Our Favorite Women-Owned Businesses

Today we’re paying special attention to some of our very favorite women-owned businesses, from fashion to home goods and more. Explore the list below and click any of the photos to discover ways to support these boss babes! I know this is far from being an extensive list, but here are just a few.

This National holiday – American Business Women Day fell on an extra special time as we have spent this week remembering the wisdom, boldness, and amazing example of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I was a college intern at The National Museum of Women in the Arts when I attended a lecture with the indomitable RBG and fell in love with many things about her. Her work affected women in so many ways and it is an honor to learn from her life.

Women Owned Brands: Fashion

Doen

Shop Doen was founded by two sisters who saw a need for more women-owned businesses. Their why: “Study after study has shown that when women-identifying individuals have positions of power and leadership in companies, there is more focus on equality policies and practices…” The ethereal dresses, flowy blouses, and billowy-sleeved sweaters at Doen have a cult following. These timeless pieces are heirloom-quality and oh so beautifulsee for yourself!

Nicole Saldana 

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Not to be dramatic or anything, but I would die for these shoes. Made by hand in Portugal, this shoe brand has only grown in popularity since Rihanna was spotted wearing them at New York Fashion Week in 2017.

Nikki Chasin

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Whenever I discover a brand like Nikki Chasin, I can almost hear my wallet saying “Noooo!” Sorry. Can’t help it. Can you even handle these prints though? These clothes have a mid-century modern feel I can’t stay away from.

KkCo

Take a quick scroll-stroll through KkCo Studio’s website and you’ll get a major 90s vibe. Don’t forget your mask! KkCo’s collection includes this darling seersucker number that will add a cheerful pop of yellow to any dreary day this winter. You can also check out our other favorite face masks here

Shop Peche

The women-owned business Shop Pêche is based in Brooklyn, NY. The word “pêche” translates to peach, and wouldn’t you know it, but in French, “peach” is a feminine noun. The beautiful staples in their collection can round out any wardrobe. Would you look at that vest? I’m swooning. 

Roam

Roam’s founder, Kay Sides, created her brand when she recognized a need for cool and comfortable shoes that were versatile enough for active lifestyles and everything in between. She says, “I wanted a far reachsomething I could rock in NY, LA, Hawaii, Tokyo, Africa, Paris….around the world…socks in the winter, with sweats or a dress…couldn’t find one for years…so decided to create them!” As the queen of comfort disguised as fashion, I am in full support of this. 

Susan Alexandra

I have to admit, when I first saw these bags, I gasped out loud! They’ve got that trendy 70s look, and honestly who wouldn’t want to carry one of these around? 

 

Tamara Malas

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Tamara Malas is a beautiful clothing brand founded by and for plus size women. This brand strives to offer high-quality, unique pieces ethically made that “you won’t find at any other plus size label.”

I love what owner and founder Tamara says about self-love: “One morning I asked myself, “What if I were to love myself exactly the way that I am today?” No longer allowing cultural conditioning to dictate the standards of beauty in my life, I poured that energy into creating something which manifested itself in my brand, TAMARA MALAS. I create from a place of inspiration and design with plus size bodies (including my own) in mind.”

Our Second Nature

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The colorful abstract prints reminiscent of terrazzo tile make this an “instant add to cart” brand for me. In fact it was so hard to choose just 3 dresses to feature, so run don’t walk and check them out now!

Oh, and they have kids clothes, too, so you can live out all your matching dreams! 

Truss

These Oaxacan-made handbags showcase their origin city’s amazing color scheme. Tote  your Oaxacan chocolate as you hunt for colorful walls!

Women Owned Brands: Home Decor

All of the artists featured in our Print Shop are amazing women! I love being able to help spread the work of women I know and love personally, or have gotten to know through their work! Find a piece to hang in your home here.

Heather Taylor Home

Nothing we love more than a women-owned business collab! These gorgeous, high-quality tablecloths and napkins would elevate any Thanksgiving table from good to great.

Jungalow

The Bohemian brand Jungalow, founded by Justina Blakeney, covers all your decor needs, from the most beautiful pillows to woven baskets, plant holders, and more. Every item is dripping with color and artistic thought. The Jungalow even features limited edition art prints from women artists around the world! I’ve been a big fan of Justina for years and even interviewed her here! Her work has also been featured on Lars here and here.

Otherland

I’ll put it this way—Otherland candles are otherworldly. They sell five core scents, plus a rotating Limited Edition collection when you want to try something new. Otherland’s founder, Abigail Cook Stone, used to be an art buyer for Ralph Lauren, and she used her artistic background to create heavenly candles.

The Yo! Store

One look at the Yo! Store website, and you’ll fall in love. Based out of Portland, OR, the Yo! Store is a women and children brand offering a smorgasbord of both vintage and contemporary pieces, including clothing, beauty products, and art.

Mimi Ceramics

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Mimi Ceramics hand-makes their amazing mugs, cups, and planters to order. The dreamy technicolor designs are so popular, you have to sign up for email notifications so you don’t miss a new drop!

Women Owned Brands: Craft Supplies

Recently, almost all of our energy has been directed towards releasing our Great Artists! kids course. This course was created to be a resource for parents who have suddenly found themselves trying to work from home, run at home school, and/or a million other things – many of whom are women! Being able to provide resources to help working women in this way is a passion of our entire team.

The women-owned businesses below offer quality craft and art supplies that can make your creative projects even better!

