A Fall Movie List & Cozy Pajamas

Now that it’s starting to cool down outside and the days are getting shorter, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up in cozy pajamas and watch a movie. The Lars team put our heads together to come up with a great fall movie list, with options ranging from cozy to creepy.

Depending on your mood, you can find a something sentimental and sweet or creepy, all of which are perfect for chilly nights and changing leaves.

But first, find your new favorite fall pajamas!

My Favorite Fall Pajamas

A strict dress code of cozy pajamas for movie nights is non-negotiable, if you ask me. As a kid, my siblings and I always had to get into jammies before we started a movie. Now I realize that there was a great reason for that rule–my parents didn’t want to have to wrangle any kids into pajamas late at night when everyone was extra sleepy!

Still, I’m a firm believer that pajamas are vital to any good movie night. The snugglier the better! I’m a sucker for matching pajamas, so you’ll see some sets that are available in kid and adult sizes, which is an added bonus! Here are my favorite fall pajamas:

For Kids

For Grown Ups

If you’re looking for more of my favorite cozy clothes, check out this loungewear in all colors of the rainbow, my favorite everyday leisurewear, and these cloud-like pajamas!

Fall and Halloween Movie List

There are so many great fall and Halloween movies, so something from these lists is sure to strike your fancy! Still, not all of them are family-friendly or for everyone, so use your judgement to find something you’ll feel great about watching. And we won’t tell if you hide beneath the blankets during the scary scenes. 😉

Cozy

  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Coco
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • the Harry Potter movies
  • Little Women
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Dan in Real Life
  • the Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Dead Poet’s Society
  • Legally Blonde

Creepy/Halloween Themed

  • Halloweentown
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost
  • Hotel Trannsylvania
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (which may have given a team member nightmares)
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Goosebumps movies
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (which may have made another team member afraid of the piano as a kid)
  • Watcher in the Woods
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Addams Family
  • Twitches
  • ET
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • A Ghost Story
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Knives Out
  • Heathers
  • Coraline
  • A Quiet Place
  • Nosferatu
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Beetlejuice
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Crooked House
  • Ophelia

Found a new favorite fall movie? Tell us which one, and let us know what your favorite flicks are!

Easy Halloween Ideas From Our Shop

My ideal Halloween is playfully spooky, crafty, and (above all) easy, and there’s no such thing as too many easy Halloween ideas. If you’re looking for a fun, simple way to celebrate the season without turning your home into a Spirit Halloween storefront, read on for easy Halloween ideas!

Easy Halloween Decorations

This Haunted House makes a perfect Halloween centerpiece and conversation starter. You’ll make it from recycled cardboard boxes, which is a win for Planet Earth, and it’s beautiful enough to come back year after year, which is a win for you! Check out our blog post on it here.

Cardboard Haunted House for recycled holiday decor

If you love the spooky aspect of Halloween, check out this Vampire Teeth Garland. It’s creepy without being too macabre, and oh so easy.

DIY vampire teeth garland

Another slightly spooky and impeccably easy decor idea is this wooden transfer plaque template! I’m all for riding the line between pretty and creepy at Halloween, and these really fit the bill. Find the tutorial here.

wooden cross sections of branches with spiders and bugs transferred onto them hanging from maroon ribbons.

This painted pumpkin face template makes for such a fun, easy DIY! Give your porch some whimsy this Halloween by painting these sweet characters on your pumpkins. Read the tutorial here and get painting!

painted pastel pumpkin faces against a pink background

How many times can you say “pretty paper pumpkin project?” Whatever your answer, you should check out this template for rainbow paper pumpkins, along with this tutorial blog post. These make a beautiful, refined, seasonal table setting, they’ll look great for all of Autumn, not jus Halloween. A Thanksgiving comeback, anyone?

orange, gold, and yellow paper pumpkins on a table setting.

If you’re in a pinch and looking for quick decorations, don’t forget this post about last minute Halloween decor!

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas

There’s something to be said for a super intricate, detailed costume for sure. But even if you don’t have the time and energy to become a perfectly accurate storm trooper, dressing up doesn’t have to be out of your reach. Lots of our costume templates just require some simple clothing, some paper, and a prop or two. No professional costuming degree necessary!

Our Ruth Bader Ginsberg collar is maybe our simplest costume for adults. Just cut it out (a cricut or other cutting machine is helpful here), put it over a dark dress, and pull your hair back. Voilà! You’re ready to advocate for your sisters.

A white paper lace collar on a black background.

If you’ve been a Lars reader for more than about a minute you’ll know that I love flowers. So of course I wanted to dress up as a bouquet! Ha! Practice making some paper flowers for this Sweet Pea Paper Flower Bouquet costume (and read the tutorial here).

Brittany wearing a bouquet costume with paper flowers and a white paper wrapper against a green backdrop

Group costumes are always so fun, so pair your bouquet costume with greenhouse garb for a friend! This greenhouse costume uses cardboard and iron-on flowers, and is sure to turn heads. You can find the tutorial here.

a white woman with brown hair wears a green dress with iron on flowers, a greenhouse hat, and yellow clogs. She's holding flowers and a watering can.

