Sunday, May 29, 2011

Still Having Blogger Problems

This is just a quick post to let you know that I'm still having major issues with Blogger. I really don't understand why there are so many different problems that are hitting people seemingly at random, regardless of internet browser or operating system. It's baffling. As is the lack of response from Blogger about these concerns.

There seem to be two major themes - inability to comment, and inability to login.

It's the inability to login that is most affecting me. I have found a shortcut to get in to secretly post this, as I mentioned in the last entry, but it doesn't last. I only have a very small window of time before I'm logged out again, involuntarily. 

And so I can't change my layout or design, I can't add new elements, and the spacing and formatting go completely screwy when I try to post anything. Plus, major photo problems. So I'm stuck with waiting for the time being.

I'm terribly sorry for this unexpected and extended absence, but none of the suggestions that Blogger has endorsed have worked for me. As for commenting, I'm staying away from that too, because being repeatedly kicked out of my Dashboard means that I can't use it as I usually do as the starting point for visiting all my favourite stitchy blogs. Seriously, I'm in stitchy blog *withdrawal*.

Thanks very much for your continued patience, and I hope that I'll be able to return to regular posting in the very near future. In the meantime, I'm still working on the backstitching of my Twilight Angel, and will at least have lots of new photos to share when my service gets restored. Until then, best wishes for Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Argh! Blogger Issues. Again.

This is a quick sneaky post before Blogger remembers that it is not allowing me to log on let you know that everything is on hold while Blogger tries to fix its new multi-problem "issue" with user logins and leaving comments. This is a totally new "issue" not related to the previous meltdown, as far as I've been able to find. For more info, see this vague and unhelpful statement from the Known Issues for Blogger blog, and see here for the Blogger Forums log and debate (in which I've posted, because the problems seem to be far-ranging and indiscrimate and manifest in different ways, and no one had described the situation that I'm in right now, and I'm not likely to get a fix that remedies my problems unless The Great Google is aware of the specifics).

This is a really hit-and-miss problem that seems to be affecting more and more users. I found a temporary fix in the Blogger Forums (page 2) that let me in and will hopefully let me post this, but I can't comment on anyone's blog, including answering the lovely comments on my own (thank you!) and I may not be able to log in again for a while, depending on how bad this gets.

Google is trying to roll out a fix, but the ones they've tried so far are not working, and they may have to roll back the system again (*sigh*). And we all know how well that worked the last time *rolls eyes*. So I won't be posting or making changes until I can at least log-in using regular methods, as it's a good bet that there will be some major system changes on the Google end to get the service back up and running.

And if you blog with Blogger, and haven't backed up recently, I'd really advise that you might want to do so very soon. Like now. Just in case.

Here's a link to my recent post about that in case you missed it or need a quick reference. Hope that all is going well with you all :)

Now, if you'll kindly excuse me, I'm off to read a good book and calm my temper.

Friday, May 20, 2011

WIP: Twilight Angel - Almost Done!

Happy news! I've just finished all the whole cross-stitches and half cross-stitches on my Twilight Angel, and now can move on to the backstitching!

Normally, I would post up the last photo of my progress, but as I had to repost my last entry, it should appear right below this one. So on to the new photos!

The addition of her wings:

The start of the blue cloud:

And the completion of the blue cloud!

And there you have it! Next up is the backstitching, which I think will be very interesting, as it is done in several different colours and with different strand amounts. The blue cloud was a bit of a challenge, actually, because it only uses 1 strand of floss for its mix of whole and half cross-stitches, and it's the first time I've actually cross-stitched using 1 strand. I frequently use it for backstitch, but was surprised by how fragile it seemed when cross-stitching!

It took me a while to get my tension right, as I was afraid to tug too hard, lest I break the thread. But the differences in strand size make the cloud look very hazy and appropriately background-like! And it's funny, since when it's in, the blue I used for the cloud looks just a shade darker than the blue-violet Aida cloth, but it's actually a turquoise! When I first went to put it in, I was very dubious, but using the 1 strand really softens the colour. That's a neat trick I'll try to remember for the future! ;)

I'm greatly looking forward to moving on to the backstitching, because it will add a lot of detail. The feathers on her wings, for example, are all added by backstitch over the mix of white and greys that I've already done. And once I manage all the considerable backstitching, it's on to the sparkles, the wonderful sparkles!

And I realize that I haven't posted updates on anything else in a while, but now that the end (oh, the glimmering, shiny, sparkling end!) is in sight, I just can't put down Twilight Angel! I am happily looking forward to spending some quality stitching time with her during this Victoria Day weekend. Even the forecasted rains, methinks, will not stop me :) I suspect that once I start adding all the lovely shinies in, Mr. Sun will have to come and lend his light, just to see them glitter and gleam! Happy Stitching!

WIP Twilight Angel: Overdue Update!

This is a reposting, to fix the tags at the bottom of the post. After the glitch, they were not restored, and I wanted them to match the series. That way, if you would to see all the posts about Twilight Angel, all you have to do is click the tag at the bottom of any related entry.

If I had left the tags glitched, this post would have disappeared from such a search. Sorry for any inconvenience this has caused!

Hello Stitchy Friends!

My sincerest apologies for my lack of activity recently! I haven't been well, and so I just sort of got behind on everything (again). Thanks very much for your patience!

Stitchy-wise, I'm afraid that I don't have much progress to report.

But I do have a little bit of good news!

When I last posted about Twilight Angel, she looked like this:

Since then, I've managed to finish off her blue skirt band:

And, to my delight, have filled in everything on her person!

