Posts Categorized: DIY

DIY + Kids + Projects / Monday, 25 Mar 2013

2 DIY animals masks, j

Part 2/2. See here for part 1 with instructions on how to create a play from the book Cheer Up Mouse and a chance to win the book giveaway. Photos above by Ashley Thalman 
Ok, here they are! If you’ve been following along on Instagram I’ve been giving hints of these masks based on the book Cheer Up Mouse for the past few weeks and now you can finally make them yourself. Wouldn’t these be the perfect activity for Easter/Spring Break? I’m no mother, but I’d think so. And they come in two different versions complete with FREE templates: one is a color in version for little kids and the other is the 3D version you see here for bigger kids. Here’s the illustration from the book. Darling right? And if you missed the cute video from part one of this series, you MUST give it a watch here.
You get to choose from all 10 characters as seen here:
For full instructions click below.

First, we constructed them out of cardboard to see how to engineer them. I think they are great fun in plain cardboard too.

MATERIALS: cardboard, sharpie, template for 3D masks (or for an easier project without all these steps download the color-in masks here, scissors, x-acto knife, quilting batting, glue gun, mod podge, brush for mod podge, your choice of fabrics (have fun with it. Use some textures and fuzzy fabrics and patterns. It’s the best!), felt for the eyelids and backing
I’m making a chipmunk for this tutorial but hopefully depending on the mask you make you can use the same techniques and apply it to the respective animal.
Step 1: Cut out the template pieces and trace them onto the cardboard.
Step 2: Cut out the shapes with scissors. For the eyes, use an x-acto knife.
Step 3: Using a double layer of quilting batting, cut it out to the shape of the face
Step 4: Glue the batting to the mask to keep it in place.
Step 5: Cut your fabric to the shape of the face leaving about 1″.
Step 6: Make incisions into the fabric around the rounded parts of the mask, particularly in the parts that go “in”. 
Step 7: Mod podge the fabric to the cardboard with a brush stretching it around the shape of the mask as you go so it’s nice and taut.
Step 8: Use an e-xacto for the eyes and cut it into 8 different “pie slices”.
Step 9: Mod podge or glue gun the slices to the back of the cardboard so they hold nice and tightly.
Step 10: Cut out the nosepiece and use an x-acto for the little nose semi-circle in the middle.
Step 11: Repeat the same process with the bunting. I used a single layer this time.

Step 12: Make incisions into the fabric where the template goes in and where the corners meet. You might have too much fabric and it might get bumpy so feel free to cut those parts off.
Step 13: Use your mod podge or glue gun to bring the fabric around to the cardboard. Make sure it’s taut.
Step 14: Add any extra fabric for texture. I used a felt for the bottom part of the chin here.
Step 15: Repeat the process with the ears.
Step 16: Glue one side of the ear flaps to the front and glue the back to the other side. Hold with glue gun.
Step 17: Finish off the back side of the ears by cutting to the shape of the ear so that it looks good from the back too.

Step 18: I added a layer of fabric to the top of the forehead to give it a bit more dimension. Each animal has it’s own characteristics. Get creative!
Step 19: Finish off the mask with eyelids made from felt (it’s the best material for this)
Step 20: Make ties for the mask out of the fabric you use. I left mine unsewn because I liked the look. Mine are about 1″ wide.
Step 21: Finish off the back of the mask with a piece of felt to the shape of the face.

Phew! It’s a bit time consuming, but it’s worth it, isn’t it? They’re surprisingly sturdy too so they should be able to handle little kiddie’s hands.

If you don’t want to do all this work for the masks and play, here’s the color-in version templates for little kids.

