Artist socks


Is there anything more perfect? Yes the socks are adorable, but even better is the styling by Kate Brien for Vogue (talk about a dream job!) These socks of famous paintings and artists are right up my alley. AND they’re so beautifully styled against the rad backdrops, pants, and shoes. Perfection!

AND, you can get 10% off any of these socks by clicking here and entering AFF1SAVE at checkout by August 31 (socks from Hot Sox)

5 Secrets for Pattern Mixing

Over the last few months I’ve done a lot of designing! From the upstairs bathroom (full remodel reveal coming soon!) to the downstairs office, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in front of a mood board. A big part of design is mixing patterns, and I know it can be daunting. There’s so much to consider and it’s not hard to cross the line from fabulous to overwhelming, especially with all the options available at places like Spoonflower! And there really are SO MANY great options at Spoonflower.

Whether you’re putting together a room or an outfit, you should know how to mix patterns. Here are some of my favorite pattern-mixing tips!


Color is one of the very first things that you notice about any design. It’s immediate and impactful, and it stays in your brain. Think about it–if you go into a room you’re more likely to remember that the walls were green than the pattern on the curtains. It’s important to stick to a cohesive color scheme when you’re mixing patterns. Otherwise, things get really chaotic really fast!

How to Mix Patterns with Lenox Global Tapestry


Having a good blend of large and small patterns keeps your design visually interesting. Larger, more graphic patterns really stand out against smaller, delicate patterns. Meanwhile, some small patterns give a nice place for the eye to rest, which makes large and small pattern mixing a symbiotic situation.

An interior photo. The wall is blue floral wallpaper, there's a big houseplant, a patterned rug, and pillows propped on a wooden bench.
Design by Justina Blakeney


The whole point of pattern mixing is to get variety in a design, and contrast is a great principle to help you do it right. Contrast comes into design in lots of ways: you can contrast color, scale, shape, pattern type, value, and more.

When you’re mixing patterns, it helps to think of one element to contrast and then maintain cohesiveness with the others. For example, if you use patterns with contrasting colors, you might want to tone down the contrast in scale, intensity, shape, etc. And if you’re pairing a bold floral with a checkerboard pattern, keeping to a color palette will prevent your design from getting too hectic.

A brightly-colored room with blue floral wallpaper, a colorful rug, bright pillows, and lots of knickknacks around.
Design by Justina Blakeney

How to Mix Patterns with Lenox Global Tapestry


Another consideration in pattern mixing is mood. If you mix a zany zig zag with a delicate calico, you might experience some design whiplash. The moods are just very different. Instead, think of an overall mood that you want your design to have, then choose patterns that contribute to that mood.

a blue poster with flowers drawn on it hangs on a green botanical wallpapered wall. There's a bright yellow chair, white office furniture, and a pink room in the space.

Know When to Pull Back

I have a distinct childhood memory of a crafting session with my grandma when she said “Every artist needs someone to bonk them on the head with a hammer when the work is done so that they’ll finally put down the paintbrush.” Now that I think of it, I wonder what kind of chaos I was crafting with her to make her say that! Of course, my grandmother is a lovely person and would never actually condone violence. Still, the idea that you need to know when to pull back holds up.

The House That Lars Built wrapping papers for Alexis Mattox Design

A big part of pattern mixing all design is stepping back, evaluating, and modifying your work. It might feel discouraging to undo some of your work if you realize that it’s too overwhelming or not quite right. I know, because I’ve been there. But you’ll be so much happier with your work if you let yourself evaluate honestly and remember some restraint.

With that being said, design is subjective and you’re the master of your own destiny! What is absolutely too much for designer might become another designer’s signature style. Design rules are meant to be broken, so once you’re confident with some pattern mixing basics go wild!

a horizontally striped art print hanging on a wallpapered wall. The wallpaper is a modern green botanical pattern.

Finding Great Patterns

Like I mentioned before, Spoonflower is a great place to find wallpaper, fabric, and even housewares with beautiful patterns made by independent designers. Spoonflower is my go-to for interior design patterns and fun fabric. We’ve really worked with them so many times and we’re always thrilled with the variety and quality of their products.

You can check out some of our favorite Spoonflower designers here, and keep your eyes peeled for some Lars Spoonflower projects coming up soon. 😉

For more pattern inspiration don’t forget to follow my Patterns board on Pinterest! And another designer I love (who’s a pattern-mixing genius) is my dear friend Meta Coleman, who is designing our house. Lucky me!

A few years ago I wrote another pattern mixing guide! You can find it here, and combine your knowledge from both sources to become a pattern mixing pro. 

Nativity Craft Along

Christmas is a perfect time to join up with our community and do something fun together, so we dreamed up a craft along. After all, there’s no better time to get out your glue and paints than during the holidays! And what’s more classic and meaningful than a handmade gift? I definitely don’t know of anything.

Well, as the Lars team continued scheming and dreaming, our craft along plans got better and better, and now we’re SO EXCITED to make this Mid-Century Heirloom nativity craft along with you!

unpainted wooden angel figure from a midcentury nativity against a pink and red background

We’ve teamed up with a few celebrities and crafting heroes, and to be quite honest, I’m already starstruck. Like, let’s just say that I’m going to meet my childhood hero and that we’ll be wearing pink on Wednesdays from here on out. We’ll be releasing our star crafters through our mailing list (sign up here!), but I’d also love to hear your guesses in the comments. 😉

You’ll also be able to meet our star crafters through weekly Instagram Live events, where we’ll be working on a character from the nativity every week.

Heirloom Nativity

So what’s a craft along?

