Guide to Spring City, Utah

 

Guide to Spring City, Utah

A few years ago I was invited to go down to Spring City with some friends to celebrate Pioneer Day, a state holiday here in Utah. We were guided around the town by Spring City native, Zina Bennion, whose family settled there in the 70s and helped turn it into the artist destination that it is today. Zina is a wealth of knowledge about many things but especially about Utah history and artists as both of her parents are well-respected artists and she grew up immersed in that community. Zina is sharing her guide to her hometown with us.

Before we start, you might be wondering why you even need to know about this little town in Nowheresville, Utah. I would have wondered the same thing before visiting. First off, this place is a little piece of magic. Second, only two complete towns in the US are listed on the National History Registry–Spring City and Williamsburg, Virgiina. Additionally, Forbes listed it as one of the top prettiest towns in America. Who would have thought?!

So, without further ado, here’s Zina!

History of Spring City, Utah

Spring City is located in almost the geographic center of Utah (the actual center is further south between Manti and Ephriam) in beautiful Sanpete County. It is known as a historic treasure with the entire town is on the National Historic Registry as the best example of a Mormon Pioneer village. In the past 40 years it has become an inspiration and home for many artists and arts enthusiasts and in 2010 Forbes listed it as one of the top prettiest towns in America!

Spring City was founded in 1852 by Englishman James Allred under the direction of Brigham Young. The early inhabitants of the town were predominantly English and Danish, (and for a long time there was a healthy rivalry between the two groups) who brought with them the architectural styles of their homelands which they adapted to the materials of the area. Many homes, and the chapel are built from gorgeous creamy off white Oolite limestone (the same stone the Manti temple is built from) quarried from nearby hills.

At one point the town boasted a theater, several stores and gas stations, but after WWII the population gradually declined and by the mid 1970’s it was officially deemed a ghost town. However, slowly people started to rediscover this hidden gem and lovingly restore the historic homes and bringing to life the town’s original charm.

Spring City is located off of Highway 89 between Mt. Pleasant and Ephriam. It is about a two hour drive from Salt Lake City, and an hour or so from Provo. It makes for a perfect day trip or weekend getaway and feels like stepping back in time with the vivid history and slower pace of life. Here is

Events in Spring City

Spring City has a number of organized events each year that are a great way to experience the town.

  • Heritage Days: Probably the very best way to see Spring City is to attend the annual Heritage Days celebration that takes place every year over Memorial Day weekend. If you enjoy peeking in other people’s homes (who doesn’t!) this day is your jam. Each year dozens of gorgeous historic homes are open for you to tour, talk to the owner, and peek to your hearts content.
    • In addition there is a silent auction called Art Squared where artists like Brian Kershisnik, Lee Udall Bennion, Doug Fryer, and more paint a 24” x 24” panels which go up for silent auction. At the Spring City Old School there is a KILLER antique sale, there is a Sanpete style turkey BBQ for lunch, wagon rides, and pottery and artisan sale, and more!
  • Artist’s Studio tour and Plein Air painting competition:  Art lovers! This event is for you! Every Labor Day Weekend artists from all over the state come to compete in a Plein Air painting competition for two days (September 2 – 4th) which culminates in a winner and a show where you can buy the paintings (September 5th). In addition on September 5th many of the artists who live and work in Spring City will have their studios and galleries open for you to tour (again, who doesn’t love to peek in someone else’s space!?).
  • Concerts at the Spring City Arts Center: Spring City Arts is a community group that is dedicated to promoting artists, and the arts in the Sanpete County community. They run a cooperative gallery where you can stop by anytime to see (and purchase!) art. In addition they help host classes and events. You can keep track of upcoming events here.
  • Life Under the Horseshoe Live Radio Show: Move over Serial . . . the next big thing in radio is Spring City’s very own live radio show Life Under the Horseshoe. Every episode is written, directed, and acted by town locals, and performed live in the historic Victory Hall on Main Street. Live shows usually run early April through mid-July.
  • Bluegrass Festival: Every summer all the fiddles, mandolins, guitars and banjos make their way to Spring City for a few days of good tunes, good, people and lots of laughs. If Bluegrass is your thing, you won’t want to miss this.
  • 24th of July Pioneer Day Celebration: The 24th of July is a state holiday in Utah commemorating the arrival of the first Mormon Pioneers in the Salt Lake valley. While Salt Lake hosts a huge parade and events, it’s Spring City’s celebration that is really worth attending. The parade is filled with local talent, tons of salt water taffy being thrown, and is just the right length. There are BBQ’s, Pioneer games, softball tournaments, fireworks and more. It’s pretty much the best day ever. The end.

Self Guided Trip in Spring City

  • Historic Homes: Even if you can’t go inside, just driving (or walking or riding bikes) around town and looking at the old homes is so fun. Here is a pretty comprehensive guide to many of the old homes and the history of each home. Make sure you click the “older posts” link at the bottom to get to all the pages with old homes on them.
  • You might also want to stop by one of the local shops like Horseshoe Mountain Pottery (it’s never locked) or the gas station to pick up a copy of the book Spring City Guide to Architecture and History which includes a detailed tour of all historic buildings, their history, architectural notes, and color photos. Proceeds go to benefit ongoing preservations projects by the Friends of Historic Spring City.
  • Or, you can schedule a tour of Spring City with local historian and Spring City expert Kaye Watson by calling her at 435-462-2211.
  • Landmarks:
    • Historic Chapel: The crowning jewel of historic Spring City is the gorgeous LDS chapel in the heart of the town. Built out of the iconic Oolite limestone between 1902 – 1911 this building has always been the center of both religious and community gathering for the people of Spring City.
      • In the 1970’s the chapel was slated to be torn down and replaced with a more modern meeting house (c’mon 70’s??? Why so many bad architectural choices?) but the residents of the town fought hard to preserve this building their ancestors sacrificed to built. Eventually it went all the way to the President of the LDS church to gain clearance to instead make a historically compatible addition to provide a gymnasium as a part of the church. Today this lovely building is considered one of the top 15 most important historic buildings of the LDS church.  

spring-city-utah-historic-chapel dsc_0546_adjboth of above photos are from ldsarchitecture.wordpress.com

spring-city-utah-chapel-exterior

Photo from Patheos.com

    • Pioneer Cemetery: 240 N 100 E The pioneers of Spring City established a cemetery at this location in 1857. It is in the shape of the State of Utah. Many of the markers are made of local sandstone, and the elements have washed away some of the names and dates.
      • This cemetery was nearly covered with wooden markers, mostly children’s graves. Some graves were marked with only a square stone at the head and a smaller one at the foot, and still others with a pile of rocks. The last person buried here was Isaac Morton Behunin in 1910. PS see if you can find the grave of  Lars Alexander Justesen!
    • Old School: One of the most iconic and gorgeous buildings in Spring City is the old school. Built in 1899 this stately school was used through the mid 1900’s until a newer school was built right next to it (which has itself been replaced by a newer school and now houses the city offices).
      • In 1977 the old school was deeded to the local chapter of Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) for $1.00 and ever since then a very long slow restoration project has been eeking along. In recent years great progress has been made and they are in their final push to raise the money they need to fully restore this beauty as a thriving community center. (You can help! Go here!) Here is a full timeline of this labor of love.
    • spring-city-school

photo from here 

  • Art:

