Snacks For Kids and Jasper’s Cooking Show

To be quite honest, finding snacks for kids isn’t very hard in my household because Jasper does all the finding himself. 🙄 He’s been known to eat an entire stick of butter, chunks of garlic (why??), whole tubs of ice cream (though who can blame him)…you get the idea. Say what you will about the boy, he’ll never starve!

Jasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Still, I’d rather he ate food a little less…chaotically. Like, wouldn’t it be nice if instead of just finding an empty butter wrapper and lots of greasy fingerprints, then putting together the clues I handed him a plate of something healthy? Even better, wouldn’t it be nice if Jasper were able to assemble some reasonable food on his own? It sounds pretty great to me.

Jasper holds a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. His hands are in focus.

I know that it can be hard to think up intentional snacks for kids when you have a hangry toddler hanging onto your leg. So why not give the toddler some ideas so he can come up with his own snacks? Nothing could go wrong, right?

Without further ado, I present:

Cooking with Jasper: Ants on a Log

Watch me teach Jasper to make my culinary magnum opus, ants on a log!

It will probably be a few years before I can set Jasper free in the kitchen with total confidence (did you see that knife grab? 😮 Yikes!!). Still, ants on a log is definitely a snack that kids can make without too much help.

My 5 go-to snacks for kids

Ants on a log

  1. Wash and slice celery into 3-4 inch lengths.
  2. Spread some peanut butter into the celery divot.
  3. Top with raisins. Tadaa!

ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.

Apples and cheese

  1. Slice your favorite cheddar cheese.
  2. Slice some apples.
  3. Put the cheese on the apples. A salty and sweet symphony.

Snack-uterie board

Okay, this one takes some more time. But I’d much rather arrange food than actually cook it, so I don’t mind.

  1. Gather your and your kid’s favorite snacks. I like using crackers, dried and sliced fruit, a few cookies, popcorn, cheeses, a few candies, and some sliced ham.
  2. Arrange your treats on the board. This is where the craftiness kicks in!
  3. Enjoy the tasty spread of snacks and treats together.

Snack-uterie boards are perfect for movie nights, game nights, or other times when the family is all sitting around and snacking. Check out my most recent one, the Char-boo-terie board, and my original Painted Charcuterie board.

a painted charcuterie board loaded with colorful snacks.A ghost-shaped halloween snack board on a black background.

Babybel and wheat thins

You know those babybel cheeses that come in the cute red wax wrappers? I think they’re great snacks for kids because they’re compact and don’t require any knives or slicing, and they’re delicious. They’re delicious, and the wax wrappers are also fun to model into little shapes.

  1. Unwrap your cheese.
  2. Use a stiff cracker (like a wheat thin) to chop of some of the cheese, and enjoy.

hummus with pita strips, carrots, and celery

  1. Spoon some hummus into a bowl.
  2. Slice a few pitas into strips or triangles (bonus points if you toast them first, but it’s not necessary).
  3. Wash and slice a few carrots and celery sticks into 3-4 inch sticks.
  4. Dip, then relish the combination of creamy and crunchy.

Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.ants on a log on a white ceramic plateJasper wearing a striped white and blue shirt and an apron at a wooden kitchen table holding a stick of celery with peanut butter and raisins. He's smiling impishly.Brittany and Jasper smiling at the camera in front of a plate of ants on a log.

What are your go-to snacks for kids? I’d love to hear what your favorites are (and add them to my snacking arsenal)!

Char-boo-terie Halloween Snack Board

Our char-boo-terie board is a Halloween snack board in the shape of a ghost! It’s perfect for movie nights and Halloween parties, but hey–I’m not going to stop you from eating it for dinner.

Closeup of a ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really not a fan of cooking. It’s just not my thing. But I do love snacks! So rather than cooking up a meal, I arranged some snacks into a cute ghost-shaped char-boo-terie Halloween snack board!

You can easily make a char-boo-terie board, too!

Closeup of a ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

Make Your Own Halloween Snack Board

You’ll need:

A wooden cutting board and an assortment of white snacks. We used yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, rice cakes, goat cheese, pita wedges, sliced cheese, crackers, and ghost-shaped potato crisps, then Oreos (or a similar cookie) for the eyes and mouth. Trader Joe’s is your friend here.

Closeup of a ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

Instructions:

  1. Place a stack of 2-3 oreos where you want each eye. Make a pile of cookies where you want the ghost’s gaping mouth.
  2. Arrange white snacks in a ghost shape around the eyes and mouth.
  3. Consider what flavors you want touching each other. We used neutral-tasting foods like jicama and rice cakes to separate our sweet and savory snacks.

Enjoy your boo-tiful Halloween snack board!

Closeup of a ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

More Inspiration

Because charcuterie refers to a specific kind of meat, I’ve started calling my boards “snack-uterie” boards. Do you think it will stick? Either way, you can see my first Kids Charcuterie Board here.

If you’re looking for more Halloween inspiration, you’ll find lots in our Halloween shop! I also recommend these easy Halloween ideas and this post about how to get into the Halloween spirit!

A ghost shaped Halloween snack board. It includes oreos, yogurt-covered pretzels, merengues, jicama, white chocolate chips, pita slices, ghost-shaped potato crisps, rice puffs, cheese, goat cheese, and crackers.

