Some Lace for this Winter

{Read in Italian...}

Winter has finally come here, after a very warm fall.
This makes me think that I haven't even started thinking about winter and Christmas creations: I have to hurry!

Today I want to show you a couple of earrings that I'm liking a lot and wearing often, because of their elegance and because they're lightweight.
Lightweight earrings made out of grey lace with small crystals.
They're made out of lace, quite firm, so I didn't have to starch it. I love this grey, slightly shimmer. I wanted to add another touch of light, with three small crystals.
I'd like to create more of these lace earrings, hopefully I'll be ready to show them off soon!
Bailey says Hi
Bailey says Hi: she's four months old now, she's a big and playful kitty!

How to choose a good Background for your Blog #4

{Read in Italian...}
come scegliere lo sfondo del blog 4
Hello! This is our last lesson about backgrounds.
So, we've made our choices: now we have to apply our background to our blog.
Again, I'm going to talk about Blogger interface, but of course the codes are universal and will work on any content management system, like Wordpress.
Blogger template designer lets us do almost everyting we need; however, it may happen to be unable to use this editor. Reasons can be multiple: maybe our template doesn't fully support it, or maybe we've been adding some code that has overwritten those selectors that normally allow the template designer to work.
What should we do then? Stick with our current background forever? No way! Editing the code related to our background is easy. Just remember:
keep calm and backup your template
Go to “Edit HTML”, press CTRL+F then type in the search box body. Scroll down until you find a CSS code similar to this:
body {
font: normal normal 15px Arimo;
color: #333333;
background: #ffffff none no-repeat scroll center center;
}
Your code might be slightly different, but for sure you will find the selector body and its attribute background. That's all we need.
Let's try to understand what these values mean.
  • #ffffff: this is our background color. This value (called hex-code) is made of a hashtag followed by 3-6 numbers and/or letters. In this example, we have a white background.
  • none: there are no images. If I had a background image, there would have been an URL in this place
  • no-repeat: if I had an image, with this value I'd prevent it from repeating. If I wanted to use a pattern, one that needs to be repeated to make sense, I would have typed repeat.
  • scroll: if I had a pattern, with this value my background would scroll down along with my content. If I replace this value with fixed, this would not occur: the pattern would still cover the whole window, but it wouldn't scroll down along with the content. It can be a nice effect, adding dimension to our blog.
  • center center: defines the position of a background image, both orizontally and vertically. With our example, the image would be centered (and then repeat itself if we specify a “repeat” value). Other values can be top, bottom, left and right.

Now, if we want just a solid color, look for its hex-code. You can check it from here: once you got it, copy and paste it into your CSS.
If we want an image or a pattern, first of all we need to upload it somewhere, to get a direct link, as we've already said in the previous post. Then, replace none with url(“”) and paste the link in between the quotation marks. Or, if we already have a background image but we want to change it, just change the link.
We're done!
Here's an example of what the CSS of a patterned background might look like:
background: #ffffff url(“http://yoursite.com/image.jpg”) repeat fixed top center;
That's all. For any question, feel free to leave me a comment!

Previous lessons:
1. General rules.
2. Solid colors and pattern dos and don'ts.
3. How to use a full-sized image as background.

Back with a new look!

{Read in Italian...}

Finally! These last two weeks have been extremely chaotic, with colds and headaches and so many things to do... But now I'm glad I can tell you that I'm done with my latest blog restyling!
It is terribly hard for me to work for myself: I'm such a perfectionist with a wide range of tastes, I'd totally be the nightmare for any designer if I were a customer ;)
Blog Design board for 'Tine the Lazy'
I decided to go for a super-minimal design, with the greatest attention for proportions and details. This makes me feel well represented with my OCD........
In my drafts used more graphic elements, but they just didn't fit. So now I have my colors and my fonts to talk about the personality of this space. Sometimes that's all you need, images and extra graphics are not mandatory under any circumstance! There are still some drawn elements, like those of my header and the "back to top" button. Some round shapes and dashed lines complete my scheme.

I also improved my navigation bar, giving a lot of attention to my About and Contacts pages. Sometimes we tend to neglect these pages, but that's a big mistake! My advice to whoever runs a blog or a website is to put a lot of care into them, these are the first pages that a potential reader can hit...

Talking about social and SEO-friendly improvements, I merged my Blogger account with my Google+ profile.
I've always been neglecting G+, but the more we move forward, the more this social network takes relevance in order to gain visibility and authority on search engines, so I have to get used to it!

