Recently, I asked BNOTP readers if they had any questions and they did! I’ve grouped the questions and answers into several categories: Porch, General, Tablescaping and Technical. These questions were asked/answered while I was stilling blogging on the Blogger Platform, so the answers may not apply if you blog at WordPress.
Please do read through the FAQ below to see if your question is answered here in this post. If not, just drop me an email at betweennapsontheporchatgmaildotcom, and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have.
It may take me a few days to get back to you due to the volume of e-mails I receive. If you don’t receive a response, e-mail me again. I always try to answer all e-mails so if you don’t get a response, please e-mail me again.
Hope you find this information helpful…here goes.
Q. What size is the porch?
A. The porch is 18 feet wide and 14 feet deep. The ceiling reaches 12 feet at its highest point.
Q. How is your porch floor constructed?
A. The porch floor is a tongue and groove, pressured treated pine floor called KDAT, which stands for Kiln Dried After Treatment. You can read more about KDAT, HERE. My contractor had it professionally installed, then it was sanded and coated with two coats of polyurethane. He had a very thick, heavy duty subflooring installed and the KDAT flooring is both nailed and glued to the subflooring. Here’s a photo showing the subflooring. I wanted a solid flooring (not decking) to ensure bugs and mosquitoes couldn’t sneak in. If you go with deck flooring, bugs will sometimes come in through the spaces between the decking, unless you screen underneath the deck. Then debris gets caught in the screening. I wanted to avoid all those issues so I went with KDAT flooring.
The porch is around 4 years old and the flooring has held up well. I’ve had a teeny bit of cupping on one edge of the flooring, but not enough to be a problem or to even be noticeable. My contractor initially recommended a tile floor but I really wanted a porch with that old fashioned porch feel. Initially, I planned to paint the floor a porch gray. I decided in the end I wanted the transition to the decks on either side to be seamless, so the porch floor is stained with the same stain I chose for the decks, Cabot’s Heartwood.
Q. Do you have problems with rain on your floor or on your furniture on the porch?
A. I have a fairly large overhang so when it rains it rarely comes in on the floor. Occasionally, when we have strong, blowing rains, the floor will get wet a few feet in on the front side. The flooring is made to be outdoors on porches so this has not been a problem. The only furniture that gets wet is the oval table nearest the screens, and since it’s wicker with a heavily polyurethane top, this hasn’t been a problem.
Q. How do you keep your porch so clean?
A. The porch is a full story up off the ground…that probably helps keep it a bit cleaner than if it were on ground level. From April to around November, I vacuum it about once a month and give it a general dusting…takes about 15-20 minutes. It’s a porch, so I don’t worry too much if it’s a little dusty or dirty, but I do enjoy cleaning it which is weird since I never really enjoy cleaning inside. The only really bad time is during pollen season. During those few weeks, I take the cushions in (if I can remember) and just wipe the porch down about once a week until pollen season passes. I’m always very glad when that’s over, because the pollen is INTENSE here.
Q. I have a question, I wanted to know on your screen porch, did you use an outdoor paint on your hutch. My house we had in the city, had a screen in porch across the back and pollen and mildew were an issue. Just wondering what you do to prevent this. But your porch is much larger, you may not have this problem. Before we add a porch on the back, I want to be prepared!
A. Yes, I did use an exterior grade paint on the green hutch, even though it’s in a protected location on the porch.
I used exterior grade because the paint store recommended it as an extra precaution for the temperature fluctuations and humidity. You’ll find a tutorial showing how I painted the hutch along with the paint color/formula in this post: How to paint a Dark Stained Hutch
For the most part, humidity/mold/mildew have not been a problem on the porch. The swing and seating group are all “outdoor” wicker and are meant to withstand weather shifts. The wicker coffee table is real wicker but was very inexpensive ($22 from a local thrift/antique store) so I won’t mind too much if it begins to show some wear. So far it looks great but again, it never gets rained on directly.
The dining table and chairs are probably meant for indoor use, but I took a chance and they have lasted through four winters beautifully. The only piece on the porch I’ve had any problem with is the oval wicker table that’s close to the screened windows. It occasionally shows spots of mildew/mold so I use a water solution with just a hint of of bleach or 409 to wipe down the legs about once a year.
Q. Where did you find the Summer Breeze sign?
A. I found this one at a local thrift/antique store for $35. You can also find them online for around the same price by Googling the phrase, “Summer Breeze Make Me Feel Fine sign.”