Becoming Katie Kortman

Katie Kortman wearing bright prink and blue pands and a blouse standing by the ocean.

Meet Katie Kortman

Katie Kortman is a fashion designer, fabric designer, painter, teacher and dancing queen. She creates abstract paintings which she turns into fabric, sews into fabulous clothes, and then dances in them around her living room (and now sells them!). She is originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, but currently resides with her husband and 4 children in Japan. Katie is one of 16 designers competing on Season 19 of Project Runway. 

Editorial photo of women modeling Katie Kortman's vibrant designs.

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

I consider myself an artist who loved fashion so much that she became a Fashion ARTIST! I guess at this point I’m a designer. My careers and creative avenues have changed and morphed over the years from Fine Artist to teacher, but I guess now I’m a designer! 

Katie wears a pink, red, green, and cream dress with red clogs. She's standing with her arms raised to demonstrate the dress bodice and sleeve flowiness.

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

I grew up in South Florida and attended a school for the arts from 7th to 12th grade. I got to be immersed in that creative environment during my formative years and it showed me that I am most happy when I am creating. I couldn’t have pursued any other path than a creative one. My mom always told me I could do “anything I put my mind to” and I think that has been in my subconscious all these years. I truly believe I can do anything if I work hard enough! 

Katie Kortman modeling one of her outfits: a vibrant pink overjacket and pink and green pants.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I dreamt of being a fashion designer, product designer, or graphic designer. When I got to college though…. I studied PAINTING! 

Is there a person who has been influential in your chosen career path? 

I think the fact that my husband is in the Navy and we move every 1-3 years has caused me to constantly change what I do. If we’d lived a normal live-in-one-place life, I would probably still be a high school art teacher, because I really loved that! I like that living all over the world has caused me to try different things out and evolve so much.

A collaged photo of Katie in three different eclectic outfits with a painterly, bold background.

What sparked your interest in fashion? 

I subscribed to every teen fashion magazine in high school and ripped out ads for all my favorite colorful playful ads to inspire me. Over the years I found that the stores didn’t have quite what I wanted…Not enough color, not enough fun! So… I started sewing my own clothes. 

Katie Kortman modeling a vibrant dress and holding fabric plants in front of a pink wall

What are three words to describe your style?

Bright, Bold, Playful. 

A woman models a dress next to a red building. The dress is pink with large abstract shapes in magenta, blue, cobalt, and bright green.

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

I have a BFA degree in Drawing in Painting and a Master of Arts in teaching. I spent years studying color, and all the elements and principles of design. All of my art studying and training definitely influenced my entire career path! 

Katie works on a yellow jacket while standing by a dress model. Katie's wearing a pink, red, yellow, and green colorful dress.

Have you ever made a big career switch? If so, what prompted that? Are there aspects of a prior career that you incorporate into what you do now?

My main job has been my kids since I had my first 12 years ago, and I’ve had a bunch of different jobs while doing that! I was a display artist for Anthropologie straight out of my undergrad, sold paintings in art galleries, got a masters and taught high school art, owned my own hair accessories business, taught paint and sip classes out of my home while living in Bahrain, taught high school art again, became a fabric designer, and recently became a fashion designer! It’s been an evolution for sure. 

Editorial photo of women modeling Katie Kortman's vibrant designs.

What inspired you to become a fashion designer?

After years of sewing, and 3 years of exclusively sewing my own clothes, I went on Project Runway. In my youth I’d dreamed of being a fashion designer, but I hadn’t spoken that dream out loud in a very long time because I never thought It could happen without a fashion degree. After filming the show this summer, I was completely driven to pursue fashion, not just for myself.  I came home and immediately began working to get a line ready to launch in the fall! 

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

Just going on Project Runway. It was a DREAM come true!!!!

Katie stands by a dress model working on a green blazer design.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

They come as I work. I pull out fabrics and play with them as I sew, seeing what they want to become. 

How do you make social connections in the creative realm?

I joined Instagram purely to connect to other creatives and to have conversations about the things I was making. I appreciate having that platform for this reason! 

Editorial photo of women modeling Katie Kortman's vibrant designs.

How has social media influenced your work?

If it weren’t for social media, I wouldn’t have ever been “discovered,” and therefore been compelled to learn fabric design, and the casting people for PR wouldn’t have reached out to me to try out for the show! I owe so much to social media! 

Katie on a beach wearing a pink and blue bathing suit she designed. It has two pieces, and the top is a 3/4 length sleeve tankini. The bottom is high waisted.

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

Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, and Matthew Ritchie are some of my favorite artists, and I really admire Rachel Burke of @Imakestagram, Michelle Norris of @tropicophoto, and so many others.

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

Project Runway season 19 of course!!!!!!!! And I am part of a book club so we read all different things which I love. I would stick to similar types of books if it weren’t for book clubs that pushed me to read something else! And I love hip-hop music the very most, but when I need to get pumped up I often put on Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, or the Beatles (music my dad raised me on!). 

A model wears Katie's pink overjacket with a yellow top underneath and white pants with colorful details. The backdrop is pink with yellow and pink rectangles.

