Wanna critique blogsphere? Here you go!

Do you sometimes hold your breath as you push ‘publish?’ I think I do every single time. ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the hardest things in life to deal with for most is the fear of rejection. Wouldn’t you agree?

A first in blogland.. attaching house numbers to a dresser. Risky? Ohhh yeah.

I for one, commend every one of you DIY bloggers for putting your thoughts, ideas and projects ‘out there’. It’s so fun to share what we’ve created, but you also know, critiques, good and bad, may come back your way.

When I went to graphic design school, we were instructed to work on our projects, then stand in line for a critique from the instructor. Many hesitated for he wasn’t soft with his words. He stated things the way they were. And if you had a soft exterior, you were generally last in line to receive your ‘truth.’

Bringing this old horse gate home was a risk I’m glad I took!

Well, I was generally one of the first. I didn’t really care much about what he thought of me. I cared about what I could do with my work after he said his peace. I swear, after his ramblings, my hair had that super model wind blown effectย once I returned to my seat! At least that’s how he made me feel. But once I realized he wanted my work to improve, heย taught me quickly to push my pride aside and listen up.ย  He wanted my work to be better than whatย it was. And that was why I always chose to be one of theย first in line for his harsh critiques.

This curtain idea totally kept me up at night when I hit post!

Truthful critiques, if taken in the right light (and given with aย kind delivery of course), are helpful! And serve a purpose. They will help guide you to a better way of doing things. You gain valuable insight why someone may not be visiting your blog when they wish they could.ย How your work has a chance to improve because someone spoke out. To gain insight on your creations if you wish to sell to the masses. You have to be open to risk in order to move ahead.

Do I take risks? Funky Risky Junk Donna ought to be my legal name.

You may have been one of the ‘fortunate’ to receive a small kind critique from me by now. ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you have, please please oh please know, it’s because I care about what you’re doing and I want to see you succeed! And in return, when you throw one back my way, I linger in word heaven, taking in each thought and suggestion and approval and even disapproval. Love it all! You cared enough to say something!

It would be a boring world if everyone said, “You’re great! The End.” How ever would we grow?

White Trash Bedroom on Rate My Space

It’s with this thought premise that I got brave and loaded my White Trash Bedroom on Rate My Space. I knew I’d get some raw insight and I wanted to test the waters further than blogland. For I think, we as a community, build ourselves up to a place where we’ve come to care and support one another. Not a bad thing, in fact, so comforting! But sometimes that can overshadow truthful critiques that are actually desired from time to time. (admit it, sometimes you just want to hear that your idea was great, but other times you’re ready for the cold hard truth)

It isn’t easy, let me tell you! But if you want to grow further in an area than where you currently are, getting the cold hard truth between the eyes will slowly get you there.

So here’s where you can help me. I’d love you to critique my blog.

Don’t you secretly wish at times you could tell someone why their blog wasn’t working for you, without offending them? Well, let’s push that notion to the side at my place. I’m opening the door to you here. I want to hear what you think. Because I know I can better my blog if I do!

One thing I totally already know is, I need a blog makeover. Badly. I can’t stand different sized widgets and poor spacing. Drives me into a frenzy! However, funds won’t allow me to spend on the blog at the moment, so I’m hacking away at this crazy html mountain a section at a time on my own. One thing I was careful with was, that the blog interface is easy to read, andย low on flashy stuffย that can slow a blog load down (features that keep me from visiting many out there because they freeze up my computer!)

So knowing that, tell me what you think.

Am I too wordy? (I love to write, can you tell?!?)
Posts too long? Short? (short… haha! good one)
Not enough decorating content?
You’d rather do without something I continue to do?
Something you want to see more more more of?
My ever changing format drives you crazy, or you like the alternating thing?

Also, why not share some pros and cons on what you do like/don’t like in blogsphere in general? Your input here may be a nice way to deliver an indirect request to help other blogs. ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s hear it! Whatcha got?

~ Update ~

Due to the overwhelming response this post recieved, below is Part 2

Thank-you for YOUR part in this!

Part 2 – Got a blog? This critique summary is for you.

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Categories: Inspiration

84 thoughts on “Wanna critique blogsphere? Here you go!

  1. Hi Donna! Thanks for the post, it’s so insightful! And you have the loveliest pics in it too! I gotta tell you, I love your blog; even with the uneven sized gadgets and all. All I can say is I wish there were more posts on your great interior design. I really love it. Thanks!

  2. You mean I can’t just say “you’re great?” What if I mean it? Pat yourself on the back, I can’t reach from here all the way across the country. I like how you write a lot, your tone, the way you show things and write a bit more and explain things. Someone said “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” and that applies here!

  3. Geez Donna…I can’t think of a ding dang thing for you to change except maybe some more ‘how-tos’ and tutorials. I LOVE when you did that painting ‘cutting-in’video for instance, and I love the blog tip how-to’s as well. Keep ’em coming.

    I like that you change up the pics on your sidebar alot, that you feature folks that I maybe wouldn’t have found….and boy don’t I know that your features on my little blog have been instrumental in it growing so much in such a short time. You are such an encourager…and you embody the spirit of generosity and knowledge to those of us who are still starting out. *smooch*

    I covet your advice in all things, Donna. You are one of my favoritest blogs out there for so many reasons. In fact, (dare I say it) there are a few blogs out there with thousands of followers who I don’t think hold a candle to your decorating talent and blogging abilities and content, and photography. Because of you, I’ve sought out blogs with content I love, not because they have a tremendous amount of followers.

    A few beefs I have with blogland in general:
    A trend I’ve seen when someone joins a link party, but doesn’t go visit anyone else’s links. (as a host, I feel abit used)
    I don’t like folks fishing for followers thru giveaways.
    I’d rather have meaningful, quality comments than quantity comments.
    I HATE word verification.
    I don’t care for blogs that take 3 years to load because of all the froo froo going on.
    I don’t like blogs where the author finishes every sentence with lots of exclamation points.

    An aside: I’ve struggled lately with wanting my blog to look better…changing the background, pic at the top, etc. But I really want my blog to look different than everyone else’s. I want to convey a feeling thru my blog so others who wish to will connect quickly, either thru my style of writing, my style of photography, my style of decor. I need to be true to this regardless of the number of followers or blogging isn’t a joy anymore. So it’s hard for me to balance a great interface with my own personality. So many blogs look the same….I want people to come once or twice and identify my ‘brand’ quickly if it’s something they relate with. Not sure I’m making sense here…your blog represents YOU, but it’s also fun to read, easily accessible, useful, etc. YOu’ve managed to hit the right balance here. Don’t think I’m there yet.

    That’s all I can think of right now, but I may be back. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I think you do a great job. Now where did that Hotel Vancouver hanger come from? Are you a local gal up here in Canada?

    Did you know you can change the size of the photos on your sidebar by opening up the widget and clicking on the picture. Then you just adjust the size of each one to a predetermined size of your choice by dragging it in or out. I usually do mine about an inch and a half square. Alternately you can embed them in thumbnail size from Picasa’s online if you prefer the html.

    Here is what I don’t like on blogs:
    Word verification, MUSIC, black backgrounds, MUSIC, glitter, flashing lights, MUSIC, requests for money, did I mention MUSIC?,

  5. I like your style and personality. You are very friendly and talented.

    Your blog looks good. Real good.

    So just keep being yourself.

