French laundry wedding inspirations - April 18, 2014 by Admin

There are no words needed to add the the prettiness of rustic French decor for weddings. Especially the French laundry idea is copy-worthy. And baguettes always feel like a cottage close to Paris…



Green Wedding Barn

How many U.S natural cemeteries are there? - April 15, 2014 by Admin

When I first began investigating the emerging green burial movement back in the early 2000s, you could just about survey this country’s natural cemetery landscape in a single sweep.

There was a budding graveyard on a family farm halfway across the Florida Panhandle, another one ensconced in a pine forest north of Houston, a few others. And then the flagship operation at South Carolina’s RamseyCreek Preserve, ground zero for the chapter in Grave Matters on the natural cemetery

What a difference a decade makes.

Today, my very rough tally puts the number of natural cemeteries in the United States near 150, all scattered across nearly 40 states. And counting. (My definition of the green cemetery is equally rough: it’s one that allows for the vaultless burial of an unembalmed body, which is then shrouded and/or casketed in biodegradable material).

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of these new natural burial grounds take root within the environs of existing, traditional cemeteries. As anyone who has tried to start a natural cemetery can tell you, it’s a lot easier to pull off when you have the land, infrastructure (backhoes, staff, etc.), and approvals from the get-go.

Some of these “hybrid” cemeteries, as they’re sometimes called, are places like Mound Cemetery (in the greater Minneapolis area), which allow for vaultless burial anywhere on their grounds. Others have set aside special preserves for green burial only. That’s what we did at Green Meadow (in eastern Pennsylvania, pictured below), transforming a fallow field at the edge of the cemetery into a meadow of wildflowers and native grasses (not as simple as it sounds, turns out).  

If my conversations with alt.burialists and cemetery managers is any indication, the natural burial movement is poised to take off in these established hallowed grounds. One recent indication: Mount Auburn(Boston area), the first rural cemetery in this country (1831), is set to go green. (Join me in celebrating that at a free, afternoon event, on June 14th.) 

A number of other natural cemeteries have rooted themselves on their own property, be it a forest, family farm, municipal land, or, in one case, a golf course. The greenest of the bunch — the conservation burial ground — uses the green cemetery model to preserve land and restore it to ecological health, ala Ramsey Creek, that first and enduring flagship.

My survey of the green burial movement since the publication of Grave Matters has shown me what I felt would be true from the moment I first emerged from Ramsey Creek all those years ago: that green cemeteries are changing the face of death in America.

In large part, I think that’s because green burial is not, in the end, a concept that speaks solely — or even largely — to off-gridders and hybrid drive motorists. With its lower cost, simplicity, DIY approach and respect for tradition, green burial speaks to old-fashioned American values that still have a strong purchase on this country. Which explains, for one, why there are both Wiccan and Jewish green cemeteries (click on Gan Yarok), plus some dozen Catholic graveyards to boot.

The numbers don’t lie: Green burial is a big tent, not fringe, phenomenon. And it’s just getting started.

You’ll find a list of green cemeteries that have earned the Green Burial Council’s seal of approval here. Some two dozen have signed the Natural End Pledge. A listing maintained by the Funeral Consumers Alliance is here (click on 2014 Green Cemetery List). Don’t see anything near you? Email me: mark@gravematters.us

Mark Harris, author
Grave Matters, “The signature book of the green burial trend.”

Web. Facebook (Grave Matters). Twitter (greenburialist).
Upcoming Appearances (all free and open to the public, except the Moravian event) 

April 13 (Sun), 2:00 PM

Ithaca, NY. Kendal at Ithaca, 2230 N Triphammer Road.
Event information: click here. 

April 30 (Wed.). 7:00 PM

Pen Argyl, PA. Slate Belt Nazareth Baptist Church, 1620 Church Road.
Event information: click here 

June 7 (Sat.), 2:00 PM

Bethlehem, PA. Moravian College, 1200 Main Street.  
I’ll be giving a presentation on memoir writing, at a wonderful, weekend writers’ conference. If you’re a writer, this conference is well worth attending.
Event information: click here  

June 14 (Sat.), 4:00 PM

Cambridge, MA. Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mount Auburn Street.
Event information: click here. 

If you’d like me to speak to your group, you can reach me at: mark@gravematters.us

The photo at the head of this blog was taken at the Fultonville Natural Burial Ground, outside Albany, just after a dedication ceremony last October.


Grave Matters – A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial

Pottery Barn Style Country Fair Party - April 13, 2014 by Admin

Pottery Barn Style Country Fair themed birthday party with Lots of Cute Ideas via Kara's Party Ideas KarasPartyIdeas.com #countryfair #sweetshopparty #partyideas #partydecor #potterybarn (2)

This darling POTTERY BARN STYLE COUNTRY FAIR PARTY was submitted by Desiree Ho.

What a cute party! I love all of the darling details and ideas from The Pottery Barn. This party is so fun and would be perfect for not only a Country Fair party, but a Sweet Shop Party as well.

The Pottery Barn Style Country Fair party ideas and elements to look for from this fabulous birthday celebration are:

  • The cute green chalkboard signs
  • The cute cute floral fabric used on the Sweet Shop canopy
  • The darling table centerpieces
  • The darling cake
  • The cute cotton candy machine backdrop
  • and MORE! 


Kara’s Party Ideas

Monster Truck Themed 5th Birthday Party - April 11, 2014 by Admin

Monster Truck themed birthday party with lots of awesome ideas via Kara's Party Ideas KarasPartyIdeas.com #monstertruck #monstertruckparty #partyideas (2)

This fabulous MONSTER TRUCK THEMED FIFTH BIRTHDAY PARTY was submitted by Nice Party.

