Please don’t be alarmed.  You are in the right place.  This is The Art of Doing Stuff.  I am Karen.  You may, at this very moment, be fearful.  Maybe you’re afraid that my site has been taken over by someone else.  That’s understandable and if you would just calm down for a second I can prove to you that this is indeed The Art of Doing Stuff and I am, for sure, Karen.   I don’t have any kind of computerized thumbprint recognition I can do or anything to prove that this is still my site and I am still me, but let me just say this: Snarklefart, asshead, shitshow, Cuddles and “I hate brussels sprouts”.  If that doesn’t convince you it is indeed me, Karen, writing this post then nothing will. Also Idris Elba is hot.  That last one there oughtta secure it for you.  So no one has taken over my blog and turned it into something different.

It’s just the new site redesign.

You’re liable to be feeling all kinds of things right now, and over the next few minutes you might in fact feel a whole array of things including violent, violent anger towards me and this new site.   It’s O.K.  Just go ahead and feel them.  Nobody likes change.  I mean, there are people who say they like change but those people are just trying to be show offs.  Like those people who claim they actually enjoy reading Russian literature.  As if.

Today I’m just going to take you on a little tour of the new look and show you what’s different about it so you’ll have an easier time navigating it.




First off,  you’ll notice at the top of the page is my new logo designed by my friend graphic designer Russell Gibbs.  It’s simple and  graphic looking.   I had a few options but I liked this one right away and it was Russell’s favourite too.  With the logo, Russell wanted to emphasize that me, my life, this site is all about DOING.  The Art of Doing Stuff is not a lazing around letting someone else take care of it kind of place and I’m not that kind of person.  And neither are the people who read this site.

After living with my blog and watching it evolve over the past 5 years I developed a better idea of what my categories should really be. For one thing when I started this blog I didn’t even own chickens!  They came a year into my blogging career. So for the past 4 years of owning chickens and doing a LOT of posts on chickens I didn’t even have a Chicken category.

There is now a chicken category.

I also didn’t really know how much I was going to talk about myself when I started this blog or how often I’d just blabber as opposed to showing you how to do something.  Hence the NEW category, “My Life”.  That’s where you’ll find stories about me and my family (think Betty or my nieces hilarious Bikram Yoga experience).  My Life is also where you’ll find the things I recommend like product reviews or my series 5 Books I’ve Read, Plus 5 Books I’m Gonna Read, or 3 Shows You Should be Watching.  This is also where “Random Shit” goes, which are things that are great but don’t fit into one of my regular categories.

Another brand new category is the SHOP page.  There’s nothing to buy there right.  So that’s the most anti-climactic store opening ever. The Shop category is  eventually where I’ll sell my video courses,  maybe some tea towels, products that will be exclusive to The Art of Doing Stuff and of course my favourite things that I own and love.




As you can see, the categories I’ve decided to go with are Food, Garden, House, Chickens, Tips, DIY and My Life.  Each category has a sub-category  underneath.  Just hover your mouse over the category and the sub-categories will show up.  So Tips are sub-categorized into cleaning tips, cooking tips, decorating tips, organizing tips etc.  The DIY category has a drop down menu showing all of my individual holiday DIYs including Christmas, Halloween, Easter and more.  There’s also DIY sub-categories in flower arranging (which I used to do a LOT more posts on), and general DIY tutorials like How to Brace a Saggy Gate, How to Fold a Napkin, How to Stack Wood, How to Make Foaming Soap or any other step by step tutorial I’ve written.




You’ll also notice that as you scroll down any page on my site that my menu will stay put up at the top. So if you scroll down to the bottom of a long post you don’t have to scroll all the way back up to go to the menu.  It’ll be right there for you.




You can easily subscribe to get my emails sent to you every day by typing your email address into the subscribe box.

Wanna search something?  Hit the little search button at the top.  This is the one thing I’m a bit worried about. Not everyone knows that that little magnifying glass is the symbol for “search”.





When you click the search button this will pop up,




There are other ways the site will change too.  The background will change throughout the seasons for instance.  There’s the slate background (which you can see on the site now), the butcherblock background and the foil background.  The foil background is special for the holidays and butcherblock will make it’s debut next fall.

Wanna hear something funny? I totally thought I’d be writing this post 10 months ago. It was over a year ago that I told you  The Art of Doing Stuff was going to be getting a new design because my old design was … old.   I figured I’d get it all wrapped up in 2 months and then in my mind gave myself a buffer of another month. So 3 months.  It took 13 months.   And I’d been thinking about it for 3 months prior to announcing it. So from the moment I thought about it to the moment my new site went live was 16 months.  If this were a gestation period I could have given birth to a whale.

The Art of Doing Stuff is also now “responsive”.  All that means is it will look good whether you’re checking it out on your laptop, phone or tablet.

I’m guessing there might be the odd hiccup over the next few weeks and maybe even a bit of indigestion. Some of you may even feel a little bit queasy right now.   It ain’t easy, giving birth to a whale.

And you and I, we have the easy part. We just have to get used to it.   All of the truly terrifying work was done by WayLay Design.  Selina is the one who actually had to somehow, miraculously turn my old site into my new site without skipping a beat (unless you’re counting my heartbeats in which case many, many beats were skipped).

Now you go browse around and I’ll go and work on that shop page.  And eat some chips.  (see?  It really is me.)

Have a good weekend!








  1. Noelle says:

    You win! I’ve been building a new site for 400 years or so, and it’s sort of live but not really but it’s hard to explain. I like yours, I’m jealous , but as I’ve likely said before I have irrational, teen angst jealousy about you in general. So, here you are, winning again. *sigh* I love it! Btw.. And I think I owe you money. Yay new site! Yay!

    • Karen says:

      Oh, you probably do. That’s one thing you have no need to be jealous of. My complete inability to bother with collecting money. ~ karen!

  2. connie says:

    LoL, ok, you convinced me – it IS you! Congratulations on the new design- looks great! Now if you’ll excuse me i’m going to go browse 🙂 (oh boy -this will be fun)

    • Karen says:

      I’m most excited about the fact that it’ll be easier for people to find stuff they’re looking for now and way easier to kind of get lost and just look around at stuff you may not have seen before. ~ karen!

  3. Jennie Lee says:

    Okay, I gotta know- what’s with the article that has something to do with flowers, beautiful wooden bowls and spoons, condiments, sadness, and what looks like LATIN? I really didn’t think you were anyone other than Karen, until I saw THAT!