Another cute Halloween costume for a pair of friends would be our beehive and picnic costumes. Both use an iron-on technique to make easy halloween costumes that are as cute as a bug. Find the tutorials here.

Brittany wears a gingham red dress with ants ironed onto it and holds a rattan picnic bag. a white woman wearing a yellow dress with iron-on bees, black gloves, a bee headband, and black shoes stands in front of a blue background.

This constellation costume with iron-on stars is absolutely dazzling. Honestly, you might as well break it out all year round because it’s that beautiful.

a blonde woman wearing an off-the-shoulder black jumpsuit with silvers stars all over it, sparkly makeup, and a spangled headband against a periwinkle background

For a subtle Halloween look, just print off our Pumpkin Crown and wear warm autumn tones.

Printable Pumpkin Crown

Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

One of our most glamorous costumes with templates in the shop is our sun, cloud and rainbow set. This makes a great baby and mom costume, because you can add sun rays to a baby bonnet. I love how our model matched the baby’s outfit to her sling! With this costume you can invest as much or as little as you want. Just want the Sun and Rainbow headpiece? No problem. What about the Cloud Bag and Cloud Earrings? Done. Just want a sunny baby bonnet pattern? Your wish is our command. Make the costume just how you like it with this tutorial.

Rainbow costumeRainbow and sun mommy and me costume

This Giving Tree costume is another easy Halloween idea that you could make in a flash. And who doesn’t want to reference a classic children’s book in their costume? Find the tutorial here.

A mom wearing a green outfit with leaves and holding a felt apple bag stands next to her child in red overalls. They're dressed as the Giving Tree.

If you have a gaggle of children to costume, consider our Three Blind Mice baby costume pattern or our Crayon Hat template. Both are simple to put together and oh so sweet.

3 blind mice diy costume for kidsFour kids wearing crayon halloween costumes in orange, red, blue, and green.

Halloween Party Supplies

Even though gathering in big groups for Halloween parties is starting to look less and less likely (again 😔), you can still throw a Halloween party for your family, roommates, or pod! This Halloween Party Suite includes printable invitations, placemats, party tags, and place cards. Talk about easy Halloween ideas!

Halloween themed place cards.

Paper party goods with a halloween theme on a black background. They're orange, yellow, black, white, navy, and peach.

And for a party favor, try these printable poppers or printable Halloween candy gift boxes.

Halloween party poppersPrintable Halloween Candy Gift Box

These Halloween coupons make a fun halloween activity for your family. They’re a great way for parents to get their kids to relinquish some candy in return for fun activities.

halloween coupons in pink, red, blue, and black.

These illustrated Halloween cards are another great party favor because you can attach them to treat bags, trade them, send them as cards, or just hang them up.

Printable Halloween Cards

If your party is more freaky than funky, you might like this elegant invitation and Halloween dinner menu.

black and white illustrated halloween party invitation in a black decorative hadn surrounded by foliage and fruitsBlack and floral printable halloween menu

Party Food

Real talk here: what’s a party without cake? Use these printables and templates to make your Halloween cake extra fancy. The Spooky Town printable cake topper set is quaint and just a bit creepy, while this Black Birds cake topper is decidedly Hitchcock-approved. Red velvet cake makes it even more dramatic!

a colorful, cute printable cake topper set on a cake."The Birds" Cake Topper

If your fall party isn’t so Halloween-specific (or even if it is!) this Fall Leaf cake topper will add elegance and fun to the celebration.

DIY fall leaf cake topper

Looking for more cards, costumes, and decor? Search for Halloween on our blog! You’ll be blown away by the years of great, easy Halloween ideas and DIYs. If you’re interested in many of these ideas (who wouldn’t be!?), you can check out our E-Book, The Halloween that Lars Made. It’s a one-stop shop for easy Halloween ideas, DIYs, and projects.

My new board member role at Nest: Part 2

Artisans in Afghanistan

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say how heartbroken I’ve been over what’s been happening in Afghanistan lately. As soon as the Taliban took over on August 15th, I wrote to my colleagues at Nest to find out about their involvement with artisans in Afghanistan. Turns out, Rebecca van Bergen, founder of Nest, was quoted in The New York times for highlighting the role of crafts in communities and nations as well as in economic development. In fact, Nest has been present in Afghanistan since 2015 and works with a network of 6,700 craftspeople in the country, 89 percent of whom are women.

I’d highly recommend reading the article (here), but in summary, it talks about how the fashion industry and its craftspeople have been forced to go into hiding since the Taliban took over Kabul. Up until a couple of weeks ago, these designers had been using their art to transform their recent tragic history. Fashion was one of the few ways that they could express themselves. Turns out, Kabul was once known as the Paris of central Asia and even before that, the center of the Silk Road, and has quite a rich design history. In fact, Vogue did a story about it in the late 1960s featuring its biggest export–goat skin coats. You can see more of the photos over here (And read this article for more insights into Afghanistan before the Taliban. SO fascinating).

