Waist-Only Garden Apron Pattern

The apron has large pockets which make it perfect for gardening, cooking, and crafting. Lately I’ve been wearing the same dress day after day because it has one great pocket in the front that is the perfect size for scissors and trowels, but this dress needs a break! 

garden apron pattern waist-only apron printable pattern

A waist-only apron is the kind of thing I imagine women in the sixties wore, and that vintagey feel is something I can’t get enough of. It’s also a great piece that doesn’t hide your cute outfit, but adds to it. Boring tee-shirt and sweats? Disguise the sweats with the apron tied around your waist, and allow the ties to cinch in the tee-shirt. Talk about a step up! With a cute apron in a pattern of your choosing, you don’t even have to put on real clothes to feel cute.

We’ve included a printable file for the apron pattern to make it that much simpler to sew. Scroll down for more info!

garden apron pattern waist-only apron printable pattern

How to make your own garden apron

Pick out some fabric you love! Here are some of our favorites you can get delivered right to your door!

Click here to download the pattern and instructions. The file comes will very detailed instructions and measurements to make your garden apron pattern simple.

garden apron pattern waist-only apron printable pattern

Everything you need to cultivate your green thumb

After sewing your garden apron, load up on everything else you need to become a gardening QUEEN this season!

 

An Easy Houseplant Anyone Can Take Care Of

DIY Paper Begonia Maculata

We at Lars love paper flowers and other plants. This particular paper plant is seriously so easy. Our Polka Dot Plant (Begonia Maculata) is just the plant to liven up your space! Polka dots are just wonderful, and seeing them in a PLANT is something that really tickles my fancy.

DIY paper easy houseplant

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still enjoy a little green in your home. What you need is the easiest houseplant ever. Our Begonia Maculata pattern is super cheap. The materials are probably things you already have. The look of the houseplant is chic and fresh, and the project itself is simple enough that you can do it with your kids!

No matter your gardening ability, you can enjoy the aesthetic benefit of a cheery (but easy) paper houseplant.

How to make your own Polka Dot Plant

DIY paper easy houseplant

Steps:

  1. Download the Begonia Maculata template here
  2. Cut out each leaf out of slightly varied shades of green cardstock. We cut 11 leaves for ours.
  3. Fold each leaf slight along the curve where the vein would be in a natural leaf
  4. With the white acrylic paint, add polka dots of varying sizes to the top of the leaf
  5. Cut floral wire to the lengths of stems you desire
  6. Wrap floral tape around the wire stems to add texture and make them a lighter shade of green
  7. Hold a wire stem against the wide bottom of leaf and glue down a small piece of green paper on top of the wire to hold it in place
  8. Continue to complete each leaf
  9. To arrange your leafs in a pot, hold all the stems in one hand and gently bend each stem to place the leaves at different angles and heights. Once your have achieved your desired look, use another piece of floral tape to hold your bunch together as arranged
  10. Place the entire bunch in a pot and enjoy your new plant friend!

Other Paper Houseplants

Perhaps you’d like to craft a whole greenhouse of houseplants! If so, you’ve come to the right place. We have a bunch of plant patterns that include the ever-trendy Monstera Obliqua (swiss cheese plant), a bright and cheery shamrock bush, some foxgloves that look quite stunning if I may say so myself, hydrangeas, and even a Japanese Maple tree!

Click on any of the photos below to make your own paper plant palace.

DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant DIY paper easy houseplant

How to plant a Rainbow Container Garden

Rainbow Container Garden

We selected our current apartment while we were still living in Denmark. Because we hadn’t seen it in person before we moved in, we didn’t quite know what we had to work with. A garden wasn’t necessarily on my list of things I “had to have”, but I was so pleasantly surprised to find that I had a little bit of garden to work with once I got here. Our landlords do a phenomenal job at keeping it up, but they said I could add in some of my own flower selections. That was 5 years ago. I have since been bit by the gardening bug and consider it one of my most (and few!) hobbies that I have outside of work.

This year I wanted to make it more colorful than years past and in honor of Craft the Rainbow our new book and this little board book that I read to Jasper nearly every day (here) , I created a rainbow container garden for the front porch. I only added them in a couple of weeks ago so they haven’t had time to flourish yet, but I thought I’d post about it so you can get started to and then we can watch them grow together and keep each other updated.
Rainbow Container Garden

Here are some things I’ve done to get it going and a list of flower divided by color that you can add to your garden:

My tragic front door story and fall porch reveal!

