Pour myself a cup of ambition

Ambition

Naturally, I’ve always been ambitious starting from when I was young, though I didn’t always know what I was ambitious for. I was always a really good student, but I think the achievement of excellent grades was more to reach a standard of perfection rather than a specific outcome. Of course I knew, or at least I was taught, that excellent grades meant getting into a great college and lead to a better future and I was all about riding that train. I wanted to make something excellent with my life, whatever that was.

That drive wasn’t necessarily instilled in me by anyone in particular. In fact, my algebra teacher once asked me if my parents were forcing me to get certain grades, no doubt expecting them to be academic tyrants. It might have appeared that way because I would always spend hours trying to figure out equations. On the contrary, my parents were not strict at all and didn’t really push me–they didn’t need to. Math didn’t come easily to me so I worked at it. There was something nice about knowing there was a right answer–I just needed to figure out the best way to get there. It’s probably shocking to anyone who knows me now because I’ve pretty much given up on anything math-related.

In college I remember hearing a lecture about ambition described as a negative thing. This was news to me. I don’t remember too much about the details of that lecture other than feeling that something didn’t sit right. I didn’t buy it. But that’s kind of a motto for my life I suppose–figuring out where I personally sit with what I’m taught and then going for it.

As I mentioned, I didn’t always know what I was ambitious for so just kind of worked hard and acted upon the opportunities that came my way. I realize the immense privilege that comes with this statement–the fact that there ARE opportunities is something I’m grateful for. For example, I specifically joined the Orange County Junior Orchestra in middle school because they had announced that they would be touring France and England the following summer. I had been babysitting and saving my money since I was ten so I had amassed a tiny fortune (for me anyway 😉 and used it to go. We got to perform IN Monet’s Gardens at Giverny and in front of the Eiffel Towel and in places that I’m still shocked about now (I mean, how did they get the permits to do that?!?!). As you might imagine, the trip was absolutely transformative and informs a lot of who I am and how I see the world today.

The Burn Out

Well, as I’ve gotten older and become more exhausted/burned out in my hustling, I’ve started to realize the necessity of being ambitious FOR something. For one thing, I’ve learned that I’m not motivated only by money. If I was I’d definitely be doing something else with my life. Of course I’m motivated to build my business, pay my employees, support my family, and design the house of my dreams, etc., but the main reason I run Lars isn’t for that reason.

What are your motivations?

Additionally, though I’m sure I’d have to do more self reflection on the matter and I’m sure it’s not always the case, I’ve learned that I’m not motivated by the approval of others. I’ve gotten to a point where I feel comfortable owning my own choices and I don’t feel too much pressure to perform for others, whether it’s to make it look like I’m cooler than I am, richer than I am, more beautiful than I am. I’m quite fine with not being the best at all things all the time. Why? Because 1) there’s no such thing as being perfect 2) it’s really boring to be perfect 3) it’s too much upkeep to maintain a certain image that doesn’t really exist, you know?

Mission driven

A few years ago I decided that work is much more fulfilling when it’s attached to a purpose. I know that’s so millennial of me. My mission, our mission, for Lars is to 1) encourage people to work with their hands and 2) to live an artful life. Because when you work with your hands you live a better life and when you do it artfully, it’s intentional.

When I view it through this lens, it’s much easier to not resent work, which is something I have struggle with in the past including as recently as when I was pregnant last year. Anyone else feel super unmotivated and unambitious during pregnancy? Oooo, it’s bad for me!

Reframe ambition

Now that I have an infant and toddler, my ambition continues, but there’s less time and mental capacity. I’ll admit that sometimes I’ll have literally dozens of ideas of how I want to grow Lars and I’m only capable of working one to two hours a day, which is not super conducive to growing a thriving business (and that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it ALL day long–I just can’t implement it as efficiently as I had been). It’s been a point of frustration for me, and probably my team though I haven’t asked them directly and they probably wouldn’t verbalize it even if it was true.

Of course, I realize that childhood is short and I want to take advantage of my time with my children, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. For me, this isn’t an issue of motherhood versus work. It’s also not a “women can do it all” speech. Every woman is different and every situation is different, but I do believe my personal and professional missions can continue just as strong, but just reframed.

How? I’ve worked for years to get Lars to a point where I can have others join me and now I have a great team who I’ve had to rely on more than ever. I feel very lucky to have them and know that they also believe in propelling the mission. They’re not attaching themselves to ME but our MISSION and those are very different things.

