March Book Club: Craftfulness

March Book Club of the Month: Craftfulness

Stay tuned for this exciting read along with one of our favorite illustrators (can’t wait to share who it is with you!).

What does it mean to join Lars Book Club?

There’s no official induction, just pick up a copy, read with us, and participate in the discussion going on over at @LarsBookClub where we share snippets from the book along with discussion questions, and reminders. And mid-month we share a poster inspired by the book by one of our favorite artist. You can see some of our previous artwork over in our Lars Print Shop here. The artists design a  bookmark, which you can download for free or you can download the artwork, get it framed or matted and keep as a reminder of some of your favorite reads.

We’re glad to have you a part of our club!

You can find Craftfulness here

 

2 years of Craft the Rainbow!

Craft the Rainbow

It’s been two years since Craft the Rainbow came out and basically two years since I’ve read it cover to cover, which I did once again tonight. And you know what? It’s the best work I’ve ever produced. Hands down. I poured everything I had into that thing. And I think I’m now far enough away from it that I can say that without trauma in my voice. Maybe…ha! We’ll see.

I get how it might be viewed as another craft book and if you’re not into crafting, how you wouldn’t be interested. I get it! There are plenty of tutorials out there on the Internet that where you can take what you need, make a happy craft, and move on. But, going back to our mission, and it’s taken awhile to be truly conversant in what it is that I believe, when you put soul into something, it means more and your life is enriched. It’s just that simple.Launch Party

Because of that, I made Craft the Rainbow more autobiographical than a standard craft book and thus, meaningful. I spent a lot of energy working on every sentence and anecdote because I wanted it to be an interesting and humorous read as well as provide a deposit for beautiful pictures. I shared images from my wedding, pictures of my grandmother and included stories about how and why I made each project in the book. It was important that each story was deliberately chosen. (Except for one–there’s one story in there where I just didn’t know what to say–I just thought the project was really cool. Ha! I’ll let you guess which one that is.)

I also wanted you to learn something from it. The goal was to encourage you to get more comfortable using color in your own work and life. I shared what I know about successful color usage. Especially how you can develop your own color story and, one of my favorite tips, how to love a color you think you hate. I have challenged myself to do this many times and because of it, I can say that I love every shade of the rainbow–as long as I can pick the shades!

Craft the Rainbow on Amazon

The book has a 5 star review on Amazon, which is, not too shabby *wipes off shoulder (and if you haven’t left a review yet, please do! It helps the book rise in ranks–so important for authors!) and that makes me smile and grateful for everyone who took the time to do so.

The decision to do a book was not treated lightly. I spent months, nay, years, investigating if I should do it or not. I asked friends who had written books to find out if it was worth it. I was hesitant for a few reasons: I was still getting going on my business and time away from building it would interfere with its growth. Sure enough, I was right–we paused on activity on the blog for a few months. Luckily, I had grown Lars so we had a small team to pick things up more or less. I definitely couldn’t have done it without a team!

This genre of book, crafts, is a huge time commitment AND investment of money. Though I received an advance of royalties, we used a big chunk of that on paying people to help, buying supplies, props, rentals, photography, etc. Above all, I wanted it to be EXTRA so we went all out! I hope you can see that as you flip through the pages.

I also knew that writing a craft book wasn’t going to end with me on the New York Times Bestseller List. I had never seen it done so there wasn’t much proof that it even could happen. But, I also knew that if I was going to pause my business for so long, I needed some sort of marker that it was going to be worth the time spent on it, and being on a list of that type leads to more eyeballs and more sales so I thought I may as well shoot for it. Maybe mine would be the exception?! Sure enough, it didn’t end up on that list. And though it was well received and reviewed, it didn’t break any sales records. And that really disappointed me and I’m still sad about it. I think that’s partly why it’s taken so long to really reflect on it publicly.

