Jitney's Journeys : God's Provision & His Blessings [we've been published!!]

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you already know half of the super exciting announcement... but WE'VE BEEN PUBLISHED!!! 


How It Happened:
It all started in January when JD and I headed up the merchandise table for a youth retreat at church. Through that, we met the amazing Sarah Holmes and (of course) became Facebook friends within a day. She read one of our blog posts that I basically poured my heart into (which I don't do too often so there's no explanation other than God's timing in that) - The Marriage and Transparency Post - and she instantly wrote me a message asking if she could send it to the managing editor of Shattered Magazine. With a tad of hesitation (because I was thinking, "seriously, me?!"), I told her to send it on. Minutes later, Emily (managing editor) wrote me one of the best emails I've ever received in my life with praises about the blog and Jitney's. We totally don't deserve those praises but it definitely rocked my world. :)

So she sent me a few writing prompts and we narrowed it down to a story about our travels (the main story is about an eye-opening event we had in Germany, but you're just going to have to buy a copy to read for yourself). I also feel like I need to throw in here that, through this process, Emily has become one of my dearest friends. And we probably have way too many hysterical (and sometimes life-changing) email threads to prove it (with lots of hashtags). 


But back to the magazine... I saw the cover on the Shattered FB page and look!!


We made it as a cover story!!!!

Ahhhhh!!!
#jitneysjourneys

We also wrote out a list of Tips and Tricks for your summer vacation which was tacked on to the end of our article.



Emily and me at the One Year of Shattered Event

The greatest honor of being published in this particular magazine is because the purpose radiates deep to my core. It's a magazine about Real Life, Real Hope and Real Purpose. 

Shattered isn’t your typical magazine. In fact, it’s much more than a magazine — it’s a Gospel-centered movement of authenticity. Shattered believes that there is a need to break down barriers people have built within and among themselves and seeks to do so by sharing personal stories that point to the hope and power of an identity in Jesus Christ — who redefines lives and shatters the darkness of this broken world. No matter where you’ve come from or where you are, our heart is to remind you that God has a purpose for you as part of His greatest story of all.  -- Shattered

It's about Truth. Vulnerability. Brokenness. Seasons. Trust. 

It's about ugliness and the Beauty that God creates out of it.  

It's about the Gospel.
 - - - 

The magazine is distributed nationally at Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. You can pick up the summer issue in a couple of weeks....

Which lines up with the other half of the big announcement - Jitney's Journeys will be doing our first GIVEAWAY!!!! We're partnering with Shattered Magazine to give away a bag filled with lots of wonderful Jitney products and TWO subscriptions to Shattered!!! It would be an understatement to say that I am - ridiculously excited - about this. The giveaway will begin May 26th and end May 30th. There will be lots of ways to enter so don't miss out!! 
- - -

And finally, because this tiny moment brought so much joy to my life, that I just can't help but share it with you....

As JD was flipping through the magazine, he saw the photos of this little boy and said, "Hey! Who took these photos of me as a kid?!" 


And he wasn't kidding. This little boy (Andrew) looks identical to JD as a kid. It's his little mini doppleganger. We laughed so hard... but then I read their story. My laughter quickly turned into tears, then my tears turned back into sweet, sweet laughter again. This article is slashes the heart in such a good way. Staci's words are beautifully written.

So, seriously... Go buy the issue or subscribe or get your hands on a copy somehow because God moves like lightning through each story. Be challenged.


DIY Blog Design : How to Add a Social Media Bar to the Bottom of Posts {Step-by-Step Tutorial}



Would you like to add a social media bar to the end of every post?

Something that looks a little something like this:

Great news - we're going to show you how!!

Most of you probably won't need this entire step-by-step tutorial but we wanted to offer it up just in case.

First step: Go to Share This

http://sharethis.com/

This site offers several ways to add a toolbar but we'll show you how we created the one for our blog.

