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

What you need for your new baby

What you need for new baby

As a disclaimer, I’m a big believer in that you don’t need too much. I’m actually quite frugal when it comes to making purchases so I tend to either buy cheap or do without unless I find it totally beautiful and worth being in my life and if not the most beautiful, then just super helpful. That said, I’ve noticed that that there are some specific times when you should invest as it will totally make life easier and for the better and if not, more beautiful at least, because that is also important. As a note, I’m not including clothing or furniture for now (though you can find his nursery reveal here!), just product. I’ll be following up with some clothing recommendations.
Rattan bassinet

Ok! Don’t let all these disclaimers deter you, let’s get going! I’ll be updating this list as Baby continues to grow into different stages that require new products so do check back for more recommendations. Also, I’d love to hear your own recommendations. I’m always open to hearing about beautifully designed items.

Lars Baby essentials round up

Lars’ Favorite Baby Essentials

This time around, I’m grouping the products into time frames so you don’t have to buy everything at once. This way you can spread out the purchases and expenses.

Italics are my updated experience with my second child, Felix.

Before Baby gets here (you’ll need it right away)

  1. I legit didn’t know there was such thing as a “coming out outfit” when I had Jasper. And while it’s obviously not crucial to have a photogenic outfit, it feels like a beautiful rite of passage when there’s some sort of stunning outfit to come home in. This time around I bought a few outfits that felt special and just rotated them a bunch. I picked out this baby bundle set from Storq, which came with a sweet white outfit and hat. For some reason I love when babies don’t have as much color and patterns like I normally prefer. That said, I also got a little set with my favorite pattern from Lewis Home. And something similar to this set.
  2. Uppababy car seat and Uppababy Vista Stroller. I LOVE the look of this car seat and the fabric actually wicks away sweat. Plus, I love that it’s interchangeable with the stroller and base in the car. I got the MESA and love it.
  3. Pampers Pure diapers. We did a sponsored post with them a few months ago but now I’m no longer required to say anything and I’m still using them. I love that they are better for baby and earth. I just wish it was easier to find them at all stores. You have to order them online. We also use Kirkland brand (Costco) because Paul’s favorite place on earth is Costco and everything they do is high quality.
  4. Diaper bag. I don’t know why, but this is the one I obsessed with most prior to baby’s arrival. I spent A LOT of time searching for a great diaper bag. There are a lot of good ones out there now that are both great for mom and functional and though I haven’t tried them all out, I decided to start cheap and see how it goes. I bought this one in red as I just so happened to stumble on it on Amazon and turns out! I spot dozens of moms wherever I go using it. It’s a smart design, spacious, and helpful. And they come in tons of other colors. I’m going to be doing a post all on diaper bags because I found some pretty great options. Ok, I never found a diaper bag that I loved that I actually bought because I’ve come to the point where I realized “why do I need a special bag for diapers?” Well, you don’t! But Jasper has put his through the ringer and so now I’m glad that it was cheap.
  5. Changing basket. Design Dua has the most beautiful collection of baskets including this plain changing basket. I love it so much. It keeps him contained so he doesn’t roll around, which he is doing otherwise. The only downside is that I found that it scratched my brand new changing table. I had to take a rug pad and cut it to the shape of the basket and put underneath it.
  6. Onesies. Because you can never have enough! I like dressing baby in a plain white onesie and that’s it!
  7. Clothes. Check out this post for some of my favorite clothes for baby boys 
  8. Travel Changing Pad. This was sent to me by Joy of Oh Joy for her product collaboration with Target long before Baby was even an embryo but I held onto it because 1) it’s adorable and turns out 2) it’s so handy. It looks like a clutch so it doesn’t scream baby and it works well with a slot for wipes. It’s thin enough to squeeze snuggly in my bag. Now that I’m with my second baby, I use this every single day to change diapers around the house. 
  9. Brest friend. I was using another pillow for nursing but it was killing my back. This one happened to pop up on my Facebook ads and I bought it on the spot. I LOVE MY BREST FRIEND. It’s a game changer for my bad back, especially after baby when it was at an all time hurt.
  10. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. By the way, this book was SUPER helpful for learning to breastfeed.
  11. Swaddles. I didn’t include swaddles in my first round of essentials because I figured most people get a ton as gifts, BUT I got a couple of extras the second time around–ones that I LOVE the prints on so they cheer me right on up. These ones from Lewis are too cute. I also have one from Clementine that I love as well as Little Unicorn.

