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I've got some great stuff for you today, please read on and let me know what you think! For those here for the BEAD SOUP PARTY, that post is just below this one, but why not stay and see if there's something you can benefit from in this post? :)
I've decided to change the name of this Thursday feature. I think from the response (or lack of it) that many think that this is just about things they aren't interested like coupon clipping but I try to share many different things that can help you in all parts of your lives, health, money, gifts, blogging and of course artistic endeavors! Thoughtful ideas, links and more to share with you.
Today as I write this post I have just come from completing my rounds of the Bead Soup Swap Party that I announced yesterday. I visited over 80 blogs (some more than once or twice) to see all that the group had done. If you want to have a look at what women can do with surprise packages of beads you should take some time and visit these blogs, you'll be amazed!
It took me two days and about 8-9 hours to complete it all. I also am involved in the One World One Heart Blogging Party Giveaway where I am trying to visit as many of the 1100+! blogs I can before Feb 15th! (I am also having 9 giveaways in my post so even if you haven't signed up but have a blog you are welcome to leave a comment on that post to join in). I'm sure I won't get to nearly half of them despite the many hours I have put in so far to do so! This is a daunting task for sure. I have met some wonderful woman, artists and other crafters and writers and am so glad I joined in. But I did learn something on the technical side that all you bloggers might be interested in.
So here's a blogging tip for you. I was trying to fancy up the house, so to speak, before all these visitors came my way and decided to try out some new blog backgrounds. For a couple of weeks I had this one from Cutest Little blog on the blog called Barefoot 2 and I liked it for it's curly Q vines naturally, and also the earthy green of course! But it was a dark earthy brown background and some had trouble reading it so I changed to the soft tropical sea blue you see now. In doing this change I tried out some other Blogger Templates (located on your Layout page) to make the backgrounds work better. But it's been so long since I've done a change like this I didn't think that messing with the template would be a problem. I eventually got back to the one I had originally and it worked out but there was one thing I'd forgotten. You see, I have Google analytics connected to all four of my shops as well as my Blog. It's been awhile since I got this hooked up and really forgot how I did it. After all the bloggers started to visit my blog last Friday a few days later I thought, 'I should check my analytics and see where my visitors are coming from', cool huh? Well I got over there and my shops were all reporting but my blog had flat-lined. I thought maybe there was a glitch and tried to look around there to find something and couldn't so forgot about it and not until today was I thinking about it again after the Bead Soup reveal yesterday.
So back to Google I went and my account and I tried to troubleshoot it. Not until I actually went to see how I hooked it up to my blog in the first place did I realize what happened. When I changed the template to accommodate the new background I also removed the code which I had embedded in the template body code. AKK! It wasn't a snafoo of Google's, it was my own doing! I can't tell you how upset with myself I was, because I can never get all that info back so that is why I am sharing this with you. Some of you may be wanting to 'REDECORATE' and if you have analytics on your blog I don't want you to make the same mistake I did, so if you do change your template in blogger don't forget to go back and get your code on the analytics site and insert it just above the body line. If you have a hard time with things like that just go here, it will walk you through it.
Now that you know what not to do when redecorating, how about a spring freshen up for your blog? Want a new look? Some extra bells and whistles? I've come across a few really cool sites that offer free backgrounds, buttons and more. Some tell you what Blogger template to use others don't so it will be some experimentation. Word to the wise, copy your code of the present template so you can revert back to it. In your layout file click on the tab for Edit Html, there you will find the template code you currently have. Copy and save in a doc on your pc. Also if you have another background already, copy that code too so you don't have to waste time looking for it again. Just go to your layout page, page elements and find the Html/Java Script gadget you have it under. Click on it and copy the code and paste it in the doc you have your template on.
Now on to the good stuff, these all have great variety of backgrounds to choose from, it's like shopping in a home dec store, have fun experimenting and finding a style that suits you and your current mood! And give them a thumbs up Stumble while you're there!
Free blog backgrounds
Cutest Little Blog on the Block
Cute n Cool Blog Stuff by itkupilli Cool headers (banners) here too!
Here's some Great Giveaways I came across in my recent travels around the blogosphere:
A great Russian Polymer Clay artist I met on my travels is having a Birthday celebration and she is celebrating by gifting you if your comment is drawn. Go here to enter , scroll down for the English version. She makes beautiful polymer flowers and more!
Love Beading? Lisa of Lucid Moon Studios is giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to ART BEADS.com ! and if that isn't enough she is having a second and third prize which you will have to visit to see..............:) Read her Bead Soup post and then see the giveaway on the bottom of that post.
LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio is having a First Friday Freebie Giveaway, hurry get your entry in by midnight tonight (not sure under what time zone so hurry!) Prize? BEADS! A Mystery BOWL of BEADS! Yum!
Maria Greene of Greenearthoriginals was in the Bead Soup Swap and she is generously auctioning off her necklace to raise money for those in need, like right now, Haitians. Stop by her blog and see the beautiful necklace she made and is parting with for this heartfelt endeavor!
Now speaking of Giving, I've come across some cool sites where you can help others that range from $0 to a dollar or two.
Have you ever heard of FREECYCLE? I just learned of it recently and now am so excited about being able to find others that can really use some things I have to give away instead of taking to Good will where if they don't sell it within a certain amount of time they landfill it too! Connect with those who live in your own area/neighborhood. Clean out, help out and you also can find stuff you could use too. This is especially cool for artists, saves time from rummaging, yard saleing for that perfect thing you need for a project. You can scan the offers or post a wanted ad and see if anyone is willing to give you what you need. It's great, try it out, subscribe and you never know what great deal you can come across. Just follow the moderators instructions and be careful about completing deals, Safety first! Just click on the link above and type in your zip or town. It's that easy!
Are you a Bibliophil? Great news if you are and haven't discovered BookCrossing. I wish I'd know of this before giving away literally boxes of books! Anyway, check it out. It's part trading, part, mystery, and part budget reading, such a cool idea! It's an adventure for you and your books! There are over 100 countries participating. From the site:
BookCrossing is earth-friendly, and gives you a way to share your books, clear your shelves, and conserve precious resources at the same time. Through our own unique method of recycling reads, BookCrossers give life to books. A book registered on BookCrossing is ready for adventure.I love an adventure and earth friendly too! What could be better?
Now who wants CHOCOLATE??? Is LOVE Fair? Fair Trade that is. Would you like to win some luscious Organic Fair Trade Chocolate? If so hop on over to Mambo Sprouts Blog to enter to win not only Chocolate but some Organic Coffee as well! Woo Hoo!
Craft Supply Deals for the week:
JoAnn's - Polymer Clay SALE - SculpeyIII And Premo! $1.69 and more clay items here
Michael's - Lots of Valentine's Stuff of course but also 50% off Bead Gallery Strands,other jewelry componants, 2 for $5, cLEaranCe BlowOut on Artists paints and brushes, Prismacolor Pen sets, 50% off.
Hobby Lobby - 50% off Metal Gallery Jewelry and more
Prairie Craft - New Formula coming out KATO POLYMER CLAY
Specials this month:This months discount coupons are:
VAL5 5% discount for order over $50.00
VAL10 10% discount for orders over $100.00
VAL15 15% discount for order over $200.00
Coupons good till the end of February.
And there you have it, I hope you found one or more things that can be useful to you, please leave me a comment on what you liked/ didn't like, want to see more of, less of, whatever's on your mind!