Notice: This entry was published 4 years ago and may no longer reflect my views today.

Papergreen Remix

Last night, I quietly launched my new blog theme. Say hello to Papergreen (DJ to the Cutesiness Remix) feat. Bones and Sass. Yes, that is the official name. Themes named like obnoxious dance pop songs are important to me.

Originally, I was going to simply rearrange my previous theme to have a sidebar and convert older posts into excerpts. Hence, the “remix.” What started out as rearranging turned into a brand new theme as I found more and more things I didn’t like. In the end, I was left with only the fonts and colors staying the same. So I guess I do theme remixes the way Jennifer Lopez does her top-hit remixes.

Bones and Sass

I figured since I was basically starting over, I should begin with a framework. I looked up a few, and I’ve been interested in Genesis for a good while now (shoutout to my girl Eirene, my go-to Genesis informant) but wasn’t ready to shell out the money just yet. I tried out a few free ones to start with, and they didn’t click with me. I felt like they made things more complicated than they have to be. This is just a personal blog, after all. In the end, I settled for Bones. I love it!

Bones isn’t a framework so much as a starter theme. It’s meant to be used on a per-project basis and there was a good bit of editing on my end to get it to work the way I want. It’s so awesome though, and did I mention that it comes with Sass? Sass is love, Sass is life. I’ve been using it at work, but I’ve never done so in my personal projects. Oh, where has it been all my life? Thanks to Bones and Sass, I managed to finish my theme in probably half the development time.

By the way, if you haven’t been using CSS preprocessors on your projects, I definitely recommend you to get started! They improve your workflow so much. There’s Sass, Less, and stylus. Which one you use is completely up to you and what you’re comfortable with. I’m not well-versed on the other two so I can’t say much about them. All I can tell you is I love Sass.

Layout

The main focus of this theme is the layout, as in the arrangement of my blog’s elements. I’ve never liked how sidebars always seemed tacked on and used as a dumping ground for any information that didn’t belong elsewhere. It’s why I avoided them in my previous two themes. Of course, I ended up just dumping info on my footer so it’s not like I’m not any different. :’D I wanted every bit of my site to have a purpose and a proper place.

I’ve done away with a static sidebar in place of one that changes in context of the page you’re viewing. For example, a “Recent Posts” widget would make sense in a single entry page to help you navigate through my archives, but it wouldn’t make sense on the front page when you’re already looking at the recent posts. Another example is a sitemap being beneficial when you’re looking at a static page rather than a blurb about me, especially when you’re already on the About page. I’ve tried my best to make the sidebar useful and not redundant wherever you might be.

Speaking of about me blurbs, I moved it to the top of my front page as more of an introduction to my site. Navigating away from the front page replaces it with random facts. My stats tell me that the majority of my hits enter my front page first, and I figured once is enough for you to be introduced to my site. Plus, random facts are cool. I picked out a few fun ones from Uselessfacts.net. Do tell me of any fun trivia you know!

Category Grids and Social Icons

Papergreen-Remix-grid

To make my front page more useful, I’ve added some featured categories after my recent entries. I was going to go with five, but they looked like overkill so I cut them down to three. If any of you want to skip right over entries about my life (pfft thanks), you can head on over down there for my better written stuff. They only show up on my front page and subsequent entry pages to stick with my contextual goal. They vanish on my static pages and individual entry pages so as not to take focus away.

I also have social media icons after my category grids. I’m still not very proactive about my online ~*presence*~ but I’m always up for adding people. In particular, I’m hoping to use my Github account more as I have a few project ideas lined up for Tumblr (not themes!). I have another Github account for work that’s way more active, but I wanted to separate my side projects from my professional ones. Plus, I don’t wanna deal with any potential messiness involving work and my online stuff. For private repos, I use Bitbucket, where my theme is stored. If you’re into numbers, my repository for Papergreen Remix has two branches and 11 commits.

