Virtual Workshop + Giveaway With Hello!Lucky

Since our big move, all of our schedules have been thrown off a little. It doesn’t help that I am still losing everything (thanks pregnancy brain!) Jasper has been the most affected by the move though. It’s a big change for my little boo! It has helped to get back our sense of normalcy by taking any chance I can to spend some time with Jasper, doing something he is familiar with.

One of Jasper’s favorite activities is reading and, of course, that makes me so happy. Recently I shared “What Children’s Books I am Reading to my Toddler Right Now” and I am happy to share our latest find with you today! It is the perfect addition to your kid’s book collection just in time for Thanksgiving.

My friends at Hello!Lucky – a women-owned and fun shop in San Francisco – offer the most amazing letterpress cards, stationery, and more recently, children’s books! I have read many of them with Jasper and he LOVES them.

With their bold style and side-splitting humor, Hello!Lucky is excited to introduce their latest picture book that’s all about gratitude. Thanks A Ton! 

Thanks a Ton! Is a pun-derful picture book celebrating gratitude! Offering tons of ideas for how to say “thanks” when words just aren’t enough. Written and illustrated by Eunice and Sabrina Moyle from Hello!Lucky. Eunice and Sabrina have created over 15 children’s books selling more than 1 million copies. Their books support children’s social and emotional development, and let them (and their parents) know that they are amazing exactly as they are. Their titles include My Mom is Magical! (my personal favorite ;), a book celebrating moms,  Kindness Rules!, a book about kindness, Thanks a Ton!, a book about gratitude, and I Believe in You, a book about unconditional love. A full list of their amazing books can be found here.

And! Hello!Lucky will donate $5 for every copy of Thanks a Ton! purchased on raredevice.com to Love For Our Elders, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring joy into the lives of the elderly and you guessed it, writing letters to them is one of those ways!

Enter to Win a Copy of Our Picture Hope Coloring Book + A Copy of Thanks A Ton!

We are jumping on board with Hello!Lucky in the name of gratitude and hope this season. So, we are excited to announce we now offer hardcopies of our Picture Hope Coloring Book!

Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book, is a compilation of coloring pages designed by 64 of your favorite artists from around the world. It is meant to lift spirits and calm anxious minds with its bold message of hope. Each artist has contributed a drawing of what hope means to them along with a few of their own words. The pages are designed for all skill levels and ages, kids and adults. It’s a perfect activity for staying at home and practicing mindfulness and meditation while filling in your hope through color. The profits of the book go to seasonal charities, which are announced here. Through downloads of Picture Hope, over $8000 has already donated!

The idea is that the artists provide the blank canvas and YOU add the hope through color. And you know what? It works! I can’t even tell you the goose bumps I got while I was working on it! COVID-19 has indeed changed so much of our routine, yet in the confusion and uncertainty we’ve also witnessed countless moments of compassion and the strength of the human spirit.

I’ve spent my career developing The House That Lars Built, whose mission is to encourage people to make things with their hands. We believe that the act of making has the power to heal and improve your well-being. The goal of this book is the same and it’s needed now more than ever. Coloring is a simple yet profound act that allows for meditation and mindfulness and this coloring book is even more profound because of the many voices of support behind it.

A new version of Picture Hope is available now!

Up until now, Picture Hope has only been available for download to be printed at home. We have been working hard (read: months!) to create this physical copy, so that you can order it totally ready to color! This version is also ideal to gift to others this season. Click here to order your hardcopy of Picture Hope!

This high-quality coloring book includes varying levels of intricacy keeping you inspired to color! There are plenty of beautiful motifs to choose from: including botanicals, flowers, animals, cities, people, decorative, quotes. We designed this book for every skill level and age to enjoy! Each page is it’s own unique art piece from one of the 64 contributing artists. 

For the next month, ALL proceeds from the Picture Hope Coloring Book go to the nonprofit Love For Our Elders. This comforting nonprofit fights loneliness with love in senior communities and has spread to over 70 countries, all 50 states, and hundreds of schools. Keep reading for more info about the impact of this nonprofit! 

How to Enter Our Giveaway

Enter to win your own copy of Picture Hope + Hello!Lucky’s best-selling latest picture book, Thanks A Ton!

To enter, head to our Instagram post here to let us know what you’re grateful for in the comments below, and join the virtual THANKS A TON launch event on November 14th. The winner will be announced live. Click here to RSVP for the virtual event!

