Friday, May 14, 2010

Your Two Cents

Ok, here's your chance to give me your input!!! I know that my blog is in serious need of some updating - I'm still operating in an OLD format of Blogger. Soooooooo.......

Before I put in all my requests for updating - tell me your thoughts! Here are a few of my thoughts - please chime in! You are the ones who visit my blog everyday - I want things to be easy to find, streamlined and cleaner looking.

I still love my header photos - but in an effort to upgrade to the new Blogger, I anticipate that I'll need to have that redone as well. And, I'd like the fonts changed up and just blow a freshening breeze over my little corner of the web!

Across the top (under the header) I'd like to have the following options:

* Cup of Tea (get to know me)
* Inspiring (links to blogs I read; links to posts I find inspiring)
* Vintage (archives)
* Mail Box (e-mail me!)

Side Bar:

Bible Verse box: I've loved being able to put anything I want up and change it as often as I want to!!
Tags to categories (change them to be more streamlined):
* Celebrate (holidays, traditions, parties, hospitality)
* Community (this is a possible sixth category where I would include hospitality, reaching out, being neighborly, etc... what do you think?) another word might be "gather"
* Create (crafting, sewing, photos, inspiration)
* Dwell (homemaking, gardening, cooking, homeschool)
* Live (faith, reflections) or maybe "Faith-Walk"
* Love (family, family nights, mothering)

I've had lots of requests to add an "older posts" button at the bottom. This should come automatically when I upgrade to the new Blogger format. Also, lots of requests to make it easier to read archives and more complete listings of archives.

Thoughts on the categories? Layout? Colors? Readability? Music or no music? As always, I will continue with no ads!!!!!

I'd like the feel to be vintage, cozy, homey, country, peaceful and clean. Other ideas? Here's a blog inspiration board I put together yesterday afternoon:

What else? I'm all ears!


Anonymous said...

I like the relaxed, homey feel of your blog without ads blinking or too much going on. I think you do a great job of keeping it simple and informative. My favorite part is your recipes. I have tried several and they are always good! I only visit about 8 blogs and yours is one of them. :)

Leanne said...

I'm sure it will be beautiful! Is it okay to request no music? especially, for those of us who read while children are sleeping??
I know it will be SO cute!

CAM said...

I love your blog so don't change it too much. Lots of pictures! I love that the other stuff is nicely stowed away for when I get time to read more than just the latest post.

Jeremiah and Stephenie said...

I love your blog. Whatever you change will be awesome, I know.
I would like to 'second' the no music request. I read while littles sleep. Can't wait to see the 'new' blog.

Wendi said...

I say keep it simple. Some places I visit just seem cluttered. I also vote for no music. Not that I mind the music, but since I do most of my blog surfing during quiet time I find that I have to keep my computer muted. Waking the little ones up is not fun!

melissa said...

NO MUSIC, please! That's an irritation to me when I click on a link. Otherwise, I like your blog. :)

mamabeck said...

Ditto CAM on "the other stuff stowed away"...One of the real draws for me, to your blog is it's soothing simplicity. It's like sitting down at a table, in a comfy chair with a nice cup of tea to chat with a friend. There's no distractions, and lots of gentle encouragement.

In fact, although I read most of my favorite blogs through Bloglines, yours is one of very few that I regularly click through to read each post. ♥ Thank you for sharing your heart and our Lord with us!

Anonymous said...

I like the simple look and feel of your blog right now - not that you shouldn't update it, but it's so clear and easy. Also, just my 2 cents - NO MUSIC! I guess some like it but it really puts me off blogs - too distracting.

Stephanie said...

Other than no music, I'm sure it will be beautiful! : ) I usually read before my girls are up or in the evening so music can startle them and me!

Katy said...

I think your ideas are fantastic Monica. :) I look forward to seeing your new design. :)

Trace said...

i've been following your blog for a couple of years - its one of the few that I follow regularly and has earned a permanent spot on my rss feed page!

Everytime I've tried to leave a comment in the pass, i've always encountered some kind of error message (i'm a seasoned Blogger - so I'm just not sure what's going on! LOL!!) But when I found out we also shared a birthday, I knew I had to keep trying to reach out and tell you how much I appreciate your blog.