I hope that you like the new look of my little space :)

How to choose a good Background for your Blog #3

{Read in Italian...}
how to choose a good background for your blog 3
Hello! Let's go further with our lessons about blog background.
We've already had an introduction and we talked about solid colors and patterns, so today we can see what to do to have a stretchable image that fits our whole browser window as background, without repeating itself or leaving blank areas.
Here's an example:
how to choos a good backgroud for our blog 3
I'm not a Wordpress expert right now, so I'm going to explain the steps of the process through Blogger user interface, but of course the CSS code is OK for any blog-publishing service.

You're going to need a good, optimized image. It must be lightweight (try not to get past 300 Kb), keeping an acceptable quality (it doesn't have to be blurry or noisy) and with a correct aspect ratio (so that it won't be deformed when stretched to fit your browser window).
Blogger's advice is to use something 1800x1600 px, which is a good compromise to fit an average resolution.
You can get to a good result quite easily if you have a little confidence with any photo editing software.

General rule for digital images: never, ever, ever try to enlarge a small image!

If we get a nice, optimized image for our purpose, we can go further, but first of all backup your template!

My advice is to open a second blog for testing purpose, so you can try and try again until you get what you want, without messing with your public blog.
For my example I used one of Blogger Travel templates, which comes with a semi-tansparent content background: this way our image can stand out, without impairing readability.

First, you have to upload your image, so that you can get a direct URL. You can do it through image hosting websites like Photobucket, or you can upload it on a post from your own blog, without publishing it, just saving (this is the method I personally use).
Just do as you prefer and get an URL.

Now, from Blogger interface go to Template → Customize → Advanced → Add CSS.
Copy and paste this code:
html, body {
background: url('background.jpg') no-repeat center center fixed;
-webkit-background-size: cover;
-moz-background-size: cover;
-o-background-size: cover;
background-size: cover;
}
Replace 'background.jpg' with the link to your image and click on "Apply to Blog".

That's it!

Warning: people still using obsolete browsers, like Internet Explorer 6-7, may not see your background correctly: these browsers don't support these CSS features!
The choice to risk to have a couple of potential readers not seeing your background properly is up to you.
Anyway, let me know if you encounter any problem...

More:
1. General rules.
2. Solid colors and pattern dos and don'ts.
4. Implementation.

Pet Tag... with Pasta!

{Read in Italian...}

Hello everyone! Me and my bf are leaving for the weekend and little Bailey is going to stay with my in-laws for a couple of days.
Pet Tag... with Pasta!
I must admit that I'm not really happy about that, even if I know that our kitty will be safe with them...
I've already trained her to wear her colllar and tag: both beautifully handmade, bought from Etsy.
Pet Tag... with Pasta!
Collar from FunkyMutt. You don't say my favorite show is Doctor Who, right?...
There's only one problem: her tag shows my home phone number. Not very useful if we're not there!
Pet Tag... with Pasta!
Tag from FetchAPassionTags. Part of their profits goes to Rescue worldwide: another good reason to take a look! The key charm was added by me.
So I thought that I could create a second tag by myself, with my in-laws' phone number.
I used polymer clay, that I stamped with... veeeery professional tools: pasta!
Pet Tag... with Pasta!
When I saw this tutorial on Pinterest, I thought: “shame that this stuff doesn't exist in Italy”, but I was wrong: I found this alphabet pasta while I was doing my usual grocery shopping!
So here's the result...
Pet Tag... with Pasta!
My in-laws' phone numer is on the other side: I didn't show it for obvious privacy reasons.
… and my creation worn by the gorgeous model...
Pet Tag... with Pasta!
So, what do you think? I wanted to decorate it with pigments to enhance the look of the letters, but I was afraid that it wouldn't have been safe for Bailey if she tried to bite it...

Have a nice weekend!

Happy Halloween to You!

{Read in Italian...}

happy Halloween to you!
I'm having a strong cold, so I'm staying at home tonight. What a pity: I really wanted to celebrate Halloween, at least with a nice dinner!

I guess I'll just edit some pictures for something I'm going to post tomorrow, before I leave for the weekend.

Have a nice night, enjoy your treats ;)

New Header for Kilara Creation

{Read in Italian...}

I'm very happy and proud to show you my second commission!
This time it's a header, for Francesca's blog: Kilara Creation.
New Header for Kilara Creation
Francesca creates beautiful jewelry with beads. Her blog was one of the very first that I started following when, five months ago, my blogging adventure begun.

