Printable Summer Pie Boxes

.Leftover summer pie box

Does anybody else get the Waitress soundtrack stuck in their head when they think about pie? Just me? In the movie, Jenna is always whipping up a delicious new concoction to sell at the diner she works at, like her Marshmallow Mermaid Pie. One of my favorite scenes is when she’s singing to her baby while she bakes: “Baby don’t you cry…Gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle.” Anyway, we’re prepping for a team pie party and already anticipating the leftovers, so we’ve decided to send everyone home with our Printable Summer Pie Boxes. I love holiday favorites like pumpkin and apple. During the warmer months, though, I can’t resist a good blueberry or rhubarb pie. We did a version of these pie boxes for Thanksgiving, but I think you’ll agree that summer pies deserve their own boxes! Individually wrapped with a lovely lemon motif, set them out as party favors or use them as take-home containers —that is if you have any leftovers at all!

Leftover summer pie box

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

Dyed Watermelon Blanket for National Picnic Month

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DIY dyed watermelon blanket for National Picnic Month from The House that Lars Built

National Picnic Month + Watermelon Day

It’s almost August, which is National Picnic Month, and Watermelon day happens to be in August too! August 3rd is the day to whip out those blankets, slice up some fruit, and head outdoors. Having an adorable (and on-theme) picnic blanket is the cherry-on-top for the perfect picnic.

This fabric stated out as a tablecloth that we turned into a cozy picnic blanket! If you’re reminded of the Harry Styles video, just know this was our idea first 😉 It was planned with friends and family in mind, all having a good time out in the summer sun.

Last year we loved this DIY watermelon picnic blanket because it’s the perfect size for social-distancing. But this year I’m glad we made such a huge picnic blanket so that we can fit more friends on it! Just add some delicious food (like this watermelon limeade), outdoor games, and fun activities and you’re set!

Watermelon Sugar High

If you just can’t get enough of all things watermelon sugar, let me point you in the right direction. Obviously, there’s the song of the summer by Harry Styles for all you fangirls. We have a super cute tutorial on watermelon friendship bracelets, and I am hoping to cover my arms in them like sleeves. Feel free to send me one! If you love the idea of a picnic but hate the “outside” part, try this watermelon tablecloth instead. This one is all paper, and easy enough that you could make it a family craft. If you’re still not satisfied, check out this roundup post with a bunch of cute watermelon ideas! We’ve got everything from doormats to lemonade.

DIY Watermelon Picnic Blanket Tutorial

watermelon-picnic-blanket-11See how to make the DIY watermelon picnic blanket below! 

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!

Printable 4th of July Glasses

We made these printable 4th of July glasses with celebration in mind. I live in a town that really celebrates the 4th. We’re talking a giant parade, a huge firework show/concert in the local stadium, and a hot air balloon festival. Not to mention the private family celebrations in just about every park pavilion for miles!

A blonde woman in a blue striped dress with red and white rick rack wears blue paper glasses with white accents in the shape of round flowers. She's standing against a blush pink background.

In a place like this where the 4th of July is such a huge deal, it’s especially fun to get into the spirit of the celebration. Why not join in on the good time with a festive outfit? Go all out with these printable 4th of July glasses, which are easy to make and fun for adults and kids alike.

various paper glasses, some with a round floral shape and some reading "fourth," in red and blue with white accents. They're on a blush pink background.

Make your own printable 4th of July glasses

The 4th is prime party time, and there’s always so much to do to get ready for a big celebration. The food, the decor, the playlist–it’s easy to get overwhelmed! But these printable 4th of July glasses would be a perfect party favor because they’re SO EASY to put together.

Materials

Instructions

  1. Print off the printables onto cardstock/heavier paper
  2. Cut around the templates with scissors
  3. Affix the “temples” (the long part) to the frames by folding and gluing together. Note: The Fourth design will be affixed to the back of the frames. Just measure your face to size.

Voila!

paper glasses with a round floral shape in red and blue with white accents. They're on a blush pink background.

Just download our file, send them to your local print shop, cut them out, and voilà! It’s so easy that you can enlist your kids to help out.

Can you imagine how fun it would be to look around at your whole group sporting these goofy GLAMOROUS glasses together? Just make sure you take a photo!

A blonde woman in a blue dress with red and white rick rack wears red white and blue paper glasses reading "fourth." various paper glasses, some with a round floral shape and some reading "fourth," in red and blue with white accents. They're on a blush pink background.

