Thyroid Eye Disease: My Story

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

Discovering TED

For those of you who are new to all of this (I definitely was when I involuntarily jumped into this boat), Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism. What?! Me, hyperthyroidism? You can imagine my surprise.

Something was off, I could feel it for sure, but with a new baby, running a business, and all the stresses of life, I couldn’t tell if I was just stressed out, burned out, or who knows what. Eventually I went to the doctor because I really wasn’t doing well. I hadn’t lost a single pound from birth, my hormones were heightened (that’s a tactful way of saying it my husband would say ;), and my blurry “light-headedness” was at an all-time high.

Brittany and FelixThe doctor helped me pinpoint that it wasn’t actually light-headedness, it was my vision. It was slow to focus and blurry. These were the symptoms directly after childbirth!

Thyroid Eye Disease

Luckily for me, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, I’ve partnered up with Horizon Therapeutics on its Listen to Your Eyes campaign to share information on the link between thyroid conditions, like Graves’ disease, and a separate but related disease called Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). Did you know that up to 50% of people living with Graves’ disease are at risk for developing Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)? 

Thyroid Eye Disease

Since my diagnosis, I’ve opened my eyes (pun not intended) to the possibility of new diagnoses and how beneficial this information can be to others who may be struggling with similar issues but are lacking the resources they need to understand what they’re living with and how to cope.

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED)

Knowledge brings hope

When I began this journey, I felt at a loss to understand what was happening to my body. Now I know so much and am still learning!

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) causes eye symptoms including bulging, double vision and debilitating pain. If not treated early, TED can cause serious damage to vision and appearance of the eyes. TED can even cause vision loss in more severe cases.

Brittany and Felix

I still have so much to learn but have a lot of hope for the future. If you or someone you love has Graves’ disease, pay attention to any eye symptoms. If you notice changes in your eyes, like bulging, light sensitivity and pain, don’t just assume those symptoms are part of Graves’ disease. Report them to a TED Specialist – such as an oculoplastic surgeon or neuro-ophthalmologist.

To find a nearby TED Specialist and other resources, visit www.FOCUSonTED.com.

This post is sponsored by Horizon Therapeutics. Thanks to our sponsors that allow us to create unique content for you!

Kid’s Toys: Lars Shop Highlight

What is Eeboo?

We couldn’t tell you about our Eeboo kid’s toys without introducing the company’s incredible background. First of all, women and mothers run this company. I mean, who knows kid’s toys better than mothers? I love how thoughtful these toys are. They make board games, watercolor sets, puzzles, and so much more. (You can find them here!) It just goes to show how the experience of being a mother influences their ability to understand children’s brains and what they need. And need I mention that they have the awards (Oppenheim best toy awards and honors) to prove it?

kid's toys

kid's toys

Encouraging development in children

One amazing aspect of Eeboo as a company is their focus on developmental learning in kid’s toys. They help kids develop skills like literacy, storytelling, drawing, imaginative play, and basic math. I mean, could I be more impressed? Kid’s toys that help their development while also helping them have fun? I can say from experience that it can definitely be a challenge to get kids to want to settle down when they’re feeling wild. And you can forget concentrating on learning things like math. So to have kid’s toys that are fun, interactive, and help make learning fun is a dream come true.

kid's toys

Screen-free

At Eeboo, the goal with their kid’s toys is to integrate learning and play in a screen-free way. This is so important (and need I say refreshing?) when we all have screens coming out our ears! It’s hard to get away, and these kid’s toys are a really beautiful way to succeed at it.

Commissioned illustrators

They also commission all their artwork from well-known and well-loved illustrators. It shows, too! The illustrations make their kid’s toys feel so fresh and original–artwork straight from the source. And friends, these illustrations are beautiful. They are delicate, detailed, and full of personality. Need I add that they are colorful and bright? They’re just what every child needs to stay interested and engaged.

Look at the illustrations on these watercolors and paper! Incredible, right? They’d make the perfect gift for a rainy afternoon to get those creative juices flowing.

kid's toyskid's toys

Care and dedication

I’d have to say one of my favorite things about these Eeboo kid’s toys is the care and dedication they give to their customers. They even have a booklet that talks about their values and priorities. I mean, come on! They go to great efforts to be sustainable, respect diversity, value design, and so much more.

I just keep dreaming about the things I would have done if I’d had these toys as a kid. I love how these building blocks promote creativity and imaginative play, for instance.

kid's toys

If you haven’t caught on by now, I am in love with these kid’s toys and can’t wait for Jasper (and eventually Felix) to start playing with them! Click here to get to our whole Eeboo shop collection. If you also fell in love while reading this, you’ll probably also love these other favorites: Kid’s art kit, Op art paper mobile, Thanksgiving coloring placemats, and quilted dog book plate.

