Housekeeping Note


Today is the day that my password protected post will publish..

It should be noted that Sephyroth guessed my password on the first try. Predictable, I am!

But unless you know me as well as Sephyroth does, or alternatively, you are psychic..

if you want to read the post today you’ll need to email me for the password

Send a quick email with the word password somewhere in it to snoskred {at} gmail {dot} com – Or use my Contact Form

Sephyroth is blogging again, and has posted a big update, if you want to drop on by.

The theme things which I wanted to fix have been fixed. If you can spot them, congratulations, because they were mostly tiny tweaks.

One other tiny note – I am going through old posts – they will fall into three categories – posts to delete, posts to keep and posts to update. I know there are dead links, videos which no longer work, and some negativity I want to remove from the WWW forevz.

Moving forward while looking back can be dangerous, I might trip over something. But I feel like it needs to be done, to move forward with the new improved 2015 Snoskred.

About Snoskred, blog design, blog housekeeping, Password Protected Posts

Done, for now at least.


So, we have a new theme! YAY! Welcome to Adaption, which changes depending on the way you are viewing the blog. If you do not see two sidebars – one on the left, one on the right, like the image above, then you are getting a smaller version of the theme.

We have a new title image too – unfortunately this theme does not allow for a large header image like we have been used to here at Life In The Country.

There are a few little changes still to be made, eg the comments area I want to make some changes and we’ve removed a lot of extra padding but will have to add some back in for the text of the posts I think, as my line breaks seem to have gone AWOL. But for the most part this is how it will stay and I’m deeply thrilled we achieved it in a few hours.

PS I love how meta this screenshot is, showing a screenshot of the old design and then the new design surrounding it. :)

blog design, blog housekeeping, Happy Snoskred, moving forward

Testing Was A Fail


A screenshot, for posterity.. :)

To those who were having issues – some could not see the password box, and some could see that and get the post but then the comments did not appear.. Twas not you, twas the theme.

Cue, working on a new theme. The site will go into maintenance mode for a little bit. The other half and I will work like crazed.. well, I’m not sure what but I know it will involve THE CRAZY here.

I am quite terrified given how horrendous it was to create the first theme. Then again, we know so much more about html and themes etc than we did back then. Plus, I really am not difficult to please. I want to take some of my favourite elements here, ad put them into a new design.

I’ll give you a headsup once we’re back online and fingers crossed, with a spiffy looking new theme. :)

If nobody hears from us for 24 hours, send help. And donuts. :)

Annoyed Snoskred, blog design, blog housekeeping, moving forward, Worried Snoskred

2015 Is Here


My One Resolution For 2015 –

I want to write one thank you letter each week.

People are always quick to make a complaint when items purchased do not perform as expected but how many of us take the time to write positive notes to the companies who make the reliable products we use constantly?

I won’t be posting all the notes here as I write them – 52 letters of mine might be a bit boring for everyone to read. However I will take the time to keep you updated on who I have written and any replies I might receive – maybe once a month. If I do that as a thank you gratitude style link up, then anyone else reading who feels in the mood can join in too..

On The Blog In 2015

I’m not sure about the amount of time I’ll have to blog in 2015 so I’m not going to make any firm commitments – I will try to keep to my Mon – Wed – Fri schedule. I am not sure if I will keep doing Shoe Sundays but I do intend to spend some serious time in January writing posts here and on Rewatch Breaking Bad for the next few months, so I may well write and schedule Sundays for 3 months in advance and then see how I feel in March/April and how busy things will be.

Why Will Things Be Busy?

I’ve made the decision to go back to school this year. I’m not going to give you any of the details today – I will post a protected post next week for those who want to know more and the password will be available to anyone who emails me asking for it, as I will put in some details which I do not want made public.

What About This Blog?

I do want to keep the blog going and I will be making a very determined effort to write things ahead and schedule them out. That worked really well for me in November and if I can get some blog posts written and scheduled before school starts.. well, I know myself, and I know I’ll do a lot better if I don’t have the pressure of having to write something 3 or 4 times a week

What About A Blog Redesign?

