Never fear! The end of school is here! Five Quick Teacher Gifts (for cheap!)

It’s that time of year again….end of the year busy-ness that has households of school age children humming.  If you are like me, end of the year teacher gifts have consisted of a Starbucks gift card in a mug I  get in the drive thru line on my way to school on the last day….but how many times can we give the gift of reloadable caffeine to our beloved educators?

So, I have come up with some quick and creative (not to mention inexpensive) teacher gift ideas you can use to please your favorite teachers this year.

teacher gift tag

1.  Your child’s art

Snap a pic of a piece of your child’s art or a quick writing sample, download to your computer and print!  You can add your own text, frame it and give it to your teacher as a keepsake for her/his classroom.  You can also print  multiples on tag board, cut and make pretty note cards for the teacher to use for the next school year.

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2. Stamped bottles or mason jars.

Take any jar, recycled Perrier bottle, or frapaccino bottle….wash it up and stamp a cute saying to your teacher right on it,  Use permanent ink or color your stamp with a sharpie to make it washable.  Fill it with flowers, candy or #2 pencils she/he can put right on their desk.

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3. All things washi tape

All the hobby stores carry large selections of cute washi tape that can make anything look pretty.  Cover a store bought candle with washi tape and embellish with ribbon.  The tag can say something like “You gave me bright ideas this year” or “You shined the light on my learning this year….”  You can come up with a cute saying to go along with the theme.  Just make sure the candle you are covering is clear glass (the dollar store has these) so the light from the candle flame can shine through the washi tape.

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4. For the Teacher’s pet

If your teacher has a dog, then nothing will be more special than homemade, all natural dog treats.  Again, the sentiment can be something like “Doggone you’re a great teacher”.   Your teacher will appreciate that the dog is taking in all the calories!  With just a few ingredients and about a half hour, you can knock this great gift out in no time.

bowl cozy teacher gift microwave bowl cozy

5.  For the teacher’s lounge (or the lounging teacher…)

Here is an awesome tutorial on how to do these quick bowl cozies.  When they are microwaving their noodles or soup in the lunch lounge, they will appreciate the practical nature of this cute gift!  You can pop these right in the microwave and they are machine washable.  I got the bowl at the dollar store and you can use any prepackaged soup!

My tag this year read:

“To thank you teacher for being so cool, here is something to use for lunch at school.

Protect your hands from getting burned and rosy, just use this handy bowl cozy~”

You get the idea…..

So…no gift cards this year!!  Or, at least you can stick the gift cards inside one of these cute gift ideas and your teacher will love it even more!!

Have a great holiday weekend!

Posted in DIY

Another sewing table re-do and DIY

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A couple of summers ago I scored a sweet sewing table at a garage sale for five bucks.   With the help of my sweet husband, I turned it in to an ice maker holder/wet bar for my back porch.  It still looks great and continues to be a functional part of our entertaining.

This past weekend, I snagged this little beauty at an estate sale for one dollar.

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It is very old, very water damaged and very unique….the top opens up down the middle instead of to one side.  This is perfect for a small desk or entry table, but it needed some TLC.

Call me old school, but the chalk paint rage has not quite made it to my crafty little hands yet.  Besides, to get the look I want with chalk paint, I would have had to go through at least three more steps than I did.

For this re-do, you can complete it in two.

All you need is a bit of sand paper, paint and a roller sponge.



Sand your piece.  You don’t need a sander, just rough sand paper (80 or below).  You also don’t need to  sand all the finish off either.  This piece only took about a half an hour.



Once you have it sanded to the texture you like, take your small roller sponge (any hardware or craft store will have them) and LIGHTly roll on your paint.  The reason you want to apply a light coat is so that the finish of the original piece can show through and you will have an automatic weathered  look WITHOUT DOING ANY MORE STEPS!  By using a foam roller, you will also not have any annoying brush strokes to deal with.


After your light coat of paint dries….




not bad for a buck, eh?

Have a great Tuesday everyone!! dcb




The photo gallery wall–step by step DIY


Hello beautiful people.

Ahh..the photo brag wall…

For some, it is an easy knock out….some frames and nails and out pops a well put-together collage of family memories.

But for others it can be an overwhelming task that they dare not try.

SO…here are some easy DIY tips that may help some of you that fall in to the second category.

