DIY Painted Blocks for Kids

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

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

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

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

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

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

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

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

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

How to make your own painted blocks

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

Materials:

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

Instructions:

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

DIY painted blocks for kids wooden toys

Color scheme ideas for your painted blocks

Here are some ideas of color schemes we love!

Jasper’s colors

 

Circus colors

 

Spring colors

 

Bold colors

Quirky colors

 

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

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

Other wood blocks we love

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

 

Lars Book Club: September

free printable artwork by Jill deHaan for The House That Lars Built How’s the reading going? Are you following along with our Lars Book Club Instagram posts? I get it – there’s ALOT of info in Michael Rosen’s Alphabetical. But I hope the facts and history haven’t made your eyes glaze over. If so, just skip to the next chapter! 🙂 There’s sure to be a topic to interest you. Have you picked a favorite chapter (or letter) yet? How Rosen researched each of the letters and themes associated with them is mind-boggling to think about. I’ve truly enjoyed learning about where the language I speak and alphabet I use every day comes from. We take so much for granted! Below are some questions to think about, plus a couple further reading suggestions.

This month we have partnered with letter artist, Jill De Haan, to create a beautiful quote from the book: “Every letter tells a story.” It’s available as a free printable as well as a bookmark in three different colors. Downloads below! 

DIY Baby Bunny Bonnet

twins wearing baby bonnets

The simple printable pattern for your own Easter bunny baby bonnet can be found here! Choose any fabric you like and get started!

Our favorite springtime fabrics for this project

 

newborn baby girl in baby bonnet

DIY baby bonnets

How to make your own baby bonnet

  1. Print out the pattern pieces
  2. Cut out all of the printed pattern pieces.
  3. The “bonnet backing” paper pieces should be pinned together at the double solid line marks before cutting the fabric so the piece is the right size. 
  4. Lay out the pattern pieces on your fabric and cut out the correct amount of each piece. 
  5. Using a chalk pencil, mark the sewing line. This will speed up your process as you begin to begin to pin and sew.
  6. You will need to sew the bunny ear pieces first! 
  7. Take two of the bunny ear pieces and place them right sides together, you can use two different fabrics if you like! 
  8. Pin ears together. 
  9. Once pinned sew around the ear in the indicated spot on the pattern leaving the bottom of the ear open.  
  10. Once sewn, clip and notch any curves on the ear so that it will lay the right way. 
  11. Flip the ear inside out, and press the ear. 
  12. Repeat steps 7-11 for the other ear. 
  13. Now you can start on the bonnet!
  14. Take one of your bonnet sides and one of your bonnet backing pieces and pin the pieces together along the sewing line. You may notice a bit of overhand at the back of the bonnet on the backing piece, that will be used to close the bonnet up later. 
  15. Once the one side is pinned, repeat step 6 on the other side of the same bonnet piece. 
  16. Be sure to pin so that the seams will both be facing the same direction. 
  17. Once both sides are pinned, sew the bonnet on both sides at the line you just pinned.  
  18. You will need to remove pins as you sew. 
  19. Repeat steps 14-18 with the remaining bonnet pieces, only this time you will add in your bunny ears at about 2.5 inches in from the front of the bonnet. 
  20. To place the ears you will fold them in half, if there is a color you would like the inside of the ear to be make sure that color is on the inside of the fold. 
  21. Once folded correctly you will place them front facing (check the orientation of the ears to make sure, you don’t want a backwards ear!) in at 2.5 inches in with the ear placed in between the bonnet side and the bonnet backing with the open end of the ear being the part sticking out with the seam. 
  22. Be sure to add in the ear on both sides.  
  23. Once both of your bonnet pieces are sewn, press open the seams of the bonnet. 
  24. Once pressed, you will pin the two bonnet pieces together, both seams at this point will be facing outward, you will flip it inside out after sewing it together.  As you pin you will need to add in your straps. Pin them in at the front bottom corners. 
  25. When placing the straps you will place the ribbon sandwiched between the two pieces, you might find this confusing but once you flip the pieces the right way your strap will stick out. 
  26. Make sure your seams align and leave the back of the bonnet open so you can flip it the right way later.  
  27. If you are having a hard time with the bulk from the ears and ribbon  being sandwiched between the two pieces, pull them through the back opening that you are not sewing closed yet. 
  28. Once you have your pieces pinned together and the straps in place you can sew the two pieces together.
  29. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of sewing these pieces together. 
  30. Once sewn together, pull your ears that have been placed in the opening and it will pull the piece the right way out hiding any seams inside. 
  31. Press your recently sewn pieces together flat and tuck back opening pieces up, press and pin in place. 
  32. Once pressed you will sew as close as you can to your edge all around the bonnet to secure the hat pieces together. 
  33. Be sure to sew closed the bottom hole which will naturally sew closed in step 32. 
  34. Press the finished bonnet and out out on your baby! 

