General · Musings

Blogging Lets Me Learn Cool Stuff!


So most of you would have noticed that lately, things have been looking kinda different around here ^^

Gone is the constant, static photo of Gong Yoo on my blog header, staring at you with smitten, puppy-dog eyes (aw. Now that I talk about it, I kinda miss that smitten face. Maybe I should bring him back..?)

Instead, the blog now has 38 – OMG. THIRTY-EIGHT!!! – rotating headers, and I, for one, am kinda completely floored by this new development.

See, I made those headers myself. And here’s the thing. I never thought I’d know how to make a header. Never.

Ok. Let’s backtrack a little.

My old header = smitten-faced Gong Yoo β™₯

I started this blog on something of a whim (you can read more about the origin story of the blog here) and so working stuff on a blog dashboard was completely new to me.

I’d never managed any kind of website or blog before, and although I had drama thoughts aplenty, putting them into posts and publishing them was a bit of a learning experience for me, as was setting up the blog itself and getting it to look (sorta) nice.

As a visual person myself, I like having stuff on my blog that people can look at. I like to write, yes, but I didn’t want to give readers just blocks and blocks of text. Where’s the fun in that, if there’s no pretty to go along with, right?

Without any kind of photo-editing experience, I made do with what I knew.

I used screencaps in my reviews, and that was simple enough to figure out. All I had to do was google how to take screencaps and I was very quickly trigger-happy, taking screencap after screencap as I watched my dramas.

When it came time to do my year-in-review post, though, I wanted a composite picture for the post (coz all the cool kids had composite pictures for their year-in-review posts and I like to think that I’m a pretty cool kid, heh) and resorted to using – wait for it..! – Powerpoint in order to create that picture:

Kfangirl 2012 Drama Awards I

Yes, I know necessity is the mother of invention and all that, but it’s still kinda embarrassing to admit that I’d resorted to using Powerpoint >.<

It’s ok. You can laugh. I don’t mind, really, I don’t πŸ˜‰

So what made me, with my close-to-zero abilities with photo editing, start trying my hand at actually making headers?

Credit has to go to my friend Michele. She was the spark that ignited my header-making.

Michele’s a regular reader of this blog, and she understands and indulges my love for Gong Yoo by emailing me to squee with me over his hotness. Not only does she grace me with her squeeing company on a regular basis, she also spoils me by sending me photos of him to add to my growing collection.

One day, she emailed me out of the blue, saying that she’d taken a break from her late-night drama watching to fire up a collage-making app on her iPad to make me this:


Like, isn’t she the sweetest?!Β β™₯

Looking at the collage, I thought, what if I learned how to make collages too? Maybe that’s something that I could put on the blog?

I asked Michele what she was using, and she informed me that it was an app for iPad called Pic Kick Pro.

I filed this away for reference, but I honestly didn’t think that I’d be using it much, since all my photos are on my Mac and I prefer to work off my Mac than my iPad.

But, I was intrigued enough with collage-making to google for photo editing apps for Mac, and shortlisted a few that looked interesting.

The most promising of the lot was GIMP, which is popularly known as the free equivalent to Photoshop.

To be honest, I’d heard of GIMP before, and had seen an ex-, non-IT-savvy-colleague of mine struggle – or more like tear her hair out trying – to use it. I’d also seen my design-savvy sister working Photoshop, and both programs looked super intimidating to me. All those panels and toolbars and layers floating about made me see stars.

But, I thought to myself, GIMP is free, so what’s the harm in giving it a good ol’ try?

So try I did.

I didn’t read the manual, coz I don’t particularly love manuals, and other GIMP users had commented that the manual was too complex for casual users. So I just jumped in and started trying out stuff.

Imagine my surprise to find that it wasn’t so hard to navigate after all. I think watching my sister work Photoshop had kinda given me some sort of instinct about all those panels, toolbars and layers.