1.  Don’t be afraid

This is your house, your wall, and there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG to this.

2. Largest picture first

Pick a point on the wall that you wish to be the focal point of your photo frame collage.  Then select your largest picture and hang that one in that spot.


3.  Closer the spacing the better

Working from the largest picture out begin hanging your photos on either side.  Space them close to each other….this will promote the feeling of a “one-piece” collage, rather than just a bunch of pictures on a wall.

4.  Go high and don’t forget to go low

Give your photo wall collage height, but don’t forget to hang pictures low as well.

5.  Interchange horizontal with vertical in frame direction

Mix your direction of the frames to give your collage interest as well as movement.

6.  Mix species of frame material

I have had an all black frame photo wall.  I changed it because it lacked interest and variety.  Mix gold frames, ornate frames, light and dark wood frames…it will bring out the different colors of your room and add an artistic element to your collage.  If you desire some consistent theme…choose all black and white photos or all color photos if you’d like.

7.  Use nail/hammer alternatives

If you feel like you are just going to make too many holes in the wall doing this project, you may want to consider alternatives to nails such as Command strips.  They have a ton of products that can uphold the weight of any picture and are gentle on your walls.

8.  Enjoy your wall!

Leave room for more pics (as shown here) if you think necessary or call it complete and change out the photo in the existing photo frames…totally up to you.  Post script….this wall has one more step…it is recommended that the wall vent be the same color  as the wall…I have some painting to do!


Happy hanging!


Pretty Paper….liven up your workspace


In my house….where there is a computer….there is a kid.

Noticing an awful lot of pen marks, finger smudges and Lord knows what appearing on my desk surface as of late.

So down the paper goes….cute scrapbook paper I have in my stash.  I put in directly on my desk and used scotch tape to adhere the edges (to each other, not the desk).  No sprays or decopauge…this way you can keep redoing it when it starts looking a little too loved.

Who says Mom’s work space can’t be cute?

Have a good week’s end…..dcb

What’s in your box?



Hello lovely people….

Wanted to take the opportunity to give a big shout out to the folks at UMBA box.  If you haven’t heard of this concept…well, you should listen up.

Two gals….one bright idea…sort of the wine of the month club meets crafty-artisans and cool stuff kinda thing.  If you click on their web site  here or down on the lower right hand side of this page…you will be introduced to a subscription based company that will send you  the most ADORABLE box of crafty items each month.  It makes a great gift and definitely a super surprise each month for those of us who appreciate hand made goodies.

I upcycled the above coasters (they have a letter pressed calendar on the opposite side) which was part of the December Umba box in 2012.  They are from Sugar Cube Press--they do an amazing line of hand pressed stationary and calendars.

Anyway…check them out and tell them the Highnote sent you!



Adorable Apron–Amazing Dad


If you have not checked out the wildly creative blog pillowsalamode….you are missing out….

I had an idea for a Christmas gift for my brother-n-law….yes, a guy….for a sport themed apron.

I put a shout out to Katherine…the master mind behind Pillows a-la-mode.

Viloa!  No less than a week later, I had in my hot little hands this adorable, yet still manly apron for my BnL.

She also threw a cute hand-covered journal in the package just for me!  A BIG thanks to Katherine and the wonderful job she did on this unique gift.

Another shout out goes to the recipient of the apron.  A stay at home Dad (my sis-n-law is an engineer for the aviation industry) and one of the hardest working people I know.  He is doing an incredible job managing domestic life, house rentals and raising three wonderful boys.  Since he does the majority of the cooking…the apron was a perfect fit and I know it will be used and loved.


Happy hump day….dcb

Advent Calendar Ideas–Countdown “Coupons”



It is a whopping 10 degrees here in Colorado….a good time to stay in and put up holiday decor….

This smiley Santa has been in my family for years…I grew up with it.   My mom crafted him from simple felt and sewed mini pockets on his body to represent the days of Advent….or the twenty-four days until Christmas.

Traditionally, Advent Calendars entice the children to “open something”(usually candy) each day on the countdown to Christmas.  This calendar growing up and with my own children has not been much different, but I decided to do something a bit different this year.

For each day, I made a “coupon”….child specific and involving an act of service from Mom or Dad.  We all know how materialistic this time of year can become, so I decided a good way to prepare our families’  heart for the season is to show examples of true giving.