    • Karen says:

      Ha!! That’s just a fake nothing post that was up while the site was being recoded. It was just in for reference. WordPress uses some weird latin language for fake posts all the time for some reason. NO idea why. 🙂 ~ Donna … uh … i mean Karen!

      • Jamieson says:

        I didn’t see the post but that might be Lorem Ipsum, not Latin. It’s a fake language used in layout approval so your eye pays attention to the design rather than get distracted by reading the words, but it still shows you what the layout looks like with type there.
        Welcome the world at last, new site design!!
        PS 2 more sleeps til dumplings, meine dumpling!

      • Nicole says:

        Yeah, it’s actually a garbled and altered piece of text from Cicero. The lorem ipsum thing is taken from ‘dolorem ipsum’ – ‘pain itself’ – you can see why designers use it, right?!

        Totally with you on the site redesign thing; I’ve been working on mine for three months, and each week I keep saying it will be done by the end of the week. Bah.

        Yours looks pretty swanky though, and worth the wait. I like how it’s organised – it appeals to my anally-retentive sense of order.

        One slight criticism though, if I may – the comment box went squiffy when I enlarged it, so I had to type this in Notepad, and then c&p it.

        By the way, I read Russian literature. The Master and Margarita (Bulgakov) is one of my favourite novels. I feel the need to point out however, that I also love Harry Potter, SciFi, videogames, and would like to see Idris Elba as the next Bond… although not, perhaps, as much as I would love to see Tom Hiddleston in that role. :-p

  4. Good jorb Karen! Love the new look!!

    • Karen says:

      Even if you’re just being nice and you don’t really love it yet Barbie, it’ll grow on you. 😉 I absolutely LOVE my new logo. It’s SO much easier to work with than my old one. The font of the old one only looked good when it was really big. Anything small and the words just disappeared. ~ karen!

  5. Kathleen says:

    BTW – I do like change… which will explain my slightly nomadic lifestyle! I do not like Russian literature though! 🙂
    I do however like the new look! Congrats on the birth of your “whale”. So where do I deliver the balloons to? 🙂
    Have an awesome weekend Karen.

  6. Mindy says:

    Alright, I’ll accept it. If I must.

  7. AB Karen says:

    I like it a lot, and I am not a fan of change. This just looks better. Time
    will tell, but I think you have a winner.

  8. Dagmar says:

    Hello Karen, 2.0. I don’t know whether this is considered a glitch or not, but all I see on the top of my page it the name of the site and the cleaver. Basically, I only see the right side. I admit that I am on my iPhone, since my iPad battery died watching all of season 2 of the “Call the Midwives.” P.S. I miss the old site, this cleaver reminds me of “Chopped.” And your blog is so much better. ?

  9. Tracie Berry says:

    While I did wonder for a very long time, is this really necessary??!! By the time I got to the end, I figured it out. It is pretty good, I have to say. And Idris Elba is hot…plus I do love the advantage of the drop down categories. Change is always good. Not always welcome at first, however…

  10. MissChris SA says:

    I like very much, but if I may, the only thing I thought as I was looking at your new page is that the “brightness” is missing. You are such a colourful person and though the previous design was not bright and full of colour it was lighter.

    Overall, I love it though!

  11. whitequeen96 says:

    Etiquette! You have posts on etiquette?! Oh boy, those must have been before I joined the group. I’ve got to check that out – any posts on the protocol of toot mufflers? 🙂

  12. Shauna says:

    Change is good, and I really like the way it looks in the pictures you included, but… I thought you would want to know that on my iPhone it doesn’t look like your pictures. Hopefully it’s just a minor glitch.

    • Mumo3kids says:

      You don’t see the stripey icon and the word ‘menu’? I’m on my iphone and that’s what I see…
      Love the new sans serif font by the way – so easy to read on a tiny screen!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Shauna! That’s because you’re looking at the “responsive” portion. Basically it alters itself to make it so you can read it on an iPhone. ~ karen!

  13. Annie1946 says:

    Hi Karen,
    Had a quick boo and it looks great, I will now be able to check out the things I missed out on before I found your blog. I have to go to bed now (it’s 1.00am) but will check things out in depth tomorrow.

  14. Larraine says:

    I’ve been meaning to ask for a while about the & ads because I faithfully used those (and pushed my husband to do so too) to add $0.00000001 to your coffers with each purchase. Then, as I was ready to place another order, they morphed to some uni-site ad and I couldn’t tell .ca from .com. Now, as I was finally working up to commenting on that problem, it’s solved because they’re gone completely!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Larraine! I may add something in, but for now as long as you go to Amazon from any of my links it will count as an order from me. And any of my links *should* take you to the proper site. So if you’re American you should be directed to the .com site and being Canadian you should be directed automatically to the .ca site. ~ karen!

      • Kim from Milwaukee says:

        You’re gonna get rich off of me then! I do tons of shopping thru Amazon, especially around the holidays!! Woohoo!!

        Love the look of the site…the grey is very easy on the eyes. I prefer darker backgrounds anyway and this looks very sharp. It’ll be easier to view on my phone as well. You’re always thinking, you are!

  15. holly says:

    I love it!! We change our website a few times a year, so I am used to change, but primarily worry about the end user finding their way around (retail site). This is so much more organized. I’ll be checking out the drop downs when I have time.


  16. Violet Rose says:

    ‘I hate brussel sprouts’ IS your digital fingerprint.
    Slate grey – very cool. A very, as they say in the biz, trending colour.
    It manages to look urban, industrial and elegantly minimal.
    Love it.

  17. Violet Rose says:

    The meat cleaver has a kind of Sweeney Todd murderous look, so I approve of that too.

  18. Laura says:

    Love it!! Worth the wait!!’

  19. Lindsay H says:

    I love the sticky header. And I’ll adjust to the new design. It’s like when your favorite TV show introduces a new character. I lovethe show…but he or she will take some getting used to…. *insert side-eye* ……. and then suddenly, you can’t imagine the show any other way!

    • Lindsay H says:

      Wait! You know what I miss about the old site???? Where is “abs of steel” Karen? Where’s the fish? What’s happening right now? Goddamit my world is upside down!!!!!

