Introducing…the interior designer for our new house!

Finding our dream designer

It’s rare that your friend is ALSO your dream designer–it’s a serious dream come true. And Meta has always been on board to do it, even when we discussed my theoretical house one day years ago while we were living in a basement apartment. Knowing that she was just as excited about our new house as I was, was such a relief. Meta lives and breaths interior design. It’s truly her passion and calling.

Meta has been designing the home of Hannah Carpenter and I’m all about it! See more here. Photo by Hannah Carpenter.

FAQ

You may be asking WHY I’m working with another interior designer when I studied and practiced it. Simple! And other designers might be able to speak to this too–when you do something for yourself, it TAKES AGES. It’s so hard to design for yourself because I definitely suffer from decision fatigue. PLUS, I haven’t truly practiced it in many many years. I know what I like, but here’s the thing: Meta knows how to push you into new territory and she’s not afraid of risks. I’m not either, so I cannot wait for this ride!

Meta’s philosophy

And here’s the thing–I’m not talking just coping a picture you see on Pinterest and putting it into your house. That’s easy. The magic of Meta is that she takes you and whoever else lives in the house, and uses some sort of design alchemy to produce something new. It all of a sudden becomes an art. She has a number of projects that she’s working on behind the scenes and it’s been so interesting to see her process and her drive to do something new and refreshing. I couldn’t imagine doing this without her.

This is Meta’s beautiful home, which is a beautiful refuge for her and her family. Photo by Meta Coleman.

We haven’t begun the process yet. In fact, she has a thorough questionnaire that she’s having us fill out, and I think we’re going to turn it into a video, so stay tuned! So, we are truly in the beginning stages, but I have a few things in mind already and I know she does too so we’ll see how they align.

Progess of our house

Admittedly, we moved into our house prematurely, but we thought we’d get in with the basics and then move on up from there. So, as soon as the faucet and bathrooms were in, we were too! And now it’s little things like doors…door knobs…things that you don’t realize make a difference but truly do. We’re still a ways away from comfort levels, but all in good time I suppose.

I love this sweet bathroom she designed. Photo by Meta Coleman.

Finally designing the house!

As we continue to wait upon the small things, I’ve found myself sneaking in some “dream” moments, aka moments that get my excited for the next stage because heavens knows I haven’t entered back into that head space since the moment I laid eyes on this house years ago. We got a vanity for our main bedroom that I’m VERY excited about. It’s even better in person (and the quality is superb!) but I’ll be talking more about that later and with such a statement piece as that, it’s lead me down the rabbit hole of…you guessed it, WALLPAPERS! So, yes, you’ll be seeing a lot more soon.

I’ve spent much time in her home office here. Photo by Meta Coleman.

Another thing to note is that her style of designing a home is one that is more organic where we can find out how we live in the space and then enhance its use and function all combined with aesthetics. It’s not FAST fashion, errr: design, but a style that is intentional and thoughtful, which aligns perfectly with my beliefs too.

She worked on the home of our other dear friend, Eva Jorgensen and her husband Kirk. I LOVE this moody room! 

I can’t wait to share the full process with you. Like I mentioned, I don’t promise speed, but I don’t promise beautiful results and I know that will be the case because I have Meta on board. Stay tuned for more! And let me know if you have any questions along the way!

You can find Meta here:

Meta Coleman Portfolio
Meta Coleman Instagram
You can read more about Meta Coleman here in this interview

Indoor and Outdoor Family Activities During Social Distancing

Outdoor activities for the whole Family

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

outdoor family activities during social distancing

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

Family Crafts and Projects

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

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

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

Indoor Family Games

Indoor Family Activities During Social Distancing

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

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

 

Puzzles for all ages

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

 

Other Quarantine Activity Ideas

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

78 Creative Quarantine Homeschool Activities For Kids

Creative things to do during your Quarantine

Creative challenge to do with your kids at home

How to Make a Foil Balloon Arch

We have big things happening here, and I’m not only talking about all our product launches lately, but specifically with one of our team members, my sister, Caitlin. Caitlin is our product designer and all the pretty things you see coming from our shop is because of her. Caitlin is also expecting twins this January! And she already has a one year old! Gah! We are stoked for her (and realizing the babysitting game will be stepped up!). Multiple babies mean big celebrations and we couldn’t help but go all out for Caitlin’s baby shower. We had to create the most beautiful balloon installation your eyes have ever seen. 

