Paper bag heart snowflakes

Paper bag heart snowflakes

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

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

How to make Paper bag snowflakes

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

Materials

See above

valentine's day decoration

Instructions

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

paper bag snowflake hearts

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

Valentine’s Day traditions

Valentine’s Day Traditions

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

History of Valentine’s Day

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

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

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

Valentine’s Day tradition ideas

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

My rules about traditions

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

Valentine’s Day advent calendar

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

Valentine’s Day Cards

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

Handmade Valentine’s Day Cards

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

Printable Valentine’s Day cards for teens and adults

Printable Valentine’s Day cards for kids

Valentine’s Day Giftables

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

Tootsie Pop Cherry Valentines

More Valentine giftable ideas

Friendship bracelets with hearts.

Valentine’s Day Party Ideas

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

 Valentine’s Day Party Decor

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

Valentine’s Day food

Valentine’s Day games

Table top games are a fun idea for the event!

Valentine’s Day Home Decor

accordion heart wreath

Valentine’s Day artwork

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

Give a Valentine’s Day gift

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

Valentine’s Day accessories

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

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

DIY Valentine's Day heart collar pin

Valentine’s Day box

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

Valentine’s Day tradition ideas from around the world

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

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

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

Valentine’s Day traditions from readers

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

For the kids

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

For the partner or loved one

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

Valentines Day Craft Roundup

For others

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

Valentine’s Meals

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

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

Let me know how it goes!

Our top ten!

Our top ten!

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

10. DIY Paper Sunflower

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

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

9. Papier Mache Vase

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

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

8. Are you scared of color? 

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

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

7. DIY Paper Heart Wreath  

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

accordion heart wreath

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

6. How to celebrate your 40th birthday

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

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

5. Paper palm wreath

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

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

4. Paper orchid

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

3. Shift here at Lars

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

2. How to thread a sewing machine

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

  1. Three ways to fold a love letter

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

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

Things to do during winter break

Things to do during winter break

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

Making intricate snowflakes

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

vertical snowflakes with hands

Christmas Friendship Bracelets

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

Paper angels

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

Paper starburst ornaments

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

paper starburst ornament

Paper Danish woven hearts

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

Danish Christmas hearts

Oversized paper star

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

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Hand in heart valentines

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

hand and heart love tokens

Paper Christmas cactus

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

DIY paper Christmas cactus

Ice lanterns

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

Photo heirloom ornaments

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

family heirloom ornaments

Nativity Set

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

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

Make a piece of clothing

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

Clothespin dolls

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

Clothespin People Ornaments

Painted frames

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

Quilt Hack

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

Shaped pillows

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

Paper Flowers

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

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

Paper starburst ornaments

Paper starburst ornament

This year was the year of paper Christmas ornaments! First it was the paper angel, then the Christmas hearts and now the paper starburst ornaments. In all honesty, I wanted to do 12 days of paper ornaments, but clearly it wasn’t my year ;). But for sure, next year when I can prep more.

paper ornament

Colorful paper ornaments

What I love about these ones is that they are SUPER simple to make yet so impactful with their fullness. Plus, add on the pretty cut out shapes (templates here) and it’s really so stunning. Of course, we had to put it into colorblock colors, but you could keep it all the same colors!

Paper Starburst ornaments

Materials (see above)paper starburst ornament

Instructions

  1. Cut squares of 3″, 6 for each ornament (can be more can be less–have fun experimenting!)
  2. Fold the paper in half each way. Fold the paper on the diagonal each way.
  3. Now bring the corners together and bring the squares together along the diagonal.
  4. Create 5 more.
  5. Glue each square together to create a circle. Before you glue the whole thing together, insert a ribbon to hang as an ornament.

Note: If you’d like to use the templates to create some visual interest, cut those first either on the craft cutting machine or by hand.

 

Paper Starburst ornament video

If you’d like some video instruction, hopefully this video helps!

 

paper starburst ornamentpaper starburst ornamentpaper starburst ornament

I’d love to see how yours turn out! Tag us with #LarsMakes or #HolidaysWithLars so we can see it!

