Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Changing the blog layout

So many things in our lives and gardens appear way too complicated and we give up. We settle - because we lack the knowledge and skills to carry out certain tasks. If we need to add or change certain elements in our gardens we often hire a professional if we can afford it. Or we try and the results sometimes become better than expected or we realize that we should have hired someone to get the job done properly.

I have decided to try to improve the layout of this blog. Editing the Html codes that define the different spaces - Header, Body - outer wrapper, main wrapper and sidebar wrapper and footer. I am also going to enlarge the font types, so the words appear bigger; making my blog easier to read and more relaxing for the eyes.

I am also going to edit my old posts. Using the blogger picture upload feature displaying small thumbnail pictures was a mistake. I should have used the large thumbnail pictures and altered between centered and left placed pictures. I also realize that if I want to post larger pictures I need to use a picture host like ImageShack, PhotoBucket or Picasa. This will allow me to post bigger pictures of better quality - sometimes. Thus the reason for the need to increase the size of the body's main wrapper (The space where posts and pictures are on the blog). As it is right now I still have to resize pictures so they fit the screen when someone click the picture to enlarge it.

I set up a test blog so I could see what I was doing when I altered the Html codes and now feel confident going ahead with it for real. So bear with me for a while if you visit and my blog looks a little strange. I am on top of it and hope both you and I will be satisfied with the layout changes. I really did not know it was possible to custom edit the layout of the blogger template - but I read up and it is not as hard as it appears.

I love to design gardens. I know what I am doing - I intimately know how different elements in the garden will complement a house and suit the needs of the people who live there. I know to choose plants and how different plants are going to develop as they grow, how to care for them and maintain the garden. The hardest part is often to pass this knowledge along to clients and make them see how different solutions will work.

In many ways our blogs reflect who we are - just like our gardens tell a lot about us. Sometimes we just go ahead without having a clear plan and end up settling for a result that was not exactly what we had in mind. But blogs are like gardens - we can change things we do not like and try something different - in fact we should. Gardens like blogs are works in progress.


MNGarden said...

Good job, Niels. You may have inspired me to deal with a problem on my own blog I have been neglecting.

queenofseaford said...

Good luck with this Niels. I am still a novice and the html language is certainly confusing.

Niels Plougmann said...

Thank you Donna and Janet - I am working on it right now - just changed the last 5 posts I have made. Now going to change the header layout. I noticed that the edited post reappeared on the blotanical pick list - maybe if I turn the site feed of as I edit this will not happen? I will also try to center the post titles. And I will post a footer picture.

HelenJ said...

So far it looks really nice. Maybe I should try to edit the layout of my blog too - I am just so scared I will do something wrong so I loose everything and not be able to get it back!
But if yo can... =)

I am quite annoyed with the small pictures - and it seems so much extra work to first upload them to Imageshack or Picasa. But maybe that's the only way?

Niels Plougmann said...

It really isn't that difficult to change the different spaces on the blog.
Before you start you just backup your template as a file to your computer. If anything is not satisfactory it is easy to upload the old template file without the changes.
I am not totally pleased with the new header and still think about the footer.
So go for it Helen if you want to make changes to your blog (perhaps set up a test blog and test what different changes of parts of the Html code will do to the layout of your blog - before you make the changes you want on your blog. Afterall I think content of the posts and pictures matter most on a blog.

Steve said...

Looks good, Niels. I redesigned mine once and am considering it again. As time goes on some of the widgets get full and I want to sort of break things down into easily-searchable categories. Over 200 posts in mine means if someone wants to find an old post, it could take a while. I had someone helping me before, however, lol. I could just disappear!

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

It is looking good Neils. You are right it is good to update our blogs once in a while - I think it keeps them fresh.
So glad you have come out of hibernation.

walk2write said...

I found your site from a funny comment you left on Tina's In the Garden. Once I stopped in and saw the roses, well, I was hooked, and now I find that you're a good storyteller as well. Thanks for sharing your methods of blog improvement. It is quite a lot like rearranging or adding elements to our gardens with which we're never satisfied.

VP said...

