rather than try to articulate it in text, which i started out doing and was failing in my own mind, i decided to do a quick screencast demonstrating what i did. keep in mind i'm not a vector guy but did it the way i knew how. i hope that someone can correct me with a super easier way of doing it, but until then i'm fine with my method :-). essentially i used expression design to do most of the manipulation of creating the elements/images i would use in blend. i think blend does well for some simple element tasks, but if you want to do some more complex things (not that this is a complex example, just making a point), you might be better served in design. you can view this screencast by subscribing to my podcast feeds on the left area of my blog.
i hope this helps answer the question more visually of what i did. any questions or methods of improvement are welcome in the comments.