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.”

DIY Reusable Lunch Sack

While I definitely don’t live the lifestyle described above, a colorful and eco-friendly reusable lunch sack is within my reach. I think it’s safe to say that it’s within yours, too! And maybe one day we’ll all be there with our imaginary put-together dream girl, living our best lives.

A wooden pear and banana tumble out of a colorblocked lunch sack on a yellow and pink backdropColorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Make Your Own Reusable Lunch Sack

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Materials

You’ll need some fabric (cotton is nice here) in a few fun colors, matching thread, scissors or a rotary cutter and mat, a ruler, sewing pins, an iron and ironing board, and a sewing machine.

step-by-step instructions showing how to make a reusable fabric lunch sackBrittany sits at a sewing machine and makes a beeswax snack wrap. She's wearing a striped green dress and surrounded by colorful, solid fabric.

Instructions

  1. First pick out your colors! We used three colors for each lunch sack.
  2. Download and print the DIY Reusable Sack Lunch Pattern.
  3. Measure out and cut your fabric. You’ll need two different colored rectangles that are 6×10″ for the front and back of the bag and two of the same colored rectangles that are 4×10″ for the sides of the bag.
  4. Pin the rectangles together along the long sides.
  5. Sew all the sides together. This will make a long strip.
  6. Press all the seams flat.
  7. Pin the end rectangles on the long side together (with the right sides together). This will make a loop.
  8. Sew the rectangles together and press the seams flat.
  9. Fold the fabric at one opening on the loop back toward the seam side half an inch. Fold it over again to hide the raw edge and pin.
  10. Sew the hem that you just pinned.
  11. Now let’s finish the bottom of the bag. Pin the bottom of the lunch sack together so that the seams between the front and back meet on either side of the side fabric.
  12. Sew the bottom of the lunch sack closed.
  13. From the bottom where you just sewed the lunch sack closed, set it on a flat surface so that the base forms a rectangle with triangular flaps coming off each side.
  14. Pin the triangular flaps and sew them from corner to corner. Repeat this for the other side. Now that the 2 triangular flaps are sewed cut off the excess fabric.
  15. Turn your lunch sack right side out and put together a great sack lunch! Yum!

Colorblocked lunch sack sitting on a wooden block surrounded by wooden fruit.

Brittany stands in her rainbow office wearing a green striped dress. Next to her on the desk are some colorblocked reusable lunch sacks.

Looking for more back to school inspiration? Check out these back to school stickers (and find them in our shop), this whiteboard upgrade, this apple paper lunchsack DIY, these creative homeschool activities, these dorm room tips and tricks, and more!

If you make these lunch sacks we’d love to see them! Tag us on Instagram with #LarsMakes and check out this video of our process!

Dye in every shade of the rainbow using natural ingredients and DIY Napkins

Nectar, which one might describe as being the Yellow of the Gods. Yellow, as defined by the dictionary, “is the color between green and orange in the spectrum, a primary subtractive color complementary to blue; colored like ripe lemons or egg yolks.” In the dictionary of Brittany Jepsen, I like to define it as “the happiest color.” Nectar is the most vibrant perfect yellow you have ever laid your eyes upon.

The second color of the year is…Artichaut! It’s a deep, rich green (think artichoke!). Some shades of green can be hard to use and fully appreciate at times when it’s not quite the right shade or hue, but it is impossible NOT to appreciate Artichaut.

Green is essentially the color of life. It is associated with nature, growth, harmony, and also envy but trust me, you aren’t going to be feeling any of that with this green in your kitchen! It is the perfect green to go in any home and it’s definitely the green that is going to get me a-cookin’!

Speaking of cooking, I decided that the best way to start cooking would be to “cook” up some natural dyes in the color of the rainbow to create the most beautiful linen napkins to accompany these gorgeous colored cookware. What can I say? Baby steps! From red cabbage to raspberries, the Lars team cooked up some colors that your eyes will not believe! 

Materials to dye with natural ingredients: 

Directions: 

Fabric Preparation: 

  1. Cut fabric to 17” x 17” squares using a rotary cutter. 
  2. Prep fabric for dyeing with vinegar and salt. For all of your vegetable based dyes, use vinegar to set them and for fruit based dyes you will use salt. 
  3. For the vinegar, pour 1 cup vinegar and 3 cups water into a pot and bring it to a boil. If you have a larger dye batch, be sure to adjust liquid measurements accordingly.
  4. Place your fabric into the vinegar water solution and let the fabric boil for one hour. 
  5. For the salt, pour 1/2 cup salt and 3 cups of water into a pot and bring it to a boil. If you have a larger dye batch be sure to adjust salt and liquid measurements accordingly.
  6. Place your fabric into the salt water solution and let the fabric boil for one hour. 
  7. Rinse and it’s now ready to use! 

