Life Love Larson: 2013


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Home Tour - 2013

Welcome to our Christmas Home Tour! If you are new here, thank you for stopping by! I am excited to be a part of a tour with so many wonderful bloggers. Make sure you check out all of the stops along the tour, and link up your own holiday home on Friday at Like A Saturday.

If you are stopping by from Absolutely Arkansas (stop #6 on the tour), welcome!

Now, let's get started!

This year, I finally decided to donate a lot of our Christmas "stuff" and decorated only with what I really felt represented our style as a family. The most important thing to me is having a home that feels cozy this time of year. Gone are the days where I feel like I have to put out every little thing that was ever gifted to me or handed down!

I usually go pretty traditional on the porch, using fresh garland and a little ribbon to dress up the door. I love bringing this chalkboard outside for all holidays/parties.  The two small pre-lit trees were Goodwill finds from a few weeks ago!

I also decided to move my CB2 Knock Off Peace Wreath outdoors, hanging it in front of two windows on the porch.  It's huge, and I love how it looks from the street.

I only decorated the first floor with small touches and kept things pretty simple this year. There really is no theme, just a lot of color, which I am clearly not afraid of! The red dresser is always in the house, so it looks very festive this time of year!

We always get a real tree. I love them. Every year, we do white lights, and this year, I added a striped blanket as our tree skirt. I decided a simple ribbon would serve as the tree topper this year.

I actually scored another thrift store tree this year, and set it up between the kitchen and great room. I had some faux fur laying around for another project, and decided to use it as the tree skirt. Next year this will be the kid's tree, and the main tree might have to be changed up a bit!

Our mantel consists of more fresh garland, gold candlesticks, a DIY Metallic Tassel Garland, and some bright colored/glittered ornaments. I keep the driftwood on the mantel year round.

I added a few touches to the coffee table to make it festive too!

I am a sucker for a bust. A strand of gold beads and a little red bow dress her up for the holidays!

I only added a few touches in the kitchen. This DIY Pom Garland I made last year found its way back to the kitchen window again this year. I love the whimsy of this simple garland, and it brings great color to our white kitchen!

I find that adding ribbons and bows and bulbs to everyday items is such an easy way to bring in the holidays without having to do much work!

I found an image on Pinterest that I tried to duplicate on our large chalkboard wall between the mudroom and the kitchen.  Don't judge my artwork!  I like to be creative, but never claimed to be an artist!

Lastly, I have been hanging our Christmas cards on our DIY Sunburst Mirror this year. It makes for a decoration in and of itself, with no effort! I might be leaving these up after the holidays!

I hope you enjoyed a peek into our Christmas Home!  Thank you for stopping by!

Next up on the Christmas Tour of Homes: 
Make your way on over and see her lovely home!

Linking up with:,,,,,,,,,,, http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com, http://whipperberry.comhttp://frenchcountrycottage.blogspot.com,,,,,
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY Marbleized Ornaments

Kate was recently invited to a lunch and ornament exchange with the girls in her pre-k class. I thought this was a great opportunity to get a little crafty with her and DIY a few ornaments. We looked online and decided to make DIY marbleized ornaments (found via Hi Sugarplum).

These were super easy and fun to make, and actually turned out better than we expected!  You simply need craft paint and clear ornaments. The tutorial said to use paints in the same color family, which we tried. We also mixed in a little gold and some neon pink to see what would happen. We especially loved the punch of the neon pink!

After removing the top piece, squeeze in a little paint, and start twisting and swirling until it is coated. Make sure to empty out an excess paint, or it will take FOREVER to dry and will become heavy (trust me on this one :). When the paints start to mix, you will start to see a marbleized effect.

We used several shades of light/dark/neon pink, shades of light blue/mint/teal, and threw some gold in the mix on two of them. The possibilities are endless, and we want to make more! We tied a little pink/gold bow on the top for the ornament exchange. I know Kate felt special giving a friend an ornament she made herself! Thanks, Cassie, for the idea!

