My Scandinavian Christmas: Day 1

Happy December 1st! If you’re anything like me you’re thinking, “Wha? December? When did THAT happen?!” *sigh*. Wouldn’t it be so lovely to celebrate each and every day and really soak it in? Dream world! Well, Christmas time is seriously magical and this year the magic will be crowded not only with celebrations and projects but moving across the Atlantic in less than two weeks. Prior to finding out that we were moving, I was planning on doing the 24 days of Christmas crafts like I did last year, but that just was not possible this year.
SO, I enlisted the help of some of my favorite Scandinavian bloggers. I thought it would be exciting to have various holiday craft ideas from fellow bloggers in different parts of the world. (You can also check out different Christmas traditions from around the world here)!
Scandinavians have such a beautiful tradition of family and crafts and amazing food during this time of the year. I’m going to be so bold as to say that they celebrate it the best: no-nonsense, real, focus on people, non-tacky, warm. Guys, there are some really wonderful projects coming your way to show the simple and beautiful nature of the Scandinavians.

My Scandinavian Christmas: tree decoration

First up! Maiju from My 2nd Life based in Ostrobothnia, Finland. She has a most lovely blog with beautiful pictures of her life and creative projects. Here’s what she says:

Here’s an idea that I’m doing this year. I sprayed some branches white and decorated them by using simple decorations that don’t cost much. What I like about this idea the most is that it doesn’t take much room in the house, so you can have this little “x-mas tree” almost anywhere. Just pick the decorations and style as you like best –I chose this kind of playful mix with bright colors.

Thank you Maiju for participating in My Scandinavian Christmas. Go check out her lovely blog, My 2nd Life. And be sure to try out Maiju’s take on a Christmas tree decoration! All you need are some branches, spray paint (if desired), washi tape, and ornaments! Now you’ve got a stylish Christmas tree that won’t take up too much room in your house.

And don’t forget that the first Danish Design Giveaway ends tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow along with our 2nd day of Christmas!

Edit: The Danish Design Giveaway is now closed. You can check out more of the Scandinavian Christmas crafts here.

Whimsical Christmas Ornaments Now in the Lars Shop!

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Make Christmas 2020 Colorful

Remember last year at this time? When we were right on the edge of all of the end of year Holidays? We had no idea what was coming not long after the Holiday decor was all put away and the snow started to melt. It does feel a little humorous now that when the clock hit Midnight last year we actually cheered for 2020.

Though I am grateful for all the good things that 2020 has brought us – social change, more awareness, more opportunities than ever for learning and growth – I must admit I am so happy we have finally reached the most wonderful time of the year! And before we ring in 2021, I am determined to make this Christmas season the most joyful yet!

For me the easiest way to make Christmas even more joyful is to (you guessed it) bring in even more color! One of 2020’s many lessons is to expect the unexpected. With everything turned upside down already, I think this is the perfect year to take the surprises one step further – with a whimsical, bright, and artistic Christmas look! Explore our 2020 Christmas Shop here for all our top ideas.

Artistic and Whimsical Christmas Ornaments

Frida Kahlo Ornaments

Our Frida kick continues! Gift a Frida Kahlo Ornament and pair it with a subscription to our Great Artists! Course for the most artistic gift ever.

Christmas in Paris? Oui Oui!

If your travel plans got cancelled this year, bring a European Christmas to your own living room! These Macron Ornaments + our new Floral Eiffel Tower Ornaments make the perfect Parisian pair.

Flower Garden Boots Ornaments

In honor of the flower lover in your life, hang this Welly Floral Garden Boot Ornament. I died when I saw these ones!

I’m Dreaming of a Rainbow Christmas

As much as I love a classic red and green Christmas look, I just can’t handle sticking to such a small color scheme. This year, I’m dreaming of a rainbow Christmas! Sneak some color in to this year’s decor with these Rainbow Ornaments. Plus try out our bottle brush tree hack, crepe paper trees in every shade! Right now (for a limited time) this project is available as a kit in our shop! Pre-order your kit now to for all the supplies you’ll need to make thirteen 12″ tall trees in a full rainbow.

Folk Ball Ornament with Dale Top

These Folk Ball Ornaments are the ideal whimsical Christmas ornaments but with a traditional and classic look. Inspired by Swedish patterns, these are the kind of ornaments that become family heirlooms over the years.

