Our favorite Gee’s Bend Quilts

I’m excited to share the Gee’s Bend Quilts with you because it’s old news that I’m obsessed with quilted things and the rich heritage related to quilting. You’ve seen my quilted coat fascination (on more than one occasion), the coat that I enlisted Romy of Sew Like Romy to make for me last year, the quilted eye mask that I made from some of the extra pieces, and you’ve found out about the big feelings people have about repurposing quilts. I even quilted a patchwork bandana and scrunchie this spring. I know, I know, we get it! Lars loves quilts!

Gee’s Bend History

Gee’s Bend is a small, Black community surrounded by the Alabama River where families have been passing down a quilting tradition since their enslaved foremothers, who lived on the local Pettway Plantation. repurposed whatever material they had access to into colorful quilts. At different points in history the Gee’s Bend quilters have used deadstock corduroy and discarded work clothes in their work.

Gee’s Bend quilts have gained a reputation for being some of the most vibrant, artistically boundary-bending quilts in the American art tradition. They remind me of some of the best Modernist paintings in that the Gee’s Bend quilts are full of color, geometry, and an acknowledgement of the human hand.

 

Even though the Gee’s Bend quilts are now acknowledged as a vital part of American art history, many of the quilters aren’t consistently paid their worth. When I realized that you can buy Gee’s Bend Quilts directly from the artists on Etsy I knew I had to share! So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite Gee’s Bend quilts and quiltmakers!

Quiltmakers

You can read about lots of the individual quiltmakers here. I love reading up on each artist’s story and seeing the ways that their families have passed on quilting traditions. For example, here’s a quilt by Amelia Bennett, who used to quilt with her neighbors and passed her legacy on to her daughter Sally Bennett Jones.

A multicolored quilt made of concentric squares and rectangles.
Amelia Bennet, Housetop 12-Block Variation, photo by Stephen Pitkin

Many of the living Gee’s Bend artists have work available on Etsy. I’ve linked to each individual artist’s shop, so click on their names for more!

Sharon Williams

Katie Mae

Doris Pettway Moseley

Doris Pettway Hackets

Caster Pettway

Lou Ida

Emma Pettway

Claudia Pettway Charley

Stella Mae

Delia

Mary Margaret Pettway

Kristin Pettway

Loretta Pettway Bennett

I love the ingenuity of these Gee’s Bend quilted masks!

I would love to hear about your favorite artists, especially Black artists whose work you’re loving! Let me know in the comments!

And if you’re interested in supporting women makers around the world like those of Gee’s Bend, consider donating to Nest.

State Flower Map Coloring Poster

I’m excited to release this new State Flower Map Coloring Page in our shop! I love easy projects that you can do with your family or friends, and coloring this state flower coloring page fits the bill! You could sit down and have everyone color in their favorite place to vacation or where they’re from. This coloring page is also a great option if you want to do something with your hands while you watch movies with friends but you’re not a big fan of puzzles. Because this coloring page poster is big enough to spread out on the kitchen or coffee table, it’s a great project to do as a group.

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints and a painting by Jasper.

On the Road

Have you seen those map posters that you scratch off each state or country as you visit it? This printable poster would be a great way to mark your travels within the USA—you could color in each state’s flower when you visit it!

The coloring map is on a red table. Colorful markers are scattered around and some hands reach in to color it.

I think it would be so fun to plan a road trip with state flowers in mind. In every state you visit, try to find the state flower! What a fun way to get into nature and get moving! If you do, be sure to tag us in your pictures with #LarsLovesFlowers and #LarsTravels.

The coloring map is on a red table. Colorful markers are scattered around and some hands reach in to color it.The coloring map is on a red table. Colorful markers are scattered around and some hands reach in to color it.

At Home

Even if you’re relaxing into another summer at home, coloring in the State Flower Map Coloring Page poster is a perfect art project to celebrate flowers and learn some geography. If you’re looking for a way to give your kids some structure in the summer, this would be a great addition to a summer school curriculum. Fun and educational? Yes please! Best of all, you’ll finish the activity with a gorgeous poster to hang.

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints, a painting by Jasper, and a cutout bird. A colorful desk with flowers, a laptop, books, and a globe is in front of the calendar.

Make your own State Flower Map Art

When you finish coloring your State Flower Map Coloring Page, hang it up! It has the potential to be It’s extra personal because you’ll color it yourself, and it will make a great conversation starter. Print your state flower coloring page on nice paper and then frame your finished work for extra gravitas. It would be so great in a kid’s room!

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints and a painting by Jasper.

Materials

All you need to make your own state flower art is our State Flower Map Coloring Page, markers, crayons, or colored pencils, and a frame.

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints, a painting by Jasper, and a cutout bird. A colorful desk with flowers, a laptop, books, and a globe is in front of the calendar.

Instructions

  1. Download the State Flower Map Coloring Page from our shop.
  2. Send the file to your local print shop or at a larger chain like Staples (we used this service and it’s under $10!). You can print the poster on sturdy paper, but you don’t have to.
  3. Gather your friends and color! You know what to do!
  4. If you want to frame your coloring page, this magnetic poster frame is a great and easy option. Enjoy!

The State Flower Map Coloring Page hangs on Brittany's rainbow calendar with some art prints and a painting by Jasper.

Looking for more coloring pages? I have great news in the form of COLORING BOOKS. Check out our Picture Hope coloring book, which we made with lots of artists to raise money for COVID 19 relief. Find it in our shop here. I’ve also made a coloring book called Flowers, and don’t forget all our other coloring pages in the shop! Get coloring!

I would love to see your finished coloring pages and hear about your summer adventures, whether you hit the road or just the couch. Tag us with #LarsLovesFlowers and #LarsTravels!

Poppies and Peonies and Posies: Paper Flower Tutorials

Without further ado, here’s a guidebook to all the paper flower tutorials in the Botanical Garden that Lars Built.

Blooms for Bouquets

There are so many things you can do with paper flowers, but you need to make them first! Mix and match these flowers for bouquets or let them stand alone. You can’t go wrong!

