Well, that wasn't so painful!
Mind you, changing from a "classic" blogger template to a layout template did take several hours - what with creating the various html-friendly text blocks over in the sidebar, and experimenting with different font colors and sizes. Plus, I know that the changeover altered the placement of some images in previous posts - the rectifying of which will no doubt take some time.
The change was necessary, however, after Blogger initiated auto pagination. What that meant for blogs like mine was that many posts were now rendered totally inaccessible to visitors. Why? Because auto pagination limits the number of posts on a given page. Thus before I changed over, if one was to click on, say, "November 2007" in the archives, most of the posts from that particular archive page would not be shown. And because the classic template doesn't have the "Previous - Next" page feature, they wouldn't ever be shown!
So now we have a new-look Wild Reed! Overall, I'm very happy with how everything looks - and I especially like the layout of the Archives and the Labels, and the fact that I can see my Followers (who currently number twenty-two!). I do need to acknowledge and thank Roberto and his helpful guide to Upgrading Your Classic Template to a Layouts Template. This clearly laid out resource made my transition from one type of template to another the painless process that it was! Thanks Roberto!