You Commented, and Won an Award

The Blogging World is special.  We draw inspiration from blog posts, we laugh, and sometimes cry at what we read.  But the nicest part of blogging, are your fellow bloggers. They come from all around the world, some might be in your neighborhood, some might have kangaroos, donkeys, or moose roaming their backyards, but no matter what their surroundings are or what they have lurking in their backyards, they are our family.  The great big blogging family.  We anxiously await every day for their post to arrive in our inboxes to brighten our day.  They make life fun.  They share their lives with us, their travel plans, their insane happenings on the job, their crafts, and lots of great photographs of their pets.

All of my fellow bloggers, I hold near and dear to my heart, but there are six bloggers who consistently visit and leave special comments.  To them, I say Thank You!  So today, I am giving you an award – – – “The Top Commenter Award” on Nikitaland!  [This is based on the 1,000 most recent comments]  So, to the top six, go ahead and grab your award, you deserved it, and add it to your sidebar with pride!

TOP COMMENTER AWARD 250 x 250

  1. Boomdeeadda96 comments
  2. Pride in Photography – 82 comments
  3. Free Range Cow – 32 comments
  4. The Misadventures of Misaki – 23 comments
  5. Long Life Cats & Dogs – 21 comments
  6. Our Retired Life – 14 comments

Keep the comments coming!  You’ve got a lot to say and we love hearing from you!  I also encourage everyone else who visits Nikitaland to leave a comment on your next visit and share the love of this great big blogging family!  We’ll leave the light on for ya…

If you want to make the “top comments list”, start commenting today!

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

dragonsloyaltyaward

I would have never thought that when I woke up this morning that not only one, but two blog awards would have been bestowed upon Nikitaland, but they were!  WOW!  And, thank you….(insert humble bow here)

Angie’s Grapevine nominated Nikitaland for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award.  Thank you so much for thinking of us at Nikitaland!

Here are the rules for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award:

  • Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
  • Announce your win with a written post and link to whoever presented your award.
  • Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have liked them in the post.
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Here are the seven interesting things about me that you always wanted to know!

  1. I have worked as a professional landscaper in my life!  I know how to build stone walls & walks, drive a Bob Cat, install a sprinkler system, and grade lawns with a tractor!  Would you have ever guessed that?
  2. I love creating things!  I also have a great idea for an Invention that I have never seen ever before in stores & if I ever get it patented, I could become a millionaire!  (if anyone wants to help me get it patented, let me know)
  3. I am a Law & Order junkie, and my newest favorite show is The Big Bang Theory.
  4. I blog sometimes in my jammies!  It’s easy to do since I work from home.
  5. I live with my awesome boyfriend and we have two furry four-legged children, Nikita & Bella.  I always greet him by the door with a glass of wine every night he arrives home.  (now that is what I call loving curb service!)
  6. My camera is with me at all times, as you just never know what you will run across that you want to photograph.  (thank God I have a huge external hard drive for all my photo’s)
  7. I have always wished I could sing.  If I ever ran across a Genie who granted me three wishes, that would be one of them.  Then, I could register for American Idol and make it to Hollywood!

Thank you again Angie’s Grapevine for this awesome nomination & award! It is truly appreciated!

Now, here are my nominations for this awesome Dragon’s Loyalty Award:

Super Sweet Blogging Award

SUPER SWEET BLOGGING AWARD

TGIF, but what a great Friday morning it is because Nikitaland was just nominated for the Super Sweet Blogging Award by Me, You and Zu.  We are so honored and blessed that they find our blog, well…so “sweet”!  Thank You!

I have been blogging for two years, eight months & two days now and this blog was created because we rescued our little angel, Nikita from the APL.  She was one lucky dog to find her forever home with us & has the best Mommy & Daddy too!  About eight months ago, we rescued our second dog, Bella who has become Nikita’s best friend.

I love blogging and opening the proverbial door for you into our lives, sharing our day to day antics, a craft project or two, and capturing some awesome photographs of the dogs and a few silly poses too!