Paper parrot tulips in cream, yellow, and red.Paper peony bouquet held by a person in a striped dressIcelandic Paper PoppyPaper hydrangeas in a white vase against a floral orange backgroundThe Exquisite Book of Paper Flower Transformationspaper daffodil on a cream backgroundA pink and blue space divided down the middle with flower bells in each color

Find paper flower tutorials here: Parrot Tulips, Peonies, Poppies, Morning Glory, Hydrangeas, Eden Rose, Daffodil, Paper Flower Bells.

Lots of flowers have stamens, and here you can make your own floral stamens for paper flowers.

Bouquets

I’m a big fan of paper wedding bouquets because they are long-lasting reminders of your big day. There’s no wilting here! I have loved making these paper flower tutorials for all these bouquets.

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.Paper Flower Wedding BouquetRoyal Wedding Inspired BouquetCinco de Mayo Wedding Bouquet

Find tutorials here: Spring Wedding Bouquet, White Peony Bouquet, Royal Wedding Inspired Bouquet, Cinco de Mayo Inspired Bouquet.

Paper Flower Accessories

Flowers add delicacy and magic to your fanciest events (but I’m all for wearing them in between big parties, too)! These paper flower crowns and this corsage will have you searching for events because they’re so fun to wear! Find paper flower tutorials for the accessories below.

A paper shamrock and flower crown on a brunette girl's head against green and white wallpaperPaper Flower Bridal Hair PieceA little girl wears a paper flower crown and smells some little flowers.a floral crown on long, straight brown hairPaper Flower Corsage

Find tutorials here: Shamrock Flower Crown, Paper Flower Bridal Hairpiece, Flower Girl Crown, Spring Paper Flower Crown, Paper Flower Corsage

Home Decor Flowers

Wreaths

When I started adding paper flower wreaths to my doors, I made a huge discovery. Coming home to something beautiful makes a big difference! Add paper flower wreaths to your doors and start feeling OVERJOYED when you get to your home! I promise, it works for me!

Paper daffodil wreath against a pink backgroundCrepe Paper Lemon WreathBrittany holding a wreath with floral accents cut from wallpaper.A hand reaches into frame holding a rainbow floral wreath

Wreath tutorials here: Daffodil Wreath, Lemon and Blossom Wreath, Wallpaper Floral Wreath, Rainbow Flower Wreath

Chandeliers and Mobiles

A maidenhair fern hangs from a wooden hoopA floral upcycled chandelier with paper greenery hangs over a party table. A paper mobile hangs in a white room with a cactusA colorful chandelier with a hanging Dala horse is i

Mobile tutorials here: Paper Maidenhair Fern Mobile, Paper Flower Chandelier, Scandinavian Paper Mobile, Midsummer Dala Horse Mobile

Centerpieces

Paper flowers and colorful candles on a branchPaper tulips in an arrangement.

Centerpiece tutorials here: Paper Flower Branch Candelabra,Spring Tulip Centerpiece

Potted Paper Flowers

Brittany holds a paper easter lily in a terracotta pot in front of her facePaper Christmas cactus in a white potPaper Medinilla plant in a grey spaceColorful paper plants in a grey room

Find tutorials here: Paper Foxgloves, Easter Lily, Christmas Cactus, Medinilla Plant, and more Paper House Plants

Parties!

Cakes

Floral Number Birthday Cake TopperPaper Kumquat and Quilled Flower CakeMidsummer Pole cake Topper

Cake topper tutorials here:Floral Number Birthday Cake Topper, Paper Flower and Kumquat Cake Decoration, Midsummer Pole Cake Topper

Backdrops

DIY Crepe Paper Peony tutorialTropical Leaf and Hibiscus BackdropBrittany stands in front of a paper daisy-covered wall wearing a yellow dress.

Backdrop tutorials here: Crepe Paper Peony Backdrop, Tropical Leaf and Hibiscus Backdrop, Paper Daisy Backdrop

Garlands

Paper flower garlandPaper flower garland hangs over a rattan chair

Garland tutorials here: Paper Flower Garland, Summer Flower Garland

DIY Daisy party hat

And don’t forget this Daisy Party Hat tutorial!

Holiday

Valentines Day

Brittany looks over her shoulder at the camera while wearing a pink, red, and white daffodil crown

Wear this Valentine Flower Wreath on your head or decorate your door with it. Either way, you’ll be feeling festive and ready for the spring blooms that will pop up not too long after Valentines Day with this wreath!

Halloween

A mom wearing a paper flower costume and a daughter dressed as a mouse pose in their costumes

Chrysanthemum Mom and Kid Costume

Hannukah

Gold, blue, yellow, and pink paper flower menorah

Paper Flower Menorah

Christmas

This Christmas you can make holly large or small, as well as these really exciting poinsettia blooms.

Paper Poinsettia FlowerDIY Paper Holly boughsGiant paper holly and paper berries hung around a big banister

Poinsettia, Crepe Paper Holly, Giant Paper Holly Decoration

And more!

Find more floral Lars materials on our shop. Here’s our Flowers Coloring Book, this sticker sheet, a whole collection of floral art prints, and more! Plus, keep an eye out for an exciting new paper flower development in the shop, coming soon!

Felix’s New Nursery

Before my first son, Jasper, arrived we raced to get his nursery done and it paid off (you can see it here. I had such a wonderful experience having a fully designated space for him–it felt almost magical. Just him and me having our special place together nursing and me admiring him. We were certainly in a little newborn bubble. I think I even heard choruses of angels around us.

Interior shot of a child's room. Walls are green, A pink checkerboard rug is on the floor. A white rocking chair is central in the image.

With Felix, because of all the new home renovations and normal, if not over, work load, I didn’t get his nursery done, not even close. And I felt the toll! For a while I slept on a mattress downstairs next to his bassinet before transferring up to our bedroom and then we were constantly moving because we’ve been renovating the closet, bathroom, putting baseboards, etc. It’s been wild, uncomfortable…chaotic. Not conducive to a magical experience.

