Ice flowers-window frost crystals

Though it is winter, ice flowers are harder to find these days as real flowers.
Window frost was more common in the past, when houses had single-pane windows.
These new windows being much better insulators, soon we'll forget this amazing spectacle of nature's ice flower crystals.
Ice flowers-window frost pattern 2
Ice flowers-window frost pattern
Ice flowers-window frost pattern 5
Ice flowers-window frost pattern 3
Download 6 free background images with window frost crystal texture!

All images here are web quality, not for prints.
High resolution images of beautiful, feathery frost patterns  and frost crystals on window glass for prints can be purchased at a low price, royalty-free by clicking at these links.
More Christmas images for sale at Shutterstock:

Winter magic-snow covered landscape

In the last three days of the week the heavy snowfall transformed our town into a winter wonderland, for those who had time to enjoy it.
There is something magical about the sparkle of the soft, freshly fallen snow that you can experience only while it is snowing.
Snow covered pine trees-winter scene
Trees are bending under the weight of the snow, branches are curling and breaking.
I like to watch and photograph these pine trees in their white snow mantle, though I admit, I was a a little concerned about the huge quantity of snow on the tree branch above my head, in the next shot.
Pine tree branches under snow blanket
The white snow blanket is like a see of tranquility and peacefulness that quiets everything down, including our hearts and souls.
Maple trees covered by fresh snow
Even the birds are quiet and listen to the silence of the falling snow.
Sparrow resting on snow covered bush

Primroses-Primula vulgaris flower pictures

Among the first flowers to herald the start of spring are Primroses (Primula vulgaris). The pale yellow petaled flowers with orange centers and fresh green leaves bring a cheerful splash of color in the spring landscape.
Primrose-Primula vulgaris photo
Many colorful primrose cultivars are bold reds, violets, pinks and blues.
Here is a red Primrose- primula flower.
Red Primrose- primula flower photo
Purple primrose-primula
Purple primrose-primula vulgaris
Red primrose
Red primrose-primula picture
A great curiosity and also very rare is the Green primrose with ruffled flowers of lime green with a yellow eye.

Hungarian cottage cheese ball recipe - cheese dumplings

The cottage cheese dumpling, túrógombóc in Hungarian, is one of my favorite desserts. I prefer an easy and fast way to prepare it, though there are many different and more complicated recipes too.
Here is my way to prepare these tasty cheese balls:

Cottage cheese ball recipe:

Cottage cheese dumpling-túrógombóc

  • - 500 gram cottage cheese (low fat)
  • - 1 egg
  • - 50-80 grams semolina
  • - salt to taste
  • - white bread crumbs
  • - oil for toasting the bread crumbs


1. Place the cottage cheese in a bowl and crumble it or put through a sieve.
Cottage cheese dumpling with powdered sugar-close up
Add the egg, the semolina, a little salt and stir to combine. For a fat cottage cheese use more semolina, for dry cheese, use less. The less the semolina, the longer the dumpling stays soft and fluffy, but it is harder to work with the sticky mixture.

Put aside and let rest for 20-30 min, so the semolina absorbs moisture from the cheese.

In the meantime, toast the bread crumbs in oil, over a low heat. Put aside.
Plate with cottage cheese dumpling
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a gentle boil.

Shape the mixture into 10-11 large dumplings in the palm of your hands, moistened with water.

Slide the cheese balls into the boiling water and stir gently in the first minutes, to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the dumplings rise to the surface. Boil for another 10 minutes, turn them so they cook on both sides.

Remove the dumplings from the water using a slotted spoon, drain and lightly roll them in bread crumbs browned in oil.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and/or serve with sour cream.

Bon Appétit

Blog Archive


Add external links to your page list or create a custom menu

This tutorial explains how to add external links (non pages links) to the page list menu.
Using the new Blogger interface, we have now the possibility to add external links to our page list menu, keeping the styling of our current template.
At the time I wrote this tutorial this was not possible with the default page list widget, so I updated this tutorial to reflect the new possibilities.
Let's see how to do this:

1. Add external links to your page list, as styled by your current template

To accomplish this you have to use the new Blogger interface.

Step 1. From your dashboard select the blog you want to work with, click on the dropdown menu at the right and select pages, as shown in the picture.

Step 2. From the new page that opens, click the dropdown menu near New page and select the second option (Web Address).
Follow the required steps and you are done here.

If you still want to create a custom menu for your Blogger blog, read bellow how to do it, for both, new designer templates and older, layout templates in the second part.