    But I will throw one thing out there…I dislike ads on blogs. I never click on them and do not need another medium that has “commercials” and what-not.

    Just sayin’.

    But I do all of this blogging stuff for strictly pleasure. It is my “golf.” I understand it can be someone else’s part-time job. So I will read a blog with ads.

  6. Ok, I echo Cindy about dislikes on other blogs. Also, I love your blog as it is. I love your style, and your creativity. Your entryway has got to be one of my all time favorites. Do not change a thing about your blog…unless you get a makeover. ๐Ÿ™‚ To be honest though, the more simple the blog the better. I do not like too much graphics, flash stuff, scrolling stuff, or anything that distracts me while I read. Have a great day.

  7. Oh my… I could never critique your blog. Your blog has become a personal favorite. I too, am wordy. I appreciate your thoughts, along with the pictures… real pics. Not just the ‘pretty’ ones.
    I understand completely about doing a ‘blog makeover’… I wish I could too. I just don’t know ‘how’. I’ve been reading your posts for blog help. Thanks for posting those! I’m learning.

    I can’t believe you posted this today, because I am going to do a project— directly stolen…er, inspired by you. I found it on your blog 2 days ago. It happens to be the curtain idea. I was preparing to to send you an email… with my pictures to see if it was okay to link back to you. (I’m not sure how blog curtesy works, exactly).

    My only critique of the blogosphere is a general one… in all of blog world…. I feel like I comment and comment, and can’t get anyone to come over to check me out. (Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a lot to look at yet… but a little hello from someone would be nice once in awhile! LOL) It would be nice to have some encouragement from time to time… as I’m trying to ‘find my way’ and figure out exactly WHAT to do with my blog! LOL

    Sorry, I just rambled… ah, my downfall!
    I truly love your blog… “It’s great”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I love your blog Donna. I feel like I know you through your writing, but not in that creepy “know every detail of your family life” kind of way. It’s just that the way you write is real, if that makes sense.

    I’m not a fan of the snow in the pictures. You take beautiful photos and they aren’t loading well lately and I think it might be the snow.

    Oh, and thank you for not playing music. I won’t stay 5 seconds on a site that blasts music at me. Looking forward to more funky fun in 2010.

  9. I love reading your blog! And I’m wordy too, so it’s nice to find someone else who is.

    My BIGGEST gripe about blogland is MUSIC. The second would be when you’re a follower of someone who doesn’t follow you and they finally comment you back to ask if you’ll vote for them for something – unfollow!

    Keep doing what you’re doing!

  10. Well I love your blog, one of my favorites. I love that you show people that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make something beautiful. Keep it up and can’t wait to see the next FJI’s project.

  11. I love your blog. So easy to read and follow along. I love that you are a women with little financial means but can create a beautiful home. You are talented. I don’t like the spiffy, custom made blogs out there-too pretentious. You have many great blogging and decor ideas. Keep it up, don’t be discouraged.
    I too worry about being rejected when I hit publish but then I try to put it into perspective-I am not trying to win a popularity contest (that is so high school)- it is just a creative outlet and a chance to meet other talented women like yourself who share the same creative energy as myself. We are women from all walks of life but we all share the same goal of creating a home for our families.
    Happy New Year and looking forward to more “daring” and risque projects from Funky Junk!

  12. This is a topic that highly interests me so it will be tough to play with my boy today without racing here to respond. But I will try and be a good mom-girl. After this comment. LOL

    My pet peeves

    Slow loads caused by:

    flashy stuff
    slide shows
    info on your LEFT sidebar
    – bet you didn’t know that. Computers read from left to right. If you group all your riff raff on your left, info has to travel through that mud before your page loads. Throw it on your right sidebar and your loads will be much faster.

    Want more comments? Easy. Make comments easier to make. How?

    – remove word verification
    – remove your approval
    – recieve all comments in a dedicated email (mine is the hotmail one so it’s separate from my main)

    I get one spam a day. And I capture ALL comments, never missing even a one with this method.

    As a blog host of weekend parties, we view blogs abit differently. We want to visit as many as we can and comment as our appreciation, but any of the above will have me coming and going very quickly. At times I have to click 5 times to get my comment to take. That’s too many steps. After 2, I have to move on. Sorry. But I think you should know.

    Wana grow your blog?

    This is a whole post within itself.

    – focus on your reader, not you
    – are you teaching?
    – offer GOOD photos (need a post on that too)
    – give them a reason to return
    – join link parties, lots of them
    – make ‘thoughtful comments’ so those that see your comment will want to visit that wise and wonderful you
    – read blog tips that help you grow – google the topic and start reading and learning
    – go visit The Lemon Cottage,


    then come back here and critique so we can help Amy some more. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for mine…


    I know. I wish I could do away with all that riff raff. But honestly, I love being here so much it needs to pay me something eventually in order for me to be able to afford this gig. If you like a blog, please click on the adsense ads every so often at the very least. They pay by clicks. Every little bit helps. We aren’t allowed to advertise to do that, so I’m totally talking for others of course. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    More tutorials

    You got it! I’ve been holding out for a reason. I needed to gather content for a new series in about a week’s time that will have you glazed over with tute how-to’s and learning more than you can swallow. Can’t wait!


    Snow is going bye bye. For evermore. No more flashy stuff. Thanks for the info! It worked ok on my dinosaur computer so I assumed it would be ok on others. But I listen, so it’s gone.

    Lori E, I’m in Chilliwack, 1 hour east of Vancouver, BC. No idea where the hanger came from but I think I got it from my mom’s closet. (tee hee!)

    Cindy, your blog IS different and IS you. And that’s why I keep coming back. Thanks for being unique. I come back for your honesty, your inspiration, your tips, your photos. If you gals haven’t been by Cindy’s way yet, do so! You will be soooo inspired.

    Want nice looking photos?

    Go look at Cindy’s blog. Remove busy backgrounds. Think of your photos and words as a picture. Now look at your blog with a pic loaded. Is it easy to see? If not, simplify. I gag when I see my silly widgets all diff sizes on mine. Will try and fix yet again soon. But at least the plainer sides make photos easy to appreciate.

    Ok, I must go play with my boy. Will be on later.

    Thanks everyone! I’m having way too much fun for my own good here.

    Funky Junk Donna

  13. I like how you write. It’s as if we’re sitting down for coffee and you are spilling your beans to me. That’s how it should be. I’d love to see more of your decorating style, but that’s cause I could never get enough. You could post 100 a day and I’d still say “not enough.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ Keep up the great work. Looking forward to what 2010 will bring!

  14. Cool to hear Bette, thanks! And being a coffeeaholic, that would suit me right fine! ๐Ÿ™‚

    (boy wants to watch a show so I’m back.. bwaha)

    Bette, in 2010 I’m going to do less SNS comments and more decor and tutorials. I’ll still have the SNS parties, but will more manage them rather than be in the center of them. That right there will free up what the masses are desiring more of… decor content and tutorials.

    Thanks for letting me know how you feel. And thanks to all for taking my poll on the right sidebar widget. Very helpful!

    FJ Donna

  15. You’re great…the end! Ooops, I do have a tendency to use way too many exclamations when I write…I’m just so dang excited to be learning from you great ladies.

    I just heard about a great site for improving your blog.. I really like it. It’s sneakymommablogdesign.blogspot.com

    What you are doing with your blog is working. Keep it up.

