Monkey, whatever your favorite editing site is and give it a white background.  My blog button is round, but I have one saved with a white background to use for linkies, etc.  Here's a super quick video tutorial on how to do this using Pixlr's website.
p.s.  I used the center code to get my YouTube video centered.  ; )

Is there anything driving you crazy on Blogger?  Leave a comment!

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I Am Not a Robot-Beating S*P*A*M

Hey y'all! I'm excited to share the first post is a summer series of blogging tutorials.  Summer is a great time for teachers to dive into blogging.  We actually have time to breath, sleep, and learn.  What a luxury.
First of all, how cute are these graphics form Miss Tiina?  Swoon.  Now let's move on to the good stuff.

When you set up your blog, one of the selections you can make is how readers comment.

**Not sure how your blog is set up?  Go to your dashboard and select Settings-->Posts and Comments

One of the decisions a blogger has to make is to choose between allowing readers to comment easily and dealing with losers who like to leave comments linking back to their own illegal gambling, credit card stealing, I'm too lazy to advertise my own shady dealings, etc. type of websites.

WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?

•Deal with it.  The problem is, if someone comments on your blog and chooses to follow the comments, they're getting spam email, too.  I'm still getting spam emails from blogs I commented on last summer.

•Turn on word verification.  This block spammers, but you'll lose commenters because those prove you're not a robot things are a pain in the butt.  I have just given up commenting many times because I have an hard time reading them (especially on my iPad.)

•Turn on comment moderation, but that's a big commitment.  How often are you going to go you comments section on your dashboard and read through?  Do you really need one more thing to do?

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?

One thing I have noticed is that most unwanted comments pop up on older posts.  To get around this, I've set my comments up this way:

Word verification is off, so readers can easily comment.  Comment moderation is on for comments on posts that are more than 14 days old.  I recently checked my comments (go to your dashboard-->Comments-->Awaiting Moderation).  I marked the ones that were spammers for you.
When you hover over a comment, the option to Publish, Delete, or mark as Spam pops up.  I try to go through every few weeks and catch up on these.

All right readers! That's my first summer blogging tutorial.  I have more planned, but is there something you're looking for a tutorial on?  Leave a comment below.

Want to learn more about blogging?  Click on the Blog Baby Blog link at the top of the page to learn more blogging tips and tricks.
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Monday Made It

Hey hey! It's time for another round of Monday Made Its.  Do you like how this has become a noun?
Now for my first Monday Made It-one of my very favorite gifts to make.
I made this for a friend to bring to a wedding shower.  Stick a couple of dish towels or recipes and cooking utensils in, and you've got the best gift ever.
I make the cutout on my Silhouette and then place it on the dish.  I use etching cream from Hobby Lobby.  I dab it on with a small foam brush.  It only takes 5 minutes to set.  Wash it well before removing the vinyl, and you're good to go.
Monday Made It #2 is something I have zero use for at this exact moment, but it was too cool not to share.
A friend of mine is decorating her classroom using a Dick and Jane/chalkboard feel and wanted some frames to go on her baskets.  I made her some frames (and I loved them so much I'm planning some chalkboard/back to school mini sets), but then I thought about what a HUGE pain it would be for her to cut them out.  I decided to see if my trusty Silhouette would come to the rescue.  And it did.  Of course.  Here's a quick video tutorial on how I used got my Silhouette to recognize a png file and then use the print and cut feature to cut it out.
Monday Made It #3 was inspired by my new luggage.  Let's take just a minute to admire it, okay?
I really love how the bag has this cover flap thing on the back, so you slide it directly on your rolling suitcase handle.  I threw the coffee cup in so you could see how big this bag is.  It's a beast which is great since I'm a chronic overpacker.  It came with a strap, too.  And it's pretty.

I loooooved the colors of this set, so I decided to make a mini set using similar shades.  You can find it in my TPT store.
Now you MUST head over to Tara's blog to see what she's got going on for her Monday Made It's.  Check out the linky to get more fun crafty ideas.
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Happy Bloggy Birthday to Me!


Happy blogging birthday to me!  Two years ago I started this blog.  That was after contemplating starting a blog for six months.  I'm a look before you leap girl.  Real conversation with my husband that summer:

Me: Awesome!! I'm up to 10 followers!
Husband: Next stop 50.
Me: (screaming) Stop putting so much pressure on me!
{Husband retreats to another room.}

If you've been on this blog a few times, you know how much I love making mini sets for my TPT store.  They're fun to make and an inexpensive way to build a digital stash.  So, here's a mini set giveaway for everyone.  

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Monday Made It!!!!


Whoop whoop!  It's time for my first Monday Made It in a loooooong time.  I love this linky because it gets my crafty butt in gear.  So excited Tara is making it weekly again because that means SUMMER!

And how cute is that new button?  I might be a little biased-wink wink.  And now, on to the good parts, the made its.
I really wanted a small ottoman to go with the couch in our formal living room.  We don't use it as a formal living room.  It's where my girls watch tv, play on the wii, do cartwheels, . . . .  But it is one of the first rooms you see in my house when you walk in, so I wanted it to look night.  I knew what I wanted.  I also knew I didn't want to pay for it.

Have you seen the prices for cute ottomans?  Not cute.

I bought this little naked guy from World Market and a curtain from Target.
I used this tutorial for covering a cushion and kind of made up the rest as I went along.  If you look closely, you'll can tell.  But you know what?  Nobody looks closely.
My door was looking a little naked after Easter, so it was time to spruce it up.  I found this wreath on Pinterest.  I couldn't find a white and navy striped fabric, so I alternated with yarn.  Just sit down and watch some HGTV while you wrap.  It takes about 30-40 minutes to do this.  I measured sections ahead of time because this girl is super type A, but I doubt anyone else would have noticed.  I made some fabric and felt flowers and bought the little white flowers.
And now for the digital made its.  I'm a better digital crafter than real life crafter.  It's easier to clean up, and there are no hot glue burns.  I have a magnet board over my computer, and  I like to put quotes on it to inspire me throughout the day.  I've had some big "coincidences" this year and am feeling God's hands all over the place.

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