Author Archives: Madith

Add A DIY Hand-Carved Wooden Sign To Your Lake House This Summer

hand-carved wooden sign for the lake house

Hand-carved wood signs will add a distinctive and homey touch to your lake house. Wooden signs are warm and inviting. Hand-carved signs, especially, add a personal touch.
If you decide to make your hand-carved wood sign, you will first need to choose what type of wood you would like to use.
Know a bit about the types of woods and what is best to use for carving before you go shopping for your sign.
That way, you will be able to get precisely what you need to do your DIY project.
The beauty of doing it yourself, besides the satisfaction of a job well done, is that you can personalize it.
Your hand-carved wood sign can say precisely what you want it to say. Custom signs can be expensive, but doing it yourself will cost you much less.

Welcome Hand Carved  Wooden Sign

Size And Shape

Making your hand-carved wood sign for your lake house gives you free rein as far as size, shape, and type of wood.
There are all kinds of examples online to provide you with ideas of what would be ideal for where you would like to place your sign.
Maybe it is a small sign in the kitchen or a large vertical sign that stands at the entryway to your lake house.
Whatever size or shape you decide on, the wood should be about 1 inch or thicker. This will give you the needed depth to carve.
When choosing the thickness of your piece, remember that wood can be heavy, and if you are going to hang this piece, consider that.
It would also be great to get scraps of the wood that you are going to carve to practice on.
If you have not done a DIY hand-carved wood sign before, use a scrap piece of the same type of wood to make all your mistakes.
It will also give you a feel for the wood, the tools, and the process.
As always, safety comes first. Take precautions against cuts and wear eye protection.

Hello Summertime Hand-carved wooden sign

Types of Wood 


If you are a beginner at hand carving, basswood is a popular choice. It is a white wood and has been used in woodworking for centuries. 

This would be a good option to practice and to get the feel of DIY wood carving. Basswood is soft and has little grain. It is also inexpensive.

Carved Wood


Another white wood, Aspen is stronger than basswood, but it is still a softwood. This makes it easier to carve. Aspen is also inexpensive and readily available.

Carved Wood


A bit on the browner side than basswood or aspen, butternut has a nice grain to it. 

Very similar to walnut, butternut is lighter in color and is another wood that accepts carving easily. 

Butternut is also known for its wormholes, which add character to a carved sign.

Carved Sign

Black Walnut

Black walnut is going to be more expensive than the other woods that we have listed, but it's a beautiful wood. 

Rich in color and grain, black walnut is used for a wide variety of uses, including furniture. 

A harder wood, this is best caved using sharp tools and a mallet.


My personal favorite, oak is a strong and sturdy wood. The grain in oak is very defined. 

When carving with oak, a power carver is your best bet as oak is a hardwood. 

It would be harder to get detail in an oak sign without a power tool.

A Variety of Options

Listed above are just a few of the woods that are suitable for carving. Wood needs to be malleable but sturdy to enable carving.
Some woods will accept certain types of carving better than others. For instance, white pine is a softwood that is ideal for whittling.
It is less ideal for chip carving where you use knives and chisels to remove small chips from the surface of a piece of wood.
Mahogany is good for many different types of projects, including chip carving.
Cherry wood has a pinkish-brown tint and is suitable for both chip carving and whittling.
Redwood and Cedar are excellent choices for a sign hung outside. Both of these woods last a very long time. Cedar, especially, will smell great, too.
Your local lumberyard will have a variety of woods to choose from. There are also online sources from which to get wood. 

An example of one of the many suppliers is

"love the life you live" hand-carved wooden sign for the lake house

Different Styles of Hand Carved

Wood Signs

There are several styles in which you can do it yourself and make a welcoming sign for your lake house.

Hand Carved Signs

Once you decide what you would like to put on your hand-carved wood sign, use a stencil or even your own free-drawn handwriting to draw the letters or design onto your piece of wood.
The piece of wood should be at least an inch thick. You will need a woodcarver's knife, called a bench knife, to trace over the letter outlines.
Make the depth of the letters about ⅜ of an inch deep.
Once you have traced the letter or design, use a bent spoon knife to carve out the space between the lines you made with the bench knife.
The tool will look similar to the one pictured below.

Carved Sign

Being careful, as you should with any tool, hold the tip of the spoon knife at a 15-degree angle between the lines you carved with the bench knife.
You will want to rock the bent spoon knife back and forth as you push it forward.
The knife will curl and cut the wood as you go. If you find that it is tough going, use a small mallet to tap on the end of the bent spoon to move it forward.
Make one complete pass over all the letters or design. If you want the impression to be deeper, repeat the process.
As with any DIY project, if you have never done this before, plan on practicing on a spare piece of wood to get the feel of using the tools.
You will also get a feel of how much pressure to apply.
These tools and others like it can be purchased online.
Your local home improvement store will have them, too, but it will not be a wide selection like you can get online.

