Becoming Loria Stern

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

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

Meet Loria Stern

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

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

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

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

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

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger? 

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

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

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

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

What sparked your interest in edible flowers? 

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

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

What are three words to describe your style? 

Creative, happy and cool.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brightly-colored flowers pressed onto green matcha cookie dough.

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

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

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

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

In nature first and foremost. 

How do you make social connections in the creative realm? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do your surroundings influence your work? 

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

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

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

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

What is a typical day like for you? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can’t get enough of Loria Stern?

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

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

Read more Becoming interviews here to keep the inspiration flowing!

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

All photos are courtesy of Loria Stern.

DIY flower pounding on fabric

DIY Flower Pounding

How to preserve flower bouquets you love

This is such a fun craft for those homeschooling kids who are a little older, who can handle a hammer. Try identifying your flowers first to make it educational, perhaps? Arts and Crafts and Botany all in one? Or, you can just get outside and start pounding out the flowers for art! You might want to fill in the flowers a little afterwards as well, and we found that a colored pencil dipped in water worked well on the fabric that we hammered the flowers on. You’ll want to use flowers with thin leaves and petals, with vibrant colors, to get the best results. Roses, dandelions, and bright daisies all work well.

We just love how these ended up, where the color from the flowers seeped into the canvas to look like paint. We added a little Lars oomph by embroidering on top of the pounded flowers, too! This is such an awesome way to preserve flowers too, if you are looking for a way to keep a special bouquet forever. This can work for single flowers (red roses from Valentine’s Day anyone?) or bouquets with special meaning (Mother’s Day is just around the corner!). You might even want to try the Flower Pounding technique on a wedding bouquet, to turn it into something beautiful to display in your home. Plus, then you get to keep your flowers bright and fresh forever!

Materials:

You can shop the materials in our Lars Amazon shop here

Instructions:

  1. Take a large piece of cardboard, and lay it on a flat surface. Take the material you want to pound on, such as watercolor paper or white cloth, and tape the back to the cardboard.
  2. Select the flowers you want to use and arrange them on your pounding material. Ensure the flowers you pick out are vibrantly colored and have thin petals. Roses, for example, are ideal for pounding. Only use the bud of the flower, not any of the stem.
  3. Take any flowers that have stamens, pollen, etc. and strip them down to just the petals. Keep arranged in bud shapes. Add some thin leaves to your arrangement!
  4. Tape down your flowers gently with regular scotch tape.
  5. Take a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover your design. Using heavier tape, such as duct tape, adhere the parchment paper to your cardboard backing.
  6. Using a mallet or a small hammer, begin pounding! It may be easier to take your soon-to-be masterpiece outside and pound on the pavement or sidewalk. Pound until your parchment paper becomes wet with pigment from the flowers. You will need to pound harder than you thought!
  7. After checking that your design is what you want it to be, carefully remove tape and flowers from the material you pounded on. Tape a piece of tape and get any excess petals and pollen from off the surface by holding the sticky side down and gently touching the sticky side to the pounded material.
  8. If you are satisfied with the spread of the flower pigment, iron it on a low heat to set the colors, pounded-side down, on the cardboard. Alternatively, you can spread some of the pigment with a small paintbrush and water before heat setting.
  9. Touch up your design with some colored pencils or watercolor pencils – Watercolor pencils are fantastic for blending colors, and if you use fabric, are better for drawing onto your design if you dip the tip of the pencil in water first.
  10. Finally, embellish however you like! Add some pretty embroidery to your fabric piece, like lazy daisy stitches or French knots, take dried flowers and glue them on, or whatever else you want to do!

 

Here’s what it looked like before adding in most of the embroidery details.

Embroidery tips

Some embroidery stitches used were the following:

  • French knots
  • Lazy daisy
  • Simple line stitches

You can find our guide to embroidery stitches here 

Would love to see your masterpieces. Tag us with #LarsMakes of #LarsEmbroidery

Poppies and Peonies and Posies: Paper Flower Tutorials

Without further ado, here’s a guidebook to all the paper flower tutorials in the Botanical Garden that Lars Built.

