The story of The Nutcracker
You’re invited to a Daily Drawing Challenge
One of my personal New Year’s resolutions was to practice basic creative fundamentals: drawing, painting, etc. I have totally failed to do so on a regular basis in the past and I think of where I could be if I had (just like the piano. Gah! Why are moms always right when they drill practicing into your brains?!). With our limited time, sometimes “practicing” is just as easy as drawing one thing a day. Just one thing! So, I was thrilled to partner with Creativebug to kick myself into gear where artist Pam Garrison is leading a drawing challenge for the month of March called 31 Things to Draw. Tune in every day for a daily prompt teaching us one thing to draw. To keep ourselves accountable, she encourages us to use the hashtag #CBDrawADay where we can post our drawings. They did a drawing challenge for the month of January and you can see all 21,000 images of people practicing. It’s super inspiring!
I’ll be doing the challenge right alongside you. Find out more about the challenge below!
December desktop calendar download
We’re a bit late in getting this December desktop and iphone wallpapers, but you can never be too late in telling the time, right? This cute December wallpaper is available for your iphone 5 or 6 and as a desktop wallpaper.
Download desktop wallpaper here | Download iPhone 5 wallpaper here | Download iPhone 6 wallpaper here
5 Floral coloring books
The longer the coloring book craze continues, the prettier the coloring books get! I have found a few floral stunners that I’d love to share with you today! Of course, I couldn’t help but throw in our own ;). They’d be perfect for some summer traveling down time. Enjoy!
Birdtopia by Daisy Fletcher
Flowers Coloring Book by Brittany Jepsen (hey! that’s me!)
Wildflowers by Lisa Congdon (and Flora & Fauna too!)
Floribunda by Leila Duly
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!
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.
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:
- Ebook sales: for each ebook sold, we’re donating $5 (with an option for you to donate even more at checkout).
- 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!
- 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).
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!
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:
To get templates and tips you can download our ebook!
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!
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.
One Room Challenge: Week 6 final reveal
We made it, you guys! The final week of One Room Challenge! Are you still with us? Well, if there’s ever a time to tune back in it’s NOW! Sit back and enjoy an absurd amount of “before and afters”–it’s going be good!
If you’re just joining in, we focused our attention on this 6 week challenge with 20 other bloggers and a handful of generous vendors on Mary, our business director here at Lars, and the new house she bought a few months ago. It was in nice condition, just lacked…finesse and style. And I do believe that we BROUGHT IT!
Read more about the vendors we worked with, what lessons Mary learned along the way, and the three things she’d recommend for an equally dramatic kitchen transformation.
Back to School: DIY Whiteboard Upgrade
Because my love of pretty school supplies runs deep, making a DIY Whiteboard felt like a natural step. This would be a great teacher project (can you imagine how cute in your classroom??) or it would also look great in your home office, study space, or bedroom. If you’re a homeschool family, making this whiteboard would be a great project because it integrates math and design. Then you get a great, useful whiteboard in the end! Win win!
Make Your Own DIY Whiteboard
You’ll need a whiteboard, a ruler, a dry-erase marker, acrylic craft paint, and a paintbrush.
You can make this DIY whiteboard with whatever size of square whiteboard that you have. It will take a little bit of math, but hey! It’s back to school time! You can handle it!
(If your whiteboard is *almost* a square, just proceed as written below and fudge the numbers a bit. You’ll make the squiggle with dry erase marker, so it will be easy to modify. Good news: no one’s grading this!)
- Measure the sides of your whiteboard. Divide the length of your whiteboard by six. We’ll call this new number “x” in honor of all the algebra classes we sat through.
- With a dry erase marker, make a mark around the board’s perimeter every “x” inches, starting in a corner and going all the way around.
- Starting at the first mark you made (x inches from the corner), mark a point half the length of x perpendicular to the edge of the whiteboard towards the center of the board and mark. Wait, what? Too much math? Let me break it down. If x is 7 inches, then you’ll mark a point 7 inches away from the corner of the whiteboard and 3.5 inches in toward the center. You’ve got this.
- Go to the next mark you made on the whiteboard’s perimeter. From here, mark another point x inches in toward the center of the board. In our example, this point would be 14 inches away from corner and 7 inches toward the center.
