Registering for baby and printable baby shower invitations

How to create a baby registryThe moment I found out I was pregnant I started searching for a place to create a baby registry. Ha! How’s that for wasting no time! Clearly, I was pretty stoked. For me, a registry was less about asking friends for gifts (because how uncomfortable is that?!) and more about gathering all the products for baby in one central location in order to provide friends and family a quick and easy way to locate helpful gifts. These days I’m all about saving time for everyone! Time efficiency is my love language.

After doing some snooping around on the webs, I realized that I didn’t want a registry from just one shop because it’s too limiting and I didn’t like the idea of registering at many shops (“the new mom is registered at so and so, and so and so, and so and so”, so awkward!) plus I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep track of it all. In my searching, I came across Babylist, which advertised as a one-stop baby registry from anywhere on the web. That’s PRECISELY what I was looking for…and I didn’t even know it!

Sign up for babylist

I used Babylist throughout my pregnancy and beyond. In fact, I still use it to gather items together (and I’ll tell you why below). I even forced my sister to go and sign up right away too when she announced she was pregnant over Christmas. It’s never too early to start! I have a tendency to forget items that I said I would always remember once it’s finally time to note them down. Does that ever happen to you?

Anyway, I loved the service so much that I reached out to them to see if they’d want to partner and I’m so thrilled that it’s worked out so I can offer you painless registry experience solution with a heartfelt endorsement! SCORE!

Not only that! No, no, along with my encouragement to sign up for Babylist (do yourself a favor!), I’m also offering a FREE PRINTABLE baby shower invitation. We created it for my sister’s baby shower that we threw in June and I LOVE how it turned out. We had an Alexander Girard theme complete with a baby block accordion invitations and they are SOOOO cute.

Felix’s birth story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mean…Look at him!

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

Favorite Baby Gift Ideas

I live in a part of the country where a lot of babies are born, so I always keep an eye out for cute baby gift ideas for my friends and neighbors. Years ago I put together a list of things I was loving in new motherhood, but so many new things have come out since then! Every year new products surface for expectant mothers to add to their stockpile of baby goods and wish lists. Here is my updated list of favorite baby gift ideas for you to consider whether you’re expecting or looking for a gift for a friend. And don’t forget to check out the new Lars Kid Shop for even more great ideas and products!

Clothes

Clothes are a great baby gift idea because everyone loves dressing up a little one.

Baby wearing a short-sleeved veggie print sleeper

I’m never one to shy away from prints and patterns, and when I saw this zip sleeper with veggie prints I knew that I wanted one for little Felix immediately. Following the farm theme, here’s an appliqué overall outfit and a ruffled strawberry romper that are both springtime showstoppers, and a strawberry bubble romper that I want in my size.

Baby wearing a strawberry bubble romper and a matching hat while sitting on a rug.

If you’re looking for florals, this calico onesie set is a great start. There’s also this long-sleeve one-piece outfit and this long-sleeve onesie set.

My heart melted when I saw these gingham doggie overalls, which also includes a cute collared onesie. A similar outfit, which is lamentably sans-puppy but would be great for summer, is this short-sleeved seersucker overall outfit.

gingham overall outfit with an embroidered dog

If you’re looking for a more subdued palette, this sage green button-up outfit is a dreamy and gender-neutral piece, and I will never say no to convenient snaps for diaper access. A solid green shoulder-tie romper is such a comfy summer outfit, and this collared outfit is another great one for parents looking to dress their little ones in solids.

At Lars we love rainbows, and we found this darling rainbow pinafore outfit that includes a shirt, a jumper, and socks so it can be mixed and matched into a multitude of cute looks. We also found this more subdued rainbow onesie made from organic cotton and a matching rainbow swaddle that are so sweet together.

Blankets and Swaddles

Speaking of swaddles, this swaddle baby gift set with a matching rattle would be such a great baby gift idea for spring. This cotton muslin swaddle comes in so many adorable patterns and colors, and there’s sure to be one for every nursery style.

A white bunny swaddle and rattle set on a beige background.

Parents who don’t want to wrangle a blanket-style swaddle can skip a few steps and use these swaddles with adjustable tabs, which come in a three pack. There’s also this swaddle tube, which looks extra snug and comes with a matching hat!

dark blue blanket with white dinosaurs.