While these are boiling you can get going on dyes!

How to dye red using natural ingredients

  1. Skin and cube the beets. 
  2. Pour water into the pot you are using for dyeing. For every 1 cup of beets you pour in you will want to add 2 cups of water. Be sure to adjust the measurements depending on how much dye you would like to make. You will want to make enough to fully submerge your fabric into the dye.   
  3. Pour the beets into the water.  
  4. Bring the water with beets to a boil. 
  5. Turn down the heat to a low. 
  6. Let simmer for an hour.
  7. Bring the beets and water to room temperature. 
  8. Remove beets with sieve. 
  9. Wet fabric with cold water. 
  10. Place wet fabric in the dye. 
  11. Let sit for a minimum of one hour. The longer you leave it in the dye the more vibrant the color will be. 
  12. Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse with cold water. 
  13. Set out to dry!

How to dye pink using natural ingredients

  1. Remove the stems from strawberries and any leaves from raspberries. 
  2. Pour water into the pot you are using for dying. For every 1 cup of fruit you pour in you will want to add 2 cups of water. Be sure to adjust the measurements depending on how much dye you would like to make. You will want to make enough to fully submerge your fabric into the dye.   
  3. Pour the strawberries and raspberries into the water.  
  4. Bring the water with fruit to a boil. 
  5. Turn down the heat to a low. 
  6. Let simmer for an hour. 
  7. Bring the beets and water to room temperature. 
  8. Remove beets with sieve. 
  9. Wet fabric with cold water. 
  10. Place wet fabric in the dye. 
  11. Let sit for a minimum of one hour. The longer you leave it in the dye the more vibrant the color will be. 
  12. Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse with cold water. 
  13. Set out to dry!

How to dye orange using natural ingredients

  1. Peel the dry skin off of the onion. 
  2. Pour water into the pot you are using for dying. For every 1 cup of peels you pour in you will want to add 2 cups of water. Be sure to adjust the measurements depending on how much dye you would like to make. You will want to make enough to fully submerge your fabric into the dye.   
  3. Pour the peels into the water.  
  4. Bring the water with peels in it to a boil. 
  5. Turn down the heat to a low. 
  6. Let simmer for an hour. 
  7. Bring the peels and water to room temperature. 
  8. Remove peels with sieve. 
  9. Wet fabric with cold water.
  10. Place wet fabric in the dye. 
  11. Let sit for a minimum of one hour. The longer you leave it in the dye the more vibrant the color will be. 
  12. Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse with cold water. 
  13. Set out to dry!

How to dye yellow using natural ingredients

  1. Peel your oranges and lemons. 
  2. Pour water into the pot you are using for dying. For every 1 cup of peels you pour in you will want to add 2 cups of water. Be sure to adjust the measurements depending on how much dye you would like to make. You will want to make enough to fully submerge your fabric into the dye.   
  3. Pour the peels into the water.  
  4. Bring the water with peels in it to a boil. 
  5. Turn down the heat to a low. 
  6. Let simmer for an hour. 
  7. Bring the peels and water to room temperature. 
  8. Remove peels with sieve. 
  9. Wet fabric with cold water.
  10. Place wet fabric in the dye. 
  11. Let sit for a minimum of one hour. The longer you leave it in the dye the more vibrant the color will be. 
  12. Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse with cold water. 
  13. Set out to dry! 

How to dye green using natural ingredients

  1. Measure out 1 cup of spinach. 
  2. Pour water into the pot you are using for dying. For every 1 cup of spinach you pour in you will want to add 2 cups of water. Be sure to adjust the measurements depending on how much dye you would like to make. You will want to make enough to fully submerge your fabric into the dye.   
  3. Pour the spinach into the water.  
  4. Bring the water with spinach in it to a boil. 
  5. Turn down the heat to a low. 
  6. Let simmer for an hour. 
  7. Bring the spinach and water to room temperature. 
  8. Remove spinach with sieve.
  9. Wet fabric with cold water. 
  10. Place wet fabric in the dye. 
  11. Let sit for a minimum of one hour. The longer you leave it in the dye the more vibrant the color will be. 
  12. Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse with cold water. 
  13. Set out to dry! 