You might remember our first balloon arch that we did just a little over six years ago (six years! Where does the time go?!) I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to try out a new technique and Caitlin’s twin s were the perfect excuse. I had the vision and luckily our friends at Anagram provided the Balloons and the balloon arch was in motion. This balloon arch is different from any arch we have done before for a few reasons: 

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

How to make writing in your journal fun and creative

Why should I write in a journal?

Baby prompts journal with promptly

We have all been told the importance of writing in a journal for our posterity’s sake. If this is the reason you write, I admire you for it! Preserving history and making sure your great-grand kids know what it was like during the COVID-19 pandemic and the beginning of tik tok is a noble reason to keep a diary. Though for some of us this motivation wanes from time to time, and we find our personal history missing some pretty major gaps.

For me, I have found I am the most consistent with writing when I make it a creative project. This post is full of tips on how to make your journal writing more fun and creative, and we think it will keep you more motivated than ever! Keeping a diary can be a creative outlet that helps you  get pumped up in the morning or wind down at the end of the day. It can help you learn discipline making good habits.

How writing in a journal can improve your art

I remember reading the book Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron which discusses the importance of “morning pages.” The idea is that, first thing when you wake up, you write at least 3 pages of stream of consciousness in your notebook. No thinking of making sense, just writing whatever (whatever!) comes to your mind. Doing this regularly unlocks your creativity and trains your mind to let ideas flow freely. I love this idea! It takes all of the pressure out of writing daily.

Different types of journals

If you are stuck on page 2, it’s possible you aren’t using the right kind of journal for you! Try out a new kind from the list below:

Writing prompts

My Life In Color a creative and colorful guided journal

Wreck This Journal

(And other journal books you get to color in!)

Photo books

Write one line a day

Travel journals

If writing daily feels like too much right now, stick to travel books instead! Find one that will be sturdy enough to stay nice in your carry-on, reflects the place you are visiting, and fill it with memorabilia and travel stories to tell your friends back home!

how to improve your handwriting for journaling

Different ways to fill in your journal

If you’re the queen of filling up the first few pages of a notebook never to touch it again, I feel you. I see you. No one wants a journal that jumps from 8th grade to Senior prom to their wedding day; so when we find an old (and mostly blank) book it’s hard to find the motivation to start writing in it again. Though there are not many feelings better than starting a fresh crisp new notebook, our hope is that with this complete journal guide we can all start a brand new diary and then actually stick with it! And remember, when you reach the end you can reward yourself once again with another beautiful empty book.

The key to filling an entire journal is remembering this is meant to be a mod podge book filled with your growth, mistakes, good days, and everything in between. No one’s life is free of spilled milk and mascara stains, and your journal shouldn’t be either! As a recovering perfectionist, even I can promise that a full messy journal is a much bigger accomplishment than a half empty perfect looking one.

If you are having trouble overcoming your desire for perfectly dotted i’s and margins free of doodles – try this: abandon your perfectionism in at least one area of your life – your diary. Doodle to your hearts content. Bring your notebook with you to the breakfast table and don’t worry about spilling your coffee. Fill your book full of ticket stubs and anxious scribbles.

If we are overwhelming you, take a deep breath. There is a more structured way you can learn to love a messy journal – this Brave New World journal is filled with prompts to help unleash your inner artist. Baby steps, baby steps.

Try these creative ways to fill your journal

Doodling

While trying to jog your memory of what happened this morning, don’t be afraid to doodle in the margins, or fill the entire page! This snapshots in time say just as much about your current self as your words do. Draw a daily flower in your notebook and use this to keep yourself on track with writing!

Bullet points

Don’t stress over a novel of your day, just write at least a few key bullet points at the end of your day and call it good! If that’s all you can do, it’s a great place to start. Before you know it you’ll find yourself wanting to write more and more!