  16. You have one of my favorite go to blogs! You are generous in pointing readers to other bloggers. Your projects are classy yet affordable. Your writing style leaves me feeling like I have some sense of who you are as a person (and I think I would enjoy knowing you in real life..). I so agree with Cindy on the points she made. I often have multiple, multiple windows open and music is one of the fastest ways to get me to close a blog window. I have seen some bloggers try too hard to improve their blogs and they end up making them unreadable. I like simple, informative, fresh, with a strong sense of personal style–like yours! Visually, it could use just a smidge of something to make it interesting. Keep up the awesome blogging!

  17. Donna,
    I really can’t say that there is anything I would change about your blog… I mean, aren’t our blogs and extension of who WE are. If I tell you that I don’t like something, then aren’t I trying to mold you in a way? That isn’t saying that I don’t like to “redecorate” every now and then. That being said, if there is music that I don’t care for, I hit mute. Or sometimes I have to hit it so my little guy won’t come running over and try to type while I am typing… the music gets his attention. Now I have to agree with the people who commented about the black backgrounds… they are hard to read. I do enjoy your posts alot on html. My husband is a web designer and he helps me, but sometimes I just want to do it myself.


    ps I don’t get the link back under the comments. It seems that people sometimes do this and I will go to there blog and there is no link back… doesn’t quite make sense. I don’t normally go back to visit the comments to see what other people say, but I am going to keep this open just to follow along. okay, my ps was almost as long as my comment…. happy new year!

  18. Donna, I’m with everyone else and their comments! I love your blog..would love to see more decorating because that’s what I enjoy. The ONLY complaint I have is that your font color is very light against a white background…and (okay 2, sorry) about half of the photos won’t load, but I’m not sure whose prob that is. LOVE your writing style…love the tutorials, especially on power tools (btw, just got a 1/4″ angle grinder for Christmas!) and I love the linky parties.
    I must confess, I don’t always leave comments, but I certainly appreciate comments on my blog. I don’t care for music on other’s blogs, but I have it on my own…very taste specific I guess.
    And, as Bette said, you could post several times a day and it wouldn’t be enough!

  19. I think your blog is fantastic! Very inspirational for me! I wish I could offer more than that but I’m just starting my own blog (literally a few days ago!). This post (and the comments) are a great read for someone like me who is just getting started.

  20. Michelle, I don’t fully understand the linking back thing either. And an hour of reading it didn’t get me any further.

    And for anyone that has a blog, it’s wise to reread these comments. The info given will most certainly pertain to each and every one of us. And wouldn’t you want to know why someone stays away? I know I would.

    Polly, I’ve already told her. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Weekly blog tip?

    I like it! And I will try. I use to but most blog tips take so VERY long to format though and time has been an issue. But I’ll give it a go.

    SNS changing to themes on occasion

    For the most part, I’d like to establish SNS as a DIY theme so all can be involved and just know what to expect. If I switch it out, many don’t know whether to post or not. And if I have more than one party a week, I become a party blog, not a decor blog. However, on occasion I’ll put up a poll if I have a brainstorm on an ‘added’ theme to an already DIY party. That’s worked in the past so I’ll do it more often. Sound good?

    Graphic design tips?

    Duly noted! Only prob is not many have my drawing program. It’s also hard to teach graphic design. It’s a gift given art. Perhaps a 2 part series on making a blog button may be a good start. One post is already started but I had to walk from it… time. Lots and lots of time they do take.

    BIG pics

    Yes, oh please. Those that post large pics, please note not everyone has a large screen. Do view your blog on a different sized screen if you can. I’ve told someone about her wide blog format and she immediately toned it down in size. She didn’t know. So, let people know! They truly really want to know.

    My pictures

    – anyone else have an issue with loading my blog pics, please oh please let me know. The files may be too large. They load fine here so this is new to me. Perhaps my posts have too many pics. Nah… it’s gotta be the size of the file. I’ll look into it.

    FJ Donna

  21. It has been said so well already, so I won’t repeat it all. I love what you do and how you share that with us. With so many of the ‘big’ blogs, while I may glance or read them quickly, I don’t linger. Yours is one of only a handful that I come back to reread or visit previous posts.

    Since I tend to be wordy too, I feel the need to add:
    As for RateMySpace, you are brave to try that, and yes I learned lots from comments on RMS too. It is on RMS that I met some really great people and from there found this world of blogs. I look forward to constructive criticism and suggestions, just not the nasty stuff. Remember that not everyone on RMS is nice, and not all will appreciate your unique style. While someone’s particular style on Rate My Space may not be my own preferred style of decorating, I can appreciate that. I can still see something neat or interesting or pretty about their space. That is why I only leave kind comments. They can be constructive comments if the person is looking for ideas, but always kind. Some commenters however, are very narrow minded and don’t like things that are not exactly their style. They don’t have enough imagination to step out of their comfort zone and see good ideas in something unfamiliar.
    I have a habit of looking at a decorating photo, any photo, and trying to find at least one thing that I really like, that I could live with. The style could be something I would never even consider using, a bit edgy or a bit dated, too modern or sparse, but I will look for the elements that I like, be it colour, texture, symmetry or a single object. Even in the most modern room I can find SOMETHING that appeals to me. Look to the comments if you want a critique, you may find some answers to your own questions there, but be wary of the nasty or narrow minded. Am I explaining myself correctly?

  22. Hi Donna- I love your blog. You have style and it shows. I would love to see more blog tips, like how you design your graphics for your logo and tech tips. I especially enjoyed reading that you couldn’t sleep the night you pressed the post button after your curtain post. We have all been there. I loved it. Looking forward to visiting you in 2010.

  23. Hi Donna,

    What a great article. (Hmm, are they called articles??).

    I have just started blogging and definitely find myself fumbling around and looking for all of the input I can possibly find to make my blog more interesting. Right now I am pretty clunsy but I have sucked it up and decided to keep trying until I get it right.

    You hit the nail right on the head when you were talking about hitting the publish button.

    My very biggest pet peeve in blogland is music. (I couldn’t believe all the others who felt the same way. I thought I was just being a complainer). It is so distracting. Blogs that take forever to load…I just click out of them.

    I truly enjoy your blog. It’s easy on the eyes and very easy to get to everything I want to get to.

    Have a very happy 2010.


  24. I’ve just spent like a half hour reading everyone’s comments and it is enlightening! Great post and comment thread. I agree with a lot of these comments. And I did visit the lemon cottage and left a comment. I always try to comment on people’s blogs when they leave a comment for me. I always appreciate that, no matter how big or small.

    Donna, your blog is great. I agreed about the snow, I wasn’t a fan, butI can see how adding it for Christmas day is a fun thing to do.

  25. This is fantastic! What great advice from everyone – I have already made a few changes to my blog. Can’t wait to read more..
    I think I need to do a post about this tomorrow, in case someone misses it. Anyone who has a blog would certainly benefit.

  26. MMS, you make a valuable point. Visit those that visit you or respond back in some way if you can.

    However, as numbers grow, it’s virtually impossible to lay down that kind of time. I’m a big responder for the most part, but as it is, I’ve been on the computer for pretty much the day in order to play this one out. It’s enjoyable, but real life must revolve around this beloved hobby of mine (ours).

    My main point is, please forgive me for not being able to respond to each and every post personally each time. I ALWAYS feel guilty when I can’t. But I’ll try to tag all concerns here for certain.