Within the first couple of weeks

  1. Scissor clippers. Moms might know the terror that comes with clipping your baby’s nails. These ones are great because you can go slowly so that you have more peace of mind. I Love them! These are actually the reason why I wanted to create this post for you. I want everyone to know about them! Yup! Still love them! 
  2. Willow pump. GAME CHANGER. I was dreading having to pump so for a number of months I just didn’t unless I really had to. I was using the pump that my insurance company had given me until I tried this and all of a sudden I was free! It sits in your bra and you can walk around and do whatever you want WHILE IT PUMPS! Ladies! Admittedly, I don’t love pumping, but I do use this still my second time every so often when I need to fill up.
  3. Nose Freda. I received two of these as baby gifts so I thought there must be something to it. This one is genius. Do yourself a favor and get one in your cart pronto. Seems odd, but really not odd at all to suck up your baby’s snot. 😉 Really though, it’s efficient and clever and I highly recommend it. Yup, do it! 
  4. Aquaphor. I don’t even need to say much else than you need it. If there’s ever any redness or rash, use it and poof! Gone! We also tried using my sister’s Butt Paste and it works super well, though it stays on the baby as a white substance.
  5. Collapsible bath tubI tried out a few bath tubs that didn’t work so well for me either because of the size of our sink or sturdiness. I like this one because it worked for a newborn and then it can be transformed for a larger baby when they can sit up by themselves by popping down the side and turning it into a more typical bath tub. We recently got a new one compartment sink and it wasted a lot more water by filling it up than our previous one so this was a better option.
  6. Dock a Tot (not pictured). Jasper slept in this for the first few months and it was great because you can transport it around and set him anywhere you are. LOVED IT! Not in love with the huge logo on it. WHY IS IT SO BIG???? For Felix I got the William Morris cover–it’s so pretty! 
  7. Baby Bum diaper rash brush. This was given to me as a baby gift and I’ll be honest, I thought, “this looks like one of those products that you don’t actually need but someone thought they’d try and make a buck by appealing to vulnerable mothers” BUT I WAS WRONG! Thankfully, I don’t have to use it too often, but when Baby boy gets some redness, I use a dollop of Aquafor and apply it with this and it’s so helpful! You don’t have to get your fingers in baby’s crevices. Everyone wins! Still love it! 
  8. 4 Moms Mamaroo. Baby is loving more and more the more we set him in it. He especially loves it now that he play with the items and actually reach them. Jasper didn’t love being in it and Felix loved it a bit more! I wish that the top play part moved–I think babies might stay more interested.
  9. Tubby Todd body wash. Tubby Todd sent me a baby gift to try some of their wash and I’ve been hooked from day one. It smells lovely and it’s gentle for baby, hypoallergenic, and extra-gentle for sensitive skin.
  10. Grass Bottle drying rack. Just makes life easier in a clever design! I rarely used bottles with Jasper and once again with Felix so I didn’t have a HUGE need for it, but if you bottle feed a lot it’s great.
  11. Boppy carrier. This one was sent to me by the company and I’m not required to talk about it, but I have to let you know that it changed the way baby slept. Prior to this, baby could only fall asleep if we coaxed him while he was in our arms. As you might imagine, we couldn’t get much else done. As soon as I slipped him in there for the first time, he passed out. For the first 3 months of his life, he slept in there for every nap. Then all of a sudden we could set him in his bassinet and he could nap on his own. I’m really grateful for this one. I still use it. In fact, I’m using it right now as I travel to NYC and Atlanta. It’s so snug. I wouldn’t say it’s the most beautiful one on the market, but for us, it was a game changer so I don’t care how it looks. Once again with Felix, this was a LIFESAVER! He slept in it exclusively until about a month ago. 