I’m sure it’s uncomfortable if not cringe-worthy to hear about someone’s disappointment with something they’ve worked hard on. It’s uncomfortable for me to share about it. And it’s disappointing when the publisher was also banking on its success. In fact, the book was used as their show off book–there are so many bells and whistles on it! Gold leaf, gold book binding ribbon, every page was well designed. It’s nice to know, but not if it doesn’t sell books, amiright?!

I share this insight because it’s very easy to see people’s successes online, especially when they’re flailed about like we’ve come to do on social media, but we don’t often talk about the non-successes. I won’t say the word failure here because it wasn’t. It achieved my goal to make the most beautiful craft book that ever existed. I am very proud of it, I’m proud of my team for accomplishing such a huge challenge. I think I’ve probably needed to air it out so that I can heal from the experience.

Lessons Learned

What do I learn about this experience? Lots of things, but the biggest life lesson was that you don’t always have control over an outcome. You can only do your very best work and prepare as much as you can, which is exactly what I did. I can’t feel regrets about that!

With all that said, I still feel strongly that Craft the Rainbow belongs in your library, whether you craft or not, but especially if you do, and now is the best time to take advantage of the time. Dare I say, it’s the ultimate Stay-at-Home companion. They are all projects made from paper, which you may already have at home and if not, we will be making lists of materials from each project in the book so you can place it directly in your cart. Stay tuned!My Life In Color prompted journal

My goal with being so direct and vulnerable is 1) catharsis (and it does feel slightly better 😉 and 2) remind you that it still exists and you will benefit from it. Ha, how’s that for no shame?!

Throughout the month we will be sharing some more insights into Craft the Rainbow and My Life in Color so stay tuned!

You can find Craft the Rainbow here!

Craft the Rainbow (the kindle version is only $2.99!)
My Life In Color
Craft the Rainbow notebook
Craft the Rainbow journal

Lars Book Club: June

Daily rituals: How Artists work

By Lars contributor Julie Richardson

Every month here at Lars we announce a book at the beginning of the month and discuss it at the end. We just started an Instagram account for the Lars Book Club. Come follow along there! 

Maybe you have a full time office job. Maybe your job is to create things. Maybe you’re at home with your kids and trying to teach them, clothe them, and basically keep them alive all day. Or maybe you’re in between. If I’ve learned one thing about having four children, it’s that my daily routine (especially mornings!) need to be planned out beforehand if I want to carve out some time for myself each day. Choices turn into habits, which hopefully become subconscious or instinctive actions, in other words, a routine. We’re all busy individuals, but I know that routines are beneficial in keeping chaos to a minimum, so I can be at my best for a good chunk of the day. (Some days that’s only in theory though. Ha!) June’s book is called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry. It’s a fascinating read about artists and their (sometimes quirky) routines that enable them to create. These are writers, painters, poets, musicians and more! Maybe you can get an idea or two. 😉 Enjoy and be sure to join May’s discussion of The Artist’s Mother!

Lars favorite design books of 2016

Best diy design books of 2016I am convinced that there are few things better than cozying up with a good book on a cold winter day. Add some hot chocolate, a fuzzy blanket, and snow falling lightly outside and you might as well call it heaven. Hence why I created the Lars Book Club (Check out this months book here!). Not to mention, they make ideal gifts because you can customize it to anyone’s tastes. In case you are scrambling to find the perfect gift for a creative art-loving someone, we rounded up the best DIY and Art books of 2016 to help you out! They are all crazy beautiful and are sure to please the pickiest of recipients. Make sure to snag one for yourself while you’re at it!

Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon

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Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon

Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon

I am extremely excited about our June book club pick! When you think of fashion icons, the subject of this month’s book may not at first come to mind, even though she has become one merely through her own personal love of clothing and fabrics. Iris Apfel: Accidental Icon gives us a glimpse of this eccentric, vivacious woman – and her closet! Full of witty sayings, career advice, and colorful photographs, this book shares Apfel’s philosophy on life and what has made hers meaningful. If you’re not already familiar with Iris, you’ll soon fall in love! We hope you enjoy this fun, easy read as you begin your summer! Follow along with us at @larsbookclub and stay tuned for artwork later in the month. Enjoy!