2. Custom menu for new, Designer templates

Update: when I wrote this tutorial, it was not possible to add external links to the default menu (Pages) list. If you still want to add a simple list of links instead of the pages widget, please read along.
There is a very easy way to create a custom menu for designer templates, without even opening the template. You can add whatever links you prefer to the new menu and you can change or delete it when you please, with one click. Here we go:

Step 1. Create a simple unordered list with all your links you want to show in the menu, like this:
<li><a href="http://first-page">Home</a></li>
<li><a href="http://second-page">About</a></li>
<li><a href="http://third-page">Archive</a></li>
<li><a href="http://fourth-page">Gallery</a></li>

Save this list in a text editor (Notepad), for later use.

Step 2. Replace the pages list with your new list
Important! If you already have the page list widget installed, hide it. To do this just go to Dashboard/Pages and from the dropdown menu at the right, select don't show (as in the picture).Add a page element
Step 3. For a horizontal menu under your header go to Dashboard/Layout and add a page element to the crosscol section of your template, marked with the red oval in the image. Choose a HTML/JavaScript widget from the list .
There will be no other widgets in this section, now that the default menu is hidden, but it's styling is still in the template and we will make use of it.
Step 4. Copy and paste into the widget box the linklist you've saved in step 1.
Step 5.Save the widget and preview. Check if the widget is in the right place (the red oval in the image), if not, drag it to the crosscol section (under header). You should see now your new menu, with all your links, and the styling of the old pages list.
That's it, if you like the look of your menu, we are done.


In case the new menu doesn't show up , either you forgot to remove the default Pagelist widget or you have to make some small changes in your template. (see bellow, at 4)
For further customization and styling of the tabs background or tabs text color click the link.

3. Custom menu for older, Layout templates

The difference between the two templates is that layout templates don't have styling for the Pagelist menu background or tabs.
Layout templates are relatively old templates and there tons of tutorials on the web about creating a custom menu, still I wanted to include this one too, here.

Creating a custom menu you can add to it all the link you want to show in the menu, non-pages links too.
As an example, we'll use the styling of the menu you see on this blog (width: 950px); it is not very fancy but if you are more patient than I am, you can change it.

3.1. CSS styling of new menu
Step 1. Give your menu a unique ID, like #main-menu, you can name it however you want.
Step 2. Go to Dashboard/Template/Edit Html and find this code ]]></b:skin>
/* Start main-menu
----------------------------------------------- */
ul#main-nav {font-family: helvetica,arial,sans-serif; margin: 0; padding: 0.3em 0; float:left; width:100%; font-size:0.9em; background: #82330F; border-top:#AD4314;} ul#main-nav li {margin: 0; padding: 5px 0 0; list-style:none; float:left;} ul#main-nav li a {text-decoration: none; font-weight: bold; padding:0 2em; color: #F6F7F9; }

- You can change any value in this code to your liking.
- Copy the code first into a text editor (Notepad), if you think you need more time to make your changes.
Step 3. After making all the changes copy you customized CSS code from the text editor and paste it in your template, right above ]]></b:skin>.
Step 4. Save your template; at this moment you can't see the changes, you still need the link list.

3.2. Create your Html list for the new menu

Repeat steps 1-5, the same way as for designer templates, described in the first part of this tutorial, with a small change:
-insert the line in green in your Html list code at step 1., like this:
<ul id="main-menu">
<li><a href="http://first-page">Home</a></li>
<li><a href="http://second-page">About</a></li>
<li><a href="http://third-page">Archive</a></li>
<li><a href="http://fourth-page">Gallery</a></li>
- before you save the widget, make sure you've deleted the default pagelist widget (as in step 2. for designer templates) , otherwise you will end up with two menus.
- Save the widget and see your new menu.

- There are also many online menu generator, just google for them.
For customizing the default pages menu read this post.

4. Problems you may encounter:

a). You can't see the Add a gadget (marked with red) in the crosscol section (under header);
In this case,
  1. Go to the Layout | Edit HTML tab for your blog
  2. Backup of your template (Export blog)
  3. Check the box to Expand Widget Templates
  4. Look for the following lines of HTML code:
- in designer templates:
<b:section class='tabs' id='crosscol' maxwidgets='1' showaddelement='no'>

- replace the "no"in red with yes, like this:
<b:section class='tabs' id='crosscol' maxwidgets='1' showaddelement='yes'>

- in layout templates:
<div id='crosscol-wrapper' style='text-align:center'>
<b:section class='crosscol' id='crosscol' showaddelement='no'/>
- replace the "no"in red with yes.

b). Another problem is when you don't have the crosscol section, in some custom templates;
If you don't have one of the above codes in your template, you have to insert it, usually after <div id='content-wrapper'>, or where you want the tabs to show up.

Which one to insert? That depends on your template.


Style pagelist menu, add custom css-designer templates Blogger

This tutorial is about styling the Pagelist menu on new, designer templates.
Styling the Pagelist navigation on layout templates is described in this previous tutorial.
If you are not sure what template type your blog is using check your template type first.

All new designer templates, the ones you can style in the Template Designer, have the Pagelist styling included in the template, while older templates don't.
You can customize the existing styles by changing tabs' background, tabs' text color, border and even more.