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

My mom told me “You can do anything you put your mind to.” And I have carried that with me my whole life. It is so ingrained in my mind, that I have never even questioned that advice! There have been a few things in my life that I couldn’t MAKE happen just because I tried hard though, and that was very frustrating! Haha. 

What is your workspace like? Has it changed at all since the beginning of the pandemic last year? 

I have a nice open studio space in my home, right off the living room and kitchen. I like to be able to work while also spending time with my family, so I always keep my space in a central locale. My creative space changes every time I move, and during the pandemic I moved a crossed the world to Japan. In my current space I have these pretty Shoji doors that let in translucent light, and I love them! I love my room to be neat and tidy, but when I’m knee-deep in projects it’s rarely that way!

Katie Kortman and her kids sit around a sewing machine and work on a project.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

My surroundings influence me only in how inspired I feel to create. Most of my inspiration comes from within, so I can be creative anywhere. But having a lot of natural light and space is really important for me to feel energized to create! 

Describe some habits that keep you motivated and productive. How do you climb out of a creative slump?

I love routines and I hate wasting time. I always have projects out and ready to be worked on, so that if a moment presents itself I can work on something. I usually have “to-go” projects ready, sewing projects, and phone projects. So you might catch me at a girl’s night sewing on buttons, at swim practice cutting out patterns, or at a kid’s doctor’s appointment editing photos on my phone. No time is wasted if I can help it! I also make sure I workout every morning. I work really hard for about an hour or so, and that really does provide the energy and fuel to get me through the day! 

Katie Kortman wearing rainbow striped pants, blue boots, and a blue blazer with lines and dots.

What is a typical day like for you? 

I am up at 6 to get my kids to school, then I workout for 60-75 minutes, shower, get dressed and get my youngest to Yochien. Then I work until I have to pick up the youngest from school , and I get about 30 more minutes to work before the rest come home. After that, I do bits and pieces of work in between homework and dinner time! I often work after they go to bed as well. I try to be in my bed by 10:30! 

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

The internet is your best friend right now! In-person classes are the best, but if that’s not an option, there are so many places to learn. I am self-taught at sewing, fashion design, and fabric design and some of those things I learned from internet classes! 

Katie wears a blue dress with painterly yellow marks and red details. Her earrings are yellow, her headband is blue with red splotches, and she's wearing blue and green wedge sandals with red and yellow socks underneath.

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

I just did a sprint triathlon on a whim last weekend (we signed up less than a week before and didn’t have time to train for it), and I loved it SO MUCH that now I’m working to actually train for one! I am looking to get a road bike, which is NOT as easy as the Townie bike I rode for the triathlon! Haha. SO that will be a skill I’m working on! I also learned to knit during the pandemic and I’m continuing to work on that skill! 

Katie poses under a sheer magenta piece of clothing.

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

I saved up money from all the blogging, IG “Influencer” gigs, and Fabric Designing and didn’t spend anything because I wanted to save it for something in the future. I wasn’t sure what it would be for, as I was saving it, but I knew I’d want to launch something in the future (I’d been saving for about 2 years). I used this money, plus some money from our family account, to fund my Fall 2021 Collection! 

A model wearing a green Katie Kortman blazer with a pink, white, and blue top underneath. She has a headdress made of fabric leaves and she's standing by a pink and yellow wall.

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

I feel like I’m just now becoming a Fashion Designer, and never in my wildest dreams did I think that would ever happen. I have so much to learn and so I would still like to work on becoming a legit Fashion Designer!!!

What is your long-term goal?

I have no idea. Umm….. I’d like to do a runway show at NYFW??? I’d like to expand my business to greater levels, and have it sold in Brick and Mortar stores… maybe even Anthropologie?

Katie Kortman modeling a vibrant dress she's designed.

More Inspiration

Make sure you follow Katie Kortman on Instagram @KatieKortmanArt and @KatieKortmanClothing so you can keep up with her exciting work. You can also sign up for her newsletter here to be among the first to see her new clothing line coming out this fall!

You can also read more Becoming interviews here. If you’re especially interested in fashion, you’ll love reading about Stacey Fraser, Romy-Krystal Cutler, and Whitney Lundeen.

A woman models one of Katie Kortman's designs – a blue and purple dress– while holding a plant.

2021 Costume Ideas: Lars’ Top 15

The Lars team brainstormed 2021 costume ideas that reflected our most memorable moments from the past year, and we realized something. Picking a Halloween costume is a great opportunity for reflection! We always try to dress up as something that’s just right for the current year, which means that we spent some time looking back on our favorite (and sometimes least favorite) moments, events, and pop culture icons.

Here’s to another year of unforgettable moments!

COVID-themed costumes

It wouldn’t be a list of 2021 costume ideas without some mention of COVID. I know, I know, we’re all sick of hearing about it. But what’s scarier than a deadly disease (and a society that refuses to acknowledge how serious it is??) In order to keep from crying, we have to laugh. You could be:

  • a mask. Or check out our Quilted Face Mask Coat from April Fool’s Day for a twist.
  • a nasal test swab. After all, gross is good at Halloween!
  • a vaccine syringe. You know those ketchup bottle costumes? I bet you could modify one into a vaccine with just a little craftiness.
  • or mask costumes to coordinate with the costumes like this Mummy mask and this pumpkin mask.

halloween costume of a vaccine illustration: a blonde woman wears a blue and white shift dress with numbers drawn on to look like a syringe. She's wearing a tall sharp hat that looks like a needle. The background is green.