The global impact of this organization is one reason of many why I’ve committed to Nest as an advisory board member. Here are some more.

Nest’s mission is three fold:

  1. Global Economic Inclusivity

Did you know that it is estimated that there are 300 million home-based workers globally? That’s an incredible number! And guess what? As an informal economy, they are underserved. Nest is focused on increasing the supply and demand for responsible handcraft, generating economic opportunity for home-based workers at the bottom of the supply chain–many of them women.

2. Women’s Well Being Beyond Factories

Here’s another fun fact: craft-based work is the second largest employer of women globally—providing a source of livelihood to those limited in their ability to work outside the home. Using universal standards for homes and small workshops, Nest is making female handworkers visible while promoting their fair access to social and economic opportunity. Can you imagine if we contributed to improving such a huge population?! This is women supporting women if I’ve ever heard it.

3. Cultural Preservation

Around the world, time honored cultural traditions embedded in craftsmanship are in danger of being lost. Nest is committed to reviving these techniques through business innovation and a shift in consumer perception surrounding the value of handcraft. It’s so crucial to preserve history, because once lost it can’t be retrieved.

How is Lars supporting nest specifically?

Nest has a US program called Makers United, with the aim of addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the growing makers’ movement by elevating makers from under resourced communities. Makers United has grown to 6 regions and is reaching 538 creative entrepreneurs to build a more vibrant and economically thriving makers movement.
100% of the donations to The Nest That Lars Built will go directly to Nest in support of their Makers United Program supporting capacity building and market access programming for US makers.
Lars is a community of makers in countries from all around the world–it baffles me that we can unite in the name of making beautiful things. I’m also aware that you are generous and interested in making a difference. I’ve seen in time and time again in the 13 years I’ve been doing this.
We’ve made a goal to raise $50,000 dollars by the end of 2021. It’s a very ambitious goal (I’m sweating thinking about it) considering it’s already September, but I’m confident that we can do it. Tomorrow we’ll share a new project that will help us raise these funds.

Please consider donating to Nest here.

Lars’ new mission is to encourage people to make with their hands AND help makers across the world be able to do the same. Nest is our channel to do so. Let’s do this!

 

Read about why I chose to become a board member to Nest here

Photos from Vogue in 1969 and scenes from Afghanistan from here

Our new collection of cell phone cases! (and discount code)

New cell phone cases from The House That Lars Built

I was gifted a yellow cell phone case a year or so ago from Casetify and and it is seriously the best. Super protective, plus a fun color. I’m unintentionally very harsh with my case and it protects it so well. (I paired it with this adorable socket from our shop and it’s extra cute.)

Bright and colorful retro vibes

I loved Casetify’s cell phone case quality so much so I was stoked to partner up with them with our first collection. I wanted to do some designs that are super current but also super Lars so lots of color of course combined with the ever trending checkerboard (we’re keeping it around as long as we can!), flowers in fun shapes, colorblock, waves, marbling and more!

Here are some of my favorite cell phone cases:

You might have guessed that the colorblock flowers cell phone case is my absolute favorite. It has that quilt thing going on that you know I’m in love with right now. But really, I might need to have a case of the day because they are all that cute.

I also love the “Call Me” in chunky letters and abstract shapes above. It’s subtle yet serves a purpose 😉

Some of the cases are transparent so that the color of your phone can shine through. Mine happens to be yellow so I love the idea of that peeking through on this one below:

Customizing your phone case

Casetify allows you to customize your cell phone case in dozens of ways. You can change the border color, the transparent color, the type of case you want, and so many other details that make it so good.

There are so many more AND AND even apple watch bands and AirPod cases. I can’t wait for you to take a look and let me know what you think.

Casetify Discount code

Casetify is giving Lars readers 15% off their order with promo code THLB15 at checkout.

If you get one of our cell phone cases, tag us with #Larsforcasetify. Would love to see them! 

If you like this post, you might also like our laptop covers post! 

The Teacher Gift that Lars Gave

The start of a new school year means new classes, new friends, and new teachers. There’s simply too much to say about how we need to treat (and pay!) teachers better, so I won’t get into it. But we can at least show our gratitude!

Here are some great, simple teacher gift ideas to show appreciation for all the hard work and love they put into educating our communities.

Teacher Gift Ideas

Books Books Books!

Lots of teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies (and let’s face it–they’re not exactly being paid the big bucks, so this is a real sacrifice). One great way to show appreciation to your teacher or your kid’s teacher is to give them some of your favorite books!

Last week on Instagram I asked about your favorite children’s books, and you really delivered! I loved your list so much that I put it together as a collection on my Bookshop page. If you’ve never heard of Bookshop before, it’s a great place to buy books that gives back to small bookstores all over the country. We love Bookshop, so be sure to check out our full list of favorite children’s books on their site!