Natural Earth Paint

Need a good boredom-buster? Who am I kidding, right now if you’re not bored you’re crazy busy…there is no in-between. For those of you homebound and needing an activity to do with the kids, I love these Natural Earth Paint kits. They even sell natural face paints—perfect for a certain upcoming holiday…

Ann Williams

The Ann Williams Group brand was founded by a mom, and the name actually comes from her two kids (Amelia Ann and Owen William)! It started with award-winning ideas like the Loopdeloo and Craft-tastic, and the rest is history. For every kids item you buy from Ann Williams, they donate one to The Toy Bank, which gives toys to children in need.

Women Owned Brands: Kids 

Masionette

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Founded by two Vogue veterans, the children’s brand Masionette is filled with endless dreamy options for clothes, toys, and kid’s room decor. We reference them often in our roundups of favorite places to buy kid’s clothing, rainbow toys, and more. And you better believe I’ll be shopping there for boy #2!

Doddle & Co.

One of my favorite women-owned businesses is Doodle & Co. Doddle & Co makes cute and innovative pacifiers and teethers for your little ones. The Pop® pacifier pops into a protective shell when your baby drops it on the floor. No more frantically washing it off and wondering how many germs are still lingering on it! 

Women Owned Brands: Beauty

Olen

Olen Skincare makes high-quality, safe skincare products for you and your children. The kids sunblock and tinted sunscreen for mom are my personal faves.

EighteenB 

Remember EighteenB? This woman-founded skincare brand has been featured on the blog before. I adore their science-based skincare products, created by founder Lindsay Wray (a scientist with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering!) EighteenB is one of our all-time favorite beauty brands, and it has been a joy to work with them!

Other ways to support women

Take the time today to celebrate and support women by shopping from one of these women-owned businesses, including our own! Check out our Women Who Work Series by Libby VanderPloeg in the House That Lars Built Print Shop! In addition, you can also check out our series of interviews with working women – here.

With Halloween coming up, consider dressing up in one of our influential woman costumes! I even dressed up as RBG one year, and maybe I need to bring that costume back this October.

Please share any women-owned businesses you love to support below! We would love to continue to add to our list. Happy American Business Women Day!

Fall 2020 Creative Internship Call

Fall 2020 Creative Internships at The House That Lars Built

The House That Lars Built is a creative design studio and website focused on artful living through beautifully produced original content. Our goal is to help empower its readers recognize and fill your life with beauty while also providing skills that you can take with you to your next job! We create daily blog content, content for other brands, products, a YouTube channel, and are constantly seeking new ways to create an artful living. We are looking for interns in the following categories:

  1. Illustration
  2. Graphic Design
  3. Shopping
  4. Pinterest
  5. Crafting
  6. Instagram
  7. Business
  8. Content Writing
  9. E-commerce
  10. Sewing/Embroidery 
  11. Marketing
  12. Art Curation
  13. Newsletter Marketing

Click here for in-depth descriptions of what each internship includes!

What’s in it for you?

Here at The House That Lars Built, we are passionate about internships! Brittany herself has completed many internships all around the world, and her experiences are what set her up to turn what started as a graduate project into a full-time growing business.

Things like our top 7 tips for nailing your internship will help you stand out in your field. An internship can (and should) be the gateway to the rest of your creative career. Whether or not your personal brand or your future plans align perfectly with the Lars Brand, your experience writing, designing, or illustrating for an existing brand will build your skills, portfolio, and resume.

As an ever-evolving company, while working with The House That Lars Built you will have hands-on opportunities to adjust what you have studied in a new market and changing economy. Working with a small team will allow everything you do during your internship to be seen, and your impact will be felt and noticed. You will have opportunities to utilize the skills you already have and improve in new areas.

Many of these internships listed above have a long legacy here are the House that Lars Built! Lars Alumni are part of a creative, passionate, and inspired community working to make the world more colorful! As a part of the Lars team, you will instantly have networking opportunities at your fingertips that can be vital to your career in a creative field.

In addition to our long standing internships, we are so excited to have some brand new focuses available! More specific internships such as art curation, newsletter marketing, and e-commerce were created to help you narrow down which direction you want to go in your long-term career. Click here to read more about what these new internships include.

Details on all internships

Interns will specialize in their respective category but all are expected to participate in the following:

  • Assisting on photo shoots
  • Helping with the general maintenance of the studio
  • Running errands and complete shipping tasks
  • Writing and brainstorming activities
  • participating in training meetings
  • assistant duties

Internships are unpaid, but can be used for university credit, in fact we highly encourage this. The applicant will need to work with your university to get it approved.

You must be able to work a minimum of 10 hours per week. We expect a full commitment to the position once you’ve accepted the position. The internship will last from late August 2020 – December 2020. Exact days can be flexible.

How to apply

Please email hello@thehousethatlarsbuilt.comwith the subject line INTERN and the desired position. Include your resume and portfolio (can be online, photos, basically anything to help us understand your proficiency and skills) and a cover letter. We will email you back to invite you in for an interview.

Please don’t hesitate to apply! Many of our internships can be specialized to fit both our current needs and your amazing skills!

Maybe we’ll never have this time again…

Ten years ago, I had just graduated from graduate school in Washington, DC. I had started The House That Lars Built a couple of years earlier for a class assignment. It turned into my portfolio, which I took with me to internships and jobs and beyond. This was before Pinterest so I was also sharing beautiful pictures that inspired me.