Stay safe, everyone!

Movies and TV

You can’t go wrong with movie and TV-inspired costumes. Here are some of our ideas:

  • Bridgerton. I’m all about the costumes and wigs from Bridgerton. Get some great inspiration from this pink Marie Antoinette costume from a few years ago!
  • Queen’s Gambit-inspired chess pieces. Okay, technically it came out last year. But it was right before Halloween, so we didn’t have much time to put together costumes! Cut us some slack! And enlist your friends to be chess pieces with you.
  • The Black Widow. We love a female superhero!
  • Cruella. All right, all right, we also love a villainess!

Cruella illustration: a woman with black and white hair, a mask, and a red gown on a pink background.

2021 Current Events

  • Tom Daley knitting. Did you catch Tom Daley’s amazing knitting skills during the Olympics? I have to admit, I’m not a huge sports watcher, but I could watch Tommy knit and purl between dives all day. Check out his Instagram account @MadeWithLoveByTomDaley and go Team Great Knittin’!

Tom Daley Knitting costume: A woman wearing a blush pink swimming suit with an olympic gold medal knitting a red, white, and blue scarf.

  • Bernie with mittens. Speaking of yarn, this meme would be a great (and cozy!) costume.
  • a boat stuck in the Suez Canal. There are so many hilarious ways you could do this: I’m thinking paper mache boats, all blue outfits with a sideways boat appliqué, the sky (or sea) is the limit!

Celebrity Hijinks

  • Olivia Rodrigo’s drivers license. Picture this: a big cardboard card that you rig so that your face fits where her face would go. I love this idea so much that if you don’t do it, I just might.

Olivia Rodrigo Drivers License illustration: a woman with a pink and red heart sweater and jeans with a california drivers license cutout around her face

  • Britney Spears. #FreeBritney!
  • Frank Ocean’s alien baby from the Met Gala. This is still fresh on our minds, and it would be pretty easy: all you need is a sleeper set and some florescent yellow-green paint!

Frank Ocean's Alien Baby costume illustration: a woman wearing green face paint and a green printed footie pajama set on a blush pink background.

  • Lady Gaga at the Inauguration. Her performance was incredible. Also, speaking of the inauguration, I’m still thinking about the beautiful moment when Jennifer Lopez yelled “una nación bajo Dios con libertad y justicia para todos!” during her musical number.
  • Elon Musk, Grimes, and their baby X Æ A-XII. This would be a hilarious (and not too difficult) family costume for someone with a baby. I’d love to see you pull it off!

I’d love to see your Halloween costumes and hear about your 2021 costume ideas! 

 

A Fall Movie List & Cozy Pajamas

Now that it’s starting to cool down outside and the days are getting shorter, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up in cozy pajamas and watch a movie. The Lars team put our heads together to come up with a great fall movie list, with options ranging from cozy to creepy.

Depending on your mood, you can find a something sentimental and sweet or creepy, all of which are perfect for chilly nights and changing leaves.

But first, find your new favorite fall pajamas!

My Favorite Fall Pajamas

A strict dress code of cozy pajamas for movie nights is non-negotiable, if you ask me. As a kid, my siblings and I always had to get into jammies before we started a movie. Now I realize that there was a great reason for that rule–my parents didn’t want to have to wrangle any kids into pajamas late at night when everyone was extra sleepy!

Still, I’m a firm believer that pajamas are vital to any good movie night. The snugglier the better! I’m a sucker for matching pajamas, so you’ll see some sets that are available in kid and adult sizes, which is an added bonus! Here are my favorite fall pajamas:

For Kids

For Grown Ups

If you’re looking for more of my favorite cozy clothes, check out this loungewear in all colors of the rainbow, my favorite everyday leisurewear, and these cloud-like pajamas!

Fall and Halloween Movie List

There are so many great fall and Halloween movies, so something from these lists is sure to strike your fancy! Still, not all of them are family-friendly or for everyone, so use your judgement to find something you’ll feel great about watching. And we won’t tell if you hide beneath the blankets during the scary scenes. 😉

Cozy

  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Coco
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • the Harry Potter movies
  • Little Women
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Dan in Real Life
  • the Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Dead Poet’s Society
  • Legally Blonde

Creepy/Halloween Themed

  • Halloweentown
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost
  • Hotel Trannsylvania
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (which may have given a team member nightmares)
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Goosebumps movies
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (which may have made another team member afraid of the piano as a kid)
  • Watcher in the Woods
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Ghostbusters
  • The Addams Family
  • Twitches
  • ET
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • A Ghost Story
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Knives Out
  • Heathers
  • Coraline
  • A Quiet Place
  • Nosferatu
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  • Beetlejuice
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Crooked House
  • Ophelia

Found a new favorite fall movie? Tell us which one, and let us know what your favorite flicks are!