An interior shot featuring a painted green wall with a brightly colored lamp and a toy doll perched on a wicker shelf.

And then we partnered with our friends at Pottery Barn Kids and life got so much better as you might expect when you, well, partner with Pottery Barn Kids. 

Most important to me when creating a space for a baby is figuring out the immediate needs. Number one, especially in the early stages, is nursing. Life kind of revolves around it at this point (you too?): schedules, meals, outings (or lack there of right now, right?!). Everything! I nursed exclusively with Jasper and I’ve done the same with Felix (though I seriously reconsidered that this weekend after my first bout with mastitis–YIKES!).

Interior shot of a nursery. In the foreground, a red toy airplane rests on a white ottoman. In the background is a wooden dresser with a small Danish flag on top and some illustrations on the wall.

Because of my bad back, I like to have a great chair set up in place so I know it will be comfortable and I don’t have to scramble to make something up last minute. Jasper’s rocking chair has almost become a member of our family based on how much we use it. Though I no longer nurse him, we gather around it for stories every day. I knew I needed another one for Felix so we could create the same tradition in his room.

Interior shot of a child's room. Walls are green, A pink checkerboard rug is on the floor. A white rocking chair is central in the image.

Have you searched on Pottery Barn Kids recently? Look at all their nursery chair and ottoman options. I’ll wait….There’s a TON of styles and features. I looked for one that had a shallow back so that it wouldn’t have to strain while nursing. I also wanted one that felt both classic yet modern. I arrived at the Modern Wingback Slipcovered Glider and Ottoman. I got it in their classic white linen, which on first glance seems crazy, but because it’s a slipcover, you can easily take it on and off (velcro!) and wash it. 

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair next to a window and a green wall and snuggles Felix.A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair. Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few pillows, toys, and books on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

It may seem like a funny thing to get excited about, but I need my nursing conditions to be, well, perfect, and their ottoman is the perfect height so I can prop Felix up and be super comfortable. I’m so pleased with my new arrangement I can’t even express it. The magical feelings are starting to reemerge again and none too soon!

A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair.

But there’s more. Have you seen their collection of cribs and changing stations? There are so many beautiful options. I went all white with Jasper, but I wanted something different for Felix so I got an all wood collection–something to feel deeper. I chose the Dawson Convertible Crib, which is somehow even more beautiful in person than it is on a screen. It will grow with Felix into a toddler bed too so it’s worth the investment (two beds in one!). It’s also GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning it meets or exceeds stringent chemical emissions standards and it’s made in a Fair Trade Certified facility. I feel really good about their manufacturing processes and love being able to align myself with them.

A wooden dresser with a clock, changing basket, Danish flag, and blanket on top. The wall has a few illustrations hanging on it.

Then for the changing table/dresser I went with the Dawson dresser. Again, it’s a beautiful blend of traditional and modern with the clean lines and fine detailing on the drawers. It comes in a lovely acorn color with the same ethical standards. Again, even more beautiful and illuminating in person. It looks so good against the green walls! Which brings me to my next point.

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair against a green wall and snuggles Jasper and Felix.

Jasper’s nursery at our old house was more light and airy and again, I wanted something where we played with color more. The room is also acting as Paul’s office so I wanted to take his preferences into consideration. Paul loves BRIGHT colors. I’m talking saturated, BRIGHT colors. We settled on a agreen, but what green was the question! He LOVES a classic Jaguar green but then I got this lovely checkerboard pink/magenta rug (used from Hannah Carpenter as spotted by Meta Coleman) and wanted to merge the two colors together somehow.

A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair. The floor is covered by a magenta checkerboard rug with a few wooden cars and an airplane on it.

I figured out that the green needed to be a bit more blue so we went with this Palm Frond color. I thought it was going to be too much for me but with the gorgeous wood furniture, it’s MAGICAL. I tried out a contrasting trim in a light blue, the same color we’ll be using for our bathroom, and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it…I like it sometimes and other times I’m not sure. I’m not sure you can see it too well in these photos so maybe you can speak to that quite yet.

Interior shot of a child's room with a green wall, a wicker shelf with a toy on it, and a crib. The crib has a denim-colored quilt hanging over the side.

I accessorized with the cutest bed sheet/comforter set. The sheets are dreamy soft and play well with the green of the walls. I love the chambray look always. It tends to go with most things.

Then I added in some green gingham curtains to play with the color too.

Shot of the inside of a wooden crib, with a few toys and pillows inside it.

With all the other bright color accessories we own, the color works so well and it’s now one of the few rooms in the house that feels GOOD! I’m still calling it a phase one design because we might adjust some things, but in the meantime, I’m spending all my time in there.

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair against a green wall and snuggles Jasper and Felix.Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few toys on it. In the background is a wooden dresser.on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

Thank you Pottery Barn Kids for making our nursery dreams come true and for sponsoring this post!

Lars Shop Highlight: Floral Art Prints

Last month we did a post about spring cleaning and switching out your art prints, and I shared some art from the Lars print shop. This May, though, I’m focusing on flowers (even more than I do year round! Ha!) so I wanted to show you my curated collection of floral art prints.

Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated, subdued artwork or a playful print there’s something that’s sure to catch your attention in the floral art print shop!

Playful

These prints are charming for children (or children-at-heart)! Ayang Cempaka’s whimsical fairytale-themed prints are colorful and fun, and they are lovely reminders of some favorite stories. Thumbelina’s meadow scene is particularly fitting for Spring, don’t you think?

Four illustrations from fairytales hung above a child's kitchen toy set.

Normandie Luscher’s prints are also inspired by favorite stories. If you’re a reader, these prints are a great way to decorate your space with reminders of your favorite books. You’ll be transported to lovely Avonlea when you look up at Anne’s Way of Delight!

An art print of girls inside and outside a brick building covered with vines and surrounded by trees and flowers. Next to the print are wooden toys shaped like trees and a rainbow. A print of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables walking through a corridor of blossoms against a pink background with real blossoms in front.