Thank you Me, You and Zu for nominating Nikitaland for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!

Here are the rules for the Super Sweet Blogging Award:

  • Thank the Super Sweet Blogger who nominated you
  • Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award image in your blog post
  • Answer the five Super Sweet questions
  • Nominate a baker’s dozen bloggers for Super Sweet Blogging Awards
  • Notify your nominees on their blogs

Here are the five Super Sweet questions:
(Questions answered by Val, Nikita & Bella)

  1. Cookies or Cakes? {Val} Definitely both cookies & cakes!  {Nikita & Bella} Milkbone treats for sure!  (we’ll do anything for a treat)
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla? {Val} Definitely chocolate!  Anything chocolate!  You buy it, it won’t last long around here!
  3. Favorite Sweet Treat? {Val} All time favorite sweet treat would be my homemade Red Velvet Cake or chocolate chip cookies
  4. When do you crave sweet things most? {Val} When I’m awake!  {Nikita & Bella} Us, crave treats?  Heck, anytime we look at the “treat” jar!  We’ll do almost anything for a treat!
  5. Sweet nickname? {Val} Boo Boo or Sunshine.  {Nikita} Boobilee Boop.  {Bella} Wanker

Here are my baker’s dozen+ Super Sweet Nominees to receive the Super Sweet Blogging Award:

A great big THANK YOU again to Me, You and Zu for nominating Nikitaland for this awesome sweet award!

How To Add A Watermark To Your Photographs

BLOGGING TIPSDON’T STEAL THAT!  “That’s Mine”.  It happens every day. Someone steals your photograph and uses it as their own.  Shame on you!  Being a photographer, you work hard. You strive to get the best shot. You slave sometimes over your computer to tweak it until it is perfect.  It takes hours, some times days.  You take pride in the work that you do and above all, you don’t want someone to just swoop in and steal your work.  It happens.  We’re not happy with it.  But there is a way that you can safeguard your photographs on your blog or your website.  Simply, place a Watermark on each and every photograph you take and upload to your blog, otherwise, you are leaving yourself wide open to the possibility of someone stealing it.  That’s the last thing you want to happen after all the work you put into taking a great photo, right?

BLOG TIP NO 3HOW TO ADD A WATERMARK TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS:

Head on over to PicMonkey and click on Create A Collage.  Let’s get started!

 

 

STEP 1: Click on Create A Collage

STEP 1 CREATE A COLLAGE

STEP 2: A collage of three panels opens

STEP 2 COLLAGE OPENS UP

STEP 3:  Hover mouse in corner of one of the three collage boxes.

Click the “X” to remove one of the three cells.  Now you have 2 cells.

Click the “X” again in the 2nd box until you only have 1 cell left.

STEP 3 CLICK TO REMOVE CELL

STEP 4:  Now that you have only one panel showing, click on the Background button (which looks like a paint pad).  Check the box for a “Transparent Background”

STEP 6 CLICK TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND

STEP 7 TRANSPARENT

STEP 5:  Click Save.  Name your file.  Save your file as a PNG, not a JPG.

STEP 9 SAVE AS A PNG

STEP 6:  After you have saved your test watermark to your computer, go back to PicMonkey and click on Edit Photo.  Open up your test watermark with the transparent background.

STEP 10 EDIT PHOTO

STEP 7:  This is where you will begin to create your Watermark design.  Click on the “P” for Text.

STEP 11 CLICK THE P FOR TEXT

STEP 8:  This is the fun part!  In PicMonkey, you have lots of free fonts to play with, so have fun.  Click to Add Text.  A text box opens.  Type what you want for your watermark.  Hint:  You can add more than one text box too for your watermark with different fonts too!  (for my example, I used two text boxes with two different fonts)

STEP 12 ADD TEXT

STEP 9:  View what your watermark will look like.  If you don’t like it, you can change it at this point.

STEP 13 CREATE YOUR WATERMARK

STEP 10:  Crop your Watermark.  Click on the Crop button and crop around your Watermark as close as you can without damaging your text.