A craft along is a way of building community with your fellow crafters while all working on the same (or a similar) project. Our nativity craft along is a perfect opportunity to get ready for Christmas (because we all know that it sneaks up on us every year) and get to know your Lars community a bit better. We’ll all be making a midcentury heirloom nativity together, and it’s going to be so lovely! Even though summer’s still on its way out, we wanted to jump into our handmade holiday plans early because this is a project that you’ll want to begin waay in advance. Get a head start on your handmade holidays and join in the fun with this nativity craft along!

Crafting with a cause

As I’ve mentioned in these two essays, I recently partnered with Nest and I’m now part of their advisory board. I really believe in Nest’s mission to support woman makers in the global economy, and I’m so grateful to be part of their amazing work. We’ve set the very exciting goal to raise $50,000 for Nest through this nativity craft along, and we’re doing it in three ways:

  1. Ebook sales: for each ebook sold, we’re donating $5 (with an option for you to donate even more at checkout).
  2. Donations: we’ll collect donations during Instagram Live events with our famous crafters (think a 21st century twist on a classic fundraising telethon). During these Instagram Live events you’ll get to know some of your favorite crafty celebrities a bit better, and you can work on your heirloom nativity alongside them and me! Doesn’t that sound dreamy? You can donate to Nest over here!
  3. Auction: After all these Instagram Live crafting sessions we’ll auction off our two completed midcentury nativities! There will be one made by me and one made by our favorite crafting celebs, and all the money we raise by auctioning them will go to Nest.  So even if you’re not a big fan of crafting, you can get your own gorgeous heirloom midcentury nativity (and it just might come with some star power).

Heirloom Nativity

However you do it, your participation in this nativity craft along will help us reach our fundraising goal and help Nest support woman artisans all over the world.

Make Your Own Heirloom Nativity!

Years ago when we first released our Midcentury Nativity project, we used a combination of vintage, found, and purchased wooden pieces. While I love the way our old set looks, it’s impossible to replicate exactly. That can be so frustrating! So this year we’ve worked hard to come up with an excellent set of wooden pieces that you can buy to make your nativity match with ours. If you buy these materials, your pieces will also align just right with the templates we made in our ebook! Convenience and unity for the win!

unpainted wooden finials and candlesticks in the form of wooden nativity characters

You can find all the materials we used over in the e-book including the specific wood pieces for the right combinations.

Here are the colors we are using for the set:

unpainted wooden wise man figurine from a nativity set against a pink and red striped background

To get templates and tips you can download our ebook!

Follow Along

The best way to stay on top of all our craft along content by following us on Instagram and subscribing to the newsletter. Now enter the giveaway, order your materials, and let’s get crafting!

baby Jesus unpainted wooden figure on a pink and red striped background

Looking for more nativity projects? If you love this, you’ll also love our DIY nativity puppets, this clothespin nativity, and this nesting doll DIY.

Becoming Arounna Khounnoraj

Arounna Khounnoraj is a Canadian artist and maker working in Toronto where she immigrated with her family from Laos at the age of four. While her education includes a master’s degree in fine arts in sculpture and ceramics, it was through subsequent residencies that she found her current focus in fibre arts. In 2002 she started bookhou, a multi-disciplinary studio with her husband John Booth, where Arounna explores screen printing and a variety of textile techniques such as embroidery and punch needle. She creates objects such as bags, home goods and textile art. 

In recent years Arounna work has created a social media sensation. From wall art to cushions and bags, her punch needle pieces highlight her botanical and abstract designs and her sense of colour have brought a modern, new life to an old technique.

She is the author of Punch Needle: Master the Art of Punch Needling Accessories for You and Your Home, which was published in April 2019. In 2020 she released a book on Visible Mending and she is currently working on her third book based on Embroidery.

A group of punch needled surfaces and artworks leaned against a white wall.

Becoming Arounna Khounnoraj

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

It’s hard to choose just one, I consider myself an artist first but being self employed I really rely on my self taught business skills and what I try to do with my writing and social media is to share with my followers the different ways I work and techniques they can apply to their own work.

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

I was born in Vientiane Laos, but came to Toronto, Canada with my family when I was four. Growing up in Toronto was a major influence. Even though I lived downtown in a very urban setting, Toronto is, nevertheless, a city of neighbourhoods that are very eclectic and diverse so I experienced a variety of cultures. It’s also a city with pockets of nature and I think that all combined, an environment like that helped me create work that is also eclectic but with an emphasis on natural things.

Of course family life was also influential. As immigrants we lived modestly and made much of what we needed and used. Food, clothing, repairing things ourselves when they are broken helped create a definite DIY mindset that has always stayed with me.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I grew up in a household with makers, not necessarily artists but definitely makers – using our hands. So, I don’t think it ever occurred to me to be anything else but a maker too.  I have always made things with my hands and it brought me the most joy so it only seemed natural to go to art school and follow a path of making art.

What sparked your interest in mending? 

When I was younger I would mend my clothes whether they needed it or not so I had some experience. But more recently, mending just kind of happened since it is really just an extension of the kind of hand work and stitch work that I was already doing. Studio work for me has always been about trying new things and new techniques, whether it was patchwork, appliqué or decorative stitching, it was already part of my studio practice. Having a family and kids especially, certainly gave me a new application for these activities. 

But also, I‘ve always been the kind of person who not only believes in an economy of means, but I hate to waste materials, both in my own studio and in life in general. So reuse, and by extension mending, is a  natural part of how I work. 

Arounna and her daughter in a light-filled living space.

What are three words to describe your style?

Natural, simple, organic

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

I started with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Ontario College of Art and then Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, then finished with a Masters from University of Waterloo. 

School has been very influential in shaping my current path. I worked in a variety of media, ceramics, multimedia sculpture and fibre arts, while at school and it is certainly there that I found the artistic interests and methodologies that continue to define my work. Jumping ahead a number of years when I started to make utilitarian work, especially products, I found that those disciplines and ways of working in a studio continued. I’ve always thought of our workplace as an art studio, a multidisciplinary space where artistic interests and vision could be applied to everyday things. Working with materials, details of design, surface decoration and use is not that far from what I was concerned with at school.