It wasn’t long before I produced the first generation of customized headers for this blog.

Here’s one, which was up for maybe 2-3 days before it got promptly retired:

Early header

As I experimented with GIMP and as I learned more stuff, I saw new possibilities.

With my (relatively) more knowledgable eyes, suddenly, older headers that I’d made which I’d originally been super pleased with, started to look old-fashioned and uninteresting.

My design-savvy sister also gave me feedback on the headers, telling me what looked good and what didn’t, from a design perspective.

All my free time over the course of a week was basically spent immersed in header-making, experimenting and tweaking and publishing, then tweaking some more, deleting and re-publishing. Many of the early headers got slapped with early retirement when I didn’t like them enough to use them as they were, but didn’t have any idea how to tweak them in a way that would make me happy.

For those seven days, the headers on the blog were in a constant state of flux, and I wouldn’t blame you if you visited the blog and wondered what the heck was going on!

Now, though, I’m finally happy to leave them as they are, more or less, and will probably add to the collection in a more piece-meal manner.

So what’s my takeaway after an intense week of GIMP-ing?

Well, I learned SO. MUCH. about photo-editing, which was a skill that I’d never imagined myself having coz it all looked so complicated from afar. Who knew that a blog that I never thought I’d host, would give me the impetus and opportunity to learn a skill that I never thought I’d have? Mind. Blowing.

In the process, the entire look of the blog has evolved, and you might have noticed that I’ve removed the blog title and tagline from being shown. I’d only ever envied other blogs with customized headers, and now, I get to make my own headers! Too cool!

And! Now I’ve got a collection of headers that blow my mind every time I look at them.

Here’re a couple of my favorite ones:

jung-woo-sung-1.jpgYoon Eun Hye 3Yoo Seung Ho 3Yoon Eun Hye 1Yoo Seung Ho 2Shin Min Ah 2 iu-11.jpg

I really hope that you’re enjoying the headers as much as I’ve enjoyed making them, and I hope to bring you more (& better!) headers in the foreseeable future.

For now, I just wanted to squee out loud a little, coz I particularly love feeling like I’m making progress and growing in any kind of capacity, and it’s been (& continues to be) a blast learning how to do photo editing.

That I get to watch the look of the blog evolve in a way that I’d only previously dreamed of, as I learn all this, is cherry-&-icing-&-all-kinds-of-fantastic on top of my cake.


Now, who ever said that blogging was a waste of time? πŸ˜‰

Last but not least! Special thanks to Michele, for sparking this all off, and also, special thanks to my sister for giving me feedback in the process and challenging me to do better. You guys rawkΒ β™₯

57 thoughts on “Blogging Lets Me Learn Cool Stuff!

  1. I love you woman! First your Jang Hyuk and Chuno post and now this! I was looking for a photoshop equivalent precisely for the same purpose, making headers! Yay! Than youuuuuu

    Your headers are beautiful btw πŸ˜‰ you should make a JH or Chuno one too


    1. Haha! Yay that you found this useful!! GIMP takes some getting used to, but it’s a very robust app and as I understand it, it can do pretty much anything that photoshop can ^^ I foresee happy header-making times in your future! πŸ˜‰

      After I wrote the JH post and started on my Chuno rewatch, I’ve been sucked into a complete JH phase, tbh.. Now I’m swooning over him all over again! Plus, I’ve added 3 JH headers to rotate in my collection, and I also plan to review Chuno when I’m done with my rewatch! Just thot you’d like to know ^^


      1. OMG! Im looking forward to that review! And please! If you want some recommendations on other series or movies to watch with Jang Hyuk! Let me know. Ive watched almost everything with him. At first unintentionally really I didnt mean to fall into “Hyukolism” lol but it just happened you know? Anyway, I have the rare quality of being capable of remaining somewhat objective despite my obsession so I wont lie to you. For example I must warn you. Stay away from Iris2. It is probably the only Jang Hyuk series that can sober you up from Chunoholism teehee (It would’ve worked for me if it wasnt for the fact that Ive already watched everything he has done and like almost all of it. He is that versatile, he is that fun to watch, he is that awesome! Itll take at least 10 more Iris2s to get me out of this) Anyway, while Daegil is pretty hard to top as a character, he is still very enjoyable, interesting, sweet and/or hot in most of his other roles.