I love the homespun simplicity that your blog conveys... and I have no doubt that your new look will keep that same feel to it!

Your sister in Christ,

~katie~ said...

Lovely collage of photos you put together! I love the blog now, I can only imagine how inspiring a "freshening breeze" would be! :-)

Oh, and for some reason, I like both the words "Gather" and "Community", but I like "Gather" the best because it's a verb like the others you listed for the sidebar. :-) (Just the OCD in me I think. Either are great descriptives for that category!)

ren said...

Your ideas are great. I love simple and clean, but my one request would be please no music. It's distracting for me to listen to music and try to read at the same time, so I always have to mute it. Love your blog and your heart for the Lord. There's my 2 cents!

Lisa @ Simply Things Family said...

I love your blog and strictly read for the content. It already has a wonderful home feel. Your changes sound great and I agree with no music.
Thanks for posting everyday and inspiring me in my home!

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica,
Yours was one of the very first blogs in my favorites. And on the days i do visit blogs your is always the first. I love the simplicity, sweet beauty, and knowing you love Jesus and want to GLorify Him. If you must change i know it will be lovely. I am with the no music vote. --I am thankful for you. tammyp

Chele :-) said...

Only in the last year have I found your blog and I too have to agree that it already conveys simplicity and warmth. Putting my vote in for NO MUSIC. On other blogs, if I'm unable to quickly find the music box to pause, I'll leave the blog. I have been richly blessed by a number of your posts. Thank you for sharing part of your world with the rest of us. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family.

L~ said...

I love your blog content! :)
I get you via email b'cuz I've never been able to add you to my blog roll - get an error message.

I get some mixed reviews on the music- Many people enjoy it(they can always mute it if they want, maybe explain how?)I play worship tunes, MOST peeps seem to enjoy it :)
Here's a REALLY handy link that I've used for alot of my stuff!
Amanda explains things SO well! :)

Make sure you create a unique "button" for yourself.
That way people can add it to their blog & increase traffic back to you! :)
Take a peek @ my blog if you want :)

In awe of Him,

Carrie said...

My only thought is that when I click on the title of your blog, it would be nice if it took me back to the "home page." (I only know this from searching your blog for Offering Hospitality stuff and I have to mess with the html code instead of a click.)

I'm sure whatever you end up doing is going to be positively DELIGHTFUL and I'm excited to see where your creativity takes you with it!

Tracy said...

I love your blog and your new ideas:)

I ditto the music, I read right after my little ones are put down for nap time.

I would love the option to follow your blog.


angie said...

I would agree that 'no music' is preferrable. Your blog has a nice clean appearance which I appreciate.
For the categories, I would stick to all one word labels that are verbs.
One suggestion: put the post against the left margin and any side bars on the right, so that when opening a post you can read all of the text without mazimizing.
I like how your text is always above or below any pics but not cut apart beside it.
Thank you for continuing to be ad-free!

Anonymous said...

A blog-freshening is always fun!

I agree with the others about the music, what's worse is when I have several windows open and they all have music and I have to scramble to turn off each player. But I do think music can add a nice atmosphere to a blog so here is a nice compromise I've done on mine....You can have music but just don't have it start automatically. I have text above my music box that says 'Press play to listen to the music'. It gives people the option of listening or not without it being forced upon them.

Can't wait to see what you do. (o:


Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't like music on blogs. It can be distracting. I think you should design it how you like -- something YOU love to look at everyday. A search box is always helpful.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with...I love your blog now, and most surely will later, too! :-)

Eunice B
rsmile2u @dejazzd .com

Bonnie said...

I like Gather better too, it just sounds friendlier.

One thing I will note, and I haven't the slightest idea of how you would go about changing it (if its even possible): I've noticed when I click on a category, it only goes back so far. Usually the last year, (unless its a smaller category), so I end up in the Google box if I'm looking for something specific.

Can't wait to see it once its done, I'd like to climb inside your inspiration collage and stay for awhile! I think when I get time, I'm going to go on an archives visit!

