Sunday, August 16, 2020

Blogger and Purple

As promised a while back, here is the post on how to do some things in the new Blogger format. Let me know in the comments if you have questions, and/or if you have figured out something I may not have mentioned. Here is a little purple and quilty goodness to start you off in a good frame of mind, before we get to some of the annoying stuff.


These are my ten purple blocks for one of two RSC 2020 projects. I mostly do not pay attention to where they land as I take them out of my 2.5" tray in their stack. Purple is a colour I sure noticed went down after using up 57 squares! The first one in the bottom row on the left uses three patches 2.5" x less than 2.5", which is on purpose, so the rows will not line up above each other in the quilt. That meant I looked in my purple scrap basket to find three scraps to fit the bill. I'm working on making 12 black and white 9-patches for the other purple project. I mainly do these as leaders/enders, but once in awhile, it feels good, as it did here, to just pull out my 2.5" squares and sew some together without pressure or deadlines or must-do. I'd just mailed off a quilt for an upcoming ezine, so that's exactly what I did here.

I see it is still double-spacing when you hit return. This is annoying in that you may want to make a list, or write a conversation you may have had like this:

Me: I just finished teaching my first in-person Yin class after five months.

MacGyver: How did it go?

Me: Fine. A little weird, a little nerve-wracking. All the new protocol had to be followed, members advised of new guidelines, make sure I'm taking care of me, as in all the disinfecting, not touching the front of my mask, but then having to take it off during most of the teaching in order to project my voice and take in the breaths I needed to do that, worrying about having taken it off, blah, blah, blah...

MacGyver: I'm not sure how I feel about you doing this...

I don't want that convo double-spaced, but even looking at HTML code and changing what I thought was the code for double-space didn't work. Ugh! I have written to them. Be sure to do that by clicking the '?' icon in the top right on your main posts page or within the actual draft. See below!

August 22: Update!! They listened!! Do you see in the screenshot above, in the menu bar, you have A in a box which is the font style, then TT which is the font size, and then.... see 'Normal' next to the TT? Well, that is what you want your post setting to be. If it says Paragraph, then you will get double-spacing. Now when I wrote this post, I had Normal, as is evident, yet it was still annoyingly double-spacing when I hit return. No more. So yup it is worth writing in to them to tell them of the things they need to fix. LIKE PHOTOS. And autocorrect. Thank you Laura (Slice of Pi) for telling me how she figured it out, but as you see, it wasn't working when I wrote the post and took the screenshots.

Okay here is what I have figured out.

1. Line break. This is so that you can truncate your posts. When someone comes to my main page,  mmmquilts.com, they don't see an entire post, but just a portion of several. Also if you get my posts by email, you don't get the entire post in your email; you need to click on the title of the post, or if it has a 'Read more...' button, you click that. Well, since I started this post, back in the second half of June, and saved some screenshots in a folder, they've changed some things again! I had to re-do a few screenshots, this being one, because they've changed the 'Three Dots' menu at the top right of your post, just beside the happy face emoji.

Click the three dots and a menu pops up and will stay up until you click the three dots again. To get the line break, click the dash to the right of the quotation marks. Easy. This is where you can align your texts or photos. The first icon on the left you can see I have my text left-aligned, which is the default. Thankfully, it does insert photos in the centred alignment. The next two are your indent (like a tab), followed by bulleted or numbered lists. quoting text, and then that line break. The paragraph indents allow for left to right or right to left layouts. The globe will change the language you are using to compose your post, and the final strike-through T will clear any formatting you may have just inserted.

2. New post is back to how it used to be, top left on your Posts page, as opposed to how they had it for a while, a large orange plus (+) at the bottom right, which is what Gmail uses, whether you're composing on your phone or on a laptop.

3. If you want the HTML code format for your post, which is what you need if you are inserting the Linky party code, or a code for someone's QAL button, for example, click the pencil icon on the menu bar just under the Title of your post. If a draft post happens to open in HTML code, click that pencil to get it to Compose mode. I learned that when that very thing happened to me!

4. The next several buttons in the menu bar are straight forward. The chainlink icon is where you insert a URL link. Perhaps you want to link to the host of the QAL in which you're participating, or one of your own posts for reference for your readers. Click it, and you get two choices.

I've only had the need to use the first choice, Create/Edit URL. Make sure you've highlighted the text you want hyperlinked first. Then simply click in the 'URL to link to' box and cut and paste the URL. If you wanted to link to my blog, you'd copy the mmmquilts.com that is in the URL box at the top of my main page. Paste it into the box as shown below and presto! It puts in the https etc required.

TIP, for courtesy: Be SURE to click the box 'Open this link in a new window' box as it doesn't automatically do that. It's very annoying as a reader, to click a link a blogger provides, only to maybe click another in that new post, and then lose the original blog post you were reading!