  20. robert says:

    Congratulations, it looks wonderful and I’m sure it would be very fun to explore the new categoriewhen I have the time

  21. Sarah says:

    There’s so much to love about the new design, but I think my favorite new thing is the sticky menu!

  22. Judy D. says:

    I absolutely LOVE the new layout. It was great before…but this is outstanding. As soon as I finish typing this ‘comment,’ I’m going to check out all the categories and have some fun. Thank you Karen.

  23. Grammy says:

    I’m old. I don’t generally like change. When I’m used to a website, I need it to stay that way so I don’t get confused. I love Brussels sprouts. I’m beginning to wonder why I put up with you and all this stuff. Okay, we agree on Idris Elba, so there’s that.

    But this — this new website design — is a thing of beauty. In more ways than one. Viewing on my iPad is a joy to behold, and that wasn’t the case before. The new logo is perfect. I spent several years as a graphic designer if it matters (I know, nobody cares) and everything that was changed with the logo is perfect. I’ll need to adapt to the slate gray, but it’s quite lovely and your pictures will be showcased much better with that as a backdrop. It lends a kind of elegant look to the whole place. The new categories are great, the drop-down menus are welcomed, and the site navigation is a thousand times better. I’m not seeing the sticky menu at the top as I scroll down, and I’d like that very much, so maybe a tweak is needed?

    And I think you shouldn’t lose any sleep about people knowing the search icon. Anybody who doesn’t know that universal symbol by now would just end up hurting themselves if they tried to do any things you show how to do, what with the use of sharp tools for some of them.

    Good on ya’ for having a pro do the nuts and bolts of this. We need your wacky self DOING stuff and telling us about it, not trying to do the complete site redesign and upgrade while there are things to plant and things to harvest and gifts to wrap and appliances that need fixing. Thanks for the tour!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Grammy! Thanks! I forgot to mention (there are so many things to mention) that the sticky menu only shows up on something the size of a laptop. On an iPhone or iPad you get the responsive version which is slimmed down a bit to make things easier to read on a smaller screen. ~ karen!

  24. Grammy says:

    Addendum: when I hit “post comment” the sticky menu reappeared, and I discovered that it only disappeared when the keyboard was showing on my iPad, but works perfectly if I’m not typing something. So no tweak needed. This whole damn new thing is pretty much perfect.

  25. Stephanie Hobson says:

    First thing I looked for was the “How to Open Spaghetti” video. Thank God I found it! Had it not been there I don’t know what I would have done. I swear that may be my most favorite video in all of the world! Just thinking about it makes me smile. lol

  26. MaggieB says:

    Hi Karen – did take a short intake of breath and then started breathing again when I realised you had not be blognapped. Love the slate blackground and logo. And love the smorgasbord of articles for the home page (will they change each day or are they static – just curious now, yes I know I could wait until tomorrow…)

    Things that are strange are I am getting a pale yellow rectangular block between the logo/sticky menu (love that!) (the logo/sticky menu NOT the pale yellow custard block) and the full article. And on my Android it’s super in portrait but when I turn to horizontal the text goes absolutely massive, so when you turn it back to portrait then a strange grey block appears in the top left corner of the screen as an overlay. After you scroll back to the top the logo appears as
    The Art
    and half a cleaver.

    I miss Karen and the fish picture too. But congratulations to you and the team, great job!

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. NO idea. I’ll send this comment to Selina but I know she’s busy and may not be able to get to it for a while. The yellow looking block is where an ad is supposed to go, so either Google isn’t serving that ad to you or you have ad blocker on your site. ~ karen!

  27. Auntiepatch says:

    I don’t like the gray background. I’m having trouble reading words on it. Maybe you could use a larger font for us old fogies. Thanks –

    • Karen says:

      Hi Auntiepatch – You should be able to just make the font bigger (not just for my site but for all sites) on your computer or iPad. Maybe ask a young fogie for help, lol. ~ karen!

  28. A Guy says:

    Nice whale!

  29. Lindy says:

    What a thrilling start to the day. Congratulations on giving birth to your whale. It’s a whopper. All I need now is time to browse. But some of us have Russian literature and sprout plants to get back to.

  30. Arlie says:

    Don’t care for it, the grey looks like it needs cleaned.


    • Karen says:

      Hey Arlie! Sorry you don’t like it but it doesn’t look like you’ve ever left a comment before so a) you either don’t read the site very often or b) you’re the kind of person (sadly) who doesn’t speak up about anything until they have a complaint. ~ karen!

  31. Pam says:

    I remember way back when this whale was just a glimmer in your eye…so long ago that I kinda forgot this might actually happen. Overall this new baby beluga looks great! Navigation tools, sticky menu, magnifying glass icon. All good things. I do find the overall tone to be a bit dark, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. On a functional note I find the orange colored text quite difficult for my old, heavily corrected, extremely dry and judgey eyes, to read. Maybe a darker shade would be more ‘old-eye-friendly’. Really for a whale of this size those are just little niggly barnacles so all in all…Great Job!!

  32. Jacquie says:

    I like it, especially the fact that the menu stays at the top as you go down the page – well thought out. Unfortunately, I was still going through your old site reading every single article in order so I guest that’s buggered now 🙂

  33. Paula says:

    Looks great and the thought that went into it shines through!

  34. Jenny W says:

    Well look at you, all grown up 🙂
    Seriously, the site looks beautiful – well done!

  35. Karen Too! says:

    I like the baby whale a lot but I miss the fish. Much easier on the eyes. A lot of work, good work. I do love Russian literature the way…

  36. Ev Wilcox says:

    Ok, so far: Love the font, really like the crisp black and charcoal background, and glad you kept the cleaver. And Cuddles, that really removed the Rod Serling music for me-I knew for sure I was home!
    I am very happy for you that the long gestation is over! Seriously, it looks nice and when I get up again this morning (damn it, it’s 4:30 a and the wind woke me up and now it’s quiet and i will go back to bed soon) I will try out all the buttons and whistles. Congrats!

  37. Catt-in-Kentucky says:

    Love the new site design – cool looking and user friendly – great job!

  38. Rhonda Davis says:

    Humph…I’ll get used to it. I’ll miss the Kingfish, your lean mean arms and abs, etc. But you’re a big girl now and look so debonair holding Cuddles in your grown-up dress sitting on your kitchen counter (AKA do you know your ass is on your kitchen counter and you’re holding a live chicken in your lap and its probably not a very sanitary thing to do?) Never mind. You’re a bona fide blogger – congrats, friend. You’ve come a long way and probably will go farther and farther. Best for you.