    • Spring City Arts Gallery: Main street, the block before the chapel on the east side of the street in the old Strate’s Garage building. This co-op run gallery features artwork from members of the Spring City Arts organization and is run by the artists. Summer hours are Wed – Saturday Noon – 5:00 pm
    • Black Sheep Gallery: Main Street, across the street to the north of the gas station. Home and studio of Lynn Farrar aka Sophie Soprano. Lynne’s work ranges from landscapes to portraits of animals, while her alter ego Sophie paints whimsical imaginings of rural Spring City life.  
    • Horseshoe Mountain Pottery: Main Street, a block past the chapel on the west side of the street. World renown pottery (and my dad!) Joe Bennion has shown is work and taught in places like Japan, Latvia, LA, and beyond, but made the intentional decision to sell primarily from his home studio in Spring City.
      • He practices an open door policy and never locks the shop, trusting customers to pay for what they take and leave the money in a lock box in the gate that separate the showroom from his studio. If you’re lucky you’ll catch him there working, but if not just check at Das Cafe or call the number he leaves to have him come down and give you a tour. Also, bonus, all pottery is ½ off the marked priced any time you shop directly from the shop.Horseshoe Mountain Pottery

Photo from here

    • Jock Jones Windsor Chairs: Main street, directly across the street from the historic chapel. Jock Jones is a master chair builder who hand crafts some of the finest (and most comfortable!) wooden chairs and tables in America. You won’t want to miss seeing his amazing studio and meeting this living legend.
  • Eats:
    • Spring City Spring: Spring City is not named after the delightful season, but actually has delicious, cool fresh spring water- or as my family calls it ‘Spring City White Wine’. The spring bubbles up in the center of town through a historic marker located at the one gas station. Stop and get a drink and fill up your water bottles, maybe also bring huge jugs to fill up and take home with you. It’s the best water in the world.
    • Das Cafe: If you go to Spring City and miss eating as Das Cafe you have basically failed. JK JK, but really you DO NOT want to miss eating the delicious German home cooking by the beautiful Schroeder sisters and their family who run this darling and delicious place. For breakfast you can’t go wrong with Opa’s Omelette, or their amazing oatmeal (with ALL the works), or if you are really hungry the Big Max will feed you for days.
      • Lunch is all delicious (I’m partial to the Kraut Burger and the Reuben) but if they are doing their Goulash for a special do not miss it! Be forewarned they are closed Sunday and Monday and are only open till 3:00 pm.
    • Zona Barrio Grill: Guys, I’ll be honest. I haven’t eaten here yet! But I have heard RAVE reviews. It’s fresh, elevated Mexican and is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Sleeps: If you want to make a weekend getaway of your trip to Spring City you are in luck! There are several darling B&B’s so you can stay in one of these historic cuties and live out your fantasy of being a Spring City Pioneer.

Nearby Spring City

While Spring City is really the best town in the county, the rest of Sanpete County is pretty darling and fun to explore as well. Here are just a few of my favorite hidden gems you won’t want to miss:

Fairview

  • Fairview Museum: This place is so so awesome if you love small town museums. There are two buildings, one houses a full scale mammoth skeleton that is a copy of an actual full mammoth skeleton that was found in the mountains above Fairview. There is also an amazing little art collection, and collection of local Native American artifacts and a little gift shop that has antiques at screaming low prices.
    • The other building houses any and all interesting artifacts from the city of Fairview’s history including a tree that grew through a sewing machine, old farm tools, an entire room dedicated to dioramas made by a local man, and much more.
  • Corner Station: The Corner Station on Main Street in Fairview is a darling shop filled with gifts, decorations, and children’s toys – all with a vintage feeling. This is my go to shop for children’s gifts and vintage style decor.

Mt. Pleasant

  • Nevan’s Thrift Store: Nevan’s Thrift Store is a total treasure trove. You have to dig, but one room is filled with consignment items and I’ve scored some amazing antiques there for great prices. It’s totally worth a stop, but be warned they are closed Mondays.
  • Wasatch Academy: Founded in 1875, Wasatch Academy is the second oldest educational institution in the state of Utah, and hardly anyone knows about it! This hidden treasure is an amazing college prep boarding school that boasts students from all over the United States and globe (last I checked 50 countries and 28 states!). It’s a beautiful campus to drive around, and if you are interested in a tour just set up a campus visit ahead of time.
  • The Basin Drive – In: Guys, there is nothing better than a drive-in movie. Oh wait. There is. Eating a cheeseburger at a drive in movie. The Basin is one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in Utah and it is the best. And really, their cheeseburgers are the best in the world. They usually open in May and close sometime in October. Be sure to check ahead for the schedule and what’s playing.

Getting to Spring City

If you are heading south on I-15 from Salt Lake or Utah County, I strongly recommend taking the exit for Highway 6 and heading east. You will drive through Spanish Fork Canyon, and then watch for signs for Highway 89. Head south on 89, and you will drive through a lovely winding canyon, and then descend into the Sanpete valley with gorgeous views of the mountains. You will hit Fairview first, and then Mt. Pleasant. At the south end of Mt. Pleasant watch for a brown sign (just after the Hardware Store) on your left that says Spring City Historic District. Take that left and it will lead you right into town.

You can also take I-15 south to Nephi and then catch UT 132 which will take you through Nephi canyon. You will hit Fountain Green First, and then Moroni and then Mt. Pleasant where you will head south on 89 and they look for the turn off for Spring City on your left. But really, this way is just not as pretty. Don’t do it.

About Zina Bennion

Zina Bennion is the Director of Business and Marketing for Mom’s Stuff Salve, a small business she runs with her mom, Lee Udall Bennion. Lee started making this hand-crafted salve for her family 20 years ago and it has slowly grown into a successful business helping people all over the world heal dry, cracked hands and feet, eczema and many other skin issues. A year ago Zina came on to handles all of the marketing, sales, shipping, website design, and business aspects of the company.

Zina, in addition to having an idyllic childhood in Spring City, holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College with an emphasis in literature and visual arts; a MS from Brigham Young University in Youth and Family Recreation, and has worked extensively in outdoor education and libraries. She is passionate about Mom’s Stuff, hiking, art, cooking, travel, her husband and cats, reading and creative collaboration with friends.

Guide to Provo, Utah

Guide to Provo, Utah

This post has been a long time in the making, folks. I’ve been wanting to do a feature on Provo, Utah, where I’ve now lived for three years, but as you know, it takes awhile to feel situated and like you’ve been able to experience a lot in your town. I’m a terrible social planner, but I know you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting for it to come out, so sit back, it’s time to explore everyone’s top bucket list location, Provo, Utah (ha!).