Nancy at said...

I've always liked your blog just as it is, but being a blogger myself I understand the need to update. My only .02 is I don't care for blogs with music. Some blogs with music come on so loud and often times I'm listening to something else while I'm looking at blogs. Your blog is so peaceful, I hope you keep that feeling.

Lisa said...


I am so glad to see that I am not the only downer on the music! As a creature of habit, I love your blog the way it is now. However, I know you will have fun creating a new look. Keep it simple. I also love your ad free space. There are a few blogs I used to follow that are not so blessing now that ads are the main focus. I really appreciate that you are not giving in to the temptation. May God give you guidance on this creative process!


Amy said...

I love when you share your homeschool ideas, so what about having them by themselves under Teach instead of Dwell?

rachel@thecupcakesprinklesinlife said...

I agree with whoever said "no music", that is definitely distracting!

Other than that- you should consider using your LOVELY photos along with some adorable scrappy supplies...

I used the tutorial from

and came away with something that I really like (for now). I am interested in changing to wordpress and a domaing though- so, well I too have my work cut out for me!

Best Wishes- I KNOW that whatever you come up with, it will be Truly Lovely!!!!

connie said...

hi monica,
a agree with katie.....i like the word "gather" better because then they are all verbs.

and i agree with amy about having your homeschool ideas in a separate category like "teach". which, by the way, thanks for the idea on the "fruits of the spirit" lessons. my boys are a little older, so i adapted it somewhat, mainly using the verses to springboard conversation. and we made a little bulletin board with fruit cut out of construction paper with a fruit of the spirit written on each one. love it!

thanks for your blog!!

barbara said...

I vote for no music. I love that you have no ads. I love the simplicity, yet meaningfulness of your posts. Can you ad a search box? Sometimes I want to find something that I know you posted about (recipe, etc.) but don't know how to find it. I like blogs that use their own pictures (like your beautiful collage!) and not stock photos.

My 2 cents!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others who don't like ads. I usually quit reading a blog when they have lots of ads on it. I also don't like a lot of things blinking at me from the sidebar. My only other preference would be to have the posts on the left and the sidebar on the right.

Your inspiration collage is beautiful so I'm sure whatever you decide will be lovely. :o)

Ginger said...

I'm sure whatever you come up with will be beautiful. I like the soft colors you use now. I also don't like the music. When I go to my *other* favorite blog, I always put the mute button on; it's too distracting.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! It is one of the few that I check every day. I trust any changes you make will be great. Thanks for sharing your life with us. God bless!

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do will be wonderful I am sure. I really like your blog as is. I love the colors, the simplicity of it and it always refreshes my soul. It is very serene and full of wonderful reads.

Anonymous said...

I like your blog the way it is:) It's simple and easy. Whenever I come upon a blog with music I either mute it if there's something I'm really interested in reading or simply move on-it distracts me. Jill

Michelle said...

I like your blog as is, so I'm sure that anything you choose will be equally pleasing!

One thing, though: I'd vote for no music. I find it distracting, especially when I'm looking for a particular post and the music changes each time I click on a new page. Of course I can just turn my volume down if you do decide to add it. ;)

Angela said...

I'm in the mood for simplicity, and I like the serene, simple, warm look of your blog. I love the images in your inspiration-especially the blueberries and outdoor images. I like the music idea only if there is a "play" button. Sometimes I am met with loud music on a blog, and I am frantically looking for the mute button. :) I love the idea of making it easier to find things! You really have a streamlined look to your blog, and I hope you can keep the clean look. So many blogs make me dizzy with the chaos and blinking ads. Yours is SO REFRESHING! Thank you! I can't wait to see what you do!

Jill said...

Please keep the archives available by month and year. I enjoy rereading those according to the season, and that makes it easy to find. I love the design of your current blog and can't wait to see the new design. Thanks so much for posting regularly, something I really struggle with.

Lynn B said...

I only pop in once in a while but I adore the way the blog feels, especially the photos in the header! The rustic simplicity is so appealing, and the muted colors are soothing and peaceful. I feel sure that whatever you create will be in the same vein, so it will be exciting to see what you do! Love the ideas for categorizing the tags. I'll check back soon :)

Gae said...