A note about icon fonts
I used Font Awesome for my social icons. AdBlock (particularly the Firefox version) is notorious for blocking Font Awesome. If you’re using AdBlock and you can’t see my icons, please reconfigure your settings or consider whitelisting my site. I don’t place any ads on my blog, and if I can help it, I never will.

And All the Rest

I updated my About and Links pages in line with my theme launch. My plugins list was horribly outdated, but now you should be able to see all the plugins I use. It’s a lot, to be honest. Someday I hope for WordPress to be lightweight and not bloated (HA). For links, I added some fun sites as well as resources on my links page. I also come out as a Redditor (lurker, to be exact). I’m still working on adding a few more. I’d love to know any fun sites you visit regularly! I’m also down for link exchanges.

What do you think? Love it/hate it/get off my internets? I’d love to hear your feedback, especially about this whole contextual elements thing I’m trying to do. Ugh, that sounds like such a corporate buzzword but I honestly don’t know what else to call it. Next theme, we will be discussing synergy and prioritizing core competencies!

Vectors are courtesy of Freepik.

Comments

  1. Oh, this looks really nice! Simple, but super effective, and easy on the eyes!

    I really should update my layout, and make it mobile-friendly, but I’ve no motivation/time/blah to do it. One of these days, hopefully . . .
    Tara recently posted…A Belated Back-to-Work PostMy Profile

    1. Thanks! I’m really liking minimalist themes lately. :D

      You should keep your illustration if you do change your theme! It’s so cute haha.

  2. Did SASS help with making it mobile friendly because damn girl, it’s wonderful on my phone! (commenting on my phone atm lol). Your category grids are also great!! I might use it as ~~inspiration ~~ for my romance blog lol.

    Ah I’m really enjoying being on your blog on mobile, it’s so idk friendly hahahaha

  3. I LOVE IT. It’s so fresh, so clean and so easy on the eyes.

    I honestly wish I could play around with Bones and SASS, but I realized I don’t have the patience to learn new web stuff on top of my PT stuff. New priorities, I guess.

    Is it just me or is the new stuff for web-design a lot more complicated nowadays?
    Kristine recently posted…Not Quite New BeginningsMy Profile

    1. I would say yes and no. A lot of webdev tools out there are designed to help you work faster and keep things simpler, and they really do. Once you try them, you’ll wonder how you ever went by without them.

      On the other hand, there’s definitely a learning curve and you have to get real comfortable with Terminal/Command prompt to install a lot of them. It’s not easy when you’re on a Windows machine either because it’s not Unix-based. I’m trying to install Node.js on my computer right now, and it’s not working aarrrgh. If you ever wanna be a web developer, just use Mac or Linux haha.

      I say take it one at a time and pick something you feel like you can do. Webdev is a constant learning process, and even for people who do it for a living, the learning never stops.

  4. Ahh, love this! I’ve been planning to get mine mobile-friendly as well but I have yet to figure that out. Soon maybe.

    I’ve been caught up with a lot of other things I’ve been wanting to do that sometimes I feel like I want a whole lot of stuff I wouldn’t be able to handle. XD
    Trisha recently posted…#100happydays 027: Last Minute CraftingMy Profile

  5. I’m totally loving your layout! Especially with the random quotes below the header. I’ve been wanting to use Genesis too but it’s costly! I’m glad to hear that you found a Bones and it’s free! I might give it a try later on; I tried some frameworks and such but haven’t found a good one I liked yet. Your category featured posts look awesome! The grids are ftw. Bonus points for keeping it simple!

  6. I absolutely love your new theme! It’s AMAZING!

    Very simple, yet very nice and clean. I should have reached out to you to build my theme because I’m sure it doesn’t have a mobile version.
    angel recently posted…HIV ResultsMy Profile

    1. Aha, my themes have always been responsive but they weren’t always optimized for mobile. I’m trying to change my habits and take a mobile-first approach.

