My tragic front door story and fall porch reveal!

Painting your front door the wrong color

I know what you’re asking–how did this even happen? First, we all make mistakes. Second, here was my reasoning. “I plan on limewashing over the brick of my house sooner than later so I though, oh, I’ll paint the door a color I like now so I don’t have to repaint it again. I think I can handle the sure-to-be mismatch of the door color of the brick.” Sounds smart enough, right?

WRONG!

I couldn’t. Not even one day. Here’s the thing, oftentimes as you’re painting and it looks bad, it’s USUALLY not so bad when you finish it. But this time, it was just SO SO SO SO bad. Like it was making me vomit, bad. Here’s another shot to get the full effect of the radioactive slime.

Can you imagine?!

The inspiration behind my front door

Some of you are wondering how I even got to this point. I hear you. Well, it started out with wanting some sort of sage green like this one below that I’ve been super inspired by lately.

And then I remembered this lighter shade of chair from Terrain, kind of like kicking it up a notch. While I think I nailed the right color, it was DEFINITELY not the right color for the door combined with the house. Again, I knew that, I just didn’t know that I really wouldn’t be able to live with it so much.

The safest way to choose a door color

I quickly got new samples and decided not to experiment much and go for a safety color. Something dark with brick is ALWAYS the way to go if you don’t want to spend time on it. But, I decided to try something with a bit of green and a bit of blue. The paint store could only do one of the three samples I brought it so thankfully they took the decision fatigue away from me and I LOVE how it turned out. I’m not always one for the safer choice, but sometimes you just got to I guess.

How to do a lovely front fall porch

I added on a new fall wreath from Terrain, some new pots and urns and a plethora of bounteous mums and pumpkins (I think I was the first in line to buy pumpkins this year!) in exquisite colors and I’m in LOVE!

fall porch decor

I had always wanted a porch where I could go full stop on a pots and planters. I went to gradschool in Georgetown in Washington, DC, perhaps the capital of fall displays, and it was always on my brain.

Start with a wreath

I know many of you are Team No Wreath, but to me, it’s all about the right kind of wreath and this one is beyond words. It’s metal and has the loveliest details. I got it from Terrain.

beautiful fall wreath

Pumpkin topiaries on urns

I had always wanted to do some pumpkin topiaries and this was the year for sure because I got these cast iron urns from Terrain that were perfect for it. I got some flat pumpkins, took off the stems, and stacked them on top.

pumpkin topiary

Fall blanket weather

Our mail box has the perfect nook to hang a blanket when friends come over and we sit outside. Perfect for COVID measures 😉

cozy fall blanket

pumpkin and mum display front porch

The key to this look was the many layers and colors of the pumpkins, mums, and pots. I also made them more or less symmetrical on either side so that they felt even.

Pots

I got a few of my very favorite pots from Bergs, a Danish brand that has the loveliest details. You can find them here. I also love the warmer toned ones here.

How to get the look:

blanket, wreathurnpot

I’d love to hear what you’re doing with your fall porch this year and your true thoughts about my front door (or do I dare?!).

Women Who Work: Erin Benzakein

When did you know that flowers and gardening were your jam?

I found flowers through landscape design and my love was deepened through farming. As my understanding of flowers grew my desire to arrange them did too. I began with what I could grow in my garden, including many grown items that are not typically thought of when one creates arrangements. Herbs, vegetables, fruits, if I could grow it I was using it. I began to see the beauty in what each season could produce making each bouquet moments of captured time. I practiced and practiced and was constantly met with love,  support and positive feedback which kept me going on my journey and has helped me arrive where I am today.

Why is it important to you to create?

Creating is part of something much bigger than beautiful arrangements or design. Creating helps myself and others think ahead and pioneer new ideas. Creating is a chance to mark life’s greatest milestones and everyday events in a simple yet meaningful ways.

What’s your advice to women wanting to pursue the same thing?

It is all in the practice of your medium and finding what works best for you. I’ve found that everyone struggles more or less with the same things: how to approach color, basic mechanics, proper ingredient selection, and most importantly, confidence. Be gentle with yourself as you work through these things and thing the meaning in the work you are creating.

How to get started

 

You can find Erin here:

@FloretFlower
Floret Flowers site
You can find her latest book, A Year in Flowers here
Her first book, Cut Flower Garden here
2020 Floret Farms planner here
Her Garden Journal here

Gardening Art Print

You can find all of the Women Who Work here!

If you are passionate about gardening be sure to check out Floret Farm’s A Year In Flowers and be sure to hang up the Gardening Print in your home to remind you of just how incredible you are at your work!

