Oversized berry and holly garland tutorial

Last year I made these holly and berry garlands for my parents house when I went home to visit. My mom was totally over decorating the house for the holidays so she let me do whatever I wanted–my favorite words to hear. I chose to do paper so that she could just trash it afterward (recycle please!).
I’ve received a lot of emails asking for a tutorial so here it is! It’s SO easy and anyone could do it. See below for the full tutorial.

See full tutorial below

The success of the holly shape is based on the seamless backdrop paper used by photographers. It comes in a roll so that when it’s bent it makes a lovely curl. You can find this in various sizes. You can find them anywhere from 26″ wide to 53″ wide. I bought the 53″ wide so I could get more out of my paper.

Materials: Full supplies list linked here

  • seamless backdrop paper in shades of greens (here are some paper suggestions: green, smaller green
  • cardstock in shades of reds
  • scissors
  • butcher paper
  • wire or chenille stems (pipe cleaners)
  • glue gun
  • Template

The trick to making these holly and berry garlands is in the paper choice. I used seamless paper roll backdrops, which photographers use on sets. You can order yours from here. There are a ton of colors to choose from and it’s MUCH cheaper and efficient than buying other types of paper.
To make the holly:

Step 1: I chose to use a light green and a dark green paper for my holly. Trace and cut out your holly (here’s a template). Mine was about 15″ long.
Step 2: Fold the piece of holly lengthwise so it gets creased in the middle. Because the paper comes on a roll it should automatically create that 3D effect.
Step 3: Cut out all the holly to fit the length of the garland you want to create.
Step 4: To create the form of the garland I used butcher paper and twisted it to form the swag. I attached it to my staircase with chenille wire stems.
Step 5: Start at one end and glue the tip of the holly onto the butcher paper angled one way.
Step 6: Layer the next piece of holly going the other way and glue in place to the butcher paper. Continue alternating angles and colors of the holly.

To make the berries:
I used two shades of red seamless paper in the same way.

Step 1: Cut strips of paper about 1″ wide and 1′ long.
Step 2: Glue one strip of paper together as if you’re making a paper chain.
Step 3: Glue another strip around the first strip. Glue the two papers to eachother so they stick together.
Step 4: Continue gluing more strips to each other forming a globe. Make sure they all stick to at least one other strip so they are secure.
Step 5: Cover all the holes that may form.
Step 6: Glue these “berries” onto the the garlands in groups of 2s or 3s where the swag peaks.

That’s it!

Happy holly making! Let me know if you have any questions or if I can clarify anything!

Gold leaf planters

Hate to say it, but it’s time to start thinking about the holidays, guys. I know! 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. Let’s learn how to make them.

MATERIALS:

  • old tea tin can or a regular plant pot
  • spray paint and primer
  • gold leaf and gold leaf glue 
  • paint brush for applying glue and brush to apply and remove gold leaf
  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!

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

Shop similar styles to this DIY here

Oversized holly & berry paper garland

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Though I’m right in the thick of my Valentine’s Day posting, I thought I’d take you a few weeks back to a time when sugarplums dance in our heads. And because of the nature of Pinterest, I’m hoping that my tardiness in posting doesn’t mean that the project will get lost in no man’s blog land, so please pin for next year!
I created this oversized holly and berry paper garland for my parent’s house when we went to visit them over the holidays. My mom is the most clever decorator you will ever meet, but was really over Christmas decorations this year. I think it’s because she never does the same thing twice–I  am my mother’s daughter. So, she asked if I wanted to make something and I obliged. Or begged. I can’t remember. I’ll do a tutorial on it when Christmas gets closer, but let these pictures suffice for now. 
See that painting below? That’s my mom as painted by my uncle. As it’s placed right by the entry of the house, it reminds us not to get into any shenanigans. 

Again, stay tuned for a full tutorial closer to the holidays on this oversized holly and berries paper garland. I’m sure you’ll be waiting at the edge of your seats.

UPDATED: You can find the tutorial here.

Thank you to my awesome brother-in-law, Walker Boyes, for taking the photos! He’s the best!

Merry Christmas, love the Jepsens

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A very merry Christmas to you! Enjoy the holidays!