Painting your front door the wrong color

I know what you’re asking–how did this even happen? First, we all make mistakes. Second, here was my reasoning. “I plan on limewashing over the brick of my house sooner than later so I though, oh, I’ll paint the door a color I like now so I don’t have to repaint it again. I think I can handle the sure-to-be mismatch of the door color of the brick.” Sounds smart enough, right?

WRONG!

I couldn’t. Not even one day. Here’s the thing, oftentimes as you’re painting and it looks bad, it’s USUALLY not so bad when you finish it. But this time, it was just SO SO SO SO bad. Like it was making me vomit, bad. Here’s another shot to get the full effect of the radioactive slime.

Can you imagine?!

The inspiration behind my front door

Some of you are wondering how I even got to this point. I hear you. Well, it started out with wanting some sort of sage green like this one below that I’ve been super inspired by lately.

And then I remembered this lighter shade of chair from Terrain, kind of like kicking it up a notch. While I think I nailed the right color, it was DEFINITELY not the right color for the door combined with the house. Again, I knew that, I just didn’t know that I really wouldn’t be able to live with it so much.

The safest way to choose a door color

I quickly got new samples and decided not to experiment much and go for a safety color. Something dark with brick is ALWAYS the way to go if you don’t want to spend time on it. But, I decided to try something with a bit of green and a bit of blue. The paint store could only do one of the three samples I brought it so thankfully they took the decision fatigue away from me and I LOVE how it turned out. I’m not always one for the safer choice, but sometimes you just got to I guess.

How to do a lovely front fall porch

I added on a new fall wreath from Terrain, some new pots and urns and a plethora of bounteous mums and pumpkins (I think I was the first in line to buy pumpkins this year!) in exquisite colors and I’m in LOVE!

fall porch decor

I had always wanted a porch where I could go full stop on a pots and planters. I went to gradschool in Georgetown in Washington, DC, perhaps the capital of fall displays, and it was always on my brain.

Start with a wreath

I know many of you are Team No Wreath, but to me, it’s all about the right kind of wreath and this one is beyond words. It’s metal and has the loveliest details. I got it from Terrain.

beautiful fall wreath

Pumpkin topiaries on urns

I had always wanted to do some pumpkin topiaries and this was the year for sure because I got these cast iron urns from Terrain that were perfect for it. I got some flat pumpkins, took off the stems, and stacked them on top.

pumpkin topiary

Fall blanket weather

Our mail box has the perfect nook to hang a blanket when friends come over and we sit outside. Perfect for COVID measures 😉

cozy fall blanket

pumpkin and mum display front porch

The key to this look was the many layers and colors of the pumpkins, mums, and pots. I also made them more or less symmetrical on either side so that they felt even.

Pots

I got a few of my very favorite pots from Bergs, a Danish brand that has the loveliest details. You can find them here. I also love the warmer toned ones here.

How to get the look:

blanket, wreathurnpot

I’d love to hear what you’re doing with your fall porch this year and your true thoughts about my front door (or do I dare?!).

Top destinations for flower lovers

Traveling after flowers

I’ve been extremely blessed to see some beautiful places throughout the world. I like to say that I don’t like to travel, I just like beautiful places–traveling is my vehicle for getting there. I love beautiful places so much that I’ve prioritized it over other things like an amazing wardrobe, furniture, and other fun delights and securities. I took my first trip to Europe when was 12 on tour with the Orange County Junior Orchestra after joining because I heard they were going to France and England (oh yeah, and I guess I liked the music too ;)). I had always been fascinated by the books I read as a girl that were set in beautiful places like the brooding moors in Sherlock Holmes and the floral nooks of The Secret Garden. After a few more trips to Europe, living on the East Coast, and then finally marrying a Dane and living in Denmark, I feel like I am only a bit more conversant in beautiful sites to see. I know there is so much more out there.

Santa Fe
Cloisters in NYC

Beautiful places, particularly gardens and old estates, make my heart burst. I didn’t realize how much a part of me they were until I noticed that other people couldn’t go on a run without stopping at every corner to look at the flowers. (That, and I hate running so I’ll stop whenever I can). I also started to notice that I love flowers. Like, I REALLY love flowers. I love floral fabrics, silk flowers, paper flowers, flower rugs, flower pillows, real flowers. I’m sure you’re not surprised by now 😉

With that flowery talk out of the way, I’d love to get a list going of the top places to go for flower lovers. I’ve asked a couple of people who I know have a similar affinity to flowers to share some of their favorites too, florist Sarah Winward and garden expert and BYU Museum of Art director, Mark Magleby. Additionally, I’d love to hear what YOU have to say. I haven’t found a comprehensive list anywhere, so I’m thinking this could be a help to all of us and help us create a bucket list.