This has been on the cards for a while now. The Other Half and I just have to find a spare weekend to sit down and make it happen. I still love the current design enormously and any new design will keep the same colours. However the base template is really old now, and I am wanting to move in another direction.


I’m loving the Adaption theme which I am using over at Rewatch Breaking Bad. I’m hoping we can take that and bend it to suit my purpose. We’ll give it a good try, anyway. I am not sure when this will happen – I’d love to see it in the first 3 months of this year.

One Thing I Will Not Do

I will not allow the blog to go dark for a long time again. Blogging is important to me. The friends I have made via blogging are important to me. Even if I cut back to posting twice a week or take a couple of weeks off, I will make an effort to have something scheduled at least once a week, and I will try to make that something worth reading. :)

Over To You?

Is there anything you would like to see here? Any subject you would like me to write about? More recipes? More chickens? More links to things I am reading? Book or movie reviews? Food reviews?

Would you like me to do (or would you mind if I did) a week of Lite N Easy food posts – I still get a lot of traffic for those posts and I feel a bit like a 2015 update might be in order. Plus, I miss those Fishermans Pies.

You can’t get Fishermans Pies in the supermarkets at all – once upon a time you could. I even wrote a letter back in the day to the company that made them, saying how much I loved them. An actual letter, on paper! I’d eat those things for dinner every day of the week for an entire year, without complaint. Seriously they are that good. :)

I’d maybe try making Fishermans Pie myself though I am not much of a fan of cooking fish. I’d probably use leek and onions, a boneless form of fish – Check out Good Fish Bad Fish – Barramundi might work – and use my white sauce which I make for Chicken and Bacon pasta, then bake it with a cheesy potato mash on top..

I’d like to do some Jane Austen adaptation reviews this year. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and I know I have some readers who are also big fans.

blog design, blog housekeeping, blog template

Kitty In Box..

Last week Matt Cutts posted about the Kitt Inbox, which is a very plush looking inbox for cats that you can attach to your desk. I sent the link to The Other Half, who thought it was a great idea. This week he discovered a version that cost us.. well.. nothing.. because it is the lid of a 5 ream box of paper. ;) Except it does take up a little desk space..

Little Kitty In A Box

I don’t know why cats have an obsession with boxes – or even if all cats do, but ours certainly can’t resist a box. They have all manner of comfortable places to sleep yet they will choose a box over any of the comfortable places anytime, even if they don’t quite fit inside it.

And yes, I will post something non-kitty related soon – things are a tad hectic at the moment. I’ve done a couple of new websites for people this week – Artists Blog for Artoholic from the Aussie Bloggers Forum – Cindy made her own header and it is gorgeous. I like the theme with the white on the sides, too.

Kin’s Money for Kin who I knew previous to the Aussie Bloggers Forum and who recently became a moderator there. Kin had found the little piggy which inspired the text in the header – I am crazy about it. Whenever I create a new header for someone it is like a very intoxicating drug – I can’t get enough of looking at it for a little while. I love the texture of the gold text. I tried to make the gold a little darker but then it didn’t quite match the pig and it never looked quite as good as that shade of gold you see there now.

While working on Kin’s Money, I discovered just how lucky I was to find this Freedom Green theme right off the bat because I went looking for a different theme to use. We found one and we tried using it only to find halfway through that the middle sidebar was not widgetized. The same thing had happened to me with a theme that Artoholic Cindy wanted to use only that one was completely non-widgetized.

I’ve done countless websites with the Freedom Green theme now – below you will see links to a few of them – and it never gets old for me – but I think it always looks slightly different and new because I always customise it and change the colors. In this case I changed the text for Kin and I like the different text so I may experiment with a few different fonts here on my blog.

Gemisht (purple nav bar)

LighteningOnline (a gorgeously raspberry color)

The Nutcracker Ski Club (I reversed the nav bar on this one)

Miss Amelia Smith (orange nav bar)

Kin’s Home Of Slightly Cracked Dreams (lovely and orange all over!)