- Go all the way around the whiteboard marking points. Alternate them half of x inches (3.5 in our example) and x inches (7 in our example) all the way around.
- The hard part is over! Look at you, you mathematician! Connect all the new alternating marks by making a zig zag all the way around the board. At this point you’re still using the dry erase marker.
- Round the zig zag out and erase any previous markings. Now you have a nice even squiggle around your whole whiteboard.
- With acrylic paint, paint the outline of your squiggle design.
- Fill in the squiggle design with more paint.
- If you need to, do a second coat of paint on your whiteboard. Tadaa! You’re all done and ready for a fantastic school year!
Troubleshooting a Rectangle
If you have a rectangular whiteboard that’s very much longer than it is wide or vice versa, you can still make this DIY whiteboard but you’ll need to do a bit more math (and maybe some troubleshooting). Here’s my advice:
- Measure the short side of your whiteboard and divide that number by 6 to get x.
- Now measure the long side of your whiteboard and divide that number by x. If it’s close to a whole number, just go with that x value and proceed as above. Your long side will have more squiggles than your short side and it will look great.
- If you divide the long side of your whiteboard by x and it’s not close to a whole number, then find another number that divides neatly into your board’s length and width measurements. Just make sure that it goes into those numbers an even number of times, or else your squiggles won’t work.
Wow, have you had enough math for today? I think it’s time for a snack, then recess or reading time. Happy crafting!
More Back to School Inspiration
I made these paper lunch sacks with apples painted on them and I think they’re such a cute way to reimagine the classic apple motif. I also put together some creative quarantine homeschool activities for kids, so wherever the pandemic takes us you can be ready.
And don’t forget The School that Lars Built! We have art and art history classes for kids, a flower drawing course for people of all ages, and more coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled!
DIY Rattan Sunburst Mirror
Sunburst mirrors are definitely having a moment and I’m all about it. You’ve probably seen them popping up around the design world, I’ve got one in my kitchen! I happen to love rattan–furniture, accessories, you name it! There are lots of beautiful rattan mirrors out on the market right now, including lots of vintage beauties! They can cost a pretty penny though so we decided to make this DIY Rattan Sunburst mirror for only $25! And that will allow you to make 2-3 mirrors! It’s much easier than you’d think and the end result is so stunning, no one would ever guess you made it.
So let’s make some mirrors!
Vintage Whites Market & other Utah craft and vintage fairs 2015
Last weekend I attended the Vintage Whites Market early shopping event with my friend Melissa Leavitt. Melissa is an AVID attender of early shopping events for flea markets and she convinced me that I needed to make it a priority. It didn’t take much convincing because Vintage Whites is one of my favorite vintage markets in Utah. They’ve been bringing their vintage market to Utah for the past 3 years and each year it somehow gets better and better. If you remember, last year I taught a paper flower wreath workshop there and it was jam packed full of shoppers beating me to some fabulous finds. But I learned a secret this year…pay the extra money for early access. It’s worth it guys! Elbow swinging room, live music from Mindy Gledhill and first pick at cross-stitched flamingo art.
It might be one of my all-time favorite purchases. They belonged to me.
And I ran into some fab ladies who love vintage just as much as we do.
And this lovely lady here, Duchess Hot Chocolate, might be the most charming person you’ve ever met in your life. She’s from England and speaks to you as if you’re a long lost friend. Everyone deserves to eat her delicious, homemade hot cocoa. Everyone. Plus, it’s on the cutest bicycle you’ve ever seen (and psssst: You can hire her for your own events!). Double whammy. I’m desperately trying to get her to bring her chocolate to Midsummer Mingle. Crossed fingers!
My new favorite vintage seller this year was Lacy Dresses Vintage and her mother’s shop Why Naught Shop. They sell the most gorgeous vintage pieces. Like, good quality pieces that you’ll want to invest in. I loved her immediately. And I now want to dye my hair white and get a bob. She was selling this dress that had the most perfect print for The House That Lars Built. Can you see why?! I want to do something inspired by this print. Sadly, the dress made me look a little too much like pioneer, otherwise I would have bought it in a heartbeat.