Provo City Guide and coloring page

Provo is a popular destination for Mormons, or Latter-day Saints, and being one myself, I often get asked where to eat, where to stay, what to do. I also find that a lot of people from the North take the Utah I-15 route to go South to see Utah’s great national parks: Bryce, Zion, Arches to name a few. Utah is a gorgeous state and there’s a lot to see, especially if you love nature. I love looking at nature, but admittedly, I’m not the biggest nature go-getter. I prefer to mosey really.

Provo City Guide and coloring page

Provo is about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City, and one of the last cities before you travel south down to the national parks and further south. For that reason, it’s another popular stop along the way. Being a university, there’s more diversity than you’d expect and a lot of interesting people.

I’ve found that a lot of people are moving here from all ways of life and I love that it feels more and more diverse. After living in major cities for the last decade before moving here, I was expecting it to feel more small town and I’m so pleased with the direction it’s going. There’s more and more rad things to do and people are really latching onto it and making it their own.

Provo City Guide and coloring page

Many of the residents here are, as you might expect, part of the LDS community and with that comes a lot of unique living patterns. For example, LDS people don’t drink alcohol so the preferred vice of choice is soda and sweets. Thus, a thriving soda and sweets scene is prevalent. Never heard of such a thing? Neither had I! But the NY Times caught hold of it when a lawsuit went down between two competing soda places. Food for thought. Pun absolutely intended.

Here we go!

Where to eat in Provo, Utah

Warning: there’s a LOT of pizza choices. Mostly because they are the best ones and not necessarily because I only love pizza though of course I do. I’m only human.

Lars’ Short List

  1. Communal is perhaps the only restaurant in the area where you’d go for a really nice meal. There aren’t too many options for a date night that’s not cafeteria style and this one is nice for the farm-to-table aspect. I find that they have a very stable menu, which means that we don’t go too often because it often feels like there’s not too much change. Their chicken is delicious. 
  2. Black Sheep a fun spot for Native American/Mexican/Southwestern fushion. They’re known Navajo tacos but personally I love their hog jowl tacos and buffalo nickel burger best. Get their cactus pear lemonade for the whole table.
  3. Station 22 is a great place to bring out-of-towners because of the historic feel. It’s a Southern-inspired cuisine and the decor reflects that. They’ve got a large selection of old-fashioned sodas, in true Provo fashion.
  4. Slab. I love Slab SO much. A “slab” is basically two pieces of pizza put together. I LOVE the rosemary potato bacon. I get it every time, but they have so many options that I should try.
  5. Pizzeria 712. YUM! I adore their starters–you basically can’t go wrong with any of them! And all of their pizzas
  6. Cafe Rio is a popular Utah chain but there’s a reason for it. Two words: pork salad. But that said, I love their tacos because their tortillas are *chef’s kiss*.
  7. Ginger’s Garden Cafe is located in Springville, just south of Provo. It’s right by our studio. It’s all healthy and good. Delicious smoothies. Plus, afterwards, you can take a yoga class.
  8. Aubergine Kitchen. A delicious healthy option!
  9. Owl Bar and Foundry Grill at Sundance. You can’t beat a trip up to Sundance, just 20 minutes outside of Provo in beautiful Provo Canyon.
  10. Slate Restaurant is located inside the Marriott Hotel. While the ambiance isn’t the coziest, it’s one of the best kept secrets of Provo’s dining scene.
  11. Seven Brothers burgers is my fave burger joint.

Other Yummy Eats

  • Bombay House. It’s not my favorite Indian in the world, but most people around town think it’s the best. 
  • Bistro Provenance is a new restaurant from the same group that does the best restaurants in town. I’m excited to try it for a nicer meal!
  • Treehouse Room at Sundance for a fancier meal.
  • Brasas. Yummy Mexican. Plus, they let you try everything before you buy it.
  • Kolaches. A Czech pastry that come in savory or sweet. There’s always a line and they go until they sell out so go early! 
  • JDawgs: Delicious, loclaly-owned hot dogs! You must get the sauce on top.
  • Art City Trolley. Restaurant inside the iconic Springville trolley. 
  • Guru’s 
  • Cubby’s. I love their tri-tip salad.
  • 180 Tacos 
  • Bam Bam’s BBQ. Their sauce is the best! I’m a brisket girl myself.
  • Waffle Love. Delicious waffles!
  • Don Joaquin’s Street Tacos. Cheap and good Mexican.
  • Pogo. A lot of readers mentioned Pogo and I haven’t tried it yet!
  • Block Restaurant. Another farm to table restaurant.

Treats to eat in Provo, Utah

  • Provo Bakery. Fun local vibe. And good news, They take custom orders!
  • Taste. It’s a new chocolate tasting shop. The interiors alone are worth the visit. It’s reminiscent of European cafes.
  • Hokulia Shave Ice
  • Rockwell Creamery. Homemade ice cream. Try the mint chocolate chip (REAL mint!).
  • Sweet Tooth Fairy. Yummy everything.
  • Startup’s Candy factory. Utah is the land of chocolate covered cinnamon bears. They make theirs in milk AND dark chocolate. Open to the public.
  • BYU Shop us a local tradition for candy and sweets. There’s also the Creamery on 9th for ice cream, but if I’m being honest, It’s not my favorite.
  • Brooker’s Ice Cream. Ice creamery in the style of the founding fathers. Again, not my top favorite but fun for kids.
  • Crumbl Cookie and Chip Cookies. You can’t go wrong with either.

Drinks (the non-alcoholic kind 😉

  • Swig/Sodalicious. I’m not much of a soda fan (or anything with syrup) but locals love them. Which one is better? I have no idea. Try one of each and make the choice yourself.
  • Ivie Juice Bar

Things to do in Provo, Utah

The ones with an asterisk are also kid friendly.

  • Sundance.* I always take visitors to Sundance. It’s cozy and beautiful. They have zip lines, ski lift rides, skiing. Plus a number of workshops and classes. It’s beautiful.
  • Sunriver Gardens. My favorite nursery in the area. Lovely plant collection and setting and fun gift shop. They even have workshops and such.
  • Liminal. One of the newest shops in Provo. Has a great collection of plants in the back room and great gifts up in the front. Make sure to take a photo in front of their adorable mural!
  • Velour. Provo has a surprising number of successful bands that have made it big and they typically start here.
  • Provo farmer’s market.* Every Saturday in Pioneer Park.
  • Hiking.* Provo Canyon, Rock Canyon, Squaw Peak. Well, everywhere really.
  • BYU MOA. I interned there in college! Great exhibitions and collection.
  • Harmony classes. The best local craft classes. 
  • Springville Museum of Art. This is the site of my very first internship. I made the museum newsletter. It was my first exposure to InDesign.
  • Gem Studio and The Wick Lab
  • Riverwoods. If you need some retail therapy.
  • Color Festival in Spanish Fork.
  • Utah Lake (rent at outdoors unlimited)
  • Crandall Printing Museum: printing press
  • Provo City Center temple* is brand new and beautiful. Lovely for a walk around. It used to be the old Provo Tabernacle and was burned down in 2011 and recently completed as an LDS temple. 
  • Provo temple.* The older 60s temple. A peaceful walk around or Provo City Center temple in downtown Provo.
  • BYU campus. There’s even a slide in the Wilkinson center BYU Store.

