3.11.14

10 Blogger Tricks to a Better Blog!

Blogging Tips
             I know we crafters would rather spend time crafting than bother about the technical aspects of blogging; but I am sure there is not a single blogger out there who doesn’t love their blogs and wouldn’t like to spruce it up a bit.I have been blogging since 2010 and have read up, as well as experimented quite a bit about the technical side of blogging.
I have earlier shared 2 posts about Blogging
  • Easy tips for bloggers – covers Basic blogger tips so read it first if you are a new blogger or if you haven’t read that post before.
  • Photo tips for bloggers- Important for us crafters since we post a lot of photos on our blogs
WARNING : I must warn you beforehand that at the end of this post you may feel rather overwhelmed-- please don't-- these are tips and tricks I garnered over years and in the end its your blog-- go with what you love!!
So ---Sharing a few easy and not so easy tricks to spruce up your blog

1. Add your signature

You may have noticed that many bloggers have a stylish signature beneath every blog-post. Not only does a signature add a lovely touch to your blog-post but it helps a new visitor address you by name easily. You don’t actually have to manually do this every time you post a blog and it’s a one of the easy blogger tricks out there!

Visit this link to know how to add your signature below every blog-post:My Live Signature
PS: It doesn't work if you are posting using Windows Live Write and that is why some of my  own posts dont have it[more about that later!]

2. Add links to old posts

This is one of the coolest and easiest ways to entice your visitors to explore more of your projects and breathe life into older posts.
  • Manual – Whenever you write a new blog-post try to incorporate links to older posts whenever you can. E.g. If you are sharing a stamped card, share the link to another card you had made earlier using the same stamp/technique etc. Or simply thank your readers for comments on your last post. Yes it may mean adding an extra minute to your Blogpost writing time but do it whenever you can and make it a habit!
  • Linkwithin – If you are not familiar with it –it’s a cool widget which shows 3- 4 thumbnails of related projects beneath every blog-post on your blog.
    Blogging tips
    Most times related posts with same label are displayed – just add relevant “labels” to your blog posts and “Linkwithin” will do all the hard work for you!! Here is the link :Linkwithin
  • Nrelate- this is an alternative to Linkwithin. My friend Tanvi had some problems with Linkwithin so she used “Nrelate” – which does the same function but looks a bit more stylish in my opinion. Opt for whichever you like better.

3. Make use of Archives and Labels

Many a times when you land on a blog and like a particular post , you like to see the earlier works of the blogger and if there is no archives widget ,there is a high chance you may lose interest just clicking the “older posts” . And I find this especially useful in Challenge blogs  as its easy to locate the new challenge posts, winners post etc
Blogging tips


The Labels widget is another must have on your blog.See this Basic blogging tips post on importance of labels. In fact your labels widget is something which can be customized and added several times on your sidebar! Eg. I have 2 types of labels widgets- one displays a wide variety of crafts with the number of posts and another categorizes my posts according to the craft material used eg Foam, Clay etc !
Blogging tips

4. Blog Background

I have done a lot of reading up on this one!!
  • Background Color: Black may be your favorite color but in choosing a background for your blog, always choose a background with a light color as it’s easier to read and more pleasing to the eye. And not only that since we crafters share a lot of photos , neutral background colors such as white and cream wont clash with the  project's colors . It’s not a coincidence that the big websites out there have a white background!
  • Blogger Templates: There are lots of free blogger templates which can help stylize your blogs easily with a few clicks but exercise caution on what you add to your blog as some of the html codes in the free blogger templates may have errors; and graphics on some blog designs can drastically affect your blog load time so choose from sites which are already popular in blog land
  • Always be careful what html code you publish to your blog.
  • Always backup your blog template before you make any changes so that if anything goes wrong or you find you don’t like it you can always revert back easily!
    Blogging tips-template backup
    Here is how you can back up your blog template : Go to blog dashboard, click Template [ see double red arrows at the bottom left hand corner of my screen capture photo above] and click Backup /Restore [ see double red arrows at top left hand of my screen capture photo] and save to a safe location on your computer.

5. Blogpost Font

I have researched a lot on this one too and will share the most important points! Last year I found I tended to skip reading blogs with script style font and that lead me to discover age had caught up with my eyesight and I needed glasses! Well, there are zillions of readers out there with suboptimal eyesight and tweaking your blog just a little bit will be so helpful to them!
blogging tips
Blogging tips- fonts

  • Choose a font based on readability rather than beauty! You may be attracted to stylish script style fonts such as “Monotype Corsiva” but these are so much more difficult to read than “Arial” or “Verdana”.
  • Size of the fonts – Your readers eyesight may not be as good as yours and they will not really bother to peer too long and try to read if your website is in a small font size!
If you want to read more about  fonts check out : Best font for your website
Experts recommend : Font size 14 -16 pixels and fonts Arial, Trebuchet, Verdana, Impact, Ms Sans Serif, Lucida Sans unicode, Tahoma or Comic Sans
And if you are wondering which font I have on this blog its Arial.

