WordPress-Twitterpated

Hearts

Part V-Twitterpated

This is the fifth of a five-part series for newbies to WordPress.

*See Definition of Technical Terms

SOCIAL MEDIA

Are you twitterpated, or smitten, with *social media?  If so you will really love the way your new blog or website will be able to incorporate all your social connections.  Actually my first suggestion before delving into adding social media resources and links to your site is to decide on which social media resources you want to add, and if they are new to get those set up separately first.  Facebook (pages for Facebook if your site is a business site) and Twitter are the most common social media applications.  I also use Pinterest and Flickr, and have a link for my Etsy site.  It did take some time to get each of those properly set up before the information from them could be added to my website, but it was well worth the effort, so have fun and enjoy the process! (Update 4/1/14-My site is now set up differently, still learning how to integrate various forms of social media into my site is crucial.)

*Social Media ~ refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Examples are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

Once all your social media accounts are set up, you will want to do several things.  First, as mentioned in the last WordPress article, you will probably want to add links to some of your social media sites via your widgets.  Check your available widgets to see if what you need is already there, and if not add via a new plug-in.  Two of my favorites are “Pretty_Pinterest_Pins” and “Javascript Flickr Badge”.   These are great for displaying my photos from Pinterest and Flickr.  You even have options to set these up to only display pins from particular boards or photos from select folders.

You will also want to add a social widget (again if not already installed) that will allow you to display *icons that link to your social media sites.  The social widget allows you to select a category, establish/order/limit your icons, and show icon images.  You will see these in the top-right corner of my website.  There are so many great icons available, some free and some for purchase.  I purchased my custom chalkboard social media icons via Etsy seller ShinyMagic.  Be sure when making your choice to select icons that have several sizes available, in case after installation you realize that you really needed something larger/smaller.  The icons you choose will need to be added to your *media library via your site’s dashboard.  Open your media library, select “add new”, and drag your new icons into the “drop files here” box, or select  the “upload new media” choice.

*Icons-Picture, image or other representation
*Media Library – WordPress online library for stored images/photos

And, just so you know, this is a three-part process!  After you have both your social widget and social media icons installed, you will still need to establish your links to your social media sites.  This is done via the “links” menu in your dashboard.  Click “add new” and for each social media you want linked add the name, the category “social”, the rating or order you want them in, and the actual link to your social media site.  Now double-check your actual page to make sure your social media icons are linking correctly to your external social media sites.

The last social media item you will want to include on your site is a way for any readers of your posts or pages to easily share your information within their own social media, or via a bookmark, message or email.  This can be done via an “Add to Any Sharing” widget.  This widget by Lockerz is a great all-inclusive sharing platform, and makes it easy for visitors to share your content using any service.  This results in:

  • More traffic
  • Easy distribution
  • Better rankings
  • Extended reach

“Add to Any Sharing” will show up under your “settings” section via your dashboard once installed.  It can then be accessed and configured as you choose.  Looking for another way to share?  Check out this Smashing Magazine blog with suggestions.

MEDIA

When it comes to adding media to your site, WordPress has recently made that process easier.  To add photos, simple open your “media library” site and again select “add new”, where you can drop in photos from your desktop.  Photos must be kept to a maximum size of 2MB.  Once added to the library, you can enter the photo’s title, any text, and can save to a preferred size.  When creating a new post, you will see a box to “add media”.  Photos already in your media library will pop up, and you can choose a photo already saved, or upload new files.  Via the menu on the left, you can also set a featured image or create a gallery of photos.  Practice and play with these features to get just the look you are after!

WordPress-Widgets & Whatsits

Final-Clock-Back

 

Part IV-Widgets & Whatsits

This is the fourth of a five-part series for newbies to WordPress.  Be sure to join me each Monday for the next two weeks to learn how to set up a WordPress site.

*See Definition of Technical Terms

So exactly what the heck is a widget?  Well, according to Wikipedia, in computing, a web widget is a  “software widget for the web. It’s a small application with limited functionality that can be installed and executed within a web page by an end user.  A widget occupies a portion of a webpage and does something useful with information fetched from other websites and displayed in place.”  When you are browsing the web, it’s typically the information contained in sidebars and footers that hold these widgets or small applications.

Within your own WordPress site, you can view your available widgets by selecting Appearance-Widgets from your dashboard.  Some of the available widgets will be from WordPress, and some will be via your selected theme.  Once on that screen, you can drag widgets to a sidebar on the right to activate them. Simply drag widgets back to the left side of the screen to deactivate them and delete their settings.  Drag to the bottom left of the screen to deactivate them without deleting their settings.  You may drag a widget into different sections of your sidebar, or into different sections of the footer.  Once you have dragged a widget to the right sidebar, select the drop-down menu to open that widget up and change any settings, or add text or an image.  There are many widgets to choose from, including calendars, *tag clouds, and recent posts.