For the scientifically-minded baby, we found this cute dinosaur baby blanket, because it’s never too early to start learning about paleontology.

Baby Carrying

Baby carrying solutions are exciting because there are so many of them. I love this blush pink BabyBjorn carrier that’s great for newborns. Ergobaby also makes lots of great carriers like this all-in-one 360 carrier in field of daisies and in California wildflower.

A blonde woman carries a baby in an omni 360 baby carrier in the colorway field of daisies. She is picking an orange from a tree.

Sollybaby also makes beautiful, low-tech wraps that are great for carrying babies and are incredibly soft. I love this Flora pattern as well as this ginger check.

Beds and Swings

Despite Felix’s best wishes (sweet boy ALWAYS wants to be held), beds and swings are important accessories and great baby gift ideas. This wooden co-sleeper bed is great for babies who nurse at night because it goes right next to the parents’ bed, so mom doesn’t have to get up and walk across the house to feed. I also love that it has space for storage underneath. I also love this swiveling bassinet, which can swing over a parent’s bed to keep baby close.

Once babies can hold themselves up, swings are a fun addition to the home. This cinnamon-colored one could look great styled in so many fun ways, and the wooden beads are an extra fun bonus for baby. I also like this swing, which comes in a few pretty pastel colors and includes a teether toy.

Feeding and Teething

New moms need functional baby gifts! This bottle kit, which includes a sanitation station and a few pacifiers, is such a good option that covers a lot of bases. Because there’s nothing sadder than a baby with a sick stomach, this bottle set has an anti-colic valve at the bottom.

Two burp cloths on a white background. One is yellow and white striped and one is yellow with little red tulips.

Just because baby is going to spit up on them doesn’t mean that burp cloths can’t be cute. I love this set, which comes in lots of colors and prints. These kerchief bibs will also keep baby clean and in style.

A wooden cookie teething toy on a white background.

Teething babies have a reputation for being difficult (it’s okay, we all went through it once!), but teething toys can help provide some relief while also being adorable. Sophie the Giraffe has become a classic teething toy, and for good reason because it is timelessly cute. Giving baby this wooden cookie toy as a precursor to future sweet treats is a fast track to favorite auntie status. I also love this cute set made of silicone that comes in a sun and rainbow, a campfire and trailer, and an elephant and binoculars. For extra cool relief I like these freezable teethers.

Silicone teether toys on a baby blue background. One is a smiling sun, one is a rainbow with a cloud.

This isn’t technically a teether, but I had to share this baby tooth pillow. If only growing teeth were as easy as snuggling up to this toy!

Diaper Bags

Sometimes moms get left behind in the excitement over a new baby, but not at Lars! In addition to baby gift ideas I wanted to share some mom gift ideas. I rounded up some diaper bags that are functional and are stylish enough to keep you feeling like an entire human person, not just a chauffeur for your baby’s gear.

A Black leather diaper bag on a white background

If you or the parent-to-be are focusing on maintaining style during their diaper bag journey, I like these leather and faux leather options. This Fawn Design one is extremely classy and has a beautiful, architectural feel. This backpack by Itzy Ritzy also has nice big pockets for your water bottle and a little one’s bottle, too. Freshly Picked has a great vegan leather backpack with ten (TEN!) pockets that convertible, so you can wear it as a backpack, crossbody bag, or purse. Skip Hop’s backpack manages to combine elegance with a diaper changing station, which is just proof that in this day and age any combination of words can fit together and make something great.

A warm brown fanny-pack style diaper bag.

Diaper bags with changing stations are a game (and diaper) changer. Skip Hop also makes a cute striped tote with a changing pad. The Ruvalino multifunction backpack is great for this too, and looks nice and sporty. I also love the Petunia Pickle Bottom backpack for its changing pad and great color assortment. Maybe my very favorite one is this minimal Kibou diaper bag. It’s smaller than most, but it has great features like a fold-out changing pad and a key pacifier clip. It’s my dream to have things under control enough to carry everything in this little guy. If all you’re looking for is a diaper control situation, the STORQ Kit Bag is for you. It is compact and would be a great insert to a larger diaper bag that doesn’t include a changing station.

Black and white zipper diaper bag pouch

The JuJuBe convertible backpack/messenger bag is a great option if you’re interested in having a wide selection of colors and patterns. My favorite feature? The crumb drain. Glory be.

