Life Love Larson: May 2013


Friday, May 31, 2013

Gooey Pecan Rolls

These rolls will always remind me of my mom and my family and special occasions, which makes me happy.  She would make these for us on Christmas morning and other holidays.  They were such a treat because we didn’t eat them that often.  Now that I am an adult and the cook in our family, we eat these in the same way, on holidays, or when we have company.  These are so delicious and Drew’s absolute favorite!!
pecan rolls 1

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DIY Gold Corner Frames

I saw this tutorial a few months back and knew I wanted to try and spruce up some plain brown frames I have hanging on a small wall next to our butler’s pantry.  This particular tutorial used spray painted painters tape, but I decided to just put the “gold” right on the frame.  These frames aren’t anything that exciting or expensive, so I just went for it, and I love the result.  These photos of the kids are a few years old but something is keeping me from updating them (denial that they are getting older!), so they will stay as is for now. 
gold corner frame 6
For this quick project, I used Rub n’ Buff (one of my favorite products) and Frog tape.
gold corner frame 3
I measured 3” from each corner and made small pencil marks where I would place the tape.  No leveling here, just eyeballed it.
gold corner frame 2
After you have it taped off, start applying your “gold”.  I used both my finger and a small paint brush to apply the R n’ B.
gold corner frame 4
Once your gold has dried, simply peel off the tape and admire your new frames!
gold corner frame 5
Here is a comparison of the frames before and after.
gold corner frame 1
Such a quick and easy update.  It’s all in the details for me!
gold corner frame 7

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Thoughts on Thrift/Second Hand Shopping

We have always donated items to second hand stores, but it’s only in the last few years that I have become a thrifter.  Once you start, and score your first “find”, it is hard to not keep going back!  There is so much goodness lurking around every corner if you know what to look for and know what you are doing.  In this economy, and in the age of Pinterest and DIY blogs, more and more people are flooding second hand stores (every blog I like to read has a blogger behind it that likes to shop at flea markets, on Craigslist, at thrift stores, etc).  People have discovered that with a little patience and very little money (and a little spray paint), you can transform almost anything. That is the thrill of it.  No one else will have what you just bought.  I know it’s not for everyone, but these are my tips/tricks/thoughts on thrifting & buying second hand…

1.  Don’t Just Buy Because It’s Inexpensive.  Almost every item at a thrift store is relatively inexpensive so you will be tempted to throw everything in your cart.  Stop.  Don’t do this.  Be selective about what you purchase.  Do you have a spot in your house for it or are you just buying it because it’s a great deal?  I think this goes for shopping at any venue!

$20 dresser – I painted it red and cleaned up the hardwarethrift 1

2.  If you are on the fence about something, especially a piece of furniture, throw it in your cart or pull off the ticket.  You can always put it back, but if you don’t pick it up in that second, someone will be right behind ready to snatch it up.  Make good decisions about what you really need/want.  You would be surprised how many people are in a thrift store looking for exactly what you are (especially furniture pieces).

$10 – twin headboard I painted pink for Kate’s roomIMG_7168

3.  Go often if you have the time.  Second hand store shelves (especially really busy ones like Goodwill and Salavation Army) will look different from one hour to the next.  It’s all about timing and all about the hunt.  You will find which stores you like best.  I had really great thrift stores in San Antonio, and I am kind of ho hum about those in my area in KC.  You are more likely to find great stuff in larger cities, in older parts of town, so expand your thrifting radius!

Most of the books on my bookshelves were purchased at thrift stores for less than .50 each.  The gold frame artwork ($5) and moss balls ($5) you see on the left are also thrift store purchases!

thrift 2

4.  You must be able to walk away with nothing and not be discouraged.  More often than not, I walk out of a thrift store with nothing in my hands.  I have a good eye and have learned over time what to look for.  This goes back to my point in #1.  Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean it’s great!  You don’t want to wind up with a bunch of junk you will never use!

$15 – Outdoor clock for back patioIMG_4331

5.  Let’s face it, 85% of items you will walk by will be junk.  Look for interesting pieces.  Look for books.  Look for items that can be put on a shelf or displayed in your home (don’t forget you can turn ugly into chic with a little spray paint!).  Look for planters and baskets.  Look for frames and interesting artwork.  Look for cool lamps.  Look for great dishes.  Look for furniture pieces that can be transformed.  Toys/games/puzzles/ are also great finds (I have bought two razor scooters for less than $5 at second hand stores).