Things to do in Provo, Utah with kids

Now that I have kids I see just how necessary this list is.

  • Classic Fun Center.* You know I’m all about the skating. Here’s where to go.
  • Stadium of Fire:* Biggest 4th of July celebration in existence. At least it feels like it. It’s so closet to my house it’s a little too close for comfort.
  • Thanksgiving Point:* Visit for tulip season!
  • Movies in the park* (rock canyon) 
  • Quarry Climbing. To be honest, I have NO experience with this. Ha! But maybe you’d like it.*
  • Provo Beach Resort. It’s the closest thing we have to California. There’s also an arcade inside.
  • BYU Bean Museum is a free museum where we take our two kids all the time. It’s great!
  • Float the provo river*

Best Shops in Provo, Utah

  • Harmony. Great collection of artisanal fabrics, yarn, and gifts. Best ribbon collection in all the land!
  • Heirloom has a beautifully curated collection of children’s books, antique jewerly, and original art. I go there when I need a unique gift.
  • Pioneer Book. A local legend!
  • Liminal. Has a great collection of plants in the back and cute gifts in the front. Make sure to take a pic in front of the adorable mural in the front.
  • Actual Source. Minimal design book shop and graphic design agency.
  • Foxglove. Best local floral shop with fun gifts. 
  • Pioneer Books. Fun used book shop environment.
  • Blickenstaff’s. Beautiful toy shop when I feel want to feel like an Pinterest mom.
  • Soel Boutique. Gifts for baby and mama. 
  • DI Provo. If you’re into thrifting! It’s organized by color!
  • Brambles and Blossoms. Beautiful gardening and home goods shop. 
  • SOS Drug Co. in Springville. Old-fashioned soda shop
  • Cat’s Cradle antiques shop. WONDERFUL antiques shop. The owner goes all over the world to collect. Not cheap.
  • Asian Market 23 N 500 W. This is Paul’s favorite grocery store.
  • BYU Museum of Art Store
  • Planted Earth in Orem has a great collection of plants and antiques in an old home.

Best Hotels in Provo, Utah

There aren’t too many hotel situations in Provo. You have to go outside a bit for something really scenic and pretty.

  • Airbnb
  • Washington School House Hotel. Ok, it’s not near Provo much, but it’s beautiful! Located in Park City.
  • Sundance
  • Marriott
  • Hyatt Provo is the newest hotel downtown and is the best choice for the cost.

Provo guide and coloring page

DOWNLOAD the Provo coloring page here. 

What would you add to this guide to Provo, Utah?

Stay tuned, I’ll be doing more city guides including nearby Utah cities like Salt Lake and Park City.

Don’t miss our Guide to Colorful Walls in Utah Valley and Salt Lake 

Photos by Anna Killian 

Easter Crafts

Our Favorite Easter Crafts

We have so many Easter crafts that we’re just thrilled to share with you this year. Many of them are brand new, too! Need a new Easter Basket? We’re here for you. How about a fresh spring wreath? We’ve also got you covered in that department. Without further ado, here’s the list of our favorite Easter crafts!

Wreaths

I love a good wreath. And spring wreaths are some of my favorites! They’re a must have when talking about Easter crafts. This year we have a brand new Palm Leaf Wreath you’re sure to love. It’s delicate, colorful, and festive. Just the thing to celebrate Palm Sunday, Easter and spring all in one go! If you’re feeling more into eggs, try our ever popular Easter egg wreath, or this sweet Honeycomb Easter wreath. Both are lovely and sure to put a little spring in your step. Also, you can’t go wrong with a simple floral theme. This Daffodil Wreath is very appropriate for the season, as is this Lemon Wreath!

A floral Easter wreath hanging on a pink wall next to a white door. A wooden mushroom is also on the porch.

Easter Baskets

You can’t have Easter crafts without Easter baskets! And we have a brand new one for you to try this year. It’s our DIY Easter Basket, and the best part is that it doesn’t require any sewing. Another clever no-sew Easter basket is this Paper Easter basket. Just download, print, cut and assemble, it’s that easy! If you want to sew an adorable bag that doubles as an Easter basket and will be around for years to come, try this carrot shoulder bag! The bonus is it packs up easily and is equally cute.

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to fill your basket with, look no further than this Easter Basket choose your own adventure. We help guide you through the steps to picking your perfect Easter basket, along with everything to put inside it, like this Paper carrot treat box, carrot surprise balls, or this DIY stuffed bunny. You can also make some of these Danish Easter letters to tuck inside.

Easter Egg ideas

As it so happens, we have a lot of Easter crafts that have to do with eggs. Are you really that surprised? I mean, what’s Easter without at least one little nod to an egg or two. Just yesterday, we release the most lovely nesting Easter eggs! We love the little twist on original nesting dolls. Also try these Easter egg columns, which are a lovely way to decorate your home this Easter. Don’t forget about these Honeycomb Easter eggs, either! Make them into a wreath or decorate with the individual eggs. Either way they’re lovely!

Another fun variation on decorating Easter eggs are these dried flowers on Easter eggs, as well as our Pysanky Easter eggs (here’s the E-book of the Pysanky eggs, the profits of which will be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort). If you’re into more decorating, try our DIY pom pom Easter eggs! Or if you’re having a party, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our Easter egg name tags, Easter egg cupcake toppers, and Easter egg runner.

Felted Easter Eggs

New this year is a tutorial from Jessica Peterson all about felted Easter eggs. They’re a new classic! All the supplies are listed here

For Kids

If you have kids, you’ll love these Easter-themed toys, accessories, and activities. First stop: these fun bunny party hats. Having a new baby this spring? You won’t want to miss these adorable DIY Baby bonnets! Or these Easter bunny twist ties.

Need a craft to do with your kids to keep them busy and happy? You’ll love these Easter Egg coloring pages, the profits of which will be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort. Then there’s our DIY stuffed bunny, which is a sweet little Easter toy. Plop it in your child’s Easter basket and you’re all set!

 

Easter printables

A great way to get crafty is with some printables, and we’ve got some great ones!

These Easter egg coloring pages featuring pysanky are great for older kids.

Along with our chick and bunny paper dolls and matching color pages.

Paper crowns

One thing is for sure, if I had a little girl, I’d be making a paper crown floral crown.

And we’ve got a few to choose from! These pretty blue, red, pink, and white flower crowns.

This printable spring crown.A printable flower crown in purple, yellow, pink, white red, and blue being held up by two hands.

And another handmade paper flower crown perfect for spring.

Easter paper flowers

While we’re on the topic of paper flowers, these Easter lilies are a favorite of mine. I think I’m going to try and make them again this year.