SO! Here I am, literally writing this essay while holding a pacifier in my infant’s mouth hoping that he stays asleep for another ten minutes so I can finish this up and pick up Jasper from the babysitter. My ambition isn’t what it used to be because I’m not what I used to be. And perhaps it’s even better that way. I continue to dream and work towards my dreams. They’re different and I’m just working at recognizing the beauty in it all.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What motivates YOU? Is ambition a bad word? Tell me!

In the Mood For Josef Albers

Art-inspired furniture is a great way to bring color and style into your home. After all, we at Lars don’t talk about building an artful life for nothing!

Who was Josef Albers?

Josef Albers was born March 19, 1888, in Bottrop, Germany. His career in teaching art took off in 1923 when Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus school, invited Albers to teach as a professor at Bauhaus alongside his wife, Anni. They taught alongside Oskar SchlemmerWassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. When the Nazi government forced Bauhaus to close in 1933, Albers emigrated to the United States. He brought along the ideas formed at Bauhaus as he headed the art department at the newly established and experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Years later, he headed the design department at Yale University where he worked until retirement.

Josef Albers Homage to a Square: concentric red, orange and yellow squares

Josef Albers’ book, Interaction of Color first published in 1971 and remains an essential handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students to explain color theory principles. His most renowned work, the Homage to the Square series, began in 1950 and lasted for 25 years. 

Jasper playing with an Albers-inspired felt board in a colorful room

Josef Albers Felt Board

Our Josef Albers felt board is a great project for a lot of reasons. It comes together in just 10 to 15 minutes, depending on whether you make a two-toned background, looks incredible hung up on the wall, and cleans up in a trice. Even though it’s technically a toy, this felt board doubles as art-inspired furniture!

A pile of colored felt.

Materials:

¾-yard felt in two colors, colored felt sheets in various colors, rotary cutter and fabric ruler or scissors, thread, sewing machine, velcro, hot-glue gun, hot-glue sticks

When you’re selecting your felt colors, look for a balance of bright and more subdued hues in a few tonal groups that pop well with your bigger background felts

cream and yellow felt pinned together. Sewing the background felt together sewn together felt background Cutting strips of felt for the feltboard

Instructions:

  1. Line up your background felts with about an inch overlapping. Pin them together.
  2. Sew the background together with two straight lines. The first seam should be half an inch away from the edge of the overlap, and the second seam should be an eighth of an inch from the edge.
  3. Trim the edges of your newly formed large background rectangle to make sure they’re nice and straight.
  4. Cut pieces of your felt sheets into rectangles and squares of varying sizes. (For reference, our larger ones are 9-by-10 inches; medium are 7-by-7 inches, and small are 4-by-6 inches and 3-by-4 inches.)
  5. With a dot of hot glue, attach Velcro to the back of the felt background. Use a Command strip or other removable adhesive to attach the other side of the Velcro to the wall—and let the creative color pairings begin!

Can’t get enough of felt boards? I don’t blame you! Check out our Mattise-inspired felt board here!

colorful felt board in a colorful room

Art-Inspired Furniture a la Josef Albers

Whether or not you want to make your own felt board toy/decoration, this art-inspired furniture is sure to make your living space feel extra special.

Rugs

Rugs add so much impact to a room. Remember Brittany’s rainbow office? The tonal rug in there really brings things together and makes the space feel cozy and modern. I was thrilled to find these extremely accurate representations of Albers’ work in rug form! You can really live in a work of art with these amazing pieces.

Even though these other two rugs aren’t perfect replicas of Josef Albers artworks, they really capture the spirit of his work, so I wanted to include them here. The golden tonal rug invokes Albers’ color theory work, and the the color block bathmat is so reminiscent of the geometric patterns he used.

Golden tonal rugA grey, white, black, and gold colorblock bath mat

Don’t forget to check out these other rugs we found, which are all under $1000!

Pillows

Throw pillows are versatile and oh so cozy! Here are some of my favorites.

I also love this one with concentric squares a la Homage to the Square.

Homage to the Square Pillow

Lots of these would pair excellently with our collection of statement sofas. Statement sofas have the same mood as a lot of Josef Albers’ work: bold, color-driven, and designed to stand out.

