News and Happenings

along with other possibly useful things

Day at the Beach No. 3

Day at the Beach 3

July 2014

Print of the Month Collection

Day at the Beach No. 3 is part of a light and fun series created using a lensbaby selective focus lens. A vintage inspired print of the ferris wheel on Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach, Virginia. All prints of Day at the Beach No. 3 are offered at a significant savings for the month of July. Discounts are reflected in price. We are also offering a “24 x 36″ limited time promotion canvas gallery wrap at 50% savings. Prices are good thru midnight on July 31, 2014.

Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine

June 2014

Print of the Month Collection

Rise and Shine has been chosen as our June 2014 Print of the Month. Traces of surf trail across the sand as sunrise highlights the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier. All prints of Rise and Shine have been discounted $10-$70 according to size. Discounts are reflected in price. We are also offering a “40 x 30″ limited time promotion canvas gallery wrap at 50% savings. Prices are good thru midnight on June 30, 2014.

Sweet Magnolia Charm

Magnolia Series Nine

Magnolia Series

This year we are introducing a series of prints celebrating the beauty and grace of the Southern Magnolia. The delicate, fragrant bloom of the Sweet Magnolia is a cherished treasure in the South. It does not reveal its secrets freely however, one must wait patiently as the bud begins to open, then move quickly for a chance to capture its elegance. Gentle coaxing and teasing can encourage the bloom to reveal its wholeness, always being respectful with much gratitude. Canvas Gallery Wraps, Metal Prints, and Custom Framed prints are available in our Fine Art America Flowers Gallery.

Adventures in WordPress PT 2

It’s all about the PlugIns….

Continuing along the learning curve of WordPress and web design. I absolutely loved the originality of the theme I purchased from themeforest; however, I mentioned last week it took awhile to get it up and running as I had envisioned. Being new to WordPress I thought at first I was limited to the theme functionality, but boy was I wrong. I had actually made a great choice, I had the creative design I wanted and an entire library of plugins to add the functionality I needed. With a little research and a click of a button you have all you ever wanted but didn’t know to ask for. One of my first plugins was WP Google Fonts developed by Adrian Hanft. It is very easy to set up and use. It offers a large selection of the Google Web Fonts. Just remember you could spend a long time cycling through the fonts via the plug in, so better if you visit Google Web Fonts and narrow down your choices, then apply the ones you like.

I also needed to add a contact form. The WordPress plugin directory is massive so once again I read articles, reviews, and tutorials to narrow down the best choices. I chose Contact form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi, it’s easy to use, simple, and free.

Next I added the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin by Joost de Valk which was a smooth install and offers a lot of flexibility. It improved the theme’s seo structure ten fold. In fact, I was on the first page of one of my keyword searches within two days.

I wanted to add a social bookmarking plugin but the one I like didn’t play nice with my theme.  I chose SexyBookmarks by Shareaholic but it showed up in places that it shouldn’t, since I could not find a fix I’m waiting on that one.

I love the ease that a scroll to the top button provides and the Cudazi Scroll to Top plugin by Cudazi works perfectly.

Another great plugin that works like a charm is the No Right Click Images Plugin by Keith P. Graham.  My theme did offer right click protection but it blocked being able to copy text and links and it allowed dragging photos to the desktop. This plugin is a custom fit.  It prevents right clicking and dragging images to the desktop but allows the right click on text.

My last choice is a cache plug-in. I’ve narrowed it down to WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. I am leaning towards WP Super Cache but still need a little more research.

It is highly recommended to always have a back up of your site before upgrading WordPress or adding plugins.  Luckily I’ve had no problems. Even when the plugin issues could not be resolved I was able to simply deactivate it and remove it. All in all I think WordPress is a powerful platform which if you are willing to learn can make web life quite a bit easier and a heck of a lot of fun.

 

Adventures in WordPress PT 1

Wordpress PT 1Getting Started with WordPress…

WordPress has been fairly easy getting to know, and has worked well other than a few plug-in glitches. My best advice for “newbs” (like me) is “do your homework!”  There is so much information on WordPress and WordPress themes online it may take awhile to dig through.  A good place to start is wordpress.org.  After reading a little in the  WordPress codex I was eager to get started but realized I could spend a lifetime sorting through all of the information available just on wordpress.org alone, so I found Creative Edge online. They have a great collection of videos and books on WordPress and web development along with an extensive library of photography/photoshop resources, and as my first love is photography I was hooked instantly. They offer a free 10 day trial so check them out. When I began this adventure I was completely unfamiliar with WordPress and website design. I had used SmugMug and Zenfolio to host our photos, thanks to SmugMug I did have a little CSS knowledge, but that was it.  WordPress is very user friendly and just keeps getting better with each new update.  This is not a tutorial but more of a guide of what to expect, and some great resources to help. So here it goes.

First dilemma, finding a web host.  Although I already had a domain name I now needed a web host and after all my research I knew that I wanted (needed) a web host with easy install for WordPress. I chose HostGator, which is a little more expensive than others but so far so good. They use cPanel which is easy to learn, and WordPress was a one step install.  They also have a ton of videos and resources to get you started.  Since I was new to web hosting I really wanted an easy and reliable introduction. I could not have asked for a better experience.

Now that I had my host and WordPress up and running it was time to find a WordPress theme.  Some of the contenders were Themeforest, StudioPress, Graph Paper Press, Elegant Themes and Wpshower. I must say I spent more time researching themes than anything and I expected my theme to work as I wanted it to out of the box. (Yes, I now know how funny that is) Since I am new to this I can only speak to my experience, others may be different. I purchased my theme from Themeforest (you can spend days maybe even weeks searching among their themes) they have a massive collection.  To make the list shorter (and stay sane) I recommend only considering themes that have been rated 5 stars and also check the star rating of the author. (You will probably need help and you want to make sure you can get it easily and quickly)  Also my definition of well documented evidently is different than theirs, just a word of caution. Beyond getting the theme installed there really was no other helpful documentation. However, thanks to the author’s help forum I found almost all of the information I needed without even having to ask a question myself. So make sure after you purchase a theme you register for the author’s help forum. I had WordPress up and running in less than a day but it took me weeks to tweak my theme and research plugins to install as I needed. This is where knowing a little about CSS was handy. If you use Firefox I highly recommend the “Firebug” add-on. I believe other browsers have web developer tools also but with Firefox you need to get Firebug. It’s an invaluable tool.

I absolutely love a good challenge but there were times I thought I was in over my head with the theme I chose. I plan to look at Elegant Themes next and give them a try. They have a lot of good reviews and are recommended especially for those new to WordPress and the price for a one year membership (which gives access to all of their themes) is about the same as I paid for one theme.

Next time I’ll cover some of the plug-ins I use, along with some do’s and dont’s I’ve learned. WordPress really is an amazing platform with a huge community behind it, which makes doing your homework quite easy and you may even find some new friends along the way.