Christmas traditions

Christmas traditions

a list of christmas tradition ideas

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

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

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

1. Christmas Crafting tradition

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

Christmas paper village

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

2. Christmas crafts for kids

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

vertical snowflakes with hands

Winter Snowflakes

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

Paper angel ornaments

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

Christmas friendship bracelets

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

3. Advent Calendars

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

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

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

kid's room decked out for the holidays

Christmas book Advent

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

children's christmas books

Printable service advent

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

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

Gift wrapping

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

Cardboard Gingerbread House Gift Box

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

Turn Wrapping paper into a gift bag

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

Ribbon Weaving Gift Wrap

Woven Ribbon wrapping

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

Christmas smells

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

Group shot

Christmas orange pomanders

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

Setting a pretty Christmas table

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

Christmas poppers

Christmas poppers

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

Christmas Song Bingo

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

Swan a swimming tablescape-11

Swans a Swimming centerpiece

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

Holiday Napkin Folding

Christmas napkin folding ideas

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

Christmas Magic for the kids

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

kid's room decked out for the holidays

Mini Christmas tree

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

Christmas tree ornaments

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

family heirloom ornaments

Heirloom Christmas ornaments

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

Paper candles

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

Christmas Decor

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

Poinsettia wreath

Paper Poinsettia wreath

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

Dresden wreath

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

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Christmas paper star

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

Bottlebrush Trees

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

Christmas cards

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

Christmas stocking

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

Christmas stockings

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

Bringing in your heritage

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

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

My Scandinavian Christmas

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

Santa Lucia

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

 

Handmade gifts

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

Paper Christmas Cactus

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

DIY Paper Holly boughs

Paper holly

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

Holiday Office Party

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

Christmas Paper Office Decorations

Office paper holiday decorations

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

Grand Entrance

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

Holly and berry garland

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

 

Nativity

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

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

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

Nativity Paper dolls

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

Nativity clothespin dolls

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

Nativity puppets

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

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

Thanksgiving table ideas for kids

Thanksgiving table ideas for kids

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

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Table idea

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

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

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

Thanksgiving activities for kids

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

Thanksgiving printable placemat coloring page from The House That Lars Built

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

Thanksgiving games for kids

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

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

 

Would you rather printable games on a pink background.

Thanksgiving garlands

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

Paper bag turkey centerpiece

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

Pie Crust decorations

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

Here are some fun ideas to add to your table:

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

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!

DIY Roman Shades

How to Make Your Own DIY Roman Shades

It turns out making your own DIY Roman shades isn’t as tricky as it seems. All you need are the materials listed above and a little bit of time and you’re all set. Here’s what to do:

Cutting the Wood Pieces

  1. First, cut the 1” x 2” so it’s a little less than the window width. It should fit snugly inside the window.
  2. Now, cut the wooden dowels to match.

Prepping your Fabric

  1. First things first: iron out your fabric so it’s nice and flat. What you don’t want are wrinkly Roman shades. Note: washing is optional, since you probably won’t be taking these babies down once they’re screwed into place.
  2. Next, cut the front and lining pieces down to size. Dimensions of the front fabric should be 3 inches wider and 5 inches longer than the window dimensions. The lining should be the same height as the front fabric and one inch shorter than the window width.

Sewing your Fabric Pieces Together

  1. It’s time to sew the front and lining pieces together. For this, line up one long side of the two fabric pieces, right sides together.
  2. Next, sew it in place using a ½” seam allowance.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for the other side. Note that the lining is narrower than the front, so you’ll have to let the front fabric bunch a bit to line up both sides.
  4. Now smooth out the two pieces of fabric so the lining is centered on the front piece. You should have an inch of the front fabric on either side of the lining. 
  5. Next, pin the bottom all along the width and sew in place.
  6. Center the lining along the top edge, as you did in step 4 for the bottom. Now, fold the seam allowance so it faces out on either side and pin in place all along the length. 

Dowel Measurements

  1. For this, you’ll need to do a little math (it’s simple, don’t worry)!
  2. First, decide how big the gaps between dowels will be. (It will vary depending on how tall the window is, but usually 8-12 inches works well–we used 12).
  3. Next, calculate the excess below the lowest dowel. This one should be ½ the distance between dowels plus 1 inch. So since we have 12 inch gaps, the excess should be 7 inches (half of 12=6+1=7).
  4. Finally, the top measurement. This doesn’t have to be quite as exact, but it just needs to be a bit bigger than the distance between dowels. (For us, that means bigger than 12 inches.
  5. Now, with the wrong side of the front fabric piece face up, draw in the first dowel’s placement. Remember, you’ll have a seam allowance and hem at the bottom, so add 3 inches to the bottom gap (2 ½ inch hem + ½” seam allowance). Our total is now 10 (7+3).
  6. At this point, you can go ahead and measure the placement of the other dowels, using the first dowel as a reference.

