Posts Categorized: Life

denmark + Design + Life + we do weddings + Wedding / Friday, 8 Mar 2013

Thumbelina wedding shoot

A couple of weeks ago I introduced a wedding shoot that I styled as a part of We Do Weddings. We had divided ourselves into 4 groups and each took a section of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” and went to town. I was a part of “something blue” and “something new” as seen here. Though there were many ways to take “new” we took “something new” to mean a “new” fairytale. Lots of brides want to be that princess in a fairytale and we wanted to bring a new, uncheesy romanticism to the meaning. To do this we used Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina. You know I love scale, so I was all about it. Of course, there had to be oversized flowers everywhere. I even made a jumbo flower for this bride to really bring it home. This time I was partnered with Tine Hvolby, who shot all of these photos, Hazel of Think Foto, and Rikke of Gudnitz Couture, who made the lovely wedding dress as worn by Christina Michanek (remember Christina? She’s a soloist for the Royal Danish Ballet) and joined by her husband, a former dancer with the Royal Swedish and Danish Ballets. Rikke makes lots of dresses for the rich and famous in Denmark–fancy! We lucked out with a rare sunny day, which created some beautiful lighting to play with. Didn’t Tine kill it?!

Here’s the invitation I created for the wedding. Look familiar? After this, I decided to base my new 2013 calendar from it (get it on sale here).

So gorgeous.

If you’re in Denmark, check out the We Do Weddings website. It’s such a great resource for planning a wedding.

Photography by Tine Hvolby
Dress by Gudnitz Couture
Models: Christina and Sebastian Michanek
Stylist and prop maker: Brittany Watson Jepsen

Design + Life + we do weddings + Wedding / Friday, 22 Feb 2013

Something Blue wedding shoot

photography by Amanda Thomsen
I talked about the wedding group, We Do Weddings, last month. It’s the group of photographers, designers, stylists who came together to get magic done in Denmark and I was more than thrilled to be involved while I was there. We decided to stage a series of photoshoots and broke up into 4 groups. Each group took on one of the sayings from “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” and yes, we were something new. Sorry, bad joke. Of course, we were something blue. This was one of my favorite projects of all time! I got to work with Amanda Thomsen, Lina Ahnoff, and Anja of Elefteria, who just took my spot in the studio. These ladies are the best!

We took “something blue” to mean the black sheep of the bunch. The couple who does things a bit differently. So, we envisioned a couple who do things differently. This couple doesn’t plan a year in advance. They aren’t getting married in the church. They aren’t wearing white. Gasp! This couple told their friends and family to come to a party that week “dressed in blue” and bring a small dish to share.
Once their friends and family showed up for a leisurely afternoon at their blue kolonihave, the couple announced that they were actually getting married and they were the guests. The garden turned into the reception site with a simple bunting in blue strung along the bushes to frame the couple as they said their vows.  Instead of a wedding cake, a friend made a piñata in shades of blue.  Once they knocked it down, fortune cookies with personalized fortunes came spewing out as favors fo the guests. (I showed how to make the pinata on Etsy Weddings.)

Later that evening, the guests gathered in the kolonihave for a dinner made up of the smørrebrød that everyone brought. Friends had decorated the place in old wedding veils from their family’s generations. They enjoyed the occasion with simple hygge and cherished their new bond.

This simple wedding brought out the best in the couple and made it an easy affair for all. By sticking with just one color palette, they were able to focus on the people that they shared the event with.

The dresses:  The first dress from Elefteria.dk is called Anna with denim skirt, perfectly morning outfit for a wedding. The long length model Eleni, a bias cut dress in crepe de chine so soft to wear in the late afternoon and finally decorated and dressed up for the evening dinner with silk chiffon covers to give you the upportunity to change the look of the dress for any occasion.  All of them made specially for the Something Blue shoot,  by Anja from Elefteria.
I made the pinata, bunting, floral crown, and style the shoot (thanks to Amanda’s stellar blue collection!)
Amanda Thomsen took all of these photos (see her blog for the whole she-bang!) alongside Lina Ahnoff.

