Life Love Larson: 2012


Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Wrap Up & Year in Review

We traveled to my sister’s for Christmas again this year.  Rest assured, we sent Santa a note telling him we would not be in our own home.  Thankfully, he heard us :).  We had a fantastic time!  The current state of my home is beyond me right now.  I don’t know where to start with all the laundry, “stuff” that we are tripping over, and putting away Christmas decorations, so I will drink coffee and blog instead!

I have to admit that having a white Christmas and a nip in the air made everything feel so cozy and festive.  The dads and kids went sledding the first day we were there.  Had the sun not set, they would have stayed out there for hours!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vintage Bar Cart

A few weeks ago, Steve, the kids and I went shopping in the West Bottoms on my birthday.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday…coffee and vintage shopping!  And, the best part is, I scored a great piece!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DIY Pom Garland

I wanted to make a little pom garland for my kitchen window for the holidays.  I think they are festive any time of year, but thought it was an especially good time to make one.
pom garland 1

Monday, December 17, 2012

White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I make these cookies every year, after trying and loving them at a cookie exchange when we lived in South Carolina.  They are festive and delicious!  This year, I made some for our neighbors, and I am getting ready to throw another batch in the oven for Steve to take to work.  These don’t last long, so make a lot!
cookies 1

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

“Dipped” Coffee Filter Number

This is the last post about Kate’s birthday party, I promise!  Then on to Christmas stuff!
I decided to make a large coffee filter number “4” to hang on the door for an additional decoration.  This was made over coffee (fittingly, right?) the morning before the party with supplies I had on hand:  a large piece of cardboard, coffee filters, glue gun, craft paint, and command strips.  I found this idea on Pinterest and put my own spin on it. 
coffee filter number 1

Monday, December 10, 2012

Princess Tea Party Details

I usually make my own cupcakes for my kid’s parties.  They don’t take long, homemade frosting makes them taste delicious, kids could care less where the cupcake came from, and there are so many things to stick in or on a cupcake to make them festive!

For the princess tea party, I found these cute little mini wands in a pack at Hobby Lobby.  With coupon, I got them for less than $2.  I don’t think they are meant for cupcakes, but they worked!  We washed them up and put one in each girl’s treat bags so they could have a mini wand for their dolls.



We had lunch at the party (mini ham & cheese sandwiches, mini pb&j’s, goldfish, fruit kabobs, and cheese sticks).  In trying to keep things “fancy”, for dessert, we had cupcakes, vanilla meringues (from Trader Joe’s), iced pound cake squares, and ice cream cups.  There were little tiny bites taken out of each item, so the girls did a little sampling!


I set the table with our china tea cups and the girls drank pink lemonade and sparking white grape juice (also from Trader Joe’s) out of them. 


In addition to eating lunch and dessert, the guests wore princess dresses, we made bead necklaces, decorated crowns and wands and castles, read “Pinkalicious”, and whacked away at a castle pinata.  It was so cute seeing all the little “princesses” giving the castle a good swat!

As each guest was leaving, Kate gave them a pink rose from the centerpiece.


All in all, it was a great day for our newly turned four year old!  Oh, the joys of having a girl!

I played around with a fun little app which made these pics sparkle a little bit-I thought it was appropriate for the theme of the party!

I made one more little party decoration that I will show in a separate post!  Happy Monday!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Five Minute Natural Wreath

I needed a little something for the back of my front door and I didn’t want to spend any money.  I rummaged through my wreaths and found an old grapevine.  I simply added some tree trimmings from our tree (secured with floral wire) and a red ribbon. 
natural wreath 1

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Large Pom Decoration & Mini Pom Treat Bags

For Kate’s princess tea party, I solely focused on decorating the table where the girls would be eating lunch and getting crafty.  I decided to add a large pom to the back of each chair to add a little whimsy and “fanciness”.  These are so easy and cheap to make and they make a large impact. 
Using the same technique as I used for Kate’s pom cluster, these came together in no time.  I used two packages of pastel tissue paper from Dollar Tree, fishing wire, and floral wire and tied them to the back of each chair.