Blooms for Bouquets

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

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

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

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

Bouquets

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

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

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

Paper Flower Accessories

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

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

Find tutorials here: Shamrock Flower Crown, Paper Flower Bridal Hairpiece, Flower Girl Crown, Spring Paper Flower Crown, Paper Flower Corsage

Home Decor Flowers

Wreaths

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

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

Wreath tutorials here: Daffodil Wreath, Lemon and Blossom Wreath, Wallpaper Floral Wreath, Rainbow Flower Wreath

Chandeliers and Mobiles

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

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

Centerpieces

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

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

Potted Paper Flowers

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

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

Parties!

Cakes

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

Cake topper tutorials here:Floral Number Birthday Cake Topper, Paper Flower and Kumquat Cake Decoration, Midsummer Pole Cake Topper

Backdrops

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

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

Garlands

Paper flower garlandPaper flower garland hangs over a rattan chair

Garland tutorials here: Paper Flower Garland, Summer Flower Garland

DIY Daisy party hat

And don’t forget this Daisy Party Hat tutorial!

Holiday

Valentines Day

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

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

Halloween

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

Chrysanthemum Mom and Kid Costume

Hannukah

Gold, blue, yellow, and pink paper flower menorah

Paper Flower Menorah

Christmas

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

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

Poinsettia, Crepe Paper Holly, Giant Paper Holly Decoration

And more!

Find more floral Lars materials on our shop. Here’s our Flowers Coloring Book, this sticker sheet, a whole collection of floral art prints, and more! Plus, keep an eye out for an exciting new paper flower development in the shop, coming soon!

DIY Summer Flower Garland

Collaboration leads to inspiration

The inspiration for this particular garland came from two places: our wrapping paper products designed for Alexis Mattox Design, and a collab we did Chatbooks! The floral patterns we did with AMD were just so fun and punchy that we had to make a garland inspired by the wrapping paper. Chatbooks used some of those same wrapping paper designs as covers for their books. After seeing that, it occurred to me that I wanted to see these colors and flowers everywhere. Cue the crafting!

This DIY Summer Flower Garland is the perfect decoration for all your summer soirees. And is pretty enough to keep up all year long! You’ll be happy to hear that the materials were pretty cheap too. It’s made with crepe paper and cardstock, and is totally customizable. You can change the colors by simply using a different color paper. If you do play with a new color scheme, send me pictures!! Color is my favorite.

Where to put your paper flower garland

The fun part about a garland is that it can go anywhere. Wreaths go on the front door, flower vases on tables, but garlands? They do it all. In our Flower & Leaf Garden E-Book, we put garlands over the backs of chairs, as table runners, wound around a staircase handle, hung over doorways, or delicately draped on walls. If you’re planning a wedding, think of how fun it would be to make a DIY Summer Flower Garland with friends! It would be beautiful hung over a trellis or fireplace or as a photo-wall backdrop.

This project is great to work on with friends or alone! Heck, you could probably collab with a friend from afar! Mail each other your pieces to create one big DIY Summer Flower Garland!  If crafting is your cathartic alone time, this garland is perfect for you. Spread out over a few days, and soak up that creative time. Summer days are meant for crafting, am I right?

More paper garlands for every season

You can download the templates for each of these garlands (and more!) individually here or all of them together for a discount!

DIY Summer Flower Garland

Materials:
  • Crepe paper in green, cornflower blue, orange, white, and yellow
  • Cardstock in blue, pink, yellow, and white
  • Acrylic paint in coral, yellow, and blue
  • Wire flower stamens in red
  • 22 gauge cloth covered floral wire in 18″ lengths
  • Spool of 24 gauge florist wire
  • Hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • Templates
Instructions:

Full instructions can be found here!

Once you’ve created all the individual flowers, begin to hot glue the elements onto the green floral wire. Mix in plenty of green crepe paper leaves. We made our garland about 6 feet long.

DIY summer flower garland

Photography by Anna Killian | Crafting by Ashley Isenhour and Rebecca Hansen

Haunted Cardboard Houses for Recycled Holiday Decor

This year, the holidays look a little different, but in my opinion, that gives us even more excuses to be creative! This spooky holiday decor made out of recycled items can even be re-used next year.

Cardboard Haunted House for recycled holiday decor

This cardboard haunted house was inspired by our DIY Gingerbread Houses from a few years ago, but you can choose to yours them big or small. Set them on your porch or mantle on All Hallow’s Eve, where they can cast a spooky glow. And—a big plus—they are a super sneaky hiding place for the candy you told your kids went missing. Your secret is safe with us!