This tutorial can also be completed without the bunny ears for a standard baby bonnet!

newborn twin boy in baby bonnet for easter

We love seeing what Easter looks like for you and all the great things have made! Be sure to tag us with #larsmakes so we can see how precious your bunny bonnets turn out!

Zodiac pinatas

Zodiac pinata aries

I’m absolutely tickled to introduce you to today’s guest contributors, Eunice and Sabrina Moyle of one of my all-time favorite stationery companies, Hello Lucky! These two are creative masterminds who have inspired me in so many ways. Eunice’s wedding as featured here, was a huge inspiration for my own wedding. They take the simplest of projects and turn it into something extraordinary and clever. Welcome, ladies! 

We were appointed hosts of a sex reveal party for an expecting couple and wanted to plan something unexpected! We landed on a piñata, because what’s not to love about piñatas? The astrological inspiration allowed us to personalize it based off the babies birth month. We filled it with candy (nuts/ no nuts) and let the parents have at it!

Astrological piñatas are great for birthday parties too! They make an entertaining and special addition to any party theme. Added bonus- They’re super fun to make (even more so to destroy).

-Eunice and Sabrina Moyle | Hello!Lucky

16 Podcasts for Curious and Creative People

Career/Finance/Business Podcasts for Creatives

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

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

podcasts for creatives Creative Pep Talk

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

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

Star-studded podcasts to inspire you

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

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

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

Podcasts about creativity

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

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

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

Podcasts for creatives Lisa Congdon Clever podcast

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

More podcasts for right-brained people

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

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

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

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

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

Podcasts for creatives Jen Gotch is OK sometimes

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

Pool Noodle Recliner: the Summer DIY You Didn’t Know You Needed

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How to make your own pool noodle recliner

We made this DIY recliner for a comfy way to rest poolside all summer long. It is incredibly simple to make, but so fun to personalize! Now you won’t have to worry about the kids spilling melting popsicles on your nice outdoor chairs.

When completed, this recliner lays out flat. So you can enjoy a nap or work on your tan. Or bundle it up anyway you like to create the way you prefer to rest. Stack just a few of the noodles at the end and make yourself a bed for an outdoor movie! Or stack up a full back rest. So you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your favorite magazine – just like Jasper.

Supplies:

Pool noodles – We used 17

Parachute cord – 128 feet total. We used 2 alternating colors.

Instructions:

  1. Line up your pool noodles. You can use alternating colors, or 3 or more colors to create any pattern you like! See the best color options we found here!

2. Cut your cord into 16 ft lengths. Fold one of the 16 ft lengths of rope in half. Take the loop end & lay it under the noodles, then pull the two loose ends through the loop to secure it around the first noodle.

3. Lay the length of the secured rope under the noodles. Fold another 16 ft length of rope in half and lay it on top of the noodles, tying it to the secured loop on the first noodle.

4. Weave the noodles together by taking the top and bottom lengths of rope and weaving them above and below the noodles, through the loops made by each rope. (The top rope will go below the noodle & bottom rope will come above the noodle, they will intersect & the two strands of one rope will go between the two strands of the second).

5. Continue weaving in this way all the way to the end & secure all 4 ties to the final noodle with a loop or a knot.

6. Weave 4 rows of rope to secure the noodles, with two 16 ft lengths of rope used to make each row.

7. After each row is secure, prop the noodle chair up against a wall or bend it in half to create a stable back. Enjoy your new outdoor pool noodle recliner!

DIY pool noodle recliner

Check out our similar tutorials

Here are some other comfy seating tutorials from Lars days past. Including our rainbow floor pouf, DIY camp chairs to level up your GLAMPING game, and how to choose outdoor furniture.