You might also like…

This isn’t our first time making festive paper glasses, so check out our New Year’s and Valentine versions of this printable fashion statement. And if pie or cake features in your 4th of July celebrations, check out these printable pie boxes!

And if you’re looking to go all out with your 4th of July outfit, I can’t recommend this Lady Liberty flower crown highly enough. It’s the perfect way to add some natural whimsy to your festive look. Or try this DIY Tie Dye Bandana for the 4th of July to go with your red white and blue outfit!

paper glasses reading "fourth" in red and blue with white accents. They're on a blush pink background.

The Lars team wishes you a happy 4th! We’d love for you to tag us in your festive 4th photos with #LarsParties. Please celebrate safely!

Friendship Bracelet Inspired Balloon Garland

how to make a flower balloon garland

Friendship Bracelet Inspired Balloon Garland

This year, we turned to our friend Wendy who has the most charming old white house (we’ve talked about her before here), which is a dreamy setting for her preschool.  We had aspirations of flowers and we wanted it to be BIG.  That’s when our friends at Anagram stepped in and gave us a hand with some of their balloons. My favorites are the purple/pink ombre ones, how about you? We knew with Wendy’s house and Anagram’s balloons we could pull off something really fun.how to make a flower balloon garland

Midsummer decor idea

Now, Wendy used to live in Sweden, so she was very eager to hop on the idea of Midsummer balloons. Did I also mention that Wendy is a BIG time lover of balloons!  Match made!  With the idea of greenery (read more about Sweden’s Midsummer traditions HERE) and flowers abounding, we got to work making some flowers out of balloons.

Beaded Flower bracelets

We were reminded of these popular bracelets that our friends at HonestlyWTF made and knew what we had to do. With some extra white balloons, we were able to make a chain and string the flowers together making the perfect balloon friendship bracelet.how to make a flower balloon garland

Here’s how to make them!

Materials: 

Make a flower balloon: 

  1. Start by using a gold/yellow balloon for the center.
  2. Blow up 6 “petals” to go around the center. Use packing tape to secure together and to the center.
  3. Blow up 5 white balloons for the garlands. Use balloon tape to hold them together. Use packing tape to secure if necessary.
  4. To adhere the garlands to your structure, use gaffer tape.

Tip: We found that packing tape is AMAZING for balloon to balloon adhesion and gaffer tape is great for balloon to other surfaces.

how to make a flower balloon garland

Recycling foil balloons

Did we mention recycling?  Yes!  Anagram foil balloons can be used year after year. Or you can gift them to friends like we did to give them a second life. It turned out so cute and we can’t wait for her kids to see!  how to make a flower balloon garland

This post is sponsored by Anagram but all opinions are my own! 

DIY duffel bag picnic blanket tote

DIY duffel bag picnic blanket tote

I recently read Ray Bradbury’s book Dandelion Wine and I loved this quote: “Sandwich outdoors isn’t a sandwich anymore. Tastes different than indoors, notice? Got more spice. Tastes like mint and pinesap. Does wonders for the appetite.”

I truly buy into the idea that food tastes different outdoors! I think about the packed meals I would eat on hikes with my dad growing up, and somehow a plain old ham and cheese truly would taste far better when I was tired and outside. Use this DIY duffel bag picnic blanket tote on your next adventure. Hopefully you’ll get the delicious outdoor flavor without having to deal with attitude from reluctant adventurers. 😉

One of the perks of Spoonflower is the custom design features. My sister, Caitlin Watson Boyes, has some of her fabric designs on Spoonflower under her company called Funky Pretty, and she has designed some great stripes. I was immediately drawn to this stripe and thought I’d just go for it on both sides. BUT THEN I thought…let’s customize it! Caitlin is a textile and pattern designer and so I had her do something with our dad on it. We call it  Dad’s Head Through the Ages. Ha! I find it hysterical! And even funnier because I haven’t told him about it yet and he’ll be finding out as you are. You’re welcome, Dad!

The best part is the practicality of the blanket. We made it so that it’s SO easy to pack and unpack. The two straps allow you to fold it up like a duffle bag. So easy to carry around! AND, you can even place your plates and such in the blanket as you fold it and it will keep it nice and compact. Score!