        1. Hahaha!! Yes, I have heard so many terrible things about Iris 2 that I’m content to feed my JH craving with Chuno instead ^^ Although, I was very, very appreciative of JH’s, er, talents *cough* in the deleted Iris 2 bed scene! XD Soooo sexy, that man! Ummffttt!

          I haven’t watched all of JH’s dramas and movies, so yes, some recommendations would be welcome! ^^ I confess I didn’t make it through Tazza. It was excruciatingly slow and I found it quite uninteresting, so I gave up despite my fondness for JH. I haven’t watched Midas either. Or Windstruck. Would you recommend those?


          1. I think Im probably the only person in the world who enjoyed Tazza ha! Ok, lets put that one to the side. Midas, I found it to be an ok series but Jang Hyuk,s character is very blah in it. It is my least favorite Hyuk role after Iris2. Windstruck, I actually loved that movie. It has major plot flaws, corninness gallore, and major tear jerking but I dunno! I felt it and lurrrved it. First funny, then sad but charming. And its only a movie you know, so if you hate it you’d only have invested one hour or so of your kdrama watching time πŸ˜‰ I do recommend Windstruck and Ill heroically take a virtual slap if you dont like it. Also, I recently watched Daemang with a very young Hyukie. It was a bit slow but pretty enjoyable. JHs character is for once not a dark twisted anti heroe πŸ˜‰ but rather a nice “unlikely” heroe. Im hoping to have the time to review it and entice you to watch it πŸ˜‰


            1. Woo! Thanks for the warning on Midas! >.< Truth be told, the only reason I thought of checking it out was because JH's in it. So if it's that close to Iris 2 in terms of least favorite JH role, it's going wayyyy down the watch list! ;D

              You're the second person to recommend Daemang to me since my JH post went up, so it looks like I need to hunt that down sometime. If you do review it, let me know! But I will check out Windstruck at some point; I think I've got it in my HDD somewhere ^^


  2. Pretty!! So pretty!!

    I used to make my own headers too, before I changed the theme to a simple one without big headers. I use Photoscape because of its simplicity and user-friendly interface ^^ Editing a picture in Paint and then give it a makeover in Photoscape…ta-dah! A header for me!

    I love the one with Yoon Eun-hye but I’ll probably miss the smitten Gong Yoo that always greeted me when I dropped by this blog πŸ˜‰


    1. Aw, thanks!! I always get a thrill when someone says they like the new headers!! πŸ˜€

      I’ve never used Photoscape, but it sounds like you were quite inventive, combining it with Paint and all! I guess necessity IS the mother of invention after all πŸ˜‰ I would’ve loved to see your old headers!

      I sometimes miss the old GY header too.. that smitten face is hard to beat! It’s no wonder I didn’t get tired of looking at one static header for so long! XD Maybe I’ll find a way to bring him back in the form of a new header.. Gotta wait for inspiration to strike tho! But maybe one day when you next visit, smitten GY might just be staring back at you again ^^


  3. I love your headers! I have just started learning to use photoshop to make headers at my blog. Although they are no where near as amazing as yours, I am slowing inching my way up to creating beautiful headers! Ahahaha, so I too am learning a lot from blogging!


    1. Aw yay! That’s super cool that you’re learning Photoshop to make headers! πŸ˜€ It’s fabulous to feel like you’re learning and improving as you go, & I’m sure you’ll enjoy making your blog pretty in the process! ^^ Hwaiting!

