You become what you see and what you’ve heard

Her comment made me rethink…”why DON’T I run for student government?” If she can see me in the role, why don’t I?!”. So you know what I did? I ran and I made it! I became the Commissioner of Publicity my senior year of high school.

It wasn’t a ginormous role. Basically, I was in charge of publicizing school events and activities, which makes a lot of sense now given my current job. I always had the knack I guess–I just didn’t know it until I did it. I made a lot of posters and banners (in fact, my high school prom date asked me to prom with a sign that said “to the cutie who makes all the signs, this one is for you. Will you go to prom with me?” I’m still blushing ;).

The power of suggestion

It wasn’t until years later that I realized the power of that simple suggestion from my classmate. To be honest, she didn’t know me very well so I’m not quite sure how she came up with the idea, but to have someone think of me in that way and encourage me was life changing. Words matter.

History Made

Yesterday, Kamala Harris, was sworn into the office of Vice President. It’s historic for many reasons–She’s a) the first Black b) the first South Asian c) the first woman to take on one of the highest-ranking roles in our nation. You might recall that when she was first elected she famously said “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” I guarantee that women across the world heard that and committed themselves to become something more or something they may not have ever thought they could become.

We’ve all heard the historic nature of our new presidency so why does this craft blogger and mom of a 4 week old with little time to write an essay let alone shower, feel the need to reiterate it? Because the more involved I am in social media, the more I see that we haven’t all heard it! Or at least we don’t all believe it! When you hear messages that YOU can do great things and then SEE it in action, well, that changes your perspective and goals.

You are what you see

I recently wrote about my mother who grew up dancing ballet, attended the School of American Ballet and then went on to dance in the New York City Ballet and do other very cool things (you can read more about it here). Seeing the many press clippings and photos of her as I was growing up, and whether I was aware of it or not, taught me that I, too, can do cool things. I set my sights on goals I may not have had otherwise and I’ve been slowly trying to accomplish them. I feel lucky to have seen potential from an early age.

Sadly, great examples are not always found within our own families, which is why seeing people who look like you taking on challenging roles is crucial–“hey, if they can do it…maybe I can too!” This bold notion changes your narrative.

Now, whether you share the same politics or not and hopefully that doesn’t matter to you, we have a woman of color in one of the highest offices and that is important for all of us because women and girls and boys…everyone…from around the world see it and know that they, too, can become great things. Along the way, the diversity of our backgrounds creates a more unified playing ground where we can ALL thrive in a healthy, thriving way.

Here’s to a unified and “more perfect” America!

You might also enjoy:

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy our Becoming series! 

Felix’s birth story

1

The first two times I was pregnant (the first one ended in miscarriage), I was super into the idea of doing things without medical intervention. The first one I had planned on doing a home birth and the second time I had planned on a birthing center. Now, as you read here, the birthing center experience didn’t quite go to plan. In a nutshell, I had an eclamptic seizure, which sent me to the hospital. I was put on magnesium (mag), which made me pretty much unconscious for the majority of my birthing experience and quite groggy for weeks after. For this reason I have only flashes of memories from Jasper’s birth. In fact, I have such few memories of the experience that I don’t remember being in pain, or really pushing or the length of time. It was pretty much all a blur.

While I may have been super granola in a previous life, this time around, I decided to take all precautions–no repeats please–even though the odds it happens again goes down dramatically the second time. I saw an OBGYN who took on high risk cases and she recommended taking a baby aspirin every day, which has shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia. Gratefully, everything was completely normal throughout the pregnancy, other than this time I had tons of pelvic floor discomfort and couldn’t really walk towards the end…but that’s TMI…

In the end, at the advice of my doctor, I decided to get induced about a week early to prevent what happened last time. It hurt my “come when it comes” heart, but in hind sight, scheduling a birth is pretty awesome. I mean, I could give my employees and clients a definite time when I would be in the hospital. It still sounds so working girl who needs to schedule out her life, but it is what it is.

I called the hospital the morning of the 21st at 5:30 am and they said to come in in an hour where they would have a hospital room waiting for me. This time, because it wasn’t a surprise, I took a shower, got ready, which I hadn’t done since…2019? and then we headed in. Thankfully, I could bring Paul with me after getting tested for COVID that weekend.

Next the question was…epidural or no epidural? In a previous lifetime it would have been an easy “no way! I’ll do no medical intervention, thank you!” But this time…it was a harder decision! With Jasper, I really got into a good zone with the laboring. We had done hypnobirthing and I was doing daily affirmation practices and was in a great mental spot. I was SO confident going into it. Once I started going into labor I was watching Emma, the Gwyneth version, and then listening to lovely music–it was so calming. This time, I didn’t do as much practicing (#toddleryears) and once I got into the hospital room, they connected me to this and that machine checking on all kinds of levels with nurses in and out of the room. It was busy for sure and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get into the headspace that I had had so I made the decision to do it.

After a few hours I was ready to push. I took a look at the clock–2pm and after like 5 or 6 pushes, he was out. Just. Like. That! It was extraordinary! 15 minutes!

And he was perfect! Get that boy in my arms!

