Except for a few tweaks, I've finished creating a custom design for San Kloud on my test blog. When money's available (and assuming the recent WP shift towards mobile doesn't make visual design a moot point) I expect this design to become my blog's new look. If you arrive before Dec. 13, you can see the design on my test blog (listed below). After Dec. 13, it will hopefully be a short time before it appears on my main blog: bumblepuppies.wordpress.com.
San Kloud was somewhat difficult to work with, partly because very little has been written here about the theme. So, here are some tips for those of you who come after:
1- If you want to change the text box or sidebar design, check out this discussion: http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/unorthodox-custom-headers?replies=5#post-1541334 . Justpi's discussion of PNG background images is relevant for the header, text box, and sidebar. The header's easier to do as a traditional custom header, though.
2- Unless you make the sidebar really thin, expect it to end up off-center. (I'll be asking about a fix to this in a moment.) In the default CSS, there's no room to extend it towards the right; the CSS chops off the excess.
3- Having custom color settings will disable your ability to keep or add a custom background. Keep a snapshot that includes the custom background before playing with color settings.
4- In the original, I’m guessing that the quantity of transparency on each background and sidebar PNG was not consistent. If you have an equal amount of transparency on each of your replacements, they won’t line up. That’s partly where the imperfections in my connecting points came from.
The blog I need help with is blacklightcandelabra.wordpress.com.