How to dye purple using natural ingredients

  1. Measure out 1 cup of blueberries and blackberries. 
  2. Pour water into the pot you are using for dying. For every 1 cup of fruit you pour in you will want to add 2 cups of water. Be sure to adjust the measurements depending on how much dye you would like to make. You will want to make enough to fully submerge your fabric into the dye.   
  3. Pour the spinach into the water.  
  4. Bring the water with spinach in it to a boil. 
  5. Turn down the heat to a low. 
  6. Let simmer for an hour. 
  7. Bring the fruit and water to room temperature. 
  8. Remove fruit with sieve. 
  9. Wet fabric with cold water.
  10. Place wet fabric in the dye. 
  11. Let sit for a minimum of one hour. The longer you leave it in the dye the more vibrant the color will be. 
  12. Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse with cold water. 
  13. Set out to dry! 

How to dye blue using natural ingredients:

  1. Slice the cabbage. 
  2. Pour water into the pot you are using for dying. For every 1 cup of cabbage you pour in you will want to add 2 cups of water. Be sure to adjust the measurements depending on how much dye you would like to make. You will want to make enough to fully submerge your fabric into the dye.   
  3. Pour the beets into the water.  
  4. Bring the water with beets to a boil. 
  5. Turn down the heat to a low. 
  6. Let simmer for an hour. 
  7. Bring the cabbage and water to room temperature. 
  8. Remove cabbage with sieve. 
  9. Wet fabric with cold water.
  10. Place wet fabric in the dye. 
  11. Let sit for a minimum of one hour. The longer you leave it in the dye the more vibrant the color will be. 
  12. Remove the fabric from the dye and rinse with cold water. 
  13. Set out to dry!

Sewing a napkin:

We decided to complete our table with a homemade napkin using our dyes. Here’s how to get the look.

  1. Cut the fabric edges straight and trim away any strings that have frayed.
  2. Press the edges ½-inch to the back of the fabric and pin in place.
  3. Repeat step two so that all of your sides have been folded down twice. Press the edge fold and mark along the inside edge of the second fold with chalk.
  4. Once you have all the sides marked, unfold the second fold. Mark with a dot where your lines have intersected on all four corners.
  5. Bring the corners to meet the dots you have made.
  6. Make a deep crease and mark with chalk on that line. Make sure it is visible as this is the line you will be stitching through later.
  7. Fold the fabric so the corner is pointed and the line you made earlier is visible on both sides. Stitch through the line you marked. Start and end the stitch with back stitching.
  8. Cut the extra seam allowance and press the seam open.
  9. Turn the edge inside out and stitch along the folds to keep it in place! 
  10. Once you have completed these steps you can finish the napkin edge with a tight zig-zag stitch along the edge. 
  11. To create the zig zag edge place your machine on the zig-zag stitch, your stitch width at 1 and your needle position at 5. 
  12. Finish each edge with the zig-zag stitch in a  contrasting color for a fun decoration!
  13. Trim any thread hanging off. 

Le Creuset colors of the year

We loved working on this rainbow project that was so beautifully brought to life by our friends at Le Creuset.  We now want to dye everything these incredible shades of the rainbow and do all of our dying in their dutch ovens! *Hint* we’re thinking tablecloths! I may not be the best cook but something tells me I may just be doing a bit more cooking thanks to these gorgeously colored items!

Be sure to tag us so we can see your incredible creations with #larsmakes!  

This post is sponsored by Le Creuset. We love our sponsors who allow us to create beautiful, original content for you! 

My Body Needs a Vegetable! Easy Recipes For the Cooking-Averse

You know how some “easy recipes” are actually ridiculously complex? 🙄 Um, excuse me. I’m looking for low effort, high reward meals, so I definitely don’t want to have to julienne anything. Who do you think I am?

Finding an easy recipe

When I say that I want an easy recipe, here’s what I mean:

  • MAXIMUM two pots or pans, but ideally one.
  • No special equipment necessary. Please just assume that I only have/know how to use the basics.
  • It shouldn’t take more than an hour to make.
  • No more than 5-10 ingredients are allowed, but preferably 5. This recipe was pushing it with 9 ingredients, but my team justified to me that salt, pepper, and olive oil hardly count because they’re countertop staples.
  • If I have to pay close attention to anything that might suddenly burn, boil over, or be suddenly ruined, I’m out.