Francesca wanted something fresh, drawn by me, that could express her love for all of the beads she works with (round, biconic, delica) and her beautiful cat, Cocca. As for the colors, she chose liliac and mint. After she approved my draft and color palette, my work begun and after a few days we reached the point where we were both satisfied.
Color palette chosen for Kilara Creation. Source: Design Seeds
Now Kilara Creation also has one of my polka-dotted background patterns, those that I shared with you some days ago. She's still working on the look of her blog, but I think that, little by little, she's creating a more definite personality for her creative space.

I want to thank Francesca again for the trust she gave me: I'm quite proud of my work and very happy because I created something for her!

Fall inspiration & Tales of the Lost Earring

{Read in Italian...}

Today I wanted to show you a couple of earrings that I really love and wear often.
Fall inspiration & Tales of the Lost Earring
The first pair is made of glazed ceramic and semiprecious stone beads, a tiny swarovski and silvery bead caps. While making them I was thinking about the beautiful colors and shapes of oak acorns...
Fall inspiration & Tales of the Lost Earring
This pair is smaller: wearable everyday, it can easily match any fall outfit. Another pair of glazed ceramic beads, a couple of champagne swarovski and bronze, leafy bead cups.

An hour ago these earrings caused me a little trouble: before shooting these photos I put them in my pencil case, then moved to the kitchen to have a coffee... When I came back, one of them was missing!
I looked for it everywhere, in the end I feared that my kitten had swallowed it... fear that seemed to come true when Bailey went to the bathroom to puke (sorry...)!
I was almost on my way to the vet, totally terrified, when I had a sort of... let's say, inspiration...
I looked again inside my pencil case and there it was, shiny and safe.
At least I think that I can partially be excused, since my waking this morning hasn't been very pleasant: I woke up to the loud sound of sirens, like it happens in my town when the river Bacchiglione (which caused a lot of trouble in my region in 2011) is about to overflow, and I live right next to it. I don't know why, since the weather is nice and sunny today, probably it was a test...

Anyway, have a nice Monday... less messy than mine, hopefully!

Polka-dotted Patterns (freebie)

{Read in Italian...}

polka-dotted patterns freebie
After my latest post, I wanted to share with you some basic polka-dotted patterns.
These are very tiny images (lightweight also), but once you set them as background in your blog template, they'll do their job.


If you wish to use them, it would be nice if you let me know with a comment, so I can see your work! Also, I would appreciate if you started following my blog, but of course this is not mandatory ;)

How to choose a good Background for your Blog #2

{Read in Italian...}
how to choose a good background for your blog 2
Back to talk about the background of our blog!
I'm so sorry, I know that I'm late, but do you remember what we talked about in the previous post? We saw which pros and cons we have by choosing either a solid color or a pattern. Today we'll see what to do and, more important, what NOT to do, depending on your choice.

“I love minimalism, so I choose a solid color. What should I avoid?”

DO NOT USE 'RGB' COLORS
Many years ago there were several restrictions about web safe colors, those that any browser would recognize: that's why websites from the Ninties had those bright, annoying colors, because at the time those hues were OK for most of the monitors!
Designers didn't have the possibility to choose freely like today. Now be grateful for the powerful means we got today and try to use them at their best! Nobody could ever find really pleasant these colors:
how to choose a good background for your blog 2
They're too bright, they cause eye distress, but, more importantly, they look "old". So, try to avoid them at any cost! Look, for instance, how these colors are more suitable for a background:
how to choose a good background for your blog 2
Of course, you can choose more vivid hues if your blog topics require it (maybe because you're a manly man)... but never choose those hues, never!
Keep this rule in mind not just for backgrounds: you shouldn't use RGB colors at all in your design, especially for your text.

“Meh, solid colors are boring! I want a nice pattern: what should I avoid?”

Previously we said that we should avoid distracting patterns and to have them right under your content. We also said that your file shouldn't be heavy, or your background may load after everything else. Let's see what else not to do.

DO NOT USE COPYRIGHTED IMAGES WITHOUT PERMISSION
This one is clear, right?! Not everything on Google is there so we can take it for free and use it without asking, or paying. Maybe someone created that image for work and we must respect that.
Obviously, if we create by ourselves our images or we have someone who makes them for us we're 100% safe, also gifting our blog with something unique. If this is not possible, always check the terms, respecting them. If we intend to use content that is not for free, just pay for it, without cheating.

DO NOT USE REPEATING PICTURES
This mistake is quite common for "non-professional" websites, and it isn't elegant really.
how to choose a good background for your blog 2
This background is far from being pretty...
If you want to show your pictures, why not making a nice gallery instead? Noone will appreciate your picture if it is just a destracting, poor background...
Or, you can make an image take the whole browser window, without repeating itself. Next time we'll see how!

