Back to school supplies for every kind of school year

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Resources for whatever the school year is throwing at you

Recently on Instagram, I asked whether you are sending your kids back to school, trying online classes, or making your own homeschool plan for the first time! With all these options and so many pros and cons, I get that this new school year is throwing a lot more at you than just dodgeballs at recess.

All of these options have even affected our priorities here at Lars. At the beginning of the year, we made a sudden turn and started focusing on #QuarantineCreativity and how to keep your hands busy and your mind clear despite the craziness of 2020. Projects like these, and our 78 homeschool activities for social distancing have kept us sane (so far.) And THIS WEEK we will be launching our biggest and most colorful resource yet! Our first ever kid’s course, all about great artists. More info will be dropping on the blog and instagram all week, and our newsletter subscribers will get exclusive early access to the course at a big BIG discount.

Whether you are sending your kids back to school, thanking the heavens for online classes streamed from the teacher, or creating your very own homeschool curriculum this year – WE SEE YOU. You are working so hard, and you are doing amazing! We hope any resources we are working hard to share can lighten the load even if just a little.

Kid’s face masks for back to school

If you are sending your kiddo’s back to school, you might need some help with the mask situation. A fun new kid’s face mask will be much more likely to make it through the school day!

If you are a teacher or parent in need of your own face mask, you can find our list of our favorite adult masks here!

The importance of learning

Starting a new school year is about a lot more than back-to-school shopping. “It’s about learning, obviously!,” said the imaginary reader of this post in my head. One of the most important processes I learned at school is something I hardly think about anymore: reading.

I bet that most of you learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, and haven’t thought much about it since you left elementary school. The act of reading at this point is close to second nature. You do it without even acknowledging it. Street signs, menus, text messages, even microwave messages are presented before my eyes. And through some miracle that started with a kindergarten teacher, I comprehend that a specific combination of twenty six scribbles (letters) means that my microwaved popcorn is done. Just think – sending your kid back-to-school means they could means they could make YOU a snack instead of the other way around.

For a long time I didn’t recognize the importance of being able to read until I became friends with someone with serious undiagnosed learning disabilities. Despite his challenges, he learned to read in high school. His world exploded! I met him a few years after he learned to read, and it was obvious how much this skill changed his life. 

Respect the process

This story is important for a couple of reasons. One reason is to make you consider the importance of something you do without thought, and appreciate it. Another reason is to acknowledge that learning takes time, and everyone goes at their own pace. This super relevant and encouraging as an adult. It feels like there is a socially-appointed time to learn, and once you pass that time, you’ve missed your window. That rhetoric is so not true!!

I had a class in college with a seventy-eight year old woman, and boy oh boy, she was determined to graduate. We studied together for a test once, and I can guarantee she did better on it than I did. If you are going back-to-school yourself, be proud!! If you have a child starting school again, don’t be upset if they didn’t master times tables or if you weren’t the perfect remote-teacher. No one was!

That is actually one reason why the thought of trying out homeschooling this year could feel like an excited new adventure instead of a last-resort you would never consider if it weren’t for a world pandemic.

Homeschool organization supplies

Have fun, duh!

Of course, learning at school is so important. But it also is supposed to be fun! I have a friend who moved states during the middle of lockdown, and her son has been in desperate need of a friend his age. He started school last week and had an incredible time! He was so tired after playing with new friends that he contentedly fell asleep in the car ride home. That is the dream. 

While you can’t exactly follow your child around the playground all day, you can help them feel loved, special, and excited about the new school year. One easy way to do this is to involve them in back-to-school shopping!! I loved it as a kid and love it still. A fresh pack of crayons is therapeutic, I swear. Sometimes we all need a little push to feel excitement. You, my dears, are perfectly situated to help your kids out in that category. Check out our back to school roundup of products we love for kids (and grownups) heading back to class!

Supplies to make learning fun

Books, games, and other colorful supplies to make learning exciting! If you have pre-school age kids to engage too, check out what books I am reading to my toddler right now.