Another floral art print that celebrates Spring and promotes literacy is Josefina Schargorodsky’s Reading In the Woods illustration. This artwork would be perfect for a kid’s room or next to the bookshelf.

A print of a girl reading in a garden surrounded by trees, grass, and flowers against a golden background.

Painterly

Decorating with a painterly floral art print is a way to introduce some serenity and style into your space. Helen Dealtry’s Secret Garden print feels like a mysterious portal into another, greener world–just like in the book!

A print of flowers in a green secret garden tunnel hangs on the wall in front of a plant and some craft supplies

Lynne Millar’s paintings are not to be missed! The way she treats shadow and light is dramatic in the same way that a really well-planned garden can be, so you can bring the outdoors in with her prints. Check out this interview of Lynne here!

In interior shot of a pink couch with cushions, a table with a plant, a modern lamp, and artwork on the walls. One of the works is Lynne Millar's Rose painting.

Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle makes glorious paper cut art by painting on paper and then cutting intricate floral designs into them. We have several of her works in our floral art print shop and they would look so lovely in any space!

Field of Colored Flowers Papercut By Julie Marabelle is framed and perched on top of a stack of books next to a yellow bed and a blue and white striped wallpapered wall.

A framed paper-cut floral print on a spruce-themed wallpapered wall by a yellow bed and a blue lamp

These dainty prints by Monica Dorazewski and Yas Imamura will bring whimsy into your home. They would be perfect in a space that needs a breath of light, fresh air, and feminine energy.

Seven Flowers Print by Yas Imamura

Adriana Picker also makes gorgeous, bright, botanical prints. Find her dahlia print here, her tulip print here, her cosmos print here, and her rose print (not pictured) here. You can also read this interview from Adriana Picker and find out more about the artist.

Three pink floral art prints on a white mantle next to a potted plant and a green candlestick

Graphic

Would you describe your style as bold and bright? Some of these more graphic floral art prints might just be calling your name.

Lisa Congdon’s style would look great in a super modern space–I love the idea of kids coming into a living room or kitchen to do homework with “Openness is Essential to Creativity” hanging on the wall next to them. How inspiring, right? Danielle Kroll’s Clementine print would also be so cute in a kitchen.

Openness is Essential To Creativity print by Lisa Congdon among plants and books Clementine Print by Danielle Kroll

For floral art prints in bold colors with less geometric designs, I think that Alli Stocco’s Flamenco Flamingos are a great fit. I also love the Mae West quote written on the print: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Such great words to live by!

Rosie Harbottle’s Iris Apfel print brings bright, bold energy into a space. When I see this print I feel inspired to be daring like Iris, and I think all of us could use some of that oomph in our lives.

Flamenco Flamingos by Alli StoccoIris Apfel print by Rosie Harbottle against a sage wall surrounded by stationary and paper plants.

If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of flowers, check out this roundup of floral interior decor–it would all look great with a print from our shop.

What do you look for when choosing art for your home? I would love to see how you decorate with floral art prints, so tag us with #LarsAtHome to share!

DIY Grocery Store Flower Bouquet

I love making grocery store flower bouquets. Before I learned a few simple flower-arranging tips, though, I used to buy pre-made bouquets from grocery stores, trim the ends, and dunk them into a vase as is. It looked decent and there’s nothing wrong with doing that, of course! But learning how to arrange flowers properly helped make a simple flower arrangement look like a professionally made bouquet.

A bouquet made of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

Buying a beautiful floral arrangement usually costs an arm and a leg. You can make a beautiful bouquet of your own with a fraction of that cost with flowers from a grocery store! Follow the step-by-step tutorial below to learn the tips and tricks.

Detail shot of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

Make Your Own Grocery Store Flower Bouquet

When you’re buying flowers for a bouquet, consider a color scheme that you want to design around and look for a variety of shapes and textures.

Detail shot of eucalyptus leaves, chamomile, roses, and hydrangeas against a pink wall with a mint green jewelry box in the background.

There are four basic categories to look for when making a bouquet. First choose larger blooms that will be focal points (like hydrangeas, roses, peonies, zinnias, tulips etc.). Second, line flowers (like goldenrod, calla lilies, or other flowers that form a strong visual line) or accent flowers (spray roses, carnations, eryngium, etc.). Third, get filler flowers (like chamomile, wax flower, or baby’s breath). Fourth and finally, choose greenery or foliage for your bouquet.

Choosing a vase for your arrangement is too-often overlooked. Whether you want something colorful or subdued, putting some thought into your vessel will elevate your bouquet. I put together a list of some of my current favorite vases here, or DIY a paper mâché or recycled egg carton vase with these tutorials!

Instructions

A person using a knife to trim the bottom of a stem next to some roses and a vase on a picnic table.A person removes rose leaves from a stem. In the background are rose petals, greenery, and a purple and white vase on a picnic table.A person arranges eucalyptus branches in a purple and white vase.A person arranges bright orange spray roses in a purple and white vase full of eucalyptus branches.A person places hydrangeas in a bouquet of eucalyptus and roses in a purple and white vase.A person places chamomile blossoms in a bouquet of eucalyptus, roses, and hydrangeas in a purple and white vase.

  1. Prepare all your flowers and foliage by trimming off the ends with a sharp, clean knife or some clean flower pruners. Take all the leaves off the bottom of the stems. You don’t want leaves to sit in the water, because then they’ll rot!
  2. Your flowers should have come with a little packet of flower food. Pour this, along with some water, into a vase.
  3. First place your foliage in the vase. Think about the ways that foliage can frame flowers or provide a more neutral backdrop for them. I’m arranging with willow eucalyptus, which has long, elegant leaves, so I’m also considering how they drape. Hold a few branches back to add in at the end.
  4. Next place your line flowers or accent flowers. I used spray roses here.
  5. Arrange the focal flowers in the vase. The stems from your foliage and accent flowers will form a sort of lattice that makes it easier to get your focal flowers right where you want them.
  6. When you arrange your focal flowers, think about how tall you want them and what direction you want them to face. If they’re too long, trim the stems a little bit at a time, because you can all ways take away more stem but you can’t make them grow taller!
  7. Arrange your fill flowers around the focal and line/accent flowers.
  8. Add in any foliage you held back.
  9. Place your bouquet somewhere in your home that you’ll see it often so that you really enjoy it! To keep it fresh for as long as possible, pick the flowers up and trim an inch off the stems every few days. When you do this, make sure there’s plenty of water and it’s clean.