Adding the Dowel Casing

  1. To make casings for your dowels, cut 2” strips that are the same width as the lining. Cut out one strip per dowel.
  2. Fold each strip in half, iron, and sew the open side length closed with a ¼” seam allowance.
  3. Next, cut your stitch witchery to the length of the strips. Cut one strip of stitch witchery for each strip.
  4. Now lay your stitch witchery in place where you marked the dowels, with the sewn strips lined up on top. Iron in place so the strips stick.
  5. After the strips are adhered, slide the dowels into place.
  6. Now you can take out the pins holding the side seam allowances in place. Clip the bottom corners and carefully flip the fabric pieces and dowels so the shade is right side out. If you need, use scissors to help turn the corners. Adjust and straighten everything and iron the seams so everything is nice and flat. 
  7. With the shade right side out, hem up the bottom (end with the finished seam) 2 ½”. Press and sew in place. If you don’t want your stitches to show on the front, you can hand stitch it in place or use a blind hem stitch on the machine.

Measuring the Ring Placement

  1. You’ll add three rings to each dowel: one on each end, and one in the center.
  2. To calculate the placement, put the cord lock and pulley together so they overlap one screwhole. Measure from the cord lock base to the spot where the cord comes up through the pulley (Roughly 2 ½”).
  3. Now, mark 2 ½” in from the end of each dowel. A ring will go in each of these spots you’ve just marked.
  4. For the middle rings, simply measure halfway between each dowel and mark. If you have 4 dowels, you should now have 12 ring markings total.

Sewing the Rings in Place

  1. Now hand sew the rings in place according to the markings. To do this, bind the thread around the dowel a few times without catching the front fabric piece with the needle. On the third or fourth time around, catch the front fabric piece in the needle. Then poke the needle back through to the back side, tie off your thread and trim.
  2. Repeat step 1 for each of the rings. Note: make sure the rings are all facing the same direction, with openings pointing downwards so the string can be threaded through seamlessly.

Attaching the Roman Shades Hardware

  1. To attach the hardware for the roman shades, you’ll first need to mark where it needs to go. To do this, take the wooden board and line it up with the top row of rings you just sewed. Mark the placement of the rings on the board with a pencil.
  2. Now, take one of the three pulleys and line the right side of it up with the right ring marking on the board. Mark the two screw holes.
  3. Repeat step two for the middle pulley.
  4. Now for the far left side. This one will be a little different, since you’ll need both the cord lock and a pulley this time. For this, line up the cord lock with the left edge of the board with the straight edge on the inside (the diagonal edge should be on the outside, closest to the edge of the board). Mark the screw holes. 
  5. Next, line up the last pulley with the cord lock so they share a screw hole. Mark the pulley placement.
  6. All that’s left now is to drill pilot holes, then screw the pulleys in place where you marked them.
  7. In addition to the holes for the pulleys and cord lock, you’ll also want to drill two or three more holes all the way through the board. These will be used to screw the roman shades into place on the window.
  8. Now, with all hardware in place, it’s time to staple the board to the fabric. Measure up from the bottom of the shade and mark the window height. Line up the board with the window height markings, then wrap the excess over the board and staple in place. 

Adding the Cording

You’re almost done with your roman shades! Just a few more steps to go. Here’s what’s left:

  1. The last thing to do is to add the cording and tidy things up.
  2. To add the cording, feed the cording up through the rings in the far right row. Tip: to thread the cord through a bit easier, wrap a bit of tape around the end so it doesn’t fray.
  3. When you get to the pulley at the top, feed the cord through the right side and pop it out the opposite side. Repeat for the middle pulley. 
  4. When you get to the far left pulley and cord lock, thread the cord through the pulley as with the other two. Then thread it down the cord lock from the top and pull it through when it pops out the bottom. Pull the cord so there are a few feet of slack. Then clip the cord back by the first ring you started with and tie a knot to secure it to the ring.
  5. Repeat the same process for the remaining two cords. Note: there will be three separate slots to slip the cord through. Make sure each separate cord goes through a different slot, individually.
  6. Once all cords have been threaded through, trim them to the finished length you like. Now, thread them through the pull end, knot them all together, and hide the knot inside of the pull end.
  7. Pull the cord to test out your shades and make sure they’re working right and voila! Your roman shades are finished!