That’s one of the reasons I love Smitten Kitchen recipes. Sure, she has some more advanced meals and recipes, and when someone else is cooking I’m all for them. But Deb, the author and founder of Smitten Kitchen, seems like someone who really knows what I mean when I say that I want an easy recipe. And I love her for it.

Brittany puts a mint leaf into a bowl of bowtie pasta with peas and cheese. She has a yellow-painted thumbnail.

My fate in your hands

My team chose a few recipes that they thought I could handle, and then turned my culinary fate over to you in an Instagram poll. You chose this pasta with peas, lemon, and ricotta, and let me say– good choice! I didn’t do a perfect job and my taste buds still aren’t up to par (thanks, COVID), but even so it was very good, and I would make it again. That’s right, even though I hate cooking I would subject myself to this recipe repeatedly. That’s high praise.

Brittany cuts a lemon open. Her fingernails are painted spectacularly with checkers, flowers, and lines. Brittany grates cheese while wearing a light blue apron with red poppies.

You can watch me muddle my way through this recipe in this video!

More easy recipes

Here are some more easy recipes that the team likes making. We’ll see if I get around to making them, but they’re all Lars-approved via the team.

Lars Recipes

Over the years I’ve released a few recipes on the blog. They’re clearly mostly desserts (which are much more motivating to make than nutritious meals, sorry!), so satisfy your sweet tooth and learn a new recipe with these!

Thanks to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe and instructions! Do you have any favorite easy recipes? Send them my way!

In The Mood: Hamilton Inspired Home Decor

How to fill your home with the feeling of Hamilton

If you are unfamiliar with Hamilton, you’ve got to remedy that. Allow this piece to be your introduction into the hit musical. It chronicles the life of Alexander Hamilton who was one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. He was born in the West Indies as an illegitimate child, and his parents died before he reached adulthood. Through hard work, sacrifice, and a fair bit of schmoozing, Alexander made his way to New York and befriended Revolutionaries, forever tying his fate with that of the Fledgling United States. Since the play is based on history, spoilers aren’t really a thing… Just to pique your interest, there is a love triangle, rumors, and even a gun duel. Spoiler: it ends in death. Oh and there’s rap. It’s definitely worth the watch. 

Below you will find our tips on how you fill your home with inspiration from this hit musical!

Be inspired by Colonial Style

Before writing this piece, I actually looked up pictures of Alexander Hamilton’s home. It’s  called The Grange and still stands in New York City though it is much changed. It is totally symmetrical with matching piazza patios, stately lines, mouldings, and mantles. As a result, it has an incredibly airy feel. Neoclassical design deeply influence the Colonial Era. That last bit is super important, as it is what separates Hamilton-inspired design from the Farmhouse look. Alexander Hamilton would shudder if someone were to suggest his architectural choices had anything to do with farming.

Hamilton inspired decor for your home’s exterior

Curate meaningful collections

The easiest way to incorporate this kind of design into your space is through careful collection. It might not be realistic to build ionic columns throughout your whole house or rebuild it to be symmetrical. But, you can collect pieces inspired by the Neoclassical Era. Handmade wooden furniture, ornate trinkets, classic colors, statuettes, gold or brass fixtures, and elaborately patterned textiles all have their place in a Hamilton home. I recommend you search high and low. Buy some pieces new from fancy stores, but also enjoy the hunt in antique shops and the exhilaration of winning an eBay or Facebook marketplace bid. If you can curate a collection of similar items, like antique candlesticks, lanterns, or porcelain dish-ware, those pieces will shine together and become showstoppers.

Hamilton inspired decor for your living room

Fill your home with nostalgia

Part of why the musical is so popular is because it plays on America’s own heritage while reinterpreting it. Alexander Hamilton personified the American Dream. He came from hardship but made it through. He also made mistakes and was complicit in the evils of his time. Despite these contradictions, he tried to set up a nation that would build a better future. People respond to that kind of thing. We’re all complicated. As you curate a Hamilton inspired home, think about your personal history. How can you incorporate that into your home? Paintings that remind you of your favorite places, old books you loved long ago, and photographs of days gone by are all great pieces that will make your space yours. Don’t fret  about it all becoming too complex or not cohesive. You are the unifying theme

Hamilton inspired decor for your bedroom

Form a modern interpretation of the past

If you’re worried about this style complimenting modern ones, don’t be!! The contradictions of Alexander Hamilton and within the play are what inspires good design. The play is a contemporary take on Colonial themes. Your interpretation of Hamilton-design will also be a contemporary take. Design inspired by the musical is bound to be lively, yet stately. That combination really excites me. Colonial America is the setting, but the music is totally inspired by contemporary hip hop and rap. Translating all of this into a visual style requires a keen and selective eye. You got this. Be willing to do a little mixing-and-matching as you incorporate Hamilton into your modern home! 

