Blog Changes and a Freebie

Good Tuesday, All!  You may notice I have been heeding Tom’s advice on my blog.  It was hard not to, since he gave such wonderful feedback.  I placed all of the blinkies, which once filled my side-bar, to a page all their own.  There is now a button, labeled ‘Blinkies’ in their place.  Click on it and go see all the wonderful friends and associates of mine.  
Next, I created a few more ‘Pages’.  These may be accessed from the ‘Menu Bar’ across the top of the page, right under the header.
‘Resources’ is for Photoshop pre-sets, such as brushes, styles, actions, etc, as well as textures, vectors, etc.  If it is used in Photoshop, those links are here.  In fact, this page has been here for a while now.  
‘Stock Resources’, is a listing of such sites as ‘Flickr’, ‘StockExchange’, ‘Deposit Photos’, etc.  These are sites that specialize in stock photos.  I have found a bunch of them!  I believe these are all free, too.  
‘Deviant-Art Stock Providers’ is just that. DA artists are often left out of ‘resource lists’ and they shouldn’t be.  A lot of lists mention DA, as a whole, but, rarely go into each of the artists/providers.  This list will be helpful if you like to do photo-manipulations, or want to incorporate artsy images/elements into a project.  DA is an artsy community, so, much of their offerings are geared towards art.  You can find patterns, brushes, actions, textures, and whatever else you need to be creative. 
Artistic Spirit is a page of my artwork.  My digital interests are split between Scrapbooking and my art.  Including both on my blog is something I have been wanting to do for a while.  While I just started this page, I haven’t posted but a few pieces.  I intend to add more.  I have them!  LOL
By creating separate pages for much of the content that was crammed into a skinny, little side-bar, I feel I have made the links easier to see and use.  They have become the ‘feature’, rather than a side note.  Accordingly, this left my blog posts much easier to see and read.    Next, I wanted to change out my blog’s design.  I have always loved the cluttered look as I am a kind of ‘sentimental and have to keep it near me’ sort of person.  I don’t necessarily horde things, but, I like to put things out to see and admire.  I also like bold colors.  But, there is a time and place for them.  Tom made a point to me and that was that the ‘content’ was paramount.  My own remark was that it did seem ironic to post all these links and banners to other folks blogs when I wanted folks to notice my posts.  I totally support the folks whose links I have posted!  I didn’t eliminate them entirely either.  I just moved them to place all their own!  This radically cleaned up my page!  
I left a few things in my side-bar: the RSS Feed, About Me, the Archives List, Followers, Labels, etc., all blog function related info.  I left only a couple of personal things, such as the DeviantArt banner and one group badge for Digital Whisper.  While I am proud to be associated with many wonderful sites, to me, that may not be something other folks are interested in.  They want to see what I have to offer them.  All the links to the sites I like are still here, just on their own page now. 
I went with a simple blog template.  Now, my posts literally ‘pop’!  Well, I think so.  LOL  The soft color is soothing to the eye.  While I was on eye-appeal, I took Tom’s advice and changed out my font.  I admit, it was hard to read.  I am pleased with the results.  
The next thing to work on is my header.  I have been experimenting with different ones.  I am still not sure what I want, but, I want it to reflect my own artistic personality.  You may see something different up there from time to time.
So, that is where I am.  Working on the blog will, hopefully, be good for readership, but, it has also been a good project for me while I am going through adjustments.  Working ‘behind the scenes’, so to speak, has been therapeutic.  It gives me time to be ‘pro-active’, rather than ‘re-active’ to my world.  I’ve not really been ‘here’ lately.  I don’t feel I am able to give anyone my all.  When I go through an adjustment phase, such as I am currently doing, it is best to keep to myself.  Some medications can affect one in certain manners, if you know what I mean.  There is no telling what I may post.  LOL  It’s just a precaution.
I’ve had these soft textures for while.  Today, you can have them if you like.  They’re all textured differently, and softly.  The colors are random, but, I included some neutral toned textures that you can color to your hearts content.  Or, you can use them with a blending mode to add just a hint of texture to a layout or page you create.  Just click on the preview to go to Minus to download.

