Saturday, December 31


Greetings cowgirls!

Here's a few free vintage images for our first project. These are actually family photos from a book I've recently published "A Sharecropper's Daughter" Feel free to use them in your projects tonight or whenever!:

You will need a vintage image like these for the main part of your cowgirl canvas. None of these photos are "cowgirl" specifically, but the vintage-y look of them can easily be translated as cowgirl glam!

You will also need waxed paper and an 8.5x 11 piece of muslin, canvas or (light) solid color fabric. Cut a piece of fabric and waxed paper to about 8.5 x 11 (or smaller depending on your canvas size) Also a blank canvas or sturdy piece of chipboard the size of your project (9x12 for this one)

Then, with the shiny side of the waxed paper face down, iron onto the fabric. (The reason for this is to make the fabric stiff enough to run through your ink jet printer, where you can print out the vintage image)

Right click and save any of the above images, then print to size. Make sure your printer is set to QUALITY or PHOTO print settings (extra ink is needed because the fabric tends to absorb).

Feed the fabric "page" through your printer, and when it's done printing, cut to size. Leave the edges ragged and adds to the charm! Set aside.

Now to make the background of your canvas. (This was my favorite part!) Using snippets of fabric, trim and old buttons, lace or whatever else you can find, glue, stitch, or even pin a collage of fabric pieces to your canvas as background for the image. As you can see, I used bits of cardboard, mattress ticking, old ric rac, paper, lace and old milinery flowers on mine.

Here are a few photos (not very good ones mind you) of the details of my piece:

One of my favorite details (besides the quote by Annie herself) is the silk strips tied on at the bottom of the canvas. I just used my handy dandy crop-o-dile (if you do not have one, I cannot believe you have lived in the altAred art world this long without...beg, borrow, steal or BUY one...STAT! Handiest tool I own!) Anyway, just punch a line of holes in the bottom of your canvas (mine was one of the cheapy flat canvases, no sides or depth to it) and tie the strips to the bottom. OR if you don't have a crop-o-dile or something that will cut holes easily, just tie the pieces of fabric and hot glue them to the bottom! It's a great trick that adds a unique elegance to the piece...don't you think?

Add vintage buttons, stitch lines (or the real thing if you're ambitious) and voila! Done! A FABulous art canvas made out of leftover supplies. DO share a link and post your creations won't you?



Howdy Cowgirls! We are about ready to roll on our New Year's Eve craft along! Here's the list of materials you'll need for our projects...scramble! Times a wastin!

A blank canvas (any size really)
Vintage buttons
solid color fabric (for printing on)
garden variety wax paper
vintage trims (lace, flowers, binding ribbon, whatever!)
junk jewelry pieces (pins, brooches, watches)
glue stick
beacons glue or tacky glue
fabric strips
favorite scrapbook papers
pens, markers, stamps, ink pads

There are a few more odds and ends...but have these at the ready and you can get started! Will be back at 7:00 to begin our first project! WOOT!



GO here to see how to win this DARLING little camper original! EEP! I LOVE IT!

Thursday, December 29


Greetings friends!
I wanted to give you a few days to test the chat function so you can all be a bit familiar with the way it will work New Year's Eve. Please sign in and say hello, and let me know if you're planning to be here, even for a while. (I know there will only be a few night owls who are up all night, but that's okay!) 

See you at 7 New Years Eve, Cowgirls!

Tuesday, December 27


Greetings, dear friends!

Only 4 nights until the New Years Eve all night Craft Along! WOOT! Just a few questions:

1. Have you committed to craft along with me? 

2. Have you installed my button on your blog? Have you invited at least 3 friends to join us?

3. Have you learned the ins and outs of simple chat forums?

4. Do you like my son Paul and Daughter-In-Love Leah's Christmas Tree? They were in the middle of moving and ended up burying their tree in the shed...SO they were painting anyway...voila! TANNENLADDER was born! I think it's BRILL! (short for niece Aria who is in high school in Kenya Africa is determined this expression (which she herself has coined) will 'catch on' and become the newest catch phrase. I like it. I promised her I'd use it in a sentence. teehee)

Tomorrow is another auspicious birthday. The big 5-4. Yawn. I think 54 is probably the most boring birthday yet...we shall see! YAY!
More soon,
Paula Clare

Tuesday, December 20


Greetings, dear readers!

I am back at the baking experiments again! Those of you who have been following me for awhile know my favorite Starbucks drink is Peppermint Mocha (which I realize I CAN purchase any TIME, but choose to only have it during the holidays to make it a seasonal specialty!) Imagine my delight when I ran across THIS cute cookie recipe!

 Instead of the chocolate ganache (I'm sorry daughter-in-love Leah, some things are just NOT meant to come forth from MY kitchen!) I used vanilla buttercream frosting (which I just figured out how to make) and sprinkled candy cane crumbles on top. A WAAAAAAAAAY more doable and festive looking treat! 

I'm really enjoying spending my days and evenings (when I'm not working) baking, preparing Christmas cards and leisurely wrapping the few presents we've managed to purchase this year. It's a MUCH slower, more intentional way of getting through the holidays. I'm also reading a WONDERFUL book, "Following Atticus" (I've saved it for this week in particular!)

