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!

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! 

Danish Christmas Hearts

Danish Christmas Hearts

Christmas hearts, or julehjerter, have a long history throughout Scandinavia, but we know about them through Hans Christian Andersen, who, in addition to his writings, was a wonderful paper cut artist. Danish children would practice them to increase their fine motor skills and I can say that they still do them today!

The hearts are typically done using red and whites. We had to add our touch to it so we used a few different colors in reds, pinks, and teals. The traditional method is to do it using scissors and of course, you are welcome to do that, but we put them into our Cricut to get those lines super crisp. Both ways work! We have four different templates to try out ranging in difficulty levels. See below!

Danish paper christmas hearts

How to make a woven Danish Christmas heart (julehjerter)

Materials

  • paper (you can even find kits here)
  • scissors or Cricut machine
  • glue stick
  • templates (you can find them in our shop)

Instructions

    1. Using the Cricut (or your trusty scissors) cut out the shapes from the template including the cuts in the middle, using two different colors of paper 
    2. Fold both of the shapes with the two ends meeting
    3. Next you will combine the two sides of the heart, weaving each of the strips together
    4. Choose a side to start with, and take the first strip closest to you in your hands 
    5. Pull the strip through the loop of the nearest strip on the other colored paper
    6. The strip that you pulled through, will now go over the next strip of the other color
    7. Pull that same strip through the loop of the next strip 
    8. Continue this pattern with each strip of each side, alternating each one, until your heart takes shape! 
    9. Glue a long strip of paper to the inside of each side to create a loop to hang your heart on your tree!

Scandinavian Christmas hearts video tutorial

If you’re looking for a visual, here’s a video to show you how we did it!

Danish Christmas hearts

These would make a wonderful holiday break activity. If you make them tag us with #holidaysWithLars so we can check them out! 

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!

DIY Christmas angel

DIY Christmas angel

christmas paper angel

Here’s the picture of the oversized DIY Christmas paper angels. I LOVE the ginormous size and even tried it out myself, but I’m showing you how to make a pint size version today.

These DIY paper angels are a common Scandinavian tradition and they make them so beautifully, usually in white. BUT, this is Lars, and we had to put them into colorblock colors! I LOVE the colorblock, what do you think?

DIY Christmas angel

See the materials list above and here’s how to make one!

Prepping your paper for the DIY Christmas angel

  1. Cut your paper into two different sized rectangles, one 5×6 in. for the angel skirt, and one 3 ½x3 in. for the angel wings. 
  2. Start with your bigger piece of paper and begin folding on the longer edge like an accordion. Folds can be about ¼ of an inch or 1 centimeter wide. 
  3. Take the folded paper and fold it in half to find the middle, punch a small hole in the middle.
  4. Take the smaller rectangle and fold just how you did the larger paper, on the longer edge, to make the wings. Fold in half and make a hole in the middle. 

christmas angel

Stringing the angel all together 

  1. Take your string and cut it to about 10 inches. 
  2. Fold the string in half and tie loose ends of the string together in a knot that is bigger than the hole in the middle of your papers. 
  3. Thread the looped end of the string through the bottom of the larger folded paper, then the bottom of the smaller folded paper, and then grab your large bead for the head and thread that on as well. 
  4. Trim the excess thread.

christmas angel

Gluing the Christmas angel all into place 

  1. With your hot glue gun, put glue on just one side of the folded paper, bring it together with the other side to connect them, and hold while glue dries.
  2. Now you can glue the wings to the skirt! Put a strip of glue on the under edge of the wings and press to the top of the skirt. 
  3. Put a blob of glue around the hole on the top of the wings and glue the head in place. 
  4. Now you can unfold it all and see your angel! 

Decorate the Christmas angel

Decorate however you like by punching holes in the skirt and wings to create a lace effect. You can also cut the corners to make them rounded, giving a scalloped look. Enjoy!

christmas angel

DIY Oversized paper angel

I LOVED the original oversized versions so much that I tried that out as well.

And you’ll never guess what we made it from…you ready???