  39. marilyn says:

    i think its great, easier to navigate but i too think its a bit dull, colour not you could never be dull Karen!

    • Karen says:

      I actually like the darkness, lol. (well clearly or I wouldn’t have gone for it). In general I don’t like dressing in colour, designing in colour or decorating in colour sooooo. 🙂 I like the dark moody. Having said that, don’t forget that the background changes with the seasons. So dark in the winter, lighter at other times. ~ karen!

  40. Wow! I really love this! But now I don’t even remember the old site to compare. Eh, who cares, enjoy! Glad you like your new logo so much, I changed mine a year ago, name, logo, colour scheme and never looked back. A change is as good as a rest they say, rest up dearie, the work has just begun!

  41. Maggie says:

    Congrats on the new site! I *love* the text and menus but just wanted to mention that I don’t think the background image is looking as it should on my iPhone or iPad. It’s all pixels and muddiness, not like the screenshot you posted. I do find the overall effect a bit less crisp and bright with all the grey (this from someone with a dark slate coloured house *and* dining room, but change is good and it’s really the background image that’s bugging me. It’s really just dark grey pixels on lighter grey pixel smudges on my devices

    • Pam says:

      Yes, it’s the same pixeliness on my iPad. Time to check it out on my laptop where the site probably reads better. Can’t beat the convenience of the iPad, though!

      • Maggie says:

        Looks great on my big computer screen at work! Not a muddy image like it shows on my devices (which is unfortunately where I normally do my home/fun browsing). Beautiful.

  42. jillian says:

    Lovely site Karen! I am filled with admiration (and some jealousy). I have been working on my new site for 2 years and have not launched. It has been one issue after another, mostly because of idiot people not following through or not knowing what they are doing and then learning code as I go so I can spot issues. I do plan of launching in the next few weeks, now that I have mastered coding lol, no not really.

    So how did you create and launch a new site without ever letting us know AND continued to release 3 newsletters a week, along with everything else that you do? I know you don’t have kids, but you still have just as much to do. Being self employed is slavery to freedom from a J.O.B. (not that I would ever give up being a slave to freedom, to being a slave to others lol) As an entrepreneur you know the to do list never ends and the paychecks don’t show up when you miss time. So tell us, tell us, how did you do it??? Maybe you could create a class on this and have it in your new Shop?

    Thank you again for all you do and share with the world!

  43. Debbie Bashford says:

    Sorry not a fan, it so does not fit your blogger personality in my opinion. It’s the only way I know you and it feels so out of place. I had no problems with the old site and loved how looking at a post would easily lead me to others with links. I find this harder to read and I do not see a search feature?? Do I now need to know exactly what I am looking for to navigate to it? If I have to work too hard to try and find articles I like, I won’t and would look somewhere else.

    • Alice says:

      As mentioned in the post, there is the little magnifying glass logo, top right corner, which is for search.

    • Karen says:

      That’s O.K. If you have to go you have to go. I expected as much from some people. I’m a pretty good judge of who I am and my personality (which is the same as either a blogger or a person) and this site is definitely a reflection of me. Also I included a pretty in depth explanation of where the search bar was including pictures so maybe you didn’t really read the post but just skimmed due to time. ~ karen!

    • Sheila says:

      Too bad – see ya!

      • Karen says:

        Now, now. Everybody calm down. It might just take some getting used to. ~ karen!

        • Debbie Bashford says:

          wow sorry I have a freakin opinion, but glad to see some true colours . I served 25 years in the military as did my father, and my grandfather to defend my right to state my opinion but sadly not surprised that I would be attacked for them so gladly will not return or recommend your site to anyone I know

          • Karen says:

            Debbie. You’re the one who said you were leaving my site to begin with because you wouldn’t be able to search for anything without a search bar. I told you that there is a search bar and that I wrote about it in the post. And then I told everyone to calm down. ~ karen!

  44. jainegayer says:

    I think I like it but right now I’m gonna get my coffee because this is a big change and I do not like changes but I like you so I will survive but I need coffee to handle this. OK, see you on Monday, Karen and have a good weekend.

  45. Carla says:

    Really like how organized it it. I think something funky is going on with the mobile version though. There is an American Express add that goes across the width of the page and your page got shrunk down to half the width of my phone. I can zoom in and use it fine, but it looks odd.

    • Karen says:

      It’s probably just the “responsive” version Carla. Everything has to shrink down and change a bit when it’s on an iPhone but I’ll have Selina check it to make sure everything is running O.K. ~ karen!

  46. Elen G says:

    Yeah. Love it.
    Love it. Love it. Love it.
    The sticky menu is brilliant.
    The logo is clean and fresh.
    And content is queen, so you’ve got that covered. 🙂

    Launching on Friday the 13th…… brave soul!

  47. Beckie says:

    I really like it! It’s easy to look at (on the eyes) and easy to navigate.

    I don’t see an archives menu. Am I missing that? I like to re-read blogs and an archives menu makes it easier to find where I left off reading.

  48. Maura says:

    Looks wonderful, clean,,easy to navigate, peaceful and pleasing to the eye.
    Thank you!

  49. Heather says:

    Love it. Nice clean lines.

  50. Laurie says:

    It looks great! Wish I could afford Selina! Maybe someday…

  51. Carol Hogan says:

    I’m still at the top of the page repeating Idris Elba, Idris Elba, Idris Elba.

  52. Su says:

    I likey like! it’s organized and polished…. it’s different and ANY change that you personally initiate yourself is a good change…. when I’m not supposed to be working I’ll leisurely scroll thru it all and explore….

  53. maggie van sickle says:

    I like it. Appears easy to navigate.

  54. Marta says:

    Wow. Looks like everybody hates your blog. : )

  55. Deborah says:

    I LOVE your new website! Bravo!

  56. Christine says:

    One suggestion, since you are making changes, …..can you put a ‘top of the page button’ at the bottom of the comments?

    So many times I read through all the comments, which I love, and then have to flick my finger like a mad woman to get back to the top of the post again.

    Change is always good. Nice job!

  57. Christine says:

    Also….I would love if there was a sequential button that would take the reader through your posts starting with day one through current day….not tied to a particular category. Just for pure reading pleasure. ?