 

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Other colorful back to school supplies

Backpacks

Notebooks

Lunchtime

 

 

DIY Apple Paper Lunch Sack for Back to School

Show your love with this DIY teacher’s gift

Did you ever hand your schoolteacher an apple? I don’t actually think I gave them apples, but I definitely did my fair share of brown-nosing teachers when I was in school. For most of the sixth grade, I ate lunch in the teacher’s lounge. I thought I was so cool. Those of you adept in middle school sociology know that this made me very uncool. Regardless, thanking the teachers in your life is an important thing to do! They do an incredibly important job, and now more than ever I recognize their value. Maybe you can send Junior to class with a teacher’s gift in an adorable DIY Paper Lunch Sack.

DIY teacher's gift for back to school

Homeschool? Hooray!

Shout out to any parents homeschooling for the first time this fall. Your students are certainly the apples of your eye, and they couldn’t have picked a more loving teacher! If you’re hesitant to dive back into the fray, relax for a moment with the kids and make this easy DIY Paper Lunch Sack! The activity itself is fun, relaxing, and great for connecting as a family. An added bonus is how excited you all will be to whip out your custom lunch bags!

Regardless of how your family approaches education, many of you are heading back to the books in the next few weeks. I apple-aud you! (If you are still deciding what to do, our 78 favorite homeschool activities might help you decide!) After the never-ending summer of heat, I’m tempted to head to a classroom myself for a dose of that frigid A/C. I hope this cute bag we came up with will make the first day of school special. And it’s honestly so simple and affordable. It’s super easy and is a great way to get into the school season. I’ve also used these DIY Paper Lunch Sacks as custom gift bags for teachers, friends, neighbors, whomever! We even have a cute video on our YouTube Channel to show you the ropes. (Have you subscribed yet?!) How ya like them apples?

DIY apple lunch sack for back to school

We were partly inspired by Rebecca Thuss’ cute paper cherry to create the adorable leaf perfect for topping the bag.

How to make your DIY Paper Lunch Sack

Materials:
Instructions:
  1. Draw an outline of an apple near the base of the lunch sack
  2. Fill in outline with red acrylic paint
  3. Add a curved line to look like a shiny reflection on the apple with white acrylic paint
  4. Cut out two leaf shapes from white crepe paper
  5. With black acrylic, paint leaf veins on both white crepe leaves
  6. Glue both crepe leaves together with floral wire sandwiched in the middle. Makes sure to leave enough wire on the bottom to poke leaf into bag
  7. Twist top of lunch sack and insert leaf
    DIY apple lunch sackDIY apple lunch sack for back to school for a DIY teacher's gift

Photography by Anna Killian

Special delivery (again!)

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

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

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

Behind the scenes of our birth announcement video

Having a baby during COVID

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

High Risk Pregnancy

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

How am I doing right now?

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

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

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

Fall 2020 Creative Internship Call

Fall 2020 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
  3. Shopping
  4. Pinterest
  5. Crafting
  6. Instagram
  7. Business
  8. Content Writing
  9. E-commerce
  10. Sewing/Embroidery 
  11. Marketing
  12. Art Curation
  13. Newsletter Marketing

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 August 2020 – December 2020. 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!

Hold up – it’s sticker time! Introducing our new colorful stickers

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

Stickers have been really popular on college campuses for the last few years. As the rest of us have warmed up to the sustainable water bottle trend, stickering the heck out of ‘em is a natural next step! Stickers a great way to personalize you stuff. Before you tell yourself that stickers look a little young, hear me out.

Who cares?? 

I’ve noticed something – little kid clothing is adorable. Like, so cute. I’ll look at clothing for adults from the same store, and it’s all completely stale. Sometimes it’s good to steal style cues from the kids! Truthfully, I do that a lot and I’m interested in helping you do the same. With the help of these new colorful stickers!

Color Lover Stickers

These are the first three colorful stickers of many – keep your eyes peeled for more! Find them here individually or available as a discounted set. We will continue to add more sticker options in the future, but for now we are starting with these cuties. Since I am who I am, COLOR is the official theme of this first sticker set. The rainbow, color wheel, and “Color Lover” designs are simple, bright, and share just a little bit about you. I want to put them on everything I own, like a calling card. Catch me acting like Oprah:

giving oprah - you get a sticker you get a sticker

 

Where to stick your colorful stickers

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

The possibilities are literally endless, but here are just some of our favorite options. A hydroflask is the classic choice! But think phone cases, laptops, anywhere you could use a creative reminder. Our team has been sticking ours all over our My Life in Color journals!

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

Check out our full sticker shop here!

