Ami Amore's New Look

Some of you probably noticed that I've been MIA for awhile. I've been devoting many free hours creating this new blog design! The hours weren't wasted because it didn't turn out half bad! Actually, it's way better than what I was envisioning :D Here's how it all started:

I'm sure changes will come but that is one of the big reasons I wanted a new template and to build it myself. I can't and won't take all the credit though, Carrie from carrieloves.com, helped me with the Pages Ribbon and gave me a few tips and tricks that proved to be extremely helpful. I couldn't have done it without her help! Thank you so much Carrie! 

When I first started up my blog, I used a cute free template I found online and it worked great as a start-up platform for Ami Amore. Over time I did discover quite a few code errors that proved to be frustrating and the design was very limited in what could be changed. Example: the post's comment links on the Home page didn't even show up. Readers had to click each title to be able to leave a comment. Also, I was unable to change any of the fonts or their properties to customize the template to suit my whims of fancy. 

Here's how it used to look. Cute, right? Thank you, Mr. Biyan Pasau for the good design! May your skills continue to grow, I appreciated your hard work!

And here's the new: I guess I have a thing for gray. . . 
This is a two column layout that's been expanded about 300px wider than the standard Blogger template. Doing so created much needed space in the post body area and allowed for a wider sidebar. So far, I love the space and haven't run into any problems viewing my blog on a phone or tablet which are much smaller than the large computer screen I used for designing at home.

Tidbits about the design:
Blogger's "Simple" template is the base the new design is built on. 

I designed the header, the Pages ribbon, along with the sidebar ribbons to match, all on PicMonkey! It was a little tricky at first but once I got the hang of what shapes and sizes different areas required, it went smoothly. 

Chevrons are popular everywhere it seems and blog backgrounds are no exception. I originally wasn't going to use chevrons but when I tried one on for size, it looked perfect! I found this one at tinysea.net. I did lighten it a bit, I wanted a background that would be easy on the reader's eyes. 

The social media icons were designed by Carrie, the lady who helped me. She posted free icons in 30 different colors! If you don't have any on your site, you should garb a set of hers! They look and work great!

The other widgets I either found online or signed up for and added them to my layout. The "Followers" widget has been discontinued by Google to make way for Google+. I don't use G+ and my "Followers" gadget was great so I found a work around. All widgets are listed in the template's HTML code, so after digging through the old template, I copied the Followers gadget's code and pasted it into the new template. Worked like a charm! 

If you'd like to build your own template or add new widgets and such, start by doing lots of research. Google your questions, you're not the first person to ask them! There are many, many great resources and tutorials for blog design. When it comes to code, practice is the best advice I can give. Practice and a browser add-on called Web Developer to help you learn to identify the coding on your site as well as other sites. 

After this experience, I've really come to admire web designers! It's hard work programming a button to work the way you need it to. It's like a complicated puzzle that's all one color. But when it's finished and works, you feel like jumping up and down! I know I did, several times! :D

I hope you enjoy the new look! Let me know if you run into any bugs! 


Ami Amore is on BlogLovin!

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Product Love: Mini Memo Pads

A Review of KawaiiShopJapan

I don't remember when or how I caught the kawaii bug, but I am in love with cute-kawaii characters! Some of my favorites are Sabo Kappa, Toromi, Molang, Crux's bears and bunnies, etc... I dream of owning a cute character stationery set that includes: a diary/scheduler to organize my time and activities in, sticky note/tabs, regular and mini memo sheets for extra notes or pages. Oh, and stickers: I'd like to use lots of stickers and washi tape for pretty pops of color! 

In my online searches for my dream stationery set, I came across an intriguing little store: KawaiiShopJapan.com. Miki, the shop owner in Japan, was a kind and informative seller; after I placed my order, she kept me up to date on it's progress. Miki even went so far as taking a photo of my package when she mailed it! Oh, and the best part: shipping only cost me $3.50 and took 4 days! That's going from Japan to MI, USA in FOUR days! Incredible!!

Here's what I bought:  San-x Kutusita Nyanko mini memo pad - $1.70
I love the color blue and strawberries so picking this one was a no-brainer for me :D
Crux Clover's Town mini memo pad - $1.85
My favorite because of the sweet little bears! I want to design an amigurumi after them!
Crux Sweet My Home mini memo pad - $1.85

The Crux pads were 3.5 x 2.5 inches, while the San-x pad was .25 inches smaller, :( bummer, but oh well. Their quality easily makes up for such a minor detail. I love each pad! I want to use them but can't bring myself to writing on one! They are so adorable!

 Miki packaged all three in bubble wrap and they arrived in perfect condition! 
KawaiiShopJapan offers great prices and super fast shipping, but being a small shop, it does lack variety.  I just wish there were large memo pads and loose sheets to choose from so I can buy more from one shop. Overall, I'm very happy with my purchase, definitely will be ordering again in the future!

Check out her store, I'm sure there's at least one item you'll fall in love with!

Do you collect any kawaii character stationery/items? If so, where did you find yours? Do you have a favorite shop or site you'd like to recommend? 


Craft Swap with MillieOnHerWorld

It's time for another craft swap! For this one I joined with my Blogger and Etsy friend, Millie of millieonherworld

Millie is a super sweet girl who I was blessed to meet via Etsy. We chatted back and forth about our shops, blogging, amigurumi, general life and girly stuff and one day she asked if I'd be willing to do a swap with her. Of course I said yes! She's super talented and it's been wonderful getting to know her. It's so nice to share with someone who has similar interests and a passion for amigurumi! Do you have a friend like that?  

Millie lives only two states over so her package arrived very quickly! I work in our company mailroom so I received the box in the morning. I was so excited when it arrived that I squeaked with excitement (not too loudly tho!) and opened it right away! 

Here's the lovely package she sent me! It was full to the top with many lovely wrapped packages! 
I think she hand wrapped everything she could! It was so sweet!
I loved all the colors she chose and I noticed all the blue too! Blue's my favorite color :] 
Isn't that the most adorable envelope ever?!? She wrote me a long note too! 
We both made each other our favorite San-x character. I love Sabo Kappa so naturally I chose her. Millie did a great job! She's perfect!
She can stand in her pot and she's on my desk right now, she keeps me company when I'm designing a project or writing notes :] 
As a bonus, Millie also made the moss balls as a cute keychain! 
Each of us requested a certain favorite item the other makes. She requested a purple narwhal and I, a blue pony! Isn't she so cute?! I named her Ciela~ 
 Along with the wonderful ami's, she sent me a bunch of lovely goodies!! 
Thank you so much, Millie! 
Everything she sent was beautifully made and carefully chosen and I couldn't be happier with this swap! Millie is going to be famous for her ponies and dolls soon! I'm looking forward to joining her in more amigurumi fun in the future!

Please visit her blog and say hello! Oh, and while you're at it, see her shop too :D  If you're curious as the what I made her, check out her blog post about our swap! 

Have a great week everyone!