Becoming: Sarah Cambio of Flower Lane

I’m so glad that I found Sarah Cambio’s business, Flower Lane! Her work is so high-quality, beautiful, intentional, happy… I’m not about to run out of adjectives describing how much I love what she does. I loved getting to know her a bit better, and I hope you do too!

Sarah Cambio is the founder of Flower Lane; a small shop that handmakes embroidered linen crowns. Inspired by all things whimsical and nostalgic, Flower Lane delivers keepsakes that can be cherished forever. Sarah immigrated from Germany to the US when she was 11 years old. Not knowing how to speak English, she spent that summer learning before jumping into school. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband and three children. 

A light grey linen kids birthday crown with the phrase "May you find a muddy puddle to splash in wherever you go."

Becoming Sarah Cambio of Flower Lane

What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person, educator, etc.?

I think I see myself as a hybrid between a designer and maker, but slowly learning how to be a business person. I love making things with my hands but also really enjoy the business side. There is so much to learn and I love that! 

Where did you grow up? Were there aspects of your childhood that have influenced what you do now?

I was born in Germany and immigrated to the US when I was 11 years old. I grew up in what many here know as a Waldorf type setting and I think that has always inspired me. When I think of Waldorf I think of whimsy things, traditions, and seeing the beauty of childhood. 

Handmade linen kids birthday crowns in pink, yellow, mint, orange, and blue.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

So many things! I never had my heart set on just one thing and thought it would be so cool to be everything from an FBI Agent, a teacher, or social worker. 

What sparked your interest in making kids birthday crowns? 

I was inspired by crowns made from felt and wanted something similar for our daughter’s 3rd birthday. I taught myself how to sew and added my own twist; using linen, adjustable ties, wooly pom poms, and embroidering the child’s name. 

What is your educational background and how has it shaped or changed your current career?

I graduated from High School with a full scholarship, attended college for 2 semesters, dropped out, and a decade later completed my certification as an Emergency Medical Technician. I volunteered as an EMT for about 2 years and quit because Flower Lane was taking off–a complete 180 from what I pursued my education in.

A grey linen kids birthday crown with rainbow pom poms and the name "tillie" embroidered on it. It's on a pink background.

What inspired you to start a business?

I’ve always dreamed about having my own business and felt so inspired by those around me who were running theirs successfully. It wasn’t until we got pregnant with our 4th that I decided that this is it! 

A few months prior I taught myself how to sew with a $20 Facebook Marketplace sewing machine. It took me forever to figure out how to sew in a straight line and a circle was basically impossible! I purchased patterns and jumped right in and learned how to sew clothes while teaching myself how to use my machine at the same time.

A handmade rabbit doll on top of pink kid's clothes.
Sarah made this rabbit and these kid’s clothes when she was first learning to sew.

Once I understood patterns, sewed straight lines, and learned about fabric, I began making stroller clips because that’s what I wanted for my baby. A cute little toy that clipped onto the canopy of the stroller. 

During this time we lost our baby. I felt alone and depressed. There was a lot of grieving. I went back to sewing clothes as a way to work through my emotions.

linen clothes in neutral colors against a wooden backdrop 

In September of 2020 I opened my Etsy store with the stroller clips I worked so hard on. They were a complete failure. I took a month long break and almost quit but something was telling me to keep going. 

A waldorf-inspired handsewn doll wearing a pink linen dress. The doll has brown braids, pink cheeks, simple features, and is on a beige background.
One of Sarah’s first projects

This is when I shared my birthday crowns. Something I was holding in my back pocket until that coming January – our daughter’s 3rd birthday. They sold out the same day I posted them! 

I continued sharing, updating, and building a small Instagram community the rest of 2020. This was also the same time my best friend mailed me her embroidery machine and I started customizing crowns with the child’s name. 

Handmade Flower Lane birthday crowns

This business has been such an emotional journey for me and I’m so grateful for all the good that has come from Flower Lane. 

What is one piece of work that you are especially proud of and why?

I’m really proud of how much my husband and I have learned in such a short period of time. We both come from non business backgrounds and it’s not a walk in the park. We have to be a team and work together to run Flower Lane every day while also juggling a busy family. 

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

If only there were a few more hours in each day! The one thing all of my ideas have in common is that they are inspired by childhood and family traditions. I want to make something that can be used again and again and brings back a feeling of nostalgia. 

Two kids wearing linen birthday crowns and playing. A girl is wearing a pink dress and white crown, and a boy is wearing a blue sweater, yellow shorts, and a grey crown. They're in a light-filled room.

What artists and creatives do you look up to, both historical and present?