Arranging flowers is a skill that comes in handy all the time, especially if you love having fresh flowers around as much as I do! I would love to see your bouquets at #LarsFlowerMonth

beautiful bouquet made from grocery store flowers

Meet Brittany’s new rainbow office

The Before Photos

As you recall, we moved into our new home in September. The house had no floors, bathrooms, showers, etc. There’s a general lack of storage and design features so one by one we’ll be turning each room into a work of art. While I take my time contemplating how I want to design each room along with the custom built features I have in mind, I couldn’t wait to get my office “done” for now and it feels SO good.

Here are the before photos:

Pretty sad, right?!

  1. It starts with a plain white room.
  2. Started adding on the calendars
  3. added in the new Mr. Kate sofa and chair and replaced lighting fixture

rainbow calendar

My new rainbow office

It all started with this rainbow calendar. I bought it ages ago and intended to put it in my office in the old studio. I never got around to designing the space and there it sat in its box. FINALLY, I took it out a few weeks ago and thought it would look perfect along the wall and I was right. It was meant to be.rainbow calendar home office

The requirements

Now, the thing about my office is that it sits right next to the front door so I knew it would act like a reception area–a welcome space to the house, but also welcome to my company. As I’ve mentioned, in November we moved The House That Lars Built into the basement of our house. While it might seem like a downgrade (I’ve seen some of your comments 😉 it’s been the plan for a long time–it just took awhile to get to the point where we could do it because 1) we needed to buy a house and 2) we needed a house that was large enough to do it.books arranged by color

What I envisioned

I’ve loved having an outside office to go to–I get a lot down and I’m able to focus more. However, with COVID and a new baby, we wanted to keep things more insular. My company is an extension of my life, for better or for worse, and having something that I could invest time and money into and show how our projects fit into my lifestyle was something that felt more natural and authentic, rather than something that fit into a blank work space. Plus, putting money into fixing up our studio space turned into something I started to resent as it was something that was getting more love than my actual house. rainbow calendar blue futonblue tufted sofa

The Furniture

My office is also intended to act as a guest room so when DHP reached out with their new Mr. Kate collection I knew just what to do. If you recall, DHP has a lot of great clever futon selections. I say clever, because they’ve nailed the art of conserving space in their furniture. I selected the Mr. Kate teal Stella (it’s more of a beautiful robin’s egg blue!) velvet futon. The side arms pack up snuggly into the bottom of the futon (so snuggly that I had to write in to complain that they didn’t send me the arms! Nope, they were in there the whole time!). And when you extend the back down, the legs for the futon zip out of the back. So clever. It makes it easy to turn it into a bed and then back into the sofa.

I then selected the black and white Mr. Kate Effie accent chair because the room needed something to weigh it down a bit more than all the rainbow colors going on. I love it! The legs are also upholstered, which is a nice feature. The chair is great for both meetings AND nursing, because you bet I’m very much doing both. It comes in a mustard color too, which also would have been super pretty.blue velvet futon sofa

The quirks

While the studio is downstairs my office is on the main floor and we do a lot of shooting on the main floor so the office also serves as a photography space. I keep a lot of our backgrounds in here so we don’t have to lug them up and down the stairs all the time. Some of them are super heavy. It’s north facing so the lighting is super even and great for our videos, which we have been loving. home office renovation

Having a place to work that’s in order has already been so uplifting for my soul. It’s only been a few days so far, but we’ve been spending so much more time in here already because it feels so good! Jasper and I have been reading books on the sofa as well as playing on his own. I’ve been nursing Felix there too. I’ve never had such a functional, yet uplifting room and I’m reveling in it!

Mr. Kate Furniture Collection

Effie black and white upholstered accent chair
Stella Convertible Sofa

Other items in the office:

Ombre Rug, Chandelier, Rainbow calendar, hand desk lamp, purple and white pitcher from Pomelo, cardboard house boxes, 

This post was sponsored by DHP’s Mr. Kate. Thanks to our great partners who allow us to create beautiful content for you! 

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In the Mood For: The Queen’s Gambit

Home Decor inspired by Queen’s Gambit

To recreate the different moods presented in The Queen’s Gambit, we divided our home decor inspirations into three categories. Explore the links below for our favorite home decor inspired by Queen’s Gambit!

Pastels and Plaids: Beth’s Adolescent Life in Kentucky

When Beth enters her adoptive parents’ home, her monochromatic life suddenly turns into a burst of patterns and colors. Her adoptive mother’s penchant for florals and pastels wrap each room from floor to ceiling. Beth walks through the entryway and looks into the living room framed within teal curtains. A backdrop of two different wallpapers–one floral and one plaid, both in pastels–are set on pastel-colored carpet. She enters her bedroom that parallels the living room, but everything is pink. Floral bedsheets and floral curtains on a canopied bed almost camouflage themselves within the surrounding pink and plaid wallpaper. As Beth transitions into suburban life, florals and pastels whirl around her innocence and adolescence.

Checkers and Bold Patterns: Beth’s Competition Life around the Country and World

Checkers and plaid are dominant patterns in the show for their obvious representations of chess. When Beth begins to delve into the world of competitions, we see her surroundings gradually change from pastels and florals to earthy tones and geometric shapes. The hotel room in Las Vegas uses sage-green, diamond-patterned wallpaper and a bedspread patterned in mint and brown shells. In Mexico City, the competition takes place in a lobby-like setting where a giant mosaic window seeps light through colorful quadrilateral shapes. We see Beth rising in fame and confidence as her surroundings display more defined shapes. Just like each hotel in the show had it’s own distinct color scheme and vibe, you can treat each room in your home this way for home decor inspired by Queen’s Gambit.