1-2 months out

  1. White noise maker. I was hoping I wouldn’t need a white noise maker and perhaps I don’t because I haven’t noticed a difference in J’s sleep quality, but I find it more useful in thinking that we can carry on at a normal decibel level than if it’s not on. Love this one because you can turn it on and off remotely. Ok, since last time, we’ve been using a white noise machine with Jasper ever since and with Felix too. As soon as the white noise machine is off, Felix is up. I find that it allows us to feel like we don’t have to tip toe around to not make noise. Love it. We didn’t buy the same brand for Felix, which was a mistake. The one we bought is poorly designed. I’ll be buying this brand again!
  2. Uppababy stroller. The stroller can hold the car seat, a bassinet, and a normal sitting seat for an older child. I’m using the VISTA while I travel right now because baby can only sleep laying down completely so I stick him in the bassinet. It’s so beautiful, quick to assemble and disassemble. I’ve become a big advocate of it! Plus, I love the touch of the leather handle–classy! I didn’t need a stroller for the first couple of months because Jasper would just cry. Felix did the same thing, but starting at 4 months he LOVED sitting upright.
  3. Rattan bassinet from Bundle and Bloom As you know from this post, I was on a big search for rattan bassinets for baby’s nursery. I searched high and low to find a vintage one, but I couldn’t find one in the US and shipping from France was going to cost 2x the cost of the crib itself, SO, I was thrilled to find this version from Bundle and Bloom. It’s beautiful and the cost is NUTS! They’re handmade in Guatemala and we’ve been using it since we got it. I love it!
  4. Moses Basket. Early on in the prepping process, I spent a good deal of time looking for a Moses basket because I’ve always loved the look of them. Turns out? They’re also handy. This one I got from Briar and it’s so beautiful it makes me want to cry.
  5. Sleep Sack.

When their old enough to hold their heads up (4 or 5 months)

A lot of these are basically contraptions to place baby so you can have a sec to do something. I like to spread them around the house so that there’s always something.

  1. Chair swing. Ok, this is an exception to the “beautiful” rule. I don’t love the look of it, but I love the price and I wanted to see if he would even use before buying something more expensive. I started him in it at about 4 months and he would last for about 5 minutes. Ha! We’re working on it! I think he’ll love it…one day! This is the chair swing I’d try if I thought we’d have gotten more use out of it. Well, Jasper never learned to love it and we’ll find out about Felix. I have a feeling he will though because he loves his…
  2. Exersaucer. I borrowed this contraption from my friend, Michele, and Jasper didn’t love it. I borrowed it again for Felix and he LOVES it! He’s at 5 months now and having a ball. Sometimes he lasts for 2 seconds and other times he can stay in for 15 minutes. 
  3. Briar bonnets. I feel such a need to protect Baby’s skin from the harsh sun especially since he’s so pale. These bonnets are both adorable and great for protection. We did a collection with them and they turned out so cute! 
  4. Bumbo. I love the Bumbo for setting him in when I need to get some stuff done, like putting on make up. Bonus is that is comes in this gorgeous color. I searched high and low for a pretty color and found it in this one.
  5. Joovy baby walker (not pictured in graphic). I loved this walker because it was the best looking one that didn’t have the built in toys and it comes with a removeable and washable tray!
  6. Charlie Crane. This is another one that was given to me and I felt like I had won the jackpot because it’s truly so beautiful. I love that it can sit seamlessly in your home, though I have it at work for baby to sit and play in. Helpful and beautiful!

Rattan bassinetRattan bassinet

Again, I’ll be updating this list the more I become familiar with other products and stages of baby’s life. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your tried and true products! Dish!

photos by Jane Merrit and Rebecca Hansen

2021 Costume Ideas: Lars’ Top 15

The Lars team brainstormed 2021 costume ideas that reflected our most memorable moments from the past year, and we realized something. Picking a Halloween costume is a great opportunity for reflection! We always try to dress up as something that’s just right for the current year, which means that we spent some time looking back on our favorite (and sometimes least favorite) moments, events, and pop culture icons.

Here’s to another year of unforgettable moments!

COVID-themed costumes

It wouldn’t be a list of 2021 costume ideas without some mention of COVID. I know, I know, we’re all sick of hearing about it. But what’s scarier than a deadly disease (and a society that refuses to acknowledge how serious it is??) In order to keep from crying, we have to laugh. You could be:

  • a mask. Or check out our Quilted Face Mask Coat from April Fool’s Day for a twist.
  • a nasal test swab. After all, gross is good at Halloween!
  • a vaccine syringe. You know those ketchup bottle costumes? I bet you could modify one into a vaccine with just a little craftiness.
  • or mask costumes to coordinate with the costumes like this Mummy mask and this pumpkin mask.

halloween costume of a vaccine illustration: a blonde woman wears a blue and white shift dress with numbers drawn on to look like a syringe. She's wearing a tall sharp hat that looks like a needle. The background is green.

Stay safe, everyone!

