What you need for your new baby

What you need for new baby

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

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

Lars Baby essentials round up

Lars’ Favorite Baby Essentials

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

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

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

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

Within the first couple of weeks

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

1-2 months out

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

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

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

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

Rattan bassinetRattan bassinet

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

photos by Jane Merrit and Rebecca Hansen

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!

Printable 4th of July Glasses

We made these printable 4th of July glasses with celebration in mind. I live in a town that really celebrates the 4th. We’re talking a giant parade, a huge firework show/concert in the local stadium, and a hot air balloon festival. Not to mention the private family celebrations in just about every park pavilion for miles!

A blonde woman in a blue striped dress with red and white rick rack wears blue paper glasses with white accents in the shape of round flowers. She's standing against a blush pink background.

In a place like this where the 4th of July is such a huge deal, it’s especially fun to get into the spirit of the celebration. Why not join in on the good time with a festive outfit? Go all out with these printable 4th of July glasses, which are easy to make and fun for adults and kids alike.

various paper glasses, some with a round floral shape and some reading "fourth," in red and blue with white accents. They're on a blush pink background.

Make your own printable 4th of July glasses

The 4th is prime party time, and there’s always so much to do to get ready for a big celebration. The food, the decor, the playlist–it’s easy to get overwhelmed! But these printable 4th of July glasses would be a perfect party favor because they’re SO EASY to put together.

Materials

Instructions

  1. Print off the printables onto cardstock/heavier paper
  2. Cut around the templates with scissors
  3. Affix the “temples” (the long part) to the frames by folding and gluing together. Note: The Fourth design will be affixed to the back of the frames. Just measure your face to size.

Voila!

paper glasses with a round floral shape in red and blue with white accents. They're on a blush pink background.

Just download our file, send them to your local print shop, cut them out, and voilà! It’s so easy that you can enlist your kids to help out.

Can you imagine how fun it would be to look around at your whole group sporting these goofy GLAMOROUS glasses together? Just make sure you take a photo!

A blonde woman in a blue dress with red and white rick rack wears red white and blue paper glasses reading "fourth." various paper glasses, some with a round floral shape and some reading "fourth," in red and blue with white accents. They're on a blush pink background.

You might also like…

This isn’t our first time making festive paper glasses, so check out our New Year’s and Valentine versions of this printable fashion statement. And if pie or cake features in your 4th of July celebrations, check out these printable pie boxes!

And if you’re looking to go all out with your 4th of July outfit, I can’t recommend this Lady Liberty flower crown highly enough. It’s the perfect way to add some natural whimsy to your festive look. Or try this DIY Tie Dye Bandana for the 4th of July to go with your red white and blue outfit!

paper glasses reading "fourth" in red and blue with white accents. They're on a blush pink background.

The Lars team wishes you a happy 4th! We’d love for you to tag us in your festive 4th photos with #LarsParties. Please celebrate safely!

DIY Detachable Rickrack Collar

Collars are super in right now as a part of the whole cottagecore trend and I am DIGGING them. I mean, you have to be super careful about them so as not to appear too 19th century. You can modernize it a bit more by wearing a blouse tucked into pants. I’m not much of a pants owner so I had to go with my dress here, but I’m going to assume that you own pants–am I correct? Ha! A lot of the ones out there are collars connected with the blouse but I wanted one that you could detach and pair with lots of different ones.

I LOVE a collar on kids too, though admittedly, I think I’d probably put it on a girl if I had one more than my boys. But, who cares?! They’re so fun! Almost like a necklace.

Rickrack is the braided trimming in a zigzag pattern often used as decoration on clothes. In the past, we used them to embellish blouses, and most recently, we used them in our baby bonnet pattern. We love the trimming so much, we wanted to use it in creating other matching accessories for the whole family. Starting with mom and child, make a rickrack collar that you can attach and detach to any outfit. Because rickrack has such a nostalgic appeal, they will maintain its classic look and feel for years to come. Read on to find out how to make one for yourself using our rickrack collar pattern.  

