After shopping around and testing a couple of free blog designs from "The Cutest Blog on the Block" (go, check them out here), I decided to jump in at the deep end of the pool and try my hand at whipping up my own header, for starters.
My google fu was strong that night and after a quick search I turned up a number of really neat tutorials like
"How to design and upload a Blog Header" from Jo Lynne at Musings of a Housewife
"How to make a Blog Header in Blogger" from Marianne at Songbird is Nesting
From there I hopped to Cozy Little House, specifically for the tutorial on "Creating a Collage Banner" using Picnik's photo-editing program (I have since then downloaded photoscape but still need to find time to play with it).
After playing around with the various artsy photo effects I decided I really liked how the watercolor filter distorted and changed the photos I'd tentatively picked for my collage without losing too much detail and - most important - without losing the character of each picture. For anybody from the 'hood, they are as recognizable as without the filter.
First up is a close-up of one of our neighborhood entry markers: a Klutho inspired spire with a stylized blue double-banner spelling "Springfield" and "est. 1869". This one's at the corner of Main Street and First Street.
Main Street, or rather a vintage postcard view of Main Street from the era before the Great Fire, takes center stage. If you've ever driven down today's Main Street, you will understand the wistful sighs and the longing in every Springfielder's voice when musing about bringing Main St back to its former glory. Yes, there are tracks in the center ... tracks where the street wagon used to run. I'm especially partial to the Floridian Grandeur of a palm tree lined avenue. The city did actually plant some on the median further up Main Street, outside of the historic district.
And last, but certainly not least, on the left you find a vista of our Ugly Duckling (and it's looking very Bungalow-y in this particular shot).
Picnik was very user-friendly in regard to adjusting the collage and generally toying with effects, placement and even text. After testing a few frames I added the "grunge" style borders to my altered pictures; I'm by no means frilly, really, but they needed something and those borders strike a nice balance between masculine brush strokes and girly curly cues, don't you think?
Thanks to the detailed instructions in the tutorials I mentioned above, installing my new creation was a breeze, and I hereby proudly present LOH's new look to kick off 2012!
Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Do you dig the new look? Yay? Nay?
I definitely enjoyed playing with Picnik and its options and might be willing to spend some more time with some design ideas, later. You know, for seasonal twists on the theme, perhaps, or when outdoor projects create a new look for our Darling Duckling.