Movies and TV

You can’t go wrong with movie and TV-inspired costumes. Here are some of our ideas:

  • Bridgerton. I’m all about the costumes and wigs from Bridgerton. Get some great inspiration from this pink Marie Antoinette costume from a few years ago!
  • Queen’s Gambit-inspired chess pieces. Okay, technically it came out last year. But it was right before Halloween, so we didn’t have much time to put together costumes! Cut us some slack! And enlist your friends to be chess pieces with you.
  • The Black Widow. We love a female superhero!
  • Cruella. All right, all right, we also love a villainess!

Cruella illustration: a woman with black and white hair, a mask, and a red gown on a pink background.

2021 Current Events

  • Tom Daley knitting. Did you catch Tom Daley’s amazing knitting skills during the Olympics? I have to admit, I’m not a huge sports watcher, but I could watch Tommy knit and purl between dives all day. Check out his Instagram account @MadeWithLoveByTomDaley and go Team Great Knittin’!

Tom Daley Knitting costume: A woman wearing a blush pink swimming suit with an olympic gold medal knitting a red, white, and blue scarf.

  • Bernie with mittens. Speaking of yarn, this meme would be a great (and cozy!) costume.
  • a boat stuck in the Suez Canal. There are so many hilarious ways you could do this: I’m thinking paper mache boats, all blue outfits with a sideways boat appliqué, the sky (or sea) is the limit!

Celebrity Hijinks

  • Olivia Rodrigo’s drivers license. Picture this: a big cardboard card that you rig so that your face fits where her face would go. I love this idea so much that if you don’t do it, I just might.

Olivia Rodrigo Drivers License illustration: a woman with a pink and red heart sweater and jeans with a california drivers license cutout around her face

  • Britney Spears. #FreeBritney!
  • Frank Ocean’s alien baby from the Met Gala. This is still fresh on our minds, and it would be pretty easy: all you need is a sleeper set and some florescent yellow-green paint!

Frank Ocean's Alien Baby costume illustration: a woman wearing green face paint and a green printed footie pajama set on a blush pink background.

  • Lady Gaga at the Inauguration. Her performance was incredible. Also, speaking of the inauguration, I’m still thinking about the beautiful moment when Jennifer Lopez yelled “una nación bajo Dios con libertad y justicia para todos!” during her musical number.
  • Elon Musk, Grimes, and their baby X Æ A-XII. This would be a hilarious (and not too difficult) family costume for someone with a baby. I’d love to see you pull it off!

I’d love to see your Halloween costumes and hear about your 2021 costume ideas! 

 

DIY Crib Skirt and Mattress Giveaway

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DIY Crib Skirt

As one might expect at this point, I’m still getting the hang of this whole “Mom” thing. Every day is a learning day and it’s quite the wild ride! After doing my fair share of baby book reading, I’m constantly paranoid that Baby J might suffocate in his crib, stop breathing, or insert any other fear that gets ingrained in a new mother’s brain. DHP (remember their rad futon and bedding?!)  approached me about their Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib and Toddler Mattress I couldn’t have been happier! This mattress is perfect for a worrying mama: Hypoallergenic, Thermo-bonded core so the babe gets plenty of support and water-resistant outer cover for easy clean-ups! What more could you want?! DIY Crib Skirt

This mattress really is top of the line and it won the 2017 Women’s Choice Award as Amerca’s Most Recommended Brand for Crib & Toddler Mattress. Since I am now determined to get Jasper sleeping in his crib with his new mattress I decided to go all in and complete the look with a DIY Crib Skirt. I wanted a traditional gathered look and had Becca, our resident seamstress, whip one up. And since baby mattresses are pretty standard (at least in North America), you can easily make one yourself with these same dimensions. It’s simple enough for a novice sewer.

Find out how to win a Safety 1st Mattress of your own and sew your own DIY Crib Skirt!

DIY Block Printing with a Potato

DIY block printing stamping art with potato

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

How to stamp with a potato

Supplies:

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

Steps:

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

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

What to block print on to

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

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

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

More block printing and stamping tutorials

DIY block printing on bandanaDIY block printing stamping on linen napkinsDIY block printing stamping art on ceramic plates

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

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

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

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.

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!

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.

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

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?

 

How to make writing in your journal fun and creative

Why should I write in a journal?