Q. Do you have plans or blueprints I could borrow?
A. No, sorry, I do not have any plans or blueprints.
Q. Where did you purchase the furniture on your screened in porch?
A. Dining set came from Pier 1; Swing came from Wicker Paradise, HERE; the outdoor wicker seating group came from Pier 1. I think they have it in again this spring/summer (2012). The coffee table came from a local antique/thrift shop; the oval wicker table is old and came from a local antique shop.
Q. What kind of fans do you have on the porch and where did they come from?
A. The fans are outdoor grade and are made by Hunter. I special ordered them through Lowe’s. They were perfect for the porch because the finish is done to mimic white wicker.
Exterior grade ceiling fans is one of the nine features you’ll find mentioned in this post: 9 Great Features for Your Screened-in Porch
Q. What is the ceiling made of on the front porch and the screened-in porch?
A. I’m not real sure. I believe it came in sheets and was kind of bead-board product. It has a narrow bead board look on one side and a wider plank look on the other. I chose to show the narrow, bead board side on the front porch ceiling and the wider, plank look on the screened-in porch ceiling. Here’s a photo of it right after it was installed on the screened-in porch. Wish I had been blogging back when it was built. I would have taken lots more pics and gotten a bit more info on all the little details. Hopefully by seeing this in the raw, if you’re interested in having a ceiling like this, a Lowes associate should be able to identify it since I’m pretty sure my contractor bought everything at Lowes.
If you’re thinking about adding a screened-in porch to your home, here are some past posts you may be interested in checking out:
9 Great Features for Your Screened-in Porch
Tour the Porch
Hiding Ugly Swing Chains
Painted Hutch for Porch
Refurbishing/staining the Decks
Information about the front porch addition can be found here: Front Porch Addition
Q. I love your front door and have bought a basket (not as cute as yours – but $2 at GW) and painted it white. Where did you get those lovely daisies and how many did it take to get the overflowing effect? The ones I see are in bunches – not individual.
A. The daisies came from Michaels last summer. The daisies did come in bunches, which actually worked out better than working with a lot of loose flowers. To get the look I wanted, it took 2 bunches of the daisies…plus, I used 1 bunch of the long grassy looking stuff. They were just starting to get the fall stuff in, so I bought them on sale. I just spread them out and twisted them downward, etc…after I got them in the basket. It was much easier than working with a bunch of loose flowers. I bet Michaels will get more in this spring or at least, something similar.
Paint Brand and Colors Used Inside My Home:
Entry, Kitchen, Office and Master Bedroom: Duron, Sugar Cookie. Home Depot or Sherwin Williams can mix this color now that Duron stores are closed. You’ll also find the exact formula in THIS post.
Dining Room: Benjamin Moore, Raspberry Truffle
Guest Room: The yellow was a custom color mixed to match the yellow in the Sanderson floral pillow fabric.
Upstairs Family Room: Duron, Tea Biscuit. Home Depot or Sherwin Williams can mix this color now that Duron stores are closed. You’ll find the paint formula in THIS post.
Hutch on screened-in porch: Formula is available in THIS post.
Q. How can I find all the past tablescapes you’ve posted for Tablescape Thursday?
A. Just click on the category heading “Tablescapes♦Napkin Folds♦Recipes” at the top of BNOTP and you’ll find past tablescapes grouped according to seasons, holiday, etc…
Q. Where do you keep all those dishes?
A. I recently turned a rarely used coat closet into a china closet. China I use regularly out on the porch, is stored in a hutch out on the porch. The rest is tucked away in my laundry room, china cabinets or kitchen cabinets. THIS post also shows some of the areas where I store china.
Q. Do you actually eat at the tables you create for Tablescape Thursday?
A. The answer is yes and no. I have taken pics of tables I’ve created for family, friends and dinner parties and later shared those tables on BNOTP for Tablescape Thursday. I also create table settings just for Tablescape Thursday.
Q. Isn’t it hard to see and talk to the other guests over a tall table centerpiece during the meal?
A. If the table has been decorated with a tall centerpiece or floral arrangement, it customary to move it from the table to a sideboard or another surface when guests sit down for dinner. Imagine how boring how table settings would be if we limited ourselves to using just short, stubby things for the center of our table settings. There would be no more elegant, tall floral arrangements and our table settings would never be the same. Well, good news! You can create tables you love and use whatever you like! Simply place the taller elements of the centerpiece (like a tall floral arrangement) on your sideboard or display them in another location when it’s time to sit down.
Q. I adore the white lace chargers you purchased from Horchow a few years ago, you said. I went on their web site and they were not there. They had some white type chargers but not the same ones you have. I like yours much better. Any ideas on where to find them?