$12 - piece of large artwork with gold framethrift 3

6.  Nothing could be more true here than “One Man’s Trash…”. I look at thrift stores as a win/win. I am able to donate my items and search and pay for “new to me” items. They create jobs for people, they support local churches/missions/non-profits. And, what a better way to be “green”. If it’s not your thing, I totally get it. You should just try one time, and see if you can find anything good (even something small)!!!

($2) wire basket I sprayed gold to hold limes and  ($1) vintage black & white coasters for the bar cart.  Those coasters are my favorite thing about that bar cart!  The bar cart is also a vintage find!thrift 4

I love a pulled together, eclectic look. I also have an abnormal urge to change things up in my home.  Often.  I’m crazy like that.  I’m talking moving things around weekly.  Buying inexpensive, quirky, and interesting pieces allow for me to change things up without feeling bad, because I didn’t spend a lot.  I think finding little pieces, or large furniture pieces, from thrift stores can bring character to a home.  When your home is filled with items from all different places and price points, it creates a collected, warm, and comfortable space filled with things you love. 

Don’t forget to scope out your local Habitat for Humanity Restore, yard sales, Craigslist, antique stores, and vintage shops to find interesting and eclectic pieces.  No matter how much money we make, how “new” our house is, or if I won the lottery tomorrow, I will always be interested in scoring a great “find”.  It’s who I am.  I don’t apologize for it.  I just think everyone else paid too much!!  :)

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Creative Dress Up Storage

I’m trying to finish up showing you all of the projects from Kate’s room (we have been talking about her room for a loooong time)!  Her room has truly been such a fun room to decorate and a labor of love because almost everything is redone, refinished, repainted, recovered, DIY’d, or purchased second hand. 
About a year ago, we were shopping at a vintage market, Urban Mining, in Kansas City, and stumbled upon a great piece of worn wood with knobs.  After a little contemplating, we decided it would work in Kate’s room as a creative dress up storage solution.  I think I paid $15-$20.
dress up 1
dress up 8
Dress up is big in our house, especially with Kate.  I thought it would be the best use of space to hang these dresses in her room, on a large wall that needed a little something.
dress up 4
I thought about painting and changing the knobs, but in the end just cleaned it up and left it as I bought it.  I like the fact that it is chippy and worn looking, and the knobs never show anyway.
dress up 6
Kate loves having her dress up stuff at her fingertips.
dress up 7
I also keep a pink basket on the floor next to the dresses with all of the crowns, shoes, gloves, etc.  Everything has a specific spot in this house-it keeps me sane!! :)
dress up 3
dress up 5
I think there is only one more project to share (that I recently finished) and then I will add some pictures of her whole room.  I’m hesitant to ever say rooms are “done”, but the big things are complete!
Other Project posts: Ombre Monogram, Silhouette Plates, Painted Pink Headboard, Fabric Bunting, Gallery Wall, Thrift Chair Redo, Pom Cluster, Fabric Flower Bouquet

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll Ups

We had a neighborhood cookout this weekend and tried a new appetizer recipe, Spicy Chicken Tortilla Roll Ups, adapted via this blog.  They were easy, delicious, and gone very quickly!
spicy roll up 1

Friday, May 17, 2013

Chalkboard Summer Bucket List

Drew “graduates” from Pre-K today (I may or may not shed a tear this morning and I never thought I would be like that) and yesterday marked the last day of preschool for both kids, which means it is officially summer in our world!  Moving from San Antonio, and living in the south for 10 years prior to our move to Kansas, we enjoyed very mild winters.  This winter in Kansas was a long one for us, so bring on the warm temps, later bedtimes, vacations, summer wardrobe, and dirty little feet!
We worked on our summer list this week.  It never really changes much, but my kids love doing it.  This year, we utilized our chalk wall, and we certainly have no excuses to ever be bored!