6. Blog layout

  • Blogger Sidebar: Blogger gives you an option of 2 sidebars. Opting for one sidebar makes your blog less cluttered and your readers don’t have to keep scrolling all over to read your blog! Here is how to tweak your blog layout 
    Add caption
    On dashboard click layout [double red arrows near bottom] and click template designer [double red arrows near top].
    Blogging tips
     In template designer click layout and chose the body layout you want to try !
  • Follow Widget: Many a times I have had to scroll all over a blog to find the all important “Follow” widget. I have written about this earlier too but since it’s so important and a mistake I see made all over blog-land stressing on it again. Place your “follow me” widget at the top of your sidebar or at the top of your blog.
    Follow me widget
  • Some time back Google restricted Google Friend Connect to only blogger blogs [and GFC does act crazy at times by not allowing people to follow a blog] so its prudent to have other options like Bloglovin, email subscription, or other options on your blog to allow readers to follow your blog. Place all the “following” options you want at easy to see positions on your blog.

7. Use your sidebar wisely

Your sidebar is an important part of your blog. Use it wisely and effectively! People are willing to pay for advertising space on your sidebar [I know since I have had lots of offers!] so even if you don’t sell it to advertisers, use it optimally for your own benefit!
  • Place what is most important to you right at the top of your sidebar. If you have a shop, place your shop logo and link it or add enticing pictures of your new products/handmade crafts etc! If you take craft classes, advertise that! I could go on and on but I think you get the picture!!
  • Be very cautious in adding 3rd party widgets! – When you install a 3rd party widget you add extra html coding to your blog and can leave your blog potentially open to hackers! So think twice- do you really need to have that ticking clock or cute animated kitty on your sidebar?

8. De-clutter your sidebar

  • Do you really need those awards and badges to hog your sidebar space? If you are very much attached to them for sentimental reasons—relegate them to a “page”
  • Track those giveaway photos and remove them as soon as they expire
  • Once you have accumulated numerous top 3 and winners’ badges, shift them to a “page” like I have done or if you still want to spotlight projects you are especially proud of, add the project photos instead of the badge photo with a link to the respective posts.
    Blogging tips

9. Creating Interactive Menus

You can see a couple of interactive drop down menus in my blog sidebar.
blogger tips
Blogger tips- drop down menu
And this is how it works : click the arrow and a menu pops out!



They look nice and are useful too, but I don’t update them much because frankly speaking it’s quite time consuming! If you have quite a bit of time on hand and feeling adventurous blog wise, here is tutorial link I followed to make the drop down widgets:How to make drop down menus

Warning: If you get even a single character wrong in the html script your code won’t work!

10. Creating Thumbnails

If you want to add thumbnails to your blog like in the handmade flowers tutorial page, here are 2 links
Blogging tips- Gallery
Warning: this involves multiple steps and is quite time consuming!
How to create thumbnails
How to create a thumbnail Gallery - by my blogger friend and well know crafter Lisa

I hope this compilation of tips is useful to you
I have plans for 2 more posts on Blogging tips - Blogging Etiquette and My Blogging Secrets - will work on it if this one proves popular- So do tell me if you like this one! 
I have to be certain I don't put my crafty friends to sleep or chase them away from my blog!!
Edited : this tutorial has been featured on Totally Tutorials twice


85 comments:

  1. What a fabulous page Sonia to share with everyone. One thing I can't find how to put up on my blog is a sentence similar to yours here under Post a Comment, thanking people for their comment. I'd love if you can tell me how to do this. I wish I had opted for one sidebar when building my blog like you suggest. Great tips and I will try the Nrelate as also couldn't use links within.
    Julie x

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    1. And Julie you can opt for single bar any time. In fact its fun to play around with your blog layout every now and then...just back up as I have explained before experiments!!

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    2. Julie go to blog dashboard--- settings---posts and comments---comment message box will be there at the end and you can fill in what you want!
      I have " embedded" in comment location

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  2. Thank you so much Sonia, this was much needed post. Great explanations, need to work on my blog a lot :)

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    1. So glad this post will be useful Shilpa

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  3. Thank you for this enriching post Sonia! Has answered my a queries I had. You are one CRAFT WIKIPEDIA by yourself :-) & so willing to share the information! Thanks for the mention too.

