Site Design

Just after Christmas 2011, a few months after meeting my husband, he surprised me by buying and registering the domain name NineDarkMoons.com – something I’d always wanted but had never actually pursued [click HERE for an explanation on the name].  I had NO idea where to start.  Which is why, 18 months later, the site was still unpublished & collecting dust in the vastness of GoDaddy’s digital warehouse.  Or wherever dormant domain names patiently wait…  Every few months he’d prod me to fiddle with it, or at least read about web page design so I’d have a clue where to start.  But I kept dragging my feet.  Without a central theme or focus for the site, it was still just an abstract dream, to be pursued “someday”.

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Then, during the Spring of 2013, [on a completely different topic, but bear with me] I decided to change out the ugly beige switchplate covers in our condo with white ones.  Once they were all replaced, I stood back to admire my work but could only fixate on the ugly beige SWITCHES sitting in the middle of all the white.  Grrrrrrr.  So I got out my art paint and brush and painted some switches white.  Which looked like CRAP.  You could totally see the brushstrokes, and the paint refused to go on evenly.  So I consulted the Google, and one of the top hits was UglyDucklingHouse.com, a DIY and home improvement blog run by Sarah from Georgia.

my site is run through wordpress

And at that moment, my entire life changed!!!  Sarah’s DIY blog not only taught me how to paint light switches with spray paint especially formulated for plastic surfaces, but also took me on her journey of single-handedly remodeling her entire house, all by herself, with a garage full of power tools and a knack for humor and wit.  I read her whole DIY site start to finish [it took over a month to read through all 4 years] and learned about repairing drywall, installing hardwood floors, building custom furniture, cutting through rock and tile with special drills, bits and blades, and a whole bunch more bad-assery. When I was done reading her site, I needed more!!!  So I followed a link over to DIYDiva.net where I found Kit from Michegan.

my site's theme is mantra by cryout creations

Kit has been building, tearing down, gutting, rebuilding and remodeling her houses for almost a decade. And she’s barely 30!  Mind blowing.  Her collection of power tools is beyond extraordinary.  And she has miniature donkeys! *cuteness overload*  She and Sarah have writing styles that not only teach me invaluable stuff, but often make me laugh out loud and occasionally snort tea through my nose.  Because of them, I now feel like I can do just about anything around the house, without having to hire professionals.  It’s thanks to them that I now own a Little Giant ladder [best $300 I’ve spent in a long time], drywall tape, joint compound, frogtape, grout tools, and paint brushes that are perfect for girls with small hands.  Thank you Sarah and Kit for changing my life forever!

my wordpress admin dashboard

So back to NineDarkMoons.com.  Now that I discovered a love for DIY home improvement projects [which isn’t surprising considering my father has been the king of DIY home improvement projects my entire life, and my bro’s not too shabby either], I had a focal point for my website.  After 18 months of procrastinating, it was finally time to get started!  NineDarkMoons.com is hosted by GoDaddy.com.  GoDaddy is partnered with WordPress.com.  WordPress helps you set up your website by offering a bazillion free website themes [aka templates] for everyone from professional developers to people who still can’t tie their shoes.  But after a couple days of trying to figure out the relationship between GoDaddy, WordPress, templates and my domain name [not to mention plugins and widgets…], I became so frustrated at my ineptitude that I had to walk away for a bit.  Right around that time, I was still making my way through DIYDiva.net and came upon Kit’s tutorial on How to Host Your Own WordPress Site with GoDaddy.  Score!!!  I was able to muddle my way through enough of the steps to actually accomplish something.

mozilla firebug helps tweak css code

After sampling about 20 different WordPress themes I became increasingly frustrated when most didn’t allow for extensive customization.  I mean, who wants to have a website that looks just like someone else’s?  I wanted a black background, dammit!  And a fun font.  And stars!  I could visualize what I wanted in my head – but I couldn’t find a theme to get me there.  Or even close.  So I went back to Google and searched for “the best customizable WordPress themes”, which is how I found the Mantra theme by Cryout Creations.  Mantra offers over 100 customization options AND – most importantly – allows you to insert blocks of your own CSS code to tweak their theme as crazily as you want.  And now, after months of trial and error [and headaches, and maybe a few tantrums], I’ve finally got the site pretty much looking the way I’ve always envisioned it.  It’s a wonderful feeling!  Thankfully CSS coding [which controls the look and formatting of websites] is very intuitive and easy to get the hang of.  Especially when you have Mozilla’s FireBug to assist you!

OMG!  This post started out as a tiny paragraph thanking Sarah, Kit and Cryout Creations… *face palm*

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