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Ms. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow blog readers:

We are 8 years into The House That Lars Built. That’s 33 8 years of trying to figure out what the heck I will contribute to this world, 8 years of putting pretty things out into blogland, 8 years of meeting fine, fabulous, and creative people like yourselves, 8 years of working with fantastic companies and collaborations, roughly 3 years of finally getting serious about blogging, 2 years of realizing that this is what I really want to do and making it a viable business for me and my family, and many moments of “this is so wonderful I get to be creative professionally”, alongside “holy cow, I don’t think I can move my body anymore” to “what’s a good system for organizing receipts. help!”. (For reals, anyone got one?)

I’m lucky I get to do what I love and get paid for it. And have you with me to show me your beautiful ways too.

That’s not to say that it’s all gem stones and glitter all the time. 2015 was a year of growing pains in many ways: professionally, personally, emotionally, physically (and by growth I mean my clothes don’t fit much anymore). At times I wondered how I’ve been an “adult” for so long yet don’t know how to handle basic functions. Like dental check ups and not misplacing my driver’s license 7 times in one year (gives me practice to perfect my picture). But 2015 was also a year of learning hope, forgiveness, trust, systems, taxes, bookkeeping, and how to do “down” time. Sort of.balloon_cover11

I’ve learned that I need to acknowledge the good things happening because I have a tendency of working, working, working, and not being satisfied with what I’m producing. I’ve been told it’s good to do this so…

Here are 6 things I’m happy about in 2015. 

  1. WE MOVED INTO A STUDIO SPACE! It’s called Hinterland and it’s located on a dairy farm in Springville, Utah. You can read more about it here. I had a studio space in Copenhagen, so I knew the pros of working outside the home, but moving into a large space has been terrific! But also not working from home stinks! But overall it’s awesome! We’re still figuring some things out but overall it’s been a game changer and has allowed us to have more people help out in a professional setting.hinterland-studio
  2. I hired my first part time employee. Her name is Ashley and she’s the bomb. She interned for me for awhile so I knew her strengths and it was a natural fit to get her on board. I don’t know how I made it so long without her. She, along with some stellar interns, have really helped me to remain sane.aprong
  3. I have someone who helps out behind the scenes with sponsorships and business stuff. GAME CHANGER. Plus, she gets it and is so inspiring to brainstorm with. This helped me fulfill at least one part of my resolution from last year, which was to get more sponsors on board so I could do this full time. Hooray for people who share your vision!
  4. Speaking of…working with more sponsors was such a highlight of the year. To be totally frank, I work so hard on content creation, that I hadn’t really ever focused on the business side of things. If someone approached me, then I’d look into it, but for the most part, I was in a narrow tunnel focused on pretty things! That could only go on for so long before you have bills to pay and realize it’s not going to happen on its own. There were some terrifying moments, to say the least, and some now. That’s when I had to ask myself why I’m doing why I do. Anyone who works for themselves knows that it’s an all-consuming job and I wasn’t doing a good job of it. But I worked at partnering with companies who I thought aligned well with Lars and I’m happy to say that it’s the reason that all of this exists.
  5. The Flowers Coloring Book was released last month! This was all a secret for so long and I’m glad to see you guys are enjoying it! I was so grateful to have the help of Caitlin and Tanner on it. I couldn’t have done it without them. Because it’s been so well received, we’re already onto the next one!Flowers Coloring Book by The House That Lars Built
  6. Partnerships! In 2014 we released our 3 dinnerware collections with TwigNY and in 2015 we released products with Modify Ink. This next year we are working on developing products in a number of areas: crafts, home, and more! My background in interiors, textiles, and products, makes me crazy with wanting to design all the products for the home/body, but I remind myself to do it one step at a time.Modify Ink The House That Lars Built Christmas cards
  7. Contributors! I opened up Lars to contributors to this and it’s been so fun to see the depth and variety they all add.
  8. Dress the Rainbow! What started out as a fun project turned into an epic long 4 months of matching dresses against walls all around Utah with 60 people! It was so fun to work with people who inspire me in the name color. See the project here. And the tag hereDress the Rainbow book
  9. Craft the Rainbow. In 2014 I started the hash tag #CraftTheRainbow and now over 16,000 entries later, it’s still going strong! I started it’s own handle @CraftTheRainbow and that’s going strong too and psssst: there might be special project coming your way on this topic…that’s all I’ll say for now 🙂 Muhahaha.

Craft The Rainbow

So, that’s what I’m pleased about and now onto things that need to change!