Easter Egg Column People

A new favorite of mine are these adorable Easter column people. I think they’d make a great tablescape!

painted Easter egg columns perched on colorful books against a yellow and pink background.

 

How to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday

My 40th Birthday Plans

Leading up to my 40th birthday, I had lots of plans. Specifically, I wanted a big Europe trip to celebrate! But we are in up to our necks in behind-the-scenes projects here at The House that Lars Built, which means a trip to Europe just wasn’t in the cards. At least for now. Maybe in the fall? I’ll keep you all posted. There’s noting wrong with a belated birthday trip, after all!

I’m not the only one turning 40 here, though! Despite my lack of exciting birthday plans for now, all my friends are also soon-to-be or already over the hill, which means I’ve attended some great 40th birthday celebrations in the past year. I couldn’t just not share those ideas with all of you! So today I’m giving you the lowdown on all the things my friends did for their 40th birthdays, plus a few extra ideas.

How to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday

Birthday Trip

Birthday trips are a classic way to celebrate a big milestone birthday like your 40th! (hence, my hopes to make it to Europe this year). But if you can’t make it internationally and still want a weekend getaway, try something closer! It’s amazing what a quick trip to somewhere new can do. And of course it’s always better with friends or family to come along for the fun.

For your enjoyment, here are some photos from our most recent trip to Denmark (and I promise to post more once I make it back to Europe for my birthday trip)!

Karaoke

So I don’t know if you were aware, but there’s something about 40-year-olds and karaoke that is just magical. I’ve been to a handful of karaoke parties to celebrate the big 40 and I have to say that a bunch of moms singing karaoke are a different breed of unparalleled fun. What are you waiting for?! Warm up those vocal chords and get ready to sing yourself into your 40’s!

Spa Day

A birthday classic for a girls day out especially, a spa day can be the perfect, relaxing way to usher in the 40’s with some self care. Pamper yourself; you deserve it! Go for a mani/pedi, massage, the whole nine yards. We promise you won’t regret it!

Here are some spa essentials to get you going:

In-person Parties

Post COVID lockdowns, it feels that much more triumphant to have a party IN PERSON with people you love! So even though parties aren’t unique to a 40th birthday, there’s a reason we have parties for every birthday. It’s a classic way to celebrate that never really gets old!

Speaking of parties, we have some great party decorations for your to peruse in our shop! Check out our birthday suites, and all of our birthday content here!

Lemon-themed bunting swoops across a pink backdrop. In the foreground, straw toppers, invitations, and lemon-slice party hats sit in front of a white-frosted cake with lemon and lemon blossom cake toppers.

Learn a New Skill

Your 40th birthday is such a milestone that it can be great motivation to learn a new skill or take on a new hobby you’ve been wanting to try! It’s never too late, and 40 seems like the perfect time to try. Turn it into a party and invite someone to teach you and your girlfriends how to knit, cook something fun and fancy, or even make a punch needle rug! The options are endless. What do you want to learn how to do?

Movie Night

Movies are a classic way to celebrate anything special, so why not your 40th birthday? Go out to the theater with the gals (maybe even rent it out if you’re feeling ambitious!), or take the party home and have a marathon of your favorite series! Personally, I’ll be watching Bridgerton. What are your favorites? Send the recommendations my way! I’m always game for a fun new show.

Game Night

The options are endless with this one! Just because it’s your 40th birthday doesn’t mean you can’t have a simple game night. So many categories of games. Are you more of a board game or card game person? Or do you prefer a combo of both? If you’re like Paul, you’ll be hanging around those old classic arcade games all night. Whatever gets you most excited is what you should do!

Here are some game night options to get you started:

More Inspiration

We have plenty of ideas to get you started on 40th birthday decor! It starts with our five birthday suites: animal menagerie, garden party, lemon, rainbow, and floral. Click here to see the rest of our birthday shop! Also, don’t forget to check out our past birthday blog content, like our Flower Lane birthday crowns, twisted birthday candles, or DIY birthday felt pennants.

A flat lay of twisted birthday candles and confetti on an orange background.

Hopefully we gave you some good ideas to get you started planning your 40th, if you haven’t had it already. And now we need to know: what did you/are you doing to celebrate your 40th? Let us know in the comments!

Hot Craft Summer: A Summer Bucket List from Team Lars

I think we have put together a pretty good summer bucket list, if I do say so myself. From travel dreams to growing gardens, Team Lars has a great summer planned. And all of us are doing something crafty! Read on for summertime inspiration!

Brittany wearing a striped yellow dress in front of a pale orange wall eating canteloupe sorbet

Hot Craft Summer: The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

Brittany

Garet

  1. Bracelet making party with my gals
  2. Make a family video + have an outdoor movie night
  3. Make homemade peach ice cream
  4. Go on a long Saturday morning bike ride at a county park

colorful ice cream sundaes in pink, purple, and yellow

Jane

  1. Do more creative photoshoots – more personal work.
  2. Go on more morning walks & bike rides.
  3. Go on a road trip to see an outdoor musical/play

three photos by Jane Link hung on a wall with an aloe plant next to them.

Hailey

  1. Start traveling a little bit
  2. Get a tan haha (who amongst us can deny this desire??)
  3. Perfect my capsule wardrobe

doors in Cuba

(Speaking of travel, read up on Brittany’s trip to Cuba from a few years ago here!)

Palm Springs Style You Can’t Miss

The city really took off after the 1940s when the Golden Age actors of Hollywood wanted a retreat from the growing sprawl of Los Angeles. With all of that wealth coming to town, architects came along with it. William Krisel and John Porter Clark and Arthur Frey and Jack Meiselman and so many more created masterpieces and tract houses alike in this town. While you and I probably can’t commission the architecture gods to build us new homes, we can take cues from their style! It’s also a very real possibility to snag one of the homes for yourself if you’re in the market.

John Porter Clark home. The sky is bright blue, the house is modern and flat-roofed and brilliant white, and the foreground is beige gravelAlbert Frey home made of glass and steel tucked into the plants and rocks of Palm SpringsA white and black Jack Meiselman Home at sunset. Palm trees sway in the background, and the front yard is xeriscaped.

Color Reigns

The look of Palm Springs is one of openness and ease, minimalism with playful twists. With the pervasive sun and expansive sky, most of the homes in the area are painted white but you’ll be hard pressed to find a neutral-colored door. Pastels and neons reign! Hooray! There is this random house that isn’t one of the rat pack mansions or anything, but it has become famous because of #thatpinkdoor. A few cans of paint is all it takes for you to bring this Palm Springs styling tip home with ya! 

Vertical image of a modern white home with a pink door, agave plants, and structural landscaping

Don’t Forget to Look Up

If you go visit Palm Springs, odds are you’ll be so busy looking at all of the fabulous architecture that you might not notice the sky. Who am I kidding – it’s huge and bluer than you’ve ever seen it before. You can’t miss it. The architects who polished this corner of desert into a gem certainly didn’t! It’s almost as if they designed with the sky as the centerpiece. Check out this picture from my good friend Frank’s house. Architect E. Stewart Williams wasn’t messing around – he was showcasing the skies. My favorite Palm Springs houses have windows that are higher than I’m used to seeing. They also have cantilevered sections and skylights. This stunning photograph of the Sunnylands Estate, AKA “Camp David of the West” shows how important the sky is to the design of the property. By the way, Obama and Xi Jinping hung out here a few years back. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me! 

