For roughly the last year I’ve been doing a great deal of work on websites for my church, see Saint Laurence, and for the K2BSA Amateur Radio Association, see K2BSA. Both of these sites use WordPress and initially used the WordPress theme Ecclesia from Studio MW. I found that theme to be visually pleasing and very easy to set up. Moreover, the support was simply fantastic, coaching me via email through set up over a weekend. However, the tradeoff with such an easy to build theme is that it is not very flexible, without getting into the code to build a child theme. In addition, this site, K5ND, used a very good looking theme from iThemes that was not only simple to implement but supported by their Display Buddy series of photo and video display plugins.

So, I took my first foray of building a website using iThemes highly flexible theme of Builder with the child theme of City Church on the Saint Laurence church site this fall. It took me a great deal of time to initially configure the site to get it looking the way I wanted. It also took a great deal of time to work my way through the support materials — which wasn’t unexpected with such a versatile yet complex theme. The final results are very good looking and a great deal of functionality on the backend as well.

I next spent some time updating the K2BSA site. I used the same theme, Builder, with the child theme Foundation — Glacier. This was similar to the City Church theme but in a different color scheme and without some features that are suited to a church theme. With this site, which is pretty straightforward, I implemented a video loop on the home page using Vimeo. The video itself I edited in Quicktime 7 using a stock video image and adding some PhotoShop work on the K2BSA name. It turned out great.

After spending roughly the past 18 months building and rebuilding these two site, the K5ND site had been a bit neglected and needed to be updated. So for the Christmas holidays I elected to use the same Builder theme and the Classen child theme. The thing I like about this child theme is the way it presents the blog posts. I like the graphic presentation of topic, author, date, and categories. The build itself went fairly smoothly. All my previous blog entries (50) and pages moved readily into the new theme. The featured image for blog entries was a bit challenging as my previous set up used 300 x 500 pixel images and the new set up uses 160 x 160 pixel images. A few made the move ok, but the rest I needed to modify. I also ran into the usual re-learning curve — now how did I do that last time? But fortunately overcame that fairly quickly — something about the third time is the charm.

I had also done some PhotoShop work around the website header on my laptop while waiting for the shop to install new tires on Karen’s car. I like how it turned out. I tried using a globe and radio tower with the K5ND graphic but that small image just doesn’t work out in the 960 x 120 header. The PhotoShop folded map works out well. I had already worked with that image for a QSL card design and it moved in nicely.

I hope you like the new site layout. I’ve enjoyed learning about WordPress and finding my way among themes and image presentation. Another step on my Ham Radio Adventures.

What do you think?