Family Costume Reveal

Where the Wild Things Are Family Halloween Costume

I just realized that this is our first family Halloween costume we’ve done with our kids. I always just highlighted Jasper–that was fine enough for me. But once Jasper started really acting like Max from Wild Things I knew we had to do this costume as a family. Gwen from our team took on the challenge and SHE NAILED IT! Seriously so good. We had a lot of hands on it too since I’m still in baby survival mode ;).

family costume wild things

Where the Wild Things are Max Costume Idea

This part of our family costume is so simple. Seriously, it hardly takes any time at all, so if you’re in a pinch, this is a great option: cute, cozy, and simple.

First things first, you’ll need a white jumpsuit. Easy. This is a good option if you need help finding one. We added in some more visible buttons like the illustration as well as a tail.

wild things max costume

You’ll also need: 

  • Faux fur like this (for the tail and crown)
  • A crown. For ours, we used Jasper’s flower lane crown. We would highly recommend! They are durable, comfortable, and adjustable and you can use them for birthdays and more. If you’re interested, you can find them here.
  • Hot glue, safety pin, or clip (to attach the tail)

Instructions for DIY Max Costume

  1. First, cut the length of the faux fur rope needed for Max’s head circumference. Tie in a knot. (crown should fit snugly inside)
  2. Then cut another piece of faux fur rope for the tail (estimate length as needed). Hot glue, pin, or clip the faux fur tail in place.
  3. Done! So easy, right?

max from where the wild things aremax and wild things costumes

Baby Wild Thing Halloween Costume

Baby’s costume was super simple because we started with a simple furry onesie base and worked it out from there.

wild things costume for baby

You will need:

  • Furry jumpsuit with hood (we used one like this)
  • Cardboard
  • Horn template from our shop
  • Masking tape
  • Acrylic paint (we used white and gray)
  • Hot glue
  • Scissors
  • Face paint (we used black for his little nose)

where the wild things are baby costumecardboard foot claws

DIY Cardboard Horns and feet for Wild Things Halloween Costume

where the wild things are papier mache mask

  1. For the horns, cut out two sets of our template, found here.
  2. Print out the templates.
  3. Trace the templates onto cardboard, then cut out the templates as indicated.
  4. Slide the two separate pieces into the corresponding slots, then wrap completely with masking tape so the cardboard is covered. Wrap as if you’re wrapping a mummy, so the tape is nice and flat, no bumps or wrinkles (this will make painting them a lot easier later!)where the wild things are webbed feet cardboard
  5. Paint the horns your desired color/pattern/texture! We did kind of a gradient to mimic the original illustrations in the book.
  6. For the feet, print out the template (found here), then trace it onto cardboard and cut out.
  7. Paint the feet however you want! We chose gray for the claws and white for the rest, then added some texture.
  8. Wait for the paint to dry, then use hot glue to attach the horns and claws to the furry jumpsuit.
  9. Ta da!

wild things papier mache mask costumewhere the wild things are scales costume

Adult Where The Wild Things Are costumes

The adult wild things costumes were definitely the most time intensive of the family costumes, but are also showstoppers. So worth it. For these, you’ll need:wild things costume with big masks

  • Cardboard (plenty of it! You’ll use it for the masks and feet)
  • Newspaper, 1 part flour, 5 parts water, 2 Tbsp salt, and a pot for the paper mache
  • Scissors
  • Black faux fur like this
  • orange/brown yarn like this
  • Two baseball caps
  • Twine
  • Acrylic paint
  • Yellow sweatsuit set (something like this and this)
  • Brown hoodless sweatshirt
  • Gray sweats
  • Yellow felt
  • cream/white felt
  • Hot glue
  • Floral wire (we used 22 gauge)
  • Styrofoam balls for eyes (3in diameter balls are a good size)
  • Elastic (¾ or 1 in width is good)

wild things costume masks

Instructions

Prepping the masks

  1. Cut out two large circles of cardboard, one for each mask. Make one slightly larger than the other.
  2. Cut three, evenly-spaced slits in the top third section of the cardboard circles
  3. Overlap each of the slits with each other slightly, then hot glue. This will give the mask a little dimension.
  4. Cut off the bottom third of each of the circles(these will be the mouths)
  5. For the teeth, cut out roughly ten triangles (just estimate the size) for the smaller, yellow wild thing, and 14 for the bigger, horned wild thing.
  6. Next, glue the teeth onto the bottom of the top third section, underlapping them slightly. Leave a few inches of space on each side of the teeth. Do this with both masks.
  7. Then, hot glue the bottom section of both masks back on, bending the top third around so the bottom section underlaps slightly and gives the sides and bottom a little depth.how to make a papier mache mask
  8. For the horns on the bigger wild thing, you can use the same template used for the baby wild thing (found here) and just make them bigger.
  9. For the eyes, poke wire through the styrofoam balls and loop back through to secure. Then poke the wire through the cardboard and twist in the back to secure.
  10. For the nose, take one styrofoam ball (for the center of the nose) and do the same thing you did with the eyes, placing it where the nose should go. Then, for each nostril, shave off the bottom as needed (roughly one third) to let the balls settle down on each side of the nose center. Secure with wire.
  11. Now, crumple/fold some pieces of newspaper and build them up around the top and bottoms of the eyes. These are the eyelids.