  58. Christine says:

    Agggggggggghgh, I can’t help but comment again!
    Just wanna let you know I miss the fish photo!

  59. Erin says:

    I’m with you on the Russian literature. Wish it wasn’t so, but I gotta face it.
    The re-design is very sleek and gorgeous. Love the grey.
    I had to check it our on my iPhone after some of the comments. I have the same issue with the orange text being hard to read, even with the brightness cranked. On my phone, the orange value is really similar to the grey background value. It doesn’t seem as pronounced on the laptop. Maybe darkening the orange text a couple value levels for legibility for us wonky-eyed gals would help.
    Overall, a very engaging new look! Can’t wait to get lost in the drop downs.

  60. Karin says:

    You look terrific for just having given birth to a whale! And the new site is awesome. I am not kidding – really looks great! It’s bold and just slightly edgy. Like you. Great job by all involved.

  61. Jody says:

    Well done! It’s a whale of a site. And love the easy to read font.

  62. Karin says:

    LOVE IT. that’s really all that needs saying. but let me babble on for a minute.
    it’s beautiful, elegant, it’s great. i’m surprised i’m saying it like that. usually if a site that i’ve been going to for a long period of time changes, i throw a tandrum, god knows why. but THIS… this here site, love it. it’s perfect. i love the new categories and can’t wait til the shop is complete, cause i WOULD spend money on a teatowel. i loooove the bankground, again elegant, timeless, just great.

    i think it has been mentioned before, but here are my 2 cents worth of bitchn n’ moanin. perhaps the comment section could be reversed with the newest comment on the bottom? only because i’mma lazy scroller, s’all.

    now i’m off to read some Russian literature, cause i love that too


    have a great weekend.

  63. JackieVB says:

    Beautiful job! I really love the new look here and I can tell that you and your designer put a lot of thought into everything. I only read a few blogs and some have been talking about changing their layout lately. I will tell them to come here to see how it should be done!

  64. Kim says:

    Isn’t the picture that appears when you answer a comment the abs/fish photo? So not really entirely gone for those folks who miss it!

  65. Thera says:

    It is pretty, but gloomy and with the clever it made me feel like I’d tapped into a horror show blog, until I saw the comment re Chopped, and yeah thats their logo. But each to their own.
    Oh and it might just be me, but on my Android everything is loosey goosey and kinda floats everywhere.

  66. Thera says:

    Oh and you need to change the background of your signature at the bottom if your posts, doesnt look quite right in white now.

  67. Elaine says:

    I REALLY like the soft grey background – it’s so much easier on the eyes (less glare) so thank you for that, Karen! The print (that’s in yellow/orange) is difficult to read on my iPad but I simply enlarge it. I love that you don’t have to scroll all the way back to look up another subject ….. smart thinking!

    I think you did a great and well-thought-out job!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Elaine. I”m going to take a look at the gold text on my iPhone and iPad and see if there’s a way to change it to make it a bit darker that will make it easier to read. ~ karen!

      • Julie says:

        Luckily there are phones other than iPhones and i have one! The text is a nice black on white/very light grey…it is very easy to rad!

  68. Jenifer says:

    OK. I know you know best for your baby whale but gosh, my head is spinning! You’re like an old friend who comes for coffee and I don’t have to get out of my jammies or brush my hair. This.will.take.some.time. On one hand..urrr fin, I like the new organization. It was a pain in the ass the other day to find the older book recommendations when I decided I Did I see them all?? On the other fin, wow! It looks SO different, not bad different just different…did-I-go-to-the-right-site different. Ya’ know?

    So in conclusion, not that you asked…or did you? I think your site looks very chic and modern but will take some time to get used to it. It all seems so sudden…I know you’ve mentioned it but whatever…how many times have I said I was going to clean out my closet?

    Anyway, thank you for not including any video advertisements…they just annoy the crap out of me.

    • Karen says:

      Oh video ads might pop up eventually. That’s up to Google really. I don’t allow videos to automatically play but sometimes they play when you hover your mouse over them. I can’t really get rid of them because they pay better than other ads and frankly with so many people using “Ad Blocker” I have to make money where I can. Something like 40 percent of people use ad blocker. 🙁 Nobody realizes that for the small convenience of not seeing an ad, you’re literally taking away my only source of income from this blog. And honestly if I made any less money than I do right now I’d have to shut down the blog. K. Suddenly I’m venting, lol. ~ karen!

      • Nancy W says:

        Hi Karen,

        Love the new site. I’m ok with some changes, this being one of them.
        I have ad blocker which I love, but didn’t realize you get money just for them being there.
        Since we all love you (or most of us anyway!?) we want to keep you, so just wanted to put it out there that there is a way to allow ads for certain websites. I’ll for sure exempt your site from ad blocker so you get that income. As a self employed slave to freedom, i know only too well that every little bit counts!
        Good job.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Nancy W. Yep. It’s true. If you run Ad blocker then two things usually happen. You aren’t served ads from my site and therefore I don’t get paid. And your view of my site doesn’t count which means when I show my stats to potential sponsors it shows have having a lower readership than it actually does. I understand wanting to block ads from spammy sites (I hate all those huge pop up, multilayered ads too) but it’s also hurting most bloggers who are finding it really hard to keep their blogs going. :/ I’ll do a post at some point explaining to people the consequences of Ad blocker. 🙂 ~ karen!

  69. Elaine says:

    Me again …. I forgot to say how much I like your new photograph and don’t miss the fish one! 🙂

  70. Leslie says:

    Great new design, Karen! I love how organized it all is, and easy to navigate. You know, me being type A and all.
    Well done!

  71. Gail says:

    I’ve been working on the new site for my company – we’re a church, but we’re big so we have to run it like a company but we have to be nice, too – cause we’re still a church- for over two years. I’m accustomed to projects taking longer than what you expect they will take, but I am convinced that no project explodes like a website. Actually, you made me feel in good company – if it took you 16 mos – well, think how much longer it will take us average people. Site looks fantastic!!! And it is intuitive. Tell your web person to do your signature graphic as a png on a transparent background that way the grey will show through and it won’t be a big white block. I’m sure she knows this, just one of the things she hasn’t gotten to yet.