Midcentury Modern: Beth’s Independent Life in Kentucky

*Spoiler alert!* After Beth’s adoptive mother’s sudden death and her major loss in Paris, Beth finds herself alone in her Kentucky home. She buys the house from her adoptive father and finds herself motivated for change. We see her creating her own style as she literally takes down her past. Abstract art and geometric shapes replace landscape and animal paintings. Kitschy, yet beloved, items that used to embellish the rooms are boxed. She then fills the home with new furniture that is interestingly in the same dark teal color but in mid-century modern designs. The scene where she tears down the teal curtains finalizes the closing of her previous chapter. While keeping similar color tones of her adoptive mother’s decor, Beth’s choices symbolize her past shaping her newfound stability and self-assurance through her use of geometric shapes and richer hues.

Clothing inspired by Queen’s Gambit

Of course our urge to makeover everything in Queen’s Gambit style does not stop at our decor – it’s impacting our wardrobes as well! Fortunately for us, retro nods to the 50s and 60s are not off trend right now. In fact, most of the items below are totally current! Cue the cat eye sunglasses and cardigans.

 

This post is a part of our In the Mood For series where we show you how to recreate interior design styles and fashion inspired by people we admire! Click any of the links below to check out some past posts from this series!

Wes Anderson, Jane Austen’s Emma, Hamilton

Resilient and Low Maintenance Wood Flooring

For our long time readers, do you remember our flooring we installed in our old apartment? You can see that Resilient Flooring from Pergo here. Pergo is a Beautifully Responsible partner.  These partners are committed to not only sustainability, but also durability.  I love supporting a company that utilizes mindful manufacturing and I love it even more when they over deliver on their promises. 

Resilient Flooring Everywhere: Danish Style

In keeping with Paul’s Danish background, we installed Pergo flooring in pretty much every nook and cranny of our apartment–no floor to floor carpet allowed! With Utah’s ever-changing weather and our small foyer, we knew that having a floor that could handle the dust and grime of fall along with the water and moisture of spring was a priority.  Sure enough, 4 years later and the floors have been a dream. They’re unbelievably easy to clean, and when you have an active toddler, quick and efficient cleaning is also a must.  Their scratch resistant qualities are true to their name. Years of moving furniture didn’t leave even so much as a scuff on this floor. Here’s a little walk down memory lane. The apartment started with carpet everywhere. 

And then we added in the Pergo Resilient Flooring everywhere.

And then we did some more cosmetic work to the apartment and put down an area rug because I like the color and patterns! 

As most of you are well aware, we moved at the end of last year in the chaos of a studio move, pandemic, and my third trimester. Lars was also on the hunt for a new designer to add to our team, and here is when Gwen steps into the story:

 

Enter Gwen, our Crafter!

Hello! Brittany and I met last fall when my husband and I were looking for a new place to live. We had been living in a shoebox of an apartment. So between the two of us and our adorable whirlwind of a dog, Lula, we were getting pretty cramped. A mutual friend referred us to Brittany’s old place. She sent us pictures from the blog, saying “she’s made the inside absolutely perfect!” Um, yes, please. When we came to check it out and meet our landlords we fell even more in love. After making sure that Lula and our landlords’ dogs could get along, we made it official! About a month later Brittany, Paul, and Jasper were in their new house and we had settled into their old one.

Not long after we moved, I saw Brittany’s listing for a designer at Lars. I immediately texted my mom “would it be too weird if I applied to work for someone whose old house I’m living in?” Well, I guess it wasn’t, because the rest is history and I have been part of the team since November. 

Putting our Resilient Flooring To The Test

Since moving in we have adjusted the placement of our furniture several times, and in all the hustle and bustle our Pergo flooring has stood up like a champion. It is a great color too, and doesn’t look constantly dusty like wooden floors tend to do. It’s seriously the ideal intersection of low-maintenance and beautiful that I think all of us are striving for. Because who has the bandwidth to be worrying about their floor right now? Our soggy boots and occasional spills have been no problem. And maybe most impressively, Lula’s antics haven’t left a single mark, even when she gets the zoomies. 

A big part of something being environmentally sustainable is not having to replace it all the time, and I foresee the Pergo flooring lasting for a long long time and for future generations of renters, their families, and their pets. Long live…longevity!

This post is sponsored by Resilient Flooring. Visit Beautifully Responsible to learn more. And follow @ResponsibleFloors on Instagram and Pinterest for more flooring inspiration!

Thanks to the brands who allow us to make awesome original content for you! 

Lars Approved Brand Alert: Marimekko

Many of us are sprucing up our homes and planning to decorate for spring. Our Marimekko roundup highlights many home decor items that are perfect for new additions and finishing touches. You may even consider replacing some items like the old dish towels and oven mitts hanging sadly in the kitchen!

Marimekko for Your Kitchen and Dining

While we’re on the topic of oven mitts, choose from this oven mitt or this pot holder for pops of bright flowers in the kitchen. Or maybe you need a new set of dishtowels. The deep magenta and orange hues add a pleasant statement anywhere they hang.

Switch your current placemats to these bold prints. Add these plates or these and some glass tumblers or mugs to complete the table setting. The magic of Marimekko design is that there is no wrong combination of prints and colors! You can mix and match any design and surprise yourself in seeing that they somehow complement each other.

If you’re heading out for a picnic or plan to throw a party at home, make a theme out of Marimekko and use these paper napkins (1, 2, 3) as the source of your inspiration.

 

For Your Bedroom

Simple additions like wallpaper and new bedding create an entirely new atmosphere to a room. And we love a great accent wall! Use this striped wallpaper or floral mural to create a vibrant mood. Moreover, add these striped sheets on this comforter set and you will have encapsulated our Marimekko spirit.

 

Marimekko for the Minimalists

For those not so inclined to bold colors, Marimekko also offers neutral pieces that add the perfect amounts of pattern. There are cream colored hand towels or a chestnut colored polka dotted one, a beige polka dotted bath towel, an off-white and beige throw, a black and white floral bed sheet set, and these subtle pink vases (1, 2). Patterns and textures provide subtle accents in neutral pieces.

