Life Love Larson: March 2013


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Kale Chips

We FINALLY tried kale chips the other night with dinner.  They were surprisingly delicious!  Good texture and flavor, and dare I say our kids tried them and liked them (or at least didn’t spit them out)!

I prepped these just how I like to prep other veggies that go in the oven, by drizzling extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling a generous amount of McCormick’s steak seasoning.  I found several online recipes stating to bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, so that’s what I did.

kale chips 2

They came out crispy, but not burnt, which is what you are going for, hence the “chip” part of the whole thing.  We sprinkled a little parmesan after they came out of the oven too.


I purchased a huge bag of kale at Walmart for less than $3.  Worth trying!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easy Puzzle Storage

I recently pinned an image on Pinterest that showed putting puzzle pieces inside pencil pouches to alleviate bulky storage boxes.  I immediately started wondering why I had never organized our puzzles in a better way.  They were sitting on a shelf in a toy closet stacked high, with broken box corners and missing pieces scattered about.  My kids actually love puzzles and play with them often, so Kate and I got to work organizing.

I chose to use quart size freezer ziploc bags instead of pencil pouches.  I had these on hand and ziploc bags are see-through, so you know what you are getting.  I purchased a plastic tub at Dollar Tree to store the puzzles.


Place pieces inside ziploc bag, cut the part of the box that has the puzzle template, and admire your newly organized puzzles!






Am I the last person on Earth to organize their puzzles this way?  Seems so simple.  I’m getting ready to do another toy/stuffed animal/game purge.  I like to do this about every 6 months or so, and organizing the puzzles was a good start!

Monday, March 25, 2013

DIY Fabric Flower Bouquet

I made these no-sew fabric flowers for Kate’s room about a year ago and I’m finally getting around to blogging about them.  Not sure how some of these projects slip through the cracks, but better late than never, right?!  fabric flower 3I found an image and tutorial on Pinterest and thought these looked pretty straight forward to make.  You will need scrap fabric, wooden dowel rods, small pieces of felt, craft paint (if you wish to paint your dowel rods) and hot glue.  I had all of these items on hand except the dowel rods, and you can purchase packs of these at Hobby Lobby or any craft store for cheap (don’t forget your 40% off coupon)!IMG_6974If you are choosing to paint your dowel rods, you will first need to paint these and wait for them to dry.  I painted four and left one natural.  You will need to cut your fabric into long narrow strips.  I don’t know where my mind was when I was making these, but I failed to take pictures of the steps.  Please click here for detailed picture instructions.
The basic concept is to scrunch up the fabric around the base of the dowel rod and hot glue.  Continue wrapping and scrunching all the way around the dowel rod until it starts to look like a flower.fabric flower 5Once you have the fabric adhered to the rod, you will want to cut a small piece of felt to cover up any mess underneath the “flower”.fabric flower 2
fabric flower 1These are so simple and inexpensive to make.  I think they are so fun in a little girl’s room.  I threw the flowers in a mason jar and they sit on top of Kate’s nightstand.fabric flower 6
fabric flower 7Who needs fresh flowers when you can have a fabric bouquet all year long!  Happy crafting!
Other DIY’s from Kate’s Room: Gallery Wall Details, Painted Pink Headboard, Pom Cluster, Ombre K, Thrift Chair Makeover, Silhouette Plates, Scrap Fabric Bunting