Dala Horse Ornaments

My favorite Christmas Decor is inspired by Scandinavian tradition Lars himself would be proud of. These Glass Dala Horse Ornaments are the perfect way to add a touch of color, culture, and whimsy to your other classic Christmas decorations. These ornaments went QUICK last year, so now that they are back don’t hesitate to order your own. They come in 6 different colors and are 5 inches tall! I love pairing my ornaments with other Dala Horse inspired projects like this DIY painted version, or adding these paper templates for a head-to-toe Swedish Christmas tree.

Other Christmas Decor for a Joyful Holiday

Pastel ombre bottle brush trees

In addition to our new ornaments, our Christmas Shop is now stocked with plenty of other decor too! Like these Pastel Ombré Bottle Brush Trees that come in a pack of 6, wrapping paper, and printable options for all your Christmas needs.

Click here to explore the winter wonderland that is our 2020 Christmas Shop!

whimsical Christmas ornaments for a colorful Christmas

Gingerbread layer cake with lemon buttercream

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Gingerbread layer cake with lemon butter cream

No matter the weather or mood you’re in, this beautiful Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Buttercream will whisk you away to some Narnia-like realm where the snow falls in beautiful crystalline flakes, and the air is cool and crisp and the sky is bright. It’s cool, but somehow not too cold, and the woods are frosted white and beautiful. A slice of this cake and a steaming cup of hot coffee or chocolate truly will lift your spirits, no matter what kind of extreme weather you’re dealing with.

Recipe and photos by contributor Sarah Coates of The Sugar Hit

DIY Gold Leaf Planters

 I have some great holiday ideas coming your way, including some clever DIY gift ideas to give to your loved ones… like these gold leaf planters! How rad are they?! So perfect for adding in some bright cacti or other colorful plants in your home. Plus, you can choose your planter color to customize for your loved ones’ gifts (or for yourself!). Let’s learn how to make them!

DIY gold leaf planter

Materials:

  • Old tea tin can or a regular plant pot
  • Spray paint and primer (we used white and mint green, but you can use any color you like!)
  • Gold leaf and gold leaf glue
  • Paintbrush for applying glue and brush to apply and remove gold leaf

Instructions:

  1. First, prime the plant container. Follow directions on the bottles.
  2. After the primer is dry, spray a couple of coats on the container, again following directions of the spray paint.
  3. Once the paint has dried, paint the gold leaf glue onto the container. You want to achieve the marbled look so you don’t need a perfect layer of glue. Coat the container with glue haphazardly; thin areas of glue to thick, have some drips and some splatters as well.
  4. You want the glue to get tacky, so don’t let it dry completely (check directions of the gold leaf glue).
  5. Once the glue is tacky apply gold leaf. Use a brush to help lay the leaf down. Again you are going to a marbled look so this process should not be perfect. Use the brush to also remove specks or bigger pieces of gold leaf.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until you achieve the look you want.

Volia! Now a marbled gold leaf planter. Now plant away!

Gold leaf and greenery variations

What I love most is that you can gold leaf just about anything. If you loved making these gold leaf planters, try making a gold leaf ornament, picture frame, or hanging wall art. Let me know in the comments if you added gold leaf to anything else! If you don’t have a green thumb, fill your planters with paper plants! You can check out DIYs for various different paper plants here, including cacti!

photography by Trisha Zemp
crafting by Victoria Riza
styled by Brittany Jepsen

Stocking Stuffers Ideas New to Our Accessory Shop!

Colorful Stocking Stuffers Ideas!

Geometric Hair Clips Sets

These hair clips sets are already hand-curated into Lars-approved color schemes! Pair unique shapes together to make any outfit instantly more fun. Personally I am loving the burnt orange + lilac, but this pale green is also so on-trend right now. Click here to shop endless color combinations.

Cross off your to-do list on time and order gifts for friends and fun stocking stuffers now! Limited quantities available.

Who to gift these to…

You artsy friend! With a perfect mix of muted and bright colors, your friend will appreciate how out-of-the-box these minimal accessories are.

Beaded Hair Clips

stocking stuffers ideas

These refined bead clips come in such pretty color schemes you’ll want to base your entire outfit off your clips, instead of the other way around. Like this clip featuring sage, peach, and taupe paired with the loveliest shade of blue. Or this clip in shades of lavander and chartreuse. These colors are giving me some major inspiration!

This bead clips come in other fun shapes too! Like this and this.

Who to gift these to…

Your thoughtful friend. Let them know you care with a hand-picked clip set in a color scheme inspired by them!