Now you’re ready to do the paper mache!

how to make a papier mache mask wild thingsPaper mache

Prepping the paste/newspaper

  1. Cut a bunch of long, thin strips of newspaper. It’s nice to have them cut in advance so you don’t have to do this with sticky hands later. Cut as many as you think you’ll need to cover both masks adequately in a couple layers.
  2. Boil 4 parts water. In separate bowl, whisk 1 part warm water with one part flour. Try to get out any lumps. If you live in a humid place, add a few tablespoons of salt to prevent mold growth. 
  3. Once the flour mixture is done, slowly stir into the boiling water. Mix it in well, then let boil for a few minutes. If it seems a little thick, you can add water, and if it seems thin, you can add flour.
  4. Now you’re ready to apply the glue!where the wild things are bird costume with long hair

Glueing the masks

  1. First, take a strip of newspaper and dip it into the paste. Coat the paper completely, sliding your fingers over the paper so the paper is covered in a thin layer of the paste. 
  2. The next step is to apply the sticky newspaper to the mask! (Note: you make want to use gloves for this step, it can get pretty messy)
  3. Keep applying the newspaper pieces until the mask is covered (cover the teeth, too!). Tip: Make sure to place them randomly, rather than going the same direction the whole time. The paper mache will hold better this way.
  4. Remember to cover the horns with paper mache, too! Wrap them like a mummy, using the same wrapping technique as for the baby wild thing horns.
  5. Let dry COMPLETELY before moving on to the next steps.

Painting

Once you’ve applied two or so coats and they’re dry, you’ll be ready to paint! Note: it usually takes at least a day or two for the paper mache to dry (faster in dry, hot climates, and slower in cold, humid climates).

papier mache maskFinishing touches

  1. Now for the fun part: paint the masks! Use ours as a reference for colors, and we’d also recommend looking at the original illustrations if you need more help figuring out how to paint them.
  2. After the paint is dry, you can cut out strips of the faux fur and hot glue them all around the bigger wild thing’s head. Cut strips of yarn and hot glue them onto the smaller wild thing’s head. To make the yarn look like it’s parted in the middle, you can fold the strips of yarn in half and glue the folded sections to the middle where the part is.where the wild things are with long hair
  3. Now, poke two eye holes below the nose (they will look like nostrils). You want to be able to see while wearing this thing!
  4. The next step is to hot glue the baseball caps inside the masks. Place them so the back of the hat is just above the eye holes. This should make it so you can see when the hat is on your head.
  5. If you would like, you can also hot glue a couple of pieces of twine to the back of the mask that you can tie around your head for extra stability.
  6. The masks are done! Whew!

family costume where the wild things arePrepping the adult clothing

Prepping the adult outfits of the family costume is simple:

  1. Cut out a bunch of yellow, felt strips. Hot glue them onto the brown sweatshirt.
  2. For the pants, cut out a bunch of strips that are flat on one side and have a row of triangles on the other (see photos of the costumes for details). Hot glue these on in rows.
  3. Last is the feet. For these, cut out cardboard feet using our templates (found here)
  4. Next, paint the claws on the yellow wild thing. We did white for the claws and the rest a bit textured with yellow, gray and brown.
  5. Glue a yellow piece of felt onto the main template for the smaller, yellow wild thing. For the bigger wild thing, glue gray felt onto the feet, then more white felt cut the same way the pants are.
  6. When the paint is dry, hot glue a strip of elastic to each corner of the backs of the feet to make loops like stirrups (the loops will attach around the backs of the heels and help keep the feet on over your shoes). 

That’s a wrap! Let the wild rumpus start!

If you loved this costume tutorial and would like to find more great family costume ideas, check out these other posts: Mom and Baby Costumes, Group Halloween Costumes, and Last Minute DIY Costumes, Jasper’s Viking Costume

A Life Well Lived

A Life Well Lived

Clearly I’m not Matt Damon nor am I on any track to becoming a movie star, but saying yes has not been on my agenda for quite some time. To be fair, how could it? The last year and a half has brought out a lot of no’s. No to public outings, no to gatherings, no to civil discourse. And just when we thought we could start saying yes we were stuck with COVID in July and then the air quality was so bad in Utah that we couldn’t even go outside. Certainly not on the path to a life well lived.

living joie de vivre
Perhaps my team has noticed the shift because I recently took them on two spontaneous field trips. Here we visited the new Harmony store here in Provo, which is a real gem.