Materials:

Kid and Adult matching collar pattern, 1 yard cotton fabric (we used this gingham by Robert Kaufman), medium rick rack, matching thread, hooks and eyes, scissors, hand sewing needle, sewing pins, iron, sewing machine. A sewing machine isn’t strictly necessary, but it sure speeds things up! 

Instructions:

  1. Download, print, and cut out the matching collar pattern. If you’re making a collar for a kid, hold up the patterns to one of their shirts to decide which size will fit best.
  2. Cut out your fabric. Make sure that you cut the collar back pieces on the fold!
  3. Pin the collar front pieces to the collar back along the shoulder seam. If your fabric is printed, the right sides should be together.
  4. Sew along the shoulder seams. 
  5. Press the seams open. 
  6. Repeat steps 3-6 with the other collar back and front pieces so that you have two identical pieces. 
  7. With the right sides together, pin the two pieces together. 
  8. Sew around the perimeter of the collar, but leave a gap about three inches long where you don’t stitch at the bottom of the collar back.
  9. Through the unsewn gap, turn the whole thing right side out. Press all the seams so that they’re nice and tidy. Make sure that you press the corners where the collar meets in the front so that you see the point. It can help to push the corner out with a pencil or a skewer.
  10. Starting at the top corners (where the collar will meet just below the neck), pin your rick rack to the edge of the collar. 
  11. Topstitch all along the edge of the collar, securing the rick rack down. This will also close up the gap you used to flip the collar right side out.
  12. You’re almost done! To finish your collar, hand sew the hook and eye on at the top corners. 

If you make this collar we would love to see it! Use #LittleLars to show us. Bonus points if you make two and match with your little one!

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

Indoor and Outdoor Family Activities During Social Distancing

Outdoor activities for the whole Family

Below you’ll find enough outdoor games to fill plenty of the social distancing hours we all have left. If you are missing some of your normal family activities, think about how you can recreate them yourself! Set up an outdoor movie since the theaters are closed, with this inflatable movie screen. Can’t visit an art museum? Draw the biggest sidewalk chalk mural your neighborhood as ever seen!

Keep your games going by putting an unexpected twist on a classic activity. Every tried paint twister? Put washable paint on the twister circles in corresponding colors, get your kids in clothes they can get messy, and then play the game! It’s hilarious to watch, and the whole family will want to join in by the end!

 

Some of the activities above will look familiar but some may look new! Like this rainbow colored egg and spoon race set. All the fun without any of the cracked egg mess. If you haven’t tried Spikeball yet, now is the time! This sporty game is so fun, and perfect for the older kids and adults in the family. And we cannot talk the Scandinavian yard game Kubb enough! It’s one of those games that everyone in the family can be good at, and it keeps everyone in suspense! Kubb is our favorite outdoor game on the list.

We recently updated our office chairs with this colorful set from Article, and they have already been put to use in ways we didn’t expect! First we set them around the yard and daydreamed of having a “quarantine party” with everyone sitting 6 feet apart. Is that breaking the rules? We didn’t really do it, but it sure is tempting! But even without being able to invite friends over, these have been the perfect chairs to pull up when the family wants to play a game together!

Because these Selvti chairs from Article are water-resistant, they are as good inside as out! We keep them on hand in case someone requests an outdoor game of giant scrabble or an indoor game of Codenames. The timeless mid-century design and updated materials make them stylish enough to use in the dining room or our office conference room, but light enough to pull outside when needed! They are easy to wash, and we are obsessed with the color choices. There is a version with armrests as well!

If you are in need of some bright new chairs to gather the family together, Article offers free ground shipping on orders over $999. For orders under $999, Article offers a flat shipping fee of $49 (or $19 for small shipments). Article even offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee so you can try out your new furniture in your home!

outdoor family activities during social distancing

Now after gathering all of these outdoor games ideas, we are planning a mandatory game of musical chairs with our quarantine team.

Family Crafts and Projects

Since Tie Dye is having it’s time again in the fashion world, get a kit and try it out with the whole family! You can find a white t-shirt here in everyone’s size and have them here in no time thanks to Amazon Prime.

This color-your-own kite set it so clever! And if you’re feeling ambitious you can hold your own family chalk festival.

For more quarantine craft ideas to keep the kids busy, click here!