I’ve never really been big on buying my kids lots of “things”.  Truthfully, I am the mom that if Drew asks for something in February, I tell him to put it on his birthday list (his birthday is in August)!  They have actually started saving their own money to buy things they really want (mean, mean mom, right??)!!  I do, however, love to give the gift of experiences, and summer is really a great time to do this.
summer fun 3

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spring Porch Decor

It finally feels like spring around here after a random snowfall in May and record breaking low temps for the month!  We have been working hard in the yard, landscaping, and sprucing things up outside.  For the porch, I reused an old DIY wreath, bought some new pillows for our rockers, and added a few plants/ferns. 
Props to my hubby (and thanks to all the rain we’ve had) for keeping a lovely trimmed, green, edged, and weed whacked lawn!  He is in charge of the lawn, and I am the resident landscaper, mulcher, weed puller/killer, and overall “presentation maker”!!  :)
spring porch 4
I love having a front porch and rockers seemed like a fitting choice.  I wanted to keep the porch simple and classic looking.  I love the black accents against our brown house.
spring porch 1
I’m still looking for a little outdoor table to put in between the rockers and I will probably change up the wreath for summer. 
spring porch 2
I trimmed a couple of terra cotta pots in gold and filled them up with greens and pinks.
spring porch 3
spring porch 5
My mandavilla trellis plant was the only perennial that did not come back this year, so I replaced it the other day.  It should be crawling up the trellis very soon!
I’m working on getting our back patio finished up and have a few more things to plant before I take some pictures.  Soon it will be time to grab a drink and enjoy all of it!  Happy Spring!
Painted Front Door, Modern House Numbers, Spring Wreath, Double Up a Door Mat
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

DIY Confetti Inspired Terra Cotta Pots

Here is the guest post I did for Lil Luna last week in case you missed it!!
I wanted to make a quick and simple craft that anyone could try for Mother’s Day.  I am in full spring fever mode, and I am no stranger to decorating pots.  I love indoor and outdoor plants and I love making simple pots look more festive.  I always think that you absolutely can’t go wrong with gifting a plant!  This craft is inspired by my love for gold and confetti inspired art. 
polka dotted pot 6
I started with two different terra cotta pots.  I love to pick up pots at thrift stores because they are already “worn” looking, which I love.  This can also be purchased for cheap almost any store this time of year.  I picked up three different sheets of gold scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby and a 1” circle punch.  You will also need Mod Podge to complete this project.
Start punching out several circles and adhere to your pot in random order with Mod Podge.  I used a small paint brush to brush Mod Podge on the back of each circle.  It is a good idea to take your finger and press the paper onto the pot so it doesn’t peel back.  Once all of your circles are added, add an entire thin layer of Mod Podge over the top to seal the paper circles to the pot.
polka dotted pot 4 polka dotted pot 5
Allow some drying time to make sure all of the scrapbook paper is fully adhered to the pot and add your favorite plant (begonia on the left, lemon button fern on the right).
polka dot pot 1
I also made little homemade gift tags to tie to the plant.  They are made from simple white tags (bought at any craft store).  I added a gold circle to the end with a glue stick and hole punched a space to tie kitchen twine to the plant.
polka dot pot 3
For this tag, I added a little Washi tape to embellish it even more. 
polka dot pot 2
I think the gold “confetti” makes these pots really festive and fun!  Homemade is always a good idea, don’t you think?!
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Garage Entry Door Painted Black

I’m slowly getting the the entry and exit doors painted on my first floor.  The back patio door is painted black on both sides, the front door is painted blue, and now the garage entry door is painted black.  My new neighbor has this door painted black, and it just confirmed that it needed to be done over here!  I’m hoping to get the interior front door done very soon, as well as the mudroom door!
This particular door faces out to the garage, and though a garage is hardly an interesting or pretty place, this was an easy change and a quick “like your house from every angle” sort of project.  I had some leftover exterior black paint from the back door, so all I needed to grab was a roller.  Here is the door pre-paint…
black garage door 1
I debated painting the unfinished trim around the door, but decided against it in the end.  I washed the door with water and mild soap.  No priming.  Here is the door after 3 coats of paint.
black garage door 3
I used a roller but didn’t bother to tape off the door handle or lock.  I used a small brush to get the space between the handle and lock and around both pieces.  Make sure to roll as much as you can to avoid brush strokes. 

I LOVE a black door.  I’m surprised what a difference this has made.  This is the door I use about 20 times a day, so it makes sense that I should like looking at it!  It’s all in the details…
black garage door 1black garage door 4
Hope you are all having a great week! 
Friday, May 3, 2013

10 Year Anniversary!

Steve and I are celebrating 10 years married today!  I cannot believe how fast the time has gone.  A blink of an eye, really, and what a joy ride it has been!  I can’t imagine how my parents and Steve’s parents each feel about their 35+ years of marriage and how it probably doesn’t even seem possible.  We are thankful every day for those 4 people who found a way to show us for the last 33 years what true love, loyalty, and marriage is all about.  We will forever be grateful.