poms 2

Monday, December 3, 2012

Iced Pound Cake Squares

I want to start showing you a few things I made for Kate’s princess tea party that was this past weekend.  First up, a Pinterest recipe that was a major hit! 
pound cake 3
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Funfetti Cake Batter Buddies

I made these fun treats for Kate’s preschool birthday celebration.  I used a recipe found at Six Sister’s Stuff.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our Back Door is Black

The back door that leads to our covered patio is right off the kitchen eating area.  We have light paint, creamy white trim, and lots of windows at the back of our house.  I felt that space needed a little contrast, so I painted the interior (and exterior) door in semi gloss black.  The back door is mostly uncovered glass, so really just the trim of the door is black.  Even that small amount of black has totally changed the space! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

DIY Thankful Bunting on Mantel

I wanted to add just a few homemade Thanksgiving touches to our home this year since we are hosting my husband’s family (and the house seems quite bare after taking down the Halloween decorations).

Using free printables found on Pinterest, and with things I already had laying around, this cute little bunting now adorns our mantle.
You can find the free printables here.  I printed the letters on white cardstock and bordered them with kraft paper.  The letters are held up with twine and clothespins.  I have a lot of black and white in my house, so these letters fit right in! 

My sister also made a bunting and sent me a picture (yes, we plan ahead and usually do the same things)!  I love the two layers and how they pop off of her dark fireplace.
photo (2)
I have one other little DIY craft to show you next week, and will also be doing a little giveaway!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

DIY Sunburst Mirror

I made and blogged about a DIY sunburst mirror when we lived in San Antonio (16 months ago).  At that time, I still had not hung the mirror.  I was going to hang it in our dining room that I was painting, but we got the call to move before I had the chance.  During the move, a few of the wood shims came apart and it didn’t look as fresh as when I first made it.
So……………………..I decided to take it all apart and redo it a few weeks ago.  Much like the first time around, construction of this mirror can be done during nap time (which for me has turned into “quiet time”)!
I did a few things differently this time around.  I staggered the shims more at the ends and I added a Danish Oil finish to the wood.  I did not add any more shims or a new mirror.  I simply reused the same materials and had to purchase the Danish Oil (around $8 from Lowe’s).
I hot glued the shims to the craft forms and to each other.  You can see the ends are a little more staggered than the first time around.  Once the shims were glued, I took it to the garage and added 3 coats of Danish Oil.  I wanted to keep the natural look of the wood, but I wanted it to look a little more finished and saturated.

FYI: I applied the Danish Oil with an old cloth.  Once the shims dried, I brought it back inside (this thing is huge, so be careful in transport) to add a hanging mechanism.  Steve drilled this into the larger of the two craft forms.

Once this was done, I just needed to reattach the mirror.  I was able to remove the mirror from the last time I made one, scraped the wood glue from the back, and reused it.  I used hot glue to attach the shims, but I used wood glue to attach the mirror to the shims.  Just eyeball the center, glue, and stick.  You will want to put some heavy items on the mirror and let dry overnight.
I wanted to hang this on the first floor of our house because it is just so striking, but I don’t have a lot of wall space (lots of windows and open concept).  When I painted the chalkboard wall, I took down the large cabinet door chalkboard, and that left open a space on a wall in our eating area (and I moved the $5 side table underneath it).
I just love how bold and big it is, and love how it brings a large natural element to the space.  We do not use the mirror to look at ourselves, purely decorative! 
Finally, after 16 months, we are enjoying the sunburst mirror! :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Candy Corn Pretzel Treats

I tried another Pinterest recipe to take to our neighborhood Halloween party this past weekend.  Again, I don’t think you can go wrong here…sweet + salt, easy, delicious and festive!