Collect recipes

If writing or doodling aren’t really your things, figure out what is! One idea is to gather family recipes and write down the memory you have attached to them. Making and writing our the recipe for your mom’s infamous chocolate cake is sure to start a flood of memories you’ll be itching to get down on paper. Try keeping a notebook dedicated to recipe related memories!

Baby boy's first birthday party

For Jasper’s first birthday I filled his baby book with photos, pins, and other paper momentos from his party! I can’t wait to show him when he is older.

Our favorite journals

Hardcover

Simple ruled

Dotted

Bullet

Unruled

This colorblock journal is customizable, comes in multiple color choices and page options!

Customizable

Journals for kids

Stickers

We promised you ways to make writing more fun, so of course we had to include stickers!

These habit forming stickers are such a fun way to keep yourself accountable (for more habits than just writing daily!)

Journal supplies

Hold all of your journaling supplies in this folio! These pastel pens are on sale in our shop now for a limited time!

Craft the Rainbow full set

All of the items in the photo above are on sale right now for Craft the Rainbow month! Click here to see the sale and start your own My Life in Color journal! 

How to Turn Fabric into Vinyl

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Fabric into Vinyl

I hunted religiously for a changing basket I loved and found it with this one from Design Dua. It’s so beautiful! It came with a little muslin liner with a zipper over some foam and of course, Baby J was like “I want to get my bodily fluids all over that thing!” I washed the liner and attempted to put it back on when I realized that it’s not really a liner meant for constantly taking on and off. So, I started to think of liners that I could make myself. After an unsuccessful attempt to find some cute oil cloth patterns to create a custom changing basket cover, I knew we had to get creative. I did some homework and came across a product that essentially allows you to laminate fabric. You take any woven cotton fabric and some iron-on vinyl, add some heat, and you’ve got a wipeable, easily cleanable material! We made a liner to fit perfectly into the changing basket in Jasper’s room and it’s made such a difference! Using this material has gotten my wheels turning. This isn’t even a sponsored post, folks! I’m just genuinely stoked! I’m thinking about making custom placemats and a sweet zipper pouch next! Anyone else ever used this miracle worker?

Continue to see how we turned Fabric into vinyl! 

DIY Mushroom Playmat

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This mushroom playmat is perfect for the little baby needing an adorable place to rest its head. I love that it’s totally washable, too. Don’t worry about all that spit up coming your way! It’ll look as good as new with a quick wash (just make sure to hang it to dry–don’t put this little rug in the dryer). What do you think?! Ha! Such a sweetie pie. Here’s how to make one:

DIY Mushroom Playmat

DIY Mushroom Playmat

Prep Work

Prepping the Pattern

  1. First, download and print the pattern. You can find it here!
  2. Lay out all the pattern pieces in a grid, according to the numbering system. The A’s are the first row, B’s second row, C’s third row, etc. When you print, there will be a small white border around each piece of paper–simply disregard or cut it off.
  3. Line up the pattern pieces as closely as you can to the seam allowance and tape. We would suggest laying out all the pieces first, then taping when it’s all lined up.
  4. Now, go ahead and cut the pattern pieces out along the outside line of the seam allowance.

Prepping/Cutting your Fabric

  1. Prewash your fabric and gently press it.
  2. When your fabric is pressed and ready to use, lay out your fabric. Make sure there are no bumps or wrinkles.
  3. Next, gently lay the pattern pieces on top of the fabric they belong to.
  4. Pin down the pattern pieces to the fabric.
  5. Now, cut each pattern piece out of the fabric using scissors or a rotary cutter.

Prepping the Batting

  1. To prep your batting, lay out your piece of batting. Smooth it out to make sure there are no wrinkles.
  2. Next, take the fabric piece labeled “back” and lay it out on top of the batting.
  3. Cut out the batting along the shape of the mushroom.