STEP 1: Get The Button
Click "Get it now" in the Multi Channel box


STEP 2: Pick Your Platform
If you use Blogger (or blogspot), click on this button.



STEP 3: Stylize It
You can pick whichever style you'd like but we went with the horizontal, simple look (no visual stats). The last choice is the vertical style that you may have seen on some blogs.


STEP 4: Customize
This is where you can pick your thumbnail size (we decided on the large icons).



STEP 5: Customize Your Icons
Scroll down and you can drag the social media buttons from the right side and add it to the "Selected Services" box on the left side. Put it in the order you prefer and click "FINISH: Get the Code".



STEP 6: Sharing Preference
You can choose between Multi Post or Direct Post. We like the Multi Post because it doesn't take our readers away from our site. Click your preference and hit "GO!"





STEP 7: Add Page Element
You're almost finished...
When you clicked "GO!", it should direct you to Import Page Element from your blog. Click on the Add Widget button and Share This does the rest. How easy is that!?



You're Awesome
Here is a screenshot of what our layout page looks like with the ShareThis element.







DIY Blog Design : How to Link Your Blog Buttons {Step-by-Step}

Yesterday we learned how to make blog buttons here

It's only fair to share the secrets of how to link the blog buttons, right?

Put your party hats on, people. It's time to learn...


Let's get started with a website to host your images.

Log into your account. 

If you don't have one, we suggest Flickr.

Hit the upload button (you'll find this at the top of the page).

Click "Choose photos and videos to upload" in the middle of the screen, select your blog button files and open those beauties.

Your page should look a little something like this: 


Now you're ready to rock 'n roll.

STEP 1: 
Because we don't like for our Flickr page to be filled with all of our bloggin' elements, we click the privacy button for these images. Hit "Only visible to you" and "Hidden from public searches" if you'd like to do the same.


Click the "Upload Photos" button at the top of the page and the buttons will begin publishing to your Flickr account. 


STEP 2:
Click on a blog button from your photostream. Hit the "Share" button and choose the "Grab the HTML/BB Code" tab. You will see your code as well as options for the image size. We went with the small size as it measures 200 x 200. Just the size we need for our sidebar.

Click on the code, right click and hit copy.

We're finished with Flickr for now. Let's move to your blogger dashboard. 


STEP 3:
Hit the Layout button on the sidebar menu.

Click "Add a Gadget".

P.S. Sorry for the overwhelming Layout template on the example. It's a little overcrowded...


STEP 4: 
Scroll down and click on the "HTML/JavaScript" button.


STEP 5:
A box will pop up like the above image. 

Paste your code from the Flickr account inside of the box.

We're going to mess around with code a little now...

STEP 6:
Replace the first link with the link to the page you would like the button to direct. For safe measures, delete only what is inside of the first set of quotation marks. (Although, I also like to delete the title gibberish too. If that's not too confusing, go for it!!)

For example, we want our France button to direct our readers to a page that shows all of our travels from France (which we haven't written about yet... note to self: need to get on that).

We replaced "http://www.flickr.com/photos/jitneysjourneys/8509521400/" title="CircleBlogButtonFrance by jitneysjourneys, on Flickr" with 
"http://jitneysjourneys.blogspot.com/search/label/France"

Leave the second link alone, as that is the link of the original image. 

Now we get something that looks a little like this:


Click "Save" on the HTML box.

Click "Save arrangement" on your dashboard.

Boo-yah.

You just linked up a blog button to a website.

You're awesome.

If everything went well for you, carry on, good friend! Otherwise, we've written up a couple of questions that we felt may be brought up among our readers and wrote the answers below. If we don't cover your question(s), write your question in the comment box of this post just in case others have similar inquiries and we will answer to the best of our abilities. :)

***

What is a label?

