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Brave New Bloglook

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Today, I celebrate my WebWitch, Katherine Koch. Her artistry has given my blog a new lease on life. I sent her a CD of my favorite images, and she poured it all into her cauldron, tossed in eye of newt, toe of frog and tail of Boston terrier, stirred it lovingly under a new moon, and sent me this happy, fabulous template, this lovely and active frame for anything I want to share. I don't know how she does all she does (she's an artist and writer as well as a Web designer), but when she gets done writing her historical novel, I would like her to go ahead and...

hmmm... come in on Sunday so she can... design my entire life. Mmmm, yeah, that would be greeeeaaaat.

She's created a place this blog can live happily ever after. I'm all Oh! Oh! Oh!

Stills and obscure references from the movie Office Space. If you've seen it, you're laughing. If you haven't seen it, you must.

Need a Chetfix? Click on His Chetness and see what happens. Want to read some of my favorite posts? Click around on the quote boxes and pieces of flair and see what you find. Mess around in the archives. Try the search box. Searching my blog has been an exercise in futility for a long time, because Blogger's FUBAR and has been for months. Thanks to a Googlyslick end-run by Katherine, my search box works fabulously once again.

You can get anything you want at Zick's new restaurant. So if you want to see a giant Amazon otter or a manatee or a wild macaw; if you want a Chet Baker fix; if you want to know about orchid care; if you want to look at bluebird nests or box turtles or red-spotted newts or bobcat scat (hey, some people get a hankering for it); or even if you just want that infernal Zick dough recipe again, just type it into the box in the upper left corner and off you go. Egad, it's like having a personal assistant. And it's darn nice for me, too, as I find myself dipping into the archives for all manner of inspiration and assignments. There's four years' worth of good stuff in here.

You can share a favorite post on your social networking sites by clicking "Share This Post" in the toolbar. I'm just getting my feet wet in social networking, but I can see the viral power of that. More readers: good. Please feel free to spread my virus far and wide.

Those who get this blog by RSS feed and have forgotten what my blog even looks like, click on
and bookmark the page if you want to trade a little convenience for the ever-changing, clickably beautiful fun.

I'm so happy to have a dynamic new template for my stories and pictures. Flippant Office Space references aside, I'm deeply thankful to employ a WebWitch who is not only an artistic genius but who gets me, top to toe. So I asked her to tell us a little bit about her process.

"When Julie asked me to redesign her blog I knew I was in for a challenge. A successful design is like a clear window into another world - you don't pause to think about the glass pane bringing joy into your day when you're immersed in the subject beyond it. In this case that window had to reveal a vast and varied landscape conveying all that Julie brings to the blogosphere - watercolor painting, writing, the wonders of nature, gardening, family life amidst the tranquil rhythms of Appalachia, and a Boston terrier in all his adorable Chetness. Needless to say it was a daunting task.

Mether, here you need to put in a picture of me, Chet Baker, applying my undercarriage to your naked couch. Because I am one of the things that brings you joy every day. Probably the main thing, if my doggly intuition is correct.

"I think it was the mission statement that served as the lightning bolt - 'making room in your life, every day, for the things that bring you joy.' At that point, 'everyday' became the mantra, inspiring post-it notes, papers, a wire-bound journal and paint drops, all elements that hint at the mundane while reveling in the extraordinary. I hope Julie's readers find this nook in the web a place that's as warm, inviting, and illuminating as Julie herself. If I've accomplished that monumental goal in a way that excites her loyal following and draws in a broader readership, then I can rest assured that the resulting design is a grand success. Thanks, JZ, for the challenge!" --Katherine Koch, Web Designer Extraordinaire (I added that, she didn't.)

Thank you, Katherine, for giving this design your extraordinary all. I wouldn't change a thing. 'Cuz we've already done that. And it was just about bang-on perfect from the get-go.

Hit Reload a few times, just for fun. Let us know what you think of the new look. As if you wouldn't.



WOW is about all I can say. It is perfect for you. It shouts your personality. It tells a person you are going to have an enjoyable read here. WELL DONE.

I'm first!!??!!

Katherine Koch, you are fabulous. Almost as fabulous as Julie Zickefoose.

Julie, this new look takes my breath away. It's extraordinary. It's YOU! Clicking on Chet for our "fixes" is the bomb.



I wasn't the first to comment and I made a typo. Drat!

It's clear to me that this is not to be your day, Mary.

I love it!! Congrats!

Posted by Anonymous February 11, 2010 at 5:39 AM

Gosh, I loved your old blog just fine but this is maahvalous! The clickable Chet album is a neat touch.

The new blog is spectacular! Congratulations to both you and Katherine.

Nice blog...found you just by browsing profiles of people who listed orchids as an interest. I live in NJ, lots of snow here too. Happy blogging.

BTW, I always assumed you had turned off the search function. I recall going hunting for one of your prior posts, to link in one of mine--I was looking for the one on agoutis (sp?) because I was writing about the dilemma of bushmeat. Anyway, it took a long time and lots of ingenious Google search skills on my part, but I found it.
NOW--it will be soooo much easier.
And, may I say, I love the Chet button. Anytime I need a Chet fix, I just click.....swoon, I am in Chet heaven.

Love it!

ROCKS!.....simply, ROCKS!
BTW: I recently gave a friend "Letters From Eden" for her birthday and she had wonderful things to say about it. Made me a star, present-giver.
THANKS! For everything!
-- Your cyber-friend and follower, out in Shingle Springs, California.

Oh! This is fantastic! I love there there is a rotating stock of photos and clips of your artwork to muse over, love the changing "Click to find out why..." buttons, love the quotations. It's like I accidentally stumbled across your desk or corkboard and am free to shuffle and poke through it to my heart's content, without fear of messing anything up! Congratulations!

What a great template! It's Congratulations.

Really great new look you have here. Warm and soft, lovely colors and inviting. So beautifully done.

Your new look is very nice. Busy, but professional looking in a fun way! Congratulations on taking this step and for your clever commentary! ~karen

Love it tremendously! The rotating photos and things to click Chet (of course!) and flair. Fun like you!

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this new blog page! Once inspire me...

Sue Roberts

Stunning, just stunning. It seems perfect for you and your life, family, talents, stories, beautiful writing.

It is immersion into a wonderful world -


The design is wonderful, Jules! Congrats to Katherine for a spectacular job, as always.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Methinks I like it. Can't wait to have a better look around, but at first glance it's mahhhhvelous. But I don't see any mention of TPS reports in the comments yet. What's up with that?! Oh, and I like your "please ask me before you lift my stuff" disclaimer. Spot on!

WOW indeed! I think a few synapses misfired this morning when I got here. Congrats on the new design...must feel like those new coats of paint at home. A good shaking up is just what we need sometimes. I'm off to explore.


This new design for your blog is wonderful, Julie!
Simply amazing.
Looking forward to exploring it more thoroughly.

If I wasn't Canadian, eh, I might say something like - it's about tome - or something else just as scathing.

Like the new look and layout.

This new design is kick ass! I love it!

Wow, Julie!!! Beautiful, just beautiful!!! It is definitely you!
Love it, the designer did a great job!

So I'm sitting here staring at mounds of snow and visiting favorite blogs after being away for a couple of weeks. I click on the link to Julie's and WHAM! The screen explodes with color and light and beauty and Chet. I'm sucked in by the layout and design, entranced by the different photos when I reload the page, and delighted by the clickable Chet. Words can't do it, but if I were a cat I'd have my purr set on overload.

Wow!!! Katherine sooooo gets you. This is fantastic! It is friendly and to me, it's frosting on an already delicious cake :) Bravo!

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