Life Love Larson: September 2012


Thursday, September 27, 2012

How to Clean an Iron

We use our iron a lot.  Weekly.  We have had our iron for a few years, and it was in desperate need of a good cleaning.  I found a tutorial from Real Simple, which you can find here.

You basically make a water and baking soda paste, rub it all over the iron, wipe off with a damp cloth, clean the holes with a q-tip, fill the iron with a vinegar solution, and steam out the vinegar and water until your iron is clean.



















































The longest part of the whole thing was steaming out the vinegar solution and making sure all residue was removed from the iron.  I tested the iron out on a few old shirts before using it on Steve’s nice shirts just to make sure.  Let me know if you have had any luck trying any other methods!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Scrap Fabric & Spider Wreath

My sister and I are sort of in cahoots with decorating for Halloween this year.  If you know her, and you know me, you might find some of the same things popping up in our homes!  We both decided that we need to start doing more things now that our kids are getting a little older and can appreciate some “spooky” things around the house. 

First, I decided to whip up a festive Halloween wreath for my front door using fabric scraps, a wreath form I dug up from the basement, and a spider from Dollar Tree. This could not be any easier.


Because I already had the wreath form, the fabric scraps from this project, and the black ribbon, this wreath ended up costing me $1 (the cost of the spider).  Don’t forget to work with what you already have!


I simply wrapped scraps of fabric around the wreath and adhered them with fabric glue on the back.   I was working with stripes, so I did have to make sure the scraps where all going in the same direction.  I just eyeballed and made sure the wreath form was completely covered.  I was just wanting to “whip this up”, so I wasn’t concerned with the lines matching up or some of the ends of the fabric fraying a bit.  I love the dramatic look of the stripes. 


Once the fabric glue was dry, I secured the spider to the wreath by wrapping black thread around the body of the spider.


I love black and white, so this wreath speaks to me!  And it looks dramatic from the street!



I am not done with this door yet!  A few more creatures have graced it since I put up the wreath, so stay tuned for that!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Painted Front Door

I chose Valspar’s Woodlawn Juniper in semi gloss for my front door.  This pop of color is just what our brown house needed!  I love a painted front door.  I am sure over the course of our time here, this door will be several different colors!

front door 

Here is a short journey.  This door was originally the darkest accent color on the house, a dark mushroom color.

original door

I only tried two samples and immediately decided on Woodlawn Juniper (top).  It is bold and bright, but still saturated and rich enough, not to teal looking.


You all know I love blue, so this seemed like a natural first door color choice for me!  I love the way the black hardware and new house numbers now pop off the door.


I cleaned the door with mild soap and water and applied three coats of paint, letting each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next.  I used a small foam roller for the door and a small brush to work around the hardware.  Painting a door is so easy and so inexpensive.  I purchased a quart and have a ton of left over paint.  You will need to buy at least a quart if you want a semi gloss finish. 

front door

What do you have to lose?  It’s just a small door, not a whole house!

We have recently updated the house numbers, added a double front door mat, and painted the front door.  One more small change is happening soon and that is it for our quick porch spruce up! 

*The fall wreath shown above was a DIY from a few years ago.  It is a grapevine wreath with a strand of leaves hot glued around it.  It has held up very well and I love how it compliments the new blue door.

I just added a few Halloween touches to the porch so stay tuned!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Money Saving Mom posted her recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, and I knew I had to try them. I am feeling fall in my bones!

This recipe makes 3 dozen muffins, which is perfect for taking to school functions, get-togethers, taking some to your neighbors, throwing in a lunch box, etc.  And they are freezer friendly!  And delicious!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (via MSM)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 (16 oz) can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups oil (I use a combination of unsweetened applesauce and coconut oil)
3 cups flour (I used half whole wheat, half all purpose)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups chocolate chips (I use mini chocolate chips)

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in the chocolate chips. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-18 minutes.

Hope you are enjoying the cooler temps and the smells of fall as much as we are!
Thursday, September 13, 2012

Updated House Numbers

There are so many easy and inexpensive ways to update your home.  Trying to get a bang for your buck with curb appeal?  Start with changing out your house numbers!  We have a new house, but our house numbers were plastic and a little too ornate for my taste.  After looking at a few different places, these numbers from Home Depot were my favorite (I have cropped out our full house number for privacy purposes :).


I screwed up and forgot to take a picture of our house numbers before, but they looked something like this.  Again, there is nothing wrong with these numbers, but every other house in our neighborhood has these numbers and I wanted a more custom look.  I also knew I wanted to stay with black.