Here’s how to make the oversized paper angel

Those temporary shades that you can find at the hardware store. We lived in these blinds until recently and I had a few hanging around so we went to town with them. They come like 6 for $20 already on Amazon perfectly folded so all you have to do is assemble. Quick and easy!

christmas angel made from paper

Here’s the how to for the big paper angel

  1. Cut one of the shades to be 21 inches. This will be your angel’s wings.
  2. Punch a hole through the center of both shades. (You will need to punch holes in sections at a time)
  3. Thread yarn through the holes to connect the skirt and the wings to make a loop at the top. Make sure that the sticky strip is face down for both of them. Tie the yarn into a knot at the bottom so it doesn’t come through.
  4. Now you can take off the plastic strip that covers the sticky strip. Fold the bottom down to connect with the other side, making the skirt full.christmas angel made from paper
  5. Now you can stick the wings to the skirt using the sticky strip on the bottom of the wings.
  6. Make the head using the honeycomb tutorial (we didn’t use doilies here but I think they’d be super pretty!)
  7. Attach it to the top, around the yarn!
  8. You can cut the edges for a more rounded scalloped look!
  9. Add a ribbon for a sweet finishing touch (we got our ribbon from Studio Carta)

Would love to see if you make it. Tag us with #LarsMakes if you do! 

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? 

Holiday decor guide

Holiday decor guide

It appears that I’m not the only one to get into the holiday mood early. I’ve been spotting a lot of you on Instagram putting up your tree already. And I will admit that I’ve had mine out since August (for a shoot! But I didn’t put it away either…). We need something to help us celebrate the cold weather! Enter: holiday decor guide.

We’re still relatively new in this house (does 2 years count?!) and I haven’t quite figured out how to decorate it yet since the first year I was 9 months pregnant and the second we were in Denmark visiting Paul’s family.

But there’s no excuse for this year! So, here are some of my favorite holiday decorations for the home:

Handmade Christmas decor ideas

If you’re interested in doing some crafting in preparing for the holidays in addition to your holiday decor, here are some Christmas decor ideas to get you going!

As well as some classic Christmas craft ideas

And a beautiful Christmas table idea

Don’t forget that we have our very own Shop with an assortment of Christmas ornaments.

Let me know how you’re decorating for the holidays. I love gathering ideas!

Halloween Garland

Paper Halloween Garland

When it comes to holiday decorations, garlands are one of my favorites. In my opinion, there’s no holiday that couldn’t use a simple garland to spice things up. Especially Halloween! Which is why this Halloween garland is a new favorite of mine. It’s equal parts spooky and cute, which is just what I need from my Halloween decor. Based on our Friendsgiving and Valentine’s Day garlands, this one brings a spooktacular twist to make you feel like Halloween is already in the air. All you need to make this simple project is a Cricut Maker or other die cut machine, some paper, and string/sewing machine thread.

How to Make Your Own Halloween Garland

To make your own Halloween garland, follow these simple instructions:

  1. First, download the Halloween garland template found here.
  2. Next, upload the SVG file into the cricut design space. 
  3. Now use your Cricut Maker to cut out each of the shapes provided in the template. We cut roughly 50-80 of each shape. For color palette inspo, see our Halloween garland photos (we used shades of orange, pink, and a little pop of black).
  4. Once your shapes are cut out, you can sew them together into a long strand with your sewing machine! If you don’t have a sewing machine handy, you can also use an embroidery needle and thread some string through by hand. Make one strand per shape (or more, if desired!)
  5. When you’re done making each strand, hang them up and admire! Done!

You can hang this garland pretty much anywhere and it will look amazing. My personal favorite is over a tablescape for some show stopping party decor. I also love a good mantle garland. But the options don’t end there! Try hanging it along the banister, draping it over archways or doorways, or around windows. 

What are you going to do with your Halloween garland? Drop your ideas below!

More Inspiration

What did you think of our Halloween garland? Let us know in the comments! If you loved this garland, chances are you might be interested in some of our other Halloween garlands, like this DIY vampire teeth garland and DIY toilet paper roll candy garland. You might be interested in our paper garlands for other holidays, too, like our Friendsgiving or Valentine’s Day garlands. Also, check out the options in our Halloween shop!

Summer Strawberry Party

Strawberry Party Suite

For our summer strawberry party, our designer, Garet, designed the most adorable strawberry party suite ever! I’m in love with all the little details, like the perfect color palette of those strawberries. Or those tiny ants?! Complete with invitations, strawberry toothpick toppers, and box wrappers, this suite will do the trick perfectly for all your strawberry party needs. The best part is that there are plenty of variations with this party suite. Not interested in the toothpick toppers being attached to toothpicks? Print them out on sticker paper instead and hand them out as party favors! 

Here’s what to do with our strawberry party suite:

  1. Download, print and cut out the files from our shop here.
  2. Next, fill in those invitations and send ‘em out! Then you can start prepping the other party details.
  3. Now hot glue them to one end of a toothpick.
  4. For the box wrappers, wrap them around the box and secure with hot glue.