Top ten of 2022

Top ten 2022

It’s always so fun to see what you respond to–whether it’s a DIY project for Valentine’s Day or an essay that I’m super impassioned about. I love to review the top ones so I can keep it in mind for the upcoming year. SO, in true David Letterman style, I’m sharing our top ten blog posts starting with number 10.

10. DIY Ukranian paper sunflower

The situation in Ukraine continues to be distressing and heartbreaking. We joined the ranks of those wanting to do something but not knowing exactly what to do. So, we decided a paper sunflower tutorial was in order to pay homage to their beloved flower. Hopefully it can bring sunshine to those who are affected. We are with you!

9. Papier mache vase

We were inspired by the work of Corrie Beth Hogg, a former Lars contributor, on this one. She can take cardboard boxes and turn them into something magical. We made our papier mache vase inspired by our new studio kitchen, which we haven’t yet revealed. Stay tuned for that VERY soon!

8. Are you scared of color?

This year I talked a lot about people are afraid to use color even though it’s so needed for the soul. I wrote this essay called “Are you scared of color?” and you guys responded to it so hard! Stay tuned for more on this topic!

7. Paper heart wreath

We made a lot of wreaths in 2022 and our paper heart wreath was one of the top ones! I love it too! You can find the tutorial here.

accordion heart wreath

6. How to celebrate your 40th birthday

This year I turned 40 (still can’t believe it other than my body feels like it’s falling apart) and I know I’m now alone in wanting to do something epic for the big event. In fact, you guys gave some super awesome ideas and I compiled them into one list called “how to celebrate your 40th birthday“. I ended up getting to go to France with my dearest friends and I’ll be sharing more about it

5. Palm leaf wreath

Our palm leaf tutorial is one of our most successful posts of all time so we thought we’d show you how to turn the leaves into a project, hence the palm leaf wreath. I love it so much! It’s sitting on our wreath wall in our shipping room and brings so much happiness.

4. Paper orchid

We’ve been doing paper flowers on Lars since the beginning yet we haven’t even scratched the surface with the variety of paper flowers we’re hoping to tackle. I don’t know about you but orchids are one of the toughest flowers to keep alive so a paper orchid is much more my style. Here’s how to make a paper orchid!

3. A shift here at Lars

With all the talk of color, or lack thereof, I was feeling the itch to really start addressing the issues. We have slowly been incorporating it into our posts, but 2023 will be the start of even more. Read more about our shift here at Lars here.

2. How to thread your sewing machine

If it’s not an essay bearing my soul like the previous post, it’s a super practical post on “How to thread your sewing machine” because really, it always comes down to the basics, huh?!

  1. Three ways to fold love letters

And finally our number one post of 2022, how to fold love letters! This is what I mean when I say that I can never anticipate what your favorite projects will be! Ha! We’ve got three different techniques on how to fold a love letter on this post.

Ok! There they are. Our top 10 projects and essays. On one hand, I totally get it. On the other hand, who even knows?! I will add in that these posts had more time to simmer versus our more recent projects so maybe time will prove otherwise!

Let me know what your favorite project was from 2022 in the comments! 

Friendship Bracelet Inspired Balloon Garland

how to make a flower balloon garland

Friendship Bracelet Inspired Balloon Garland

This year, we turned to our friend Wendy who has the most charming old white house (we’ve talked about her before here), which is a dreamy setting for her preschool.  We had aspirations of flowers and we wanted it to be BIG.  That’s when our friends at Anagram stepped in and gave us a hand with some of their balloons. My favorites are the purple/pink ombre ones, how about you? We knew with Wendy’s house and Anagram’s balloons we could pull off something really fun.how to make a flower balloon garland

Midsummer decor idea

Now, Wendy used to live in Sweden, so she was very eager to hop on the idea of Midsummer balloons. Did I also mention that Wendy is a BIG time lover of balloons!  Match made!  With the idea of greenery (read more about Sweden’s Midsummer traditions HERE) and flowers abounding, we got to work making some flowers out of balloons.

Beaded Flower bracelets

We were reminded of these popular bracelets that our friends at HonestlyWTF made and knew what we had to do. With some extra white balloons, we were able to make a chain and string the flowers together making the perfect balloon friendship bracelet.how to make a flower balloon garland

Here’s how to make them!

Materials: 

Make a flower balloon: 

  1. Start by using a gold/yellow balloon for the center.
  2. Blow up 6 “petals” to go around the center. Use packing tape to secure together and to the center.
  3. Blow up 5 white balloons for the garlands. Use balloon tape to hold them together. Use packing tape to secure if necessary.
  4. To adhere the garlands to your structure, use gaffer tape.