ALSO! I have an idea for a documentary on this theme, so if anyone out there is a filmmaker I’d love to talk to you about it! Ha! No, really.

My favorite destinations for floral lovers

  1. Monet’s Gardens at Giverny in France. As cliche as it is, Monet is my man. I first went there when I was 13 with my orchestra. We got to perform right in the gardens! I will never forget it. I’ve been privileged to go back to Paris a few more times and always put this on my itinerary (one time I missed the train and accidentally Ubered there from Paris. It was not cheap).
  2. Tage Andersen’s residence and gardens at Gunillaberg in Sweden. You know I’ve now written about it like 5 times. Tage Andersen is pretty much a modern Monet. He looks like him and dresses like him. He bought a palace in Sweden and has turned it into his living masterpiece. They are gardens (including a patch where he’s planted 4000 bulbs) with animals and buildings topped off with his fantastical sculptures that he designs and makes himself. I’d LOVE to see a documentary about him and hoping someone makes one!
  3. Carl and Karin Larsson‘s Sundborn home and garden in Sweden. I got to go when I was first studying in Copenhagen. I’ve been a long time Carl and Karin Larsson fan and it was everything I dreamt about and more. Carl was a painter and illustrator and Karin did textiles and they filled their home with the most incredible details. You weren’t allowed to take pictures inside their home so look it up!
  4. Karen Blixen‘s home and museum in Denmark (I went a few years ago and just realized I haven’t written about it yet!). Her home is set against the ocean. It’s so serene there. Paul studied near the property.
  5. The lavender fields of Provence (My mom and I visited in 2012 and missed it by like two weeks and I was so heartbroken!)
  6. Stourhead in England. I nearly died of beauty there. It’s mostly just gardens. This is also where the new Pride and Prejudice was filmed.
  7. Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. I think this might be the loveliest place in the world. I lived a few streets from it and had a season pass when I was going to grad school in Georgetown. That, and the cemetery next door, are pinch-yourself-I’m-dreaming worthy in spring and fall. It was created by Beatrix Farrand as commissioned by Mildred Bliss. I’ve become OBSESSED with Beatrix Farrand Read more about it here. I’ll be sharing more about her in an upcoming post!
  8. Hillwood Estate in Washington DC. The gardens are delightful and the interiors are crazy ornate.

    Portland during rhododendron season
  9. Domaine du Chaumont was a chateau and gardens that we stumbled on when we visited France a few years ago. They are the site of an International Garden Festival. When I was there in 2017, they had designated “rooms” in a large garden for different designers. It was during October so it had this magical fall quality. This is a MUST!!!!! You can read about my post here.
  10. Adleman Peony Farms and Schreiner Irises. In 2015 Paul and I visited Portland during rhododendron season. It was amazing! We took a day trip down to Salem. I had done some research and found a pocket of flower farms there. I had no idea what I as in for. If you want to be truly blown away with the variety and colors of peonies and irises, it’s a must!!! And now I see some of my favorite florists who go there regularly.
  11. Utah’s poppy fields. Utah has its own beautiful poppy fields that are off the beaten path (you can find them here). The history of how they came to be is nebulous (I’ve heard so many variations!) and I haven’t taken the time to research it properly. Photographers are pretty protective of its location because they don’t want competition, but it’s really remarkable. And a bit sad because it gets so trampled!

Last year we had a trip planned to Japan during this time and I was hoping to see flowers in another part of the world but we’ll have to do that some other time. I’d love to hear all your recs!

I asked some of my favorite flower lovers for their suggestions and here’s what they said.

Sarah Winward 

Sarah makes the loveliest arrangements. She’s got an impeccable eye so I trust her judgment!
  1. Around the end of June, purple lupin are blooming all over Iceland, they practically cover every hillside. They are up to four feet tall and the dark purple color looks amazing against the green mossy landscape.
  2. Israel has red anemone that cover lots of hillsides in the spring. I think this is so memorable for me because a red anemone isn’t the type of flower that I am used to seeing grow in the wild.
  3. Jasmine vine in New Zealand completely covers jungle areas. The smell is intoxicating and I wanted to clip entire walls of it to bring home.
  4. Locally in Utah, I love the Mt. Aire trail up Millcreek canyon. In the late summer there are wildflowers and butterflies all over the trailside.

