Paper bag heart snowflakes

Paper bag heart snowflakes

What I love most about these heart snowflakes is that they are literally made of just paper bags. That’s it! It’s just knowing how to assemble that creates that beautiful shape. The impact is big especially for a Valentine’s Day celebration.

Valentine's day snowflakesvalentine's day decorationvalentine's day decoration

How to make Paper bag snowflakes

This tutorial can be applied to all types of snowflakes but I’m going to teach you how to do them with hearts.

Materials

See above

valentine's day decoration

Instructions

  1. First take a piece of cardstock and trace the edge of the paper bag. Cut the cardstock to be the same size as your paper bag. This will be your template!
  2. On the piece of cardstock, start cutting the hearts and edges how you would like. Be careful not to cut too far into the middle of the template as that will cut off too much of the bag and it won’t hold its shape properly.
  3. Once you have the template ready, you can use it on the paper bags! Place the template on top of a paper bag and trace the edges with a pencil, then cut along the lines you drew!
  4. Cut out the hearts on about 7 paper bags, then you are ready to glue them together!
  5. Take a bag and put one line of hot glue straight down the middle (it doesn’t matter which side you put the glue on, just make sure you use the same side for each bag) then, place another bag directly on top of it, same side facing up, so they’re lined up.
  6. Continue this gluing pattern for all 7 bags
  7. Now, you can take the bottom bag and the top bag and open them up all the way so they meet in the middle and your snowflake takes shape! You will glue them together with another strip of hot glue just as you have the others.
  8. To string it up simply punch a hole in one of the edges and pull some matching string through! Now you have a cute snowflake for Valentine’s day!

paper bag snowflake hearts

I’d love to see how yours turn out! Tag your photos with #LarsLovesLove, our Valentine’s Day hashtag! 

Valentine’s Day traditions

Valentine’s Day Traditions

I’m going to venture to say that a part of the reason that Valentine’s Day has been hyped up so much, besides the history and symbolism of it all, is because after Christmas and New Year’s we need something to look forward to. It’s the height of winter, it’s pretty bleak and boring and gosh darn it, we need some red and pink in our lives!

History of Valentine’s Day

That said, there IS a long history to the holiday, which I find super fascinating. Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14th that has its origins in ancient Rome. The holiday was originally called Lupercalia, and it was celebrated as a fertility festival. As part of the festival, men would draw the names of women from a jar and pair up with them for the duration of the festival–(really hoping the women had a choice in the matter–anyone know?!).

In the 5th century AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as Saint Valentine’s Day, in honor of a martyr named Valentine who was believed to have been executed on that day. The Catholic Church recognizes several saints named Valentine, but the exact identity of the one honored on Valentine’s Day is unclear.

Over time, Valentine’s Day evolved into a day to express love and affection between romantic partners. People began to exchange gifts, such as flowers and chocolates (two of my favorite things), and write love letters to their loved ones.

Valentine’s Day tradition ideas

As you know, I LOVE this holiday and we’ve been sharing ways to celebrate for years and years. Here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate love in all its forms that would make terrific traditions!

My rules about traditions

There aren’t “rules” per se, but I’m pretty insistent on not taking on anything that overwhelms you. Find traditions that work with your interests and time constraints, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for unmet expectations. I’ve been there and done that! Take these as ideas, not have-tos!

Valentine’s Day advent calendar

Ok! Let’s start! I say, why not get all the excitement out of every holiday as we can?! Why leave an advent calendar just for Christmas?! We made countdown for Valentine’s Day and I have to say–it’s a great way to build excitement!

Valentine’s Day Cards

A classic and simple way to express love is to write a card for Valentine’s Day. I’m talking like when you’re in elementary school–handing out cards. You can do store bought cards, of course, but there’s something lovely about making your own, or even just folding a piece of paper in a unique way. We have a ton of printable options and handmade ideas.

Handmade Valentine’s Day Cards

Making Valentine cards by hand is always my ultimate goal (now, do I actually do it??? that’s the real question…). Here are some ideas!

Printable Valentine’s Day cards for teens and adults

Printable Valentine’s Day cards for kids

Valentine’s Day Giftables

A simple card is great, but add on a little tiny gift to it and it becomes a gift-able, which is  that much better! These would be great for a neighbor or friend gift to hand out.

Tootsie Pop Cherry Valentines

More Valentine giftable ideas

Friendship bracelets with hearts.

Valentine’s Day Party Ideas

A Valentine’s Day party, or Galentine’s Day, my favorite form of the Valentine’s Day party, is a great tradition idea. This year I’m wanting to do a Valentine exchange party where we all make some and hand them out.

 Valentine’s Day Party Decor

A party themed around love is the best kind to throw. Here are some beautiful ideas to add to your event:

Valentine’s Day food

Valentine’s Day games

Table top games are a fun idea for the event!

Valentine’s Day Home Decor

accordion heart wreath

Valentine’s Day artwork

An art print up on the wall gets you in the spirit of the season. Here are some favorites:

Give a Valentine’s Day gift

A gift for a loved one is a great idea. Chocolate and flowers is super traditional and in my mind a super win/win. BUT, use this wrapping of sweet cherries or truffles and it takes it up a notch 😉

Valentine’s Day accessories

If you’re not one to dress up all in red and pink on Valentine’s Day (and I ask you to reconsider), maybe a simple accessory is more your style. Here are some DIY projects to get you in the mood:

wearing red and pink on Valentine's Day
Me on Valentine’s Day last year

DIY Valentine's Day heart collar pin

Valentine’s Day box

For the school-aged kids, a Valentine’s Day box is tradition (at least around these parts!). I love going over the top! Here are some ideas for you.

Valentine’s Day tradition ideas from around the world

In modern times, Valentine’s Day is a day for couples to express their love for one another. Many people give gifts, such as flowers, chocolates, and jewelry, to their partners. It is also common for couples to go out for a romantic dinner or take a trip together. Some people also choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their friends and family members.

Valentine’s Day is also a popular time for proposals and weddings. Some people choose to propose or get married on Valentine’s Day to make the occasion even more special.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that is celebrated differently around the world. For example, in South Korea, it is common for women to give chocolate gifts to men, while in Japan, it is the opposite, where men give gifts to women.