Paul and I got married in the fall of 2010 and I moved to Denmark, where he was from and living. I had spent the previous summer in Copenhagen, where I had met him, and had had a ball in my textile design program, biking around the city, meeting new people, going on adventures. When I moved there permanently, things were different. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t really have a network. Danes are notorious for taking a long time to warm up to newcomers. It was September and the days were becoming shorter and the weather cold so I found myself inside without much to do.

We were assured that the process for becoming a resident of Denmark would be a quick and speedy process, but for some reason, it took much longer than anticipated, almost a year. During that time, I couldn’t work, get a phone, a credit card, etc. While there were some miserable aspects of this stage in my life, I also knew that I probably would never receive this opportunity again–to do nothing!

Because the thing is…I didn’t do nothing! On one hand, I explored Copenhagen REALLY well. While Paul was at work, I would walk around down town and visit all my favorite shops (and not actually shop because $$$$) and museums. I got to know the metro system extremely well as well as the roads on my bike. In hindsight it was a lovely time in some ways.

When I wasn’t exploring the city I was working on The House That Lars Built as if it were my job even though it most certainly wasn’t. I didn’t even know that you could make money from blogging yet. Because our paper flower DIY wedding got featured on a few different wedding sites like 100 Layer Cake and Pinterest had come out at around the same time, it went bananas and I was asked to create tutorials for various sites and soon became a permanent contributor to Brooklyn Bride and Oh Happy Day. Though I wasn’t getting paid too much, it was soon enough to pay my student loans and I was pretty thrilled about that!

I started to realize that I really liked sharing projects and sharing about my life and happenings in Denmark so I shared a bit more . That said, I’ve always been somewhat of a reluctant blogger. I’ve always been cautious about the implications of putting your life out in the public. In fact, I didn’t even mention my first name for years! Ha! Overtime I realized that the strength of sharing your story is being transparent so I’ve become a bit more open, though the hesitancy ALWAYS exists!

Once my Danish residency was official I went to town applying to various jobs in Denmark. In fact, I even called up the editors in chief of various design magazines because their phone numbers were in the mastheads! I applied to dozens and dozens of jobs during my years in Denmark and guess how many jobs I heard back from? None! Not one single one. Ha!

In the mean time, I continued to work on The House That Lars Built and treating it like it was my job.

When we moved to Utah, the same thing happened! I applied to a few jobs, got a few offers, and for whatever reason, the jobs never worked out. It was always a devastating blow, especially since I was to be the breadwinner while Paul was going to school. Once again, I continued working on The House That Lars Built. Soon, I started to get sponsorships and a few more freelance writing jobs and was able to pay the bills. We were scraping by, but at least something was working. I kept on applying to jobs with the same results–nothing.

It took two full years before I realized that Lars was actually working, much to my surprise, and maybe I didn’t need to apply to other jobs. It had become my job! I hired my first design assistant and then got a business partner and we’ve been plowing full steam ahead ever since.

I can see my experience much more clearly these days and now know that the reason The House That Lars Built worked was because of my road blocks. In an alternate reality, I would have gotten a job and wouldn’t have had time to work on it or wouldn’t have been SO desperate to have it work out. There just wasn’t any other option that was working out!

I’m beginning to see this time of quarantine in a similar light though I don’t know how it will turn out yet. There are certainly some pros to being stuck at home. For one, I’ve never been able to spend so much time with my son. It’s showing me what it could be like to be a stay at home mom (though perhaps not an entirely accurate depiction as I’m still working full time).

Because of this, I thought it would be nice to create a bucket list. Who knows when we’ll have the opportunity to spend so much time with our families, or do projects on our own, or whatever our situation is. So we might as well take advantage of our time!

Here are some things that we brainstormed as a team that could be fun to add to the list:

Social Distancing Bucket List

  1. Conference Call Group Workout
  2. Karaoke over zoom
  3. Re-read favorite childhood book series
  4. Trunk picnic in parking lot
  5. Distance picnic-family on own blanket
  6. Group apps : psych
  7. Clean out closet (what do you love, what fits, what doesn’t need mending)
  8. Organize pantry
  9. At home spa
  10. Full round of monopoly with housemates
  11. 500 piece puzzle
  12. 1000 piece puzzle
  13. Create window art
  14. Sidewalk chalk mural
  15. Zoom movie night with friends
  16. Order from local takeout
  17. Create a WFH space
  18. Recreate “it’s a small world” with youtube + diy boat
  19. Drive by party
  20. Drive in movie
  21. Online shopped for a necessity
  22. Online shopped for a  luxury
  23. Watch highlights/vintage reels of fav sport (or olympics)
  24. Send snail mail to graduate
  25. Buy  something off a wedding registry for a quarantined wedding
  26. Buy something off a baby registry for a newborn baby
  27. Run your own 5k/13.1/26.2 because yours was cancelled
  28.  Order cotton candy and play/make carnival games
  29.  Create indoor museum of favorite artist
  30. Makeup free week
  31. No jeans/slacks for a week
  32. New wardrobe completely based off of pj’s/lounge wear/yoga pants
  33. Create vision board/travel plans/research city guides for where you’ve always wanted to go 
  34. Turn bathtub into hottub with jets
  35. Garden starts/indoor herb/ “victory garden”

You can find the printable over at our shop here.

I’d love to hear what’s on YOUR bucket list. Or how this experience is going for you. Spill it!