Tip: We found that packing tape is AMAZING for balloon to balloon adhesion and gaffer tape is great for balloon to other surfaces.

how to make a flower balloon garland

Recycling foil balloons

Did we mention recycling?  Yes!  Anagram foil balloons can be used year after year. Or you can gift them to friends like we did to give them a second life. It turned out so cute and we can’t wait for her kids to see!  how to make a flower balloon garland

This post is sponsored by Anagram but all opinions are my own! 

Summer Paper Flower Wedding Bouquet Kit

A couple years ago, we posted a number of DIY paper flower wedding bouquets. Some of our past ones include this colorful Cinco de Mayo bouquet, a stunning white peony bouquet, and the royal wedding inspired bouquet. It was time for another wedding bouquet, as well as a kit! That’s right, you can buy all the materials in one place–our shop!

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

Wedding flowers are usually HUGELY expensive. They are gorgeous and undoubtedly worth the money if you can afford it. HOWEVER, not everyone has the cash for lavish floral decor, accessories, and bouquets. Then, at the end of the big day, most of the flowers get tossed and the ones you keep fade away much too quickly. I have even heard brides talk about coming home from a honeymoon to wilting flowers and feeling all the wedding and honeymoon hype slump down into post-wedding blues. How sad!

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.A bride in a white dress against a pink background holds a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

But why not make something that will be just as beautiful and will last so much longer? Our paper flower wedding bouquet kit is unique, breathtaking, and won’t wilt. Honestly, if you keep it away from water and out of flames, this baby should last forever!

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

Make Your Own Paper Wedding Bouquet

We have the perfect paper wedding bouquet kit ready for anyone who wants to make their own flowers. To help you get started, we gathered the materials for you (including a lovely ribbon to tie everything together!) so that there’s one less thing to think about as you plan your wedding.

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

We understand that it’s not easy to find the right materials in the correct colors and amounts. It turns out that lots of these materials (I’m looking at you, crepe paper) only come in bulk! Getting started and gathering the materials is probably the hardest part, so we took care of that for you! By buying our kit, you’ll save a lot of time, headache, and money, as well as templates and instructional videos.

A bride in a white dress against a pink background holds a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

If you’re not confident about how your paper flower wedding bouquet will turn out, ask a friend and/or family member for help and have a bouquet-making party! The point is, enjoy your time planning while making something meaningful for your special day. This bouquet will become such a meaningful memento of your wedding and the memory of making it will be even more meaningful!

Look for this kit in our shop to make your own, and tag us with #LarsPaperFlowers

 

Becoming Loria Stern

In 2011, Loria Stern started attending adult education classes entitled “Medicinal and Edible Plants” where she learned about foraging and the power of plant medicine. She started combining her culinary skills with the knowledge she was learning about botanicals. All the while she was posting her bespoke creations on Instagram. In 2016 her work was highlighted in Vogue Magazine and she received over 30,000 followers overnight. Fans were asking where they could purchase her treats so she started selling them on her website. The first day she posted her treats, she received over 20 orders. Since that day, her business has grown into a successful baking operation where she employs 4 helpers with living wages. She’s still growing her business, writing a cookbook and pitching a TV show. Exciting things are in store for this hardworking woman!

Loria is wearing a floral dress and standing in a kitchen surrounded by colorful produce.

Meet Loria Stern

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, baker, business person, educator, etc.?

Well, I consider myself all of these things but more so one than the other depending on what day of the week we’re talking about. I would say I started out as an artist and maker, and then became a baker and now my daily tasks are more of a business person and educator. 

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now? 

I grew up in Ojai, CA, a small quaint town nestled in between large mountains but just a 20 minute drive to the beach. The town had a lot of nature–my childhood neighborhood streets were lined with tall oak trees. There was and still is a huge element of health consciousness and spirituality in Ojai and I think those elements absolutely influenced what I do now and the person I’ve become. 

Loria stands with her back to the camera. She's surrounded by fresh cut flowers and she's wearing a straw hat, and there are misty mountains in the background.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger? 

Of course I wanted to be a professional tennis player! That dream ended around 14 years old and then I wanted to be an artist. I guess that dream has come true except through a different medium (culinary arts vs. the visual arts).

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? 

Not really one single person, but more so a number of different friends who loved eating the foods I cooked and baked for them and encouraged me to follow this path.

What sparked your interest in edible flowers? 

I’ve always loved flowers (who doesn’t?!) but it wasn’t until I started learning about the medicinal properties of botanicals in my 3 semesters of the adult education classes that my love for combining edible flowers + botanicals with cooking and baking, really opened up an entire new craft for me. 