STEP 14 CROP WATERMARK

STEP 11:  Once you have cropped your Watermark (as shown above in my example), you need to Save it again, and make sure you save it as a PNG and not a JPG.  Your Watermark is now ready to be used on any of your photographs.  (Note:  You can use this new Watermark over and over again)

STEP 12:  Open a Photograph that you want to add your Watermark to.  (Hi Nikita!)

STEP 16 OPEN PHOTOSTEP 13:  Click on Overlays

STEP 15 OPEN PHOTO ADD OVERLAY

STEP 14:  Click on Add your Own Overlay, which is going to be the Watermark file you just created.

STEP 17 ADD YOUR OWN OVERLAY

STEP 15:  Your new Watermark will now pop up on top of your photograph.    You can resize your Watermark just by dragging the sides of the box around the Watermark.  Place your Watermark where you want on your photograph.  Make sure it the the size you want, and you’re done!  Now, just  save your photograph and you have now locked in your Watermark on your photograph permanently.

STEP 18 DRAG SIDES OF WATERMARK TO RESIZE

Here is the finished photograph with its new Watermark!

NIKITA LOOKING UP

You will not have to go through all of the steps above to add a Watermark to a photograph.  I know what you are thinking, phew!  Once you have created your Watermark & have saved it, all you will need to do is open PicMonkey, edit photo, click on add overlay (which will be your Watermark) and place your Watermark where you want it on your photo.  Save photo.

I just wanted to be as detailed as I could to give you the dirt on how to create a Watermark for your photographs.  It is important to protect your work.  It is important to protect what is yours.  It is important to stop others from stealing from you and using your photographs as their own.  It ends here.  Now, get going and protect what is yours!  You will thank me later.

And, as always, if you get stuck in any of these steps, let me know and I will be more than happy to assist you!

If you missed the first two blog tips, here they are:
TIP No. 1:  How to Add Tickers to your blog
Tip No. 2:  How to Create an Animated GIF

 

Let’s Get Animated

BLOGGING TIPSContinuing on with scouring the “information highway” or web for interesting things that you can do to spice up your blog, I went on a searching safari for how to animate your photo’s, or How to Create an Animated GIF.

It’s a real jungle out there and you could get lost in all the websites that provide tutorial assistance, but I found a website that was self-explanatory and easy to use.

BLOG TIP N0 2HOW TO CREATE AN ANIMATED GIF FOR YOUR BLOG:

The website is called Picasion and you can create an animated GIF in just a few minutes, or faster than you can finish a cup of coffee.

First, take a sip of coffee, and head on over to Picasion.  The first thing that you need to do is to upload your photographs.  As you can see, it shows that you can upload three photographs, but you can upload more than that.  Select your images from your computer.  Choose the size of your GIF.  (for the sample that I created, I used the “normal” setting)  Then, choose the speed.  (once again, I chose the “normal” setting)  Click “Create Animation”.  As you can see from below, I created a simple Animated GIF from four photographs of Bella and it turned out great!  This definitely adds a little spice to the blog!  I can see a lot of great uses for this already, for example, I can illustrate how our little seedlings are growing by grouping a few photographs together as the Animated GIF flips through the photographs!

gif animatorspicasion.com gif animators

In just a minute you will see your very first Animated GIF, congratulations on a job well done!  But wait….. you still need to get it on your blog post.  Don’t fret, as that part is easy too.  If you are looking at your finished animated GIF right now on Picasion, then you will see that there is a lot of “HTML Code” listed right below your GIF, highlight and copy the code for HTML Code for Blog/Website.

Now, just head on over to your WordPress Dashboard, and create a new post.  When you are to the point in your blog post that you would like to add your Animated GIF, click on the “Text” tab and paste the code you just copied, then click back to the visual tab.  You will now be able to see your Animated GIF live in action on your blog post!  And if you want to check it out before hitting the publish button, click Preview first, and if it’s ok, click Publish.

NOTE:  While testing this process, I found that your animated GIF looked better if your photographs were in succession.