Material List:

  • 2 yards each of 2 Spoonflower fabrics in lightweight cotton twill
  • Matching Thread
  • 6 yards coordinating bias tape (We used double folded)
  • 2 yards 60” wide batting
  • 1 yard of webbing
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Ruler
  • Cutting Mat
  • Sewing Machine
  1. Cut batting and your 2 fabrics all the same size (size of blanket you want)
  2. Put right sides out with batting in between
  3. Sew all three layers
  4. Open the bias tape, stick the blanket edge in, pinch closed and pin
  5. Continue around the perimeter of the blanket
  6. After pinning, Sew bias tape down
  7. Cut your webbing in 2 even lengths
  8. Pin and sew one strap to the center of the top edge of the blanket
  9. Fold your blanket into thirds with the strap as the center top
  10. Roll your blanket towards the strap
  11. Mark where your second strap needs to be
  12. Unroll and unfold
  13. Pin and sew the second length of webbing downTaDa(d) <see what I did there 😉

We’ve done a number of sponsored posts with Spoonflower now and I’m one of their biggest fans. If you’re looking for fabric, wallpaper, or even home decor centered around a particular theme (seasons, fathers, you name it!), Spoonflower is sure to have what you’re looking for. If you’re a designer, I encourage you to upload a pattern of your own! But if uploading a pattern with your father’s face on it isn’t really your thing, try building a collection of existing patterns on Spoonflower’s Marketplace (there are over 1 million!). Stay tuned for a post about some of my favorite Spoonflower artists!showing a picnic blanket that turns into a duffle bag

This post is sponsored by Spoonflower. All opinions are my own.

Check out our other posts for Spoonflower:

Mother’s Day Tablescape
DIY fabric lampshade
My bedroom makeover
How to install Spoonflower wallpaper

On Juneteenth by Sheryl Garner Ellsworth

On Juneteenth

Last year’s killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd heightened racial tensions prompting an unprecedented increase in the desire to better understand the Black American experience from many of my non-Black friends. My phone was flooded with apologetic texts seeking forgiveness for racist comments, willful ignorance of Black history, and denial of the existence of systemic racism. It was a heavy time. Over a year has passed but the cloud of police brutality and ever-increasing political partisanship continue to spur rifts in many friendships; add the impact of a global pandemic and hope for meaningful change seems hopeless. But despite these challenges, I’m hopeful that our future will be brighter particularly as many friends and well-known companies (e.g. Google, Facebook, Adobe, Lyft, etc.) begin to acknowledge the contributions of Black people in America by celebrating and honoring Juneteenth.

For many, Juneteenth remains a mystery. Largely absent from most history curricula, Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. Despite the Emancipation Proclamation’s abolishment of slavery on January 1, 1863, slavery continued in much of the South. On June 19, 1865, a little over two months after the official end of the Civil War, and two and a half years after the abolition of slavery, a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that all enslaved people were finally free. Juneteenth commemorates these events.

Juneteenth is a special day for me, not only for its historical significance but also because it’s my birthday. Growing up I quickly realized that Juneteenth’s significance wasn’t equally understood or appreciated. Whenever older Black people heard that my birthday was June 19, they would immediately respond with, “Oh wow, you share a birthday with Juneteenth!” Meanwhile, non-Black people would say, “Oh wow, your birthday is just shy of the first day of summer!” or, “I bet you share your birthday a lot with Father’s Day!” I’ve continuously tried to share my knowledge of Juneteenth, as the end of slavery is a joyous moment that should be celebrated by all not only Black people.

My hope is that everyone, whether their company formally gives them the day off or not, takes a moment to honor those who never tasted freedom and recognize that America’s foundational wealth was built with the free labor of enslaved Africans. Acknowledging this fact is not anti-American, it’s our American history. And as Abraham Lincoln said, “History is not history unless it is the truth.”

So take the time to learn and celebrate Juneteenth and our shared triumph over slavery’s evil. No celebration would be complete without food and Juneteenth is no different. Red foods like strawberry soda, hibiscus tea, red velvet cake, strawberry pie, and watermelon are customary for Juneteenth as red or crimson is the symbol of ingenuity and resilience in bondage. Happy Juneteenth!

Thank you Sheryl! And some of you may remember that Happy Birthday cake topper from this collection. We’re so honored! 

