How to Add Social Media Icons to your Blog

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was inspired and energized by the most recent Blog Podium.  I am not quite ready to rush out and book advertisers, but I am making some changes with that possibility in mind.  One of the points made at Saturday's session that stuck with me was the importance of having a professional-looking blog.  I have started compiling a list of blogs that I feel strike the right balance between personality and professionalism for inspiration.  For me, this means above all clean, un-cluttered, organized, and easy to navigate.

Another important piece of advice was to stay well-connected to the community you are in and be able to demonstrate that you have your own little niche of expertise.  Blogger makes it easy to link up to your other social networking profiles with widgets and gadgets in your blog's sidebar, and I already had many of them in place.  However, I love the look of a simple self-explanatory row of icons, so over the past couple of days I added this at the top of my sidebar:
It connects readers directly to a whole bunch of my other profiles but uses a minimum of real estate.  Win-win!  It was easy enough to do, but I ran into a few snags, so I thought I would outline the process here in case anyone else wanted to do this as well.  (There are many other tutorials out there if mine is confusing!)

1.  Find your favourite icons, or make some yourself in Photoshop and save as a .png file.  I got mine from the lovely Carrie Loves blog, where she has a ton of colours.  Isa Maria of The Academy also did a lovely series based on the Pantone colours of the year.  For MANY more options, you can google "Social Media Icons."  Once you find the ones you want, save them to your computer.
2.  Upload your png files to Flickr or Photobucket.  I didn't want these to show up in my Flickr stream, so I signed up for Photobucket and highly recommend it!  To get the URL for each image, which you will need later, you just need to hover over the image and then click on "Direct Link" which makes it super easy.  I will definitely be using Photobucket again!
I ended up uploading my icons three times, because the size I downloaded from Carrie was much too big and it took me a couple of resizes in Photoshop to get the size I liked!  You may want to start with one to see how big it is and then adjust them.  In the end mine were 28 pixels x 28 pixels.

3.  Add HTML gadget to your layout.  To do this, look up to the right hand corner on your Blogger dashboard and go to Design, and on the screen below click Layout, then Add a Gadget.

Scroll down the provided list until you find the HTML/JavaScript widget.
4.  Once you have the gadget open you can add the following code for each icon:
[a href="YOURSITEURL" target="_blank"][img src="YOURIMAGEURL"][/a]
If you copy and paste the above code, you will have to change the brackets:
replace [ with < and ] with >
(I couldn't figure out how to type code into my post without it turning into a broken link!)

(It would probably be helpful to actually write all the code in Text Edit and copy it into the content section of the HTML gadget instead of flipping back and forth to the different sites and the gadget window like I did!)
Now when I did this, everything looked fine in the code, but when I tried to click the link it added to the beginning of the address and wouldn't work.  I could not figure out why it was doing this. Drove. Me. Batty. After much searching online, I discovered that it was because the quotation marks I had copied in the code were curly quotes and not straight quotes. Go figure.  So make sure you have straight quotes in your code!

5. Repeat the above code for each site and each matching image until you have them all.

6. Remove all the other social-media-linking gadgets you had cluttering up your sidebar and admire your new streamlined blog.

7. Pour yourself a drink.

I hope that makes sense - leave me a comment if I have left something unclear!

FYI - the target="_blank" part means the link opens in a new window or tab.  I was going to go back and add this to all my links, since the all seem to drive traffic away from Wicked & Weird - and I have a lot of links!  Then I noticed in writing this post that there is a little box you can check when adding a link that says "open in a new window"...  duhhhhhhhhhh!!! Better late than never I guess. :)

Blog Podium Inspiration = House Tour Completion

I had SO much fun at Blog Podium this weekend and learned a ton about how to monetize a blog.  Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely (one of the first blogs I ever subscribed to) gave an honest, relaxed, and informative keynote.  The ever-amazing Lindsay (of Aubrey and Lindsay's Little House Blog) and Jen (of Rambling Renovators) blew my mind with the fun, professional, absolutely-perfect event. Seriously - I want to be them when I grow up - FOR REAL! (as my 4-year-old keeps saying).   I went home with a huge to-do list for Wicked & Weird and will probably be tweaking things for months to come, or until my energy runs out.  Today I FINALLY got a chance to pull together some photos and text for my House Tour page that I made the link for months ago.  Hooray!