And don’t forget these lists of our favorite Black-authored books, which would also be great teacher gifts!


Classroom Decor

A literary-themed art print would make another great teacher gift. Lucky for you, we have lots of storybook themed art prints in our shop!

Little Women art print on a patterned wall with warm colors around.A print of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables walking through a corridor of blossoms against a pink background with real blossoms in front.

This Little Women or Anne of Green Gables art print would make a great teacher gift, especially if the teacher is a fan of the books!

four art prints by Ayang Cempaka hanging above a play kitchen. The prints show hansel and gretel, thumbelina, little red riding hood, and Pippi Longstocking.

And wouldn’t these whimsical fairy tale prints be precious in an elementary classroom?

Everyone Loves Treats

Teachers pretty much always could use a snack–after all, molding the future generation is hard work! Cookies or other treats in a cute printable cookie box are sure to hit the spot. You can find our printable cookie boxes in the shop (I know that some say that they’re for Christmas or Valentines Day, but there’s never a bad time to show your teachers some love)!

Colorful cookie boxes arranged next to a handpainted midcentury nativity against a pink wall Colorful paper takeout boxes Pink and blue house-shaped cookie boxes next to a green squiggly background and some heart-shaped cookies Pink house-shaped cookie boxes Tell me your favorite teacher gifts!

I would love to hear what your go-to teacher gift is. Are you a classic apple-on-the-desk person or do you put your own spin on things? Let me know what you do to show your teachers that you care!

10 Ways to Make Friends as an Adult

These days everyone’s wondering how to make friends as an adult. The pandemic has us all feeling desperate for genuine human connection, and more confused than ever about where to find it. Or maybe you’re like me, and over the last year you’ve watched Anne of Green Gables, Grace and Frankie, Booksmart, and other shows and movies about best friends so you’re craving a kindred spirit.

It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one who wants friends, so odds are that people want to be friends with you, too! Follow these ten tips and learn how to make friends as an adult like a pro!

Join a Craft Community

Look, I know you’re not surprised that this is the top of the Lars list, but hear me out. If you’re a crafter, there are probably like-minded people in crafting communities that you could become great friends with! And crafting together is such a great friendship building activity because you have lots of time to talk and inherently lots of crafty things to talk about. Swap favorite patterns or tips, talk about your go-to materials, and learn from seasoned crafters around you.

This is also a great way to make friends of all ages, which is an important way to build a rich social life and healthy community.

Look for crafting communities online, at local craft stores, or maybe ask your local library if they know of any.

Book Club

Book clubs are another great way to make friends as an adult because in a book club you get to hear people’s ideas. Lots of book clubs have themes, so if you really love a certain genre or topic, which means that everyone there has something in common. At a book club you’ll probably find a group of people you love talking to and you’ll never run out of conversations to have.

If you want to start a book club, find one or two other people who are as dedicated to it as you are and join forces to run it and choose books. You can also find book clubs online (zoom book club, anyone?) or by connecting to your local library. We even ran a Lars Book Club for a while, so you can find some recommendations in our archive or in this reading list.

Little Women art print on a patterned wall with warm colors around.November Book Club Art

Community Art Classes

Lots of cities and neighborhoods have community centers with lots of resources, including art classes! I’ve found that I meet a really diverse, interesting demographic when I join community-run classes.

If your town has a community center or rec center, that would be a great place to look for a community art class. There are usually classes for adults and kids alike, so the whole family can make new friends.

Little Lars craft kit materials

Slide Into Their DMs

You can laugh at this (the Lars team certainly did), but when I was living in Denmark and didn’t know anyone I made friends by emailing all the designers I admired in magazines. Slick, I know.

Not everyone responded, but I did end up making one good friend! And I also first met my good friend Michele Brummer Everett (check out her work on the blog and in the shop) online before we became neighbors!

Now, don’t be creepy and definitely (please) respect people’s privacy, but it can work! We can all thank the internet for this very twenty-first century way to make friends as an adult. If it’s good enough for Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail, it’s good enough for you.

Grow a Garden and Work In It

I know it sounds quaint, but this truly works. Growing a garden can help you meet so many people! Apart from the obvious benefits of providing with fresh veggies, fruits, and flowers, gardens are great conversation starters. I bet you’re not the only one in your neighborhood looking to develop a green thumb, and you can swap seeds, plants, and tips with your newfound friends.

Brittany stands in the garden wearing an apron and a sun hat and holding a geranium.

Brittany sitting and reading in a potted flower garden.

Get a Job at a Local Small Business

There’s this romantic idea that you can meet someone (whether romantically or platonically) by becoming a regular at a coffee shop or always reading in a certain section of the park. And you know what? Why not? It’s certainly not the most reliable or foolproof way to make friends as an adult, but maybe someone will notice you and want to become pals.

If this is your preferred method of making friends, you’ll increase your chances (and even make a few bucks) by getting a job at a local small business. If the business has frequent customers, then they’ll become familiar faces to you and you can strike up a friendship.