EVERYONE is reading it! lol  (Pic from a friend...isn't it CUTE?) Since I have my own little schnauzer I thought a book about an overweight guy who hikes the mountains of the Eastern U.S. and his little companion would be great reading. I wasn't is a truly inspiring and well written book. I SO LOVE Tom Ryan's writing style...very friendly and readable. I ordered my copy from the good folks at White Birch Books for a personally autographed and "pawtographed" book. It's a great book for winter reading...curling up with a cup of tea and going along with Tom and Atticus on their adventures from the comfort and warmth of your own home...

Tom mentioned something my youngest son and I always said about reading books...we hate to finish them because we feel like we've lost a friend at the end of the story. I am only halfway through the book and already feel I'm going to HATE getting to the end of the book...I don't WANT to lose Tom and Atticus's friendships! There are few books I've read where I feel I am better for having known the author(s)...Brennan Manning and Donald Miller are two...but Tom Ryan's name is going on that list as well.

Anyway, back to the Christmas festivities...finishing up a Collaborative Art Project at Church...also inciting a "flash mob" at a local mall tomorrow night! We are all going to burst into song: Let There Be Peace On Earth at 6:30 tomorrow night...sing along with us if you'd like! I'll let you know how it goes!

Paula Clare

Saturday, December 17


Greetings dear readers! I bet you are all up to your eyeballs in holiday preparations and such? I'm sure all is madness ... however,

This year, I decided to take a bit of a different approach to Christmas. Since I'm going to visit the grandbabies in Springfield, and won't be home over Christmas holiday, and #2 son and daughter in love are otherwise occupied with moving to their new home (WOOT!), I decided to forego decorations and focus on the anticipation of Christmas and the birth of the Christ Child. I am taking a more meditative, thoughtful approach to the things I engage in and the time spent doing holiday related preparations. For example, today I made these: Snowflake Cupcakes:

 Found these cute-as-can-be cupcake kit at World Market...the kit included the mixes,frosting, coconut and the cupcake aprons and snowflake picks. They are beyond delicious! Hubby said they are the best cupcakes he's ever eaten! High praise from a man who never passed up a cupcake in his life! 


Note how the icing looks like melting snow! A happy accident...apparently there is a bit of a "trick" and/or science to creating "stiff" buttercream frosting. I didn't successfully manage it, but the cupcakes still turned out cute and tasty anyway. 

The kit made twelve you can see here, their numbers are dwindling quick! The "melting" icing won't have much of a shelf life around here! Hubby dear will see to that! It was fun baking something festive and EASY. I am going to tackle World Market's chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies tomorrow! Pictures (and much taste testing) to come! 

More soon!

Paula Clare

Saturday, December 10


Greetings, dear readers!

I am so excited to share with you the ornaments received in Cindy's Ornament swap! Pics in a moment...but first: this, just in!

Isn't it gorgeous? Dear friends Heleen and Cory (aka Dutch Sisters) hand crocheted this Christmas card! It's a Hallmark from the Netherlands...and it's WONDERFULLY red and aqua! Oh how I love it! I will treasure it always...especially since I can't crochet a stitch! They even shared a "how to do it" tutorial on their blog! Thank you SO MUCH dear ladies! It's wonderful and will be a feature on my entry wall each Christmas! 


And now...ON TO THE ORNAMENTS! Each ornament was packaged so beautifully and then carefully and festively (YAY Cindy!) boxed and shipped to us:

There were such a talented group of ladies involved in the swap this year...I was so fortunate to be in a group with: 

Patty  of  Sweet Cottage Dreams Designs:

Jane Palmer of  Aralia Jane:

 Janelle from Sweet Bee Cottage:

Debby from A Cozy Blanket:
And of course my own little camper Mary Lou:

Cindy, our hostess, from Rick Rack N Gingham:

 It was really a lot of fun! And now I await the sweet tags from Elizabeth at Creative Breathing! More soon!

Candy Cane Kisses,
Paula Clare

Saturday, December 3


Greetings, friends!

One of the things I love to do is create desktop calendars for my's so handy to have the dates of the current month right there in front of you...I usually add events and notes to mine after I create the "clean one" for you all to download...but sometimes I get lazy and download a plain one then put sticky notes (yes, the paper variety) on the computer screen. Yes, I really DO those things! LOL! 

Anyway, it's bright and cheerful! Hope you like it!

Just click on it, then right click and save as desktop background! Voila! Instant cute on your screen to greet you every day! 
Are you gathering your supplies for the All Night Craft-A-Long? I AM! 

More soon!
Paula Clare

Thursday, December 1


Greetings, dear readers!

I am excited to again host a "Crafting All-Nighter!" this New Years Eve from 7 pm CST December 31 to 7 am January 1, 2012! Ring in the new year at the Palace! Here's a little blog button to share on your blog. Here's the link to attach to it:  Please help spread the word!

I will host a live chat on the blog (Will have the chatbox posted a few days prior so you can register and learn your way around) and will be in a crafting frenzy all night long! You'll be up anyway, right? So why not join in the fun? Here are just a few of the projects we'll be doing:

COWBOY TAGS! OF COURSE! We will be using scraps of paper, fabric, stamp images and darling little cowboy images to make western tags. YEEHAW!

We will be using paper, ink, buttons, and fabric image transfer techniques to create a vintage altered canvas!

We will repurpose old watches, necklaces and bottle caps to create unique western jewelry! (Will be sharing some vintage images with you in the next few weeks to save and use for our FABulous creations!)

We'll just use whatever you can "lay your hands on" between now and then. No special supplies...just use whatever you have in your junk jewelry drawer and it'll be great!

More soon!