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!

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! 

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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

 

favorite books for toddlers

My 31 Favorite Children’s Books for Toddlers

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we were on a grocery run and there are some unfamiliar stories in there to discover (some of them are a little odd or outdated so I get why they aren’t the most popular ones today, but Jasper still likes them!).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

My Baby Shower

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Brittany's Baby Shower

I feel like the luckiest lady in all the land! A couple of weeks ago, the ladies here at the office threw me a baby shower with all the bells and whistles. It was so sweet. No literally, it was VERY sweet. We had delicious sweet waffles along with all the treats a pregnant girl could want. There wasn’t one savory dish on the menu. Ha! It was right up my alley. It was so wonderful to celebrate our baby boy amongst the company of those I get to work with who I love so much. It’s always so overwhelming to have people spend time and efforts on you. Like, how do you thank them? In a blog post, of course! 😉 Thank you so much to the ladies I love for all the love that went into this shower. This baby (and mama!) feel so loved!

Check out all the details of the baby shower (along with my huge bump!)!

My new advisory board role: Part 1

Nepal

As you might imagine, Internet was spotty, but also crucial for my job, so when the connection went down on the construction site, I hiked with a couple of others to the next mountain (people who know me now are like…what?!??!?!? hiked?!?!?! YES, HIKED!) and plugged in at the phone tower. In order to get up there, I passed a number of small houses complete with mini farms–chickens, goats, luscious hydrangeas. It was so beautiful. It was also typhoon season, which brought on spectacular views AND a constant thread of crazy rain storms. (I wish I could find my hard drive from 10 years ago with all the pictures!)

We must have made a scene because we were soon joined by a few villagers. Through a translator or hand gestures, I can’t remember, we got to talking and they shared their beautiful handiwork with me. Handmade pewter plates and textiles and more. I was floored. Their work was exquisite.

At the time I was super interested in manufacturing so I was trying to come up with ways to work together. But, like I mentioned, I was fresh out of graduate school and had recently gotten married and moved to Copenhagen, Denmark so I wasn’t in a spot where I could feasibly make too much happen, both financially or logistically–I, myself, was trying to navigate a new country, social system, network, not to mention everything that comes with marriage. I couldn’t take on too much more.

Women Makers in Nepal

What I learned in those weeks was how crucial women were to the building and heart of the the village. In fact, these women, young and old, were the ones who traveled up and down the mountain with huge baskets on their backs full of heavy rocks, the building material of the memorial that was being constructed. There was also a community center designed for the women of the village to host their individual business like nails, micro blading, and making these really cool pom pom blankets and I got to spend some time there. They even dressed me up in their traditional clothing and I felt like a super model because my normally average height in the US was now considered very tall. Ha!

The business origins

Oftentimes the origins of their businesses started from places of sorrow. For example, the owner of the micro blading business began her venture after her husband left her and she could no longer fall back on her family because they had disassociated themselves from her, which is common for the culture. They became enterprising because of the need to survive. Witnessing it for myself instilled in me a desire to be involved somehow, someday, but I didn’t know how to do so when I was also at a point in my life when I also needed to be enterprising.

Kathmandu

After the memorial was dedicated, we spent some time in Kathmandu, which was truly an out of this world experience. It was my first time in Asia and everything felt so foreign, but SO exciting–the colors, the pace, the smells. One highlight of the trip was visiting a rug factory where some of the luxury rug companies that you might be familiar with are made. They showed us how they dyed the yarns and how they turned those yarns into the intricate weavings that become full rugs. Women and men sat atop scaffolding that can lift them higher or lower depending on the size of the rug.

Family involvement in factories

What I found most interesting of this factory visit was how the children would gather in the work space after they were done with school. Sometimes they would sit right next to the parent. My memory is now fuzzy, but I want to say that I recall someone nursing their baby while working. As one who currently works from home and nurses her 7 month old baby, it feels like a privilege, but also super complex. But that’s a story I want to dive into at a later date.

10 years later

As you might know, over the years I continued to work on The House That Lars Built, the blog I had started in 2008 for graduate school (you can read more about it here). It has grown into a multi-person company where we encourage people to make things with their hands. We believe that there is a project and a time frame for every person because making something with your hands has the power to transform your well-being. And when you get in touch with your hands you tap into your soul, which is very powerful connector to your identity and culture.