Indoor Family Games

Indoor Family Activities During Social Distancing

I have been needing some indoor games to get Paul to stop roller skating around the house. Ha! Kidding.

All of the games below are family-friendly and thumbs-up approved by members of our team.

 

Puzzles for all ages

Puzzles have honestly been our life-savers. It’s nice to have an ongoing project you can work on whenever you have a spare second, or need to wind down for a few minutes. Keeping on going on the coffee table has kept the entire family entertained in quarantine. The puzzles below are pretty enough we don’t keeping them out at all times!

 

Other Quarantine Activity Ideas

For our other social distancing resources, check out these links!

Quarantine Creativity: Flower drawing challenge

78 Creative Quarantine Homeschool Activities For Kids

Creative things to do during your Quarantine

Creative challenge to do with your kids at home

Pool Noodle Recliner: the Summer DIY You Didn’t Know You Needed

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How to make your own pool noodle recliner

We made this DIY recliner for a comfy way to rest poolside all summer long. It is incredibly simple to make, but so fun to personalize! Now you won’t have to worry about the kids spilling melting popsicles on your nice outdoor chairs.

When completed, this recliner lays out flat. So you can enjoy a nap or work on your tan. Or bundle it up anyway you like to create the way you prefer to rest. Stack just a few of the noodles at the end and make yourself a bed for an outdoor movie! Or stack up a full back rest. So you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your favorite magazine – just like Jasper.

Supplies:

Pool noodles – We used 17

Parachute cord – 128 feet total. We used 2 alternating colors.

Instructions:

  1. Line up your pool noodles. You can use alternating colors, or 3 or more colors to create any pattern you like! See the best color options we found here!

2. Cut your cord into 16 ft lengths. Fold one of the 16 ft lengths of rope in half. Take the loop end & lay it under the noodles, then pull the two loose ends through the loop to secure it around the first noodle.

3. Lay the length of the secured rope under the noodles. Fold another 16 ft length of rope in half and lay it on top of the noodles, tying it to the secured loop on the first noodle.

4. Weave the noodles together by taking the top and bottom lengths of rope and weaving them above and below the noodles, through the loops made by each rope. (The top rope will go below the noodle & bottom rope will come above the noodle, they will intersect & the two strands of one rope will go between the two strands of the second).

5. Continue weaving in this way all the way to the end & secure all 4 ties to the final noodle with a loop or a knot.

6. Weave 4 rows of rope to secure the noodles, with two 16 ft lengths of rope used to make each row.

7. After each row is secure, prop the noodle chair up against a wall or bend it in half to create a stable back. Enjoy your new outdoor pool noodle recliner!

DIY pool noodle recliner

Check out our similar tutorials

Here are some other comfy seating tutorials from Lars days past. Including our rainbow floor pouf, DIY camp chairs to level up your GLAMPING game, and how to choose outdoor furniture.

Other summer staples

No pool? No problem! Check out our favorite pool floats here. And our full summer style guide here!

DIY Painted Blocks for Kids

Did you catch the #toddlertemptation I did with Jasper this weekend on Instastories? (You can see it saved in highlights) I set out a plate for his dinner and left the room for a bit (2 minutes max?) and asked him not to eat anything until I got back. Of course, I recorded the whole thing. Well, that little sneak totally snuck soooo many bites! He was very stealthy about it so I don’t know whether to be impressed or worried! 

While I am a little heartbroken about leaving the baby stage, watching him grow is the most amazing thing ever. And truthfully, he gets more fun to play with every day! 

You might remember this old post about his nursery. It’s crazy to think that was more than two years ago!! It’s pretty clear that I love to decorate and craft and change things all the time, so it should come as no surprise to you that I add and remove things from his room constantly. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

One thing that I am introducing to his menagerie of toys are hand-painted blocks! This is a project that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile and I finally scheduled it to make it happen (one of the perks of crafting for a living!). In fact, for my sister’s baby shower, we left out a ton of blank wooden blocks and guests could add their own pattern to it so you get a variety of handpainted blocks from your dear friends. I’ve been wanting a set for myself ever since.

