Monday, November 28


Greetings dear readers!

Well, in my typical fashion, I am foregoing the "rules" for the photo challenge and completing it a couple days early. (TRY THO I MAY I SIMPLY SEEM UNABLE (?) TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS!) I guess it's the creative "inner artist" in perpetual rebellion against the perpetual "inner critic" (whom, I have, over the years, finally SILENCED...I think! lol)

I have the New Year's Eve Craft Along to consider...and must get word out about that, SOooooooooo here are the final entries of the November Gratitude Photo Challenge: 

Nov. 27: Daily Routine

I often suspect I know how the mailperson feels..."through rain or snow or sleet or hail...." THIS GUY has to have his walks. 3x daily please...

Webster has actually been a great gift in our lives in that it has kept the hubs and I from becoming ... what's that word... SEDENTARY! The stubborn little schnauzer is just determined to walk regardless the weather. AND this little guy (don't know if its his genetic heritage from Austria? Bavaria? SOMEPLACE near Germany) LOVES the snow and cold weather. I've shared with you in another post the climate I am most partial to:

A pic of me and my friend Meleah on the beach at Ft. Meyers, Florida last February. SO WONDERFUL!

November 28: Night Time and November 29: Light

 A few scenes from the all night prayer vigil I held a week ago...I love the candle lit sanctuary and the peace that is so tangible during these prayer meetings...

And finally, November 30th: Self Portrait!

It's the pic I took of me with my new camera from the Hubs for Mother's Day. I've gotten rave reviews over the glasses, hair AND the camera! Win/win! lol

Stay tuned tomorrow for details about the New Years Eve Craft Along!

Sunday, November 27


A tag swap post!

Greetings, dear readers! I had spoken to you earlier about perhaps a peek at the tags I've created for Elizabeth's "Creative Breathing" Merry Christmas Tag Swap and for Cindy's "Around the Neighborhood" tag swap. Failing to take pictures of my work (I am SO BAD ABOUT THAT!) I will use the photographs from Elizabeth's blog to show you:

As many of you who have followed me for a while know...I am a cowgirl at heart. I have (over the years) acquired some of the sweetest and dearest little cowboy and cowgirl images...this one in particular, with his red and green outfit and little puppy, make me think of Christmas. I just HAD to find a way to use it on my tags! The tags are a miniscule 2.5 x 3.5 (and, as usual, I made them all the wrong size to begin with, then had to think of a way to recreate those tags on tags cut the right size...) Elizabeth, I don't know HOW I seem to ALWAYS manage to get the instructions wrong, but I always have SO MUCH FUN making the tags the wrong way or using the wrong size or making the wrong amount! One year, I made over 30 tags, thinking that was the proper number...instead, I discovered I had made nearly twenty too many! E and I still laugh over the the Great Valentine Debacle! (as it has come to be known)

One of the great blessings of blogging is the friends you meet along the way...Elizabeth of Creative Breathing is one of those "kindred spirits" who has creativity flowing through her very veins...the woman is a one woman workshop of all things CUTE! 

More than that, she is a teller of stories...and a "Nocturnal Nellie" (a friend who is up at all hours of the night, like myself! She even talked me into hosting a New Year's Eve Craft along...since we were up all night anyway! It was SO MUCH FUN I'm doing it again THIS year! YAY!)
Also, I created tags for Cindy of Rick Rack N Gingham's Neighborhood Ornament Tag Swap:
Cindy enticed us with these sweeties:

Inviting us:
"To be in this swap....your ornament needs to be a House or an RV
Decorated  "Christmasy"...and it needs to remind each of us
of your BLOG...and have your Name and Blog Name on it.
Front and back need to be decorated!
It can range from 3-6 inches...remember it goes on a tree."

So here's my take on the swap: 

It's my little canned ham, Mary Lou! The other side says, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!" The penants and "lights" were paintstakingly cut and created by hand (the "seed beads" used as lights were handstrung mind you...WITHOUT A NEEDLE! Oh how I need E's organizational skills in my craft room! lol) THANK GOODNESS I had only to make 7 of the little things (however, as is my fashion, I made a few extra...this picture from E's blog). AND, in very ATYPICAL fashion, I kept one for myself! I just thought it would be so cute on my tinsel tree! 

I can't wait to receive my tags from the others...this is truly the most wonderful time of the year!

More soon,
Paula Clare

Saturday, November 26


Greetings, dear reader!

