DIY Gingerbread house gift boxes

Gingerbread house gift boxes

You know I love getting creative with my wrapping paper–it’s part of the fun of gift giving! We were challenged by Painters to use our imagination with their markers and so we came up with these adorable gingerbread house gift boxes, which just might induce more squeals than the actual gift box itself. And no need to fear, they require just three materials. Easy squeezy!

Painters is hosting the Style by Aisle Painters Contest for all you looking to get creative this month. Through December, they are giving a winner a prize valued at $500 to someone creating something in the Party and Seasonal Decor category. You and your other talented DIY friends/family can submit your homemade creations to On the website, you can even download a coupon for Painters products so you can add more colors or tips to your DIY/crafting collection.  You can take advantage of the coupon even if you don’t enter the contest. Go to the website to learn more!

Gingerbread house gift box tutorialGingerbread house gift box tutorial

See below for the full Gingerbread house gift box tutorial! 

DIY Christmas Bulb Advent Calendar

advent with wreath

I had the honor of contributing this DIY Christmas bulb advent calendar to the holiday issue of Sister Mag magazine, a German publication from some of my favorite ladies. I’ve contributed before (here (my hair!!!!) and here) and this time I was in the company of a few other artists from around the world with an advent calendar idea.

This one is super easy to make, especially if you have a craft cutting machine, and I love hanging it in our office right now.advent-calendar-light-bulb-7advent-calendar-light-bulb-12

See below for the full tutorial! 

Gingerbread layer cake with lemon buttercream


Gingerbread layer cake with lemon butter creamGingerbread layer cake with lemon butter cream

Isn’t it wonderful what cake can do? This cake can turn any day into an absolute WinterWonderland. Whether you’re absolutely miserable, stuck in doors due to snow or sleet, with barely any sunlit hours in the day, or like me, you’re only barely coping with ridiculously hot and muggy weather here sunny Australia.

Either way, 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

2 ways to preserve your memories this holiday season


When it comes to adding meaning into decorating, I find that it tends to be the last thing on my mind. I’m usually so concerned with just making it look pretty with fun colors and patterns that I tend to forget about the people in my life and how to treasure the memories. I know. Awful.

The older I get the more deliberate I’ve become in collecting things into my life that will add value into my life. This holiday season, I’ve teamed up with the brand new company, Preservation & Creation, to create two ways to do this. Preservation & Creation believes that you can preserve and inspire a life with a purpose intended for others through their memory keeping prints, books, and canvases straight from your phone.preservation-creation-photo-cards

I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall the last time I printed a photo. I have over 13,000 photos floating around on my iphone, but not one preserving the memories I’ve made over the year. I wanted to change it up this year so I came up with two ways to preserve memories this holiday: 1) photo card name tags for a table setting and 2) advent calendar photo cityscape.


Christmas party line with Modify Ink

The House That Lars Built party line Modify Ink

Hooray! Along with our holiday cards, I’m pleased as punch to release our new holiday party line with Modify Ink. As I’ve mentioned before, Modify Ink is an ultra-custom party and art printing website with a fine editing software that allows you to customize every single detail of your party down to the exact color palette you are wanting for your party, because we all know how annoying it is to have something be so close to what you want, but just not quite there. This is the fix!

The House That Lars Built party line comes with a number of fun party decor items like bunting, monogramed garlands, cupcake flags, place cards, invitations, menu cards, labels (perfect for sodas or wine!), party hats, gift tags and gift labels. Here, we turned our cupcakes toppers into ornaments and hung them from Christmas trees. You also have the option to have Modify Ink craft everything for you or you can choose to pay less to do it yourself.The House That Lars Built party line Modify Inkmodify ink the house that lars built-ornaments 17modify ink the house that lars built-ornamentsThe House That Lars Built party line Modify InkThe House That Lars Built party line Modify Ink

See more party images below!

Favorite project from Christmas past


Oversized holly garland

The analytics and photos have spoken and you, dear readers, have claimed this oversized berry and holly garland your favorite Lars holiday project of all time. To celebrate, I’m sharing some additional photos of the project as well as some reader photos of their own re-creations.
Oversized holly garland

Holiday cards 2015 with Modify Ink

Holiday cards 2015 with Modify Ink

I’ m super duper pumped to introduce you to our new line of holiday cards with Modify Ink. It’s a secret I’ve been sitting on for some time anxiously waiting for the holidays so I could scream it from the rooftops: 2 custom photo cards are here! The line is called Jolly Holiday because I believe these are some pretty happy cards that you’re going to want to deliver to all your friends and family.