Linking up with:,,,,,,,,,,, http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com,,,,,,,,
Monday, December 16, 2013

Peppermint Kiss Cookies

Several families in our neighborhood took a trip on the "Polar Express" to look at Christmas lights this past weekend.  I volunteered to bring cookies and tried out a new recipe - Peppermint Kiss Cookies. They were a big hit, and I will definitely be making these again next year!

The recipe I followed can be found here.

A few tips:

- I did not use the peppermint extract and I don't think you need it. If you want more peppermint flavor, add more chopped kisses to the dough.

- I tried placing the kisses on top and running them to the freezer, but they still melted. So, I decided to just swirl the melted kisses around on top.  For the second and third dozen, I simply chopped extra kisses and sprinkled them on top for the same effect.  This was much easier, but probably not as cute as with the kiss on top!

- I found the peppermint kisses at Walmart in the seasonal food/candy aisle.

- I put the extra cookies in a freezer bag and will use to set out for Santa!  This recipe makes a lot of cookies and they freeze well!

I also made these White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies again this year and delivered to our neighbors along with our Christmas card. These are always a fan favorite if you are looking to try out a new recipe!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Gift Tags {Using Old Christmas Cards}

I always save the previous year's Christmas cards we receive, look over them again when I get all of our Christmas decorations out, and then recycle them. I saw an idea in Martha Stewart Living recently and decided to recycle those old cards in a new way…DIY Gift Tags! So many cards come with a printed back side, perfect for saving and using for future paper projects!

I ended up using plain white gift tags I already had on hand, some baker's twine I picked up at the Dollar Spot, and a some gold scrapbook paper on a few. Everything else is from last year's Christmas cards, including the words!

These are so simple to make. Just start cutting and get creative with colors, patterns, and words. I adhered everything with regular school glue.

I made 12 of these in about 20 minutes. Why not give a gift with a homemade gift tag?! So much cuter than those cheesy Santa stickers!

Don't forget to hold onto all your cards this year, so you can do this next year! This will definitely be something I do every year from now on!

Linking up with:,,,,,,,,,,, http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com,,,,,, http://diyshowoff.com,,
Friday, December 6, 2013

Decorating the Mantel: DIY Tissue Paper Tassel Garland

I wanted to DIY a little garland for our mantel for the holidays. I have made one of these tissue paper tassel garlands before, and thought I would just change up the colors a bit. I opted for a classic white, gold, and silver.

I hung the tassels on a thin piece of twine and tied the twine to the ends of the driftwood that I always have on the mantel.  

These are super simple to make! You can find my full tutorial here. The gold and silver tissue paper was purchased at Hobby Lobby.

I love the touch of glam added to the natural greenery and driftwood! Simple and festive!

Don't forget I am participating in a Holiday Home Tour! Mine will be up Dec. 19th!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Countdown Calendar

I did a quick Pinterest search to see if I could find any free Christmas countdown printables, and came across this free Christmas tree page via Family Home Fun blog.

I discovered that the circles are 1", which is perfect for punching out scrapbook paper with a 1" hole punch (find these at any craft store)!

Simply download the printable to your computer and print on white card stock.  When we are finished, the tree will be decorated with different colored scrapbook paper "bulbs"!  A fun little tradition that we started last year with this Santa beard countdown!

Monday, December 2, 2013


Hello friends and happy Monday! The kids and I slept in a bit today and were slow to get back into our routine. I think the past several days of late nights and bad really good eating caught up with all of us! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and start to the holiday season. We hosted Steve's family and had fantastic weather and great time just hanging out, seeing a movie, eating, and playing a little basketball. I may or may not have schooled the guys in a game of 21!  :)

This time of year also marks Kate's 5th birthday, as well as our two year anniversary of being in KC. I absolutely cannot believe that my youngest is 5! Kate continues to be sweet and sassy, a snuggler, a daddy's girl, someone who LOVES her brother, a tease, silly, a helper, funny, smart beyond her years, and someone who keeps this momma on her toes.  Cheers to a 5 wonderful years!

Her birthday celebration at preschool fell on the same day as the Thanksgiving feast, so we combined the two festivities with turkey sugar cookies!

Have you seen Frozen yet? We have. Twice. We loved it so much we saw it twice in one week and have been singing the songs for days. A must see!