Monday, March 18, 2013

DIY Cupcake Topper

I wanted to make some DIY cupcake toppers for the baby shower I co-hosted.  I was brainstorming what I should make and asked my hubby what was girly and sweet, without being to “themey”.  He immediately said “a bow”.  I searched online and found tons of tutorials on how to make bows out of felt, which I already had on hand.  After making the bows, I simply hot glued them to the back of a decorative paper straw (cut in half).  Instant, homemade cupcake topper!
cupcake topper 2
You will first need to cut your felt into three different sized strips.  I can’t remember the exact measurements I used (it was late and I eyeballing), but you get the idea that there is a large, medium, and smaller size. The smallest strip will be the color you want in the center of the bow.
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The long strip gets folded into two loops towards the center.  Place a dab of hot glue to secure.
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Next, pinch the middle together and add another dab of hot glue.
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For the medium sized strip, cut the ends like this…
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Place another dab of hot glue and combine these two pieces.
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Next, take the smallest strip and wrap around the center (again, securing with hot glue).  Cut your paper straw in half and attach bow with more hot glue.
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Once all the strips were cut, they really didn’t take long to assemble (I made 12).  I already had the straws and felt on hand, so these didn’t cost me anything to make.  In keeping with the gold and pink theme, I baked the cupcakes in gold cupcake liners I found at Hobby Lobby.  
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In addition to the cupcakes, I made white chocolate dipped strawberries for the shower (and tinted the chocolate pink).
cucake topper 12

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cleaning a Top-Loading Washer

I posted about cleaning the surface of my washing machine a while back, but this time I also cleaned the inside using bleach and water.  I was totally amazed (and totally grossed out) after cleaning it!  You are going to want to go clean yours immediately!

We have had our washer and dryer for years and have not had any issues.  It’s just your standard, middle of the road Whirlpool washer/dryer and we will be keeping it for as long as it is getting the job done.  Let’s break it down…

1.  Fill washer with HOT water.  Add 1 quart of bleach (I just eyeballed as usual :).  Let agitate for a minute and lift the lid again.  Let stand for 1 hour.  Be sure to set a timer on your phone so you don’t get sidetracked (easy to do in my world :).

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2.  After an hour, run the cycle through.  Immediately fill up the washing machine with HOT water again.  Add one quart of vinegar and agitate for 1 minute.  Lift lid and allow to sit for one hour.

While the vinegar and water is standing, use that mix to thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the washer.  This is where you will find things that gross you out!  Get out a handy dandy toothbrush and soft cloth and get into every nook and cranny of the machine.  There are a lot of them!

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I also removed the fabric softener lid and cleaned inside.  I filled up our laundry sink with some hot water and vinegar and dropped the entire piece inside.  Fabric softener gets built up and your water will look like this! 

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This is what the water looked like in the washing machine after letting the vinegar and water sit for an hour and cleaning the entire inside and outside of the washer.  Gross, right?

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3.  Let the cycle finish out and admire your sparkly clean washing machine!  Much cleaner clothes are on the horizon at the Larson’s!

washer 1

The original post I found and used to follow these steps can be found here.  Also, I know some people don’t like to use bleach in their homes.  I am sure you could probably do two cycles of the vinegar and water and your washer will still be cleaner than when you started!

In case you missed them, here are the links to a few other cleaning posts…
Cleaning a Stainless Steel Sink
How to Clean an Iron

Linking up with:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

DIY: Tissue Paper Tassel Garland

I hosted a baby shower at my house a few weekends ago for a good friend and neighbor.  I wanted to keep things simple and add a few handmade touches here and there.  She is having a girl(!), so no theme, just pink and gold touches.

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I have made tissue paper poms several times, and wanted to try something new.  There are so many tutorials online for how to make a tissue paper tassel garland, (this is the one I used).  This is a bit time consuming, but once you get the hang of it, it is a really simple process.

I liked that the original inspiration had 3 different colors, so I stuck with light pink, magenta, and gold.  You can make 4 little tassels with one sheet of tissue paper-isn’t that awesome?!  You can imagine that this was a super inexpensive project!  Hob Lob carries gold tissue paper in case you were wondering.

tassel 3

You basically take one sheet of tissue paper and fold down lengthwise.  You then fold it width wise once, and then again, making a rectangle.  You will then need to cut small strips, leaving about an inch at the top.  This was a total eyeball process for me, so don’t get hung up on needing the fringe to be perfect…you won’t be able to tell in the end!