Wave Hair Clips

stocking stuffers ideas

I am obsessed with a curvy shapes and you can find plenty of those in this new collection. This wave pattern has already inspired some of my recent DIY projects, like this Scallop Wave Pinboard. So of course it has been so much fun to add my current favorite pattern into my wardrobe!

Perhaps my favorite part of this new hair clip trend is that there is a way for everyone (of all ages) to pull it off. Unlike many trends that feel exclusive and unattainable, this trend really is for everyone. We worked hard to fill our Accessory Shop with a great mix of colors, patterns, and styles so everyone kind find something they love! Which of the new clips match your personality best?

This trend is casual, easy, and colorful. These x-shaped hair clips feel like quite the throwback. And it’s fun to feel like a kid again once in a while 😉

Who to gift these to…

Your spunky friend! With extra bright color pairs and shapes, these clips will stand out just as much as they do.

CHUNK Accessories

stocking stuffers ideas

CHUNKS is an indie brand created by accessories designer, Tiffany Ju. Designed in Seattle and proudly manufactured in China. I have been eyeing her designs for quite a while now and I am so excited to carry them in the Lars Shop! It is a great opportunity to support a female POC-owned company.

In addition to fantastic claw clips, we also dropped this eye-catching sunglasses in blue, tangerine, and neon pink.

Who to gift these to…

Your stylish friend! Bold prints like checkboard and are so in right now, these clips will fit right into their already fabulous closet.

Other Accessories and Stocking Stuffers

All of these clips come in limited quality and we cannot guarantee a restock, so help Santa out and order stocking stuffers and friend gifts now!

Click here to shop our full Accessories Shop or explore the links below!

 

Best Holiday wrapping papers

Christmas Wrapping Round Up

There is a time and a place for brown paper packages tied up with strings, but this year we wanted pink, patterned, and pretty! We’ve done a thorough investigation of wrapping papers this Christmas season and collected some of our favorites. From geometric patterns to Swedish Dala horses to fun florals, these papers are sure to delight their recipients. They’ll look fabulous under your tree too!

Christmas Village Present Scene with Pottery Barn Kids

Living in small quarters, I don’t allow just any toy in the house As a mother I feel a certain level of obligation to provide Jasper with toys and games that promote healthy learning and play, which is why I went gaga over Pottery Barns kitchen toy items. For long time readers, you might be thinking “Brittany, you don’t even like to cook,” and you would be correct. However, I’m looking to instill a love of cooking in Jasper from a young age, just like his daddy, so he can take care of me as we gracefully age. This is a dream to expound on another day, but now, back to all of the goods I found at Pottery Barn Kids. 

19th day of Christmas crafts: DIY gift bags

My latest tutorial for Oh Happy Day is up with these DIY gift bags! I thought it was about time these Christmas crafts got collaborative, and we have a couple of collaborators for this tutorial! Ferm Living, my fellow Copenhagen neighbors, have beautiful wallpapers that we used to repurpose into these gift bags.

So far in the Christmas crafts challenge, we’ve had a lot of crafts that can be used as decor for your home, like these flapper trees and this Bah! Humbug hanging wall banner. As it gets closer to Christmastime, I wanted to create a tutorial to help out with all of the gift wrapping! As you can see in the pictures above, these beautiful wallpaper prints aren’t just for the holidays! Use these DIY gift bags year-round for birthdays, showers, and other celebrations!

DIY gift bags from wallpaper

Materials:

  • Box (in the full tutorial on Oh Happy Day, I used a traditional Danish Christmas candle box) to use as a form for the size of your gift. For larger packages, you can use cereal boxes or laundry detergent boxes. I found that books are great for medium boxes. For smaller shapes, I used tea boxes. You can experiment with different shapes and sizes!
  • Wallpaper large enough to wrap around the box
  • Ribbon to use for handles. You can use different colors for different gift bags!
  • Double-sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Cardboard (optional)

Check out the rest of the instructions over at Oh Happy Day, with more pictures of the process! Thanks Hilda for your lovely photos!

More holiday gift decoration ideas

We’re all about creating the most gorgeous celebrations here at Lars, and the gift-giving is no exception! We’ve got tutorials for every season and every type of celebration! For the Christmas season, check out this candy cane wrapping and these paper holiday greenery gift toppers! We even created our own line of wrapping paper here at Lars!

Wrapping paper (or wallpaper, in the case of these DIY gift bags) isn’t just used for wrapping gifts! Read about 5 different ways to use your patterned paper here.