Well done Niels on having a go and doing such a good job! I changed my blog layout as a blogaversary present to myself last year - I found a few good sites which take you through how to do things - that was really useful. I'm doing a few minor tweaks at the moment (like having a spring clean!), but nothing major this time.

I used to work with people who looked after the intranet (company internal website) at work and they were always changing the layout from time to time, to keep things fresh.

Nice to see you back blogging BTW - I hope you're feeling much better now.

Rose said...

I've been wanting to make some changes to my blog for a long time. Editing html codes? That is where I get lost, because I have no idea how to do that! I like the clean look of your new blog layout.

Niels Plougmann said...

Thanks Karen - It has been rough to go through one more deep depression. At least I have learned to cope and get through a depression. Even though it feels like being sucked into a black hole, it will . Now I work on getting back in better shape before I start working again.

Walk2write - it really did say master gard.. on the Blotanical pick list - and I did read it as master card. My garden shopaholicism does not deny itself. Satisfied - never - or well sometimes! Thanks for the compliment.

VP - It feels good to finally have more energy to write and read blogs again. I was totally down and out of the loop for some months. And you are right - keeping the layout fresh is a good new start. I probably could not have done it, if I had not read some of these - how to sites.

Now if only there was a program that could help me write better english, do the punctuation and prevent my run on sentences - that would really be sweet!

Rose - I take it you do not know what I am talking about? 2 weeks ago I did not either! When you log into blogger - click on customize on the blue navbar on top - find and click on "Edit Html" and you will see the cryptic language that make your blog function. Click on download full template on top. Now you have saved your blog templates Html codes and your settings. Read blogs about changing the layout and set up a testing blog and try it out for yourself. I really isn´t that hard.

Jana said...

I feel the same, our pages can tell much about us. I´m not a fan of messy looking webs, in the time of informational explosion who wants to orientate in them? My approach is that my blog looks maybe a bit brief, but I´m not too friendly with those HTML codes and I don´t want to spend more time with it as well.

Anonymous said...

Niels, I have been very impressed with your work on your blog. Your photos are so good and your writing shows a great sense of humor and intelligence. I also like the spiritual tone that shows me the goodness of your heart.
I pray that your body and mind will continue to improve as spring approaches. You are a beautiful person.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I had 3 blogs going from Nov 2007 until Nov 2008, when I was doing something in the 'Labels' section, hit delete (I thought I was deleting some 'labels') and suddenly 2 of my blogs were GONE, just like that. There was NO way to get them back. Literally.

My 3rd one is actually the blog I use now. I had an entirely different layout for it at that time. It was meant as a sentence-per-day 'thankfulness' page and that was it. I wasn't sure about making a '4th' blog, so I kept the same one and just fooled around with the settings and came up with what I have now. I would kind of like to change the heading (I think I'm getting tired of the butterfly on the petunia) but am afraid people won't recognize my blog if I do that!

In fact, I'm wishing that I had a different blog name entirely! I'd prefer it to have something related to gardening. It's just been so complicated to try to change everything around, without losing my 'friends' and readers--at least that's what I'm worried about:(

I will be interested to see your entire changes as they occur...it looks great so far, as good as a garden that's been tended by an expert...so, perhaps at this late date you are done? I'm probably just late to the party!!

Karin A said...

Det låter som du har många bra idéer för bloggen.

Jag hade missat att du är igång med bloggandet igen (men nu kommer jag kika in lite oftare).

Tack för dina tips om Salvia nemorosa. Vi klipper tillbaka den men kanske för sent på säsongen. Ska testa att göra det tidigare i år.

Trevlig helg!

Med fingrarna i (j)orden said...

Hi, Just found your blog at Blotanical. I wounder if there is many danish garden-blogs, so far I just found yours!
If you can tell me were to find more danish bloggs, please let me know.
Swedish gardenwriter (books & magazines)

perennialgardener said...

Love the new layout Niels and the header is great! I need to learn all this html stuff myself so I can play around with my photos too. Good luck!

Antigonum Cajan said...

A quick stop to share my dislike of lawns and discussed in my blog from
the Caribbean.

Until then..

Pomona Belvedere said...

