Blog Design with a Difference

So you want a blog? Most of us either search for a template to adapt to our liking or the technically minded start from scratch and create their layout. So usually you’d start with a header, content area and one or two side bars, sounds pretty logical doesn’t it.
Blog design 1
Take a look at the website and blog of Luis Santi Jr. at www.phatterism.com who turns the standard idea of a blog design on its head. This flash based website and blog feature Luis filmed holding out photos, hand writing blog entries and turning them round to show you. Everything is done with originality and humour. Even his biography is an image based version using animation.
blog design 2
Luis’ portfolio is also well worth taking a look at, although the site holding links to his work is very basic, the links to websites he has produced are in great to look at especially www.funshipisland.com

Find Free Photos on Yotophoto, the Free Images Search Engine

yotophoto

There are are lots of different sources of free royalty free photos – from image libraries, Flickr and public domain images, it would be nice if you could search for them in one place wouldn’t it. That’s where www.yotophoto.com comes in handy. Yotophoto has indexed over a quarter of a million Creative Commons, Public Domain, GNU FDL, and various other ‘copyleft’ images. So you do one quick search and see what images are available from several different sources, ideal for finding images for your blogs or designs.

Each of the images comes with a different usage license so you need to check the restrictions before use.

8 Things You Don’t Know About Me

I was tagged a couple of weeks ago by both Paul of www.paulenderson.com and John of www.redsil.com/blog/ to take part in a meme “8 things you don’t know about me” so here goes…

1. When I was 6 I lived in Houston Texas For 2 Years
Before my Dad retired he used to work for Texas Instruments and was asked to go and work in Houston for 2 years, so I have experienced both the US and UK schooling systems.

2. I used all the 7 letters in Scrabble at once when I was 7
My biggest claim to fame πŸ˜‰ . My Mum is a big fan of word games so when I was a kid we used to play scrabble a lot (hate it now). When I was 7 or 8 I managed to use all 7 Scrabble letters at once.

3. I have a flying phobia
I haven’t flown for many years as I have a major flying phobia, the last time I flew I had to get drugs from the doctor to try and calm my nerves – they didn’t work too well but instead made me laugh uncontrollably for no reason. My phobia stemmed from a bad flight when I was a child, and since then I have hated it. My grandparents used to have to stay and look after me when my Mum and Dad went on holiday because I wouldn’t go on a plane. The terrible thing is I have made my partner Kevin nervous too and he used to be fine.

mini

4. I painted on my first car
I bought my first car for the grand total of Β£260 back in about 1988 when I was at college. It was a rush bucket and a sickly orange colour. To try and cover up some of the rust I decided to paint Garfield on it (how embarrassing, what was I thinking. I used to get some funny looks when I drove it.

5. My boyfriend went to the same college at the same time but never met.
My boyfriend and I both went to the same college at the same time (he studied quantity surveying), and it was not a very big college. In the canteen there were massive long tables that everyone used to sit on, at some point in the 2 years we probably sat next to each other, but we didn’t meet until about a year after we left.

6. I used to design plastic watches
Not long after college my second job was for a firm that made plastic watches called Tikkers which were popular in Europe (similar but not as good as swatch). I had to create the graphics for the watches as well the literature. They used to use Jeff Banks as a consultant, who was big on “The Clothes Show” at the time, so we had a couple of meetings with him regarding colours and trends. They paid us inhouse designers peanuts but I bet his firm did very well out of it.

7. I tried and failed to learn to play the keyboard
For about 3 years I had keyboard lessons, but I was terrible, I sounded like one of those bad keyboard players you hear when you are on holiday. I just couldn’t learn how to read music and try and find the right keys at the right time. I know play guitar, not very well but better than the keyboard πŸ˜‰ .

8. I once tried to make some skis out of wood (as a kid)
I think I must have been a bit of a weird kid (heck I am probably a weird adult) because I always used to be in my Dad’s garage cutting up wood and trying to make things. When I was about ten I decided I would try and make some skis with two planks, I sawed points at the end and my neighbour helped me bend them with heat. I then attached the tops of some old roller skates without the wheels and made some ski poles out of two old broom sticks. If I had ever used them I would have probably broken my legs. The table tennis bats I made with pieces of wood and net out of a netted onion bag were far more successful πŸ™‚ .