Strawberry Surprise Garland

Oh, and don’t forget that amazing strawberry surprise garland–we altered our original strawberry surprise balls to make them into a garland that will make you want to make this strawberry party a tradition for years to come. Because what’s better than GIANT strawberry decorations?! They definitely make it feel more like a party.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been to parties and have been unsure where the party is (this is especially tough at parks where there are a million parties happening at the same time). Maybe it’s just me (though I have a feeling it’s not), but please, help a girl out and make your party eye-catching so it can be seen from afar. That was definitely the point with this garland; your guests won’t be left guessing when they arrive at the party–they’ll know exactly where to go. Plus, it’s just so fun.

How to make a strawberry surprise garland

  1. Download the garland template found here (it’s part of the strawberry party suite).
  2. To make the balls, follow the instructions found here. The only difference is that each strip is made up of two separate pieces, since it’s bigger. Glue them together and then follow the rest of the instructions!
  3. Lastly, to add the string, just thread it from one side to the other on the opposite side of the ball. Keep adding strawberries until it’s as full as you’d like!

Summer Strawberry Party Food

It wouldn’t be a party without food! Take this opportunity to go all in with the strawberry-themed foods. That means strawberries (duh!), cupcakes with strawberry frosting, mini pb & j’s (strawberry jam, of course!), etc. You know what to do! Those adorable little toothpick toppers are perfect to poke in the tops of the pb & j’s and cupcakes. You can also use them for those plain ‘ol strawberries–why not double up? There are so many strawberry foods that would be so cute. So just have fun.

Now tell us: what are you going to do for your summer strawberry party? 

More Inspiration

Want to make your summer strawberry party into a picnic? Try your hand at making one of these two simple quilt hacks! Also see this watermelon picnic blanket, duffle/picnic blanket, and autumn picnic blanket. And don’t forget to check out our shop for all your go-to party needs!

Paper Flower Garland

Flowers Forever

Flowers can/should never go out of season, right?! Well, that’s my personal motto anyway. I came up with this paper flower garland tutorial and loved how it turned out. And you may not have noticed, but the technique is pretty much a riff off of a paper fan, so it’s easy! It’d be perfect for a birthday or garden party. I love having a supply of garlands on hand just in case I need to throw a party or shower someone with love for a day. It seems to happen more often than I expect.Paper flower garlandPaper flower garland

How to Make a Paper Flower Garland

Making the Flowers

  1. First, do a 3/4″ accordion fold with an 8.5×11″ piece of paper. Cut off any excess paper.
  2. Next, fold the folded paper in half (use this fan tutorial to see how it’s done), then staple the mid point of the folded paper.
  3. To form the petal design, cut the edges of the paper so that it forms a fun design (kind of like making a paper snowflake).
  4. Repeat steps 1-4 to create a second one, then glue them together to form a circle.

Adding the Flower Centers

  1. Cut 1 1/2″ circles for the center of the flowers. You’ll need three per flower.
  2. Paint a fun design onto the circles if desired for the center of the flower.
  3. Glue the front circles onto your flowers, but leave the back circle off for now.
  4. In the circles you haven’t attached yet, use your hole punch to punch two holes about 1/4″ apart in the center of your circle.

Making the Leaves

  1. First, cut out your leaves using a Cricut maker or scissors, if you don’t have a Cricut maker (template here).
  2. Now paint a fun design on them as shown.
  3. After you’re happy with your design, cut two holes about 1/4″ apart in the center of the leaf with a hole punch.

Assembling your Garland

  1. First, thread the string through the two holes in one of the leaves and pull the extra through.
  2. Now thread the string through the two holes in one of the circles. Keep alternating, threading leaf, then circle, then leaf, until the whole garland is threaded through the string.
  3. Once all the circles and leaves are in place on the string, go ahead and hot glue the flowers to the circles, so the circles you already glued on are facing towards the front.
  4. Now all that’s left to do is pick somewhere to hang up your finished paper flower garland and you’re done!

paper flower tutorial

Styling your garland

This is one of my all time favorite paper flower garlands. One of my favorite things about garlands, in general, is how versatile they are. Make them as short or long as you like, and hang them pretty much anywhere. My favorite places are around doorways or entryways, relaxed and drapey against a wall or over a table, on a mantlepiece, along bannisters, and so much more.

Enjoy! And drop any questions or comments below!

Paper flower garland Paper flower garland

More Inspiration

Loved this paper flower garland and want more where that came from? Try this lovely summer flower garland, our tea stained flower garland, or this eucalyptus garland if you’re feeling a little more leafy. Want more flower content? You won’t want to miss this compilation of all our paper flower tutorials, or our learn to draw: flowers course.

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!