Sewing your Mushroom Playmat Together

Sewing the Front Pieces

  1. Take the mushroom pieces labeled “facing: mushroom top” and “facing: under mushroom” and with right sides together, pin them along the central edge (this will give you the two pieces of the front of the mushroom). For help knowing how to align the two pieces, see the finished photos for reference.
  2. Next, take the piece labeled “facing: mushroom bottom” and fold the flat edge (the top) under a 1/4 inch to hem. Using the piece labeled “back” as a reference, hem the sides 1/4″ from the top hem down until the sides meet the stem on the “back” piece.
  3. Now you’re ready to add the stem to the front of the mushroom. With the right side face up (hems tucked neatly underneath), sew the piece labeled “facing: mushroom bottom” to the right side of the stem portion of the two pieces you just sewed together.
  4. Top stitch the hemmed portion of the stem to the front for a nice, clean finish.
  5. You should now have an entire mushroom front piece!

 

Assembling the Mushroom

Now you’re ready to assemble all the pieces of the mushroom together!

  1. To do this, lay the front piece of the mushroom down (face up) and smooth out any wrinkles.
  2. Then, lay the back piece of the mat down on top of the front piece (face down). smooth the wrinkles. The two pieces should be right sides together.
  3. Now place the batting on top of the two pieces of fabric. Smooth it out to make sure there are no bumps or wrinkles.
  4. Baste stitch the edge of the three layers together as well as sections in the middle. Make sure to leave a 6-7” opening so you can flip your mushroom right side out.
  5. After it’s basted, you can sew around the edge, following your basting line. Remember to leave that opening so you can flip the mushroom.
  6. Trim your edges when you’re done sewing.
  7. Now flip the mushroom right side out and hand stitch the opening closed.
  8. Gently press the edges flat.

Finishing Touches

  1. To finish up, use your embroidery thread to gently hand stitch the top of the mushroom where the two pieces meet. Tie it off in the back.
  2. Take another piece of embroidery thread and hand stitch a few lines onto the belly of the mushroom. Use the photos as a reference to see where we stitched the lines. Again, tie it off in the back.

Free Phone and Desktop Wallpaper Downloads from Craft the Rainbow

free rainbow phone and desktop wallpaper downloads

Free phone wallpaper downloads

We loved creating these free downloadable wallpapers just as much as creating Craft the Rainbow. If you haven’t read it before, you’ll want to! As I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s the ultimate stay-at-home companion, which is something we all might need right now. And now, for the first time ever, it is available for your Kindle for super cheap too I might add.

Quarantine boredom is no joke, but what better solution is there than crafting? We created these downloadable wallpapers as we were inspired by Craft the Rainbow, so who knows what you could be inspired to? Let that simmer in your thoughts as you look through each colorful wallpaper, and choose what speaks to you the most. Inspiration can be found in the darndest places, and here at Lars, sometimes it’s a sweet background photo.

These were one of my favorite parts of creating the book with my friend, photographer Chaunte Vaughn. We spent A LOT of time making them. Ha! I wanted each chapter to show the love I have of it through finding all the beautiful craft supplies in that color. Some of the beautiful objects were provided by friends and crafters from around the world including Ruth Ribeaucourt of The French Muse, who sent me a huge supply of beautiful objects from Provence. To me, they made the book!

Chaunte was so patient making these with me. We shot it in January when we had shorter light to work with so we had to RACE to get them done.

free phone wallpaper downloads

Free desktop wallpaper downloads

Check out these new wallpapers as soon as you can, and let us know which one was your fav! Unless all of them were, in which case you’ll want to download them all! Look through the shop today for the free downloads, and let Craft the Rainbow keep inspiring you for the rest of the month (or maybe the rest of your life!)

free rainbow desktop wallpaper downloadsfree rainbow desktop wallpaper downloads

The artist behind these rainbow wallpapers

These beautiful background canvases in each the images were created for Craft the Rainbow by artist Rachel Kiser Smith. She added so much texture and vibrancy that we’ve been using the backgrounds for shoots ever since.

We love her work so much and wanted to introduce her to you! Here amazing use of color and texture fills the pages of Craft the Rainbow and we couldn’t be happier about it. Read through her interview below to get to know Rachel, and to see more of her process while creating for our book!