Write Gratitude Letters With Us At Our Virtual Party With Hello!Lucky

I (Brittany!) will be hosting this event along with Eunice & Sabrina Moyle founders of Hello!Lucky, Jacob Cramer founder of Love For Our Elders, and Giselle Gyalzen owner of Rare Device.

Letters are especially wonderful during times when physical barriers are keeping us apart. A hand-written and a handmade card is a thoughtful, personal expression of care and kindness and can keep us connected to those we love, and to help everyone feel like they matter. During this event we want to share ways your family can help more people receive hand-written letters and cards during the Thanksgiving season.

Our virtual event will take place on Saturday November 14th at 11 am PST. During this event you will have access to these exclusive free printables created by Hello!Lucky and The House That Lars Built – including printable gratitude cards and a template for a fun DIY card! Download the free printables here and print them out to get ready for the event!

What will happen during the virtual event?

I will be leading a DIY craft tutorial that your whole family can recreate this Thanksgiving season. Plus I will share some of my top tips for holiday card making!

During this event you will also learn more about Love For Our Elders, the charity that proceeds from Picture Hope and Thanks a Ton! will be donated to. The founder of this nonprofit, Jacob Kramer, will be joining the event to share stories of the people your gratitude letters and donations can affect. He will also share tips on how your family can write to people who need it this season!

There will also be a live reading of Thanks a Ton! so this is a virtual event the entire family can log on for. RSVP here and make it a family activity.

At this time we will also announce the winner of our giveaway! (Details above.) 

RSVP here for a creative afternoon full of conversation and crafts on Saturday November 14th at 11 am PST.  All ages welcome! 

 

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

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Part of why I enjoy birthdays so much is because they’re an opportunity to do what you really want to do. If that means skydiving, go for it! It’s your birthday. If that means staying inside and watching The Holiday, 10 Things I Hate About You, or Roman Holiday on repeat, go for it! If that means eating a decadent cake that is not diet-friendly, by all means, go for it! Diets and I are have never been friendly anyways… 

At the moment, a huge bash might have to wait. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate!! Now more than ever we all deserve a chance to party. These printable birthday suites are the perfect solution when you want fun decoration without too much fuss. Since releasing our original printable birthday party decor, we have been dreaming up even more unique themes. Whether you are planning your own party, a dinner for your quarantine buddy, or baby’s first birthday, pick out the perfect printable suite below!

Rainbow Birthday Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Of course we started with a rainbow theme, and this one works for all ages! This rainbow birthday theme can go as many directions as there are colors in the rainbow. Planning for your miracle child? Plan a rainbow baby party! Your mom is turning 50? Ditch the dark “over the hill” cards and plan an “over the rainbow” party instead! We can

This Rainbow Party Decor Suite includes an invitation, bracelets for party favors, a birthday crown, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Lemon Birthday Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

The fun colors of the birthday suite printables make for the perfect theme, whether your birthday feels sweet or sour! The rest of the decor comes easily once you’ve got a theme down! In fact, we have a few other DIY projects from days past that would be darling with the birthday suite. This lemon wreath is one that stands out in my mind. Or, plop some freshly sliced citrus in the middle of the table for a citrusy centerpiece like we did here! And the colors of our original balloon kit have the perfect fruity feel!

This Lemon Party Decor Suite includes a banner, straw toppers, party hats, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Garden Party Decor

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Another thing that comes much easier when your party has a theme is planning the menu. Thanks, theme! When paired with this printable garden party decor, fruity desserts are always a hit. I went through a popsicle phase a few years back and wrote about three I loved: lemon creme, pineapple pink lemonade, and berry lemonade! These are perfect for when you want a treat but don’t want to turn the oven on. Who said every birthday party HAS to have a cake? 

We designed these themed set for a dreamy summer outdoor party (it doesn’t even have to be a birthday party, an excuse for a party is good excuse.) However, as we head into winter I am starting to daydream up an indoor garden party. Hear me out — paper flower garlands and greenery turning the living room into a summery dream. Sounds like just the thing for seasonal depression, right??

This Garden Party Decor Suite includes an invitation, name tags, cake toppers, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Animal Menagerie Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

This is our most classic birthday set, a colorful circus of animals! I cannot wait to use this one for a first birthday party for baby boy #2. For this party we also added some DIY felt pennants that can be customized for the birthday kid. Pssst, level up your party EVEN MORE with a simple balloon installation kit.