    Thanks for still liking me regardless. I hope you’re picking up lots of pointers. I sure am! And making changes by the hour. FUN!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    FJ Donna

  27. I really enjoy your blog. I too am a very wordy person. I like to tell stories & I write like I talk – it’s just hard for me to stop that! So I completely get the wordiness & I enjoy it from you.

    You have a great way of showing us all a way to take junk & turn it into our own personal treasures.

    My favorite part of your blog is the link parties. I like to come share my work & look at what everyone else has to offer. I have gotten some amazing ideas & projects from these link parties!

    I also like the fact that you have personally visited my blog. I’m new to this world & I feel sometimes that I comment & read someones blog over and over to only talk to myself. I like that you do talk back!

    I totally agree that RMS is a hard ground. There are some tough critics out there that don’t understand individual styles vary, but there are also some very positive ones as well! I just have to remember in blogland & RMS that my home is only mine & not everyone will love some of my choices, but if they make me happy and it makes my children feel at home – it’s what is important as well. I do try and take their critics to heart though to improve – it’s just sometimes I like what I’ve done too ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree with word verification – I hated it so I removed it from my blog. All this talk about music is making me rethink my addition of music to my blog this week! Now I have to make some decisions for my blog as well!

    Anyway – the blog is fabulous & I feel like I kind of know you – but not in a weird way. Keep up the good work & I’ll keep on reading daily!


  28. I started following your blog because it’s simple and not cluttered on both sides like a lot of blogs can be. Your ideas and instructions have given me a lot of ideas for my own space.
    I of course have my opinions, but tend to keep them to myself. My sister once told me that I shouldn’t make suggestions to artists…is this true??? She said it’s becuase they have their own style. But sometimes in my mind I’m thinking…if only they would do this or that…it would look so much better.
    I like to oil paint, and make things out of wood. And I know that I actually like it when people critique me. I can look at the images in a different light, and make the needed changes.
    So, I guess it depends on the crafter herself if she’s open for suggestions, or just wants to do her own thing.
    I just have my family blog right now, but someday I’d like to have a DIY-type blog too. I think they are so fun. But for now, I’m happy trying to keep up with journaling for my family.

  29. LOL Heidi! Critique away to this artist! I love input. ๐Ÿ™‚ I suppose it depends on what you’re critiquing. Slow downloads or snow falling freezing your computer are total musts to know about if you care about your visitors. And I do. I’ll even let you critique my art. ๐Ÿ˜€

    FJ Donna

  30. I am a recent follower. I started following you because of your taste in decorating. I love how you take something ordinary and make it extra ordinary!!! When I came here today and read what you wrote, it was like i was talking to an old friend. Always be yourself and try not to please everybody else. If people like you they like you for you. If they dont then they will leave and click the X at the top of the screen, lol! No one can be you better than you!! Your blog is great and most of all it is yours! Dont let anyone tell you how to run it! LOL Keep up the good blogging!!!!

  31. hey there! well, this post is a great one!I love your blog and wouldn’t change anything…I really feel the pressure when I press publish too it feels so final..I have been thinking about my blog lately too..maybe it the New Year that makes us wanna do the changes..but if its working..well keep doing it..I really wish I could get back to my comments more often than I do ..I get racked with guilt cuz I love my peeps so much but feel cornered at times by how much time it takes to post, edit photos, spelling and proper english..lol I am going to try though…I think your very brave in asking for advice and I like that! My favorite comment to leave people is Well Done! because I know it means so much to me to hear that..I hope it means alot to my readers and fellow bloggers..to me its the greatest compliment .. your very talented keep going your doing great!

  32. I wouldn’t change a thing! Whenever I post something that might be a little iffy in my mind (read: didn’t come out good, pales in comparison to others’ creations, etc.), I just say my favorite mantra: in a hundred years, it’s not going to matter!

  33. wow! this newbie blogger has learned a few things! i do use ! after ever sentence! wow, see i did it again. i cant seem to help it. and i need to check to see if my comments come with the word verification and take it off if i can figure it out. but the music, i do love my music. but it looks like i might have to part with it. does it make a difference if i have it on there but you have to hit play to hear it? today i did happen to go to everyone who is a follower and left a comment for them. i do love comments and i do try to leave them. thanks for all the help you can offer!

  34. Hi Julie,

    I just paid you a visit. (nice blog!) There was word verification intact. I also noticed you don’t have your settings to recieve email. If you tweak that part, you won’t miss the word verification except for the odd spam that makes it’s way through. But if you’re on your computer alot, you can catch it in good time.

    I have a setting to have my older posts (about 14 days I think) to allow for moderation. That’s where most of my spam lands so I can simply delete from the dashboard stage before it posts which is cool.

    You make a good point about the music. Most don’t care for the sudden blast of music when all was silent just a moment ago. Music appears to be like art. It’s hard to please the masses with that type of thing.

    You can tweak your music to require someone to click play in order to hear it. I suggest start with that.

    For me personally, it’s not only the blast of noise, but the music box playing bogs down my computer. I think it’s the actual playing that slows things down, not so much the install of the widget, but perhaps abit of both? Not sure.

    Glad you got something out of the post!

    FJ Donna

  35. Wow! I am very new to the blogging world. That was a ton of useful info all in one great spot! Thanks to everyone! A few questions (these maybe silly but remember, I’m new). What are link parties? How do you get all comments sent to an e-mail address? What exactly is the proper way to respond to a comment…not that I have had any yet:-)

  36. as a newbie around your blog, i have gained so much FREE knowledge from your blogging tips and posts. i think the idea of a blog tip a week is pure genius! and i will go against the grain here & say, i loved the snow. very seasonal & appropriate. but i am a seasonal gal.
    as for the link parties. i have just joined recently to many. all the parties that i joined were for this holiday season, and so many joined the link party, that i would of never expected the hostess to comment until way after christmas. i think there should be some allowance for recent link parties, just my opinion.
    one of my favorite parts about your blog is that you have listed the most popular posts on the left side bar. (which is how i found your blog tips) so don’t change that feature if you were thinking about doing so. because i am sure many people use those links for some sort or fashion.

    i also think its great you are asking for critiques on your layout. i have once again, learned so much from your blog – now even in the comment section! so thanks!

  37. Donna-
    What a great post this has been. And thank you for the little mention. LOL A few very lovely ladies, with amazing blogs, stopped by to say, ‘hi’. I appreciate it. (I’m feeling bloggy love right now)

    I am going to work on my pictures. You are so right about good pictures… and I know mine are lacking.

    Looking forward to see what else you come up with.


  38. I love your blog and can honestly say that I would not change anything about it. It is my fave. I like that you have so many out of the box DIY and that you are real. I do different things also and enjoy anyone else that does. You have a unique perspective of decor and I enjoy it.
    I like the clean lines of your blog. I like that it is easy to read and I have to say your blog tips have been a Godsend to me.

    Just keep doing what you do.
    Thanks for doing this. I have read all of the comments and now have some changes to make on my blog..


  39. I just sat here and looked over most of your entire blog while my family watched Mummy 3. (not my kind of movie) I absolutley loved everything that I saw. It certainly held my attention and kept me moving from post to post. My goodness, you are amazing in your talents. Can you come to TN and help me out for a few days? Ha-Ha, I know the answer, but I can sure dream.

  40. Livingston, to address your questions:

    How to set email notifications:


    scroll down unti you see

    Comment Notification Email
    (enter your email there)

    click Save Settings

    That’s the same area where you’ll see all your privacy settings too. Tweak as desired.