Using A Router For Signs

Using a router is another way to make a custom wood carved sign for your lake house. Start again by drawing the letters or design on the piece of wood you have selected.
You will want to use a ¼ inch flute bit in the router. Also, place a plunge router base attachment on the router.
Here is an example of a plunge base attachment for a router. 

Carved Sign

You will want to set the depth of the cut on the flute bit to ¼ inch. Putting the router on the base attachment, position the router over the letters or design.
Holding on to the router, make sure that it aligns with your pattern and turn the router on. Push down on the router handles until the flute bit cuts into the wood.
The bit will stop at the pre-set depth. Push and pull the router along your design until you have completed cutting out the pattern. Do this same method over the entire design.
This video shows a man making a custom sign for a friend: Making Wood Signs With a Router.

Using The Relief Method Of Hand Carving

The relief method of hand carving wood signs, when using letters, makes it appear as if the letters are above the surface of the wood.
Once you have drawn the letters on your piece of wood, use a marker or pencil to darken the wood surrounding the letters.
In letters such as A, R, O, Q, P, and B, darken the holes in these. This process will require a rotary tool with an engraving accessory.
You will use this to cut right up to the edges of the letters making sure to stop at the edge.
The object is to remove as much wood from the perimeter of the letters so that they are defined against the wood.
Change to a rotary steel cutter in the router and remove all the wood with the dark marks that are inside the letters. (the A, R, etc.)
Cut deep with the rotary steel cutter until the letters are standing well above the wood.

"Surf Holiday" Hand-Carved Wooden Sign

In Conclusion

There are all kinds of signs for sale in the marketplace. A hand-carved wood sign for your lake house, which you have made yourself, will have more meaning than one purchased.
You will have the advantage of personalizing and customizing your project, tailoring it for your own lake house.
DIY projects are always more fun, and the pleasure of knowing you did it yourself lasts a long time.
While we are sure you can come up with a few witty sayings of your own, here are some of the sayings people hand carved into wood signs and have used at their lake houses:
This Is Our Happy Place
Time Wasted At The Lake Is Time Well Spent
Relax, You’re On Lake Time
At The Lake, Every Hour Is Happy Hour
Go Jump In The Lake!
If You’re Lucky Enough To Be At The Lake, You’re Lucky Enough.
Memories At The Lake Last A Lifetime
Lake House Rules: No schedule. No demands. No worries.

Top Dog Training Schools in Salt Lake City

Top Dog Training in Salt Lake City

You love your dog. Even if they’re a loud little barker and tugging at their leash, you still love them. But to be honest, it might be a little easier on you if they were well trained. Having your dog trained means that they’ll be easier to handle and you can relax more when they bark or when you go outside.

It’s often hard to train pets yourself, though If you live in Salt Lake City, you’ll definitely want to check out these top dog training schools.



It’s all about connecting with your local experts so that you feel comfortable about the person you’re leaving your dog with.

Of course, it’s important to find a professional trainer that can handle problems with aggression, obedience, or house training too. Let’s take a look at these top schools to find one that works for you.

This locally-owned business works with certified professionals that offer customized training so that your dog can get help on the skills that they’re struggling with. Just call in to make an appointment, but that’s not the only contact you’ll have until training is over.

Your training professional will keep you updated every day with a video of your dog’s training. This means that you can see what your trainer is doing and that you will know how to use those skills yourself when you get home.

You can also have a proud dog mom or dog dad moment when you see how well your pooch is doing.

That's what The Canine Mind is all about: not only training your dog but providing you with skills you need to help handle your dog efficiently. You'll be educated and empowered along with your dog through a positive process focused on you and your pooch.

Looking for some top dog training in Salt Lake City? Bark & Biscuit might be the best option for you. They’re a full-service professional dog training company that specializes in high-quality and personalized dog training. They have a broad range of services available to you, which will help with problems like obedience, stopping your dog from lunging at people or other dogs, putting a stop to excessive barking, housebreaking issues, and even any destructive behavior. If your dog has a problem, these are the guys who can help.

They don’t just help your dog either. Check out Bark & Biscuit for unlimited email, text, and phone support, which means that you will have access to all the necessary training tools that will help you feel comfortable disciplining at home. You’ll even have admittance to free pack walks to help reinforce some new skills.

