Blog design etc by Colorful Balloons
ColorfulBalloons has emailed me a couple of times re updating the coding on his blog design, and has written a lovely little post about me!

I'm so thrilled - isn't this the nicest thing?

Do go and take a look at the blog - some great stuff there, and some very interesting blogs that have been recommended (including MINE, yaaaaay).


A small canvas I finally found the time to finish.

They always say things go in threes.... and right now I'm working on THREE massive blog makeovers. Call me Mrs Simultaneous.

Mind you, it's left me very little time to do or think about anything else. Here's what I've been up to:

Ms Skull N Roses - this is a new online jewellery store, selling fabulous high-end sterling silver jewellery (with and without gemstones). Bang on trend - this goth look is highly fashionable at the minute, and the detail in the jewellery is just amazing. I took my inspiration from the Pre Raphaelites: Burne-Jones, Millais, Waterhouse, Rosetti... and deep, deep red roses.

I am A Mother Seeking - not just a Mom site, Meredith is a specialist in child education and development, and has also published a book!  The travel theme for her blog is representative of her journey through life and all its highs and lows. Plus she has the most stunningly photogenic kids! I found the maps in the 15th Century - all hand drawn, hand coloured, and made my own from around 8 of them.

Mixed Media with Oxana - a fabulous mixed media artist, the blog uses all of Oxana's own artwork for the header, the buttons etc. Oxana is Russian, living in Norway, and writes her blog in all three languages (English as well). Her work is a stunning mix of vintage, paint, collage - and for sale on her Etsy shop.

All of these have been big projects and I'm enjoying myself enormously! Yaaay for my new Speedy Gonzales computer!

I'm teaching an art class tomorrow (Saturday) but will do my best to do some Pink Saturday visiting.

pink saturday

Finally, please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the other wonderful Pink Saturday posts!


At the moment I'm so busy I'm going to meet myself coming backwards, as my mother used to say. I'm in the middle of doing THREE blog makeovers!

So I'm in need of a VERY strong coffee or three...

I'm always forgetting to drink it, and I hate lukewarm coffee, so I've trawled the net and come up with a few COLD coffee recipes I think are do-able (I love frappucinos):

Found on Grouprecipes

3/4 cup double-strength coffee, cold
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup low-fat milk
2 cups ice
3 tablespoons caramel topping
whipped cream
3 tablespoons Hersheys Chocolate Syrup

  • Make double-strength coffee by brewing with twice the usual quantity of coffee required by your coffee maker: 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per each cup of coffee. 
  • Chill before using.
  • To make drink, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until ice is crushed and drink is smooth. 
  •  Pour into two 16-ounce glasses, and serve with a straw.
CARAMEL Version:
For this version, add 3 tablespoons of caramel topping to the original recipe and prepare as described. Top each glass with whipped cream and drizzle additional caramel over the whipped cream.

MOCHA Version:
For this version, add 3 tablespoons Hershey's chocolate syrup to the original recipe and prepare as described. Top each glass with whipped cream, if desired.

And here is a very similar Weightwatchers version, from Recipe Kitchen:

⅔ cup double-strength coffee, chilled, see prep tip
⅔ cup (1%) low-fat milk, see substitution tip
2 tablespoons caramel topping
4 packages Splenda, Equal, or other sugar substitute
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla
2¾ cups ice

Light whipped cream or light vanilla flavored whipped cream, see shopping tip
1½ teaspoons caramel topping

  • Combine chilled coffee, milk, caramel topping, Splenda, sugar, vanilla and ice in a blender. 
  • Blend on high speed until ice is crushed and drink is smooth. 
  • Pour into 2 glasses. 
  • Top each glass with 2 tablespoons whipped cream and drizzle about ¾ teaspoon caramel topping over each. 
Serve at once with a straw.  Makes 2-(12 oz) drink

Shopping Tip
New to some supermarkets is a light vanilla flavored whipped cream. The vanilla makes it a creamy color. instead of white. If you can’t find it use any brand of light whipped cream.

Prep Tip
  • Make double-strength coffee by brewing with twice the coffee required by your coffee maker. 
  • Use 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per each cup of coffee. 
  • Chill before using. 
  • Make extra, if desired, to keep on hand in the refrigerator.
  • We used fresh brewed hazelnut flavored coffee for this recipe but any regular or decaf coffee will work.
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 3 - is made with nonfat milk, no sugar, only Splenda. Includes toppings

Otherwise, this counts as Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 4 

Skinny Facts: for a (12oz) serving including 2 tablespoons light whipped cream and a little caramel drizzle
  • 133 calories
  • 1.8g fat
  • 3g protein
  • 26g carbs
  • 0g fiber
  • 9g sugar
  • 126mg sodium
Sounds worth a try! Great tasting, but also lower fat etc? HAS to be a win/win!

pink saturday

Finally, please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the other wonderful Pink Saturday posts!


Copyright-free image Tack-o-Rama
Sometimes, you want to add a lot of images in a block – but you also want people to be able to click on each one independently, so that they can bring up a larger image. And not want to have to write a lot of code.

The answer is to put those images in a gallery or a table, and here I am using LiveWriter as the simplest method.

Adding a Gallery

Here’s the Gallery view I chose:

I’m not so sure about this ‘download all’ option – so make sure you have copyright signs on those you are worried about. Having said that, there are so great choices in gallery designs, to give your blog an uplift.

You can create a table instead…. 

Click on the Insert tab, then Table.