I like to wait to see who the baby is before giving a name. With Jasper it took a week and this time, I didn’t have any other names that I liked besides Felix and Carl so we put the two together. Felix, mostly just because we liked it, and Carl because it’s my grandfather’s name. My grandfather was an angel of a man and I hope that Felix inherits his calm and poised demeanor.

ANYWHO, life post baby is filled with, of course, the highest of highs and some not fun moments like BREASTFEEDING! This time has gone better and faster and we’re getting into a more comfortable state, thankfully. Because I was so groggy last time with Jasper, I didn’t have many clear memories of the first few weeks. I do recall that he started to sleep through the night pretty early. Felix, not so much. It’s normal baby schedule, just once or twice during the night to feed, but still a surprise based on last time. I’m much more sleep deprived than I was last time, sadly, which is hard when there’s another child now and trying to fit in some work. Right now it’s pretty much an eat, sleep, poop rotation as babies tend to do.

I didn’t have clear maternity leave dates but because my studio is now at my house, I have more insights into what’s going on with Lars and I’m finding that being involved, even if it’s not full time, has been really good for my brain. And also tricky–because owning your own company never has clear cut definitions and there’s not really a way to take time off. I mentioned this to my doctor last week and she gave me some great advice–trust your team. And I do! And I feel very lucky to have them.

We brought Felix home introduce him to Jasper and here’s how it went:

Ha! We had woken J up from a nap and he was so out of it. All in all, Jasper’s been super loving on him, but a few days after he started hitting, biting, and kicking me and Paul a lot, all a reaction of the lack of attention on him. It has since subsided and he loves giving Felix hugs, kisses and toys. I hope it continues!

I mean…Look at him!

Well, I’m just glad I have no crazy stories to tell, but thank you for checking in on us to see how we’re doing. I’m buoyed up by your encouragement. It’s a crazy time as we adjust to a family of four, and I’m constantly questioning our decision to stay in America (for many reasons, but right now because of the lack of maternity and paternity care versus Denmark. If I was running the world…). And in general it’s a crazy time in America’s history, but I see hope and love when I look at this boy and that’s keeping me optimistic.

Colorful Waste-Free Products to Use in 2021

This roundup contains affiliate links. When something is purchased through one of the links below, we earn a small commission that helps us create more content and resources for you to enjoy! This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting us and other small businesses this year!

Sustainable and Waste-Free Products We Love

Waste-Free Products for 2021 resolutions

Market Bags

Make your grocery trips instantly more colorful. Having cute market bags on hand will inspire you to fill them with produce and healthy snacks! Trust us, we tested it. Picking a cute tote is the easy part, now we just need to remember to take them with us to the store… At least with patterns this cute they are fun to hang right by the door to grab on your way out!

 

Re-usable Dishware and Storage

Chances are, your Tupperware drawer is one of your biggest plastic waste zones. Slowly but surely replace your collection of mismatched lids and containers with sleek and stylish dishware. The options below will never look cluttered! And they’ll make your leftover dinners 10x more appealing.

 

Lunch Bags + Other Supplies

As you transition from (hashtag) working from home back to the office, this calls for some fun new additions to your lunch break. Pack up a bright bento box from above, tuck it in your new lunch bag, and kiss takeout goodbye! This will tackle multiple new year’s resolutions at once – Eating out less and helping the planet!

 

Water Bottles

I don’t know about you, but DRINK MORE WATER is right at the top of my resolutions list for this year. And I found the solution, a cute new water bottle I never want to set down!

 

Other Waste-Free Products

I don’t expect myself or anyone else to go waste-free in the blink of an eye. However, replacing my everyday-use items with more sustainable options one at a time feels do-able! The items below are great options for when you need a new toothbrush, want to try out composting, or want to make sure the supplies you clean with or clean themselves!

 

For more sustainable and waste-free products we love, check out this post!

2021 Planners To Make Next Year Everything You Hoped 2020 Would Be

Even if you’re not into planners, you will be after looking at the fun 2021 planners we’ve picked out. Last year we had so much fun choosing different planners for everyone.

In John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” he included the famous line from Allen Saunders’ in a 1957 issue of Readers Digest: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Nothing could be more true of this past year, 2020!

And yes, the things we plan for don’t always pan out, but planning ahead gives us a sense of organization and accomplishment.

2021 Planners For Creatives

 

  1. For the Minimalist
  2. For the Botanicals Lover
  3. For the Busy Mom Who Likes Pretty Things
  4. For the Goal Setter
  5. For the Student
  6. For the Neutrals Enthusiast
  7. For People Motivated by Stickers
  8. For Working from Home
  9. For the Classic Planner
  10. For the Planner on the Go
  11. For the Designer
  12. For the Maximalist
  13. For the Optimist
  14. For Self-Reflection
  15. For the Journal-Keeper
  16. For the Detail-Oriented Planner
  17. For the Ticket Stub-Saver
  18. For the Overachiever
  19. For the Entrepreneur
  20. For the Dreamer

2021 Planners Accessories

 

For some other great planners companies, check out our guides from 2020 and other years past.

Pin this!

2021 planners for creatives

DIY Bathtime Art Shapes with Tubby Todd

Tubby Todd Bubble Bath & Great Artists!