I’m looking back at last year’s resolutions and once again, sighing. Why do I not even remember making these? Why do I not plaster them everywhere so that I actually do something about it? I began thinking of my resolutions for 2016 back in June because mentally I knew I needed to implement change, but I just wasn’t ready to sit down and make a plan, so alas, January 1, 2016 was the goal. Some people don’t believe in resolutions because of the facts I just stated. I’ve heard of people who do one word themes for the year and that sounds fun too. I don’t necessarily think that annual resolutions are essential for growth or change. But verbalizing and acknowledging areas of improvement is helpful for me, so again, I will state them and make little plans to improve.

Let’s start with personal goals:

  1. Decrease the gossip. Sometimes it’s so fun to talk about other people–and I’m not talking about the type of talk where you’re genuinely positive/kind about another person. I’m talking the not-so-kind type. I find that in myself it’s easy to take a jab about other people’s faults for the sake of “humor”. I don’t think I do it a ton and I’m pretty aware of it, but it exists none the less and it’s the lowest form of humor and only causes harm (even if they don’t know about it). SO, with that, I’m, challenging myself to improve my humor! How do you learn to be funny guys? Is it even possible?
  2. Cook. Waaaaa. I don’t even want to have to do this, but because I’ve come to rely on other people to provide me with food (seriously. Remember that part about being a grown human?) I find that I have less control over what enters my body and I eat candy, ice cream, whatever all the time. SO, even though I have no desire to cook, I think by trying to cook one meal a week (don’t laugh) will teach me something?????? I got this book of crock pot recipes awhile ago and the idea of dumping stuff into a pot and letting it do the work is really appealing, so crock pots I shall try! Wish me luck. Or something.
  3. Doing something special. I was at a friend’s wedding this year and the officiant said something along the lines of “do something special for your spouse every day” and I thought that was such a nice thought. I’m terrible at doing special things. But even if it’s cleaning the dishes, I want to be deliberate in doing something special every day.

Now onto Business goals: 

  1. Seek unique inspiration. I haven’t had a tangible inspiration board for quite some time, but this holiday break I took a hiatus from work and it was just what I needed to regroup and focus on the aesthetic that really inspires me. I used to collect images from magazines and posted them or filed them away. Now with Pinterest and Instagram I have images flying by my eyes daily and I feel myself forgetting what it is that really makes my heart leap, and end up on remembering images that are convenient and/or trendy. I want to remember my own inspiration and develop it to create really unique projects for you. Thus, I will finally have a tangible inspiration board. I’m thinking of including you on this journey so together we can all identify what it is that makes each of us tick and purse it.
  2. ORGANIZATION and systems. It’s the New Year’s cliche, but it’s for a reason. I don’t even want to talk more about this because I’m so embarrassed about my “systems” in the office. Taxes, bookkeeping, keeping track of projects/interns. It’s a disaster. I want to spend more time researching how to do things properly. The end.

Things to look forward to in 2016:

As I think about the good things that happened last year, and the things I want to change, I want to establish 2016 as a year of refinement. Refining the processes and quality content you’ve come to expect. Maybe I do have a one word theme of the year after all! Refinement. Mmmm, I like it!

ALSO!

  1. Like I mentioned, products! They’re in the works and they’re going to be good, friends! But first, let me ask, what would you like to see from us?
  2. More coloring books! I don’t mean to be a car salesman, but honestly, coloring fills the need I have to be productive yet decompress at the end of the day. So, we have a few lined up. I’m thinking we’ll get out 2 this year. Once again, anything in particular you’d like to see from us?
  3. Taking a real vacation. Like to a place. Ok, so this one is not for you as a reader, but the photos would be 🙂 We will have more freedom to travel after April…In my dreams we’re spending a year in Provence….But maybe it’s just a quick sojourn or something.
  4. This will most likely be a year of physical moving in some form. Whether to a new state or country or just around the corner. We LOVE living in Provo, UT and love our landlords though so the thought of moving really saddens me. My ideal situation consists of a beautiful historic house with land in back to build the ultimate studio. OR, this a really rad hotel for sale in the area and I WANT IT SO BAD! Hotel Lars! Can you see it?!
  5. The official Lars book. This year, folks!

Here’s a little sneak peek of a project we’ll be releasing soon! Stay tuned!

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One of my favorite projects. A flower garland! Then we got to make them for Baylee, was burned in a tragic accident. She spent 4 months in the hospital before passing away in November. I got to attend her funeral and it was such a beautiful celebration of her sassy, spirited life. Paper flower garland

Ok, I think that’s it. At least for now. I don’t think change needs to be established all at one time. I’m going to try and do a better job of identifying the change that needs to take place and taking care of it sooner than January 1, 2017.

What are you thinking of for 2016? And what are you happy about from 2015? I’ll be sending out a survey soon, but anything in particular you’d like to see in 2016?