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the mouse behind the wainscot

[comes out of hibernation]

the mouse behind the wainscot

So this is my response to the non-competitive layout challenge. Being me, I decided to make things maximally difficult by shoehorning in as many of the challenge terms as I could manage:

Use an S2 Style other than Flexible Squares or Smooth Sailing

This was a no-brainer, since I always use Bloggish. I fully intended to give Minimalism a test-run, but since I was working to a deadline it seemed easier to stick with what I know

Create a liquid width layout.

Well, it depends how you define 'liquid'. The individual elements are fixed-width, but if you're viewing in 1024x768 then the header should move to the top of the sidebar rather than floating to the left.

Define font sizes in percentages or ems instead of pixels and points.

I always do this anyway.

Choose a colour scheme from ColourLovers or Kuler. (Post the colour scheme with your layout.)

Didn't work with the direction I decided to go in, but I'm so going to do this when I make my grid-based pop-themed seasonal layout in Minimalism ;)

Use a background image in an area other than the overall page background.

Oh man. Did I ever.

Manipulate the header so that it appears not as a header but as a sidebar.

Done, for no particular reason other than to tick this off the list

Have elements of your layout break outside the box.

Well, if you have more than about a dozen tags they will spill out of the nice little sidebar tag (see what I did there?) designated for them. But not in any good way.

Use the grid-based approach.

Nope. Next time.

Pick your favourite album of all time and create a visual equivalent for one of the songs on that album.

To do this I would first have to decide on my favourite album of all time, which again was incompatible with deadlines

Choose a decade, century, or historical era and integrate its visual cues.

It's certainly historical. Where exactly in the past it is situated, I'm not quite sure. Victorian medieval?

Represent one of the four seasons through colour and texture.

It's a little bit autumnal, now I look at it, with the warm colours and the fallen petals, but that's accidental

Use a favourite article of clothing as the basis for your layout. (Post a pic of the clothing, too!)

Does Mariana's blue dress count? No? Even though there's a swatch of it in the userpic module? Oh well

Pick a historical figure / fictional character (pre-1900) and create a layout that would have graced their LiveJournal had LJ existed.

Yeah, this was the main one. Shakespeare's Mariana via Tennyson and Millais. Mariana would totally have had an LJ and filled it with emo whining about her ex.

Use a quotation in a creative way by playing with the meaning of the words and how they relate to typography.

I am not sure whether slapping a random line of poetry on the top of the scroll constitutes creativity. I suspect not.

Advance warning: I don't love this. It's very graphics-heavy, so unless you have a lightning-fast connection you may want to pass. More of a Zen Garden-style exercise than a usable template, really, but you can have it if you want it. Demo is on my test journal, for now. I've tested it with horizontal ads in Plus and it doesn't break, just looks icky.

To install: select Bloggish Unstyled, choose 2-column layout with right sidebar, then copy/paste the code into the custom CSS box, setting the 'Base Weblog' stylesheet option at the top to 'Yes'.

I'm offline until the 11th, so comments/queries/brickbats will be dealt with then.



I love all these wallpaper-style monochrome floral patterns around at the moment. Like the mugs they use in the UK Big Brother house, and the Girls Aloud video after which this template is named (because 'Big Brother House Mug' doesn't have quite the same ring to it). Recolours are in the works; I'm thinking white-on-black and black-on-pink, any other suggestions?

Still waiting for submissions to be reopened on the style contest site, so you lucky livejournallers get to see it before everyone else.

How to use styles with Bloggish, part two

This tutorial covers how to use any Style Contest style on your journal by hosting it on your own webspace.

Webspace optionsCollapse )

FTP optionsCollapse )

Prepping the style for upload and activating itCollapse )

The Literary Life

the literary life

My personal favourite of my style contest efforts, based on a photo of my prettiest second-hand books.

Friends-only banner:

the literary life banner

And a couple of icons:


Tropical Dream

tropical dream

This has been tweaked a little from the Style Contest version to improve handling of icons, comments, and the sidebar. Note that if your links are split up into separate sections you'll get multiple 'links' headings, so you'll need to merge them into one section or paste the following into the custom CSS box:

.module-typelist {background:none;}

This is one reason why I am avoiding graphic sidebar headers in future ;)

Friends-only banner:

friends only

And a couple of thirty-second icons:

icon 1 icon 2

The font used in the headers and banner is Creampuff, downloadable here.

How to use styles with Bloggish, part one

The recent Style Contest was aimed at producing a library of styles for the new standard Six Apart template. The Livejournal version of this template is an S2 theme called Bloggish, and in theory anyone using Bloggish will be able to apply any one of the 150-ish styles available to their journal.

To make things a little easier, I'm going to walk you through applying one of the styles here, how to host a style on your own webspace, and finally how to host a style entirely on Livejournal.

First off, you need to head to the customise page and set your theme to Bloggish:

set your theme

We're setting the theme to '(None)' just in case the styling in the other themes interferes with ours.

Next, we need to set the number of columns. Click on the 'Custom Options' tab:

set your columns

Many styles support all four configurations (one column, two columns with left sidebar, two columns with right sidebar, and three columns) but not all of them do, so check beforehand that the style works with the layout you want.

Note that even though we're using a custom style here, I've set 'Base Weblog' styles to 'Yes'. This is because I'd rather use Six Apart's bandwidth than my own. All Style Contest themes had to link to the Base Weblog stylesheet, so you are safe leaving this on. Save your changes.

From here, select 'Custom CSS' to get to where the magic happens:

set your style

Where the URL is in the screenshot, copy and paste the URL given here in the style post. Save your changes, and go and check out your journal's new look!