Take a look at more fun gift wrapping ideas for any holiday, like this DIY fruit wrapping paper, licorice wrapping paper, and polka dot wrapping paper!

Weekend inspiration and holiday cards

Brittany and Paul JepsenGirl in milk maid braids Christmas card

I wanted to share with you the holiday cards we sent out this year. We used our card that we designed for Modify Ink and MATCHED my new favorite dress (a vintage 60s Oscar de la Renta from Maeberry Vintage) to the cards. Because that’s the beauty of Modify Ink, you can customize all the colors! Remember these Modify Ink holiday cards we made last year? It challenged me to add in a bit of purple here and there (purple is not on my favorites list) and I love how it turned out especially with the touches of reds and yellows. We were lucky to get an appointment with the incomparable Justin Hackworth for a portrait. I always find it funny to send out cards as a couple without kids, especially with how “online” we are, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to have some pretty cards sent out.

How’s your New Year’s so far?

Fun links and inspiration for your weekend:

Such a cute tour 🙂 

Design Sponge released some of their favorite Paper Flower artists. So gorgeous!

I’ve been feeling a lot of this lately. I love the idea of taking it back to the imperfect nature. Thoughts? 

Oh Joy is releasing their new line of products with Target!

This was our favorite podcast from our trip to California

Any creatives looking to collaborate

I love listening to these informal interviews with actors as I work. I loved this one in particular

Extra 25% sale items at Anthro! 

Trisha, who we use a lot for photography, is working on the raddest stop motion and she’s giving us some sneaks

My friend’s doggie got into an accident and she’s trying to raise money to pay for the surgery costs. Find more info here.

Happy weekend! What were your favorite reads/listens/watches this week? 

Holiday cards of Lars’ past

If you’re stuck in your search for holiday card ideas, you’re in luck! We’ve created plenty of holiday cards throughout the years! In addition to the Modify Ink cards above, we also have made cards with Vistaprint and Artifact Uprising! For 2020, we created an incredibly honest holiday card that you can view here. View this post for more holiday card ideas and weekend inspiration!

2nd day of Christmas crafts: Candy lights

For the first day of Christmas crafts, we brought you a tutorial for these DIY glitter trees. For this month’s DIY project for Oh Happy Day, I tapped into my mom’s endless artistic reservoir again and remembered how one year for Christmas she made these candy lights and put them on our whole house. It was pretty fantastic looking, and I think it turned out well again this time. I love the photos that Emily took. This image above is one of my absolute favorites of all time roots and all (sick!). Should have asked her to photoshop those suckers out, ha!

DIY candy lights

Materials:

  • Corsage boxes
  • String of lights
  • Scissors
  • Wire or pipe cleaners to fasten
  • Wire cutters
  • Cellophane rolls in different colors
  • Tape

I wrote up the full tutorial for these candy lights over at Oh Happy Day. Get the instructions and pictures of the process here.

Holiday candy & decor ideas

What I love about these candy lights is that they’re not only perfect for Christmas, but they’re also perfect for Halloween! Here at Lars, we’ve done a lot of different candy crafts including this candy garland, Halloween candy poppers & Christmas poppers, and candy cane wrapping. You can never have too much candy, right? Ok, maybe you can, but when it comes to holiday decorations, I say the more candy the better!

For Christmas decor, take a look at these dyed bottlebrush trees to add even MORE color to your holiday decor! This DIY Christmas bulb advent calendar is a favorite here at Lars, and it doubles as both decoration and a fun Christmas activity! And finally, we couldn’t get through the holidays without a paper flower tutorial! Make your own Christmas flower decorations with this paper Poinsettia flower tutorial.

For more Christmas crafts, check out the Lars Christmas shop!

15th day of Christmas crafts: Spinners

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I found this little vintage party supply shop in Copenhagen a few months ago selling these little spinners (above left). The owner explained that they used to use these for 2 purposes: 1) for Christmas games and 2) for construction workers working on top of a roof who would use it to decide who was going to go down and get the beer. I thought they were pretty darling myself, so I painted my own version (on the right). I thought they’d be perfect for a game of deciding who gets to open the gifts first, Secret Santa, or any other holiday activity you can think of!