Birdwing Therapies (love the green and gold)

Cherry Blossom Adventures (pink! And then some! I love the pink fade along the white edges)

Aussie Bloggers Blog (I still adore the header I made for this, it never gets old)

I don’t think I missed anyone out who is using this theme but let me know if I did. ;) As you can see by looking at the sites above, the Freedom Green theme is highly customisable. And I know this theme like the back of my hand now – I will always recommend using it to people simply because I know it well enough to be able to trouble shoot. ;)

blog design, kitties

About Templates – Moving To WordPress

A few days ago Lightening sent me an email asking about making the move to WordPress. We had quite a lot of discussion back and forth, I asked Lightening to go and look for a template which had the layout the way she wanted it and then we would be able to change the colors to suit. The template she came back to me with was almost identical to the one I had, so I suggested we use the template base that I had used – Freedom Green – and change the colors. Freedom Green looks like this –

Freedom Green

Hard to believe that forms the basis for Life In The Country which looks completely different, no? We had also used Freedom Green as the basis for the scam warning website –

Scam Warning

I asked Lightening to visit the Visibone Color Lab, and come back to me with 5 colors that she liked. The only other work she had to do was say yes or no to what we came back with. The other thing we did was create a new header graphic. I asked Lightening to find an image she liked, which she did. I then emailed off and got permission to use the image. We also changed the color of the graphic bar that goes across the page to suit the site. It ended up looking like this –

Lightening Online

Lightening now has a site that I actually like the look of better than mine. ;) I love that subscribe button, by the time you read this I’ll probably have changed mine too. And it has inspired me – I think I would like to make versions of this in different colors now. In particular I’d like to make a black one. Make sure you go over and check out Lightening Online.

All of this work is included in the $5 per month hosting price. I think it is a pretty good deal. :)

blog design, Blog Friends, blog template

Design Inspirations

This new blog design is inspired by some odd things. I won’t lie to ya’all about that. I thought you might be interested in the design process and how it all came about.

Knowing Nothing –

Where I started with this was not even knowing how customizable these templates were, whether they could be changed at all, whether I might pay someone to design one that looks incredible for me, whether it was worthwhile investing in a paid theme, whether I could use my existing header.. these were the questions swarming around in my brain before I began to play with WordPress at all.

Finding A Good Base

Courtney Tuttle is a blogger I have been reading for a while, and someone I trust when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. This was a topic I didn’t know a lot about but I did want to make sure my theme was optimized for the search engines. Courtney happens to have spent some serious time optimizing popular themes and you can see them all here – Search Engine Optimized WordPress Themes.

Freedom Green & Widgetized & Optimized –

The theme I chose originally looked like this –


It certainly looked fantastic but I wanted something unique. The Other Half was about to take a week of holidays, so we sat down to play with the theme. He is excellent with technical stuff. I am good with ideas. The two of us together created this beautiful theme.

Inspiration From The Kitchen –


My Mother bought me this set of silicone cupcake trays. I love the shade of blue you see here. It is best described as Cobalt Blue and you see it often in glass. I have some glass things in that color too.


So when I was looking for a background color I took this cupcake tray in and said “Let’s get the background color as close to that as we can”. I think we managed it.

Inspiration From Windows Vista –


The colored bar which was in my header graphic is from a theme for Simple Machines Forums – SMF for short. SMF is the engine which runs my Fraudstars forums. A long time ago when we were looking at themes I had seen the Windows Vista theme and I loved that graphic. It actually comes from a background image of Vista, though we were unable to figure out exactly where in the background image.

Theme Imitates Life –


After we spent half a day working on the theme, The Other Half and I went for a beach walk. Out in the water I could see all the colors of my theme. There is that dark blue, there is the teal green, sometimes the ocean looks just like that Windows Vista graphic.

You Can Do It –

If you don’t have the knowledge to do a new theme but you have some time on your hands and you’re willing to play around with graphics programs you will be able to create something you love.

Settle In And –

Make yourselves comfortable. I intend to stick with this theme for at least 12 months. I want stability for my readers and for me. It is important to me that it looks good and I think the theme we designed does look amazing. I also intend to stick with the back end which is behind it – the plugins won’t change, I won’t be adding new things for quite some time, and I’ll be staying with WordPress for the foreseeable future.

blog design

Spam, Spiders And Do Follow, Oh My!