One of our past interns, Jess Whittaker, illustrated these Hamilton inspired prints we love! This is a fun way to add some Hamilton inspiration into your home without needing to embrace full on colonial style. You can find them here in her shop! You can read more about Jess here and find some of her whimsical work in our shop as well!

More Hamilton Inspired Home Decor

For your kitchen

For the bathroom

 

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 the past posts in this series!

Anne of Green GablesEmma WoodhouseIris ApfelWes Andersonthe Royal FamilyLittle Women, Monet, and Alexander Girard

Snacks For Kids and Jasper’s Cooking Show

To be quite honest, finding snacks for kids isn’t very hard in my household because Jasper does all the finding himself. 🙄 He’s been known to eat an entire stick of butter, chunks of garlic (why??), whole tubs of ice cream (though who can blame him)…you get the idea. Say what you will about the boy, he’ll never starve!

Jasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Still, I’d rather he ate food a little less…chaotically. Like, wouldn’t it be nice if instead of just finding an empty butter wrapper and lots of greasy fingerprints, then putting together the clues I handed him a plate of something healthy? Even better, wouldn’t it be nice if Jasper were able to assemble some reasonable food on his own? It sounds pretty great to me.

Jasper holds a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. His hands are in focus.

I know that it can be hard to think up intentional snacks for kids when you have a hangry toddler hanging onto your leg. So why not give the toddler some ideas so he can come up with his own snacks? Nothing could go wrong, right?

Without further ado, I present:

Cooking with Jasper: Ants on a Log

Watch me teach Jasper to make my culinary magnum opus, ants on a log!

It will probably be a few years before I can set Jasper free in the kitchen with total confidence (did you see that knife grab? 😮 Yikes!!). Still, ants on a log is definitely a snack that kids can make without too much help.

My 5 go-to snacks for kids

Ants on a log

  1. Wash and slice celery into 3-4 inch lengths.
  2. Spread some peanut butter into the celery divot.
  3. Top with raisins. Tadaa!

ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Apples and cheese

  1. Slice your favorite cheddar cheese.
  2. Slice some apples.
  3. Put the cheese on the apples. A salty and sweet symphony.

Snack-uterie board

Okay, this one takes some more time. But I’d much rather arrange food than actually cook it, so I don’t mind.

  1. Gather your and your kid’s favorite snacks. I like using crackers, dried and sliced fruit, a few cookies, popcorn, cheeses, a few candies, and some sliced ham.
  2. Arrange your treats on the board. This is where the craftiness kicks in!
  3. Enjoy the tasty spread of snacks and treats together.

Snack-uterie boards are perfect for movie nights, game nights, or other times when the family is all sitting around and snacking. Check out my most recent one, the Char-boo-terie board, and my original Painted Charcuterie board.

a painted charcuterie board loaded with colorful snacks.A ghost-shaped halloween snack board on a black background.

Babybel and wheat thins

You know those babybel cheeses that come in the cute red wax wrappers? I think they’re great snacks for kids because they’re compact and don’t require any knives or slicing, and they’re delicious. They’re delicious, and the wax wrappers are also fun to model into little shapes.

  1. Unwrap your cheese.
  2. Use a stiff cracker (like a wheat thin) to chop of some of the cheese, and enjoy.

hummus with pita strips, carrots, and celery

  1. Spoon some hummus into a bowl.
  2. Slice a few pitas into strips or triangles (bonus points if you toast them first, but it’s not necessary).
  3. Wash and slice a few carrots and celery sticks into 3-4 inch sticks.
  4. Dip, then relish the combination of creamy and crunchy.

Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.

What are your go-to snacks for kids? I’d love to hear what your favorites are (and add them to my snacking arsenal)!