*tag clouds – a display of the most common tags used in your posts

Let’s suppose you have seen a widget on another website that you really like, but don’t see it available within your choices.  You will also see a section called “Plugins” on your dashboard.  View your installed plugins to see what is currently active.  This is also where you can select “add new” and do a search for the type of plugin you would like to add to your site.  For example, I wanted an image plugin to display the large “Visit My Etsy Shop” circular banner displayed in my sidebar.  So I simply did a search for “image widget” and then looked at the ratings and reviews of the plugins produced from my search to decide which widget I wanted to install.

One important note here is that if there is anything that will “break” the code on your website, it will probably be a plugin.  So do your research before installing, and install additional plugins one at a time, checking to make sure with each individual install that your site looks/works correctly.  You can also easily deactivate, or delete, a previously installed plugin from this page.  Once installed, your new plugin will be available on the widget page, or in some cases, directly available on the plugins drop-down menu within your dashboard.

Join me next week for a review of using social media and images on your WordPress site!

 

 

A Child’s Imagination

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Tepee and Tent

How creative is this?  Not your average teepee here, this one from Tepee and Tent is quite the girly number!  Layers of peach, pale pink, and almond colored ruffles form the sides of this lush tent, which has the sweetest peach polka dot fabric on the top half.  Perfect for playtime or some really fun photography sessions!

This all-girls tent made by Bubbaloubands in Ontario, Canada measures just under 4 feet wide and long and measures approximately 36 inches from the ground to the inside peak.   It is perfectly sized for children under 6 and can typically accommodate between 2-3 children.  Tents are available for both boys and girls.  It is of course very portable and quickly sets up indoors, or can be taken outside for even more make-believe fun!

 

Fox-Coat

 

Little Goodall

I just love, love, love the childrens’ coats made by Little Goodall in McKinney, Texas!  This little fox coat has always been a favorite.  I mean, what child would not want to slip on one of these precious coats and take a walk in the wild woods!  And check out that fluffy tail!  This coat is made of eco-felt, made from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles. This Little Goodall original design features foxy “claws”, a fox face hood, two slip pockets for warming foxy paws, and a fuzzy yarn fox tail.

The interior of this beautiful coat is fully lined with a fun cotton print and closes down the front with three vintage buttons. Sleeves are lined with brown poly lining fabric to slip easily on and off over clothing. The coats are designed by Molly, who holds a BFA in Fashion Design, and is a featured Etsy seller.  All coats are custom made in different sizes for both boys and girls, and are dry clean only.

 

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 Miss Pretty Pretty

Take a look at this pirate card table playhouse by Etsy seller Miss Pretty Pretty!  Julie in Wisconsin makes these in custom sizes to accommodate different table sizes; instantly turns any card table into an imaginative playhouse.  They are all completely handmade from wrinkle free eco-felt and are designed to be heirloom toys.  All items used in these playhouses and toys are certified completely child safe for all ages. No small parts, no paint, no glue or vinyl! The felt used in these playhouses is produced from 100% post consumer plastic bottles, manufactured in the USA.

Each unique playhouse is created, drawn, traced and lovingly cut by hand. There are no pre-made die cuts and no store bought appliques, which in our fast-paced world is simply amazing!  Recently the “Little Red Playhouse” was featured on a “Cool Stuff for Kids” segment on the Today Show.

If you like, there is also an option to make your own version of these award winning card table playhouses by purchasing the Card Table Playhouse Pattern. This pattern will teach you how to make the popular Little Red Playhouse that was seen on the Today Show, and Julie even promises to help you every step of the way through emails or Etsy conversations. She’s making me think again about offering my own patterns up for those who like to create at home.

If you use Facebook, you can “like” her Facebook fan page to receive all of her shop announcements and fun postings of great projects and activities that inspire imaginations in young children and families at www.facebook.com/MyFirstPlayhouse.

 

 

Luck of the Irish

It’s been several weeks since I posted an article for Etsy Friday, but I am seeing green and ready for St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Irish Treats-2

Dog Treats

Check out these luscious all natural green dog treats from Pos Bag of Bones Bakery in New York.  They are just perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.  So keep the green beer for yourself and let you dog have some of these!  Each classic chicken bone is decorated with organic yogurt chip icing and sugar free sprinkles. You can even have your dog’s name added to the bones!