This Animal Menagerie Party Decor Suite includes party hats, bunting, an invitation, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Whether or not you love your birthdays, make this one special! Take time to decorate extravagantly (and easily) with a little help from your friend, Lars. Then do exactly what you want to do. Go to the grocery store and just buy snacks and flowers. Dance obnoxiously to Motown classics. Dress up in a formal gown and don’t bother styling your hair. Plan a fabulous meal for yourself and make someone else cook it/buy it. Eat ice cream straight out of the carton. I won’t tell. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Head to our Shop for even more printable birthday party decor and gift ideas! And you can find all of our Birthday DIY projects here

DIY Classic Halloween Face Masks

Easy DIY Halloween Face Masks

Even if you’re putting on a costume to hang out at home and watch the Sanderson sisters’ hijinks, our DIY Halloween Face Masks Tutorial will scratch that creative itch. And, as everyone knows, I don’t believe costumes are just for one night in October. Where’s the fun in that? Yep, you can reuse these masks for playtime, too (or for wearing when you leave your house for the first time in months to take out the trash and you don’t want your neighbors to see you…).

One note: I already LOVED Portland Garment Factory’s plain cotton face masks, because I’ve found them to be the best shape for breathability–you don’t suck the fabric in and out! So, working with them on this project was really a practical choice. And a bonus that you can have so much fun with them!

How to Make DIY Halloween Face Masks

You will need:

  • Scissors
  • Face paint for the areas around the eyes
  • Sewing machine + thread to match the mask fabric
  • OR plain cotton face masks (again, we used the Artst set from Portland Garment Factory)
  • Iron + ironing board

Classic Halloween Face Masks

We chose some classic Halloween costume ideas to show just how easy to is to transform the iconic into a practical face mask/costume. You can choose from a jack-o-lantern, mummy, a Day of the Dead skeleton. 

Jack-O-Lantern Mask

Materials
Instructions:
  1. Sew your orange face mask
  2. Trace your template onto the mask
  3. You can see that I first was going to embroidery it, but I decided to paint it (easier and faster!). However you’d like to do it!
  4. Sew or glue the ric rac into the face mask (don’t you love how it mimics the mouth?!?!)

Mummy

This DIY Mummy costume requires no toilet paper, so don’t worry about making a dent in your 2020 stash. 

Materials
  • Plain muslin mask (from Portland Factory’s Artist pack)
  • Cheese cloth
  • Muslin fabric
  • Quarter inch cotton lace
  • Stretchy white netting
  • Gold and tan ribbon
  • Earl Grey Tea
  • Hot glue
  • Pins
  • Gold Thread
  • Metallic Gold Thread
Instructions
    1. Cut muslin fabric into a 8 by 8 inch square.
    2. Tear strips of muslin fabric into varying strips of ½ inch to 1 inch.
    3. Cut sections of cheese cloth into similar sized strips
    4. Fill a bowl with hot water and brew four tea bags.
    5. Submerge the strips of fabric in the tea, dying them until desired color is reached.
    6. Remove strips and rinse, the color will lighten slightly after rinsed and dried.
    7. Leave strips to dry, you can speed the process with a hairdryer and straightener on a low setting.
    8. Trim along the long edge of the gold ribbon and fray the edge. Cut into similar length sections.
    9. Cut the stretchy netting into three strips and form into a thin braid.
    10. Layer the fabric strips and ribbons in a criss-cross pattern across the mask. Use the pins to keep them in place.
    11. Trim excess fabric around the mask.
    12. Layer by layer hot glue each strip onto the mask and on to each other.
    13. Lightly hot glue the braid along the bottom of the mask.
    14. Sketch a scarab beetle onto a 1 by 1 inch piece of muslin fabric.
    15. Using the gold thread embroider along the pattern. Use metallic thread as an accent.
    16. Hot glue four strips to the back of the mask to serve as ties for the mask.

Ok, this picture I just thought was funny. I’m about 7 months pregnant and clearly my dresses aren’t wrapping around right now.

Need More Ideas?

Need some more Halloween costume ideas? Well you’ve come to the right place! Check out our Halloween archive for tons of DIY costume, party, and decor ideas. 