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? 

Not really, I’ve always been making things one way or another and finding a way to market them. The only real switch was from working in a studio art practice that entailed singular installation work in sculpture, to production work with textiles and printing.  That happened in a rather unplanned way with a residency that I accepted in a textile studio and simply being open to spending some time trying something different.  After I finished, I continued to work on smaller, more personal fabric based items concentrating on drawing and printing as forms of surface design. Although, differences aside, I think both have a lot in common in terms of artistic vision, and by the things that inform them – natural imagery, organic forms and belief in the handmade. 

What inspired you to become a textile artist?

A layout of craft supplies, punch needle projects, and art.

More than anything else, working with fabric was always an activity that I enjoyed and was always around me. I always had a connection to it, starting when I was young. As I grew older it became an even more important activity. I became aware that working with fabric was more than a personal activity. The very idea of sewing, or stitchwork is so related to the concept of women’s work and domestic work. I was always inspired by the ideas, the techniques,  and the continuity of the work as tradition. Seeing the work of others who take an idea and pass it on as something wonderful and beautiful is amazing, and being a part of that is inspiring.

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

If I have to pick one, I suppose the piece(s) I’m most proud of in recent years are a series of little stools that John and I made together. He designed the wood stool specifically to fit a punch needle seat. We had always talked about collaborating on such a piece and it was great to see it happen.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

I’m not sure I look for inspiration for new pieces. The possibilities for what I’m already inspired to do seems endless. I think every maker or artist becomes aware of different possibilities they could explore in their work. So, perhaps just new applications and working at larger scales. 

a patchwork project bag made by Arounna Khounnoraj

How do you make social connections in the creative realm?

Working in the studio on your own work is quite often so focused, and busy, that it’s sometimes hard to connect to other makers in real time. But having spent as much time at craft shows as I have, I’ve been able to meet a wide range of artists and makers that I find time to connect with, creating a soundboard for each other.

In addition, through social media I’ve been able to connect with so many people all over the world who work in similar activities as I am, or simply enjoy what I do. Social media has allowed me to connect with teaching opportunities, collaborations with others and enjoy the work of others.

How has social media influenced your work?

I cannot tell you how important social media is. It really works in partnership with other aspects of business and studio work. Most importantly it helps tell the story of who you are and what you do. And when it comes down to it,  to make connections, the narrative is really important.

Social media and studio work are definitely connected, but it is more than just documentation. I spend a fair amount of time creating work and instructional content not just for web sales but specifically for social media. Sometimes too much time. In the end, I can’t say that my work in terms of design has changed in response to social media, but it certainly has changed the way I work, and the success of a product.

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

When I just started our business I was still in art school mode, and I was looking at artists like Louise Bourgeois and Kiki Smith. But I remember seeing the show of makers from Gees Bend at the Whitney around 2002, and I was blown away. There are a number of people and studios I am fond of now like Mina Perhonen.

A collection of patchwork blocks made by Arounna Khounnoraj

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

I sometimes watch TV and movies when sewing, just something to have in the background. I’m fond of British Crime dramas and anything post apocalypse.

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

One piece of advice that I always try to remember is that if I like my work, I know that someone else will like it too. I think it’s a variation on trusting yourself regardless of how things are initially received, or how fast or slow work progresses. Trust yourself, trust your direction, just work hard at making the most of it. Not sure who sent that my way. 

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

We were fortunate enough to buy a storefront that had a small shop in the front and a small studio in the back and our home above. Over the years we renovated and expanded to include a sewing area where my mother and I have machines; a small shipping area, and studio space – printing and cutting table. There is also a quieter, more private studio space on the second floor for when I feel like stepping away from production. 

Since the pandemic, only family members are with me, and the showroom space has turned over to more work/organization space (and plants). It’s definitely quieter, but we’ve tried to maintain a degree of normalcy. 

A patchwork blanket made of indigo squares in various shades.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

There are a couple of things that influence my work. Firstly, having a diverse series of spaces that are specific to each task allows me to work efficiently, and gives me enough space to work at anything that comes to mind. Secondly, I live upstairs, so I don’t have to leave to work. Some might see this as potentially burdensome, but with young kids it was great, and it lets me be connected to work whenever I want, which I find both convenient and liberating actually, since I love to work.

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

I have a tendency to be a little impatient, but in a good way. Not sure if that’s a habit, but it means that if something is on my mind, if I have something to do or a design that needs development, I’ll just do it. I don’t like leaving things lingering, I’d rather finish things or make decisions as soon as I can. It means that things are always moving along, and seeing work in its final form, especially when I’m excited and happy about it, is really motivating. 

I also make sure that every day I have time to sit back and draw, whether analogue or on an iPad. I find it relaxing actually. Letting your mind just go, focusing on nothing else just for a little while can be very helpful to keep you in your groove, and suggest new ideas. As long as you have work on the table, there is always something to do.

What is a typical day like for you? 

Depending on the day, after the kids are off to school, or virtual school, I usually do emails first thing. We do shipping two days out of the week so that pretty much structures our day for us. If it’s a non shipping day I’ll make lists of any orders. If anything needs to be made we’ll start that, otherwise I’ll either cut or print fabric or both for my mother who does a lot of the sewing, so we always have stock, as much as we can. Afternoons tend to be working on social media posts or photography, taking advantage of the afternoon light. Shipping days are similar except with a lot of packaging. When it’s not too busy I fit non production work in, working on new projects and finally, at the end of the day, a little drawing. 

What is one skill you wished you learned when you were younger?

My mum is a wonderful cook and I really wish I took more interest when I was younger to be as accomplished as her. The problem is that she was always happy cooking for us and I was happy letting her.

