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Bloggy Widgets

All the themes in one pack

So many themes are coming out almost every week, but not all of them are widgets-ready. though wordpress’s theme gallery lets you search for themes that can handle widgets, if you don’t know exactly how the layout will be it can be downright mind-numbing going through the pages. If you’re the type of person who has to have all the choices available, Garry Conn collected the 109 widget-ready layouts as of September and zipped it up into one handy theme pack. Some of these have been featured in this blog already, though newer themes have yet to be added. Once you have this theme pack installed, you can just go to the Presentation Tab, and preview your blog with the theme with a click of the button.

Downloading and Installing
The zip is available at Blog the Internet.

  1. Upload the zip using ftp to your themes directory in your server. For those who don’t know how, there are detailed instructions on the same page.
  2. Use a program to unzip the theme pack in the themes directory. Gary suggests using Putty, and reminds that if you have themes in that directory already, don’t overwrite it! If you’ve made changes to the theme you’ll lose all of it once you overwrite.
  3. Once it’s done, go to your Presentation Tab and check the new themes out. Nifty!

Be warned that the size of the zip is 15 Mb, so if you’re dial-up be prepared to spend a while getting it. This is perfect for those people who can’t help but want a lot of variety in their blog themes. Now it’s time for me get that zip for my personal blog!

CoffeeSpot : A coffeeholic’s WP theme


Themes are great to show an aspect of your personality. For coffeeholics out there, you can use the widget-ready Coffeespot theme from the WP themepark to show your love for the aromatic brew. I love how each section in the sidebar is headed by a brown title bar, great for keeping track of where you are.

Default appearance:
Color: Predominantly white and gray with accents in shades of brown
Images: A header of coffee beans and a collection of several coffee mugs that can be used to mark the post titles. The unordered list bullet is actually a miniature coffeemug!
Appearance: There is a very faint gray line separating the post title with the entry information. A similar gray line lies beneath the comments links, segregating the posts from each other.
Sidebar: Separate sections for a small blurb, tags, archives, links, and feeds. It has a meta section at the bottom of the sidebar for easy logins and registration. There searchbar is also located in the sidebar.
The zip comes with template pages for : archives, contact, author, and a favorites/links page.

You can download it at wp themepark.
Link to the theme “Coffeespot”
Link to the testsite

I like this theme for its simplicity and the colors. It makes me think of lazy afternoons spent with a good book and a cuppa, and it’s pretty easy to tweak. If coffee isn’t your thing, create your own images and modify the css that comes with it. Links in posts are rusty brown with a light tan background when you hover above it. Those in the sidebar are tan, while any links to other pages on the top navigation bar are in white. The current page is underlined in white. Any subpages you make for any given page will be linked in the sidebar. Sadish Bala, author of Coffeespot, has six more themes in the WP Themepark.

Noir - a WordPress theme for film buffs


Kickass Webdesign has a theme called Kickass-Noir. It’s a theme that’s quite classy with its gray, white and black feel. It also has a film reel for a background image. Best of all: it’s widget-ready! What more could you ask from Kickass Webdesign? ;)

Plus points on:

  • Creative design
    A film reel as a background — quite cute and nifty. Also, the use of the grayscale makes it even look more nostalgic than anything.
  • Fonts
    The fonts used here are pretty big so anyone could read the blog entries. By default, the font-size is pretty good so you might not have to worry about changing those details in style.css. There might be people who would say that the font size is too bis so you might as well change that the moment that you see for yourself how it affects everything.

Minus points on:

  • Too many fixed stuff on the layout.
    In case you don’t like the widths of the divs, etc. try making a set for your friends’ project. Well, in any case you need such stuff, you wouldn’t have much trouble. In any case you forget to
  • Fonts too huge.
    Maybe in a way, it was a pretty good font but it’s really not the same as with the other much more common WP layouts.

In any case, it’s still up to you. You could choose to simply leave the theme at that but if you like something else, you could come up with your own ;) Your blog is your space. I personally think movie review blogs would look good with this layout. Or maybe even those that talk about movie stars and other such news.

Customize your blog with K2

k2Do you want to set your mark on your blog but are having trouble with finding a framework to suit your needs? K2 is a simple, fully customizable two-column theme for Wordpress from the authors of the default Kubrick theme. It’s clean-cut layout can be adapted to your needs by selecting and creating styles on the K2 options panel, and you can upload your own header images.