Flower Lane Kids Birthday Crowns

Months ago I was dreaming of releasing a line of kids birthday crowns. I wanted them to be whimsical, colorful, and such high quality that they would become heirlooms. In my research I stumbled across Flower Lane and I realized that Sarah, Flower Lane’s founder and designer, had already realized my kids birthday crown dreams!

A pink Flower Lane crown embroidered with the name June  on a yellow, cream, and pink rug.

I reached out and asked if we could collaborate on a collection of Lars x Flower Lane crowns and I’m so glad that it worked out! Our collection has such beautiful colors and I’m considering myself lucky to have gotten a few for my boys and their cousins.

Heirloom Quality Kids Birthday Crowns

Lars x Flower Lane kids birthday crowns are designed to last and will make your kiddos feel like birthday royalty year after year. They have adjustable straps, too! This means you need not fear about your child’s growing noggin sizing them out of their crown.

Jasper wears his yellow Flower Lane crown and sits in a field of daisies.Jasper wears his yellow Flower Lane crown and plays with cars in a playground

I’m so impressed by the time and care that goes into each Flower Lane kids birthday crown. Sarah sews and then embroiders each crown by hand. She also makes the crowns with super high quality linen. You can totally feel the difference in their lovely texture and softness.

An orange Flower Lane crown embroidered with the name Donovan on a yellow rug

When you order a crown, you get to choose the main color, the embroidery color and style, and any pom pom colors you want. All this paired with your child’s name lovingly embroidered on the crown make for a truly customizable heirloom. Jasper’s is so perfectly customized to his personal taste that he may never take it off. Good thing Sarah built these babies to last!

Jasper is wearing his yellow Flower Lane crown and a striped yellow shirt and playing on a playground.

I’m so happy that we collaborated on this collection of Lars x Flower Lane kids birthday crowns. I really believe that this collaboration is better than anything we could have made on our own. Hooray for joining forces!

Jasper plays with toy cars at a playground. He's wearing his yellow Flower Lane crown

More Birthday Inspiration

You can buy our collection of Lars x Flower Lane kids birthday crowns in our shop here. Don’t forget to share your birthday photos with us with #LarsParties

Jasper's yellow Flower Lane crown in a field of daisies.

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. It has a super simple-to-follow tutorial, so check it out!

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.

Twisted Birthday Candles

Whether you’re a fellow birthday traveler or contentedly partying at home, you can also celebrate your birthday in style with these very on-trend twisted birthday candles.

three twisted candles on a green ceramic plate next to a birthday cake. There's confetti around and the background is red and blue.

What We Learned About Twisting Candles

Do you remember when we showed you how to DIY the twisted candle trend? Well, what you didn’t see then was that it took some serious trial and error to get the candles to come out right. It turns out that when you’re making big twisted candles, you’re working with kind of a thick pillar of wax. You have to be really careful about temperature (not too hot!) and how long you leave the candles in the warm water (a surprisingly long time!). If not, you run the risk of melting the outside and leaving the inside cold and hard. Don’t get me wrong! It’s still a great project with our Lars stamp of approval.

Twisted birthday candles on a white cake with a red background.

I’m pleased to announce, though, that miniaturizing the twisted candle trend bypasses a lot of the project’s potential pitfalls. And thus: twisted birthday candles are born!

Close up of twisted birthday candles on a white cake with a red background.

The narrower candles don’t have to sit in warm water for as long before they get nice and floppy. This means that they’re far less likely to snap or crack when you’re flattening or twisting them and sets you up for twisted birthday candle success!

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

Make Your Own Twisted Birthday Candles

You will need:

Long birthday candles, water, a tall, microwave-safe vessel (I just used a mason jar!), a microwave, parchment paper, a rolling pin.

step by step instructional photos of twisting birthday candles

Instructions:

  1. Fill your jar, vase, or tall glass with water.
  2. Warm it up. I found that a few 30 second blasts in the microwave did the trick. It’s key here that your water is warm enough to soften the candle wax without just melting it. Think pleasant bathwater, not hot tub.
  3. Place your birthday candles in the water and let them soak for several minutes. I recommend using more candles than you’ll ultimately need to make room for error.
  4. Your candles are soft enough when they start getting floppy. You’ll want to work with them one at a time and return them to the warm water after you work with them. If at any time the candle you’re working with starts getting stiff, just plop it back into the water until it’s nice and soft again.
  5. Flatten your candles. Put a candle on parchment paper, then fold the paper over the candle. Use a rolling pin to flatten the middle of the candle, leaving its base unflattened so it can easily stick into a cake. Return the candle to the water and repeat for the rest of your candles.
  6. Twist your candles. Take a soft, flattened candle out of the water and gently twist it. If you want it to be very twisted you will probably have to return your candle to the water a few times. Experiment with different degrees of twistiness to find what you like best.
  7. Twist all your candles, then dip them in cold water to harden them.
  8. Don’t forget to make a wish when you blow out the candles!