DIY pool noodle recliner

How to make your own pool noodle recliner

We made this DIY recliner for a comfy way to rest poolside all summer long. It is incredibly simple to make, but so fun to personalize! Now you won’t have to worry about the kids spilling melting popsicles on your nice outdoor chairs.

When completed, this recliner lays out flat. So you can enjoy a nap or work on your tan. Or bundle it up anyway you like to create the way you prefer to rest. Stack just a few of the noodles at the end and make yourself a bed for an outdoor movie! Or stack up a full back rest. So you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your favorite magazine – just like Jasper.

Supplies:

Pool noodles – We used 17

Parachute cord – 128 feet total. We used 2 alternating colors.

Instructions:

  1. Line up your pool noodles. You can use alternating colors, or 3 or more colors to create any pattern you like! See the best color options we found here!

2. Cut your cord into 16 ft lengths. Fold one of the 16 ft lengths of rope in half. Take the loop end & lay it under the noodles, then pull the two loose ends through the loop to secure it around the first noodle.

3. Lay the length of the secured rope under the noodles. Fold another 16 ft length of rope in half and lay it on top of the noodles, tying it to the secured loop on the first noodle.

4. Weave the noodles together by taking the top and bottom lengths of rope and weaving them above and below the noodles, through the loops made by each rope. (The top rope will go below the noodle & bottom rope will come above the noodle, they will intersect & the two strands of one rope will go between the two strands of the second).

5. Continue weaving in this way all the way to the end & secure all 4 ties to the final noodle with a loop or a knot.

6. Weave 4 rows of rope to secure the noodles, with two 16 ft lengths of rope used to make each row.

7. After each row is secure, prop the noodle chair up against a wall or bend it in half to create a stable back. Enjoy your new outdoor pool noodle recliner!

DIY pool noodle recliner

Check out our similar tutorials

Here are some other comfy seating tutorials from Lars days past. Including our rainbow floor pouf, DIY camp chairs to level up your GLAMPING game,

Other summer staples

No pool? No problem! Check out our favorite pool floats here. And our full summer style guide here!

Celebrating Juneteenth

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Juneteenth Resources

Before her pool party, she sat us down and had us watch the Blackish episode that explain it, Hamilton style. Think Schoolhouse Rock meets the Roots. You can watch the full episode on Hulu or ABC but here’s a little snippet of the episode.

The brief history goes, two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the last enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told they were free. The date was June 19, 1865. Today, people in the United States continue to celebrate the day, Juneteenth.

Where to learn about Juneteenth

I’ve been spotting some short guides on Instagram that explain a bit more. Here’s a few from @spiritofrevelry, @theccnyc, @monicapirani.

And here’s an article that talks about Juneteenth and its association with Utah.

I’m forever grateful for Sheryl for spending her birthday educating us. She’s an educator by profession and teaching flows through her blood. She’s very patient as we (many of her white friends here in Utah) attempt to learn more about what we can do to improve systematic racism.

While we’re talking about Sheryl, and if you follow me on my personal Instagram who know I talk about her a lot. It’s because has done an amazing job of being a clear voice for equality for a LONG time, even before recent events. When she speaks, I listen. I wish she made her Instagram public so we could hear more from her, but I will continue to share what she says because it’s important. I’m her biggest fan.

The other night I attended a panel discussion that she moderated hosted by Kristin and Jeremy Andrus in Salt Lake City. I recorded her introductory speech and I encourage you to all listen to it.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion last night featuring various black people and their experiences in Utah who talked about what we can do together to improve our racist system and mentality. My dear friend @skg_ellsworth moderated and did an excellent job. She kicked it off by saying some words, which left me heart broken, angry, then hopeful. I encourage you to listen to all ten minutes when you get a moment. Grateful for @kristinandrus for hosting and everyone on the panel who participated AND the amazing gospel choir @thebonnerfamilymusic I have come away feeling like this is the beginning of many conversations and action leading to real change. Racism can’t improve until we all decide it’s important to change.

A post shared by Brittany Watson Jepsen (@brittanyjepsen) on

Sheryl organized a peaceful family friendly protest in her community in Salt Lake. You can read more about it here.

This selfie is not my greatest moment, but always happy to share about Sheryl.

You can hear more from Sheryl in this interview on Utah’s Studio 5 with Emily McCormick.