In other words–I’ve been feeling STUCK! Physically, emotionally, mentally…all the ways. You too? It doesn’t feel good. Doesn’t feel like living.

Feeling stuck as a new mother

Now, I’m also a new mom to a 9 month old. Any one with a new baby might know the feeling of being stuck. Sometimes you’re physically stuck at home nursing on a schedule or waiting on naps or just hanging out waiting on their every move. It’s constant and exhausting. It’s also emotionally draining and your hormones are playing a game of kickball inside your body. Well, sometimes it’s also a game of pool or kickboxing. Definitely some type of martial arts.

Getting outside your comfort zone to experience a life well lived

So, when I heard Matt Damon talk about saying yes I thought, THAT’S IT! THAT is a life well lived! I need to say yes more because life is too short to say no! And when even did I get trapped in my comfort zone?! And when did my life start taking the shape of a cross stitched life motto?!

As I’m typing this out, I’m realizing that I was actually really good at getting outside my comfort zone and experiencing a life well lived in my 20s and early 30s. And because of it I’ve had some really awesome opportunities…and some more frightening moments. But all experiences that made me grow.

a life well lived
The other was going up to Salt Lake to see one of our own, Gwen’s art show.

For fear of waxing nostalgic I’ll stop there and just say, it’s time to get outside of that comfort zone again. Somehow. Ha! I don’t know how that’s going to happen quite yet because we’re still in a pandemic and I still have a baby, but I am willing and more focused on living more intentionally.

Joie de Vivre means more than just a life well lived

The term joie de vivre keeps on coming back to me–I think about it all the time. I think it’s because I had a friend who told me a story of how her mom once gave a lecture to one of her siblings for not displaying enough of it. Can you imagine?! Joie de vivre! An “exuberance for life”, an “exultation of spirit”! There are few words or phrases that capture the human spirit more than joie de vivre and who wouldn’t want to live life to the fullest?! That is the essence of a life well lived!

Ideas on living a life well lived

Basically what I’m saying is that I want to feel joie de vivre EVEN THOUGH I can’t just drop everything and travel the world or whatever it is that I haven’t yet dreamed up yet. Perhaps a life well lived is experienced in the little things right now? Maybe making a little extra effort to go to a fantastic spot for a walk or hike. Perhaps it’s setting one responsibility aside to focus a bit on something that brings joy. I don’t know! Clearly I’ve got some brainstorming to do or maybe you have ideas for me? Would love to hear them!

Tell me about your life well lived. Are you living it now? If so, I want your tips. If not, what’s the road block? I bet I could join you 😉

Snacks For Kids and Jasper’s Cooking Show

To be quite honest, finding snacks for kids isn’t very hard in my household because Jasper does all the finding himself. 🙄 He’s been known to eat an entire stick of butter, chunks of garlic (why??), whole tubs of ice cream (though who can blame him)…you get the idea. Say what you will about the boy, he’ll never starve!

Jasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Still, I’d rather he ate food a little less…chaotically. Like, wouldn’t it be nice if instead of just finding an empty butter wrapper and lots of greasy fingerprints, then putting together the clues I handed him a plate of something healthy? Even better, wouldn’t it be nice if Jasper were able to assemble some reasonable food on his own? It sounds pretty great to me.

Jasper holds a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. His hands are in focus.

I know that it can be hard to think up intentional snacks for kids when you have a hangry toddler hanging onto your leg. So why not give the toddler some ideas so he can come up with his own snacks? Nothing could go wrong, right?

Without further ado, I present:

Cooking with Jasper: Ants on a Log

Watch me teach Jasper to make my culinary magnum opus, ants on a log!

It will probably be a few years before I can set Jasper free in the kitchen with total confidence (did you see that knife grab? 😮 Yikes!!). Still, ants on a log is definitely a snack that kids can make without too much help.

My 5 go-to snacks for kids

Ants on a log

  1. Wash and slice celery into 3-4 inch lengths.
  2. Spread some peanut butter into the celery divot.
  3. Top with raisins. Tadaa!

ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Apples and cheese

  1. Slice your favorite cheddar cheese.
  2. Slice some apples.
  3. Put the cheese on the apples. A salty and sweet symphony.

Snack-uterie board

Okay, this one takes some more time. But I’d much rather arrange food than actually cook it, so I don’t mind.

  1. Gather your and your kid’s favorite snacks. I like using crackers, dried and sliced fruit, a few cookies, popcorn, cheeses, a few candies, and some sliced ham.
  2. Arrange your treats on the board. This is where the craftiness kicks in!
  3. Enjoy the tasty spread of snacks and treats together.