Today on Think Tank Tuesday I’m taking a look at No Follow and Do Follow and how these relate to blogs and spam, and Sephy is going to let you know how to turn no follow off on Blogger, WordPress, and various other kinds of blogs. It is a lot easier than you think, you’ll be glad to know!

So what is NoFollow All About?

Most blogs come with no follow installed on the comments section automatically. This was originally done to prevent link spammers gaining anything from their spammy efforts. Unfortunately nofollow does not work – nofollow blogs still get spam comments.

That means anytime someone comments on your blog their link is not followed by the search engines. The commentor does not receive a link back on either Technorati or Google or Yahoo or any of the other search engines.

Is It Fair To Your Commentors?

By making a link no follow, you’re effectively saying to the search engines – I don’t trust this link. Given that most of us do actually trust the links of our commentors, this is not a Good Thing.

Choose Not To Give Link Juice –

When you have a blog, you can choose to make certain things no follow. For example, if I wanted to link to someone in a post but I did not want the search engines to see that link, I would put in a bit of code that turns the link into a no follow link. Why would I want to do that?

Link Bait –

Sometimes bloggers post controversial things in order to get links back to their blog. I can name a few who do this regularly. If you feel a blogger is link baiting but you still want to discuss their post there is an easy way you can make the link no follow.

Sephy has shown you how you can do this in his post on this topic – Say No To NoFollow, it is simple and easy to do.

You will still be giving their blog traffic if anyone clicks on the link, but it is better to do that than leave your readers wondering what the heck you’re talking about – and much better than giving the blogger what they are looking for by being controversial, which is backlinks to their blog. Don’t reward them by giving them link juice.

Links Mean $$$ To Some –

Why do bloggers link bait? To some bloggers, backlinks can mean money. The more back links your blog has, the higher ranking you get on Technorati, the higher your page rank, the higher price you can charge advertisers.

What Is Do Follow?

The Do Follow movement is basically people who have decided they want their commentors links to be followed by the search engines. These Do Follow bloggers have taken the time to remove no follow from their comments sections. Depending on what kind of blog they have this can be an easy task or a difficult one.

Sephy has explained how to make your blog do follow with instructions for Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, Movable Type and some his companion post to this one, make sure to read it. Here is the link again if you have not already opened it in a new window or tab – Say No To NoFollow

Will This Increase Spam?

In a word, no. I was getting spammed before I became do follow, and I have been spammed since. What will add to your chances of being spammed more often is by joining one of the Do Follow link lists that exist on the internet. These are targeted often by spammers looking for a way to build backlinks fast.

The Bumpzee Community –

There is a No Nofollow | I Follow | DoFollow Community at Bumpzee. Being a member of this community is worthwhile if you are a do follow blog because your posts go out on the RSS feed for other do follow readers to view. It has meant more traffic to my blog.

I believe three times since I joined the community, which was some months ago now, I have been spammed by people who came directly here from the Bumpzee community. These are the paid commentors. Their comments are easy to spot and easily deleted. So as far as I am concerned the issue of being spammed by people who know you are do follow is not much of a problem for me.

What If I Get Spammed?

You can easily turn no follow back on – but that won’t stop the spam. Spam is a problem we all have to deal with here on the internet. We just have to be adults about it, set a comments policy for ourselves, and then follow it.

Since I put in a comments policy on the page where people leave a comment, I have only been spammed once. The paid comments people seem to have got the message – it is a waste of their time to comment here and they won’t get paid for the comment because I delete it quickly. If you can do the same thing, you can keep your blog spam free.

How Can I Tell When It’s Spam?

The number one give away is the link they are using. When I see a comment that is possibly spam, the first thing I do is copy the link and take the link over to Technorati. For example, this is one of the comment spammers that has been here recently – on Technorati and another one – and as soon as you search for the URL you can see they have a lot of recent reactions with different names – Tom Paine, Lais Edwards, Richard Andrews, Clebsch Gordon, etc.