3 Pipe Cleaner Crowns (+ a Birthday Party Sale!)

DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party

DIY Pipe Cleaner Crown

You know us, we take any opportunity to wear a crown. We have been watching the delicate gold crown trend with wide eyes, and even made our own version here when our team member Hailey got married! And we have an entire e-book full of printable crowns for every holiday! Today’s crown is kid-friendly and YOU-friendly, easy to make for any (every) occasion, and ready to be personalized.

Supplies:

Pipe cleaners

Pom poms

Gems

Glue

DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party

Instructions:

  1. Start by creating the base of your crown with 1 or multiple pipe cleaners. You can create a headband type form or a circle crown form.
  2. Carefully shape the pipe cleaners to your desired shape. Be carefully not to make any sharp unwanted bends.
  3. Create the pipe cleaner crown shape you want, using any of the photos above for reference.
  4. Embellish your crown with gems, pom poms, and anything else your heart desires to add some sparkle!
  5. Plan a birthday party to wear your crown to

DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party DIY pipe cleaner crown for a birthday party

Birthday party supplies on sale now

In honor of naming June Birthday Month, all of our birthday party printables are 15% off for the entire month of June! Stock up now for a year’s worth of family birthdays.

Shop more crowns, invitation suites, banners, and everything you need to make all your 2020 birthday parties special! And keep an eye out for even more birthday items joining our shop all throughout this month!

All of the items below are 15% off now

 

We must speak up and support

What can we do to support?

As I mentioned in the post, “Racism exists because we let it exist and racism won’t end until we we all decide it’s a problem and do something about it.” In that spirit, I provided a number of resources on our stories (saved in highlights) that I’ve been using to educate myself further and offer them to our readers.

It is ok to hurt and not understand and not know where you fit into everything quite yet. I think it will be a life long journey. We all learn at our own rates. That said, I encourage you to spend some time reading from people of color and points of views you wouldn’t normally read as that’s how we will attain more understanding as well as provide a non-judgmental space to do so. I believe that the moment we judge, we limit our ability to grow.

On that note, we’d love to highlight some resources with with the intent to celebrate provide voices you may not be familiar with. ****Please note, this is not a final list, please leave a comment if you’d like to share additional resources.

Resources

Creatives to follow
LaTonya Yvette
Amber Kemp-Gerstel of Damask Love
Maritza Lisa
Jen Hewett
Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow
Nicole Gibbons
ItsCarlaBethany
Kendra Dandy
Mia Saine

Books for learning
(all book links direct you to Semicolon Chicago, a Black woman-owned bookstore.
Woman of Color by LaTonya Yvette
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
me and white supremacy by Layla Saad
Accounts to follow
Donate
Petition
Text FLOYD to 55156 or sign this Change.org petition
Here is a more comprehensive list of ways of anti-racism sources for white people, including resources for parenting by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein.

What children’s books I’m reading to my toddler right now

 