Valentine’s Day traditions from readers

I asked our Instagram community for their traditions and you had a lot to say. Pretty much-you are all better people than me. I love these ideas! There were so many that I had to divide them up into themes.

For the kids

  • “My kids always made their own Valentine’s. This was pre-Pinterest!”
  • “We make a poster for each family member and each write something we love about each other every day until the 14th” [a lot of people contributed something along these lines]
  • “Homemade sugar cookies with our names frosted on them!”
  • “A small box of chocolates for each person and a heart pizza with a rom com for dinner.” [pizza was a big theme for a lot of people!]
  • “A scavenger hunt with clues for a small Valentine gift basket at the end”
  • “Writing a little note to my kids in lipstick on the bathroom mirror”
  • “Fancy breakfast, kids wake to decorate table, love notes, balloons, new book and treats”
  • “My mother would make heart shaped chocolate lollipops and set them at our bed to surprise us”
  • “I felt like it was a dumb commercial holiday, but when my kids were tiny we started “lovefest”. I make them each a handmade Valentine. It sits by their plate at dinner. We go around the table and everyone says what they love about each person. My teenage boys act like they HATE it! But they get the sweetest embarrassed smiles through the whole thing.”

For the partner or loved one

  • “My husband does at-home spa night for me and pretends to be a spa employee”
  • “We always celebrated my mom and I. A date, flowers, small gift, that sort of thing.”
  • “We do a fancy family dinner and candles and balloons and candy for all”
  • “We always celebrate it on groundhog’s day instead because we’re weird and it’s easier to find a sitter”
  • “Our Valentine’s date involves going together to pick out new cologne and perfume”
  • “We go to the ballet every year”
  • “Order Thai food and watch Princess Bride”
  • “As a kid and still, I always get a love note from my mom”
  • “Watching Notting Hill and slow dancing to our wedding song plus eating take out”
  • “No matter the day it falls on we take the day off and my husband I spend it together”

Valentines Day Craft Roundup

For others

  • “Send out a family Valentine’s Day letter instead of a Christmas card. Less hectic time of year.”
  • “I make handmade Valentines for my girlfriends. Usually a garland so they can decorate!”
  • “I like giving chocolate and a pretty card to girlfriends”
  • “I make little ornaments on cardstock with small bags of candy for friends”
  • “We wrap nice chocolate bars with Valentine wraps and hand them out to friends all day”Pink and blue house-shaped cookie boxes next to a green squiggly background and some heart-shaped cookies

Valentine’s Meals

  • “Heart-shaped meatloaf”
  • “Breakfast for dinner! Pancakes with lots of toppings!”
  • “My mom used to make me brownies and cut them into hearts with cookie cutters”
  • “Artichokes and Cornish game hens for dinner. IDK why, but we did it once andkept it going.”
  • “Make heart-shaped pizza for dinner”
  • “Pink sauce pasta for dinner”

Phew!!! Ok, that’s a LOT Of ideas! Remember, these ideas aren’t meant to overwhelm you. You don’t have to do any of them! Pick and choose what you want according to your interests and time constraints. What’s important is that you find something that works for you and is meaningful so it becomes a beautiful tradition.

Let me know how it goes!

Our top ten!

Our top ten!

I’m going to do it Letterman style by starting with our top ten and working our way down the list. Do you have any guesses what they could be? Any personal faves? Honestly, I wouldn’t have guessed any of them myself–ha! But you just don’t know!

10. DIY Paper Sunflower

In homage to Ukraine, we made some paper sunflowers as a reminder of the people’s strength and courage at such a difficult time.

As you know, we love a good paper flower and had yet to do it, so it’s a great time to make the DIY paper sunflower. I had also done an Instagram Live with an amazing Ukrainian embroidery artist in Ukraine to learn how to do their iconic Ukrainian star. You can see that here. That was a real highlight for me this year.

9. Papier Mache Vase

We took a nod from former Lars contributor, Corrie Beth Hogg, for this one. I wanted a vase to match our new kitchen so we did a papier mache version. I love how it turned out!

The wonderful thing about papier mache is that you can make it in whatever shape and style you want. Here’s how to make a papier mache vase!

8. Are you scared of color? 

I announced a new direction to Lars, after some internal discussions focusing on color. I’ve talked about the trend of society moving away from color and I realized there had been times in my life when I was Color Scared. Here’s the essay about being afraid of using color.

I plan on addressing this more this year so stay tuned!

7. DIY Paper Heart Wreath  

2022 was a year of wreaths! We did one for every holiday including this DIY paper heart wreath. We made some ombre templates to go with it. You seemed to like it too!

accordion heart wreath

You can find the full paper heart wreath here. And see below for the top wreath of the year!

6. How to celebrate your 40th birthday

I turned 40 in June last year but we were right in the middle of a crazy project so I ended up postponing activities until September when I went on an amazing trip to France with my closest friends. It was incredible! I made this list to give more ideas about how to celebrate your 40th birthday.

I was curious how other people celebrated their 40th birthdays so I did some research and shared it with you here.

5. Paper palm wreath

Our paper palm was one of the most popular projects from 2019 so we decided to turn it into a wreath. I think it would be perfect for spring time!

You can find the full tutorial for the paper palm wreath here.

4. Paper orchid

The flower making bonanza continues with this beautiful paper orchid. Honestly, real life orchids are very tough for me to keep alive so this paper version is just what I needed!

3. Shift here at Lars

I talked about a shift we are making here at Lars and I shared a bit of it here. We’ve had even more changes internally that I need to discuss with you soon!

2. How to thread a sewing machine

We started a new series about how to use your sewing machine properly and this post “how to thread a sewing machine” was your favorite! We also did a video series on Instagram. You gotta check out this song. It’s perfect wouldn’t you say?!

  1. Three ways to fold a love letter

Listen, I’m not saying that this isn’t a great post, but I have to admit how surprised I am by this being our number 1! Three ways to fold a love letter! I guess you are writing way more love letters than I ever imagined?! Ha!

There they are! Our top ten from 2022. I love them all even though I’m surprised by some of them. Let me know what you think in the comments. And if there’s anything you’d like to see this year, let me know!

Things to do during winter break

Things to do during winter break

I’m of the opinion that every good break deserves a bit of down time, family/friends time, and making time. I can’t help you much with the first two but I CAN and WILL help you with the latter. Making time is my jam! Here are some ideas of things to do during the winter break. Please leave me a comment with your ideas!

