Changing it up!

I’ve fallen off of the bloggy-horse this month. During May so far I’ve only published 5 posts and 3 of them were “Wordless Wednesday”. But I’m not here to talk about that right now. Here’s a little something that’s been keeping me busy the past few days…

If you read my blog through email or through a feed, then you might want to click over to the main page to see the new “design”. I use the word “design” loosely since it has not been professionally designed and I have no idea what I’m doing. I made the header and buttons using Paint and PhotoMix with some free fonts and backgrounds I found on the internet.

For those of you that don’t have a keen eye I’ll show you a screenshot of the before and after.
(Click on photos to enlarge)

Here is my homepage before.
I was using free WordPress Theme, Pilcrow.

Here is my homepage after.
I’m now using free WordPress Theme, Mystique.
I updated the header with new photos of me and Adaline and I replaced the real blocks with a blocky font.

This theme gives you the option to link to your social media in your header, so I now have RSS, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube icons right at the top of the page! I still have all of my social media buttons in the sidebar and at the bottom of each post since the theme didn’t give me the option of adding email subscription, Blog Frog, etc. and also I’m nothing if not excessive and thorough to a fault.

+I love that the menu tabs are below the header with this theme.
+I like that the tabs are separated by a line (they weren’t in the old theme) and I like that they’re shaded gray rather than white.
+I like that the yellow background breaks up the header/menu from the blog instead of being attached by white like the old theme.
+I like that the date of the post shows up under the title instead of above and that it’s shaded darker to make it more visible.
+I like that it says posted by: CoolMama next to the date. It’s not a big deal on my blog since I’m the only author, but on blogs with more than one author it’s nice to see who wrote the post.
+I love the green “titles” in the sidebars. The old theme didn’t have that, so it didn’t break up the sidebar very well making it look less organized. I can also change the color to blue or red if I want, but for now I think that I like the green.

This theme also has a tabbed widget that contains Categories, Tags, Archives, Popular Posts, and Recent Comments. I was able to eliminate all of those from the sidebars and keep them in one nifty widget in the left sidebar 🙂 It defaults to Recent Comments which I prefer.
Here’s what it looks like:

So if you like to come to the blog and go through my Categories, Tags, Archives, or Popular Posts you’ll find them in the widget on the left instead of individually on the right as they were before. In the right sidebar I still have Recent Posts and a Category Cloud.

Another neat feature with this theme is the author box at the end of each post. You can’t see it on the main page, but if you click on any individual post the box is at the bottom of each one!
Here’s what it looks like:

There are only 3 things that I dislike about this theme.
1. I don’t like how narrow the middle column is. The old theme was wider. Now a lot of my old posts with pictures haven’t corrected themselves and the pictures are everywhere and coming off the page, etc. I don’t have the time right now to go back through all of them and change it.
2. I don’t like that you can’t get back to the home page just by clicking the header. Many themes for many blogs work like this and when I’m working on the blog I used to use that feature a lot. I added a “Home” tab to the menu bar instead, but I’d still like it if the header was clickable.
3. I don’t like that my “tagline” doesn’t show up anywhere. I had to remove it from the header because the header for this theme is more narrow and I couldn’t make it fit without making the title text smaller than I wanted.
If there is a way to correct the above three things…I don’t know how to do it, so for now it’ll have to do. I still like it way better than the old theme.

In addition to the new theme and new header I made a new button.
Grab the new button code below.
Old Button

New Button with code

Here are the fonts I used in my header and button:
+P22 Toy Box Blocks

I’d still love a professional design, but I’m not in the mood to shop around for designers at the moment.
So that’s everything for now. Be sure to click through to the blog and tell me what you think of all the newness. It’s totally okay if you say that you don’t like it after I just raved about it ;). I just think (at least I hope) that while it still looks cheap and crappy it perhaps looks a teensy bit more professional than it did before. If there’s anything else you’d like to see me add, remove, or change…let me know. I’m open to ideas!

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About Jenn Rian

Jenn Rian is a mom, blogger, actress, yoga instructor, and cosplayer. She blogs about as often as she showers, which isn't very often. Author of and (

Posted on May 18, 2011, in Blog Stuff, Random. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I thought something looked different! I really like the new look!


  2. I am so impressed! This totally looks professional to me. I say fake it ’til you make it and go into business designing for other people! I really like how you know the name of everything and can objectively critique yourself.

    I am in blogger and you can go into template design under layout and adjust the widths of each column. I know nothing about wordpress but it seems you should be able to do the same thing.

    I need to visit with you about how to make a button. I think I need one of those.


    • Thanks, Melanie 🙂 I don’t think I’ll be going professional since it took me about 9 hours to complete the header, the button, and the reconfiguring of the new theme. Blah, what a pain!

      In WordPress there’s something called “Theme Options”, but there’s no option there for column width 😦

      Maybe I should do a quick tutorial on button making. Although, I really don’t know what I’m doing. I just use Paint 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  3. You did a Great job on your blog. Are the programs you use free ? I am trying to look for a cool program like that .. but I rather not have to pay for one .. lol

    By the way I found you off of VB (

    Would love it if you could stop by my page and check it out and say HI. ( this is having issues via blog .. but you can give it a try any ways )

    Thank you


    • Thanks, Kirsten 🙂
      The theme I’m using (layout, template, etc.) is a free WordPress theme, but that won’t help you in Blogger.
      For the header and button I use Windows Paint program that usually comes free with your computer if you have a PC. The other program that I use for photo layering is called PhotoMix. They have a free trial for you to play around with, but if you want to save any of your work you have to pay for it. I think the total for the program was about $30.00 or something, but it ended up really being worth the money since I use it for creating photo collages for the blog all the time.

      I’ll be stopping by your blog soon!
      Thanks so much for visiting 🙂


  4. This is my first visit, but I think your blog looks great! It’s bright and fun…I think it’s really cool 🙂

    Following from voiceBoks. Feel free to stop by my new blog for a visit:


  5. Love the new look! It has inspired me to change up my blog, which is boring, boring, boring! Thanks for sharing!


  6. Hey-no need to apologize for not blogging in awhile-you are a stay at home mom-there is always a GOOD reason and no one will think negatively for that! The new design looks great! You have been working hard. I need to do the same thing…maybe this summer…we will see. Welcome to the VB! I am a stay at home mom too and love it, and try to squeeze too much into my everyday life as well! Looking forward to reading more!


    • Thanks, Christine 🙂
      I guess the “problem” is that there’s been a lot that I wanted to write, but unfortunately my schedule hasn’t allowed it. I had 3 great posts planned about some of the new Easter traditions that we started this year, but I never got a chance to finish them and now it seems too late to post them. Oh well.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and I’ll definitely be swinging by for a visit soon!


  7. The new theme looks great! I love the blocks. I really like the green too but that is my favorite color so I might be a bit biased. 😉


    • Thanks, Rachael! I really like it. I don’t know how I didn’t notice this theme sooner. I’ve had that blocks font for awhile and finally decided it would look better than the real block and I think it does 🙂 Green is one of my favorite colors too. I think I’ll keep it.


  8. I love the header and the yellow polka dots! Great Job!!

    Following you from VoiceBoks!~Lisa
    I am all a twitter about life


    • Thanks, Lisa 🙂
      I love the yellow polka dots too. I do always love these really simple white blogs that I see, but there’s just something about the yellow polka dots that make me smile. I hope they aren’t too overwhelming!

      Thanks for the visiting, I’ll be stopping by soon.


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