Blankets and Throws

Contemporary style doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cozy! All these blankets and throws combine beautiful color mixing with bold graphics to make for an utterly luscious and snuggly addition to your home.

Books

Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color is still used to teach about color. The 50th anniversary Edition came out a few years ago. I recommend it for every student of color!

Josef Albers

Show us your art-inspired home!

If you make our Albers-inspired felt board or buy any art-inspired furniture from our collections, we would love to see it! Tag us with #LarsMakes and #LarsAtHome to share.

Thanks again to Domino magazine for collaborating with us on this project!

Jasper sits in front of a colorful Josef Albers-inspired felt board in a colorful room

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!

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?

 

Easter Basket Gift Ideas

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I love a good Easter basket! I love adding a DIY touch of course, like a fabric liner. Or some years I have opted for an entirely hand-made basket – like this no-sew rope basket! But of course, filling the basket with gifts for Jasper (and now Felix too!) is the best part.

Easter gift baskets need not only be filled with eggs stuffed with chocolates and candies, though I no problem with that. You can get creative and browse through our shop for some fun ideas for kids of all ages.

Easter Basket Gifts For Every Age

Baskets & Tags

For Baby’s First Easter

Easter Basket GiftsEaster Basket Gifts

For Kids Ages 1-5

Start off by making an Easter bunny party hat or a bunny bonnet if you have an infant or toddler. Add a coloring page or two to keep your kiddo(s) occupied while you prepare breakfast. Surprise them with an Easter gift basket filled with fun surprises or have your kid(s) search for them in and around the house. Instead of plastic eggs, you can make these carrot treat boxes and fill them with different toys and sweets. Roll up a pair of bunny socks, add these cute hair ties or golden bunny hairpins, and print out our customizable Easter egg coupons to add more fun and games.

Easter Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket Gifts

For Kids Ages 6 and older

We have a fun printable Springtime Printable Activity pack filled with animal paper dolls and coloring pages. You can also purchase the prints separately to your preference. We also have several crafting ideas from which you can prepare the supplies and print our PDF instructions for your kids to follow and make, e.g., the Easter bunny stuffed animal, animal head wraps, glitter glue handwritten phrases, or handwritten letters to loved ones on these intricate paper cutouts. We also have an assortment of paper craft items in our Springtime activity kit. Needless to say, the Easter egg coupons are for kids and adults of all ages.

Easter Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket Gifts

For your partner or friends

Adults deserve a visit from the Easter Bunny too! The gift ideas below make for fun gifts to help ring in spring.

Easter Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket Gifts

Whether you are creating an Easter gift basket for your child(ren) or friends, gather your ideas and supplies as soon as you can because April is only a month away!

For More Easter Basket Gifts Ideas

For more ideas you can check out last year’s Easter Basked gift roundup too!

My favorite everyday leisurewear

I used to think leisurewear consisted of mostly monochromatic colors and unflattering shapes. A bit lackluster and a lot of frumpy. But ever since Felix’s birth and easing into the norm of working from home, I found myself drawn to comfort and the no-need-to-think-about business of leisurewear. Contrary to my assumptions about its one-dimensional look, my dive into the leisurewear rabbit hole led me to an array of designs and styles. Naturally, with my body altered after giving birth, I looked for postpartum leisurewear that made me feel comfortable and happy.

With a growing number of people working from home and comfort emerging as a necessity, many people have also been looking into cozy chic leisurewear. There are now so many cute designs and styles! And you know I’m here for it! For anyone looking to expand their comfortable wardrobe, look no further! I’ve searched high and low and gathered many recommendations. The resulting list does not disappoint!

Here are my current favorites:

My favorite Leisurewear

Let’s jump into our busy days feeling cool and comfortable in these hip everyday leisurewear. They may be considered glorified PJs, and maybe they are, but there’s no one to judge because we’re home! At least we changed out of our nighttime PJs for some daytime ones. Regardless, it feels great to feel comfortable and ready to tackle the day.

My Little Belleville

Ok, I’ve had a REALLY tough time trying to narrow down the hundreds of options I poured through but my very first and only purchase so far has been My Little Belleville’s Embroidered flower faces because there are friggen EMBROIDERED FLOWER FACES on them! They’re soft and cozy and adorable and I’ve worn them now for 5 days in a row.

woven pajamas from Toast

Toast

I’m digging these from Toast. I think they’re technically pj’s but right now everything is pjs to me.