Other summer staples

No pool? No problem! Check out our favorite pool floats here. And our full summer style guide here!

Women Who Work: Lulie Wallace

Painter and textile artist Lulie Wallace

When did you know that art was your jam? 

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

Why is it important to you to create? 

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

Painter and textile artist Lulie Wallace

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

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

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

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

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

bright and happy home design

You can find Lulie here:

@luliewallace on Instagram

luliewallace.com 

(All photos were found on her site)

Women Who Work Interview Series

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

Women who Work art print by Libby Vanderploeg

You can see our previous interviews:

Artful board books for babies

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Artful board books for babies

I thought reading books to a newborn would be a little premature, but I’ve been shocked at how much attention Baby J pays to each and every page I show him. He looks intently–maybe it’s because he really doesn’t have much choice in the matter. Ha! While I’ve been “reading” him these books, I’m astonished at cleverly written and illustrated they are. There’s a lot you can pack into one cardboard page! I’ve found quite a number of really beautiful, clever, and artful books for baby and I thought you might be interested in them too. There are some goodies here!

The round up includes books written by famous artists, illustrated by famous artists, or a focus on explaining about famous artist and art in general. Do you have any to add to the list? Please add in the comments!

Felix’s birth story

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The first two times I was pregnant (the first one ended in miscarriage), I was super into the idea of doing things without medical intervention. The first one I had planned on doing a home birth and the second time I had planned on a birthing center. Now, as you read here, the birthing center experience didn’t quite go to plan. In a nutshell, I had an eclamptic seizure, which sent me to the hospital. I was put on magnesium (mag), which made me pretty much unconscious for the majority of my birthing experience and quite groggy for weeks after. For this reason I have only flashes of memories from Jasper’s birth. In fact, I have such few memories of the experience that I don’t remember being in pain, or really pushing or the length of time. It was pretty much all a blur.

While I may have been super granola in a previous life, this time around, I decided to take all precautions–no repeats please–even though the odds it happens again goes down dramatically the second time. I saw an OBGYN who took on high risk cases and she recommended taking a baby aspirin every day, which has shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia. Gratefully, everything was completely normal throughout the pregnancy, other than this time I had tons of pelvic floor discomfort and couldn’t really walk towards the end…but that’s TMI…

In the end, at the advice of my doctor, I decided to get induced about a week early to prevent what happened last time. It hurt my “come when it comes” heart, but in hind sight, scheduling a birth is pretty awesome. I mean, I could give my employees and clients a definite time when I would be in the hospital. It still sounds so working girl who needs to schedule out her life, but it is what it is.

I called the hospital the morning of the 21st at 5:30 am and they said to come in in an hour where they would have a hospital room waiting for me. This time, because it wasn’t a surprise, I took a shower, got ready, which I hadn’t done since…2019? and then we headed in. Thankfully, I could bring Paul with me after getting tested for COVID that weekend.

Next the question was…epidural or no epidural? In a previous lifetime it would have been an easy “no way! I’ll do no medical intervention, thank you!” But this time…it was a harder decision! With Jasper, I really got into a good zone with the laboring. We had done hypnobirthing and I was doing daily affirmation practices and was in a great mental spot. I was SO confident going into it. Once I started going into labor I was watching Emma, the Gwyneth version, and then listening to lovely music–it was so calming. This time, I didn’t do as much practicing (#toddleryears) and once I got into the hospital room, they connected me to this and that machine checking on all kinds of levels with nurses in and out of the room. It was busy for sure and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get into the headspace that I had had so I made the decision to do it.

After a few hours I was ready to push. I took a look at the clock–2pm and after like 5 or 6 pushes, he was out. Just. Like. That! It was extraordinary! 15 minutes!

And he was perfect! Get that boy in my arms!

I like to wait to see who the baby is before giving a name. With Jasper it took a week and this time, I didn’t have any other names that I liked besides Felix and Carl so we put the two together. Felix, mostly just because we liked it, and Carl because it’s my grandfather’s name. My grandfather was an angel of a man and I hope that Felix inherits his calm and poised demeanor.