 

For the Everyday

Maybe you can’t make such dramatic changes at the moment. There are still ways to make big impacts with small changes. Switch up your bath towels for some red florals or red and pink stripes. You’ll feel like you rolled into Candyland! Or you can add these fun slippers to your everyday loungewear and carry a colorful tote bag on your weekly trips to the market. Switch up your makeup bag or create a smaller one for everyday use. Although we may have less reasons to go out these days, when the occasion arises, carry a chic clutch instead of a big purse.

Marimekko Dresses and Fashion

Embrace your inner Marimekko spirit and create your very own wonderland of vibrant colors and prints.

Marimekko Fabrics

One of my favorite parts of this bold Finnish brand is they also sell fabrics! This way you can give your home decor a fresh DIY makeover in full Marimekko style.

DIY Sleeping Mask and The Comfiest PJs

You all know that, up until recently, my Lars uniform was a puffy, flowy dress in any color or pattern I could find. I lived in dresses! In any weather or circumstance, I would never fail to don a dress. However, since welcoming Felix into the world and moving the Lars office into my home – I must admit, I have found a new uniform of choice. LOUNGEWEAR. Who knew I would ever become a loungewear gal?! NOT ME! Ha! 

In fact, this new obsession of mine has taken over my wardrobe so completely that most days I find myself sliding into full-on pajama territory. I basically wear the same thing night to day…and then night again. But honestly, I’m not even mad about it. The latest addition to my PJ drawer is this set from the Sleepy Jones + Purple collaboration. When my favorite sleepwear brand and mattress company put their minds together to create a new pair of PJs, you just know they will be the most comfortable item in your closet. 

How to Complete The Ultimate Cozy Look

My favorite part of these new Sleepy Jones + Purple Pajamas? THE STRETCH. I could go on and on about the stretch. Especially when my time is currently spent feeding Felix and working at the same time (somehow?!). I feel stretched thin, so of course I need my loungewear to feel stretchy too. They truly provide the all day comfort I have been longing for. 

I do need to tell you now though, ordering your own pair of Purple PJs is a fluffy, soft, and slippery slope that will inevitably lead to a full Purple bedtime set up. And that is where I find myself now, wearing my new pajamas, surrounded by new Purple SoftStretch Sheets, and Harmony Pillow. But can you blame me? “Stretch” and “harmony” are suddenly my two favorite words, especially to describe my sleeping situation. 

To complete my night time routine, I decided to add a DIY Sleeping Mask to match my new stretchy goodness made from a quilt (remember our quilted coat tutorial?!)! I am already dreaming of the endless good nights of rest I’ll be getting now and perhaps you might benefit from it as well!

DIY Quilted Sleeping Mask

Items made from quilts (like the now popular quilted coat) is the new black and so I had to try my hand at it. It helped that I had scraps leftover from when Romy made mine. Turns out, it makes the coziest sleeping mask (and you better believe I’ll also be turning it into a face mask!)

Supplies:

Sleep mask template, Quilt/top fabric, .25 yard satin fabric, .25 yard cotton batting, 2 12 inch lengths of .25 inch wide elastic, thread, scissors, sewing pins, fabric pen/pencil

Instructions:

  1. Print and cut out your template. Make sure that your printer settings are set to print actual size.
  2. Trace your template onto your quilt or top fabric, your satin, and your cotton batting. Cut these out. 
  3. With the front of the satin facing up, place the satin on top of the batting and pin in place. Pin the two strips of elastic to the satin/batting layer with the ends lining up where the triangular markings on the template are. Make sure that the elastic isn’t twisting and that they don’t cross.  
  4. With the front facing down, pin the quilt piece to the satin/batting layer. You now have a sleep mask sandwich with batting on the bottom, then satin facing up, then elastic, then your quilt piece facing down. 
  5. Mark two places at the top of your mask about three inches apart where you will start and stop the stitching. You need to leave this space so that you can flip your mask inside out. 
  6. With a seam allowance of 3/8ths of an inch, sew around the outside of your mask.
  7. Grade this seam by cutting the batting layer closer to the seam. This makes it so that the outside of your mask doesn’t have such a bulky section around the perimeter.
  8. Flip your mask inside out from the space you measured out in step 5. Now the end is in sight! You should have satin in the back and your quilt facing forward, with elastic to hold it to your face. 
  9. Gently iron your mask with the satin side down. When you do this, fold the raw edges from the hole under so that they blend in with the rest of the perimeter. Pin in place.
  10. Topstitch around the outside of the mask. This is where you will close the hole you left to flip it inside out.
  11. Following the seams in your quilt, stitch in the ditch to quilt together your layers. Trim all your threads, snuggle up in bed, and start snoozing.

Get Cozy

Once your DIY sleeping mask is complete, pair it with your own Sleepy Jones + Purple PJs for ultimate coziness. 

This post was sponsored by Purple. Thank you for interacting with this content, your support helps us create even more project tutorials and artful resources for you and your family. Thank you!

Becoming: Lynne Millar from the Lars Print Shop

Our Interview with Lynne Millar

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger versus what you do now?

When I was little I wanted to be a CIA agent. I really liked the idea of wearing sunglasses all the time and taking on different names. (The one I really hoped I’d get assigned was “Samantha”) Now that I’ve watched several seasons of Homeland I’m realizing that career would have been a terrible fit for me.

What sparked your interest in painting? How and when did you decide that you wanted to become a painter?

When I wasn’t forcing my little sisters to call me Samantha, I spent a lot of time drawing, painting and writing stories. My family lived right outside of Washington DC and my parents were so great about taking us to museums all the time, so art has always felt like an important part of the world to me. In college I was intimidated by the idea of being graded on my art – it felt too personal and scary to me – so I majored in Art History instead. It was a great choice. I loved every one of my classes, and having those years to marinate the stories of artists has given me so much to draw from and mainly, aspire to.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? Did you ever feel pressured to pursue a certain profession?