Clare V

Clare V has some great colors and prints and I’m DIGGING this green leopard!

https://shopstyle.it/l/brFLZ old navy

Solids

There are tons of great companies doing beautiful solid sweats. Here are some of my favorites:

Mate has some great color solids that look super comf.
Old Navy has some great solids at a super price point.
Target has a ton of great options too
Cozy Earth has some soft solids too.
Lou and Grey has great colored solids and a few patterns.
Pangaia has wonderful colors and shapes
Esby has a navy blue sweatsuit that I’m eyeing
STATE has a shocking yellow that belongs in my closet
The Hey Gang has a retro looking vibe for kids and adults
Entire World has the most refreshing colors. It looks like they sell out quickly though!
Zara has some pretty options too!
I just found out that Walmart has a new brand called Free Assembly that looks cool and has great basics options like these

Tie dye and Ice Dye Sweats

Of course, the pandemic produced the ubiquitous ice dye trend and companies at all price points dug it like:

LEFT: Big Bud Press, Clare V, and artist Anna Joyce 

Target, Old Navy, Gap all have their own versions too that are good!

Pattern Sweatsuits

To me, there’s nothing better than loungewear with TONS of personality. Here are some of my favorites that do the job well!

Winter Water Factory is a Lars favorite that has prints for kids and adults so you can live out my dream of matching your child.
Bando has some fun and colorful options!
This checkered one, below, is my dream, but they don’t have it in my size!

And I also covet this patchwork one. Isn’t it so good?! It’s from LF Markey.

Ok, that’s it for now! But let me know your favorites. Would love to hear them!

You become what you see and what you’ve heard

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

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

The power of suggestion

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

History Made

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

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

You are what you see

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

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

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

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

You might also enjoy:

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

Felix’s birth story

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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.

DIY Bathtime Art Shapes with Tubby Todd

Tubby Todd Bubble Bath & Great Artists!

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

DIY Bathtime Art Shapes

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

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

Materials

  • Foam sheets
  • Scissors
  • Pen or marker

Instructions

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

SO simple and produces good results. See!

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

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

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

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

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! 

We’re having a ….

Ha ha ha! Yes, I’m very thrilled to have another boy–I love my first one so much and he brings me so much joy, how could I not?! I mean, am I disappointed that I won’t do smocked dresses or be able to actually shop in baby boutiques (let’s be honest, they’re not made for boys)?! Of course! But I love the idea of two little rascals.

I have this feeling that this new boy will be the complete opposite of Jasper–dark haired, solemn, shy, obedient…hahhaha! We shall see!

How’s the pregnancy going?

Well, thank you for asking! I had a terrific pregnancy with Jasper so I expected the same, but it has been different. Thankfully, I’m not super sick (except the typical first trimester nausea), but this time around, I have the weirdest symptoms.

For one, I didn’t want sugar until like last month. What a blessing! No treats. I wish it would have lasted. But the desire is back and I’ve since made up for lost time.

Second, and for those of you not interested in female anatomy and systems, tune out, my pelvic floor is not being nice to me. I’ve had problems since Jasper was born. I couldn’t walk and certainly couldn’t run. I tried to do a race in October and the day of the race I could hardly walk. Every time I mention it to my doctor I’m told the same thing (do you kegels) but that hasn’t worked and I have a hunch there’s something more to it.

Then all of a sudden two weeks ago I could hardly walk again. I’m definitely a stereotypical waddler who looks very pregnant, but again, I have a hunch is treatable. Anyone know of an awesome pelvic floor doctor? TMI????? I know.

Lastly, NOSE BLEEDS. What the heck? I’ve never had them before but I have had them nearly every night for like three weeks. So stinking weird.

Other than that, this pregnancy has flown by but mostly because work is insane–especially the the Great Artists! course–renovating a house, and trying to move in tomorrow. Am I going insane? Yes. Most definitely. Send help.

Gender reveal balloon arch

On another note, because of the upcoming baby boy, we made a new balloon arch kit in shades of blues for your own gender reveals (nothing is worth detonating fire over!) and you can find it in the shop now!

Love to you all!

Special delivery (again!)

We originally made the video for my first pregnancy, which resulted in a miscarriage. So then we used it for Jasper’s baby announcement (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 aspirin 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 night and now it’s REALLY tough 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!