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    1. Ha Ha I like that name Craft wikipedia..a change from the label of Junk Queen I had acquired some time back!

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  4. You are very special!!!
    Thanks for the wonderful information. They are precious!
    Have a great week!

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  5. Very interesting and useful post Dr Sonia .. your blogging tips post is so helpful for every blogger and many new bloggers .. even i dont know many of it.. Thanks for the tips Dr Sonia.. :)

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    1. Thank you so much Radhika..yeah I felt like a change from creative posts!!

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  6. wow ...SONIA thank u so much for this super good informative post...

    i don't know that linkwithin option...but now i updated in my blog...thanks

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    1. Anuradha...Thank you so much for telling me it was useful-- makes writing it all up so worthwhile

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  7. Lots of useful information in just one post ! I wonder what the next posts will have :) I agree with your all your points (as always !!) Archive gadget is very much needed and so is de-cluttering of sidebar takes lots of time to load images and spoils the look of blog too.After a bit of trial n error I have found clean n simple look is best !

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    1. Ha Ha Pooja one is my blogging secrets---but what say you should I reveal all my secrets!? The other is blogging etiquette...with possibilities to ruffle a at least some people's feathers!!

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  8. Thanks doc this ones really helpfull :) Please review my blog & suggest changes.

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    1. Ok Sharada...off to your blog donning my critique cap!

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    2. Sharada got a bit confused which is your dominant blog I think its http://happymomentzz.blogspot.in/. Didnt see a GFC follow button. Labels widget is tooooo long- spring clean the labels ! Add shop/ business link to top of sidebar

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  9. Thanks for sharing this Sonia! I have bookmarked for reference later. I use the drop down for my archive, I think I may change that to list now! :) I've not experimented with the drop down menu or the thumb nails...that will take some time to look through, but thanks so much for the tips and links! HUGS :)

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    1. Oh yes Vicki the thumbnail gallery takes quite a lot of time and attempt it only when you have quite a bit of free time!

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  10. thanks for the helpful tips. hugs

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    1. Happy you liked it Ranjana..hope you were able to sort out the blog copying issue

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  12. Thank you for this information.

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  13. Thanks for the info Sonia. I wish I could spruce up my blog. Now I have some information I will give it a go..Loz

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    1. I am so glad this blogger tips post will be useful to you my friend

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  14. These are all awesome tips!! Thanks so much for taking the time to share them with us!! Have a great day :)

    Lisa
    A Mermaid's Crafts

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  15. Wowwie. .so many lovely tips..thank you so much for sharing dear..you are very generous and so good at heart. .love you!
    I tried to find how to create drop down. ..but then gave up after some time. .thanks for including that as well :)

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    1. Ha Ha what a generous soul you are yourself to write such super sweet things and make my day!!

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  16. Btw thanks for introducing me to Robert sabuda dear..I had not heard about him..I found the pop up cake tutorial randomly on net..will try more of his pop ups now...

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    1. Lavina...you got to love Robert Sabuda...his work only got me into paper crafting!!

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  17. this is really helpful Sonia.. thanks for sharing..
    -Berina
    Moxie Craftie

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  18. Thanks again Sonia, I now have the link within on my blog. Can't wait to see you next helpful pages.
    Julie x

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    1. oh am so glad I was able to help my friends!!

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  19. Thank you Dr.Sonia Suprabha...really helpful post. ....I need to do lot to upgrade my blog...sorry I have not checked ur previous post regarding blogging. .I think I have to start from there ....thank you so much...whatever I was looking to improve my blog is there in ur post...definitely going to try n do it...waiting for your next tips...

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    1. SO happy to know this blogger tips post will be of help to you!!

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  20. Great tips! Thx for sharing!

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  21. It will be bookmarked by many new bloggers Sonia

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  22. very very helpful post... thankyou so much..:)

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    1. So happy you liked it Priyanka and Thank you so much for taking the trouble to pen down the appreciation!! Means a lot

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  23. This is such a helpful post. I've been blogging for about five years and still learned things. I'm looking forward to your other posts on blogging. Thanks!

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    1. Oh So glad to hear that Tracy! Thank you so much for taking the time to write down these words..makes all the effort I put into writing this article seem so worthwhile

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  24. Unbelievable, this information is fantastic, I'm going to keep this in my mail and try a few things, thanks so much for sharing all of this, hope you have a wonderful week, ((( BIG HUGS )))...

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    1. I am so glad this post will be useful to you. Thank you so much for the encouragement Dianne

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  25. Wow , what a post . Been struggling with my blog for some time ( I am a slow learner , I admit ) and your post has just made things so much easier for me. A big Thank you for this so helpful post !!!!!