I like the analogy of blogs and gardens, and I'm glad to think that if follow Karen and redo my blog for a blogaversary, I have a couple of months yet. But I think I will start when I get highspeed at home, very soon!

By the way, Steve, if you don't already have a search widget on your blog, these are easy to find and get for free. This might taking some of the reorganization load off your shoulders.

I'm also happy to see you back online, Niels. Going through depression or grief is a skill; maybe it's equivalent to dormant times in our gardens. You can use tools and tricks to get resurrection, but some of it just takes going through the time. At least that's the way it seems to me.

Niels Plougmann said...

I am overwhelmed by your kindness and support. I never knew blogging had this extra dimension. I am recovering from a bad depression and it has been really bad. I chose to make a short post about it - using my quirky sense of humor, which helps me get through many things. It is great to slowly feel my brain beginning to function faster again and be able to concentrate on reading and writing again. I really look forward to spring now and a new garden season. And I look forward reading your blogs and see what goes on in your gardens and your lives!

Jana - I do like to keep it simple too! And your pictures and blog is great. Content matters most!

Anonymous - I guessed who you are among the usual suspects! You are a beautiful person too!

Jan - There is actually a way to get accidentally deleted blogs back. The URLs should still be there reserved for the google account you used. And the content may be cached on some search engines?

If you really want a new blog with a new name I say go for it:

Let your last post be a link to your new blog! Start out fresh and if your friends are true - they will find you! I look forward to see what you decide.

I do like your butterfly picture - in the header on your current blog. The header margins however - are too big for the picture - but that is not hard to fix if you want to.

I feel I am almost there now with the layout - I may make some minor changes still though. But nothing major - just a few corrections here and there and finish editing the old posts.

Trevlig helg to you too Karin! I do feel like a bear that woke up from hibernation. I really like your header layout! I hope your salvia nemerosa will rebloom later if you cut them down by about 60 percent, when they stop looking great. Mine does and we live in the same climate (Almost). I know you probably look forward to spring too!

Thanks for saying hi Eva! I don´t know any good Danish gardens blogs - or where to find them. I think there are far more Swedish garden blog than Danish. On blotanical there are a few, but I think they are inactive?
This is one of the reasons why I chose to write in English. When we live in a small country with a special language, we do not reach as many readers. I have more visitors form sweden than Denmark. Some bloggers have resolved this by writing both their native language and in English - and it seems like a good idea. I also chose to write about my favorite garden plants: Roses - In Sweden you have Lars-Åke Gustavsson who write so well about roses. Frederiksdal i Helsingborg er underbar! Do you know any other great places to see roses in sweden?

PG: good to see you again! Did you change the name of your blog and added lover? I see your blog has changed a lot since I last visited - sadly too long ago since I have been out of the loop for a while. It is not that hard to change layout on blogger templates - I don´t know about wordpress templates though?

Good to see you again PB! I look forward to see what happens,when you choose to change the layout - your post and writing is so great that I never notice the layout! But I do not find that we should just settle - neither with our gardens and our blogs. Life is too short to live with things that can be changed.
Grief and losses is a part of life - so is physical and mental health problems. Time does not necessarily heal - but we learn to cope and accept the things we can not change and focus on the beauty and positive things in life. I know I try to do that and my love and appreciation for life grows.

flowergardengirl said...

I change things a 100 percent of the time! It's always for the better and you have done a grand job assembling and rearranging. I recently started putting my pics in MacPro Powerpoint and it is so easy to resize.

How about a search feature on your blog? Did I miss it. I was looking for your salmon fishing post. I'm willing to hunt and search for awhile as every post is interesting. I'm not getting anything else done. I see a few roses I want.

joey said...

Your site looks lovely, Niels. This is something that I dream of doing, yet afraid to venture forward with limited time. Please know that you are not alone in life and we hold your heart dearly for sharing ... I love this quote:

"Be kinder than necessary
because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

We are all flowers in the life's garden (my quote :) (Hugs) and Happy Valentine's Day!

wormandflowers said...

You did a great job in the HTML. While on blogger I tried numerous times to widen the page and narrow the sidebar, with little luck. I was never able to really get it as wide as I would have liked so I finally switched to WordPress. UGH.