Tubby Todd was the first set of bath products I ever received and I’ve been a devotee ever since (I use it myself–best lotion!). I knew they would be the perfect partner for our Great Artists! course (you might remember our previous collaborations with Pink Chicken and Briar Bonnet!). We designed artwork inspired by our course and it now decorates their classic Sweet Quince and Honeysuckle Bubblebath. Bada bing bada boom!

DIY Bathtime Art Shapes

And what could be more fun than bathtime than some custom art shapes inspired by Great Artists! for bathtime fun. Jasper is absolutely obsessed with all his foam ABCs and 123s from Target–he could line them up for days–but I wanted to do some of my own from foam sheets from the craft store. And guess, what? It’s SO easy and you can really go to town.

We even played a game of “tell me something to draw” and we had a ball drawing some of his existing toys onto foam and cutting them out. He was able to recognize some of his favorite toys from around the house.

Materials

  • Foam sheets
  • Scissors
  • Pen or marker

Instructions

  1. Draw your shapes onto foam.
  2. Cut out the shapes
  3. Note: If you use a washable marker to cut out your shapes, make sure to wash them in a sink before putting them into the tub.

SO simple and produces good results. See!

Stay tuned for a giveaway over on Instagram later today to win some bubble bath from Tubby Todd and a Great Artists! course to three people.

You can get our limited edition Sweet Quince and Honeysuckle bubbles over at Tubby Todd for 20% off when you sign up for our Great Artists! course now through 12/31/20 (a code will be emailed to you).

If you liked this tutorial, you might also like the following:

Matisse Felt Board
DIY projects inspired by Frida Kahlo
Home Decor inspired by Andy Warhol

Winter 2021 Creative Internship Call

Winter 2021 Creative Internships at The House That Lars Built

The House That Lars Built is a creative design studio and website focused on artful living through beautifully produced original content. Our goal is to help empower its readers recognize and fill your life with beauty while also providing skills that you can take with you to your next job! We create daily blog content, content for other brands, products, a YouTube channel, and are constantly seeking new ways to create an artful living. We are looking for interns in the following categories:

  1. Illustration
  2. Graphic Design/Marketing (3 different positions: Pinterest, Newsletter, Instagram)
  3. Shopping
  4. Crafting
  5. Business
  6. Content Writing
  7. E-commerce (product development and Shopify)
  8. Sewing/Embroidery 
  9. Marketing
  10. Art Curation
  11. Creative Director assistant

Click here for in-depth descriptions of what each internship includes!

What’s in it for you?

Here at The House That Lars Built, we are passionate about internships! Brittany herself has completed many internships all around the world, and her experiences are what set her up to turn what started as a graduate project into a full-time growing business.

Things like our top 7 tips for nailing your internship will help you stand out in your field. An internship can (and should) be the gateway to the rest of your creative career. Whether or not your personal brand or your future plans align perfectly with the Lars Brand, your experience writing, designing, or illustrating for an existing brand will build your skills, portfolio, and resume.

As an ever-evolving company, while working with The House That Lars Built you will have hands-on opportunities to adjust what you have studied in a new market and changing economy. Working with a small team will allow everything you do during your internship to be seen, and your impact will be felt and noticed. You will have opportunities to utilize the skills you already have and improve in new areas.

Many of these internships listed above have a long legacy here are the House that Lars Built! Lars Alumni are part of a creative, passionate, and inspired community working to make the world more colorful! As a part of the Lars team, you will instantly have networking opportunities at your fingertips that can be vital to your career in a creative field.

In addition to our long standing internships, we are so excited to have some brand new focuses available! More specific internships such as art curation, newsletter marketing, and e-commerce were created to help you narrow down which direction you want to go in your long-term career. Click here to read more about what these new internships include.

Details on all internships

Interns will specialize in their respective category but all are expected to participate in the following:

  • Assisting on photo shoots
  • Helping with the general maintenance of the studio
  • Running errands and complete shipping tasks
  • Writing and brainstorming activities
  • participating in training meetings
  • assistant duties

Internships are unpaid, but can be used for university credit, in fact we highly encourage this. The applicant will need to work with your university to get it approved.

You must be able to work a minimum of 10 hours per week. We expect a full commitment to the position once you’ve accepted the position. The internship will last from late January 2021-April 2021. Exact days can be flexible.

How to apply

Please email hello@thehousethatlarsbuilt.comwith the subject line INTERN and the desired position. Include your resume and portfolio (can be online, photos, basically anything to help us understand your proficiency and skills) and a cover letter. We will email you back to invite you in for an interview.

Please don’t hesitate to apply! Many of our internships can be specialized to fit both our current needs and your amazing skills!

Our New Baby Bonnets Collab With Briar Baby

Our Colorful Collaboration with Briar Baby

Inspired by our Great Artists! Kid’s Course, the new baby bonnets we designed with Briar Baby are bursting with color, cheer, and love! We designed these to be a refreshing pop of color during the bleak winter months. You know I love color and pattern, and that certainly doesn’t stop when it comes to my kiddo’s wardrobe. Each bonnet is topped with a pom-pom, I love it! With a new little one on the way, I am so happy to add these bonnets to his collection and yours too!

