I’ve mentioned on this site in passing back in March that I was working on a new project. A blog for me to separate things such as recipes, product reviews, crafts, and a lot more from this blog as I want to keep this as more of a personal journal-type blog. I’d like to introduce The Great Canadian Housewife! I have finally gotten it to where I want it and starting to work on monetizing it. I think I have also mentioned before that I really wanted to sort of turn blogging into a job. Well, since I am going back to school and taking web development I figured this would just be another project that would provide me with experience and give me another project to work on.
Initially, I had planned to create my own theme for it but when I was looking around for ideas I stumbled upon the theme I am using for it in on a blog in a post for free WordPress themes. I sometimes will download a theme, play around with it and see what I can do with it, mainly for practice and inspiration but once I got in there and started customizing it a little I realized it turned out perfectly the way I wanted it so I figured for now why spend the time making one from scratch when it works perfectly. Eventually, I will but for now, I actually ended up really liking the theme. It has some elements in it I really like and am not able to re-create myself (for now).
The name, The Great Canadian Housewife came to me one day when I was trying to come up with a domain name and project and I was thinking about shows and thought about The Great Canadian Race and I wanted the blog to be themed towards being a housewife, maybe one day a mother, and about all the fun things you can do right in the comfort of your own home and the name came to me while I was thinking about it and I fell in love with it and registered it that night. The only bad thing I would have to say about it is the length but at the same time, it’s pretty easy to remember.
Obviously the blog has “Canadian” in it because I am Canadian (and frankly I didn’t think about using Nova Scotia) but you don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy it. It’s for everyone!
First off, I’m going to apologize, this is not a tutorial or anything like that. Just observations. I’ve had this theme a while now. It was completed mostly from scratch from a blank starter template because I am too lazy to code it from the beginning (and honestly I am guessing I am not the only one, it’s beyond laziness it’s about productivity). I don’t really know everything I need to do to make one that will be responsive etc, so I started with _s (underscores) and then it was suggested to me on the WordPress forums to switch to components a little while back as it was more up-to-date. At the time I was just getting started with _s and getting used to taking a design which I had conceptualized either in my head and/or in Photoshop and turning it into a theme in WordPress, so I wanted to continue with _s before delving into another starter theme.
For those of you not familiar with a starter theme and I am sure a lot if not most of you are but I will give a brief explanation of what it is and why some developers use them. I’m no developer by far but I plan to be one eventually. Basically a starter theme is a WordPress theme that is blank with minimal or no design, they usually come with the most commonly used templates in WordPress. You can add templates, edit the existing ones, change and add CSS and much more. So why should WordPress Developers consider using a starter theme? Well, it gives them a head start on projects, gives them a good solid base to start on whether they have created their own starter theme that they re-use, or whether they are using one of the other good ones that are out there already.
I hope one day to create my own starter theme that I will use for projects with everything I think a good solid design needs and with options that can be added or omitted for certain types of designs. I think once you have a good foundation of PHP and WordPress templates along with HTML and CSS it should not be too hard to do. It has taken me a while to get this theme where I want it. I have been working on it ever since I put it up back at the beginning of the year (or was it last year some time? I don’t even know). I have been able to create a good theme for my blog that I can use as a basis and I want to eventually start re-creating it in components or another starter theme. I’ll look into them more when the time comes.
In the meantime, I have made some changes over the last few days to this theme. Obviously I have changed some of the colors a little (not much) and added a background that shows at the top and bottom to make it less plain looking. I’ve been working on fixing errors, bugs or whatever you want to call them. If you happen to notice any more please let me know. I want to try and recreate and fix them as they are found. I was able to fix a few things as well that were driving me nuts. My 404 and search pages were missing the sidebar and just looked weird so I fixed that as well.
I am not so sure about the responsiveness right now. I have been looking for some good tools to help me test things out so again if anyone knows of any please let me know what your go-to tools are for testing your websites. I know for instance that depending on your screen size the menu may not look quite right. I have tried to fix it but not 100% sure I have. I am not sure how to make a good responsive menu and looking it up has not really given me anything that seems to work right so I a still working on that and a few other things especially when viewing the site from a mobile phone or tablet.
So far I really feel a sense of accomplishment with what I have taught myself over the years and it just goes to further cement in my mind that this is the right option for me. I love this and could not imagine a life without blogging and creating themes and designing websites. Right now I am most comfortable with WordPress but I want to start learning and exploring some other content management systems and website and blogging platforms that are popular at the moment (or at that time). I am really happy where things are headed and feel like I finally have found something I am good at and now I am finally realizing that with a bit of guided structure I can become much better and really make a good career out of it.