Baby prompts journal with promptly

We have all been told the importance of writing in a journal for our posterity’s sake. If this is the reason you write, I admire you for it! Preserving history and making sure your great-grand kids know what it was like during the COVID-19 pandemic and the beginning of tik tok is a noble reason to keep a diary. Though for some of us this motivation wanes from time to time, and we find our personal history missing some pretty major gaps.

For me, I have found I am the most consistent with writing when I make it a creative project. This post is full of tips on how to make your journal writing more fun and creative, and we think it will keep you more motivated than ever! Keeping a diary can be a creative outlet that helps you  get pumped up in the morning or wind down at the end of the day. It can help you learn discipline making good habits.

How writing in a journal can improve your art

I remember reading the book Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron which discusses the importance of “morning pages.” The idea is that, first thing when you wake up, you write at least 3 pages of stream of consciousness in your notebook. No thinking of making sense, just writing whatever (whatever!) comes to your mind. Doing this regularly unlocks your creativity and trains your mind to let ideas flow freely. I love this idea! It takes all of the pressure out of writing daily.

Different types of journals

If you are stuck on page 2, it’s possible you aren’t using the right kind of journal for you! Try out a new kind from the list below:

Writing prompts

My Life In Color a creative and colorful guided journal

Wreck This Journal

(And other journal books you get to color in!)

Photo books

Write one line a day

Travel journals

If writing daily feels like too much right now, stick to travel books instead! Find one that will be sturdy enough to stay nice in your carry-on, reflects the place you are visiting, and fill it with memorabilia and travel stories to tell your friends back home!

how to improve your handwriting for journaling

Different ways to fill in your journal

If you’re the queen of filling up the first few pages of a notebook never to touch it again, I feel you. I see you. No one wants a journal that jumps from 8th grade to Senior prom to their wedding day; so when we find an old (and mostly blank) book it’s hard to find the motivation to start writing in it again. Though there are not many feelings better than starting a fresh crisp new notebook, our hope is that with this complete journal guide we can all start a brand new diary and then actually stick with it! And remember, when you reach the end you can reward yourself once again with another beautiful empty book.

The key to filling an entire journal is remembering this is meant to be a mod podge book filled with your growth, mistakes, good days, and everything in between. No one’s life is free of spilled milk and mascara stains, and your journal shouldn’t be either! As a recovering perfectionist, even I can promise that a full messy journal is a much bigger accomplishment than a half empty perfect looking one.

If you are having trouble overcoming your desire for perfectly dotted i’s and margins free of doodles – try this: abandon your perfectionism in at least one area of your life – your diary. Doodle to your hearts content. Bring your notebook with you to the breakfast table and don’t worry about spilling your coffee. Fill your book full of ticket stubs and anxious scribbles.

If we are overwhelming you, take a deep breath. There is a more structured way you can learn to love a messy journal – this Brave New World journal is filled with prompts to help unleash your inner artist. Baby steps, baby steps.

Try these creative ways to fill your journal

Doodling

While trying to jog your memory of what happened this morning, don’t be afraid to doodle in the margins, or fill the entire page! This snapshots in time say just as much about your current self as your words do. Draw a daily flower in your notebook and use this to keep yourself on track with writing!

Bullet points

Don’t stress over a novel of your day, just write at least a few key bullet points at the end of your day and call it good! If that’s all you can do, it’s a great place to start. Before you know it you’ll find yourself wanting to write more and more!

Collect recipes

If writing or doodling aren’t really your things, figure out what is! One idea is to gather family recipes and write down the memory you have attached to them. Making and writing our the recipe for your mom’s infamous chocolate cake is sure to start a flood of memories you’ll be itching to get down on paper. Try keeping a notebook dedicated to recipe related memories!

Baby boy's first birthday party

For Jasper’s first birthday I filled his baby book with photos, pins, and other paper momentos from his party! I can’t wait to show him when he is older.

Our favorite journals

Hardcover

Simple ruled

Dotted

Bullet

Unruled

This colorblock journal is customizable, comes in multiple color choices and page options!

Customizable

Journals for kids

Stickers

We promised you ways to make writing more fun, so of course we had to include stickers!

These habit forming stickers are such a fun way to keep yourself accountable (for more habits than just writing daily!)

Journal supplies

Hold all of your journaling supplies in this folio! These pastel pens are on sale in our shop now for a limited time!

Craft the Rainbow full set

All of the items in the photo above are on sale right now for Craft the Rainbow month! Click here to see the sale and start your own My Life in Color journal!