Monthly Archives: March 2012

Our Visit to Hocking Hills

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Our Visit to Hocking Hills

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Last weekend, Mister, Otis, and I took off for the day to visit some of Mister’s family and let them meet our adorably furry bundle of joy. We had planned on the possibility of getting to visit Hocking Hills State Park since we were so near, but the weather didn’t act like it was going to allow it. Finally, after the last big storm blew through, the sun came out in all its glory and the doplar didn’t show anything else coming near us. We packed up the puppy, and we all took off down the road. I was especially excited since this would be my first visit to Hocking Hills after hearing so much about it. I was used to hiking at Lake Vesuvius near home, and the only time I’ve experienced hiking and caves together was the almost yearly field trip we’d take in elementary school to Carter Caves. Hocking doesn’t have the same kinds of caves though, with only one “true” cave – the Rock House – which we didn’t get a chance to visit. These are recess caves, carved out through many years of glaciers and erosion. They are full of these beautiful naturnal waterfalls, sandstone beaches, and history.

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We got to visit Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave during the few hours we were visiting the park. Ash cave is the easier walk, and is even wheelchair accessible, but I really enjoyed all of the twists and turns of Old Man’s Cave. Around every corner was a new waterfall, and I went absolutely crazy with the camera. Here’s Mister and I at what I believe are the Upper Falls of Old Man’s Cave:

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There’s really so much to explore, but do be careful…there are very few handrails and plenty of slippery cliffs. Here’s Tamie and Rob investigating in a rather slippery spot:

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Tamie is even working on a children’s book that is set in Hocking Hills and includes several of the park’s geographical features and native plants and wildlife. It’s an adorable tale that I can’t wait to see published!

In between the two caves we visited, we got to stop by the park’s bird conservatory, home to a gorgeous great horned owl and a one-winged red tailed hawk (hoping we can go back and learn his story!). The owl kept his eyes on our little Otis the whole time, making him rather nervous to get too close, but I think we got the perfect shots of both feathered friends.

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Ash Cave has one of the most breathtaking waterfalls of the park, and the cave floor feels much like a beach, a quality Otis rather enjoyed. He left his little paw prints everywhere he could.

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Otis was such a trooper all day and barely ever had to be carried. He climbed rocks, walked across fallen trees, and ended the day a muddy mess. He definitely slept the entire way home without a single complaint.

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It really was a wonderful visit, and I only wish we had been able to stay longer and explore more. I’m certain we’ll be heading back soon though. Plenty more to see! I thought it was fitting though that we ended our visit by playing our hiking game of finding hearts formed in nature (our last visit to Lake Vesuvius had us finding heart shaped mushrooms and heart shaped rock openings). At the end of our visit to Hocking Hills, we spotted this heart formation. Until next time…   😉

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Fraternity Secret Compartment Wooden Book Box

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Axn box inside

I have a whole lot of respect for Mister’s fraternity, an ever-expanding group of great guys that I am proud to know and call friends. Going into college, I’d only ever heard of Alpha Chi Nu (aka – AXN – aka – Archon) because my Uncle is a proud alum. I had come into college with the expectation that all Greeks were either drunks or sluts, and I was really proven wrong when I met my friend Nikki, who introduced me to sorority life. In the fall of 2008, I decided to pledge her sorority, Zeta Theta Chi, and I guess I can thank that for introducing me to Mister. Part of my pledging included meeting and getting a picture with each pledge of every organization. Lucky for me, Mister decided to pledge the same time I did, and I finally got my chance to talk to that cute guy in my Zoology class.

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How’s that for old school? Check out those braces. 🙂

Anyway, we both went on to become active members of our respective organizations (and also “Little Bro” and “Little Sis” to each other’s organizations), and Greek life is very near and dear to our hearts. Even though we’re both alumni now, we still try to actively participate with our brothers and sisters and still like to get/make new memorobilia. That being the case, I couldn’t resist doing something Archon related for Mister once I found an adorable wooden sheep (the Archon mascot) at the local craft store. A little more browsing led me to the wooden letters and this fantastic wooden book-shaped box. I fiddled around with it for awhile, trying to decide how it opened since there were obviously hinges, and found that the cover opens up from the edge of the spine to reveal the perfect hiding place for something flask-sized – or objects not related to drinking ;).