ballet + Copenhagen + denmark + In My Next Life + Life / Friday, 15 Feb 2013

In my next life: Ballerina

photography by Amanda Thomsen
I’m super pleased to introduce a new monthly column to Lars and it’s been a long time in coming. Let me explain. Growing up I felt like I was meant to be a ballet dancer. My mom was a dancer, my aunt was a dancer, and clearly I was also supposed to be one as well. The problem is that my ballet teacher didn’t agree. I was “too chubby” to audition for the Nutcracker at the age of 8. Now, it may seem harsh, but in all honesty, I was tubby and most likely awkward because I was definitely shy and turned bright red when anyone spoke to me. Not a great combo for a graceful dancer. My mom instantly took me out of ballet and enrolled me in tennis and cello and I continue to play to this day. Ultimately, she didn’t want me to grow up in a world where weight and appearance was a factor that dictated her life and I’m very glad she directed me in another direction. I’m also very happy with how my childhood and adolescence played out so though I still would have loved to have been a dancer (and with the right body type), I’m satisfied with the talents and skills I’ve been able to develop. No harm done!

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some jobs that I wouldn’t like to try in my next life. Enter new column. This whole internet thing has exposed me to jobs that I never knew existed. Paper floral designer? Color expert? Cupcake maker? Come on, these are dream jobs! In fact, I was going to label this column “Dream Jobs”, but thought that they’re someone’s reality so “In my next life” it is. Every month I’ll feature a different person who inspires me in their chosen profession. First up? Christina Michanek.
Christina Michanek is a soloist at the Royal Danish Ballet. She’s also a good friend of mine and my former landlord. Ha! Paul and I lived on the top floor of her house that she and her husband were renovating. You would think that friendship + landlord could be a recipe for disaster, but these two are the best. I’m their biggest fan. You won’t find two more kind and hardworking people. Part of the reason I was so sad to leave Denmark was because we wouldn’t be by them (and their adorable 2 year old). 
Christina generously invited my mom and me to attend a dress rehearsal of a brand new show at the Ballet in September at the Opera House, The Golden Cockerel (or Den Gyldne Hane), an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov that was turned into a ballet with original choreography by Alexei Ratmansky. She said that the sets and costumes reminded her of me and my jaw just about dropped when I saw them. They’re bright and bold and colorful (see below). They’re the original designs from Ballet Russes. I invited Amanda Thomsen, the awesome photographer with whom I shared a studio in Copenhagen, to come along and document the day. She takes us through from the practice, getting ready and finally the dress rehearsal with her beautiful photos.
Mom and I had a ball watching The Golden Cockerel. Though the story is over-the-top (like all operas), I loved the dancing and original choreography. There was an exotic spin on traditional ballet. I also loved the costumes. It was definitely a feast for the eyes. I tend to like dress rehearsals better than the real thing because you get to hear the banter between the director, maestro, and dancers. It’s a bit more entertaining when you add in the real life drama.
With that in mind, Christina was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Did you always want to be a dancer? 
Before I knew ballet and ballet dancers even existed I wanted to be a librarian. The library was such a magical place for me. It was like a church for stories. And I dreamed of being this superlibrarian who could tell people as soon as I saw them what they should get! 

How did you get into dancing? 
An American missionary who was dancing at Ballet West in Utah, Candice Taylor, made a little dance for all the young girls in my church congregation for a Christmas activity. Ever since she danced for us I was hooked!

Were there people along the way in your field who you admired or helped you shape the decision to be a dancer?
In the school it was my friend Ulrik Birkjær (now principal the company) who was my ‘source’ or his ambition and ballet interest just made him the one I could ask ballet questions and he inspired me to aspire higher. Still does. Apprentice years and early dancer years it was Adam Lüders, Caroline Cavallo, Sorella Englund and Nikolaj Hübbe.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
The feeling of moving in space led by my own musicality. The drama we get to enjoy! I’m a drama junkie! I’ll do a death scene any day any time. The theater magic of costumes, stage light and a live orchestra. 
Is there anything you could do without?
I could do without the judging, elbowing, never good enough chase for perfection. And that it takes forever to get in shape and four days to get out of it…that’s almost evil. 