5. Drafts. What if you have started a post, and want to either finish it, or add more to it? It took me a bit to figure out where in the heck they had put the Drafts folder... Click the arrow beside 'All' and a drop-down menu like you see below pops up. Good grief, I had no idea I had 18 drafts! 

Click Draft and you get a list. You can open whichever one you want to work on.

6. Autocorrect has still not been fixed. It will underline in red something that is misspelled but it will not correct it which is most annoying.

7. If you want to save or preview, click the dropdown arrow beside the eyeball/Preview on the top right of your screen. You will see the orange Publish there too. It gives you a warning now, which is good, as sometimes you inadvertently hit Publish when you meant Preview, and egad it's out in the world and you didn't mean it to be! Noooo. Not to worry, you could always unpublish before, and chances were no one had read it anyhow. Now with the built-in 'Are you sure you want to...' pop-up, it's idiot-proof... Right?!

8. Insert photos or videos. Grrrr. Videos? Easy. It's the 'take two!' icon between the photo icon and emoji icon. Same as before, upload from computer or get the URL from YouTube.

Photos? A royal PITA. If you use Google photos, I think that's a good addition/choice to have. If you upload from computer, at first it appears all is how it used to be. 

It is not.

If you do as I do: edit the photos from your phone, watermark them using Markup right on your phone, upload them to your laptop and save them in your Pictures folder in appropriately labelled sub-folders, nice and organized, and then select them in a group of half a dozen or more, all is as it used to be, and you will see your half dozen photos uploaded into the photo pop-up menu.

Looks the same as it used to. All but the last one had a blue box around--sidenote: that has always perplexed me. Why isn't the final photo also encircled with the blue box? It is there, just invisible, because it will insert it unless you click it, blue box appears(!),  then click it a second time to remove invisible blue box. I don't get this. Anyhow I just deselected the others, as if I only wanted to add in the green photo at this point in my post. Let's say my plan is to add in the orange when I discuss orange, the pink at the pink point, etc. Before, I was able do this, add in all the photos I knew I'd be using, and pop them into the post as I went.

No more. 

Let's say I added in the green photo. Now I'm discussing orange and so I open the Upload Photo menu, where I expect to see all my photos in that box, which is how it used to be. 

Nope.

All gone. This, along with the way they do Labels, is asinine. So now, you either upload your photos one at a time, which is what I do, or you upload your half dozen, and insert them all at once into your post, and then move them around (which is a huge PITA because dragging them around is not smooth at all) or write your text around and between the photos, hoping they're in the order you want them within the post. I usually say bad words around that point. So another thing to write in to that Feedback menu is to allow the photos one has uploaded within that Upload box to REMAIN IN THE BOX so you can select and add when/where you want.

9. Edit photos. Here is another area where they've made some changes since I did screenshots in late June for this post. I'll work with my purple RSC photo for this. Just click on the photo to get a pop-up menu for editing purposes.


If you want your photo to be right, centre, or left aligned, the first three icons will do that. The - and + icons will enlarge or decrease the size of your photo. The two lines atop each other icon is adding a caption to the photo. Once you are in the caption box, you can change your font if you like (I like italics when I use captions) as you would for the body of the post, by using the main menu located under Title. Clicking the pencil allows you to see at what size your photo has been inserted. Mine seems to be doing x-large automatically now, so if you want your photo smaller, then here is one way how you do it. The other would be to simply click the - or +. Note that x-large photos are recommended. 😁 Note also that typing in something under Alt Text or Title Text, does not add the caption. I tried adding Title Text, and nothing happened, so I am not sure what that does!

10. Last, and the most annoying change other than the upload photo one, is Labels. Before I get to this though, if you like to write your posts ahead of time and schedule them to publish at 4 am EST so that your friends in the UK can read them at 9 am as they enjoy their morning coffee, or your friends in Australia and NZ can read them at 6 am with or just after their supper, give or take an hour or two for both countries, as they cover three time zones, then, click the 'Published on' dropdown arrow. Automatic means it will publish when you click the 'Publish' button. By clicking Set date and time, you get a pop-up calendar so you can choose the date, and by clicking on the time (see arrow) another pop-up will let you choose the time, or you can type it in.


Labels is the first menu under Post settings. You can see five of my labels showing.