      I’ve still got heaps to discover in GIMP, so I’m definitely no expert, but THANK YOU for your kind comments on the headers. They make me happy to look at them. Partly coz they’re filled with pretty people, but a lot of it has to do with a sense of wonder.. Kinda like, Wow, I made this, really? ^^


  4. Holy Schmoly! Your blog looks amaz-balls awesome! I love all your headders especially the one with my newest boyfriend Jung Woo Sung. I hate to admit it, but I use Powerpoint for a lot, I may not have skills, but I’m the queen of make do.


      1. Aw thanks! πŸ˜€ Glad you’re liking the new look! And you’re the first to actually comment on the tagline, so double yay! \o/

        You’ll be pleased to know that there’s one more header with Jung Woo Sung rotating among the rest – he is so fabulous ❀ And yay for one more person who reaches for Powerpoint in a pinch! ^^ It's not the best out there, sure, but it's pretty cool what Powerpoint can do! πŸ˜‰


  5. SO FREAKING AWESOME! The headers look so great! I admire you newfound technological prowess. I can barely do collages. When I discovered how to screen cap on my iPhone while watching shows on my dramafever app, I went insane. I only stopped when I broke the lock button probably from all of the screen capping…oops πŸ˜›


    1. OMG…this made me laugh out loud…sorry! But I know the feeling of getting screen cap happy. Seems I better cool my jets on my iPad to avoid screen cap overload and ultimate machine breakdown!! πŸ™‚


      1. LOL! I think it’s going to be hard to cool your Rain jets, Michele πŸ˜‰ Just use your laptop to vary the screencapping load – I think that would work nicely, heh ^^


        1. Moderation and balance are two words that are not part of my vocab when Rain is involved!! You called me out on that for real! LOL!


      2. I know it’s pretty hilarious I managed to break it! I think I just got too excited whenever Lee Min Ki came on the screen and went crazy pressing buttons…:p I hope you don’t wind up with the same result on you iPad. I’m sure you’re gentler with the buttons.


        1. I don’t know…sometimes you have to get pretty fast and furious to get a good catch! And, multiple clicking is warranted. I bow to your dedication and to your iPhone for taking one for the team!! πŸ™‚


    2. OMG Eye Candy, you BROKE your lock button from screencapping??!! You are adorable & hilarious, my friend!!! XD I think that’s a sign that you need to watch dramas more on your computer than on your phone – bigger screen plus stronger buttons so that you can screencap to your heart’s content? πŸ˜‰

      I just discovered & thanks to BetsyHp’s comment above – you could try those out if you haven’t already.. I think they might be a nice option for photo work if you don’t feel ready for something like GIMP ^^


      1. Ha ha! Yep! πŸ˜€ Yeah it is nice to use the laptop as long as I don’t break any buttons on this. I have to be gentler. I hadn’t heard of any of these programs so maybe I’ll start poking around on them. Because I’ll use any excuse to stare at photos of attractive men while I “edit” them.


        1. LOL! I’m sure your laptop is hardier than your iphone, & that larger screen can’t be beat, especially when the attractive men come onscreen. All the better for you to ogle – er, I mean appreciate their stellar acting!

          And you definitely have a point there – working on these headers has given me ample reason & opportunity to seek out lots of photos of cuties & hotties to, y’know, work on them πŸ˜‰ So definitely, go poke around & explore! You know you want to *cough* ;D


          1. Inasmuch as you toiled away at these amazing headers, I am sure you paused to get in some quality “appreciation” time as well! I would expect no less! πŸ™‚


  6. Ahahaha! You are so awesome! I’m laughing because I was like, “I’ve made a header!” and here you are with so many beautiful ones. πŸ˜‰ And thank you, thank you, thank you for writing out your process. I’ve been using (the “efficient” version, because “advanced” confuses me — to put it mildly) and just recently Which for me is wading out into deep waters already. But… down the road, I may try to swim a little so the heads-up about GIMP is good to have. πŸ™‚

    All your headers are gorgeous but my favorites are Yoo Seung Ho in the bathtub (because yum) and the one with IU (I guess it is? I didn’t recognize her) with your blog name growing like flowers. That’s a really cool effect.


