As a Valentine's Day gift, I spent this weekend building a new blog for my wife based on Ray Camden's BlogCFC, merged with the Aura skin.

The new blog is called Casa ArbaÃ’il, the name of her family's second home in a small village up in the Pyrenees of Spain, where my wife spent many summers growing up and where we continue to travel each Christmas. As a native of Barcelona, a Catalan speaker, a current resident of Massachusetts, and a chemist by profession you'll find future blog entries on these categories. As soon as her we get her domain name www.casa-arbanil.com mapped to our ISP then the blog will located there, until then it remains on TalkingTree.com.

Houses in the village have names that may or may not be the name of the family or owner. Each house has a story behind the name, and the same goes for the fields that are worked nearby. Using Adobe Photoshop CS, I came up with the blog's banner image, a composite of several images from Casa ArbaÃ’il itself on the left, to the birch trees of Montinyero known locally as albas, to the sweeping vista of the mountain across the valley named Chia, ending in a flung open shutter from the second floor of Casa ArbaÃ’il which really does look out toward Chia. And the little dog icon in the lower left was squeezed out from this friendly guy who wanders the streets of Eresue.

Using the CFXML_Blog import script that I built last fall when my own blog was converted to BlogCFC and Aura, I was able to recover the blog postings she made back in 2003 when I first got her started blogging.

The color palette was selected by browsing the Color Explorer on the Behr paint website. They have a great color picker built with Lazlo. Choose a primary color and they'll build a selection of palettes to help you pick out the secondary colors and accents. Since they don't provide the RGB hex color codes, I just open Homesite and use the eyedropper tool while mousing over the Behr website.

My wife would love to have a photoblog where she can post one photo per blog and then have a photo gallery view according to category. While that's a work in progress, at least she can get started blogging for now. I haven't found a suitable ColdFusion-based photoblog software, although for a photo gallery I've been most recently impressed with BellaAlbum 3 (sample) from Giampaolo Bellavite, coauthor of the aforementioned CFXML_Blog. I'll be trying out BellaAlbum a lot more this week. Maybe for her birthday I'll get her SlideShowPro built for Flash MX 2004.

After setting up her blog on the new domain name, I'll finish up by adding a Google Adsense banner (yes, all those clicks add up!), and a SiteMeter account to provide traffic stats. She might go with an Amazon reading recommendation based on Sumo Consulting's BookKit CFC, but I found little to no revenue generated by this service, especially when compared to Google Adsense.

Checkout the Casa ArbaÃ’il blog while I make a stop at the florists for tonight!