Someone stands on a bench holding a white punch needle blanket above their head. The punch needled parts are in lots of colors and look like confetti dots sprinkled throughout the blanket's surface.

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

My advice would be to not hold yourself back. Try everything even if it’s for one time only.  You will never know how it could add or change the way you work and it might enhance it for the better. Don’t feel you have to be an expert in one thing and only have to do that one thing forever. These days there is so much access to online help, courses and many great kits available.

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

Our business was financed by our part time jobs when we were starting.  Don’t worry if you have to have a job in order to finance your business, as you figure it out you will be less dependent. I would try to focus on not growing too fast, to really understand the work that you want to make and understand your audience. Knowing these two things are actually the most important business decisions you can make. If there’s equipment or material that you need that you can’t afford, think about renting it or borrowing from someone who does. If there is something that you can’t do right now, then try it a different way. The important thing is to work, try new things, but keep working.  When we started we did every craft show that we could. Some good, some not so good. But even a little income was good. Same for online. Be patient and learn to trust yourself, (and it is something we have to learn). Eventually you will find a rhythm and your income will start increasing. 

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

In terms of both inspiration and work, one of the defining aspects of my work has been its relationship to nature, working organically, and specifically, my love for botanical imagery. I have always been interested in plants and I think if I wasn’t making, I would like to learn more about botany.  I think somehow cataloging  them by painting/drawing or by photographing them.

floral punch needle pillow in warm oranges, pinks, yellows, and greens.

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

My 10 year goal is to try to move away from the constraints of production work and focus more on designing, perhaps working with other studios in creating my work.  For the work I do myself, I would like to do larger, more art based pieces that would allow me to slow down, focus, and really delve into a project.


Women Who Work: Beth Moresi

When did you know that woodworking/making things with your hands was your jam?

I knew that woodworking and building was for me after my first week on site- I was hooked right from the start. The feeling you get when you stand back and can see all your hard work right in front of you is unbeatable.

Why is it important to you to create?

It is important to me to create because life is more than just work. Getting your paycheck can’t be the thing that gets you our of bed in the morning – you need passion!  Being creative with my work is where I find that passion and pride in my job.

Was there anyone along the way who helped shape you?

I had and still do have so many strong people in my support network who helped me along the way. My dad, who is also a builder (and self-confessed feminist) has always been my number one fan and supporter. He loves to support strong women and has always had my back and pushed me out of my comfort zone.

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

My advice for women who might want to get into building is to just be yourself. I spent so long trying to be tough, trying to be as strong as the boys, trying not to have emotions, trying to fit in. Embrace yourself and all the amazing things YOU have to offer. Let your personality and the your points of difference shine through your work. Since starting my own business I have never felt more myself – all the way down to my pink business cards.

You can find Beth here:


Carpenter Art Print

For all of you carpenters and woodworkers out there, Libby’s Carpenter art print is 20% off for the next three days, ending Thursday, March 26th with code Carpenter. You can find it in our Print Shop here.

Or you can find all of the Women Who Work here!

If you are building be sure to hang up the Carpenter Print in your home to remind you of just how incredible you are at your work!

You can see our previous interviews:


Jen Hewett – printmaker, surface designer, textile artist and teacher
Erin Benzakein of Floret Flowers – Garden, flower maker 

Nativity Craft Along Auction: Meet Our Guests

To amp you up for the auction, we wanted to highlight our amazing guests and give you a chance to get to know them better. To this end, we’ve compiled the weekly craft along videos of each guest and are excited to share them with you!

Amanda Seyfried

Our first guest of the Nativity Craft Along was actress Amanda Seyfried. Yes, you read that right. Amanda Seyfried! Mamma Mia, Mank, Les Miserables, the list goes on. It was so fun to talk with her–we could have talked for hours. We talked about everything from motherhood to the need to make with your hands. I have to say, she did an amazing job painting the angel. Honestly, I wish I could buy it in the auction. Here’s her live video:

If you can’t watch with sound or need to read rather than watching, we’ve got you covered! Here’s the transcript to her video.

Here she is with the angel. So cute, right?

Amanda Seyfried with the angel

Sabrina Soto

Our second guest was the lovely Sabrina Soto! Sabrina is an HGTV host, interior designer, blogger and podcast host. Needless to say, we were thrilled to get to craft with her! She was such a joy to have and it was so fun to get to know her. She blew us away with the adorable shepherd she painted. Here’s the highlight:

All of a sudden I feel like Sabrina is my new best friend. She’s SO fun to talk to!

Mary Engelbreit

This next guest holds a special place in my heart. Mary Engelbret is one of my childhood heroes! To say I was excited to have her paint the wiseman is an understatement. I nearly peed my pants. I even did my hair for the event! To give you an idea of just how thrilled I was to have the chance to talk to her, here are some photos of me as a child.

Yeah, that’s me, and that’s Mary standing right in front of me. Can you even imagine?!

This one is good. Look closely and you’ll see that I am literally wearing “bloom where you’re planted on my hat” and an iron on illustration on my shirt.

Brittany and Mary Engelbreit

Without further ado, here’s our Craft Along featuring Mary Engelbreit!

I mean, who wouldn’t want a wiseman painted by Mary Engelbreit? Don’t worry, I’m probably as unbiased as you can get.

Elsie Larson

THE Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess was our next Nativity Craft Along guest. I’m a huge fan–I love listening to her podcast, and the things she creates are amazing! She painted the Baby Jesus for us, and did such a sweet job. It was such pleasure to chat with Elsie and we’re excited for you to listen in on our conversation! Here it is:

Tracy Reese

It was such a pleasure to get to craft with our next guest, Tracy Reese. Tracy is an American fashion designer known for her rich, daring colors and feminine silhouettes for modern women. Her work is gorgeous! What a thrill to have someone with such a good eye for color and fashion painting our wiseman. Watch below to get to know Tracy!