Snack-uterie boards are perfect for movie nights, game nights, or other times when the family is all sitting around and snacking. Check out my most recent one, the Char-boo-terie board, and my original Painted Charcuterie board.

a painted charcuterie board loaded with colorful snacks.A ghost-shaped halloween snack board on a black background.

Babybel and wheat thins

You know those babybel cheeses that come in the cute red wax wrappers? I think they’re great snacks for kids because they’re compact and don’t require any knives or slicing, and they’re delicious. They’re delicious, and the wax wrappers are also fun to model into little shapes.

  1. Unwrap your cheese.
  2. Use a stiff cracker (like a wheat thin) to chop of some of the cheese, and enjoy.

hummus with pita strips, carrots, and celery

  1. Spoon some hummus into a bowl.
  2. Slice a few pitas into strips or triangles (bonus points if you toast them first, but it’s not necessary).
  3. Wash and slice a few carrots and celery sticks into 3-4 inch sticks.
  4. Dip, then relish the combination of creamy and crunchy.

Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.

What are your go-to snacks for kids? I’d love to hear what your favorites are (and add them to my snacking arsenal)!

Char-boo-terie Halloween Snack Board

Our char-boo-terie board is a Halloween snack board in the shape of a ghost! It’s perfect for movie nights and Halloween parties, but hey–I’m not going to stop you from eating it for dinner.

Closeup of a ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really not a fan of cooking. It’s just not my thing. But I do love snacks! So rather than cooking up a meal, I arranged some snacks into a cute ghost-shaped char-boo-terie Halloween snack board!

You can easily make a char-boo-terie board, too!

Closeup of a ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

Make Your Own Halloween Snack Board

You’ll need:

A wooden cutting board and an assortment of white snacks. We used yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, rice cakes, goat cheese, pita wedges, sliced cheese, crackers, and ghost-shaped potato crisps, then Oreos (or a similar cookie) for the eyes and mouth. Trader Joe’s is your friend here.

Closeup of a ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

Instructions:

  1. Place a stack of 2-3 oreos where you want each eye. Make a pile of cookies where you want the ghost’s gaping mouth.
  2. Arrange white snacks in a ghost shape around the eyes and mouth.
  3. Consider what flavors you want touching each other. We used neutral-tasting foods like jicama and rice cakes to separate our sweet and savory snacks.

Enjoy your boo-tiful Halloween snack board!

Closeup of a ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

More Inspiration

Because charcuterie refers to a specific kind of meat, I’ve started calling my boards “snack-uterie” boards. Do you think it will stick? Either way, you can see my first Kids Charcuterie Board here.

If you’re looking for more Halloween inspiration, you’ll find lots in our Halloween shop! I also recommend these easy Halloween ideas and this post about how to get into the Halloween spirit!

A ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

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! 

 

A Fall Movie List & Cozy Pajamas

Now that it’s starting to cool down outside and the days are getting shorter, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up in cozy pajamas and watch a movie. The Lars team put our heads together to come up with a great fall movie list, with options ranging from cozy to creepy.

Depending on your mood, you can find a something sentimental and sweet or creepy, all of which are perfect for chilly nights and changing leaves.

But first, find your new favorite fall pajamas!

My Favorite Fall Pajamas

A strict dress code of cozy pajamas for movie nights is non-negotiable, if you ask me. As a kid, my siblings and I always had to get into jammies before we started a movie. Now I realize that there was a great reason for that rule–my parents didn’t want to have to wrangle any kids into pajamas late at night when everyone was extra sleepy!

Still, I’m a firm believer that pajamas are vital to any good movie night. The snugglier the better! I’m a sucker for matching pajamas, so you’ll see some sets that are available in kid and adult sizes, which is an added bonus! Here are my favorite fall pajamas:

For Kids

For Grown Ups

If you’re looking for more of my favorite cozy clothes, check out this loungewear in all colors of the rainbow, my favorite everyday leisurewear, and these cloud-like pajamas!

Fall and Halloween Movie List

There are so many great fall and Halloween movies, so something from these lists is sure to strike your fancy! Still, not all of them are family-friendly or for everyone, so use your judgement to find something you’ll feel great about watching. And we won’t tell if you hide beneath the blankets during the scary scenes. 😉

Cozy

  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Coco
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • the Harry Potter movies
  • Little Women
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Dan in Real Life
  • the Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Dead Poet’s Society
  • Legally Blonde

Creepy/Halloween Themed

  • Halloweentown
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost
  • Hotel Trannsylvania
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (which may have given a team member nightmares)
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Goosebumps movies
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (which may have made another team member afraid of the piano as a kid)
  • Watcher in the Woods
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Addams Family
  • Twitches
  • ET
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • A Ghost Story
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Knives Out
  • Heathers
  • Coraline
  • A Quiet Place
  • Nosferatu
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Beetlejuice
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Crooked House
  • Ophelia

Found a new favorite fall movie? Tell us which one, and let us know what your favorite flicks are!