Go to the Dog Park

People at the dog park love talking about their dogs. That’s why they’re there! Just saunter on up and ask them what breed their dog is, and they’ll probably have a lot to say already.

Know that this one becomes a little awkward if you don’t have a dog of your own to bring, but if you’re trying to make friends as an adult you might just need to get creative.

Green park bench surrounded by grass and trees.

Join a Workout Class

I made one of my best friends in a high school PE class, and we always joked that being sweaty and miserable brought us together. The good news is that you can still be sweaty and miserable and make friends! The bad other good news is that you don’t have to be in PE or high school anymore!

There are lots of free and affordable workout classes out there, and some of them even sound pretty fun! So grab your swim suit or yoga mat or whatever applicable gear you need and get out there.

Rainbow leggings and tennis shoes on women from the knees down.

Throw a Game Night

This one requires you to know somebody, but if you throw a game night and ask your guests to bring another friend you could meet a whole bunch more people! The other good part about this tactic is that you probably (hopefully) like your friends’ taste in people, so you’re likely to get along with the people they bring. We sell some fun printable games in our shop, so your whole evening is planned out!

bingo games on a blue background. It's very colorful. Would you rather printable games on a pink background.

Bring Your Neighbors a Treat

This one’s a classic, but it’s a classic for a really good reason! Food opens doors, and it definitely opens hearts. Make a charcuterie board or a quick batch of brownies (we won’t tell if you use a mix) and bring them to your neighbor’s house. Maybe you live right by your new best friend! Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true? You’ll never know unless you meet them.

Painted charcuterie board laden with snacks and cookies and fruits and cheeses and treats.

More Ways to Make Friends

I want to hear about the ways that you make friends, too! Let me know how you’ve met your friends in the comments.

DIY Reusable Lunch Sack

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

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

Make Your Own Reusable Lunch Sack

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

Materials

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

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

Instructions

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

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

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

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

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

How to Make a DIY Beeswax Wrap

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

Make Your Own DIY Beeswax Wraps

Did you know one study found in 2020 that “9.71 million Americans used 21 or more sandwich bags” in seven days?! If you take into consideration that the run-of-the-mill plastic sandwich bag has been making it into our lunches since the late 1960s, that’s a lot of plastic. Save the planet and your wallet by creating these reusable DIY beeswax wraps. Every little bit helps! 

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

Along with these snack wraps, we’ve made some reusable lunch sacks (which you can see in the photos). Keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial!

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

What You’ll Need

Brittany sits at a sewing machine and makes a beeswax snack wrap. She's wearing a striped green dress and surrounded by colorful, solid fabric.

step by step photos of making beeswax wraps

Instructions

  1. Measure 5 x 9 inch rectangles onto your fabric. Alternatively, measure rectangles that will fit onto the baking sheet you are using. The measurements aren’t fussy, but whatever size you make cut out rectangles.
  2. Lining a baking sheet with tin foil, then lay down the fabric rectangles flat side by side. 
  3. Begin to sprinkle beeswax making sure to distribute evenly (Tip: Because the beeswax will melt in the oven, you don’t have to cover generously. Think sprinkling an ice cream sundae instead of salting a sidewalk).
  4. When all three rectangles have been covered with beeswax, place in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to set your timer!
  5. After 10 minutes, the beeswax should be melted. When you pull your baking tray out of the oven, the fabric color will look uneven. Don’t be afraid of the splotchiness!
  6. Sprinkle a second layer of beeswax, especially making sure to target the areas that didn’t have enough wax the first time around. You’ll be able to see them because they’ll be lighter.
  7. Put back in the oven at the same temperature for another 10 minutes. 
  8.  Pull out of the oven and let cool. Fabric should feel firm and waxy. 
  9. Take one rectangle and fold onto itself leaving a 2 inch flap similar to a plastic sandwich bag.
  10. With a sewing machine, sew up one side using a zigzag stitch. Repeat on the other side.
  11. You should now have a little pouch. Fold over the 2 inch flap to close. Voila! The perfect on-the-go snack pouch!

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

Can’t wait to see your DIY Beeswax wraps using #larsmakes on Instagram!

My new advisory board role: Part 1

Nepal

As you might imagine, Internet was spotty, but also crucial for my job, so when the connection went down on the construction site, I hiked with a couple of others to the next mountain (people who know me now are like…what?!??!?!? hiked?!?!?! YES, HIKED!) and plugged in at the phone tower. In order to get up there, I passed a number of small houses complete with mini farms–chickens, goats, luscious hydrangeas. It was so beautiful. It was also typhoon season, which brought on spectacular views AND a constant thread of crazy rain storms. (I wish I could find my hard drive from 10 years ago with all the pictures!)

We must have made a scene because we were soon joined by a few villagers. Through a translator or hand gestures, I can’t remember, we got to talking and they shared their beautiful handiwork with me. Handmade pewter plates and textiles and more. I was floored. Their work was exquisite.

