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2014 CWA Calendar
January 1 – September 30, 2014
Nominate your favourite Canadian weblogs.

November 1 – November 12, 2014
A volunteer jury chooses the top five weblogs in each category using our ten criteria for content and design.

November 15, 2014
The Ninjamatics' 2014 Canadian Weblog Awards nominee shortlist is announced.

November 16 – November 29, 2014
The volunteer jury chooses the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category using our ten criteria for content and design, plus points for category fit and a registered domain name.

December 1, 2014
The 2014 Canadian Weblog Awards winners are announced!
Link to the CWA
2014 Canadian Weblog Awards
<a href="" title="2014 Canadian Weblog Awards"><img src="" alt="2014 Canadian Weblog Awards" height="150" width="150" /></a>
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An Icon Set For

I created an icon set with links for Brené Brown's favourite things using Nicholas Wilton's original artwork:

icon set/links for's Favorites page

4 Kids Or More Is Alive!

I created the design for 4 Kids or More back in June, and Dawn Blanchfield did the coding work. I've been keeping it a secret ever since, which has been hard work all on it's own, and I finally get to let it out.

4 Kids or More is a new resource for the modern larger family brought to us by Kristen Chase and Meagan Francis, two blogging powerhouses in their own rights who have teamed up to share what they know:
Both of us – publishers Kristen Chase and Meagan Francis – are mothers of a passel of kids, and we’ve heard “are they ALL yours?” more than once – not to mention all kinds of stupid comments about our religious beliefs, marital status, and intelligence levels. Thing is, while blended families are great and we’re both addicted to Mormon mommy blogs, we think assumptions about why people end up with big families are kind of bogus. So we set out to create an online community that will really embrace larger-than-average families of any background or belief system.
Drop in to 4 Kids or More and welcome them to the neighbourhood!

Better Blogging: The Proposed List Of 50

flexible computer keyboard

I am working on a series about better blogging, and I've been tossing all of my ideas into a giant master list. So far, I've got 50 ideas, and they are as follows:

  1. Register your own domain name.
  2. Ditch the free templates that came with your weblogging service.
  3. Make your site easy to navigate.
  4. Have a good portion of your content showing above the fold.
  5. Have your contact information where people can see it.
  6. Make sure that your archives are accessible from the home page.
  7. Do not have things on the page that actively do stuff outside the reader's control.
  8. Font size should be large enough to be easily readable.
  9. Font colour can make or break a reader's ability to follow your text.
  10. Light text on a dark background should never happen.
  11. Have a search box on your website.
  12. Have a comments section, and make it easy to comment.
  13. Have an RSS feed available and use Feedburner.
  14. Have a permanent link posted for each weblog entry.
  15. Organize your weblog into categories.
  16. Keep unnecessary gadgets/widgets to a minimum.
  17. Keep your sidebars clean and uncluttered.
  18. If you have ads, make sure that they don't overtake your design or content.
  19. Regularly check that all of the links in your template work.
  20. Choose a good handle.
  21. Do on your weblog what you love on other weblogs.
  22. Think about what makes you different and let it show.
  23. Write an About article and link to it.
  24. Write on a regular basis.
  25. Write about things you like.
  26. Keep a running list of things to blog about as you go through your days.
  27. Create titles that indicate what you are writing about.
  28. Edit, edit, and re-edit.
  29. Spelling and grammar always count.
  30. Read your entries aloud to yourself before you publish them.
  31. Write short paragraphs.
  32. Include pictures in your content.
  33. Write posts of varying lengths.
  34. Stop worrying about always being right.
  35. Be aware that someone you know will read what you write at some point.
  36. If you write about friends and acquaintances, don't use their real full names.
  37. Enjoy what you are doing. Pretend that you are your own audience. Entertain yourself.
  38. Bare yourself, but set reasonable boundaries.
  39. Remember that your commenters are human beings.
  40. Be generous.
  41. Don't write about work.
  42. Don't speak ill of other bloggers.
  43. Don't use apologetic language.
  44. When you write about something that not everyone might automatically know or recognize, link to further information about it.
  45. Read other people's weblogs and comment on them.
  46. Do not leave comments solely to spam another site with your own website link.
  47. Perseverance is key. Write. And then write some more. Do this for years.
  48. Use less words to say more.
  49. Don't overuse your thesaurus.
  50. Read Tony Pierce's "How To Blog" and Rebecca Blood's "Weblog Ethics" and Mark Bernstein's "10 Tips On Writing The Living Web" and Elizabeth McGuane and Randall Snare's Making up Stories: Perception, Language, and the Web.
Is there anything else related to better blogging that you would add to this list before I dive into the series?

Brightly Coloured Quotation Cards for Brené Brown

I created a set of quotation cards for Brené Brown for a talk she gave to a mother-daughter service organization. She chose one quote for the front of the cards, which I created using the font from her weblog masthead and colours to reflect its palette:

Brené Brown's quotation card, back

I designed two variations of the backs of the cards, one in reds and one in blues, incorporating her weblog url into the image:

Brené Brown's quotation card, front 1

Brené Brown's quotation card, front 2

I wasn't familiar with this quote before, but I'm a fan of it now, because it's true. The world does need more people who have come alive.

Brené Gets A Bright, Fresh Look

Due to a lot of travel since the latter part of July, at least a lot as far as I am used to, I was unable to post about my latest project with Brené Brown. We re-worked her original website design with an eye to "more white space, more clarity, and increased simplicity through mindful integration", and I believe we achieved what we set out to accomplish.

First, we worked on the entry page to her website, which helped us to set the tone for what we would find inside: splash page

Then, we worked on her website's general template. We retained most of her original masthead pictured below: original masthead, updated

But we reworked it to decrease its height, remove the text along the skyline, and add the two birds and a vintage photo frame: original masthead

The new site is a bright, fresh take on her original design, so it still feels home to her long-time readers while still being a step forward into the new academic year: screenshot

If you are not already familiar with Brené and her work, make sure that you drop in on Brené and take a tour. She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, a nationally renowned speaker, an author, and the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

Brené Brown does work worth sharing, and I am so honoured to have been able to help her do just that.
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