So, when it is their day (each pocket has a tag with their name on it inside) one of my kiddos opens their coupon.  When I told them this is what I was doing….you could hear grumbling and groaning about not getting candy.

However, when the first few coupons were for “an early dismissal from school for no reason”  or ” a day off from piano practice” or a “trip with Dad (alone) to get an Icee”….their tune changed to that of sweet, caroling angels.

Other coupons include:

Extra media time

Day off from chores

Starbucks with Mom

A week of Mom tidying their room (that was a big one)

An hour basketball game with Dad

Lunch out on a school day


The point is to be child specific and thoughtful and of course…..SIMPLE.  The example of true giving hopefully will rub off on the children….

Or…perhaps while giving of yourself to your children, your own heart will be full of cheer and the Joy that comes with the true meaning of the season.

Stay warm.  dub


Is there a Thanksgiving “Season”? Three ways to make the most out of November.

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We are busy.

I was corrected the other day when I exclaimed, “I can’t believe it is November already!”

The woman within earshot of my comment quickly jumped in and touted, “No, you can’t believe it is Christmas already…”

It is true.  The time between Halloween and Christmas goes quick.  We stop only for a brief moment to take a day off, stuff ourselves with Turkey and now, unfortunately, use the day to trample over our neighbor  to get the deal on the big screen TV.

Not for me.  Not the way our family rolls.

Why not take the time to prepare for Thanksgiving?

Just like for Advent/Christmas, I think the busy weeks heading up to Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reassess family and personal goals, list blessings, think about the needs of others and truly get ready to come together and “give thanks”.


Here are  a couple of ideas you can do at home.

1.  The Family Mission Statement

Our family did this some years ago, but it has been a life saver for us.  It is a way to give our family purpose and above all helps me explain to our children why we do the things we do…..”it is a part of our mission”.

Over dinner have each person answer these three simple questions:

 *When people describe our family what do you think they say?

      *If we were a famous family what would be most known for doing?

       *Say three words that describe our family

These questions will get the conversation going.  Write down the results and then try and come up with a catchy sentence that can serve as your overall mission statement.   Then, hang that baby up on the wall! family mission  statement

This statement encompassed a bunch of things for us….how we treat each other, how we treat others, hospitality, neatness, faith, fun and so on.  This took ten minutes to make and an old frame…..

2. List Blessings

Ok.  The most thinking that goes on in my house is well….

in the bathroom.

The picture doesn’t show the exact location of this, but a simple board and pen where family members can list what they are thankful for can help slow things down and remind us of the abundant gifts we enjoy in our daily lives.


It is also a way for other family members to read the list and feel cherished.

And in my house, it makes potty time a bit more cerebral…..

3. Of course, do a Thanksgiving Craft.

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For this cute place card I downloaded an image of a Turkey (or you could do the ol’ trace the kiddo’s hand turkey cut out), covered a clothespin with scrapbook paper and viola….a  template to write notes of thanks.

Now here is the secret…

DON’T WAIT UNTIL THANKSGIVING DAY TO DO THIS….! Have these at your family table now, so that on Thanksgiving Day you will all have a complete “Thanking Turkey” to adorn your table.

Wishing you a very mindful Thanksgiving Season….dcb

Happy Post-Halloween—Colorado License Plate Costume

Colorado License Plate Costume

Colorado License Plate Costume

Nursing a sugar hangover this morning….

Middle child came up with the idea of dressing as a license plate this Halloween……

What happened to the days of easy-store-bought costumes?

Thankfully a recent online purchase afforded me this perfect box….the rest was a bit of spray paint, acryllic paint and printing out letters on the computer at 950%.

I added actual bolts in the corners for effect….

Have a wonderful day after….and hey, it is after all, All Saints Day!


Walk the dog–DIY leash holder


Garage sale day….

Found this awesome piece of moulding at an estate sale for a mere $5.00 and knew I needed to make something useful out of it.

Who ever heard of “dog head” drawer pulls?  Half off at the Lobby (my cute pet name for Hobby Lobby}….couldn’t resist using these beauties to make a holder for dog leashes and the like.


I didn’t touch the already distressed look of the moulding board…drilled a couple of holes, inserted the drawer pulls and stenciled the wording at the top.


Now pooch has a cute place to hang her own leashes…..

Perhaps she can walk her own self as well…

Happy weekend.