  72. Kim C says:

    I love it so far! I will pop back in and have a good kick at the tires later when I have more time.
    I do agree with Christine’s suggestion of a “back to the top” button. 🙂

    Whales are good. Brussel sprouts are bad! Happy weekend.

  73. Tigersmom says:

    I like it! And Congratulations on the birth of your whale!!

  74. Brooke says:

    LOVE it! Two questions though: Why no “home” button to take me back to the top of the page when I’ve got to stop reading comments (because I’m supposed to be working)? And second, it’s not clear to me where you indicate that new posts will appear–where exactly is that?

    • Gretchen Sexton says:

      Ooh! Now that you bring it up, I have those same questions! Karen?

      • Karen says:

        New post will be both in the big spot at the top, and it will be the first box in the all the thumbnail posts down the whole page. Did I used to have a home button to bring you to the top of the comments before? I honestly had no idea, lol. ~ karen!

    • Ei Con says:

      On the iPad and iPhone, if you tap once to get the url bar at the top and then carefully tap anyplace on the bar that’s NOT the white url area, it will jump back to the top of the post. Easier to do on lpad than on iPhone. Practice makes perfect.

  75. Deb Miller says:

    Stunning! Simply stunning!!! Who knew a baby whale could be so . . . stunning!?! ☺️

  76. Gretchen Sexton says:

    GREAT changes–love the new site categories–love that I can search much more easily–lvoe the background choices. Love that you are still you!

  77. Jebber Jay says:

    WHOA! Supercalafraja-awesome! BAM! I will cook more of your recipes now that I can find them easily. And watch more Netflix and read more books. And maybe even grow zucchini.

  78. Deirdre Fowler says:

    Love it! and as I`m scrolling through and reading all the fabulous (yet sometimes critical comments) I look up and see the pull down menu tabs. How Easy Can It Be

  79. Jackie says:

    I’m one of those that don’t like change. When we moved from our home of 30 years, it took me 2 full years to adjust to the new place. BUT……. This I love. Good work from all involved. Karen, you just keep getting better & better. Oh, before I forget, my husband & I made 2 of the witches brooms & a cat scratch pad (a gift for his brother’s cat). While they don’t look as good as yours I like how they turned out. Thanks for sharing so much with all of us.

  80. Karol says:

    Count me in as a YES on the slate grey! Very trendy and sophisticated. I love your new simpler logo too. Great job, Karen! 13 months in the works, but worth it for sure.

  81. Marti says:

    Looks great. I hit your site last night and got a “we’re down for posting a new site. Check back later” notice so here I am again today to see what’s transpired.

    I’m sure you know this but I bet this will be a lot easier on the eyes for late night readers whose bleariness is exacerbated by the brilliant black and white (previously mostly white) of your site. Congrats on the great, industrial concrete look of it.

    And that great “gift idea for favorite gardener or male” gadget. My black thumb doesn’t need it but I’m already recommending it to friends.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Marti! It’s funny because some people find it much easier to read and others don’t. So … there will always be an opinion. If my site always looked like this and then I switched it to the way it was before there would be complaints. It’s just different and people need to feel it out for a bit. The Brix refractometer is fun! ~ karen!

  82. Elise says:

    I am in LOVE with this whale baby!

  83. Karin says:

    hi, did i mention i love the new layout? cause i do. been scolling about for the last hour, my boss won’t mind. with everything so new and shiny, i actually stumpled upon 2 posts from the past i have somehow missed. which was great.

    anyways, i cannot compliment you enough. love it love it love it.

    and no, i’m not fishing for a reply. i’m just really happy how my quasi second home looks now.



  84. Deb from Maryland says:

    I really like the new look! Will now set aside a chunk of time to browse by category. Yay!

  85. SusanR says:

    It’s lovely. Very chic, very practical, very organized, very Karen. I’ve disabled my ad blocker on your site, just for you. I’ve noticed that some sites now have a sentence that appears at the bottom of the screen when an ad block visitor arrives, asking them to disable and offering suggestions of other ways they can support the site if they don’t want to disable the ad blocker. So ad blockers are taking their toll.

    For those who are finding insufficient contrast between the comment text and grey background, some browsers have a feature where you can tweak how an individual site appears. Most have a feature where you can select the size and weight of text, and an option to NOT let sites change your text choices.

    I think the changes you’ve made are an improvement. Your previous design was great, but your blog has grown and it was time for a facelift for it. I also love how the indentations for replies make it MUCH easier to follow a conversation.

    Oh, and Idris is going to be in a new Luther special on December 17 on BBC America!

    • TucsonPatty says:

      How do you disable an ad blocker for one specific site? I also did not know I was taking money away from my favorite blogger…
      I do love the ease of reading. My eyes have gotten wonky in the evenings and this seems to work for me!
      And…grey is the color of a whale, yes?
      I do not like change at all…and then before you know it, I don’t remember what the heck I was squawking about! I will live most happily with this. i just need to know how to find some more money for you.

      • Karen says:

        I’m going to do a post on Ad Blocker at some point Patty. I’m not sure everyone realized that the ONLY way I make money is through ads. I’m actually looking into a device that would prevent anyone from looking at my site if they have Ad Blocker on. 🙁 It will be an extreme solution and one I hope I don’t have to resort to. Prior to that I’ll have a pop up on my site that will identify anyone using Ad Blocker and ask them to please turn it off before I have to shut the site down. It’s a very real threat to this site and my job unfortunately. ~ karen!

      • SusanR says:

        How you disable it depends on which ad blocker you are running. I’m running Ad Blocker Plus. To disable it for a site, I just point at the ADP extension icon in my browser, in the upper right corner, click on it, and it shows that it’s enabled on the site. If you click on Enabled on this site, it toggles to disable it on this site. I’m sure Karen will cover later how it’s disabled on various platforms and with various ad blockers.

        • TucsonPatty says:

          I don’t think I even have any ad blocker…I’m a fairly new iPad user and not very fluent in computer speak.
          I’ll wait for the guru (Miss Karen) to help me.

        • Karen says:

          Actually Karen might be doing a post on how everyone with ad blocker may soon be banned, lol! (for real … it’s a movement that’s coming in the blogging community) Bloggers are now starting to block anyone using ad blocker from accessing their site. A movement I have to say I wholeheartedly support. For well, obvious reasons, lol. ~ karen!