Making intricate snowflakes

If you’re in elementary school, start with the basics, but level it up once you’re in high school or college. The more intricate the better! We have some templates for these snowflakes here, but feel free to make your own. Hint: I’ve also seen Star Wars or Harry Potter themed snowflakes floating around the interwebs. Find your interest and get cutting!

vertical snowflakes with hands

Christmas Friendship Bracelets

Friendship bracelets were a big part of my childhood and I’m a big believer in keeping up the tradition. You can put any friendship bracelet into a Christmas color theme, but we also have some candy cane, poinsettia friendship bracelets here. They’re a bit tricky, but you got this!

Paper angels

We made tons of mini paper angels for our tree this year, but try blowing it up and making a big one! They’ll take you throughout the winter season!

Paper starburst ornaments

These paper starburst ornaments are so pretty for a tree but also awesome as a garland or as a simple decoration. Learn how to make the paper starburst ornaments here.

paper starburst ornament

Paper Danish woven hearts

To you and me these woven paper hearts might appear St. Valentine’s-y, and you certainly can get ahead of the game and make them for that, but they are made all winter time in Scandinavia. They’re such a lovely craft!

Danish Christmas hearts

Oversized paper star

Speaking of getting ahead of the game, I love using winter break to work on Christmas projects for next year. These oversized paper stars are such a stunner and take a bit of time so it’s now or never!

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Hand in heart valentines

Again, getting ahead of the game, now is a great time to work on some Valentines, like these hand in heart valentines, but they’d also be sweet to hand out to friends or neighbors during the break or as a great thank you note.

hand and heart love tokens

Paper Christmas cactus

I have a couple of real Christmas cactuses and they are the best! But paper Christmas cactuses are even better–no watering needed! Here’s how to make a paper Christmas cactus.

DIY paper Christmas cactus

Ice lanterns

If you live in a snowy climate, ice lanterns are a fun thing to try out! Here’s how to make them!

Photo heirloom ornaments

These are our most popular Christmas craft by far! I’ve been seeing readers make them all year round! Not only for Christmas but for birthdays or anniversaries. They’re just a hit all around! Here’s how to make these photo heirloom ornaments!

family heirloom ornaments

Nativity Set

Our heirloom nativity set is also a big winner. They take quite a bit of time so a break would be a good time to do it!

Midcentury painted heirloom nativity figures against a pink and red striped background.

Make a piece of clothing

My favorite winter breaks were those when I would come home from college and make a piece of clothing. This year we came out with our fabric collection and shared some of our favorite patterns. Here are some patterns to get your juices flowing!

Clothespin dolls

These winter clothespin dolls would be a fun kids and grown up activity. Make them look like your friends or family members!

Clothespin People Ornaments

Painted frames

Dig into the close family times by creating some pretty frames to go with your family pictures. Here’s how to transform some dollar store frames into works of art.

Quilt Hack

You don’t have to be a huge quilter to make a quilt. Here’s our trick to making a quilt! Such a cozy way to celebrate the cold weather.

Shaped pillows

We made these fun shaped pillows to go on our studio sofa. You can pick your own shapes or make these ones.

Paper Flowers

You can’t just go to the nursery and grab some flowers right now, so make them! We have a ton of paper flower tutorials but this paper orchid is a favorite!

Ok! That should be a good list to get your going for your winter break, but do let us know what you like to do. I always love to hear your comments! 

Christmas traditions

Christmas traditions

a list of christmas tradition ideas

For me, Christmas is the icing on the cake at the end of each calendar year, especially now that I live in cold weather. Nothing gets me through the winter misery better than the lights, treats, trims on the tree, carols, cards…you name it. (In fact, you can read more about my obsession over at Scary Mommy!).

I’m all about a Christmas tradition that has personal meaning, won’t break my back, and will be enjoyed by all. Now that I have kids, I want to make sure that it’s enjoyable and will be memorable though I won’t mention the meltdown I had the other day when trying to implement one tradition that I started this year.

This list is meant to provide ideas for traditions that you might want to try out and is definitely not meant to add pressure! Pick and choose, adjust, do whatever you’d like!

1. Christmas Crafting tradition

As you might guess, I love me a good Christmas craft–from crafting with the kids to crafting some decor. Here are a few favorites!

Christmas paper village

This accordion paper village is one that you can put into your craft machine or cut by hand. It’s a simple and sweet way to add in some festivities to a mantle. Bonus: turn it into an event! Invite some friends over for holiday crafting!

2. Christmas crafts for kids

Now that I have kids I’m realizing the magic that comes with the holiday. There are, of course, an endless amount of things you can do with kids that can feel festive but these are some of our favorites.

vertical snowflakes with hands

Winter Snowflakes

Paper snowflakes are such a classic winter tradition. We took it up a notch with these templates. But, of course, feel free to do your own! Bonus: Get some family over to make them together!

Paper angel ornaments

These paper angels can be used as ornaments or as decor. We made them in color block colors but they are also beautiful in all white!

Christmas friendship bracelets

These Christmas friendship bracelets might be a little more complicated for little hands, but they’re great for older kids and teenagers. They’d be a great gift too!

3. Advent Calendars

As you know, I love a good Christmas advent calendar. I think it’s one of the best ways to amplify the excitement of the season.

In Denmark they have the tradition of lighting a candle on each of the four Sundays leading to Christmas. Typically, the four candles are arranged in a wreath of sorts (like this). We got a small table wreath from Trader Joe’s this year and I had already bought a gold metal stand with four candles so we are finally doing it in our own home!

Other advents mark the countdown to Christmas starting with that first Sunday or on December 1st. Here are some of my favorites!

kid's room decked out for the holidays

Christmas book Advent

I had seen this Christmas book advent calendar for awhile and decided to try it out this year. We picked out some new and some we already had and the boys love unwrapping the selected book each day. I’d say this is one we’ll continue with!

children's christmas books

Printable service advent

This is a printable advent calendar from our shop filled with prompts to engage in one act of service.

We have a ton more advent options in this post if you’d like to explore more!