And here’s the thing about Modify Ink. You have the ability to create your own custom color palettes. I created my own palettes here with their web-based software, but YOU can change it to whatever you want! Want some pretty blues and purples instead?! Change it! Want green, red, orange? Change it! I made a few palettes on the site that you can use too if you’d prefer to go with that too. And then you simply change the text and photos and you’re good to go!

Holiday cards 2015 with Modify InkHoliday cards 2015 with Modify Ink

For the line I was inspired by Scandinavian folk design and my time spent in Denmark, where I learned that Scandinavians LOVE Christmas. It’s the best time of the year. People gather to make cookies and sit by the fire. Christmas luncheons last all day to a set of traditional foods. Christmas elves and hearts decorate grocery stores and homes. It’s all so hyggelig (the best, most ubiquitous Danish word roughly meaning cozy and convivial).


Modify Ink allows YOU to customize the colors to whatever you’d like them to be. I spent some time creating a ton of color palettes for you to choose from but you can also create your own! It’s so therapeutic! I personally love the blue below.

Check out the rest of the line below and head over to Modify Ink to see the line as well as the rest of their holiday cards! 

Christmas dress pattern hack

Last month I asked if you’d be interested in dress patterns from Carli and I got a great response! However, we realized that it’s not feasible at this point to be making all sizes so what we’re going to do is take an existing pattern that you can buy and then adjust it in a few simple steps. We’re calling it Pattern Hack.
I realize it’s rather late to be making a Christmas dress at this point in the game, but it’s still so adorable that you will want to make it and have it in your wardrobe. I’ve already worn mine three days in a row.
And with that, I’m off! Merry Christmas! Enjoy the beautiful holiday. I’ll be taking off a few days but I have a couple of New Year’s ideas coming atcha!
See the full instructions below.
This post was sponsored by our favorite place to buy fabric, Online Fabric

Materials: Basic pattern (this one is great!), scissors, ruler, pencil, paper
Step 1: Choose your pattern size and adjust pattern for your measurements
Step 2: Lay out your dress front piece. If wrinkled, iron on a warm dry setting.
Step 3: Lay a piece of paper over your pattern and trace cutting lines, notches, darts, and any important markings.
Step 4: Based on your intended design, draw in the seam lines. Since the pattern is placed on the fold, you will be drawing for half of the front. At the neckline, I made a mark 1 inch from the fold line. At the hem I made a mark 8 inches from the fold line. I then take a long ruler and draw in a line between your marks.
Step 5: In the middle of your line draw in a notch (a single notch on the front dress piece and a double notch on the back dress piece) to mark where to join the fabric together later.
Step 6: Cut the pattern piece on the line.
Step 7: Add 5/8 inch at the line to both pieces. This is for seam allowance. Remember to keep your notches in the right place.
Step 8: Label your pieces (dress front center cut 1 on fold, dress front side cut 2)
Step 9: Repeat steps 2- 8 for dress back
Step 10: Cut out and sew up!
The great thing about this technique is that it doesn’t alter the size/shape of the dress, but gives you the ability to be creative with a store bought pattern! You can design endless dresses with one basic pattern!
As this is our first time doing this column, let us know if you have any questions so we can clarify and make it a fluid experience for you!

Holiday gifts wall art with washi and giveaway (closed)

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with washi tape–I jumped on the bandwagon a bit later than everyone else–so I was thrilled when I heard about the new Fun with Washi book by Jessica Okui of Zakka Life, published by Chronicle. It has 35 washi tape ideas that are all fun and bright, just the way I like ’em. And today Jessica is sharing one of the tutorials and templates from her book, a holiday gift wall art. It’s such a simple and cheap way to decorate for the holidays, which I’m all about. And she’s also giving away two copies of the book. One for you and one for a friend! See below on how to enter.

To win a copy of the book for you and a friend:

1. Follow The House That Lars Built on Instagram @houselarsbuilt
2. Bonus votes if you share this giveaway
3. Leave a comment here telling me how you’ve entered

Contest ends Tuesday, December 9th.

That’s it!

Happy washi-ing!

Get the full tutorial for the holiday wall art below

Materials: washi in complementary colors, 1 square piece of paper 8″, pencil, ruler, scissors, parchment paper

Here are some favorite washi optionssolid gold,  red and gold two packred stripesChristmas colorsgorgeous black and gold stripessilver washi tape

  1. Place the paper square on the wall where you want to put the gift and trace around the edge of the paper square lightly with pencil.
  2. Using the ruler, find the center of each side of the square and lightly mark with pencil on the outside edge of the square.
  3. To make a diagonal pattern with washi tape stripes to cover the entire square, start at the bottom of the corner, placing parallel stripes. Trim the ends of the washi tape stripes with scissors so they line up with the pencil edges of the box.
  4. Using a washi tape of a complementary color, run a piece of tape down the center of the square vertically, and then run a piece of tape horizontally. Trim the edges of the tape so they line up with the box edges.
  5. With four pieces of the complementary tape, make a box around the outer edge of the square. Line up the corners using the mitered corner technique.
  6. Cut ten small pieces of washi tape and place them on parchment paper in the shape of the bow (get the template here). Cut the bow on parchment paper to have rounded edges. Peel off the ten pieces of the bow one at a time  and place them on the wall on top of the box.

