It’s basically like my current one, but it’s fun to put it in a palette. What do you think?
So you may see some changes around here for a while, and I would love to hear your feedback and ideas!
What are your thoughts on Smile and Craft AG being redesigned? What do you like and/or dislike about my current design? Do you have any suggestions for the new design?
Also, is anyone doing July Nano and in need of/have room for a cabin member? I’ll be gone for some of July, so might not be able to be super active, but would like to join a cabin for Nano, if I can find a good one, and would love to be with blogger friends! 🙂
Hmm, maybe I’ll even make a new sign-off!
P.S. Anyone know where I can find a cute yellow watercolor (or something like that) daisy graphic for free?
Hi there! Today I have the long awaited Blogging tips post for you all!
The tips are going to be more from a reader’s perspective, as I have read blogs longer than I’ve written them. 🙂
Also, please note that many/most of these are my opinions, and that I am by no means a professional blogger, and am still learning and improving, myself, at blogging. 🙂
I hope these will help you!
Let’s get started!
1) Blog design- I recommend having a blog design that isn’t too complicated. It can have color, but try not to overwhelm your reader! Bold, bright backgrounds and crazy fonts might distract from your blog’s content.
Personally, I do not like seeing yellow text on a white background. See how hard it is to read? It kind of blends with the background. Isn’t that difficult to read? It might frustrate your readers as they try to make out the things you are saying. I know it’s bothered me before.
2) Content- Grammar and spelling are important! If I’m reading a blog with typos everywhere, I’ll probably not think of it as a very professional blog.
Also, write about what you love, but try to make interesting, well-written posts that will make your readers want to come back for more!
3) Pictures- Pictures can greatly affect your blog. If they are dark or blurry, that makes your blog seem less professional and less enjoyable to view. One good tip for indoor photos, is to try to get pictures by a sunny window.
4) Post frequency- If I stumble on a blog that hasn’t posted in weeks, or one that apologized for not posting and still hasn’t, chances are, I might not be as interested in it. It is great to post regularly if you can. Note, I didn’t say post every day. If you are busy, and decide to make one great quality post a week, that’s good! If you are able to post every day, that’s good too! (just make sure they are good quality! 😉 ).
5) Lastly, and most importantly, have fun! Be yourself and make posts that you would want to read!
And now for some tips to help you get more blog traffic and followers!
I think one of the very best ways to get your blog “out there” is to get involved in the blogging community! Swap buttons! Follow blogs you love! And Comment, Comment, Comment! Most times when I read a post, I also look at the comments, and many times I’ll click on the name of a commenter or two to check out their blogs! So commenting is a great way to get viewers for your blog!
One neat thing that you can do to get publicity for your blog, is shout out your doll site on American Girl Fan! Every so often Jessica does a post where you can link to your site, so that others can check it out! It’s pretty neat!
Also, I recommend taking a minute to write out tags and categories for your post, to help people find your post via search engines. But – at least if you are using WordPress – try not to put over fifteen categories and tags, because I read, here, that your post may not show up in WordPress search (topic search? I’m guessing that’s where you search for topics in your WordPress reader.), due to them trying to filter out unrelated posts.
And probably the very most important thing, is to keep writing! Keep posting things you enjoy and have fun with it! Don’t worry if you don’t have a hundred followers in two months! Just keep posting about what you love, and the followers will most likely trickle in too!
I guess that’s about it! I hope that these tips will help you!
Janice hung her head and dragged her feet as Rose led her in the direction of the orphanage. What were you thinking? Her thoughts taunted. Escape from the orphanage? No way.
Janice noticed the cave where the Spera lived as they passed by it. He had been so kind. She hated to leave all his plans undone. Suddenly, something in the cave opening caught her eye. What? Janice shook her head in confusion, blinking.
The Spera was standing in the cave opening.
What in the world was he doing there? He nodded towards her, a serious expression on his face. Then he shot out of the door (Janice hadn’t known how fast Speras were!) and latched abruptly onto Rose’s leg. She shrieked, letting go of Janice’s hand.