Image of a house with a huge blue sky, topiary-style trees, modern flat roof, and a pink ramp leading into a flat blue pond.

Geometric Ease

Okay, thanks for humoring me while I ranted about the sky for a bit. A huge part of the appeal of Palm Springs is its ease. I just look at pictures and feel relaxed. The design is simple to understand; it’s all about straight lines and symmetry. I love this photo of a room at Twin Palms – the sunburnt orange color is definitely an homage to the earth tones outside. I love that color as a headboard! The symmetry of the room is so precise and uncomplicated that it looks good from every angle. Imagine having a wall of matching prints of identical size behind you for zoom calls! The exteriors of Desert Modernist homes tend to have breeze block and hardy plants that are almost impossible to kill. What’s not to love about that? 

If you’re looking to add some freshness to your space, try channeling the vibe of Palm Springs! Its simple color scheme, sky-inspired design, and linear geometry create such a feeling of comfort and relaxation. That’s exactly what I want right now!!

Shop Palm Springs-Inspired Decor

Shop Palm Springs-Inspired Fashion

Palm Springs-Inspired Accessories

Looking for more style guides? Don’t forget to check out our In the Mood For series! We’ve found fashion, home decor, and accessories inspired by Frida Kahlo, Josef Albers, The Queen’s Gambit, Andy Warhol, Alma Thomas, Monet, Wes Anderson, The Royal Wedding Anniversary, Jane Austen’s Emma, Iris Apfel, Little Women, Alexander GirardAnne of Green Gables, and Hamilton.

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Celebrating Bastille Day

What’s Bastille Day?

Much like our Fourth of July, Bastille Day celebrates France’s independence every year on July 14th. The Bastille was a structure originally built to protect Paris from English attacks; later, it became a prison for wealthy citizens and spies. On July 14, 1789, revolutionaries swarmed the prison to take the gunpowder housed inside, signaling the beginning of the French Revolution. Today, France marks the occasion with a military parade, fireworks, and spending time with friends and family. Check out our roundup for our best Bastille Day inspiration!

Let them Eat Cake

The French are known for their bakeries: cream puffs, fresh bread, and macarons are a thing of beauty in a shop window or neatly lined up in a glass counter, so why not start with a cake. Best for a backyard party or picnic, a cake is a simple crowd-pleasing dessert—especially when it has a Parisenne topper. Designed by illustrator Jessie Kenelos Weiner, author of Paris in Stride, this will be a perfect addition to your Bastille festivities to make you feel like you’re in the heart of the city (and you can download it here for free)!

Need something to place your food on? I love these French placemats for my Bastille festivities. Figures like Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte can guard the dessert table or be a great coloring craft for the kids. In this picture, I’ve paired it with a red gingham tablecloth and blue and red plates to match the French flag. 

French placemats sit on a festive table.

Fit for a King

Rather focus on your guests attire? How about these Bastille Day crowns that celebrate the city where it all took place? Featuring notable landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, kids and adults will not only look festive for the party, but also great in the pictures you’ll have to look back on. 

Lady Liberty Flower Crowns

While I love a good paper crown, if you’re looking for something less literal, may I suggest our red, white, and blue floral crowns. They’ll still mimic the colors of the french flag and will never be considered a fashion faux pas!

Bastille Day Decoration Inspo

Now you may be thinking how do I decorate for Bastille Day? There are two great things about this French holiday: 1. The American flag and the French flag share the same three colors and 2. Bastille Day comes after the Fourth of July. Taking these two things into account, it has never been easier to reuse decorations from one holiday to another! Or in this case, you can leave them up an extra couple weeks without feeling guilty. I’m looking at you, outdoor Christmas lights! 😉

This patriotic bunting can liven up your home’s exterior while this American flag weaving could easily be transformed to more accurately represent the french flag. 

4th of July balloon bunting on the old Lars Studio houseAmerican Flag Weaving

No matter how you choose to celebrate Bastille Day, I’d love to hear your plans in the comments, and if you decide to make any crafts, tag me with #Lars Parties!

All You Need for A Midsummer Party

Even those of us not in Sweden can throw a Midsummer party to celebrate long days, the bounty of beauty in our gardens, and good food. Lucky for us, I have made lots of Midsummer-themed projects so we can have the Midsummer party of our dreams without dishing out for a plane ticket!

Midsummer Parties Past

women dressed in white dance around a DIY maypole in a green park with dappled light. A blonde woman in a white dress holds a small bouquet.

Years ago I celebrated Midsummer by dressing up and dancing around a maypole with my team, and it was truly magical. You can see more photos here.

women dressed in white dance around a DIY maypole in a green park with dappled light.

The next year I teamed up with my friend and designer extraordinaire Meta Coleman, Merrilee of Mer Mag, Sarah of Sarah Jane Studios, Melanie and Alma of Caravan Shoppe, and Eva of Sycamore Co to organize a huge Midsummer party. We called it A Midsummer Mingle and it was epic, if I do say so myself.

Women dressed in white descend stairs in a green space filled with dappled light.women dressed in white eat on a picnic blanket. In the background, a maypole stands in front of some pine trees. It's dusk.

You can find out more about it here, here and here. Wasn’t it beautiful?

Two women in white wearing floral crowns smile at the camera. It's night and the background is distantly lit with warm light. A woman in white wearing a white floral crown hangs up a picture on a clothesline

Now let me level with you. Both of those Midsummer parties were stunning and magical, and you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed right about now. Take a deep breath. Remember that I had help on both projects, as should all party planners, and you don’t have to be a professional to throw a gorgeous Midsummer party. You can do it! No matter how low-key or extravagant you want your party to be, I have Midsummer tutorials and inspiration to knock your flower crown off.

Women in white wearing flower crowns hold hands and walk in a line in front of some pine trees.

Midsummer Projects

Maypole

Brittany is wearing white and dancing around a DIY maypole with her interns, who are also wearing white.

I made a maypole for the Midsummer Party with my interns, and I know what you’re thinking: “You made a maypole?!” It was a surprisingly simple DIY that I know you can make too.  Once you’ve made a maypole, you’ll have the backbone of your Midsummer celebrations taken care of for years to come! Again, find the tutorial here.

Flower Crowns

Flower crowns are a Midsummer staple, and Amy from Amy Anne Floral made these gorgeous and simple Midsummer Flower Crowns for the Midsummer Mingle.

Goldenrod flower crown from Midsummer Mingle. A woman in a white dress holds it against her side. waxflower and laurel flower crowns are stacked in a pile.