Close up of twisted birthday candles on a white cake with a red background.

More Birthday Decorations

These twisted birthday candles would be lovely on any cake, but in case COVID got you worried about blowing on a communal cake you could celebrate with cupcakes and this individual cupcake stand.

Check out the printable birthday suites in the shop and browse even more of our Lars birthday decor, because you deserve the most festive birthday party around!

If you’ve aged out of your pin the tail on the donkey years but still are looking for engaging birthday party games, use this birthday bucket list printable! Entertain your guests and find out about their favorite things, and facilitate conversation all in one fun activity.

And most of all, happy birthday!

A flat lay of twisted birthday candles and confetti on an orange background.Twisted birthday candles on a white cake with a red background.

What you need for your new baby

What you need for new baby

As a disclaimer, I’m a big believer in that you don’t need too much. I’m actually quite frugal when it comes to making purchases so I tend to either buy cheap or do without unless I find it totally beautiful and worth being in my life and if not the most beautiful, then just super helpful. That said, I’ve noticed that that there are some specific times when you should invest as it will totally make life easier and for the better and if not, more beautiful at least, because that is also important. As a note, I’m not including clothing or furniture for now (though you can find his nursery reveal here!), just product. I’ll be following up with some clothing recommendations.
Rattan bassinet

Ok! Don’t let all these disclaimers deter you, let’s get going! I’ll be updating this list as Baby continues to grow into different stages that require new products so do check back for more recommendations. Also, I’d love to hear your own recommendations. I’m always open to hearing about beautifully designed items.

Lars Baby essentials round up

Lars’ Favorite Baby Essentials

This time around, I’m grouping the products into time frames so you don’t have to buy everything at once. This way you can spread out the purchases and expenses.

Italics are my updated experience with my second child, Felix.

Before Baby gets here (you’ll need it right away)

  1. I legit didn’t know there was such thing as a “coming out outfit” when I had Jasper. And while it’s obviously not crucial to have a photogenic outfit, it feels like a beautiful rite of passage when there’s some sort of stunning outfit to come home in. This time around I bought a few outfits that felt special and just rotated them a bunch. I picked out this baby bundle set from Storq, which came with a sweet white outfit and hat. For some reason I love when babies don’t have as much color and patterns like I normally prefer. That said, I also got a little set with my favorite pattern from Lewis Home. And something similar to this set.
  2. Uppababy car seat and Uppababy Vista Stroller. I LOVE the look of this car seat and the fabric actually wicks away sweat. Plus, I love that it’s interchangeable with the stroller and base in the car. I got the MESA and love it.
  3. Pampers Pure diapers. We did a sponsored post with them a few months ago but now I’m no longer required to say anything and I’m still using them. I love that they are better for baby and earth. I just wish it was easier to find them at all stores. You have to order them online. We also use Kirkland brand (Costco) because Paul’s favorite place on earth is Costco and everything they do is high quality.
  4. Diaper bag. I don’t know why, but this is the one I obsessed with most prior to baby’s arrival. I spent A LOT of time searching for a great diaper bag. There are a lot of good ones out there now that are both great for mom and functional and though I haven’t tried them all out, I decided to start cheap and see how it goes. I bought this one in red as I just so happened to stumble on it on Amazon and turns out! I spot dozens of moms wherever I go using it. It’s a smart design, spacious, and helpful. And they come in tons of other colors. I’m going to be doing a post all on diaper bags because I found some pretty great options. Ok, I never found a diaper bag that I loved that I actually bought because I’ve come to the point where I realized “why do I need a special bag for diapers?” Well, you don’t! But Jasper has put his through the ringer and so now I’m glad that it was cheap.
  5. Changing basket. Design Dua has the most beautiful collection of baskets including this plain changing basket. I love it so much. It keeps him contained so he doesn’t roll around, which he is doing otherwise. The only downside is that I found that it scratched my brand new changing table. I had to take a rug pad and cut it to the shape of the basket and put underneath it.
  6. Onesies. Because you can never have enough! I like dressing baby in a plain white onesie and that’s it!
  7. Clothes. Check out this post for some of my favorite clothes for baby boys 
  8. Travel Changing Pad. This was sent to me by Joy of Oh Joy for her product collaboration with Target long before Baby was even an embryo but I held onto it because 1) it’s adorable and turns out 2) it’s so handy. It looks like a clutch so it doesn’t scream baby and it works well with a slot for wipes. It’s thin enough to squeeze snuggly in my bag. Now that I’m with my second baby, I use this every single day to change diapers around the house. 
  9. Brest friend. I was using another pillow for nursing but it was killing my back. This one happened to pop up on my Facebook ads and I bought it on the spot. I LOVE MY BREST FRIEND. It’s a game changer for my bad back, especially after baby when it was at an all time hurt.
  10. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. By the way, this book was SUPER helpful for learning to breastfeed.
  11. Swaddles. I didn’t include swaddles in my first round of essentials because I figured most people get a ton as gifts, BUT I got a couple of extras the second time around–ones that I LOVE the prints on so they cheer me right on up. These ones from Lewis are too cute. I also have one from Clementine that I love as well as Little Unicorn.

