The first proto-shield has been assembled.
The SparkFun prototype shield for the Arduino essentially lets you put a small custom circuit onto an Arduino shield.
The "bare" version has a small area for soldering-up in the middle of the shield. I decided to make a slightly more re-usable version with a small breadboard so I could experiment with the electronics without soldering. The assembly is very easy, although the board is of course very cramped. The "helping hands" were invaluable.
Several lessons learned: I need a finer bit for my soldering iron, a smaller pair of side-cutters for trimming the wires, and my soldering skills are truly appallingly rusty. The shield has a couple of places where it can take additional headers (for controlling the LEDs and using the spare button that's not being used for reset, and to bring the ICSP connectors through) which it would be useful to have.