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.Brightly colored flowers pressed onto sugar cookies on a wooden background.

What are three words to describe your style? 

Creative, happy and cool.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career? 

I graduated with a BA from college and spent my last year painting and drawing. I was in an art show in my final year of college and sold several pieces. As noted earlier, I also took 3 semesters of adult education classes post college– “Medicinal + Edible Plants” and learned a lot about treating ailments naturally with wild, edible plants. I also attribute my dedication as a competitive tennis player to my strong work ethic, which I think is the most important aspect of my current success. 

Loria sits cross-legged on a teal blanket surrounded by pressed flowers in books and a cup of tea.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now? 

I did not really have a career after graduating college in 2006–I more so worked a bunch of odd jobs to pay the rent–teaching tennis, nannying, working as an assistant, etc. It was not until 2010 when I worked my first job as a prep chef that I really learned my love for the culinary arts and that I wanted to make this a career.

What inspired you to become a baker/florist/gardener? 

My love for nature, working with my hands and discovering new alchemic combinations.

Brightly-colored flowers pressed onto green matcha cookie dough.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why? 

I love making tall tiered wedding cakes and delivering them to the venue. It is always so rewarding.

Tall wedding cake frosted with white frosting and purple and yellow flowerscake frosted with blush pink frosting with purple, yellow, and white pansies pressed onto it. It's styled in a pink draping fabric with a vase of flowers.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

In nature first and foremost. 

How do you make social connections in the creative realm? 

Many via Instagram, I’ve met some of my best friends and have found a beautiful, supportive community of my work there.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present? 

Gah, there are so so many! Truly too hard to just pinpoint a few.

Horizontal photo of Loria wearing a floral dress and holding a tray of baked cookies. Flowers are pressed onto the top of each one.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days? 

My father was a jazz clarinetist and music pervades much of my childhood. I love all types of music and have found there is a time and a place for every genre of music. I love documentaries and listening to podcasts. But I try to stay away from negative media as it definitely affects my mood.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto? 

Work hard and always do your best. Hold yourself and others accountable. Treats others how you’d want to be treated.

Horizontal photo of Loria measuring sugar into a yellow mixing bowl. She's in a kitchen and surrounded by flowers and a turquoise kitchenade mixer

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year? 

I moved to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara just one month before the pandemic began. I had to find a new commercial kitchen and employees within that time and it was extremely difficult to say the least. Looking back, I feel so grateful for the commercial baking space and my LA helpers. 

Loria stands in a field of zinnias wearing a white dress and a straw hat. She's holding a basket full of flowers.

How do your surroundings influence your work? 

So much. I realized I am creatively motivated by my physical space. I love natural light and need to be close to nature. 

Loria bends down to pick wildflowers in a meadow. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat.

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump? 

Exercise is always a good idea and I have found it to be the number one cure for all sorts of slumps. 

What is a typical day like for you? 

I enjoy waking up early. I drink coffee first thing in the morning, then I’ll mosey around my backyard garden with coffee in hand. I’ll stroll up to my home office, check business and personal emails, and then the day is off and running. I usually pick edible botanicals from my garden then meet my team at the bakery. We start cranking our baking orders and then before I know it, it’s 6pm! Then I’ll come home, meet up with my boyfriend and we’ll cook dinner and watch a show.

Loria decorating a pan of focaccia with flowers and vegetables. She's shaped them into a floral scene.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

To learn as much as you can about the hobby / skill. There is so much readily available information that one can learn online that school is not necessary as long as there is curiosity, dedication and a strong work ethic.

Loria standing at the head of a banquet table full of food and flowers. It is sunset and there are mountains in the background.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on? 

I’d say tennis is my secret talent for those who are just meeting me now! Otherwise, I’m working on learning how to surf but it’s extremely hard!

Two pans of botanical cookies with pressed flowers. The ones on the top are a vanilla shortbread and the ones on the bottom are pink.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business? 

Gah, I am still trying to figure that out. I have not accepted investment from outside sources however am currently looking into it to grow my business!

A plate of baked floral shortbread stacked up. In the background there are lots of flowers scattered.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?” 

I’d like to become more well-traveled. I want to visit Japan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Sweden, and the list continues! I want to visit these places and learn about new ingredients and cooking techniques and share those with an audience so that they can live on and evolve into our current day’s food. 

A film photograph of Loria walking away from the camera through a field of wildflowers. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat and there are trees and mountains in the background.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years? 