Mark Magleby, Director of the BYU Museum of Art

Mark was my thesis instructor during my undergrad at BYU. I went on study abroad with him and his family to England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands about a decade ago. He specializes in 18th century art and architecture and his scholarship focused on the gardens of Stourhead as well as the creation of a database of English garden history. You can see why I would turn to him!
  1. The greatest of all the English flower gardens may be Sissinghurst Castle garden with is color coordinated garden rooms.
  2. Another would be the kitchen gardens at Rousham, which are riotous with flowers in the spring and summer. The most famous parts of the garden are designed by William Kent.
  3. I also think that the herbaceous boarders are excellent at both Hampton Court and Kew Palace.
Now, what about you? I’d love to hear your recommendations and add them to my list!

How to grow a garden even when you think you can’t

Lars in the garden

Like a proud mother, I want to show off my babies: my small but delightful-to-me garden. It’s small, but makes me so happy. And this comes from someone who knew not too much about gardening and didn’t know I could get so much from such a small space. But let me start at the beginning if you’re just joining in on reading Lars.

Read along for my tips on how to create a garden even if you think you can’t!

Lars’ Gardening Essentials

Lars favorite gardening essentials

Lars and Gardens

If you’ve been following along for a while now, you’ll know I love gardens. I mean, anything that’s compatible with flowers is a big yes for me. Years ago, I described my dream gardens in this post. It’s a great place to start if you need a little help deciding on what types of plants to fill your garden with.

Tips for Beginners (or anyone, really!)

Speaking of tips on growing a garden, if you need some, see this post on how to grow a garden even when you think you can’t. I wouldn’t consider myself a pro, but you can see what I did to the front yard garden of our little rental (serious nostalgia here! I love our new house, but that little rental will always have a special place in my heart. And the garden turned out so lovely)!

A display of geraniums in terracotta pots

Another post that can steer you in the right direction if you’re in need of a little garden inspiration is this post on how to plant a rainbow container garden. I go through plants of every color of the rainbow! It’s a lovely and easy way to add some color to your garden.

Oh, and if you need a few more gardening tips, as well as basic tools? See this post! It’s amazing how helpful a few basic tools can be in creating your dream garden. And speaking of tools and other essentials, you won’t want to miss this garden apron tutorial.

Other Garden Inspiration

Interested in our other garden content? You might want to check out this garden transformation we did with Troy Bilt! Honestly, the before photos are unrecognizable. Also see this post, where we compiled the inspiration for our new house! And last year, we did a roundup of planters and pots for you to peruse. And don’t forget our shop! Inspire yourself with floral and garden-centric art like this or this.

Lars’ Gardening Essentials

And for your convenience, here are some other Lars’ gardening essentials. From gloves to planters, you’ll be set for spring with a variety of tools. Whether you’ve got a pumpkin patch in your backyard, a few pots on your front porch, or some herbs on your windowsill, there’s something for every gardener (or wannabe) out there!

How to Select Outdoor Furniture

Tips for planning your outdoor furniture

First things first – be realistic about the climate and maintenance

If you live in a dry, hot climate, metal pieces might not be the best bet for you. If you live in a humid area that gets a lot of rain, be careful about any textiles you select for the outdoors. Before selecting a piece, think about what kind of work it will require and if you’re willing to deal with upkeep. If you want something that will work anywhere, consider resin or poly-wood furniture. Outdoor furniture made of these materials comes in lots of different price points, colors, and styles. Remember this post from a few weeks back? The svelti chair would be perfect! 

Decorate by material

Wood outdoor furniture

Metal outdoor furniture

Metal chairs like this one come in tons of fun colors and are all the rage right now. They make for the perfect Palm Springs inspired throwback for your backyard.

Rattan outdoor furniture

Rattan furniture is the perfect way to bring some southern charm to your back patio. Click here to find our full list of rattan pieces we love!

2nd – think about location! 

Will the furniture be under a covered patio or out on the lawn? Is your space large or a small apartment balcony? Regardless of the size, you can transform any space to feel magical! If you have a smaller space, choose short outdoor furniture pieces with slats that let light through. This way your furniture won’t be too visually obtrusive. If the space you’re designing is covered, go crazy with cushioned fabric, pillows, and outdoor rugs! In a large space, there is nothing more inviting than a long, low table or bench flanked by mismatched chairs. Add cafe lights and some potted plants and you’ve created your own secret garden!