Easy Halloween Ideas From Our Shop

My ideal Halloween is playfully spooky, crafty, and (above all) easy, and there’s no such thing as too many easy Halloween ideas. If you’re looking for a fun, simple way to celebrate the season without turning your home into a Spirit Halloween storefront, read on for easy Halloween ideas!

Easy Halloween Decorations

This Haunted House makes a perfect Halloween centerpiece and conversation starter. You’ll make it from recycled cardboard boxes, which is a win for Planet Earth, and it’s beautiful enough to come back year after year, which is a win for you! Check out our blog post on it here.

Cardboard Haunted House for recycled holiday decor

If you love the spooky aspect of Halloween, check out this Vampire Teeth Garland. It’s creepy without being too macabre, and oh so easy.

DIY vampire teeth garland

Another slightly spooky and impeccably easy decor idea is this wooden transfer plaque template! I’m all for riding the line between pretty and creepy at Halloween, and these really fit the bill. Find the tutorial here.

wooden cross sections of branches with spiders and bugs transferred onto them hanging from maroon ribbons.

This painted pumpkin face template makes for such a fun, easy DIY! Give your porch some whimsy this Halloween by painting these sweet characters on your pumpkins. Read the tutorial here and get painting!

painted pastel pumpkin faces against a pink background

How many times can you say “pretty paper pumpkin project?” Whatever your answer, you should check out this template for rainbow paper pumpkins, along with this tutorial blog post. These make a beautiful, refined, seasonal table setting, they’ll look great for all of Autumn, not jus Halloween. A Thanksgiving comeback, anyone?

orange, gold, and yellow paper pumpkins on a table setting.

If you’re in a pinch and looking for quick decorations, don’t forget this post about last minute Halloween decor!

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas

There’s something to be said for a super intricate, detailed costume for sure. But even if you don’t have the time and energy to become a perfectly accurate storm trooper, dressing up doesn’t have to be out of your reach. Lots of our costume templates just require some simple clothing, some paper, and a prop or two. No professional costuming degree necessary!

Our Ruth Bader Ginsberg collar is maybe our simplest costume for adults. Just cut it out (a cricut or other cutting machine is helpful here), put it over a dark dress, and pull your hair back. Voilà! You’re ready to advocate for your sisters.

A white paper lace collar on a black background.

If you’ve been a Lars reader for more than about a minute you’ll know that I love flowers. So of course I wanted to dress up as a bouquet! Ha! Practice making some paper flowers for this Sweet Pea Paper Flower Bouquet costume (and read the tutorial here).

Brittany wearing a bouquet costume with paper flowers and a white paper wrapper against a green backdrop

Group costumes are always so fun, so pair your bouquet costume with greenhouse garb for a friend! This greenhouse costume uses cardboard and iron-on flowers, and is sure to turn heads. You can find the tutorial here.

a white woman with brown hair wears a green dress with iron on flowers, a greenhouse hat, and yellow clogs. She's holding flowers and a watering can.

Another cute Halloween costume for a pair of friends would be our beehive and picnic costumes. Both use an iron-on technique to make easy halloween costumes that are as cute as a bug. Find the tutorials here.

Brittany wears a gingham red dress with ants ironed onto it and holds a rattan picnic bag. a white woman wearing a yellow dress with iron-on bees, black gloves, a bee headband, and black shoes stands in front of a blue background.

This constellation costume with iron-on stars is absolutely dazzling. Honestly, you might as well break it out all year round because it’s that beautiful.

a blonde woman wearing an off-the-shoulder black jumpsuit with silvers stars all over it, sparkly makeup, and a spangled headband against a periwinkle background

For a subtle Halloween look, just print off our Pumpkin Crown and wear warm autumn tones.

Printable Pumpkin Crown

Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

One of our most glamorous costumes with templates in the shop is our sun, cloud and rainbow set. This makes a great baby and mom costume, because you can add sun rays to a baby bonnet. I love how our model matched the baby’s outfit to her sling! With this costume you can invest as much or as little as you want. Just want the Sun and Rainbow headpiece? No problem. What about the Cloud Bag and Cloud Earrings? Done. Just want a sunny baby bonnet pattern? Your wish is our command. Make the costume just how you like it with this tutorial.

Rainbow costumeRainbow and sun mommy and me costume

This Giving Tree costume is another easy Halloween idea that you could make in a flash. And who doesn’t want to reference a classic children’s book in their costume? Find the tutorial here.