First and foremost, I hope to remain healthy! Secondly, I hope to open up a physical commissary kitchen with a retail space, classroom and on-site edible flower garden so that I can teach my botanical infused culinary arts to the greater community. There is so much information that I find so inspiring and interesting, I am sure others will as well.

Loria sitting on a bed with teal bedding and flowers in a bowl. She's wearing a beige jumpsuit and there's low, moody lighting.

Can’t get enough of Loria Stern?

We don’t blame you! Follow Loria’s work on her Instagram @LoriaStern and don’t forget to check out her website, where you can buy her delicious, beautiful creations!

Years ago we wrote a post about using edible flowers, and I hope that this interview with Loria Stern makes you even more excited to incorporate beautiful botanicals into your meals (like this edible flower pot).

Read more Becoming interviews here to keep the inspiration flowing!

Loria walking through a meadow of flowers wearing a white dress and a straw sun hat. She's holding a basket of flowers and the sky is blue.

All photos are courtesy of Loria Stern.

In the Mood For: The Royal Wedding Anniversary

More than knowing how to throw a party, they know how to show love and respect for one another and people around the world. Aside from all of the drama, Harry and Meghan have been busy running their non-profit organization, Archewell. I did a little digging and learned that they chose this name because the Greek word “arche” means “source of action” (Archie = Arche). Aside from that, Meghan recently teamed up with Save the Children and did a fantastic story-time segment available on instagram. We are donating the proceeds from our Picture Hope coloring book to the same organization! That makes us just like Meghan, right?

Okay. Now that I’ve talked about how wonderful Harry and Meghan are for humanitarian reasons, I can talk about what we all guiltily came here for: FASHION. 

Since joining the royal family, Meghan has become an icon. And in the months since Megxit, she has stepped up her wardrobe in a big way. I’ve been feeling a little tired of my same two house dresses and have spent a fair bit of time looking at pictures of Meghan and Kate for fashion inspiration. You’ll love what I found!! The mix of classic elegance with modern, playful touches is perfect. Truthfully, that’s what I hope Lars makes you, dear reader, think of. I’d like to think Meghan is a Lars girl. 😉 

Two years ago, we wrote about the wedding and made a mood board! If you want to see their wedding style synthesized, try this out! You probably have one friend who is a big time fan of all things royal (mine is named Dana). Send her something from our Royal Weddings collection!  

(I won’t tell if you make a purchase for yourself.)

royal wedding stationary to celebrate the royal family

Keep on scrolling down to see some pieces that are a perfect fit for a royal-loving Lars girl. When you’re ready, head to our instagram today to vote on your favorite royal wedding fashion items. Which wedding was your favorite, Meghan’s or Kate’s? 

Now that’s the tea – don’t spill.

Everyday style inspired by the Royal Family

How to plan your own royal wedding

If you are day dreaming of your very own classic wedding, inspired by Meghan and Harry’s big day, we have all the resources to help you! We are in full support of you going all out for the classy, iconic wedding of this decade. Visions of pastel colors and big hats are dancing around our heads. If you can picture it too, keep reading! After all, your deserve to feel royal on your wedding day.

paper wedding bouqet meghan markle's wedding bouqet from the royal wedding

You can find the templates needed to make your own paper version of Meghan’s wedding bouquet in our new paper flower e-book.  Start the theme with your bridal shower, with the help of these printable invites the queen herself would approve of! Click here to see the royal wedding inspired tea party we held, for inspiration for your bridal shower or the reception itself!

Explore the links below for fashion inspired by the personal styles of members of the royal family. Imagine your guests donning classy pastel attire for the garden wedding every one will be talking about. Below you’ll find dresses, spring blazers, heels, and even hats the royal family would love any excuse to wear

Royal Wedding Fashion

Royal Wedding Accessories

 

This post is part of our “In the Mood For” series, where we highlight the taste of famous people and characters we love. Click these links to be inspired by kindred spirits like Anne of Green Gables or Jo March, or to learn how to re-create the iconic styles of real life heroes Iris Apfel or Alexander Girard

4 Ways to Make Succulent Pumpkins

 1. A Pumpkin Family with Succulents and Squash

In the spirit of my Halloween decorating philosophy (classic harvest season decorations are always a win!), I will be providing you a few tutorials on how to create a lovely Halloween. First up, a DIY pumpkin family. Are you dying from cuteness overload yet? I nearly did as we shot this. It’s too much. I teamed up with the succulent expert Cassidy Tuttle of Succulents and Sunshine (a blog all about succulents. She even has an ebook!) and illustrator of the most adorable faces, Michelle Christensen of My Little Belleville to bring you the world’s cutest pumpkin family. Succulents as hair and a painted face. I die. AND, Michelle made you some templates so you can recreate her faces. You can find them in our Halloween shop here. Score!

