Gift Guide: $50 and under

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Our second gift guide is up and it’s for your $50 and under gift selects (see our $25 and under here). Enjoy!

See below for the full list!

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

With winter in full swing, I was searching for something to warm up my home during the dark, cold months. These Oversized Paper Christmas Stars were the perfect solution. These magical stars have are a common sight during the Christmas season in Scandinavian countries and have recently gained popularity in the United States and Canada. Traditionally hung in the window and filled with string lights, the stars would welcome visitors during the long and dark winters. We used our Cricut machine to create a small version to use as a tree topper a few weeks ago, so make sure you check out that post for a handful of Swedish-inspired Christmas decorations! These stars use the same templates, we just enlarged the size for an oversized result.

Learn how to make your own Oversized Paper Christmas Stars to welcome visitors this season! 

Gift Guide: $25 and under

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How’s your holiday shopping going? For once, I took advantage of Black Friday and bought some essential items I’ve been eyeing throughout the year. But now it’s time for the thoughtful items for friends and family and we’ve got you covered. Over the next few days we’ll be sharing 4 gift guides with you: $25 and under, $50, $100, and one for kids, because that’s my favorite of them all these days. We’ve scoured the web searching for just the right items: colorful, whimsical, yet refined. You can find the full list below! 

DIY Family Photo Heirloom Ornaments

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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

Painted Pinecone Wreath

Painted Pinecone Wreath

There is never a wrong time for a wreath on your front door, but I would argue that December is the PRIME time. There is just something about a wreath on your door during the holidays that screams festive and non-Scroogey, perhaps the worst insult of them all. As much as I love a traditional green pine wreath, I wanted to go outside the box for this one. I came across the idea to make flowers out of pine cones a few months ago and was immediately intrigued. You basically cut the pine cone in half to reveal a sort of flower bloom shape. For this Painted Pinecone Wreath we decided to mix pinecones with fresh pine boughs but put it into a fresh color palette. Everything got a painted a fresh coat of white and then we added a few pops of color, and a dash of our favorite gold leaf.

How to Dye Bottlebrush Trees

Bottlebrush Trees

What’s not to love about Bottlebrush trees? They are sweet, come in all sorts of colors and sizes, and look great in just about every setting! The downside is, they tend to be a little pricey and you can’t always find the exact palette you want. So of course, the only option we were left with was to dye our own! And you know what? It’s incredibly easy! We are already making plans for more. All you need are some natural sisal trees, which we found online, and basic liquid or powder dyes. We chose a jewel tone palette for this round, but I’m already dreaming up a pastel wonderland to try next. I love how these look sitting atop a mantel or in big glass cloches to look like oversized snowglobes. Bottlebrush Trees

Take a look at how to dye your own Bottlebrush Trees

Paper Holiday Greenery Gift Toppers

Paper Holiday Greenery

Chances are you’ll wrap more presents this month than you have this whole year! The House That Lars Built is here to make sure those gifts are in tip-top shape before tucked under the tree. Wrapping a gift is a part of what makes a gift special. It shows that you spent a little extra time on someone. And we all know that time equals love!

We took brown paper packages tied up with string and added a little something extra. I love the idea of topping presents with fresh greenery, but decided paper was a better route since it’s cheaper and I already have it on hand. I used ASTROBRIGHTSⓇ paper to create all the seasonal toppers and tied them on with some red and white baker’s twine.

Head to Toe Swedish Christmas with Cricut

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The Christmas season has arrived and everyone on the Lars team is putting up their tree! It’s always difficult determining how I want to decorate my tree each year: classic red and greens, all white, lovely pastels? However, changing your holiday decor each year can get a bit pricey… but not when it’s done with paper! This year we partnered up with Cricut to create a Head to Toe Swedish Christmas made entirely out of paper! That’s right, ornaments, garlands, tree topper, and gift tags that you can cut out with your Cricut machine and be done in a jiffy! We were inspired by traditional Swedish Christmas decor; Straw ornaments, Dala horses, and advent stars, all turned into paper versions. So DIY your holiday this year and tap into the Christmas spirit.

Get the templates to make your own!

Christmas Photo Advent Challenge

Christmas Photo Advent Challenge

There are few things I like more than Advent Calendars. The anticipation that builds throughout the whole month of December is unparalleled! This year we wanted to create an Advent Calendar that really encouraged us to enjoy the season. We’ve teamed up with FUJIFILM to create the Christmas Photo Advent Challenge! We’ve compiled a list of 25 things to do in December that are sure to get you into the holiday spirit–consider it your Christmas Bucket List.

Christmas Photo Advent Challenge

Each day in December select one item from the Advent Challenge printable and commit to do it that day! Then take a photo of yourself doing the activity and print it out using the FUJIFILM instax SHARE® SP-3 SQ printer. This printer is amazing because you don’t need a special camera to take these photos. You simply download the Instax SHARE app and print photos you’ve taken on your phone, from social media apps, or photo accounts on the FUJIFILM instax SQUARE® film. It’s really genius because you can make sure you’ve got a perfect photo BEFORE you print. Yes, please!

Applique Tree Skirt Hack

Applique Tree Skirt HackRebecca here. The moment I laid my eyes on this Christmas tree skirt from Anthropologie, I started to make plans on how I was going to make a DIY version. It’s a maximalist’s dream! The colors, the sparkle, the textures–I was hooked. I spent the most time scouring the web for embroidered appliques and patches that would work well on the skirt. All of them were reasonably priced and available on amazon prime (score!). Once you have all your materials, the process of actually making the Applique Tree Skirt is fairly simple! Though you do need a sewing machine for the base of the skirt, I applied all the appliques with fabric glue: a much faster method than sewing. This is such a festive tree skirt and certainly heirloom quality. You can certainly customize the looks with your fabric choices and different applique selections, so have fun with it!

Applique Tree Skirt Hack

Make your own Applique Tree Skirt Hack!

5 Tips to Creating the Perfect Christmas Card

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Perfect Christmas Card

It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not talking about Halloween–It’s Christmas Card season! I’ve come to find that there are two camps: Those who LOVE Christmas Cards, and those who really don’t care. I happen to be a BIG fan of sending and receiving Christmas cards and grew up in a home where it an essential part of the seasonal traditions. I looked forward to opening up the envelopes and taping them up onto the door and seeing how people had changed over the years and what exciting news they had to share! So I’ve tried to keep up the tradition with my own family and also at work. I literally am jittery with excitement as I type this.Perfect Christmas Card

We teamed up with Chatbooks to create some lovely Christmas cards to send out to friends and clients! We posed in front of our new mural and wore items from our clothing collaboration with Winter Water Factory. The cards turned out so cute and I can’t wait to send them off! But I wanted to give you a few tips on how to create the Perfect Christmas Card, since I feel so passionately about the subject 🙂

See my tips and get 20% off your Christmas card order at Chatbooks!

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!