I did warn you that our animals would put in an appearance now and then, so I thought I'd introduce them here before the Christmas season is over and gone. This is a fun set of pictures I made to use on my Christmas cards. I have a simple digital 'point and shoot' camera, and I edit my photos with Corel Paint Shop Pro XI. All our animals are 'rescued' either from abandonment at birth or total neglect, both of which are all too common situations out here. The two big dogs, Miki (black) and Chico (tan) are sister and brother. Unfortunately Chico was involved in an accident last April that resulted in him having a front leg amputated from the shoulder. It was a traumatic time, but he has recovered completely. The smaller dog is called Foxy because she spent the first three months of her life living in a fox hole. The first two cats, Luna and Paco are 'campo' cats, both dumped as newborn kittens, and then there is my beautiful Persian pair, Baggins and Arewen. They were around three years old when I took them on, and both were in a very bad condition, but just look at them now!
The first thing I need was a decent photo of each individual animal. This is easier said than done as the cats see my camera and deliberately look away, while the dogs walk towards the camera and lick the lens! But patience paid off and I got them in the end. Then I resized them so that they were in proportion with one another and cut one out using the freehand selection wand and pasted them onto the other one. I moved them into a suitable position and then used the clone tool to enlarge the background to fit around them. Next I downloaded several items of Christmas headgear from open-source clipart, resized them to fit the animals' heads and adjusted the tilt if necessary, and then I cut and pasted them as well. As long as you don't save the composite picture until you are satisfied with it, it is relatively easy to make adjustments. This was all a bit fiddly and time consuming, but the results are fun and my sons and granchildren enjoyed them on their cards.