    1. Wow! Y’know, I didn’t know sites like those you mentioned existed! Yeah, ok, that’s kinda weird, when I think about it – I leaped all the way from zero to a Photoshop equivalent, when there were other more moderate options out there! XD That’s kinda hilarious! I’m going to poke around those sites for a bit, just to see what they have to offer, so thanks for the intro! ^^

      Aw, I have a soft spot for the Yoo Seung Ho bathtub header too! Definitely yum! ^^ And yes, that’s IU! Good spotting! That’s one of my favorites too! I’m SOO glad you’re enjoying the headers as much as I’ve enjoyed making them! ❀

      I hope you're enjoying poking around your site too, & trying out new things.. I find it a real thrill to learn all these unexpected things, and definitely give GIMP a go when you're in the mood to flex your photo editing muscles! πŸ™‚


      1. I found them through the WordPress people. They do Widgets 101 type posts and I pour over those, pulling what I can, ignoring what confuses me. πŸ˜‰ But it’s a lot of fun figuring this stuff out. And I am enjoying the changes I’m making. That whole, “I made this!” vibe is pretty cool.

        Also, I clicked onto your page and it was another Yoo Seung Ho header and… Is this like a Magic 8 Ball? Is your blog trying to tell me something? πŸ˜‰ (He really is a cutie and I have to remind myself he’s also really young. Army or no army.)


        1. Yes indeed, that “I made this?!” feeling is quite a thrill! I’ve not really read much of the Widgets 101 posts but maybe I should check them out properly sometime.. Seems like you’re learning quite a bit & I’m always curious to know more about how to manage this site better! πŸ™‚

          LOL! There are only 2 Yoo Seung Ho headers rotating in the pool of (now 39) headers, so make of that what you will! ;D I will agree, though, that he’s lovely. I love his eyes. They are so deeply mesmerizing, I just want to gaze at him indefinitely! Young or no *cough*


  7. Ah, the joys of graphics making. It can get very addicting, very fast. Pretty soon you start going “Ooo, that would look cool in a header/icon/banner”. *g* But yeah, making stuff for your blog etc is fun and you also learn all sorts of things about graphics and the programs you use to make them.

    Your headers look great! Looking forward to what else you may come up with.

    Back in the day when I was still very new to all things internet and communities I always envied people who had those pretty little squares and banners in their posts, so I decided to try making them too. Armed with PS6, which was old news even then and ancient by today’s standards, I set on to make me some icons first. PS6 does not have most of the fancy bells and whistles the current editions of PS have and most of the effects have to be done by using layers, adjustments etc. I spent HOURS trawling the net for tutorials, helpful hints and eventually free plug-ins, then trying them out in practise. I still have a big A4 binder full of tutorials, tips, etc I printed out. ^^ For a few years I was a compusive icon-maker, I just could.not.stop, LOL! At some point I also started making banners and I’ve done a few headers too. Well, I’m past that phase now, though I still make icons every once in a while. It’s time consuming, especially when you have to make caps first.


    1. LOL! It IS addictive, and very quickly in my foray into header-making, I already started looking at photos with that critical eye: “This would work in a banner.. This wouldn’t..!” I think the way I look at photos has changed forever! XD

      It sounds like you’re quite the expert at header-making, with all that research behind you! ^^ Yes, it IS time-consuming work, but there’s such a thrill when you learn new ways of doing stuff, and when you see the finished product. πŸ™‚ It’s only been a week for me, so I’m far from tiring of it, but I did have to re-balance my time. I really was spending ALL my time on header-making, and now it’s time to get back to my regular drama-watching schedule πŸ˜‰