Two medium sized (3.5″) bones and two shamrocks (3.5″) will be wrapped and shipped to your pup like a gift.   Please keep in mind that all Saint Patrick’s Day orders must be received by March 11 to ensure that they arrive in time for the holiday.

All treats are baked to order from Pos Bag of Bones Bakery.  Original recipes have been taste tested by owner Lauren’s two pugs.  They are all made with natural and organic ingredients; no preservatives or artificial flavoring are ever used in any of their products.

 

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Leather Collar

This exquisite couture large leather dog collar is by Argos Collars.  The natural beauty of premium Italian leather, with a little green bling in the stone studs!  Absolutely perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any day!  The leather is specially treated with oils to maintain its good looks both outdoors and indoors.  Suede liners are also available for this collar.  All hardware is made of stainless steel and stitched together with heavy duty nylon.

Shop owner, maker, and designer Dado states that “the idea was to make a product worthy of the stamp ‘Made in the USA’.  I wanted to design collars that stood out and made people turn heads. All my designs feature 5 vibrant colors that are Feng Shui elements such as Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. I am very passionate about my product and I love to see when people and their pets enjoy what i have created.”  His dog Benji inspired these wonderful products made in Los Angeles, California.

 

Irish dog-bowl

Dog Bowl

Oh the inspiration continues!  This lovely ceramic dog bowl is made by Lauren of Lauren Bausch Original in Macon, Georgia.  Once again so pretty in green, this wheel thrown medium sized stoneware bowl will keep your canine pal happy at feeding time, and will keep you smiling every time you see it.  Signed Lauren Bausch on the bottom.  Oh yeah, and there is a bowl on her Etsy site just for kitties, too!

Lauren used a speckled brown stoneware clay and added the “Woof” bone to create this uniquely designed food bowl. It is food safe, microwave, and dishwasher friendly.  Be sure to check out Lauren’s many other pottery designs, and her blog.

 

Feathered Friends

Birdfeather

Sculptural Bird Feeder

Art.  Sculpture.  Bird feeder.  All in one!  This hand crafted, beautifully intricate sculpture by Missouri artist Joe Papendick is welded from steel & copper and stands approximately 6′ tall.    An “I-beam” shaped base on the bird feeder is securely welded to the upright support, and allows for placement 8-10″ deep into the ground.  A stainless steel screen keeps the bird seed dry and will never rust through.  A lovely verdigris copper hood gives some protection from rain, wind, and sun, and is as beautiful as the birds that will feed beneath it.  I love the fine intertwining metal “branches”, and can imagine that this piece would indeed be very difficult for any bird to resist, as it will provide both a feast and a welcoming refuge.

All new work currently in progress can be seen on Joe’s blog.  In addition to lovely pieces such as this that deftly imitate nature, Joe has some wonderful contemporary designs, including one which was featured in the April 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living.  His earlier work was featured on the HGTV series “I Want That” back in 2006.   He is also a featured Etsy seller.

 

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Watercolor Parakeet

This precious little watercolor piece is from Welsh artist Alison Fennell’s Etsy shop Eastwitching.  This 8×010 inch print is of Bertie.  Alison states that he is “a real busybody and loves a cup of tea. I had fun painting his plump little body in some of my fave shades of turquoise, lime green and aqua.”  Watercolors have always been a favorite medium of mine; I just love the light and translucent quality they bring to an art piece.  Be sure to check out Alison’s “About” page in Etsy, to follow her interesting story about her life and art.  Looking for more whimsical animals?  She has many, many to choose from, so have fun browsing!

The high resolution and quality of these prints on archival authentic Epson Radiant White paper makes them almost impossible to tell apart from an original.  They are packaged in a clear cello sleeve (including certificate of authenticity) with a piece of rigid cardboard for stability, then placed in a sealed waterproof plastic mailer for complete shipping protection.

 

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Bird, Birdcage, and Tree Wall Decals

Even if you don’t have your own garden, you can have one now with these contemporary wall  murals by Estsy shop Cuma.  Created with the very best vinyl decal material, these look super easy to put on the walls of your home, and are easy to remove should you want to change the decor of the room at a later date.  Decals won’t damage the paint but cannot be reused.  All the wonderful designs on the site are made by Cuma, can be custom made to different sizes upon request, and are offered in a wide range of colors.  Be sure to see all the offerings on the Etsy site with examples of the decals used in different type room settings including nurseries, childrens’ playrooms, offices, dining rooms, and bedrooms.  The decals offer a quick and easy way to change the entire look of a room, or conversely, you could quite literally build your room around them!