A. The cream colored, lacy, open-work chargers I so often use, came from either Neiman Marcus or Horchow. I can’t remember which now because they are owned by the same parent company and carry pretty much the exact same products. Unfortunately, there are no markings/brand name on the chargers themselves.
I bought a dozen of the lacy ones (see above) and a dozen of the white chargers (see below) you so often see me use in table settings. I have seen the white ones come back again on NM and Horchow, but they weren’t there long before they were gone again. Just keep checking the NM and/or Horchow websites. Hopefully they will get them back in again in the future.
Click HERE for the above table setting with white chargers.
Q. “I’m wondering how many place settings you would recommend buying when you find a pattern you like? I always feel like I should buy 6 or 8 of each pattern but then I don’t have a whole lot of storage. Is there a number that seems to work out best for you?”
A. Click HERE for a post I’ve written about this subject.
Q. Do you have any tips or suggestions for entertaining or parties?
A. Click HERE and scroll down past all the tablescape links. Toward the bottom of that page, you’ll find helpful posts under “Tips for Holiday Party Plannning and Entertaining” and “Recipes & Serving Ideas for Parties.”
Technical Questions for Bloggers:
Q. I keep reading posts that say to cut and paste buttons on your sidebar (like for Tablescape Thursday). I don’t have anything labeled sidebar on my blogspot dashboard and when I try to cut and paste buttons, they don’t appear. Is there a way to set your dashboard to include a sidebar? How do I cut and paste those buttons?
A. The sidebar is the area to either the left or right of the body of your blog. It’s the area where you normally see the blogger’s profile and Followers list.
To add an object or picture to your sidebar, you will go first to your Dashboard, Click on “Layout,” Click on “Add a Gadget” and then select the item or “gadget” you wish to add from the long list that pops up.
A button or logo, like Tablescape Thursday, is truly nothing more than a picture or a photo. To add any button to your post or sidebar, you will first need to save it to your computer. Just right click on the button, select “copy.” Decide where you want to save it on your computer…it could be to your picture file or desktop. Once you decide, right click again and select “paste.” This copies and pastes the button to the spot you chose on your computer.
If you wish to use the button in an upcoming post, just upload it to your blog post as you would any other photo of picture you might want to use in your post. If you wish to display the button in your sidebar, you will go to your Dashboard, Click on “Layout,” Click on “Add a Gadget” and select “picture” from the long list of options available. Don’t forget to click on “save.” That’s it!
Q. Ok, here IS a question…..is there a place on the internet one can go to, to find out HOW to Do a blog????? I have no clue!!!!!
A. The best way I know to start your blog is to go to any Google blog out there and once there, click on the orange “B” up in the top left corner of the blog. It should take you to what’s called the Dashboard. You will see the words: “Create a Blog.” Just click on those words and Google Blogger will guide you through the process of starting a blog. Additional info: Click HERE to go to a page that gives detailed instructions on starting a blog.
Q. First of all: your blog is interesting and very very beautiful. I love visiting. My question: how did you embed the Playlist Widget?
A. First create your playlist at Playlist.com…Click HERE to go to their site. Next, click on “Post My Playlist” which is at the top of their website. Then choose “E” which is how you get the code to post the playlist to your blog in Google Blogger. Next, click on the green “Get Code” button. You will see a box with a bunch of gobbly gook in it…that’s the code that represents your playlist. Right click in the box, which highlights all the code, select “copy.”
Update: Actually, I have removed the Playlist widget and now I just have a link to it at the Playlist site. You’ll find the link at the very bottom right corner of BNOTP home page.
How to create a link in your post that will take your readers to another blog, website or maybe to an older post of yours when they click on a single word or phrase:
Example: To see more great tablescapes, visit Between Naps on the Porch.
If you wanted to make the words, Between Naps on the Porch, in the above sentence act as a link, so when someone clicks on it they would be taken to the BNOTP blog, here’s how to do it:
While creating your post in the “compose” screen, highlight the word or words that you want to act as the link…in the above case it’s “Between Naps on the Porch.” Once the words are highlighted, click on the icon that looks like a world…or some folks would say it looks like a frog’s face if you blog in the old post editor. If you are using the new Blogger post editor, you click on the word “link.”
A box will pop up and you copy and paste the URL or web address for the site or post you are linking to….in this case, it would be the blog address for Between Naps on the Porch. Then click “ok” and you should have your link.