Baby Bonnets Inspired by our Great Artists! Course

Our mission has always been to create “an artful life.” This collaboration is a great way to start new life in an artistic way! I love seeing nods to fine art in everyday life. So much of the inspiration for our projects here on Lars comes from a lifetime of enjoying masterpieces from all around the world. Seeing the thoughts and ideas of a talented artist inspire something as simple as a baby bonnet is SO inspiring to me. It makes me feel like my life is a piece of art, down to even the cozy fabrics I wrap my sweet babes in.

Each bonnet in our collaboration is inspired by an artist we admire. Your family can learn more about the artists below through the DIY tutorials, video lessons, and printable activities in our jam-packed 6 week long Great Artists! Course. We choose these artists with care, to represent multiple styles, mediums, backgrounds, and cultures. The course is a great way to introduce your children to the vast creative world while helping them find their own unique style too. Click here to find out more about our course!

Alma Pom Bonnet

“Alma Thomas was an exuberant colorist, abstracting shapes and patterns from the trees and colors around her.” – Smithsonian American Art Museum

Wow! I want to raise my kids as “exuberant colorists!” I can’t wait to complete the Great Artists! projects with Jasper when he is just a little bit older. With me as his mama, he has had his fair share of crafting experience already, ha! I want to transition that into more and more art history learning together. And with these artists inspired bonnets even Jasper’s new baby brother can join in!

Click here to shop the Alma Pom Bonnet.

Andy Pom Bonnet

“Andy Warhol was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art” – Tate

Make Baby’s wardrobe POP with this Andy Warhol-inspired accessory. Andy is quite literally the poster child for colorful artwork, with his poster-style pieces. Of course we had to include him in this color-blocked collaboration!

Click here to shop the Andy Pom Bonnet.

Claude Pom Bonnet

“Claude Monet employed seemingly spontaneous brushstrokes to capture the ever-changing effects of light and atmosphere.” – National Gallery of Art

When I watch my ever-changing little boo grow up, I just want to capture every moment in time as keep it in my pocket! I am so excited to pass down some of Jasper’s baby clothes to our new little boo due next month (wow!) And I definitely plan to keep this new bonnets in the family for as long as possible.

Click here to shop the Claude Pom Bonnet.

Rembrandt Pom Bonnet

“Compelling descriptions of light, space, atmosphere, modeling, texture, and human situations.” – The Met

I know the “human situations” Rembrandt painted were far more grand than most I’ve experienced. But when I am in the middle of my own situations – with spilled cheerios everywhere, legos creating quite the hazard in my living room (Paul’s legos mind you, not Jasper’s) and my craft projects still unfinished – small pops of beauty make the mundane worth it. For me this especially applies to baby needs. If I can invest in pretty and high-quality items for my children, it does not stress me out when they are left in plain sight.

Click here to shop the Rembrandt Pom Bonnet.

Click here to see all of the baby bonnets!

Start your baby’s creative learning young with these Great Artists! inspired bonnets.

Briar Baby Has Masks Too!

Briar Baby has not only been featured in all of my favorite baby clothing roundups, but recently in our list of favorite masks! Their masks are made from the most gorgeous fabrics. Plus your mask could match Baby’s bonnet! A dream, really. And for each mask sold, Briar Baby donates $5 to Baby2Baby – an organization that provides children living in poverty with all the basic necessities that every child deserves.

I still scour the internet regularly for new fabric masks to add to my collection. Using masks has been such a part of my everyday life now, it has been nice to invest in some I really love wearing. I mean it! Having some mask options you love makes it feel like an accessory not only a kind gesture and safety precaution. Click here to explore our team’s favorite masks out now.

Can’t wait to hear how you like the collection! 

A Lars Kid’s Gift Guide 2020

This kid’s gift guide contains affiliate links. When something is purchased through one of the links below, we earn a small commission that helps us create more content and resources for you to enjoy! This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting us and other small business this season!

Kid’s Gifts Under $25

 

Need a new screen-free activity to do from home this winter? We’ve got you covered. Gift our brand new hardcopy of Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book. With unique coloring pages from 64 artists from around the world. Each one drew their representation of hope during this challenging time and your family gets to color it in! Click here to see more.

My friend Joy from Oh Joy! Just released her new children’s book OH SO KIND! This is a lift-the-flap board book about showing kindness in our community. Interactive pages engage readers in this big-hearted book about being a good friend, neighbor, and family member! Click here to order a copy. Jasper LOVES his!

This Frida Kahlo bath bomb is such a fun stocking stuffer! The company who made it, Musee Bath, primarily hires women in recovery, people with disabilities, and people who have lived in chronic poverty. Their products are handmade in the USA with ethically sourced, natural ingredients and are safe for all skin types. They have other products inspired by amazing women like Frida. This is an amazing company to support this season! Pair one of their bath bombs with a subscription to our Great Artists! Course so your kiddo can learn more about Frida Kahlo and other amazing creatives.

Kid’s Gifts Under $50

For ages 6+, give the gift of monthly craft projects! The Kid Made Modern Monthly Craft Club brings art class to your home! Gift a subscription, and they will receive a new craft box each month with all the materials needed to complete their project. You can sign up for 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months of projects here. Print off the certificate below to gift on Christmas morning!