You probably already have most of the supplies in your recycle bin or overflowing craft closet (don’t worry…we all have one.)

How to make your cardboard haunted house

Materials:

Cardboard Haunted House for recycled holiday decor

Instructions:

1. Start by cutting out the pieces from the template. The large pieces called “Base front”
and “Base back” are each split onto two pieces of paper. You’ll need to cut them both
out and then tape them together, so you have one “Base front” and one “Base back”.

2. Place the template pieces flat on the cardboard and trace them with a pencil (you might
want to label each piece before you cut them out).

3. Cut out all the tracings with a box cutter or a crafting knife.

4. All the structures are labeled, so start with #1 and glue together the front, two sides,
and back piece. (See labeled diagram at the end of these instructions)

5. For structure #2, start by gluing the door to the “front door structure”, then glue the
two sides to the “front door structure”. Once that dries, glue the sides to the center of
structure #1.

6. Now you’re going to put the roofs on both structure #1 & #2. To bend each roof piece,
place the cardboard against the edge of a table and gently press down with your hand
to get a curve. Move the piece up and down on the table edge until the whole piece has
a slight curve. Then glue the roof pieces onto the top of structures #1 & #2.

7. Next take the pieces for structure #3, and glue together the front, sides, and back. Place
this structure on the roof of #1, make sure it fits, and then glue #3 to the roof of #1.

8. Now for structure #4, glue the window piece to the front piece. Then glue the sides and
bottom to the front piece. After that dries, glue #4 to the center of structure #3.

9. For the roof pieces of #3 & #4, repeat the same process as Step 6 to get the curved effect. Then glue the roof pieces onto the two structures.

10. For structure #5, take 4 of the rectangle “side” pieces and glue them together with all
the shortest edges at the bottom (these pieces are all labeled (top) on the upper edge,
make sure that is facing up and not upside down). Then glue #5 on the right side of the
roof on structure #1.

11. Now for structure #6, take the two pieces called “#6 front” and “#6 back” and the last
two side pieces and glue them together. It should look similar to structure #5, but the cuts will allow it to fit on top of structure #3.

12. Glue structure #6 onto the roof of the #3.

13. For the roofs of #5 #6, take 4 of the triangle roof pieces and glue all the sides together
so it looks like a pyramid. Put glue on the top of structure #5 and then place the roof
down onto the glue (the edges of the roof will overlap the top edges of structure #5.

14. Repeat Step 13 for structure #6.

15. After your house is completely dry, cover the entire house in black paint.

16. Then take the gray paint and a smaller paint brush (if you have one) and draw details on the window, door, roofs, and wherever else you want. You can add cobwebs to the
corners.

17. Have fun! Your recycled holiday decor is now complete.

Cardboard Haunted House for recycled holiday decor

After you’ve made your haunted cardboard house, style it on your mantle, porch, or entryway table. If you want to cut some windows, try placing electric tea lights inside, which will cast eerie shadows on the wall (don’t use regular candles inside the cardboard, though.) If you’re setting up your recycled holiday decor for a Halloween Party, you could even use the houses as party favors! Fill them with candy and send your trick-or-treaters on their way.

If you liked this project, you might also like:

DIY Rainbow Pumpkins
How to Decorate Pumpkins with Succulents
Pumpkin Leaf Favors

DIY Dried Flower Pumpkins

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

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

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

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

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

DIY Fall project with dried flowers and pumpkins!

Materials:

See above!

Instructions:

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

That’s it!

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

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

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

Painted Mini Pumpkins

Painted Mini Pumpkins

I love the look of all of our mini painted pumpkins this year, especially as a cohesive look. In fact, the more the better! We based them off of our new Casetify collection because they are definitely worth replicating! The checkerboard is such a fun and easy pattern to paint as is the colorblock and squiggles. The florals take a bit more work but they are *chef’s kiss.* Do you have a fave? I’m leaning towards the folk floral, but then again, that’s also my favorite case so there’s a theme there.

painted pumpkins DIY

How to paint mini pumpkins

We started out with white pumpkins so that it would be easier to see the pattern. Orange works too, but you need more layers of paint to see the design. It’s also easier if you choose pumpkins with longer stems. I know that because we couldn’t find any and it was tricky! It’s nice to be able to hold onto something sturdy.