Edited: Congrats Kate, you are the winner of the giveaway!

Voila! Now add in some other fun holiday decor and you’re all set!

Holiday gift guide for kids

I may not have kids but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my eyes on some adorable toys and clothes for the holidays (and no, I’m not hinting at anything!). Here are some of my favorite gift ideas for kids for the holidays.

  1. Art print by Merrilee Liddiard
  2. Limited edition stuffed cats
  3. Beautiful covers from Puffin Classics by Anna Bond. It comes in Anne of Green Gables,
  4. Little Princess, Little Women, Heidi
  5. Yellow puffy toggle coat (I want one for me!)
  6. Red pom pom beanie
  7. Playful book by Merrilee Liddiad (the book I styled for!)
  8. Moccasins that I designed for Freshly Picked
  9. Soft crown
  10. Colorful onesie (getting this one for my new little niece!)
  11. Bracelet
  12. Sweater (I also want it for myself!) 
  13. Red knitted tie
  14. Blue suede boots
  15. Stuffed flamingo
  16. Flora and the Flamingo (I LOVE the illustrations on this one!)
  17. Alpaca stuffed apple pillow
  18. Magnolia the Bunny on Walnut Society
  19. Flamingo onesie
  20. Lumi the doll by Le Train Fantome

Illustration by Danielle Kroll

Christmas decor for your home

Tell me! How was your Thanksgiving weekend? I was home for the weekend getting to know my little new niece, Wynne. Oh man, that sweet little thing is nourishment for the soul.

The holidays are fully on my mind and I’m dreaming of a colorful, whimsical Christmas. Here are some of my favorite choices to decorate the home for the holidays. Wouldn’t a pink tree be so rad?! I like to mix it up with a healthy dose of color intermixed with some more neutral elements like white lights. It keeps it from looking too gaudy. Colorful bulbs on a colorful tree would be especially rad.

How are you decorating for the holidays???

  1. Zig zig stocking (love the texture!)
  2. Wishing star pom garland (wouldn’t this be beautiful on a tree or on a mantle?!)
  3. Blue and silver ribbed onion ornament
  4. Mercury glass globe wreath
  5. Clear bistro lights
  6. Fresh cedar star wreath
  7. Geometric wooden ornaments
  8. Glass globe ornament in such gorgeous colors
  9. Warm white faceted lights
  10. Colorful sisal trees (so sweet on a mantle or centerpiece)
  11. Wishbone ornament
  12. Miniature rainbow bulb set (perfect for #crafttherainbow, eh?!)
  13. String of lights (ON SALE!)
  14. Adorable mushroom sculptures
  15. Jade glass globe 
  16. Sisal swan ornament
  17. Felt mistletoe
  18. Gold glass spire tree topper
  19. Pink Christmas tree (WANT!)
  20. Copper tree skirt (So classy. I love this option over a fabric tree skirt).

Lars Holiday Gift Guide: Kate Middleton

The holidays are in full swing here at Lars—I’ve been listening to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas on repeat!  Something’s got to get us through this cold! I’ve been doing better at preparing more in advance so the shopping and decorating aren’t as last minute as they usually are so I thought I’d prepare some holiday gift guides for you to help you find some awesome gifts for your loved ones. I’m kicking it off a gift guide inspired by Kate Middleton…because we all have a bit of duchess in us, non?!
When I think of Kate I think classic yet fresh, luxurious yet restrained, and of course globs of jewels! Here are some of my favorite items:

  1. Some lovely blush-tone earrings that would go everything–from Christmas to fancy to fun casual.
  2. A white winter hat to keep those ears warm and dressed up.
  3. A fancy planner because every royal needs to keep a calendar.
  4. A bejeweled golden clutch that goes with just about anything.
  5. A coordinating crystal necklace, which dresses up the simplest of forms.
  6. A cozy faux fur blanket for the crisp nights.
  7. Cozy metallic flats to get you around town comfortably—we don’t all have drivers.
  8. A colorful red faceted ring.
  9. An intricate bib necklace for a holiday party.
  10. An embellished jeweled dress (and reaches the knees, just like the Queen requested 😉
This post was created in partnership with Chico’s. All content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep Lars running.