ANYWHO, life post baby is filled with, of course, the highest of highs and some not fun moments like BREASTFEEDING! This time has gone better and faster and we’re getting into a more comfortable state, thankfully. Because I was so groggy last time with Jasper, I didn’t have many clear memories of the first few weeks. I do recall that he started to sleep through the night pretty early. Felix, not so much. It’s normal baby schedule, just once or twice during the night to feed, but still a surprise based on last time. I’m much more sleep deprived than I was last time, sadly, which is hard when there’s another child now and trying to fit in some work. Right now it’s pretty much an eat, sleep, poop rotation as babies tend to do.

I didn’t have clear maternity leave dates but because my studio is now at my house, I have more insights into what’s going on with Lars and I’m finding that being involved, even if it’s not full time, has been really good for my brain. And also tricky–because owning your own company never has clear cut definitions and there’s not really a way to take time off. I mentioned this to my doctor last week and she gave me some great advice–trust your team. And I do! And I feel very lucky to have them.

We brought Felix home introduce him to Jasper and here’s how it went:

Ha! We had woken J up from a nap and he was so out of it. All in all, Jasper’s been super loving on him, but a few days after he started hitting, biting, and kicking me and Paul a lot, all a reaction of the lack of attention on him. It has since subsided and he loves giving Felix hugs, kisses and toys. I hope it continues!

I mean…Look at him!

Well, I’m just glad I have no crazy stories to tell, but thank you for checking in on us to see how we’re doing. I’m buoyed up by your encouragement. It’s a crazy time as we adjust to a family of four, and I’m constantly questioning our decision to stay in America (for many reasons, but right now because of the lack of maternity and paternity care versus Denmark. If I was running the world…). And in general it’s a crazy time in America’s history, but I see hope and love when I look at this boy and that’s keeping me optimistic.

Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book

Picture Hope: The Social Distance Coloring Book

It’s a project that I’ve compiled from 64 artists from around the world who have each made a coloring page inspired by hope. The idea is that they provide the blank canvas and YOU add the hope through color. And you know what? It works! I can’t even tell you the goose bumps I got while I was working on it! COVID-19 has indeed changed so much of our routine, yet in the confusion and uncertainty we’ve also witnessed countless moments of compassion and the strength of the human spirit.

Picture Hope: The social distancing coloring book

64 Artists from Around the World

I’m going to list all the artists here because they all deserve recognition for dropping everything to make this happen:

Abbey Lossing, Alli Stocco, Ane Kirstine Bilde, Angie Stalker, Ashley Isenhour, Audrey Smit of This Little Street, Ayang Cempaka, Beci Orpin, Brooke Smart, Caitlin Connolly, Cat Seto, Corrie Beth Hogg, Danielle Kroll, Darcy Miller, Dylan Mierzwinksi, Elizabeth Graeber, Ellie A. Osborne, Emily Isabella, Emma Block, Eva Jorgensen, Flora Waycott, Hannah Gumbo, Helen Dealtry, Hilary Onyon, Jackie Diedam, Jacqueline Colley, Janna Morton, Jen Hewett, Jess Whittaker, Jessie Kanelos, Weiner, Jéssyka Gomes, Jordan Sondler, Josefina Schargorodsky, Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle, Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow, Katie Kortman, Kelsey Garrity Riley, Kendra Dandy, Libby VanderPloeg, Lisa Congdon, Loris Lora, Madison Blake, Maria Trolle, Meenal Patal, Merrilee Liddiard, Meta Coleman, Mia Saine, Michéle Brummer Everett, Michelle Christensen, Miranda Sofroniou, Monica Dorazewski, Natalie Apuzzo for Winter Water Factory, Normandie Luscher, Phoebe Wahl, Roxy Marj, Samantha Hahn, Sarah Jane Wright, Sebastian Curi, Suzy Ultman, Tara Nearents of Rad and Happy, Tonya and Steve Vistaunet of A Happy Vista, Victoria Riza, Yelena Bryksenkova

Creativity is Important Now More Than Ever

I’ve spent my career developing The House That Lars Built, whose mission is to encourage people to make things with their hands. We believe that the act of making has the power to heal and improve your well-being. The goal of this book is the same and it’s needed now more than ever. Coloring is a simple yet profound act that allows for meditation and mindfulness and this coloring book is even more profound because of the many voices of support behind it.