16 Podcasts for Curious and Creative People

Career/Finance/Business Podcasts for Creatives

How I Built This (business): Guy Raz of NPR chats with “innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists” about how they got to where they are, and trust me, where they are is pretty impressive. The most recent episodes feature Christina Tosi (founder of the incredibly popular Milk Bar bakery), Cotopaxi founder Davis Smith, Michelin-star chef José Andrés, and more. If you are just curious, looking to start your own thing, or looking to put some pep into a project of yours, take a listen!

Creative Pep Talk (creative): These guys talk about how to build a creative career, and they cover issues such as: tapping into your creativity when it feels dried up, creating a brand that won’t make you want to roll your eyes, Instagram tips, and more. After that, you’ll feel ready to take on whatever challenges working from home throws you way.

podcasts for creatives Creative Pep Talk

The Goop Podcast: How to manage money through a crisis (episode). You know Gwyneth Paltrow – she needs no introduction. Goop’s podcast on personal finance tips is incredibly relevant, especially right now. The full team at Lars listened to this episode a little while ago, so it comes with an additional stamp of approval!

Proof to Product: If you are a creative type in a creative industry trying to figure out how to make the business side more functional and less nightmarish, take tips from Proof to Product! The hosts are small business owners and have first hand experience grappling with the challenges no one tells you about. 

Star-studded podcasts to inspire you

Off Camera with Sam Jones: interviews with interesting people, such as, hit-comedian Jenny Slate (you might know her as Mona Lisa in Parks and Rec), pulitzer-prize winner Tracy Letts (writer for Ladybird, Ford vs Ferrari), Broadway-phenom Josh Gad (Olaf of Frozen), Hollywood-hero Jeff Bridges, funny-man Jake Johnson (Nick from New Girl) and more. I don’t feel like I need to sell this one – just looking at the list of interviewees makes me want to tune in!

Awards Chatter: is alllll about Hollywood. Listen to interviews with big big names like Zoey Deutch, Mark Cuban, and Jewel.

UnStyled: by Refinery29 is such a fantastic listen. Fashion-fiends, look no further. Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder Christene Barberich interviews icons like Jane Fonda and Molly Ringwald and Priyanka Chopra about everything from finding a personal style, to feminism in a changing world. Dive in!

Podcasts about creativity

Creative Processing with Joseph Gordon-Leavitt: You know him, you love him. In fact, we love him so much he become one of our embroidered Celebrity Crush pillows last Valentine’s Day. Ha! Yes, I have had a crush on good ol’ Joe since I saw 10 Things I Hate About You decades ago. However, I promise, there is more to this podcast than a fantastically exciting, witty, and hunky host. Joseph gets down to business with the best creative professionals as they discuss everything from creativity, attention, to folk music.

A Beautiful Mess: is my podcasting dream come true. Crafts, design, DIY, style tips, recipes – they’ve got it all! Adorable sisters Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson have some great repartee that makes me miss my sister! Their most recent episode is all about how to #WFH (work from home), which these girls have been doing for years now with huge success.

Clever: Ahhhh. You know how good design makes you feel relaxed, engaged, and elevated all at the same time? Amy and Jaime at Clever talk about design in a way that makes you feel that same way. Both ladies work in design and are pros in their own right. They chat with other industry greats and together, excite all the most curious parts of creative minds! They have even interviewed one of our Lars Print Shop artists – Lisa Congdon! (Episode 108) 

Podcasts for creatives Lisa Congdon Clever podcast

The Design Files: is a creative podcast channel from Australia, and they cover everything from textile design to contemporary architecture to reality TV interior design. If you feel intimidated by the Design Big Leagues, The Design Files is a great and comfortable place to join the conversation! You can hear them interview another one of our Print Shop artists – Beci Orpin, in this episode

More podcasts for right-brained people

Revisionist History: Confession – I love Malcolm Gladwell, NYT best-selling author and all around cool person. In his podcast, Gladwell covers topics you think you know about, like french fries, the Vietnam War, why country music makes you cry, stuff like that. However random the topics, his work is presented in startlingly vivid, honest, and clever tones.

99% Invisible: consider this podcast your virtual newsletter about, well, everything. Their schtick is that most people know next to nothing about everyday things, like the origin of those inflatable flappy guys at car lots, why concrete has a certain smell after rain, homelessness during a pandemic, and more. Their categorization makes finding something you’ll like easy.

Ologies: You might know the host Allie Ward from the Netflix show 100 Humans. She does deep research and interviews real experts, then arranges her findings in a really funny way. On a road trip I listened to her talk about quantum physics for an hour and I actually: 1) stayed awake 2) laughed till I cried, and 3) understood the material. I’m just as shocked as you are. She covers everything from the study (ology) of bread baking to marriage to scat to (you get the idea).

Stuff You Should Know: Hosts Josh and Chuck are a real pair of lads! They break down topics as big as the chaos theory and expand your knowledge of little things too. (They made an episode on zippers that is actually entertaining – who’d have thought? Zippers).

Jen Gotch is OK..Sometimes: in the “about” section on this podcast, Jen says part of her goal here is to help people “feel less alone.” If you’re in need of a new virtual-friend, check her out. Jen is the founder of Ban.do, a brand we love so much! Her book The Upside of Being Down is a prefect read for Mental Health Awareness Month. Above all, from her awesome podcast you can learn about developing emotional intelligence. In addition, you’ll get other good book recommendations, and hear some great business tips, too.

