I've been thinking for awhile that my blog needed a face-lift. I've had the same theme and blog header since 2008, which is actually quite awhile when it comes to internet trends. After looking through lots of different blog templates, and visiting many other blogs just for ideas, I decided I still like the basic sage green and forest roads theme I had, so no point in making major changes.
I thought I would at least re-design my blog header, though. Where to start? Some of the cartoony or artsy water-color headers out there are fabulous, but that style is outside my design capability. Besides, it doesn't really fit with my theme. After thinking about it for awhile, I made a list of design elements I wanted to incorporate and then scoured the public-domain graphics sites looking for images I could use. I downloaded several free fonts to play around with, and then just re-worked my existing blog header.
Here's what it looked like before...
I'm especially fond of the library card-catalog card I incorporated (using a "card" I generated at blyberg.net). I know it's impossible to actually read in the header, but here is the original image-- just for fun!