There is really nothing I love to do more than to manipulate images. If you had told me a year ago I would say this I would have laughed, looked at you kind of funny, and then backed away slowly! ;-)
But it's true, I now enjoy pushing the bounds of my limited abilities and learning something new every day. It's a form of relaxation and meditation for me, and the added bonus of maybe being able to sell some of these is like icing on the cake!
The biggest challenge I face when I start messing with my images is knowing when to stop, when to put the mouse down and leave well enough alone.
I once heard a photographer who does lots of post processing (and whose name I have momentarily forgotten) say that he finds that some of his best work comes from images he has walked away from and then revisited later. That by not feeling like you have to finish something in one sitting you can often find the true vision of the image. I love that idea, and I now try and subscribe to it, even though I'm fairly impatient and like to get something done all at once.
The image above is a great example. First I started with just the flowers in the vase, adding textures, messing with the hue and saturation, and then I left it alone for a bit. Then I remembered a beautiful old french post card that I had that I thought would fit beautifully on the right side of the image which had a good deal of dead space. And then finally, because I felt it needed a little something else and couldn't figure out how anyone would use this image, I decided to add the "Happy Easter" wishes at the top in pink. Now I can see it as an Easter card.
Sometimes patience really is a virtue I guess!