    How to respond to a comment:

    This one is totally up to you! You may respond back within your own comments or email them direct, which is a breeze once you set up your email notification. You can choose to comment or not, it is your call. However, with smaller blogs, it’s really easy to comment so I say do it while you can. ๐Ÿ™‚ It shows appreciation for those that are taking part in your blog.

    I have left you a comment so now you can respond back to try it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’d also suggest to install the follower widget in your blog sidebar so it makes following a breeze for those stopping by.

    add a gadget

    Link Parties..

    Many blogs have what we call MckLinky parties. When you visit the party (which just means, a special post on a given day), you add a url of a post of yours you wish to share, to a special column. All the links are displayed for your easy viewing pleasure.

    Here’s an example of a party you find here every Saturday…


    Come back here this upcoming Saturday if you have something to share and be a part of the Saturday Nite Special I host as your first! I’ll help guide you through it. From there, you’ll discover many blogs and it’s a great way for them to find you back!

    FJ Donna

  41. Donna,

    I think you know how much I love your blog! I learn so much from you, and I really don’t think you need to change a thing either, a blog is supposed to show off your personality and I know some people don’t care for certain things on others blogs, but that is no reason not to visit! If you don’t like the music, your computer does have a mute button! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the music, I have heard so many great songs that I normally would have never heard otherwise on others blogs, and it is a true reflection of that persons personality! I love comments on my blog, and try to leave some on as many others as I can! Your blog is always so much fun, inspiring and positive, I love it, and look forward to your posts every day! Keep up the great work!

  42. I am new to the blogging thing, and I must say, when I stumbled upon your page, I instantly fell in love.. You are very creative, crafty, and inspiring!! In fact, one thing I would LOVE to see on your blog is ADVICE! For example, I am beginning to work on a project in my master bathroom, and I am desperate to find ideas. I have browsed and browsed the internet, but without any background knowledge, I am afraid to start. If there was someone to see what I have to work with and what my plans are, maybe I could get enough confidence in my project to actually see it put in place! I am glad you are proud enough of your work to show it off to us, and give us some great ideas and tips!

  43. Donna, I remember the night I found your blog (and for the life of me I can’t remember how I did that) and I was just fascinated. you were just getting started and I remember how I would check day after day just waiting for more from you. I have watched your blog grow so much recently and I’m sooo proud of you. I don’t care what color your background is, what font you use, how many ads you have up, or if you put a darn marching band loop on yur blog. I. will. read. you. forever. You amaze and inspire me all the time and I will forever wish that you lived right next door to me. Your warmth and sincerity comes through in absolutely everything you do and say and we wouldn’t want you or your blog any other way. Someday, I’m going to strike it rich and one of the first things I’m going to do is come to visit you! Carry on, my friend. I can’t wait to see what is next on your list.

    Oh, and now that I know I have to click the ads for you….I will begin doing that.

  44. I can’t wait to come back when I have time to read everyone else’s comments and I thank you so much for this post because I know reading the comments will be a blog tutorial in itself.

    It’s really hard for me to find any critique to give you because honestly I don’t follow blogs that I don’t love.

    What I especially like about your blog is that your personality and unique style comes through. I love the risky you and I’m so amazed at your creativity. I remember a post a while back where you had learned to do manly stuff like welding or something and it really made me realize how much I limit myself and how I should step way out of my comfort zone sometimes and learn new things, hard things.

    I really enjoy hearing about your life. For instance, the story about the lean Christmas and the video of you opening a present from a bloggy friend.

    I nearly fell down and worshipped at your feet when you started the blogging tips. I am soooo computer challenged and I could understand your tutorials versus most of the others which read like Greek.

    One thing I would say to you and to all the other ladies who emphasize decorating on your blogs is that you don’t realize all the lessons you really teach. You might think it’s just a decorating tutorial, but you teach so many other lessons like using what you have, being content, creativity, thinking outside the box, having courage and taking risks, loving your home and your family and the list goes on and on. Don’t ever assume you’re teaching one task because you’re not.

    Things I like on blogs in general:
    -simplicity, white or pale backgrounds, a distinct lack of clutter

    -great writing and consistently pertinent content

    -a focus

    -personality and style. I want to see an individual blogger, a real person, not a generic or a copycat.

    -transparency. My favorite posts on any blog are when the author gets real and doesn’t portray an image of having it all together. I want to see someone I can relate to and I can only relate to real people that make mistakes and have flaws.

    -a welcome feel. I want to feel like I’m stepping into someone’s bloggy home and they are happy that I’m there for a visit.

    -I also like step-by-step tutorials in simple language with lots of pictures on just about any topic.

    Things I dislike in general:
    -black or dark backgrounds. They are literally painful on my eyes and I rarely read blogs that have them.

    -word verification. Unfortunately, I had a spam issue recently and had to return to using this at least for a while.

    -anything that blinks or moves in the sidebars

    -blogs where the author doesn’t post often and leaves it dormant (like my personal blog!)

    -blogs that try to cover way too many topics and seem scatterbrained

    -blogs that are too commercial

    -popularity contests or gimmicks for the sole purpose of gaining new followers.

    -One thing I utterly detest is when someone has a beef with another blogger and writes nasty posts about her on their blog (even if they don’t record her name). I have a sweet friend who has an enormously popular decorating blog who has had others write junk about her and it’s totally tacky and stems from nothing but jealousy. Ugly!

    -blogs without any pictures or visual stimulation

    Hey, if you get a chance to stop by my writing blog and want to critique it, I’m all ears. Like you, I want to improve and deliver better goods to my readers.

  45. Hi Donna. What an awesome post and great comments. I’ve just been sitting here reading and don’t know that there’s anything different that I can add. I will say though that I love your blog, your creativity, your “realness”, your generosity, and the way you consistently step outside the box. Keep it up…

  46. Well, I’m fairly new to your site, so I’m not quite sure how things work around here. But, I agree with you-we’d never grow if everyone just said “LOVE IT” all the time.

    However, I’m a big fan of “if you don’t have anything nice to say…”. So, I usually only comment IF I really love something, unless the poster asks for critique.

  47. I just found your blog and I can’t wait to look through all your posts!

    One question about the comment notification emails… I do get comments via email, but when I hit “reply” I get this: [email protected]. Do you just to go the person’s blog to find their email address in order to respond? It would be nice to just have their email come up automatically. But I guess the point is to get people to come to your blog! I usually respond to questions in my comments section but I know not everyone comes back to check if their question has been answered. Whew… that was too long!

    Thanks for the advice, it was really helpful!

  48. In general I love your site. Content is good, pictures great, and your ideas are fantastic. You are truly talented.

    I think your subscribe button should be much farther up on your page and that the links on the sidebar to your content should move further up too. Yes, I know the other guys are there to make you money, but I come here to read what you have to say.

    In general, I have an issue with blogspot blogs. I know they’re free but they are also limiting design wise.

    A move to WordPress might be a consideration for it’s design possibilities and ease of use.

    I get very reliable hosting from a fellow mom for $5 per month; add in a yearly fee of $11 for your own domain and you’re good. Mom Webs, if you’re interested.

    Personally, I think that if you were to start offering ebooks, consultation ideas, or somehow sharing your talent with those of us who have little, you could make more money than you do from your ads.

    Just little suggestions; in all,I think you are awesome!

