By now, you'll have seen the new Template Designer facility on Blogger and may have experimented. You may also have a custom background and wonder whether it will work templates other than Minima.

The answer is YES - with the proviso you read this tutorial very carefully first, so you don't lose anything you want to keep on your blog.

Make sure you save your blog template
First thing to do before you do ANYTHING is to save a copy of your blog. This takes seconds - and you may be very glad you did, if you like experimenting with layouts and then save by mistake and lose all your widgets!


If using one of the old templates, make sure you Preview (link under the template) FIRST before you apply it, in case you don't like it.  Also, you'll be given the option to Save Your Widgets, so make sure you click to save your widgets or you will lose them permanently.

Be aware that any template changes you made to your html (numbered comments, signatures, post dividers etc) will be lost and will have to be reinstalled


The new Template Designer templates show in a split screen as you are working, so whatever changes you make will show immediately. When saving the template you'll be given the option to save your widgets, so make sure you click to Save Your Widgets or you will lose them permanently.

Be aware that any template changes you made to your html (numbered comments, signatures, post dividers etc) will be lost and will have to be reinstalled.


Q: Can I use one of the new Designer Templates with my custom (or freebie) template?

A: Some work better than others - some want to default the design shown, and some will add a thick horizontal strip behind the header and across the top of your blog background. Preview it first - you may like the result, or you may not. If you don't save it, it won't install. If you did save it, hopefully you saved a copy of your blog to your hard drive before you started playing (whch you can simply reload, no damage done).

  • Choose from any of the Picture Window choices.
  • Choose from Awesome 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6
  • Choose from Watermark 1 and 2
  • Awesome 5 (this will give you a white horizontal box right across, behind your header)
  • Watermark 4 and 5
  • Simple (all of these will give you a broad horizontal box right across, behind your header)

Stretch Minima
This is one of my backgrounds using the Stretch Minima template - which also works well with other templates, especially the new Template Designer ones.

Now let's change the actual template:

Click on Design - Template Designer - Templates
LAYOUTS: I've chosen AWESOME template No 3

This is the default design for this particular template - you can change this (see tutorial link below)
BACKGROUND: This is the default background. Let's change it.

You can see this is the default background - I've selected NO IMAGE
By selecting No Image some templates will default to the main colours of your blog background, and others will give you a choice of ticking a colour - or Transparent (ie: no colour). So your custom background will show exactly as it should.

LAYOUT: Here is where you can adjust the actual layout  (number of columns etc) plus the width of your blog and your footer options (columns, no columns etc)

Advanced options: fonts - sizes, colours etc
ADVANCED: You can adjust the font, the colour, the size etc. Also the default title if you don't want to use an image for your banner or header. In Designer, the area where you make your changes is easy to see: it's outlined very clearly.

More adjustments
Here you can see what adjustments I have chosen.

Final tweaks
If you don't like the colour options shown, click the arrow to the side of a box to bring up a larger box showing colour wheel and transparency options.


Older template option
Click on Design - Edit HTML, which will bring you to a new page showing the older Blogger templates.

Thisaway template
I've chosen THISAWAY in the green option. I'm still using my original Stretch background and header, and have only uploaded this template. You'll notice all the fonts etc have changed to the Blogger default for this template.

Template added to same Stretch background
You can see the header size is all wrong! This is a 2-column background with a set width (unlike the Designer ones, where you can set the width yourself).

Adjusting header width to fit your template
I've deleted my header, then reloaded it - this time I've clicked the Shrink To Fit option, so the header fits the background correctly.

The result
That's much better! Now I'm changing the template again - this time to STRETCH LEFTY.

Another template: STRETCH LEFTY
The Stretch Lefty template defaults the fonts etc again, so I'll need to adjust these. I also need to remove the two thin borders around the header area as they don't look right with my banner.

I also have the option of NOT using my banner, and use Blogger's default text for the header. In this case, I might prefer to keep the borders - but make them thicker and more punchy.

Removing Blogger's default borders from around the header
To remove the borders, go to Design - Page Elements - Edit HTML and scroll down until you find the Header section (see pic above).

