My first experience with editing a theme for WordPress was on my own blog. I modified two different themes before I settled on the one I currently have. I learned that you can get some really nice themes for free, but I also learned that the best free themes tend to be pretty popular. Since I want my blog to be unique, like me, I opted to make some small changes to the styles and graphics. Fortunately professional themes tend to include PSD files, which are layered image files used by Adobe Photoshop. This makes it much easier to change existing graphics instead of having to create all new graphics.
For my new background I actually merged two of the backgrounds included with the theme and then changed some of the other graphics to better coordinate with the background. I also put my name on the background to make it more personalized and altered some of the layout for the front page.
I still have quite a few changes planned, possible a whole new theme, but for now I’m happy with how it reflects who I am and the functionality built into it.
I will say that I just moved over to a new server and into a multi-user WordPress environment so that I can create multiple blogs for design purposes, so there are several options I still have to setup on my blog.