  49. Great post, Donna! You are so brave to ask for critiques. I completely adore you and your blog! I could never get enough of your projects, so bring them on!!

    I view blogs in a reader, so I do not usually spend a lot of time on an actual blog…I am on there just long enough to leave a comment. As far as your blog, I agree with you about the sidebar. Here’s a simple suggestion: Try removing the titles from your gadgets and let the contents of the gadgets speak for themselves. It might help streamline things. I would also create a bit of a buffer between your post area and your sidebar. The text of your main column reaches right over to the text of your sidebar. I love your blog header and your blog buttons!! They are well designed and stand out from the crowd!

    The main thing that draws me to a blog…photos. Period. When it comes to the hundreds of blogs I read and the blogs I consider subscribing to, the photos make or break it for me. It’s not so much about the quantity of photos as it is about the quality of photos.

    I enjoyed this post, and I actually enjoyed reading each and everyone one of the comments! Some of the comments made me think about my own blog…especially the size of the photos and the width of the blog. Way back, someone suggested making my photos larger, so that’s what I did. Now I am questioning!! I have lots to consider!!

    Thanks for your brilliance in all things junk, blog, and design related. What makes your blog special is you. Your personality and style are so readily conveyed. That’s why you are saved in my “fave” file!!


  50. Brenda,

    you have some amazing biz advice. I will try some of them right away! You’ve targeted more of the biz aspect of where my mind’s thought is at right now. I love being here but financially, I have to create a financial niche as well in order TO be here. So, thank-you!

    Polly, thanks for talking to me behind the scenes on other biz prospects. I’m overwhelmed with your options and need to mull over some great thoughts. (she’s my new mama LOL)


    the noreply thing is because I believe (I’m guessing but I think I’m right) those bloggers don’t have email notification activated. You then need to click on their NAME and go to their blog and find their email on their profile and such. I highly recommend everyone get the email notification going. It’s so easy to communicate for all involved!

    Mama Knows Best,

    Thanks for your vote of confidence on the advice aspect. I’ll be putting up a paypal widget up soon, and then will slowly offer this and that. Advice is among the list, so stay tuned. And thank-you for the kudos. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Something I am totally digging that I’ve found on other blogs is, there’s a special reply window to each and every comment. That way I can answer directly under YOUR comment. I LOVE that.

    Amazing comment thread. Amazing! This one’s a keeper.

    FJ Donna

  51. Amy,

    if it’s helpful, my screen is on the smaller side, so pics abit smaller would give me the same WHAM with much less scrolling. I actually have to sit farther back to appreciate BIG photos. Tweak them a size down on something, let me know and I’ll visit and let you know what I see if you wish!

    The spacing issue between posts and sidebar..

    Frustrating! I haven’t found the hack for that yet. (anyone have one?) I followed a how-to on widening the girth of the blog itself and then her instructions left me hanging… “I’ll show you next time how to create the gap inbetween the info and sidebar.” Well, that info was never posted. So here I am.

    Note to all: if you do a tute with a Part 2, please finish it. Thank-you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    FJ Donna

  52. I don’t think there is a hack for the space between. It’s just a matter of adjusting the html. Go to the Edit HTML. Hit “Download Full Template” before you do anything…this creates a back-up…just in case! Check the box that says “Expand Widget Templates.” Look for the section that says “/*Outer-Wrapper”. Under that section, you will see outer-wrapper, main-wrapper, and sidebar-wrapper. I think all you have to do is make sure the width of your outer wrapper is larger than the sum of your main and sidebar wrappers.

    For example, my outer wrapper is 1100, the main wrapper is 800, and the sidebar wrapper is 250. The outer wrapper (1100) minus the main wrapper + sidebar wrapper (800+250=1050) equals a difference of 50. This 50 is then the buffer/space between the main and sidebar wrappers.

  53. Okay I have to go remove the snow from my blog ๐Ÿ™
    Thanks for the how-to about the email notification, I had no idea you could do that.
    Also, for all the bloggers reading this, there are some of us out here that do NOT have high speed internet connections. I am still on dial-up and have no other choice. Music takes too long, videos are impossible to see and hold up the whole page. Even for me downloading photos to my own blog takes forever (maybe 4-5 min. per photo!)

  54. You have such wonderful projects!! I love all of them! I have been a follower for a while, but I don’t know if I have ever commented. I just wanted to let you know that your blog is one of my favorites, thanks for all the super cute ideas. Jen

  55. Ok, I just did a really long post and it’s not here. Ugh.
    Alright, I’ll shorten it.

    Just wanted to tell people how they can quickly center all of their widgets/gadgets.

    To Center your widgets/gadgets:
    Go to your Layouts page.
    Click on the gadget you want to center.
    It will bring up the html code of that gadget.
    At the VERY FRONT of all of the html coding, simply add this: do not include the parentheses or spaces, they are there because I just discovered the comments section won’t let you use html code of any kind. – (<) center (>)

    AGAIN, remove the parentheses and spaces.

    Leave everything else as it is. Save the changes. Press Preview to see that the change took. If so, you’re done. If not, go to your blog and hit the F5 button (refresh), and it should show up.

    Now if this comment stays, I’ll come back and tell you how to resize them. I don’t want to type it out and lose it again, so I’ll do it in smaller doses. I even copied what I typed, but it wouldn’t give me the ‘paste’ option when I went back in to try to repost.

  56. Ok, the comment stayed. I think my other one went poof because of the html code. Didn’t realize that.

    Anyway, to resize your gadgets/buttons:
    Go to your layouts page and open the gadget you want to resize. This will bring up the html code. Look through the html code until you see 2 numbers together separated by an x. Ex: 180 x 180.

    Change the numbers to something smaller. A good size is 150 x 150, but I wouldn’t go any larger than 175 x 175 because then you start to get cluttered. Save the changes, and you’re done.

    Resize your gadgets, then center them, and you’ll clean up that sidebar in no time flat.

    To see the difference in 150 x 150, and 175 x 175, go to my blog. Scroll all the way down until you see the last buttons on the right side. the one for my blog designer is 175 x 175. (She is clever, she fixed it where I can’t change it). My ‘Make Mine Beautiful” button was resized to 150 x 150.

    If you have a horizontal or vertical rectangle button you want to use thats really big, right click on the button, save it to your pictures. Open in your photo editing program and resize it to something smaller. (NOTE; you are not copying the html code below the button during this process. You are only saving the picture.)

    Once you resize it, upload it to your online photo program that you use with your blog, such as photobucket. A program like this will automatically assign your picture it’s own coding. Once you save the picture, open it and look for a box that says “embed” or “direct link”. If you do it right, you should be able to copy the html coding in one of those boxes and upload it into an html gadget, and your button will be resized. (I think it’s the embed thingy.) I’d have to go do it to find out, but it’s one of those.

    Hope this helps some of you.

  57. I am enjoying reading the above comments and will be back to do a more thorough read-through. Many thanks for all of the blogging tips (you all). Donna, you are the only blog I’ve seen who gives blogging tips- Thank you! I enjoy your creativity and generous spirit. Two “critiques”: I’m not loving this expanded column format and I’d like a font with the little feet (although that might take some of the “funk” out of it). I, too, love your graphics. Okay, I envy them!

    In the camp of DON’T like: Black backgrounds, I won’t stay long at a blog that has them – word verification, music and too much background design.