Gift wrapping

As I was preparing this list of Christmas traditions, I was trying to think of some really unusual traditions that would knock your socks off, but then I went back to basics–the stuff we probably already do but maybe don’t consider it something special. As I thought more about it, traditions are oftentimes in those small moments! Gift wrapping is one of those small ones. We probably all wrap gifts, but do we consider a tradition? Let’s count it! Especially if we make a point of making a special moment. Maybe we find some unique wrapping paper, or ribbon, or method.

Cardboard Gingerbread House Gift Box

This is one of my favorite projects from the past–a cardboard gingerbread house gift box! A simple brown paper box and a white paint pen. So easy!

Turn Wrapping paper into a gift bag

You can turn any wrapping paper into a gift bag or another fun shape (like a shirt!). Here’s how!

Ribbon Weaving Gift Wrap

Woven Ribbon wrapping

Here’s another fun wrapping idea–Take some beautiful ribbon and weave it to make beautiful patterns. Here’s the how to.

Christmas smells

Christmas conjures up pretty specific smells, doesn’t it! Can’t you smell them now?! Cinnamon, wassail, cloves, nutmeg, trees…

Group shot

Christmas orange pomanders

The tradition of making Christmas oranges and cloves is one of my favorites. Plus, I love that beautiful pop of orange. Here’s how to make them!

Setting a pretty Christmas table

To me, this is another tradition that fits under the “I’m going to do it anyway” type of tradition that you don’t think too much about it. But the beauty in this tradition comes in the thoughtful details and the great company that make the memories. Here are some things to add to your table setting!

Christmas poppers

Christmas poppers

A common tradition in the UK and Australia, these Christmas poppers are a nice pop of fun! We have some printable versions here!

Christmas Song Bingo

This printable Christmas Song Bingo has become a popular game in our shop! Here’s everything you need to know about it including the playlist!

Swan a swimming tablescape-11

Swans a Swimming centerpiece

My brain reels about this one. Oh, to find the time to make an amazing centerpiece like this Seven Swans a Swimming again! If you are up for the challenge, here’s the how to!

Holiday Napkin Folding

Christmas napkin folding ideas

OR, the simpler version of the gorgeous swan above is a napkin fold at each plate. Here are lots of napkin folding ideas for your Christmas table!

Christmas Magic for the kids

As you might imagine, Christmas traditions really exploded once I started having kids. It’s the MOST fun! And hectic and stressful…ha! Here are some ways that we are attempting to create it.

kid's room decked out for the holidays

Mini Christmas tree

Paul has talked about having a Christmas tree in Jasper’s room for awhile and we finally did it! Plus, we decked it out. We even let him pick out his tree–so fun! More on this soon! We added in stockings, the book advent, and switched out pillows and artwork.

Christmas tree ornaments

While we’ve featured Christmas tree ornaments here and there over the years, this is the first year that I’ve really embraced my collection or lack thereof. I need to change that! I love the idea of collecting ornaments from places we go and making sure I treasure the ones given to me too.

family heirloom ornaments

Heirloom Christmas ornaments

Our most popular ornament by far has been our heirloom Christmas ornaments. The tutorial is here!

Paper candles

In Denmark they are pretty unstressed about using real candles on real Christmas trees but living in a desert, I’m not so confident. These paper candles are the way to go! And fun for kids!

Christmas Decor

I have a thing for wreaths! If nothing else, I will have a wreath on my door! Here are some favorite Christmas wreaths!

Poinsettia wreath

Paper Poinsettia wreath

We made these paper poinsettias out of paper! Here’s how!

Dresden wreath

A traditional Dresden wreath is PRICEY! So we made ours out of paper! Here’s how to make a Dresden wreath.

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Christmas paper star

I wanted to do a nod to the traditional Swedish paper star and I love how it turned out! Here’s how to make the traditional Swedish paper star.

Bottlebrush Trees

Another simple yet impactful idea is our bottlebrush tree done in crepe paper done in rainbow colors of course!

Christmas cards

I LOVE sending out Christmas cards! Every single year! Even when we didn’t have kids and no one really wants to see just a couple! Ha! I typically send out a team card and a family card. Last year we went with these ones, and this year we used these ones!

Christmas stocking

This is another one of those traditions that I find obligatory and maybe not special enough to actually write down in a list, but it’s a big deal, takes a lot of time, and is so magical! We need to pat ourselves on the back for it all!

Christmas stockings

I loved these DIY stockings that I made for when there were just three of us. I need to do one more for Felix and then we’re cooking! Here’s how to make a Christmas stocking in fun patterns and colors!

Bringing in your heritage

A great way to add meaning to your holidays is to dig into your heritage. I love making it personal! Bring in the background!

For me, this is digging into my Scandinavian roots. We made these Swedish inspired paper ornaments and I still put them on the tree every year!

My Scandinavian Christmas

In the early days of blogging, I did this My Scandinavian Christmas series where I had some friends in Denmark and Sweden contribute a project that meant something to them. There are some amazing projects in this series! Check them out here.

Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia is a big Swedish holiday that I love paying homage to. We made this printable crown a few years ago and I think it’s so so pretty. Here’s more about Santa Lucia and the Santa Lucia crown!

 

Handmade gifts

Gift giving is fun, but handmade gift giving is the ultimate. It can be much more sentimental and meaningful. I’m sure we don’t all have time to make handmade gifts for everyone, but a gift here and there is such a beautiful time well spent.

Paper Christmas Cactus

Corrie Beth Hogg made these Christmas cactus out of paper! It’s so so beautiful! We have templates and instructions here.

DIY Paper Holly boughs

Paper holly

I love this holly made from crepe paper. It’s a beautiful gift topper or decoration for a handmade gift.

Holiday Office Party

Office parties are a fun tradition, even if the office is super small. We typically like to go to dinner or have an activity, but it’s so fun to decorate the office. Here are some ideas!

Christmas Paper Office Decorations

Office paper holiday decorations

This is one of my favorite ideas! Use one ream of printer paper to make all sorts of decorations! Here’s the tutorial!

Grand Entrance

Whenever we’d come home for Christmas, my sister and I would take my parents staircase as a challenge for dressing up. It was such a fun tradition!

Holly and berry garland

Our favorite year was this holly and berry garland. You can find the tutorial here.