“Go!” the Spera shouted, clutching onto her leg with all his might, as she swatted and tugged angrily at him. At his word Rose turned sharply around, but the Spera wouldn’t let her budge, and Janice was making a mad dash toward the lake.
Wait! What about the Spera? I can’t leave him there! Janice thought. She whirled around.
“No,” he said, seeing her, “Run. NOW!” So she did run—all the way back to the water.
Finally Janice stumbled onto the shore. She peered out over the lake, but to her dismay, the boat was nowhere to be seen.
“No,” she breathed, straining her eyes across the water. “No, no, no, no, no.” The boat had already left. Her journey was void, and the Spera’s life, for who knows where Rose had taken him by now, was wasted. Janice felt a sudden wave of rage. All this for NOTHING!
She shouted angrily, storming around the lakeside, punching the air, and yanking out grass with all her might. Then she stopped, her fist clenched so fiercely that her fingernails pinched her palms, and her knuckles were white. Her grip loosened, and Janice collapsed onto the ground, sobs racking her body. It’s over. It’s done. All is lost.
“There, there,” said a voice. She could feel someone patting her back gently. “Why are you crying? It’s alright. It’s going to be okay.”
The voice. It was familiar. Could it be—? Janice raised her head.
“But?—But you? How?” Janice sputtered through sobs and tears of joy and relief.
He shrugged, smiling. “I’m a good runner. Oh, and Rose? She won’t be bothering you anymore. She was too shocked, and a bit frightened, by your strange, tiny friend to go looking for you again. She’s probably halfway to the orphanage by now, preparing to ask for backup.”
“But the boat—it’s gone!”
“Did you forget? I’m a Spera. I help people on their journeys. Naturally, I have a canoe in my cave.” Janice beamed at him. They would save the children from that evil orphanage after all!
. . . . .
In no time, Janice and the Spera had retrieved the boat and were rowing across the shining lake. Pine trees lined the shore in the distance, growing smaller as they moved away from them.
“Why did you come?” Janice asked, breaking the peaceful silence.
“What do you mean?”
“You said that your kind is not very strong. Will you survive out here?”
The Spera paused, his eyes staring into the distance thoughtfully. “After my family was gone, I decided that I never wanted to leave the cave again. It’s not that nature kills us, it’s just that we are more easily overpowered by other creatures, and that we respond to change and emotion differently than other creatures might. We are more prone to get sick from worry, or other challenging emotions, and sometimes we can’t recover. I don’t know how I, myself, survived the loss of my family. But I knew I never wanted to risk leaving my home again. Sometimes I would wake up and take a moment to appreciate the fact that I’m alive. But then I met you, the first traveler I’d seen in a long while, and I was moved by your determination and eagerness for your cause. I realized, then, that though I was alive, I wasn’t really living. I would rather be here, working for a good cause that I believe in, than cooped up in a cave all my days, feeling sorry for myself.” Janice nodded soberly, and they continued across the lake in silence.
Finally, a small thread was visible, laying on the lake’s horizon. Janice stood up in the boat in excitement, trying to keep her balance while looking at the precious strip of land. She beamed. Her parents were so close! The kids from the orphanage would soon be rescued! They were soon upon the shore, and Janice jumped out of the canoe when they docked, nearly capsizing the wobbly boat. Then, she remembered the Spera and helped him out, too. He knew the way to Jacksonville, so they didn’t need to find someone to ask, and the Spera could hardly get Janice to sit down and eat something before they left. It was only a short while before they made it to Jacksonville. But what they discovered there was the opposite of what they expected.
The town was in ruins. Black rubble and ash covered the ground, and remnants of the walls of buildings waved precariously in the breeze. Janice’s heart broke at the sight of her beloved home that she had so looked forward to seeing again. She swiftly weaved her way through the rubble to where she remembered her home to be, the Spera following close behind.
“Here it is,” she said, motioning toward a half-burnt house. The Spera shook his head sadly.