This question had me a little stumped because I couldn’t think of any artists, specifically. I look up to people in my life not for being an artist but for the person they are. I’m inspired by people who create and live a purposeful life. 

What books, movies, shows, or music are making you excited these days?

I love getting lost in a good fiction book, enjoy watching The Walking Dead, and listening to 80’s rock. 

What is a piece of advice that you have carried with you and who is it from? Do you have a personal motto?

I have missed out on  many opportunities and wasted so much time because I never believed in myself. Either I wasn’t qualified or my work wasn’t good enough.  Stop seeking permission from others to do what you feel you are called to do. Be confident in yourself and don’t wait. The right time to start is now!

Two hands tying a bow on the ties at the back of a linen kids birthday crown. There are a few other crowns along the top of the image, and the background is blue.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

It’s so important to surround yourself with things that inspire you. I have a hard time working when there’s chaos. I like for things to be aesthetically pleasing but also functional. Flower Lane has taken over a large portion of our lower level and we had to really think about how to make the most use of our space. 

Sarah Cambio's workspace. There's a big wooden island, open wooden shelves filled with materials, and a fiddle leaf fig. Sarah's daughter is wearing pink and sitting by the shelves at a computer.
Sarah’s daughter sitting in her workspace

What is a typical day like for you? 

My day always starts with a cup of coffee, breakfast for our youngest, and checking emails. This is also when I check on our chickens; Emily, Annie, and Betsy!

Our youngest goes to daycare a couple of times a week and those are very busy work days for me. On the days she is home, she plays in her play area in my office. Lots of breaks get taken on those days. 

Our oldest two are helpful and my husband puts in a lot of hours during his off time. It’s not the most ideal schedule but it actually works for us! 

We have lunch around noon and before we know it it’s time to take our older two kids to their activities. One plays hockey and the other does MMA. We’re busy around here! 

During the summer months, dinners and bedtimes are late. Once our youngest is in bed my husband and I work a little more and then watch a show or two before bed. 

Every day is a little different here! 

two flower lane embroidered birthday crowns on a blue background

What is one skill you wished you learned when you were younger?

How to sew! It’s such a useful skill to have in your toolbox. Our oldest daughter learned how to sew at the same time I did and I love that. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-teach a new hobby or skill?

We have so many resources these days to get started on a new hobby and skill. Watch YouTube, practice, and learn from others in the field you’re interested in. Stay inspired and surround yourself with what you want to learn.

flower lane crowns in orange, yellow, pink, blue, and light blue on a yellow and pink background.

Do you have a secret talent? What is one skill that you are working on?

Finding a rhythm between family and work. I’ve been a stay at home mom for almost 12 years and this is new to all of us. Learning to prioritize and understanding that I can’t do it all myself is something I’m working on.

Nobody likes to talk about it, but can you share any advice regarding financing your business?

I’m a big believer in not acquiring debt and knowing your numbers. Focus on one thing at a time and use that profit for growth. 

Is there anything more you would like to “become?” 

I would love to write a book someday, to be an author! I also have this random idea of owning an ice cream truck. Like a really cool one that serves waffle cones and scoops of the best ice cream. I miss the ice cream shops in Germany and I feel like we need that here! 

Jasper's yellow Flower Lane crown in a field of daisies.

What is your long-term goal? or What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

Business wise I have big dreams for Flower Lane and one of those includes moving the business out of our home. We already work with talented individuals in our local community to create these sweet crowns and I would love to see us all together in one space someday. I would also love for my husband to join me full time.

Personally, I dream of finding our forever home. A place where we can gather with our children and grandchildren someday, make memories, and hang stockings from the mantle. It’s such a simple goal but I think that’s ultimately what drives me and keeps me inspired. 

Jasper sits in a field of daisies wearing a yellow Flower Lane crown and a striped yellow shirt.

More Inspiration

Be sure to follow Sarah on Instagram @shopflowerlane and look at her website here! You can buy our Lars x Flower Lane crowns on our shop here.

If you want to read about more inspiring creators, business women, and designers, you can look for more of our becoming essays here!

2021 Planners To Make Next Year Everything You Hoped 2020 Would Be

Even if you’re not into planners, you will be after looking at the fun 2021 planners we’ve picked out. Last year we had so much fun choosing different planners for everyone.

In John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” he included the famous line from Allen Saunders’ in a 1957 issue of Readers Digest: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Nothing could be more true of this past year, 2020!

And yes, the things we plan for don’t always pan out, but planning ahead gives us a sense of organization and accomplishment.