painted pumpkins to match The House That Lars Built casetify cases

Materials

  • white mini pumpkins (you should be able to get these at most grocery stores this time of year!)
  • acrylic or house paint (see colors below!)
  • paintbrushes
  • UV sealant (optional–keeps the paint looking nice longer)

How to paint a checkerboard pattern on a pumpkin

To create the checkerboard pattern on a pumpkin you will need to do the following:

  1. Paint your whole pumpkin in the lighter of the two colors you plan to use. Let it dry,
  2. With a thin marker, draw lines down each of the mini pumpkin’s natural grooves. The lines won’t be perfectly measured, but they will be a lot easier to paint this way!
  3. Draw even horizontal stripes around the mini pumpkin.
  4. Fill in every other box with the darker paint! Make sure you cover up the marker lines.
  5. We added in thicker accent stripes to mimic our cases just for fun
  6. Add on your UV sealant if desired.

folk painted pumpkin

How to make the quilted folk floral mini pumpkin

  1. Use your permanent marker to draw out a grid pattern on your mini pumpkin, similarly to how you did with the above checkerboard technique. We made ours two grooves thick so that the “quilt squares” were bigger.
  2. Paint in the colors of your squares. Wait until dry.
  3. Use the end of a pencil or large paintbrush to create a ring of the petals inside the squares.
  4. Paint contrasting circles onto each square in the center of the petals.
  5. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

How to make wavy line painted mini pumpkin

How to make the simple floral painted mini pumpkin

  1. Paint the whole mini pumpkin in a solid background color.
  2. Follow the flower instructions from the quilted pumpkin, but without the squares–just place them around your pumpkin randomly!
  3. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

How to make large floral painted mini pumpkin

These are one of my favorites! I love the decorative element it brings.

  1. With your permanent marker, draw lines down the mini pumpkin’s natural segments, dividing it into even sections.
  2. Draw out your design in each section. Our design includes an abstract flower at the top (yellow), a tall, symmetrical flower taking up most of the pumpkin’s body (in shades of red and pink with a green stem and leaves), and two abstract flowers at the bottom (yellow).
  3. Using the background color, paint in most of the pumpkin’s background. Avoid painting over your sketch of the flowers, but if you cross the marker lines a little bit, you should be okay. You just want to leave enough of your drawing so that you can see where to paint your flower.
  4. With your yellow, pink, red, and green paints, paint in the rest of your floral design.
  5. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

floral painted pumpkins

How to make the wavy lined painted mini pumpkin

  1. Paint the whole mini pumpkin in a solid background color.
  2. With an accent color, paint the outline of a wavy, squiggly design down the mini pumpkin’s side.
  3. Fill in your wavy shape with the same accent color.
  4. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

A clump of painted mini pumpkins in bright colors.

How to make the delicate floral painted mini pumpkin

This one is such a pretty showstopper, and it’s way easier than it looks! You’ll use a fine tipped paintbrush instead of a foam paintbrush. Just make sure to clean it between colors!

  1. If desired, paint the whole mini pumpkin a solid background color. I opted not to, instead showing off the pretty white pumpkin color, but you do you!
  2. With green paint, paint little curved lines as flower stems and wavy green leaves coming off the bottom of them. Distribute these around the pumpkin randomly.
  3. Top the flower stems with white or light pink flowers with red centers.
  4. Paint abstract yellow flowers around the pumpkin’s surface.
  5. Fill in empty space with mini periwinkle, pink, red, and orange flowers. For these, just make a few small brushstrokes. Paint a tiny green stem underneath or a white dot in the middle for a different style.
  6. Use UV sealant if desired to seal the paint.

delicate floral painted pumpkin on a pink and orange background. There's a matching phone case next to it.

Marbling technique didn’t work this time

We tried doing a marbling technique as inspired by our Casetify marbled case, but it just wasn’t working out. I’ll be sharing the failed version over on Instagram (hahahaha!). If you have a marbling technique that has worked for you in the past, let us know!

cell phone cases match the painted pumpkins

You can shop our The House That Lars Built for Casetify Collection here

We would love to see how you’re painting your mini pumpkins this year. Tag us with #LarsHalloween or #LarsMakes so we can see them! 