If it’s one of your older posts you are linking to, you just bring that post up in a separate screen and copy and paste the address that’s visible in the address bar into the box that popped up. Once you have the address copied and pasted into the box that popped up, click on “ok” and you should have your link.
UPDATE: In the new post editor you click on the word “link” to add your link.
How to participate in a blog party (like Metamorphosis Monday or Tablescape Thursday) that is using Mr. Linky:
It’s super easy to sign up via Mr. Linky. Whenever you want to participate in Met Monday or Tablescape Thursday, you will need to add your link to Mr. Linky here at BNOTP, by following these simple steps:
After you have “published” your MM or TT post to your blog, stop by BNOTP blog and put your first name and the permalink to your MM or TT post into the Mr. Linky sign up box.
What is a permalink? A permalink is the direct link to your post, as opposed to your general blog address. It’s important to always add your permalink to Mr. Linky when signing up to participate in a blog party. Why? Because if someone visits BNOTP days later and clicks on your link, they will be taken directly to your MM or TT post instead of having to search back through all your posts in search of your MM or TT post.
There are two ways to get your permalink. One way is to click on the title of your MM or TT post, then copy and paste the URL address showing in the address field at the top, into the Mr. Linky URL box. Click on “Enter” and you are all done! You will see your permalink posted.
The second way to get your Permalink is to right click on the title of your MM or TT post, select “copy shortcut” and then paste this link into the URL box on the Mr. Linky sign-up. These two methods for getting your Permalink will work for any blog party you are participating in across Blogland.
To add an object or picture to your sidebar:
First go your Dashboard, Click on “Layout,” Click on “Add a Gadget” and then select the item or “gadget” you wish to add from the long list that pops up.
How to add a button or logo like the Tablescape Thursday or Metamorphosis Monday button, to your sidebar:
How to add the MM or TT button to your MM or TT post:
You can copy and paste the html code that you’ll find under the MM or TT button on my sidebar, into your post when you are creating your post. You will need to switch over to the “edit html” screen (not the “compose” screen) to add it using the html code. OR, if you prefer, you can just copy and paste the logo button to your desktop, just like you would a photo or picture and then upload it to your post like you would any other picture.
How to make a Blog Button for your blog: Go HERE
The program I use to create a mosaic:
I use Picasa, but there are several programs out there that can be used to create mosaics or collages. Whenever you load pics to a post on your blog, those pics are stored in Google’s online Web Album called Picasa…at least that’s the way I understand it. I had been blogging for a couple of months before I realized this. Anyway, Picasa offers a lot of neat “things” to do with your photos, one of which is creating a collage or mosaic. Click HERE to go to Picasa. OR, just go to your Dashboard, Click on “My Account” and you should see your Picasa Web Album in the list of products. You will need to download Picasa to your computer in order to take advantage of this free feature. You may also make a mosaic at Big Huge Labs. Another good site for making mosaics is Photoscape. Laurie (Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie) did an excellent tutorial about Photoscape…click HERE for her post.
Fastest, easiest way to access your Google Blogger Dashboard:
Click on the orange “B” in the upper left corner of any blog.
Add music to your blog…here’s how to embed the Playlist Widget:
First create your playlist at Playlist.com…Click HERE to go to their site. Next, click on “Post My Playlist” which is at the top of their website. Then choose “E” which is how you get the code to post the playlist to your blog in Google Blogger. Next, click on the green “Get Code” button. You will see a box with a bunch of gobbly gook in it…that’s the code that represents your playlist. Right click in the box, which highlights all the code, select “copy.”
The camera I use…and a few tips from an amateur (that being me) on how to take pics for blog posts:
First let me say, I am not a professional photographer. The tips I am about to share with you are what I find works for me. I hope you will find them helpful, but you may not. Just take what you can use and discard the rest.
I am frequently asked what camera I use to take the pics you see posted at BNOTP. When I first started blogging, I used to use an older Olympus camera for the first 1 1/2 years. Since then, I’ve been using a Nikon D40. Update: As of February 2012, I’m now using a Nikon D7000.
1. The most important tip I can share for taking pics: NEVER, EVER USE A FLASH, NO MATTER WHAT. Flashes suck the life right out of a pic…it makes them feel cold and flat. Raise the blinds, throw back the curtains, open the shutters, turn on ALL the lamps in the room, bring in lamps from other rooms, turn on the lights in the adjacent rooms, light lots of candles on your tablescape…do whatever you need to do to create a lot of natural or indirect lighting in the room where you are taking your pictures. Just don’t use the flash. Basically, forget your camera has a flash…no kidding. The flash on my camera will automatically pop up if I don’t have it on the correct setting, so get out your manual and it will tell you where to turn the knob so you disable the flash.