Materials:

  • Light-colored pumpkins (I found that white works the best)
  • Acrylic paints (black and red and white are all you really need)
  • Fine paintbrush
  • Carving knife
  • Pumpkin faces PDF template (download here)
  • Pencil
  • A variety of succulents
  • Rocks for succulents

Instructions:

  1. Carve out the top. You won’t need it so feel free to discard.
  2. Scoop out the seeds.
  3. You can trace the faces onto the pumpkin by positioning the template where you want the face and then pressing hard with a pen or pencil.

OR 4. You can use pins or toothpicks to transfer the image onto the pumpkin.

OR 5. Use the template as a stencil and cut it out and paint over it with your brush.

6. Paint in the lines with your acrylic paints.

7. Die of cuteness overload.

8. Put some rocks into the pumpkin and insert your succulents. Try a few in the head or just one larger succulent.
I mean…
Greenery AND pumpkins? I love it. Look at how adorable and colorful this pumpkin family is! You could also make this DIY pumpkin family resemble your own family! How cute would that be?
Photography by Cassidy Tuttle of Succulents and Sunshine
Illustration by Michelle Christensen of My Little Belleville (check out her adorable shop!)
Assistant: Audrey Ellsworth
Art direction and crafting: moi

2. Succulents and flowers on pumpkins and squash

I also thought it’d be fun to add some succulents onto some pumpkins as if they were flower petals or a mandala. Super easy yet lovely. We’ve been thinking about many ways to decorate pumpkins with succulents, and this one is fun for all ages!

Materials:

  • Pumpkins (light-colored work best)
  • Succulents in various shades
  • Glue gun

Instructions:

  1.  Break off the succulents carefully at the very base of where they meet the trunk.
  2. Apply hot glue onto the pumpkin and then apply the succulent. I found that when you applied it onto the succulent, it’s more prone to fall off.
DONZO.
You know that I’m more comfortable working with paper and fabric than succulents! But I do love greenery, and these tutorials are a great way to work with plants, even if you’re not an experienced gardener. This tutorial is especially perfect if you have succulents around the house that are falling apart. Don’t let those beauties go to waste! Use the leaves to decorate a pumpkin!

Photography by Cassidy Tuttle of Succulents and Sunshine 

3. DIY Words made from Succulents Pumpkins

Here’s the third of four projects that Cassidy and I collaborated on. She made these adorable pumpkins spelling the words “BOO” written in succulents.
This DIY is pretty easy, and it doesn’t require many materials! We stacked the pumpkins in this tutorial, but you can always place them next to each other to spell out whatever phrase your Halloween decor calls for. Gah! Stacking pumpkins is harder than it looks!

Materials:

  • Succulent Cuttings
  • Pumpkins (live or fake!)
  • Hot glue or floral glue
  • Toothpicks
  • Permanent marker

Instructions:

  1. If you’re opting to stack your pumpkins, I applaud you! The first step is to stack the pumpkins how you want them displayed
  2. Use a permanent marker to trace the letters on your pumpkins (we decided “BOO” was a cute and easy phrase!)
  3. Attach the succulent cuttings to the pumpkins with hot glue, floral glue, or toothpicks. Cassidy decided that toothpicks work best for larger succulent cuttings. According to Cassidy, floral glue also works very well when working with succulents!
  4. If you decide to use the toothpick method, stick the toothpick into the pumpkin, leaving about 1/2″ sticking out. Then take your succulent cutting and stick it on the toothpick. Voila!

Get the full scoop on how to do it and pictures of the process on her blog, Succulents and Sunshine. Let me know in the comments what you chose for your phrase and how your own succulent worded pumpkins turned out!

These worded succulent pumpkins will surely turn heads of passersby. And as if these worded pumpkins are not cute enough…

BAM! Dogs make everything 15 times cuter.

4. DIY Succulent Monogram Pumpkin

These succulent monogram pumpkins are the final project in my collab with Cassidy of Succulents and Sunshine. This was my first time working with succulents and I have to say that I love the little fellers. They’re so perky and sweet. But leave it to me to find a way to kill a couple suckers. Gah! That’s why I work with paper flowers.
Cassidy made this monogram succulent pumpkin. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to make your own! Trust me, even if you’re not great with plants, it’s still such a fun tutorial and offers a twist on classic Halloween decor. If you’re looking for an easy way to amp up your holiday decorations, this is it!