Donate for Coronavirus Relief

You can purchase Picture Hope in our shop and donate for larger amounts if you wish.

You can find the printable book over in our Shop!

And if you do some of the coloring pages, we’d love to see them! Tag us with #PictureHopeColoringBook

When Life Hands You Lemons care package and tablescape with Spoonflower

My favorite Mother’s Day inspired Spoonflower patterns

I spent a good amount of time going through the Spoonflower Marketplace, which is thousands and thousands of independent artists and great designs. Yes, it took awhile, but I came upon some really beautiful options and had a hard time narrowing it down. I saved my favorites in this collection on their site.

Which ones are your favorites???

There are a lot of good ones, right?! I was going for a springy, floraly vibe that also felt refined and could be used throughout the year. Here were some alternative options I was eyeing:

Citrus fabric tablecloth with Spoonflower

Ultimately, I ended up going for this Multi Citrus Grove Toile by Danika Herrick. It has the right touch of deGournay with its chinoiserie feel. Plus, I always love some good citrus–it makes everything feel instantly refreshing.blue and orange table ideaCustom Home Decor Options

Perhaps you remember when I redid my bedroom in all Spoonflower? Right–so not only can you order fabric by the yard, but you can order things for your home to be made in the fabric of your choice and it’s all sewn right here in the United States. For my bedroom it was the wallpaper, duvet, pillow cases, curtains, and this time around I ordered a tablecloth for the Party-For-Mom that I will be throwing. I paired it with this Indian print inspired marigold print by Andrea Lauren because I loved the contrast of the yellow to the blue in the main selection and decided to use them for the cloth napkins.Indian block print napkins

Visualizing the process

What I find useful in their new home decor option is the ability to see them on a variety of products. You can do that by selecting Home Decor in the “Also available in” section to view all of the different home decor products and then it automatically shows you how it will look.

And the marigold:

Because of that, I was able to visualize what it would really be like. And it was going to be GOOD!

Pattern on pattern advice:

Pairing a pattern on pattern can be tricky, but there are a few ways to make sure it works:

  1. Identify the colors of the palette. The first pattern I worked with has a lot going on but I drew out the main colors: blue, yellow, orange, and green.
  2. Along the same lines, draw out the colors that you’d like to highlight more. If there’s a color in the fabric that you don’t necessarily love, don’t highlight it! On the flipside, if you like a color more than another, bring that color out more.
  3. The two fabrics should be of different scale. The first pattern has a very large scale so I knew I needed to go smaller on the second.blue and orange table idea

Citrus tablescape

To go with our Mother’s Day party, we created a centerpiece of citrus–grapefruit, lemons, and oranges, to sit atop the tablecloth. We matched with with some yellow plates, blue bowls, and goblets to tie it in with our beautiful fabric. Plus the pretty chargers that add some depth. And a dash of flowers to keep it fresh!

Mother’s Day Care Packages

Because we are keeping friends and family at arm’s length right now, we have been brainstorming DIY ideas of how to share uplifting moments with our loved ones near and far. We decided to make a tote from Spoonflower’s Linen Cotton Canvas –it’s the perfect thing to fill up with goodies and send along to someone who needed a dose of joy. A handpicked, handmade gift for someone you love can be the best surprise!oranges table idea

To match the amazing fabric, we made our gift bag lemon themed! You know, the classic, “When life gives you lemons”. With everything life is throwing at us lately, let’s just say we have been making A LOT of metaphorical lemonade. We filled our gift bag with lots of lemon themed hand soap, lotion, candles, and more. Everything our loved ones need to make this extra hand washing fun!

When Life Hands you Lemons Care Package

Additionally, I wanted to create a care package to send along to my mom as Mother’s Day approaches. Social distancing could have interrupted the celebration of such a special holiday, but instead it turned into something that lets us show our love for our mothers in a new way. After turning the beautiful fabric from Spoonflower into a tote (the tutorial is now available in the Lars shop!), I wanted to fill it with goodies that were fun and practical. So, candy was a must (der!), as well as hand sanitizer and other necessities. Paul and Jasper joined in as well to create a tote-turned-gift-basket for Paul’s mom too to send to her in Denmark.

Follow these simple steps to make your own gift tote bag:

DIY Tote bag

(inspired by the famous Baggu tote!))