3rd – what is your goal? 

Comfortable seating for chatting with friends and watching the kids? Or, are you hoping to dine al fresco? Achieve both with this two-birds-one-stone tip: get comfortable seating that works around an outdoor dining table. Move it around to suit your space and circumstance, which will likely change. Remember to have fun and play with the design; that flexibility is what makes outdoor furniture fun! It should be useful, comfortable, and flexible. Goodness knows summer can catch anyone off guard! 

Outdoor dining and bistro

 

4th – unify your outdoor living space with your interior design

Exterior design should go hand in hand with your interior style. If that seems like a difficult task, consider a few things. What colors do you have featured in your home? Are there any patterns you have showcased throughout it? What textures could you replicate outside? A shag carpet might not work, but rattan is foolproof (and weatherproof.) Pillows atop your outdoor furniture that match your interior will help create this luxe indoor-outdoor living experience. Rehome a few accessories (or find coordinating ones) and voila! You’ll have a livable and lovable outdoor space in no time flat. 

Outdoor decor

Once you have turned your backyard into a summery dreamland, check out our long list of outdoor family activities and games so you can put your hard work to good use!

Becoming Loria Stern

In 2011, Loria Stern started attending adult education classes entitled “Medicinal and Edible Plants” where she learned about foraging and the power of plant medicine. She started combining her culinary skills with the knowledge she was learning about botanicals. All the while she was posting her bespoke creations on Instagram. In 2016 her work was highlighted in Vogue Magazine and she received over 30,000 followers overnight. Fans were asking where they could purchase her treats so she started selling them on her website. The first day she posted her treats, she received over 20 orders. Since that day, her business has grown into a successful baking operation where she employs 4 helpers with living wages. She’s still growing her business, writing a cookbook and pitching a TV show. Exciting things are in store for this hardworking woman!

Loria is wearing a floral dress and standing in a kitchen surrounded by colorful produce.

Meet Loria Stern

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, baker, business person, educator, etc.?

Well, I consider myself all of these things but more so one than the other depending on what day of the week we’re talking about. I would say I started out as an artist and maker, and then became a baker and now my daily tasks are more of a business person and educator. 

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now? 

I grew up in Ojai, CA, a small quaint town nestled in between large mountains but just a 20 minute drive to the beach. The town had a lot of nature–my childhood neighborhood streets were lined with tall oak trees. There was and still is a huge element of health consciousness and spirituality in Ojai and I think those elements absolutely influenced what I do now and the person I’ve become. 

Loria stands with her back to the camera. She's surrounded by fresh cut flowers and she's wearing a straw hat, and there are misty mountains in the background.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger? 

Of course I wanted to be a professional tennis player! That dream ended around 14 years old and then I wanted to be an artist. I guess that dream has come true except through a different medium (culinary arts vs. the visual arts).

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? 

Not really one single person, but more so a number of different friends who loved eating the foods I cooked and baked for them and encouraged me to follow this path.

What sparked your interest in edible flowers? 

I’ve always loved flowers (who doesn’t?!) but it wasn’t until I started learning about the medicinal properties of botanicals in my 3 semesters of the adult education classes that my love for combining edible flowers + botanicals with cooking and baking, really opened up an entire new craft for me. 

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.Brightly colored flowers pressed onto sugar cookies on a wooden background.

What are three words to describe your style? 

Creative, happy and cool.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career? 

I graduated with a BA from college and spent my last year painting and drawing. I was in an art show in my final year of college and sold several pieces. As noted earlier, I also took 3 semesters of adult education classes post college– “Medicinal + Edible Plants” and learned a lot about treating ailments naturally with wild, edible plants. I also attribute my dedication as a competitive tennis player to my strong work ethic, which I think is the most important aspect of my current success. 

Loria sits cross-legged on a teal blanket surrounded by pressed flowers in books and a cup of tea.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now? 

I did not really have a career after graduating college in 2006–I more so worked a bunch of odd jobs to pay the rent–teaching tennis, nannying, working as an assistant, etc. It was not until 2010 when I worked my first job as a prep chef that I really learned my love for the culinary arts and that I wanted to make this a career.

What inspired you to become a baker/florist/gardener? 