Materials:

  • Succulent Cuttings
  • A pumpkin (live or fake!)
  • Hot glue gun or floral glue
  • Marker (for tracing initials on the pumpkin)

Instructions:

  1. Use the marker to draw an outline of your letter on the pumpkin
  2. Glue small succulents onto the marker line
  3. Cover the rest of the pumpkin with succulents of your choice!
Pretty simple, right? Head on over to Cassidy’s blog to check out the full instructions with pictures of the process. She even suggests which succulents to use for placing your pumpkin outdoors in freezing temperatures!

Succulent Pumpkin Variations

If you’re not that great at handling live plants, you could use fake succulents and a fake pumpkin to save it for future holidays. If you love succulents AND flowers, check out some of our paper flower tutorials here and here (with many more tutorials throughout the Lars archives!) to position flowers between your succulents. Place your succulent monogram pumpkins on your doorstep or inside your home for a stylish, succulent-filled Halloween!

Need more Halloween pumpkin inspiration? Take a look at a Lars favorite, these DIY Rainbow Pumpkins! Add more pumpkins to your monogram succulent decor with a DIY Rainbow Pumpkin Arch.  Use your pumpkins to decorate for a Halloween dinner party, or display them to get into the Halloween spirit!

DIY Palm Leaves

DIY PALM LEAVES

These palm leaves are a BREEZE to make (see what we did there 😉


Materials:

Directions: 

  1. Trace out your leaf template and cut it out. (We have formatted the the template to cut an 8.5×11 however, the leaves that we made were done with a much larger. To accomplish this you can use the template and size up by hand or send it to print at a larger scale.)
  2. Fan your leaf shape: start from the middle fold, choosing one side of your teardrop-shaped leaf to begin making even smaller folds, helping your leaf get that pretty fanned palm look. Repeat on the other side. (you can use a scoring tool to help you get sharper folds)
  3. Color your leaf: before connecting your leaf to the stem, you’ll want to paint it to make sure it gets an even color throughout. BEFORE PAINTING be sure your creases are defined! Then flatten out your shape again, just enough that you can get an even coat of paint on it. Paint and let dry for 1-2 hours! We used spray paint.
  4. While your leaf is drying, make the petiole stem!
  5. Use petiole stem paper cover template (once again this can be sized up on the computer or sized up based off the printed template)
  6. Fold your stem along the dotted lines on the template.
  7. You should be able to make a long pyramid-looking stem now with your paper! Hot glue the extra 4th fold to hold it all together (leave the extra 2-3 inches at the top unglued).
  8. Paint your petiole stem to match the leaf!
  9. After your leaf is dry, follow your original creases to re-fold your leaf into its fan shape
  10. Take a lollipop stick and place it inside of the most middle crease of your leaf, only a few inches from the bottom. Hot glue it in place.
  11. Cut diagonally from the leaf to the stick to take the excess off of where the leaf meets the stick (refer to photo).
  12. Tape the very bottom together to keep the shape of the leaf fanned and the stick secure
  13. Slide your petiole stem paper cover over the lollipop stick (the 2-3 inch extra end first), allowing those 2-3 inches at the top to cover the very bottom of the leaf and cover the area where your leaf is glued/taped to your stick. Hot glue the top in place.

For Home Decor

These palm leaves are great on their own for home decor. They’re also great as decor during Easter time like for Palm Sunday! Read about our post here.

We can’t wait to see these beautiful palm leaves in your home! Make sure to tag us with #larsmakes so we can see these beautifies in your home!

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.

DIY Grocery Store Flower Bouquet

I love making grocery store flower bouquets. Before I learned a few simple flower-arranging tips, though, I used to buy pre-made bouquets from grocery stores, trim the ends, and dunk them into a vase as is. It looked decent and there’s nothing wrong with doing that, of course! But learning how to arrange flowers properly helped make a simple flower arrangement look like a professionally made bouquet.

A bouquet made of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

Buying a beautiful floral arrangement usually costs an arm and a leg. You can make a beautiful bouquet of your own with a fraction of that cost with flowers from a grocery store! Follow the step-by-step tutorial below to learn the tips and tricks.

Detail shot of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

Make Your Own Grocery Store Flower Bouquet

When you’re buying flowers for a bouquet, consider a color scheme that you want to design around and look for a variety of shapes and textures.

Detail shot of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

There are four basic categories to look for when making a bouquet. First choose larger blooms that will be focal points (like hydrangeas, roses, peonies, zinnias, tulips etc.). Second, line flowers (like goldenrod, calla lilies, or other flowers that form a strong visual line) or accent flowers (spray roses, carnations, eryngium, etc.). Third, get filler flowers (like chamomile, wax flower, or baby’s breath). Fourth and finally, choose greenery or foliage for your bouquet.

