How to customize Google Sites for Google Apps Eportfolio (or other purposes)

The saga of making my eportfolio using Google Apps continues.  I am using Google Sites for the presentation part of my eportfolio.  I was happy with my artifacts and reflections on my Google Site but I thought all the themes were kind of lack luster. It was time to add a creative, aesthetic element to my Google Site.  Here's how I did it:

Google Sites Announcements as Blog for a Google Apps Eportfolio

I have been creating an eportfolio using the google apps suite and especially google sites for presentation of my learning artifacts.  Currently, I am trying the announcement page tool in Google Sites to see if it can be used as an acceptable blog for eportfolio formative development. It has good basic functionality but I would like it to incorporate an rss feed for porting to other sites.  We are currently using Elgg as our Eportfolio solution and for blogging it is superior.  It allows tags and make its possible to have community blogs which is nice for a getting a broader view of student learning and for more institutional wide summative assessments. It also is excellent for exporting different parts of the blog.

This Announcements tool is however very easy to use and students can get right into it and start keeping notes and collaborating with their teachers and perhaps peers. Placing something like this right on the home page of their Google Site would demonstrate their learning process. Having an outside blog, such as blogger, imported via rss with a google gadget is another solution but it may get too technical for students and instructors not familiar with rss and make viewers have to go all over the place to review artifacts that should be easily accessible on the student site without having to anywhere.  So in sum, not portable, does not have a broad social element where everyones post can be seen at once and grouped according to tag or community, but it has the basics and is ideal for collaboration.