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    1. Thank you so much ...ha ha its not slow learning...you are using your time for creativity more !!

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  26. Awesome tips..thanks for sharing!
    Sherrie K

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement Sherrie

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  27. Wow what a coincidence Dr. Sonia... I revamped my blog last week and now I see your post with the blogger tips... Thank you for taking time to write such lovely post and sharing with us.... I used this as a checklist to see whether I have incorporated everything... It was really helpful to me.. Do have a look at my blog and give your suggestions...
    http://shilpakari.blogspot.com/

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    1. I am so glad you find the article helpful Ramya...I am off to explore your blog

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    2. I will suggest you shift the follower widget higher up ...otherwise your blog looks super cool!!

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  28. Such an informative post!! I am actually in a blog-makeover phase right now and was planning to make some more changes to my blogging. I have been wondering how I should add my signature in the end of my post, and your post came just at the right time. Thanks for sharing.:)

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    1. Am so happy to hear that Jasleen

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  29. Thanks for sharing Sonia,
    I will change my font right away ☺

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    1. Thank you ...it feels good that my post was useful to you

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  30. I have always been curious how bloggers displayed related post at the bottom of a posting. Thank you for this information! :D My blog, www.jessiejournals.com is looking better already. :)

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    1. Thank you for dropping such encouraging words Jessie

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  31. Thanks Sonia. I am new to blogging and the online craft world. Your blogs have been very helpful for me. :)

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    1. I am so glad Purvi

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    2. I am confused about how to add the GFC follow button. Can you help me with that?
      Also I would be really glad if you could review my blog. :)

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    3. Purvi do add a link to your blog in the Google plus profile as I am not able to find your blog link. Or give me a link to your blog here.
      To add the GFC button -- go to dashboard--go to layout--click add gadget-- click more gadgets--scroll down right to the bottom and you will see the followers button

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    4. Sorry for the inconvenience Sonia... my blog link is...
      http://craftconcoction.blogspot.in

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  32. Thanks for the info. I for one and sure use a good lesson in this! I'm off to change up a few things!
    :-)

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    1. Am so glad you find it helpful

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  33. Hi Sonia, like I said earlier, your two earlier posts should be made 'compulsory reading' for any blogger and now this fab post to add to the syllabus :) really appreciate the time and effort in creating and sharing these awesome tips!! looking forward to more !!

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    1. Thank you so much Suman...you are such a staunch and loyal supporter ...I am so lucky to have met you in blogland!!

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  34. I will print this out and read it again Dr Sonia
    thanks for the info.
    I know Blogger since 2009 but I did not make any new things on my Blog
    some achievement I put there and Posting that was...
    I love the decoration on your blog lovely rose background..I am happy to know you through the blog land too..
    big hugs from me in germany, Monika

    PS: may I ask you where do you life?

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    1. Monika I live in Bangalore, India and I am so glad you liked my blogger tips article

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  35. Hello doc! I read this post long before and tried to comment but somehow it didn't get thru. Wanted to thank you for this wonderful post and such useful information. I needed much required push to experiment with my blog since my earlier template was a custom one and I cudnt play arnd with it. I have gone ahead and refurbished my blog. Please do drop by. Would love to see your feedback there.
    http://arty-sorts.blogspot.in/?m=1
    Regards,
    Indira

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  36. I love these tips! Thank you very much for sharing your experiences :) Wishing you a lot of good inspiration in your work!
    Jelena

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  37. thanks doctor , nice info .can you please explain me 8 point ,how to create pages, i have no idea.thanks n advance.

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    1. Megha see this link on how to create pages : https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/165955?hl=en

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  38. This was really useful to me! I looked at my own blog as I read your suggestions just compare what I have with what you wrote. Interestingly, I was fairly close, but I've had my blog for a while. It easy sometimes to get a bit complacent though. I'll be back to check out your upcoming suggestions. Thanks.

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  39. What a really useful post! Thank you. I have bookmarked this so I can refer to it from time to time. Love your blog too by the way. Wynn x

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  40. So useful... Only problem is I am too poor in such settings... need to read it again again to make lot of changes in my blog...:)
    once again thank you...:)

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  41. Amazing, I was allways wondering how and wher is that gadget for "You might also like: "
    And now I have it!!! Thanko you!!!
    ♥Hugs Valentina♥

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  42. Hello Dr. Sonia!!
    Thanx a zillion for sharing these tips, as i am very new here this really helps me a lot, will try to follow all the tips.

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  43. Fab tips many thanks will up date my blog tomorrow

    Crafty hugs Pen x

    http://groovyquail.blogspot.co.uk Sunshinepens Rambles

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  44. That was very interesting! I followed your link and added a signature! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into this!

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