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Unfold the issue paper and you will have 2 sides of fringe with a crease in the middle.  Cut down the crease and then cut through the middle of the fringe creating 4 different pieces that look like this…

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Next, you will need to start rolling the tissue paper to create the tassel.  You can see in the photo above where the paper has been rolled rightly in the center.  Be careful as you are rolling not to tear or tangle the fringe.  Once tightly rolled in the center, you make a little loop at the top, place a little dab of hot glue, and you are done!  Make sure the loop is large enough to fit whatever you will be hanging it from.  I used white kitchen twine because I already had it on hand.

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tassel 7

Once you have all your colors completed, simply string along some twine/ribbon/string and admire all the cuteness!

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I just might have to find a spot for this in Kate’s bedroom!

Linking up with:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Embroidery Hoop {framed fabric}

There are images all over Pinterest of framed fabric, using embroidery hoops as frames.  I picked up a large hoop for less than a dollar a while back at a thrift store.  I decided to frame a piece of fabric from an outfit Kate wore when she was itty bitty.  I just keep adding to this little gallery wall in Kate’s room, and I think adds the perfect punch of color.

EH 3

This project takes about 30 seconds to put together!  Cut your fabric to size and insert in your hoop.  I was able to insert a little nail right at the top of the hoop in order to hang it.  Kate’s room really doesn’t have a theme, it is just full of color and whimsy and fun. 

EH 1

While living in South Carolina, a friend of mine made little pillow case dresses for Kate (right) and my niece (Mia-left) to wear to a wedding when Kate was about 7 months old (thanks Ash!).  Here they are-I can’t believe Kate was ever that small! 



After Kate grew out of the dress, I threw it in my stash of fabric.  I’m so happy to finally be using it again in a different way!

EH 2

EH 3

Here is the breakdown of this little space:

Hot air balloon/elephant art:  thrift store – $3
Framed “K”:  west bottoms – $5
Brass Owl (it’s actually a trivet for the kitchen): thrift store – $2
Tiny ballerina:  gift from great grandma
Mini chalkboard: Pottery Barn Kids Outlet – $10

I know it has been a while since I have posted anything about Kate’s room.  Here are past posts/tutorials from her bedroom (images will be from old house and current house).

DIY Pom Cluster
Painted Pink Headboard
Recovered/repainted thrift chair
DIY Silhouette Plates
Ombre “K”

Linking up with:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Past Spring Posts

With spring on the horizon, and so many new readers in the last few months, I thought I would post some links to past spring projects in case you are feeling crafty!

Painted Front Door (why not paint your door a fun color for spring!)
front door
Our snow is starting to melt and there is a warm up in our extended forecast-can’t wait!
Monday, March 4, 2013

DIY Kraft Paper Runner

I just love kraft paper.  It’s so versatile and it’s inexpensive and there are so many ways to customize it to fit your needs.  I hosted a baby shower this weekend and wanted to make a custom runner for my island, where the food was being served.  I kept the d├ęcor pretty simple, using pinks and gold.  More details to come on the shower, but here is the simplest runner ever!
kraft paper 2
Cut your kraft paper to size (I buy mine at Dollar Tree), which for me was the length of my island.  Dip a pencil eraser into cheap acrylic paint and start stamping your paper.  My paper was long, so I broke it up into smaller sections and let each section dry before starting the next.
kraft paper 3
kraft paper 4
Kraft paper is neutral enough that it doesn’t distract from whatever is going on on top of it, which in my case was the food and desserts.  I was kind of rushing around as guests were arriving, so I didn’t get a good shot of the runner (bad blogger), but you can catch a glimpse in the photo below.
kraft paper 1
This simple little detail cost about 50 cents, (I already had the paints and only used half the roll of paper).  The best part?  Just throw it away when the party is over for easy clean up!  Happy Monday, friends!