  58. Kim,

    I did expand my column format to widen up indeed. The reason being, it’s my belief that this shape fits most screens of today. I had changed monitors and gasped when I saw all the white space on the sides totally wasted. And it wasn’t just mine. My old blog format looked terrible on a friend’s monitor as well.

    As it is, I still have a ton of wasted white space on either side so I haven’t pushed the limitations to the max by a long shot.

    Kim, curious, are you on a standard or widescreen monitor? And what settings are you viewing in? Us widescreeners would like to know.

    Feet on fonts? I’m not fond of that type myself, just preferring a cleaner format, however I will promise to try it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    FJ Donna

  59. tell me what you think…

    I used to test websites for a living, so I might sound a little like your instructor, but I’m really just another new blogger fighting my way through trying to get Blogger to do what I want and not being very happy w/ the results. Ha-haaaaa. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Pros: Your blog layout is clean, easy to nav, I have no idea how you pushed your 2col minima out to use space better – I would love to learn how to do this. Photos are exceptional, posts well written, personable, and fun. Best part – I love your kick-it-out-of-the-box design style.

    Negs: I’m not a fan of the “cloud” labels, but that’s prob just me. I prefer a little background color over white – I’m still playing around w/ mine.

    Wanna come by & kick the tires on my blog? I’d love it! And if you wouldn’t mind writing a post re: creating more space in a 2col blog, I (and the entire blogging community) would really appreciate it!

    Have a good one!

  60. I just read everyone’s comments & will remove word veri from my blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

    A thought on the ‘Follower’ gadget. I follow a blog simply because I love the blog. I have “Followers” that never leave a comment and some that appear to be following JUST BECAUSE they want me to follow their blog. The only reason I added the gadget was because people asked me to add it for their convenience. I’m wondering – what do you think about being expected to follow a blog that follows yours?

    The only other comment I can think of right now that I don’t think anyone else has mentioned is responding to comments via email. If blogging is about sharing and connecting, then why would some people send an email but never leave a comment @ your blog? Doesn’t that say “Thanks for commenting on what I have to share at my blog, but I’m not interested in yours.” ???

    Anyway, I just spent the last 2 hours @ your blog, Donna. Thanks for all that you share!


  61. Girl! You know I love your blog! Love everything about it! And I, too, use too many exclamation points!!!! Dear Heaven, someone stop me!

    I have learned tons reading these comments. I will stop using so many !!. See, there was a period right there. Another one.

    Those of us who are fairly new to blogging and wonder how to build their followers and get comments. My advice is COMMENT on other blogs, comment back when you get one and VISIT other blogs, when you find one you love follow it. Hopefully, they will be led to you, and, if they love your blog, will follow back. ANOTHER THING. PLEASE make sure the type is big enough to read. Some blogs have the type so small I am squinting to read it, which it just too much trouble. Mine may be too big, but hey, you can read it! lol (there’s another !) oops

    Keep doing what you are doing. You ROCK!

    Lou Cinda ๐Ÿ™‚

  62. Whew! I feel like I just completed my first class toward a Master’s in Blogology. And now for my thesis:

    Your blog is _______ (insert all the funky new word trends that mean GREAT)! This is my first time here, and I will subscribe as soon as I can scroll a-l-l-l-l the way back up and figure out how.

    That leads me to my first general blogosphere point. There are a lot of people out there that are either not RSS savvy or are absent-minded (at least, I hope I’m not the only one), and who only read blogs that allow email subscription. I rarely remember to check my RSS reader. Okay, as long as we’re being transparent here, I rarely remember HOW to check my RSS reader, even though my hubby has explained it at least a dozen times. I’m embarassed to ask again. Having a full post pop into my inbox is the only sure-fire way of getting me to read a blog to which I subscribe, and isn’t that the point of gaining subscribers: to gain readers? So, bloggers, please consider an email subscription button.

    Does anybody know how to get the full formatted blog entry to show up in the email? Mine only shows an excerpt and all my careful formatting is gone. It’s like walking into a rain storm on a potentially good hair day.

    Does anybody know how to make the type bigger? Mine is puny. My blog looks like it was taken over by mutant ants.

    A few more considerations, bloggers. While the blogger needs to make money, the advertisers are trying not to SPEND too much money. When we (er, they) pay per click, they are counting on a certain click-through ratio. In otherwords, they are praying their hearts out that their herculian efforts and late nights spent trying to make money will help put food in the stomachs of their six children rather than take money out of their non-existant college funds. (Er, that’s hypothetical, of course.) So, DO check out the ads and click through, but ONLY if you are interested in those ads. Don’t randomly click…please.

    Also, bloggers, if you comment on someone’s blog entry, please actually read it. It is more offensive to have someone “return the comment favor” when they have obviously only skimmed the titles and sidebars without actually reading, than it would have been had that person entirely ignored my little unnoticed corner of the blog world.

    Now then (whoa–someone got me started!), while many critiques fall into personal preference or common courtesy, this one perhaps falls along the lines of snobbery. I like it when a blogger takes the time to spell correctly, looks up questionable grammar issues, and only uses three (occasionally four, when the situation calls for it) elipsis in a row…but I have been told I’m a snob, so take that for what it’s worth.

    Please do be patient with people who have you enter a word code for the first time you leave a comment. I am only on the computer at certain parts of the day, and the radical amount of spam I received that would have given my children a rapid anatomy lesson are unwelcome on my blog. Thus the spam filter. I am not a techie, and will look into what previous commenters mentioned about eliminating that step.

    I do love truth in blogging. Nothing is harder than to continually read how our family does not measure up. I already KNOW that. I’m reading blogs to learn something NEW. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Your blog is a gem! Even though it is my first time here, I am smitten!

    I hope my tone didn’t come across wrong. I’m smiling as I type. See: ๐Ÿ™‚

  63. #72 Christy,

    Thank-you and welcome! And you make some good points.

    Your blog is a .com one so you won’t have blogger dashboard up like those on blogspot.com would.

    An email subscription button is a GOOD idea. Thanks!

    I have no idea how to tweak text in a .com platform. Can anyone else help Christy with that one?

    Now.. what is an elipses?!? I really don’t know and do I do that? ๐Ÿ™‚

    FJ Donna

  64. Ha ha! No, you don’t do that! Your writing is lovely and very real. I’m talking about the “. . .” that indicate something is left out, or, in the case of a natural, more conversational writing, indicate a pause or an “ahem.” Sort of.

    It’s a distraction to me when writers add about fifteen “dots” in the middle of a sentence. It’s a fingernails on the chalkboard issue.

    My husband has perfect pitch and can’t listen to music that’s out of tune. I can’t handle bad grammar and too many polka dots! It’s a curse. I told you it sounds snobby! I’m not a snob–I just play on on blog comment posts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  65. I just spent the last hour or so reading all the comments. Donna I can honestly tell you I love your blog. I always learn something new visiting you and I like your laid back approach to things. I totally relate to your thinking outside the box… that is my style of decorating also so I get that.
    This has been a great post and something again we can all learn from.

    My beefs are:
    MUSIC… I have had to turn my volume right off… I sneak a few peaks from work and when your are not expecting it, it is very startling.

    TOO MANY ADS… I realize that people want to make some money doing what they love and I have no problem with that. If the screen is too cluttered I am gone.

    TOO MANY GIMMICKS TO BECOME A FOLLOWER… I think it is great that people do their little give aways but wow sometimes the rules are just too much. I don’t enter them I just disappear.

