Weekend Vacation in Cook Forest

If you live in or around PA, you should spend a weekend in Cook Forest. It is one of the most relaxing, non-commercialized areas I’ve ever visited. It is a national park with plenty of camping areas, bed and breakfasts, and a few hotels. I guess I should preface this with, if you don’t like being outdoors, maybe don’t try vacationing here.

What is Cook Forest
Cook Forest is a great place just to get away, even if it’s just for the weekend. There’s no cell phone reception so, even if you want to reconnect with the world, you can’t (unless you need it so badly that you’re willing to drive about 15 miles to get it).

My Experience
My boyfriend and I spent the weekend up there at a lodge called Clarion River Woodland Lodge and it was awesome. The lodge is a combination bed and breakfast with a restaurant and bar. The chef there made the some of the best food I’ve ever tasted (including pork belly mac and cheese, Dr, Pepper braised beef short ribs, Carmel Apple pork chops, bacon or duck fat fries, etc. not to mention the fantastic Easter buffet). Breakfast was included in our stay, and it was within a few miles from some great hiking trails.

The best part? We were in great company. We met some very nice people (some of which stayed at the Clarion River Woodland Lodge, all who worked there, and some nice people on the trails) while we were up there that really made the whole trip for us.

I really wish I could share pictures of the lodge, but I didn’t take any. I know, shame on me :-( but we will be going again so I’ll be sure to take some then. Here’s some shots from a 7 mile hike we took yesterday.












Garden Party DIY Roundup

Make Something Mondays:

Check out these great summer garden-inspired DIY projects!
They range from grassy coasters to mood lighting. All are very crafty and look pretty easy to make. Let me know what you think!

Originally posted on M&J Blog:

The early spring flowers have finally emerged in all of their glory, making us forget all about our love of comfy, cozy socks and hot soup . Now we want to play in the great outdoors! We’re ready to entertain outdoors, and happen to have beautiful spring flowers on the brain. Here are a few ways to make your next gathering into a garden party that can’t be missed!

Moss Coaster DIYThese coasters from Sincerely Kinsey are a simple way to add some garden greenness to your day when the April showers are still in full effect.

mothers day yfffk (37 of 42)Make a big balloon even MORE magical by wrapping the string with floral trim. It’s a simple, but effective way to make any fairy princess smile.

Spring Nest Napkin RingsThese napkin rings from Scissors and Spatulas are great for Easter, and for your garden party!

Flower VotivesMood lighting is essential to any good party. These floral votives from Hello…

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DIY Painted Canvas Wall Art

DIY canvas wall art

Everyone needs something to spice up a room. A little pop of color or some wall art usually does the trick. Even as an artist, I find a lot of artwork to be too expensive, so I think it is important for people to be able to create their own decorative art. When you’re looking to upgrade a room, you aren’t necessarily looking to spend a lot of money doing it. Save the billion dollar artwork for the art collectors and make your own decorative elements.

With this DIY project, I wanted to accomplish just that. Originally, I wanted to use several more mini canvas, but I thought I would test it out with these 4 to see how I liked it. You can get these canvases at any craft store and, if they are on sale, you can get them pretty cheap. Watch for the deals.

DIY wall art materials

Things You Will Need
White paint
Colored paint
2 4×4 black mini canvases
2 4×4 white mini canvases

As usual, don’t forget the newspaper.


colored canvasesStep 1:
Paint your white canvases two different colors. I chose orange and red because it will look good with the white paint.

Let them dry.

4 canvasesStep 2:
Position the canvas so that the black canvas and the colored canvases are diagonal to each other like in the image above.

DIY canvas art

Step 3:
Get out your white paint and make some fun designs that span the canvases. You can experiment with different colors or brushes to get a different effect.

DIY canvas wall art

Hang them up for some fun, new accented wall art!

I plan to add more canvases throughout the summer. Maybe I can take over the whole wall, haha. Wouldn’t that look awesome?!

Hopefully you give it a shot if you like my results. It was an enjoyable project and, if you add 10 or so canvases, it could make a great family weekend DIY project!



DIY Decorative Flower From A Toilet Paper Roll

I was browsing the other day and found a DIY tutorial on http://recycle-craft.com I thought you guys would like. It is similar to my Cardboard Flower Wreath tutorial from a while back. Honestly, I like her method better. I will have to try using spray paint next time instead of acrylics. The effect is much nicer.