Well today is the highlight of the Photo Challenge...since Gratitude is the theme, Thanksgiving Day is the "Main Event!" However OUR Thanksgiving was very tough this year...we weren't able to go be with our kids and we had no money for the usual Thanksgiving feast. We ate "on the cheap" a thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel ($8.99 got you turkey and all the fixings, free drink and free pie) Still, even with our non-traditional meal we were you know that if you live indoors in the United States, 

Global Village

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like this:
There would be:
61 Asians
13 Africans
12 Europeans
8 people from South America, central America (including Mexico), and the Caribbean.
5 people come from North America
1 person from Oceania

70 would be non-white
30 would be white

75 villagers have access to a source of safe drinking water
25 do not, and have to spend a large part of the day just getting safe water.

There is enough food for everyone in the Global Village, but the food is not divided equally. Only 30 people always have enough to eat. 20 are severely malnourished.

76 people in the Global Village have electricity.
24 do not.

20 people have 80% of the Global Village’s wealth.  The other 80 villagers have to share the remaining 20%.

Half of the villagers survive on less than 2 US dollars a day.  A quarter of the villagers learn less than $1 and are in extreme poverty.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to are richer than 75% of this world. 

‘Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.’ Nelson Mandela

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of him/(her)self and his/(her) family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services... Everyone has the right to education.  Universal Declaration of Human Rights

All that to say...I'm grateful. And blessed. Very.

More soon,
Paula Clare

Wednesday, November 23


Greetings, dear reader!

Here I am, yet again, BEHIND on posting what I'm so very grateful for...I will try to catch up by picking and choosing the ones *I* want to post! (It's my blog, I'm 14 and I can do what I want! (inside joke))

SO...beginning on day...oh, I don't know...Day 13: WRITTEN WORDS


Day 16: ANIMALS:

Grandkitties Ego (in back) and Amelie (in front). Amelie went to be with Jesus earlier this was a heart breaker...not sure Ego's over it yet, although he's acting more his old self now...


MY best friend (Peepaw) and our grandson Mason. He told Bud (in a really serious tone) "'re my very best friend." It just melted our hearts!


These two "youngsters" are at Silver Dollar City getting a wedding tintype made. We had photos taken in the little chapel the era...doesn't Bud look dashing in his string necktie and circuit rider hat?

and VOILA! There you have it! I'm caught up! Just in case...I'd better post tomorrow's photo:


My favorite pair of them on a clearance rack for $10! They are so wonderfully comfortable...and the little flowered pieces of patchwork reflect my "inner hippie!" (which doesn't always stay "IN"...another pic for fun:

I've often fancied myself a hippie with dredlocks...I did one of those "choose your hairstyle" things to find out how I might look with both red hair AND dreds...I like it...what do you think? lol

More soon!
Paula Clare

Sunday, November 13


Greetings, dear reader!

Back to my playing "catch up" with the photo challenge...ah well. I think I like the two or three at a time thing anyway! Works for me!

Challenge 10: NATURE

One of my favorite photos of me and the hubs...on our favorite vacation EVER: Antigua, West Indies!

The whole trip was really a miracle answer to a prayer Bud and I had been was incredibly beautiful. And THE BEST "working vacation" EVER!
Photo Challenge Day 11: Something Old

For this I have a choice of two photos:

 I created this one on Photoshop for Veterans Day. It's my husband's dad "Boots" Edwin Clouse, who served during Korea. It's also my dad, Kenneth Erhart, who served in every theatre of the war during World War 2. (Photos of Japan, Italy, France and Africa...amazing!) Also, my eldest son, Ian, who is currently serving in the Naval Reserves. (Not an old photo but I turned it black and white and then Sepia for the collage)

Or HERE is a more contemporary version of something "old"....ME! I'm 53 here (just taken a week ago) and sporting a "new do". My adoring dog Webster seems to approve. (although his view is of my many "chins"...what is it with old age? I have more chins than a Chinese phonebook! ARGH!)

And finally, the photo challenge for Day 12: Hands:

 This is a photo of the sacred rite of laying on of hands at my Ordination service. (The link is to my other blog, The Contemporary Monk, where you can see a short video of the service highlights). 