I covered inside and out with many coats of a golden yellow paint, and I attached the sheep cutout and the letters with hot glue to the front book cover, the side that opens.

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Down the side, I painted Mister’s last name, the Archon crest, and the symbolic Roman numeral for thirteen.

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Lastly, I knew there was a Latin phrase of some importance to the fraternity, but Mister couldn’t remember the proper spelling. After asking around, I finally got the phrase I was looking for, and I freehanded the lettering on to the back cover (not very well, I might add).

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Since posting the pictures, Mister’s secret compartment book box has become quite the hit with his brothers. Looks like I’ll be doing another one very soon for a lucky brother’s birthday. 🙂

Yarn Wreath

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After seeing so many pictures of creative variations of a yarn wreath, I finally decided to make my own. I knew the colors that I wanted and how I wanted it to look, but was clueless as to how to put it together. When I’d ordered some styrofoam wreath forms online, I was disappointed to discover that the wreath forms were actually flat on all sides – not at all the look I was going for. I wanted the nice, round, traditional wreath. The wreath forms were then put to the side to be reevaluated for future crafts. Back to the drawing board, I started looking for other options. While browsing the aisles of Walmart, my dad actually made the suggestion – foam insulated door stoppers. Having no clue what he meant, we left the craft department and headed over to home repair – not a place I spend a lot of time browsing. There, I found those foam insulated door stoppers and was even more thrilled that they cost less than $3 for (I believe) three of them. Fantastic!

During an afternoon while Mister was at work, I got down to business putting together my little yarn wreath creation. I bent the foam insulation into the circle shape and used my packing tape to secure it in place. With my glue gun on its lowest setting, I set to work winding my brown yarn all around the wreath, securing every few inches with a dab of glue. Readers! – Be careful to really only use a dab. Even on low low low heat, the foam still got a little melty.

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My crochet roses are the same ones that you can learn to do by clicking this link to my blog post that refers to my flowered headband how-to. They are also attached with hot glue.

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The little flowers are crocheted by putting 5 3-chain stitch loops into a magic circle and creating double crochet petals using the same method as the above roses. The buttons are then glued into the center. The wooden letter was another Walmart score, and is also the first letter of Mister’s last name, as this wreath hangs in his front window.

The entire wreath was put together in one afternoon, and I’m so happy with the way it turned out. I can’t wait to make more wreaths very soon, especially some that are themed for the holidays.

Doggy-Sized Mad Hatter Crochet Hat

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It’s time I share with you my absolute favorite bit of crochet work that I’ve done recently. Sure, other crafts were finished before this and have yet to be posted to the blog…but I can’t wait! The cuteness contained in the craft has me bursting with excitement. Prepare yourself for an adorable overload!

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Don’t you just LOVE that face? Believe me, underneath that humiliation, he loves Mommy for all the dress-up she subjects him to.

So I’m sure now that you’ve seen it, you want to make your own, right? Easy schmeezy! While browsing Pinterest, I found a lovely little pic of a crochet top hat that was meant for newborns. Now at this point in time I’m not into having any newborns other than the furry variety, but I knew there was some potential here. So, I followed the link to I’m Topsy Turvy, and not only found the pattern for this lovely top hat, but also a really fantastic blog that I’m now constantly stalking. Be sure to check it out yourself!

Now, being a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, I could think of only one top hat I would want to replicate – Mad Hatter’s. Following the pattern, I made the hat top and the underside which attaches once you have stuffed the hat for stability. I know that in this house somewhere I have AT LEAST three massive bags of fiber fill. Could I find them? NO. My alternative? Cotton balls. Works absolutely the same.

The orange band was just a chain long enough to fit around the hat and single crochet on top. I connected the ends, and then sewed it on to the hat with a yarn needle.
The size ticket is a leftover piece of felt quickly embroidered with some green floss.
Before attaching the underside of the hat I sewed a loop of elastic together and placed it inside the hat. I then attached the underside to the hat with the yarn needle.

Otis is a bit fussy about wearing it, since it’s still a little big for him. Plus, he’s not a huge fan of elastic. He’ll come to terms with it soon though, cause Mommy is planning a whimsical fun photoshoot involving an oversized teacup and this adorable Mad Hatter hat. Stay tuned and stay crafty, my friends! 🙂

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