So fun, right?!

I’ve been such a huge Tracy Reese fan for years–I even own one of her coats, so this was a particular thrill.

Erin Jang

Erin Jang was our next featured guest. She’s an artist, designer, and art director who works on some of the coolest projects out there. It was so fun to chat with her about kids, magazines, and trashy tv. What a pleasure to have her paint Joseph for us! Here’s her interview:

We are honored to have some of Erin’s work in our Lars Print Shop.

Lisa Congdon

Our next featured crafter was the one and only Lisa Congdon! I’ve been a fan of Lisa’s work and Lisa herself for years. To know her is to love her! Her work is bright, cheerful, and inspirational. It has been featured in numerous publications and she is the author of 10 books! She also has a podcast — she does it all! Lisa is an artist I admire for her kindness, mission to give, and authenticity. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to craft and chat with her. And wow, did Mary look good when Lisa was done painting her! See her interview below:

Woo woo! Isn’t Lisa fun? We sure thought so. She’s also a Lars Print Shop artist 

Courtney Quinn

For the finale of our Nativity Craft Along, we were thrilled to have none other than Courtney Quinn, of Color Me Courtney, crafting with us! It was so fun to have the Color Queen herself join us, and I loved talking and getting to know her better. She knocked that last wiseman out of the park and did a wonderful job. See the interview for yourself:

That concludes our summary of the wonderful Nativity Craft Along! What a privilege to be a part of it. It has been so fun, and the best part is knowing we’re helping makers all around the country, through our partnership with Nest, whenever anyone buys a nativity e-book. We’re so excited to top off our donations with the auction this Sunday and hope you’ll join us! We’ll be releasing more details later in the week. If you have any questions about it, please let us know in the comments!

How to Hang Prints

How to Hang Prints

Well, now I’m getting into a deeper conversation about what art is, and while I could easily write a 1,000 word blog post on that topic, today I just want to talk about what to do with your art once you’ve found the ultimate piece. Our post today is all about how to hang prints like the ones you can find in our shop!

To Frame or Not to Frame?

So, it finally happened—you locked eyes with that perfect print, whether in a gallery, online, or in a thrift store, and now you need a frame for it! Or do you? 

Well, first you need to consider the size of the print (or prints). If you thrifted your art, you may want a different frame, or maybe you hit the thrifting jackpot and it came with a beautiful frame, matting, and it fits your style. However, for most of us, half the fun is deciding on a frame that doesn’t just act as a “place” for your art to live, but it complements the piece, too.

Frames aren’t always necessary. In fact, you can “frame” your art using other more budget-friendly, DIY methods, and you know how much we love a good DIY!

Framing Large Art Pieces

Large-scale wall art is on trend, and it’s not hard to see why! A poster-size print above the bed or fireplace mantle anchors the room. In fact, if you’re trying to design the rest of your space, start with a large print! You can gather inspiration from a dynamic piece of art hanging on the wall.

A colorful lamp in a room with wildflower wallpaper and a LACMA exhibition poster

We tend to think that large art needs a frame. Luckily, you don’t have to splurge on a really expensive frame to match the size of your print. We like using the large RIBBA frame from IKEA, with or without the matting. You might even like removing the plastic to prevent a glare, but if the lighting of your room doesn’t affect the glare too much, leave the plastic on to protect the print.

If you looking to print some large art for a crazy price, we recommend engineer prints from Staples. They’re typically no more than $10 (yep, that cheap).

Other Framing Ideas

Need a beautiful frame, but don’t want to spend too much money? Try replacing the cheap art you find at Target or Home Goods with your own prints. They already come with a nice frame (most of the time) and a mat.

Are you trying to put together a gallery wall? Though it may seem like some of the best-looking gallery walls were simply “thrown together,” it actually takes a bit of extra time to create a balanced look. Use a mixture of sizes, and don’t feel limited to hanging prints. Try hanging other art pieces or sentimental items on the wall to add texture, such as fiber art or a small shelf for displaying treasures.

How to create a gallery wall to go with your TVGallery wall above a brown dresser with a cute white dog in front.a gallery wall with images of birds over a bed with a fiddle leaf fig and a lamp in the bottom left corner

How to Hang Prints Without a Nail

One of the best and most cost-effective methods to hang your prints is using Washi tape! We like this method for a more casual look, like on the moodboard above your desk or in your child’s room.

How to make a mood board with Mae Mae Co on The House That Lars Built

Is your art collection bursting at the seams? Try a floating shelf on the wall to lean your art against! Maybe you have a bare mantle in your front room begging for something else to sit on it besides your WiFi router…instead of getting out your hammer, nails, stud finder, and level, just lean the thing! Nothing could be easier.

Day of the Dead OfrendaDay of the Dead OfrendaFlower art prints by Adriana Picker

Feeling inspired? Don’t forget to check our print shop for some beautiful and affordable art! 

Juneteenth Reading List

This week on The House that Lars Built we’re getting ready for Juneteenth by celebrating some of our favorite Black creators, artists, and thinkers. We put our heads together as members of Team Lars and came up with this (definitely NOT comprehensive) Juneteenth reading list of books, movies, and shows.

We’ve included materials for kids and for adults, and we also recognize that some of the material here might not be for all audiences. Because our world’s history of oppression and violence against Black people is challenging, it would be disingenuous not to include challenging materials in our Juneteenth reading list. While we urge you to use your judgement in finding something from this list that is a good fit for you, we also want to underscore how important it is to take in media that stretches us, even if we sometimes feel uncomfortable.

We hope you take the time to read or watch something from our Juneteenth reading list and that in addition to learning you also bask in some beautiful Black joy. Black lives matter, Black joy matters, Black futures matter, and Black art matters!