Podcasts for creatives Jen Gotch is OK sometimes

I hope that you have oodles of fun listening – I have! Afterwards, for even more podcast ideas you can find our original post here. In addition, if you love any other podcasts we should add to our list, comment them below!

Craft the Rainbow Giveaway

Craft the Rainbow Giveaway craft book for creatives

Win a Complete Craft the Rainbow Set

How to enter:

1. Follow @houselarsbuilt and @houselarsbuiltshop on Instagram

2. Sign up for our newsletter here

3. Comment on this Instagram post and guess how many pairs of scissors are hidden throughout Craft the Rainbow!

Craft the Rainbow Giveaway craft book for creativesCraft the Rainbow Giveaway craft book for creatives

As you can see above, the pages of Craft the Rainbow are filled with scissors in every shape, size, and of course, color! Take a guess at how many pairs of scissors fill the book! (Hint: It’s a lot!)

Giveaway ends 4/1.

Whoever guesses correctly first, or gets the closest to the correct answer will win the full Craft the Rainbow set, which includes: A signed copy of Craft the Rainbow, My Life in Color (guided journal), Marble blank journal, and our Striped blank journal.

Winner will be announced 5/2 on Instagram!

For other rainbow inspiration

Explore our other Craft the Rainbow month posts here!

2 years of Craft the Rainbow! – Read all about the story behind my first book!

Free Phone and Desktop Wallpaper Downloads from Craft the Rainbow

How to publish a book: Part 1 – Read along as I go in depth on my journey to publishing a book. Part 2 will be out soon!

Quarantine Creativity: Paper Weaving from Craft the Rainbow – Don’t have your own copy of Craft the Rainbow yet? Try out a simple and family-friendly tutorial from the book here!

Loungewear in every color of the rainbow – It wouldn’t be Craft the Rainbow month without a way to wear the rainbow! Click the link fo find our favorite loungewear choices to make working from home more fun and colorful!

How to make writing in your journal fun and creative – Read about our guided journal My Life in Color which is the companion to Craft the Rainbow

Creative challenge to do with your kids at home – Teach your kids about color theory and the rainbow with this simple at-home challenge inspired by Craft the Rainbow

Video Conference Cards (and free Zoom backgrounds!)

Printable Video Conference Cards

These Video Conference Cards are handy for all kinds of zoom calls, whether you are in online classes or working from home. The idea is that these cards will help avoid everyone talking over each other in the chat. Showing one of these visual phrases will get a quick message across to your fellow video callers.

We think they would be great for teachers in online classes, work teams who are now communicating primarily over video conference calls, or family members who are trying to get Sunday chats organized while social distancing. Sometimes a quick message saying “Great Idea!” is all you need to say!

These cards really came in handy in our video meetings when one of us needed to be on mute (because Jasper was chatting away in the background, or Emma’s english bulldog Winnie was snoring right next to her laptop…) but we still had something to say! Being able to hold up our “I agree” cards made life a lot easier!

Zoom Meeting signal cards

Free Zoom backgrounds

Leveling up our video meetings did not end there! As a team, we also love the feature to add your own backgrounds in Zoom and we did so to create this Brady Bunch feel for our team. You can find all these colors to use yourself here! It was so much fun, we are tempted to give every meeting a new color scheme.

Of course we had to make our own Brady Bunch video for you. Enjoy 😉

You can download the printable cards and elevate your #WFH experience here!

Women Who Work: Amanda Jane Jones

When and how did you know that graphic design was your jam? 

I loved art and knew I wanted to do something commercial with it (because I was determined to support myself and not get married! (Ah… the things you say at 19!)  So I tried being a photographer first and shot weddings for a summer and realized you had be SOCIAL and TALK to people on a regular basis which didn’t / doesn’t  come naturally to me, and being a graphic designer seemed to fit my hermit tendencies much better…best of both worlds I guess? My mom was so sweet and set up a meeting with a designer in our area so I could get a feel for what she did and it just felt right! and I’ve never regretted or looked back. I seriously ADORE my job. I have so much fun at work.

Why is it important to you to create?

It’s just a part of me! I’ve always been a maker. My mom had a big closet full of supplies growing up. We were always allowed to use whatever as along as I didn’t use her FABRIC scissors on PAPER! that was her one rule and I’m embarrassed to say I broke it all the time. They just cut so well! I couldn’t help myself. 😉 Anyway, I’ve just always loved to be creative – in life, in my surroundings, in the way I dress…I read once somewhere that when creative people stop creating, it creates a cloud in their brain that can stifle creativity and I’ve seen that many times in my life.

Was there anyone along the way who helped shape you?

Yes! my grandma had me come to her home every summer and she let me pick out patterns and fabric and we’d sew whatever my heart desired. My mom and dad were so good and cultivating creativity for me with supplies and experiences and then actually, Since marrying Cree, he’s always been a huge supporter of my work and my creativity. He sees how important it is to me and always makes it one of his priorities as much as it is mine which has provided me the space to grow as a designer and try projects I otherwise wouldn’t be able to with three little kids at home.

What’s your advice to women wanting to pursue the same thing?

A couple things!

1) Be an intern or apprentice. I interned FOUR times – once even while I was freelancing full-time and starting Kinfolk! I’m a huge fan of real life experience and learning from artists you admire. Be a sponge! (Click here to find out more about internship opportunities here at Lars!)