Monday, October 29, 2012

DIY Chalkboard Wall

If you have been reading for awhile, you know I love a chalkboard.  I love the black accent and the classic look of it.  I was inspired to create a little floor to ceiling chalkboard wall in my mudroom recently, and I love it!  A small amount a work for a large impact…
This little wall is also visible from our open kitchen, which I love.  I like how the black breaks up the light paint and the creamy white trim.

Here is a little rundown of the progression.  This is what the wall originally looked like.  I did have the large ruler chalkboard on this wall, but it has since been moved next to the built-in coat rack.
Doesn’t the chalk paint make such a difference in this space?!?!?!  I used Rustoleum chalk paint that I already had on hand.  I used a small sponge roller and applied 3 coats, letting each coat dry completely before starting the next coat.
There are instructions on the paint can, but you are supposed to leave the paint alone for several days in order for the paint to cure. After a few days, you are to cover the entire wall with chalk.  I have found the best way to clean chalk off the wall is to use a wet cloth and move it in a circular motion. 
The chalk wall is never going to be completely stark black once you have applied chalk. I think that adds to the character.  You must know that this does get messy.  You will need to clean up chalk debris after you write on the board.
I did not paint the chalk wall for my kids and they don’t’ play on it.  Boo, mean mom!  This is purely decorative! Here is the wall from a few different angles.  I don’t think I will ever get a good picture in this space because there is not a lot of natural light!  The first is a view from the kitchen looking into the mudroom.  The chalk wall is right across from the kid’s artwork display wall. This door color will also be changing soon (if I can convince hubby).
And here is an angle from the mudroom into the kitchen…
Have you experimented with chalk paint?  Are you in love or over the hype?  I’m in love and want to extend the paint behind the artwork wall.  My husband’s response?  “Can’t we ever just leave well enough alone?”  No, no we can’t!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Easy French Toast

I usually make one breakfast on the weekends, and we eat breakfast for dinner a lot.  It’s cheap, easy, I always the have stuff on hand, and it is Steve and the kid’s favorite.
I prefer to use Texas toast when making French toast.  Texas toast is easy to freeze and thaw.  Mix a few eggs, milk, a capful of vanilla, and lots of cinnamon.  I think French toast tastes better if you put a little oil in the pan rather than non-stick spray (of course)!

To change it up a bit, I recently added my favorite new spread of vanilla yogurt and Nutella on top of the French toast along with some fresh strawberries and a little dusting of powdered sugar.  It’s fun to change up the syrup routine!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Toffee Chocolate Saltines

I can’t believe I had never heard of, or tried this recipe before.  I wanted to make something quick and chocolaty for the birthday party last weekend.  I scanned my Pinterest board and decided to give these chocolate saltine bars a try.  Four ingredients, and the blogger I pinned it from had nothing but excellent things to say.  I got this recipe here.
Several people at the party had tried this dessert before (some coining it “Christmas Crack”), and others who had never tried it wanted the recipe.  Here goes…
Toffee Chocolate Saltines (or crack, whichever you prefer)  :)
1 cup unsalted butter (no margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay a flat layer of crackers out on the foil. Melt the sugar and butter until a boil is reached. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread to coat evenly. Bake for 8-10 minutes, toffee should be bubbling. After removing the pan from the oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, let them soften and melt, and then spread them into an even layer.  Let cool and refrigerate until hardened. Peel back the bark and break into pieces.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Few More Budget Friendly Halloween Decorations

Last year, my friend Jill in San Antonio, hung a large amount of bats in her foyer to make it look like they were flying in a pack.  It was so simple and so striking and I knew I wanted to do it this year!  Thanks for the idea, Jill!