This is how it will look
Change the numbers - to remove the borders change the numbers to 0. To make them more punchy, make the numbers larger (3px or 5px are a nice size). The two borders don't have to be the same thickness, either.

The result!
I've changed the font size and colour, removed the borders and this is the final result. Minima Lefty has a transparent template, so you see the whole pattern of the design.

Again, I just want to remind you that saving any of these templates will result in your losing any customisation (like removing the borders round the header, for example). You will be prompted to save your widgets - but nothing is foolproof, so if you have loads of widgets, make sure you save your template FIRST.

    The new Blogger Templates
    Adjusting and centering Blogger's default header
      I've also put this entire tutorial on my Computery blog, for archiving.


      Copyright Susie Jefferson
      I've been playing with my new Glimmer Mist sprays - any excuse, really!

      Copyright Susie Jefferson
      I sprayed a background, then overstamped just a little, added a bit of shading on the edges... just playing but oh! what a beautiful result. I love the glimmer and the shimmer - subtle, not over-the-top, but definitely there.

      I also used the stamps from the Tattered Angels butterfly set, and the large heart from their Glimmer Screen pack. The butterfly is stamped on the background, stamped again and cut out then mounted with a little silicon gel, and finally stamped for a third time (and embossed) onto acetate. Very dimensional!

      Here's the link for general tips and advice, and my new class using all the Tattered Angels goodies is on Saturday 18 September.


      All photographs copyright Marilyn Saunders
      Marilyn Saunders (another of the ladies who took my Gerrards Cross Japanese Stab-bound albums class several weeks ago) has just sent me photos of a new album she's just made.

      Beading detail on binding - beautifully matched and sized!
      Closeup of beading detail on spine
      Detail of clasp
      I have to say that I'm wildly impressed! 

      Hand-stamped cover paper, satin ribbon binding over-bound with beads... wow and double wow! (wish I'd thought of the beads....)


      Margaret (one of the ladies on my Gerrards Cross Summer School course) sent me a pic of her finished album.

      Done in the class - photos copyright Margaret Isaacs
      All finished with embellishments. The perfect Golden Wedding album!
      Thanks so much for the photos, Margaret - this album is lovely, and I'm sure was the perfect present for a perfect day!

      I particularly like the little bows you inserted along the binding - an idea I'm definitely going to pinch! Why didn't I think of that?


      First off, I'm keeping my Birthday Giveaway open over this weekend - so leave a comment here or on my previous Pink Saturday post to win a blog header or a button or blinkie, designed by moi myself! 

      I didn't get a lot of visiting done last weekend, as we were out most of the time, so I obviously didn't get many visitors either... so to be fair, I'm holding the giveaway open this week as well. I know I promised to announce the winner today ... well, it'll be next week instead.

      This week, I've been frantically busy (invited to teach again at the annual Gerrards Cross Summer School) so Wednesday I was teaching Japanese Stab-bound albums.

      Here are a couple of the books the group made - I had 11 students, but we didn't discover we had a camera in our midst until after a few ladies had already left. So they missed out there. Brilliant, aren't they!

      Cover a book box

      I had a very boring Kraft papier mache book box that I keep my unmounted alphabet stamps in. It's so boring, I decided to do something with it! Then I thought it might be a good idea to share....

      Boring plain Kraft papier mache box
      I prepped the box inside and out with burgundy acrylic paint. I lined it with Khadi paper (heavily textured, handmade) in a strong pink which I overstamped with more burgundy paint and my toys: hand carved wooden blocks from Colouricious.

      Heavily textured Khadi handmade paper
      The paint was applied to the block with a sponge brush, and you can see the very simple repeat pattern: from the left, just stamped from top to bottom. 2nd from left, pattern dropped half a repeat down, 3rd from left starting at the top again, etc. Due to the heavy texture of the paper, the pattern didn't stamp perfectly - enhancing the handmade effect. (If you want a perfect repeat, use smooth paper).

      I sprayed the hinges for my other book green, using the inside of this box to keep the spray away from the table, sorry! If you want to see the book, scroll down to the post before this one.

      The box is painted inside and out, the small piece is the left side lining paper and the larger ones are for the top and inside the box part - all in one piece, sides and bottom.

