Re-Designing Websites

china head doll headsI’ve felt rather empty-headed ever since I decided to re-design my FIVE websites.

Designing my first website came easily nearly 11 years ago after watching a Macromedia Dreamweaver video by a whiz kid from Great Britain. However, today that website design is archaic. Technology and coding have changed drastically. XHTML has come and gone – tossed that book. And it’s time for me to change.

antique shoulder head doll with a bisque head
Antique AIM Shoulder Head

Therefore, it’s not surprising that when I made my New Year’s Resolutions 2015, I resolved to (1) re-design my websites and (2) simplify my life. Funny I didn’t see the dichotomy of those two goals at the time.

Well, it’s week one of March, and I’ve made some progress on my website. I have narrowed my page content to include entries on  Art & Journal, Antique Dolls, the Ozark Mountains (where I live), and UFDC Doll Club Memorabilia & Artist Dolls. Also, I’ve chosen a color palette for the design based on a photo my husband took of a  favorite antique doll.

color palette for swim yellow duck website
Six main colors in doll image

Using Adobe Color CC, I picked six top-level colors for my palette from a photo of an antique doll.  I was pleasantly surprised by the colors that emerged from the photo with the color picker. They were exactly what I wanted because I was aiming for a color palette unlike what I normally choose and one that leaned towards the Bohemian side, quite unlike me.

My goal to update my websites soon detoured into oblivion. I discovered that I first needed to go to the Cloud to buy an updated version of Dreamweaver, which was a celestial experience.  After installing Dreamweaver Creative Cloud, I realized the need to quickly expand my knowledge of Dreamweaver, HTML, CSS and possibly, Java.

I watched Adobe’s Dreamweaver tutorials and worked through two page designs by two different authors, but it was as clear as mud. I wasn’t sure what to do next when I decided the magic formula for success lay in buying a how-to book on Web design. After paging through several books at Barnes & Noble, I purchased Learn to Code HTML & CSS by Shay Howe. It was clear, concise, and contained the latest web language. I worked through the book tutorials — maybe two, maybe three times — but I needed more enlightenment to enable me to whip together a website re-design.

Then, in the middle of a sleepless night, I had the genius idea to re-start my membership. At one time, I enjoyed a free, trial membership that came with my Wacom Intuos, but that had expired years ago.

Lynda’s library of video tutorials is vast and diverse. [You can see mini Lynda tutorials on YouTube and follow Lynda to receive updates on new releases.] I am enjoying my  Lynda  membership. The tutorials have worked their magic, but I am still within a week or two of completing the re-make of my website.

What makes this epic tale of Web design so laughable is this is the year I was going to  simplify life. I divided my year into a Year of Months 2015 with each month devoted singularly to one aspect of my life that I want to enjoy completely or seek accomplishment in: computer, art, bookkeeping, Bible study, physical fitness, photo albums, household, finances, digital art, and Christmas.

Each of these activities are ongoing and intertwined with the many personal aspects of life already, but I find that I often don’t completely enjoy whatever I am doing because I am guilty that I am not doing something else that is deemed more worthy at the time.

I’m now guilt free. I am no longer embarrassed that my garage is a mess because this is not the month to clean my garage. According to my schedule, this is the month dedicated to computer and re-designing websites, so I can work on the computer until my eyes glaze over with no regrets. That idea is daisy-chained throughout what I am doing and what I am not doing to give me peaceful thoughts and with the expectation that at the end of year 2015, I will have not only organized some over-due projects but will have realized greater accomplishment and instilled better self-disciplines.

I race through each day to complete the current theme of the month; although, January’s computer month has stretched to the Jan-Feb-Mar computer months. In the end, however, I will have updated my five websites in today’s code and will be able to put my Web design goal in my pocket while I take on a new venture.

swim yellow duck buttonWhen I complete the re-design of Swim Yellow Duck, a section of the Art & Journal page will be devoted to the process of creating and building a website: how to choose fonts and a color palette,  HTML and CSS tools, a list of resources and tutorials; links to my favorite teachers and their websites; and an introduction to my go-to programs and apps.

My website fixation began 12 years ago, the first time I typed “The fox jumped over the box!” into an HTML text file and opened it on the Internet as a Web page. I added basic hypertext markup from an article I was reading. First, I colored “fox” green and next I super-sized the text with an <h1> tag.  When I saved my file in the HTML format and double clicked it, the text popped open on the Web with fox as green as can be. I’ve been hooked on writing for the Web ever since.

You are invited to join me on my web design journey to author a Web page. Beginning *April 1, I will post a brief paragraph and an image and continue to add to that initial posting until we have a completed page, ready to publish on the Web. If you have an idea or subject for the page, send me an E-mail.

Antique china head doll art with swirls of imagination.
Antique china head doll art with swirls of imagination.

In the meantime, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and free Image of the Month. The image will be mailed in .jpg and .png formats. The .jpg image file format is universal and the .png image format includes transparency. The original vector image was created in Inkpad by Taptrix, Inc. on my iPad, my favorite piece of technology.

Civil War doll head
Civil War, glazed-porcelain doll head

Pictured is the original doll from  Swim Yellow Duck that inspired the Image of the Month. This glazed, porcelain doll head  is nearly eight inches tall. The holes in the front and back are to lace the head to a firmly-packed, fabric body. Because of the doll’s hair style,  it is termed a Flat Top or Civil War China Head and dates from the mid-19th century. Reference: Patricia Smith’s Doll Values Antique to Modern, 11th Edition; pg. 49. Sold on eBay in 2010.

Illustrator Bunny Girl tutorial art
I followed a tutorial by Helen Huang, titled “Bunny Girl” to create this copy-cat image.

Spring is about to spring … get ready!
Speaking of spring, I recently worked a tutorial titled Bunny Girl by the amazing Helen Huang, featured in  Adobe Master Class Illustrator. Her tutorial in the book stretched my ability and gave me a fun image as a reminder. It’s good to know that there are many experts, whether in a book or on the Internet, who are ready to help us achieve our life’s goals.

*Note: Like the Firefox Pop-Up, “This is embarrassing.” I have pushed my deadline for the web page tutorial to September 1, 1015 November 1 December 1, January 2016 simply because I am not ready. My website re-design is progressing at a snail’s pace. I am about to add a new Feature Box. I am updating my content, and have been busy with registering my photos. My update will include my photo registration process. Join me soon!

My five websites slated for re-design:


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Patricia Wiskur

My love for art comes from years in the studio of Wiskur Productions, with my husband, Darrell Wiskur, a designer and photographer. Also, I was an editor and photographer in the real world for 17 years ... all the while, thankful for an artful life and cherished memories. Photos are ©2019 Darrell D. Wiskur