  7. Love the new design! I love your color scheme; the shade of red you picked is very lovely (it’s my favorite shade of red, to be honest) and the green compliments it very well. this is indeed a refreshing layout; it’s sleek, organized and not plain boring.

    I never heard of framework being real before…at least until my host , tiffany bee, introduced me to framework and genesis. And it wasn’t until your post that I realized Bones exists too. wordpress is really something; it’s so advanced and loved that you can do unlimited and countless of things with it. the first time I tried genesis, I was so confuse with everything! I even thought about deleting the framework and just code everything from scratch, including the responsiveness as well. in the end, because i’m lazy to media query css and such, i end up tweaking a little on genesis haha though the whole wp hook thing is still so confusing though.

    honestly, I signed up to be in interactive design major and guess what, our web design lecturer was a total crap. he himself isn’t an expect in HTML and surprisingly, he even asked ME for some html-css tweaking. I remember him not being able to help my classmate who’s a total newbie in web design and he end up telling her to ask me instead. that really suck and it piss me off so much since i was expecting to learn how to work on less, sass and stylus. now i have to self-taught myself those things again, like i did with html and css animation/media query. how annoying.

    people still get so surprise that i still code from scratch with a notepad, sometimes dreamweaver if i’m keen on using it (honestly, i prefer typing everything than have dreamweaver autocode some parts for me?) LOL i’m like a caveman..

    as for arrangements, I don’t mind sidebars though I love clean, minimalistic layout with inline navigation on header and no crowded footer best, especially if it’s for a photojournal. alas, sometimes we need those sidebars for some important stuff like blogrolls, recent post, etc. I try to keep (and I prefer) sidebars with very minimum information. one of my pet peeves is when blogs have messy, random blurbs on their sidebars, another one being autoplayed music haha

    this is a really interesting read and i have to thank you for showing useful links like font awesome and even useless facts. i really have respect for web designers who know what they’re doing. most bloggers build their web layout with uh…no structure, like they’re just throwing things around and add sparkles and glittery animation as well as cute gifs whatsoever. those things bug me, to be honest. it’s like i can’t “read” their layout, if that makes sense. simplistic layout that is straightforward works so much better. love this! :)
    Alice B recently posted…I spent too much on possible mutationMy Profile

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you found the links useful. I find a lot of cool things through bloggers linking them, so this is my way of giving back. :D

      I definitely feel you on cluttery sidebars. I tried really hard to avoid that. Pretty sure I broke a few blogger rules just to avoid an info dump on my sidebar but I’m satisfied at least.

      Frameworks/starter themes are awesome and they’re the future! There’s sooo many though. I got overwhelmed trying to choose one. I’m still pretty set in my ways in that I think some WordPress frameworks are trying to do too much, but it really boils down to preference and your site goals. Starter themes are much more suitable for what I need.

  8. I really love this theme and the details about it’s construction. :D The links to those resources was helpful as well. I haven’t designed a theme for myself in a long time and a lot of my hesitation is not being in the loop with bootstrap and ‘responsive’ design.

    I am going to explore now. :D
    Kya recently posted…MacaronsMy Profile

  9. I love the new layout! It’s so clean, fresh, and simple. :) I’ve never thought about or learned to use CSS preprocessors before and I’ve always seen them mentioned everywhere. I guess I should get around to learning that! Thanks for mentioning all your resources as well! I love looking at what went into making a layout because it’s such a great learning tool. ^-^

    I feel ya on the cluttered sidebars. I’ve yet to figure out how to make dynamic sidebars work (eep, lazy me) so I’ve stuck to a static one. I definitely like the concept since you’re right, why would I want a blurb of me displayed on my about me page? So redundant.

    Anyways, looks great! Looks like I’ve got much to learn to make a nice and simple layout work as well as yours :’)
    Amanda recently posted…Same old routine — now with less energy!My Profile

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