Have you tried using SERIF digital scrapbooking and/or SERIF digital artist. As their names suggest one is mainly for scrapbooking and the other for cardmaking. The compact versions are free and available on the DAISY TRAIL website, there are also a few kits that are free to download. There are a lot of kits to buy when you get hooked.
Digital crafting means little mess, always having the right colour, the right size. You can rotate, create mirror images. Intellegent photo frames mean just the area of a picture that you want - even some of those not so good photos get a new lease of life.
I have just made some placemats for my friends four year old son ( who is crazy about dinosaurs) one where he is coaxing a TRex with a bit of seaweed and one with him and a triceratops. The DAISY TRAIL website also has members work uploaded - there are some very talented people.
If I am lucky those links will take you to some of my pages if not look for Sheskajane and that should find me.
oh I forgot to say there is also a shadow tool that is great fun and......................but you get the picture.