I needed to find something that I loved, that fit with my own aesthetic and personal design style. This has been an absolute mission. I know next to nothing about HTML and CSS, so whilst it may not look like much, I am unbelievably proud of it. Also, its the first design I've had that I'm 100% happy with. So I'm pretty much over the moon right now!
For those of you who are interested, I'll talk you through the process I used to create the new look, I don't profess to be an expert on the subject (by ANY stretch of the imagination) but it might help a few people to know where to start.
Firstly, you're gonna need an idea of what you want your blog to look like when its done. How many columns? Colours? Do you want a clean look or are you after scrapbook shabby-chic? Get a sketchbook out, or some scrap paper and get it down. Brainstorm. Need a colour scheme? If you have an idea of a main colour then there are some fantastic free web resources that generate colour palettes for you based on a starting colour - they even give you the hex codes! Just google something along the lines of 'colour palette generator'.
Secondly, make up a 'finished' design, I used Photoshop to do mine but there's lots of programmes out there that do the same job. I installed the 'simple' template with 3 columns on a test blog before I started this and noted down the widths, so I could make sure that the canvas I used to design was in proportion to the final blog. I then created everything that I wanted to include in my design - the background, header, link buttons, linkbar background - the whole works! This took some time but it was worth it to have a design to work from rather than going in blind.
I then started to transfer everything over to the test blog, googling away as I got to bits I didn't know how to do. There are some FANTASTIC sites out there that talk you through how to do everything - and you don't need to be ultra-technical to understand them. I think I pretty much know as much now about coding as I did when I started. As long as you're not too ambitious, you should be ok.
The most important thing is to make your blog reflect you, make it something you love. Yes, its frustrating (I lost track of how long I spent trying to make image shadows disappear) but its worth it when you have a gorgeous blog at the end of it! Or you could just commission someone to do it for you...but where's the fun in that?!