 

Nativity

Now that I have kids, I LOVE having some nativity sets that are more kid-friendly. I think it helps involve them in the story of Christmas. Here are some ideas to help them.

Midcentury painted heirloom nativity figures against a pink and red striped background.

Our heirloom nativity set is a modern day classic. I will forever love my set! Here’s how to make it!

Nativity Paper dolls

For Christmas Eve, I’m going to print these nativity paper dolls off and set them out for the kids. We’re planning on recreating the nativity so this will give little hands something to play with!

Nativity clothespin dolls

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a painted set that’s a more more simple than the full set, these nativity clothespin dolls are just the ticket. Such a sweet tradition.

Nativity puppets

But my favorite nativity for kids are our puppets. I bring these to  church with me when I teach the kids to sing Christmas songs and my kids love playing them too. If only they hadn’t lost my baby Jesus…Ha! I plan on keeping up this Christmas tradition until they won’t let me anymore!

Ok! This is QUITE the list! But I’d love to hear yours as well! Leave me a comment!

Thanksgiving table ideas for kids

Thanksgiving table ideas for kids

I’m a big fan of the kid’s table for Thanksgiving and I love the idea of making it a celebration and a memorable experience. You can achieve this with some cute decorations, games, and activities. And guess what? We’ve got them all! Plus, I’ll include some jazzy accessories to go with it all.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Table idea

This printable Thanksgiving Day parade theme by far our most popular for Thanksgiving. While I think it would be super fun for any table for Thanksgiving, it’s a pretty appropriate one for the kid’s table. Especially if you watch the parade that morning too–how fun would that be?!

Bonus tip: You can either print off the NYC skyline in advance and make it yourself OR you can have the kids cover boxes and make the DIY version like this one below.

We even have a printable taxi for name cards, which you can also use for the adult table.

Thanksgiving activities for kids

The focus of Thanksgiving is the meal, so let’s focus on the table! This Thanksgiving printable coloring placemat is a fun and decorative idea that also provides some entertainment. Set out some colored pencils or markers and let the kids go wild!

Thanksgiving printable placemat coloring page from The House That Lars Built

We also have this turkey dinner printable coloring placemat. So cute!

Thanksgiving games for kids

After the meal, provide some of the games for kids–they’ll have a ball! We have printable Bingo cards, Mad Libs, and Would you Rather?.

bingo games on a blue background. It's very colorful.

 

Would you rather printable games on a pink background.

Thanksgiving garlands

A festive idea for the kid’s table is to add in a boatload of Thanksgiving inspired paper garlands. We even added in some “gobble gobble” signs at the chairs! Use your craft cutting machine to speed up the time!

Paper bag turkey centerpiece

A fun craft project to make with the kids is this paper bag turkey that you can fill with popcorn. I mean…too cute!

Pie Crust decorations

Let the kids add some food coloring to the pie crust! I love these plant-based food coloring variety packs too, which make it that much safer!

Here are some fun ideas to add to your table:

I’d love to hear what your ideas are for the kid’s table for Thanksgiving! What has worked for you? 

How to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday

My 40th Birthday Plans

Leading up to my 40th birthday, I had lots of plans. Specifically, I wanted a big Europe trip to celebrate! But we are in up to our necks in behind-the-scenes projects here at The House that Lars Built, which means a trip to Europe just wasn’t in the cards. At least for now. Maybe in the fall? I’ll keep you all posted. There’s noting wrong with a belated birthday trip, after all!

I’m not the only one turning 40 here, though! Despite my lack of exciting birthday plans for now, all my friends are also soon-to-be or already over the hill, which means I’ve attended some great 40th birthday celebrations in the past year. I couldn’t just not share those ideas with all of you! So today I’m giving you the lowdown on all the things my friends did for their 40th birthdays, plus a few extra ideas.

How to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday

Birthday Trip

Birthday trips are a classic way to celebrate a big milestone birthday like your 40th! (hence, my hopes to make it to Europe this year). But if you can’t make it internationally and still want a weekend getaway, try something closer! It’s amazing what a quick trip to somewhere new can do. And of course it’s always better with friends or family to come along for the fun.

For your enjoyment, here are some photos from our most recent trip to Denmark (and I promise to post more once I make it back to Europe for my birthday trip)!

Karaoke

So I don’t know if you were aware, but there’s something about 40-year-olds and karaoke that is just magical. I’ve been to a handful of karaoke parties to celebrate the big 40 and I have to say that a bunch of moms singing karaoke are a different breed of unparalleled fun. What are you waiting for?! Warm up those vocal chords and get ready to sing yourself into your 40’s!

Spa Day

A birthday classic for a girls day out especially, a spa day can be the perfect, relaxing way to usher in the 40’s with some self care. Pamper yourself; you deserve it! Go for a mani/pedi, massage, the whole nine yards. We promise you won’t regret it!

Here are some spa essentials to get you going:

In-person Parties

Post COVID lockdowns, it feels that much more triumphant to have a party IN PERSON with people you love! So even though parties aren’t unique to a 40th birthday, there’s a reason we have parties for every birthday. It’s a classic way to celebrate that never really gets old!

Speaking of parties, we have some great party decorations for your to peruse in our shop! Check out our birthday suites, and all of our birthday content here!

Lemon-themed bunting swoops across a pink backdrop. In the foreground, straw toppers, invitations, and lemon-slice party hats sit in front of a white-frosted cake with lemon and lemon blossom cake toppers.

Learn a New Skill

Your 40th birthday is such a milestone that it can be great motivation to learn a new skill or take on a new hobby you’ve been wanting to try! It’s never too late, and 40 seems like the perfect time to try. Turn it into a party and invite someone to teach you and your girlfriends how to knit, cook something fun and fancy, or even make a punch needle rug! The options are endless. What do you want to learn how to do?

Movie Night

Movies are a classic way to celebrate anything special, so why not your 40th birthday? Go out to the theater with the gals (maybe even rent it out if you’re feeling ambitious!), or take the party home and have a marathon of your favorite series! Personally, I’ll be watching Bridgerton. What are your favorites? Send the recommendations my way! I’m always game for a fun new show.

Game Night

The options are endless with this one! Just because it’s your 40th birthday doesn’t mean you can’t have a simple game night. So many categories of games. Are you more of a board game or card game person? Or do you prefer a combo of both? If you’re like Paul, you’ll be hanging around those old classic arcade games all night. Whatever gets you most excited is what you should do!