Photography by Melissa Leavitt Photography
I love shopping vintage and thought it might be nice to collect all the Utah craft and vintage markets information in one spot so you can mark your calendars. See below for the full list. And if you don’t see one on the list, it’s probably because I need to know about it. Let my know my leaving a comment! or email me at email@example.com
And stay tuned for an article from vintage shopping experts on some tricks and tips on how to shop vintage.
DIY origami lampshade
I’m inspired by the clever work of UK based paper artist, Sarah Louise Matthews, and I was thrilled to find that she has released a paper craft book called, Paper Craft Home, which is available now! It features 25 projects to cut, fold, and shape. I already dog-eared the heck out of mine! It’s great for both beginners and advanced crafters so you can find a little something for everyone. Today she’s sharing a tutorial from the book, the origami lamp shade, which is actually similar in concept to a project from our book, Craft the Rainbow, with a different spin.
Strictly speaking, this lampshade isn’t origami, but it’s a great project to put your paper-folding skills to the test. Once you break the folding down into a step of valley folds followed by a step of mountain folds, it is fairly straightforward, and when mastered, you will be making bespoke lampshades for every room in the house!
See the full tutorial below!
My New Year’s Resolutions and 2020 printable
But! I’ve seen enough posts on Instagram showing that many of you have indeed made some wonderful resolutions or affirmations or whatever you do to state your goals for the year. Which leads me to my first question: What form of goals do you do? Resolutions, a word for the year? I’d love to hear what you do!
I usually have a day long session in a lovely mountain escape with some friends where we take turns recapping the previous year and stating our goals for the new year. However, as I write this, I have absolutely NO IDEA what my goals were last year, which indicates to me that I need to do a better job of making them visible so I can actually remember what they are! In fact, I’m using this post as an excuse to deduce what I will be doing…thanks for your patience!
Printable New Year’s Resolution Page
To assist me and you in that quest, we have brought back our New Year’s Resolution printable illustrated by one of our favorites, Libby Van Der Ploeg. It’s based on her Women Working poster, which you can find here.
I wrote a few notes about my thoughts about 2020 here, while I was at the pharmacy. I think I’ll start by sharing some things I’d like to see and then maybe I’ll develop a more thorough plan to make them happen.
Ok, as I type I think I know what I want to focus on. Are you still with me? Or did my lack of direction throw you off?
As I briefly mentioned in my post, 2019 was the year of Tough Conversations. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a manager or because I’m getting older so there’s naturally more tough things to talk about, or because I’m involved with more things, but there was one after another. And you know what? No matter how many times I rehearsed them or googled “how to have a tough conversation”, not too many of them went well or at least as well as I had hoped.
I’m aware that communication is not my strong suit, but I’d very much like to improve and instead of shooting for a bunch of little things to improve upon, I think I’m going to take the year to focus on this one thing. I’ve been interested in the art of conversation for awhile and I’m hoping that there are some books and other resources that will help me in this area. Maybe some workshops? Classes?
Along with conversation, learning how to master tough topics would be ideal. In this tricky political climate I find myself becoming more base in my reactions, but I’d like to take the time to listen and speak in a way that’s thoughtful, eloquent, and open. I’d also like to be more open and communicative in my marriage, at work, and well, everywhere. I’ve learned enough in life to know that communication is key to most successes, so perhaps this will affect other areas of my life.
Ok! There, I made some sort of progress on selecting one thing to focus on. Now! I need some resources! Do you have any books or classes or workshop suggestions? Would love to hear them!
I’d also love to hear what you have in store for 2020. Please use our printable sheet to get going! You can find it here.
Lars Book Club: The Artist’s Mother printable quote
Hey-o! Just popping in to see how you’re doing with this month’s book club book, The Artist’s Mother. It’s more of a visual catalogue of pictures and paintings by some of the most iconic artists, but it goes into some details about their mothers.
From here on out we’ll be featuring a quote that you can print off for free (download here) from each Book Club in the middle of each month as illustrated by a guest illustrator. One of my favorite illustrators, , is kicking it off with this one:
“The eyes of a mother are the first mirror we encounter. A good mother provides a true reflection.”
We’ll be going over the book at the beginning of next month and introducing the book for June then as well.
Get The Artist’s Mother here.
Download the illustrated quote here
Illustrated by | Photo by Brittany Jepsen