There’s also this Crepe Paper Flower Crown and this one, this Shamrock Flower Crown, these Lady Liberty-inspired Flower Crowns, this Printable Flower Crown, and this tutorial for a Flower Crown Inspired by Art History.

A little girl wears a paper flower crown and smells some little flowers.a floral crown on long, straight brown hairA little girl with brown hair wears a paper shamrock crown and a cream colored floral blouse. The background is bold colored wallpaper.Lady Liberty Flower CrownsA printable flower crown in purple, yellow, pink, white red, and blue being held up by two hands. A woman wearing a lavish flower crown of dahlias and berries and greenery looks at the camera. The background is sky blue.

Midsummer Decorations

You won’t want to skip out flowers for your Midsummer party. Use this tutorial to make gorgeous floral arrangements that you can place around in vases or hold as bouquets.

Pink florals from A Midsummer Mingle

This paper Summer Flower Garland would look lovely draping between the trees or wrapped around your may pole. Because it’s made of paper you can keep it for next year’s Midsummer party.

Summer Paper Flower Garland

Speaking of paper flowers, I’ve compiled lots and lots of paper flower tutorials in one place here. These would be great for arrangements, cake decorations, or to wear.

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 Transformations

For a decoration that you’ll want to keep hanging after the season changes, make this Midsummer Dala Horse Mobile. It will remind you of your delightful Midsummer party and be a great conversation starter!

Close up of a colorful chandelier with a hanging Dala horse is i A colorful chandelier with a hanging Dala horse is i

Finishing Touches

No party is complete without music, and your Midsummer party is no exception. My friend Melissa Leavitt graciously agreed to make this Midsummer playlist, and I think you’ll love it.

Brittany and her friends smile at the camera. It's dark and in the background, there are warm lights.

If you serve cake (and when do we ever not want to serve cake!?) this Midsummer Pole Cake Topper is perfect for the occasion.

Midsummer Pole cake Topper Midsummer Pole cake Topper

Food

Look, you know that I don’t cook. Still, your Midsummer party will need food. Go traditional with pickled herring, boiled potatoes, grilled meat, and strawberries and cream for desert. For those who imbibe, Midsummer is also an opportunity to drink beer and schnapps, but as a non-drinker I’ve found that fizzy lemonade does the trick, too. Smaklig måltid (bon appetit in Swedish)!

strawberry-covered layer cakes on pastel cakestands at an outdoor party

Glad Midsommar!

I would love to see your Midsummer celebrations! Tag me in your photos with #MidsummerWithLars.

women dressed in white dance around a DIY maypole in a green park with dappled light. A graphic that says Midsummer celebration is at the top.

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!

A Lars Closet: Floral Dresses

This May I’m celebrating flowers on The House that Lars Built, so I wanted to compile some phenomenal floral dresses for you! It’s a great time to be a flower-loving dress wearer, so I came up with quite a long list. In true Lars fashion I’ve organized them according to the rainbow. You’re welcome for all the inspo! Ha!

Dresses are an instant, one-piece outfit. I love that I don’t have to figure out if I have a blouse that goes with a skirt or think too much about putting things together. They’re really my daily uniform!

Brittany wearing a long floral dress and holding a baby

Dresses look great as an outfit all by themselves and they’re easy and fun to style up with other accessories. I love versatility! Dresses are cool in the summertime and easily warmed up with tights in the winter, and only wearing dresses means that I don’t have to search high and low to find pants that fit right. As you can tell I’m a serious believer in dresses and I’m more than happy to spread the good word!

So, without further ado, here are some of my current favorite floral dresses that you can buy and join my Lars Closet team.

Red

A smocked red and blue floral dress with ruffled sleeves and a smocked bodice A red and pink patterned maxi dress

Looking at these red dresses has me dreaming of poppy fields and berry picking!

Pink

A woman wearing a flowing cream colored dress with pink flowers and green line-drawn stems gazes at the camera A painterly printed tiered dress in pink with purple, yellow, aqua, and orange accents.

Here at The House That Lars Built we think of pink as a neutral color because it’s so versatile. Whether you’re looking for something subdued or show stopping, these pink floral dresses are perfect for summer.

Orange

A tiered orange dress with 70s-inspired pink, yellow, and blue swirling accentsA woman leans against a chair in a light-filled room. She's wearing an orange sleeveless dress with a flounce at the bottom and abstract large white flowers printed on it. A dog lounges on a bench behind her.

These orange dresses are transporting me to citrus groves and lovely terra cotta streets. Wear these on your summer adventures!

Yellow

A woman wears a loose maxi dress in a shirt dress pattern. It's printed with large yellow flowers. A woman wears a light yellow floral dress with Mexican-inspired embroidery and frilled sleeves with a flounce at the bottom.

Here comes the sun! These yellow floral dresses are all things sunshine and cheerfulness.

Green

A woman wears a loose-fitting dress printed with green and purple large modern flowers. A woman wears a black and green floral printed midi dress with a lace-trimmed collar in a room with light wood floors.

Channel your earthiness and all your garden dreams with these green dresses.

Blue

A woman wearing a dark blue calico printed dress with a ruched collar and waistband, a flounce at the hem and the sleeves, and pleating in the bodice stands in a white room with a grey floor. A blue calico-printed midi dress with ruffles and flounces crossing the body and on the short sleeves. It has a tied belt and a v neck

Blue is another color that can read as a neutral–maybe because blue jeans are such a staple in the average wardrobe? Achieve the same lovely, relaxed vibe with these blue floral dresses without the horrors of hot jeans in the summer!

Purple

A woman wearing a purple high-necked dress with long, slightly puffed sleeves that's trimmed with darker purple at the neck, sleeve ends, and hem hold a child's hand in a green outdoor space A woman wears a purple calico-printed dress with 3/4 sleeves and a large ruffled collar with a flounce at the hem.

Floral prints go hand in hand with purple. These dresses make me think of gorgeous bundles of wisteria and delicate clumps of violets. Dreamy.

Rainbow!

A woman wearing a square-fronted dress with ruffled tiers and ruffled shoulder-covering sleeves. The dress is black, printed with red, blue, yellow, white, green, and light pink flowers A woman wearing a tiered maxi dress with lilac, blue, aqua, and chartreuse floral tiers stands in a grey room

For days when your color story defies any part of the spectrum, wear a multicolored floral dress. Walt Whitman‘s not the only one who contains multitudes!

Neutrals

A woman wearing a cream-colored tiered dress with long sleeves and botanical illustrations printed on it. A dress with ruffled tiers in the body and on the ends of the long sleeves. It's slightly sheer and has a gathered neckline.

Louder for the people in the back: NEUTRAL DOESN’T MEAN BORING! These floral dresses in subdued tones from white and black to shades of rich brown are so lovely and refined. They will fulfill all your cottage core dreams!

More Summer Fashion Inspiration

If looking at floral dresses in all colors of the rainbow hasn’t satisfied your desire to look at summertime fashion, here are some more projects and posts to peruse:

Thanks for letting us help you build your wardrobe! Every time you shop through links on our blog we get a small commission that helps us bring you more great content.