Easy Halloween Ideas From Our Shop

My ideal Halloween is playfully spooky, crafty, and (above all) easy, and there’s no such thing as too many easy Halloween ideas. If you’re looking for a fun, simple way to celebrate the season without turning your home into a Spirit Halloween storefront, read on for easy Halloween ideas!

Easy Halloween Decorations

This Haunted House makes a perfect Halloween centerpiece and conversation starter. You’ll make it from recycled cardboard boxes, which is a win for Planet Earth, and it’s beautiful enough to come back year after year, which is a win for you! Check out our blog post on it here.

Cardboard Haunted House for recycled holiday decor

If you love the spooky aspect of Halloween, check out this Vampire Teeth Garland. It’s creepy without being too macabre, and oh so easy.

DIY vampire teeth garland

Another slightly spooky and impeccably easy decor idea is this wooden transfer plaque template! I’m all for riding the line between pretty and creepy at Halloween, and these really fit the bill. Find the tutorial here.

wooden cross sections of branches with spiders and bugs transferred onto them hanging from maroon ribbons.

This painted pumpkin face template makes for such a fun, easy DIY! Give your porch some whimsy this Halloween by painting these sweet characters on your pumpkins. Read the tutorial here and get painting!

painted pastel pumpkin faces against a pink background

How many times can you say “pretty paper pumpkin project?” Whatever your answer, you should check out this template for rainbow paper pumpkins, along with this tutorial blog post. These make a beautiful, refined, seasonal table setting, they’ll look great for all of Autumn, not jus Halloween. A Thanksgiving comeback, anyone?

orange, gold, and yellow paper pumpkins on a table setting.

If you’re in a pinch and looking for quick decorations, don’t forget this post about last minute Halloween decor!

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas

There’s something to be said for a super intricate, detailed costume for sure. But even if you don’t have the time and energy to become a perfectly accurate storm trooper, dressing up doesn’t have to be out of your reach. Lots of our costume templates just require some simple clothing, some paper, and a prop or two. No professional costuming degree necessary!

Our Ruth Bader Ginsberg collar is maybe our simplest costume for adults. Just cut it out (a cricut or other cutting machine is helpful here), put it over a dark dress, and pull your hair back. Voilà! You’re ready to advocate for your sisters.

A white paper lace collar on a black background.

If you’ve been a Lars reader for more than about a minute you’ll know that I love flowers. So of course I wanted to dress up as a bouquet! Ha! Practice making some paper flowers for this Sweet Pea Paper Flower Bouquet costume (and read the tutorial here).

Brittany wearing a bouquet costume with paper flowers and a white paper wrapper against a green backdrop

Group costumes are always so fun, so pair your bouquet costume with greenhouse garb for a friend! This greenhouse costume uses cardboard and iron-on flowers, and is sure to turn heads. You can find the tutorial here.

a white woman with brown hair wears a green dress with iron on flowers, a greenhouse hat, and yellow clogs. She's holding flowers and a watering can.

Another cute Halloween costume for a pair of friends would be our beehive and picnic costumes. Both use an iron-on technique to make easy halloween costumes that are as cute as a bug. Find the tutorials here.

Brittany wears a gingham red dress with ants ironed onto it and holds a rattan picnic bag. a white woman wearing a yellow dress with iron-on bees, black gloves, a bee headband, and black shoes stands in front of a blue background.

This constellation costume with iron-on stars is absolutely dazzling. Honestly, you might as well break it out all year round because it’s that beautiful.

a blonde woman wearing an off-the-shoulder black jumpsuit with silvers stars all over it, sparkly makeup, and a spangled headband against a periwinkle background

For a subtle Halloween look, just print off our Pumpkin Crown and wear warm autumn tones.

Printable Pumpkin Crown

Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

One of our most glamorous costumes with templates in the shop is our sun, cloud and rainbow set. This makes a great baby and mom costume, because you can add sun rays to a baby bonnet. I love how our model matched the baby’s outfit to her sling! With this costume you can invest as much or as little as you want. Just want the Sun and Rainbow headpiece? No problem. What about the Cloud Bag and Cloud Earrings? Done. Just want a sunny baby bonnet pattern? Your wish is our command. Make the costume just how you like it with this tutorial.

Rainbow costumeRainbow and sun mommy and me costume

This Giving Tree costume is another easy Halloween idea that you could make in a flash. And who doesn’t want to reference a classic children’s book in their costume? Find the tutorial here.

A mom wearing a green outfit with leaves and holding a felt apple bag stands next to her child in red overalls. They're dressed as the Giving Tree.

If you have a gaggle of children to costume, consider our Three Blind Mice baby costume pattern or our Crayon Hat template. Both are simple to put together and oh so sweet.

3 blind mice diy costume for kidsFour kids wearing crayon halloween costumes in orange, red, blue, and green.

Halloween Party Supplies

Even though gathering in big groups for Halloween parties is starting to look less and less likely (again 😔), you can still throw a Halloween party for your family, roommates, or pod! This Halloween Party Suite includes printable invitations, placemats, party tags, and place cards. Talk about easy Halloween ideas!

Halloween themed place cards.

Paper party goods with a halloween theme on a black background. They're orange, yellow, black, white, navy, and peach.

And for a party favor, try these printable poppers or printable Halloween candy gift boxes.

