wild garden

What Will I Post?

chefleur

Chefleur often chooses to make lists of things she has done in her week. What a wonderful way of reviewing weeks gone. I love Chefleur's Caprice.

When I was working with schools during 2007 I found that the best approach was to provide very specific tasks for participants. That is how the Magic Garden Project came in to existence. This project provides quite specific activities that can be published on blogs.

After they had heard the story I asked participants to imagine that they were working as an illustrator at a publishing company that had decided to publish this story. After visualizing specific scenes that they would illustrate students undertook a range of activities. They designed front covers and pages that might appear in the book. Then posted their completed responses on the blog.

Manon

Mon Petit Coin is a blog which Manon has been working on. When the Calendar was launched she decided not to be a silent member of Soul Food and took the plunge. She began experimenting and is now a member of Soul Food and has a room at Riversleigh. Bravo Manon!

Champs

Meet the Grade 2 Champs who are clearly having a good time with their blog and having fun with widgets.

Gloyd

“Return to the Garden” explores the interior realms of creativity, spirituality, and wellness through the metaphor of the garden. This blog is part of the Wild Gardens/Magic Garden Literacy Project described in the sidebar.

Poet Tree

The Poet Tree is dedicated to poems and prose inspired by the outdoors and nature. Anything from my backgarden to the great landscape beyond my country town.

Seeded Earth

The Seeded Earth is a place where Barbara searches in nature’s solitude for sustenance. This blog was inspired by the Wild Garden Project

8 Ways to Write an Interesting Blog
by Quinn McDonald

Writing for a blog isn’t hard. Ahhh, writing good articles for a blog is hard. And so is writing good stuff consistently. I’ve read a lot of blogs (and so have you) that start out wonderfully–interesting articles every day. Then it slips to three times a week, then once a week, or once a month, and one time when you open the blog, it’s about what the blogger had for breakfast, then lunch. . .and a sad decline continues.

After I wrote the blog on how to start up, it seemed fair to add one on how to continue. Not everyone is a writer, and not everyone wants a daily writing practice.

1. Pick something you know a lot about. Like to cook? You can go on forever with recipes, cooking tips, cookbook reviews. Car engines, animals, anything you know about can form the foundation of your blog. Check out Wordpress (or anyone else’s) “Right Now in Tags” for ideas that people like. In Wordpress, the bigger the type, the more people click on the category.

2. Write down your ideas. This sounds really simplistic, but it’s not. You have a great idea, and your attention shifts, and the idea vanishes. The shortest pencil beats the longest memory. A pen, pencil, and an index card, or small spiral notebook will help you remember the idea. So will a small device to record your thoughts. There are expensive pen/recorder combinations, and cheaper ones. Write down the idea when you have it, with enough detail to be able to complete the blog. Write down all the ideas, you don’t have to use them till you need them, and some day you’ll be happy you have a book of ideas.

3. Books, music on the theme. Even if you are a recognized experts, others have great ideas. Feel free to review books, movies, music and collect links to share. People love to explore, and you can help them expand their knowledge by giving them shortcuts to more information.

4. Create a tutorial. People like to participate. Whether you know how to knit, rebuild a car engine, or know a better way to wax skis, have someone take pictures of you doing it and describe it. A tutorial blog is a wonderful thing to people who want to learn by doing. One caution: if you are not an expert at writing instructions, have someone read your blog and follow the steps to make sure it’s clear.

5. Illustrate your idea or story. Pictures and illustrations help others understand how you did something. They also help you keep your writing short. If you are afraid of sitting down and writing 500 words, use pictures or drawings and you will fill your blog with fewer words and great ideas.  Don’t be afraid of sharing the commonplace and ordinary. I once saw pictures of ironing a shirt, and discovered it was easier than what I’d been doing.

6. Interview a friend. Tired of writing on your topic? Interview another expert and use that as a blog. A different voice is always a nice break, and more information is interesting.

7. Have a guest write for you. I’ve found great articles by others and, after asking permission, posted a summary on my blog and linked to the whole article.  Everyone’s happy–you don’t have to reinvent every idea, someone else gets linked to a topic, readers love finding out that you have answers. Ask the person whose blog you are going to summarize. Their work is under copyright, so you can’t “borrow,” take, steal, or quote extensively without permission.