We got our Christmas tree on Saturday. We always do a real tree, and the house smells of Christmas!

I have slowly started pulling out items to decorate the house and the outside lights have been hung. I have been asked to participate in a Holiday Home Tour with several other bloggers this year!  I hope you will check out all of these home tours for inspiration starting on the 16th!  My post will be up on the 19th.

I also wanted to extend a big thank you to three blogs for recently featuring a project of mine!  

Lastly, I just wanted to go over some LLL housekeeping!  I have been hearing that people have had trouble posting comments. I have looked into it and have hopefully corrected the problem. I did, however, have to disable "anonymous comments" because of all the spam.  If you are still having issues, please email me!  

Don't forget to connect with me via Pinterest, Bloglovin, Instagram, email, and FB by clicking on the icons near the top of the sidebar.  As always, I want to extend a huge thank you to all of you who stop by on a daily/weekly basis. I appreciate all the pins, comments, features, and emails. I especially appreciate all of you for keeping this a positive and fun place for me to share all of our happenings.  I hope you have been inspired somewhere along the way too!  xo

Monday, November 25, 2013

Simple & Natural Thanksgiving Table

I mentioned before that we are hosting Thanksgiving again this year. Our dining room table is a little tight with eight people, but it is cozy and I love eating in the dining room (because we never do so otherwise)!  Besides the bouquet, I already had everything on hand, so this table came together quickly!

The placemats are pieces of cut kraft paper. I purchased several rolls of this paper at Dollar Tree last year, and am using it again this year!  The silver chargers are also from Dollar Tree, but you can get these almost anywhere for cheap.

In the center of the table, I placed a piece of scrap wood from our recent hardwood install. It was already stained and was the perfect size, I just added some gold craft paint to the sides to glam it up a bit. I like how it adds a little height in the center of the table.

The gold candlesticks are from an antique store, and the striped candles are from Homegoods (from last year). I added some mercury glass candle holders (from Michael's) and a few pears to finish it off. The autumn bouquet is from Trader Joe's.

I used paper napkins, accordion folded them, and tied them up with twine. The place cards were an easy DIY watercolor project.

Super simple and natural, and I love the mix of silver and gold. There is still plenty of time to throw together a festive looking table!  Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Watercolor & Pinecone Place Cards

We are hosting Steve's family for Thanksgiving again this year, so I starting working on the table setting yesterday. I decided to use all items that I already had on hand and as usual, wanted to keep it super simple. I will show you the finished table on Monday, but for now, I wanted to show you how I made place cards using pinecones and watercolors.

I am using paper napkins in orange, pink, and gold. I decided pinecones were an easy choice to use again this year, and added some watercolor name cards to bring out the napkin colors. I used watercolor paper and paints and used simple brush strokes to create the cards. The names are written with a gold paint pen.

This took about 5 minutes and I love the look of the watercolors. I accordion folded the napkins and tied them up with a little piece of twine.  

This is about as simple as it gets!  Now I need to get moving on grocery shopping and cleaning!  Have a wonderful weekend!  xo

Linking up with:,,,,,,,,,,, http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com,,,,,, http://diyshowoff.com,
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Easy DIY Shelving

I mentioned recently that we have done some rearranging of how rooms function in our home. A friend of mine inquired about the shelves we had up in the old toy room. I realized I never blogged about the shelves we installed soon after moving in. This shelving system is from Home Depot and they were easy to install, inexpensive, and worked very well in our space.

We had two sets, side by side, along a large wall of our toy room. We used the shelves for bins and smaller toys to get them up off the ground. The higher shelves displayed some of Drew's lego creations and are great for board game storage.

Having vertical storage was a huge space/floor saver! The shelves are already white, and you can customize with different sizes to fit your needs. These are not hard to install, but you must make sure everything is level so you don't have leaning shelves!

I would highly recommend these if you need any extra storage in an office, desk space (they have larger pieces that could serve as a homework station), toy room, closet, etc. See below how Duo Ventures has made these shelves look super clean, chic, and organized!

We are currently trying to figure out where these shelves can best be utilized now that they are out of the toy room. Maybe in the new office space downstairs or extra closet storage? I will keep you posted!