A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Tech Tip: WordPress Coding Help

I know many blog readers are also bloggers, so I thought that this next little tech tip (series is growing over here) might be helpful to anyone running their personal blog on WordPress.

I dig WordPress. It is by far the most user-friendly, totally adaptable, completely customizable blog solution out there (in my humble opinion…). I even build non-blog related websites on WordPress because the dashboard is that good.

But WP is kind of a bear if you’re not a teensy bit comfortable rolling up your sleeves and digging around in the ‘Editor’ (aka raw html) section of the site should you get stuck. Have you ever installed a plugin or left out a ‘/’ when adding a sidebar widget link only to watch your entire blog convert to jibberish or your theme come up whacky and skewed? (raising hand over here.) That’s usually followed by hours scanning your backed up code (you have a database backup plugin, right?) wishing you could hit ‘undo’, ‘command+v’, ‘undo’ - until you’ve troubleshooted said problem. Darn div tags.

Tech Tip: Using Codeable for Easy WordPress Fixes | PepperDesignBlog.com

Oh there have been many a night when I first started this blog (I had hand coded the site based off a rough theme for months before bringing it live) where I either wanted to weep in frustration at a silly error that I had made (and subsequently seriously messed something up) or throw the computer out the window. Or both at the same time.

Tech Tip: Using Codeable for Easy WordPress Fixes | PepperDesignBlog.com

I’ve discovered Codeable just this year and it’s amazing. It’s sort of a hire-by-project site where you can jump on, list your WordPress idea as a ‘task’ and watch as expert coders (already vetted and identified by Codeable as those who seriously know their stuff) help to create a bid on how much your project will be to complete. If you accept the rate they determine, you choose from one of the coders that has volunteered for the job and move over to a workroom just like this one:

Tech Tip: Using Codeable for Easy WordPress Fixes | PepperDesignBlog.com

From here you can exchange ideas, upload images, reference existing sites, share login information to your WP blog… and in a short amount of time your developer has resolved said issue or coded your new idea.

For my website business, I used to hire WordPress developers off of Craigslist. But that became frustrating fast! I had always imagined a solution just like this one. These days I keep this little tool in my back pocket not so much for building entire websites, but for making quick fixes or for adding cool features to the blog that I’ve thought up or have seen out there.

Right now I’d really like to bring some sort of sorting feature to the Style Boards section of this site – or even perhaps build a new DIY project panel? The possibilities are endless if you happen to know a coder who can make it happen…

PS More tech tips!

Girls’ Room: Designing the Wallpaper in Spoonflower

I’m really smitten with the wallpaper in the girls’ room.

Girls' Room Update: March 2014 | PepperDesignBlog.com

I went through a lot of ideas for creating a feature-something in this space, and in the end designed and printed my own wallpaper through Spoonflower, though I’m not sure I’ve ever really walked through the process here before.

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Spoonflower is just awesome. We have curtains I designed a few years back in the office, and a canvas ‘art’ piece hanging and framed in our living room that I found by another Spoonflower artist.

Designing your own fabric, wallpaper or gift wrapping paper is a small part of the Spoonflower universe. One of my favorite resources for new creative patterns for the home (thousands and thousands!) is to browse Spoonflower using their color sorter (that was my strategy for finding that above semi-diy canvas print).

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Simply type in a keyword such as ‘chevron’ and then use the color swatch to narrow down until you find exactly what you’re looking for. So. much. amazingness.

If you find a wallpaper pattern that you love, they’ll even show you a mockup of the scaling of that pattern in a room.

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

When I imagined adding an accent wall in the nursery, I imagined something subtle, something simple, something that would play well with other patterns in the rest of the space. I actually ordered a mix of Spoonflower samples to try out initially, six pretty found patterns already uploaded by others to Spoonflower and two slight color variations of my own starry night pattern.

Nursery Wallpaper Samples : PepperDesignBlog.com

I loved them all! But being keen on plenty of pattern in this room, I ended up choosing the most subtle of the samples (those two panels in the lower center) because they would allow for more pattern layering.

I came up with that simple starry design after being inspired by a bathroom in black Osborne & Little Coronata wallpaper.

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

I changed the colors, the style of star (to something more abstract with rounded edges) and the pattern so that it wasn’t a direct replication.

That process was a process though! It’s nice to imagine that uploading and printing a design is as simple as just that, but it actually took me close to three months to get the wallpaper just right, including the amount of time between each iteration that Spoonflower needs to get your pattern through the printer and shipped out to you.

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

I use photoshop and illustrator to create most of my designs. Photoshop is really for adjusting and manipulating photos which are created from small dots of color (pixels), while illustrator is ideal for shapes and designs because you are working with vector paths that can be stretched and resized without damaging your content (opposite of photos). There is much out there regarding that topic that you can find with a quick google search…

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

To create a repeating pattern, I prefer to cut the pattern into a perfect square with two edges butting up against an obvious design/shape in the pattern, and the other two edges cutting just before that same design/shape. When I repeat this out in Illustrator to test it, it creates a perfectly repeating pattern.

Working with colors in Spoonflower is the most challenging part of the job. It’s helpful to have the Spoonflower color chart for reference (they’ll ship you a square for $1, request also the fabric swatches booklet if you’re printing on fabric) and I use both their older format (on the right) and newer version (on the left) to get the colors just right.

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

The above is for color reference, the eyedropper tool in photoshop then helps me to reference the correct hex color (each color has a formula, that’s the formula). I’m always shocked at what the color looks like on the screen vs. printed out.

