I guess it would help to think about what look you want it to have. Clean and sleek, funky and fun...do you want a blank solid background or something that has designs on it? That's where I start from anyway. Then you can choose banner stuff based on that. But I'm not that BEST person to give advice. My mini-makeover consisted off changing the background and color scheme and adding a new way to comment!
I agree with Jenna, kind of depends on the look your are going for. One thing that's fun is to go to Google Image Search and type in shabby chic pattern and then download it and set it as your blog background. Also, there are a ton of blogger templates online if you want one of those. And if you have photoshop you can totally make a banner for yourself!... when I'm procrastinating I tend to spend a lot of time on my blog look and feel :).
Also, I am so sorry you had a bad Sticky Toffee Pudding experience :(.
I go onto the Template Design in "Design" on here and play around with stuff on there. And then I use Picasa or Pixlr for a header :)
Have a browse through what's available on blogger and see what you like - there are quite a few nice, simple layouts that you can add personality to with a banner and a background. Have fun with it! The new year sounds like the perfect excuse for a blog revamp!
Depends what you're looking for. I go to http://www.bgpatterns.com/ all the time to make my backgrounds, then save in photobucket and go into the blogger layouts from there.But play around in your design/template area with the width of your posts and fonts and all that jazz. Let me know if you need more help. I know...enough. :) Emily at Amazing Grapes
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