Rearranging the Furniture

Posted by on March 26, 2010 in blocks | 15 comments

(updated Saturday morning, after all my churning on the design stopped 😉 

It has felt a little like spring cleaning and endlessly rearranging the furniture  . . . if you’ve visited the blog on Friday,  you might have seen any one of a bunch of different layouts and colors as I played with Blogger’s new Template Designer and finally got around to putting the Guidelines, FAQs (frequently asked questions) into their own pages, which are easily accessible through tabs at the top of the blog. I also added an alphabetic list of all the lotto blocks we’ve ever made, with block photos and links to the patterns we used.

As I tried one thing, then another, I bounced between two and three sidebars, I was trying to put the info we all come here looking for “above the fold” (in the screen you see without scrolling down).  I think I managed to rearrange the various elements (AKA gadgets) just about every way that you can . . . though I think I ended up pretty close to where I started 😉  I even took the photo of my block lotto banner quilt out of the banner for a while. And, as you might expect, the blog also went through more than a few color changes. Ultimately, I liked the plain blue background and this swirly yellow-orange one best and decided this template had a better definition between the main body and those pesky (but essential) sidebars.

So … do you like the tabs (and the new look)? I will probably add a quilt gallery tab and one for my contact info (since contacting me is essential to joining the block lotto and it sometimes is a problem for some … especially if their accounts are set for “no email.”  I wondered if it would be a good idea to move our (often very long) list of blocks made onto a page.  Would you mind the extra click?  Would it be too hidden there? Everyone’s feedback seems to be to leave it in the sidebar and I like it there, too and think I have come up with a layout that works with the list on the left.  Plus, it’s easier for me to use the list gadget to update the list than it would have been to have to edit the “page” if I moved it to the tab.

The Journey . . .

I couldn’t stop playing, so I  put the extra column back, thinking I could  “live” with it for more than a couple minutes.  I think I lasted a few hours, but I decided (again) that it was just too busy and that main body of the blog (the center where the posts display) was just too narrow.  If you missed the previous versions of the blog … the first time I stopped (for a while), the page looked like this:

And then I changed to the template with the extra sidebar and it looked like this:


I’m not sure exactly how much the narrower the center area (where the posts are) becomes when you add the extra sidebar, but you can take a look at the March 1 post with the little blocks laid out in a virtual quilt and imagine that virtual quilt when it breaks because each row of images is too wide and so it wraps.  Ugh.

There is still a problem with integrating the Banner quilt … or deciding to remove it.  I’m reticent to take it out of the banner because, if nothing else, it makes it clear that this “lotto” is about QUILT BLOCKS.  So, I will be tweaking the banner, but (I think), mostly leaving the layout alone for a while after I add the two tabs for our Lotto Block Quilt Gallery and some contact information.

So … if you have made quilts from lotto blocks you’ve won OR inspired by lotto blocks and you haven’t already posted a photo here, please consider sharing your quilts.


  1. I love the psychedelic background! Haven't tried out the new blogger features yet…

    I don't usually mind an extra click or two but it sort of nice to see the monthly list at the side of the page.

  2. I like the list at the side here.

  3. I like seeing the list here, too. My challenge is that I'd like the list to be near the top of the page and I'd also like to keep the Block of the Month links near the top of the page AND it would be great if the Followers and Subscribe options (currently under the list on the right) could be near the top of the page … that's why I was playing with a 4 column page (and may try it again and leave it around a while to see what you all think).

  4. I LIKE it! Most definitely! Great job Sophie!

  5. This is very much more 'with it'. My personal blog is so 'out of date' but so am I, so I go with it. If ever I become an art quilter (LOL!) I'll have to switch it up. I kind of like my ho-hum, traditional look! But this one is super for our group, and those tabs are really nice, and, and………………..

  6. The new tool has a lot of options and is pretty easy to use. If you go to the Blogger in Draft version of your Blogger Dashboard–this link should take you there–and click the Layout link for your blog there, you'll see the new template designer as an option and can check out the options for layouts and all the images you can put in the background. Before I started endlessly playing with this blog, I also updated my patterns blog and, because it has a lot less stuff, it was really quick and easy. There's even a quilty photo you can choose.

  7. I like the new look. I'd also vote to keep the month's participant list on the home page.

  8. I like it very much.Spring is time for changes…

  9. It *did* feel a little like spring cleaning. I hope I will update my personal blog while I'm on a roll.

  10. I agree that the three column layout is just too skinny in the middle. The problem with this blog (and blogs in general) is that a lot of stuff one has in the sidebar, you want to be close to the top, but there's only so much top, so it's hard to arrange. I have a lot of stuff in my sidebars on my personal blog – some of it isn't at all important, but I hate when there's nothing at all on the sides about halfway down the page, so I try to keep some padding there.

    Anyway. I like this new look – its nice and fresh and cheery and I think you've done a great job of balancing it all! Well done, you. 🙂

    And now, I think I'm off to explore updating my own one…

  11. I think it's great Sophie, looking really good and fresh. I really like the tabs too. Great idea.

    My only slight reservation is that whilst I really love the swirls at the side, they overshadow your beautiful Block Lotto banner a bit. Maybe if you had a white or paled out border around the banner? It seems such a shame for it not to stand out after all your hard work on it!

  12. I think I like what is here right now. I know I did not like the skinny center. Of all your experiments yesterday, this seems to work for my viewing and be a little different, right in line with our squares this year.

  13. I like the idea of three columns, but like you, I couldn't stand the skinny center when I tried it on mine. I went back to my original. This one is a good choice for here.

  14. For a while, I had a "no image" background in a nice shade of blue using one of the other templates. It worked well with the banner, but didn't have enough visual separation between the sidebars and the center. I didn't like the look of this template with a plain background. If/when all of you with blogs start playing with this thing, you'll see for yourself that there's some back and forth of trying the various options until you find the combination that works best to your eye.

    I think with a different (better)photo of the quilt banner, if would have enough separation–I need to include the binding, without any wall showing around the edges. Taking a better photo has been on my list since … well, I made the banner. Now I have even more reason to do it 😉

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