Holiday Swag with Vistaprint

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This post is sponsored by Vistaprint. We love our sponsors who allow us to create beautiful, original content for you. Use code LARSHOLIDAY to get up to 50% off holiday cards, wall calendars, and photo gifts!

One of my very favorite family traditions has been our yearly Christmas card. It’s that rare time of year when I can get Paul in front of the camera to document our family’s growth. Pre-photo generally tends to be a little stressful: organizing outfits, finding a location yadda yadda, then there’s the actual time in front of the camera which usually looks something like us bribing Jasper with some type of treat to get the shot (zoom in!). But man oh man the joy of looking through those photos once Jane (our in-house photographer) sends them back to us is twelvefold.

Wrapping paper in Lars’ House!

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New Christmas wrapping paper from The House That Lars BuiltAnyone remember a few months ago when I talked to you on Instagram stories about the idea of wrapping paper in our shop? Well, you were all so encouraging and enthusiastic about the prospect of Lars Wrapping paper in your home this holiday season that we went ahead and created the line!

The line was design by the lovely Monica Dorezwinski (check out her prints in our shop!), but final decisions were made by the members of our Lars family (i.e.: you guys!) via Instagram stories. We were neck and neck on a few designs but these guys proved victorious and each ended up winning by the landslide!

DIY Custom Christmas Stockings

For years I’ve been planning on making stockings for my little family, but I never managed to scrape out the time. Before I knew it, a year would come and go and my stocking dreams we postponed for another year. But not this year! I suppose Jasper added some additional motivation, and I finally sewed up a batch of stockings for the Jepsen Family. I referenced a really simple and clear tutorial to create the stockings with some fun graphic fabrics. To jazz them up a bit, I embellished them with embroidered vintage trims and ribbons. The combination of folk with punchy patterns was just the look I was going for! I used customized ribbon to identify each stocking and I love the way they turned out!

DIY Nativity Puppets

I was inspired by these ornaments to create puppets using paper mache balls. I’ve been wanting to do this forever, only to find out my good friend, Merrilee had already done something similar! Great minds think alike! I enlisted the talented Michelle Christensen of My Little Belleville to illustrate the faces for each character in the Nativity. To turn them into puppets, we drilled a hole into each sphere, inserted a pencil, and clothed each one in a simple fabric tunic. So simple! Jasper is already a big fan.

Gift Guide: Kid Edition

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Gift Guide Kid Edition

Since having a baby of my own, I love nothing more than searching for really adorable children’s stuff. Toys, clothes for boys, you name it. If it’s adorable, I will find it! Here’s our guide for kids this year!

Gift Guide: $100 and Under

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For the person who you want to give just a little bit more.

See below for the full guide! 

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! 

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

For this project, we used a cream-colored cardstock with textured lines. Using textured paper will add a unique element to the stars, but of course feel free to experiment with different colors and textures to create your star! Each star is constructed of fourteen segments, seven for the front of the star and seven for the back.

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

We used our Cricut machine to create the segments and then we used a glue stick to piece them together. Before gluing the pieces together, we used a ruler and a craft knife to create a sharper score line. This will help the points and edges fold neatly. To add stability, we used a hot glue gun to connect the front and back pieces of the star together.

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Materials:

  • Seven pieces of 12×12 inch cardstock paper per star
  • Glue stick
  • Hot glue gun
  • Cricut Machine
  • Ruler, optional but encouraged
  • Craft knife, optional but encouraged
  • Fishing Line, twine, or ribbon to hang
  • Templates for Cricut — Find the design with 7 star points and insert into a new project
  • Find our PDF template on our shop!

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Instructions:

  1. Depending on how many stars you are making, be sure to have seven pieces of 12×12 inch cardstock per star. Click on the template above, which will take you to Cricut DesignSpace. Insert the Star pieces and enlarge their size so each point is about 8 inches tall. Cut the segments of the star out using your Cricut Machine.
  2. Take a ruler and a craft knife and carefully follow the score lines created by the Cricut machine, making sure not to cut through the paper. This will create a crisper fold line for a more precise star. 
  3. Fold the edges at the scoring points down, as these will be used to connect each segment and the front and back together.
  4. Take a glue stick and glue each segment together using the side tabs. As you do this, your star will begin to take shape.
  5. Create 2 star faces, one for the front and one for the back, each with 7 segments or 14 points.
  6. Use a hot glue gun to connect the front and back pieces together by hot gluing the star points together with the tabs. 
  7. You may want to leave a small opening to use as a tree topper or to facilitate hanging.
  8. Use fishing line or twine to hang.

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Check out The Lars Shop for more holiday printables and templates!

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

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