Here are some game night options to get you started:

More Inspiration

We have plenty of ideas to get you started on 40th birthday decor! It starts with our five birthday suites: animal menagerie, garden party, lemon, rainbow, and floral. Click here to see the rest of our birthday shop! Also, don’t forget to check out our past birthday blog content, like our Flower Lane birthday crowns, twisted birthday candles, or DIY birthday felt pennants.

A flat lay of twisted birthday candles and confetti on an orange background.

Hopefully we gave you some good ideas to get you started planning your 40th, if you haven’t had it already. And now we need to know: what did you/are you doing to celebrate your 40th? Let us know in the comments!

Lars’ Gardening Essentials

Lars favorite gardening essentials

Lars and Gardens

If you’ve been following along for a while now, you’ll know I love gardens. I mean, anything that’s compatible with flowers is a big yes for me. Years ago, I described my dream gardens in this post. It’s a great place to start if you need a little help deciding on what types of plants to fill your garden with.

Tips for Beginners (or anyone, really!)

Speaking of tips on growing a garden, if you need some, see this post on how to grow a garden even when you think you can’t. I wouldn’t consider myself a pro, but you can see what I did to the front yard garden of our little rental (serious nostalgia here! I love our new house, but that little rental will always have a special place in my heart. And the garden turned out so lovely)!

A display of geraniums in terracotta pots

Another post that can steer you in the right direction if you’re in need of a little garden inspiration is this post on how to plant a rainbow container garden. I go through plants of every color of the rainbow! It’s a lovely and easy way to add some color to your garden.

Oh, and if you need a few more gardening tips, as well as basic tools? See this post! It’s amazing how helpful a few basic tools can be in creating your dream garden. And speaking of tools and other essentials, you won’t want to miss this garden apron tutorial.

Other Garden Inspiration

Interested in our other garden content? You might want to check out this garden transformation we did with Troy Bilt! Honestly, the before photos are unrecognizable. Also see this post, where we compiled the inspiration for our new house! And last year, we did a roundup of planters and pots for you to peruse. And don’t forget our shop! Inspire yourself with floral and garden-centric art like this or this.

Lars’ Gardening Essentials

And for your convenience, here are some other Lars’ gardening essentials. From gloves to planters, you’ll be set for spring with a variety of tools. Whether you’ve got a pumpkin patch in your backyard, a few pots on your front porch, or some herbs on your windowsill, there’s something for every gardener (or wannabe) out there!

All Our Paper Flower Tutorials

Blooms for Bouquets

There are so many things you can do with paper flowers, but you need to make them first! Mix and match these flowers for bouquets or let them stand alone. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Paper parrot tulips in cream, yellow, and red.Paper peony bouquet held by a person in a striped dressIcelandic Paper PoppyPaper hydrangeas in a white vase against a floral orange backgroundThe Exquisite Book of Paper Flower Transformationspaper daffodil on a cream backgroundA pink and blue space divided down the middle with flower bells in each color

Find paper flower tutorials here: Sunflowers, Parrot Tulips, Peonies, Poppies, Morning Glory, Hydrangeas, Eden Rose, Daffodil, Paper Flower Bells, and Narcissus.

Lots of flowers have stamens, and here you can make your own floral stamens for paper flowers.

Bouquets

I’m a big fan of paper wedding bouquets because they are long-lasting reminders of your big day. There’s no wilting here! I have loved making paper flower tutorials for all these bouquets.

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.Paper Flower Wedding BouquetRoyal Wedding Inspired BouquetCinco de Mayo Wedding Bouquet

Find tutorials here: Spring Wedding Bouquet, White Peony Bouquet, Royal Wedding Inspired Bouquet, and Cinco de Mayo Inspired Bouquet.

Paper Flower Accessories

Flowers add delicacy and magic to your fanciest events, but I’m all for wearing them in between big parties, too! These paper flower crowns and this corsage will have you searching for events because they’re so fun to wear! You can find paper flower tutorials for the accessories below.

A paper shamrock and flower crown on a brunette girl's head against green and white wallpaperPaper Flower Bridal Hair PieceA little girl wears a paper flower crown and smells some little flowers.a floral crown on long, straight brown hairPaper Flower Corsage

Find tutorials here: Shamrock Flower Crown, Paper Flower Bridal Hairpiece, Flower Girl Crown, Spring Paper Flower Crown, Paper Flower Corsage, Paper Flower Graduation Tassel, and Paper Poppy Pin.

Home Decor Flowers

Wreaths

When I started adding paper flower wreaths to my doors, I made a huge discovery. Coming home to something beautiful makes a big difference! So add paper flower wreaths to your doors and start feeling OVERJOYED when you get to your home. I promise, it works for me!

Paper daffodil wreath against a pink backgroundCrepe Paper Lemon WreathBrittany holding a wreath with floral accents cut from wallpaper.A hand reaches into frame holding a rainbow floral wreath

 

Wreath tutorials here: Daffodil Wreath, Lemon and Blossom Wreath, Wallpaper Floral Wreath, Rainbow Flower Wreath, Paper Poinsettia Wreath, Palm Leaf Wreath and Pink Paper Blossom Wreath.

Chandeliers and Mobiles

I absolutely love what chandeliers and mobiles do to fill the empty space in a room. And come on, they look adorable. So do yourself a favor and hang one over your new baby’s crib! It will surely give you and baby some much needed delight amidst the lack of sleep.

A maidenhair fern hangs from a wooden hoopA floral upcycled chandelier with paper greenery hangs over a party table. A paper mobile hangs in a white room with a cactusA colorful chandelier with a hanging Dala horse is i

Mobile tutorials here: Paper Maidenhair Fern Mobile, Paper Flower Chandelier, Scandinavian Paper Mobile and Midsummer Dala Horse Mobile.

Centerpieces

Another way I love to incorporate flowers is through centerpieces. Because isn’t having company over the perfect excuse to make something with paper flowers?

Paper flowers and colorful candles on a branchPaper tulips in an arrangement.

Centerpiece tutorials here: Paper Flower Branch Candelabra, Spring Tulip Centerpiece, Rainbow Paper Flower Tablescape

Potted Paper Flowers

I love me a good potted paper plant. These little beauties are the perfect addition to any room, so what are you waiting for?