2021 Planners For Creatives

 

  1. For the Minimalist
  2. For the Botanicals Lover
  3. For the Busy Mom Who Likes Pretty Things
  4. For the Goal Setter
  5. For the Student
  6. For the Neutrals Enthusiast
  7. For People Motivated by Stickers
  8. For Working from Home
  9. For the Classic Planner
  10. For the Planner on the Go
  11. For the Designer
  12. For the Maximalist
  13. For the Optimist
  14. For Self-Reflection
  15. For the Journal-Keeper
  16. For the Detail-Oriented Planner
  17. For the Ticket Stub-Saver
  18. For the Overachiever
  19. For the Entrepreneur
  20. For the Dreamer

2021 Planners Accessories

 

For some other great planners companies, check out our guides from 2020 and other years past.

Pin this!

2021 planners for creatives

You become what you see and what you’ve heard

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

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

The power of suggestion

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

History Made

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

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

You are what you see

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

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

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

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

You might also enjoy:

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

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!

Winter 2022 Creative Internship Call

Winter 2022 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/Marketing (3 different positions: Pinterest, Newsletter, Instagram)
  3. Shopping
  4. Crafting
  5. Business
  6. Content Writing
  7. E-commerce (product development and Shopify)
  8. Sewing/Embroidery 
  9. Marketing
  10. Art Curation
  11. Creative Director assistant

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 January 2022-April 2022. 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!

Fall 2022 Creative Internship Call

Winter 2022 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/Marketing (3 different positions: Pinterest, Newsletter, Instagram)
  3. Shopping
  4. Crafting
  5. Business
  6. Content Writing
  7. E-commerce (product development and Shopify)
  8. Sewing/Embroidery 
  9. Marketing
  10. Art Curation
  11. Creative Director assistant

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 April to late August 2022. 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!

Kid’s Toys: Lars Shop Highlight

What is Eeboo?

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

kid's toys

kid's toys

Encouraging development in children

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

kid's toys

Screen-free

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

Commissioned illustrators

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

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

kid's toyskid's toys

Care and dedication

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

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

kid's toys

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

Our commitment to giving

How COVID has affected our small business

About a couple of weeks into the pandemic in 2020, I realized that as a company, we wouldn’t be the same. I had already had to make some pretty drastic decisions about our small team, which, unfortunately, meant lay offs and other sad decisions. I was unsure about our future and it was the only thing I could control.

Picture Hope Coloring Book

Then the idea of a collective coloring book came to me in the form of Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book. 60 artists contributed a coloring page to form this amazing book (yes, I proudly admit that it’s amazing!). I had had this idea of a collective coloring book for some time but it seemed like it would have the most impact if we could do it for a purpose. And it was! We were able to donate about $12,000 to various charities who have been hit hard by the pandemic! Incredible!

Ways to donate as a small business

As you can see, it literally took a catastrophe to get me comfortable with the idea that our small business could give to charity. I had always read about the benefits of donating even when you don’t think you can “afford” it so I knew I could somehow work it out, but it just never felt feasible. On a personal level, I give a percentage of my income away so you would think I would have learned that concept, but I just didn’t know what approach to take.

Witnessing that our tiny company had the support from our community to contribute $12,000 with our coloring book gave us the encouragement to keep on going. Yes, as a company we could have used every penny coming our way during such an uncertain time, but we knew that we needed to give and we were very much buoyed up by the support we were receiving to make it happen. There are so many people needing our help and we feel the responsibility to pitch in and give.Art for Coronavirus

Our Print Shop Artists who are giving

We were pumped when some of our Print Shop artists also wanted to find ways to contribute in their own way. Erin Jang, a NYC based designer, created this beautiful print and donates the profits from those sales to NYC based non-profits like the NY Food Bank. We are happy to use our platform and shop in order to make that happen and ended up matching those donations.

Amanda Jane Jones continues to contribute the profits from her Yum, Yummy, Yuck collection to charities. Additionally, she creates beautiful products on her own channels and contributes the profits to charities that she is passionate about.

The organizations we give to

During the holidays we teamed up with Love for our Elders, a non-profit focused on alleviating loneliness for the elderly. We committed to give a portion of our profits from our sales of Picture Hope for that month and were able to give $1440. According to Jacob Cramer, its founder and executive director, “This donation will help us so much as we continue to serve seniors and fight social isolation throughout this pandemic and beyond.”

Build a Nest

We were also able to contribute to Nest, a non-profit that 1) increases the supply and demand of the hand-craft industry 2) improves conditions for the women in these industries 3) preserves the culture and techniques of these hand-crafts. As a company who encourages people to make with their hands and celebrate the maker, this one lies near and dear to our hearts. Again, we were able to give $1440.