Last but certainly least on our list is the Vogshow waterproof diaper bag, which looks incredible, even if you aren’t carrying diapers around. Here’s to functional objects for all stages of life.

Blue waterproof vogshow backpack diaper bag with caramel-colored details on a white background.

Baby Registries

When all else fails, a registry is a great place to find baby gift ideas that have been curated by the expectant parents themselves. We have a great article about making your own baby registry that you can check out if you’re looking for ideas.

I hope this list of baby gift ideas was helpful! Did I miss anything crucial? Let me know in the comments?

 

Felix’s New Nursery

Before my first son, Jasper, arrived we raced to get his nursery done and it paid off (you can see it here. I had such a wonderful experience having a fully designated space for him–it felt almost magical. Just him and me having our special place together nursing and me admiring him. We were certainly in a little newborn bubble. I think I even heard choruses of angels around us.

Interior shot of a child's room. Walls are green, A pink checkerboard rug is on the floor. A white rocking chair is central in the image.

With Felix, because of all the new home renovations and normal, if not over, work load, I didn’t get his nursery done, not even close. And I felt the toll! For a while I slept on a mattress downstairs next to his bassinet before transferring up to our bedroom and then we were constantly moving because we’ve been renovating the closet, bathroom, putting baseboards, etc. It’s been wild, uncomfortable…chaotic. Not conducive to a magical experience.

An interior shot featuring a painted green wall with a brightly colored lamp and a toy doll perched on a wicker shelf.

And then we partnered with our friends at Pottery Barn Kids and life got so much better as you might expect when you, well, partner with Pottery Barn Kids. 

Most important to me when creating a space for a baby is figuring out the immediate needs. Number one, especially in the early stages, is nursing. Life kind of revolves around it at this point (you too?): schedules, meals, outings (or lack there of right now, right?!). Everything! I nursed exclusively with Jasper and I’ve done the same with Felix (though I seriously reconsidered that this weekend after my first bout with mastitis–YIKES!).

Interior shot of a nursery. In the foreground, a red toy airplane rests on a white ottoman. In the background is a wooden dresser with a small Danish flag on top and some illustrations on the wall.

Because of my bad back, I like to have a great chair set up in place so I know it will be comfortable and I don’t have to scramble to make something up last minute. Jasper’s rocking chair has almost become a member of our family based on how much we use it. Though I no longer nurse him, we gather around it for stories every day. I knew I needed another one for Felix so we could create the same tradition in his room.

Interior shot of a child's room. Walls are green, A pink checkerboard rug is on the floor. A white rocking chair is central in the image.

Have you searched on Pottery Barn Kids recently? Look at all their nursery chair and ottoman options. I’ll wait….There’s a TON of styles and features. I looked for one that had a shallow back so that it wouldn’t have to strain while nursing. I also wanted one that felt both classic yet modern. I arrived at the Modern Wingback Slipcovered Glider and Ottoman. I got it in their classic white linen, which on first glance seems crazy, but because it’s a slipcover, you can easily take it on and off (velcro!) and wash it. 

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair next to a window and a green wall and snuggles Felix.A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair. Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few pillows, toys, and books on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

It may seem like a funny thing to get excited about, but I need my nursing conditions to be, well, perfect, and their ottoman is the perfect height so I can prop Felix up and be super comfortable. I’m so pleased with my new arrangement I can’t even express it. The magical feelings are starting to reemerge again and none too soon!

A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair.

But there’s more. Have you seen their collection of cribs and changing stations? There are so many beautiful options. I went all white with Jasper, but I wanted something different for Felix so I got an all wood collection–something to feel deeper. I chose the Dawson Convertible Crib, which is somehow even more beautiful in person than it is on a screen. It will grow with Felix into a toddler bed too so it’s worth the investment (two beds in one!). It’s also GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning it meets or exceeds stringent chemical emissions standards and it’s made in a Fair Trade Certified facility. I feel really good about their manufacturing processes and love being able to align myself with them.

A wooden dresser with a clock, changing basket, Danish flag, and blanket on top. The wall has a few illustrations hanging on it.

Then for the changing table/dresser I went with the Dawson dresser. Again, it’s a beautiful blend of traditional and modern with the clean lines and fine detailing on the drawers. It comes in a lovely acorn color with the same ethical standards. Again, even more beautiful and illuminating in person. It looks so good against the green walls! Which brings me to my next point.