My love for nature, working with my hands and discovering new alchemic combinations.

Brightly-colored flowers pressed onto green matcha cookie dough.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why? 

I love making tall tiered wedding cakes and delivering them to the venue. It is always so rewarding.

Tall wedding cake frosted with white frosting and purple and yellow flowerscake frosted with blush pink frosting with purple, yellow, and white pansies pressed onto it. It's styled in a pink draping fabric with a vase of flowers.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

In nature first and foremost. 

How do you make social connections in the creative realm? 

Many via Instagram, I’ve met some of my best friends and have found a beautiful, supportive community of my work there.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present? 

Gah, there are so so many! Truly too hard to just pinpoint a few.

Horizontal photo of Loria wearing a floral dress and holding a tray of baked cookies. Flowers are pressed onto the top of each one.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days? 

My father was a jazz clarinetist and music pervades much of my childhood. I love all types of music and have found there is a time and a place for every genre of music. I love documentaries and listening to podcasts. But I try to stay away from negative media as it definitely affects my mood.

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto? 

Work hard and always do your best. Hold yourself and others accountable. Treats others how you’d want to be treated.

Horizontal photo of Loria measuring sugar into a yellow mixing bowl. She's in a kitchen and surrounded by flowers and a turquoise kitchenade mixer

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year? 

I moved to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara just one month before the pandemic began. I had to find a new commercial kitchen and employees within that time and it was extremely difficult to say the least. Looking back, I feel so grateful for the commercial baking space and my LA helpers. 

Loria stands in a field of zinnias wearing a white dress and a straw hat. She's holding a basket full of flowers.

How do your surroundings influence your work? 

So much. I realized I am creatively motivated by my physical space. I love natural light and need to be close to nature. 

Loria bends down to pick wildflowers in a meadow. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat.

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump? 

Exercise is always a good idea and I have found it to be the number one cure for all sorts of slumps. 

What is a typical day like for you? 

I enjoy waking up early. I drink coffee first thing in the morning, then I’ll mosey around my backyard garden with coffee in hand. I’ll stroll up to my home office, check business and personal emails, and then the day is off and running. I usually pick edible botanicals from my garden then meet my team at the bakery. We start cranking our baking orders and then before I know it, it’s 6pm! Then I’ll come home, meet up with my boyfriend and we’ll cook dinner and watch a show.

Loria decorating a pan of focaccia with flowers and vegetables. She's shaped them into a floral scene.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

To learn as much as you can about the hobby / skill. There is so much readily available information that one can learn online that school is not necessary as long as there is curiosity, dedication and a strong work ethic.

Loria standing at the head of a banquet table full of food and flowers. It is sunset and there are mountains in the background.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on? 

I’d say tennis is my secret talent for those who are just meeting me now! Otherwise, I’m working on learning how to surf but it’s extremely hard!

Two pans of botanical cookies with pressed flowers. The ones on the top are a vanilla shortbread and the ones on the bottom are pink.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business? 

Gah, I am still trying to figure that out. I have not accepted investment from outside sources however am currently looking into it to grow my business!

A plate of baked floral shortbread stacked up. In the background there are lots of flowers scattered.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?” 

I’d like to become more well-traveled. I want to visit Japan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Sweden, and the list continues! I want to visit these places and learn about new ingredients and cooking techniques and share those with an audience so that they can live on and evolve into our current day’s food. 

A film photograph of Loria walking away from the camera through a field of wildflowers. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat and there are trees and mountains in the background.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years? 

First and foremost, I hope to remain healthy! Secondly, I hope to open up a physical commissary kitchen with a retail space, classroom and on-site edible flower garden so that I can teach my botanical infused culinary arts to the greater community. There is so much information that I find so inspiring and interesting, I am sure others will as well.

Loria sitting on a bed with teal bedding and flowers in a bowl. She's wearing a beige jumpsuit and there's low, moody lighting.

Can’t get enough of Loria Stern?

We don’t blame you! Follow Loria’s work on her Instagram @LoriaStern and don’t forget to check out her website, where you can buy her delicious, beautiful creations!

Years ago we wrote a post about using edible flowers, and I hope that this interview with Loria Stern makes you even more excited to incorporate beautiful botanicals into your meals (like this edible flower pot).

Read more Becoming interviews here to keep the inspiration flowing!

Loria walking through a meadow of flowers wearing a white dress and a straw sun hat. She's holding a basket of flowers and the sky is blue.