Knowing this, and witnessing first hand how important the handmade economy is around the globe and even more so now than it was 10 years ago, I’ve found an organization that I have invested time and money into and will now be working with as an official advisory board member: Nest, a non-profit that supports women makers in the handmade economy.

Nest and the handmade economy

I became familiar with Nest a couple of years ago when we joined in on their 25 days of Making. Later that year we worked with 18b to donate profits from our shops for Giving Tuesday, which continued to last year. Most recently, we shared how they’ve been involved with helping some of the quilt makers from Gee’s Bend put their beautiful work onto their new Etsy shops.

As an advisory board member, I wholeheartedly support the organization in the fulfillment of its mission, vision, and strategy. I will be sharing more about the organization next week and an exciting project we are working on together. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can read more about our partnership and learn how to donate here.

DIY 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

Op Art Mobile

I’m a firm believer that kid and baby toys should be beautiful, and this op art mobile that you can make at home perfectly fits the bill. Along with this printable project, there are plenty of delightful art prints, accessories, projects, and toys for your kiddo in our baby + children’s shop.

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

Op Art

Op art, which is short for optical art, is a style of art that uses optical illusions. Think bright colors creating the illusion of another color next to them, or patterns that seem to warp and vibrate. If you’re looking at an image and wondering “what in the world is going on inside my eyeballs?” you’re probably looking at op art!

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

When I learned that babies develop their vision by looking at bright colors and high contrast patterns I thought of how perfect a mobile channeling the wild world of op art would be. Thanks to Angie Stalker, who has lots of great work in our print shop, for helping my dream become a reality!

Babies with developing eyesight aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this project! The op art mobile would be a great project to work on with kids. It’s not too tricky and you can even sneak in an art history lesson.

Speaking of which, don’t miss out on our recent Josef Albers-inspired felt board or our Matisse-inspired felt board! Both are easy projects that combine art history with playtime.

If you’re looking for more art history content, check out our Great Artists Course. In this course your little one can learn about several incredible artists by making artwork inspired by the greats. You’ll probably find yourself looking over your kiddo’s shoulder and learning something new, too!

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

Make Your Own Op Art Mobile

Materials

Printable Op Art Mobile Template, card stock (if printing at home), scissors, rubber cement or glue, hole punch, string, wooden beads, craft paint, paint brush, wooden hoop, glue gun, hot glue sticks

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.Painted wooden beads on black and white string against a green wall

Instructions

  1. Print out the Printable Op Art Mobile Template from our shop on some nice thick card stock.
  2. Glue the solid colors and the patterned shapes back to back (alternatively, you can print these back to back).
  3. Cut out your shapes, then cut into them along the dotted lines on the template.
  4. Put your coordinating shapes together so they fit together in the slits you just cut and become 3D.
  5. Punch a hole at the top of each 3D shape.
  6. Prepare your wooden materials by painting them. We painted our wooden hoop half blue and half white, then we painted beads green, light pink, and bright fuchsia. Let these dry completely.
  7. Cut 2 lengths of string to be 30 inches each. Tie the ends of one string to the hoop across from each other (we tied ours right where the blue and yellow paint met on each side). Then tie the ends of the other string between the first and second knots you made so all the points of contact are evenly dispersed. Be careful in this step to keep your strings an even length so that the hoop remains level.
  8. Secure all your knots with a little bit of hot glue.
  9. Cut 5 more lengths of string at varying lengths. Tie one end of each of these to your 3D paper shapes (using the hole you punched earlier). Tie the other end to your wooden hoop. Distribute the shapes evenly around your hoop and secure with a dot of glue.
  10. You will have one 3D shape left over.
  11. Cut one last length of string 4 feet long. About 15 inches from one end, tie this string in a secure knot around the two strings that you tied to the hoop in step 7.
  12. At the short end of your string (about 15 inches from the knot you just tied), attach your last 3D shape. This will be the shape at the center of the mobile.
  13. String your wooden beads onto the long end of this piece. You can secure these in place with a knot if you like, but gravity should keep them from getting away if you don’t.
  14. The long end of the string you just put beads onto is how you’ll hang up your mobile! Put it somewhere that you (or your baby) can admire it.

If you make this op art mobile, we would love to see it! Use #LarsMakes to show us your work.

