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”.

How?

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.

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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

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Spanish Olive Oil Press Mat—a Re-use

Hello sweet people….or should I say, “Hola”……travels to the Catalonia region of Spain have brought many wonderful memories, artifacts and of course…..craft ideas back to insert in my little blog to share with you all.

If I had any international business acumen, I would figure out a way to import these little beauties I found while staying in the countryside of Eastern Spain….olive oil country….rich with generations of olive oil production and traditional methods of oil making.

The press above, lies virtually untouched after many years of retirement in the garage of our friends who so graciously let us stay in their home in a small village named Gandesa.  Their “garage” was filled with many artifacts that American antique lovers would have swooned over.

I notice these “mats” everywhere….similar to a wicker rug….that were used to press the olives and separate the solids from the liquids.  They were washed and dried and apparently left for someone like me to think they were worth crafting with.  In their pure form they looked like this:

A few were generously gifted to me and stuffed in to my already overloaded suitcase.

Of course, there are many practical non-olive-oil-pressing uses for these babies.  A small rug, a centerpiece placemat, a garden mat….or,

a wall hanging……

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A bit of ribbon and ribbon-covered clothes pins and I had a neat way to display some of my pictures from the adventure to Spain.

Enjoy!

Today’s High Note–Peacefulness at the Abbey

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This past weekend I was fortunate enough to spend time at the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale, Colorado.   The Abbey is home to 22 Benedictine Nuns who not only offer their beautiful grounds to those seeking solitude, but also run a full working farm–including over 100 head of grass fed cattle.

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The nuns spend their days in prayer, woodworking, farming, hospitality, jewelry/rosary making and tending to those in need.  They are peaceful.  They are happy.   Truly happy.   It was a blessing to spend time with them….their simplicity and gracious spirituality were contagious.

Needless to say…..

I didn’t want to leave.

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So I offer you this high note for today: the next time the media pushes a frightful image of a Catholic nun with a ruler in her hand, please remember these beautiful images of gentleness….

…and peacefulness at the Abbey.

–dcb

Upcycle clothing tags and button envelopes

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A good Tuesday to you….

I’m not sure about you, but it is very hard for me to throw away the often large and decorated little button envelopes that come with a new piece of clothing.   I have had a growing collection of the little beauties until recently when I began upcycling them to use on my hand made cards.

And those high end tags!  The “now-I-know-why-this-was-so-expensive” tags….

Nope.

Can’t throw those away either.  

My Montana gal pal,  Lesliann, knows this about me and often sends me extra tags from the boutique she works in…and I love her for it….

So…don’t throw those tags and envelopes away!  Here are just a few upcycling ideas!

Scrapbooking:

Use the button envelope to:

*a place to put special momentos on your page

* Baby’s first tooth, or lock of hair

* Ticket stubs from a memorable event

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Labels/Tags

*Backpack, luggage, lunchbox, sportbag tags for your kiddos

Buy the metal fasteners at your local hobby store (in the leather making section). Usually they cost around $2.00 for a pack of 50.  I would laminate any tags used for luggage to make them wear better and last longer!  I used a regular label maker to print out the label to cover the brand name on the tag.

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Card Making:

*Cut off brand name and embellish to use on front of a card

*Use button envelope to hold gift card or money and affix to the front of a card

*Decorate the outside of button envelope and stick a special note inside.  Tuck in your husband’s briefcase/sportbag or in your child’s lunch box.

*Cover the brand name of a tag with stickers, stamp, and affix to the front of a card

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The possibilities are endless!

Don’t hold out on me if you have more ideas!  And, if you have tags/envelopes you don’t want to upcycle….don’t THROW THEM AWAY!  I will make sure and find a good home for them.

Happy Day.   –dcb

1 + 100 = a BIG thank you give away!

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The High Note is celebrating one year and over 100 followers!

A big thank you to all of you for supporting this fun adventure….

And as a very small token of my gratitude I am giving away a package of some of the goodies the High Note has done this year!

Shredded Antique Sheet Music

Custom Note Cards

and

a Music Wrapped Candle

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Like this post and/or leave a comment here to enter!

Winner will be announced Monday 4/22!

 

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Gilbert K. Chesterton

Homemade Dog (Puppy!) Treats…

It is a snow day here in Colorado….  

The novelty of no school lasted for exactly one hour and three minutes.

 We then progressed to the “I’m bored” stage of the day which is such a wrist cutting sound clear que to do something fun an creative with the kiddos.

