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

 

favorite books for toddlers

My 31 Favorite Children’s Books for Toddlers

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we were on a grocery run and there are some unfamiliar stories in there to discover (some of them are a little odd or outdated so I get why they aren’t the most popular ones today, but Jasper still likes them!).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

DIY Block Printing with a Potato

DIY block printing stamping art with potato

Perhaps our favorite thing about this project is it is just as fun for kids or adults! The short material list and simple shapes make it a very kid-friendly craft. However, this is just a starting point for any design you want to try! Try out more intricate design at any skill level.

How to stamp with a potato

Supplies:

  • Potatoes
  • Acrylic or fabric paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Fabric or paper surface you want to print on

Steps:

  1. Cut your clean potatoes into the shape you would like to stamp. We used half circles but you can stamp in any shape!
  2. Apply paint evenly to one edge of potato stamp
  3. Press firmly down on your paper or fabric surface
  4. If you would like to combine two potato shapes to make one full color-blocked circle, place both potato stamps before lifting the first, as shown below.
  5. If desired, fill in design more fully after stamping the basic shape.

DIY block printing stamping art with potato DIY block printing stamping art with potato

What to block print on to

We choose to block print onto a canvas art supplies portfolio, we have holding our coloring pages and supplies!

In the past we have also stamped onto bandanas, napkins, wrapping paper, and more. The options are limitless! If you chose fabric, just make sure to use fabric paint.

DIY block printing stamping art with potato DIY block printing stamping art with potato

More block printing and stamping tutorials

DIY block printing on bandanaDIY block printing stamping on linen napkinsDIY block printing stamping art on ceramic plates

Read our interview with one of our favorite professional block print artists, Jen Hewett, here!

Once you start stamping you won’t want to stop. We know from experience. Though block printing is probably our favorite method, there are plenty of other fun ways to make your own design. Try this method for stamping onto a ceramic plate.

What other unexpected supplies have you used to block print? We would love to hear! Comment below

DIY Painted Blocks for Kids

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

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

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

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

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

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

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

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

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

How to make your own painted blocks

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

Materials:

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

Instructions:

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

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

Color scheme ideas for your painted blocks

Here are some ideas of color schemes we love!

Jasper’s colors

 

Circus colors

 

Spring colors

 

Bold colors

Quirky colors

 

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

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

Other wood blocks we love

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

 

Win a free year of our coloring page subscription!

How to enter to win

Every single person who signs up for the Print and Color subscription in May will be entered into a drawing. One winner will be chosen at the end of the month (May 29th). The lucky winner will no longer have their subscription charged – starting in June, and continuing for for the next year!

Follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for Print & Color, for your first month of your own monthly coloring page subscription (You can pause, edit, or end your subscription at any time when needed.)
  2. Keep an eye out on our Instagram on May 29th when we announce the winner!

It’s as easy as that! The winner will no longer be charged for their subscription, and will receive all of the monthly coloring pages for the next year, free of charge!

Please see our terms and conditions for entry.

coloring pages for kids and adults

Why we created our coloring page subscription Print & Color

Above all, we created Print & Color as a way for Lars Friends of all ages to discover their own creativity. Coloring pages are guidelines for whatever colors and style you can dream up. They are the perfect project for those discovering their own creative voice, or in a creative dry spell. We know from experience, starting the day with a coloring page warms up your creative mind and gets those juices flowing.

In addition, Print & Color helps support artists all over the world. Unlike other kid and adult coloring books, which contain pages all in one style, each coloring page in our subscription is made by a fresh artist with a fresh view and topic. The coloring pages are designed by some of us here at The House That Lars Built, while others are contributed by guest artists.

Since the subscription is monthly, the pages are designed with the specific month as an inspirational theme! So in May, you’ll see illustrations about holidays like May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Teacher appreciation week, and other springy-things like flowers. June pages will be summery, July’s will likely feature some Independence Day illustrations, and so on. As a result, it will always stay interesting! 

Who are our coloring pages for?

The short answer? Everyone. Whether coloring is a new hobby of yours, a favorite of your children, your preferred relaxation method, or D: all of the above, sign up!! Each month you will receive essentially a new book’s worth of pages to explore. In addition, you can also gift a friend their own subscription! Consider a neighbor mom who could use some homeschool help for her kids, a teacher looking for fun new options in her classroom, your friend across the country who could use some stress-relief. 