Kid’s Gifts under $100

Spread out the Christmas joy with a gift that truly keeps on giving. A one-time purchase of our Great Artists! Kid’s Course gives your family access to 6+ weeks of learning through DIY art projects and videos. Click here to create an account that all of your kids can access! (One course access account per household.) Put together a gift basket of supplies they’ll need to complete the course, and include the access info, for the most creative Christmas morning yet! Even after the holidays come to an end, and the batteries the other toys run out, your kids will still have plenty of hours of fun left in the Great Artists! Course.

 

DIY Kid’s Gifts

It wouldn’t be a proper Lars Kid’s gift guide without some DIY ideas! For a present with an extra touch of love, try making it yourself! Our archives include gift-able projects for every level of crafter. Try these DIY painted blocks you can customize in any color scheme. Or a hand-sewn plush koala they’ll want to take everywhere. That isn’t the only plush pattern we have, check out this stuffed whale or this rainbow floor pouf too! This DIY mushroom playmat can become a family keepsake. Or for a gift the whole family can enjoy, learn how to make your own custom cornhole set and beanbags here!

Kid’s Clothing

As soon as I saw Primary has a Rainbow Gift Guide this year I was hooked. Recently, I’ve been stocking up on more solid color staples but in fun shades. That way they can easily be passed from kid to kid but don’t need to be in boring neutrals! Then I can dress up a solid staple like this green puffy coat (that comes in every other color too!) with a patterned kid’s mask (that hopefully is only short term, fingers crossed.)

I recently discovered the British brand The Middle Daughter which is featured on Maisonette. I am obsessed with their prints and shapes for kid’s clothing. Like this puffy sleeve and ruffled dress, ah! I wish they all came in adult sizes!

Click here for our past kid’s gift guide posts, for even more ideas!

 

Becoming: Interviewing Romy-Krystal Cutler from Sew Like Romy

Meet Romy-Krystal Cutler from Sew Like Romy

Romy is a full-time mum to two little ones and an energetic, colorful maker. Unafraid to defy mainstream fashion trends, Romy picked up her needle and thread and became a self-taught sewer five years ago. You can find all of her whimsically wonderful sewing creations at Sew Like Romy and @sewlike on Instagram. Deviating from her professional career in the marketing field, Romy, with the support of her husband and best friend, Jason, and her Aussie spunk, found her passion in the creative community But, Romy’s journey isn’t over just yet as she is still on her journey to becoming her best self, seizing every opportunity and dream that come her way!

Here is our interview with Romy!

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

I had two main dreams growing up: to be a track athlete, specifically the fastest female in the 400m, and to be a health professional working with kids with mental disabilities. Now, I’m a stay at home mum who creates pretty clothes in her spare time. 

What do you consider yourself? Example: Creative, artist, fashion designer, maker, marketing professional, business person, etc. 

First and foremost, I consider myself a mum but with a smidge of sewing hobbyist on the side. Honestly, though, I feel like being a mum includes all of the above titles and then some, but the pay isn’t great. Just kidding! In a creative sense though, I do consider myself a part-time “maker” in the sewing community.

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

My interest was sparked by necessity. Fashion trends dictate what’s in store, and 5 years ago, that wasn’t what I wanted to wear. After having a good, long complaint to my husband, Jason, he just looked at me and asked “Don’t you know how to sew?” Answer: I’d made a little purse in school once, and that was it. But, those words definitely planted the seed, and then, that Christmas I got my first sewing machine. I guess you could say the rest was history, but really it was filled with tears, tantrums, and lots of googling. So, that being said, my husband was the most influential and still is.

In terms of pressure, gosh, I feel it all the time. While what I do right now is my passion, it doesn’t pay the bills, and my family often asks when I’ll return back to work in my professional field – marketing (before I became a stay-at-home mum.) For now, that answer is unknown, but I’m super thankful to have a husband who provides both financial and motivational backing for all my sewing endeavors.

What initially attracted you to the marketing field, and why did you decide to switch trajectories? Are there aspects of the field that you incorporate into what you currently do?

I actually just fell into the world of marketing straight out of college. I specifically dealt with data and how we could connect the right people to the right product. As an avid shopper, that appealed to me at the time. I hated getting spammed on the internet to buy this and that, so I saw this as being helpful to consumers. Funnily enough, the marketing field and the social media game are pretty similar, but rather than marketing a product you’re marketing yourself. When I switched trajectories it wasn’t conscious. I was just home with my firstborn, and my mind was bored. You can only watch Little Baby Bum so many times before you start to go crazy. So, I started sewing again as an act of self-care. I haven’t combined the two fields yet, but maybe in the future! You never know! 

You were born and raised in Australia. How has your childhood influenced what you have become?

I was indeed. My childhood has definitely influenced me. Sydney is super multicultural. I grew up surrounded by multiple nationalities and cultures within the city. Being exposed to so many different lifestyles, cultures and influences helped me appreciate and embrace differences and contradictions. I think this has manifested itself in my eclectic approach to creativity and fashion and has helped me remove unnecessary boundaries. Then, when you combine all that with the laid-back Aussie approach to life adjacent to the hustle and bustle of Sydney City, you get my full personality of hyper-organized mixed with friendly chill. In other words, my childhood turned me into a super-colourful, accepting, loving, overly-friendly workaholic who likes to sleep in too much.

Did you have anyone along the way that was instrumental in the trajectory of your life?

