Category Archives: Arts and Graphics

blogging, work at home, themes

Changing the Site Theme For Better Viewing

Hydrangea and lily bouquetI was happy with my old theme here on the hydrangea gardening blog, but I noticed that it was not compatible with hand-held devices.     Finding a new theme for this blog wasn’t difficult because I had recently update two of my other WordPress blogs with a theme I liked.  It’s called Twenty Thirteen.

I need simple. I once purchased a $79 theme with high hopes of creating a beautiful site. It looked easy enough, but I had trouble. WordPress offers a refund if you are not happy, so I got my money back and found a free theme instead. I’m sure there was nothing wrong with the theme I bought, but my knowledge of computer technology is next to nothing. I can figure some things out myself, but I have no desire to get into the coding and css stuff needed to configure a nice site. Free themes are also nice. And this free theme can be updated with custom fonts if I so desire.

After test driving a number of free themes, I decided to use Twenty Thirteen for many reasons. It has a nice clean look that is easy to read. I like that it offers rotating header pictures too. I am all about the pictures! (Haven’t loaded any to this site yet, but you can see them on my Seashells Blog. The header changes with each page / post click.)

If you’ve been using the same theme to blog for a long time now, it may not be compatible with iPhones and such. That means your readers won’t see the whole page when viewing your blog on a mobile device. They will bounce off your site and go someplace else. You can find out if your site is good for hand-held devices in your appearance section, under customize, or in the preview of a blog post.

My hope is that with this new theme for my gardening blog, I can find more readers. Of course I also have to have some gardens to write about, and that may not be as easy to fix.

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Pictures of Sunflowers

orange sunflower abstract art poster
Abstract Sunflower Poster

It’s summer, and that means that sunflowers have grown up and bloomed to brighten the garden. The birds await the seeds to ripen, and soon the goldfinches will be pecking at the centers to have a meal. It’s a beautiful sight, bright yellow birds perched atop happy, yellow flowers.
To create the poster above, I used one of my own yellow sunflower photos. In the graphics program I created layers of the flower in shades of orange, yellow and red. When I put them all together, I gave the final image a painted look. The poster is available for purchase at my Zazzle store, DustyFarmPaper, and comes in sizes that range from small to huge (48×40 inches).

sunflower sky photography
Sunflower and Blue Sky by bluesnap @ Pixabay

Because of their amazing height, the sunflower is one of the easiest flowers to photograph. They tend to be eye-level or taller, which means a background of blue sky is easy to achieve. The bright yellow and blue make a pretty contrast, as in this photo by bluesnap. Click the image to use it yourself, for free, at Pixabay.

sunflower sunset landscape
Sunflower Sunset Landscape by BrinWeins @ Pixabay

Two photos were merged by this artist to create a sunflower landscape at sunset. I love the effects of shadows as the sun sets with an orange glow. This picture can also be found at Pixabay and the user lists links to the two photos she used to create this end product.

Sunflowers appear on just about any product you can want, and that includes Stationery and Paper Goods. They make beautiful bouquets for country brides, and work well as a cut flower centerpiece for a summer party.

These are only a few of the fabulous pictures of sunflowers out there. Maybe you have some of your own to share. Leave a comment so we can track down your blog and see what you have.

blue hydrangea and starfish design

Designing with Flowers and Elements of the Sea

starfish hydrangea mug
Beach Garden Mug – click below to see this in the Gifts section.

I discovered early on in my work that big hydrangea flowers sell products. True blue flowers are rare, and the large blooms of the mophead hydrangea can be truly stunning.  In fact one of my online stores was opened to contain all hydrangea images – BlueHyd.  When I decided to add elements of the sea along with this flower, I had created something doubly wonderful.

Bringing in elements of the sea works especially well to sell beach wedding stationery. I also use the designs to make personalized gifts, which sell well around holidays and Mother’s Day.

Luckily, in New England, I had my own beautiful hydrangea flowers growing right in my yard. And, I happened to have a big white starfish. The multi-petal hydrangea blossom holds the starfish well, so I just tucked it into the flower and began photographing. After isolating the image, I could use it however I chose. The blue floral images came out lovely and I have used them to create the Seaside Blue wedding set.
Seaside blue hydrangea wedding

In my northern yard I had blue and white and pink flowering plants. The mopheads worked well to create this type of image, but not so much the elongated blooms, like the Pinky Winky.

I miss my hydrangea shrubs, but now I grow hibiscus and other tropical flowering plants. It might be time to combine new elements of the sea with new stunning new types of flowers.

Busy Gardening and Fighting With Computers

blue hydrangea address labelsI work online. I spend anywhere from 5 to 10 hours a day online either creating for my Zazzle stores or promoting products. But, after my laptop began giving me trouble, I was forced to buy a new computer. I’ve gone from a pc to a Mac and that means a learning curve. My biggest problem is figuring out the photo area. With the option of “pictures” and “iPhoto” I can’t seem to integrate the two, or access the photos I want when I want.

Along with all this brain crowding of technology that I dislike immensely, my vegetable gardens have been overflowing with cucumbers, zucchini, parsley, and now tomatoes. It’s almost time to plant lettuce and peas for the fall season so there is garden clean up to do as well.

Fortunately the weather has been great. In fact, it’s been very cool. When I went to the dump yesterday I noticed that some trees are beginning to change color! Does this mean the foliage season will begin early?

My hydrangeas, on the other hand, are not blooming. The plants have grown nicely, but the macrophyllas are disappointing. Now I am wondering if I fertilized them too much in Spring. Or was the summer too cool? I’m not sure, but after waiting a year for my beautiful blue hydrangeas to bloom, I have only ONE bud that will be blue. On the other hand my Pinky Winky is looking wonderful! A little lop-sided thanks to the munching from the deer, but it’s full of flowers and they look so pretty. Once I get my photos straightened out I will share my pictures here.