How to win this year’s Halloween costume contest
7 Artsy and Iconic Halloween Costume Ideas
Our Favorite Face Masks

6 Ways to Celebrate Halloween while Social Distancing

Have you heard about the Ohio dad who invented a candy chute for a contactless way to get candy right into kid’s trick or treating buckets this year? I love it! Since then I’ve heard talk of slingshots, catapults, and some even crazier ideas on how to make trick or treating happen this October. Not gonna lie, my wheels have been turning too. We have made it this long adjusting our daily lives for this virus, and now as we are about to hit all the major holidays I can’t help but wonder how many traditions will need to be thrown out the window this year. Of course I am willing to do whatever is needed, and there are much bigger things to worry about. But I am grateful for the joy and hope that the holidays bring every year, and I am determined to not miss out on at least that part of the celebrations!

One major thing I am looking forward to is, this year, the holidays will be more about family time than ever! No extravagant parties needed, I am looking forward to making the next few months just as exciting and fun with just my own household! My “quarantine crew” and I can still party hard. And at the very least, more leftover candy for me this year 😉

If you’re hoping to make this Halloween something special, we’ve put together some amazing ideas you can throw together with your family. And even friends with some proper social distancing! All you need to get started is a printer and some scissors.

How to celebrate Halloween while social distancing this year

1. Throw a socially-distant Halloween party

We’ve all missed out on lots of family and friend get-togethers this year. (Cross your fingers we’ll be back to normal by next Halloween!) Luckily, weather permitting, you can still have a fun outdoor Halloween Party if you’re creative (and we’re betting you definitely are if you’re reading this blog!) Even if you are sticking with just your immediate family members this year, go all out! Slip an invite under everyone’s door see whose costume impresses even your teenager. Halloween while social distancing can still be as festive as ever.

Print off our ghoulish Halloween Invitations and customize them so everyone knows the lowdown (masks a must!) Decorate your trees with our fall garland (or maybe your trees are cloaked in fall colors already and don’t need any decoration). Add some twinkle lights to the trees and bushes for a bit of warmth.

2. Eat a spooky (but tasty!) Halloween feast with family

Remember our Halloween Feast? You can throw one with your immediate family. Use our Halloween Menu Printable to get started. These printable placecards can make each setting special, and complete it with that family member’s favorite candy!

3. Put on a Halloween Parade

Need a fun way to celebrate Halloween with your friends, but don’t want to get too close? How about a Halloween Parade in the neighborhood? Use any of our free costume ideas, including these easy iron-ons you can combine with items you probably have sitting around the house. I’d argue that the best part about Halloween right now is you can do it all while wearing a mask 😉

4. Host a Halloween movie night

Don’t have the energy or time for a party? Plan for a night in with your family, but make it memorable. If you’re getting tired of rewatching Hocus Pocus every year (if that’s possible) this could be a fun time to pull out a classic scary movie. The Birds, anyone? Eat out of our Halloween Candy Gift Boxes (you can fill them with popcorn, too!) After all, this is the year to trick or treat yo’self!

5. Incorporate costumes into your at home learning

For most of us this school year has become a modge-podge of online classes and homeschooling. If you’re already losing your motivation to keep at home learning going, don’t worry. If you don’t know what you’ll do when cold weather means you can’t keep ushering the kids outside for “nature class” – now is the perfect time to mix it up! One of my favorite ways to make learning super memorable is to have students dress up as the famous people they are studying!

This happens in our Great Artists! kid’s course a bunch. Some of the daily activities include recreating famous art pieces in person, not just on paper! We also did this when we dresses up as famous artists themselves for Halloween one year. Mix Halloween traditions in with your at-home learning by challenging your kids to dress up as someone they are learning about. Print off these placemats, make a yummy Halloween themed meal, and see what figure from history shows up to the breakfast table!

Plus for your younger children, they can join in on the fun too by dressing up as their favorite picture books! See what I mean here and here.

6. Hold a Halloween porch decorating contest

There’s nothing wrong with a little contest! In fact, since most sporting events got cancelled, I think we need a dose of healthy competition in our lives. You know we love to deck out our porches come Halloween. Use one of our printable designs to elevate your porch above the rest. 

If you’re not sure how you will celebrate Halloween while social distancing this year, don’t be too hard on yourself! Everything about 2020 has been different than we thought it would. However, taking part in beloved traditions like celebrating Halloween can help!

Click here to check out all of our printable Halloween resources, including the full Halloween Party Suite for a discounted price!

 

We’re having a ….

Ha ha ha! Yes, I’m very thrilled to have another boy–I love my first one so much and he brings me so much joy, how could I not?! I mean, am I disappointed that I won’t do smocked dresses or be able to actually shop in baby boutiques (let’s be honest, they’re not made for boys)?! Of course! But I love the idea of two little rascals.

