I jumped in the deep end and went for LFS. I hadnt installed a single distro before (Id started knoppix up though
)and managed to pull it off ok. Its great because you learn loads about linux while you install it but you can also choose every detail of the OS. The final product is always going to be perfect for your needs.
To get a "distro" with all the bits you want or need will take a while but once its together it will all be worth it.
Im a good example because I geniunly knew NOTHING about linux when I started. The first time I completed the book it booted fine. It took about 12 hours I think to compile.
Now ive done it once I could probably do it in 7-8 hours. xorg and kde took a while to compile. I suppose what im saying is the only drawback to LFS is the time it takes to install..... and as a newbie it took me this long.
You start with LFS, then BLFS and after that you'll be flying. Id recommend using the LFS liveCD as a host to install LFS.