I finally did it! I finally changed the look of my blog. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long, long, time. There are some glitches, though. For some reason, my archives gadget is stuck in 2006, so none of my back posts (except the ones I allow to appear on the page) are being listed. They are still in my blog, but there seems to be no way to change the settings on the Blog archive gadget--at least, I don't know what else to do to "jog" it back to action! (If anyone has any notions about that "bug", I'd sure appreciate the advice.)
I gave up some things and have already decided to tweak some of the buttons on the side links, but all in all, I like this cheerier and more whimsical look. It suits me.
I had several moments of shear terror, however, when my archive seemed to disappear, but other than that, it wasn't such a bad thing after all.