favorite books for toddlers

My 31 Favorite Children’s Books for Toddlers

  1. King Bidgood’s In the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Wood. This one was gifted to us as a baby shower gift but it might be my favorite children’s book. Or one of my top 3. I LOVE reading it to Jasper. There are so many fun characters to play and it’s such a clever book. There’s always something to find hidden in the illustrations.
  2. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski. We bought this one at the local used book store and I love the message. It encourages kids to go to sleep but in an empowering way.
  3. Moomin series. Jasper’s especially loving Moomin and the Wishing Star right now by Tove Jansson. Moomin books are all about a whimsical and Jasper
  4. Anything Dr. Seuss. We picked up a few compilations from Costco while we were on a grocery run and there are some unfamiliar stories in there to discover (some of them are a little odd or outdated so I get why they aren’t the most popular ones today, but Jasper still likes them!). The Big Orange Book of Beginner Books by Dr. Seuss and The Big Green Book of Beginning Books and The Big Red Book of Beginning Books by various authors.
  5. My First Book of Patterns by Bobby and June George and art by Boyoun Kim. This is a board book that is great for babies and growing toddlers , but I think it’s such a great way to introduce anyone to the elements of design.
  6. Curious George anything! Jasper cannot get enough of “ooo ah ahs” (aka: Monkies)
  7. Rex vs. Edna by Douglass Rees and illustrated by Jed Henry. This one was illustrated by our friend so we were lucky to snag a copy, but Jasper LOVES it. I mean, he loves dinosaurs in general but this is a funny t-rex story with a twist. For some reason I imagine Edna’s voice as Wanda Sykes.
  8. The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. LOVE this book. I love that it’s based on a true story. The rhyming is clever. And I really love the page where you have to find all the animals on one page. It’s so clever! Jasper loves pointing them all out!
  9. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Jasper is starting to want longer more narrative books so books like this one are great!
  10. Silly Sounds: Ready, Set, Go by Liza Lewis. We also picked this one up at Costco awhile ago, mostly because I wanted to see how Jasper would react to sounds book. He loves it! The story isn’t as prominent. It’s mostly for identifying the right buttons to press.
  11. Babar Learns to Cook by Laurent De Brunhoff. This one was one of Paul’s as a child and Jasper loves it!
  12. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. A personal favorite 🙂
  13. My First Book of Feminism by Julie Merberg and illustrated by Michele Brummer Everett and My First Book of Feminism for Boys. This series of books was illustrated by my dear friend (and Picture Hope illustrator.) and they’re fun to read together.
  14. Lola Dutch When I Grow Up by Kenneth and Sarah Jane Wright. This is another book written and illustrated by dear friends. It’s such a good one for encouraging imagination.
  15. Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. Jasper’s babysitter got him this one and it contains all of Jasper’s favorite items: bananas, monkeys and a funny moment. It’s fun to read!
  16. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. It’s a little too long to read so I skip some pages still, but he loves looking at all the machinery.
  17. Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. We have the slide and view version that he loves to interact with!
  18. Animals by Ingela P. Arrhenius. This one was a baby shower gift and I LOVE the illustrations and how large it is. We use it to identify animal sounds because it’s quite simple. If you’re looking for cheap artwork you could even cut out the pages.
  19. Alexander Girard Colors. I picked this one up when I was visiting the International Folk Museum in Santa Fe, which has a huge Alexander Girard room. Jasper loves identifying the colors.
  20. Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey by Emily Winfield Martin. Such a beautiful, whimsical read!
  21. Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. OK, I hadn’t heard of this one before we bought it in Jackson Hole (we try to pick up a children’s book in whatever city we visit.) But I think this might be my favorite book ever. The pictures are amazing and the story is so good. It’s fun and meaningful and. I’m going to go leave a review on it!
  22. Where the Wild Things Are by Mauric Sendak. Jasper lOVES the monsters!
  23. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. A Jasper favorite.
  24. Are you My Mother? By P.D. Eastman. Another Jasper favorite.
  25. Good Night Baboon! By Sabrina Moyle and illustrated by Eunice Moyle. Great for identifying animals and also, Jasper is on a numbers kick right now.
  26. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. I didn’t super love the book until I listened to this song and now we love it!
  27. Baby Astrology: Dear Little Aquarius by Roxy Marj. My friend, Roxy Marj, just released this new collection of astrology children’s books. And even if you’re not into all the kumbaya stuff of astrology no need to fear. It’s a sweet book that identifies the wonderful qualities of each sign. Roxy was sweet to send us the collection and I had wanted to give them out as gifts. However, Jasper is obsessed with each one!
  28. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Ok, Jasper could spend SO much time looking for Goldbug and at each car and truck. It’s like this book was made for him! However,  I made the mistake of putting it in his crib last week so he’d have something to look at in the morning. Aaaand it kept him so occupied that, when I went in that morning, he had ripped up the book and it was completely shredded. I think my son is a nordic god.
  29. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury. Jasper can’t get enough of this one. He loves placing his fingers and toes on each page!
  30. Woody Pip and Hazel by Elsa Beskow. Once again, Jasper can’t get enough of this one!

DIY Block Printing with a Potato

DIY block printing stamping art with potato

Perhaps our favorite thing about this project is it is just as fun for kids or adults! The short material list and simple shapes make it a very kid-friendly craft. However, this is just a starting point for any design you want to try! Try out more intricate design at any skill level.

How to stamp with a potato

Supplies:

  • Potatoes
  • Acrylic or fabric paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Fabric or paper surface you want to print on

Steps:

  1. Cut your clean potatoes into the shape you would like to stamp. We used half circles but you can stamp in any shape!
  2. Apply paint evenly to one edge of potato stamp
  3. Press firmly down on your paper or fabric surface
  4. If you would like to combine two potato shapes to make one full color-blocked circle, place both potato stamps before lifting the first, as shown below.
  5. If desired, fill in design more fully after stamping the basic shape.