Christmas Tablescape

tablescape with mantlepiece

Christmas in the Studio

We spend pretty much all of our time in the studio here at The House that Lars Built. That means we certainly draw a lot of inspiration from each other, here on the team, as well as the many lovely bits of potential on the walls, floor, ceiling, etc. If it’s in the studio, you can bet we’ve probably mused about all the things we can use it for. So we got to thinking, if we’re in the studio so much, why not make a studio Christmas tablescape that highlights the things we love about our studio?!

tablecloth with centerpiece

Tablescape Inspiration

This Christmas tablescape’s inspiration came straight from the heart of Lars, triggered by our collaboration with the one and only Spoonflower. We knew we wanted it to feel festive and bright, so naturally, we picked a lovely checkerboard pattern of reds, pinks, and oranges to pair with the light, bubblegum pink of the studio floor. From there, we brought in a smorgasbord of golds and greens for the centerpiece and flatware. We topped it off with a backdrop featuring our charming poinsettias, greenery, and a smattering of what we’ve been working on in the studio! You can’t get more Lars than that.

trees and tablecloth

How to Recreate Our Christmas Tablescape

You may be wondering, how can I recreate this Christmas tablescape? Step right this way. What I love about this tablescape is that it’s so magical, yet feels so real and down to earth at the same time. The best part is, it’s simple and totally doable to recreate!

Here’s how to recreate your own Team Lars Christmas Tablescape:

 

The Tablecloth and Napkins

 

As I always say, the tablecloth and napkins are the key to creating a successful tablescape. They draw you in and set the tone for the entire occasion. That means it’s imperative that you be happy with them, first and foremost! Well, to say we were happy with our tablecloth and napkins would be an understatement. Spoonflower blew us away! The bright colors, together with the fun, checkerboard pattern were just the things we needed to get the inspiration flowing for the rest of the tablescape.

top view trees and table

We found our tablecloth and napkin fabric pattern here, along with other options we were considering. We went through a lot of options, and it was so hard to settle on just one. Feel free to peruse the options; Spoonflower has so many great ones.

As a note, we had some fun with our napkin folding for this tablescape. If you haven’t seen our full napkin-folding post, check it out here! It’s amazing what a fancily-folded napkin will do. We used the simple accordion fold for these napkins.

table setting with centerpiece

The Flatware, Glasses, and Plates

Target was our go-to for flatware, glasses and plates. We chose a classic gold for the flatware, glasses flecked with gold, and a dark cyan for the plates. The contrast between the dark, cool, cyan and the brighter reds, pinks, and oranges of the Spoonflower tablecloth and napkins was striking and eye-catching.

place setting

Tablescape Centerpiece and Decorations

For our Christmas tablescape centerpiece, we wanted something that felt Christmasy and would contrast nicely with the tablecloth and napkins. We decided to go with our tried-and-true crepe paper bottlebrush trees in various green shades. Then we added in some sparkling, gold accents and confetti. For the mantlepiece behind, we gathered pine boughs and some of our lovely paper poinsettias. Those elements, paired with some other inspiration we picked up around the studio fit amazingly with the rest of the tablescape.

tablecloth and napkin

Oh, and did I mention the pink floor?! It was one of those moments where I knew we’d made the right decision on that pink epoxy flooring, as tricky as it was. Naturally, not everyone has a pink epoxy floor for their tablescape, but that’s okay! Luckily, a rug like this, this or this can help complete the look in a similar way. Just try to pick something that won’t detract from that amazing Spoonflower tablecloth or napkins.

centerpiece

Shop the look

Here are just a few of the options we were considering. There are so many beautiful ones, we would love to see what you choose!

More Inspiration

Loved this post on our Lars Christmas Tablescape? Looking for more tablescape ideas? Here are some great ones you’ll probably love (bonus: many of them feature some lovely Spoonflower fabrics!). Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Tablescape, When Life Hands You Lemons Tablescape and Care Package, and Thanksgiving Table Decor.

 

Home Organization Tools and Tips for Spring Cleaning

We are in such an organizing mood right now, we arranged our favorite spring cleaning tools by room! Search for exactly what you need to make your home organization a million times easier.

Home office organization

There has never been a more vital time to update your home office. Click here to check out our tips on creating a home office that matches your personality and work style! And use these products below to turn your office into a space where the amazing ideas will just keep coming!

 

Our favorite organization tool

If you know anything about Lars, you know that we’re susceptible to piles of crafting supplies all over our studio! Creativity surely needs a little chaos! However, creativity needs structure as well, and that’s why we’re delighted to showcase our favorite organization product, our very own Dreambox from Create Room.