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair against a green wall and snuggles Jasper and Felix.

Jasper’s nursery at our old house was more light and airy and again, I wanted something where we played with color more. The room is also acting as Paul’s office so I wanted to take his preferences into consideration. Paul loves BRIGHT colors. I’m talking saturated, BRIGHT colors. We settled on a agreen, but what green was the question! He LOVES a classic Jaguar green but then I got this lovely checkerboard pink/magenta rug (used from Hannah Carpenter as spotted by Meta Coleman) and wanted to merge the two colors together somehow.

A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair. The floor is covered by a magenta checkerboard rug with a few wooden cars and an airplane on it.

I figured out that the green needed to be a bit more blue so we went with this Palm Frond color. I thought it was going to be too much for me but with the gorgeous wood furniture, it’s MAGICAL. I tried out a contrasting trim in a light blue, the same color we’ll be using for our bathroom, and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it…I like it sometimes and other times I’m not sure. I’m not sure you can see it too well in these photos so maybe you can speak to that quite yet.

Interior shot of a child's room with a green wall, a wicker shelf with a toy on it, and a crib. The crib has a denim-colored quilt hanging over the side.

I accessorized with the cutest bed sheet/comforter set. The sheets are dreamy soft and play well with the green of the walls. I love the chambray look always. It tends to go with most things.

Then I added in some green gingham curtains to play with the color too.

Shot of the inside of a wooden crib, with a few toys and pillows inside it.

With all the other bright color accessories we own, the color works so well and it’s now one of the few rooms in the house that feels GOOD! I’m still calling it a phase one design because we might adjust some things, but in the meantime, I’m spending all my time in there.

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair against a green wall and snuggles Jasper and Felix.Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few toys on it. In the background is a wooden dresser.on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

Thank you Pottery Barn Kids for making our nursery dreams come true and for sponsoring this post!

DIY Stuffed Koala for Australia Fire Relief

Art Auction for Australian Relief

The idea to do a koala came from Australian stylist and photographer Kara Rosenlund who made a goal to raise $8k for the koalas who are being lost and has now to date raised over $167k! It’s extraordinary. And her videos on the koalas is heartbreaking.

The auction we are participating in features over a hundred artists from around the world contributing their work. Please consider bidding to contribute to this extraordinary cause.

You can find our PDF koala pattern here
You can bid over at @RuthRibeaucourt ‘s Instagram page

Our New Baby Bonnets Collab With Briar Baby

Our Colorful Collaboration with Briar Baby

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

Baby Bonnets Inspired by our Great Artists! Course

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

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

Alma Pom Bonnet

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

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

Click here to shop the Alma Pom Bonnet.

Andy Pom Bonnet

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

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

Click here to shop the Andy Pom Bonnet.

Claude Pom Bonnet

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

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

Click here to shop the Claude Pom Bonnet.

Rembrandt Pom Bonnet

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

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

Click here to shop the Rembrandt Pom Bonnet.

Click here to see all of the baby bonnets!

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

Briar Baby Has Masks Too!

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

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

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

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!

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.

DIY Baby Bunny Bonnet

twins wearing baby bonnets

The simple printable pattern for your own Easter bunny baby bonnet can be found here! Choose any fabric you like and get started!

Our favorite springtime fabrics for this project

 