2) Put in the time. no one is holding you back but you! If it’s something you really want, go for it. I worked at a small design firm for three years while freelancing nights and weekends before I could freelance full-time. It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience, but I’ll be forever grateful my 20 something self put in all those hours.

3) Fake it till you make it. Honestly, the first time I was hired to design a book, I didn’t know how! everything is online now – take a class, google it, or just ask! I’m always surprised how you can learn things as you go.

4) Be true to yourself and your style. So many times, I’ll be asked to do a logo or brand that just isn’t me. In the beginning I didn’t have the luxury of turning those projects down. But now I know, that if you try to be something you’re not, it’s a waste of your time and the clients money.

You can find Amanda here:

Find Amanda in the House Lars Built Print Shop!

Right now Amanda is donating ALL of her proceeds from her food prints in our shop to No Kid Hungry. Due to COVID-19 many kids are left without meals they normally receive at school every day. No Kid Hungry donates meals directly to those children during this break from school. Your purchase of one of Amanda’s prints found here will help those kids receive meals and will hang in your home as a reminder that there is always hope!

And get these adorable 3D fruit ornaments to match your Amanda Jane Jones pieces!

Author Art Print

Or you can find all of the Women Who Work here!

Make sure to hang up the Author Print in your home to remind you of just how incredible you are at your work!

You can see our previous interviews:

Creative things to do during your Quarantine and SALE

Crafts Ideas During Social Distancing

While you are practicing social distancing or quarantine, crafting can help you and your kids use your hands, quiet the stress, and explore your creativity in a way you may not always have time to! In addition to our 40% sale and free coloring page downloads, we want to make all of our tutorials as accessible as possible for your during this time.

Below we have organized some of our favorite projects by age group. You may already have the supplies on hand to complete many of these crafts, and if not we linked basic craft supplies you can have at your door in no time. We promise, having craft supplies on hand will make your quarantine go much smoother! And if that is too overwhelming, some of these projects only need to be printed off and they are ready to go!

Projects by age

We know many of have suddenly found yourself with all of your kids at home, trying to keep up with their schooling while not going crazy. Therefore, many of the projects below are not only fun but educational!

Toddler & Preschool

Start their art history knowledge off early with this DIY Matisse felt board. After that, your kids can even dress up as their favorite picture book, and act it out for the family! With our If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and our Giving Tree costume tutorials.

Elementary School

Even a travel ban can’t keep you from taking a day trip to Paris and back during lunch break! These Paris placemats are the perfect way to turn lunch time into a history and geography lesson. Or dive more than surface deep with your homeschooling and learn all about whales with the help of this stuffed whale template!

Middle School

Did school just get cancelled for 4-6 (or more, ah!) weeks? Sounds like you won’t be using your paper lunch bags for a while. Put them to use and make these colorful lunch bag honeycomb fans!

Did your 8th grader’s biology class get cancelled? No problem, switch them over to the science of horticulture for the next few weeks. This paper template has a great range of plants to get your child excited about using their green thumb. Next, they might even be asking to weed your garden for you, who knows!

Is your daughter’s BFF feeling a little under the weather? Use our friendship bracelet tutorial above to have her make a special gift, add our downloadable friendship cards and her her doorbell ditch a gift to cheer her buddy up!

High School

Your Sophomore might be feeling a little on edge with the news about prom being cancelled. However, projects like this rope necklace or clay hair clips will cheer them up and keep them busy.

For you!

You also deserve some creative time during all of this craziness. Setting aside even an hour to use your hands and make something new is sure to cure cabin fever. Now if only it could cure the virus!

Can’t get out to the grocery story for some fresh flowers? But you’re longing for something fresh and pretty to look at? Our paper flower tutorials are the perfect project to tackle with all this new-found time on your hands.

Projects for the whole family to do together

Learn about the presidents (and learn new embroidery skills) with our Heirloom E-book doll project. After that, Send some love postcards to grandparents you can’t visit right now.

Basic Craft Supplies

Click here for our favorite basic craft supplies on Amazon!

Other creative resources during quarantine

It’s amazing to see the creative community going all out for those who have to stay in. In addition to ours, here are some resources from other creatives doing great things.

Know of any others? Send them over! Would love to add to the list!

Why I feel called to craft: Part 2

Why I feel called to craft

The stories my mom would tell me about my grandparents and great grandparents, etc, shaped my narrative and formed my identity. My great-grandmother, Marilla Zatelle, painted porcelain, sewed her own clothes, and was truly a force of nature–it probably helped that she was 6′ tall. I remember visiting her in the hospital before she passed away at age 97 and knowing that I was Danish stock like she was.

From left to right: Dorothy, me, Carl, Zatelle, my mom Kim

Her daughter, Dorothy, my grandmother, even though she has passed on continues to be my artistic muse and great human being icon. She was pretty much an angel on earth with a wicked sewing room in Los Angeles, California. I dedicated my book, Craft the Rainbow, to her and even wrote an entire article about her and Carl, my grandfather, in volume 3 of Kinfolk Magazine about their wellness routine. They are legendary for their subdued natures, gentle kindness, endless generosity, and health regimen (no sugar! though I remember Grape Nuts in all natural apple juice as a real treat).

Dorothy at her piano. This was definitely in the 90s.

This is Dorothy and my sister, Caitlin. 