Military boot camp is traditionally very difficult, and while this K-9 Boot Camp is similarly comprehensive, rest assured that there will be a lot of positive reinforcement in doggie camp. They work to train your dog to a high level of obedience while giving you access to professional trainers.

Take your dog with you to many fun places without worrying about barking or running, and let them teach you how to get your dog to obey commands. They work off of nine basic behaviors such as sit, down, stay, loose-leash walking, and so on. As long as your dogs are over six months old, they can learn a lot from this school.

Don't think that you'll be abandoned once training is finished either. They offer numerous follow-up sessions after your training is done, which means that if you need some refreshers, they'll be available for you.

As far as dog training schools go, the Innovative K9 Academy is a great option for professional services. They specialize in obedience training, behavior modification, daily exercise, distraction proofing, and good socialization. You will miss your dog though since they do stay with the business for the duration of the program. This is a great opportunity for your dog to interact with other dogs, and for the trainers to impart the maximum amount of training possible over time.

One thing that some schools don’t offer are courses for puppies. It can be difficult to discipline a puppy when you look at those adorable little eyes, but trust that these guys can help you out. They work in puppy training courses, adult dog training, group socialization and obedience classes. Your dog can get used to being with other dogs while learning the skills that they need to be a part of the public world. Rest assured that your trainers will pay attention to detail when it comes to your dog, and will work with you, being the professionals that they are.

Dog Town is a great option to be aware of since they not only help your dog with training, but they’re great for professional boarding if you need to leave town for a few days. Rest assured that their training is just as good as their boarding is.

The staff are both professional and kind and will be more than happy to take a look at your pooch before you sign them up, and will make sure that you feel comfortable with them as your dog’s trainer. They know that you might be a little nervous leaving your dog, but that’s why they’re more than willing to have you stick around for a while until you can be sure that you feel completely comfortable.

They train dogs of all ages and sizes and do boarding for all dogs too. The staff works to understand each dog, so you can rest assured that your dog will be safe and comfortable during training and if you ever need to leave them for a day or two while you’re out of town.

Choosing the Perfect School for Your Dog

You have a lot of dog training schools to choose from. They’re all great options, but which class you take your dog to depends on your pooch’s personal needs, and what you feel comfortable with, too. While all of these schools will help ensure that your dog has good manners in public, let’s take a look at what else you should consider.

The Right Trainer

The best trainer will understand your dog’s behavior while teaching and motivating you, as their owner. They might not rely on a single style of training but instead, use various tricks from different styles. No matter what training they use though, check that they’re certified by a professional organization, and don’t just sign your dog up for classes without checking out the trainer first.

Go and chat with the trainer before you take any classes. Ask to observe a class or two before signing up. Look for a trainer that’s patient and creative, and that ensures that both owners and pets have a good time. Avoid anyone who uses harsh methods, or that yells at dogs or people. And after class, walk up to a few of the people in the class to get their feedback in person.

Questions For Your Trainer

If you’re looking for a trainer, try to ask them a few questions to fully understand their training more in-depth. Use open-ended questions so that they can explain everything to you rather than you leading them to certain answers.

Think about questions like what training methods the trainer uses, their educational background, their equipment, and how they follow-up with students after the class is finished. You can even ask for a list of clients that you can call as references, and don’t forget to ask about the services they provide for you as the pet owner.

Puppy School

Consider what kind of training your potential school offers. Top dog training should have a trainer that’s got the personality you’re looking for, but the training program they implement needs to be top-notch too.

For instance, you can look to see if a dog training school offers puppy courses. Puppies can learn well from 6 to 14 weeks of age, and there are lots of places that offer training for older puppies too. Some schools offer classes for puppies of different ages, but these classes are perfect for giving your pooch the chance to socialize with other dogs while they’re still young. Especially if you’d like to get them used to spend time with other pets in the home.

Adult Classes

All schools offer adult dog classes but remember that when you’re looking at these classes, the trainer and methods used are the most important. Your trainer needs to be someone you can work with, and that has a patient attitude even with the loudest and lesser behaved dogs.

Advantages of Training Your Dog

There aren’t actually any real disadvantages to training your dog, besides perhaps that you have to spend the time to actually take them to train. But as a good dog owner, you know that it’s best to be there for your dog and that training will do a lot for your pup’s life, improving both theirs and your own welfare. Let’s go through a few more advantages too.

Benefiting Dog and Owner

Both you and your dog will benefit from giving your dog the proper training. For one thing, you’ll be able to bond more with your dog, and training can be a good opportunity to exercise and be outdoors together. When your dog is trained, you’ll no longer have to worry about them barking at people in public or running off without your command.


