Life Love Larson: October 2013

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Hardwoods & Stair Carpet

Today is the start of a fun install in our home! We decided to hire someone to install hardwood floors in our upstairs hallway and stair landing. After the floors are installed/sanded/stained/sealed, they will come back through and finish off with a stair carpet runner on the stairs.

This is something we debated doing before we moved in.  At that time, things kept adding up, so we decided to hold off and change it down the road. Well, today is down the road and I am so excited!  Please excuse the terrible iPhone photos in bad lighting, but you get the idea!


The hardwoods are going to be the exact same wood (rustic maple) and stain as the downstairs.  I debated going a little lighter since dark hardwoods show EVERYTHING, but ultimately decided to just keep it cohesive.


I think this landing will look so much better with a dark floor to break up the light wall color and the light trim.  The huge mirror helps to bounce light around since our stairwell interior, with no windows.


The wood and railings will remain the same. The carpet we chose is light in color, very durable, and has a slight diamond pattern to it. Once it is installed, I will have more pictures.

This is a shot of our upstairs hallway, which will be all hardwoods. Can you believe we have lived here for almost two years and not one thing has been hung in this hallway?! Once the floors are done, I am going to do some touch up painting and get to work on it! Again, I think the white trim and doors will look a million times better with a dark hardwood floor below.


I like to DIY small projects, but this is best left to the professionals! We decided to get two quotes for this project, and ultimately decided to go with the company our builder uses for new homes, and who installed our floors downstairs, which we have been extremely happy with.  

Today is the carpet rip out and installation, Friday is sanding and staining, and first two coats of sealer. Saturday is the final coat of sealer. The first two coats will be water based, and the third will be a hard coating oil based seal for maximum durability.

I see lots of sock sliding kids in my near future! The next debate will be to add a runner or leave it open?? Thoughts??  

Oh, and Happy Halloween! It has been raining here for three straight days, which I think is a requirement on Halloween if you live in the midwest. Let me know if you encounter any Red Power Ranger or Ladybug sightings!  xo
Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Look for Less Design Challenge: CB2 Knock-Off Peace Wreath

When I was asked to participate in a "Look for Less" Design Challenge, I jumped at the chance, as this is right up my alley!  I thought about doing several different projects just for the sake of doing them, but ultimately wanted to make something that I could use in my own home, that other people could easily recreate, and something I really loved.  I wanted to do something fun and modern.  I found this peace wreath in the new CB2 catalog and knew it was the perfect time for me to get a jumpstart on a holiday DIY! 



The CB2 Inner Peace Wreath (Novogratz Collection) retails for $49 + shipping.  I made mine for just under $13. It's huge, and I love it!


I love the simplicity and the modern/rustic feel.  This is so easy to make, anyone can do it!


Here is the wreath styled in our dining room niche.  When I actually decorate for the holidays, it will probably find a new home outdoors, but for now, inside will have to do! This wreath is very large, 36" in diameter, so it really makes a statement!


This wreath is large, but easily hangs by a nail (or Command Strip).


I simply purchased a large, round grapevine wreath (with coupon it was $10), some cheap twigs from an ugly piece from a thrift store (2.50) that I deconstructed, and a strand of Christmas lights I already had on hand. The inspiration wreath had a diameter of 36", and I was able to find one that large at both Michael's & Hobby Lobby.

I trimmed up the grapevine wreath with my garden shears to remove any loose pieces or sticks that were sticking out, etc.  I wanted the wreath to look very round and sort of compact. I used floral wire to tighten up the edges around the wreath.


I then deconstructed an ugly thrift store piece to acquire my long sticks for the center of the peace sign. They happened to be just a bit longer than I needed so I cut them all down to size. I also trimmed any wayward branches. These old pieces are easily found at thrift stores, or you can purchase bunches of sticks at craft stores (or gather some from your yard)!


I then used some of the leftover shorter twigs, as well as twigs I pulled from the actual grapevine wreath to get the two shorter sides of peace sign. I made two even stacks and cut them down to the the same length.


Once I had my three bundles, I secured each of them together with fishing wire to keep them nice and tight.


I then started placing (eyeballed) the bundles where I wanted them and secured those to the grapevine with fishing wire. I also stuck some of the twigs in between the grapevine sticks for extra security. You will just need to play around with this part until you get the peace sign looking straight and secured. You will not see the fishing wire once the strand of lights goes on, so secure as much as you need!


Once I felt the peace sign was secure, I wrapped a long strand of Christmas lights all around, leaving a foot or so of cord hanging at the bottom so I could plug it in. This part probably took the longest because you have to weave in and out without puncturing your hand with twigs!

I love the way it turned out and it is classic enough to use year after year.  PEACE OUT!