8. Create a list of links. This is quite useful to others. You can spend some time poking around the web, and then run a collection of links on the topic of your choice.  You surf so your readers don’t have to.  You’ll be surprised at what there are a zillion links on. Here’s a page of links to different kinds of pencils. Who knew?

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2007 All rights reserved.

Making a Panoramic Header

Apex Park

header

If you have downloaded the freeware Irfanview, a wonderful header for a blog or an online page can be created by stitching photos together to create a panoramic image. So, if you are in irfanview, ensure that all your digial photos are the same height and preferably same width. Go to image>create panorama>add image and continue adding as many images as you desire to form the header.

This is then saved as a jpg image and can be resized to the correct wordpress size by going to image>resize/resample and keying in the correct height (try 770 x 223).

Anne Mirtschin - Hawkesdale P - 12

 

 

 

Day 6

Achieving the Look

You can tell a story that is engaging and evocative through the art of arranging images with narration and a bit of concise text.

Reyes

Winnie Rose Reyes has such a colourful blog and she has made outstanding use of the side bar at Temporary Pasture. Check it out.

sbrocchi

Fran Sbrocchi has the title of being one of the eldest at Soul Food. She is also one of the youngest at heart, the one who delights us with her vibrant wacom artwork. Poems From the Memory Bank is where she keeps poems that she writes to relive joyful memories.

Systematic Design Process

Whenever I create a new blog one of the first things that I do is go to MANAGE and remove the default page, post and comments.

Then I go straight to PRESENTATION and determine what I want my blog to look like. Under PRESENTATION I choose a theme, upload my own customized image for the header.

Abel

Carol Abel made her own header, saved it on her computer and then uploaded it under Presentation.

Then I play with the WIDGETS. Soul Food blogs are recognizable because they have a Soul Food Logo and, if someone is participating in the Garden project, a Wild Garden Logo. So the side bar looks like this.

sidebar

To achieve this effect you have to use the widgets.

Go to PRESENTATION and open widgets. It is a drag and drop process.

You choose from the available widgets underneath the sidebar, drag them, one at a time, with your mouse and drop them in the sidebar.

I can be quite anal about this. I always put the blog stats at the bottom and the Meta just above them. When the widgets are in side bar you can move them with your mouse and position them where you want them.

To insert the logos move a Text Box in to your sidebar. If you look at the bottom you will see that you can have nine text boxes. These are perfect for putting in images and making text that includes a hyper link. It helps to use basic html here. Web Monkey have a cheat sheet which will guide you. I learned by trial and error and by experimenting.

Open the Text Box by double clicking it. A box will appear.

widgets

Copy and paste this code in to your box.

<p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.dailywriting.net/"><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/159/426577450_d762e17b46_o.jpg" /><br>
<p>
<p align="center"><a href="http://wildgarden.wordpress.com/"><img src="http://www.dailywriting.net/lil-garden.jpg">
<p>

Remember to save your changes.

You can use text boxes to achieve all sorts of effects. But remember, if you want to incoporate images you do have to use html.

Letter to Santa

Santa Mail

Up at Santa's Workshop at the North Pole there is a room filled with computer geeks who keep making freeware for people to use in a Web 2.0 environment. But there is some basic equipment you may need for your home PC, so maybe now is the time to write Santa a letter and request some of these basic goodies if you don't have them already. Otherwise make sure to build up some flyby points and use these to equip yourself.

Scanner

scanner A scanner is indispensible if you are doing art work and want to upload drawings, paintings, collages and other ephemera. At around $100 for a basic scanner these will not break the bank.

Digital Camera

digital camera A digital camera is one of those things that have become important. Of course, many mobile phones allow you to take digital photographs so you can go for the two in one option. Again there is a great variation in price but you don't really have to go for the professional camera.

wacom tabletWacom tablets are for contemporary artists. If you have an inclination to experiment and doodle like you did when you had you sketch a pad then you could ask Santa for one. But this is by no means an essential item. There is a Jackson Pollock site that will let you do some fun digital drawings.