 There are tons of cute and trendy wood blocks for sale right now, but I wanted ones that were more specific and personal for him. If you read my piece from March, Why I Feel Called to Craft, you’ll get why I wanted to paint my own blocks. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

All of my life, I’ve watched my great grandma, grandma, and mom crafting. You’ll recall my family’s famous fridge quote that “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Right now, I find myself pulled by those two opposites – do I want my home to be tidy or do I want to play and craft? Sure, painting Jasper’s blocks myself might have made a mess, but I made memories while doing it. 

When I initially set about decorating his room, I stuck with moody-but-airy colors like muted blues, greens, and greys, with red providing the pop of color and energy. Remember, whimsical color schemes always need some neutral hue to ground everything! For the blocks, I decided to deviate a bit from my original color scheme and go with ~summery~ colors. Pinks and aquas and yellows were too hard to resist!

How to make your own painted blocks

I found this great blank set of blocks that wasn’t too expensive. In addition, it’s even nicely sanded and comes with a box to put them away in.

Materials:

  • Set of wood blocks from here
  • Acrylic or house paints in a variety of colors
  • Paintbrushes
  • If you’re worried about your children eating the blocks, add a child proof sealant onto the paint
  • Blue tape 

Instructions:

  1. Start painting some wood blocks a solid color. Or stripes, or whatever you’d like. If you want super straight lines (I wanted mine to feel more handpainted) use blue tape (and follow the instructions on the tape!) to block off your colors.
  2. After that, let the blocks sit for the allotted time drying time.
  3. Finally, use child-friendly sealant if you’re worried about your children eating the blocks. 

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

Color scheme ideas for your painted blocks

Here are some ideas of color schemes we love!

Jasper’s colors

 

Circus colors

 

Spring colors

 

Bold colors

Quirky colors

 

Hopefully, Jasper will have as much fun with these blocks as I did! I want him to look back on his childhood the way I do mine; it was full of life and color and creativity and inspiration from the people I love. 

That’s it! Would love to see if you make some! To be featured, tag us on instagram with #LarsMakes or #LarsKids so we can see them! 

Other wood blocks we love

If you would rather purchase some beautiful wood blocks instead of painting your own, here are some of our favorites!

 

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.

Hold up – it’s sticker time! Introducing our new colorful stickers

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

Stickers have been really popular on college campuses for the last few years. As the rest of us have warmed up to the sustainable water bottle trend, stickering the heck out of ‘em is a natural next step! Stickers a great way to personalize you stuff. Before you tell yourself that stickers look a little young, hear me out.

Who cares?? 

I’ve noticed something – little kid clothing is adorable. Like, so cute. I’ll look at clothing for adults from the same store, and it’s all completely stale. Sometimes it’s good to steal style cues from the kids! Truthfully, I do that a lot and I’m interested in helping you do the same. With the help of these new colorful stickers!

Color Lover Stickers

These are the first three colorful stickers of many – keep your eyes peeled for more! Find them here individually or available as a discounted set. We will continue to add more sticker options in the future, but for now we are starting with these cuties. Since I am who I am, COLOR is the official theme of this first sticker set. The rainbow, color wheel, and “Color Lover” designs are simple, bright, and share just a little bit about you. I want to put them on everything I own, like a calling card. Catch me acting like Oprah:

giving oprah - you get a sticker you get a sticker

 

Where to stick your colorful stickers

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

The possibilities are literally endless, but here are just some of our favorite options. A hydroflask is the classic choice! But think phone cases, laptops, anywhere you could use a creative reminder. Our team has been sticking ours all over our My Life in Color journals!

colorful stickers rainbow sticker color lover sticker color wheel sticker The House that Lars Built sticker shop

Check out our full sticker shop here!

