Ceri Shaw



Playlists: 6
Blogs: 1921
events: 231
youtube videos: 537
SoundCloud Tracks: 21
images: 827
Files: 55
Invitations: 9
Groups: 33
audio tracks: 1098
videos: 8

Category: Blogging

Simple CSS Tricks For Your Blog - Part 1

By Ceri Shaw, 2015-12-11


This is the first in an occasional series of posts about the CSS styling conventions employed here on AmeriCymru. Since we started styling blog posts a number of members have enquired about the styles we use. In truth they are nothing fancy, just bits and pieces of code borrowed from here and there around the web. In this post we highlight a number of styles which are widely used on the site. Feel free to use these if you wish when blogging on AmeriCymru or on your own blogs. They are standard CSS so they should work equally well on any platform or in any browser.

NB: All of the code snippets below are inline CSS . You must cut and paste the them from the text file in to the editor in 'html' view and then toggle back to 'Visual Mode' to work on your content.


A - Decorative DIV Wrappers

The style below is a simple nested div  which produces a solid border around your content. It has been used in this post.

You can modify the width of the border ( 4px in div 1 below ) or the color ( #859fbe ). In the second div you can modify the width of the padding ( 4px ) or the background colour of the post body ( #ffffff ).

The second and more complex style (below) has been used on this post - Little Known Welsh Customs . There are three elements here:-

  1. -moz-border-radius: 15px ..  This sets the border radius properties and controls the degree of curvature in the four corners of your div element.

  2. -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #FFFFFF, #E0E0E0 );    .. This controls the color gradient ( from white to gray, top to bottom) in your div element.

  3. box-shadow: 10px 10px 5px #888888; padding: 10px;" ..  This controls the box shadow display around the outside border of the element.

Fortunately it is not necessary to understand precisely how these work in order to use them in your posts. All you need to do is cut and paste the code from the text file at the top of this post and 'wrap' the tags around your content. Don't be afraid to play with them though, you can always change things back if your modifications do not work out. Have fun!

B - Styling The Post Body

N ow let's suppose that you wanted to style the post body as well. Of course this consists mostly of text and the most important thing about text is that it should be readable. But, while it is important not to over embellish your post to the point where the styling becomes a distraction a few tasteful stylistic flourishes here and there can sometimes make your page more visually attractive.

There are many ways of doing this and one of the best online discussions of drop caps, their history and employment on the web can be found in the following discussion by Laura Franz:- Drop Caps: Historical Use And Current Best Practices With CSS

Here is the CSS that we normally employ on this site (downloadable from the linked text file at the top of this page).

If you have a number of different sections in your post then the html horizontal rule tag might be your friend. In it's simplest form it produces a straight line across the page thusly:-

There are , however a great many ways to style the hr tag. The variant most commonly used on AC is can be seen in the image below but there are several further examples and suggestions to be found in this post:- Simple Styles for Horizontal Rules

You may also wish to embellish your sub headings by using small caps in which case the following code may be of interest to you:

C - Navigation

More to come :)

Posted in: Blogging | 0 comments

Kissing The Blarney Stone

By Ceri Shaw, 2015-06-07

In case anyone was wondering what 'kissing the Blarney Stone' involves here is a pic of myself doing so at age 10. At That time they employed someone to steady you just in case you fell down what is essentially a 'garderobe' chute. My parents were assured that they cleaned the stone regularly, which is just as well considering what it was once used for. Despite my evident terror it seems to have worked well. I've been blarneying and bs'ing ever since. :)

Posted in: Blogging | 0 comments


By Ceri Shaw, 2013-10-26

Reproduced with kind permission from Mike Jenkins -Welsh Poet & Author blog

The 3 Literateers above the Columbia River

( myself, Phil Rowlands & Chris Keil).

Photo copywright - Gaabi Beckett

Leaving Syracuse I did feel some sense of achievement.

I had limited success as a missionary for the cause of Cymru. I had finished Jeremy Hooker's fascinating journal 'Upstate' about his year spent in that very city and the dog Molly had even managed to train me to do a game with her favourite, well-chewed squeaky toy.

Above all, I had reclaimed my luggage intact, though curiously opened by the TSA, who left their calling card.

I was greeted at Portland airport by Ceri Shaw of Americymru, wielding a placard with JENKINS on it.
I only knew Ceri and his partner Gaabi because of their formidable presence online. They have created the pioneering website Americymru and organised events in the past, some for the Wordstock Festival and others for their own West Coast Eisteddfod.

Ceri is to the internet what Walter White of 'Breaking Bad' is to 'cooking' ( meth , not food!).

Indeed, Ceri introduced me to that captivating drama series when I was in Portland and I became addicted.

Americymru is always looking to expand and Gabriel has become just as enthusiastic about Welsh culture. They now offer Welsh lessons and a 'Welsh American Bookstore'.

In a largely separate project, Ceri and Phil Rowlands edit the magazine of new writing 'Eto', which is into its second issue and always looking for new material.

What would I make of Portland, a city I'd been told was avowedly leftfield and full of creativity?