Halloween party poppersPrintable Halloween Candy Gift Box

These Halloween coupons make a fun halloween activity for your family. They’re a great way for parents to get their kids to relinquish some candy in return for fun activities.

halloween coupons in pink, red, blue, and black.

These illustrated Halloween cards are another great party favor because you can attach them to treat bags, trade them, send them as cards, or just hang them up.

Printable Halloween Cards

If your party is more freaky than funky, you might like this elegant invitation and Halloween dinner menu.

black and white illustrated halloween party invitation in a black decorative hadn surrounded by foliage and fruitsBlack and floral printable halloween menu

Party Food

Real talk here: what’s a party without cake? Use these printables and templates to make your Halloween cake extra fancy. The Spooky Town printable cake topper set is quaint and just a bit creepy, while this Black Birds cake topper is decidedly Hitchcock-approved. Red velvet cake makes it even more dramatic!

a colorful, cute printable cake topper set on a cake."The Birds" Cake Topper

If your fall party isn’t so Halloween-specific (or even if it is!) this Fall Leaf cake topper will add elegance and fun to the celebration.

DIY fall leaf cake topper

Looking for more cards, costumes, and decor? Search for Halloween on our blog! You’ll be blown away by the years of great, easy Halloween ideas and DIYs. If you’re interested in many of these ideas (who wouldn’t be!?), you can check out our E-Book, The Halloween that Lars Made. It’s a one-stop shop for easy Halloween ideas, DIYs, and projects.

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

Our new collection of cell phone cases! (and discount code)

New cell phone cases from The House That Lars Built

I was gifted a yellow cell phone case a year or so ago from Casetify and and it is seriously the best. Super protective, plus a fun color. I’m unintentionally very harsh with my case and it protects it so well. (I paired it with this adorable socket from our shop and it’s extra cute.)

Bright and colorful retro vibes

I loved Casetify’s cell phone case quality so much so I was stoked to partner up with them with our first collection. I wanted to do some designs that are super current but also super Lars so lots of color of course combined with the ever trending checkerboard (we’re keeping it around as long as we can!), flowers in fun shapes, colorblock, waves, marbling and more!

Here are some of my favorite cell phone cases:

You might have guessed that the colorblock flowers cell phone case is my absolute favorite. It has that quilt thing going on that you know I’m in love with right now. But really, I might need to have a case of the day because they are all that cute.

I also love the “Call Me” in chunky letters and abstract shapes above. It’s subtle yet serves a purpose 😉

Some of the cases are transparent so that the color of your phone can shine through. Mine happens to be yellow so I love the idea of that peeking through on this one below:

Customizing your phone case

Casetify allows you to customize your cell phone case in dozens of ways. You can change the border color, the transparent color, the type of case you want, and so many other details that make it so good.

There are so many more AND AND even apple watch bands and AirPod cases. I can’t wait for you to take a look and let me know what you think.

Casetify Discount code

Casetify is giving Lars readers 15% off their order with promo code THLB15 at checkout.

If you get one of our cell phone cases, tag us with #Larsforcasetify. Would love to see them! 

If you like this post, you might also like our laptop covers post! 

The Teacher Gift that Lars Gave

The start of a new school year means new classes, new friends, and new teachers. There’s simply too much to say about how we need to treat (and pay!) teachers better, so I won’t get into it. But we can at least show our gratitude!

Here are some great, simple teacher gift ideas to show appreciation for all the hard work and love they put into educating our communities.

Teacher Gift Ideas

Books Books Books!

Lots of teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies (and let’s face it–they’re not exactly being paid the big bucks, so this is a real sacrifice). One great way to show appreciation to your teacher or your kid’s teacher is to give them some of your favorite books!

Last week on Instagram I asked about your favorite children’s books, and you really delivered! I loved your list so much that I put it together as a collection on my Bookshop page. If you’ve never heard of Bookshop before, it’s a great place to buy books that gives back to small bookstores all over the country. We love Bookshop, so be sure to check out our full list of favorite children’s books on their site!

And don’t forget these lists of our favorite Black-authored books, which would also be great teacher gifts!


Classroom Decor

A literary-themed art print would make another great teacher gift. Lucky for you, we have lots of storybook themed art prints in our shop!

Little Women art print on a patterned wall with warm colors around.A print of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables walking through a corridor of blossoms against a pink background with real blossoms in front.

This Little Women or Anne of Green Gables art print would make a great teacher gift, especially if the teacher is a fan of the books!

four art prints by Ayang Cempaka hanging above a play kitchen. The prints show hansel and gretel, thumbelina, little red riding hood, and Pippi Longstocking.

And wouldn’t these whimsical fairy tale prints be precious in an elementary classroom?

Everyone Loves Treats

Teachers pretty much always could use a snack–after all, molding the future generation is hard work! Cookies or other treats in a cute printable cookie box are sure to hit the spot. You can find our printable cookie boxes in the shop (I know that some say that they’re for Christmas or Valentines Day, but there’s never a bad time to show your teachers some love)!

Colorful cookie boxes arranged next to a handpainted midcentury nativity against a pink wall Colorful paper takeout boxes Pink and blue house-shaped cookie boxes next to a green squiggly background and some heart-shaped cookies Pink house-shaped cookie boxes Tell me your favorite teacher gifts!

