Beautify your Blog: week 4 - Beautiful Blog Headers PART 2

3:11:00 PM

Hi all, welcome back to the Beautify your Blog series here at Sew at Home Mummy.

This week we'll be going over some more advanced ways to create a pretty blog header - specifically, using Microsoft Publisher and digital scrapbooking or clipart images.

If you don't own a Microsoft Suite with Publisher included, you *can* do this with Word and/or PowerPoint. I do not own WordPerfect myself, but, I am almost certain you can use that as well. If you have and are familiar with Photoshop or Illustrator this post may have some inspiration for you, too.

If you don't own any of the above, it's still worth reading through this for the learning experience.

If you're just coming across this series for the first time today, please see 
Week 1: this post for the series disclosure and the first few lessons 
Week 3: Beautiful Blog Headers PART 1

Each of these lessons build on the previous week's. In the first lesson I suggested you create a test blog - at the end of the series we'll copy the template you have built and created over to your 'real' blog.

If you're participating in this series, I'd love for you to post a button on your site or blog about it, but neither is mandatory :) here's a button if you'd like:
Sew at Home Mummy

Now. Let's get started!

Because we're building on what you've learned on weeks prior, I'm going to condense the tutorials a bit with respect to images (as you can imagine, they're quite time consuming to add to each post :) )

A Word on Digital Clip Art/Scrapbooking Elements
I just want to stress that when you're using these images and elements you're abiding by the author's/artist's copyright or use limitations therein. If you have a commercial or business based blog, I highly suggest you either obtain permission from the creator or pay for the commercial use download, even if a free one is available. You don't want to run into any legal issues.

If there's a watermark or stamp across the image you want to use, you're going to have to pay for it when you download it - again, you don't want to run into any issues.

1.0 Downloading Fun Scrapbook Elements & Images
There are several scrapbooking or digital image hosting sites which offer free (or very inexpensive) borders, embellishments, and clip art (simple pictures and symbols) for download. 

Here are a couple which I really like:
Starflower Studio
My Memories
Best Free Scrapbooks

I use My Memories and Starflower the most. They have a tonne of free elements and page backgrounds which you can use to jazz up your blog, create blog buttons, and use as background wallpaper. You'll have to create a free account on some of these free sites, but, it's worth it. When you download these files, they come as individual pictures which you can move around on your header, like stickers.

1.1) So I found a nice graphic that I'd like to use, so I go ahead and download this from {this page} saving it to my Desktop
  - once file is downloaded, you may need to 'unzip' it.
     - Right click on file on Desktop. Select "Unzip" or "Extract Files"
       (will vary depending on type of Unzip program you're running).

1.2) Open your editing program of choice (I'll be using Publisher), and create a new document.
in the top menu, select:
  -  Insert
     - Image (or Picture)
       - From File
...and select your image from the downloaded, unzipped folder.

Now it's time to create some magic.

Remember: last week we discussed that you'll want your header about 3 times as long as it is tall - so long and skinny. 

1.3) Create an autoshape in the shape of a rectangle: and drag your mouse in the document field to create a nice long, narrow rectangle - this will be the background for your header.
Select the rectangle so that you see the white circles in the border; right click, and select
Format Autoshape

A pop-up appears; play with the attributes in the box. For me, I'm going to set my
- Fill color to "White"
- Line color to "None"

** in the "Layout" tab, under Wrapping Style, select "None"

Click "OK".

Right click on the Rectangle and select
- Order
   --- Send to Back

1.4) Create a text box.
Select "Insert" from the top menu.
   -  Select "Text Box"

A cross appears; click and drag on the document field to create a box which you'll type into.

     -  Type the title of your blog. Play with the fonts you'd like, colors, etc. Make the font nice and big (I set mine at 78 for the title, and 42 for the subtitle, but it'll depend on the font you use)
          -  you may want to create a separate text box for your title and your subtitle. You'll see below that I created two separate text boxes for mine.

"Activate" each text box by clicking on their borders; edit the text box's attributes by clicking
Format Text Box
- for mine,
* I removed the line on the text box, so there's no border.
* I removed the fill on the text box, so there's no background to them.
and this is important - for each text box you create:
* in the "Layout" tab, under Wrapping Style, select "None"

1.5) Start stacking.

Okay. So here's what I did.
- I inserted a second image and mirrored it by grabbing the left hand adjustment dot on the border (the little white circle) and dragged it across the image to the right. This mirrors the duplicate image.

- I then started re-arranging my text boxes and images on top of the rectangle autoshape which will serve as the header background. I made sure that my text and images all look centered.
- I played with the images under the title, rotated them beside the title, angled them, etc. but I decided I liked this orientation best.

- notice that the fonts in the header are fun, and are two colors. See our previous week's post on header fonts Week 3: Beautiful Blog Headers PART 1

So I've decided I like this layout.

1.6) Save as an image.

Making sure there are no other unwanted images or text boxes on your screen, press

- CTRL + A
(you'll notice all of your boxes become active and this little symbol pops up:)
- - Click on that little symbol (circled in red above)

- - - Right click on the boxes and select "Save as Picture"

In the pop-up that appears,

* Save as a .png or .jpeg
* If you can change your resolution to a higher standard, go ahead and do that.

Now! We need to resize our header image to best fit our blog. From here on out, the instructions for the tutorial are the same as last week's (post is {here})- 

follow steps:
1.1 - 1.5
(omit 1.6, you shouldn't need to crop your image)
1.10 (how to save your image)

then, once your image is resized, follow the directions for uploading your image to your test blog from last week's post

follow steps under "3.0: Uploading your Custom Header"

Here is my
BEFORE (with the header I created last week):

AFTER (header from this week):

I like them both! But I love the simplicity of this week's header. It's pretty.

Have fun with it, and I'd love to see your test blogs, so if you're playing along, make sure to leave a comment for me with your test blog address so I can check out your progress!

Next week we'll be learning how to customize your tab elements under your blog header to link to your different pages within your blog.

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  1. Thanks, Erin, for this very good information. I am following along and hope to be able to put some of these ideas into beautifying my blog soon. Right now I am working on some quilty deadlines. Then I will have time to play with my blog, I hope. I did add your button to my sidebar and write a promo post. I love your new header that you have created ... :) Pat

  2. Thanks again. Can't wait for next week. Now I need to come up with the page topics I want to add next week so I'll be ready for your next topic.

  3. I am very excited about this series! I've been planning to re-work my blog in the summer. I'm a teacher and summer is a big time of lots of quilting. This year I want to make my blog more appealing. I can't wait to go through all your lessons and see what I can come up with! Thank you so much!

  4. ERIN!!! I finally got to this lesson! Love it!! You are awesome for doing this. Take a look:


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