Oh gosh, all my family really. There’s always been one or all of my family members that have been there, but if we’re talking about who’s got the most points on their tally that would have to be Jason, my husband. The man, the myth, the legend. He’s always there and will always be there. In fact, my Instagram and blog mainly exist because of his persistent belief in my talent! 

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

Yes! My workspace up until recently was the kitchen table. I would unpack my sewing machine and notions when I would put the kids to sleep and then pack it up when I was done. I did that almost every night. Then, we moved during the pandemic! Now, I have the cold storage behind our garage as my “sewing dungeon.” It’s called the dungeon because there are no windows; hence no natural light, but to me, it’s everything! One side is filled with all my makes to take pictures of, and I have a couple of tables with my machines and cutting mat. The other side is my notions and random boxes of junk, and then. behind my sewing chair is a newly built industrial five-shelf storage rack to accommodate my extensive fabric buying addiction.

Where do you find inspiration for new sewing creations? 

I draw inspiration from everywhere. I love observing my surroundings and what’s happening online. So, usually, it’s a combination of the Pinterest board in my brain that I’ve added to mentally for as long as I can remember, and then, combining that with what I see on actual Pinterest, in the online sewing community, and from my family and friends. Also, sometimes I just see something on TV or randomly on the internet and get so fixated on creating it that I can’t move on with other projects until I get it out of my system.

Now that you live in Provo, UT, does its lifestyle and culture influence your work? 

Most definitely. The community here is filled with talented creatives and you just can’t escape the creativity especially in the Harmony Provo community, created by Laura and Rachel Harmon. It’s a safe place for anyone and everyone that loves making! This community has encouraged me from the beginning – even before I moved down here. They gave me something I can never thank them for enough: Confidence. Confidence to be me and to make what speaks to me. I mean, truth be told, one of the reasons we were comfortable moving to Provo was because of the prospect of being closer to Harmony and the maker community down here. 

Here is a photo Romy took in front of our Lars Mural located near out studio in Provo, Utah!

What is a typical day like for you? 

Our days have definitely changed due to the pandemic. So, this is what it looks like now: I get woken up by my husband. He’s working from home, so he’s with the kids when they first wake up and I get a little extra sleep. I’m then with the kids when he starts work. We do different activities and watch TV shows or a movie until it’s lunchtime. After lunchtime, it’s nap time for the kids. During this time, I do a little cleaning up and then start or resume a sewing project. I do this until they wake up (usually anywhere from 1.5 – 2 hours).

We then play with playdoh or kinetic sand until Jason finishes work. Once Jason’s off work, we spend time as a family. What we do specifically changes every day. It’s then dinner time, and shortly after it’s bedtime for the kids. Once the kids go down, I sew for another 2 hours and then spend time with Jason until it’s time for our bedtime routine. The day usually ends with us looking at pictures we’ve taken of our kids throughout the day…or me talking to Jason about my sewing extensively while he gives me encouraging, but confused nods mixed with the occasional “riiight” and “okay.” 

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

When my husband and I were dating there was this slogan at my university that I really identified with: No limits. I told him about it, and it became our thing. Over the course of the 11 years we’ve been together, we’ve reminded each other of it on multiple occasions. Still to this day, we believe that there are no limits to what you can achieve. 

What advice would you give to someone who is considering making a career transition, as you did?

I’d say get out of your head and follow your passion. I’ve always been a critical thinker, and I have the tendency to think of every possible scenario or combination before I even try something. However, my husband is the opposite, he goes for it. He’s more spontaneous than me, which has helped me unlock that inside of me, and I’ve never looked back. 

How has social media influenced your work?

Social media has influenced my work by introducing me to the online sewing community that I didn’t previously know existed. It connected me with indie pattern designers, amazing fabric stores, and incredible creative accounts. These all influence my work and ideas. However, there are times when I need to pull myself back out. Like any community, there are trends, and if you’re not careful, you can start to lose a sense of yourself in there. 

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

Historically, I grew up loving Frida Kahlo. Learning about her in Spanish school was always a highlight (in Australia, if you’re a native speaker, you can go to school on Saturdays that are in your language.) She was unapologetically herself, and I loved that and still do!

Present-day, the artists I’m influenced by are Monika Forsberg, Ellie Whittaker, Ellen McKenna, and Jennifer Bouron. The Instagram handles of some of the creatives in the sewing community that inspire me at the moment are @emilynatsai, @burieddiamond, @caramiyamaui, @thecornyrainbow, @sewitcurly, @theravelout, @therealalexisbailey, @inannaapparel.

I could keep going and going, but it’s constantly changing, and I’m always finding new and amazing sewists out there. But, without trying to be corny, one of the first accounts I started following, and one of the most in-line with my style, is The House That Lars Built, so being featured is kind of a dream-come-true.

Here Romy poses in front of another fun Provo mural. Check out our full mural guide here!

What has been inspiring you lately? 

Funnily enough, my inspiration lately has been coming from all the ideas I’ve shelved in the past. In the pandemic life we all live now, the isolation and social distancing have allowed me to pick up things I’ve always wanted to do but have been a little scared to approach. At times, I have held myself back for fear of wasting time on things that may not be as “on-trend” or a little too experimental. So, in a weird way, it’s actually been super freeing, creatively, to be left alone to ferment in my own ideas and see what funky things I come up with. 