“I’m sorry,” he said, looking at his feet.
“Janice?” a quavering voice said from inside the crumbling walls. Janice looked up, her sad eyes wide and wondering.
“M-mama?” she whispered. The lady came running out from the house, a man running close behind her. Janice’s eyes were sparked with hope and excitement. Mama and Dad! They ran towards each other, embracing each other joyously.
“We were only here to gather anything left!” the father said through tears, as the mother nodded, biting her lip as the tears came in rivers from her hazel eyes and down her pale cheeks. After a flurry of sobs and laughs. They finally settled down enough to exchange their stories.
Janice mother spoke first, “We were so worried, Janice. You disappeared so suddenly! We searched and searched, with no luck! But then war broke out in the country, and the soldiers came, burning and stealing as they went.” She choked on her words, and her husband continued.
“Everyone was running all at once, us included. We escaped to the nearest town, where those who survived the attack are now staying. Thankfully, the townspeople are good, and have helped us immensely. It was just today that I had a day off of the job I got in town, and so we decided to come back and search through the ruins and see if any of our belongings were left. A few things survived, but,” he smiled from ear to ear, “we had no idea that we’d find you instead!”
Janice’s mother, calmed down a bit, continued, “But what about you, Janice? What happened?” she pleaded. “And…” she said, upon seeing the tiny, smiling boy standing in the background—which was a bit of a shock, “who… who is your friend here?”
“Boy, have I got a story to tell you!” Janice responded, backing up to introduce the Spera to her parents.
How do you/did you like this series? Would you like to see me continue it more?
I hope you aren’t tired of seeing TIWC entries… BUT… I am planning a craft! 😀 Hint: it’s fall inspired!
I used all three prompts. Linky, Linky, Link. And I included a pen! The prompted parts are in this color. Go Team Pen!!
This is another continuation, so here are some complimentary refreshments: Part one, two, three, four (Wow! That’s a lot!)
Here it is! I had fun writing this one… Enjoy… XD
Janice yawned and sat up in bed, stretching her arms out wide so they could reach the cave walls on either side of her. She smiled. These last few days had been lovely. She was able to recover her strength at the Spera’s home, where she could sleep and eat plenty, unlike at the orphanage. During her stay, the Spera informed Janice of the plans he made for her journey to find her parents and save the orphanage.
The plan was as follows: walk east until she reached the lake; take the boat ride across—the Spera kindly provided the funds; ask for directions and go to Jacksonville—her hometown; and locate her parents when she reached it. Once she found her parents, they would have to help her from there. Janice could only pray that they would help her—assuming that they were actually still living in Jacksonville.
So after a hearty breakfast, Janice bid the Spera farewell, with many thanks, and was off, following the sun that was resting just on the horizon in the east. It wasn’t long before she reached the lake, sparkling in the morning sun that was now floating a little farther up in the sky. She sat down in the grasses by the lakeside, watching for any signs of a boat. Sure enough, a speck soon appeared on the horizon and slowly grew larger as it came closer.
It won’t be long now Janice thought to herself, smiling. She cherished the thought of seeing her parents again. What a happy reunion it would be! And to think of saving her friends from the orphanage! She jumped up from the ground in excitement, nearly convincing herself that she should swim to the boat to save time. Janice quickly renounced that idea when she felt the icy cold water on her bare feet, and remembered that she hadn’t swam in years.
In her great burst of enthusiasm, Janice hadn’t noticed the curly-haired brunette girl walking up to her.
Janice did a little hop out of surprise at the sight of her, secretly wondering if she had looked silly, prancing around the shore like that. She looked at the ground, twiddling the grass with her toes, trying to act like she neither had seen the girl, nor had been practically dancing around earlier.
“Hello, Janice,” the girl said boldly.
Janice didn’t pretend to not notice the girl anymore. She looked up, alarm piercing through her eyes.
“H-how do you know my name,” Janice sputtered untrustingly.