Photography by Jane Merritt

Seven Flowers Print and Bookmark

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Seven Flowers Printable Bookmark
How have you liked Seven Flowers? Did you dive in or have you had to take it slowly? Potter gives you LOTS of information, we know. It may be hard to digest it all, but we hope you’ve learned a few new things and gained more appreciation for these amazing flowers. Here are some questions to think about – we’d love to hear your thoughts! And BOY are there some beautiful books regarding flowers! Be sure to check out the further reading suggestions!

This month our featured illustrator is Portland-based, Yas Imamura of Quill and Fox, a long-time favorite of Brittany’s. She’s created a beautiful poster with a quote from the book:

“It isn’t enough to let the flowers bloom; we must decode what they have to say.”

Seven Flowers Printable Bookmark

Get the free Seven Flowers bookmark download on the next page!

Craft the Rainbow Giveaway

Craft the Rainbow Giveaway craft book for creatives

Win a Complete Craft the Rainbow Set

How to enter:

1. Follow @houselarsbuilt and @houselarsbuiltshop on Instagram

2. Sign up for our newsletter here

3. Comment on this Instagram post and guess how many pairs of scissors are hidden throughout Craft the Rainbow!

Craft the Rainbow Giveaway craft book for creativesCraft the Rainbow Giveaway craft book for creatives

As you can see above, the pages of Craft the Rainbow are filled with scissors in every shape, size, and of course, color! Take a guess at how many pairs of scissors fill the book! (Hint: It’s a lot!)

Giveaway ends 4/1.

Whoever guesses correctly first, or gets the closest to the correct answer will win the full Craft the Rainbow set, which includes: A signed copy of Craft the Rainbow, My Life in Color (guided journal), Marble blank journal, and our Striped blank journal.

Winner will be announced 5/2 on Instagram!

For other rainbow inspiration

Explore our other Craft the Rainbow month posts here!

2 years of Craft the Rainbow! – Read all about the story behind my first book!

Free Phone and Desktop Wallpaper Downloads from Craft the Rainbow

How to publish a book: Part 1 – Read along as I go in depth on my journey to publishing a book. Part 2 will be out soon!

Quarantine Creativity: Paper Weaving from Craft the Rainbow – Don’t have your own copy of Craft the Rainbow yet? Try out a simple and family-friendly tutorial from the book here!

Loungewear in every color of the rainbow – It wouldn’t be Craft the Rainbow month without a way to wear the rainbow! Click the link fo find our favorite loungewear choices to make working from home more fun and colorful!

How to make writing in your journal fun and creative – Read about our guided journal My Life in Color which is the companion to Craft the Rainbow

Creative challenge to do with your kids at home – Teach your kids about color theory and the rainbow with this simple at-home challenge inspired by Craft the Rainbow

Lars Book Club: Dreaming in Cuban

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Lars Book Club: February 2017

We shared our mantra for 2017 with you (see here) so we took our own advice and booked tickets to Cuba! That’s right! Team Lars is going to Cuba at the end of this month! We are anxious to explore the sights, crafts, architecture, and colors of this beautiful island country and look forward to meeting other artists and artisans. We are assembling our itinerary now but we’d love to hear some of your suggestions particularly rad artists and artisans? I’d love to hear them! 