Went to a two day crop this my ornaments done for Cindy's Swap at Rick Rack and Gingham, and the ever amazing, always creative Elizabeth at Creative Breathing is again hosting her Annual Christmas Tag Swap. I am happy to report I've finished both and will be getting them off in the mail in the next day or two! HOORAY! I'll not show you the tags until my friends have them in their possession...I hope they are a hit. I'm a bit out of practice since the long, creatively barren Days of the Lost Mojo (as it has come to be called). But because I only had to make seven ornaments and 15 tags, it was very doable and not too overwhelming...(although I fear I've botched the size on Elizabeth's tags...) Ah well...tags are done and there's not much to be done about it now! lol 

Will be back in a day or two with more photos...and perhaps a sneak peek or two!

Hugs to all!
Paula Clare

Wednesday, November 9


Greetings, dear reader!

In the beginning...I thought the daily discipline of posting would be the toughest part of this...I have come to realize there are much tougher figuring out WHICH of my inspiring friends to feature in this post?! 

I guess, when it all boils down to it, I have to pay homage to my mom  as my most inspiring person...I've even painstakingly typed a blog taken from notes found in her photo albums. You can read a bit about HER life...I thought it was HER memoirs, but as it turns out, it is more about her mother, Julia. You can read more at "A Sharecropper's Daughter." I will be adding photos to the blog soon...meanwhile, here's my mom in her many forms:

Mom and me at 7 Falls in Colorado...

 The last professional picture mom had taken...

This is my mom's HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR PICTURE! Can you believe it? Doesn't she look like she should be in college or something? 18 years old...just about the same time she married this guy:

He was 38 and just finished a tour in the army in World War 2. He served in every theatre (his war photos are amazing!) Dad was always the kinder, gentler, side of love. Mom was the Type A, get it done kind of gal.

Together, they were a dynamic duo that spent over 25 years together when dad passed away in 1988 at the age of 76.  Mom died in 2003 at the age of 66. I miss them terribly...

Oh! And I've decided to name my vintage canned ham "Mary Lou" after my mom...All the cute vintage campers have names...and Mary Lou seemed a perfect "retro fit!"

More soon!

Paula Clare


Greetings, dear reader!

As many of you know, one of my sisters lives in Sudan, Africa. As such, she is always looking for ways to create a bit of "Martha Stewart" design in her home. This year she has the benefit of a color printer, so I have been scouring the internet for downloads for are a few I've recently sent to her:

Also, be sure to click on my Flickr banner in my sidebar...there are lots more PDF images, projects and downloads! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8


Greetings, dear reader!

I was just perusing my adorable paper doll books and thought I'd see if Dolly Dingle had a thanksgiving outfit she  might like to model for you all...and hurray! She did! Here's a copy for you to cut out and set on your thanksgiving table...what could be cuter than these chubby little pilgrims setting at each plate with a name tag?

Just double click on the image, right click to save! Print, cut out, enjoy! 
More soon, friends! Have a great evening!

Paula Clare


HOORAY! Today's photo challenge is an easy peasy favorite color...well, favorite color combo! Anyone who has known me (via this blog or otherwise) for very long should be able to guess right the first time?! RIGHT! Red and Aqua! You can tell via my Pinterest:

And my kitchen...


Stay tuned for another post...and a little surprise!

Paula Clare

Monday, November 7


Greetings, dear reader! And here I am again...BEHIND once more on the daily photo challenge! Honestly this daily thing is really a tough discipline to keep up with, don't you agree?

Nevertheless, my #5 photo challenge is "Morning Sky". As many of you know, if I DO see morning it is often the wee, early morning hours, long BEFORE sunrise. (either insomnia or a sudden burst of creativity...but regardless, I rarely wake up in time to see the sunrise). Therefore, taking my artistic liberty, my photo will instead be of a recent sunset..(taken while driving on a little two lane highway in rural Illinois)

Photo #6: BOOKS: (Journals)I obsessively collect them. Some are written in...some are not. I just love leather's an illness I realize.

On my "must-get-for-Christmas" list is this book:

My "encouragement" for family members to purchase a "pawtographed" copy for me was this photo:

Which I captioned, "EVERYONE is reading it!"(Can't take credit for this was posted on the Following Attiucs Facebook Page..)

More soon!
Paula Clare


Friday, November 4


Greetings, dear reader!

Today's installment of the photo challenge is LEAVES! Lots of opportunities to get shots of these! There's an art museum about 1/2 mile from our home...with "art trails" all through the's gorgeous! This is Thor's the trailhead...

And the pond has floating sculptures that spin...the pond is small and therefore not terribly clear, but the reflective light of the sun and trees makes it look beautiful! Today, November 4th, I am grateful for leaves!

More soon!

Paula Clare