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

I went through eight different scaling and color options before settling on the correct size and shade of pink/coral for the nursery. I find it best to have several swatches printed at the same time with a variety of shading and scaling in each batch so that you’re not waiting on Spoonflower printing for long chunks of time…

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

I even went back and forth between a pointed and rounded star design – sometimes the devil’s in the details.

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Here’s how that crazy mess looked in my design library within Spoonflower (you can actually purchase my final design right here, you can also make designs private but I thought I’d share the love if anyone else is interested in a similar look).

Designing Wallpaper for the Girls' Room in Spoonflower | PepperDesignBlog.com

Whew!

The best day is when your rolls of wallpaper arrive! I was eight months pregnant when my brother and I installed the panels.

Tips for Hanging Wallpaper | PepperDesignBlog.com

But so worth it.

There are just two things that I hope will change over at Spoonflower as the popularity increases: time to print and ship (production time) and that the wallpaper will be printed without the need to overlap panels at the seams.

Girls' Room Update: March 2014 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Happy St. Patty’s Day! More of a pink rather than green post today, but hopefully you’ll find it useful! Or that you’ll checkout the great designers over at Spoonflower sometime soon (it’s like Joann’s on steroids).

PS if you’re looking for a paint color that is awfully close to this wallpaper, try Rose Radiance by Olympic.

Random Thoughts: Baby Names

What's in a Name | PepperDesignBlog.com

What are your thoughts on names? Baby names are the sorts of things eight-year-olds (and twenty-eight-year-olds) agonize about. ‘Liv’ was a name I have loved forever, ‘Olivia’ the only name that Kevin truly adored when I was pregnant with number one. He said he would call her ‘Love’.

Amazingly, the name ‘Taylor’ has been on my list for a solid decade. That feels like a long time in baby naming years. Taylor was perhaps second or third on my list with baby number two (the above is not necessarily the chosen order), but even growing in my belly I always felt that that would be her name. Kevin, too.

Liv | PepperDesignBlog.com

Taylor Rose is Here | PepperDesignBlog.com

I remember calling my very favorite baby doll ‘Sydney’ as a little girl. I was sure that that’s what I would name my own children when I grew up and out of my five-year-old boots. Not surprisingly ‘Sadie or Saidey’ (rather close?) is a very favorite of mine today and was at the top of the Taylor-naming-game list.

The one other name (besides Taylor & Liv) that we both really enjoyed was Meredon. It was sort of a play on sailing and the sea… (mer meaning sea and meridian a line of longitude or a common directional reference for sailors). We have a sailboat from Kevin’s bachelor days and it was a favorite pre-child San Diego Bay hobby. I also liked that it was one-of-a-kind. But then that movie Brave came out.

What's in a Name | PepperDesignBlog.com

A funny story behind Liv’s name is that we were really unsure of what to name her even as I was in labor and at the hospital. I had a natural birth and after agonizing pain and she finally arriving, I remember Kev leaning over and saying ‘so I’m going to text everyone that Olivia is here’. I was so exhausted that I just nodded and then fell asleep.

An odd thing happens after you finally give your child their name though. They become that name. They are that name. You can’t imagine them being named anything else.

Easter Eggs | Liv | PepperDesignBlog.com

During our name-agonizing pregnancy days (actually, just mine. Kev had always had just one or two names that he stuck by), I had a close friend make that statement to me and it brought me much peace. I think that I was always nervously worried that I would regret the name I eventually chose. It’s such a huge responsibility! This child will apply for their first job with that name, introduce themselves to new friends with that name, sign love letters with that name, hear that name called out at their college graduation and on their wedding day

And nick names? Where do I begin.

Maybe I was overthinking it.

Olivia_Jan20-2011_007_475

You know what’s kind of odd? My lists of names changed drastically between the two girls. I’m not sure more than two or three baby number one names crossed over to the baby number two list.

Random Thoughts: Baby Names | Taylor Belly Shot | PepperDesignBlog.com

Just for fun, a few of the other names I loved for Liv included ‘Madelene’ (that how a friend spells it and I love it), ‘Emma’, and I think ‘Clare’. There were many others but they must have not made a strong enough impression for me to remember as I type this.

Liv & Taylor | PepperDesignBlog.com

Middle names are a whole other beast. Anne is my middle name and my mom’s middle name (it’s a common middle name but it’s peppered throughout our families). I felt strongly about giving my daughter, and I didn’t know how many I’d have, that middle name.

Because we went with tradition for the first, Kev and I just came up with the prettiest name we could think of for the second. I was incredibly close to giving Taylor my very special (and recently passed) Grandma’s name (Vivian) or my own first name (Morgan), too. I also love when mom’s pass on their maiden name as a middle name. In the end we went with our gut and brought a ‘Taylor Rose’ home from the hospital.

Random Thoughts: Baby Names | Taylor Belly Shot | PepperDesignBlog.com

If we have a third (and we’d like to) I have no idea what we would name him/her. Somehow we ended up on the top 100 for baby names with the first two, maybe next time something really unique? Or something really traditional? We actually didn’t know if we were having a girl or boy with Liv, so we have a decent list of untapped boys names :), too. Here’s how we found out Taylor was a baby girl.

Do you still admire any of the baby names your six-year-old self chose? How did you (or how will you) choose your children’s names? Are yours traditional, unique, sentimental?

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