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

You become what you see and what you’ve heard

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

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

The power of suggestion

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

History Made

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

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

You are what you see

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

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

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

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

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

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?

 

Lars Shop Highlight: Floral Art Prints

Last month we did a post about spring cleaning and switching out your art prints, and I shared some art from the Lars print shop. This May, though, I’m focusing on flowers (even more than I do year round! Ha!) so I wanted to show you my curated collection of floral art prints.

Whether you’re looking for a sophisticated, subdued artwork or a playful print there’s something that’s sure to catch your attention in the floral art print shop!

Playful

These prints are charming for children (or children-at-heart)! Ayang Cempaka’s whimsical fairytale-themed prints are colorful and fun, and they are lovely reminders of some favorite stories. Thumbelina’s meadow scene is particularly fitting for Spring, don’t you think?

Four illustrations from fairytales hung above a child's kitchen toy set.

Normandie Luscher’s prints are also inspired by favorite stories. If you’re a reader, these prints are a great way to decorate your space with reminders of your favorite books. You’ll be transported to lovely Avonlea when you look up at Anne’s Way of Delight!

An art print of girls inside and outside a brick building covered with vines and surrounded by trees and flowers. Next to the print are wooden toys shaped like trees and a rainbow. A print of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables walking through a corridor of blossoms against a pink background with real blossoms in front.

Another floral art print that celebrates Spring and promotes literacy is Josefina Schargorodsky’s Reading In the Woods illustration. This artwork would be perfect for a kid’s room or next to the bookshelf.

A print of a girl reading in a garden surrounded by trees, grass, and flowers against a golden background.

Painterly

Decorating with a painterly floral art print is a way to introduce some serenity and style into your space. Helen Dealtry’s Secret Garden print feels like a mysterious portal into another, greener world–just like in the book!

A print of flowers in a green secret garden tunnel hangs on the wall in front of a plant and some craft supplies

Lynne Millar’s paintings are not to be missed! The way she treats shadow and light is dramatic in the same way that a really well-planned garden can be, so you can bring the outdoors in with her prints. Check out this interview of Lynne here!

In interior shot of a pink couch with cushions, a table with a plant, a modern lamp, and artwork on the walls. One of the works is Lynne Millar's Rose painting.

Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle makes glorious paper cut art by painting on paper and then cutting intricate floral designs into them. We have several of her works in our floral art print shop and they would look so lovely in any space!

Field of Colored Flowers Papercut By Julie Marabelle is framed and perched on top of a stack of books next to a yellow bed and a blue and white striped wallpapered wall.

A framed paper-cut floral print on a spruce-themed wallpapered wall by a yellow bed and a blue lamp

These dainty prints by Monica Dorazewski and Yas Imamura will bring whimsy into your home. They would be perfect in a space that needs a breath of light, fresh air, and feminine energy.

Seven Flowers Print by Yas Imamura

Adriana Picker also makes gorgeous, bright, botanical prints. Find her dahlia print here, her tulip print here, her cosmos print here, and her rose print (not pictured) here. You can also read this interview from Adriana Picker and find out more about the artist.

Three pink floral art prints on a white mantle next to a potted plant and a green candlestick

Graphic

Would you describe your style as bold and bright? Some of these more graphic floral art prints might just be calling your name.

Lisa Congdon’s style would look great in a super modern space–I love the idea of kids coming into a living room or kitchen to do homework with “Openness is Essential to Creativity” hanging on the wall next to them. How inspiring, right? Danielle Kroll’s Clementine print would also be so cute in a kitchen.

Openness is Essential To Creativity print by Lisa Congdon among plants and books Clementine Print by Danielle Kroll

For floral art prints in bold colors with less geometric designs, I think that Alli Stocco’s Flamenco Flamingos are a great fit. I also love the Mae West quote written on the print: “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Such great words to live by!

Rosie Harbottle’s Iris Apfel print brings bright, bold energy into a space. When I see this print I feel inspired to be daring like Iris, and I think all of us could use some of that oomph in our lives.

Flamenco Flamingos by Alli StoccoIris Apfel print by Rosie Harbottle against a sage wall surrounded by stationary and paper plants.

If you’re like me and you can’t get enough of flowers, check out this roundup of floral interior decor–it would all look great with a print from our shop.

What do you look for when choosing art for your home? I would love to see how you decorate with floral art prints, so tag us with #LarsAtHome to share!