If you liked these painted pumpkins you might also like these ones:

Rainbow painted pumpkins
Pastel painted face pumpkins
DIY rainbow pumpkin arch
Pumpkin favor with leaf template

When Life Hands You Lemons care package and tablescape with Spoonflower

My favorite Mother’s Day inspired Spoonflower patterns

I spent a good amount of time going through the Spoonflower Marketplace, which is thousands and thousands of independent artists and great designs. Yes, it took awhile, but I came upon some really beautiful options and had a hard time narrowing it down. I saved my favorites in this collection on their site.

Which ones are your favorites???

There are a lot of good ones, right?! I was going for a springy, floraly vibe that also felt refined and could be used throughout the year. Here were some alternative options I was eyeing:

Citrus fabric tablecloth with Spoonflower

Ultimately, I ended up going for this Multi Citrus Grove Toile by Danika Herrick. It has the right touch of deGournay with its chinoiserie feel. Plus, I always love some good citrus–it makes everything feel instantly refreshing.blue and orange table ideaCustom Home Decor Options

Perhaps you remember when I redid my bedroom in all Spoonflower? Right–so not only can you order fabric by the yard, but you can order things for your home to be made in the fabric of your choice and it’s all sewn right here in the United States. For my bedroom it was the wallpaper, duvet, pillow cases, curtains, and this time around I ordered a tablecloth for the Party-For-Mom that I will be throwing. I paired it with this Indian print inspired marigold print by Andrea Lauren because I loved the contrast of the yellow to the blue in the main selection and decided to use them for the cloth napkins.Indian block print napkins

Visualizing the process

What I find useful in their new home decor option is the ability to see them on a variety of products. You can do that by selecting Home Decor in the “Also available in” section to view all of the different home decor products and then it automatically shows you how it will look.

And the marigold:

Because of that, I was able to visualize what it would really be like. And it was going to be GOOD!

Pattern on pattern advice:

Pairing a pattern on pattern can be tricky, but there are a few ways to make sure it works:

  1. Identify the colors of the palette. The first pattern I worked with has a lot going on but I drew out the main colors: blue, yellow, orange, and green.
  2. Along the same lines, draw out the colors that you’d like to highlight more. If there’s a color in the fabric that you don’t necessarily love, don’t highlight it! On the flipside, if you like a color more than another, bring that color out more.
  3. The two fabrics should be of different scale. The first pattern has a very large scale so I knew I needed to go smaller on the second.blue and orange table idea

Citrus tablescape

To go with our Mother’s Day party, we created a centerpiece of citrus–grapefruit, lemons, and oranges, to sit atop the tablecloth. We matched with with some yellow plates, blue bowls, and goblets to tie it in with our beautiful fabric. Plus the pretty chargers that add some depth. And a dash of flowers to keep it fresh!

Mother’s Day Care Packages

Because we are keeping friends and family at arm’s length right now, we have been brainstorming DIY ideas of how to share uplifting moments with our loved ones near and far. We decided to make a tote from Spoonflower’s Linen Cotton Canvas –it’s the perfect thing to fill up with goodies and send along to someone who needed a dose of joy. A handpicked, handmade gift for someone you love can be the best surprise!oranges table idea

To match the amazing fabric, we made our gift bag lemon themed! You know, the classic, “When life gives you lemons”. With everything life is throwing at us lately, let’s just say we have been making A LOT of metaphorical lemonade. We filled our gift bag with lots of lemon themed hand soap, lotion, candles, and more. Everything our loved ones need to make this extra hand washing fun!

When Life Hands you Lemons Care Package

Additionally, I wanted to create a care package to send along to my mom as Mother’s Day approaches. Social distancing could have interrupted the celebration of such a special holiday, but instead it turned into something that lets us show our love for our mothers in a new way. After turning the beautiful fabric from Spoonflower into a tote (the tutorial is now available in the Lars shop!), I wanted to fill it with goodies that were fun and practical. So, candy was a must (der!), as well as hand sanitizer and other necessities. Paul and Jasper joined in as well to create a tote-turned-gift-basket for Paul’s mom too to send to her in Denmark.

Follow these simple steps to make your own gift tote bag:

DIY Tote bag

(inspired by the famous Baggu tote!))

Materials:

Instructions:

Step 1: Print off our tote bag template found here

Step 2: Cut your bag pieces out of the fabric using the pattern, making sure to note which part of the fabric you want to highlight on your bag and which direction it will face when complete

Step 3: Starting with the main bag piece — face right sides together

Step 4: Sew the sides with a single stitch (and finish off the edges with a zag zag stitch if desired)

Step 5: Pull the edges of the notched part of the cut fabric, on the bottom of the bag, together to form the flat bottom of the bag. Sew a single stitch straight across these edges you have pulled together

Step 6: Turn your main bag piece right side out to prep for future steps. Now to move on to the handle straps!