Top destinations for flower lovers

Traveling after flowers

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

Santa Fe
Cloisters in NYC

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

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

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

My favorite destinations for floral lovers

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

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

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

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

Sarah Winward 

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

Mark Magleby, Director of the BYU Museum of Art

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

Becoming: Nadia Cates

Meet: Nadia Aguilar Cates  

Nadia is the Founder of Casa Palomí and Ella Rises and a proud mother of 6. Nadia’s passion for her home country has shaped her professional pursuits. With Casa Palomi and her culinary background, Nadia shares her love for Mexican cuisine (especially tamales!) through virtual cooking lessons. After relocating to Mexico for several years, she found a deep connection with her heritage, which has inspired her to empower Latina youth to connect with their roots through Ella Rises. In honor of Día de Los Meurtos, we are excited to have Nadia share how her rich culture has influenced who she has and continues to become. Because we all come from somewhere and somebody.

What do you consider yourself? Ex: designer, artisan, entrepreneur, activist, etc.

  1. There’s definitely an entrepreneurial spirit in me, and I also consider myself a creative. I love to take concepts and bring them to life. For example, Casa Palomí’s pan de muerto class – an amazing Mexican sweet bread – that I did last week. I’ve never done that before but it’s live now and a success with those who have taken it!

How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

My childhood has very much influenced who I am. I was born in Mexico and raised in Southern California. I became a U.S. citizen in grade school. For a long time, I carried shame around my story because people made fun of me and others with similar backgrounds.

I am no longer ashamed of where I come from, and I can honestly say that my story and heritage empower me. I’ve reclaimed a call to uplift and empower those with a similar story.

There’s a quote by Gloria Anzaldua about this that resonates with me. In her words, “I am from the land of the North and the land of the South. Indigenous blood runs through my veins. It calls me, and I honor it. What I once saw as disadvantages, clearly defines me, strengthens, and empowers me.”

What aspects of your Mexican culture have most inspired your work? 

Mexico has such a deep, rich, and consistent cultural heritage. I’m inspired by all of it, but especially the music, food, and textiles. When I can, I meet and work with artisans. I learn about the history of the places I visit and return to them or remain in contact with the people as often as possible because that connection is what inspires me the most.

What learning experiences have been critical to becoming an entrepreneur?

I think the reality of many entrepreneurs is that you ‘fail into success.’ I’ve tried and continue to try different things. When learning opportunities have appeared, I have taken them – most recently, with successful entrepreneurs and women, who I admire, offering mentoring classes!

Which people were instrumental in shaping the trajectory of your life?

There’s so many, but closest to my heart have been my parents, sisters, my husband, and each of my children.

What is a piece of advice that you’ve carried with you and who is it from?

I’ve always had different guiding statements that have inspired me. They’ve evolved and changed over time, but they’ve helped empower me. A couple I like right now are  “There has to be discomfort to change” and “If we don’t heal the wounds of the past, we cannot expand to our full potential; we can learn from it and be empowered by it.”

What sets your work apart from other brands? 

My work is designed to connect you with the beauty of Mexican heritage and reflected in that you will hopefully see your beauty and strength at the same time.

Was starting your own business or taking on entrepreneurial projects always your ultimate plan? Did you always know that you wanted to incorporate Mexican culture into your work?

Such great questions. I’m a mother of 6, and that’s the most important work in my life right now. But deep within me, there was always a desire to create, but I just wasn’t clear on what that was … until I moved to Mexico. It was then that I knew whatever I did, it would be to preserve our heritage.

What does your daily routine look like? 

Routine? What’s that?

My oldest is 12, and my youngest is 10 months. You could say I’m a slave to my kids’ schedules. I work during nap times and at night. When we have big projects with Ella Rises or Casa Palomí, I always find help. My husband is pretty good at loading up the kids and taking them somewhere when necessary.

What is inspiring you lately?

The Ella Rises girls and the challenges they face. And the female leaders and artists who are participating with Ella Rises. See the second to last question.

Tell us about your current project(s).

At Casa Palomí, we share our heritage with the community through food. We’re currently offering a virtual pan de muerto class for Day of the Dead, and friends from all over the world have signed up for our class! Follow @casa_palomi for more details.

Ella Rises is an initiative to empower Latinas in high school through virtual art and mentoring classes taught by Latinas. This historic project has never been done before, and 125 girls registered for Ella Rises 2020! We meet every Monday and Thursday in October. For more details, check out EllaRises.org

You’ve done culinary school, tamales, catering, all sorts of things. Tell us about your journey!

You know, it is all rooted in my continued journey to discover where I came from and the culture around all of that. Check out @casa_palomi on Instagram –  it’s visually captured there. I think you could say I’ve been on a journey to becoming for a few years now. And, I wouldn’t say that I’m there yet.

What designers/creatives/entrepreneurs do you look up to from the past or present?

Luis Barragan, a Mexican architect, came to my mind. I love his work! I often turn to it for inspiration, and I love his use of color and thoughtfully-curated spaces.

My culinary school maestros, Yuri de Gortari and Edmundo Escamilla, still inspire me today. They ignited a spark of love and reverence for my heritage, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.

I am also inspired by Mexican artisans. I’ve been building relationships with weavers and embroiderers. Their names may never go down in history, but I know them and love them.

What is on the horizon for you and your work in the remainder of 2020?

Casa Palomí and Ella Rises are thriving, and I hope we continue to do so through the end of the year. We’re connecting and reaching individuals who seek a space of love, respect, and appreciation for people of different backgrounds. Follow @casa_palomi or @ellarises and join our journey.

What is a piece of advice you’d give to women who are considering starting their own business? 

I turn to a higher power for direction. If seeking divine direction resonates with you, I’d recommend praying, meditating, going out in nature, and reconnecting with our creator. Then, create a statement of what you want to be, look like, and do. Rewrite it in the present tense, start repeating it daily, and keep seeking divine guidance.

What is the best advice you’d give to a businesswoman on determining her brand’s mission? 

When someone asks me for advice, I try (not perfect at it) to just listen to what they have to say. I believe that we often have or already know the answers to our questions.

Are you where you want to be in your life?

Katie Richardson, the creator of the Puj Tub, once told me “You’re right where you need to be.” I’ve taken that and ran with it. So, to answer your question, “I’m right where I need to be.”

Is there anything more you’d like to “become?”

Definitely! I embrace myself fully with where I am, but my journey of growth and progress continues. A millionaire would be nice too since I would love to invest more in my wildest ideas to help people. 🙂

Day of the Dead

For this feature, we worked with Nadia on creating this portrait, honoring both her, this unique time of year with the face mask, and the catrina in honor of Day of the Dead. This Mexican holiday typically involves friends and family coming together to pray and remember those who have passed on. It is seen as a festival of celebration rather than mourning. Ofrendas, or offerings, are often set out with pictures of ancestors and tokens that represent them. Thank you, Nadia.

You can find Nadia

Casa Palomi
Ella Rises