Whether you sign up for your own subscription this month, or gift one to someone else, that enters you in for a chance win the rest of the year subscription for free! And even if you aren’t the lucky winner, you will only be charged $10 a month, for a creative outlet much better than your monthly Netflix subscription.

Once you have colored to your heart’s desire, post a picture and tag us! #ColoringWithLars. Your piece might just be featured on our social media 😉 

So, go! Subscribe! Print! Color! Tag us! Win! 

How to Display Your Picture Hope Coloring Pages

How to display adult coloring pages

How to spread hope

Join in the global cheering trends (clapping for healthcare professionals, rainbows in windows, etc.) with your own coloring pages from Picture Hope. Picture Hope is a downloadable/printable coloring book filled with inspirational artwork from artists all over the world! This global collaborative effort was inspired by the plight of children in need, and we have decided to donate all proceeds from this coloring book to charities. This time around, we’ve selected the humanitarian organization Save the Children. This excerpt is from their homepage: 

“The biggest global health crisis of our lifetime threatens children in every way. Your support can help children in unsafe households, help protect and prepare doctors and health clinics in refugee camps and help support distance learning in the face of school closures.” 

Try to imagine what this whole thing would be like without the internet. Now try and imagine it again without running water or a safe place to call home. Talk about perspective!! I don’t say this to depress you – rather, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that I need to turn OUT and show love however I can. For me, that means picturing hope. How to display adult coloring pages gallery wall

 

How to Picture Hope and Share:

Once you have thoroughly enjoyed coloring your masterpieces, the art of displaying them is a way you can spread some cheer! 

At home: simply the act of coloring by yourself or with family can be a way to relax, get some creative juices flowing, and spend quality time together. 

In the community: Share love with everyone who sees your pages! Tape them up in your windows, post photos online (tag us!), frame them on your gallery wall, send them to friends via mail (we <3 snail mail). This will spread encouragement to people who might not even know.  Trust me – they need it. We all do. 

Around the world: Your donations go directly towards helping children in desperate situations. Healthcare, safety, food, education, and more are threatened by the global pandemic and YOU can help without having to leave the safety of your home. 

We have made it easy – click this link, donate however much you can/want, starting at just $10, download the coloring book. Then, make your own masterpiece and the world a little brighter all in one fell swoop! Now that’s a way to spread some cheer. 

floral botanical folk art coloring pages

How to display your coloring pages

We want to challenge you to display your Picture Hope coloring pages in clever ways! Use #PictureHope and tag us so we can feature your ideas. This is about spreading the word and the HOPE as far and wide as possible. Save the Children is a coronavirus charity we are passionate about helping, and we can’t do it without you!

Here are some of our ideas:

  • Tape your coloring pages up in your front window for the neighborhood to enjoy!
  • Create a giant gallery wall you can add to all the time
  • Create frames for your coloring pages out of washi tape
  • Mix your coloring pages in with poloroids and photos of your other social distancing activities 
  • Compile all your Picture Hope pages together in a colorful book!

 

How to display coloring pages How to display coloring pages gallery wallHow to display coloring pages

We can’t wait to see what amazing display ideas you come up with!

Click here for other ways you can help Coronavirus relief charities.

30 Sidewalk Chalk and Hose Activities

Here’s our Ultimate Guide to Sidewalk Chalk Activities

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

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

Hose activities

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

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

PLAY

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

CLEAN

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

LEARN

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

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

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

How to Relieve Anxiety Quickly

Over the holiday season, a startling number of my loved ones had babies – they come in waves, you know. I couldn’t be there to support and celebrate with my friends and their new darlings, but I could create something for them. My gifts were simple patchwork quilts, but each fabric selection and design choice infused love into a gift for the somebodies I care for.

Making something tangible reminds me that I do have control over some things, and those are things to be grateful for. With this type of project, there’s a beginning, middle, and an end. I suppose that is true for everything. These days, I find a lot of comfort in knowing where I’m at in that process, trusting that whatever is happening will eventually come to a close. Until this is all over, turn to crafting!! Explore the list below for thoughtfully curated crafts designed to keep your hands busy and your anxiety at bay. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and follow the instructions (loosely or closely – you pick). The things you cannot control will melt away once your hands get going. 

Crafts involving repetition

The ultimate crafts for getting in the zone. After your get started your hands will quickly learn what to do. It is so peaceful to create something that takes just enough brain space to quiet your racing thoughts. But not so much focus it feels overwhelming.