6 in. Plastic House Number 3

The house numbers I chose are inset into the wall, so we had to take off the old numbers, patch and paint the holes, and drill new holes.  The numbers come with step by step instructions and actually has you line up with numbers so you know where to drill your holes.


After you drill the holes and get your numbers lined up, you fill the holes with clear silicone to set the numbers.  We used painters tape to keep the numbers flush and in place.


IMG_0069 (2)

I think the new numbers change the whole look of our front porch and entry space.  They are much more clean and modern and a bit three dimensional because they are not flush with the house.

It is amazing what a little bit of time and a little money ($5.99 per number) can do!  Not looking to buy all new numbers?  Spray paint the ones you have for an updated look.  You can find house numbers at any home improvement store and there are so many choices online.  Make sure you measure how large you want your numbers to be before you purchase (they come in different sizes).


Pictures of our painted door coming soon with a larger view of the porch!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Large Ruler Growth Chart

These large growth charts have been bouncing around blog land for months and months.  The first moment I saw one, I knew I wanted to make one for our mudroom.  They are classic looking and can be something a parent has in their home for years and years.  I think we will always have ours hanging in our home (even when we are old) to remind us of a time when our kiddos were small (and tall)!

My sister also made one, and made it first, so she was able to give me the details on what she did.  Ever since I have made and hung mine, it is one of the things in my home that people comment on most.  Apologies on the pictures…zero natural light in this space.
Before getting started on the actual board, we purchased the lines and numbers from an Etsy shop.  My sister found these vinyl decals which we both agreed would be easier than trying to draw all of the numbers and lines ourselves.  We ordered at the same time so the shipping cost was cheap.  The shop is   

She includes instructions in the vinyl decal kit
We both purchased white wood boards from Lowe’s.  The boards are pre-cut in the lumber department.  My board is 6” wide, by 8’ tall, by 1” thick.  If you cannot find a pre-cut board in this size, ask someone in the lumber department to cut it to size for you.  It is either free to do this or very inexpensive.  The white board I purchased was around $8.  I tried to choose a piece that had a lot of little notches and details since I would be leaving it a natural color.
I originally thought I was going to stain the board, and my sister thought the idea of a natural ruler looked more “real” and would look good against my dark floors.  After she made hers, I was sold on keeping in natural.  The board must still be sealed, so I sanded the board down and added 3-4 coats of Polycrylic to the side that would be seen (don’t waste your time or product on doing the back side).  *Tip:  Michael’s sells small cans of stain and Polycrylic and you can use a 40% off coupon, making it super affordable!
I applied the Polycrylic with a torn up t-shirt.  Once the Poly has dried and the edges of your board are smooth, you can begin to adhere your vinyl decals.  There are instructions in the vinyl kit and I will say it is a two person job.  Once you get the hang of the peeling and sticking, it will take you no time at all.
Once the vinyl decals are placed on the board, you will need a hanging mechanism.  You can see in the picture below what we used.  It is sturdy and easy to remove on and off the wall if needed.
Don’t forget to hang your ruler with accuracy on your wall!  You have to take into account where you placed your hanging mechanism and how far up from the floor your want you board to hang.  I didn’t want our ruler to sit right on the baseboard, so we raised it up a few inches and placed our hanger 77” from the floor.
We decided to start documenting the kid’s current measurements, instead of going back and filling in since they were born.  We also decided to measure twice a year (birthday and half birthday).  My sister started writing her heights with a sharpie, and I decided to write ours in pencil.
What a fun project for the whole family.  My kids stand against the ruler on a daily basis to see if they have “grown”.  And yes, I will probably have my 18 year old kids measured on this ruler.  And… I think this just turned 5 year old is going to be passing me up before I know it! 
I just love it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DIY Fabric Backpack Embellishment

I found this cute and quick idea in Family Fun Magazine a few weeks back.  I had everything on hand, so I decided to make a little fabric embellishment for Kate’s backpack.
Start with fabric scraps and cut them into concentric circles (I used 5).  As usual, I just eyeballed for a more handmade feel.
I found a fun button and threaded it through the middle of the fabric.  I also added a few dabs of hot glue to keep the edges of the circles from sagging.
I then cut out a large circle of felt to attach to the back (with hot glue).
I cut an extra strip of felt to hot glue (to secure the safety pin).  I ended up using a much larger pin than what is pictured, because the embellishment ended up turning out a little larger than I planned, but here is the general idea.
Kate has a busy cupcake backpack, so I decided to pin the embellishment to one of the arm straps. I like the pop of color by the face and it adds a touch of whimsy to the front of the backpack.
A little custom touch to an otherwise ordinary backpack!  Of course, this little girl was all about it!
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