I have this feeling that this new boy will be the complete opposite of Jasper–dark haired, solemn, shy, obedient…hahhaha! We shall see!

How’s the pregnancy going?

Well, thank you for asking! I had a terrific pregnancy with Jasper so I expected the same, but it has been different. Thankfully, I’m not super sick (except the typical first trimester nausea), but this time around, I have the weirdest symptoms.

For one, I didn’t want sugar until like last month. What a blessing! No treats. I wish it would have lasted. But the desire is back and I’ve since made up for lost time.

Second, and for those of you not interested in female anatomy and systems, tune out, my pelvic floor is not being nice to me. I’ve had problems since Jasper was born. I couldn’t walk and certainly couldn’t run. I tried to do a race in October and the day of the race I could hardly walk. Every time I mention it to my doctor I’m told the same thing (do you kegels) but that hasn’t worked and I have a hunch there’s something more to it.

Then all of a sudden two weeks ago I could hardly walk again. I’m definitely a stereotypical waddler who looks very pregnant, but again, I have a hunch is treatable. Anyone know of an awesome pelvic floor doctor? TMI????? I know.

Lastly, NOSE BLEEDS. What the heck? I’ve never had them before but I have had them nearly every night for like three weeks. So stinking weird.

Other than that, this pregnancy has flown by but mostly because work is insane–especially the the Great Artists! course–renovating a house, and trying to move in tomorrow. Am I going insane? Yes. Most definitely. Send help.

Gender reveal balloon arch

On another note, because of the upcoming baby boy, we made a new balloon arch kit in shades of blues for your own gender reveals (nothing is worth detonating fire over!) and you can find it in the shop now!

Love to you all!

DIY Summer Flower Garland

Collaboration leads to inspiration

The inspiration for this particular garland came from two places: our wrapping paper products designed for Alexis Mattox Design, and a collab we did Chatbooks! The floral patterns we did with AMD were just so fun and punchy that we had to make a garland inspired by the wrapping paper. Chatbooks used some of those same wrapping paper designs as covers for their books. After seeing that, it occurred to me that I wanted to see these colors and flowers everywhere. Cue the crafting!

This DIY Summer Flower Garland is the perfect decoration for all your summer soirees. And is pretty enough to keep up all year long! You’ll be happy to hear that the materials were pretty cheap too. It’s made with crepe paper and cardstock, and is totally customizable. You can change the colors by simply using a different color paper. If you do play with a new color scheme, send me pictures!! Color is my favorite.

Where to put your paper flower garland

The fun part about a garland is that it can go anywhere. Wreaths go on the front door, flower vases on tables, but garlands? They do it all. In our Flower & Leaf Garden E-Book, we put garlands over the backs of chairs, as table runners, wound around a staircase handle, hung over doorways, or delicately draped on walls. If you’re planning a wedding, think of how fun it would be to make a DIY Summer Flower Garland with friends! It would be beautiful hung over a trellis or fireplace or as a photo-wall backdrop.

This project is great to work on with friends or alone! Heck, you could probably collab with a friend from afar! Mail each other your pieces to create one big DIY Summer Flower Garland!  If crafting is your cathartic alone time, this garland is perfect for you. Spread out over a few days, and soak up that creative time. Summer days are meant for crafting, am I right?

More paper garlands for every season

You can download the templates for each of these garlands (and more!) individually here or all of them together for a discount!

DIY Summer Flower Garland

Materials:
  • Crepe paper in green, cornflower blue, orange, white, and yellow
  • Cardstock in blue, pink, yellow, and white
  • Acrylic paint in coral, yellow, and blue
  • Wire flower stamens in red
  • 22 gauge cloth covered floral wire in 18″ lengths
  • Spool of 24 gauge florist wire
  • Hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • Templates
Instructions:

Full instructions can be found here!

Once you’ve created all the individual flowers, begin to hot glue the elements onto the green floral wire. Mix in plenty of green crepe paper leaves. We made our garland about 6 feet long.

DIY summer flower garland

Photography by Anna Killian | Crafting by Ashley Isenhour and Rebecca Hansen

Special delivery (again!)

We originally made the video for my first pregnancy, which resulted in a miscarriage. So then we used it for Jasper’s baby announcement (see here!) and adjusted the month. This time around, we don’t have to adjust the month! Bonus! (unborn baby–I still love you even though you’re already getting hand-me-downs!).

If you’re interested in seeing the making of this video, you can see it all here!