DIY block printing stamping art with potato DIY block printing stamping art with potato

What to block print on to

We choose to block print onto a canvas art supplies portfolio, we have holding our coloring pages and supplies!

In the past we have also stamped onto bandanas, napkins, wrapping paper, and more. The options are limitless! If you chose fabric, just make sure to use fabric paint.

DIY block printing stamping art with potato DIY block printing stamping art with potato

More block printing and stamping tutorials

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Read our interview with one of our favorite professional block print artists, Jen Hewett, here!

Once you start stamping you won’t want to stop. We know from experience. Though block printing is probably our favorite method, there are plenty of other fun ways to make your own design. Try this method for stamping onto a ceramic plate.

What other unexpected supplies have you used to block print? We would love to hear! Comment below

DIY Painted Blocks for Kids

Did you catch the #toddlertemptation I did with Jasper this weekend on Instastories? (You can see it saved in highlights) I set out a plate for his dinner and left the room for a bit (2 minutes max?) and asked him not to eat anything until I got back. Of course, I recorded the whole thing. Well, that little sneak totally snuck soooo many bites! He was very stealthy about it so I don’t know whether to be impressed or worried! 

While I am a little heartbroken about leaving the baby stage, watching him grow is the most amazing thing ever. And truthfully, he gets more fun to play with every day! 

You might remember this old post about his nursery. It’s crazy to think that was more than two years ago!! It’s pretty clear that I love to decorate and craft and change things all the time, so it should come as no surprise to you that I add and remove things from his room constantly. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

One thing that I am introducing to his menagerie of toys are hand-painted blocks! This is a project that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile and I finally scheduled it to make it happen (one of the perks of crafting for a living!). In fact, for my sister’s baby shower, we left out a ton of blank wooden blocks and guests could add their own pattern to it so you get a variety of handpainted blocks from your dear friends. I’ve been wanting a set for myself ever since.

 There are tons of cute and trendy wood blocks for sale right now, but I wanted ones that were more specific and personal for him. If you read my piece from March, Why I Feel Called to Craft, you’ll get why I wanted to paint my own blocks. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

All of my life, I’ve watched my great grandma, grandma, and mom crafting. You’ll recall my family’s famous fridge quote that “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Right now, I find myself pulled by those two opposites – do I want my home to be tidy or do I want to play and craft? Sure, painting Jasper’s blocks myself might have made a mess, but I made memories while doing it. 

When I initially set about decorating his room, I stuck with moody-but-airy colors like muted blues, greens, and greys, with red providing the pop of color and energy. Remember, whimsical color schemes always need some neutral hue to ground everything! For the blocks, I decided to deviate a bit from my original color scheme and go with ~summery~ colors. Pinks and aquas and yellows were too hard to resist!

How to make your own painted blocks

I found this great blank set of blocks that wasn’t too expensive. In addition, it’s even nicely sanded and comes with a box to put them away in.

Materials:

  • Set of wood blocks from here
  • Acrylic or house paints in a variety of colors
  • Paintbrushes
  • If you’re worried about your children eating the blocks, add a child proof sealant onto the paint
  • Blue tape 

Instructions:

  1. Start painting some wood blocks a solid color. Or stripes, or whatever you’d like. If you want super straight lines (I wanted mine to feel more handpainted) use blue tape (and follow the instructions on the tape!) to block off your colors.
  2. After that, let the blocks sit for the allotted time drying time.
  3. Finally, use child-friendly sealant if you’re worried about your children eating the blocks. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

Color scheme ideas for your painted blocks

Here are some ideas of color schemes we love!

Jasper’s colors

 

Circus colors

 

Spring colors

 

Bold colors

Quirky colors

 

Hopefully, Jasper will have as much fun with these blocks as I did! I want him to look back on his childhood the way I do mine; it was full of life and color and creativity and inspiration from the people I love. 

That’s it! Would love to see if you make some! To be featured, tag us on instagram with #LarsMakes or #LarsKids so we can see them! 

Other wood blocks we love

If you would rather purchase some beautiful wood blocks instead of painting your own, here are some of our favorites!