      I’m still gonna make headers though – I just made one more after publishing this post! – so I hope you’ll like what you see! ^^


      1. Aww… no, silly. I didn’t mean the original picture was pretty (though it is).
        I meant the way you edited the header was perfect. Like you actually directed IU to sit in a corner, then placed an old tv on the other side, then wrote the fangirl verdict on the wall. πŸ˜€


        1. Aww.. THANKS, mary!! ^^ I didn’t even think that’s what you meant, & that’s sooo sweet of you! πŸ˜€ I had fun with this one, & I had fun getting the words on the wall JUST so. I can’t take credit for the TV tho.. It was already in the pic! But I will gratefully accept your compliment on editing the header! THANK YOU, your encouraging comment means a lot! πŸ˜€


  8. Love the new look! The headers look so professional, I’d never guess you’d hadn’t done photo work before. Isn’t it amazing when you find you have a talent you never knew about? As another person who loves learning new things I’m so happy to see you expanding your skills while and having lots of fun at the same time. πŸ™‚


    1. THANKS, cherrycordial!! πŸ˜€ It IS amazing and super surreal to find that I can do stuff that I’d only ever dreamed of before! I might be the one most blown away by this whole thing, actually, coz I KNOW how little I knew when I started this adventure ^^

      And yay for another person who delights in learning & growth too! Then you know how stoked I am just on the pure fact that I feel like I grew & developed this week – no matter the context or capacity. The pure exhilaration of learning & expanding in a meaningful way is priceless in itself. That it has to do with my love for drama is just.. gravy. πŸ˜€


  9. Well, aren’t you the sweetest?! Hey, I have an eye for talent, didn’t you know?! Thank you so very much for the kind words! I enjoy planting seeds of creativity whenever I can! πŸ™‚ And, if I have said it once, I will say it yet again…the blog looks sleek, professional, polished and fabulous. That coupled with the content makes it way amazing!! And, as a frequent visitor, I am (and continue to be) grateful for all of the time, effort and LOVE you put into. There is an abundance of eyecandy here and, I have to give you props for balancing out that eyecandy quotient – boys and girls alike can squee with delight when they visit. There is something for everyone! Great work here, my friend. I am sure with what you have created here, you will inspire others to move beyond that which they only dreamed of trying by encouraging them to explore the infinite ways in which they, too, can challenge their creativity! ❀ ❀ ❀


    1. Aw! *beams* You’re always such a lovely encourager, Michele!! ❀ ❀ I'm SO very glad that you enjoy the blog, and more than that, I'm.. moved. That you picked up on the love that I have for the blog. Time & effort are pretty easy to spot, but love? Not so much, I think. You DO have quite an eye, Michele! ^^

      Thanks for your constant encouragement & support – your excitement for the blog spurs me to want to do better and bring more awesome to this space. So thank YOU! ❀ ❀ ❀ Love!


    1. Thanks, snow_white! I’m glad you like ’em! I used to be a complete noob about making headers too, so I encourage you to experiment & try it out! You never know, you could be better at it than you think! ^^


  10. Those look really amazing!!! We’re working on a revamp for our blog (bustered and I) and we are going to start making headers, so this is really inspiring!!! I will have to download GIMP soon!!! It really is amazing all the things that I’ve learned because of blogging. I’ve sort of learned Picasa (and made some fun collages/images for some of the posts). Yay for blogging and creativity!!! Way to go!!!


    1. Aw thanks!!! πŸ˜€ I’m so glad you’re liking the headers, and much more than that, I’m stoked that you found my story inspiring!!! Yes, you should give GIMP a try.. Not everyone uses it for headers, of course, coz there’re other options available as well, but it’s definitely worth exploring.

      Truly, I’m learning all kinds of unexpected things because of blogging too! Yay for unexpected self-development born out of our love for drama! ^^

      Have fun experimenting with your new headers, I’m looking forward to the eventual unveiling over at your blog! Hwaiting!!


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