When I graduated from college I really thought I was going to pursue a graduate degree in Art History and hoped to eventually work in a museum. I ended up getting married and while my husband was in medical school I had a variety of random jobs – I worked at the medical school in a couple of different labs, I worked as a Montessori preschool teacher, and I took a lot of night classes at San Francisco’s Academy of Art.

I wanted to paint, more than anything, but lacked the confidence to take my dreams seriously, and also lacked an understanding of how I could build a sustainable career in art. When my husband started his residency we started our family, which kept me very busy. Years later, our youngest started preschool and I finally had reliable blocks of uninterrupted time that I committed to spend painting. I studied and practiced and threw myself into whatever classes I could take, and through instagram I met and became close with a group of artists who are a constant source of inspiration and mentorship.

Social media has really made it an option to be an artist on one’s own terms – you can define if you want to sell directly over instagram, work with print shops, develop gallery relationships, focus on shows… there is so much blessed flexibility in how you can shape and focus a painting career. And it’s been so invaluable to have good friends who are doing all of those things in different ways.

Now that you live in Central California, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work?

Having grown up on the east coast, settling in the Central Valley of California was a big aesthetic change for me. It took me some time to open my eyes to the beauty in the flatter, arid landscape. But now I’m happy to report that I love the big skies, the clusters of trees, and the beautiful gentle roll of the golden hills. Our town happens to have lots of fields where ranchers graze their sheep and cows, which I love seeing as we drive around doing our errands.

What is your favorite part of painting (i.e. conceptualizing, actually putting the brush to canvas, finalizing, etc.)?

Did you ever read Emily of New Moon, by LM Montgomery? The heroine Emily is a writer and when she’s hit by inspiration, she experiences something she calls “the flash,” where she is overcome by a wild desire to capture the essence of whatever powerful thing she’s just experienced. I think this is my favorite part of painting and I’ve learned that it’s something that you can cultivate in yourself: developing a sensitivity to the things in the world that you want to consume and express – or even just notice. My “flash” moments are never as dramatic as Emily’s but they make my life richer and happier, and it’s something that I’m actively working on all the time – cultivating a keen sense of notice and delight. This is the first and favorite part of being an artist for me.

What is a typical day like for you?

Since March, like many of you, 3 of my 4 kids have been home with me every day. Every Single Day. ALL THE TIME. I feel really lucky that they are a bit older (10, 13, 17 – my oldest is 19 and he’s flown the coop) so they have been able to be fairly independent in managing their distance learning and I’m theoretically able to work in my studio. (Bless you who are doing distance learning with younger kids!!) That being said, it’s a challenge to get into creative flow with the stopping and starting that’s part of living in a pandemic household – I find that I need to do many a surprise-check on my 10 year old to make sure she’s doing her school and not just playing minecraft. Before the pandemic, I had a pretty consistent routine of sending the kids off to school in the morning then painting from at least 10-2, but now it’s definitely a lot more loosey-goosey. I feel that I should be honest and acknowledge that some days, my studio has been a bit of a refuge. I’m so grateful that I have a space where I can go hide!

What is your workspace like? Has it changed since the pandemic?

We have a loft upstairs that I use for my studio. It has good light and room for me to store my unwieldy collection of art supplies and books and my easels and still life set-ups but to my point in the previous question, there is also a half-wall that divides the studio from the rest of the upstairs hallway. On the other side of the wall (the one inside my studio), we have tucked a sofa and I’ve discovered that if I lie down completely flat on the sofa, NO ONE CAN SEE ME!

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you?

I think the best art advice I’ve ever gotten was from my friend Vince: he’s a lot older than me and when I first started painting seriously, he told me that you learn way more from your crappy paintings than from the ones that work out. That’s been a lodestone for me for sure, because I make a lot of crappy paintings! And I think the advice has broader application as well – recognizing and fixing mistakes of all kinds is the work of a life.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of pursuing a career in a creative field?

My advice is to be flexible and proactive. And to not be shy about reaching out to other creatives to ask questions and create networks. Also, be prepared to work really really hard! When you are your own boss, nothing happens unless you just put your head down and do it/figure it out. Think of setbacks as opportunities to learn new skills and evaluate what skill you might need to learn to avoid that same setback in the future.

I have found that having a career in a creative field requires a very random collection of skills outside the actual skill of creating the art/product: navigating social media, building websites, understanding taxes, learning photo editing software, packaging & shipping, marketing, etc. Try and approach it all with glee, appreciating the many surprising things you find yourself capable of doing!

What artists and creatives do you look up to? Both historical and present.

Oh so many! Helene Schjerfbeck, Kathleen Speranza, Louise Balaam, Brian Kershisnik, Leslie Duke, Julia Hawkins, Maria Oakey Dewing, Cecilia Beaux, John Singer Sargent, Manet. Casically I admire all artists who strive to find their voice.

What has been inspiring you lately?

This summer and early fall was so hot and a bit miserable with the persistent smoke from the terribly tragic wildfires. With the cooler weather, the roses in our valley have begun to take off again. I must say that I find it to be incredibly poignant to see what nature offers up to us even as we are all in the midst of so much turmoil. It’s such a lesson in patience and hope.

How has COVID 19 affected your work and aspirations? Are there additional personal or professional interests you’d like to explore?

I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit like some tape has been ripped off of my soul in 2020. This year has been a time of profound re-orientation for me. I’ve realized how much suffering there is in the world that I’d had the dubious privilege of generally not paying attention to. I’ve been training to teach art classes at the correctional center in our county. During that training, I’ve plunging into the topic of restorative justice and the positive role that the arts can play in the healing of individuals. Doing that has opened a whole new realm of thinking for me. I have so much to learn and I’m really looking forward to this new experience.

Is there anything more you would like to “become?

I hope to come out of this year having become softer, more empathetic, more perceptive.

Where to find Lynne Millar

Shop her art collection in our Print Shop here.

Follow her on instagram!

 

This post is a part of our Becoming Series, where we interview creative women we admire. Click here to explore more interviews from this series!