If you create your own Animated GIF from this tutorial, let us know!  Good luck and have fun and keep checking back for more blogging tips!

If you missed Blog Tip #1: How To Add Tickers To Your Blog

How To Add Tickers To Your Blog

BLOGGING TIPSEveryone blogs for different reasons.  For fun, for their pets, family life, gardening tips, photography, fashion, and some blog to earn extra money.  For whatever the reason you blog, we all want the traffic to our blogs, we want followers, we love “likes”, and we love comments.

Trying to find neat things to enhance our blog is hard.  Most of us don’t have the time to do extensive research on blogging, so I decided to do the research for you!  Every week, I will try my best to find some unique blog enhancements that you can use on your blog.

BLOG TIP NO 1First up, I found a great website for adding tickers to your blog.  You can add a ticker for a birthday, anniversary, days to a holiday, pet birthday, days to an event, and much more.  Daisy Path is where you can find all of these awesome tickers for your blog.

I have added a few “tickers” to the sidebar of my blog to show you what they look like.  I have added one for Nikita and one for Bella, one for Nikitaland’s Anniversary, and since we love Halloween, I added one to count down the days until Halloween.  When you find the type of ticker you want to use on Daisy Path, you have a choice of a mini (or small) or large ticker.  The size you choose all depends on the width of your blogs sidebar.  (the ones that I used were the mini ones)

Once you have found the type of ticker you want to use, enter in the data of your event, and in the last step, all you need to do is select “WordPress” and Daisy Path gives you the HTML code.  Just copy the code, and head on over to your WordPress Dashboard and select appearance, then widget, select Text Widget, drag the text widget box to your sidebar and paste the HTML code into the box, click save.  Now go check out your blog to see what it looks like.  If you don’t like it, you can always delete it!

Create one today!  Perhaps you can add one to count down the days until your next vacation!  Have fun!

Pinterest Content-Sharing Site Hacked

On Friday, the Pinterest site was hacked.  Our local news ran a story on this and you can read about it here.  I would strongly advise everyone to change their Pinterest passwords immediately to something very strong.

With this being said, there is a way that you can SAVE a copy of your Pin Boards as a PDF for a backup.  Here’s what you do:

Go into each one of your boards one at a time

Press Control P (which will bring up the printing box)

Instead of using the print option, look for “print to PDF” or “save as PDF”

Save them where you would like and choose a file name
(I created a master PINTEREST file & when I saved each Board, I named it exactly what the boards name is)

Repeat this for all of your Boards

Hint:  Make sure all of your Pins are done “fetching” or your PDF will not be complete with all your pins

Hint: Do this often and save your Boards on a weekly or monthly basis and when you do, you can overwrite the pin board you have already saved on your computer.

What’s nice about this, is that you now have all of your Boards saved, all of the photographs with descriptions below each photo is showing and the photo’s are clickable links too in your PDF.

Just wanted to pass along some valuable information in case any of your Boards or Pinterest accounts were hacked.  Take some time today and backup your Boards as a PDF and save them to your computer, because I know that if I woke up one day and found no Boards on my Pinterest account, I would be upset.

And, if you wanted to check out my Pinterest Boards, click here.

A Twinkle In My Eye

Image

When you love photography as much as I do, you can always find something to put a little twinkle in your eye!  Our dog, Nikita, always has a special place in our hearts!

I entered this photograph into a contest on another blog and you can vote for it by clicking on the “Like” button through this link:  http://rodposse.com/2013/01/21/4th-challenger-eye/ The way this contest works is, whoever receives the most “Likes” on their photograph, wins the contest!  Thanks for taking the time to vote!  My photograph is one of seven entries.

If you like my entry for this contest, head on over and click on the “Like” button here:  http://rodposse.com/2013/01/21/4th-challenger-eye/

Wish me luck!

When Blogging Creates Friendships

I am embarking on my third year of blogging, as it all started when we adopted our puppy Nikita from the APL.  I thought it would be easier to share photographs of her growing up and funny stories of her life, but somewhere along the way, blogging created friendships and much more.  Yep, we still blog about the silly things that Nikita does, and have added another rescued puppy to our family named Bella, but our blog has also added along the way our craft projects, and lots of life’s experiences.

