Hi and Welcome!!! I'm Des, this is a fabulously fun hobby :>
A great place to start is SaveTheGreen.net
it is run by one of the designers here at the studio SKrapper Digitals and her pal Trish F.
There is free software to download, step by step tutorials and even a free starter kit. You can ask questions in the forum and get lots of feedback and support. The best thing about this hobby is you can get started without spending a penny
Of course, once you get addicted, start saving your pennies cuz you'll be wanting the newest fabulous kit, an EHD, a scanner, a better camera and
maybe even the full version of Photoshop lol!!! Hoping to see your first layout in the gallery soon!