Want some more toilet paper roll crafts?

DIY Candy Holder From A Toilet Paper Roll

This is a cute one for giving out candy for the holidays. I made these for  Valentine’s Day. They are especially great for children because you can’t fit a ton of candy in there, so they aren’t eating a crapload of sugar.

DIY candy holder

Cord Organizer

Via s-e-i Lifestyle

I don’t know why I never thought of this, but this girl is freaking brilliant! I have a whole box of saved toilet paper rolls, and guess what I’m going to do with them?

cord organizer


Wind Chime

Via Recreated Design Company

This one is soooo cute and I really want to try to make it. I wasn’t sure what to call it because it looks like a wind chime, but it doesn’t have any elements that would make noise in the wind. We’ll just call it a wind chime.

Anyway, this one doesn’t have a tutorial attached to it, but I don’t think it would be hard to make. Some toilet paper rolls, paint, a sealant, some wire, and clear thread and I think that’s it.

wind chime toilet paper roll craft

If you have more to add, let me hear it! Leave your ideas in the comments.

How to Make A DIY Cupcake Card

You still send birthday cards, right? I hope so, because people appreciate them. Sometimes they appreciate them more, though, if you make your own.

My friend Jennifer at Station Teen Makes and sells some really cute whimsical stationary. The goal of the business is to encourage teen girls to build strong relationships with family and friends while also providing a community for them to share and appreciate good design. I completely endorse the idea.

Station Teen has a really awesome video tutorial on a DIY Cupcake card that I wanted to share with you. A fun, bright, adorable card.

If you liked the video tutorial, make sure you let her know!

You can find StationTeen on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, Pinterest.

Here are a few of her card designs. You can check this out, as well as some other great designs, on her website (above).

Sweet as candy greeting card

Send a card to a friend

Owl greeting card

Send a card to a family member

American Hero greeting card

Send a card to a soldier

DIY Glitter Vase

Glitter vases

I know I said this is a glitter vase, and people typically put flowers in vases, but I happen to like candles more. This will work for whichever you prefer. I like this one a lot because it was really easy and, of course, cheap. I made these 3 glitter vases from materials from the Dollar Store for about $6. Altogether, not each. That’s my kind of DIY project!


DIY glitter vase materials

Things You Will Need:
Glitter Washi tape

*I got two different sizes of tape: one was about 2″ wide, while the other two were about 1/2″ wide.

*Don’t forget to put down newspaper before you get started. The tape I used wasn’t sealed, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be cleaning up glitter for the rest of my life. You should see my table and the floor below. Fair warning.


Glitter tape at bottom

Step 1:
Pick a vase and wrap your first strip of 1/2″ Washi tape around the bottom of it.

Tip: If you’re worried about getting the tape straight, wrap a rubber band around the vase to get a straight line. Then, you can position the tape below the rubber band.


Glitter tape at top

Step 2:
Wrap another piece of your 1/2″ glitter Washi tape around the top of the vase.


glitter tape

Step 3:
Repeat, but wrap the 2″ glitter tape around the middle. Then, a contrasting color of the 1/2″ tape in the middle of the tape you just applied.


Silver and gold glitter vase

Repeat the process for the other two vases and you should have a cute little set like in the image above.


Glitter vases

If you’re using candles, light em up! They look so pretty!


DIY glitter vases with candles

There is something about glitter and candles that makes me happy :-)

If you can find bigger pillar candles, that might look cute too. Do you think adding glitter to the candles would be too much? I considered that.

Happy crafting!!



The power of saying “Thank You”

Make Something Mondays:

In this post, John makes some great points about why it’s beneficial to send someone a hand-written thank you.

Originally posted on The Prothero Press:

2014-02-22 08.33.21 Recently we had to take one of our pets into the veterinarian.   It was our first visit to this particular veterinarian, and from what my wife tells me, it wasn’t any different than visits we’ve made to other veterinarians.  But then in yesterday’s mail we received a hand-written card from this new veterinarian, expressing how they looked forward to providing more care, and suggesting that we call if we had any other needs for our pets.  Basically, a follow up “thank you” card.  I looked at this and realized that sending hand-written cards, both as introductions and as follow ups, is still a viable way to communicate with the prospect or client, and also much more personal than emails.


I frequently write about or share posts about direct mail and how it still has the power to grab the attention of the recipient.  At…

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