I'm very pleased with how she has turned out so far :)

The gaps at her wrists and neckline will be filled with a floss and gold metallic mix, and the space on the crown of her head is where her ornate headband will reside. My foe, the French knots, are called for, but I have sneaky secret beady substitution plans!

But by far the best thing is that I can now go on to work on her wings!

And, I am happy to report - especially to Rainy Day Crafter and CrazyStitcher, my cheerleaders in this matter - that I am remaining steadfast, despite the occassional urge to the contrary, in my resistance to completing my half cross-stitches!

I hope all is going well with your stitching, and I greatly look forward to catching up on all the new stitchy blog news in the next few days. Until then, Happy Stitching!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Important Info for Fellow Bloggers!

On the advice of a good friend, who has learned this lesson from painful experience, I have been intending to look into how to backup my blog. In light of the major Blogger glitch that just occurred, it would be a good time for any of us who don't already have an established backup procedure in place to acquire one.

But finding out how to backup information from Blogger wasn't as easy as I thought it would be; putting "how to backup Blogger" in the Great Google will get you tons of results, but most of the hits are message board questions that were never answered, or answered - incorrectly - with "you can't, no way to do it". After some digging, it turns out that you need to follow the Import/Export instructions (from the Blogger Help Center).

All the step-by-step instructions are here, but for the backup instructions, you need to scroll down to the very bottom of the page for the "Export" information.

Basically, the way to backup your content (your posts, including text, photos and formatting), is to go to the "Settings" tab in your Blogger and select the Export blog button. I had assumed that, like the "Import" option, this was only of use if you intended to move platforms or change blogging services. I had no idea that this was the way to make backups. But, according to Blogger, saving the "Export" .xml file on your hard drive will enable you to keep a copy of your blog.

That way, if your blog should get get deleted or corrupted, as happened to thousands of people during the Blogger glitch, you have a file that you can use to restore your blog, following the "Import" instructions. This is very important, because although the Blogger service has been working to restore the blogs and contents that were deleted, there is no guarantee that your data and hard work will be able to be retrieved or will be retrieved in excellent condition. It seems most reasonable to download an "Export" copy every month, but special effort should be made (I think) after major posts or design changes. Or before long periods of absence (e.g. vacations).

Which brings me to a very important point - from what I can gather, the "Export" file will only contain your posts, pictures and formatting. It will NOT contain your blog design and widgets. So Step 2 is to download and save a copy of your template.

Frustratingly, I can't find the full step-by-step instructions for this in the Blogger Help Center! But this discussion in the Blogger Help Forums covers most of it, although the only right answer is the Best Answer. I've been saving my template for some time now (although I realized that my content wasn't saved), and I make sure to click the "Expand Widgets" box right above the code box before I download my template so that the all the coding for my "Widgets" (all your sidebar stuff) gets saved in that download.

Otherwise, you save a copy of the basic design template and changes, but when you upload it again (if you need to!), all of your sidebar gadgets will not work and will need to be installed and customized again! And that would be a total nightmare! I find it's helpful to put the date in front of the the template name before you save it, so that if you do need to restore it, you can search by date and easily find the most recent copy.

So, in a nutshell, to backup with Blogger you need to regularly get into the routine of following the two steps of 1. Saving the "Export" file, and 2. "Downloading" your Template, with the "Expand Widgets" box checked, to save the most complete facsimile of your blog to your hard drive for future reference and in case of emergency.

I hope that this is clear! Honestly, I have no idea why this isn't explained clearly with the two steps (and instructions for how to do them) linked together, but I can't find anything like that in the Blogger Help Articles or the Blogger Help Forums (user discussions).

Nevertheless, I hope that this information will be helpful to you, and perhaps save you some grief! I know I'm going to have to get into doing the Two-Step Blogger Backup dance in a sort of schedule soon, because I don't want to lose all that I've created!

* I do realize that confessing so much ignorance is embarrassing, but I figure that some of you that also use Blogger might have similar problems, and I thought I'd better fess up and share this with you just in case, on the principle that it's better late than never!

Something Odd Is Going On

Just a quick message to let you know that I'm having trouble with Blogger today.

I've heard it went down yesterday, but this morning when I logged in, my post from Wednesday has its tags all messed up and its comments missing (thank you for the lovely note Karen!), so I really have no idea what's up with that. I'm going to wait a while to see if the issue resolves itself rather than trying to repost and taking the chance of making matters worse.

If anyone has any advice, I would welcome it gladly :)

Here's hoping that things around Bloggerland get back to normal soon!

EDIT: According to the official Blogger blog, Blogger Buzz, some "data corruption" occured during regular maintenance work on Wednesday and they chose to effectively run a systems restore, which means that all posts since very early Wednesday morning were "temporarily removed". Those posts should be restored (like mine), but may not be quite right (like mine), and there is still an issue with the comments. Comments should be restored, according to the blog, "this weekend or sooner", so that explains that! It also explains why some of the comments I left on other sites mysteriously disappeared (I was wondering if I had imagined leaving them, lol).

I had some major blog updates planned, as I was intending to revamp the Free Patterns page and a few other things, but as Blogger is still recovering - and things are going to be wonky for at least today, if not the weekend, by the sounds of it - I'm going to excercise caution and wait this glitch out. If you blog with Blogger, I wish you speedy recovery :)

In light of all this, I think I'm going to put the computer away and sit and stitch. Mr. Sun has not come, as his sullen cousin Mr. Fog has taken up residence, but thankfully it isn't raining (yet). There is light! Grey light, but light nonetheless! *itchy stitchy fingers*

Until this issue resolves itself, Happy Stitching!