Why It Works –

Looking at the backlinks, some of the bloggers I most respect got caught out by these spammers. There’s a lot of familiar names and blogs there. I didn’t have the time to email or comment on all the posts, otherwise I would have.

The two blogs mentioned above now have medium level authorities on Technorati – (one has an authority of 51) (two has an authority of 65). You’ll note I am not linking to the blogs themselves, only to Technorati. I do not want to give them any link juice.

Team Up With Fellow Bloggers –

The major mistake these spammers made was – they visited Sephy’s blog not long after visiting mine, and left similar comments. Sephy and I discussed them on Skype and figured out it was spam, and then deleted them.

Don’t be afraid to contact a fellow blogger who has received a comment you suspect is spam and ask what their thoughts are on it. Sephy posted about it here – Paid Comments Not Allowed

Search The Name or URL-

If you search the name or URL you may well find both listed in the search engines as spammers.

Post About It Yourself –

If spam has become an issue on your blog, it could be worthwhile posting about it so that other bloggers can be aware of it. When they google the names you keep seeing as spam, they will find your post and then they can delete the spam as well – and if they read your post, when those names turn up on their blog they can hit delete fast.

Just make sure not to give any link juice to the spammers – you can make individual links no follow easily (See Sephy’s Post for info on how) so please do so when referring to the links spammers leave, or use the name only, don’t put a link in..


From time to time all bloggers find themselves switching to moderated comments. I’ve had to do it here, when trolls have arrived. Using moderation takes all the fun out of it for them. You usually don’t have to leave it on for too long before they give up and go somewhere else to troll.

You can also use moderation to combat spam and this is a tactic some bloggers are trying out recently. If you are available most of the time to moderate comments, you may wish to try this but be aware – it tends to stifle discussion. And what happens when you sleep? Comments stay unmoderated for hours at a time. ;(

Moderation After The Fact –

I tend to stick with a moderation afterwards policy here. If I spot a comment which is inappropriate, unacceptable or spam, it is quickly deleted. Sometimes not quickly enough because the search spiders are here fairly often. So they may get a some link juice if I’m not on the ball.

Trusted People –

If you have a couple of people you really trust who live in different timezones to you, you may choose to make them an administrator on your blog. This gives them the power to moderate comments. You discuss with them what is unacceptable, and they keep an eye out, deleting anything which would be against your policy, or anything which is clearly spam.

What About Captcha?

Blogger users will be familiar with Captcha word verification, it looks like this –


The reason it is exists is to stop spam bots posting comments on your blog. However it could be stopping regular human people from posting on your blog. You only need to turn word verification on when you’re being targeted by a spam bot – as in you’ll be getting a boatload of comments in a very short amount of time – and this will stop the spam bot from posting more comments. May I recommend you turn it off in the meantime?

Julie Pippert recently posted about Captcha and if you read her post you will see you might be missing out on comments if you’re using it. I have turned word verification off here for now, we’ll see how it goes..

The Bottom Line –

Spam is an issue for all of us. We get it in our email. We get spammed in our comments section. Unless you are being targeted in a major way and receiving hundreds of spam comments a day, it’s not that big a deal to hit delete. Have a good comments policy, make sure it is visible on the screen where people leave comments (blogger users – find out how to display your comments policy) and be vigilant in deleting anything you suspect of being spam.

Further Reading –

13 Reasons Why NoFollow Tags Suck I agree with the points, especially points 2, 3 and 5.

Give a little link love say no to nofollow remove the link condoms Rob, I love the concept of link condoms! ;) This post contains some very interesting quotes from people at Google and Yahoo – worth reading.

I Follow Randa Clay created the Do Follow logos that you see around the place, here you can get them in different colors to suit your blog.

Over To You –

If you liked this post, give it a stumble so other readers can find it. ;)

What are your thoughts on spam? Have you been spammed on your blog? Are you a Do Follow blog, and if not will you become one after reading this? Feel free to leave any comments – as long as they’re not spam!

blog design, blog template, blogging tips, commenting on blogs, spam