I started out by putting the bats outside on my front door.  They lasted about a week and kept falling off.  I had “dead” bats laying on my porch every morning and that was getting old!  Even though we have a covered porch, the paper bats were getting damp and crinkling up.  So, I brought them inside…
I bought a pack of pre-cut bats at Dollar Tree a while back, and when I finally decided to hang them, I needed a lot more, and of course, they were all gone.  So, I hand cut about 20 bats out of cardstock (oh, the things I do for this place)! :)  They are hung with doubled sided tape.  Total for this project was $1 because I already had a bunch of black cardstock in my stash.
If you are not a local friend or neighbor, you are probably noticing the black and white curtains hanging in my dining room!  I haven’t blogged about those yet, but they are coming.  I have a little obsession going on with black and white right now (oh, and stripes)!
My sister told me about this little metal spider web.  I decided to hang it on the inside of my front door.  This web was $3.99, but I also had a 20% coupon, making it super inexpensive!!  The spider ribbon is from Dollar Tree.
The stuff above is called “creepy cloth” (also from the Dollar Tree).  Such a fun little addition when draped over a mantle or thrown on any piece of décor to make it “creepy” looking!
Lastly, I found these black crows at Dollar Tree and knew I had to find a home for them.  Wanting to use what I already had, I cut some tree branches from a tree out back, spray painted them matte black (with .97 cans from Walmart I keep on hand), attached the birds, and threw them in a vase.
So, between the spider wreath, the spooky hanging ghosts, and the few other items I added, I think I spent less than $20! 
A quick side note about the ghosts…my sister just sent me this picture of the ghosts she made and she decided to keep them indoors (hanging from the chandelier in her foyer).
photo (2)
Hope you are having fun decorating for Halloween!  Happy October!

Friday, October 5, 2012

DIY “Spooky” Hanging Ghosts

Happy Friday!  I wanted to share this quick tutorial for making hanging ghosts.  I saw the idea on Pinterest, and it was an original PB knock off.  I am certain my ghosts came in a lot cheaper than the PB ones!  You can find the original source and pin here.


The supplies needed are styrofoam balls (I used 5”), black craft paint, cheesecloth (I used 3 yards total), 2 eye hooks per ghost, and something to hang them from (I used twine).

Start out by free handing some black eyes on your styrofoam with craft paint.


At this time, I also inserted an eye hook at the top and secured with some wood glue. 


Once the glue and the eyes were dry, I cut the cheesecloth into 3 different pieces (one for each ghost) and draped it over each styrofoam ball.  The beauty of these styrofoam balls is that the cheesecloth “sticks” to them without having to do any extra adhering! 

Once the cheesecloth was on, I started to shred the bottom with scissors.  There is no science to this.  Just cut some strips and kind of tug and pull until them look “spooky” and will sway in the wind.  Here is a shot of them at night.


Once the ghosts were done, I enlisted Steve’s help to hang them from our covered porch.  He screwed 3 eyehooks into the porch ceiling and we hung each ghost from twine at different lengths.  I think they look cute at staggered heights and clustered together.  I also had Steve hang the ghosts towards the back of the covered porch to protect from the elements.  I also wanted them to be hung right underneath one of our recessed lights so they would be highlighted at night!


And here is a shot from the inside out.


The kids are so excited to have these ghosts hanging!  They check on them every day and night and tell me that are still flying.


A few observations since they have been hung for a few days:

1.  They have stayed hung and are sturdy despite some wind and rain
2.  The cheesecloth gets stuck together at the bottom sometimes, but the breeze will undo this
3.  The eyes are never all going to be facing forward at the same time, but you get the idea!
4.  Found a moth stuck between the ball and the cheesecloth this morning that I had to rescue!


Here’s hoping these last through Oct. 31st!  I just love them.  Here is the cost breakdown:

3 Styrofoam balls:  $3 each after purchasing each with a coupon

3 yards of cheesecloth:  This was either 2.99/yd. or 3.99/yd. I also had a 50% off coupon.

The craft paint, eye hooks, and twine where all items I already had on hand making this DIY project super inexpensive!

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