Reading List

Books for Kids

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry coverA quilted illustration from Tar BeachHarriet gets Carried Away cover

Bunheads coverThank You, Omu coverSaturday cover

Magnificent Homespun Brown coverThe Old Truck Cover

Tallulah The Tooth Fairy CEO coverParker Looks Up coverYou Matter cover

Books for Adults

Me and White Supremacy coverWhen They Call You a Terrorist coverThe Color of Law cover

Becoming coverBetween the World and Me coverThe Color of Water cover

Bad Feminist coverI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings cover

Beloved coverCry, the Beloved Country coverThe Vanishing Half cover

Sing, Unburied, Sing coverLife on Mars coverThe Hate U Give coverThe Color Purple Cover

Watch List

If you can’t fit in time to read a book this week, consider watching one of these shows by Black creators.

Movies and Shows for Kids and Teens

  • Reading Rainbow by Lavar Burton
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air by Andy and Susan Borowitz
  • Sister Sister starring Tia and Tamera Mowry

Movies and Shows for Adults

  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (based on the book listed above!)
  • Atlanta by Donald Glover
  • High on the Hog hosted by Stephen Satterfield
  • Pose by Steven Canals, Brad Falchuk, and Ryan Murphy
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • BlacKkKlansman directed by Spike Lee
  • The Underground Railroad directed by Barry Jenkins
  • Moonlight directed by Barry Jenkins
  • Lovecraft Country by Misha Green
  • Mr. Church by Bruce Beresford
A tall Black man and a Black woman walk through a street market in Benin.
From High on the Hog (Netflix)

As we’ve put this list together we keep realizing that we know we’re going to miss things and leave glaring holes in this list. Still, we wanted to share some of our favorites. I would love to hear what your favorite books and movies by Black creators are, so let me know in the comments.

If you like this article, you may also like:

Have you heard of It’s a great place to buy books and support small, independent booksellers! As an affiliate partner of, The House that Lars Built will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you buy any books from this list. 

Becoming Cassidy Demkov

Please write a short, 3rd-person bio about yourself

Cassidy is an artist and surface pattern designer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She enjoys designing intricate hand-drawn & painted floral patterns. Her art & patterns are inspired by her love of traveling,  flowers, animals and vintage things. Her love for art began at a very young age; from the moment she could pick up a crayon her grandma & family was always encouraging her creativity. 

Cassidy has always had a love for art & architecture. That love is what originally drew her into the interior design field for many years including a summer spent studying in Florence, Italy. Her favorite part was working with the textiles & home decor. Her passion for color and pattern made her dream of designing her own textiles. When she was given the opportunity to return to college for Visual Arts & Graphic Design she knew she had to pursue it. While she was finalizing her Visual Arts degree she accepted a temporary job to gain experience which led her to creating art & patterns for paper collections. This opportunity gave her a lot of experience designing patterns & paper products. However, she still wanted to design her own textiles so after 5 years she left to pursue her dream. 

Currently, Cassidy works as an illustrator & surface pattern designer and has designed multiple fabric collections currently licensed by Cloud9 Fabrics. She also licenses her designs to be used on a variety of products such as women’s clothing, baby products, pet accessories, stationery & gifts. In addition to this she has started a small but growing stationery line where she incorporates many of her patterns & illustrations. She hopes to expand this stationery line into including a variety of stationery & lifestyle products. Most recently she has been spending time developing more designs and patterns for wallpaper, home decor, pillows and fabric which she plans to put more focus on in the next few years.

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

I would consider myself a few things including artist, textile designer and illustrator. 

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

Mostly in Salt Lake City, Utah but I did live in Texas for a period of time when I was a child. My grandma and family always encouraged my love for art and creativity. 

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

My love for animals made me want to be a veterinarian until I realized what that really involved. Then I had being an Interior Designer in my head for a long time. I remember even dreaming up how I would design my dolls’ houses and decorating my own bedroom. 

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

There are a lot of people who have been influential, including artists, designers and creatives I admire. I have also definitely had a lot of encouragement and support from friends and family to be able to do what I am doing now.  

What sparked your interest in art?

I remember my grandma always being so creative and really admiring her. Even her home decor and  garden always seemed very unique to me. The first piece of art that really caught my eye was “The Girl with a Watering Can” by Renoir. She had a print of it in her hallway that is now in my home. This interest grew over the years. Then, when I spent a summer in Florence and had the opportunity to see original works of art like Botticelli’s, the appreciation grew even more.

Years after that I have had some great opportunities to travel. My travels have always been focused on seeing historical architecture, museums &  gardens. This has had a huge influence on inspiring my creativity and design. Visiting so many beautiful villages, estates and gardens has influenced the design of my own home and garden.  

What inspired you to become a surface designer?

I was inspired to become a surface designer because it gave me a way to collaborate with other brands I admire. It also gave me the opportunity to see my artwork come to life on their products. Seeing a flat design come to life on fabric or a product that someone will use in their daily life is very rewarding. Anytime I am in a store I see products and instantly think of how I would design them or what patterns of mine would look good on them. I especially love designing fabric because I instantly get to see the way my designs inspire  another person’s creativity and all of the different things that are created with the fabric.  

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

I don’t necessarily have one individual piece, but I am proud of my stationery collection. It started out as a little side project to sell some of my designs on cards at a local shop, Salt & Honey Market. This little passion project quickly grew to become more than just a side project. 

I am also really proud of my recent fabric collection, Flora, because I was able to see so many of my floral patterns come together in one single project. This project took a lot of time and detail but overall it came together really well.

What is your design process like? Where do you find inspiration for new creations?

Anytime I am traveling or in my own garden I take tons of pictures of flowers. I save all of these images in folders so I have inspiration when I want to design a floral or other project. Sometimes I just go to my garden directly when the weather permits and I gain a lot of inspiration there. I spend time arranging bouquets or gardening which always inspires me to draw.