30 Sidewalk Chalk and Hose Activities

Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Sidewalk Chalk Activities

  1. Yellow Brick Road – Jasper adores this one! He takes some of his pull toys down the windy road and even stops for bugs.
  2. Color match rainbow – We gathered all his toys in baskets and lined them up according to color on each arc. Admittedly, he likes to bulldoze them more than anything…he’ll get there. This one might be more fun for me.color match your toys to the rainbow with sidewalk chalkcolor match your toys to the rainbow with sidewalk chalk
  3. Add your own pizza toppings – This was fun for mimicking shapes. I drew a “pepperoni” and he immediately followed suit…kind of! I was impressed!add toppings to your pizza with sidewalk chalk
  4. Add your own ice cream sprinkles – This one might be better for older kids. Draw the shape of the ice cream and have them draw in their own flavors and toppings.
  5. Picnic Table – Jasper has a TON of fake food and we set the table and ate a meal. It was also good for food identification. draw a picnic table with sidewalk chalk
  6. Superhero photos – Draw a city landscape and put that cape to use! Mostly fun for us moms who want a cute photo.make a skyline superhero with sidewalk chalk
  7. Holding balloons – Draw a set of balloons and have the child extend their arm to reach them. A classic!draw balloons and pose for a picture draw balloons and pose for a picture
  8. Silly walk zone – Anyone familiar with Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks? Same idea, but spelled out in chalk. Fun for funny prompts!
  9. Leap Frog – Draw out some lily pads and jump like a frog.draw a leap frog on your sidewalk
  10. Crab walk – Get down on all fours!draw a crab walk on your sidewalk
  11. Butterfly wings – Another Instamom moment that we live for.butterfly wings with sidewalk chalkdraw butterfly wings on your sidewalk
  12. Paint a bouquet –  A little twist on sidewalk chalk, especially for those who don’t like the chalky feel. Combine cornstarch, water, and food coloring in a cup and grab some sponge brushes. Get outside and paint a little bouquet. Paint anything really, but flowers are always lovely.make your own sidewalk chalk
  13. Ice Cream Stand – Leave out chalk for passerbyers and have them add in their own flavors.draw an ice cream parlor on your sidewalk
  14. Classic hop scotch – Can’t go wrong with a classic!
  15. Mow the lawn with your hose – Draw some green grass and have the hose mow it down with the water.draw a lawn with sidewalk chalk and mow it with your hosedraw a lawn with sidewalk chalk and mow it with your hose
  16. Road map – Jasper’s favorite thing right now is cars or “vrooms” and so we had to draw a city map for them. He took to it immediately!draw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalkdraw a city map for cars with sidewalk chalk

Once you’ve “erased” your drawings from the sidewalk with your hose, it’s time to get wet! Here are some of our favorite activities using a hose.

Hose activities

In my growing-up years, a hose was an incredible toy/tool that could be anything – except when temperatures were soaring and the rubber hose was too hot to touch, burning little hands, or when it was too heavy for my little-kid arms, or when the hose would kink, stopping the water flow ending the fun (which happened all the time). Kids these days need never experience these pain points with the old yard hose; new technology from Gilmour solves these hose challenges with its ergonomic design, collapsible tubing, and kink-resistent hose.

My household has a busy toddler who is constantly on the run and two adults trying to #WFH, so our lightweight hose has been indispensable. Keeping everybody happy and engaged is no simple task. Here’s a list of ways you can use a hose to play, clean, and learn. Have some fun!

PLAY

  1. Water hose jump rope – use the water as the rope. It only requires one person using one hand to swing the hose around, and it will keep big kids and little kids entertained for as long as they can jump! This is a great way to wear the kids out without getting too worn out yourself.
  2. DIY Splash Tub – many community pools are currently closed, but you can still go swimming! Find a large container like a storage tupperware, add a little water, and let your swimsuit-clad splash around. You’re the coolest parent of the year. This is also a great way for kids to learn some swimming basics, like how to hold their breath underwater, how to blow bubbles, and the mechanics of swimming strokes in a safe environment. Never leave your kid unattended.
  3. Draw with chalk – then erase again and again! If you are feeling water-averse, this is one fun way to use your hose and not get wet. Today, we drew castles and flowers and bugs and cars, then washed it away so we can draw again tomorrow!
  4. Water tag – is great fun and WILL tire out rowdy people. Designate one person as “it.” Give them a hose with the mandate to “tag” someone else by spraying them. Whoever gets tagged is now “it!”
  5. Limbo – hum the little tune and hold the hose level! The stakes get higher when there is a threat you might get wet. You’ll find “How low can you go?” gets pretty intense.
  6. Watergun carnival game – even though summer carnivals might be delayed this year, you can throw the best bash in your own backyard! Set up a series of items on a flat surface outside and take 5 steps back. Grab your hose, and knock down as many items as you can in 30 seconds using only the water spray!
  7. Slip-n-slide – take a tarp and lay it out on a smooth area. Place the hose at the top of the tarp and squeeze out some dish soap to lubricate the homemade slip-n-slide! The AquaArmor hose shines when used here, as it can go from round to flat in an instant. This means if you slide over it, you won’t get hurt and the hose won’t kink.