Note: I applied these changes in Awesome Inc. template. You could have differently named classes in your template in which case this code will not help.

1. Custom style for Pagelist with the Template Designer:

The easiest and safest method for adding new styles to your Pagelist is through the Template Designer.
Here are a few ways to accomplish this:
Step 1. Go to Dashboard|Design| Template Designer, click the Advanced tab in the left menu, scroll down to Tabs text and Tabs background;
Step 2. choose your desired colors in the right panel, than hit enter to see the preview;
Step 3. click the orange button at top-right "Apply to blog" when you are satisfied with the preview. That's all.

If, for some reason you don't see these two options (Tabs text and tabs background) in the left menu, than:
Step 1. scroll down to the last option, Add Css;
Step 2. Choose from the following codes the ones you want to change, copy/paste the code in the box:
2.1. Change the tabs background:
.tabs-outer {background: #FF0000;)
2.2. Change tabs text color:
.tabs-inner .widget li a {color: #FF0000;)
2.3. Change selected link and hover, background and text color:
.tabs-inner .widget li.selected a, .tabs-inner .widget li a:hover {background: #FF0000; color: #ffffff;)

These screenshots show the above styles on Awesome Inc template.Pagelist navigationAll these styles in one place:
.tabs-outer {background: #FF0000;)
.tabs-inner .widget li a {color: #FF0000;)
.tabs-inner .widget li.selected a, .tabs-inner .widget li a:hover {background: #FF0000; color: #ffffff;)
Step 3. Replace the code in red with your preferred color code;
Step 4. Now, hit enter to see the changes in live preview;
Step 5. When satisfied, click Apply to blog tab at the right,
Step 6. Go back to your blog and see the final result.

Still not working?

In some cases with certain templates, you may see this message in the template designer: "not applicable for this template" or when the template designer is not working for you, you can change the styles of your pagelist in the template.

2. Style the pagelist by changing the Css in the template:

There are two sections where you can customize the styles of the pagelist: background, tabs, borders and more. The result is the same, whether you apply the changes described at a). or b). bellow.
a). by changing the value of the variables in the very first part of the template
1. Back up your template!!!
2. Go to the Layout | Edit HTML tab for your blog
3. Don't check the box to Expand Widget Templates
4. Look for this code:
<Group description="Tabs Text" selector=".tabs-outer .PageList">
<Variable name="tabs.font" description="Font" type="font"
default="normal bold 14px Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif" value="normal bold 14px Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, FreeSans, sans-serif"/>
<Variable name="tabs.text.color" description="Text Color" type="color" default="$(body.text.color)" value="$(body.text.color)"/>
<Variable name="tabs.selected.text.color" description="Selected Color" type="color" default="$(tabs.text.color)" value="$(tabs.text.color)"/>

<Group description="Tabs Background" selector=".tabs-outer .PageList">
<Variable name="tabs.background.color" description="Background Color" type="color" default="#141414" value="#333333"/>
<Variable name="tabs.selected.background.color" description="Selected Color" type="color" default="#444444" value="#444444"/>
<Variable name="tabs.border.color" description="Border Color" type="color" default="$(widget.border.color)" value="$(widget.border.color)"/>
5. Replace the value of the variables (in red), in the code above with the hex value (eg. #ffffff ) of your chosen color.
b). Change the color codes in the CSS of the template is another option:
- back up your template!!!! (Settings|Export blog)
- find this piece of code:
/* Tabs
----------------------------------------------- */
.tabs-outer {
overflow: hidden;
position: relative;
background: $(tabs.background.color) $(tabs.background.gradient) repeat scroll 0 0;

#layout .tabs-outer {
overflow: visible;

.tabs-cap-top, .tabs-cap-bottom {
position: absolute;
width: 100%;

border-top: 1px solid $(tabs.border.color);


.tabs-cap-bottom {
bottom: 0;

.tabs-inner .widget li a {
display: inline-block;

margin: 0;
padding: .6em 1.5em;

font: $(tabs.font);
color: $(tabs.text.color);

border-top: 1px solid $(tabs.border.color);
border-bottom: 1px solid $(tabs.border.color);
border-$startSide: 1px solid $(tabs.border.color);

.tabs-inner .widget li:last-child a {
border-$endSide: 1px solid $(tabs.border.color);

.tabs-inner .widget li.selected a, .tabs-inner .widget li a:hover {
background: $(tabs.selected.background.color) $(tabs.background.gradient) repeat-x scroll 0 -100px;
color: $(tabs.selected.text.color);
- Replace the code in red in the above code with the hex value (eg. #ffffff ) of your chosen color.
- Adjust borders, padding, margins in this code, if you wish, the description of each value is obvious in the code.
- Preview first and save your edits when you are satisfied. Remember, you can always clear your edits, if you don't like the new look.
The downside of the default pagelist is that it only shows links to your static pages.
Update: Many things have change since I first wrote this tutorial. Now we can add external links to the pagelist menu as well or we can replace it with a custom menu.