At the time I was super interested in manufacturing so I was trying to come up with ways to work together. But, like I mentioned, I was fresh out of graduate school and had recently gotten married and moved to Copenhagen, Denmark so I wasn’t in a spot where I could feasibly make too much happen, both financially or logistically–I, myself, was trying to navigate a new country, social system, network, not to mention everything that comes with marriage. I couldn’t take on too much more.

Women Makers in Nepal

What I learned in those weeks was how crucial women were to the building and heart of the the village. In fact, these women, young and old, were the ones who traveled up and down the mountain with huge baskets on their backs full of heavy rocks, the building material of the memorial that was being constructed. There was also a community center designed for the women of the village to host their individual business like nails, micro blading, and making these really cool pom pom blankets and I got to spend some time there. They even dressed me up in their traditional clothing and I felt like a super model because my normally average height in the US was now considered very tall. Ha!

The business origins

Oftentimes the origins of their businesses started from places of sorrow. For example, the owner of the micro blading business began her venture after her husband left her and she could no longer fall back on her family because they had disassociated themselves from her, which is common for the culture. They became enterprising because of the need to survive. Witnessing it for myself instilled in me a desire to be involved somehow, someday, but I didn’t know how to do so when I was also at a point in my life when I also needed to be enterprising.

Kathmandu

After the memorial was dedicated, we spent some time in Kathmandu, which was truly an out of this world experience. It was my first time in Asia and everything felt so foreign, but SO exciting–the colors, the pace, the smells. One highlight of the trip was visiting a rug factory where some of the luxury rug companies that you might be familiar with are made. They showed us how they dyed the yarns and how they turned those yarns into the intricate weavings that become full rugs. Women and men sat atop scaffolding that can lift them higher or lower depending on the size of the rug.

Family involvement in factories

What I found most interesting of this factory visit was how the children would gather in the work space after they were done with school. Sometimes they would sit right next to the parent. My memory is now fuzzy, but I want to say that I recall someone nursing their baby while working. As one who currently works from home and nurses her 7 month old baby, it feels like a privilege, but also super complex. But that’s a story I want to dive into at a later date.

10 years later

As you might know, over the years I continued to work on The House That Lars Built, the blog I had started in 2008 for graduate school (you can read more about it here). It has grown into a multi-person company where we encourage people to make things with their hands. We believe that there is a project and a time frame for every person because making something with your hands has the power to transform your well-being. And when you get in touch with your hands you tap into your soul, which is very powerful connector to your identity and culture.

Knowing this, and witnessing first hand how important the handmade economy is around the globe and even more so now than it was 10 years ago, I’ve found an organization that I have invested time and money into and will now be working with as an official advisory board member: Nest, a non-profit that supports women makers in the handmade economy.

Nest and the handmade economy

I became familiar with Nest a couple of years ago when we joined in on their 25 days of Making. Later that year we worked with 18b to donate profits from our shops for Giving Tuesday, which continued to last year. Most recently, we shared how they’ve been involved with helping some of the quilt makers from Gee’s Bend put their beautiful work onto their new Etsy shops.

As an advisory board member, I wholeheartedly support the organization in the fulfillment of its mission, vision, and strategy. I will be sharing more about the organization next week and an exciting project we are working on together. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can read more about our partnership and learn how to donate here.

Fall 2021 Internship Call

Fall 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, TikTok/Reels)
  3. Shopping
  4. Crafting
  5. Content Writing
  6. E-commerce (product development and Shopify)
  7. Marketing
  8. Art Curation
  9. Interior Design (we have an extra cool project this semester!)

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

Why intern?

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 may 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 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 12 hours per week. We expect a full commitment to the position once you’ve accepted the position. The internship will last from until late August 2021. Exact days and times 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!

Back to School: DIY Whiteboard Upgrade

Because my love of pretty school supplies runs deep, making a DIY Whiteboard felt like a natural step. This would be a great teacher project (can you imagine how cute in your classroom??) or it would also look great in your home office, study space, or bedroom. If you’re a homeschool family, making this whiteboard would be a great project because it integrates math and design. Then you get a great, useful whiteboard in the end! Win win!

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

Make Your Own DIY Whiteboard

Materials

You’ll need a whiteboard, a ruler, a dry-erase marker, acrylic craft paint, and a paintbrush.

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

Instructions

You can make this DIY whiteboard with whatever size of square whiteboard that you have. It will take a little bit of math, but hey! It’s back to school time! You can handle it!

(If your whiteboard is *almost* a square, just proceed as written below and fudge the numbers a bit. You’ll make the squiggle with dry erase marker, so it will be easy to modify. Good news: no one’s grading this!)

