Welcome Pipers! Let’s Take Flight!

Well, Pipers, the Journey starts here.  Actually it started a long time ago but as I’m sure you know, the best things in life don’t always come easily or quickly.  Sometimes we don’t even realize what path we’re on, or that we may be traveling

Where to start?

on the wrong path until we are so far along that self-doubt or outside influences tell us that there is no turning back. I’m here to tell you that that is NOT the case.  Sure, it took planning and pushing myself past fear and doubt but I think we all have a moment where we know, deep in our heart that what is really most important is love.  Loving others, loving yourself and loving how you spend your time.  Do I need to make a living? You bet I do!  I have a mortgage, I have regular bills, utilities – which are more demanding in the Winter 😦 – and of course there are the nice to haves.  I have children and pets and all of the same day to day responsibilities that many of you deal with.  So, how did I get here?  Well, I’m still in debt, if that makes you feel better, but I’ve learned to cut back.  I slowly acquired the tools I needed to do this and in between, I learned from others!  I’ve watched too many YouTube videos to count, watch for sales and snatched up Udemy classes and paid attention to other designers.  I read blogs, watched their tutorials and then something was really worth it, saved my pennies for more intensive training.  What surprised me most about getting to this point was everything that was involved in ‘going live’ on a website.  Hours, days, weeks, months!  Sometimes I went down that wrong path again, working too hard and too long on something that shouldn’t have been part of my focus because I didn’t have a mentor or guidebook on what steps to take, and sometimes, more importantly, in what order!  I’m happy to share all of my mistakes with you.  I think that we are all part of several different communities, work, family, interests shared with others, with our neighbors – local, national, and global, etc.  A community isn’t a group who competes with their fellow members, they support each other.  My products are different that yours, yours will be different that those of another designers, and so on, and so on. For all of us, there exponentially more interested customers.  I don’t have anything to gain in focusing on my competition but everything to gain in sharing what I know to help raise others up.  So, that brings us to where we both are right now. This blog will allow you to share my journey but it can also give you specific tips and guidance on what worked for me and (more often than not) what didn’t!  It will cover at least three different areas to start (more may be added as things evolve) – my work and experiences in design, the trials and tribulations I go through in building and running a eCommerce website (to include what I’ve learned (the hard way), including, how to build a site and how to connect all of the moving pieces, and my ventures into building a brand and getting my products and services out to third party vendors.  I already have 3 years worth of blog posts swimming around in my head so please be patient and I will get everything out there. Design Tutorials won’t really be covered in a blog but I will post step-by-steps and videos on my Tutorials page, so feel free to wander over their at your leisure!  If you can’t wait, and have a specific question that can’t be found using ‘Search’, please feel free to drop me a line and I will get right back to you – after all, we are a community!  Love and Happy Designing to All, Wendy

What Will You Design Today?

Each day we are given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves.  Sometimes it is in very little ways, sometimes the actions we take can change our path.

Maybe you are already a professional designer, maybe it’s something you are working toward or maybe it’s just an idea that is always there in the back of your mind, a dream you think is long past.  It’s not, you are already a designer and whether or not you realize it, it shows.  In the little things you do each day, in the ways you brighten your home and the lives of your family and in the choices you make.

Maybe you scrapbook, make decorative cards for special occasions, think through color choices in decorating your home, sometimes, it can be as seemingly insignificant as cutting your child’s sandwich into the shape of a dinosaur or leaving a note to make someone’s day.  I have something to tell you. You are already a designer and often it doesn’t seem like we have enough time in our day or that taking time for ourselves seems like an unattainable luxury. But I am here to tell you it’s not. And what you do IS important and taking time to feed that creativity is important, not only for you but those around you!  Take a second to breath and look around, imagine how you can make your mark – and then MAKE IT HAPPEN!

This doesn’t have to be your full time job, believe me, I spent years putting responsibility ahead of design.  Then I realized that I felt like I lost sight of me.  Your outlet may be a large part of your time or it can show in the little things you do, but know that what you do is noticed and appreciated and it’s your little touches that show others how much you care!


Much Love, and Happy Designing,    Wendy


Website Modification Tool – Simple Custom CSS & JS

Hi Pipers!

Today I wanted to talk about a tool that has saved my life (many times) while modifying my website.  Whether you have a free, paid or self-designed theme, you will want to make changes after it’s first installed.  If you have little, to no, web-design experience like me, this can be very dangerous territory!  I’ve tried a few free themes and while they are good, there are always things you want to do to truly make it your own.  In my endeavors, I have ‘lost’ text, images, gotten formatting way out of whack and flat-out blown up my site.  I started out learning how to make changes using the ‘Custom CSS’ option offered in your theme customization area.  When I got a bit braver, I would make some changes directly in the Theme Editor but I’m finding that some of the free and even paid themes, still hold back on sharing everything with you – so a lot of trial and error went into finding out what an element was named, what controlled it and what I had to write in CSS, JS or HTML to make the change I wanted.  It’s my understanding that for a lot of themes, your hard earned and written Custom CSS can be over written when a theme is updated.  Having put hours and days into dozens (more like hundreds!) of page-specific and site-wide changes, I knew this would kill me so I started out copying my Custom CSS into a word-doc every time I made a change. 

I’ve tried a few free and paid themes and while every one has things you love, there are always things you want change to truly make it your own. The learning curve with web design and site modification can be steep but on many occasions, this tool has saved my life!

This would work but the bigger it got, the harder it was to search for changes I had made and focus on further modifications.  Then I found Simple Custom CSS & JS in the WordPress Plugin store.  The app is by Diana Burduja and is opensource software.  There is a free version and a paid version but I am still using the free version and it’s doing everything I need.  Below is a screenshot of what the plug in looks like in my admin console.

This plugin lets me create separate files (CSS, JS or HTML) for whatever changes I want and it is safe from changes made by the Theme Creator.  I love that I can separate my code and title it in ways that make sense to me.  The CSS and JS modules can even work together as in my ‘TabbedPopUp’ example.  I can also activate or deactivate code entries if I want to ‘pause’ them but am not ready to trash them – my ‘Footer_Widgets-BackgroundBulletText_Color file shows an example of one that is deactivated.  For that one, I spent a ton of time researching what footer elements were named and how to modify them, then decided I wanted to take the footer out of my site altogether.  If I ever decide to make my footer visible again, I want to hold onto this file so my modifications are ready to implement.  Plugin Support is great and if you plan to make changes to your site do your own research – just wanted to share that this tool has been great for me.


Till Next Time!   Wendy


*As stated on my Site Policies page, if I mention a tool or app specifically, I am doing it out of a courtesy to you.  I am not receiving any compensation or endorsement and am only providing information related to my experience.  I cannot predict, nor am I or Sandpiper gfX, responsible for your experience related to downloading, installing and/or using this tool.