In anticipation of our new pup (arriving this weekend!) we decided to make homemade doggie biscuits.  I have had this recipe forever (we had pre-marriage dogs up until a few years ago) and it is all natural and super easy for all to make.

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Recipe & Ingredients:

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup shelled sunflower seeds (optional)

1 cup water

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 egg

1/3 cup vegetable oil

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Mix all ingredients together well.  Knead for for about one minute.  Roll out dough with rolling pin.  Cut with cookie cutter or make small logs–pinch ends to look like a dog bone.

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Bake at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet or I have found a large pizza stone works even better and holds more treats at a time.   Bake for 35-40 minutes.

These make great gifts, too!  Many a teacher and neighbor have received these over the years from my kids…..

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Will send puppy photos next week!

Stay warm…..dcb

Peeps!! DIY Easter centerpiece…

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Ok…so if you are an avid lover of Peeps….I am sorry for the apparent abuse of your beloved marshmallow buddies….

However, if you are like me and are looking for a consumption alternative for these sugary treats…here ya go.

It is simple….

*Line your square vase with jelly beans

*Insert a jelly jar or other small vase for your flowers

*Insert your Peeps of (bunny or chick variety you choose) around the inside of the vase.   They will naturally “stick” to the glass and stay in place on top of your jelly beans.

* Put your flowers in the vase and you have a cute table top decor for your Easter table.

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Check out aponytailkindofday  for her version as well!

Have a great day…..dcb

DIY Sheet Music Easter Eggs

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Hello fine people….it is snowing here in Colorado….hard to think about Spring and Easter eggs.

Here is a simple DIY to spruce up your Easter decor and/or tabletop this year.  As you know, upcycling antique music is my thang….but you could use pages from a child’s Easter book, dictionary pages from the letter “E” for Easter, or just about any thin wrap-able paper medium.

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You will need:

*blank craft grade Easter eggs (almost any craft store will have these)

*thin, wrap-able paper of choice

*Modge Podge or decoupage

*ribbon and embellishments

You will begin by ripping or cutting your paper in to strips.   Lightly coat  your egg with decoupage using a paint brush.  Apply your strips of paper covering the entire surface of the egg.   Using your brush, apply a second coat of decoupage over the paper covered egg to give it a nice sheen finish.   For a more complete tutorial on decoupaging paper click here.

Decorate with ribbon and embellish as you wish!  Modge Podge comes in a variety of hues—try this project using Modge Podge “sparkle” for an even brighter effect!

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have a great rest of your weekend!   dcb

Today’s High Note–forgiveness and family

 

 

 

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FORGIVE….

It is not an easy word…an even harder task….to forgive.

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Myself, like over one billion Catholic Christians worldwide, are in the second week of Lent–the forty days before Easter and a time of prayer, sacrifice and penance.

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When asked what I believe is the thing that keeps our family together I consistently come back to this word.  

When my children spill juice on to the floor and it seeps in to the vent of the refrigerator,

I forgive.

When coats and shoes are everywhere, the dinner I slaved over is “gross” and husband is late,

I have to swallow hard and forgive.

When my girls roll their eyes and my son shakes his head “no” when asked to do a chore,

I close my own eyes, nod my own head and forgive.

When no one seems to be doing what I want them to do and I realize it is my own expectations of who I want them to be that are falling short,

I have to forgive.

I have to forgive, not because it is Lent or because it is what I am supposed to do.  I have found that forgiveness in a family is essential to our growth as individuals…it is a necessary freedom we give to one another that allows us to be who we are.

The word, that now hangs in our kitchen, means that I will not only forgive your faults,

but I will unconditionally accept you in your humanness—and hopefully you will

accept me in mine.

–dcb 

The Friday How-2….Music wrapped candle replay

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Hi sweet people….

Just a quick note to refresh some previous candle-themed posts and to highlight this new addition to my Etsy shop.

Click here for the original DIY…

I can’t tell you how easy these music wrapped candles have become.  

There are so many variations:

*Pictured above is obviously uber spring–couldn’t wait …..

*Rip out the page of an old dictionary on the pages “love”, “Valentine”, “sweet” or any other V-Day related word.  Circle the word with a red Sharpie, embellish, and you have a cute Valentine’s Day Candle.

* Embellish the front of the candle with a chip board initial

*  The possibilities are endless….have one?  Do tell!!

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Have an incredible weekend!  dcb