There are many great recaps of the conference out there, and if you are at all interested in the busine$$ side of blogging, I urge you to take a look:
  1. Interior Groupie 
  2. September and Sun
  3. Bijou and Boheme
  4. My Daily Randomness
  5. Adding the Finishing Touch
  6. Gallery No. 8
  7. The 236
Here are some of the lessons that I will be taking to heart:
  • Stats aren't everything  I have never considered to be "worthy" of advertising because I am such a small blog.  However, big numbers aren't the only thing the larger brands are looking for.  They also want to find blogs large and small that are a good fit content-wise, writers who are well connected to the 'scene' and are well-informed with a professional-looking blog, and bloggers who are engaged and engaging, with comments, tweets, and conversations.
  • Oh Canada!  Brands large and small, international and domestic are looking to target geographically.  Let readers know right off the bat where you are writing from and that you are Canadian.
  • Tweet Tweet Twitter Twitter  Be active and consistent on Twitter.  Many brand marketers are short on time and need to be on Twitter anyway for their job.  It makes things much easier if they can find you where they are and can see that you are engaged with the community.  Have a great Twitter List that shows you are connected with people these brands want to reach.
  • Do your homework Reach out to brands you want to work with, don't wait for them to find you in a sea of blogs.  Research their products, their projects, and their style so you can prove that you really know them when you make the pitch and aren't just cut and pasting their name into a generic ask.
  • Dress for the job you want  I have always tried to dress for the job I wanted and not the job I had.  I may have been Marketing Coordinator, but if people were looking around at all the coordinators in the city for a Marketing Manager, I wanted them to know in a glance that I was professional and prepared and ready to step right up.  So when Nicole said "Looking bigger than you are is the best way to get bigger than you are" I knew exactly what she meant: have a blog that looks established, that has a consistent feel to it, and write honestly and authoritatively.  
  • Don't quit your day job  Errr, too late for me! :)  But I have confirmed my suspicion that while I can definitely make a little bit of fun money from the blog ("Canadian Tire money" as Christine said) I won't ever be earning a full-time income from it.  At least, not in Canada, and not now.  Things may change!
So you may notice a few changes here and there, and maybe a few ads popping up on the side.  (If you are interested in some seriously cheap test ads, let me know!)  I would love to hear if there is something about my blog that makes you come back, something you think I should make sure to keep up.  Likewise, if there are posts you just skip through when you see them, let me know that too!  I am crazy curious about what you all think about the stuff that I put out there.  Maybe I should start paying for comments?  Oh wait... that's actually the opposite of the idea... right.  I guess I won't be keynote speaker anywhere any time soon. :)

The Mail Gods Giveth

Oh my goodness you guys, I don't think I had a full appreciation for the depth of my blogging habit until I lost my computer this week.  With the gift of my iPad I could browse and even comment (sometimes) on other blogs, but I was getting some serious shakes without being able to upload photos and do some photoshop!  However, the disk I was waiting for arrived from Apple and with after few more disasters and meltdowns, I am now completely up and running - mail, iPhoto and all!  YIPEEE!  (The photo above is actually a pretty lame version of my elation, but I couldn't find mad frenzied hysterical happiness + computer.  Which is odd when you think about it...)

Anyway, my days spent gazing forlornly at the mailman were not all in vain.   I had been offered a Poster Jack print a while ago and finally sent one off.  I was thrilled when this one arrived in the mail! is a great Canadian company sponsoring tomorrow's Blog Podium conference, and they offer a ton of ways to display your photos - from matted and framed to canvases and even metal or birchwood prints.  Since I had never seen anything done on wood I thought I would give that one a try, and picked one of my favourite beach shots to send.
It arrived pretty quickly and I really like how it turned out.  It would look great at a cottage or beach house, don't you think?  Anyone going with for a beach feel could get a few of these done, even larger, with images of the sea for the perfect wall art.
Another package arrived bearing my winnings from an awesome blog giveaway and I was thrilled when I opened it.  I knew I had won one of the limited edition tea towels from The Bay, but didn't know which one.  Imagine my elation to see that it was the (sold-out-impossible-to-get-your-hands-on) Alanna Cavanagh print!!
 Maybe I should get it framed like Tim at Design Maze did - his looks great, don't you think?
photo by Scott Young
And last, but definitely not least, I received a lovely gift from Jamie of Intertwyned Photography - a beautiful print of the tree photo I had been long admiring.  How awesome are her letter-pressed note cards?  And the photo is even more beautiful in person.  Thank you Jamie.
 Now to build that addition on the house to fit all my new lovelies...

Oh man, it feels good to be back.  And now to get ready for Blog Podium - sooo excited!!  See you there?

Computer meltdown

In case you have been wondering why there has been a blog hiatus from me, I thought I would make use of my GORGEOUS AMAZING FANTASTIC new iPad to tell you that my beloved computer is currently a really big paperweight. So I have been unable to upload any photos, do any photoshop, or carry on with my obsession with InDesign. I couldn't do my Para Paint post with my massive paint project for Blog Podium. All the photos are still sitting on my camera, along with photos for other posts. And until the arrival of the GLORIOUS iPad ( best birthday gift ever ) I couldn't even peruse the Internet. If you know anything about me you know this is pure torture. Hopefully the piece I need will be arriving from Apple this week in time for Blog Podium. Cross your fingers for me!