I would love to hear what your go-to teacher gift is. Are you a classic apple-on-the-desk person or do you put your own spin on things? Let me know what you do to show your teachers that you care!

10 Ways to Make Friends as an Adult

These days everyone’s wondering how to make friends as an adult. The pandemic has us all feeling desperate for genuine human connection, and more confused than ever about where to find it. Or maybe you’re like me, and over the last year you’ve watched Anne of Green Gables, Grace and Frankie, Booksmart, and other shows and movies about best friends so you’re craving a kindred spirit.

It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one who wants friends, so odds are that people want to be friends with you, too! Follow these ten tips and learn how to make friends as an adult like a pro!

Join a Craft Community

Look, I know you’re not surprised that this is the top of the Lars list, but hear me out. If you’re a crafter, there are probably like-minded people in crafting communities that you could become great friends with! And crafting together is such a great friendship building activity because you have lots of time to talk and inherently lots of crafty things to talk about. Swap favorite patterns or tips, talk about your go-to materials, and learn from seasoned crafters around you.

This is also a great way to make friends of all ages, which is an important way to build a rich social life and healthy community.

Look for crafting communities online, at local craft stores, or maybe ask your local library if they know of any.

Book Club

Book clubs are another great way to make friends as an adult because in a book club you get to hear people’s ideas. Lots of book clubs have themes, so if you really love a certain genre or topic, which means that everyone there has something in common. At a book club you’ll probably find a group of people you love talking to and you’ll never run out of conversations to have.

If you want to start a book club, find one or two other people who are as dedicated to it as you are and join forces to run it and choose books. You can also find book clubs online (zoom book club, anyone?) or by connecting to your local library. We even ran a Lars Book Club for a while, so you can find some recommendations in our archive or in this reading list.

Little Women art print on a patterned wall with warm colors around.November Book Club Art

Community Art Classes

Lots of cities and neighborhoods have community centers with lots of resources, including art classes! I’ve found that I meet a really diverse, interesting demographic when I join community-run classes.

If your town has a community center or rec center, that would be a great place to look for a community art class. There are usually classes for adults and kids alike, so the whole family can make new friends.

Little Lars craft kit materials

Slide Into Their DMs

You can laugh at this (the Lars team certainly did), but when I was living in Denmark and didn’t know anyone I made friends by emailing all the designers I admired in magazines. Slick, I know.

Not everyone responded, but I did end up making one good friend! And I also first met my good friend Michele Brummer Everett (check out her work on the blog and in the shop) online before we became neighbors!

Now, don’t be creepy and definitely (please) respect people’s privacy, but it can work! We can all thank the internet for this very twenty-first century way to make friends as an adult. If it’s good enough for Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail, it’s good enough for you.

Grow a Garden and Work In It

I know it sounds quaint, but this truly works. Growing a garden can help you meet so many people! Apart from the obvious benefits of providing with fresh veggies, fruits, and flowers, gardens are great conversation starters. I bet you’re not the only one in your neighborhood looking to develop a green thumb, and you can swap seeds, plants, and tips with your newfound friends.

Brittany stands in the garden wearing an apron and a sun hat and holding a geranium.

Brittany sitting and reading in a potted flower garden.

Get a Job at a Local Small Business

There’s this romantic idea that you can meet someone (whether romantically or platonically) by becoming a regular at a coffee shop or always reading in a certain section of the park. And you know what? Why not? It’s certainly not the most reliable or foolproof way to make friends as an adult, but maybe someone will notice you and want to become pals.

If this is your preferred method of making friends, you’ll increase your chances (and even make a few bucks) by getting a job at a local small business. If the business has frequent customers, then they’ll become familiar faces to you and you can strike up a friendship.

Go to the Dog Park

People at the dog park love talking about their dogs. That’s why they’re there! Just saunter on up and ask them what breed their dog is, and they’ll probably have a lot to say already.

Know that this one becomes a little awkward if you don’t have a dog of your own to bring, but if you’re trying to make friends as an adult you might just need to get creative.

Green park bench surrounded by grass and trees.

Join a Workout Class

I made one of my best friends in a high school PE class, and we always joked that being sweaty and miserable brought us together. The good news is that you can still be sweaty and miserable and make friends! The bad other good news is that you don’t have to be in PE or high school anymore!

There are lots of free and affordable workout classes out there, and some of them even sound pretty fun! So grab your swim suit or yoga mat or whatever applicable gear you need and get out there.

Rainbow leggings and tennis shoes on women from the knees down.

Throw a Game Night

This one requires you to know somebody, but if you throw a game night and ask your guests to bring another friend you could meet a whole bunch more people! The other good part about this tactic is that you probably (hopefully) like your friends’ taste in people, so you’re likely to get along with the people they bring. We sell some fun printable games in our shop, so your whole evening is planned out!

bingo games on a blue background. It's very colorful. Would you rather printable games on a pink background.

Bring Your Neighbors a Treat

This one’s a classic, but it’s a classic for a really good reason! Food opens doors, and it definitely opens hearts. Make a charcuterie board or a quick batch of brownies (we won’t tell if you use a mix) and bring them to your neighbor’s house. Maybe you live right by your new best friend! Doesn’t that sound like a dream come true? You’ll never know unless you meet them.