Some things about the theme (all colors are from the default setting)
Color scheme: blue, white
Number of columns: two (sidebar is on the right)
Headers: gray
Links: gray for the main column, blue for the sidebar
Text: gray
Search box: at the sidebar, upper part
Images in the post: customizable header image
Other distinguishing features: A navigation system called rolling archives, which lets you navigate through search results and archives without reloading the page. It also has AJAX-powered features like live commenting and livesearch, which means your reader can comment and search your blog without reloading.

K2 was the first theme outside of to support widgets, and it comes with
sidebar modules, created by Ben Sheratt. These modules allow you to fully customize your sidebar to include whatever plugin you wish to add or create if you’re feeling adventurous. A widgetized 3-column K2 created by Bharath Kumar which can be used without K2 is now available, and it has the same versatility as its source. Go hack it, if you want!

Something about the theme creator:
Michael Heilemann authored the default wordpress theme Kubrick. Other developers include Chris J Davis, Zeo, and Steve Lam.

Download K2
Forums for modifications — Look like a pro!

Musil - a nice widget-ready theme

Click the image for a better view.

Are you using WordPress as a CMS and a blogging app? If you are and you are wondering how to make sure that the readers of your blog would feel that each of your posts and articles would have specific ‘weights’ in terms of special articles, regular ones and asides, you could actually set it up using Musil as your theme. The good thing about it is that it’s a really simple looking theme that would not make you feel too overwhelmed.

Positive points for Musil:

  • Distinguish the different kinds of entries that you have.
    Maybe you have things you consider as ’special features’ — how should these appear on your site? Having them appear differently from the rest would be good so that people would have that clue that they are there as special features.
  • Asides are really seen as asides.
    If you’re someone who wants to put sidenotes, no need to worry about how to fiddle around much. Seems like sidenotes work without a hitch here.
  • Widget support
    Whether you are a newbie in blogging or a pro, you could customize your blog further through the use of widgets. There are some widgets that are automatically included in this theme and you just need to activate them. The widgets are: Related Posts and Scrobbler. Check out the plugins so you could activate them, as needed.

People are getting more and more conscious about how readers would benefit more from the layout of their individual blogs. Musil is definitely one of the themes that think about such factors as well as the usability of it from the user’s perspective. Maybe if you are someone who simply needs to know what would work out of the box and have a nice theme to look at at the same time, this is an option you could choose. If you’re running a news and features blog, you might also want to check this out or even modify it.

Looking at the blue horizon theme

bnlue horizon
Click the thumbnail to enlarge the image.

Would you like something soothing on your blog and still be widget-friendly so that you would not find it difficult to work with it? If so, there is the blue horizon theme by Kaushal Sheth. It is a predominantly blue and green theme and as such, you could feel the calm and cool aura of the theme.

Things to like about the theme:

  • The cool and calm feel.
    This is really amazing. The header image is that of rolling hill and you could see the clouds there too. Really soothing.
  • Header navigation - you could put your links to your blog’s static pages there. Or a link to another blog you update regularly.
  • Blockquotes - The style is cute. When you blockquote something, there are left and bottom borders, even for the ones nested inside those blockquotes. Really cute because you could distinguish the blockquotes from the rest of the posts.
  • Fonts - sans serif and rounded fonts
  • Categories and subcategories - They are indicated underneath the titles of the posts.
  • Widget-friendly - This is definitely something positive about it.

This is one of the themes by Kaushal Sheth and it really looks quite usable. Any blogger could easily use it and feel at home with it. This theme might be quite good with blogs with themes that center on reflection like a parenting blog or maybe travelling, especially if you feel like the default header image reminds you of your favorite place to relax. You could view the testrun here. You could also download the theme from here.


Dreaming of a nice single-column theme

Click the image to enlarge.

A lot of blogs use two-column or three-column themes and yet here’s one interesting single-column theme. Daydream. It is a really simple-looking theme actually. It is sleek and simple, using blue and gray as main colors. This single-column blog theme is also widget-ready so it’s something you ought to check out.

Some notes about the theme:
Colors: blues, grays
Asides: Well, they wouldn’t be your typical asides. They’re going to appear as mini-posts on your single-column theme. They’re not going to be found at the nav bar below the main content part. They’ll be posted like regular posts but they would have a different style compared to your regular posts. They would have smaller fonts.
Search bar: It is at the bottom of the theme.
Nav bar: It is at the bottom of the screen.