Crafts involving repetition to relieve anxiety paper chain muralCrafts involving repetition to relieve anxiety embroidery thread color block wreath

Embroidery projects to do while watching Netflix

Most of our top favorite projects while staying at home have involved embroidery. It’s not messy, you can pause at any time and pick it up later, and any skill level can do it! The more we think about it, the more we realize embroidery is the ultimate craft!

Embroidery projects to do while watching Netflix to relieve anxiety Embroidery projects to do while watching Netflix to relieve anxiety

Crafts for your houseplants

Bringing new plant friends into your space instantly makes it more zen. Breath easier knowing you are growing right along with your houseplants. You know how talking to your plants is supposed to help them grow better? We’ve heard hand-making a new home for them has the same effect.

Anxiety-relieving crafts painted pots for houseplantsAnxiety relieving crafts houseplant vases with recycled egg cartons

Crafts with anxiety-relieving textures

Nothing is quite as satisfying as molding clay with your hands over and over. Ditch your phone screen and laptop keys for a while and pick up something more textural.

Crafts with anxiety-relieving textures DIY clay hair clips Crafts with anxiety-relieving textures rope necklace

Other ways to relieve stress

If your hands start to cramp or you’re just not feeling it, fret not! Lars is here to help with that too! In the last few weeks, I’ve picked yoga back up and it has done wonders for my state of mind and my mobility (I see you, fellow couch-dwellers). Pick up a new yoga mat and get started exactly where you are! 

 

If getting out of bed is too much some days, consider investing in a weighted blanket. Think of it as a remote hug from us to you, minus the sweat of this budding summer. 

For some extra relaxing cozy time – check out our list of 50 movies to watch while social distancing.

If coloring books are just your speed, check out these beauties! We are firm believers that everything in life should be lovely, and these designerly coloring books are proof. You can stop stealing Junior’s coloring books – join the party and get your own! 

 

No matter how you handle the curveballs of life, enjoy the game. The House That Lars Built is happy to help – we, like you, get by with a little help from our friends!

 

Mother’s Day Gifts the Kids Can Help With (and a sale!)

Mother’s Day gifts the kids can help with

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

Our Mother’s Day Activity Pack comes with everything the kids will need to make mom tear up with joy this year. Just print it off on your home printer and let your kids get busy!

Plus, this new activity kit is included in our Mother’s Day sale! Click here to find all our Mother’s Day printable gifts for 15% off!

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help withMother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with mothers day coupons

Since mom might not be able to go out to the spa, or get brunch with friends this year, these colorful coupon cards will make sure May 10th is still MOM’S DAY all day. Sometimes an hour of quiet time, or a very long nap, are the best gifts in the world.

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with Mother of the year awardMother's day activity pack coloring pages for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

After suddenly become the homeschool teacher, 24/7 chef, and endless entertainment with all her kids at home – mom’s everywhere deserve the Mother of the Year Award.

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's day gifts the kids can help withMother's day activity pack for Mother's day gifts the kids can help with #1 mom ribbon

Click here to see the full set!

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

Other Mother’s Day Projects

Whether you are slipping these projects to your children to surprise their mom with (along with breakfast in bed, of course!) Or you are still trying to find the perfect grown-up gift for your own mother. Here are our favorite projects from Mother’s Days past, pulled straight from our endless archives.

Mother's day gifts card with paper flowersmother's day flower cake toppers printable

Have you been eyeing our new paper flowers e-book but you’re nervous to try a whole bouquet? This Flower Bouquet Mother’s Day Card is the perfect first project! Slip in just a few paper flowers to the card vase to make it pop.

Or even easier, cut out these Paper Flower Cake Toppers and bake mom something sweet! Or top a tower of crepes with the flower toppers for an amazing breakfast in bed.

Mother's day gifts card with gift cardMother's day gifts card with gift card and paper flowers

These cards are both designed to attach a fun gift card so mom can treat herself! This blog post is a helpful reminder to check in on the emotional health of mothers you know. Especially brand new moms! The best way to really show your gratitude this year to let moms around you know you are there for them. Checking in on them sincerely and sending a gift card for a fun surprise is the perfect Mother’s Day combo! We now offer gift cards to our shop. So mom can pick out her favorite art print or start a new project!

May 10th is coming quickly! Check out our full Mother’s Day shop here!

Home Organization Tools and Tips for Spring Cleaning

We are in such an organizing mood right now, we arranged our favorite spring cleaning tools by room! Search for exactly what you need to make your home organization a million times easier.

Home office organization

There has never been a more vital time to update your home office. Click here to check out our tips on creating a home office that matches your personality and work style! And use these products below to turn your office into a space where the amazing ideas will just keep coming!