Since the Lars team is headed off to explore Cuba this month, we figured as a book club we’d venture into Cuba too! So for the Lars Book Club: February 2017 we will be reading Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia. It is a novel about a country led by dreamers and schemers in power for several decades, an impoverished, one-party island run by rationing and government distribution, its starving people fed instead by mystical beliefs and religions. Innovation and enterprise are quashed, and dissenting opinions lead to hard labor, imprisonment, or worse. Garcia introduces us to the life of a Cuban citizen through three generations of women in the del Pino family. Through different points of view, you’ll piece together their histories, discover what they love and despise about their country, whether they support the revolution or not, and how the oppressive political climate has affected their lives. Garcia writes in such beautifully descriptive language, you can almost feel or see what it’s like to live in tropical Cuba!

Follow along with us on our @Larsbookclub Instagram account and show us your pics by sharing to the #LarsBookClub tag. Tell us what you think, ask questions, or share your favorite quotes or happenings in the book!

The Lars Book Club is spear headed by Julie Richardson  |  Photo by Anna Killian  |  Wallpaper by Justina Blakeney for Hygge & West

Rebecca Book Club Printable

Rebecca Book Club Printable

How are you enjoying Rebecca? Has it set the mood for an eerie October?? 🙂 Whether it’s given you goose bumps or just an unsettled feeling, Rebecca is one book with so much to discuss! If you’ve been following along on our @larsbookclub instagram, we’ve asked questions here and there as we’ve posted. Here are a few more, along with more reading suggestions if you loved Rebecca!

Also, head to the blog to print out our lovely artwork for the month! It was created by the talented Michelle Christensen

Coloring Books For All Ages (and a Sale!)

Coloring pages have proved themselves to be the perfect activity for all ages with all this new time at home. After launching Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book, so many of you have been filling your time with color, hope, and creating with your family members! We were floored when 64 artists from all over the world came together to create hours worth of coloring, and for a cause that impacts us all! ALL profits from Picture Hope are currently being donated to Save the Children Coronavirus Relief Fund. Our goal is to raise $5,000 for that amazing charity. Through our “donate what you can” option, when you download your own Picture Hope coloring book you help directly with reaching that goal. Once that goal is reached, we will pick a new charity to donate to!

You are all racing through Picture Hope so quickly we are already prepping our next coloring page project. Keep an eye out!

Coloring books for all ages

Stree Relief coloring book for adults flowers and cactus

Sale Alert

Our exclusive coloring books – Flowers and Cactus – are currently discounted at their lowest price ever! Use code COLOR25 at checkout for 25% off our Flowers and Cactus Coloring Books! (Through Wednesday 4/29.) In addition, this discount code applies to all of our individual coloring page downloads found here!

Printable Coloring Pages

Coloring Page downloads for social distancing at home

Browse our coloring page options to print off at home! Our collection includes this Mother and Daughter coloring page. Print it off just in time for Mother’s Day! All individual coloring pages are 25% now with code COLOR25!

Our Favorite Supplies for Coloring Pages

Coloring Books for Adults

Below you will find other stress-relieving coloring books for adults! We love this collection of coloring books inspired by artists, nature, and joy!

 

Coloring Books for Kids

We count these coloring books as art time, geography, history, and more during homeschooling! Our team handpicked these coloring books for kids to inspire learning and a love of the world around us. Order your kid’s their own and cross homeschool time off your to-do list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lars Book Club: September

free printable artwork by Jill deHaan for The House That Lars Built How’s the reading going? Are you following along with our Lars Book Club Instagram posts? I get it – there’s ALOT of info in Michael Rosen’s Alphabetical. But I hope the facts and history haven’t made your eyes glaze over. If so, just skip to the next chapter! 🙂 There’s sure to be a topic to interest you. Have you picked a favorite chapter (or letter) yet? How Rosen researched each of the letters and themes associated with them is mind-boggling to think about. I’ve truly enjoyed learning about where the language I speak and alphabet I use every day comes from. We take so much for granted! Below are some questions to think about, plus a couple further reading suggestions.

This month we have partnered with letter artist, Jill De Haan, to create a beautiful quote from the book: “Every letter tells a story.” It’s available as a free printable as well as a bookmark in three different colors. Downloads below! 

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