          • SusanR says:

            I don’t know if it will make any difference, but each time I’ve visited a site where there was a popup explaining that the revenue from the ads made it possible to continue the site, and asking me to consider disabling it or to perhaps help generate revenue in other ways, like spreading the word of the blog on FB, etc. I’ve stopped and considered the request, and in all but one case (a sales site), I’ve disabled the ad blocker. If, on the other hand, I was met with a blocking of the site because I had an ad blocker, I’d probably just stop visiting the blog. Strongarm tactics don’t get the best reactions from people, most of the time. This is just feedback on the idea of that happening. I’ve found the popup explaining and requesting my help quite effective.

            • Karen says:

              I’ve actually read quite a lot into it Susan R (as you can imagine, lol). And the truth is very, very few people respond when they’re given the option to discontinue ad blocker for a certain site. Very, very loyal followers will but not most people who just happen upon a site. I haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to do but I will be doing something. It could be adding a button like you describe, or blocking people entirely or allowing people to visit my site 3 times with Ad Blocker and if they come back a 4th time without disabling Ad Blocker then blocking them from my site. If it’s possible then I think that seems like a good compromise. The thing about the people with Ad blocker not coming back is bloggers don’t make any money from them anyway so there’s absolutely no loss to the blogger if they don’t come back. It’s a bit of a squirrely situation but one that’s going to need to be looked into by most most bloggers and their readers as well. The Internet. The ever changing world of The Internet. ~ karen!

  86. Liz says:

    I love it! A worthy host for your awesome posts. The menu is so fun to explore and remember old favorites 🙂

  87. kelli says:

    Ooooh LOVE the new look, it’s so…goth-y! Yes it’ll take a while to get used to, but I like the simplicity of your top of page menu and drop down menus, yay! (and the bottom of the page too, even more yay!) Sometimes change can be a good thing, especially when one becomes all famous and fancified like you. When I have more time I will poke around some more. Congrats on all things new!

  88. Linda says:

    Moby Mother Dickens…I Like It! Arrgghh.

  89. Diana says:

    Just nice and clear!!!

  90. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Well, I think your new site is just spiffy! I’m giving you a thumbs up.

  91. West Coast Nan says:

    Love the new look, so sleek and sophisticated. The orange/gold text is a bit hard to read but I might try to enlarge as someone suggested. Time marches on and you have stepped to the head of the parade, well done!

  92. Irene says:

    Yeah, what they ^ said. 😀
    Nice! Thank you. 🙂

  93. Marion says:

    The new design looks great! Yes, it’s going to take some getting used too, but I really like the look. Sleek, modern, easy to navigate. Kudos to you and to the folks at WayLay design 🙂

  94. Jenny Brandon says:

    Ever since you announced you were changing the site I worried that I had missed the change or been hit on the head or something or fell into a wormholey thingy ‘cuz I didn’t see anything different. Then I worried that that your snazzy frames would go away – I think they’re the bees’ knees and toenails. Sigh, indeed they are gone but hey mama, your sites still rockin’ and looking better than ever! Excellent job – especially the addition of the chickens! Love the slate/chalkboard background and extra points for ease of use. Continue to be my bloggin hero!

  95. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Love it Karen…So easy to use and now I can find your recipes without searching for an hour..Thanks!

  96. Liz says:

    Why are some readers/commenters names in yellow or gold? Did I just miss that before?

    • Karen says:

      On my website (or any other blog really) if a person has their own website or blog they can link to it when they leave their comment. Then their name in the comment section is highlighted. If it’s highlighted the way you see it on my site (in this case gold) then you can click on it to see their site. Now that I’ve explained it to you, you’ll be noticing it on all the other sites you look at. 🙂 And yes, I’ve always had that on my site, just in a different colour. ~ karen!

  97. Cred says:

    I love it! Looks great and it looks like you did a great job of sorting out categories and making them easy to find. Will really appreciate it for finding your recipes but so many other posts, also. Since it is a blog about doing, gotta be able to go back and find the instructions.
    Have to say though, now that ‘doing’ is the biggest font and all caps, I keep reading it as
    ‘doing’ (rhymes with boing)
    Nicely done, it is beautiful and I love the slate background.

  98. Ei Con says:

    Miss the fish. Miss the nick in the cleaver. I’ll survive. But love all the rest of the updates. WayLay Design did a terrific job. Congratulations!!

  99. Luanne says:

    That’s a beaut! Nice job, Karen!!!

  100. Grammy says:

    Checking back, after my first run-through. I looked last night and was delighted with how the new site looks and behaves on my iPad. Today I decided to see if the look and ease of operation continued to please me on my laptop. Kudos to you, Karen, and your web designers — this change is stellar in so many ways. Two things I didn’t already say: I love the improved way the comments display, where it’s easy to see when someone replies to a specific comment. And that slate gray background I said was going to make your pictures stand out so much more? Yeah. Now the ads that are your “regulars” (a few of which I’ve cheerfully ordered from because I found them here, and some of which I will order from in the future) are really noticeable and easy to spot and are eye-catching without being in-your-face offensive attention-grabbers. I’m happy to see that so many others are liking what you’ve done. Cheers.

  101. Jodi T says:

    I LOVE IT. 🙂 Congratulations on the the re-design. Cuddles is a GREAT replacement for the fish. Just love her little face.<3

  102. Ei Con says:

    I think I found an issue with the responsive mobile layout. And this is not criticism, it’s just that I used to do user testing of software for many years. So.. I can’t help but report it. Ignore me totally if you like. I won’t care.
    Recreate scenario:
    iPhone 5, iOS 9.1, vertical orientation, Safari browser
    When replies to comments reach the 3rd indentation, the text box narrows to the point where you only get 1 word per line. So you’re reading vertically. Do-able but looks a little off as there IS room for a wider text box. For an example, go to archives and look at the July 18, 2012 post ( Ashley English’s berry, allspice and rum jam recipe)
    Scroll to last comment (by Shauna) and read the replies. You’ll see what I mean. Turning your phone to horizontal mode resolves the issue and it is not a problem on iPad 2 mini in either orientation. Three or more comment replies is probably a rare occurance and since it happens in only a very particular setup, might not be worth the efforts to fix. But again, thought you’d like to know. Sorry for being such an uber-geek.

  103. Pam Jones says:

    I LOVE that I can now find the recipes easily. It was a challenge before to find the Antojitos when the urge struck. Keep up the good work.