Perhaps you saw our earlier post about how much we love our Dreambox? We stuffed it full of craft supplies and it made our crafting a million times better, no exaggeration. That’s why we feel fully confident in recommending this product to you, to expedite your spring cleaning organization overhaul. You can fill it with crafting supplies, like we did, anything from paper and pens to sewing supplies!

Sale Alert

And the best news is, they’re having a sale RIGHT NOW! You can save over $600 on the Dreambox, including pre-built services and accessories. We smell a Mother’s Day gift! Click here and use code “LARSDREAMBOX600” for $200 off your Dreambox, $200 Pre-Built service (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio), and Up to $212 off accessories (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio.)

Honestly, there is no limit to what you can store in the Dreambox. It is the perfect tool to greater element of organization to your office, craft space, or homeschool stations. If anything, you should perhaps be planning for what you’ll fill all your freed-up space with after your spring cleaning! If you need more ideas, dig into our archives for decor-oriented crafts after you get organized!

Bedroom and bathroom organization

Your bedroom will become a calming sanctuary when clutter is out of site and out of mind.

Kid’s room organization

Your children will be begging to tidy their rooms with these fun new storage tools. At least, that’s the daydream, right?

Kitchen organization

The center of the home, and the biggest sign of the state of your mind. A tidy kitchen makes a world of difference!

Living room organization

With all family members at home more than ever before, add in some simple storage options to get everyone on board with a quick clean.

 

 

 

Where to make important investments in your cheap renovation (hint: flooring!)

Is there such thing as a quick and cheap renovation?

Here’s the thing–when we were first planning our “quick and cheap” renovation, I was literally going to put the ugliest, cheapest carpet on the market EVERYWHERE in the house. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to get invested in it. I wanted to take the decision making out of everything and go cheap and quick. I spotted some carpet scraps at ReStore and was ready to move forward. End of discussion.

And, though I run a DIY blog, my husband and I are not, how do we say, “handy” people. I mean, like I can nail things into a wall and screw in lightbulbs and such and Paul is really good (talented even) at lifting heavy objects, but ummm, we are definitely not getting a show on HGTV anytime soon. I’m more of a lightweight in the home improvement arena. And Paul is good at cooking.

But…we were going to attempt to do it ourselves. Ugh. I cringe just thinking about it! I don’t know how to put carpet in. But they make it look SO easy on YouTube!

And THEN, you realize ok, if we’re spending even just a “little” bit on ugly carpeting, well, that’s $—- on something when it could be applied to something nice and then it avalanches from there. PLUS, it’s such a waste in general to put in stuff you’ll just be taking out.

This is what I had resolved to do:

You see where I’m going here.

So then we decide, well, maybe flooring is the one spot we should invest in since it’s really the foundation for the whole house. And it’s so bare now and would have to do a lot of work to rip it back up again…

I went on the hunt for some beautiful flooring and came across Stuga and I was smitten. And maybe you can see why: Stuga works directly with Scandinavia’s most innovative manufacturers to curate a selection of sustainably harvested, crafted, and engineered floors that you can easily browse, sample, and buy online.

So, first they roped me in with their Scandinavian angle. Having lived in Denmark for the first few years of our marriage with my Danish husband, this was big a bonus because I know that Scandinavia does floors excellently. They are hardwood fanatics. PLUS, they believed in sustainability long before it became a buzzword and designed their products to preserve forests. They also removed all solvents and toxic glues found in other engineered floors. Plus, they’re beautiful!

I first spotted them over at Chris Loves Julia and I LOVE how it turned out. So beautiful! I especially loved the treatment to the stairs. So I requested a number of samples:

Lighting is always the curse that comes with seeing examples of flooring online, well, in person too for that matter. Here’s what we are considering and I’d LOVE your feedback on which one you would choose. I’ll be walking you through it over on Instastories too.

A few things to note about our preferences: I tend to gravitate towards warmer tones. And though I love wide plank, I feel like our traditional home needs to be slightly more narrow.

Perhaps I’m going too much into the little details. I know most people like a good before and after, and we’ll get there at some point, but because this is such a big project for us and there is so much $$$$ and time and investment on the line, we are going into the nitty gritty. You can tell me when it gets boring, capeesh?

This post is sponsored by Stuga but all opinions are my own.

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!

A Lars Girl’s Back to School Guide

I put together a back to school themed roundup of my favorite school supplies and dorm essentials, so if I can’t start a new semester in a few weeks at least I can shop as if I were!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Lars-Approved School Supplies

If you look at them the right way, school supplies are the educational version of craft supplies. At least I get excited about them as if they were. Here are my current favorites!