Step 7: Take one of the cut handle strap pieces and fold the long edges in a quarter of an inch. Use your fingernail to crease the canvas fabric fold well.

Step 8: Once both long sides are creased, fold the entire strap in half so both folded edges meet

Step 9: Pin and sew a single stitch down both long sides of the strap. This will flatten the strap and make both edges look the same.

Step 10: Repeat steps 7-9 for the second handle strap. Next for the shoulder strap!

Step 11: Repeat steps 7-9 for the shoulder strap — to repeat, crease in the long sides a quarter of an inch, then fold the entire strap in half so both folded edges meet. Sew a single stitch down both long edges of the shoulder strap.

Step 12: Now you will attach all straps to the main bag piece — to do this, make sure your bag piece turned right side out

Step 13: Position the handle straps in the center on the bag opening, on either side, facing down towards the bottom of the bag with the short edges aligned with the top opening edge of the bag. Pin them in place and sew them on.

Step 14: Attach an end of the shoulder strap piece to both edges of the bag, with the strap facing down just like you did with the handle straps, and sew them in place.

Step 15: All straps should now be sewn on the outside of the bag, facing downwards, so they when folded up inside the bag to face up the seam will not show. You are almost done!

Step 16: Take your facing pieces, on both pieces, crease one long edge in a quarter of an inch.

Step 17:  Face both pieces right side together and sew both short edges

Step 18: Place the sewn facing pieces around the opening of the bag, over the edge of all the straps. Make sure the creased edge is facing down and the un-creased edge is aligned with the top opening edge of the bag.

Step 19: Sew a single stitch around the top opening edge of the bag, attached the facing pieces to the bag

Step 20: Turn the facing piece to the inside of the bag, making the straps fold upwards and the seams will all be hidden inside

Step 21: Turn the bag back inside out for the final step – Sew around the bottom creased edge of the facing pieces to keep that inside edge from fraying.

Step 22: Your bag is finished! Turn it back right side out to admire your work!

Send a Mother’s Day care package

What a wonderful way to send love when you can’t visit in person! Plus, who doesn’t love surprise presents in the mail? We think that, in lieu of a visit, sending gifts for Mother’s Day can be the next best thing! orange and yellow tableorange tablescape

Mother's Day table ideaDIY Baggu bag templatehow to sew a baggu toteWe’d love to see your Mother’s Day party-for-ones or care packages. Tag us with #LarsLovesMamas so we can see them! 

Discount for Lars readers

Lars readers can get 15% off with code LARSTABLE15 for all Table Linens and Tea Towels.

This post is sponsored by Spoonflower, who we love for their many home decor and fabric options. We love working with sponsors who allow us to create awesome new content for you!

DIY Twisted Candles for a Romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner

We made our candles in red and pink to add them to our Valentine’s day decorations. They would be perfect to display on the mantle, dining table, bookshelf, bathroom, anywhere, really! They would also be perfect to light on your Valentine’s day dinner at home. These candles are functional, beautiful, and customizable. No wonder we love them!

DIY Twisted Candles

Supplies:

Candles

Ziplock bag

Rolling Pin

Instructions:

(based on 12 inch tall candles)

  1. Fill a bowl with warm enough water to cover candles

2. Soak candles in warm water for 15-20 min, or until they are flexible

3. Working with one candle at a time – transfer a candle to a ziplock bag

3. Using your rolling pin, roll the center of the candle flat until it is a 1/2″ wide. Make sure to leave 2″ at the top of the candle that is unrolled, as well as 2″ from the bottom.

Tip: If at any point the candle is becoming too firm to roll out, let it sit in the warm water longer and then start rolling again.

5. Once you have flattened out the center of your candle, slowly twist it until you have created the look you want!

Embrace the trend and flaunt your modern flair!

Don’t forget to add some Doily Honeycomb Decorations and Valentines Heart Pom-Poms to your Valentine’s day decorations this year!

 

 

DIY Ox for Chinese New Year

The Chinese zodiac is a repeating 12-year cycle of animal signs based on the lunar calendar. In order, the zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. 2021 is the year of the Ox, and the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, marks the transition from one zodiac animal to the next.