A label is a word you can use to identify a series of posts. You will find a box in which you can enter labels in the Post Settings toolbar. For example, we would write the word "tutorial" as a label for this post. Other labels could be "DIY" or "how to". On our sidebar, you will find a Tutorials button that will link you to all of our tutorials. The link for that is:
http://jitneysjourneys.blogspot.com/search/label/tutorial

If you have labels for a series of posts, you can use the same link format.
http://YOUR-DOMAIN-NAME-HERE/search/label/NAME-OF-LABEL

Use that link if you want to link a blog button to a series of posts.


***

Why does your new code have the dimensions of 170 x 170?

We decided that we wanted our sidebar to be smaller than 200 x 200 after seeing the finished product so we made the dimensions smaller to fit our ideal blog size. If this happens to you, you can change the dimensions in your code but be sure to keep the sizes consistent to the original dimensions (i.e. changing 200 x 150 would be 100 x 75 if you wanted to decrease the size by half).


DIY Blog Design : How to Make a Blog Button {Step-by-Step}

Today we're going over....



Are you pumped?

Let's do this.

**You can use any photo editing program but I believe Photoshop is the easiest - as well as the most convenient - tool when trying to make more than one blog button in the same format.

STEP 1: Getting Started
Open a new document in Photoshop. 
I made the dimensions 500 px x 500 px with a transparent background.
We will change the image size before posting the image but this size is much easier to work with.


STEP 2: Create an Ellipse
Click on the ellipse tool and create an ellipse by pulling from the top corner to the bottom corner, forming a perfect circle. Be sure to hold down the Shift button while creating the circle for perfect measurements on all sides.




STEP 3 : Place an Image
File  > Place 
Choose the main image you would like to use for your button.




STEP 4 : Size / Adjust the Image




STEP 5 : Grab & Pull
Grab and pull the ellipse shape into the same layer as the placed image. 

STEP 6 : Pioneer Woman Action
I use the "Seventies" action from the Pioneer Woman to add some vintage love on my blog button images. You can download her incredible group of Photoshop Actions here
If your actions window doesn't appear, click Window > Actions. After you download the actions, click the action you'd like to use and hit the Play button.





STEP 7 : Erase Background
Click on the Background Eraser Tool.
Select the Shape layer (unlike the screenshot below - whoops!).
Erase AWAY!! 



STEP 9 : Or Delete the Shape Entirely
I feel ridiculous after doing that step. You can delete the shape entirely and have the same outcome. 
But erasing is just so much fun...



STEP 9 : Add Banner
Find a banner image online and download (or you can make your own). 
File  > Place the banner. 



STEP 10 : Color Overlay
Pull up your color scheme in a different window so that you can still see the file you're working on AND the color palette. 
Double click on your banner layer.
Click on Color Overlay. 
Click on the color block to change the color of the banner.




STEP 11 : Change Banner Color
Click on the eyedropper tool.
Click a color of choice from your color palette with the eyedropper tool.
Click OK.
There's no need to copy the number. I'm not really sure why I put that there.



STEP 12 : Add Text
Click on the Type Tool.
Add text, change the size and have fun with font options.



STEP 13 : Align Layers
Maybe I don't know my way around PicMonkey enough yet, but this is a big reason I choose Photoshop over other photo editing programs.
Select the text and banner layers (hold down Command while clicking on the layers). 
Click Align Horizontal Centers. 
Boom. 
No eyeballin' here.

**Now is the best time to save this document. We will use this document as our Blog Button Template.
File > Save As > "Blog Button Template"
Save as a Photoshop (.psd) file. 


STEP 14 : Resize Image
Let's make this image the perfect size for your blog. 
I like 200 px x 200 px for a toolbar size. You may want to go smaller though. Just make sure that the width and height are the same sizes. 

Click OK. 
File > Save As > "Blog Button {Image Name}"
For example, I saved my image as "Blog Button France".
Save as a .png file.