Going back to the beginning

But let’s get back to that sewing room. Dorothy and Carl built their house in 1951 in Bel-Air. That’s Bel-Air before Fresh Prince, so the houses weren’t Kardashian proportioned or bedazzled. Dorothy was infamous for protecting her newly done hair with a grocery bag when it rained and other such resourceful tricks that come when you’re a product of the Depression. She taught me to sew and whenever we’d come up to visit from Orange County, sometimes for days at a time, I’d churn out all sorts of doll clothes for her Shirley Temple dolls. For one Christmas I sewed her a green drawstring bag with lace tied at the ends and filled it with all sorts of nuts…because that’s what I could get my hands on. She said she loved it, but I still cringe at the thought of nuts from who knows where.

Her sewing room consisted of fabrics that she had collected from all around the world piled in a beautiful yet simple armoire. I remember feeling in awe of her collection. And her ribbons! Gah! And buttons?! They were extraordinary. Thinking about her sewing room now, I can see how it’s MUCH easier to make thing when you have a designated place to create. I’m working on that concept for my own house.

Dorothy sitting on the first platform.

My mother

Now, let’s talk about Dorothy’s daughter, my mom, Kim. She and her two sisters and brother grew up in LA, but the way she describes it seems much more of a quaint village than a major city that happened to make movie magic. For example, Dorothy played the violin for Hollywood music scores, my aunt and uncle were in TV shows and films, and their friends were in this show and that. My mom attended the Academy Awards with a friend. You know, stories like that that I only find out as an adult.

But their real talent was dancing. My mom and her sisters all left home when they were 16 to go dance at the School for American Ballet and the subsequently, in the New York City Ballet. The long story short is that my mom got injured after about a year and moved back to LA where she started a modeling. She says she walked into Seventeen Magazine and walked out on the cover of the January 1969 issue. Again, quaint neighborhood vibe? I don’t know. It’s hard for us to understand that mentality now that everyone and literally their dog aspires for fame.

Fast forward to her career in interior design, calligraphy, music and more to when she becomes a mother of four in five years. I’ve mentioned it before, but this magnet on our fridge growing up really does describe my mom the best: “A creative mess is better than tidy idleness”. And thus, we grew up in constant messes. My mom let us try all the things and would encourage us to think differently. How is everyone else doing something? Then do something else.

My childhood

Our school reports were pretty epic. There wasn’t a three ring binder in sight. We figured out clever ways of binding the books according to what the subject was. For example, for my report on Claude Monet (another artistic hero to this day), I made a cover out of cardboard and cut it out to make it look like a painter’s palette and secured it together with a paintbrush. I mean, it did get to the point where I was jealous of those three ring binders, but I see the magic of it all now.

When I was in kindergarten or first grade, Mom opened a beautiful shop called En Provence on Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar and it was one of my first experiences off all encompassing magic. A true wonderland. Like old houses in Provence, she plastered straw into the walls and hand painted everything! It was a gift and furnishings shop and I think it must have been the most well-curated experience. The furniture was made and painted by my uncle, Dean Bradshaw. You can see a glimpse of it in the picture above of my grandmother. That bed was created by him as well as the paintings. But life became a bit much with four kids and so she closed up shop after 4 years.

My first Craft Club

When I was about 10 or 11 and I started a club called Crafts for Holidays. I’m not so much proud of the name, but what can you do. The club was modeled after my mom’s church group where they would get together monthly and make or do something. So, for Halloween we made can tin pumpkins. We sponged on paint in a variety of oranges and painted on faces. Then for Thanksgiving we appliquéd  turkeys onto corduroy pillows. For Christmas we turned a string of pinecones into reindeer complete with a red pom for Rudolph. I don’t know if my friends were into crafting, well I know they weren’t because the club didn’t last too much longer.

ANYWHO, I tell all this because it makes more sense how I arrived at what I do now knowing who I come from. I mean, I wasn’t aching to start a craft-based business at first. In fact, I never would have entered my brain. I was much more involved in music (I played the cello growing up) and tennis (I was on my high school tennis team) than I was in the arts. I wouldn’t even say that I did it as a hobby at that point because I was really into getting good grades. But because my childhood foundation was laid out in making, just like that industrious lot who came before me, I can see NOW how it happened.

This is my grandfather Harvey Sessions, who I didn’t mention at all here, but the photo is so good I had to include it. 

And because of that I’m very interested in continuing my grandmother’s legacy and carrying out the mission that I’ve identified along the way. I’m compelled to do it and I find a great need to do so, especially since we are more addicted to screens than ever. There is power in handmaking. It connects us to our bodies and souls and for me, my family.

Stay tuned for part 3 next week! 

Why I feel called to craft

Why I feel called to craft

It all became much more relevant when our writing intern, Rachel, found the book Craftfulness, which we then selected as our book club book for this month. It’s a perfect fit! In fact, it was the book I’ve been thinking about writing for the last couple of years, but didn’t know existed (it was published just one year ago, so I guess that’s fair!). I’ll be writing more about the importance of crafting and making things with your hands, but first, I wanted to write about my journey to the handmade and how I’ve felt called to do so.

Yes, I know “called” is such a hot word right now and with all this self-motivation, “go live your dreams” time we’re living in, I would prefer to call it something different, but now that I’ve had quite a few years of seeing things in hindsight, I can’t call it anything else.

I’ve addressed it a number of times at lectures I’ve given or conferences, but I realized I hadn’t discussed it outright here on the blog when I received this message:

Fair enough 🙂 I will try to do just that!

Here goes.

