My #1 tip is to play around with some digital scrapbook stuff. You need some kind of software to do this, I use CS4 but you can use whatever you want. I think GIMP is a free program and maybe Paint, too. Never used these. I was using Photoshop Elements, which is a lot cheaper that CS4, to edit photos and that is how all this craziness started. Anyway, find something to practice in. Play around with layout and sizing, make some scrapbook pages and then order prints. I found that Costco has 12x12 prints for $2.99 and shipping is reasonable. And you're killing two birds with one stone, scrapbooking and designing your own blog! Use some of the tools in your software and learn your way around a bit. Then find a specific tutorial for what you want to do. I have listed a few of my favorites...
- Add a signature to each post. from Kevin and Amanda.
- Make a scrapbooky blog background. from Kevin and Amanda.
- How To Make Your Own Blog Background. from The Cutest Blog On The Block.
- Free Blogger Backgrounds from The Cutest Blog On The Block.
- Freebies from Kevin and Amanda.
- Digi-scrap Freebies from computerscrapbook.com
- More Digi-scrap Freebies from DigiScrapDepot.
- Free 6 Month Photoshop Course (+tons more!) from creativetechs.com .
One other thing, always check the copyright information on your free downloads, you can usually use them for personal use at no charge but you can't sell designs made with them unless you pay for that.