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

COVID 19 hasn’t really affected my work because I’m a homebody that loves to sew. Staying home is what I do, it’s kind of my jam. However, the extrovert tendencies in me miss socialising, seeing people dressed up when they go out, all of which usually influence my creativity. In the future, personally, I’d love to collaborate more. It’s one of my favourite things to do. I love the mixes that can come from different points of view. That’s where the magic happens. Professionally, I’m not sure yet; I just love doing what I love and letting opportunities present themselves, and giving 110% of myself to whatever comes my way. It seems to be working, so why fix what isn’t broken? 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

Keep going and keep balanced. You are going to encounter so many obstacles as you learn. Sometimes it will feel easy and you feel like you are getting into a groove, and other times, you’ll feel like you can’t connect the dots and even the simple things are difficult again, and that’s ok! I’m still learning and have so much to learn. I have my fair share of meltdowns mixed with triumphs. It’s important to keep pushing forward when it’s difficult, but it’s just as important to know when you need a break and need to step away. 

Is there anything more you would like to “become?”

In general, I want to become the best version of myself. There are a few paths that I can go down and it changes every day depending on which one I want to take or if I want to go down a couple at a time. I’d love to level up with my sewing skills and learn pattern drafting. I’d also like to go back to university and get a master’s degree in data analytics or possibly specialise in the health sector (I graduated in health sciences/human resources and industrial relations). Whatever I choose, I know now that I don’t have to choose one or stick to just one. Life is meant to be lived, and you should never be too focused on the one goal because you may just miss out on other fun projects and opportunities along the way! 

Where to Find Romy

Instagram 

Her Blog: Sew Like Romy

Check out the quilt coat Romy sewed for me here!

If Romy has inspired you to try out sewing…

Check out our sewing patterns here! And our guide to fabric we love here, to get started on a fun new project!

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

Our new holiday card with Mixbook

Holiday Cards with Mixbook

First up, I designed our holiday spirited holiday card for all you floral lovers out there who want that perfect mix of glam (gold leaf!) and traditional Christmas (that deep green!). Personally, I love selecting a color scheme that’s a bit off from traditional green and red (think lots of pinks and golds and such!), but this year I’m feeling particularly traditional and glitzy.

COVID greetings

One of the best features of Mixbook is the ability to change up and customize any part of the card. The default phrase to our card currently says, “Merry Everything” but honestly, it felt a little too chipper for how things have gone this year. Ha! I wanted something a little more reflective of the year in general and you know what, besides some notable victories (we bought a house! We’re having a baby! And some other big ones 😉 SO, we did some brainstorming for some new phrases. Here are some of our favorites:

  • (COVID) 19 Cheers for 2020!
  • “Coronavirus is coming to town”
  • COVID knows when you are sleeping, COVID knows when you’re awake…”
  • “So wear a mask for goodness sake”
  • “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, coughing all the way”
  • Corona Cheer!
  • The best gift this year is to maintain 6 feet distance!

Or, of course, there’s just being honest, right? Here were a couple I considered:

  • Could it get any worse?
  • And I went with “What a terrible year!” because that’s how I feel (mostly!)

I’d love to hear yours! 

Jepsen Family Photos 2020

While I wanted to take a more traditional route to our card, I wanted to spruce it up with lots of colors in our photos. I had some beautiful sweaters in mind for Jasper’s outfit and it kind of went from there. There are so many adorable fair isle sweaters for boys right now and couldn’t decide! Turns out, most didn’t arrive in time for our shoot so we went with the white button down sweater, but we also considered these ones:

Which one would you have gone with? (from left to right)

  1. Navy Blue Fair Isle
  2. Red and white checkers
  3. White fair isle

And I was dead set on wearing this red dress from a collaboration between Pencil and Paper and Dondolo. It actually fits around my 8 month pregnant body and the smocking is delicious. Then Paul added his own yellow touch and we were good to go!

Because I planned everything around our card collection, it was MUCH easier to go from there. Here’s what I started with. And clearly, I didn’t get too far with Paul’s ensemble.

Jasper’s a bit of a performer and this photo session was no exception. I mean, look how it went. He LOVES a family sandwich:

But the rest of the shoot was more like this:

Lars for Mixbook travel album and Year in Review

Along with our Holiday card, we have our exclusive travel album and year in review books with Mixbook. I made one for 2018 and one for our trip to Denmark last year, and decided to continue the tradition with a year in review book for 2019 (I’ll be getting to 2020 when it’s over…and probably a number of months tacked onto that!). It’s PACKED with photos of my son, because yes, I think he’s the cutest and smartest and funniest kid in the world.

Here’s a page from some of the places we had visited in 2019.

Other team members made some of our books too.

Jane, our photographer, made a Mixbook from her trip to NYC and Washington, DC last year. She used our Year in Review book and turned it into a travel book.

And lastly, my cousin, Clare, who lives with us, made a travel book for her senior trip to Italy with her mom and aunt. It’s always so interesting to see how people make each Mixbook their own and give me so many ideas on how to do it myself!

Mixbook Discount

Lars readers get 50% off your book and card order with code: HLARS50, expires 12/21/2020, 50% off book and card order.

Would love to see your choices! Tag us with#houselarsbuiltxmixbook so we can see them! 