So cute, right? 
Let me know if you have any questions. There’s a lot going on here.
step-by-step photos and crafting by Brittany Watson Jepsen
crafting assistants: Audrey Ellsworth and Lindsay Barlow 
illustrator and template maker: Jed Henry

DIY + illustration + Kids + Life + Projects / Monday, 25 Mar 2013

Cheer Up Mouse & book giveaway

photography by Ashley Thalman

Awhile back, even before landing back in America, I was approached by illustrator Jed Henry, to collaborate on a project for his brand new children’s book, Cheer Up Mouse. He showed me the trailer…

…and I was sold! How adorable is it? I mean a walnut playing squirrel? Too much for me. I have it on good authority that kids watch this over and over. What am I saying? I can (and did) watch it over and over. Even just for the sweet soundtrack.
illustration from Cheer Up Mouse by Jed Henry. ©Houghton Mifflin
So we got to thinking of a DIY that would best suit the book and we came up with a little play for kids complete with masks (click here for the masks), which we thought would be the perfect Spring Break activity. The book has 10 characters who each attempt to cheer little Mouse up with a sweet, well-meaning line, like so…
So, how does it work? 
Materials: 10 kids (or have a few kids take on multiple characters), Cheer Up Mouse book (available ON SALE on Amazon) for the script or win a copy–see instructions below, cardboard sets are optional, masks (click here), 3×5″ index cards
Step 1: With Cheer Up Mouse book in hand, use ten cards, 1 for each child to write down the lines. A few kids will get multiple lines. There are 18 lines total.
Step 2: Create the masks (there will be a follow-up blog post to this one showing you the step-by-step).
Step 3: Let the kids learn their lines.
Step 4: Watch the magic! 
I promise PROMISE you’ll fall in love with the characters. In fact, our Mouse for the shoot had a little “moment” when she needed some cheering up and all the kids were quick to chime in “Cheer up, Mouse!”. Presh.
illustration from Cheer Up Mouse by Jed Henry. © Houghton Mifflin.
Jed is giving away a copy of Cheer Up Mouse to one lucky reader. Wahoo!
TO ENTER: “Like” The House That Lars Built on Facebook OR “follow” on Instagram. Then leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you’ve done (please let me know!). Bonus votes if you follow on any other blogging platform. If you’ve already done so on all platforms before, share the post for entry. Contest ends one week from today, Monday April 1st.

Thank you to the wonderful wardrobe providers: 
Wunway Kids (THE cutest and hippest clothes!)
Caramel (UK, but they have a US presence too–wish they made big girl sizes)
Orfeo (also UK–beautiful stuff)
The Children’s Hour shop in Salt Lake City–the ONLY children’s store in all of Utah with cool stuff. Promise, we tried them all. The owner has impeccable taste. And they have great stuff for mamas too.
photographer: Ashley Thalman
sets: Tanei and Jed Henry
masks and styling: Brittany Watson Jepsen
photoshoot coordinator: Tanei Henry
assistants: Lindsay Barlow, Audrey Ellsworth
illustrator: Jed Henry
models: Titan, Modock. Karli, Nohea, Stella, Crew, Cole and thank you to all the terrific moms and families!

DIY + holiday + Projects / Friday, 22 Mar 2013

Bunny topiary wreath for your door

You know I love dressing up my door of the holidays and Easter is the last obvious holiday for months until…4th of July? I’ll take advantage while I can. 
My mom sent me a picture of this bunny wreath from Simplicity in the South and I knew I had to recreate it with paper for my door. Isn’t it a cute little hopper? I loved her idea. I used a similar process as the one I did for Valentine’s day and for the wedding topiaries.

Materials: crepe paper in shades of green (here’s an Amazon suggestion), scissors, embroidery hoops in two different sizes (I used a 4″ and 8″, wire cutters (not pictured), wire (not pictured), floral tape, glue gun, ribbon (optional)

Step 1: Attach the two hoops together with floral tape.
Step 2: Make 2 “bunny ears” out of wire leaving about 4 inches on one end to wrap around the hoop.
Step 3: Wrap the bunny ears around the smaller hoop at the top.

Step 4: Make leaves. I cut 3 at a time by folding the paper accordion style. My leaves are about 1: tall and 1/2″ wide.
Step 5: Layer the leaves on top of each other going around the hoops.

Step 6: Finish it off with a ribbon if you like.


Crafts + DIY + Easter + flowers + holiday + Projects / Monday, 18 Mar 2013

How to make Easter egg terrariums

You know how terrariums are super in right now? Yes, they’re everywhere. I love the look and wish I could have them, but to be completely honest, they totally frighten me. As much as I love flowers, I have the biggest black thumb. I cannot keep a cactus alive. And then to have the responsibility of a mini eco-world in the form of a terrarium? That’s just way too much pressure.