A mom wearing a green outfit with leaves and holding a felt apple bag stands next to her child in red overalls. They're dressed as the Giving Tree.

If you have a gaggle of children to costume, consider our Three Blind Mice baby costume pattern or our Crayon Hat template. Both are simple to put together and oh so sweet.

3 blind mice diy costume for kidsFour kids wearing crayon halloween costumes in orange, red, blue, and green.

Halloween Party Supplies

Even though gathering in big groups for Halloween parties is starting to look less and less likely (again 😔), you can still throw a Halloween party for your family, roommates, or pod! This Halloween Party Suite includes printable invitations, placemats, party tags, and place cards. Talk about easy Halloween ideas!

Halloween themed place cards.

Paper party goods with a halloween theme on a black background. They're orange, yellow, black, white, navy, and peach.

And for a party favor, try these printable poppers or printable Halloween candy gift boxes.

Halloween party poppersPrintable Halloween Candy Gift Box

These Halloween coupons make a fun halloween activity for your family. They’re a great way for parents to get their kids to relinquish some candy in return for fun activities.

halloween coupons in pink, red, blue, and black.

These illustrated Halloween cards are another great party favor because you can attach them to treat bags, trade them, send them as cards, or just hang them up.

Printable Halloween Cards

If your party is more freaky than funky, you might like this elegant invitation and Halloween dinner menu.

black and white illustrated halloween party invitation in a black decorative hadn surrounded by foliage and fruitsBlack and floral printable halloween menu

Party Food

Real talk here: what’s a party without cake? Use these printables and templates to make your Halloween cake extra fancy. The Spooky Town printable cake topper set is quaint and just a bit creepy, while this Black Birds cake topper is decidedly Hitchcock-approved. Red velvet cake makes it even more dramatic!

a colorful, cute printable cake topper set on a cake."The Birds" Cake Topper

If your fall party isn’t so Halloween-specific (or even if it is!) this Fall Leaf cake topper will add elegance and fun to the celebration.

DIY fall leaf cake topper

Looking for more cards, costumes, and decor? Search for Halloween on our blog! You’ll be blown away by the years of great, easy Halloween ideas and DIYs. If you’re interested in many of these ideas (who wouldn’t be!?), you can check out our E-Book, The Halloween that Lars Made. It’s a one-stop shop for easy Halloween ideas, DIYs, and projects.

The Teacher Gift that Lars Gave

The start of a new school year means new classes, new friends, and new teachers. There’s simply too much to say about how we need to treat (and pay!) teachers better, so I won’t get into it. But we can at least show our gratitude!

Here are some great, simple teacher gift ideas to show appreciation for all the hard work and love they put into educating our communities.

Teacher Gift Ideas

Books Books Books!

Lots of teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies (and let’s face it–they’re not exactly being paid the big bucks, so this is a real sacrifice). One great way to show appreciation to your teacher or your kid’s teacher is to give them some of your favorite books!

Last week on Instagram I asked about your favorite children’s books, and you really delivered! I loved your list so much that I put it together as a collection on my Bookshop page. If you’ve never heard of Bookshop before, it’s a great place to buy books that gives back to small bookstores all over the country. We love Bookshop, so be sure to check out our full list of favorite children’s books on their site!

And don’t forget these lists of our favorite Black-authored books, which would also be great teacher gifts!


Classroom Decor

A literary-themed art print would make another great teacher gift. Lucky for you, we have lots of storybook themed art prints in our shop!

Little Women art print on a patterned wall with warm colors around.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.

This Little Women or Anne of Green Gables art print would make a great teacher gift, especially if the teacher is a fan of the books!

four art prints by Ayang Cempaka hanging above a play kitchen. The prints show hansel and gretel, thumbelina, little red riding hood, and Pippi Longstocking.

And wouldn’t these whimsical fairy tale prints be precious in an elementary classroom?

Everyone Loves Treats

Teachers pretty much always could use a snack–after all, molding the future generation is hard work! Cookies or other treats in a cute printable cookie box are sure to hit the spot. You can find our printable cookie boxes in the shop (I know that some say that they’re for Christmas or Valentines Day, but there’s never a bad time to show your teachers some love)!

Colorful cookie boxes arranged next to a handpainted midcentury nativity against a pink wall Colorful paper takeout boxes Pink and blue house-shaped cookie boxes next to a green squiggly background and some heart-shaped cookies Pink house-shaped cookie boxes Tell me your favorite teacher gifts!

I would love to hear what your go-to teacher gift is. Are you a classic apple-on-the-desk person or do you put your own spin on things? Let me know what you do to show your teachers that you care!

DIY Reusable Lunch Sack

While I definitely don’t live the lifestyle described above, a colorful and eco-friendly reusable lunch sack is within my reach. I think it’s safe to say that it’s within yours, too! And maybe one day we’ll all be there with our imaginary put-together dream girl, living our best lives.

