Hey Rick thats exactly how we were feeling a year ago don't worry as long as your playing around with it you will learn what works for you and it gets faster. We did a lot of test cuts on junk wood, I pretty much cleaned out my shed of old saved boards trying new things, thats what I would suggest now go and cut some of those pics you are making just to see the effect, that knowledge will guide you when you integrate things into a design.
When doing junk cuts make them shallow and increase the overlap to at least double that way you can have a cut in about 30 minutes and a lot less wear on the bit. I cut a bunch of plywood for test cuts and found an interesting look, at .250 or 1/4" you begin to cut through to the next layer on 3/4 ply thaat next layer is really dark brown so I used it to cut a deer in the woods theme that board was the first one someone wanted to buy but I gave it to him for free because it was junk to me.
Speaking of selling boards my Navy plaque deal added to the ones I have sold made the machine finally pay for itself.