The history of Lars

I was pursuing a master’s degree in interior design and started The House That Lars Built on Blogspot.com for a residential design class. The project first started when I created a fictitious family for the house I was designing. I named the dad Lars and then the story just kind of spilled out from there pretty naturally (you can read more about that here). I didn’t overthink it because well, I never intended it to become anything other than a school project. Once the class was over, I kept it up as a receptacle for my school work, a visual portfolio if you will, and would offer it as a resources for potential internships and future employers.

Studying and living in Denmark

The following year I studied textile design in Copenhagen, Denmark where, yes, I met Paul, who is now my husband. We got married in 2010 and my mom, sister, and I created a craftacular wedding made up of oversized paper flowers. You can see some of the pictures here. Mind you, this was before Pinterest and Instagram and all that jazz, but people started to come to Lars and request tutorials from the wedding. At that point I was living in Copenhagen with Paul and I couldn’t get a job while awaiting my immigration status so I had plenty of time to oblige. It kept me busy at a time when I could have just remained with my back to the radiator all winter, which I also did.

Before moving abroad, my dream was to work for Martha Stewart and lead the city life. I had gotten a taste of the Big Apple during my internships and I LOVED IT. Everything about it (besides being so poor!). I had built a good network when I lived in both Washington, DC and NYC but I lost it all once I moved to Denmark (as well as friends and community, etc–It was a tough time!) But that’s a pity story for another day.

I hadn’t ever thought of pursuing DIY or crafts professionally because…well, I was now a trained interior designer and really, besides Martha, it didn’t really exist in the way that it does today with anyone being able to take their own stab at. Had I known what I know now, I would have dug in deep then so I could have spared a few years of standstill.

Being Fearless

While I was in Copenhagen I read all the great design magazines and noticed that they included the direct phone numbers to all the editors. Cha ching! I started calling them up and asking if they needed any help. No, of course they didn’t need a newly graduated American interior designer, they said! They have the best designers in the world, silly! But, I was pretty fearless and reached out cold to anyone whose contact I could find in any design capacity. I identified designers whose work I liked and emailed them. I met ONE friend this way but she was wonderful and took me to Formland, Denmark’s annual gift fair every year that I lived there so we can stake out the latest design trends. Through her I also assisted on a few photoshoots and she hired me to make props.

My work in Denmark eventually led me to working more on The House That Lars Built due to ummm, lack of things to do. And I knew that this time would probably never happen again in my life so I treated it as a special time to dig into Lars. Eventually, I got a studio (read more about it here and check out my pixie–ha!) in downtown Copenhagen with a few photographers who are wonderful and I love them so much. I started writing for a few other blogs and websites as a craft contributor and writer and learned a lot (you can read about some of it here). Yet, I still didn’t identify as a crafter or DIYer. It was just something to do in the mean time.

No one would take me – ha!

Paul and I decided to move back to the US, Provo, Utah in particular, where he would go to school and I would provide for our family. I suspected my time with Lars was probably going to come to an end soon. I started putting in applications EVERYWHERE and you know what?! I received a job offer within 2 days of arrival! At a company that I thought was going to be a great fit!

They sent me the salary and it was extremely low, but I was willing to work with it after a little negotiating. Instead, I never heard from them again.

Truly! To this day I don’t know what happened. I mean, I’m kind of left to think that they weren’t used to women negotiating for a higher salary, but I guess I’ll never know.

And you know what the weird thing is? This happened to me TWO more times. I would receive a job offer with a salary and then never hear from them again. Well, the second one I did 6 months later, but yeah, not a helpful road to employment.

But it was for a reason

ANYWAY, all throughout this job hunting I kept on working on Lars and started getting paid for this and that and then more of this and more of that. I was hustling to get jobs and people were responding positively to the projects I was putting out into the world. Again, I was pretty fearless about reaching out and not afraid to put in the overtime (Paul might say that’s all I did). After a couple of years it took my dad coming to me and saying “It looks like things are working out for you” to make me realize, “Oh, I think you’re right. Maybe I should stop looking for a full time job.” I mean, at one point I was applying for banking jobs. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Could you imagine? What a nightmare they would have been in for!

The ah-ha moment

Cut to a few years ago when I was sitting in a blogging conference for women of my faith (I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have been known as “Mormon”) and I came across this scripture:

For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.

I received a profound impression that day that this is what I am supposed to do and how I’m supposed to spend my time right now. And I take it quite literally, to increase the beauty around me through teaching people how to do that in their own lives. The way has been paved to make that happen for me, though I didn’t always understand why–from not getting jobs for who knows what reason to people coming into my life to help me accomplish this goal (I owe a lot of this to my business partner, Mary who came on board 5 years ago), and now a team who shares this vision with me.

This mission does not come without its share of struggles and challenges of course, but it does keep me focused when I question why I should keep on doing what I’m doing even when I…don’t get paid enough…or I could get paid so much more if I went and got a job somewhere else or…the list goes on and on (and it’s now always about money 😉

As you can see, my journey to making a life from crafting/making is a bit different than most because I was hustling to make ANY sort of living for our family. And then the making, the handmaking rather, became the avenue by which to accomplish it. It came naturally to me and people, you, responded well to it, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. And now that I’ve been in it professionally for about 11 years, (or about 5 if we could the time I came to terms with it!) I’ve learned a lot about it.

There’s more to this story and I will be sharing it next week in part 2. Stay tuned! 

Top photo by Chaunte Vaughn from Craft the Rainbow