My first impressions were of distant volcanoes and volcanic mountains and many river bridges. Mount Hood resembled a huge cone of ash which looked as if it would erupt and send its contents to cover the streets any minute.

Even the bridges had the feeling of precariousness, as many could rise up in the middle to allow large boats to pass.

The sidewalks of the city bustled with jugglers, beggars and drummers who hammered out complicated rhythms on white plastic bins. Full of dynamism, it also portrayed the other side of US society as I'd never witnessed before.

I had never seen so many homeless people in one city: on grass, sidewalks or queuing outside the Mission; they sat defeated and without hope.

Where was the American Dream for them? More like the kind of nightmare depicted in Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman'.

People abandoned by society and now as low as you could get. Would Obamacare save any of these? They desperately needed employment and decent homes and it would take a lot more than healthcare to solve this massive problem.

Portland also seemed familiar in some ways : it had Credit Unions and pawnbrokers and the supermarket even reminded me of Tesco in Merthyr ,in contrast to the one in Syracuse with its Organic section the size of a pie and pasty one in the Valleys.

While I'd only seen one public bus in Syracuse, Portland's transport system was geared for a less affluent, non-driving population and its regular trams and buses were reminiscent of Manchester.

Though, like Syracuse, the bike hardly got a look in and the States are playing catch-up (or should that be 'ketchup'?) on that vital mode of transport.

Like Syracuse, some roads were lined with junk food outlet after outlet, including ones I'd never heard of like Wendys and Jumpin' Jacks. I got to sample the delights of a heart-hammering, sugar-doping yet strangely finger-licking breakfast of hash browns , French toast and maple syrup.

My first event was at Portland State University and entitled 'Culture Wars', as it was based around Tracy Prince's book 'Culture Wars in British Literature' .

Tracy is a lecturer there and led a panel discussion with her well-argued proposition which illustrated clearly how peripheral Welsh Writing in English is in British Literature.

She linked it aptly with the marginalising of black literature and she put forward a strong argument for the greater inclusion of these within the so-called canon.

Given that British Lit. in American universities is largely English Lit., I have a lot of sympathy for her treatise. It is based on sound principles, though when she cited Mrs Windsor as an advocate for greater multicultural diversity I began to lose that sympathy. Like Ed Miliband, the monarchy just want to create a deluded sense of 'One Britain' ( clinging to the last strands of Empire).

My counter argument was that Welsh Literature should be seen as one entity and dealt with as such. In both English and Welsh there is such a tension, similarity and indeed on-going dialogue, especially now that more writers are using both languages, such as Jon Gower, Gwyneth Lewis and Grahame Davies.

I cited my friend at Le Moyne Prof. Dave Lloyd as an example of what could be done. As well as bringing a number of Welsh writers over, he has for many years taught Welsh Lit. ( on a par with Irish Lit.), relating the mythology of the Mabinogion to modern texts in both languages.

Like our Irish counterpart, we deserve a unique place on syllabi, not just in the USA but at home as well.

Taking part in this discussion made me think about the absurd situation in our schools and colleges, where Welsh Writing in English plays a negligible part in that subject English Literature (not even Literature, though it includes many American writers on the syllabus).

British Literature would not comprise one of the most important poets of our time, Seamus Heaney and you cannot divorce these terms from the rapidly-changing political reality. If Scotland votes for their nominal independence next year, where does that leave Britishness and,like Heaney, many Catholics in the six counties (N. Ireland) can hold Irish passports to match their allegiance.

A day manning the Americymru stall at Wordstock followed.

Wordstock is Portland's annual book fair and festival of writing, though Star Wars was a category on a par with Poetry and Fiction and we kept meeting Darth Vader on the road crossing.

There are stalls for individuals, publishers and even magazines on hen keeping! There are also many readings and interviews.

Listening in on a few of these I had the impression of the great I AM, with writers talking to wannabes and the public few and far between ( even the English media orientated Hay has many book lovers).
Writing was viewed solely as a career and the whole Creative Writing industry much criticised by the likes of Rob Minhinnick did seem out on force.

A lot of writers were researching Medieval Wales for their fantasy novels, but had yet to visit this country.

Sometimes, it was a rare pleasure just to talk beyond the sales of books and online processes , about real issues and the power of the vernacular.

The final event I took part in was a reading at Mount Hood Community College, organised by Ceri and Jonathan Morrow, a Welshman there who helps lectures and helps produce their magnificent creative writing magazine 'Perceptions'.

As with Downtown in Syracuse, it was the dialect poems which struck a chord , the tales of Merthyr in all its crazy humour and anger somehow relating to a place just as downtrodden and neglected.

I am grateful to Gaabi and Ceri for giving me these opportunities and also tipping me off about the mountain lions!

Also, to fellow scribblers Phil Rowlands and Chris Keil who made the stay so stimulating.

The Stereophonics conquered Portland that same weekend, but I'd like to think we did our bit for Cymru, showing that we do have a highly distinctive culture and not one which has to ape English literature.

As America once was, so are we a young democracy, trying to forge our own way despite the strictures of economic austerity imposed from London.