Within the first couple of weeks

  1. Scissor clippers. Moms might know the terror that comes with clipping your baby’s nails. These ones are great because you can go slowly so that you have more peace of mind. I Love them! These are actually the reason why I wanted to create this post for you. I want everyone to know about them! Yup! Still love them! 
  2. Willow pump. GAME CHANGER. I was dreading having to pump so for a number of months I just didn’t unless I really had to. I was using the pump that my insurance company had given me until I tried this and all of a sudden I was free! It sits in your bra and you can walk around and do whatever you want WHILE IT PUMPS! Ladies! Admittedly, I don’t love pumping, but I do use this still my second time every so often when I need to fill up.
  3. Nose Freda. I received two of these as baby gifts so I thought there must be something to it. This one is genius. Do yourself a favor and get one in your cart pronto. Seems odd, but really not odd at all to suck up your baby’s snot. 😉 Really though, it’s efficient and clever and I highly recommend it. Yup, do it! 
  4. Aquaphor. I don’t even need to say much else than you need it. If there’s ever any redness or rash, use it and poof! Gone! We also tried using my sister’s Butt Paste and it works super well, though it stays on the baby as a white substance.
  5. Collapsible bath tubI tried out a few bath tubs that didn’t work so well for me either because of the size of our sink or sturdiness. I like this one because it worked for a newborn and then it can be transformed for a larger baby when they can sit up by themselves by popping down the side and turning it into a more typical bath tub. We recently got a new one compartment sink and it wasted a lot more water by filling it up than our previous one so this was a better option.
  6. Dock a Tot (not pictured). Jasper slept in this for the first few months and it was great because you can transport it around and set him anywhere you are. LOVED IT! Not in love with the huge logo on it. WHY IS IT SO BIG???? For Felix I got the William Morris cover–it’s so pretty! 
  7. Baby Bum diaper rash brush. This was given to me as a baby gift and I’ll be honest, I thought, “this looks like one of those products that you don’t actually need but someone thought they’d try and make a buck by appealing to vulnerable mothers” BUT I WAS WRONG! Thankfully, I don’t have to use it too often, but when Baby boy gets some redness, I use a dollop of Aquafor and apply it with this and it’s so helpful! You don’t have to get your fingers in baby’s crevices. Everyone wins! Still love it! 
  8. 4 Moms Mamaroo. Baby is loving more and more the more we set him in it. He especially loves it now that he play with the items and actually reach them. Jasper didn’t love being in it and Felix loved it a bit more! I wish that the top play part moved–I think babies might stay more interested.
  9. Tubby Todd body wash. Tubby Todd sent me a baby gift to try some of their wash and I’ve been hooked from day one. It smells lovely and it’s gentle for baby, hypoallergenic, and extra-gentle for sensitive skin.
  10. Grass Bottle drying rack. Just makes life easier in a clever design! I rarely used bottles with Jasper and once again with Felix so I didn’t have a HUGE need for it, but if you bottle feed a lot it’s great.
  11. Boppy carrier. This one was sent to me by the company and I’m not required to talk about it, but I have to let you know that it changed the way baby slept. Prior to this, baby could only fall asleep if we coaxed him while he was in our arms. As you might imagine, we couldn’t get much else done. As soon as I slipped him in there for the first time, he passed out. For the first 3 months of his life, he slept in there for every nap. Then all of a sudden we could set him in his bassinet and he could nap on his own. I’m really grateful for this one. I still use it. In fact, I’m using it right now as I travel to NYC and Atlanta. It’s so snug. I wouldn’t say it’s the most beautiful one on the market, but for us, it was a game changer so I don’t care how it looks. Once again with Felix, this was a LIFESAVER! He slept in it exclusively until about a month ago. 