A special thank you to Ciara Richardson of Ciara Richardson Photography and Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral for inviting us to be their models for their Flower of the Month oversized floral wreath based on an illustrated Christmas card. We call it a “live Christmas card.” This was such a stellar idea. If you ever need a self-esteem boost, have Ciara take your photos. Furreals. These two are pure magic. And thank you to Paul for letting us take his picture–his favorite thing. NOT.

Celebrating Santa Lucia

Santa Lucia (pronounced Loo-CEE-uh in Scandinavia…what is it here???) ) is December 13th and to celebrate I teamed up with the magical forces of photograph Ciara Richardson and floral designer Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral, the ladies with whom I did the Midsummer shoot. These ladies are pure joy to work with and soak in their beautiful aura. 
The holiday celebrates the darkest time of the year with a light festival (December 13th was traditionally thought to be the longest night of the year). In the Scandinavian countries, a procession of girls carry candles and treats wearing white and a red sash. The lead girl wears a crown of candles. We simplified ours with a beautiful bay leaf crown made by me and Ashley (I describe how to make it below).
Read how to make the crown and some behind the scene photos by click below: 

I looked everywhere for a pre-made crown form online and alas, they were all sold out. You can find some pretty over the top forms like this or this but they’re not as available as they are in Scandinavia. SO, I had to create my own. Not so much a problem when you’re a DIY blog. First, I tried a styrofoam wreath form like this one and I just stuck the candles directly in it and it worked like a charm. BUT, it was too clunky for the garland wrapped around so I had to come up with an alternative.
What I ended up with was using an embroidery hoop, wire, and floral tape. With the wire, I created a spiral slightly smaller than the bottom of the candle then I wired it A LOT to the embroidery hoop over and over and over. You don’t want to have flimsy candle holders. If you really want to be safe, add metal cups into the bottom of the spirals. After I placed all four around the hoop, I secured them with white floral tape (again, A LOT) for extra measure. The candles were very secure in the end.
Then Ashley worked her magic and used bay leaves in small clumps wired to the hoop. So pretty huh?! 

Thank you to Jenny Bradley for being such a beautiful model. You are magic. And Jessica Peterson for your gorgeous studio. And Audrey Ellsworth for helping last minute!

And of course, Ashley and Ciara. I don’t know how you do it.

Happy (belated) Santa Lucia! 

Chandelier Christmas tree

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Let me tell you about my friend Mary. She’s been kind enough to allow me into her home on numerous occasions where I’ve plundered her place for props for this and that. I even shot the West Elm dinner table in her studio (remember?). And, she might might be the most clever and creative person I’ve met. 
She has a way of thinking that takes an ordinary object into something magical. Like this here Christmas tree. Of course, it’s not a tree, but multiple chandeliers piled on top of each other and bedazzled with greenery and brassy objects from around the house. Like lobsters and mushrooms and taxidermy and baby Jesus. 
She posted a picture of this tree on Instagram and I had to come see it for myself. I brought along Trisha to take some pictures.

Chandeliers! Greenery! Baby Jesus! You guys, the level of cleverness just amazes me. Thank you Mary for letting me show off your creation. If I could be half as clever…

photography by Trisha Zemp

Candycane wrapping

I’ve been dying to share this story with you, dear readers, for a few months. Audrey Ellsworth is my star intern who’s become a good friend. She puts up with a lot and I can count on her to provide brilliant ideas and practicality. It’s a fantastic mix. Her birthday was a few months ago and I was antsy to give her a print I had bought ages ago by Jenny Vorwaller called “Sitting pretty” because, well, look! 
I gave her the print and then a few hours later she sent me the photo on the right. She had recreated the painting. Spitting image, non?! This anecdote relates to candy cane gift wrap how, you ask?
Well, I needed some last minute gift wrap to put around the cardboard tube I gave her and decided to paint it candy cane stripes, of course. I thought it’d be a fun Christmas idea, especially if you need to send a care package for Christmas or if you’re giving an art print. I’m sending a mini candy cane package out to someone tomorrow, in fact (look for it on Instagram). It’s easy and fun and I bet you already have everything you need to do it.
So, what do you need exactly? This: 
I’m not even going to verbalize the directions because I think you can see how easy it is.