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

Artist, creative, dabbler

Who helped you “become” who you are?

My Mom always had a creative project going and supplies to share. As an adult, friends who are also making art have been important to me. And can I say authors? I love reading anything on the creative process.

Do you feel like you’ve arrived at what you set out to do?

Yes and no. Perhaps the heart has secret dreams that will always keep me from feeling like I’ve arrived. But just starting to make work and share it on Instagram (after years of hiding) was an arrival of sorts. I remember the thrilling feeling when I realized that I was working with people I’d admired for a long time.

What more would you like to “become”?

Speaking of secret dreams . . . ha! I want to be a children’s book author and illustrator!

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I took a bit of a meandering path in college and ended up with a double major in Spanish and Visual Arts. Spanish may seem inapplicable, but I think reading, analyzing, and writing about beautiful works of literature has had as much influence of my creativity as the art classes I took.

What’s your work space like?

When we moved into our house, we turned the formal living room into a creative space. It has a wall filled with art supplies and another with books. Usually the whole family shares a big table in the middle, but since having the kids home full time for distance learning, we’ve brought in another table just for me. That’s been a game changer.

Did you always have an ultimate plan?

No, and I still don’t! When I begin on a project or painting, I just have to start making stuff. The ideas come as I begin. I think careers can be like that too.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in a creative field?

Protect your creative time from yourself. Part of you will come up with any excuse to not create. Commit to editing and researching later.

What’s inspiring you lately?

Amy Merrick’s book On Flowers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels, reading The Wind in the Willows to my kids, and watching the caterpillars in our yard.

Where you can find Rachel’s other work

@rachelkisersmith on Instagram

Her work for sale on Minted

Shop the Rainbow

Many of our Craft the Rainbow items, like journals, our guided journal My Life in Color, and more are still on sale! Shop the entire rainbow here and gear up for your quarantine creativity!

My Life in Color guided journal for creatives

Earth Day: Recycled cardboard sun

Earth Day Recycled cardboard project

Social distancing has brought a damper to everyone’s lives, but as springtime sets in, we thought that it was time to create some sunshine! These fun cardboard suns are eco-friendly, since they utilize a reusable material. What a fun idea for a kid craft in quarantine, especially on Earth Day! We imagined that many have a ton of cardboard cluttering up space while we all try to order things online to keep social distancing. Delivery boxes can be reused and transformed to make something that will brighten up everyone’s day. Plus, any kind of crafting gets the hands moving and the mind creating, and since you can design your sun any way you like (depending on how much cardboard you have!). Frankly, we just think crafting is good for you, and this is an easy craft that we think anyone will enjoy doing. You might want to create a handful of little suns to scatter sunshine around your house, or maybe try to create a huge sun to hang in your favorite place!make a cardboard sun with recycled materials

Whatever you plan to do, we are sure that this sustainable, eco-friendly craft is a fun way to spend your Earth Day! If you’re looking for an easy kid craft during quarantine that teaches both creativity AND the importance of recycling, this is the one for you! Hey, maybe you could even take it a step further and turn craft time into a science lesson while teaching from home. The sun’s the limit! And who could fail to smile when the sun’s smiling back at them!

How to make a cardboard sun

For the design, we referenced Alexander Girard’s famous suns, but made it our own. You can find the templates here.

Instructions:

  1. Print out the template and cut out the pieces.
  2. Trace the patterns onto your desired location and cut out.
  3. Assemble together with glue or strong tape.

Easy squeezy!

Sun puzzle

You could even turn the sun into a puzzle by having the child arrange the pieces on the sun shape. Jasper LOVED doing that!

Sun art

OR, hang it up as artwork! You could even put it up as a wreath on your door or in your window for all to see.

make a cardboard sun with recycled materialsmake a cardboard sun with recycled materials

Show us what you’re making for Earth Day by tagging us with #LarsMakes or #LarsQuarantineCreativity.