      Side paper glued in. You'll notice a slight overlap at the bottom - making sure there are no gaps. I used ordinary PVA gle (white glue, dries clear).

      The inside of the finished box. You'll note I didn't glue paper over the hinge as this is a tight-fitting lid.

      A heavy application of gesso on the stamp and more repeat patterning
      The outside of the box - a different stamp. I used gesso (again, applied with a sponge brush).

      I didn't like the gesso - too stark. So I overstamped with Lumiere's Crimson (pearlised deep red) using the first block (the one I stamped on the paper for the inside of the box).

      I did two rows of stamping, then blended in with a soft cloth before the acrylic was completely dry. This blended the paint a little, but still left a very dimensional broken texture.

      The finished book. Possibly still a little too floral on the cover for my taste, so I'll probably go ahead with some collage at some point. Or maybe it needs some text. Or not. I'll see how I feel in a day or so.

      Showing the fastening and 'page edges' detail
      Detail of the 'pages' I drew in with a dark grey Copic market. I overdrew with an opaque white pen (Ranger). The fastening is a piece of Grungeboard, cut to size and the corners rounded, then painted and stamped to match. I made two holes right at the top and applied eyelets (too thick to crunch, so I cheated with two sets applied from top and bottom to meet in the middle, with an application of Diamond Glaze glue and a whack with a hammer).

      This meant there was a little too much movement of the Grungeboard just at the fore edge, so I made another hole and added two more eyelets in the same way (you can see there's an overhanging lip, so that's where I made the hole). To finish the fastening, I punched a large hole at the end of the Grungboard, and a small hole in the side of the box - then screwed in a hitch fastener. The Grungeboard hooks over beautifully.

      Why bother? I carry the box (and contents) to classes, so this stops everything falling out. Nice, neat and secure - and now a lot more interesting to look at.

      My Blog of The Week has to be Colouricious's blog - some great techniques and YouTube videos there, especially if you are interested in fabric art.

      pink saturday

      Finally, please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the other wonderful Pink Saturday posts - and don't forget to leave a comment if you want to win that blog header & button!


      Lookie here!

      I was interviewed by Kathie of Just a Happy Housewife - you can just imagine how happy I was to be asked! Beyond excited!

      Here's the interview if you'd like to read it - and thank you so much to Kathie for making my day. I even get a button, which is now proudly displayed in my sidebar (and on Computery as well - I've repeated this post over there as well).

      Nothing like overkill, lol.


      Kiss Journal - all photos copyright Susie Jefferson- all rights reserved
      I finally finished my book! And yes, I'm very pleased with it.

      Copyright Susie Jefferson
      Side view showing stitching
      Poor Peter - I forced him up into the attic and refused to let him down till he handed me all my art stuff - so now we're surrounded by a sea of boxes and I'm as happy as a clam! I finished sewing the book Tuesday, but didn't have a chance to photograph it till today as yesterday (Wednesday) I taught a Japanese Stab-bound class at Gerrards Cross Summer School - more of that in another post. So I've been up against it for time.

      But I digress... back to the book which is the subject of the post....

      I cut it wider than needed, so that I could repeat the spine measurement for the fore edge and fold the excess back over to the front cover, then create some kind of fastening. This ended up as hinges - TWO  pieces of die cut Grungeboard - flexible and very tough. I punched holes in the ends so they could go over hitch fasteners (fasteners and Grungeboad are by Tim Holtz).

      Closeup of stitching
      Clopseup of hinges
      Hinge detail
      The hinges were postioned with a dab of glue, then fixed with eyelets. Then I wire-wrapped each piece and over-wrapped a second time with beads and brass danglies.

      The fold-over edge looked rather plain, so I hole punched down the length and wire wrapped again, a basic whip stitch.

      Detail showing pen holder
       The finishing touch was a spiral of the cover paper (I cut off about 1cm from the piece folding back over the cover before I did the wire wrap) which I glued down, then eyeletted top and bottom for strength.

      Hope you like it!

      If you want to make your own, here's the link for my tutorial on Etsy. If you want to know how I made the textured cover, read the post below. If you too would like your very own hand carved wood blocks, contact Colouricious - tell Jamie Malden or Holly I said Hi!