Take a look at some of the other bloggers who have taken part in this meme

Charity at Design Adaptations
Vivien at Inspiration Bit
Aaron at Milienzo
John at Redsil
Mark Rapp at Unique Epitome
Paul at Reflections

Google Notebook for Bloggers and Designers

I first heard about Google Notebook book over on www.redsil.com/blog/ and have been using it ever since.

Google NotebookWhenever I used to find a new site I thought was interesting I used to bookmark it in Firefox, but my bookmark list became huge and I could never quite remember what some of them were. Google Notebook makes things a lot easier. Google Notebook has a Firefox extension which allows you to open your notebook from the bottom of your browser (while still viewing a web page). So when you find a web page you like, simply open your notebook from the bottom of your browser and press “clip” – which creates a link to the article, then below it add your notes about the article.

Whenever I see a site I am interested in I “clip it” and write a short note, so when I am stuck for inspiration for what to write (or nice designs) I have a look through my Google Notebook. The good thing too is that it is easy to delete an entry, so when I have written about a subject I can delete it and hopefully my Google Notebook won’t end up as cluttered as my bookmarks πŸ™‚ .

Another advantage of Google Notebook over Bookmarking is that your notebook is available in any machine wherever you are work or home as long as you can login to your google account.

Google Notebook is not just for bookmarking links you can also use it for (surprisingly πŸ™‚ ) writing notes or reminders for yourself. Take a look at the Google Notebook tour to find out more.

Adium Multi Messenger for Mac – Yahoo, MSN, IChat

adiumMost of my friends use MSN messenger, so that is what I had been using too up until about 6 months ago, when one of my clients said it would be nice to be able to contact me on iChat. I must admit I had never really used iChat as no-one I knew used it. I didn’t really want to have two messenger programs open so had a look for a program that would allow me to view users on different messenger programs at the same time. I found a program called Fire which allowed me to see my client on iChat and my friends on MSN. I thought Fire might be of interest to other bloggers and designers so I went and had a quick look at their web page to see if their were any updates only to find Fire is no longer being updated. There was however a link to a program called Adium which I have downloaded and seems to have similar functionality. You can see people from AOL, ICQ, IChat (Bonjour), MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Gadu-Gadu, Live Journal, Novell Groupwise, QQ and Lotus Sametime. The only thing missing is Skype, which I guess will just have to be open as well when needed. Adium automatically recognised I had been using Fire and imported my contacts which was nice and easy. So far so good I will keep you updated if I run into any problems.

Face Behind my Blog

faceSome of you may know I was a bit reluctant to take part in this meme, but I have now been tagged twice, thanks (I think?) David and Randa so here goes. To be honest I couldn’t find many photos of me, probably because I always have a firm hold on the camera and so am usually behind rather than in front of it.

I live in a village in Northamptonshire UK with my boyfriend (I hate that word it sounds like I am 14). We have lived together for about 12 years now and its just the two of us (by choice) although we would quite like a dog πŸ™‚ if we had a bit more garden (we just have a gravel drive).

us

The pic above left is of Kevin and I just before we went out for a meal a couple of years ago for my Mum and Dad’s Ruby Wedding Anniversary. The one on the right is where I had had a few drinks on holiday (hence the red face), a couple of years ago in France.

brusselsThis is me in a funny hat in an arcade of chocolate shops and bookshops in Brussels in December last year. We went for a short break just before Christmas which was great apart from it poured most the time we were there. The lights in the main square looked amazing though. We also went to see Nerina Pallot in concert – at la Botanique while we were there. If you like acoustic music I would thoroughly recommend seeing her, she just sings and plays on her own, on a piano or guitar. The room in La Botanique was fantastic too, completely round with wooden steps that you sat on, it only held about 100 people and was like a concert in your living room.

officeAnd finally a picture of my office, which is our converted garage. Kevin and his step dad put some worktops up for me so I have loads of desk space (though as you can see I am pretty messy). My office also doubles up as my guitar room, I have found collecting guitars a little addictive and have got to stop!

I would like to tag Kevin from Blogging Tips (When you are back from your travels) and Aaron at www.milienzo.com