Neighborhood Art Center

Lastly, we got to hand out another check for $1440 from the sales of our kids’ art course, Great Artists! to an organization that hits close to home, literally. The Neighborhood Art Center is a local place where kids and parents can create, appreciate, and experience art. Their founder, Tallis Feltis said,

“Because of their generous donation we were able to make and hand out free Martin Luther King Day kits to our community, even though we couldn’t have a party this year we are so grateful they made it possible for children and their families to celebrate this important holiday together. We were also able to use their donation to offer another set of very low cost art classes for kids on Fridays, and we have loved being able to teach kids about so many amazing artists every week. @houselarsbuilt made a huge impact on the programming we were able to provide to the community and we are so grateful, thank you so much!!”

As you might imagine, I was in a puddle of tears upon learning about this news. It’s one thing to give money blindly and it’s another thing to hear how it’s directly affecting their organization. Jasper is now old enough to participate and we can’t wait to get more involved on a personal level.

Loveland Foundation

As a team, we’ve come to see the tremendous results from giving, which is why we are trying to incorporate it more into our work and flow. For example, for Martin Luther King Day we released a print that reads “Only in the darkness can you see the stars” and all the profits go to the Loveland Foundation, a charity that gives to people of color, particularly Black women and girls.

How We’re Helping Texas

Additionally, with the power outages and lack of water, food, and proper shelter in Texas, we are putting our Picture Hope Coloring Book donations to Kid’s Meals Houston. This non-profit delivers a meal to a family of a child for every $2 donated. Please consider making a donation for this very current need.

Black History Month

And now, lastly, for the rest of the month of February, Black History Month, we are providing our Alma Thomas class from our Great Artists! course at $10 (regularly $25) and donating the profits to The Ellington Fund. Our hope is to make this class accessible to more people because Alma Thomas should be a household name!
The Duke Ellington School in Washington, DC, where Alma Thomas lived for the majority of her life, was a couple of blocks away from my graduate school, Corcoran College of Art and Design. I passed it every day on my walk to school in Georgetown and always heard tremendous things about the talented students. The aim of this fund is to “support, promote, and empower the next generation of emerging artists, global citizens, and critical scholars by investing in their futures today.” This is truly something we can get behind.

How we’re giving going forward

This past year we discovered the ways in which we can serve and we are committed more than ever to continue. How? We plan on continuing to promote our Picture Hope Coloring Book as COVID continues to affect us. Additionally, because we have an in-house design team, we can continue to create products with specific charities in mind. We also have a new course coming out later this year and much like Great Artists! we plan on dedicating profits to it. Additionally, we can’t wait to become more hands on as COVID lets up and we have the ability go serve in person as a a team and individuals.
Some claim that giving is mainly to make you feel good, and while yes, it feels amazing to give, there’s just so much need right now that it feels impossible not to do it. I’m proud of my team who has been so on board to making this happen and constantly thinking about more ways to give back. And a huge applause for our accountant, Kerry, who has the tricky task of calculating a lot of numbers!
THANK YOU for being on board. We can do all of this because of you. It takes a community of supportive people to create a successful business AND support others on their way. We value you. Now, let’s keep on moving!
Quick links:

Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards with Mixbook

This year’s Christmas card features team Lars! Sadly, we didn’t snag a photo with all of our team members in it, but you get the idea: lots of color, plenty of DIY, this card can’t get much more Lars than it already is.

Team Lars Christmas Cards

You might recognize it as our Team Halloween costume–Andy Warhol’s soup cans. It was only appropriate. And once I found the designs by Oh Joy, I knew we had to use it. Now, sadly, that means that we are missing a few players like Kerry, Carrie, Sophie, and Garet. We love you still!

I love how the card template we chose strikes the perfect balance of holiday cheer and essential team Lars spirit! It’s bright, colorful, whimsical, and just the thing to brighten up this season that is cold and dark so much of the time. I think we can all agree that we need color all year round, but especially at this time of year! If you’re interested in the templates we’ve made with Mixbook, you can take your pick between classic, bright, Lars style and more traditional, cozy holiday cards. P.s. if you happen to be getting married this winter, you’re in for a treat with our wedding invitation templates.

holiday cards

Our Take

One of the best things about Mixbook is how customizable their templates are. It’s so helpful to have a template as a base, but the fun of making your own Christmas card is being able to make it feel like yours, you know? Hence, Crafty Holidays was born. We were just feeling the creative spirit of making this holiday season. Anyway, what better way to spend your holidays than crafting your heart out?