    I LIKE HONESTY… I just can’t believe what people put out there especially about their children. That just scares me… maybe I watch too many documentaries.

    I LOVE TUTS’… I think it is wonderful that people are so willing to share their ideas and techniques to help their fellow blogger. I will be doing more of this in the near future.

    Keep up the good work Donna, I am sure whatever you chose to do will be done to perfection.

    Hugs Deb

  66. Hi Donna! This is the second time I’ve read through the comments. Great info!
    I enjoy your blog, and the look is pleasant and easy on the eye, but what I like best is your content and obvious talent.

    I share many of the general blog peeves that have already been mentioned, so I won’t go into that.
    Since you were kind of asking about your sidebar, I think one thing you could do with the photos is size them the same. At some point in the editing/cropping or uploading process you should be able to resize; for instance make them all 200×200. I’m afraid that’s about as helpful as I can get with the “how-to” of it, though :/
    (I just looked at Blogger Layout, Add a Gadget, Picture, and when you get to Configure Image there is an option to check “shrink to fit” and it will take it to 200 pixels wide. Maybe that might help with the more uniform look you’re wanting?)

    Now, I have a question: a lot of people mentioned that something they want on blogs is good photos. I’m wondering what they mean, exactly. Some blogs have stand-out fantastic photos, Pioneer Woman for instance. Those people usually have big bad cameras that cost in excess of $1000.
    I have a pretty basic point and shoot. I take photos without flash when I can, but sometimes I’m working at night and have to use it. Occasionally I have a photo with a little shake/blur and don’t have the time to go back and redo it, when I’ve probably already spent an hour or more on the post and everything.

    I guess what I’m getting at is that my photos are pretty much average. Are people saying average isn’t good enough for them to bother with the blog? Or what constitutes photos that bad?

    Oh, and I tend to be a little too verbose, too.

  67. I just found your blog when my mother forwarded on this post! I just started a blog about house flipping and other home related items. See it here: freshdigs.wordpress.com

    I’ve been thinking really hard about what I like and dislike about blogs so that I don’t make those mistakes. This post really helped to clarify.

    My likes are:
    -clean lines
    -light colors
    -photos, photos, photos

    My dislikes are:
    -personal diary like content that has nothing to do with a blog’s theme
    -moving or flashing items
    -ads on the side and within posts

    I haven’t read anything besides this post on your blog. However, I did notice on the home page that the header is quite large.

    There’s also something about the home page that seems cluttery. I’m not really sure how to explain it. All I know was that when my mom sent a link to your blog, I looked for 5 seconds and then moved on. I didn’t want to sort through it all.

    Once she sent me a link to the actual post, though, I stuck around and liked what I saw.

    I hope this helps! Please feel free to contact me with any insight on my blog. Go ahead, I can take it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  68. zuzu, to answer your question about the email. As a blog owner, you can have the comments that are posted on your blog sent directly to your email. When you open them in your email, you can reply to that person from your own email box.

    I like this because I can’t always access my blog from where I am, but I can always access my email on my cell phone. When I first started my blog, I didn’t know that it was common courtesy to respond directly to each commenter, so I posted responses in my comments. A lot of people don’t go back and look at the comments once they’ve posted theirs, so they have no way of knowing that you’ve responded to them.

    When I have the time, I do try to visit the blogs of people who have commented on mine, but it’s not always possible to do that daily. In fact, it’s hard to cover them all in a week sometimes. But I do try. I wish other bloggers wouldn’t be offended if their comments aren’t responded as soon as they think they should be. You just never know what’s going on in someone else’s life that could be holding them up.

  69. Dang…I wish I would have read a post like this along time ago. Do I ever need a blog critique. I follow Amy at the lemon cottage and followed her link to you and I have learned so much reading your post and all these comments. I can tell I’m doing a ton of things wrong. Thank you so much for this. I haven’t even made it to the post Amy was referencing yet either. Now I can’t wait.
    I can tell that I will love your blog.

  70. Hi, Donna! I am clicking over from Holly’s “Homebody” blog. This is an AWESOME series. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My latest pet peeve has been with linky parties. I’m never annoyed with the hostess, as they are so gracious as to even offer a spot for other bloggers to link up, and I would never expect them to visit all 546768 links that have been added to their party.

    That said, it really irks me that I’ll spend time on a post, link up, and then spend more time leaving thoughtful comments on as many blogs as I can…and I’ll be lucky to receive 2 or 3 return visits. Last week, I received a comment that seemed like the (seasoned) blogger had just cut and pasted the entire thing (she didn’t address anything specific in my post, just left a generic “That’s so cute! Come and follow me.” As I continued visiting other blog links in the party, I noticed she’d left the exact same comment on many of the other blogs. It totally turned me off from ever visiting her blog again. I’d rather have a brief, heart-felt comment directed at ME or my writing or project than some generic, stock comment that has been copied and pasted onto 60 other blogs.

    So sorry to rant…I just think that some blog parties have become much more about personal promotion that actually building community and finding fun new blogs to read. :s

  71. Donna, I honestly think your blog is great the way it is. The blogs I enjoy have nothing to do with popularity and actually sometimes I wonder about some of the blogs that are popular. Your projects are outstanding and your words are exactly how they should be. I get bored quickly with 400 pictures and 3 words. I also get bored with a post after post of just words and no pictures at all.

    I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years and although my blog shows I have 400 some odd followers, I actually have over 800, but I only show one blog that I follow and it’s because she’s the one that inspired me, so I understand why half stay private. Maybe it’s not fair that I don’t share who I follow, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so I stay away from that. Anyway, even though 800 isn’t as many as some, I don’t advertise my blog and I don’t push it on other people. They found me on their own. Even though I have the dreaded music, they keep coming back. I credit this to being myself. I don’t sell anything and I’m a family blog that just happens to talk about our old house remodel. I still can’t figure out why anyone cares what I say to be honest LOL I’m certainly not trendy, I have absolutely no connections and it’s gotten to the point that I don’t have time to comment back to everyone that comes by, but still they comment. Although at a party, I try to comment on everyone’s blog that enters.

    Basically what I’m trying to say is that becoming what everyone else wants you to be makes you a Walmart blog (my husbands saying). Be YOU and do what YOU want. I’ve watched too many bloggers become another version of the person that inspired them and sometimes you can’t tell whose blog your reading if you don’t look at the title.

    Just be YOU ๐Ÿ™‚


  72. Thank you for putting this up. I really have learned a lot and see where I have made some missteps. But I also agree with Rue that we all need to do what makes us happy and create the blog that best reflects our personality. I personally enjoy your blog! I recently had to cut my following list in half and it was not because of anything personal- I liked all of their blogs but I just could not keep up with them and work on my own blog. This can be very time-consuming and sometimes people just don’t have hours every day to devote to a blog! Thank you for talking about this!

  73. I don’t like when someone trys to force me to listen to their music but I know how to mute my speakers so it only occasionally makes me leave.

    I don’t like that so many of the interiors blogs all want to look like PB or Anthro and not trust their own unique styles.

    I LOVE your hanger/drapery. Couldn’t have that in my house but it is SERIOUSLY ORIGINAL. Which is what I like in general about your blog.

    As to content, we each have our own preferences, we’re each looking for something different. So bloggers need to be true to themselves and trust the blogosphere gods and other bloggers/readers to get the right people to visit.

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