On the sidewalk of Burnside,
lying in mid-day drizzle

road a gorge cut deep
by speeding Chevvies, SUVs

the red hand of the crossing
bloody and staying on stop

she wouldn't get over,
there was no point

a cold, damp chrysalis
waiting for metamorphosis

anxious for those butterfly wings
crystal blue and white

her burnt and crumpled skin -
something in her bag keeps twitching

reading a dollar bill-sized book
it's title ? ?


Posted in: Blogging | 2 comments

Little Known Welsh Customs

By Ceri Shaw, 2011-04-01

In the first of an occasional series on little known Welsh customs we would like to highlight the charming ritual performed in villages throughout Wales on St Pyr's Day.

From the Wikipedia :- "On the first day of April in villages around Wales it is the custom to throw one's oldest living male relative down a well in honour of St Pyr. St Pyr was the dissolute former abbot of Caldey Island who died after falling down a well as a result of extreme intoxication. Regarded in Wales as a national hero his 'Saints Day' is celebrated annually at gatherings on village greens during which participants dance around the well with pints of real ale singing "Yo ho...ho ho ho. Throw the ole b*****d down the hole" The festivities reach a climax when the oldest male relative is shoved down the well where he is left overnight with a pail of ale which is lowered down after him."


Llangelynnin holy well
Posted in: Blogging | 4 comments




( or mail checks to:- 606 St Paul St., Campus Box 673, Baltimore MD, 21202 )

"Hello! My name is Laura Stokes. I am currently studying Harp Performance at the Peabody Conservatory of music in Baltimore MD under Dr. Ruth K. Inglefield.

This April I will be traveling to Caernarfon Wales (UK) to compete in the Youth Competition of the Second Wales International Harp Festival. This is a wonderful and very exciting opportunity for me. Dr. Inglefield found the competition and urged me to enter because she knew of my love for Wales and harp. I was born to and English father and American mother in Charlottesville VA, USA. Throughout my childhood I spent each summer and many Christmases in Wales, in a cottage that my parents bought 18 years ago in the village of Llanrhaeadr-Ym-Mochnant in Powys. I began playing harp at the age of 8 after many years of begging my family for lessons after falling in love with the instrument while in Wales as a toddler. After 7th grade in Virginia, my family relocated to Wales so that my father, a blacksmith, could assist his brother, also a blacksmith, on a large ironwork project. I attended Welsh high school for a year and totally fell in love with the country and the people of Wales. I was overjoyed to learn that high school owned a harp and had a wonderful teacher who came to the school once a week and gave harp lessons. It was during the time that I really fell in love with harp and decided that I wanted to pursue it a career in music. We loved living in Wales so much that we decided to stay for a second year, during which I passed, with merit, the grade 5 Harp exam given by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

Upon returning to the United States in my Sophomore year of high school, I finally bought a concert grand pedal harp. With this instrument, a Venus Paragon, I was able to excel in harping playing as I had never been able to before. I am now studying at the Peabody Conservatory of Music working towards a Bachelors of Music in Harp Performance and I am loving every minute of it.

When Dr. Inglefield approached me with the idea of competing in Wales I was simply over the moon with excitement. Sadly neither of us had heard anything of the competition until only a few days before the entry deadline. I still went ahead and applied not wanting to miss out on the great opportunity. The Wales International Harp Competition has many different levels. I will be competing in the Youth Competition a category for harpists under age 19. I am now 18 years old and will be at the time of the competition. This is amazingly timely and couldnt have worked out better time wise. Sadly being a freshman at Peabody I am ineligible to receive any grant money for career development/competition/travel from the school. It is my last possible chance to compete in this level of competition.

I am determined to get to Wales this April but this is not a cheap endeavor, as you know the price of cross Atlantic plane tickets is phenomenal and room and board and cost of attendance of this week long festival is also rather pricey.

I am now on a quest to find someone, be it community group, individual, foundation etc. who would be willing to help sponsor my trip. Every little helps no matter how large or small.

Thank you!!!!!

--Laura Stokes"

Posted in: Blogging | 26 comments

Mike Jenkins Blog

By Ceri Shaw, 2009-06-20

Mike Jenkins describes his first blogpost thus:-"My very first blog.I'm a virgin blogger. I wonder if anyone out there will even bother to read it. Well, I'm used to that , being a poet!"In our humble opinion such modesty ill befits the author of this magnificent poem:- The Journey of The Taf ....first published on Americymru in April this year. We look forward to reading future posts. Mike must not blog in vain:)

Posted in: Blogging | 0 comments

Americymru now sports a blog aggregator in the top nav bar. This gives us the opportunity to feature RSS feeds of the best Welsh Blogs. Most of these blogs specialise in social and political commentary. Few are humorous. One noble exception is of course, NoGoodBoyo whose masterly and insightful analysis of the contribution made to proletarian culture by Welsh icon, Shakin Stevens is linked HERE .Anyone who wants to nominate a blog for inclusion on the page should join the "Feature Request" group and post their suggestion.

Posted in: Blogging | 0 comments