What’s in a Theme?

I’m thinking of changing my WordPress theme.

“So what?” you ask. “Is that a blog worthy subject?”

And I agree. It’s not important in itself but my blog is a sum of its parts and I want all the parts to be perfect.

At the moment most of the parts are a long way from perfect and this is where I need help. I, mrscarmichael, am a luddite’s luddite. It is true that I have learnt so much about blogging, WordPress and my macbook pro since I began all this back in late summer but it has been a labour of love. I guess love is a good thing, right? Labour on the other hand, is something I am happy to do without.

To date I have managed to change my blog title, my header photo, the comment about ‘leave a comment’ and soon I’m planning a pincer move on not only my tag line but my tags as well.

Only yesterday I tried to link my weekly photo challenge entry to the WP post. Four or five times. I have bald spots where I think I must have torn my hair out in frustration. There is no delete button. Or, perhaps there is but I just cannot see it. I was in the middle of becoming a joke and still couldn’t leave it alone. Finally I typed the link in manually. It lit up as good links do but I’d typed it wrong. I retyped it. That worked. Phew. But my macerated efforts are still there for all to see.

And then the comments came and I discover blogging friends have done WORSE things that me. Yee ha! Ride ’em, Cowboy. That deserved a glass of wine and gives me the strength to carry on.

When I started blogging I had a few things I wanted to write about and little other concept of the direction I wished my blog to go. I know, or think I know, that my musings should be on one topic area and be topical to become the Top Cat of blogs. I’ve read the prompts and am following all suggestions. By following I mean reading. I am struggling with tying myself down to one thread. I am more of a scattergun in my writing, my photography and, oh dear, my life as well.

Right now I am fighting to sort my categories out so there appears to be a semblance of order and rational process within my posts divers. I have written my new headings on a piece of paper and will try to process them through my dashboard hierarchy. Was that technical enough for you?

If you notice only small changes it means I have not succeeded. When I will get time to do this I have no idea. The goliath that is Christmas is bearing down on the Carmichael clan and I haven’t even bought the lights for the very bare tree yet.

As part of my mental spring clean I want my blog’s theme to be as pristine and perfect as it can. I am very affected by the visual aspect of things and did not realise when I started this adventure that my photos would be so central to my posts. They are often my inspiration for a new blog and now I find I will hold off until I have taken the pic to accompany my musings.

the columnist (wordpress)
the columnist (WordPress)

So, I need a theme that will showcase both my words and my images. I considered the columnist. It’s both clean and clear and to my mind highlights both aspects of mrscarmichael says. Yes, I would prefer the photos a little bigger, I hope the box at the top left can hold an image of my choosing and I would prefer a few more colours in the basic package but pretty good I think.

Woah Black Betty, hold it one dang moment. The columnist doesn’t appear to be capable of dealing with my title. More specifically my name.



just doesn’t have the caché I’m after. I think I need a safe word here.

suburbia (wordpress)
suburbia (WordPress)

What about suburbia? It does sort of the same thing. An inviting image inviting my readership to sample my wares. Doesn’t it? Again as long as I can change the S in the top right corner to something pertaining to Yours Truly. But the font’s very brown and that’s not one of mrscarmichael’s colours of choice.

Speaking of colour. I know I do not want a black based theme. I want my text to appear in black on a white background. Good. Sorted.

And I’ve been lucky with 2012. Black type, teal blue highlights and a smidge of orange. My perfect palette.

But 2012 is just so black. And my title is so small. I am more important that it gives me credit for. At least to me. Yes, yes I know I can upgrade and buy another paint tin of colours but I don’t want to. Anyway most of the options give me an E number induced hypo.

What I do like about 2012 is the ability to have my own header image. That’s important to me. As are the colours on my stats page. Do all the themes have the same blues/oranges or will I get an unwanted surprise? Are you beginning to see how scary this is for me?

Why oh why am I attracted to greyzed? This must go no further. I do not want to be associated with any theme with that first syllable in its title. My hair colourist is already top of of the mrscarmichael speed dial.

elegant grunge (wordpress)
elegant grunge (WordPress)

More realistically, elegant grunge may have something to offer. For starters I like the name. Does it in some way encapsulate my life (highs and lows) or is that just wishful whimsy on my part?