DO NOT USE AN ELEMENT THAT, REPEATING, DOESN'T FORM A GOOD PATTERN
I'll try to explain this with a couple of examples. Take for instance these simple polka dots (not very pretty, but good to understand). When we use this little image as a background on our blog template, it will repeat itself horizontally and vertically, until it covers the whole browser window area (this is usually automatic, unless you edited your CSS).
To give our eye the illusion of continuity, anyway, this image must be cut properly!
how to choose a good background for your blog 2
If our pattern element has a tiny border (even the tiniest), this will repeat itself as well, forming rows and columns of squares. This doesn't look so good...
how to choose a good background for your blog 2
Another mistake we can commonly see with patterned backgrounds is the use of an element whose borders just "won't fit". This image may look OK, but the dots on the border repeat too closely when we form the pattern. So what?
how to choose a good background for your blog 2
Cutting by half the dots on the border, the resulting pattern will be correct!
This is just an example, but I hope that the logic beyond this is clear enough. What ends on the right must form a coherent element with what starts on the left; same thing for top and bottom.
These problems we've seen might look less evident if you're using a small device or a low resolution, but anyone with a big sized monitor will notice them, so pay attention! Sometimes the solution is easy to apply, sometimes it is less evident and you'll need to try and try again to fix your pattern.
Sometimes it is just impossible to fix because the starting element can't work as a pattern, so change it!

That's all for today. We've seen that:
  • if we choose a solid color, we should avoid 'RGB' colors (too bright and tied to old Web);
  • if we choose a pattern, don't have a picture that repeats without forming a seamless pattern;
  • always respect copyrights!

More:
1. General rules.
3. How to use a full-sized image as background.
4. Implementation.

Do you like polka-dotted backgrounds? You can find some of them created by me here.

DIY Cat Carrier Cover

{Read in Italian...}

Yesterday I wanted to show you my shopping at Abilmente. So many things to create jewelry... but not just that!
Do you remember that cute polka-dotted felt? I've been looking for it for one specific purpose and, once I returned home, I created what I wanted: a cover for the cat carrier of my little Bailey.
DIY cat carrier cover
When we took Bailey from her town, poor thing, she was so scared. To calm her down, I tried to put my shawl around the carrier she was in. It worked like a charm: soon Bailey felt more confident, starting to search my hand to be cuddled.
So, why not making a nice cover for this purpose?
I'm a very, very poor tailor, so I made it simple.
DIY cat carrier cover
Felt cloth does not require to be stuffed and I didn't have to make any hem. I just bought one meter of this cloth (extremely cheap), then I cut the excess off and, with a cutter, I created the split for the carrier handle.
Couldn't be easier!
DIY cat carrier cover
Now I also have a nice polka dot felt remnant, that I can use for another project, as soon as I get the right inspiration...

Abilmente: my second time

{Read in Italian...}

Abilmente is one of the most famous Italian events for people who love handmade crafts: there is plenty of workshops and, of course, shopping areas! I'm lucky because I live in Vicenza, the city that hosts this event, and this is my second time there.
Visiting Abilmente is both physically and mentally challenging: you need to be aware of the fact that there are thousands of visitors, so the place is overcrowded and it's hard to get to what you want to see...
Anyway, my shopping has been... let's say quite generous! I've been saving money all summer long for this, and now I have my stocks replenished in order to open my first shop on Etsy.

The first time I went to Abilmente I was a total newbie who could roughly hold a round-nose plier. I was literally flashed by all of those beautiful things, ending up with a lot of beads and pearls and almost zero basic material to assemble them!
This time my shopping needed to be more "realistic" and, in a way, to be complementary to my previous one: I focused on chains...
Abilmente: my second time
 Thread, rivets, eyelets, clasps...
Abilmente: my second time
Earring posts and settings...
Abilmente: my second time
 Polymer clay tools...
Abilmente: my second time
 I also bought something for packaging...
Abilmente: my second time
Notice the ink pads: same colors of my blog!
 Then, of course, I had to indulge myself with some fanciful things, like vials..
Abilmente: my second time
Charms...
Abilmente: my second time
These stunning warm taupe-hued pearls, that I bought at a ridiculously low price...
Abilmente: my second time
Some magnets and this polka-dotted felt...
Abilmente: my second time
With this felt I've already done something, very easy, yet very useful. Let's say that it's a present.
What am I talking about? You'll find out soon...

That's all! Well... almost... :P
What about you: did you ever neglect basic stuff because you were distracted by fanciful things?
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