CLEAN

  1. Trick the kids into bathing more – if your youngins want to play all day and never come in for a bath, compromise with a waterhose shower! DIY your way into an outdoor shower head: poke holes into the bottom of a clean tin can or an old rubber glove. Tie it from a tree limb and put your AquaArmor hose spout down into the can or glove. Grab some shampoo and stand under the water and scrub-a dub dub!
  2. Keeping the lawn green – a certain little boy in my house loves to water the lawn! It’s the funniest thing – he will go play and pick up the hose (the AquaArmor doesn’t weigh much) and stare at the lawn as he waters like he’s the dad in a 90s sitcom. Boy Meets World, anyone? He also thoroughly enjoys chasing the dog with the hose on, watering the grass with every step.
  3. Pressure washing – the AquaArmor has a special nozzle that is designed for multiple uses, so you can finish up your spring cleaning with a splash! We haven’t gotten much rain lately so the sides of the house are preeeeetty dusty. Remind me to add this one to my “honey-do” list!
  4. Washing the car – is one of my favorite chores, and surprisingly, the fam likes it too! Use the hose frequently throughout the wash to keep your ride sparkling!

LEARN

  1. Water table diorama – if you’re up to it, here’s a science lesson for the family. Fill a tray or big tupperware with sand and water. Place the hose at different locations and periodically change the pressure flow. Observe how the sand erodes away and creates new shapes, rivers, and even canyons!
  2. Garden – simply buy some seeds or new plants, put ‘em in a pot outside, and make a watering schedule with your little ones. This simple task teaches responsibility, helps provide service for the family, and the experience of growing something totally counts as a science lesson. Toss in the word “photosynthesis” and you’re good to go.
  3. AquaArmor Mental Math – set up math problems that are appropriate for your child’s capability and write the answers on the sidewalk with chalk. If you have a little learner who is learning numbers, call out a number and have your child spray the corresponding chalk numeral that you have written in advance. This game works for harder math problems too! Even kids (and parents) who don’t like math can have fun with this crowd-pleaser.

Would love to hear your favorite activities with sidewalk chalk and a hose. Spill it!

This post is sponsored by Fiskars. Thank you to our wonderful brands who allow us to make beautiful, original content for you! 

Printable Party Decor

I want your parties to be smash hits, and the printable party decor from our shop are surefire ways to get off to a great start. The Lars party suites are downloadable packages of invitations, party decorations, cake toppers, and accessories. And they couldn’t be easier to use! Just download, print (or send to a a local print shop), cut out, and voilà! Party magic.

Most of these party suites were designed with birthdays in mind, but whether you’re celebrating a birthday, graduation, an engagement, an anniversary, a holiday, a new move, or just getting friends together, these party decorations are sure to put smiles on everyone’s faces and make your party better (and prettier!) No matter what you’re celebrating, pick out the perfect printable suite below!

Birthday Parties

Part of why I enjoy birthdays so much is because they’re an opportunity to do what you really want to do. If that means skydiving, go for it! It’s your birthday. If that means staying inside and watching The Holiday, 10 Things I Hate About You, or Roman Holiday on repeat, go for it! If that means eating a decadent cake, go for it! You do you!

Now that vaccine availability (in the US, at least) is abundant, I’m so excited to bring people together and get back to celebrating. And what’s a party without invitations and decor? These printable birthday suites are the perfect solution when you want fun decoration without too much fuss. Since releasing our original printable birthday party decor, we have been dreaming up even more unique themes. 