Materials:

Instructions:

Step 1: Print off our tote bag template found here

Step 2: Cut your bag pieces out of the fabric using the pattern, making sure to note which part of the fabric you want to highlight on your bag and which direction it will face when complete

Step 3: Starting with the main bag piece — face right sides together

Step 4: Sew the sides with a single stitch (and finish off the edges with a zag zag stitch if desired)

Step 5: Pull the edges of the notched part of the cut fabric, on the bottom of the bag, together to form the flat bottom of the bag. Sew a single stitch straight across these edges you have pulled together

Step 6: Turn your main bag piece right side out to prep for future steps. Now to move on to the handle straps!

Step 7: Take one of the cut handle strap pieces and fold the long edges in a quarter of an inch. Use your fingernail to crease the canvas fabric fold well.

Step 8: Once both long sides are creased, fold the entire strap in half so both folded edges meet

Step 9: Pin and sew a single stitch down both long sides of the strap. This will flatten the strap and make both edges look the same.

Step 10: Repeat steps 7-9 for the second handle strap. Next for the shoulder strap!

Step 11: Repeat steps 7-9 for the shoulder strap — to repeat, crease in the long sides a quarter of an inch, then fold the entire strap in half so both folded edges meet. Sew a single stitch down both long edges of the shoulder strap.

Step 12: Now you will attach all straps to the main bag piece — to do this, make sure your bag piece turned right side out

Step 13: Position the handle straps in the center on the bag opening, on either side, facing down towards the bottom of the bag with the short edges aligned with the top opening edge of the bag. Pin them in place and sew them on.

Step 14: Attach an end of the shoulder strap piece to both edges of the bag, with the strap facing down just like you did with the handle straps, and sew them in place.

Step 15: All straps should now be sewn on the outside of the bag, facing downwards, so they when folded up inside the bag to face up the seam will not show. You are almost done!

Step 16: Take your facing pieces, on both pieces, crease one long edge in a quarter of an inch.

Step 17:  Face both pieces right side together and sew both short edges

Step 18: Place the sewn facing pieces around the opening of the bag, over the edge of all the straps. Make sure the creased edge is facing down and the un-creased edge is aligned with the top opening edge of the bag.

Step 19: Sew a single stitch around the top opening edge of the bag, attached the facing pieces to the bag

Step 20: Turn the facing piece to the inside of the bag, making the straps fold upwards and the seams will all be hidden inside

Step 21: Turn the bag back inside out for the final step – Sew around the bottom creased edge of the facing pieces to keep that inside edge from fraying.

Step 22: Your bag is finished! Turn it back right side out to admire your work!

Send a Mother’s Day care package

What a wonderful way to send love when you can’t visit in person! Plus, who doesn’t love surprise presents in the mail? We think that, in lieu of a visit, sending gifts for Mother’s Day can be the next best thing! orange and yellow tableorange tablescape

Mother's Day table ideaDIY Baggu bag templatehow to sew a baggu toteWe’d love to see your Mother’s Day party-for-ones or care packages. Tag us with #LarsLovesMamas so we can see them! 

Discount for Lars readers

Lars readers can get 15% off with code LARSTABLE15 for all Table Linens and Tea Towels.

This post is sponsored by Spoonflower, who we love for their many home decor and fabric options. We love working with sponsors who allow us to create awesome new content for you!

We’re moving!

We’re Moving Studios!

In our house looking we intentionally looked at houses where we could potentially put Lars in the basement. It’s very common here in Utah to have a basement and to put renters in the basement. A majority of our neighborhood does that. In fact, our previous apartment was one such arrangement. So when our dream house showed the potential to be for sale (it wasn’t for sale when I knocked on the door!), the large basement was definitely a plus. With three floors at about 1500 square feet each-ish, it would have been WAY too large for just the three almost four of us.

Here’s how the basement was when we first looked at it and basically still is now:

And yes, doors still haven’t gone up! You probably can’t tell with all the blockades, but there is about 1500 square feet, 3 bedrooms, one larger work room and a storage room along with two bathrooms. One bathroom, in fact, that gave us a sewage flood when we first moved in. How welcoming. I’d share a pic but I don’t want to make you barf. We finally got new walls done there (they had to take them out because the poop hit all the walls) and now we’re working on the flooring.