The video was done by stop motion wizard, Trisha Zemp (she even has a stop motion school now!) and the lettering by Jill DeHaan and the illustrations by Lexi Nilson and flower illustrations inspired by our coloring book here.

Behind the scenes of our birth announcement video

Having a baby during COVID

Having a baby during COVID-19 hasn’t been much of an adjustment for me other than I try to stay even more away from people because I’m high risk. I’m also finding that I’m in good company with a lot of friends who are also having babies during this time (thank you stay at home mandates 😉 Yes, I can’t bring anyone to the doctor with me, but there’s nothing that has been too crazy…yet.Behind the scenes of our birth announcement video

High Risk Pregnancy

As you might recall, Jasper’s birth was a bit of an adventure. Long story short, which you can read here, I got eclampsia during the birth (seizured!) and so I’m just being MUCH more cautious this time around by going to a high risk OB and taking a baby aspirin a day, which pretty much is the only thing that doctors suggest in this situation to help mitigate it from happening again.

How am I doing right now?

So far, my energy is GONE! Like, really gone. I used to be able to work at night and now it’s REALLY tough to stay awake past 10:30. My other two pregnancies I saw a lack of ambition and motivation during the first trimester and the same thing definitely applied during this one–but add that to a pandemic and being a business owner, buying a house, renovating a house, and I’m DEFINITELY running on survival mode. Thankfully, the nausea ended two weeks ago so at least there’s a silver lining!

As for that good parts–we are thrilled to be expecting a baby! My hunch is that it’s a girl, and everyone I’ve talked to has mentioned the same thing. I don’t know if it’s because they know how much I’d love one…probably…but I still have the hunch, and usually my hunch is correct so we shall see!

ANYWAY, that’s our happy news. Which might explain why I’ve been MIA on Instagram and such. Stay tuned for lots of baby design on the way!

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

August 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.

This DIY watermelon picnic blanket is also the perfect size for social-distancing. Picnicking is one of the few acceptable social activities in big cities, and the perimeter of the blanket is a subtle reminder to stay 6 feet apart even while getting closer together. 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! 

Provo Mural Guide: A Lars Tour

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Why Murals?

Murals have been around forever but have seen an unprecedented bout of popularity since the rise of Instagram. They can be incredibly simple, like The Pink Wall of Los Angeles fame. They can also be intricate and heavily patterned. I’d be crazy not to include our murals in a Provo mural guide! The House That Lars Built team has actually painted two pieces around the town already! In 2016, I teamed up with Dove Chocolate and painted one of their classic foil-phrases behind an antique shop: What are you waiting for? The brilliant letter-artist Jill DeHaan helped design the scripting and whatnot. I had the hardest time selecting colors, but am really pleased with how it turned out. It feels wonder-full. 

Our “what are you waiting for” mural is located behind Block 100 Antiques (145 N University Ave) in Downtown Provo.

Another mural painted by the Lars team is our geometric color wall! Everything we do is about color. You can see why in our video Hue Are You? Asking a person what their favorite color is might be a silly question, but as a person who is crazy about color, it means a lot to me! The wall we painted is a tribute to color, and our geometric patterning was designed to the let hues shine. This mural of ours is located on the west side of 111 W 600 S.

The Provo Mural Guide 

Of course, our murals are not the only ones in town. I love seeing all of the art contributed to my community by fabulous artists, and I’ve narrowed down the list to some of my favorite murals. If you ever come to town, visit the murals! It’s like a community museum with the sky as the roof. 

Colorful Provo Mural

Located at 27 100 W

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CHOM Mural

Painted on the side of the tasty burger joint CHOM, this mural is allll about line play. The wall is broken up into three segments; one has a white, rolling line wandering along a black background. Another section has a circle segmented by an invisible line. The invisible line cues a color change! 

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Color Block Wall

Located on the north side of 150 S 100 W

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Maeser Park Wall Mural

This lovely work is featured prominently in a local park, and the quasi-primary color scheme reminds me of fun childhood years. I love how the artist used a familiar color scheme, but altered the colors just enough to hold my attention. Located at 600 S 500 E.

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“This is our home” Mural

Located at 111 W 600 S Provo, UT.

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Leuven Provo Bike Mural

With its hot pink hue and white lettering and bicycle, this wall painting makes me smile and remember days when a bike was my only way around town! I still love ‘em, and am happy that Provo has its own delightful bike culture. This mural is tucked back behind FoxGlove Flowers and Rent-A-Center near 470 W Center Street in Provo.