Brittany holds a paper easter lily in a terracotta pot in front of her facePaper Christmas cactus in a white potPaper Medinilla plant in a grey spaceColorful paper plants in a grey roomPaper pansies in a distressed terracotta planter. They're placed on a stack of colorful books on a chair. In the background, you can see some red floral wallpaper and blue wainscoting.Magenta and purple hollyhocks made of crepe paper against a dark grey background

Find tutorials here: Paper Orchids, Paper Foxgloves, Easter Lily, Christmas Cactus, Medinilla Plant, Pansies, Hollyhocks, Paper Flower Bells and more Paper House Plants.

Parties!

Cakes

Another impeccable excuse to incorporate some flowers, do yourself (and your guests) a favor! If I had to guess, I’d say these flower-centric party decorations will do the trick perfectly.

Floral Number Birthday Cake TopperPaper Kumquat and Quilled Flower CakeMidsummer Pole cake Topper

Cake topper tutorials here: Floral Number Birthday Cake Topper, Paper Flower and Kumquat Cake Decoration, Midsummer Pole Cake Topper and 3D Paper Flower Gift Toppers.

Backdrops

DIY Crepe Paper Peony tutorialTropical Leaf and Hibiscus BackdropBrittany stands in front of a paper daisy-covered wall wearing a yellow dress.

DIY paper poppy backdrop and pinPaper Tulip Backdrop

Backdrop tutorials here: Crepe Paper Peony Backdrop, Tropical Leaf and Hibiscus Backdrop, Paper Daisy Backdrop, Paper Tulip Backdrop and Paper Poppy Backdrop.

Garlands

Isn’t spring the perfect time for a floral garland? Well, for your convenience, we have some lovely options that transition right into summer, too!

Paper flower garlandPaper flower garland hangs over a rattan chair

Garland tutorials here: Paper Flower Garland and Summer Flower Garland.

DIY Daisy party hat

And don’t forget this Daisy Party Hat tutorial!

Holiday

Holidays are the perfect time to get making a few flower-centric decorations. To help you out, here are our favorites:

Valentines Day

Brittany looks over her shoulder at the camera while wearing a pink, red, and white daffodil crown

Wear this Valentine Flower Wreath on your head or decorate your door with it. Either way, you’ll be feeling festive and ready for the spring blooms that will pop up not too long after Valentines Day with this wreath!

Halloween

A mom wearing a paper flower costume and a daughter dressed as a mouse pose in their costumes

Chrysanthemum Mom and Kid Costume

Hannukah

Gold, blue, yellow, and pink paper flower menorah

Paper Flower Menorah

Christmas

This Christmas you can make holly large or small, as well as these really exciting poinsettia blooms.

Paper Poinsettia FlowerDIY Paper Holly boughsGiant paper holly and paper berries hung around a big banister

Poinsettia, Crepe Paper Holly, Giant Paper Holly Decoration and Amaryllis.

More From Our Shop!

Find more floral Lars materials on our shop. Here’s our Flowers Coloring Book, this sticker sheet, a whole collection of floral art prints, and more!

Our Learn To Draw Flowers Course

And don’t forget about our learn to draw flowers course! It’s the perfect companion piece to all these paper flower tutorials. And the great thing is, if you don’t have all the materials handy to make the tutorials right now, you can learn to draw them first! By the time your materials come in the mail, you’ll be a pro at drawing flowers and will be all ready to start making them.

Inspired by Cinco de Mayo

Nadia Aguilar Cates

Last year I talked to my friend Nadia Aguilar Cates about Cinco de Mayo and some of her plans to celebrate it. She explained that “Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the battle of Puebla. It’s not Mexico’s Independence Day but a common celebration in the United States.” –Nadia Aguilar Cates, @Casa_Palomi

Two little boys dressed in Mariachi outfits holding cardboard instruments stand in front of a giant pink papel picado decoration

Last year Nadia and I worked together to make a COVID-safe drive-by Cinco de Mayo party. This party was complete with cardboard mariachi instruments for kids and a giant papel picado backdrop. If you missed it last year, it’s not too late to get ready for this year’s festivities!

We also interviewed Nadia last Fall. Everything she does to preserve and celebrate her Mexican heritage is so inspiring. Check out her interview here! Oh and definitely keep an eye on Ella Rises, the organization Nadia created to empower Latina youth.

Nadia Aguilar Cates stands in front of a giant pink papel picado decoration

History of Cinco de Mayo

As Nadia said, Cinco de Mayo commemorates an important Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862 in the city of Puebla. The battle, in which the Mexican army defeated French troops, marked a turning tide in the fight for Mexican sovereignty. It also signaled Mexico’s strength to the rest of the world, which tended to underestimate their power.

Because The House that Lars Built is located in the United States, where anti-Mexican racism is still a pervasive problem, we’re using Cinco de Mayo to reflect on the importance of listening to and celebrating Indigenous and Mexican stories. In true Lars fashion, this means I’m highlighting some of my favorite Mexican artists and designers!

Lars Loves Mexican Artists

Frida Kahlo

Photograph of Frida Kahlo holding a small carved idol. She's wearing a black and orange woven top and has flowers and ribbons braided into her hair, and she's standing against a turquoise wall. Where would we be without our Queen, Frida Kahlo? She’s probably one of the best-known Mexican artists, and for good reason! Her work explores her Mexican Indigenous heritage in bright colors and with psychologically rich symbolism.

 

Painting by Frida Kahlo.
Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States, 1932

If you’re looking for more Frida in your life, check out our Great Artists course for kids, which will teach your little one (and you) more about Frida’s work. You can also look at these DIY projects inspired by Frida and this roundup of Frida Kahlo-inspired decor.

Luis Barragán

A woman holds a black horse's bridal in front of a tomato-colored wall at Luis Barragán's Cuadra San Cristóbal stables. There's also a flat blue pool and pink and purple structures in the background.
Photograph by Rene Burri

Luis Barragán was an incredible Mexican architect and designer, whose geometric buildings are breathtakingly colorful. His iconic San Cristobal Stables was one of the most memorable parts of my trip to Mexico City a few years ago. Brittany walks under a bright pink structure at Luis Barragán's San Cristobal stables in Mexico City

Michelle Franzoni Thorley

A black and white portrait of Michelle, who looks at the camera. She's wearing a white top and a chunky necklace, and she's standing in front of some plants

Michelle Franzoni Thorley is a local-to-me painter and family historian whose work explores her Mexican heritage and the power of knowing about our ancestors. She also is an anti-racism educator and all-around powerful human being. So make sure you follow her on Instagram @florafamiliar!