Fun and easy. My two favorite words.

photography by Trisha Zemp

5 gift topper ideas

photography by Trisha Zemp

I’ve been wanting to collaborate with my talented friend Kate Zaremba for while now (I wrote about her work ages ago–she did textile designs for Rachel Antonoff)–and finally the time is here! Kate recently launched her illustration company where she does adorable prints, wallpaper, gift wrap, cards and custom illustrations. She was kind enough to supply me with some of her brand new gift wrap and I made 5 simple gift toppers for them with all the instructions below. PLUS, we’re doing an Instagram contest where she’ll make an original design based off of YOUR inspiration. Just post a pic of your inspiration, tag it with #giftwrapinspirationcontest and follow @kathrynzaremba. The winner will be selected, Kate will design some gift wrap, and you’ll receive it as a gift. FUN huh?! Head on over to instagram for more info. Contest ends Monday, November 25th.

In the mean time, let’s make some gift toppers for her gift wrap! I made 5 of them: a perfect bow (based one one I’ve been spotting around blog town lately but can’t seem to find an original source for), holly and berries, paper pom, the pendant, the forest. Aren’t they cute? They’re so simple to make and would be easy for any holiday gift. 
For some really lame drawings that I did to show how to make them all, read full instructions below. 

I hope these drawings are sufficient. It’s more of an experiment. I can’t draw super well with my tablet so they are super childish, but hopefully they do the job. 
One thing for the bow, I sprayed two pieces of her gift wrap together so that it would be firmer. 
With the pendant, I sprayed two pieces of her paper front to back so that it would be firmer.

Christmas!

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Last day of the product announcements!
You know I want nothing less than winter to come, but I suppose it will happen whether I allow it or not so why not announce my new Christmas card line now and spread some early cheer, just for you overachievers who already have your Christmas gifts bought and wrapped. I was originally approached by Terrain to do a line of cards and had already planned to do some Christmas greenery so it was the perfect marriage. 
The process from designing to printing took much longer than anticipated and I learned A LOT. As petty as I’m sure it sounds (I just finished the Elizabeth Smart book, I get it. Thi is petty) especially as I talk about greeting cards, there were some devastating accidents that happened along the way (bad customer service with some printers I experimented with, etc) but it’s done now and I have some beautiful cards to show for it. 
There are three ways to purchase the cards. 1) in single cards 2) in packs of 8 cards (2 each of 4 designs, the way that Terrain is selling them) 3) in packs of 14 (2 each of all 7 designs). 
If you’re a big letter writer like me (well, used to be a big letter writer until this whole Internet thing) that you know you need lots of cards for the holidays. Amiright? 
And don’t forget to enter the giveaway where one reader will win one of everything featured this week. Read here to enter the giveaway contest or go onto Instagram and simply post a pic from anyone of the products and tag it with #larsgiveaway.
Email me if you’re interested in selling at wholesale! thehousethatlarsbuilt@gmail.com

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. Here’s how it works: I’ve asked some stellar crafters and bloggers to show how they celebrate Christmas in their country, whether it be a craft or a tradition, or just a walk through the beautiful woods. Each day leading up to Christmas I’ll show a different blogger and how they celebrate the holidays. There are a few holidays in each respective country that other countries do not have, so there’s most likely a few traditions that will be new to all of us. 
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. 
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 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!

23rd day of Christmas crafts: advent candle

During the holiday season in Denmark every store carries advent candles. We currently have one single advent candle for every day leading up to Christmas as well as a set of 24 candles, one marked for each day. I’ve never seen them in the states so I thought I’d make my own. I realize it’s a little late in the advent game, but a thought for next year.
You will need a plain-o candle, a paint pen, and ruler. I used centimeters to fit the size of my candle. A 9 1/2″ candle perfectly fits 24 centimeters and therefore 24 days. Happy adventing! 
I have so many projects still that I want to make, but alas, not enough days anymore. I will have a special edition Christmas Eve version tomorrow. Muhaha.

22nd day of Christmas crafts: handpainted adornments

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I saw these bows on some beautiful wrapping and decided to try it out on some of the gift bags I did for Oh Happy Day. I love the trompe l’oeil effect it creates. You could do a bunch of bows at the same time for lots of gifts.

Only two more days left of Christmas crafts…we can do it, we can do it, we can do it.