While in picture view you can still edit your image: change colour, size, add a frame etc, add a copyright… I always add the picture first, then change the size (top left on the toolbar – mine add as Small, so I change that to Medium) then set position (top right) if you want text to wrap, etc.


I originally chose 3 columns (3 pictures going across the table) and 4 rows, for a total of 12 pictures. I then changed my mind (pic below) and removed two rows, so I now have 3 columns x 2 rows = 6 pictures.


How many pictures you can include in a table depends on the width of your posting area, so you can check this by going into your blog:
Design > Template Designer > Adjust Widths
Nothing is permanent until you click ‘Apply to Blog’, so check via the Preview before you save anything, in case you knock out your blog design altogether. I keep saying it, but it really is a good idea to download a copy of your blog before you start messing around in Template Designer. It will keep your background design and header, but any customisations like a signature, numbered comments etc, entered into the html, will all be overwritten if you press the wrong button by accident.

In tables, you have a much narrow choice of appearance although you can still customise (add borders, change colours etc) so it’s up to you how fancy you want your table to look. Pictures or text will appear in regular intervals, unlike the Gallery views, where they are very varied (layered, fanned out etc).
I’ve chosen 650pixels wide, 3 columns and 2 rows, so I have space for 6 pictures. I’ve also added a 3pixel border. Notice how the columns have adjusted to accommodate the width of the images I chose.

Cherry Blossom – Pink
Cherry Blossom – Jade
Cherry Blossom – Black
So Pretty
accordion tag book
So Pretty
Accordion tag book

So what’s the verdict? MAGIC! This is so easy, it’s unbelievable…

Finally, if you are really unsure how it’s going to look – or you want to add a link later, you can post the draft to your blog, then go in and edit in Blogger as you normally would.

So now I have the option of lots of little pix, a scrollable gallery or putting in really big images – and choice on how they appear. Live Writer has come a long long way.

NOTE - Added while in Edit Post view in Blogger... 

Editing a LiveWriter post in Blogger you will find the paragraph spacing disappears - so you will need to reinsert breaks etc. If you post directly to your blog, the post will be EXACTLY as you've written it in LiveWriter.


When I teach a Coptic books class, I always need to take sample books with me, and have been in the habit of making some miniatures (3in x 2in) because not only are they easy to carry with me, but also because there is just something very charming about having a book so small that it nestles in the palm of your hand.
I’ve found that I had rather a lot of them, and finally wrestled myself into letting them go – and have sold them on eBay (8 of them!)

As I’ve done nothing but moan about my computer for the last forever, I thought you might like to see some of my art work.
021 017
If you want to have a go yourself, I have tutorials for sale in my Etsy shop and also have put my first attempt at PayPal buttons on my Bookbinding page (tab under header). It’ll be interesting to see if the buttons work!
Anyhow, hope you like the little books and that they give you some ideas re decoration etc.

Testing the new LIVE WRITER


This is the picture I give details about in Pic 3, below (that screenshot shows me working on this one…

As you know, folks, I keep having another go with LiveWriter – the layout has changed again (or maybe it looks different because I’m now using Windows7).


Using the drop shadow

I have to say I like it more and more, and really must start using it as a regular thing (I’m just so used to going straight into Blogger). So this is a little bit of a tutorial as well – I’m using my screen capture programme to show you my progress as I write this post.

This one uses a thick black frame effect

As you can see, I applied a reflection effect, a watermark, enlarged the picture to the size I wanted, and positioned it exactly where I want it!

I’ve entered the captions below the pix by centring the text and reducing the size to 10pt.


For this one, I’ve chose rounded corners

And now I’m going to investigate that other tab…


A thin outline

I think you’ll agree it’s all pretty simple and straightforward.

In addition to images and videos, you can even add picture folders – little galleries – and tables.

Finally – don’t forget to add tags to your post (‘labels’ in Blogger):


No border

Yes, I think LiveWriter has really become a really helpful tool for making writing your blog a lot easier.


Packing tape transfer - copyright Susie Jefferson
As I've been offline a while, for one reason and another, I thought I'd just put up this quickie technique for you.


This won't work with inkjet transfers: it needs a permanent ink such as laser prints, newsprint, photocopies etc, as it's the toner that makes the magic.
  • Choose your piece of artwork and lay transparent tape over it (the wide clear packing tape) and burnish it down well. Cut off any excess.

  • Soak in a bowl of cool to warm water for a minute, then rub gently on the back of the image with pad of your finger (not the nail, or you'll scratch the image).

  • All the paper 'nibs' will rub away, leaving the image on the back of the tape!

  • Let the tape dry - if there's a whitish 'bloom' showing, this means there's still more excess paper left on the back of the tape. Soak again and have another go. Unless you want that effect of course (it's more Shabby Chic...) as my example above.

  • If the tape won't stick to your page, use gel medium or Diamond Glaze to adhere it.

  • The excess paper could block your sink, so dispose down the loo or an outside drain.

  • Have fun with this - images look great in journals etc!

  • If you want a matt finish, go over the tape with matte medium (a very thin coat).

Sorry for not posting for a while. For once, not my fault! Tree surgeons have been trimming down branches in the area - and managed to detatch some telephone wires. So no service for a little while.Well, it's better than moaning about my computer!

And just to let you know - I love love love my new one! (still getting used to Windows 7 though... good thing I bought a book. Although I did NOT buy 'Windows7 for the Over 50s' - what cheek!).

pink saturday

Don’t forget to visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the other Pink Saturday posts!