“Oh,” the girl replied, idly twiddling a pen she had pulled out of her pocket, “well I suppose it is kind of rude to not introduce myself, seeing as I know who you are. I’m Rose, and I’m here to take you back to the orphanage.”
Janice was shocked. “But-but why? You can’t! I’ve gotten so far! Who really are you? One of the headmistress’s secret agents?” Janice was trembling violently.
“No, I’m not a secret agent,” she chuckled. “I’m an orphan too. Just like you are.”
“You are not!” Janice cried. “If you were like me, you wouldn’t be bringing me back to that horrible place!”
Rose sighed. Was that a small glint of sadness in her eye? “Some say I’m a traitor. Maybe I am. All I know is I did what I had to do to be treated well by the headmistress, and have any hope of happiness. Which at the moment, requires that you come back with me.”
Janice bit her lip and let the tears flow, as Rose tightly gripped her arm and led her back the way to the orphanage. In her mind, the plan Janice had thought was her reality became a distant dream, and the orphanage she had thought was her past became her reality—an unbeatable, inescapable reality.
*insert evil laugh* Ahem. XD What do you think? Are you looking forward to the next part?
Also, this is another continuation,here are Parts 1, 2, 3. And if you just need a quick refresher, Janice is launching into her life story, just after the Spera told her his.
“The orphanage—it is a strange place. It is full of cruel secrets that lurk from the corners of our bedrooms to the heart of the headmistress, or more like the orphanage dictator. I spent two years of my life living in that abysmal place. The strange thing is, I am not even an orphan.
“I suppose I had better start from the beginning—the very beginning.
“I was born to my parents as their only child. They were kind, I remember, although times of love seem centuries away, even though I lived most of my life in it. It was on my tenth birthday that my carefree life was turned upside down. I had been all dressed up for my birthday; my brown locks were braided and a small tiara was set on my head. My presents were a new doll and a lovely pen with my name engraved on it. While having a tea party with my doll in the grass outside, an expensive black buggy jolted up to our yard. Looking up from my play, I saw a short, thin lady dressed in black stepping down from the buggy, with a dark veil covering her face.
“‘I can get my parents for you, ma’am,’ I called to the mysterious woman, as I started to walk back to the house.
“‘No!’ she snapped venomously. I stopped in my tracks, turning hesitantly to face her.
“‘Come here, girl,’ She coaxed, ‘I’m only a friend.’ Her voice was like a sweet fruit with a worm inside of it. Untrusting as I was of her, I was too frightened to do anything except for what she told me to.
“‘That’s good, child. Now hop into the buggy.’ And thus ended my happy childhood.
“I dare not imagine how my parents felt when they found that I had disappeared into thin air. I can only hope they were happier than I, when that lady brought me to live at the dreadful orphanage.
“The orphanage is a terrible place full of concrete walls and cruel mistresses. We slept on mats on the floor, and were fed three tasteless meals a day. Ragged-haired girls skittered through the hallways. I quickly became one of those girls.
“But the orphanage was more than just an awful, cold building. It held secrets which I was never able to understand, one of which being why I was even there, for I, along with many others, were not orphans. Another strange secret was the headmistress’s daughter, whom I never saw, except for the time when my friend and I managed to slip out and peer through the keyhole in their cottage door, which was inside of the large enclosed area surrounding the orphanage. We observed the headmistress and her daughter for a while, and they seemed to act friendly towards each other; the headmistress even acted genuinely kind to her daughter, which was a shock to see. But never had we seen someone look as lost in their own home as those two did.
“But after two long years living in the orphanage, I had devised a plan of action. I had thoroughly explored the building and the enclosed outdoor area in my short bouts of free time, and knew of a way to escape. I also knew that after my escape, I must find my parents, somehow. And maybe, just maybe, they could rescue us.
“So here I am now, trying to do just that.”
Janice finished, the tears coming in streams down her pale cheeks. She bit her lip, “Can you help me?” she asked the Spera, who had been listening intently and quietly to her story.
“Yes,” he replied, “I think I can help you, Janice.”