Then I sit down and sketch ideas. This is often ideas for future projects that I can easily reference. From these sketches I refine my ideas and patterns. After sketching, I trace over them to get a really crisp, detailed illustration. Depending on the style or detail of the project, I do additional layers with paint or more pencil drawings. From there I scan these drawings into Illustrator to create the final patterns. 

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

I received a set of Beatrix Potter books when I was a child and I was always fascinated by all of the cute drawings in the stories. I loved her style and creativity. Recently I visited her home in the Lakes District of England where I learned more about her life. I have grown to appreciate her as a person just as much as her art. She used a great deal of her wealth from the sales of her books to preserve land in the area she lived.  

Other artists and styles of art I really love are many of the Dutch Masters florals and impressionist artists including Renoir, Van Gogh and Monet. I definitely hope to work on my fine art skills in the near future. I would love to be able to create some of my own floral masterpieces.  

As far as textile designers, a few I greatly admire are the hand-painted interiors of de Gourney, the botanical prints by Josef Frank and the design work of Dorothy Draper. 

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

A few of my favorite quotes, which I have incorporated into my own work and life are: “Even the smallest one can change the world,” (Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter).

“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful-that will be my life,” by Elsie de Wolfe.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

My surroundings have a great deal of influence on my work. I am much more creative in the months that  I am able to spend time outside in my garden and in nature. I think this is why I enjoy illustrating flowers so much. The little animals that live out in my garden have been featured in a quite a few of my designs because they inspire me. They make me smile every time I am gardening.  

What is a typical day like for you?

This varies a bit depending on the season. An ideal day is one where I am able to wake up and spend the early morning entertaining my pups and sitting in my backyard. When it is warm enough I like to spend the morning out there working and planning out my day. Once I have my tasks planned out for the day I get to work. This varies from day to day. I have days that are dedicated to my personal work projects and creative work.

Other days are focused more on client projects, my stationery brand sales, and packing/shipping products. I think a lot of people think being an artist means getting to just sit around drawing  flowers all day. But I do have to do a lot of other things like sales, packing/shipping, ordering products, restocking stores and even some accounting.

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

I don’t know that I have any secret talents, but I have a few skills I am working on and would like to focus more on in the future. One of these is floral arranging. Another is focusing more on some fine art skills such as oil painting. I would love to someday be able to create and paint florals like some of the Dutch Masters.  

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

I personally think that there are so many wonderful online classes available. Having a budget for taking online or in-person classes will always make you a better artist, even if the class isn’t necessarily directly related to what you do. I have found that even something like a gardening class can easily spark my creativity. I also think it is important to try out many different art styles and constantly learn new skills. Doing this has helped me find the things that I enjoy creating. It’s also helped me realize that even though some things inspire me, I don’t necessarily enjoy them myself. Another piece of advice is that  you won’t be great at anything without continued work and practice. It takes a lot of experimenting to develop a skill. 

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

This one is really tough because what is available or works for one person doesn’t always work for another.  However, I can say that if you really want to pursue your dream, you have to be willing to work for it. You also have to do the research. It requires a lot of trial and error. Another piece of advice I have for new artists is that you cannot expect to be successful immediately. It takes time to learn, grow and really refine your work. I highly recommend looking for jobs that will allow you to do this.

Once you are no longer growing or feeling fulfilled, it is time to move on from that and look for your next step or opportunity. This may even mean taking a step back financially so you can move forward. Leaving a full-time job to work for yourself means taking on so much more responsibility and sometimes even a pay cut. Personally, I’ve had to make some lifestyle changes because of this but my progress is worth it to me. I’ve been fortunate to have lots of support and understanding from friends and family. I have had to work much more than I did when I could just clock out and go home for the day.

Also, being willing to invest in yourself and business is big. You will see more growth by  doing so. Sometimes you have to work multiple jobs to help fund your dream. I actually started my stationery line to bring in a little extra income each month and now it has grown into a much larger portion. I have also had to do freelance jobs and pick up projects that I didn’t necessarily love. By working the extra hours and doing these things I have been able to continue working towards being able to pursue my own projects full-time.  

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

This is a hard question to answer because there are so many things I would love to become. Career-wise I would like to see myself focus more on my home decor and interior textile designs in the near future. I’d love that to become a larger part of what I do. It’s difficult because I originally had home textiles as my main focus but along the way I have found that I still have a passion for designing stationery products, clothing and other non-home decor related things. I hope that in some way I am able to balance all of the things that I enjoy designing and creating.  

What is your long-term goal? or What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

I’d love to have more opportunities to collaborate with more brands while I also grow my stationery and home decor lines into their own unique things. I hope to grow my business to a point where I don’t  have to “do it all” and I can focus more on the parts that I am most successful like the creative direction  and illustration. 


You can read more of our Becoming interviews here.

A Fall Movie List & Cozy Pajamas

Now that it’s starting to cool down outside and the days are getting shorter, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up in cozy pajamas and watch a movie. The Lars team put our heads together to come up with a great fall movie list, with options ranging from cozy to creepy.

Depending on your mood, you can find a something sentimental and sweet or creepy, all of which are perfect for chilly nights and changing leaves.

But first, find your new favorite fall pajamas!

My Favorite Fall Pajamas

A strict dress code of cozy pajamas for movie nights is non-negotiable, if you ask me. As a kid, my siblings and I always had to get into jammies before we started a movie. Now I realize that there was a great reason for that rule–my parents didn’t want to have to wrangle any kids into pajamas late at night when everyone was extra sleepy!