Step by step photos in a grid showing how to make the DIY Whiteboard

  1. Measure the sides of your whiteboard. Divide the length of your whiteboard by six. We’ll call this new number “x” in honor of all the algebra classes we sat through.
  2. With a dry erase marker, make a mark around the board’s perimeter every “x” inches, starting in a corner and going all the way around.
  3. Starting at the first mark you made (x inches from the corner), mark a point half the length of x perpendicular to the edge of the whiteboard towards the center of the board and mark. Wait, what? Too much math? Let me break it down. If x is 7 inches, then you’ll mark a point 7 inches away from the corner of the whiteboard and 3.5 inches in toward the center. You’ve got this.
  4. Go to the next mark you made on the whiteboard’s perimeter. From here, mark another point x inches in toward the center of the board. In our example, this point would be 14 inches away from corner and 7 inches toward the center.
  5. Go all the way around the whiteboard marking points. Alternate them half of x inches (3.5 in our example) and x inches (7 in our example) all the way around.
  6. The hard part is over! Look at you, you mathematician! Connect all the new alternating marks by making a zig zag all the way around the board. At this point you’re still using the dry erase marker.
  7. Round the zig zag out and erase any previous markings. Now you have a nice even squiggle around your whole whiteboard.
  8. With acrylic paint, paint the outline of your squiggle design.
  9. Fill in the squiggle design with more paint.
  10. If you need to, do a second coat of paint on your whiteboard. Tadaa! You’re all done and ready for a fantastic school year!

Troubleshooting a Rectangle

If you have a rectangular whiteboard that’s very much longer than it is wide or vice versa, you can still make this DIY whiteboard but you’ll need to do a bit more math (and maybe some troubleshooting). Here’s my advice:

  1. Measure the short side of your whiteboard and divide that number by 6 to get x.
  2. Now measure the long side of your whiteboard and divide that number by x. If it’s close to a whole number, just go with that x value and proceed as above. Your long side will have more squiggles than your short side and it will look great.
  3. If you divide the long side of your whiteboard by x and it’s not close to a whole number, then find another number that divides neatly into your board’s length and width measurements. Just make sure that it goes into those numbers an even number of times, or else your squiggles won’t work.

Wow, have you had enough math for today? I think it’s time for a snack, then recess or reading time. Happy crafting!

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

More Back to School Inspiration

I made these paper lunch sacks with apples painted on them and I think they’re such a cute way to reimagine the classic apple motif. I also put together some creative quarantine homeschool activities for kids, so wherever the pandemic takes us you can be ready.

And don’t forget The School that Lars Built! We have art and art history classes for kids, a flower drawing course for people of all ages, and more coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

Becoming Loria Stern

In 2011, Loria Stern started attending adult education classes entitled “Medicinal and Edible Plants” where she learned about foraging and the power of plant medicine. She started combining her culinary skills with the knowledge she was learning about botanicals. All the while she was posting her bespoke creations on Instagram. In 2016 her work was highlighted in Vogue Magazine and she received over 30,000 followers overnight. Fans were asking where they could purchase her treats so she started selling them on her website. The first day she posted her treats, she received over 20 orders. Since that day, her business has grown into a successful baking operation where she employs 4 helpers with living wages. She’s still growing her business, writing a cookbook and pitching a TV show. Exciting things are in store for this hardworking woman!

Loria is wearing a floral dress and standing in a kitchen surrounded by colorful produce.

Meet Loria Stern

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, baker, business person, educator, etc.?

Well, I consider myself all of these things but more so one than the other depending on what day of the week we’re talking about. I would say I started out as an artist and maker, and then became a baker and now my daily tasks are more of a business person and educator. 

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now? 

I grew up in Ojai, CA, a small quaint town nestled in between large mountains but just a 20 minute drive to the beach. The town had a lot of nature–my childhood neighborhood streets were lined with tall oak trees. There was and still is a huge element of health consciousness and spirituality in Ojai and I think those elements absolutely influenced what I do now and the person I’ve become. 

Loria stands with her back to the camera. She's surrounded by fresh cut flowers and she's wearing a straw hat, and there are misty mountains in the background.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger? 

Of course I wanted to be a professional tennis player! That dream ended around 14 years old and then I wanted to be an artist. I guess that dream has come true except through a different medium (culinary arts vs. the visual arts).

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? 

Not really one single person, but more so a number of different friends who loved eating the foods I cooked and baked for them and encouraged me to follow this path.

What sparked your interest in edible flowers? 

I’ve always loved flowers (who doesn’t?!) but it wasn’t until I started learning about the medicinal properties of botanicals in my 3 semesters of the adult education classes that my love for combining edible flowers + botanicals with cooking and baking, really opened up an entire new craft for me. 

Rolled out cookie dough with colorful pressed flowers pressed onto each round circle of dough.Brightly colored flowers pressed onto sugar cookies on a wooden background.

What are three words to describe your style? 

Creative, happy and cool.

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career? 

I graduated with a BA from college and spent my last year painting and drawing. I was in an art show in my final year of college and sold several pieces. As noted earlier, I also took 3 semesters of adult education classes post college– “Medicinal + Edible Plants” and learned a lot about treating ailments naturally with wild, edible plants. I also attribute my dedication as a competitive tennis player to my strong work ethic, which I think is the most important aspect of my current success. 