I also put together a list of my current favorite laptop covers and stickers, which you can see here. Another great addition to your back to school supply list is this DIY beeswax wrap and this reusable lunch sack.

My friend Michele Brummer Everett designed these back to school stickers, and they’d be the perfect addition to your water bottle, notebook, or laptop.

back to school stickers on notebooks

Dorm Room Design

In the college town where I live, the end of August means lots of new students being dropped off at dorms for their first-ever foray into living outside their parents’ house. That means that there are LOTS of fresh-faced students moving into drab, depressing dorm rooms and shabby apartments. Check out this post full of rental-friendly interior design hacks to level up your space. And here are my favorite additions to any student housing situation:

If you’re looking for more dorm inspiration, check it out here and here.

Any time you buy something from our affiliate links, we get a small commission at no cost to you! Hooray!

Our new hardwood flooring and how to care for it

Which Stuga floor did we go with?

Which selection did we go with? I showed you ten options in the last post (remember these?) and…drumroll please….The winner is….
TIVOLIThey name all their flooring after Scandinavian inspired names or features and Tivoli, the famous charming amusement mark in the middle of Copenhagen, was the site of our first date, so it was only appropriate 😉 AND it’s our anniversary today so this flooring selection is really bringing us full circle I guess!
Mind you, Tivoli was not in your top 7 choices–ha! The top choices from you were Mead and Lucia. Here were the options again (you can see them here) BUT I love something on the warmer side and I wanted something a bit thinner without too much grain and Tivoli was the clear choice in person.
HOWEVER, when I received it, I opened up one box and the one I happened to open was SUPER grainy and a bit green:
I.got.nervous.
And then Paul calmly opened up the next box and then the next and turns out? Each one is super different! One may be more red, the other less grainy, the next more yellow and it’s kind of this mix and when you put it all together it is LOVELY. The depth of all the colors and textures makes it super interesting without being distracting. I LOVE MY FLOORS.

Making it into the house

Anywoo, just getting the shipment of hardwood flooring in was the biggest deal to me that I recorded the whole thing. And it came with its own share of drama. Our house is perched on an incline so no big trucks can get up there, and if they did, there’s no room for them to turn around and come back since it’s a cul-de-sac. SO, I called Paul in a panic and he came with a good friend of ours and helped the guy unload each crate and then transport each box up to the house. Thankfully, I’m pregnant, so I have a great excuse to not pitch in 😉

Here’s how the process worked, but I’ll be sharing more about the installation process in the next blog post.

What did we do to the stairs ?

And then they came back the next week and put the stairs in with the specially made Stuga stair nosings. We went with the square nosings, which is much more modern than I’ll be going with the rest of the house but I think it freshens up the house quite a bit and I’m here for it! I LOVE where it’s going. We still need to finish the top half (not seen) and add in banisters, but in the mean time, it’s so beautiful! Jasper, don’t come near here!

How to care for our Stuga floors

As you can imagine with this type of project, we have a ton of foot traffic from contractors of all kinds and their footprints are not what we would call gentle so this flooring is probably going through more now than hopefully it will ever again. BUT, I do love what Stuga says to maintain it.
Their first piece of advice is to treat your hardwood flooring like the Scandinavians do by taking off your shoes. I know this is common practice in a lot of homes throughout the world and frankly, though I lived in Denmark for awhile, I still don’t adopt it BUT you better believe we will be! And fun fact: a lot of Danes, probably others too, typically leave a basket by the door with extra slippers you can put on. Hyggligt!
We also don’t have window coverings at this point–only plastic from the previous owners who were about to paint, so I’m terrified of the sun’s exposure on the wood. It does patina over time and I’m looking forward to that, but I don’t want to accelerate it you know? I’ll be getting something up soon!

Other than that, I ordered the floor care kit and it comes with everything I need to take care of it. Pretty much it’s what you might expect light water. They also say that you can sand the floor down twice and that’s pretty much only if you want to restain the wood. So we are good for a long time!

And because we need to add in something adorable, here’s a little before and after of Jasper on the floor.

Ok! I’d love to hear your thoughts on our hardwood flooring selection. I know it’s not what most of you chose, but can you see it now?
ALSO curious if you’re like the Scandinavians and take off your shoes at the door?

This post is sponsored by Stuga but all opinions are my own.