 

Our favorite organization tool

If you know anything about Lars, you know that we’re susceptible to piles of crafting supplies all over our studio! Creativity surely needs a little chaos! However, creativity needs structure as well, and that’s why we’re delighted to showcase our favorite organization product, our very own Dreambox from Create Room.

Perhaps you saw our earlier post about how much we love our Dreambox? We stuffed it full of craft supplies and it made our crafting a million times better, no exaggeration. That’s why we feel fully confident in recommending this product to you, to expedite your spring cleaning organization overhaul. You can fill it with crafting supplies, like we did, anything from paper and pens to sewing supplies!

Sale Alert

And the best news is, they’re having a sale RIGHT NOW! You can save over $600 on the Dreambox, including pre-built services and accessories. We smell a Mother’s Day gift! Click here and use code “LARSDREAMBOX600” for $200 off your Dreambox, $200 Pre-Built service (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio), and Up to $212 off accessories (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio.)

Honestly, there is no limit to what you can store in the Dreambox. It is the perfect tool to greater element of organization to your office, craft space, or homeschool stations. If anything, you should perhaps be planning for what you’ll fill all your freed-up space with after your spring cleaning! If you need more ideas, dig into our archives for decor-oriented crafts after you get organized!

Bedroom and bathroom organization

Your bedroom will become a calming sanctuary when clutter is out of site and out of mind.

Kid’s room organization

Your children will be begging to tidy their rooms with these fun new storage tools. At least, that’s the daydream, right?

Kitchen organization

The center of the home, and the biggest sign of the state of your mind. A tidy kitchen makes a world of difference!

Living room organization

With all family members at home more than ever before, add in some simple storage options to get everyone on board with a quick clean.

 

 

 

Coloring Books For All Ages (and a Sale!)

Coloring pages have proved themselves to be the perfect activity for all ages with all this new time at home. After launching Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book, so many of you have been filling your time with color, hope, and creating with your family members! We were floored when 64 artists from all over the world came together to create hours worth of coloring, and for a cause that impacts us all! ALL profits from Picture Hope are currently being donated to Save the Children Coronavirus Relief Fund. Our goal is to raise $5,000 for that amazing charity. Through our “donate what you can” option, when you download your own Picture Hope coloring book you help directly with reaching that goal. Once that goal is reached, we will pick a new charity to donate to!

You are all racing through Picture Hope so quickly we are already prepping our next coloring page project. Keep an eye out!

Coloring books for all ages

Stree Relief coloring book for adults flowers and cactus

Sale Alert

Our exclusive coloring books – Flowers and Cactus – are currently discounted at their lowest price ever! Use code COLOR25 at checkout for 25% off our Flowers and Cactus Coloring Books! (Through Wednesday 4/29.) In addition, this discount code applies to all of our individual coloring page downloads found here!

Printable Coloring Pages

Coloring Page downloads for social distancing at home

Browse our coloring page options to print off at home! Our collection includes this Mother and Daughter coloring page. Print it off just in time for Mother’s Day! All individual coloring pages are 25% now with code COLOR25!

Our Favorite Supplies for Coloring Pages

Coloring Books for Adults

Below you will find other stress-relieving coloring books for adults! We love this collection of coloring books inspired by artists, nature, and joy!

 

Coloring Books for Kids

We count these coloring books as art time, geography, history, and more during homeschooling! Our team handpicked these coloring books for kids to inspire learning and a love of the world around us. Order your kid’s their own and cross homeschool time off your to-do list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide For Every Kind of Mom

Start every gift with a handwritten note

Maybe your mother’s love language is a check-in on the phone every few days, or a chance to rest while you cook dinner, but we think there is something every mom has in common. A handwritten note from her kids will always be more treasured than anything physical. Choose from our new collection of Mother’s Day cards. We can mail a printed card for you if you can’t visit your mom in person this year, or you can print your own card at home!

Click here to see all of our new Mother’s Day cards!

Everything you need to bring mom breakfast in bed

 

An at-home spa day for mom

Give the gift of self-care and tell your mom you’ve got things covered while she rests. This classic Mother’s day gift never fails to bring a tear to mom’s eye. This year, fill her spa day gift basket with soothing bubble bath, a bright linen robe, and any of the other yummy smelling and looking items below! We all know a happy mom makes for a happy home! This is perfect way to pay homage to everything your mom did for you while you were growing up.