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Musicians Mural

I love funky illustration, and these musicians are definitely feelin’ it! The proportions are silly, the colors simplified, and each person has a unique identity and emotion. I could look at this one and giggle for quite some time. This one is a must-see on any Provo mural guide. Located on the east side of June Audio, located at 39 W 200 N

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Shapes Mural

From a design standpoint, this mural speaks to me! It’s fairly simple, but the shapes are organic and brightly colored. The color scheme is consistent throughout, but no shapes near each other have the same hue. It creates a lively vibe as my eyes hop from one shape to the next!

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Fish Kiss Mural

I think I could do something similar to this mural! If you’re looking for some DIY inspo, check out the mural on the side of the Fish Kiss spa. The round bubble shapes present a casual riff on polka dots. Love it. 

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One Time in Provo

I figured I’d wrap up my Provo mural guide with a piece painted in the city’s unofficial town square. Part of why I love this one is the varied script – the cursive is simple yet elegant, and reminds me of a storybook. The big punchy block letters stand out and remind me of my excitement just to be here!  

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Take a Walk

No matter where you live, take a long walk around town and look for art. While art in your community might not be as obvious as a gigantic mural, I hope you’ll find some wonderful secret spots in the town you call home. 

And if you are local to Provo or Salt Lake City and want to visit even more colorful walls, check out our full guide here!

How to make your own mural

Want an art installation with big impact but minimal clean up? Our oversized paper-chain mural is the perfect choice when you don’t want something permanent!

Draw your own mural! We made this one in our old studio that doubled as a massive coloring page anyone could help color in! Just tape up some large white paper and go to town.

Or for another great temporary option, learn how we made a sticky note mural here! Yes you read that right, a mural made completely out of sticky notes.

Click here to see our process for painting a lemon mural in our office! We also added a dainty wall mural to Jasper’s nursery when he was first born. We are big fans of going all out for a real mural, indoors or outdoors. Don’t worry! You can always paint over it one day.

 

 

Paris-Inspired Design: A Bastille Day Bash

How to visit Paris without leaving home

Bastille Day is akin to the USA’s Independence Day in that it marks an important historical turn towards democracy. The bastille building itself was an armory that citizens of Paris stormed and set political prisoners free on July 14, 1789. Modernly, people celebrate in different ways all over the country! My favorite tradition takes place each year in the gardens of the President’s residence, the Palais de l’Elysee. The President hosts a picnic!! Isn’t that amazing? Take your own trip to France tomorrow by celebrating Bastille Day!

Cue the inspiration for my Bastille Day celebration: I’m throwing myself a picnic. Make your picnic simple and clever with these printable placemats!

Our Paris cake toppers from illustrator Jessie Kenelos Weiner, author of Paris in Stride are available for FREE! Download your own and make breakfast extra sweet tomorrow morning. Plus, you can count this as tomorrow’s homeschool geography lesson 😉

How to celebrate like a Parisienne

Lars girls love garden parties and all things French, so this particular celebration is downright delightful. I whole-heartedly suggest you decorate with some adorable France printables, as they are an easy way to play with the stylish theme: Paris-inspired design. Take color cues from there! The tricolore of red, white, and blue is simple and classic – just like French design. Don your best Breton striped top (blue and white of course), chic trousers/skirt, and a pop of color in the form of red lipstick. Stay up late and light off fireworks to celebrate the end of the day. 

Print off our Paris crown and invitation suite here for your next party. Whether you are celebrating Bastille Day, a garden party, a birthday party, or anything else – this party is sure to be tres chic.

How to decorate and dress like a Parisienne

I can’t write about Paris without mentioning how much I adore the style and design identity of this city. With each encounter, I feel creatively inspired. You got your first taste of this with our tips on how to recreate the iconic style of Monet’s French home. And everyone knows Paris has the best fashion. They even have a best baby’s clothes! As I figured when I visited while pregnant with Jasper. Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks for incorporating Paris-inspired design in your home and wardrobe. 

1. Don’t overdo it

You’ve probably heard this quote from Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” I’m pretty sure she is talking about accessories here…  Still, the advice stands – Paris-inspired design/fashion tends to be somewhat minimal. The pieces themselves can be extravagant and ornate, but use a light hand when decorating and accessorizing. 