newborn baby girl in baby bonnet

DIY baby bonnets

How to make your own baby bonnet

  1. Print out the pattern pieces
  2. Cut out all of the printed pattern pieces.
  3. The “bonnet backing” paper pieces should be pinned together at the double solid line marks before cutting the fabric so the piece is the right size. 
  4. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut out the correct amount of each piece. 
  5. Using a chalk pencil, mark the sewing line. This will speed up your process as you begin to begin to pin and sew.
  6. You will need to sew the bunny ear pieces first! 
  7. Take two of the bunny ear pieces and place them right sides together, you can use two different fabrics if you like! 
  8. Pin ears together. 
  9. Once pinned sew around the ear in the indicated spot on the pattern leaving the bottom of the ear open.  
  10. Once sewn, clip and notch any curves on the ear so that it will lay the right way. 
  11. Flip the ear inside out, and press the ear. 
  12. Repeat steps 7-11 for the other ear. 
  13. Now you can start on the bonnet!
  14. Take one of your bonnet sides and one of your bonnet backing pieces and pin the pieces together along the sewing line. You may notice a bit of overhand at the back of the bonnet on the backing piece, that will be used to close the bonnet up later. 
  15. Once the one side is pinned, repeat step 6 on the other side of the same bonnet piece. 
  16. Be sure to pin so that the seams will both be facing the same direction. 
  17. Once both sides are pinned, sew the bonnet on both sides at the line you just pinned.  
  18. You will need to remove pins as you sew. 
  19. Repeat steps 14-18 with the remaining bonnet pieces, only this time you will add in your bunny ears at about 2.5 inches in from the front of the bonnet. 
  20. To place the ears you will fold them in half, if there is a color you would like the inside of the ear to be make sure that color is on the inside of the fold. 
  21. Once folded correctly you will place them front facing (check the orientation of the ears to make sure, you don’t want a backwards ear!) in at 2.5 inches in with the ear placed in between the bonnet side and the bonnet backing with the open end of the ear being the part sticking out with the seam. 
  22. Be sure to add in the ear on both sides.  
  23. Once both of your bonnet pieces are sewn, press open the seams of the bonnet. 
  24. Once pressed, you will pin the two bonnet pieces together, both seams at this point will be facing outward, you will flip it inside out after sewing it together.  As you pin you will need to add in your straps. Pin them in at the front bottom corners. 
  25. When placing the straps you will place the ribbon sandwiched between the two pieces, you might find this confusing but once you flip the pieces the right way your strap will stick out. 
  26. Make sure your seams align and leave the back of the bonnet open so you can flip it the right way later.  
  27. If you are having a hard time with the bulk from the ears and ribbon  being sandwiched between the two pieces, pull them through the back opening that you are not sewing closed yet. 
  28. Once you have your pieces pinned together and the straps in place you can sew the two pieces together.
  29. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of sewing these pieces together. 
  30. Once sewn together, pull your ears that have been placed in the opening and it will pull the piece the right way out hiding any seams inside. 
  31. Press your recently sewn pieces together flat and tuck back opening pieces up, press and pin in place. 
  32. Once pressed you will sew as close as you can to your edge all around the bonnet to secure the hat pieces together. 
  33. Be sure to sew closed the bottom hole which will naturally sew closed in step 32. 
  34. Press the finished bonnet and out out on your baby! 

This tutorial can also be completed without the bunny ears for a standard baby bonnet!

newborn twin boy in baby bonnet for easter

We love seeing what Easter looks like for you and all the great things have made! Be sure to tag us with #larsmakes so we can see how precious your bunny bonnets turn out!

3 DIY Baby Swaddle ideas with Delta Faucet

In honor of the recent arrival of Royal Baby Archie, baby gifts have been on the brain.  Watching Meghan become a mother reminds me of my own time with a newborn. Baby was SO little and I loved swaddling that tiny baby in my arms.  Mary gave me the sweetest swaddles when baby was born and I used them all the time. With this in mind, we created three DIY ways to add a little pizazz to basic swaddles to give to the new moms in your life. We added a fancy embroidery stitch to one, a ribbon trim border to the other, and finished with a hand dyed swaddle with an embroidered monogram. PLUS they all make the best wrapping paper for a sweet baby gift.

Little Lars: New baby items in the shop!

cute gifts for baby

Gift ideas for baby and kids

There’s nothing better than stuff for kids, amiright?! Just enlarge them and make them for adults already! We have a little bit of this and that for baby and kids like pacifier clips, rattles, sunnies, toys. They’re too sweet!

Like these floral inspired pacifier clips. Come on!

flower beads pacifier clips

And, of course, we had to get some rainbows in some how. Rainbow teething toys!

Sweet accessories for kids

cute gifts for kids

Wooden cameras (for all inspiring photographers ;), knitted animal rattles, bunny burp clothes and more. I can’t wait to hear your favorites. Jump on over to the shop to see for yourself!

And if not accessories, we have our full range of art for kids like these art prints based on classic stories by Ayang Cempaka (my favorite is Pippi…no Little Red Riding Hood…I can’t decide!). art for kids based on books

You can find the new items in our Lars Shop here!

You become what you see and what you’ve heard

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

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

The power of suggestion

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

History Made

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

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

You are what you see

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

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

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

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

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