2 baby nursery projects using the Cricut Maker and Explore

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As you know from Monday’s post, Paul and I are thrilled to be having a baby boy in January. I didn’t think I could love anything besides baby girl accessories (aka: flowers and smocked dresses and stockings!), but the more I research, the more I’m really into getting into the whole baby boy vibe. It’s not where I would have gone naturally, but so far it’s been a fun challenge. We wasted no time in starting our preparations and today we teamed up with Cricut to showcase their brand new Maker machine versus their Explore machine, which we already love so much.
Use these templates to create this DIY stuffed whale

Here’s the thing about the new Maker machine: with their new rotary blade, you can cut out fabric! GAME CHANGER! Just think: patterns for dresses, blouses, kids toys, and STUFFED WHALES! Not only that, but soon with their knife blade you’ll be able to cut out wood. I attended their release party in July and I was truly impressed with its capabilities. One medium I’m particularly excited about is the holy grail, CREPE PAPER. You better believe that we’ll be putting our machine to work non-stop. In fact, we have a holiday garland in the works using the Maker.

We’ve contrasted this with their Explore machine, which we still love for it’s capabilities with paper, particularly cardstock and vinyl. We created this paper ship entirely out of Cricut templates, which you can download and create on any Cricut machine. I can’t wait to put it up in our nursery. And to think it’s all been done using the Cricut machine! I’m just tickled….blue!

DIY paper ship with free templates

Get the templates below! 

Video Conference Cards (and free Zoom backgrounds!)

Printable Video Conference Cards

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

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

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

Zoom Meeting signal cards

Free Zoom backgrounds

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

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

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

DIY Apple Paper Lunch Sack for Back to School

Show your love with this DIY teacher’s gift

Did you ever hand your schoolteacher an apple? I don’t actually think I gave them apples, but I definitely did my fair share of brown-nosing teachers when I was in school. For most of the sixth grade, I ate lunch in the teacher’s lounge. I thought I was so cool. Those of you adept in middle school sociology know that this made me very uncool. Regardless, thanking the teachers in your life is an important thing to do! They do an incredibly important job, and now more than ever I recognize their value. Maybe you can send Junior to class with a teacher’s gift in an adorable DIY Paper Lunch Sack.

DIY teacher's gift for back to school

Homeschool? Hooray!

Shout out to any parents homeschooling for the first time this fall. Your students are certainly the apples of your eye, and they couldn’t have picked a more loving teacher! If you’re hesitant to dive back into the fray, relax for a moment with the kids and make this easy DIY Paper Lunch Sack! The activity itself is fun, relaxing, and great for connecting as a family. An added bonus is how excited you all will be to whip out your custom lunch bags!

Regardless of how your family approaches education, many of you are heading back to the books in the next few weeks. I apple-aud you! (If you are still deciding what to do, our 78 favorite homeschool activities might help you decide!) After the never-ending summer of heat, I’m tempted to head to a classroom myself for a dose of that frigid A/C. I hope this cute bag we came up with will make the first day of school special. And it’s honestly so simple and affordable. It’s super easy and is a great way to get into the school season. I’ve also used these DIY Paper Lunch Sacks as custom gift bags for teachers, friends, neighbors, whomever! We even have a cute video on our YouTube Channel to show you the ropes. (Have you subscribed yet?!) How ya like them apples?

DIY apple lunch sack for back to school

We were partly inspired by Rebecca Thuss’ cute paper cherry to create the adorable leaf perfect for topping the bag.

How to make your DIY Paper Lunch Sack

Materials:
Instructions:
  1. Draw an outline of an apple near the base of the lunch sack
  2. Fill in outline with red acrylic paint
  3. Add a curved line to look like a shiny reflection on the apple with white acrylic paint
  4. Cut out two leaf shapes from white crepe paper
  5. With black acrylic, paint leaf veins on both white crepe leaves
  6. Glue both crepe leaves together with floral wire sandwiched in the middle. Makes sure to leave enough wire on the bottom to poke leaf into bag
  7. Twist top of lunch sack and insert leaf
    DIY apple lunch sackDIY apple lunch sack for back to school for a DIY teacher's gift

Photography by Anna Killian