When it comes down to it, training your dog is an integral part of their safety. If you can control your dog with voice commands, you can protect them much better when they don’t have a leash on. For instance, if your dog accidentally gets off their leash, you can call them back to you.

This means that they’ll be much less likely to run in front of a car. Even if you just leave the door open in your home, you won’t need to worry about your dog getting out accidentally.

Just call them back and you know that your dog will be safe. And in the off-chance that your dog does get lost, having them trained and well-behaved will mean that it’s much easier to get them back to you.


Even if you don’t have another dog in your family, it’s important to get your dog used to being around other dogs. You might be walking along outside and you see another dog. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to restrain your dog until the other owner pulls their dog along and out of sight.

Make these experiences with other dogs more positive for your dog. It will help too if you want to add an additional pet to your family, or even if you’re dog-sitting for someone else for a few days. Ultimately, this will relieve some of your dog’s stress and make their interactions much easier to manage.

Boarding Situations

Should you ever need to go out of town for a few days, it will be much easier to board your dog somewhere if they’re well-trained. They should be trained to even follow the orders of another person, which means that you don’t have to worry about your dog’s safety and well-being even while you’re out of town somewhere.

Whether you’re leaving your dog at a boarding facility or with a friend, having your dog trained properly means that the person watching them can relax—and that they’ll be more likely to take your dog again if they need to!


It’s important to train your dog. Not just to sit and shake, but to stop excessive barking and feel comfortable around other dogs. This is why you should take a look at some of these top dog training schools in Salt Lake City, and go through them to see which one might work best for you and your dog. When you’re done, you’ll be able to have a much better life with your pet!

The Best Natural Health Guide for Your Lake Living

The lake house is your get-a-way, away from "real" life and all of its stresses, commitments, and the hurried pace.

As your sanctuary, you can kick back and capture your thoughts and take the time to refocus on what is important to you and do some course correction if needed.

While you are unplugging, do yourself a favor and don’t disengage from too far from reality. 

It sometimes feels like when we get away from life's hectic routine, all of our wise decisions also take time off.

That can mean we overindulge, and both eat and drink what we shouldn't, at least not in the same quantities we should. We end up coming back from the lake, feeling sluggish and tired.

Yes, we go to the lake to relax and release some stress. That doesn't mean that we have to completely detach from the practices that keep us healthy.

There is a guy who has a blog called Nerd Fitness. In that blog, he gives his tips for staying healthy while on vacation.

While your lake house might be a place you visit only once in a while,  frequently, or maybe you are lucky enough to live there, his tips will hold true whichever the case may be.

Steve (the aforementioned nerd) has come up with this plan not to get too derailed from healthy living, but still enjoy life at its fullest.

Here are some of Steve’s rules:

  • For every adult beverage consumed, do ten push-ups. 

  • For every unhealthy meal consumed, do 50 bodyweight squats.

  • Every time you have the opportunity, do five pull-ups.

  • Use the stairs and skip any elevators.

  • If it is less than a mile away, walk.

The most important thing is not to be stagnant. Do something.

Steve also suggests that you practice intermittent fasting. Skip one meal of your choice during the day.

If you have an unhealthy meal, make the next meal a healthy one.  If you drink a lot of water before a meal, you will fill up faster, so it is an excellent way to curb your appetite.

He also recommends drinking your carbs. Don't drink AND eat carb-heavy food, choose one or the other. We know which one Steve chose.

Being at the lake it is the perfect place to get in some exercise that is also fun. Moving will help to balance some of the harm that too much inertia can do.


Get your crew together and indulge in some water volleyball. All you need is about two to three feet of water, a net, and a ball. 

Secure the net with a few tie-downs, or between docks, if you have that kind of setup. The rules for water volleyball are the same as on land.

Each team can only hit the ball three times. And a team can be one or a dozen people, which makes this game great for any size group.

Keep score, or just have a good time trouncing the other side. You don’t need practice or know the best way to hit a ball. You just need the ability to have a good time.


With this game, you can make up your own rules. Just throw the ball or set up boundaries. 

As with water volleyball, this game can be played with two people or as many as you have hanging around the lake house.

Keep it laid back, or intensify the proceedings with the rules that you institute. 


If you don’t have a set, this game will require you to purchase the board and darts. 

It is an excellent game to have around the lake house for the kids, and you should be able to find one online for less than twenty dollars.