A painting of women in mountains, a desert, and a cemetery holding onto a red ribbon that connects them.
Ancestresses by Michelle Franzoni Thorley

Cinco de Mayo in the Archives

Paper Fan Garland

Along with last year’s drive by party, I wanted to share more Cinco de Mayo inspiration from years gone by. One of my earliest projects was this paper fan garland decoration.

Honeycomb fruit

Another early project was this collection of DIY honeycomb fruit ornaments.

paper fruits in the shape of grapes, an orange, a grapefruit, and a strawberry hang in front of a window

Cinco de Mayo Bouquet

I was also inspired by vibrant Mexican design when I made this Cinco de Mayo paper wedding bouquet! You don’t have to be a bride to make this, though! Putting together this bouquet would be such a great way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo while simultaneously gearing up for Summer blooms.

brightly colored paper bouquet

Fiesta

If you’re looking for full-on Cinco de Mayo party inspiration, look no further than the fiesta I threw a few years ago! You can find great decor, lots of delicious recipes, and links to tableware that will make your party a true fiesta! a festive Cinco de Mayo table set with Mexican food and decorated with colorful papel picado banners

Mexico City Travel Guide

Maybe I’m getting carried away, but I also want to share my travel guide from Mexico City. In 2018 I went to Mexico City and it was absolutely dreamy. In my Mexico City guide you can find my favorite places to go and things to see, as well as (perhaps most importantly?) where to eat. I can’t wait until I can go back and experience even more of Mexico City, because it’s truly a magical (and huge!) place, with so much to do and see.

a colorful papier mache man floats in a white museum space

I came home from Mexico City feeling so inspired by the color and design that I put together a roundup of fashion and design that reminded me of my trip! I’m itching to go back, but looking through these travel-inspired objects is satisfying a bit of my wanderlust…for now!

Viva México!

More Inspiration

Looking for Cinco de Mayo decorations, or just some spring decor to freshen up your home? Look no further than our shop for the templates to get you going! Try the Cinco de Mayo bouquet template and e-book to make it a lovely centerpiece. Also, here’s the template for those Cinco de Mayo streamers we mentioned. You’ll probably also love this paper flower garland or this boutonniere! You may want to check out this house plants e-book as well, along with our flower and leaf garland e-book.

Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

For our Mother’s Day breakfast in bed, we decided to go with something classic and gave it a little twist to make it extra cute for mom. This Mother’s Day breakfast in bed is so simple, but so adorable. Think edible arrangement in bed. Here’s how to recreate it:

Tray

To make your Mother’s Day breakfast in bed extra comfy for mom, you’ll want one of these handy trays. We went with a simple white Amazon edition. It was perfect with the colorful fruit and other components, like our retro floral fabric we turned into a bedspread!

Dishes

A vase and plate or bowl make a lovely addition to your breakfast in bed arrangement. We chose a simple white vase and pink plate we had on hand, but you can also see this post for many more options that would be beautiful as well!

Napkins

We chose our DIY napkins using natural ingredients for this breakfast in bed. We loved the bold colors in contrast with the fruit and that retro floral bedspread.

Flower fruit

The real stars (or flowers) of the show were the cookie cutters, which we used to cut out various types of fruit into flowers and arranged them. This part is fun–get creative and make your own edible arrangement for mom. Here’s how you can recreate these edible arrangements:

  1. First, cut out wide, flat slices of fruit (wide enough for various sizes of the flower cookie cutters to fit on).
  2. Cut out various sizes of the cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, and pineapple. We found that the watermelon and pineapple worked best for the larger cookie cutters, while the honeydew and cantaloupe were ideal for the smaller ones.
  3. Next, cut a length of 18 gauge wire that’s slightly longer than a straw. Slide it through the straw and stick a large fruit flower onto the tip. The flower should sit nicely on top of the straw now.
  4. Cut a small piece of wire and use to attach a smaller flower onto the center of the big flower.
  5. Make as many as you’d like for the arrangement!

Other food ideas

We went with a very fruit-centric breakfast with edible arrangements, grapes and strawberries (these didn’t work with the cookie cutters but are nonetheless delicious). But we also included some delicious cherry turnovers so mom could indulge. Get creative and add anything to your breakfast you think your mother would like!

What are you going to do for your Mother’s Day breakfast in bed? Let us know in the comments!

Spring Tablescape with Retro Florals

Our New Spring Tablescape

Tablecloth

There are so many components of our new spring tablescape that we’re absolutely over the moon about! Let me start by talking about the tablecloth. For past tablescapes, our go-to has been Spoonflower, of course. This time was no different, except that instead of using someone else’s design, we used our very own retro florals! If you haven’t heard yet, we have a whole library of designs to choose from, many of which are based off our popular Casetify phone case designs. It turns out retro florals looks amazing in more ways than just a phone case!

Tableware

As we mentioned earlier, our tableware came from the one and only Year & Day. Wow, are we in love. It’s absolutely perfect for this season and goes amazingly well with the retro florals tablecloth. We opted for blush pink plates, bowls, and napkins, as well as classic gold flatware. Can you say dreamy? Oh, and perfectly unpredictable and unique with our custom tablecloth twist.

Other Decorations

We also couldn’t help but use our handy cricut to cut out some simple retro floral designs! We scattered them on the table and attached them to straws to use in little vases by Year & Day. Oh, and don’t forget the colored candles and candlesticks!

More Inspiration

Liked this tablescape and more ideas? We think you’ll also love these other tablescapes! If you want something plant-themed and springy, we’d recommend When Life Hands You Lemons, Easter runner tablescape, rainbow flower tablescape, and Paper Plant Tablescape. Then there are these tablescapes that are appropriate at any time of the year: Bauhaus inspired tablescape and Chanel Inspired tablescape. Oh, and these Thanksgiving tablescapes, which are festive for Thanksgiving but also lovely long before November, too!