This theme is pretty clean-looking but it is probably not for every blogger out there. For one thing, some bloggers don’t like the search bar below the rest of the layout. Aside from that, it might appear a bit overwhelming to have such long pages if you have several entries on the front page.

This theme might be suitable for you if you’d like to post only one thing at a time. Especially really long entries. It might be ideal if you are sharing one recipe at a time, if you are a chef. Or you could even have an aside and an entry containing your recipe.

Download link: Get it here.
See it on: its very own Daydream theme homepage.

Widget-ready theme: Orange Crush

Click the image to view it better.

Do you love the color orange and want a widget-ready theme? You can check out Lisa’s Orange Crush WordPress theme. Here are some things to note about the theme:

Colors: orange, white, gray
Header: predominantly orange; has space for your blog title and description but it looks like it wouldn’t be too friendly with blogs with long titles
Posts: Each post would have a section but it’s not within box. There are, however, orange lines beneath the title of each post. The date of the posting is underneath the title. It looks quite elegant actually. The categories of each post do not appear though so you might want to tweak the theme’s template before using it.
Sidebar: As is commonly found in sidebars, there are links, the calendar and archives, the link to recent posts. One of the nice things about it is that the categories and subcategories show up nicely. The subcategories are indented. That is something really nice and awesome.
Blockquotes: no fancy background colors or borders whatsoever.

This widget-ready theme is good for bloggers who want to be taken a bit seriously and still show some funk through their layout. The orange color isn’t too bright so it doesn’t hurt the eyes. It’s pretty refreshing, considering that it has orange, somewhat a strong color.

This WordPress theme could probably be used by those into serious writing or a bit of problogging. That or a food blog, perhaps. They say that the color orange stimulates the appetite that is why it is a popular color used in the marketing of fastfoods. In case you plan to use this, make sure that your blog title is short enough so it wouldn’t be a problem later on.


Thoughts on Canvas and widgets


The widgets I have seen so far are mainly on the sidebar of the blogs. Although you could play around with the positions of the widgets by dragging and dropping them wherever you like, I first encountered something like that with Canvas.

What is Canvas?
Canvas (from Fresh Pursuits) is something you could use to customize your WordPress blog without knowing anything about PHP and CSS. Blogging newbies are welcome to try this! It was a really interesting experience. You could have your layout in this admin interface and you have blocks and blocks of your layout in front of you. You could also add similar elements by drag and drop too. And you just need to click the particular block to customize it. You even have a color palette so you could easily choose colors that you want for your blog.

Why widgetize themes when you have Canvas?

I didn’t totally love the way Canvas worked. It is nice in the sense that you could easily drag and drop ‘boxes’ into your layout and customize them. I think it was mainly working with the Ink part/color palette that I didn’t like much. In any case, at least having themes that are widgets ready would make it easier to somehow manage. Especially if you are using WordPress MU to manage your blogs. That way you could let each blogger on your server to tweak their blogs to their hearts’ desires as long as you have themes that allow that.

Also, it could sometimes be easier to modify by hand the CSS of your WordPress theme. So if you already have widgets, you’re one happy blogger who will customize as the entries come and go.

Maybe there were already widgets before Canvas came out. I don’t really know for sure. All I know is that they both make customizing blogs so much fun and easier too!

Indigo theme: simple and clean, with support for widgets

Indigo thumbnail
Click to enlarge the image.

Looking for a blog theme that looks clean? Look no further. Indigo is one awesome WordPress theme which has widgets support.

Some things about the theme:
Color scheme: white, blue, gray/silver, orange
Lists: bullets, round
Links and headers: orange
Links on the sidebar: gray/silver, hover over them and you’d see arrows on the left side of the links
Text: gray/silver

This widgets-ready theme for WordPress makes good use of white space so you don’t see it as too crowded. It is pretty simple. Quite bloggish for some people as it has the typical two-column layout comprised of one main column and a sidebar with the widgets and other stuff you might want to put there.

Another thing I like about this WordPress theme is that the typography looks really neat. You would want to have your text easily readable by those who’d be reading your blog so this is another plus point for Indigo.

Something about the theme creator:
I don’t understand the language on the Arcsin site but it appears to be Swedish. The theme creator is probably from there. In any case, there are a lot of awesome layouts on that site. Arcsin also was the source of Summer Breeze, Gemstone and Blackbox. Those are also pretty templates for WordPress. Looks like Arcsin is one of the most important stops for those of you who like changing themes a lot!

Is there anything not to like about the theme? I don’t really know. You be the judge!

Check it out:
Download link
Demo link

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