Pros and Cons to working from home

Of course there are pros and cons to having your work place in your house, but overall, I am STOKED! Especially since I’ll be with a newborn soon and wouldn’t be able to get to the studio much. Our current studio, we were all commuting from the same city to about 20 minutes away, which is fine, but it didn’t make any sense.

Plus, this blog is such a part of my personal life and it was oftentimes SO tricky to work between the two. Sometimes we’d need to shoot at my house and sometimes here at the studio. Being in the same spot will alleviate so much confusion.

Another plus is that all my materials are here at the studio and so I was finding that I wasn’t making anything in my spare time because it was so much planning and execution to bring what I needed home. I’m so stoked to have it all in one place.

I’ve worked from home in the past but that’s when I didn’t really have a designated space for it so it was ALWAYS a mess. Now, the mess will hopefully be contained!

Flooring for our basement

Speaking of flooring, I’ve looked into all types of flooring options for basement apartments that are prone to flooding. We know the sewage flood we had was not the only flood this house has had–we’re hoping it’s the last though. With that in mind, we are wanting a flooring that is waterproof and/or easy to maintain in case of water damage.

We looked at LVP, waterproof tiles, painting concrete, and epoxy. I had looked into epoxy when we first moved in because my friend, Eva, has it on her concrete floors and it’s amazing (you can see it here). It came out this wonderfully shiny texture that I LOVE! But her guy quoted me a crazy high price and I was determined to find something else. THEN, I got a hold of another guy who was MUCH less expensive. He comes on Saturday so I can’t comment on his services yet. We’ll see.

What color should we paint our floor? 

That leaves the question…what COLOR do we do for the epoxy?! And that’s the beauty of it. You can pretty much customize your epoxy to ANY color you’d like. Most epoxy installers do garage floors and that typically means any variation of grey, but I shared a couple of images with him and he said he could do it. I asked him about MINT/SAGE:

And about a blush pink:

So…what would YOU do???

Green OR Pink?

You’ll have to wait and see what we chose!

Investing into a rental

As for the rest of the basement studio, the idea of it being in my permanent house is SUCH a relief and bonus for many reasons. One, I’m realizing that I have a REALLY hard time with permanence. For example, I had a hard time investing time and money in both studios I’ve rented. I know that your environment plays a crucial role in the overall vibe and well-being, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get behind fixing our current one. We painted a couple of rooms white because we needed them for shooting and changed out some lighting fixtures, but besides that, not much.

SO, I’m excited to DIG in and get the vibe for our studio that it finally deserves! And I’m wanting to go CRAZY on it. LOTS of color and experimenting. I’m talking color on floors and maybe carpeting up the staircase. Maybe something fun with walls and definitely furniture!

Inspiration for the new studio

You can see the inspiration for the new studio up in the first two photos, but I’ll expound here.

I LOVE this restaurant in Moscow by Studio Shoo. I think it’s an incredible blend of playful, patterns, vintage, and color. Check out more of the restaurant here. It’s so good! Love the green drinking fountain. Could you imagine?!

2LG Studio in London is another major inspiration source. They have SO MUCH FUN with their interiors. I love the way they use pattern and color together while adding unexpected details here and there.

This one, below, is a study in careful placement of color for big impact. That staircase is just paint! It’s the studio of @ZilverblauW in The Netherlands. You should check out her account. It’s so good!

And lastly, this one. I found it here, but don’t know who the designer is. Anyone know? Such a great palette and play on shapes and color.

With these inspiration images in mind, here’s what I have in mind:

  • COLOR everywhere in unexpected places
  • Clever use of paint to create frames and shapes
  • Mix of vintage and new
  • Functional but also aesthetically pleasing
  • A place to shoot and video easily
  • An inspirational place to work

Some places will have to be WAY more functional, like the stock room and storage room, but that means we can really play wit the playful rooms.

Anywhoo, I and we are SO excited about the move. The lame thing is that it’s RIGHT in the middle of our busiest time of the year so we’re going a bit nuts. That sounds par for course this year, no? Wish us luck!

And let me know what flooring you’d choose. Would love to hear why!

If you liked this post, you might also like:

She Shed Craft Retreat
One Room Challenge at our old studio
One Room Challenge at Mary’s house