Be sure to check back next Monday for the first of another neat set of our freebies kit from the collaboration with Miss Edna!
Until then…

Credit:  Shutter-Shooter@DA


SU CheshireCat


My Blog Featured on Blog.Fan Extra’s “30-Minute Redesign”

Hello, and a very warm greeting to you!  I am here.  LOL  My health issues needed some attention, so, I am working at it – for all I am worth!  I am too young for this!  LOL
I have something of interest happen that I want to share with you all.  I am a member of FanExtra.  FanExtra is a resource for web, and other design, with articles, awesome tutorials and cool downloads, both free and premium.  Check out my rendition of a recent “Flying Pig Photo-Manipulation” tutorial they featured:

  Tom, the owner, has a keen sense of what works.  His ‘brand’ has grown to include PSD.Fan Extra and the newest, Blogs.Fan Extra.  One of the long-standing features of FanExtra has been “30-Minute Redesign.”  Whilst kicking off the new Blogs.Fan Extra, Tom did a redesign of this blog – suruha-freeespirit.  I was so honored to have him choose my blog!  What do I know about web design!?  LOL  I would be honored, too, to have you all take a look at Tom’s redesign article at the Blogs.Fan Extra.

Tom’s analysis and subsequent suggestions are a godsend for me!  I admit, I was confused about how to lay out my blog – the sidebar, the widgets, and, oh yeah, the articles.  I tend to forget they are the key function of any blog.  What was too much?  What were my weaknesses and my strengths?  I hadn’t a clue!  I would see something on another blog and like it, then, I would try to apply it to mine.  The results didn’t necessarily jive with the rest of the blog.  But, I thought it was neat and kept it.

  I’ve tried a lot of things since I started my blog a few years ago.  I think most of us do this!  One trial was a music player.  I added one not long after starting my blog.  Then, I visited other blogs with music players and, my goodness!  They were not always so cool, after all!  Not to me, anyway.  Say, I am perusing your blog. I’ve clicked over via a link or typed in your URL.  As I begin to look at all the pretties, BAM!  Depending on your player’s volume settings and my own pc’s volume settings, I would be assaulted by a loud, obnoxious sound, which, eventually, I would recognize as music – a song!  LOL  Music, I love!  But, not just any music and not just any old time!  And, honestly, one’s music choices have very little to do with whether or not I liked the content.  There are times, in fact, where the content was passed over by me just to escape from the music!  Have you ever done that, closed a page because you couldn’t find the music player to mute it?  LOL

I don’t know about others, but, when I started blogging, it was to be ‘about me, by me, for me’.  Ultimately, however, as I started receiving comments from the folks that read my posts, I began realizing how much impact a post can have – or not – on others.  What Tom showed me is that the content is the point.  The rest, the widgets and blinkies and cutsie things are fun, but really, totally unnecessary, usually distracting, in fact!  We so want to have people enjoy our blogs, but, yet, more often than not, we smother our pages with other folks’ blog links!  Go figure!  Hey, I am all for supporting my friends and the folks whose work I adore.  I like to share my good finds with others, as well.  But, first, and the most important thing, we have to get folks to want to read our blogs before we can share with them, eh?  We can’t speak out for, or against, something if no one is listening, now, can we?  This redesign sure opened my eyes.  

As a bonus, Tom sends the redesign’s .PSD file, to help me start!  It’s all FREE!
Check out the Fan Extra network and see for yourself some of the awesome things they offer.  (You can even suggest your site for an upcoming “30-Minute Redesign”.  It’s all FREE!  There is a new one each week, I believe it is!)  As a Premium Member, you would not believe the quantity and quality of the offerings!  You don’t just get new premium content here and there – it comes out at least three or more times a week!  FYI, the Premium Membership is a deal at $9.00 a month.  Quarterly, Semi-Annual and Annual rates are even better.  That gives you access to all of the content on the entire Fan Extra network!

I subscribed while there was a special going on through Mighty Deals.  It just so happens that there is a similar offer going on right now!  Instead of the annual rate of $69.00, for a short time, you can get the same deal for $29.00!  Check it out at Mighty Deals.  Don’t lollygag!
A great big THANK YOU to Tom at Blog.Fan Extra

SU CheshireCat

“Ladies Night Out” Freebie – Parts Three and Four

My mother asked me to post her links for the new parts to the kit.  Below are the previews with the links to the downloads.  Beneath those is Miss Edna’s preview and the link to her blog.

Part Three –

Part Four –

Miss Edna’s Blog –
Mom is not feeling well and should be back soon.  
For Susan
SU CheshireCat