Loria sits cross-legged on a teal blanket surrounded by pressed flowers in books and a cup of tea.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now? 

I did not really have a career after graduating college in 2006–I more so worked a bunch of odd jobs to pay the rent–teaching tennis, nannying, working as an assistant, etc. It was not until 2010 when I worked my first job as a prep chef that I really learned my love for the culinary arts and that I wanted to make this a career.

What inspired you to become a baker/florist/gardener? 

My love for nature, working with my hands and discovering new alchemic combinations.

Brightly-colored flowers pressed onto green matcha cookie dough.

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why? 

I love making tall tiered wedding cakes and delivering them to the venue. It is always so rewarding.

Tall wedding cake frosted with white frosting and purple and yellow flowerscake frosted with blush pink frosting with purple, yellow, and white pansies pressed onto it. It's styled in a pink draping fabric with a vase of flowers.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

In nature first and foremost. 

How do you make social connections in the creative realm? 

Many via Instagram, I’ve met some of my best friends and have found a beautiful, supportive community of my work there.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present? 

Gah, there are so so many! Truly too hard to just pinpoint a few.

Horizontal photo of Loria wearing a floral dress and holding a tray of baked cookies. Flowers are pressed onto the top of each one.

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days? 

My father was a jazz clarinetist and music pervades much of my childhood. I love all types of music and have found there is a time and a place for every genre of music. I love documentaries and listening to podcasts. But I try to stay away from negative media as it definitely affects my mood.

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

Work hard and always do your best. Hold yourself and others accountable. Treats others how you’d want to be treated.

Horizontal photo of Loria measuring sugar into a yellow mixing bowl. She's in a kitchen and surrounded by flowers and a turquoise kitchenade mixer

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year? 

I moved to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara just one month before the pandemic began. I had to find a new commercial kitchen and employees within that time and it was extremely difficult to say the least. Looking back, I feel so grateful for the commercial baking space and my LA helpers. 

Loria stands in a field of zinnias wearing a white dress and a straw hat. She's holding a basket full of flowers.

How do your surroundings influence your work? 

So much. I realized I am creatively motivated by my physical space. I love natural light and need to be close to nature. 

Loria bends down to pick wildflowers in a meadow. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat.

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump? 

Exercise is always a good idea and I have found it to be the number one cure for all sorts of slumps. 

What is a typical day like for you? 

I enjoy waking up early. I drink coffee first thing in the morning, then I’ll mosey around my backyard garden with coffee in hand. I’ll stroll up to my home office, check business and personal emails, and then the day is off and running. I usually pick edible botanicals from my garden then meet my team at the bakery. We start cranking our baking orders and then before I know it, it’s 6pm! Then I’ll come home, meet up with my boyfriend and we’ll cook dinner and watch a show.

Loria decorating a pan of focaccia with flowers and vegetables. She's shaped them into a floral scene.

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

To learn as much as you can about the hobby / skill. There is so much readily available information that one can learn online that school is not necessary as long as there is curiosity, dedication and a strong work ethic.

Loria standing at the head of a banquet table full of food and flowers. It is sunset and there are mountains in the background.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on? 

I’d say tennis is my secret talent for those who are just meeting me now! Otherwise, I’m working on learning how to surf but it’s extremely hard!

Two pans of botanical cookies with pressed flowers. The ones on the top are a vanilla shortbread and the ones on the bottom are pink.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business? 

Gah, I am still trying to figure that out. I have not accepted investment from outside sources however am currently looking into it to grow my business!

A plate of baked floral shortbread stacked up. In the background there are lots of flowers scattered.

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

I’d like to become more well-traveled. I want to visit Japan, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Sweden, and the list continues! I want to visit these places and learn about new ingredients and cooking techniques and share those with an audience so that they can live on and evolve into our current day’s food. 

A film photograph of Loria walking away from the camera through a field of wildflowers. She's wearing a white dress and a straw hat and there are trees and mountains in the background.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years? 

First and foremost, I hope to remain healthy! Secondly, I hope to open up a physical commissary kitchen with a retail space, classroom and on-site edible flower garden so that I can teach my botanical infused culinary arts to the greater community. There is so much information that I find so inspiring and interesting, I am sure others will as well.

Loria sitting on a bed with teal bedding and flowers in a bowl. She's wearing a beige jumpsuit and there's low, moody lighting.

Can’t get enough of Loria Stern?

We don’t blame you! Follow Loria’s work on her Instagram @LoriaStern and don’t forget to check out her website, where you can buy her delicious, beautiful creations!

Years ago we wrote a post about using edible flowers, and I hope that this interview with Loria Stern makes you even more excited to incorporate beautiful botanicals into your meals (like this edible flower pot).

Read more Becoming interviews here to keep the inspiration flowing!

Loria walking through a meadow of flowers wearing a white dress and a straw sun hat. She's holding a basket of flowers and the sky is blue.

All photos are courtesy of Loria Stern.