Painted charcuterie board laden with snacks and cookies and fruits and cheeses and treats.

More Ways to Make Friends

I want to hear about the ways that you make friends, too! Let me know how you’ve met your friends in the comments.

DIY Reusable Lunch Sack

While I definitely don’t live the lifestyle described above, a colorful and eco-friendly reusable lunch sack is within my reach. I think it’s safe to say that it’s within yours, too! And maybe one day we’ll all be there with our imaginary put-together dream girl, living our best lives.

A wooden pear and banana tumble out of a colorblocked lunch sack on a yellow and pink backdropColorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Make Your Own Reusable Lunch Sack

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Materials

You’ll need some fabric (cotton is nice here) in a few fun colors, matching thread, scissors or a rotary cutter and mat, a ruler, sewing pins, an iron and ironing board, and a sewing machine.

step-by-step instructions showing how to make a reusable fabric lunch sackBrittany sits at a sewing machine and makes a beeswax snack wrap. She's wearing a striped green dress and surrounded by colorful, solid fabric.

Instructions

  1. First pick out your colors! We used three colors for each lunch sack.
  2. Download and print the DIY Reusable Sack Lunch Pattern.
  3. Measure out and cut your fabric. You’ll need two different colored rectangles that are 6×10″ for the front and back of the bag and two of the same colored rectangles that are 4×10″ for the sides of the bag.
  4. Pin the rectangles together along the long sides.
  5. Sew all the sides together. This will make a long strip.
  6. Press all the seams flat.
  7. Pin the end rectangles on the long side together (with the right sides together). This will make a loop.
  8. Sew the rectangles together and press the seams flat.
  9. Fold the fabric at one opening on the loop back toward the seam side half an inch. Fold it over again to hide the raw edge and pin.
  10. Sew the hem that you just pinned.
  11. Now let’s finish the bottom of the bag. Pin the bottom of the lunch sack together so that the seams between the front and back meet on either side of the side fabric.
  12. Sew the bottom of the lunch sack closed.
  13. From the bottom where you just sewed the lunch sack closed, set it on a flat surface so that the base forms a rectangle with triangular flaps coming off each side.
  14. Pin the triangular flaps and sew them from corner to corner. Repeat this for the other side. Now that the 2 triangular flaps are sewed cut off the excess fabric.
  15. Turn your lunch sack right side out and put together a great sack lunch! Yum!

Colorblocked lunch sack sitting on a wooden block surrounded by wooden fruit.

Brittany stands in her rainbow office wearing a green striped dress. Next to her on the desk are some colorblocked reusable lunch sacks.

Looking for more back to school inspiration? Check out these back to school stickers (and find them in our shop), this whiteboard upgrade, this apple paper lunchsack DIY, these creative homeschool activities, these dorm room tips and tricks, and more!

If you make these lunch sacks we’d love to see them! Tag us on Instagram with #LarsMakes and check out this video of our process!

How to Make a DIY Beeswax Wrap

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Make Your Own DIY Beeswax Wraps

Did you know one study found in 2020 that “9.71 million Americans used 21 or more sandwich bags” in seven days?! If you take into consideration that the run-of-the-mill plastic sandwich bag has been making it into our lunches since the late 1960s, that’s a lot of plastic. Save the planet and your wallet by creating these reusable DIY beeswax wraps. Every little bit helps! 

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Along with these snack wraps, we’ve made some reusable lunch sacks (which you can see in the photos). Keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit.Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

What You’ll Need

Brittany sits at a sewing machine and makes a beeswax snack wrap. She's wearing a striped green dress and surrounded by colorful, solid fabric.

step by step photos of making beeswax wraps

Instructions

  1. Measure 5 x 9 inch rectangles onto your fabric. Alternatively, measure rectangles that will fit onto the baking sheet you are using. The measurements aren’t fussy, but whatever size you make cut out rectangles.
  2. Lining a baking sheet with tin foil, then lay down the fabric rectangles flat side by side. 
  3. Begin to sprinkle beeswax making sure to distribute evenly (Tip: Because the beeswax will melt in the oven, you don’t have to cover generously. Think sprinkling an ice cream sundae instead of salting a sidewalk).
  4. When all three rectangles have been covered with beeswax, place in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to set your timer!
  5. After 10 minutes, the beeswax should be melted. When you pull your baking tray out of the oven, the fabric color will look uneven. Don’t be afraid of the splotchiness!
  6. Sprinkle a second layer of beeswax, especially making sure to target the areas that didn’t have enough wax the first time around. You’ll be able to see them because they’ll be lighter.
  7. Put back in the oven at the same temperature for another 10 minutes. 
  8.  Pull out of the oven and let cool. Fabric should feel firm and waxy. 
  9. Take one rectangle and fold onto itself leaving a 2 inch flap similar to a plastic sandwich bag.
  10. With a sewing machine, sew up one side using a zigzag stitch. Repeat on the other side.
  11. You should now have a little pouch. Fold over the 2 inch flap to close. Voila! The perfect on-the-go snack pouch!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Can’t wait to see your DIY Beeswax wraps using #larsmakes on Instagram!