For those of you who have blogs, you all know the reason why you started your blog.  It could be to promote your products on Etsy, sharing your crafts and decorating ideas on Pinterest, or you simply blog to create an outlet for your thoughts.  But when blogging creates friendships… that is priceless.

I have viewed so many blogs over the years of some of the most creative people and their craftiness has really blown me away, and just when I thought that I was creative, I would definitely take second seat to those whose craft projects were amazing.  That will not deter me from being crafty at all, but it only makes me work harder in coming up with new things, so thanks for pushing me to the next level you crafty crafters!

BOOMDEEADDAOne special person in mind is Kelly over at http://www.boomdeeadda.wordpress.com as she is the reason for this blog post.  She is so sweet and has the neatest blog ever and I encourage each and every one of you reading this to head on over to her blog and tell her that we sent you her way!  She has a unique writing style and a great sense of humor, not to mention that she has taken crafting to the next level.  Her attention to detail in her crafts goes way beyond what my crafting experience has even brushed the surface, and that is one of the reasons why I admire her so much.

Kelly had a fun blog post back in December and held a contest and to my surprise, I won!  Yippee is what I said when I received the email of my winning entry!  She advised me that I would be expecting my gift in the mail and I could not wait as I knew it would be something awesome.

NIKITA AND BELLA HELP OPEN PACKAGE

Well, my package arrived yesterday in the mail and I was on pins and needles to open it.  Nikita and Bella inspected the box by sniffing it all over as they usually do when I bring in the mail.  (they make me laugh every time they do this!)  Even the outside of the brown paper wrapped box had cute little stars stamped all over the paper (and yes, I noticed that little detail too)  I carefully opened the brown paper only to find that the box inside was wrapped in beautiful Christmas paper with a ribbon in her favorite color! (noticed that too)  Now, it was time to unwrap my goodie box to see what was inside!

PACKAGE

Upon opening the box, I found the most beautiful note which made me cry and underneath the note, I saw this:

HUGS

Inside the box I even found a gift wrapped up for both Nikita and Bella which I am wondering if they could smell it through the box.  Kelly had sent them some dental chews and I know that they will love them.

GIFT FOR NIKITA AND BELLA

I continued to dig in the box and found a bag of snow and at the bottom of the box was my beautiful prize….bleached wire trees!  The trees were painted in beautiful pastel colors and all I know after seeing these, is that I want to bring back Christmas so I can set them up on display!

PACKAGE CONTENTS

TREES2

TREES

I can’t thank Kelly enough for such a wonderful package that truly made my day yesterday.  Her loving heart and creativity overflowed in this little box of goodness which is a gift in itself and one that I will never forget.

Blogging has been a great outlet for me and I have loved every minute of it, but creating wonderful friendships is truly priceless.

 

NIKITALAND: 2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for Nikitaland, here are the awesome results.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 19,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Make Your Blog Stats Soar With Some Candy!

Make your blog stats soar with some candy!  No, I am not telling you to bribe anyone to get better stats, but you can be creative and think outside the box a little and get your blog some attention this Halloween.

In our neighborhood, we are certain that we’ll see about 150-200 trick-or-treaters arriving at our house this year, so what better way to get the word out about your blog, than to create some BLOG CALLING CARDS if you don’t already have some.  When you are preparing your candy bags this year, make sure you include one of your blog cards in the candy bag, as we all know that the PARENTS check their kids candy first before any consumption of sugar happens!

Be proud of your blog, and use this opportunity to spread the word about it as it will help you to:

  • Get some new subscribers (we love followers)
  • Increase your blog views (we love those stats)
  • Make some new friends (there is always room for more friends)

I know that I am going to be quite busy up until Halloween with our props, but I would be more than happy to help you create a blog card so that you don’t miss out on an opportunity to help your blog grow.  Let the kids eat some candy, and the parents can peruse your blog!