Still, I’m a firm believer that pajamas are vital to any good movie night. The snugglier the better! I’m a sucker for matching pajamas, so you’ll see some sets that are available in kid and adult sizes, which is an added bonus! Here are my favorite fall pajamas:

For Kids

For Grown Ups

If you’re looking for more of my favorite cozy clothes, check out this loungewear in all colors of the rainbow, my favorite everyday leisurewear, and these cloud-like pajamas!

Fall and Halloween Movie List

There are so many great fall and Halloween movies, so something from these lists is sure to strike your fancy! Still, not all of them are family-friendly or for everyone, so use your judgement to find something you’ll feel great about watching. And we won’t tell if you hide beneath the blankets during the scary scenes. 😉


  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Coco
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • the Harry Potter movies
  • Little Women
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Dan in Real Life
  • the Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Dead Poet’s Society
  • Legally Blonde

Creepy/Halloween Themed

  • Halloweentown
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost
  • Hotel Trannsylvania
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (which may have given a team member nightmares)
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Goosebumps movies
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (which may have made another team member afraid of the piano as a kid)
  • Watcher in the Woods
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Addams Family
  • Twitches
  • ET
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • A Ghost Story
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Knives Out
  • Heathers
  • Coraline
  • A Quiet Place
  • Nosferatu
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Beetlejuice
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Crooked House
  • Ophelia

Found a new favorite fall movie? Tell us which one, and let us know what your favorite flicks are!

Cyanotype Sun Prints

What is a Cyanotype?

Ever seen those iconic blue and white photographs and wondered how they were made? If cyanotypes are new to you, here’s a little background. Did you know that cyanotypes are where architects and engineers picked up the term “blueprint”? They are literal blue prints! That’s because of the traditional blue and white color of an exposed cyanotype. A cyanotype is a photo process where specially treated paper reacts to UV light (the sun’s rays) and exposes the paper. Specifically, our method involves placing foliage on cyanotype paper that turns blue when exposed to the sun, leaving beautiful white shapes of foliage behind.

Pressed Flowers

Remember this post on how to press flowers in three methods? Cyanotypes are a perfect way to repurpose your beautiful pressed flowers again and again! We love the delicate designs the pressed flowers make in a cyanotype.

In our cyanotype method, we use a simple sheet of clear acrylic to make our design first, then set it on top of the cyanotype paper. That way your design is set in place and you won’t damage your precious cyanotype paper trying to get the glue dots off.

How to Make Your Own Cyanotype Sun Prints

  1. First, create your pattern by arranging pressed flowers on one side of the acrylic. Make sure the design fits. Secure the flowers with glue dots (this is helpful to keep your design in place, especially if there is wind).
  2. Next, lay the cyanotype paper flat on the ground in a spot that gets direct sunlight.
  3. Now, position the acrylic on the cyanotype paper and set it in place.
  4. Leave in the sun for about 20 minutes, or until the design has set. Our paper was quicker than 20 minutes (closer to 5 or 10), but the time varies depending on the specific brand of paper you use.
  5. Last step is to rinse the cyanotype paper with water, and let it fully dry on a clean surface. Done!

If you’d like, you can frame your beautiful print or leave it on its own, whichever you prefer. Add it to your collection of art and put it somewhere that makes you happy!

More Inspiration

Loved this tutorial on cyanotype sun prints? Remember to check out our post on how to press flowers in three methods! Also see this post, where we compiled all our paper flower tutorials all in one place.

Abby Clawson Low Art Collection

New Art Collection from Abby Low in Lars Print Shop

Abby’s bold, graphic and colorful work was the perfect addition to our Print Shop and captures the essence of Do Design. It was the perfect match. I LOVE the idea of blowing up these prints extra large (you can print them up to 24×30” large!) and creating a huge statement on your wall. Each one would be perfect as that exclamation mark in your space but they also make a great gallery wall together, no?!

We feel like this couldn’t be better timing for Abby’s line to arrive in our Print Shop with this month being such an important one to us (craft month, dur!). That’s what we’re all about here at Lars. If you didn’t know this and want to know more about why I am so passionate about crafting go take a look at my recent post Why I feel called to craft. We are looking to provide you with a little extra inspiration to get you on the crafting train. Not just because crafting is “fun” but rather to inspire a sense of well-being and peace back to your life, which is exactly what our March book club choice Craftfulness: Mend Yourself by Making Things by Rosemary Davidson and Arzu Tahsin addresses. 

To back up this month’s read and the importance of creating, we want to revisit some quotes from last month’s book Do Design: Why beauty is key to everything by Alan Moore because the two go hand in hand.

Provo Gallery Stroll

For those of you finding us from Provo gallery stroll, welcome to our online gallery! We hope you have enjoyed finding Abby’s pieces as you make your way through the gallery stroll! 

Without further ado, we are pleased to present you Abby Low’s color collection!


“By returning to our roots of making, crafting, and designing, our world would be a better place to live.” Pg 20


“We can use design to work on behalf of the human spirit, to uplift us physically and spiritually, to connect us to our human nature. Design elevates, nurtures and improves our lot. It intertwines our spiritual and material well-being.” Page 20

Thin Stripes

“If you believe that our best work is done when we are young, you create a gray future. Every day is the opportunity for the new, as yesterday has now gone. Drawing from a bitter well is not good for creativity.” – Pg. 66 by Willie Nelson


“The act of creating something of beauty is a way of bringing good into the world. Infused with optimism, it says simply: LIFE IF WORTH WHILE.”  – Page 12

Color Block

“If you cannot describe a new destination, you will never get there.” Pg 24-25

Diagonal Block

“To bring great stillness into one’s work means one can truly commit to its execution and most beautiful realization. It is commitment, Tashi says… that gives you freedom.” Pg 29


“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.As you sail along, maybe it’s wise to keep the Utopian coast in your sights.” Pg 84

Don’t miss out on this series of posters created in Abby’s colorful, bold, and graphic style and get one (or seven) for you home today, find them all here