How do you juggle being a wife/mother with your job?
I make sure to leave work at work and don’t bring it home. And if I need to take a nap before a show I do it in the living room preferably in the beanbag on the floor so it’s easy for my son to play on and around me. FaceTime helps a lot too then we can blow kisses to each other and sing songs and play games. It was a great help when I went on tour recently. 

What’s one of the most memorable moments of your career?
Some of my favorite moments… Watching a colleague on their 40th jubilee and seeing old pictures and video and sensing their love for their work and how much they are loved for sharing their talent. 
First Sylph rehearsal is a special memory too. As soon as Nikolaj [Hübbe, the director of the ballet] had left the studio I let out a little scream and involuntary leap of joy and then I got a little embarrassed cause he could probably hear me. 
Romeo and Juliet balcony pas de deux with Ulrik in Japan. I stole a moment to just soak in the stage, the music, the moment and save it in my heart and mind and it made me shiver with delight. 
Watching Nikolaj dance Apollo in a small proconsul theater, sitting in the wing so fascinated that I almost was on stage! I’m pretty sure he didn’t mind at all. 
I have a lot of favorite moments. 

I loved watching Christina dance. She is pure passion and love for the art. I’m also very lucky to call her my friend. She is beauty, kindness, and integrity. Thank you, Christina, for being letting us follow you around.
Stay tuned for next month’s In My Next Life.

Do you have a dream job? What is it? 
Thank you to Det Kongelige Teater for allowing us to take up some space in the practice room and letting us wander around backstage.

Photography by Amanda Thomsen

Life + This week / Friday, 18 Jan 2013

This week

In my daydreams of moving back to America, sub-freezing temperatures didn’t really factor in, but, of course, this is the “worst winter we’ve had in a long time”, says everyone all the time. That’s what Denmark told me when I got there, too, so I’m starting to sense a pattern here…

Our new home is nestled against the beautiful Wasatch Mountains in Provo, Utah and for all of you who think that Utah is in the midwest, it might help to clarify that the Wasatch Mountains are the Western most part of the Rocky Mountains.* Denmark is probably the topographical opposite of Utah and more of the equivalent of Iowa so we’re a bit overwhelmed by the grandness of it all. One day I was on a road trip in DK and someone pointed out the “highest point” in all of Denmark. I honestly, did not know where they were pointing. It looked like a sledding hill.

Anywhoo, enough about the weather, this week we settled in a bit more into our new place, spent an hour and a half at the Social Security Administration and are now eating from silverware and not plastic spoons and forks. Here’s to the weekend!

photo from my Instagram feed @houselarsbuilt

*I worked together with a friend from Utah at Anthropologie in Rockville, Maryland for 3 hours a week for a year a few years back. Our manager called her “Midwest” in his Southern drawl. I guess 3 hours a week doesn’t buy respect.

DIY + Life + Projects + Review / Thursday, 10 Jan 2013

Top 3 of 2012

I’ve been going through my pictures of the last year to make a synopsis in the next few days and I’ve noted two things: 1) If you didn’t know me in person it appears that I only make pretty things and go on trips (I wish!) 2) I’m getting better at what I do. And I don’t mean that in a “I’m the best in the whole wide world” way, but sometimes I’d cringe at what I was putting out there into the universe with my work because things didn’t work out as perfectly as I had imagined, but looking back though some were inevitably lame, I’m overall pleased with my oeuvre. I can see how I’m more mindful of a successful DIY from concept to styling to photography. Mind you, I worked super hard last year in coming up with my DIY concepts and execution so I guess it was a natural product of time and hard work. I got to work with some really stellar photographers (who I miss dearly!) and I got to make projects for some really great magazines and websites.

Based on page analytics, these three projects were the most visited on The House That Lars Built. I’m always so surprised at what is more successful over another project. What were some of your favorites? Would you have guessed these ones?

1. Friendship bracelet chevron rug won be almost double
2. Heart attack package beat #3 by almost double again
3. Kissing bridal clothespin