Rainbow Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Of course we started with a rainbow theme, and this one works for all ages! This rainbow birthday theme can go as many directions as there are colors in the rainbow. Planning for your miracle child? Plan a rainbow baby party! Your mom is turning 50? Ditch the dark “over the hill” cards and plan an “over the rainbow” party instead! This party suite would also be perfect for a Pride party! #LarsLovesLove

This Rainbow Party Decor Suite includes an invitation, bracelets for party favors, a birthday crown, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Animal Menagerie Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

This is our most classic birthday set, a colorful circus of animals! I cannot wait to use this one for a first birthday party for baby boy #2. For this party we also added some DIY felt pennants that can be customized for the birthday kid. Pssst, level up your party EVEN MORE with a simple balloon installation kit.

This Animal Menagerie Party Decor Suite includes party hats, bunting, an invitation, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Summery Parties

Having a June birthday means that I can throw garden-themed birthday parties for myself, but here’s the truth: garden parties are for everyone! Celebrate Midsummer or simply bring your friends together in honor of the the long days and warm nights that the season brings.

Floral Party

Adriana Picker from our print shop made the art for this Floral Birthday Suite and it couldn’t be prettier!

Sherbet-colored floral bunting hangs in the background. A white frosted cake with floral cake toppers sits on a mint green cake stand. Invitations and a floral crown peek in at the corners.

I love the elegant colors and the botanical drawings in this collection, and I think the different colors of invitations are so delightful. And don’t get me started on how gorgeous the printable flower crown is! These decorations will make your party glamorous and colorful and fresh.

Detailed drawings of flowers make up a fuchsia and orange flower crown, which is resting on a pile of sherbet-colored plates. Floral party invitations with different flowers on pink, grey, and yellow backgrounds sit amongst floral bunting and cake toppers.

Lemon Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

The fun colors of this birthday suite printable makes for the perfect theme, whether your birthday feels sweet or sour! The rest of the decor comes easily once you’ve got a theme down! In fact, we have a few other DIY projects from days past that would be darling with the birthday suite. This lemon wreath is one that stands out in my mind. Or, plop some freshly sliced citrus in the middle of the table for a citrusy centerpiece like we did here! And the colors of our original balloon kit have the perfect fruity feel!

This Lemon Party Decor Suite includes a banner, straw toppers, party hats, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

Garden Party

Printable Birthday Party Decor

Another thing that comes much easier when your party has a theme is planning the menu. Thanks, theme! When paired with this printable garden party decor, fruity desserts are always a hit. I went through a popsicle phase a few years back and wrote about three I loved: lemon creme, pineapple pink lemonade, and berry lemonade! These are perfect for when you want a treat but don’t want to turn the oven on. Who said every birthday party HAS to have a cake? 

We designed these themed set for a dreamy summer outdoor party (it doesn’t even have to be a birthday party, an excuse for a party is good excuse.) However, as we head into winter I am starting to daydream up an indoor garden party. Hear me out — paper flower garlands and greenery turning the living room into a summery dream. Sounds like just the thing for seasonal depression, right??

This Garden Party Decor Suite includes an invitation, name tags, cake toppers, and more! Check out the full printable suite here.

You deserve to party, whether it’s your birthday or not! Take time to decorate extravagantly (and easily) with a little help from your friend, Lars. Then do exactly what you want to do. Go to the grocery store and just buy snacks and flowers. Dance obnoxiously to Motown classics. Dress up in a formal gown and don’t bother styling your hair. Plan a fabulous meal for yourself and make someone else cook it/buy it. Eat ice cream straight out of the carton. I won’t tell!

Holiday Parties

Don’t limit your celebrations to birthdays and summertime!

Easter Printable Tablescape Suite

Easter printable tablescape with flowers and rabbits and a floral garland. Your next Easter party will be your most picturesque with this Easter Tablescape Party Suite! With an illustrated table runner, menu cards, name cards, and a garland, this hassle-free printable decor is sure to become a favorite.

Halloween Party

Halloween party invitations, placemats, place cards, and party tags arranged on a table

Halloween parties are fun for all ages, and they deserve fabulous printable party decor, too! This Halloween Party Suite includes printable invitations, party tags, placemats, and place cards.

Head to our Shop for even more printable birthday party decor and gift ideas! And you can find all of our Birthday DIY projects here