What an awesome party. I love that it’s cute and whimsical along with fun and masculine. This party is full of really great ideas that would be perfect for any little boy.

The Monster Truck party ideas and elements that I like best from this fun event are:

  • The awesome monster truck cake
  • The cute table scape with construction cones and a monster truck track on it
  • The fun caterpillar made from sandwiches
  • The cute food labels
  • and MORE!


Kara’s Party Ideas

Aztec + Pocahontas Themed Birthday Party - April 8, 2014 by Admin

Aztec + Pocahontas themed birthday party with Lots of Really Cute Ideas via Kara's Party Ideas KarasPartyIdeas.com #pocahontasparty #nativeamerican #aztecparty #partyideas (2)

This adorable AZTEC + POCAHONTAS THEMED BIRTHDAY PARTY was submitted by Sana E of Time 2 Partay.

I am seriously in love with everything aztec right now! What a fantastic party! I absolutely adore the tribal print backdrop, it’s so fun! I also love the darling teepee invitation. This party is full of really cute ideas that would work perfectly for any little Pocahontas fan.

The Aztec + Pocahontas party ideas and elements to look for from this fantastic birthday celebration are:

Beatrix Potter Spring Garden Party - April 5, 2014 by Admin

Beatrix Potter Spring Garden Party via Kara's Party Ideas | Cake, decor, cupcakes, games and more! KarasPartyIdeas.com #springparty #gardenparty #easter #easterparty #partydecor #partyideas70

This adorable BEATRIX POTTER SPRING GARDEN PARTY was submitted by Mindy Shock of Mindy Alyse Events.

What a fantastic party! There are so many darling ideas and details that I just adore! From the beautiful furniture to the Beatirx Potter tablescape. This party is too cute and would work perfectly for any Spring time event including an Easter party!

My favorite Beatrix Potter Spring Garden party ideas and elements from this beautiful occasion are:

  • The beautiful garden furniture
  • The darling “Mr. McGregor’s Garden” full of fresh vegetable
  • The adorable bunny cut out jelly cookies
  • The cute garden table settings and place cards
  • The cute Easter Bunny note cards
  • The cute floral flower vases
  • and MORE!


Kara’s Party Ideas

Students Can Get Free iPads Today - April 3, 2014 by Admin

Gotcha! That’s right, it’s April Fool’s Day! The day of tomfoolery is a favorite among students both young and old. From classic pranks, like short-sheeting your dorm mate’s bed, to newer versions like filling the dorm hallway with cupfuls of water (or beer) requiring those who want to pass through to drink-as-they-go, pranks will rule the day today.

And it’s not just your friends that will trying to get the last laugh either, keep an eye out for some sneaky school administrators, college newspaper editors (and Super Senior bloggers) who may be trying to pull the wool over your eyes today as well. Don’t believe us? Well just check out this story from Huffington Post describing some of the great lengths schools went to fool their enrollees. With antics like publishing plans of a new campus crammed into a football stadium, to convincing students that their campus is moving from Rochester New York to Rochester England, it’s no surprise that students get creative with their pranks as well. Here are just a few of our favorite April Fool’s Day college pranks that were mentioned in the story.

- Vassar’s school newspaper announced to students that they would be charging for their online content.

- Johns Hopkins told students on April Fool’s day that they would henceforth go by John Hopkins, dropping the “s” from their name.

- For the April occasion Northwestern’s newspaper adopted a Star Wars theme complete with an obituary to Yoda.

May the force be with you today, this day of mayhem and keep you one step ahead of the pranksters whever they may be!

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/242068548693440815/

The Super Senior (The Best 5 Years of Your Life)The Super Senior (The Best 5 Years of Your Life)

Sesame Street Themed 2nd Birthday Party - April 2, 2014 by Admin

Sesame Street themed birthday party Full of Really Cute Ideas via Kara's Party Ideas | Cake, decor, cupcakes, games and more! KarasPartyIdeas.com #sesamestreet #sesamestreetparty #elmoparty #partyideas #partydecor (2)

This adorable SESAME STREET THEMED SECOND BIRTHDAY PARTY was submitted by Maureen Walker of a la Mo.
Kara’s Party Ideas

Mooshka Doll Birthday Tea Party - April 1, 2014 by Admin

Mooshka Doll Tea Party with Lots of Cute Ideas via Kara's Party Ideas | Cake, decor, cupcakes, games and more! KarasPartyIdeas.com #mooshka #mooshkadoll #partyideas #partydecor (3)

This adorable MOOSHKA DOLL BIRTHDAY TEA PARTY was submitted by Audrey Novak of Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats.

What a fun party theme for a little girl! I love all of the cute Mooshka Dolls placed throughout the party spread! This party is full of cute ideas that would be perfect for either a birthday party or playdate!

The Mooshka Doll party ideas and elements that I like best from this fun birthday event are:

  • The cute Mooshka doll table garland
  • The fun pink and white confetti cake pops
  • The cute “happy birthday” banner
  • The darling Mooshka themed cookies
  • and MORE!


Kara’s Party Ideas

Hot Air Balloon Themed Christening Party - March 28, 2014 by Admin

Hot Air Balloon Themed Christening Party with Lots of Really Cute Ideas via Kara's Party Ideas KarasPartyIdeas.com #hotairballoonbirthdayparty #christeningparty #christening #partyideas #partydecor (1)

This sweet HOT AIR BALLOON THEMED CHRISTENING PARTY was submitted by Bernadette Georgiou of Sparklebox.
Kara’s Party Ideas

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