 

Mother’s Day gifts for the mom who loves to garden

Embroidered apron with a poppy flower for Mother's day gift guide ideas

Personalizing a gift with a theme lets your mom know you really thought of her needs and wants. Whether your mom had always flexed her green thumb, or she could use a new hobby, fill a gardening gift basket with a new flower embroidered apron, vases for her fresh cut blooms, and a shiny new watering can. Spending time outside, growing new plant friends, is the perfect de-stressing activity.

Fresh flower delivery for Mother’s Day

You can have any of these bouquets below delivered straight to your mom’s door in time for May 10th!

 

Color paper flower bouquet for weddings

Of course fresh flowers are always a great option, but if you’d rather give mom something that will last longer, make her a paper flower bouquet! Our Paper Flower E-book is out now! It contains ALL of our paper flower tutorials and templates at a discounting price. Fill your paper bouquet with your mom’s favorite flowers and colors, and she can keep it all year round!

Plan a movie night with your mom and sisters

When was the last time your mom got to pick the movie? Grab the popcorn, some floor cushions, and invite everyone over for girl’s night! Click here for our list of 50 inspiring movies to choose from!

Social distancing activities for mom

Right now, everyone is giving out ideas for how to keep the kids busy during social distancing. We don’t want moms to feel left behind! Having suddenly taken on countless new roles while everyone is stuck at home – homeschool teachers, 24/7 entertainment, chefs for every meal of the day, play time buddies – the need more some self-care is greater than ever. 2020 is really adding to the definition of super-mom. Give your mom the lifesaving gift of some social distancing activities just for her. A new book or a new craft project could be just what she needs right now.

Gift Cards

clever and funny Compliment cardsclever and funny Compliment cardsclever and funny Compliment cards

We now offer gift cards to our Shop! Slip in a virtual gift card so she can buy all the craft patterns and printables she wants.

Craft the Rainbow and guided journal for creatives for Mother's day gift guide ideasAdult coloring book for stress relief for Mother's day gift guide ideas

 

Mother’s Day gifts for the mom who loves to cook

Embroidered apron for Mother's day gift guide ideas

 

Other Mother’s Day gift ideas

No matter what kind of mother figure you are gifting this year, these bright and happy gifts are sure to bring a smile to her face!

Mother's day gift guide ideas

Click here to explore our full Mother’s Day shop!

Women Who Work: Lulie Wallace

Painter and textile artist Lulie Wallace

When did you know that art was your jam? 

As early as I can remember, I have always loved arts and crafts.  I wanted to be drawing, sewing, pasting, creating a lot more than I wanted to do homework. I loved the piano as a child and feel like I have always been somewhat of a creative problem solver.

Why is it important to you to create? 

This answer has really changed since becoming a mother. I consider painting and the ability to paint a giant gift. I used to just paint because I enjoy it and because it was my job and way to make money, now it really is an outlet for me as a mom to go to my studio and make art. There is still so much for me to explore in painting and I love that.

Painter and textile artist Lulie Wallace

Was there anyone along the way who helped shape you and your work?

A lot of people! The first people to come to mind are my boss, Beth, in college and my favorite professor at College of Charleston, Professor Peacock. I worked in a gift store that carried paper products, bags, jewelry from so many neat artists and graphic designers and I know that was pretty influential in what my eyes were taking in. My professor in college was also hugely encouraging, not just to me, but I feel to all of his students. He pushed you, but also could find something positive to say about anything you created. It is wild how gigantic just encouraging someone in their field of interest can be. I heard of different colleges where art students were criticized by professors and that hurt to hear because with a little encouragement, people can make/do some amazing things!

Although I currently paint in my studio alone, for about 10 years I worked right next to other artists. I think this was incredibly influential on my work ethic and style of painting. It is so much fun and motivating to paint right next to other artists. They were also amazing people to live life with on a daily basis…win/win!!

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

One of my greatest pieces of advice (that is almost the hardest to achieve) is to hone in on your style…work, work, work, work, and work on it some more! People say, “I could never be a painter” but my mentality really is if you wanted to do it so bad that you worked your butt off at it, then you could do it!! My other piece of advice is to find a mentor/apprenticeship/job of someone who is already successful in their craft. I think that is huge!

bright and happy home design

You can find Lulie here:

@luliewallace on Instagram

luliewallace.com 

(All photos were found on her site)

Women Who Work Interview Series

This interview series was inspired by our Women Who Work print by Libby VanderPloeg, found in the Lars Print Shop!Artist art print Women Who Work

Women who Work art print by Libby Vanderploeg

You can see our previous interviews: