A blog tour, plus tips and tricks for designing your own buttons and sidebars


Fresh Face! Superstar!

Hello friends!  Have you clicked over to the blog lately?  It has a fresh face (superstar!), thanks to my little sister Anne Marie.


This is not Anne Marie.  Did I just date myself with this SNL reference?  Probably.

Let’s take a tour, shall we?



The new header art was designed by A.M. and then I made it into a header using PicMonkey.  It’s so easy-peasy, how’s about we play a little how-to down in Take #6, hmmmmm?

01 header



Anne Marie also helped me with some sidebar buttons, and guess what?  I made a few of them too.  //Mind blown//

Button Collage

Hint: Anne Marie’s are the ones with detail.

Each button on the sidebar will take you to one of my main blogging topics.  If you can’t find something using the buttons, there’s still the Search box at the bottom of the sidebar.



I cleaned everything up over there on the right.  If we’re not already chummy on social media, you can find me with those pretty blue buttons in the upper right.  They’re created using the Simple Social plug-in.  The icons are totally customizable, including colors.

As a friendly reminder, shopping through my Amazon button (also over there on the right) sends a few pennies my way at no cost to you.

Button Amazon Aff


Paper (53)

This app, people.  It is really cool.

download (1)

All of the button and header artwork was made using Paper (53).  It’s only available on iOS (iDevices), so sorry Android people.  But if you have an iPad and like to play around with artsy stuff, this app is super fun.  The free version has pretty limited capabilities, so I sprang for the $5 of upgrades to get full access to everything.  Worth every penny, all 499 of them.


Using PicMonkey to Make a Header

I offered and now will deliver:

Quick Tutorial on using PicMonkey to make a blog header.

1) Figure out what size your header needs to be.  In WordPress, I found it by going to my Dashboard and clicking:  Appearance > Header > Site Layout.  At the top left I got this message: While you can crop images to your liking after clicking Add new image, your theme recommends a header size of 920 × 270 pixels.

2)  Next: choose one of your own photos, find an image in the public domain, or create an image you’d like to use.

3) Open PicMonkey and click on the Design tab at the top,  then click on the size labeled Custom.  Enter the pixels for your header.  Mine was 920 x 270 as shown above. Click the Make it! button.

4) Next, click the butterfly icon, signifying Overlays, on the left sidebar.  At the top, choose Your Own and upload the image you plan to use.  Position it, add text, and save it to your computer.

5) Upload to WP and voila!  You have a fantastic new header!


HTML for Dummies

Are you an HTML dummy?  I totally am.  I “know” the basics.  And by “know,” I obviously mean, “can Google.”  So I was thrilled when I stumbled upon a work-around for creating sidebar buttons and/or social media icons.  Allow me to share with you, my HTML-challenged friends.

1) Open a new blog post and upload an image you wanted to use as a button.  (Hint: use PicMonkey)

2) Select the button and click the Link icon from the menu above the post editing window.

3) Add the link of the page you want it directed to and clicked Save.

4) Then save the blog post as a draft.  Don’t publish it!

5) Next, click on the Text tab in the upper right corner of the post editing space.  (It’s right next to the Visual tab.)  Copy the code.

6) From the WP Dashboard, click Appearance > Widgets.  Drag a Text widget to the desired location in your sidebar, header, or footer.

7) Paste the code you copied above and click Save.

8) Go to your homepage to witness the beauty and glamour of your button and give praise for a God who made computer geeks that make it possible for the rest of us to just use work-arounds. God bless them, every one!


Alrighty, buddies.  Thanks for joining me on my blog tour.  I hope these tips are handy for someone.  Let me know if you end up using any of them on your own blogs.  🙂

Clickety-click on over Kelly for more takes that are quick.  Have a lovely week!


  1. Pinned it; hoping to spruce up my space once the new year craziness simmers down.
    Joy recently posted…2014 in 12 snaps!My Profile

  2. Pretty, pretty!
    Charlotte recently posted…12+ in 2014My Profile

  3. It is beautiful! I love the watercolor look.

    • Thanks, Cari. Somehow Paper (53)’s watercolor feature makes what I do look passably artistic. Which I feel like is the opposite of what happens with real watercolor. In real life my art is more: “Look. They’re all birds now.”

  4. Thanks for this! I’ll be studying and fancying up around my place before all these blogging get togethers happen!
    Annery recently posted…12 in 12: Link-upMy Profile

  5. Such great tips! Thanks for sharing all of them! Will be brainstorming these next weeks 🙂
    Amanda recently posted…A Phlegmatic’s New Year’s ResolutionMy Profile

  6. That Paper app sounds amazing!! Thanks so much for clueing me into it. And congrats on the new design!!!! So much work goes into that kinda thing!

  7. “Spruce up blog” is on my list of things to do and I don’t know that it’s ever going to happen… I’ve at least gotta update our “About” page one of these days, considering Peter’s not even there! The problem is I want to change my blog name (and have wanted to for ages) and am waiting for inspiration to hit but… I’ve got nothing!
    Rosie recently posted…A Day in the LifeMy Profile

  8. You are a superstar! And so is the new look. Super cute, all around the blog. Molly Shannon and I dig it.

  9. It’s Tamara from Stella Maris Book Club. Just wanted to that say your blog looks great!
    Tamara recently posted…Cute Baby, Tea, and A Lot of BooksMy Profile


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