Much like the zodiac signs we know as horoscopes, each Chinese zodiac animal represents personality traits, romantic compatibility, and what fortune the year will bring. In Chinese culture, the ox is a valued animal because of its role in agriculture and its positive attributes. People born in the year of the Ox distinguish themselves as honest and hard-working. Because of their honest and earnest character traits, they are reliable and trustworthy. They tend to be low-key and never look for praise, but their hard work often leads to recognition. These are only some of the traits associated with people born in the year of the Ox. Find more here.

Make Your Own Year of the Ox Party Decor

Supplies:

Pencil or marker, cardboard, craft knife, paper or packing tape, hot glue gun (with LOTS of glue sticks for all that fringe), acrylic or tempera craft paint and a paintbrush, brown tissue paper (multiple shades make a nice look, but only one is necessary), scissors, red, white, and tan cardstock, and red, yellow, and green crepe paper. 

Instructions:

  1. Draw a basic ox body shape onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out (you can add the horns and ears later!)
  2. Using the first cutout ox, trace and cut out another. Now you have both sides of your piñata.
  3. Cut long strips of corrugated cardboard 3 inches wide. You want the corrugation running perpendicular to the length of the strip so that it can bend easily to your ox’s contours.
  4. Using paper or packing tape and starting with one side at a time, attach the cardboard strips to the perimeter of the ox. Add more cardboard strips as needed to wrap around the entire circumference of the ox body. 
  5. Affix the other side of your ox with your tape. The ox should become 3D at this point.
  6. Wrap the hooves in tissue paper (about 11×11 inch squares worked well for us) and secure with glue.
  7. Cut long strips of tissue paper fringe (we used a mix of browns to get a pretty variegated look). The strips should be about three inches tall with fringe slits cut up about two inches.
  8. Working from bottom to top and wrapping around your ox’s body, glue down the fringe. You can alternate colors as desired, but it looks nice to have a base color you come back to. 
  9. Accessorize! Cut eyes, ears, and rosy cheeks out of cardstock and glue them to your ox. Cut two horns from cardboard and paint them, then glue them to your ox’s head. We made a tail by gluing some extra tissue paper fringe to a ribbon and attaching it to the ox’s rump.
  10. Make red paper peonies. Cut out a small rectangle (¾ by 2 inches or so) of yellow crepe paper and cut fringe into it, then roll it up to form the center of the flower. Secure with hot glue. Cut out red crepe paper petals and shape them by slightly stretching the middle to get a cup shape. Ruffle the tops of the petals by stretching small sections along the petals’ tops. Glue the petals to the yellow center. Cut out a few green crepe paper leaves and attach them to your ox along with your peonies.

This year, we wanted to lift our dreary winter moods in February by looking to world festivities. The Lunar New Year, aka Spring Festival, seemed like a fun celebration to set the tone for the coming spring. Display our DIY Ox as a lucky centerpiece to welcome the new year and all that it has in store for us.

An Easy Houseplant Anyone Can Take Care Of

DIY Paper Begonia Maculata

We at Lars love paper flowers and other plants. This particular paper plant is seriously so easy. Our Polka Dot Plant (Begonia Maculata) is just the plant to liven up your space! Polka dots are just wonderful, and seeing them in a PLANT is something that really tickles my fancy.

DIY paper easy houseplant

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still enjoy a little green in your home. What you need is the easiest houseplant ever. Our Begonia Maculata pattern is super cheap. The materials are probably things you already have. The look of the houseplant is chic and fresh, and the project itself is simple enough that you can do it with your kids!

No matter your gardening ability, you can enjoy the aesthetic benefit of a cheery (but easy) paper houseplant.

How to make your own Polka Dot Plant

DIY paper easy houseplant

Steps:

  1. Download the Begonia Maculata template here
  2. Cut out each leaf out of slightly varied shades of green cardstock. We cut 11 leaves for ours.
  3. Fold each leaf slight along the curve where the vein would be in a natural leaf
  4. With the white acrylic paint, add polka dots of varying sizes to the top of the leaf
  5. Cut floral wire to the lengths of stems you desire
  6. Wrap floral tape around the wire stems to add texture and make them a lighter shade of green
  7. Hold a wire stem against the wide bottom of leaf and glue down a small piece of green paper on top of the wire to hold it in place
  8. Continue to complete each leaf
  9. To arrange your leafs in a pot, hold all the stems in one hand and gently bend each stem to place the leaves at different angles and heights. Once your have achieved your desired look, use another piece of floral tape to hold your bunch together as arranged
  10. Place the entire bunch in a pot and enjoy your new plant friend!