Partial solar eclipse over Europe-4th of January 2011

Europe was given a front-row seat to the first solar eclipse of 2011 but not for everyone. In many places a thick curtain of cloud marred the spectacle in the skies.
A partial solar eclipse began today, the 4th of January 2011 over the Mideast and extend across much of Europe. The partial eclipse was visible after sunrise over most of Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and northern Africa.

To have in focus both the Moon and the Sun at the same time is the dream of every photographer. Those lucky photographer with a clear sky, now see their dreams fulfilled.
Partial solar eclipse in northern France-4 Jan 2011
Philippe Huguen / AFP - Getty Images
Partial solar eclipse on Guadalmar beach in Malaga-2011. Jan. 4
Jon Nazca / Reuters
Partial solar eclipse as seen from Gaza city 2011.Jan.4
Hatem Moussa / AP
The solar occurrence began at 09:05 in the morning and was at its height over my country, Romania, at 10:35, when as much as three quarters (78%) of the sun disappeared from view behind the moon. At 12:07 noon, everything was back to normal.
We had a dark, cloudy sky and lost all the show but in other parts of the country all the people was admiring the rare spectacle. This is how the solar eclipse was seen over Romania:
Partial solar eclipse as seen from Romania-2011.Jan.4
The year 2011 has a total of 4 partial solar eclipses and two moon eclipses but the closest visible one will occur at the 13 November 2012, when New Zeeland, Australia, South America and the South Pacific will have the opportunity to witness such a fascinating event.
That's my world.

How to change the background color of the comment block, on specific pages

This tutorial is about how to change the background of the comment block (box), a follow up of my previous post, about customizing the layout of specific pages, hiding the sidebar and changing the page background color.
When changing the background color of just certain post pages or static pages, the comment block background won't change, you have to do it yourself.
On static pages like About page or Contact page, we usually don't allow comments but if you do, you have to change the background of the comment block and probably, the text color too, after you've changed the page background.
The same, when changing the background color of certain post pages.

1. Change the comment block (box) background color on layout templates

- Go to Dashboard|Design|Edit Html
- Back up your template!!!
1.1. Using the code from my previous tutorial, you can include in this code one more line that will change the comment block background too.
<b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;your page url&quot;'>
.header,.sidebar,.footer {display:none;}
#outer-wrapper {width: 660px; padding:0;}
#main-wrapper{background: #ffffff url(background image url); width: 660px; margin: 0;}
.post {padding: 20px; }
.post h3 a {font-size:160;}
#comments-block {background: #ffffff; color: #000000;}
Add the code highlighted in yellow to the code from previous tutorial, if you want all the changes.

1.2. Change just the background color of the comment block on specific pages.
If you don't want all the above changes, you just want to change the comment block background and text color, than use this code:
<b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;your page url&quot;'>
#comments-block {background: #ffffff; color: #000000;}
In both cases:
- insert the code just above the </Head> tag, in your template;
- Replace the part in blue with your page url;
- Change the color in red, the background color of the comment block and text color, with your preferred color.

2. Change the comment block background color on designer templates

In this example the class .post outer .comments is found in the Awesome Inc. template and a few other templates. Check if you can find it in your template, otherwise it won't help you.

Method 1.

- go to Dashboard|Template Designer, click Advanced in the left menu,
- scroll down to the Add CSS submenu and enter the following code in the editor box:
.post-outer .comments {
background: #ffffff;
color: #000000;
To preview, now you should hit enter, but you will not see the changes on the homepage.
Click Apply to blog, than go back to your blog and see the changes on a blogpost where you already have comments.

This method is safe because you don't have to work in the template directly.
You can come back any time and undo this operation. The code will be there in the template designer editor, you can delete it.
The problem is that the above method will change the comment block background on all your pages.
To do these changes on only specific pages, we have to go into the template:

Method 2.

Step 1. Go to Dashboard|Design|Edit HTML;
Step 2. Back up your template!!!
Step 3. Copy the following code and paste it right above </Head>

<b:if cond='data:blog.url == &quot;your page url&quot;'>
<style type='text/css'>
.post-outer .comments {
background: #ffffff;
color: #000000;
Step 4. Replace the code in blue with your own page url ;
Step 5. Change the color in red to your preferred background and text color;
Step 6. Try to preview; when the preview loads correctly, you can save your edits and see the result on a page with existing comments.
When not, just push Clear edits and try again.

That's all for today, hope it will be helpful.

Related posts are in the sidebar, if interested.

Search for photos, macro photos or paintings.

Do you want to create a separate archive page for your blog too?
If yes, click the link above to go to the tutorial.