More Inspiration

Loved this roman shades tutorial and want more like it? Check out our other home renovation projects! Start with everything we did to our house in one year, and an exclusive studio tour. You also won’t want to miss our laundry room makeover with delta faucet, guest bedroom remodel, bathroom remodel, and new closet system. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out my craft room in the living by design virtual showhouse! Looking to decorate your home? Stop by our shop and see what suits your fancy!

Halloween decoration spiders

Halloween decoration spiders on a house

Giant Halloween decoration spiders

I typically love a lovely autumnal fall display for our house (remember what we did last year?! I brought in a variety of mums in various shades as well as gorgeous pumpkins and pumpkin topiaries. I RARELY am into a creepy vibe. Anyone else? I mean, I love it for other people, but haven’t really dug into it myself.

BUT! I spotted these fuzzy oversized spiders at Michaels, one of our favorite partners, and had to do it on our newly white house. It was calling for it! To prep for this reel we made for them, we did this in August (ha!) so our neighbors have been enjoying our infestation for awhile now 😉

halloween decoration spiders on a white house

How to attach Halloween decoration spiders to a house

The trickiest part to any holiday installation is the actual how-to of getting it on the house and making sure it’s secure. We went over a variety of solutions but we ended up trying out Command strips and voila! These spiders are super light and so they stick on beautifully.

Literally, all we did was put a strip on the back and attached it to the wall. Easy squeezy.

halloween decoration spiders

Where we got our oversized fuzzy spiders for Halloween decoration

We got all of our furry spiders from Michaels since they had a big sale on them in August. I got them from here. At the time I’m publishing this, they are on major discount again so now is a good time!

Recreate the giant spider Halloween decor look here

fuzzy spider home decor for halloween

Command Strips for the win

Here’s how to attach the spiders to the house. So easy! Have you ever used them?

  1. All you do is attach two put together to the spider.
  2. Remove one side and stick the spider to the wall. Voila.

Note: I did have a spider fall down, but it’s because it fell off from the spider, not the house because the spider has a shiny fabric. We ended up gluing the spider to the command strip so it would be more secure.

halloween decor spiders how to attach

I’d love to see what you do to your house. Show me with the tag #LarsHalloween.

“The Birds” Halloween Wall Decor

A Halloween Party To Remember

The best thing about “The Birds” Halloween wall decor is that it’s quick and easy but still a showstopper! So if you’re short on time and want something people will remember, this project is for you. All you need is a Cricut maker, our template, and some black paper and you’re all set to make the birds a reality. Trust us, it’s worth it. People aren’t going to forget this in a hurry.

While our “The Birds” cake topper was originally inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s famous thriller, we couldn’t help but think of Moira Rose’s amazing performance in “The Crows Have Eyes III: The Crowening” (if you’re not a Schitt’s Creek fan, you will be after watching this). Needless to say, donning my own crow outfit and joining the birds seemed only natural.

How To Make “The Birds” Halloween Wall Decor

  1. First, download the template found here.
  2. Next, using a Cricut Maker or scissors, cut out as many birds as you want for your wall decor.
  3. Now use poster putty to put your birds up on the wall. If you’re not sure of the configuration you want, you can reference our photos for ideas.
  4. Done! 

Tip: we’d highly recommend pairing this amazing wall decor with “The Birds” cake topper. Even better, make a whole night of it and watch The Birds! It’s a classic, after all. And if you’re in the mood for humor rather than horror, Schitt’s Creek is probably more up your alley.

Now we want to know: What are you doing for Halloween? Let us know in the comments!