2. Mix the classic with the eclectic

Part of what makes Paris so magical is its history. There’s just so much that has happened in that ancient city, and all of it feels magical. Select pieces that reflect the growth of the city! Ornate mirrors and crown moldings look fantastic juxtaposed with chic European modernism. Picture a chunky strand of gems or pearls atop a simple black suit jacket. Or fabulous shoes beneath a pair of pleated shorts. Invest in a few significant Paris-inspired pieces, then really showcase them. 

3. Embrace romance

The feel of Paris is really worth celebrating and if you’ve been, you know that feeling is one of romance. It’s almost as if some city official found a way to transform Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose into a scent and then pipe it through every vent in the city. If you’ll take a moment to recall the romantic moments of your life, I’m sure you’ll discover what I have: it’s all about the details. The same idea goes for creating a romantic feel for a space or look! Pick one romantic touch, like long-stemmed candles, your grandmother’s hand-embroidered pillows, ornate frames surrounding photographs from memories you love, sheer curtains, or a touch of crystal. Little details like these can make even the coldest rooms come alive. 

Paris-inspired Decor

 

France-inspired art prints to hang on your walls

We firmly believe anyone can pull off a beret, and this print from Monica Dorazewski agrees! Or for a more subtle reference to the city of love, transport your self to the Palais-Royal with this Stripes is Rhythm print from Jaqueline Diedam.

Fill your home with the art of French artist Julie Marabelle. We carry some of her stunning papercut art in the Lars Print Shop and they have added a touch of a French garden to my bedroom. You can read more about her life in France here.

Other fun French items

Everything you need for Paris-inspired design filling your home. If you are planning a trip to France, our favorite guides are Paris in Stride which you can read more about here. As well as Paris by Design by my good friend Eva Jorgensen. You can also find our guide to small shops in Paris here. As well as our itinerary from our last visit to France, here!

 

Enjoy! 

DIY Birthday Felt Pennants

Why decorate?

Birthday decor is just too fun. And since birthdays are so rare, celebrate longer by crafting in advance! You can print off felt pennant patterns and phrases from our shop, then iron them onto felt. These make for perfect props in photo shoots, mini-celebrations, and they’re cute enough to leave up long past the birthday. 

How to make DIY Birthday Pennants

Materials

Instructions

1. Connect the Cricut machine to your computer & open Design Space. Upload the pennant document and cut the triangle & rectangular shape on a piece of card-stock. (You will use these as a template to trace on the felt) OR the Cricut Machine can cut it out for you.
2. Upload the desired phrase document to your Cricut machine and MIRROR it! (Select the “Mirror” toggle while editing). **If you go to cut and the letters separate & aren’t in order as the phrase layout shows, go back to edit & highlight all the letters, right click & select “Attach,” and then they should stay in the correct layout.
3. Place the iron-on material shiny side down on your Cricut adhesive cutting mat. Cut out the phrase, checking again that it’s mirrored so it will be read the right way when it’s ironed on!
4. Pull the iron-on phrase off of the cutting mat. Then separate the two layers of the iron-on material, leaving the phrase stuck to the clear layer. (Be sure to remove the small pieces in the holes of the letters!)
5. Trace the triangle & rectangle shape from the template onto a piece of felt & cut them out.
6. Lay the iron-on phrase onto the triangle piece of the felt pennant, with the clear layer on top and the phrase touching the felt so the phrase isn’t mirrored, but is read from left to right.

7. Hold an iron set to 280 degrees F. on the pennant for 30 seconds. Wait for the iron-on to cool completely before removing the clear layer. (Check the Cricut website for information on heat & time to hold the iron or Cricut Easy Press on your fabric, depending on fabric type and iron-on type.)

8. Cut four strips of extra felt for your ties – the length will depend on how long you want the ties to be & whether you want to tie them in a bow or knot them.
9. Layer two felt tie strips, lined up on top of each other, and hot glue the very ends together. Do this to all 4 strips, creating 2 ties total.
10. Glue the two ties an inch away from the corners on the vertical edge of the triangle pennant.
11. Glue the rectangle piece of fabric on the vertical edge of the triangle pennant, covering the ties.
12. Wait for the glue to dry & tie your pennants on a dowel. Enjoy your festive birthday decor!

Go celebrate!

I’m sure I’m like you right now– you probably miss spending time with certain people right now. While I am glad to be safe, I miss people. So! I’ve decided to start birthday researching and planning for different people in my life ~in advance.~ It’s something to keep me busy, and it’s a way I can feel and share love. One easy place to start is to make a DIY felt pennant! This piece of decor is cute, classic, and personal. And you can send it to a friend in the mail if you can’t celebrate together.