STEP 15 : Create More Buttons
Guess what!? 
You don't have to start a new document in order to make more buttons. 
Open your Blog Button Template again.
File > Place a new button image.
This image should be a layer in between the first image and action. Your Layers box should look a little something like this: 


Pull the circle shape into the new image layer. Click the eye on the first image layer so that you won't be able to see that image any longer.
Hopefully you have the image sitting perfectly in the circle now.
Change the text in the banner.

File > Save As > "Blog Button {New Image Name}"
For example, I saved my image as "Blog Button Bungalow".
Save as a .png file.

Voila! 

You just made two blog buttons. 
Whoop whoop!
Now you have the ability to make as many as you'd like!!

Come back tomorrow to see how we will place the buttons onto our blog.


We hope you enjoyed this tutorial - and that is was super thorough and helpful!
We aren't professional designers by any means but I love playing around with our blog's appearance on a frequent basis. Please let us know if you have any questions and we will try our best to help!


DIY Blog Design : How to Pick a Color Palette


Ok. So neither JD nor myself are professional graphic designers, by any means. However, I looove learning how to spice up our blog design on a very consistent basis. 

Anytime JD is away on travel or when we're off traveling somewhere together for his job, I revamp our blog design in some way or another. Designing helps ease my anxiety and makes the time fly by as I wait to have my husband back in my arms.


[Side note: Can you tell from our new design that JD has been out of the country for three weeks!? Needless to say, I really really missed him. I spent the three weeks with my parents crafting, leather-working and helping to set up my mom's booth at The Cotton Depot. It was a beautiful time with our amazing friends and family in Georgia, but I still really missed my husband. He flew in Saturday where I greeted him with this painting at the airport. But more on that another day.]



It would be so much easier if I bought a template from one of the awesome professional designers on Etsy, but I'm a stubborn DIY-gal. 

A very stubborn DIY-gal... And I married a very stubborn DIY-guy. 

We're not stubborn in the sense of close-minded, rather in the sense of being frugal and wanting to do everything with our own hands.

So it only makes sense to try our hands at designing our own blog... right?

Now, let's get to chattin' about a main element of design.

Color.

It's crucial to design.
Absolutely crucial.
So choose wisely.
For our newly revamped blog design, I picked "Sparkled Hues" from Design Seeds.


I wanted a color palette that would incorporate the colors of spring but could possibly carry into summer, if needed. So we have Easter blues as well as a Fourth of July red, white and blue. I love the pop of red but only implement it in smaller places on our blog.

Color schemes are so wonderful and inspiring that I made a Pinterest board here. Color palettes are perfect for anything design... websites, home decor, sewing projects, weddings, you name it!

You want to choose a palette with four to six complementing colors to integrate into your design.

Here's a great tutorial from The Mother Huddle on how to create your own color palette using a photo with PicMonkey.

What do you think of this palette? 
What are your favorite colors to work with?




Whoop whoop!! Check it out... We are featured on Auburn Family today!!!!

We are deeply humbled and honored to have been featured on the Auburn Family's website today!! 

One of my former PR professors Facebook messaged me a couple of weeks ago to ask if he could feature our blog during their Auburn Alumni & Student Blogger Series for the Auburn Family Network. {PR = public relations... we all thrive off social media!) 

Of course, we excitedly responded with a resounding "YES!!", answered a few interview questions and waited anxiously for the story to transpire. 

And this... THIS... is what Robert French compiled. A thorough synopsis of all things Jitney's Journeys.





Sheer genius. Honestly, we were blown away by this article!! Robert, we cannot thank you enough for your kind words and desire to always highlight members of the Auburn Family. Everything I learned at Auburn - social media, video editing, interviewing, basics of PR - all of it has been put to heavy use when writing this blog!! Thank you to Robert and all our other fantastic professors at Auburn. We wouldn't be doing what we're doing without your guidance, hard work and wisdom!! 

AND if you're an Auburn Alumni and you're NOT a member of the Auburn Family Network, stop reading and GO SIGN UP!! :) 


We hope our readers enjoy this article as much as we do!!

War Eagle and good night.