Some years ago when I was living in Florance I took a jewelery making class and did a bit of soldering there... but somehow electronics soldering seems different to me. More magical, more potential.
So to prep I watched some videos to learn stuff and things. Jimmie had a link to a pretty excellent one on his site http://blip.tv/make/learn-how-to-solder-skill-building-workshop-130343
Other then that I had Eric on hand to make sure I didn't burn my eyes out.
I quickly learned that I was quite bad at cutting the leads flush. However all and all it came together and it was time for the programing. Jimmie wrote a pretty killer simple animation program that allowed me to design how the LED's would flash in a frame by frame. I kinda haphazardly designed a pattern and borrowed an Arduino and off we went.