  104. mickey says:

    Love it. The slate background is awesome.
    But what on earth is a sticky menu?

  105. Amy in KC says:

    Hey, Karen! I rarely comment (I think I have…once before. Oops!), but I wanted to say how much I love the new look! The new logo is awesome, and the chalkboard gray background is very pleasing to the eye (my eyes, at least). Sometimes all-white pages give me a headache. I also LOVE the comments section layout now with the indented replies. Overall, everything is just easier to read and find, which is all a blogger could want, really! 🙂 Congratulations!

  106. sj says:

    Most easy on the eyes, so thanks!

  107. Jen says:

    I’ll chime in – love it! Thanks for all your time to make it happen 🙂

  108. CraftALife says:

    Birth pangs are always difficult, so I wanted to pass on this feedback. On my tablet (where I do all my blog reading) the sticky menu and background disappear when I scroll, then pop back in a rather twitchy manner. It’s visually very uncomfortable to experience. It makes me wish I were having a seizure.

  109. Ronda says:

    love the new look too! one might even say sophisticated. but one question … where’s the “I love Dollarama” drop down menu????

    • Karen says:

      I’m afraid it’s gone Ronda. 🙁 However all you have to do is search Dollarama or Dollar Store and all those posts will come up. 🙂 ~ karen!

  110. Mary W says:

    Love the grey/gray – really whale like. Love how the links work – exceptional. I can’t wait to show off my spaghetti opening talent – boy you have a lot of comments today. Your sponsors show up better on the background. I would love it if you had a post that kind of told about some of these hidden gems with links – maybe a table of contents or index like a textbook. I would have looked for the spaghetti video years ago – so what else am I missing? The title is what grabbed my eye balls. Your the best! Congrats on your new great gray whale.

  111. Larita says:

    Yay! Finally, a website redesign that is an improvement! In the last year, I’ve unfollowed at least three blogs because they “improved” their design and it ended up being too fancy – too hard to read, too hard to maneuver, and I just didn’t want to have to work that hard to read the content. Kudos, Karen, for making my favourite Canadian blog even better!

  112. Kim says:

    Hi. I LOVE they grays, they look great. The only problem I see ( anyone else?) is the yellow/gold you use in your highlighted areas is very hard to read against the light grey. ( difficult to change? Is it just my iPad?)…love your site.

  113. Laura Bee says:

    Fabulous! It feels like walking into your kitchen for a chat & a cuppa tea. Sleek & gorgeous, while still being very warm & inviting. Much easier to find things. Thanks for organizing your ‘cupboards’. Worth the long wait. 🙂

  114. Amy says:

    I love to read your blog…but I do not comment usually. I’ve admired you for some years now and I have to say, wow. I’m love watching the evolution of your life and it is inspiring. When the fella left, I was profoundly moved by your post, so much so, that I read it to my husband. It was so beautiful. And now, I’m watching this whole new Karen emerge. Saying goodbye to that old image of Karen (literally, the one where your tummy is showing, holding the fish) and saying hello to the new image (you sitting on your countertop), you look stunning. I am so grateful(and in awe) that I am taking the leap and writing this comment (which could be riddled with grammatical errors). Thanks for doing what you do. I feel blessed. And, your new site, more evidence of all that I am trying to say…

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Amy. 🙂 I haven’t read that particular post since I wrote it. I wonder what things I said! I may have to take a look at it. I never liked that fish photo. I’m not at all sure how it ended up on site but it did, lol. Thanks again for breaking the comment barrier. 🙂 ~ karen!

  115. Linda says:

    Nice job Karen. It looks great.

  116. ralph says:

    Love your new site…easy on the eyes…easy to navigate.


  117. Deborah says:

    Karen, your new website functions really well and I love how easy it is now to find related posts. Which I love–your kitchen is my all time favorite, and I love the incredibly interesting stuff you do (who digs up her whole slate backyard when it crumbles? jumps in mud and straw to make a cob pizza oven? who makes a cob pizza oven??! and has a gorgeous home? and grows her own food? and makes witches brooms?!) If you’re looking for feedback here’s one thing that I experience that’s a little at odds with all your fabulousness. For me (a happy minimalist) the chalkboard background is dull. After noodling around here for a few days all that chalkboard seems to hide your great design sense. If I didn’t know and already appreciate your work so much, it would probably keep me from noodling around and exploring your great content. I only offer this feedback in case it’s of use to you. Blessings on your wonderful, creative work!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Deboarah! Thanks for the feedback. I’m afraid I love the slate background and actually think it’s a great representation of my design aesthetic, lol. I also really like the way it’s not very bright on the eyes and the way photos show up against it. It’s dark and moody and cozy for winter. And like I said, if you don’t like it, then just wait until Spring and Summer and Fall for when things change slightly in the background. 🙂 ~ karen!

  118. ellen says:

    Don’t love it yet, but probably will in a bit. I’ve been looking at that sort of dynamic organization for my own (modest) blog, but since I don’t have the same kind of project oriented posts as you I’ve kind of decided against it. It works for you.

    A couple of thoughts – your lovely tasteful slate black and white design is subverted by glaring fluorescent ads in the sidebar – in particular a weird belly fat trick ad that is not omnipresent but quite noticeable. You may not be able to do much about that, as it’s bring home the bacon (fat!). There is a banner ad between your content and your title that is more of a problem and a distraction. I expect to see gobs of ads in the sidebar, but right above the content it spoils the cohesive look.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen! That particular ad at the top you’re talking about is always there on blogs. It either has to go above the title or above the content. It’s the most valuable spot for an ad on a blog. If you take a look, 90% of blogs have that ad there. I had it in the same place on my old blog as a matter of fact. I agree it would look way better without an ad there, but I also agree I look way better when eating dinner in my house as opposed to out of a garbage bin behind the local McDonalds. 😉 ~ karen!

  119. Gigi says:

    First reaction was surprise. Then Admiration
    SleekChic,super Cool. Just like. You. Now I gotta go charge my phone

  120. Shauna says:

    I’m going to admit, I was scared. Change is hard, but I’m sure I’ll still love it.

  121. L. Brown says:

    The new responsive design looks good. Please make your pages available in “reader view” for iPhones so it’s easier to read on the tiny screen in the font and size I choose. The current sans serif font is hard on the eyes and I have to turn my phone sideways to make the size large enough to read. Love the content as always!

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