The floating vinyl dartboard has velcro strips. Throw the velcro striped balls to see if you can get a bullseye. This is a good game for the kids as it is safe for even the youngest.


Another game that is fun for both kids and adults is sponge tag. Take some inexpensive sponges and fill a bucket with water, and soak the sponges. 

Designate one player as "it." Signal to start, and the person who is "it" tries to tag other players by throwing the wet sponges.

The last one left without having been hit is the next “it.”

You might not want to do your full-blown regular exercise routines when at the lake, but it is important not to leave it in the rear view mirror, either.

As we had mentioned earlier in the article, Steve had recommended walking to where you are going if it is less than a mile. 

As long as it is safe, and not along busy roads, leave the car in the drive and walk to where you want to go. 

Consider giving a jump rope a try. A pretty inexpensive piece of equipment, a jump rope takes up little storage room and can be whipped out for a ten-minute routine once or twice a day.

Even doing an old fashioned set of jumping jacks will get your heart and blood moving, and it does not have to be an intensive workout. Just some activity that keeps you moving.

Being at the lake and being relaxed can go hand in hand with grazing the entire day. 

However, it is also the time when you have more of an opportunity to prepare purposeful meals rather than eating on the go.

Every lake house should have a grill, no two ways about it. Grilling meat, chicken, or fish will be a healthier option. Vegetables are also excellent on the grill.

We have a couple of recipes and one dessert for you to try the next time you are at the lake house.

The Best Grilled Lemon Chicken

Prep Time: 20 mins

​Cook Time: 15 mins

Marinating Time: 4 hrs

Total Time: 30 mins

Tender and juicy grilled chicken marinated in a delicious lemon sauce. A perfect, easy chicken recipe for a quick dinner or healthy lunch!

Servings: 8 Servings

Calories: 214 cal


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • zest of 2 lemons

  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (zest the lemons before juicing)

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

  • 1 whole lemon cut into slices


  1. In a large ziploc bag, combine chicken, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.

  2. Seal the bag and shake it all up until well combined.

  3. Place the bag in the refrigerator and marinate for about 4 hours or overnight. 

  4. Preheat the grill to about 375F to 400F.

  5. Brush grill grates with olive oil.

  6. Remove chicken breasts from marinade and place them on the hot grill; cook without touching it until the chicken breasts start getting some grill marks, about 5 minutes.

Zesty Tilapia

Prep Time: 10 min

​Cook time: 10 min

​Total Time: 20 min


  • 1 teaspoon your favorite Hot Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest

  • 6 tablespoons plus additional for brushing olive oil

  • 6 (6 oz) tilapia fillet

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • freshly ground black pepper


Place the fish in a large nonmetal dish. Whisk together the 6 tablespoons oil, the orange zest, orange juice, ginger, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste; pour over the fish. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the grill. Brush the fish with additional oil. Grill until fish just flakes when tested with a fork, about 5 minutes per side for each inch of thickness.

Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Total Time: 40 min


8 oz Mushrooms

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Green Bell Pepper

8 Baby Potatoes

1 Onion (quartered)

1 pkg Pineapple Chunks

1 pkg Cherry Tomatoes


1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tbs Lemon Juice

1 Tbs Dijon Mustard

1 Tbs Maple Syrup

1 tsp Minced Garlic

1/2 tsp Onion Powder

1/2 tsp Basil

1/4 tsp Salt

1/8 tsp Black Pepper


1.      Chop all vegetables (and fruit) into equal sized pieces and set aside in a small bowl.

2.      Whisk all marinade ingredients together over low heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly reduced.

3.      Pour marinade over vegetables and cover. Lightly shake to evenly coat all the veggies with the marinade.

4.      If using wooden skewers, soak in cold water while waiting for the grill to heat up and veggies to marinade. (about 30 minutes)

5.      Prepare grill if using and preheat.

6.      Assemble veggies on skewers and grill for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Baste with remaining marinade.

Watermelon Pizza Easy Fruit Dessert

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 14 ounce watermelon slice (cut into wedges)

  • 2 ounces strawberries (sliced)

  • 1 tsp. balsamic glaze

  • 2 tbsp. mascarpone cheese

  • mint leaves (for garnish)


Cut your watermelon into 1-inch slices.

Cut the slices into desired wedges. The bigger the watermelon slices, the more slices you can cut them into.

Top with cheese.

Add the sliced strawberries.

Dot with balsamic glaze

Garnish with fresh mint.


It is easier to get back on track if you have deviated too far from the path. We all want to live our best life, and it is entirely possible when we indulge, but in moderation. 

That type of commitment to our health will allow us many more days at the lake house.