I’m about to get personal and gushy with all of you, which I don’t normally do, so bear with me!  I woke up this morning very emotional.  When we got married at the age of 23, we were full of wonder, adventure, had no kids, two incomes, were emotional about moving away from family, and had no idea the twists and turns our lives would take.  Here I look 10 years down the road, after 6 major moves, 4 houses, 2 kids (15 months apart), losing two dogs, never having the chance to live close to family, and think of not only how hard it has been, but what great joy I find in thinking of all the memories we have shared and how close we have become.

We look so young (and so skinny)!


I think making sound choices throughout life leads to good things. Marrying Steve was the best choice I have made in my life.  We are tight, connected in a way that seems almost impossible.  Nothing is off limits.  We love hard and we fight hard.  We’re blessed beyond measure.

Now…..this is not all to say that marriage is bubble gum and roses.  I don’t think this could be farther from the truth.  Want to test a marriage?  Live in a hotel room with two toddlers and two Great Danes for 2 months in a brand new city, and then do it again 16 months later in another new city.  Those were not happy times.  Saying yes to six major moves?  Wouldn’t change it, but each move had its difficult moments.  Navigating our emotions after a miscarriage.  Flooding a bathtub and delaying a move by 2 months so your house could be repaired?  So.not. good.  Having a 6 month old baby on your hip while you find out you are pregnant with number 2?  Joy, surprise, and sheet panic!  Having two kids 15 months apart with no help??  Let’s just say I think there was a period of about a year where I must have been a crazy person.  My SC friends, and Steve, can weigh in on that one.


Let’s just be honest and say that marriage is hard.  It takes work, and tolerance…

And because I have NEVER nagged my husband in 10 years… :)

And because we have big plans to have this marriage last a really long time…

In honor of 10 years, I have compiled a list of 10 things that I have learned about marriage. . .

1.  Marriage is hard work.  It just is.  You must work at it in order to make it what you dream it to be.

2.  Bloom where you are planted.  Don’t wish you were someone else or somewhere else.  Work with what you have, where you are at, and make it great.

3.  Laugh a lot.  If you know Steve Larson, you know we laugh a lot.  It was the first thing that attracted me to him, and it will always be what I love most about him.  Don’t take things too seriously.  Life is hard enough. 

4.  Learn to say you’re sorry.  That 5 letter word can work wonders in a marriage.  Be humble, forgive, and let it go.  Life is too short to hang on to whatever it is you are arguing about at the time (of course, easier said than done)! 

5.  Go on dates.  After kids, it is hard to get away, and babysitters can be expensive.  You must make this a priority.  I am grateful to my sister for making me realize this!  Going out on dates makes you remember why you liked each other in the first place.  Day to day life gets routine.  Plan something fun!

6.  Communicate well.  Find times to sit and talk about what the other person needs/wants.  Be open.  Explain what you need.  Men need it. spelled. out. very. clearly. :)

7.  Have high expectations for your marriage.  We believe it should be a great marriage, so we work towards that.  If you believe any less, it will be less. 

8.  Respect who the other person is.  Steve still does things that annoy me, that also annoyed me 10 years ago, and vice versa.  We are learning over time that those quirks and things about us are not going to change, so we must accept and be respectful (again, easier said that done)!

9.  Show gratitude towards what each person brings to the marriage, home, family life and acknowledge it.  Repeat it.  Say it often.  Everyone wants to be told what a great job they are doing. 

10.  Show love.  Touch.  Be nice.  Hold hands.  Kiss in front of your kids.  Show excitement when your spouse walks through the door.  Be present.  Savor the good times and learn from your mistakes.  We are not perfect and that is okay.  Pick back up and make things work.  No one else can make it great besides you!

Steve is a guy that has learned to put up with my shortcomings.  He puts up with my nagging about hanging curtains and shopping for home d├ęcor.  He is a fantastic father.  He has an amazing work ethic that allows me to be home with my kids, the place where I want to be.  He does what is right.  He is loyal and committed.  I’m one lucky gal. 


Heading out for a sushi date tonight and celebrating big in a few weeks with a special trip.  My heart is so full today.  Thanks for letting me get personal and gush about Steve (he doesn’t read, but maybe I should make him today)!  xoxo