Head on over to Mixbook for your 50% off!

This post is sponsored by Mixbook. We love our sponsors who allow us to make original content for you! 

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DIY Bottlebrush Tree tutorial
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We’re moving!

Moving Studios!

In our house looking we intentionally looked at houses where we could potentially put Lars in the basement. It’s very common here in Utah to have a basement and to put renters in the basement. A majority of our neighborhood does that. In fact, our previous apartment was one such arrangement. So when our dream house showed the potential to be for sale (it wasn’t for sale when I knocked on the door!), the large basement was definitely a plus. With three floors at about 1500 square feet each-ish, it would have been WAY too large for just the three almost four of us.

Here’s how the basement was when we first looked at it and basically still is now:

And yes, doors still haven’t gone up! You probably can’t tell with all the blockades, but there is about 1500 square feet, 3 bedrooms, one larger work room and a storage room along with two bathrooms. One bathroom, in fact, that gave us a sewage flood when we first moved in. How welcoming. I’d share a pic but I don’t want to make you barf. We finally got new walls done there (they had to take them out because the poop hit all the walls) and now we’re working on the flooring.

Pros and Cons to working from home

Of course there are pros and cons to having your work place in your house, but overall, I am STOKED! Especially since I’ll be with a newborn soon and wouldn’t be able to get to the studio much. Our current studio, we were all commuting from the same city to about 20 minutes away, which is fine, but it didn’t make any sense.

Plus, this blog is such a part of my personal life and it was oftentimes SO tricky to work between the two. Sometimes we’d need to shoot at my house and sometimes here at the studio. Being in the same spot will alleviate so much confusion.

Another plus is that all my materials are here at the studio and so I was finding that I wasn’t making anything in my spare time because it was so much planning and execution to bring what I needed home. I’m so stoked to have it all in one place.

I’ve worked from home in the past but that’s when I didn’t really have a designated space for it so it was ALWAYS a mess. Now, the mess will hopefully be contained!

Flooring for our basement

Speaking of flooring, I’ve looked into all types of flooring options for basement apartments that are prone to flooding. We know the sewage flood we had was not the only flood this house has had–we’re hoping it’s the last though. With that in mind, we are wanting a flooring that is waterproof and/or easy to maintain in case of water damage.

We looked at LVP, waterproof tiles, painting concrete, and epoxy. I had looked into epoxy when we first moved in because my friend, Eva, has it on her concrete floors and it’s amazing (you can see it here). It came out this wonderfully shiny texture that I LOVE! But her guy quoted me a crazy high price and I was determined to find something else. THEN, I got a hold of another guy who was MUCH less expensive. He comes on Saturday so I can’t comment on his services yet. We’ll see.

What color should we paint our floor? 

That leaves the question…what COLOR do we do for the epoxy?! And that’s the beauty of it. You can pretty much customize your epoxy to ANY color you’d like. Most epoxy installers do garage floors and that typically means any variation of grey, but I shared a couple of images with him and he said he could do it. I asked him about MINT/SAGE:

And about a blush pink:

So…what would YOU do???

Green OR Pink?

You’ll have to wait and see what we chose!

Investing into a rental

As for the rest of the basement studio, the idea of it being in my permanent house is SUCH a relief and bonus for many reasons. One, I’m realizing that I have a REALLY hard time with permanence. For example, I had a hard time investing time and money both studios I’ve rented. I know that your environment plays a crucial role in the overall vibe and well-being, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get behind fixing our current one. We painted a couple of rooms white because we needed them for shooting and changed out some lighting fixtures, but besides that, not much.

SO, I’m excited to DIG in and get the vibe for our studio that it finally deserves! And I’m wanting to go CRAZY on it. LOTS of color and experimenting. I’m talking color on floors and maybe carpeting up the staircase. Maybe something fun with walls and definitely furniture!

Inspiration for the new studio

You can see the inspiration for the new studio up in the first two photos, but I’ll expound here.

I LOVE this restaurant in Moscow by Studio Shoo. I think it’s incredible blend of playful, patterns, vintage, and colorful. Check out more of the restaurant here. It’s so good! Love the green drinking fountain. Could you imagine?!

2LG Studio in London is another major inspiration source. They have SO MUCH FUN with their interiors. I love the way they use pattern and color together while adding unexpected details here and there.

This one, below, is a study in careful placement of color for big impact. That staircase is just paint! It’s the studio of @ZilverblauW in The Netherlands. You should check out her account. It’s so good!

And lastly, this one. I found it here, but don’t know who the designer is. Anyone know? Such a great palette and play on shapes and color.

With these inspiration images in mind, here’s what I have in mind:

  • COLOR everywhere in unexpected places
  • Clever use of paint to create frames and shapes
  • Mix of vintage and new
  • Functional but also aesthetically pleasing
  • A place to shoot and video easily
  • An inspirational place to work

Some places will have to be WAY more functional, like the stock room and storage room, but that means we can really play wit the playful rooms.

Anywhoo, I and we are SO excited about this move. The lame thing is that it’s RIGHT in the middle of our busiest time of the year so we’re going a bit nuts. That sounds par for course this year, no? Wish us luck!

And let me know what flooring you’d choose. Would love to hear why!

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She Shed Craft Retreat
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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!