Hand in Hand

I love this bracelet from Kate Spade - all the more knowing that 25% of sales will be donated to Women For Women International, which helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives.

If you visit the Women for Women site now, you can send a very meaningful Mother's Day Card to your mom, or any mother you admire, for a small donation.  Brilliant.

And the Winner Is....

The lucky winner of Shibang Design's iphone case is...
Hooray Katie!  Thanks to everyone for entering and especially to Robyn for the amazing prize.  Katie, email me your details and I will pass them on the Robyn.  And let me know which one you pick! :)

Dreamiest Dream House

I just wanted to show you all a few photos of my newest summer home in Sweden.  It's just a small casual spot on a rockface overlooking the ocean, no big deal.  It's full of old furniture we dug up (like the 17th century sofa in the living room) and naturally it's in Sweden so we painted it all white with a few pops of blue here and there.  There are days when I find all that natural light bouncing in off the ocean a little irritating - the kids have taken to wearing their sunglasses inside - and I long for my dark little pad in Toronto.  But I guess someone has to live here, right?
 Photos by Paul Ryan  Seen on Kochem Weis.

Don't forget - today is the LAST DAY for the Ipod cover Giveaway - and I only have 4 entries so your odds are good!  (I.e. please enter!!!)

Craig's List Finds

Ask and you shall receive.  It seems that some people enjoy the Craig's List lists I make, and really, it's like therapy for me.  So here are all the things I want to buy for my imaginary house with my imaginary money:
Gorgeous lilac velvet button-tufted sofa - $975 OBO. It can be scotch-guarded, right? Sooo lovely....
Pretty wooden caned rocker - $80
This looks like a STUNNING and unique 9' x 10' Antique (ca. 1900) Turkish carpet - $396!  Have you seen this one Dad?
Pretty side-table with turned legs - $40
glass-door cabinets, $200 - I kind of like them on the floor like this!
ikea flat woven wool rug - $150 - I actually LOVE this rug... it would look great in the living room...
A massive collection of Denby stoneware - $250 OBO.  I don't think I have seen this dark pattern before.
Very unique end tables - antique shortening tins - $95
Antique chest of drawers, ca 1880 - $395 (not cheap but beautiful!)
tiny roll-top desk - $42
Antique iron bed - $35.  What???  Wouldn't this be perfect in a little boy's room?
Wait a second... *I* have a little fact I have 2...
Oh dear, this chapter of Craig's List finds may have break the 'Admire not Acquire' rule...

PS don't forget to enter the awesome Shibang Designs giveaway!

Giveaway from Shibang Designs

It is raining giveaways around here! This one is generously offered by Robyn from Shibang Designs. I noticed her booth immediately at the One of A Kind Show - her designs are bright and unique, and her technique is incredible.  She uses wool roving, layers of fabric, and her sewing machine to create these gorgeous flowers - they look like tropical watercolours to me.  And the designs she then creates around them - from clutches to make-up cases to wall art - are just beautiful.  Plus, she is a Maritimer (albeit living in BC), so that's 10 extra points for her, right? (EDIT - OK I may have jumped the gun on that one, she is a West Coast gal who did her degree in Halifax.  But I'll still give her the points. ) :)
Robyn has offered up one of her iPhone cases (which make total sense as I look at the scratches on the front of my phone from having only one of those back cases).  To enter, please visit her Etsy shop or online shop and come back let me know which piece is your fave.  Each one is unique - they really are amazing.  Contest will close next Monday evening at 6PM EST (in time for Mother's Day!  Just sayin...).  Of course, there are lots of ways to improve your odds and gain additional entries:

  • Follow my blog!  Really... by doing this you have already won... ;p
  • LIKE Shibang Designs on Facebook
  • Tweet about the giveaway (use @lisamackay and @ShibangTextiles)
Robyn is also offering Wicked and Weird readers a 20% discount on items in her Etsy shop.  So you can get your Mother's Day gift there, and then when you win the giveaway - keep that for yourself!  I know, I'm always thinking... Enter the code wickedandweird to get your discount.  Yay Robyn!
I think this last one is my personal pick - love the smokey blue on the black, and the shape of the case is awesome.  Wouldn't this be nice for someone who has a birthday in May?  Someone with a really amazing blog?  Just sayin... Thank you so much Robyn - you are going to make one of my readers a very lucky person!!

And the Winner is...

The winner of the Intertwyned photography give-away is...

Congrats to Cathy - and a big THANK YOU to Jamie for such a lovely prize, and to everyone who entered.  It is heartening to know you all are out there reading. :)  Stay tuned as I have another fabulous giveaway coming soon...

Cathy - send me your mailing info and photo preference and I will pass it on to Jamie.  You can email or DM me @lisamackay.  And start thinking about where it's going to go Lucky Girl! :)