2. Invest in the best digital camera you can afford and handle. The better cameras will take pretty decent pics in low lighting. Also, I was pleasantly surprised at how much more of the room you can capture when taking pics with the nicer cameras. The good news is, you can get a great quality digital camera for not a lot of money these days. Mine doesn’t have “live view” but I will probably upgrade to one with live view eventually. It’s seems most folks in Blogland either buy Nikon or Canon. Both are great cameras.
3. Take A LOT of pics. When you are taking pics and not using a flash, some will be good and many will be bad/blurry. I take lots of pics, download them to my computer and then delete the blurry or bad ones. I may take a 100 pics to get 20-25 I like.
4. Use a tripod when you can. When you are taking pics in low lighting and without a flash, the shutter speed is much slower and any movement at all will cause the pic to be blurry. If you buy a tripod to use, spend a little and get one that has a ballhead…they are much, much easier to use. I bought a Manfrotto and love it. I rarely use it because I’m just usually in too big of a hurry…but when I do, it works great.
You can also brace your arm or hand on chair backs or on any available, stable surface…this helps steady your hand and the camera. If you can’t brace your arm/hand on a chair back or some other object, try standing with your feet slightly apart and tuck your elbows down into your body for more stability. I also find it helpful to breathe slowly out through my mouth when taking pics. If I don’t consciously remember to breathe out slowly, I find myself holding my breath, which seems to make my hands shake a little.
5. Give your audience some close-ups…we love it! For tablescape posts, it makes us feel like we are sitting right there at the table with you, admiring the beautiful china and crystal.
Encourage your readers to leave comments:
A while back, I had a poll running on my blog for several weeks. It asked my readers if they found having to type in a “word verification” a deterrent to leaving comments. The overwhelming results of the poll indicated this was a definite deterrent. Unfortunately, many bloggers do not realize their blog is set up to require a word verification for comments because I think it may be the “default” setting in Blogger.
If you have your settings that way on purpose…that’s fine…no need to change it. But if you don’t have it set that way intentionally and would like to make it easier for your readers to leave a comment, here’s how: Go to your dashboard, click on Layout, click on Settings, then click on Comments. Scroll down to the setting that says, “show word verification for comments.” Choose “no” and you will make a lot of your readers very happy people. Don’t forget to hit “save.”
You may still keep the “moderate comments” setting for your comments, if you are worried a spammer will try to post annoying advertisement-type comments on your blog. That will allow you to reject anything objectionable. I’ve been blogging for a year now and haven’t had any problems with having my blog set where it doesn’t require a word verification to leave a comment.
Some blogging programs/formats may require a word verification, in which case you won’t be able to turn it off. But if you can turn it off, based on the poll results, I’d do it. Again, it’s fine if you don’t want to…it really is a personal preference for every blogger.
Encourage communication with readers/visitors by having an e-mail associated with your profile:
It a great idea to list an e-mail under your “Profile.” Sometimes a reader of your blog may have a question for you that they don’t want to leave as a comment. The importance of having an e-mail contact listed, really hit home for me recently when I noticed a few bloggers had their comments settings accidentally turned off. Noone was able to leave a comment and since they didn’t show an e-mail listed in their profile, there was no way to contact the blogger to tell them what was wrong. It breaks my heart to see that because I know the blogger must be thinking that no one is visiting and reading their posts…when in fact, folks are visiting. So, please list an e-mail in your profile, then there will be a way for your readers to contact you, if need be.
Just to be safe, I wouldn’t list a personal e-mail address that shows your last name. You can get a free e-mail account from Google (Gmail) or from Hotmail or from Yahoo Mail. I went with G-mail and so far, it’s worked great.
More Fun Things For Your Blog:
To learn how to embed a You Tube video into a blog post: Go: HERE. There are written instructions and a video that explains how.
Create a Blog Button for your blog, with html code underneath: Go: HERE
Get detailed statistics about traffic to your blog: For Sitemeter, go HERE. (Sitemeter doesn’t involve making any changes to the html code of your template. )
Been wanting to add Google Analytics to your blog…click HERE for the best tutorial/instructions I’ve found. Be patient after you add the code into your template…it took several hours for it to indicate I’d added it and about 24 hours before it began giving me any data/stats. Warning: This involves changing the html code in your template so DO NOT do so if you are afraid of losing your whole blog. Make sure you follow the directions EXACTLY.
Some additional technical info can be found at the end of THIS post.