Dear Monica,
I have just found your lovely blog.
I love the look of the collage together.
I also am a visual person so like pictures and stuff.
I would suggest you do what ever you feel like though as it is your space.
I too though agree with the music option.
Looking forward to visiting again.

Pattie - Chicagoland, IL said...

Simple is good. No auto-music and no ads thank you!

Jenny said...

Simplicity fits you! So don't clutter it up to much.

I like the word "Gather", instead of Community.

I know that what ever you do I will still visit you. Because it is the messages that you share not the look of your blog that means something to me!

Heather Hansen said...

I love your ideas...everything you should implement those. I love the country, vintage, romantic everything. The idea board was wonderful :) :) I'm thinking of starting a blog myself and this is one of those I've put in the inspiring category. I especially love having the box for a Bible verse. I've started doing that on my Facebook page..just because I feel the need to really hide God's Word in my heart :) One thing, on the part where people leave comments..I don't have gmail or a blogger I just leave my name and that's it. I'd love to have the option of leaving an email address (that's only visible to you). I feel like it gives me more of a face..and I"m less of a stranger. Does that make sense. I like it when the places I post comments to, know who I am.
I"m excited for what you are doing. It'll be awesome. I'll definitely keep the whole design in prayer :) :)

Melissa said...

Seeing that no one likes music all that much, I was inspired to remove it from my blog. I guess when I am on other blogs I do find it to be somewhat distracting, especially if I don't like the music selection.

I LOVE your header. Hope you can keep those photos. I also like your ideas for labels. Can't wait to see what you come up with!


Actually, I like your blog the way it is. I find it refreshing, light, Christian, and down to earth. I am sure, however, that whatever changes you make will be beautiful.

Krista said...

I love your ideas! You are so creative. Good job!

Here are my answers to your questions:

Categories: great idea!

Layout: tw0-column. I don't like more than two columns.

Readability: light background and dark text. If you have dark background and light text it's harder to read, and if you have two different colors, it's harder for someone who is colorblind to read it.

Music: no. If you do choose to have music, then put your music player near the top so visitors have the option to turn it off easily if they want to.

Good luck! You'll do a great job, as always!

Debra said...

Can't wait to see your new digs! As always you have great ideas.

I do prefer 'gather' to community on the side bar. It just sounds friendly, homey, cozy, etc.

And I vote for no music. :)

Denise said...

I loved your header photos....that's what drew me.
In fact...I got out a blue canning jar and put a candle in it. For a while i had 3 of them on my table.
Please....keep that pic! I love the simplicity

Heather said...

Hello Monica,
Your blog is great just the way it is, really.
I like the craft ideas you share, and the prayer ideas (like the captive box and the prayer closet you did a while back), and the Mitford neighborliness accounts - those were really inspiring. As far as website format changes, I can't think of any that would make it easier to navigate. It is useful to have the archives accessible on the sidebar there.
I was disheartened-- and at the same time had to chuckle when you posted about wanting to improve your blog, because I am a complete newbie at having my very own blog, and I really look up to yours. In my eyes there isn't anything to improve on your blog, its good and elegantly simple.
Sincerely, Heather

Bevy @ Treasured Up and Pondered said...

Yours was the first blog I ever found to read and was so blessed and inspired. I then soon started my own blog.

I know how you feel to have something fresh and updated. I keep playing around with mine. I know what I want and yet have a tough time "finding" that exact thing. I like my blog (for the most part as it is)- but friends have been telling me it's too (?)... so, the quest is on to find that "right" feeling. Making it even more me.

I guess, it sounds like the majority (commentors) votes -no music!

I've been toying with that idea for myself...but, haven't done it yet. I always enjoy soft music playing in my home... why not on the blog if I want my blog to feel homey?
I DO LOVE the idea of turning it off and on as a guest.

I'm sure whatever you come up with will be absolutely wonderful. And - I like your one-word verb titles for your sidebar.

Maybe whoever you have "help" to do this update can give me some tips, too. ;)