Yes, I would buy an upgrade here because one of the palettes does appeal. But that’s ok and ok too is the way the photos jut out from my text but why do the jut into the widgets? That can’t be right can it? Overlapping words and images.

Now we come to two that really please me today. For the most part at least.

splendio (wordpress)
splendio (WordPress)

The first is splendio. I can understand your confusion. It doesn’t seem so clean and crisp. But I love the basic colours it offers. They are my colours and I feel a bit as if I have reached the mothership. I like too the presentation of my title and, once I have changed the tag line, it will be good to go as well.

It is not a very family blog centric theme though. More urban architectural in tone and I worry this might give off mixed messages and that I am quite capable of doing without any help from DesignDisease thank you very much. Although, just so you have the whole picture, architecture and design are two things I love and have been and will be written about regularly.

If only I could put my own image in the header……………

Another small thing but I do not like the taupe boxes around the pics (these do turn black on hover) and the gravitars of ‘likers’. Actually it’s not a small thing. It might stop me choosing this theme. Also, now I’m on a roll, the emoticons don’t fit well into the text. Unlike other themes they leave a great big gap in their wake which looks like I’ve made a typo. And I make enough of those by myself.

shelf (wordpress)
shelf (WordPress)

The second is shelf and this is a premium theme. It’s out there all right and I have not come across a blogger using it yet. Again I love the font, the available background colours (I’m thinking of a luscious teal green) and the comment boxes. It is just so different.

But the posts themselves seem small in a ever so slightly meanish sense. Why can’t they grow in stature when clicked upon? And where do the widgets go? I don’t want pay out the bucks to discover they are not where I want them to be. It is tempting me though. But as a luddite’s luddite am I foolish to go for premium on the first move?

Now I’m going to let you into a real time secret. I have just worried myself when I typed ‘first move’. The last thing I want is to become a serial theme changer. God forbid, none of us would have any peace.

Ah me, what’s a girl to do?

velmillion christmas (wordpress)
vermillion christmas (WordPress)

Perhaps, just perhaps I should hedge my bets for Advent or at least until I’m out of theme induced therapy.


11 thoughts on “What’s in a Theme?

  1. I kind of like what you have now, but I do understand your thoughts about wanting to have a topnotch blog. And aren’t the WordPress prompts great. I didn’t know at the start how much I could personalise my blogs. I’ve saved all the emails and top of my to do list over the Christmas holidays (six glorious weeks) is to go through them and gradually make some changes. Good luck!

    1. Thank you but I cannot put into words how scared it makes me.

      My title isn’t good enough and all the widgets are unremittingly black.

      I’m hoping someone comes back and say…..’you idiot, this is what you do.’

      1. I know what you mean. It’s a bit like babies – I always thought it would have been handy if my daughters had come with a digital screen that said things like, “I’m hungry, feed me now” or “Change my nappy please” or “There is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I just feel like having a good cry.”

  2. I really like what you have now – I don’t see why you would want to change it. But if you do, please don’t make it black background with white or colored writing because I can’t read those ones! 😦

    1. Not a chance of that I promise. Really I just want a better heading and more colour in the widgets but the second is not possible I don’t think and I don’t want to pay for an upgrade to change the title.

      I guess it’s an irritation rather than a sore.

  3. You have already progressed beyond my level of competence, as I don’t know how to post those images of the themes. It would be good if I could, as I’m reviving an old blog of mine that used to be called Best of New Writing on the Web (you’ll see where I’m going with that) and a friend is coming on board too to help. We need to decide on a new theme, but communication about the issue isn’t easy when I can’t point things out to him (he’s in California, lucky sod). I did manage to change the whole look of my blog by accident, though, so I can assure you that implementing the theme is easier than you may think! Good luck with it all. I have every faith in you.

    1. Oooh welcome back. Hope your essay/dissertation went well.

      I look at themes till my eyes droop. And, at the mo am sticking. I have changed the background colour and ~i may do again. I have twiddled the title and tag….again but still wonder if I should split my blogs or would that turn me nuts #morenuts?

      Is it your new writing or is it lots of people? Interested in that.

      California….. I used to sneer now I love love

      posting those images is easy peasy. either drag to photos mac) or I guess copy and paste.
      Don’t you hate people who say easy peasy?

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