When I was given the assignments for this week, I felt as if I was already ahead of the curve in a way. I had started customizing my blog last week and chose the Patchwork theme by Caroline Moore this week, I made a few fixes so that it would look even better, starting with the name. When I created my blog, I chose the generic name, bellekid’s ds106 portfolio: adventures in ds106. While I liked this, I realized that most of my classmates had more interesting names for their blogs, like Tiffany, whose blog, The Fandom Princess inspired me to change my blog title to The Digital Seamstress: weaving some yarns with a virtual needle and thread, a play on words that combines my passion for writing and stitching. It appears on the list of class blogs and can be found next to the number 16.
While I have fallen in love with the Patchwork theme, in part because of my love of sewing, I did have one major issue with it, the hyperlink color, which was pointed out to me by some of my classmates last week. By default, the color of the hyperlinks does not stand out, either in color or font, from regular text. With the help of CogDog I was able to change the colors of the hyperlinks so that they stood out from the colors of the rest of the text, yet still fit in with the theme.
When it came to installing Widgets, I thought of the features I liked on other blogs I have used. I installed a tag cloud, which I have always liked seeing but really fell in love with after one was installed on the class blog for my senior seminar, Gay Literature of New Orléans and as the semester went on, I was able to see what kinds of things my classmates were blogging about the most. Somehow, in that course, Anderson Cooper was blogged about a lot, which I would not have caught onto as easily without the tag cloud since he was not more than a frequent passing reference in the course otherwise.
I installed a blogroll, so I could link other parts of my online presence, both for UMW and otherwise. I included links to my Senior Project Blog where I am spending the semester writing about Sex, Gender, and Sexualities of the South, bellekid.com, my personal blog that I am hoping to use as a portfolio of sorts, as well as to the DS106 main site for those wondering more about ds106.
I had not thought about adding a Twitter widget until it was talked about during the Open Lab on Thursday night. I chose to have it include all of my tweets as well as my retweets, so that in addition to my tweets about the class, readers could get a better sense of who I am, as all of my most recent tweets, including my commentary about various things in my life and in the media as well as the occasional drunk tweet are included.
Per the advice of CogDog, I added the Aksimet plugin, which has been great. I spent last week getting one or two emails about spam comments submitted to my website per day. Since installing Aksimet, I have yet to receive any.
I installed the Awesome Flickr Gallery plugin and created a page for it. Although it is installed, It is not what I want it to be. I would love for the page to have two columns of photos but can not seem to get more than one column to show up.
I also installed Jetpack at the advice of CogDog, and with little effort, I am able to allow my friends to comment on my blog using their Facebook accounts, which I love.
Although it was not required or even mentioned, I added Google Analytics for WordPress, which easily allowed me to connect my blog to my Google Analytics account. I first used Google Analytics while taking Dr. Zach Whalen’s Engl 202: Writing Through Digital Media class in the Spring of 2011 and have used on all of my personal websites ever since. I actually enjoy checking the stats of my website and at last check noticed that I have had visitors to this blog from not only the US but also Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Italy and Vietnam.
In addition to the plugins and widgets, I set up an email address to use with my blog, firstname.lastname@example.org which is set up to forward to my gmail account. The process was simple I like that the address is not as awkward looking as my school email address which ends with @mail.umw.edu. (Thank you to whoever at UMW decided that we needed to have our webmail hosted on Hotmail, the email addresses are awkward and it is nearly impossible to change my email preferences on my Macbook.)
The customizations made the blog fit me more than it had before. With the addition of the plugins and the Twitter widget as well as being able to link to other places on the web, I was able to further expand upon who I am.
Although I wanted to ideally do all of this week’s Daily Creates, I just did not have enough time or brainpower and ended up doing only four. On Monday, I was to take a picture of something I saw every day. I chose my bathroom sink and cabinet and all of the things on it. On Tuesday I removed every third word from the song Halloween from Rent. On Friday, I described the sky without using color words, instead describing the sky by relating it to bodies of water. Lastly, for Saturday, I had to take a silhouetted photo of something by shooting into a bright light. I went into my bathroom and picked up my small wooden hair brush, thinking that the texture of the bristles would be interesting and held it near my bathroom light. It thought it looked like a strange creature silhouetted against the moon and I was honestly a little surprised at how nicely it came out.
After struggling with figuring out to do with bellekid.com I decided to make it a personal blog for me, where I can post my thoughts, photography and favorite works. I chose the theme Minimitica by One Designs, liking the use of photography in it, but have yet to be able to get it to work fully. I honestly do not know what my blog will become, but it will be nice to have a place to display my favorite visual works.
I had never really made gifs before but with some googling as well as trial and error, I was able to successfully make a gif of Giselle from Enchanted looking at Times Square in wonder for my gif making assignment. I learned that the timing of the gif can make a ton of difference. You can read more about my gif making experience in my post about it here.
Week two of Bootcamp was harder than I thought due to a combination of technical issues including my blog accidentally getting deleted, and time management issues on my part. While I had plenty of free time during week one, I started my theatre practicum this week which was nice since I love being back in the Costume Shop sewing but also basically eliminated my free afternoons on Tuesdays and Thursdays until early April. The work was not all that hard, I just should not have tried to do it while doing other things. The only thing I did not accomplish this week that I wanted to was to do a Reddit guide, which I should have done by this time next week. The psych paper and presentation I have due on Friday are slowing it down at the moment.