Other Paper Houseplants

Perhaps you’d like to craft a whole greenhouse of houseplants! If so, you’ve come to the right place. We have a bunch of plant patterns that include the ever-trendy Monstera Obliqua (swiss cheese plant), a bright and cheery shamrock bush, some foxgloves that look quite stunning if I may say so myself, hydrangeas, and even a Japanese Maple tree!

Click on any of the photos below to make your own paper plant palace.

DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant

How to Style Indoor Plants

How to style indoor plants

A lot of people want to transform their spaces into dreamy urban jungles, but don’t know how to style indoor plants. This can mean that their green spaces turn grey, end up looking cluttered, or gathering dust.

chinese money plant made from paper

Knowing how to style indoor plants can make a huge difference and give your plants all the impact they deserve. Here are my best plant styling tips!

Gauge your own commitment

Look. Your plant dreams won’t come true if you don’t choose plants that you can keep alive. Maybe you’re a big fan of ferns, but you live in a dry climate and don’t have it in you to water and spray a plant every day. 🙋🏼‍♀️ I know it hurts, but you might need to hold off on living with some higher-demand plants until you’re a more experienced plant parent. Know yourself and get plants that you can keep alive, because no matter how well-styled your plant kingdom is, it won’t look good if it’s dead.

Here are some of my favorite plants, and you can check out their care requirements to make sure that you’re signing up for something you can handle.

Light

Make sure that your plants have the correct amount of light for the species. Some thrive in the shade, some need bright light, and many plants do their best somewhere in between. You need to consider your space and the light before you even buy plants if you want a healthy indoor plantscape.

And of course, paper plants won’t die no matter what light you put them in, but remember that they might fade in bright light.

pre-potted plants Tranquility

Temperature

Unfortunately, lots of plant parents fail to consider a space’s temperature and are confounded when their plants keep dying. If you live somewhere with cold winters, avoid putting sensitive plants near drafty areas like doors or right by a window, especially when temperatures drop. And if your living space tends to be really hot and sunny, make sure that you don’t have sensitive, cool-loving plants in places where they’ll scorch and die. Again, if you’re working with paper plants, this isn’t an issue.

Paper heartleaf philodendron in bright green in a checkered pot on a wooden table

Water/Humidity

Some plants, like ferns and other tropicals, need more water and humidity than others (like succulents and cacti). If you have a plant that needs to be cared for and watered often, put it somewhere easily accessible so that watering doesn’t become a hassle.

If your bathroom has enough light, consider styling it with some humidity-loving plants. All the steam from your showers will make them thrive.

a variety of potted houseplants

Scale

When you’re designing your planty spaces, you don’t want to just have a lot of little plants scattered around. Choose one or two larger plants (indoor trees are great here!) and make these a focal point.

While big houseplants can be expensive, you can try making your own with paper (we have some great tutorials on the blog!) or check out our next tip for height help.

outdoor potted plants

Height

In an arrangement of plants, you want the tallest ones to be at the back. Think of them like a choir, with the tallest singers standing at the back. You can also give some plants a boost to add more height and give the illusion of larger plants. Try using shelves, bricks, blocks, an overturned flower pot, stacks of decorative books, and more to add some height to your plantscape.

planter garden with a sculptural head planter

Color

Indoor plants come in all kids of colors, not just green! Consider the colors and lighting in your space before you buy or make plants. If you plan it right, you can get beautiful, dramatic, intentional looks by curating your plant colors. Imagine a room with all deep purple foliage! So regal, right??

Paper Poinsettia Flower

Paper Plants

Like I’ve mentioned, I love paper plants for their ease and also because they’re a super fun craft! You can check out this paper plant video, these favorite tutorials, and these templates and ebooks from our shop. And don’t forget the flowers!

DIY Paper Japanese maple tree

Paper pansies on a windowsill. There's a white lacy curtain next to them, and red floral wallpaper on the other.

Once you’ve become a full-fledged plant parent, you might want to treat yourself with this Plant Lady print by Libby VanderPloeg from our shop.

What are your favorite plant tips? Let me know!