All photos are courtesy of Loria Stern.

Top destinations for flower lovers

Traveling after flowers

I’ve been extremely blessed to see some beautiful places throughout the world. I like to say that I don’t like to travel, I just like beautiful places–traveling is my vehicle for getting there. I love beautiful places so much that I’ve prioritized it over other things like an amazing wardrobe, furniture, and other fun delights and securities. I took my first trip to Europe when was 12 on tour with the Orange County Junior Orchestra after joining because I heard they were going to France and England (oh yeah, and I guess I liked the music too ;)). I had always been fascinated by the books I read as a girl that were set in beautiful places like the brooding moors in Sherlock Holmes and the floral nooks of The Secret Garden. After a few more trips to Europe, living on the East Coast, and then finally marrying a Dane and living in Denmark, I feel like I am only a bit more conversant in beautiful sites to see. I know there is so much more out there.

Santa Fe
Cloisters in NYC

Beautiful places, particularly gardens and old estates, make my heart burst. I didn’t realize how much a part of me they were until I noticed that other people couldn’t go on a run without stopping at every corner to look at the flowers. (That, and I hate running so I’ll stop whenever I can). I also started to notice that I love flowers. Like, I REALLY love flowers. I love floral fabrics, silk flowers, paper flowers, flower rugs, flower pillows, real flowers. I’m sure you’re not surprised by now 😉

With that flowery talk out of the way, I’d love to get a list going of the top places to go for flower lovers. I’ve asked a couple of people who I know have a similar affinity to flowers to share some of their favorites too, florist Sarah Winward and garden expert and BYU Museum of Art director, Mark Magleby. Additionally, I’d love to hear what YOU have to say. I haven’t found a comprehensive list anywhere, so I’m thinking this could be a help to all of us and help us create a bucket list.

ALSO! I have an idea for a documentary on this theme, so if anyone out there is a filmmaker I’d love to talk to you about it! Ha! No, really.

My favorite destinations for floral lovers

  1. Monet’s Gardens at Giverny in France. As cliche as it is, Monet is my man. I first went there when I was 13 with my orchestra. We got to perform right in the gardens! I will never forget it. I’ve been privileged to go back to Paris a few more times and always put this on my itinerary (one time I missed the train and accidentally Ubered there from Paris. It was not cheap).
  2. Tage Andersen’s residence and gardens at Gunillaberg in Sweden. You know I’ve now written about it like 5 times. Tage Andersen is pretty much a modern Monet. He looks like him and dresses like him. He bought a palace in Sweden and has turned it into his living masterpiece. They are gardens (including a patch where he’s planted 4000 bulbs) with animals and buildings topped off with his fantastical sculptures that he designs and makes himself. I’d LOVE to see a documentary about him and hoping someone makes one!
  3. Carl and Karin Larsson‘s Sundborn home and garden in Sweden. I got to go when I was first studying in Copenhagen. I’ve been a long time Carl and Karin Larsson fan and it was everything I dreamt about and more. Carl was a painter and illustrator and Karin did textiles and they filled their home with the most incredible details. You weren’t allowed to take pictures inside their home so look it up!
  4. Karen Blixen‘s home and museum in Denmark (I went a few years ago and just realized I haven’t written about it yet!). Her home is set against the ocean. It’s so serene there. Paul studied near the property.
  5. The lavender fields of Provence (My mom and I visited in 2012 and missed it by like two weeks and I was so heartbroken!)
  6. Stourhead in England. I nearly died of beauty there. It’s mostly just gardens. This is also where the new Pride and Prejudice was filmed.
  7. Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC. I think this might be the loveliest place in the world. I lived a few streets from it and had a season pass when I was going to grad school in Georgetown. That, and the cemetery next door, are pinch-yourself-I’m-dreaming worthy in spring and fall. Here’s a little post. It was created by Beatrix Farrand as commissioned by Mildred Bliss. I’ve become OBSESSED with Beatrix Farrand Read more about it here. I’ll be sharing more about her in an upcoming post!
  8. Hillwood Estate in Washington DC. The gardens are delightful and the interiors are crazy ornate.