SO, when I came across these clear Easter eggs at Smith’s, my first reaction was “terrariums!” and then reality started to set in. I did what every adult evading responsibility does: I faked it. Yes, this is a fake terrarium. The dirt? Real. The moss? Real. The flower? Well, shouldn’t you know by now that it’s paper?! So, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be all for a fake terrarium. Much less pressure. But to give myself a little bit of credit, the egg is too small to have a living thing grow inside without bursting out of the seams. ALSO, there is no oxygen hole and any type of drilling would have shattered the plastic.

Am I forgiven?

Materials: clear plastic eggs (again, got mine from Smith’s but I also saw a giant version–about 4″ tall– at Michaels), moss, dirt, gold spray (optional)
Step 1: Spray the colored egg part gold. Wait 24 hours to dry properly.
Step 2: Insert a bit of wet dirt into the bottom of the egg filling about 1/3.
Step 3: Add a bit of moss on top.
Step 4: Dig your wire flower into the dirt.


Materials for the paper flower: paper color of your choice, green paper, stamen (center of the flower–I found mine here), scissors, floral wire wrapped in cloth (here’s my suggestion on Amazon), hole punch (mine is Martha Stewart 1/16″ from Amazon), glue gun
Step 1: Cut a circle, about 1/2″ diameter
Step 2: Make a rounded start
Step 3: Curl the edges up
Step 4: Make a punch in the center of the flower
Step 5: Add a stamen through the hole.
Step 6: Glue on the back side of the flower and hold.
Step 7: Cut a thin leaf in the green paper and curl with your fingers to give it shape.
Step 8: Cut a piece of wire less than the size of the egg.
Step 9: Cut the stamen down to a nub on the back side.
Step 10: Glue the wire to the nub of the stamen.
Step 11: Put a small amount of glue on the leaf and attach to the wire.
What do you usually give for Easter? 

DIY + holiday + Projects + St. Patrick's Day / Wednesday, 6 Mar 2013

St. Patrick’s day candy poppers & care package

Aren’t these little guys adorable? Michele Brummer Everett who has pretty much been a god-sent since before I moved back to the US, made some adorable Valentine’s day candy poppers and I just about died out of cuteness. Michele is a wonderful illustrator and textile designer who can pull out the cutest characters. I asked if she would let me borrow her idea for a St. Patty’s day version and thankfully she said yes. AND she drew the cutest little leprechaun. She’s the best! 

Materials: scissors, leprechaun template, toilet paper roll, rainbow template, chocolate gold coins (I bought mine on Amazon Prime–the best!), writing utensil, double stick tape, tissue paper, embroidery floss, scrapbooker’s glue, needle
Step 1: print the rainbow paper on normal office paper.
Step 2: Cut it out and measure against the toilet paper roll.
Step 3: Tape it onto the roll. I used double stick tape to attach it.
Step 4: With the scrapbooker’s glue, glue the end of the toilet paper roll and hold it onto the tissue paper
Step 5:Trace around a quarter onto a piece of paper
Step 6: Cut around it.
Step 7: Cut around the front and back of the leprechauns.
Step 8: With 3 strands of the embroidery thread, make a cross in the circle.
Step 9: Make a hole in the end of the tissue paper with the needle before entering in from the inside of the roll so the paper circle stays on the inside of the roll and the rest of the thread dangles out.
Step 10: Glue the two pieces of the leprechaun onto the end of the thread.
Step 11: Stuff the toilet roll with your goodies. I put in a first layer of moss and then gold coins and then more moss.
Step 12: Glue the top of the toilet paper roll.
Step 13: Attach onto the tissue paper to seal it off.
You know I love me a good care package (see my Valentine’s heart and suitcase) I lined the inside of the box with the rainbow paper and set down shredded green grass with gold coins on top and the poppers. Then, I wrapped the box with the rainbow paper and now it’s good to go!

Thank you so much Michele!