A wooden pear and banana tumble out of a colorblocked lunch sack on a yellow and pink backdropColorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Make Your Own Reusable Lunch Sack

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Materials

You’ll need some fabric (cotton is nice here) in a few fun colors, matching thread, scissors or a rotary cutter and mat, a ruler, sewing pins, an iron and ironing board, and a sewing machine.

step-by-step instructions showing how to make a reusable fabric lunch sackBrittany sits at a sewing machine and makes a beeswax snack wrap. She's wearing a striped green dress and surrounded by colorful, solid fabric.

Instructions

  1. First pick out your colors! We used three colors for each lunch sack.
  2. Download and print the DIY Reusable Sack Lunch Pattern.
  3. Measure out and cut your fabric. You’ll need two different colored rectangles that are 6×10″ for the front and back of the bag and two of the same colored rectangles that are 4×10″ for the sides of the bag.
  4. Pin the rectangles together along the long sides.
  5. Sew all the sides together. This will make a long strip.
  6. Press all the seams flat.
  7. Pin the end rectangles on the long side together (with the right sides together). This will make a loop.
  8. Sew the rectangles together and press the seams flat.
  9. Fold the fabric at one opening on the loop back toward the seam side half an inch. Fold it over again to hide the raw edge and pin.
  10. Sew the hem that you just pinned.
  11. Now let’s finish the bottom of the bag. Pin the bottom of the lunch sack together so that the seams between the front and back meet on either side of the side fabric.
  12. Sew the bottom of the lunch sack closed.
  13. From the bottom where you just sewed the lunch sack closed, set it on a flat surface so that the base forms a rectangle with triangular flaps coming off each side.
  14. Pin the triangular flaps and sew them from corner to corner. Repeat this for the other side. Now that the 2 triangular flaps are sewed cut off the excess fabric.
  15. Turn your lunch sack right side out and put together a great sack lunch! Yum!

Colorblocked lunch sack sitting on a wooden block surrounded by wooden fruit.

Brittany stands in her rainbow office wearing a green striped dress. Next to her on the desk are some colorblocked reusable lunch sacks.

Looking for more back to school inspiration? Check out these back to school stickers (and find them in our shop), this whiteboard upgrade, this apple paper lunchsack DIY, these creative homeschool activities, these dorm room tips and tricks, and more!

If you make these lunch sacks we’d love to see them! Tag us on Instagram with #LarsMakes and check out this video of our process!

How to Make a DIY Beeswax Wrap

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Make Your Own DIY Beeswax Wraps

Did you know one study found in 2020 that “9.71 million Americans used 21 or more sandwich bags” in seven days?! If you take into consideration that the run-of-the-mill plastic sandwich bag has been making it into our lunches since the late 1960s, that’s a lot of plastic. Save the planet and your wallet by creating these reusable DIY beeswax wraps. Every little bit helps! 

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Along with these snack wraps, we’ve made some reusable lunch sacks (which you can see in the photos). Keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit.Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

What You’ll Need

Brittany sits at a sewing machine and makes a beeswax snack wrap. She's wearing a striped green dress and surrounded by colorful, solid fabric.

step by step photos of making beeswax wraps

Instructions

  1. Measure 5 x 9 inch rectangles onto your fabric. Alternatively, measure rectangles that will fit onto the baking sheet you are using. The measurements aren’t fussy, but whatever size you make cut out rectangles.
  2. Lining a baking sheet with tin foil, then lay down the fabric rectangles flat side by side. 
  3. Begin to sprinkle beeswax making sure to distribute evenly (Tip: Because the beeswax will melt in the oven, you don’t have to cover generously. Think sprinkling an ice cream sundae instead of salting a sidewalk).
  4. When all three rectangles have been covered with beeswax, place in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to set your timer!
  5. After 10 minutes, the beeswax should be melted. When you pull your baking tray out of the oven, the fabric color will look uneven. Don’t be afraid of the splotchiness!
  6. Sprinkle a second layer of beeswax, especially making sure to target the areas that didn’t have enough wax the first time around. You’ll be able to see them because they’ll be lighter.
  7. Put back in the oven at the same temperature for another 10 minutes. 
  8.  Pull out of the oven and let cool. Fabric should feel firm and waxy. 
  9. Take one rectangle and fold onto itself leaving a 2 inch flap similar to a plastic sandwich bag.
  10. With a sewing machine, sew up one side using a zigzag stitch. Repeat on the other side.
  11. You should now have a little pouch. Fold over the 2 inch flap to close. Voila! The perfect on-the-go snack pouch!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Can’t wait to see your DIY Beeswax wraps using #larsmakes on Instagram!