Where are all the others? Simply scroll down the list of five to see all of your labels. Labelling is an excellent tool to help readers find you, especially new readers. Think how many times you've entered 'star quilts' or 'binding tutorial' in the Google search bar. Using labels will help your posts get noticed when other quilters do this exact thing. You may have written a great binding tutorial, and it may just get one of the hits that brings a new reader into your blog. I have got several who have told me they found me this way, and those are just the ones who have taken the time to tell me; think how many have found me, but didn't write to say so. Up until writing this very post, the way they allowed a blogger to add labels was insane: I had to think of a label, for example, Benartex, and scroll through the lengthy list to find it! Check it. Then think of what other label might work, hmm, throw quilt? free-motion quilting? Or wait was it Free-motion quilting (capital F) because they have them in alphabetical order, but lower case and upper case are separate lists. 

Then I thought, well what if I just type, as I used to, Ben... to start Benartex and anything Ben-related would pop up? Nope. It would create a new label called Ben though! (insert bad string of words again).  For a little while it seemed that this feature came back, but when I'd click Benartex, yay, and then type in the beginning of another label, free... for example, and find free-motion quilting, I'd check that, and Benartex would get unchecked! Frustrating to say the least. hallelujah 

Well! Cue the choir: HAHHH-llelujah!!! Just now when I set up the screenshot, I discovered that the 'Ben' trick is there, but it now KEEPS the box checkmarked, yay, so Labels is A-okay in my books now.

For this screenshot example, I typed in 'Dre' and up popped DrEAMi! so I checked the box. Deleted 'Dre'. Miracle of miracles, it kept DrEAMi! checked! I typed in 'Bena' and you can see I have a choice of creating a new Bena label, or clicking Benartex, and now both Benartex and DrEAMi! will stay checked. No need to worry about the neighbours hearing me say bad words when I'm typing a post on the deck, ha! I am so glad they have fixed this issue. Although they do not respond when you send feedback, they do read it, and when enough bloggers are complaining, clearly they are listening and making changes.

One last little tip, which took me quite a while to learn that Blogger has it, just as WordPress does, is Permalink. What if you are participating in a blog hop, and the host wants to put out the list of participants, and needs the direct link to your blog post, but you haven't published the post yet because the hop is like over a month away? Some of you may not know what the importance of a direct link is. If I give my host this URL: www.mmmquilts.com when readers click that link a month from now they will go to my main page which looks like this (I had to zoom way out on the laptop so you can see the titles of several recent posts):

My blog is truncated, which means the opening of several recent posts show up on my main page. Let's say that today, August 16, a reader wants to visit the Island Batik and AccuQuilt projects challenges which were posted throughout July. She goes to either Island Batik or AccuQuilt's blog, finds the list of bloggers and clicks mmmquilts. If I, as mmmquilts, had given the host my general URL of www.mmmquilts.com, the screenshot above is what the reader would get. Now, luckily, my post isn't buried too deeply as I've only written two posts within the past two weeks. But it could've been 10+ posts deep. Frustrating for that person trying to scroll back to find an AccuQuilt post, right?

Well if you give your host the exact URL, even if you haven't finished or barely started the hop post, then when that person from the future clicks mmmquilts off the host's page, they would be taken directly to my AccuQuilt post like this:


You can see that the post is all there, well, as much as I could zoom out to capture for the screenshot! I think you get the idea. Note the direct URL. It is much more than just mmmquilts.com

Now, how do you send your hop host the direct link if you haven't written a post, because you haven't even finished your hop project yet? Well, simply start the new post, and it will automatically be saved as a draft while you type. Know that you only need a title for it to save as a draft. 

On the sidebar, you will find Permalink. Close the Labels menu if you don't see it, or scroll down. The text to which my purple arrow is pointing is the direct URL. Highlight it, copy it, and send it to your host by pasting it into an email. VoilĂ !  

One more small tip: (please do not use or write 'wa-la' for this French expression which means basically, 'There!' in the sense of ta-da! It is a 'v'; the 'oi' is pronounced 'wa' so technically if you wanted to phonetically spell it, it's vwa-la. Pet peeve #492 lol) 

Okay! I hope this helps some of you. Gosh it helped ME with discovering the change regarding Labels. Yahoo!

I'll be linking up with Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing for

Two little updates:

1. I finished off my second test block last night for my August Island Batik challenge. I am using Deb Tucker's Corner Pop II ruler. Because they're purple, they match this post, ha! I plan to use the line, William's Garden, which was accompanied by this purple yardage. I just need to say again how much I do love Island Batik fabrics, truly and honestly. Their white solid is divine, as are all their solids, so soft and can be used either side.

Fun! I can see the popped off corners could be paper-pieced, but this tool saves you that and is pretty darn slick!

2. I mailed off Gracie's quilt this morning, headed to New Brunswick. You can read the post here. Here is what I wrote on the label. It has taken me some time to think of a name for the quilt. In the end, it was pretty simple.