More Inspiration

Loved this tutorial on making “The Birds” Halloween wall decor? Right this way. Looking for more Halloween ideas? Check out our Halloween shop! Also, check out our blog archives for more awesome Halloween ideas, like this char-boo-terie Halloween snack board or some costume ideas. My personal favorite was the wild things family costume from last year. Also check out our Halloween e-book!

Halloween Pumpkin Ideas

Pumpkin Decor for Halloween

As much as I love the classic carved Jack-O-Lantern tradition, it’s definitely not the only option out there when it comes to Halloween-themed pumpkins. Plus, it’s nice to avoid covering your hands in pumpkin goop every now and then. Here’s our list of classic Halloween pumpkin ideas to get you thinking about Halloween. It’s only a month away, after all! 

Painted Mini Pumpkins

First on our list of Halloween pumpkin ideas are our Painted Mini Pumpkins. Inspired by our debut Casetify phone case collection, these are at the top of our list. We couldn’t get enough of those lovely phone case designs, designed by our fabulous designer, Garet, so we decided to paint them on some pumpkins. It turns out they look pretty cute on pumpkins, too!

checkerboard painted pumpkin

Pastel Pumpkin Faces

Another adorable Halloween pumpkin idea, especially if you’re looking for another painting option, are these Pastel Pumpkin Faces. No need to carve faces here! These ones are delicate and lovely, featuring pastel hues of all kinds. They remind me of china dolls–I just want to pinch their cheeks, they’re so cute!

4 Ways to Make Succulent Pumpkins

If you’re looking for a more plant-based pumpkin idea, try these 4 Ways to Make Succulent Pumpkins. Not only are they adorable, but they’re eco-friendly and biodegradable! Can’t get much better than that.

DIY Preserved Flower Pumpkins

These DIY Preserved Flower Pumpkins are another great plant-based pumpkin idea. Classy and elegant, once you see these beauties you’ll be rushing to add them to your annual Halloween porch decor!

DIY Rainbow Pumpkins

It wouldn’t be Lars without a good rainbow pumpkin. These DIY Rainbow Pumpkins are one of my favorite Halloween pumpkin ideas! They’re a classic, and one that deserves repeating year after year. Can’t pick a color? You don’t have to! Paint these pumpkins every color of the rainbow and brighten your porch.

Rainbow pumpkins arranged on a porch.

DIY Rainbow Pumpkin Arch

A variation on our DIY rainbow pumpkins, this DIY Rainbow Pumpkin Arch is another classic. It’s such a show stopper and the perfect decoration to show guests where you live when they’re trying to find your Halloween party! Honestly, they’re cute enough to keep up all year long. In fact, it turns out you can, since they won’t rot!

Rainbow Paper Pumpkin Tablescape

I’m all about the rainbow theme, and this Rainbow Paper Pumpkin Tablescape is particularly lovely. Pair it with the rainbow arch or rainbow pumpkins and you have yourself a rainbow pumpkin-themed Halloween bash to be remembered!

Printable Pumpkin Crown

It turns out these Halloween pumpkin ideas don’t have to be decorations for your porch only. This Printable Pumpkin Crown is the perfect little accessory to add to your wardrobe. If you’re lacking a costume and need one last minute, you can easily don this crown and call it good!

Printable Pumpkin Crown

Pumpkin Patch Car and Spider Web Decals

These Pumpkin Patch Car and Spider Web Decals are another amazing and unique Halloween decor idea. It’s simple, but is the perfect way to add some Halloween cheer to your car.

Pumpkin Patch Car

Pumpkin Leaf Favors

If you’re having a Halloween party, these Pumpkin Leaf Favors are just the thing. Use them as party favors, thank you notes, or simply Halloween decor–they can do it all!

pumpkin favors

DIY Pumpkin Balloon Arch Backdrop

Last but definitely not least is our DIY Pumpkin Balloon Arch Backdrop. You know I love a good balloon arch, and Halloween seems like one of the best holidays for just that. Festive, eye-catching, and fun, it’s the perfect way to incorporate pumpkins without having to get messy and carve.

We hope these Halloween pumpkin ideas have given you the Halloween bug. Happy decorating!

More Inspiration

Loved all of these Halloween pumpkin ideas and want more? Stay tuned! We’ll be releasing a brand new pumpkin tutorial in a few weeks, so keep an eye out! And in the meantime, check out our Halloween shop for lots of ideas.