Choosing a vase for your arrangement is too-often overlooked. Whether you want something colorful or subdued, putting some thought into your vessel will elevate your bouquet. I put together a list of some of my current favorite vases here, or DIY a paper mâché or recycled egg carton vase with these tutorials!

Instructions

A person using a knife to trim the bottom of a stem next to some roses and a vase on a picnic table.A person removes rose leaves from a stem. In the background are rose petals, greenery, and a purple and white vase on a picnic table.A person arranges eucalyptus branches in a purple and white vase.A person arranges bright orange spray roses in a purple and white vase full of eucalyptus branches.A person places hydrangeas in a bouquet of eucalyptus and roses in a purple and white vase.A person places chamomile blossoms in a bouquet of eucalyptus, roses, and hydrangeas in a purple and white vase.

  1. Prepare all your flowers and foliage by trimming off the ends with a sharp, clean knife or some clean flower pruners. Take all the leaves off the bottom of the stems. You don’t want leaves to sit in the water, because then they’ll rot!
  2. Your flowers should have come with a little packet of flower food. Pour this, along with some water, into a vase.
  3. First place your foliage in the vase. Think about the ways that foliage can frame flowers or provide a more neutral backdrop for them. I’m arranging with willow eucalyptus, which has long, elegant leaves, so I’m also considering how they drape. Hold a few branches back to add in at the end.
  4. Next place your line flowers or accent flowers. I used spray roses here.
  5. Arrange the focal flowers in the vase. The stems from your foliage and accent flowers will form a sort of lattice that makes it easier to get your focal flowers right where you want them.
  6. When you arrange your focal flowers, think about how tall you want them and what direction you want them to face. If they’re too long, trim the stems a little bit at a time, because you can all ways take away more stem but you can’t make them grow taller!
  7. Arrange your fill flowers around the focal and line/accent flowers.
  8. Add in any foliage you held back.
  9. Place your bouquet somewhere in your home that you’ll see it often so that you really enjoy it! To keep it fresh for as long as possible, pick the flowers up and trim an inch off the stems every few days. When you do this, make sure there’s plenty of water and it’s clean.

Arranging flowers is a skill that comes in handy all the time, especially if you love having fresh flowers around as much as I do! I would love to see your bouquets at #LarsFlowerMonth

beautiful bouquet made from grocery store flowers

DIY Dried Flower Pumpkins

Today we’re bringing you a DIY fall project with dried flowers, but this one is a little different than our DIY Rainbow Pumpkins we posted last month. However, both projects could be left up year-round to add a little charm and cheer to your front porch.

I love our pumpkin projects because they involve no carving. That’s right, no scraping the inside of a pumpkin for hours until your arm gets numb. No sifting through pumpkin goop to get out the seeds for roasting. And no more planning out an elaborate design, only to accidentally cut off a huge piece of pumpkin and ruining the whole thing! I’m really making a case for a no-carving Halloween, aren’t I? Well it turns out, there are other ways to dress up pumpkins, and I’d argue they let you be even more creative than a carving set!

Unlike our colorful painted gourds, this pumpkin DIY relies on natural adornmentspreserved flowers, to be precise! You don’t need a perfectly round pumpkin for this DIY fall project with dried flowers. In fact, you could even dress up some acorn or butternut squash if that’s what you have on hand. How gorgeous would these pumpkins be as a Thanksgiving table centerpiece?

Even though we’re using preserved flowers for this project, that doesn’t mean the colors have to be tone down. You know which blog this is, right? Bring on the brightness! Choose jewel toned flowers that hold onto their hues after drying, like dried globe amaranth or strawflowers. How perfect is the name “strawflower”?! It evokes those beautiful red berries we all know and love and the “straw” makes me think of fall harvest.

Here are some of our favorite preserved and dried flowers from around the web!

DIY Fall project with dried flowers and pumpkins!

Materials:

See above!

Instructions:

  1. Pick out your flowers (we got ours from Terrain) and pumpkins. We went with a monochromatic scheme because…elegance!
  2. Plan your pattern.
  3. Start gluing! Use extra glue to make sure they stay on!

That’s it!

It’s really an easy project, but you can get super intricate with the design and style of the pumpkin. Again, how lovely would it be as a wedding centerpiece. I’m definitely showing these off ASAP!

Yes, summer is over, and it’s taking the beautiful flowers with it, but don’t fret! This DIY will help you preserve the colorful blooms all through the fall season.

Thank you Terrain for providing the beautiful preserved flowers! You can shop their collection here