We love sending out cards to our clients and friends. Email me if you’d like one! Happy to send one off to you! 

christmas cards

Other Mixbook projects

The fun doesn’t end with holiday cards! If you’ve been following along, we’ve also dipped our toes into Mixbook’s photo albums and year in review books. The results were stunning, and such a fun way to capture memories! You can read more about our other Mixbook projects here: new holiday card with Mixbook, Lars for Mixbook, and our year in review with Mixbook.

Here was last year’s Christmas card that we designed!

And our year in review book.

And our travel book! Oh little Jasper! I can hardly stand it! He can hardly stand too!

The House That Lars Built for Mixbook travel book

Mixbook Discount

Since it’s the holiday season and we’re feeling full of that Christmas spirit, we want to share the love! We’ve honestly been so happy with the way our Mixbook projects have turned out and can’t recommend them enough. To give you a nudge in the right direction, Lars readers get 55% off holiday cards using code HLARS50. Offer expires 1/01/2022, so don’t sleep on it! In case you missed it, here’s a link to Mixbook.

We would love to see what you choose! Crafty Holidays!

gold foil christmas cards

This post is sponsored by Mixbook. We love our sponsors who allow us to create beautiful original content for you! 

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! 

My new board member role at Nest: Part 2

Artisans in Afghanistan

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say how heartbroken I’ve been over what’s been happening in Afghanistan lately. As soon as the Taliban took over on August 15th, I wrote to my colleagues at Nest to find out about their involvement with artisans in Afghanistan. Turns out, Rebecca van Bergen, founder of Nest, was quoted in The New York times for highlighting the role of crafts in communities and nations as well as in economic development. In fact, Nest has been present in Afghanistan since 2015 and works with a network of 6,700 craftspeople in the country, 89 percent of whom are women.

I’d highly recommend reading the article (here), but in summary, it talks about how the fashion industry and its craftspeople have been forced to go into hiding since the Taliban took over Kabul. Up until a couple of weeks ago, these designers had been using their art to transform their recent tragic history. Fashion was one of the few ways that they could express themselves. Turns out, Kabul was once known as the Paris of central Asia and even before that, the center of the Silk Road, and has quite a rich design history. In fact, Vogue did a story about it in the late 1960s featuring its biggest export–goat skin coats. You can see more of the photos over here (And read this article for more insights into Afghanistan before the Taliban. SO fascinating).

The global impact of this organization is one reason of many why I’ve committed to Nest as an advisory board member. Here are some more.

Nest’s mission is three fold:

  1. Global Economic Inclusivity

Did you know that it is estimated that there are 300 million home-based workers globally? That’s an incredible number! And guess what? As an informal economy, they are underserved. Nest is focused on increasing the supply and demand for responsible handcraft, generating economic opportunity for home-based workers at the bottom of the supply chain–many of them women.

2. Women’s Well Being Beyond Factories

Here’s another fun fact: craft-based work is the second largest employer of women globally—providing a source of livelihood to those limited in their ability to work outside the home. Using universal standards for homes and small workshops, Nest is making female handworkers visible while promoting their fair access to social and economic opportunity. Can you imagine if we contributed to improving such a huge population?! This is women supporting women if I’ve ever heard it.

3. Cultural Preservation

Around the world, time honored cultural traditions embedded in craftsmanship are in danger of being lost. Nest is committed to reviving these techniques through business innovation and a shift in consumer perception surrounding the value of handcraft. It’s so crucial to preserve history, because once lost it can’t be retrieved.

How is Lars supporting nest specifically?

Nest has a US program called Makers United, with the aim of addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion within the growing makers’ movement by elevating makers from under resourced communities. Makers United has grown to 6 regions and is reaching 538 creative entrepreneurs to build a more vibrant and economically thriving makers movement.
100% of the donations to The Nest That Lars Built will go directly to Nest in support of their Makers United Program supporting capacity building and market access programming for US makers.
Lars is a community of makers in countries from all around the world–it baffles me that we can unite in the name of making beautiful things. I’m also aware that you are generous and interested in making a difference. I’ve seen in time and time again in the 13 years I’ve been doing this.
We’ve made a goal to raise $50,000 dollars by the end of 2021. It’s a very ambitious goal (I’m sweating thinking about it) considering it’s already September, but I’m confident that we can do it. Tomorrow we’ll share a new project that will help us raise these funds.

Please consider donating to Nest here.

Lars’ new mission is to encourage people to make with their hands AND help makers across the world be able to do the same. Nest is our channel to do so. Let’s do this!

 

Read about why I chose to become a board member to Nest here

Photos from Vogue in 1969 and scenes from Afghanistan from here

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