You can purchase a copy of the pattern in my Etsy shop



21 comments:

  1. Great tips for the new blogger. Thanks! I think (but am not sure) that titling your photos makes them easier to find in a search engine. So if you title your photo “improv log cabin block” someone searching for that could find it easier. Any advice for the stretched vertical pictures on the mobile view?

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    1. On the laptop the vertical photos look fine; not so on my phone! How weird and no I have no clue how to fix it. Maybe someone else will...

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  2. WOW! I love the purple blocks and do know that sometimes you deplete your scraps in a color. I think I have done that with teal. That is one heck of an update on Blogger...and a great tutorial for the 22nd! Thanks, as always, for the mention.

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  3. Thank you !! I discover by myself a lot of things but you helped me for one or two and it's GREAT :-) I can easely imagine how long it was to write this post! Thanks again!

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  4. Thanks for the tips! I should finish up a post and with your tips I may just be able to do that.

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  5. Thanks for the very complete guide to new Blogger. Now, if we could just get rid of the redirect notices from links in the reading list.
    I really feel that this was change for change sake and not an improvement on the product. I am glad that they brought back the "new post" button, since earlier versions just had a "+" at the bottom of the posts page.

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  6. P.S. Did you mean at add all your labels to this post?

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    1. Hi Kate, That is the Labels widget and I always have it at the bottom of my blog in case people see a topic they want to click on and read what I wrote about it! :-) That is different from adding labels to a post that you are composing. Make sense?

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  7. Great post Sandra. Most of what bugs me about the change is the extra clicking steps I have to go through to get to the right tool. Annoying. Have you checked out the customizing your template yet? They took away a lot of customization, especially color choices. Now it's pick a color within their dot chart. But I guess that's what we get for the platform being free.

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  8. It's all Greek to me. Makes me glad I never started blogging, for sure. And I totally agree with Pet Peeve #492. Drives me crazy (well so do a lot of other things). I don't think I'll ever run out of purple blocks.
    Pat

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  9. Thanks for the tips. I tried new Blogger for a new post, and I quickly switched back because I didn't have time to figure all this out. Why do they keep changing stuff????

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  10. Thanks for all the tips! I waited a while before switching (basically until it forced me) so some of the frustrations people had we fixed before I started. I am with you on the photos disappearing, though!!!!

    Love your label for Gracie. Heartfelt and direct.

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  11. Thanks for sharing all the blogger tips, Sandra. That double space thing. And I can't imagine what "Create/Edit Anchor" even means. I guess I don't need it. I had an incident where I published two blog posts two days apart, but they show up as being published on the same day on my blog. And I did not use a schedule date. Hmmm. Trying to just make it work! Thanks again!

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  12. I'm so far behind on blogging that I haven't even tried the new interface yet. I'll be checking back here for ways to keep from cursing :)

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  13. Thanks so much for taking the time to share these Blogger tips. I'd discovered some of these by trial and error, but others were new to me. This was very helpful! Had to laugh (and THANK YOU) for mentioning pet peeve #492! I cringe when I see it misspelled, which is all too often.

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  14. Thank you for the tips and tricks review. Some of them I knew, but some not. Things are still changing, so I guess we'll have to keep trying things for a bit.

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  15. Thanks for the great NEW Blogger tips, Sandra! Particularly glad to hear the one about spacing. I'm doing fairly well with most functions, but I have one big complaint. When I choose a color for a link to show in the post, the color doesn't remain once the post is published. Please let me know if you figure out a fix for that!!

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  16. omg... I have to come back in baby steps to take in all this wonderful help! Thank you so much, now take care of yourself
    LeeAnna

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  17. Thanks Sandra for a great handbook for Blogger.
    I read somewhere that the new version had been introduced to be usable on mobile devices. I would love someone to tell me how! When I try to open the Blogger app on my phone I just get, "this app needs to be updated"! I used to post from my i-pad while on holiday, but now we have to take a laptop with us! Maybe you've discovered a solution to this problem on your travels in Bloggerland.

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  18. Thank you so much for linking up to Tips & Tutorials on the 22nd!

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  19. omg, I hate the photo insert from computer - back and forth. They've fixed a bunch of things this week. preview doesn't pop up endless new tabs. Linking is simplified. Oddly enough, the paragraph feature was put in from user request... so SOME people are happy, but not those of us not used to the extra spacing. Good to know about the "Normal". I'm now hopeful they'll fix some of the other annoying things - especially the photo stuff!

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I wholeheartedly appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment, as they make my day! I answer every one by personal email. :-) Unless... you are a "no-reply" blogger, which can occur for a few reasons. You can get around that by writing out your email within your comment, OR here is an awesome place you may fix this:
http://www.sewathomemummy.com/2013/01/are-you-no-reply-blogger.html