Be sure to check out all of the other great Design Challenge Posts by clicking on the links below!






Life on Virginia Street : Wood Bead Chandelier

Kitchen Table Art : Faux Pie Safe

We will be doing another challenge after the new year!  I hope you found something that inspired you! xo

Linking up with: http://betweennapsontheporch.net, http://www.keepingitsimplecrafts.com, http://www.skiptomylou.org, http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com, http://homecomingmn.blogspot.com, 
Thursday, October 24, 2013

Using Coconut Oil to Remove Eye Makeup

I keep finding more and more reasons to love coconut oil!  I recently saw on Pinterest that it is a great eye makeup remover, so I gave it a try.  I will (and occasionally do) leave the house without makeup on, but I always, always throw on a little mascara.  Even though I love it, removing it is such a pain!

Cue the coconut oil.  Simply rub a small amount of it in a circular motion on yours eyes and start to feel/see your eye makeup coming off.  Once you look like a raccoon, use a wet wash cloth or wet cotton ball and remove all the gunk.  It works great, it's inexpensive, and your eyes will thank you for the moisturizer!


I purchased a little glass sugar jar w/ lid at Walmart (less than $3 in the kitchen section) to store the coconut oil in my bathroom.  I keep it on a little tray near my sink for easy access, along with cotton balls, Q-tips, lotions, etc.

While we are on the subject, I do have a favorite mascara that I have used forever.  I have tried so many different kinds and always come back to this one.  My absolute favorite!


What is your favorite mascara or beauty product?!  xo


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Monster Cookies

I picked up some M&M's the other day and decided to make monster cookies.  Before checking Pinterest, I checked with my mom (my go-to for all things good), and sure enough she had an "oldie but a goodie" recipe. Flourless to boot!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Porch Decor

Our front porch came together this year with mums, pumpkins, and a few budget-friendly DIY projects.  It is so much more fun to decorate now that the kids have an interest!









Decorations are up, costumes have been decided, now we just need some candy!  Happy October!


Friday, October 11, 2013

"Spooky" Hanging Ghosts - Revisited

Last year, I made PB knock-off ghosts for our front porch out of styrofoam balls and cheesecloth.  They stayed hung the entire month of October, so the twine and the eye hooks worked well to secure them.  After Halloween, I tossed the cheesecloth (and whatever bugs lost their lives getting caught in it), and held on to the styrofoam balls and twine.

This year, I decided to forego the cheesecloth.  The cheesecloth looked great, with the black eyes peeking through, but every morning I was out reshaping and detangling it.  This year, I decided to go ahead and use cheap, white muslin fabric and I am so much happier!


I bought three yards of fabric for less than $2/yard (plus I used a 15% off total purchase coupon).  Because the fabric didn't allow for the eyes to peek through, I simply cut six eyeballs out of black felt and hot glued them right to the fabric.


I used the same twine and eye hooks from last year, so most of the work was already done.  I poked a little hole through the top of the fabric to slide the twine through and actually glued the fabric down around the styrofoam ball to avoid it flying up and over.  I used rubber cement for this and it has worked like a charm!


I love how they add height to the porch and they look great when it is windy!


Hopefully, I will be able to reuse all three ghosts (entirely) next year!


Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  xo

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Washi Tape Spider Webs

In deciding to go "toddler spooky" on our front porch this year, I wanted to make a few spider webs on the two little windows that flank our front door. I was going to use electrical tape, but at the last minute I decided to use some black/white chevron Washi tape I had in my stash. Washi tape is so much easier to peel and rip and stick than electrical tape. I like the pattern too!


These take just a few minutes to create.  I added spiders from Dollar Tree for the finishing touch (those are being held up with black electrical tape).  You can get Washi tape almost anywhere, including several online sources, and even Walmart.  I purchased this black/white chevron at Hobby Lobby several months ago.


I love the dimension the spider webs add to the porch.  More to come on the rest of the porch later in the week!


Check out the color of our front door here.  Find out how to make your own striped skull wreath here.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Snickers & Apple Salad

This recipe should hardly be called a "salad", but it does have apples in it!  I made this last year and tried it again recently with an added ingredient.  When referencing the "pin", the blogger added a box of instant vanilla pudding to the recipe, which I also tried.  There is no way anyone can NOT like this "salad"!  It's so good!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Three Ingredient Hot Apple Cider

I had some of the kindergarten moms over to our house this morning to plan the class Halloween party.  I decided to make some hot apple cider and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to set out.  I had been wanting to make and freeze some muffins anyway, and the apple cider can be made in about 2 minutes.

Instead of mixing together multiple spices and cloves and everything else, my mom told me to just mix apple cider, cranberry juice, and a few cinnamon sticks, and throw in the crockpot.  It was so easy and so good!