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I'm currently using a template from btemplates.com but would really like to create something custom. One of my main goals is to create a blog design around a custom header which really depicts the theme of my blog.

I do have some "trial by fire" graphic design ability but the only software I have is MS Publisher.

I'm debating trying to create something myself or finding someone else to do it (but can't afford a lot.)

The other consideration is that I own my URL (http://www.beamingbalance.com) so maybe I just go the traditional web design route and link to Blogger. (Right now the URL redirects to blogspot.com)

Totally confused and wishing I was just a little more tech savvy!

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Thanks for sharing this, ladies. I'm thinking of finding a new designer at affordable price.
If anyone has any questions about HTML or design, I do that as a "real" job. I did my own blog and have done a few blogs in my other little bloggyverse (book blogging). Here is my blog I did: Anya's Room
As for my blog, my husband created my banner and pretty much everything what i wanted. I wanted my blog to focus on crafting, cooking, educational activities for mommies and their children. So, my husband came up with the name and the banner. Since, i take care of my daughter and teaching her almost everything, he stated why not call it Show Me Mama, which is what i am :) LOL.
Take a peek, so you can have an ida what i am talking about.
http://showmemama.blogspot.com
I designed my blog layout. I learned everything by googling "how to's" It's a lot of work but I love to be creative so I had a lot of fun doing it!

I do button designs. I love making buttons for other bloggers and there is not a lot of commitment involved in just buttons.

I am working on my first blog design for a friend and we'll see how that turns out!

I use Photoshop Elements and Paint Pro software.

You can see my blog design at Mad Boastings of a Cheapskate Mom all the buttons on the right sidebar are ones I have created for other bloggers.

Using your URL is more appealing to PR firms and such. I still use .blogspot because Blogger chose my blog as a Blog of Note over the summer and I thought that was really neat. Don't want to dump the blogspot quite yet ;)

Any questions feel free to ask and I will try to help!

Tamara
I designed all three of my blogs and one of my blogs "So Sweet Designs" is for blog designs :)
i did it myself. Got the free graphics online n just doing mix and match using photoshop n coreldraw. I'm designing blog template only when I'm in the mood, only for fun. I share few of them so far in my "blog template" blog :

http://d-bloggertemplate.blogspot.com/

And using my own design as well here : http://d-aboutlifes.blogspot.com/
I also did all of the designs myself on all 3 of my blogs....Mother of Pearl It Is, Mommies Faves, and Button Connection by Tree. The last one is actually new and I've just started actually offering designs, buttons, banners, etc. Up until recently, I only did them for close family and friends. I'm also a self-taught designer....started out doing message board skins on my design forum, Skins Galore and More, and then got into blogging, and taught myself that style of design.

Btemplates is showing very clean and nice templates. If I talk about my blogs then I usually prefer to go with WordPress templates. Yes, mostly, the free ones. However, in case, if I need a site for official announcements or a business store then I prefer to get PHP or Magneta sites. Last time, I got a web designing service from Avidteck and it was an outstanding experience. 

On the other hand, I also heard that with the help of them designing, a good looking blog is also designed. However, if you want to add cart and payment etc options in our site then better to go with a professional service. 

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