    Portland during rhododendron season
  9. Domaine du Chaumont was a chateau and gardens that we stumbled on when we visited France a few years ago. They are the site of an International Garden Festival. When I was there in 2017, they had designated “rooms” in a large garden for different designers. It was during October so it had this magical fall quality. This is a MUST!!!!! You can read about my post here.
  10. Adleman Peony Farms and Schreiner Irises. In 2015 Paul and I visited Portland during rhododendron season. It was amazing! We took a day trip down to Salem. I had done some research and found a pocket of flower farms there. I had no idea what I as in for. If you want to be truly blown away with the variety and colors of peonies and irises, it’s a must!!! And now I see some of my favorite florists who go there regularly.
  11. Utah’s poppy fields. Utah has its own beautiful poppy fields that are off the beaten path (you can find them here). The history of how they came to be is nebulous (I’ve heard so many variations!) and I haven’t taken the time to research it properly. Photographers are pretty protective of its location because they don’t want competition, but it’s really remarkable. And a bit sad because it gets so trampled!

Last year we had a trip planned to Japan during this time and I was hoping to see flowers in another part of the world but we’ll have to do that some other time. I’d love to hear all your recs!

I asked some of my favorite flower lovers for their suggestions and here’s what they said.

Sarah Winward 

Sarah makes the loveliest arrangements. She’s got an impeccable eye so I trust her judgment!
  1. Around the end of June, purple lupin are blooming all over Iceland, they practically cover every hillside. They are up to four feet tall and the dark purple color looks amazing against the green mossy landscape.
  2. Israel has red anemone that cover lots of hillsides in the spring. I think this is so memorable for me because a red anemone isn’t the type of flower that I am used to seeing grow in the wild.
  3. Jasmine vine in New Zealand completely covers jungle areas. The smell is intoxicating and I wanted to clip entire walls of it to bring home.
  4. Locally in Utah, I love the Mt. Aire trail up Millcreek canyon. In the late summer there are wildflowers and butterflies all over the trailside.

Mark Magleby, Director of the BYU Museum of Art

Mark was my thesis instructor during my undergrad at BYU. I went on study abroad with him and his family to England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands about a decade ago. He specializes in 18th century art and architecture and his scholarship focused on the gardens of Stourhead as well as the creation of a database of English garden history. You can see why I would turn to him!
  1. The greatest of all the English flower gardens may be Sissinghurst Castle garden with is color coordinated garden rooms.
  2. Another would be the kitchen gardens at Rousham, which are riotous with flowers in the spring and summer. The most famous parts of the garden are designed by William Kent.
  3. I also think that the herbaceous boarders are excellent at both Hampton Court and Kew Palace.
Now, what about you? I’d love to hear your recommendations and add them to my list!

In the Mood For: Monet inspired Interior Design

First, a special announcement!

I’m writing about Monet for a few reasons – the first you know, the second is kind of a secret…  This summer we are launching an online summer camp to teach kids all about some master artists, including Monet! It will include daily projects (with videos!) to help kids dive deep into new mediums, art styles, and the lives of great artists of myriad colors, genders, and time periods. Stay tuned for more details!!! Sign up for our newsletter here for early access and a huge discount on this course when it is released! Now onto tips for interior design inspired by Monet:

1 – It’s all about lighting. 

Much of Monet’s passion as a painter was driven by a desire to capture light! He would paint the same scene over and over again at different times of day to capture the shadow play and different colors created. Within the walls of your home, you are somewhat limited with regard to natural light. When choosing a place to live, consider how natural light will affect your space! Select fun curtains or shutters (tres French) and outfit the windows accordingly. 

Monet inspired interior design

You may not be able to control the sun, but a lovely invention called electricity does give you the ability to control light! It is amazing how a simple lamp or light shade can transform any space. An old apartment of mine felt dingy and small. The walls were a funny yellowish color that I thought was terrible, but I couldn’t change it! Eventually I got a floor lamp with a bright, white light. Suddenly, I realized the color wasn’t as bad as it had looked before. With just a lightbulb, I achieved the same effect a can of paint would have had. While lighting might not be the first thing you think of when you hear “interior design,” it should be when the phrase is followed by “inspired by Monet.”

Easy Lawn and Watering Tips for a Picture Perfect Patterned Lawn

3

The best foundation to any landscape masterpiece is a great canvas. For most people that includes GRASS. The lovely groundcover that adds green, texture, soft foot cover, and lowers the temperature of your yard AND makes the best playground for Baby Jasper. Sometimes it’s easy to forget it’s even there. Together with Gilmour, we’ve rounded up our favorite watering tools, tips, tricks, and patterns to keep your canvas looking fresh for those flowerbeds.
Ohh la la!