1-2 months out

  1. White noise maker. I was hoping I wouldn’t need a white noise maker and perhaps I don’t because I haven’t noticed a difference in J’s sleep quality, but I find it more useful in thinking that we can carry on at a normal decibel level than if it’s not on. Love this one because you can turn it on and off remotely. Ok, since last time, we’ve been using a white noise machine with Jasper ever since and with Felix too. As soon as the white noise machine is off, Felix is up. I find that it allows us to feel like we don’t have to tip toe around to not make noise. Love it. We didn’t buy the same brand for Felix, which was a mistake. The one we bought is poorly designed. I’ll be buying this brand again!
  2. Uppababy stroller. The stroller can hold the car seat, a bassinet, and a normal sitting seat for an older child. I’m using the VISTA while I travel right now because baby can only sleep laying down completely so I stick him in the bassinet. It’s so beautiful, quick to assemble and disassemble. I’ve become a big advocate of it! Plus, I love the touch of the leather handle–classy! I didn’t need a stroller for the first couple of months because Jasper would just cry. Felix did the same thing, but starting at 4 months he LOVED sitting upright.
  3. Rattan bassinet from Bundle and Bloom As you know from this post, I was on a big search for rattan bassinets for baby’s nursery. I searched high and low to find a vintage one, but I couldn’t find one in the US and shipping from France was going to cost 2x the cost of the crib itself, SO, I was thrilled to find this version from Bundle and Bloom. It’s beautiful and the cost is NUTS! They’re handmade in Guatemala and we’ve been using it since we got it. I love it!
  4. Moses Basket. Early on in the prepping process, I spent a good deal of time looking for a Moses basket because I’ve always loved the look of them. Turns out? They’re also handy. This one I got from Briar and it’s so beautiful it makes me want to cry.
  5. Sleep Sack.

When their old enough to hold their heads up (4 or 5 months)

A lot of these are basically contraptions to place baby so you can have a sec to do something. I like to spread them around the house so that there’s always something.

  1. Chair swing. Ok, this is an exception to the “beautiful” rule. I don’t love the look of it, but I love the price and I wanted to see if he would even use before buying something more expensive. I started him in it at about 4 months and he would last for about 5 minutes. Ha! We’re working on it! I think he’ll love it…one day! This is the chair swing I’d try if I thought we’d have gotten more use out of it. Well, Jasper never learned to love it and we’ll find out about Felix. I have a feeling he will though because he loves his…
  2. Exersaucer. I borrowed this contraption from my friend, Michele, and Jasper didn’t love it. I borrowed it again for Felix and he LOVES it! He’s at 5 months now and having a ball. Sometimes he lasts for 2 seconds and other times he can stay in for 15 minutes. 
  3. Briar bonnets. I feel such a need to protect Baby’s skin from the harsh sun especially since he’s so pale. These bonnets are both adorable and great for protection. We did a collection with them and they turned out so cute! 
  4. Bumbo. I love the Bumbo for setting him in when I need to get some stuff done, like putting on make up. Bonus is that is comes in this gorgeous color. I searched high and low for a pretty color and found it in this one.
  5. Joovy baby walker (not pictured in graphic). I loved this walker because it was the best looking one that didn’t have the built in toys and it comes with a removeable and washable tray!
  6. Charlie Crane. This is another one that was given to me and I felt like I had won the jackpot because it’s truly so beautiful. I love that it can sit seamlessly in your home, though I have it at work for baby to sit and play in. Helpful and beautiful!

Rattan bassinetRattan bassinet

Again, I’ll be updating this list the more I become familiar with other products and stages of baby’s life. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your tried and true products! Dish!

photos by Jane Merrit and Rebecca Hansen