DIY Spinners

Materials:

  • top spinner with numbers
  • brad
  • bottom
  • Cardstock (for creating top spinner and bottom plate)
  • Paint or marker for decorating your spinners

Instructions:

  1. Cut out shapes for top and bottom of the spinner
  2. Decorate your top spinner with numbers and bottom spinner with a design (make sure your bottom spinner has a point to indicate which number is chosen)
  3. Pin the brad through the top and bottom of the spinner

Done! Super easy, right? Let me know what fun activities you’re using your spinners for!

More Christmas crafts

Previous crafts in the Christmas crafts challenge include these Swedish oranges, a berry wreath, and this Bah! Humbug hanging wall banner. We’re only on the 15th day of the challenge and my home has become a complete Christmas craft zone. Not a bad way to get in the holiday spirit, though!
Need some gift wrap ideas to go with your new Christmas spinner? Check out our very own line of Lars wrapping paper! You can embellish your gifts even more by creating these paper gift toppers. And if you need some Christmas gift ideas, we have over 15 different gift guides in the Lars archives! You can take a look at the guides from $100 and under, $50 and under, $25 and under, and a kids’ gift guide! You can view the whole list of gift guides here.
Be sure to check out the Lars Christmas shop for more holiday craft ideas!

DIY Family Photo Heirloom Ornaments

Find the tutorial e-book here.

I mentioned about a month ago that I sent in my 23andMe kit and that I was anxiously awaiting the results. (see the post here if you missed it!) Well, I got my reports back and I want to share my findings with you. The 23andMe DNA service makes the most amazing Christmas gifts if you’re still struggling to find the perfect thing! I got these for my parents, and they absolutely loved them!

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

If you’re new to 23andMe, it is a service that helps you understand more about your DNA. It allows you to see which regions your ancestors come from and how your DNA can influence facial features, taste, smell and other traits. In other words, it provides some amazing insight into who you are! Some of which proved to be very surprising for me. Just receiving the email with the word “results” in the subject was cause for nerves. What was I going to find out! Give me something spicy, please!

I’ve been a long-time fan of family history, ever since discovering a 7-inch thick family tree book. I would spend hours flipping through it looking at every name and location. I found it fascinating. Now that it’s so much easier to know EXACTLY where our ancestors are from and how much of them lives in us (isn’t that a crazy thought!). Well, the results I’m in and I’m…

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

…100% European. Ha! I wasn’t super surprised there, although it’s always a fun idea to think that there’s something out of the blue in my background. Nope! I’m 65% British/Irish. I’d LOVE to find out exactly what that means because my grandmother is from Ireland but I’m sure with a name like Watson, it’s a mix of Scottish and English too.

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

I had hoped I’d be a bit more Scandinavian than I am. I’m 15% percent. I had gifted these tests to both my parents in the past and I knew that theirs was also slightly lower than expected so I was prepared for something lower than I thought. So, right on point!

My husband also took the 23andMe test, and surprisingly he is somehow only 22% Scandinavian? Yup. I don’t quite know what happened there, but he’s 26% French/German, which is a lot stronger than I thought. His mom is from Canada, so we had assumed that there would be some French there, but I didn’t realize it would be that much.

As I mentioned in my last post, using the 23andMe service has gotten me even more interested in my family history and past relatives. This time of year always tends to be a bit nostalgic and I wanted to create something by my recent findings concerning my ancestry. These Heirloom Family Photo Ornaments were the result. I collected some photos of my family members, including great-grandparents, parents, and even Jasper as it would be his first official ornament! Then we figured out an awesome way to transfer images onto fabric. I wanted a little something extra on the ornaments and I’ve been spotting the technique of adding embroidery onto photos so we decided to try it out on these plush ornaments. I absolutely love how they turned out! It’s literally…a family tree!

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

On a more sentimental note, I love that the ornaments serve as a reminder of those I love throughout the holiday season! These are perfect heirlooms to pass down each generation, and I’m planning on making new additions each year.

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

My Christmas tree becomes a literal family tree, decorated with all my ancestors!

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

Family Photo Heirloom Ornaments tutorial

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

If you haven’t tried 23andMe yet, be sure to check out their kits! Go to 23andMe.com/HouseLarsBuilt to learn more about their Holiday promotion! They make wonderful Christmas Gifts, are easy to use, and the results are so fascinating and make great conversation starters! My family and I end up talking about our reports for hours on end! Just the type of thing you want for holiday gatherings.  

Family Photo Heirloom Ornament

You can find the tutorial for this project as an e-book in our shop here.

This post was sponsored by 23andMe. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Lars thriving!

Photography by Jane Merritt