Becoming Arounna Khounnoraj

Arounna Khounnoraj is a Canadian artist and maker working in Toronto where she immigrated with her family from Laos at the age of four. While her education includes a master’s degree in fine arts in sculpture and ceramics, it was through subsequent residencies that she found her current focus in fibre arts. In 2002 she started bookhou, a multi-disciplinary studio with her husband John Booth, where Arounna explores screen printing and a variety of textile techniques such as embroidery and punch needle. She creates objects such as bags, home goods and textile art. 

In recent years Arounna work has created a social media sensation. From wall art to cushions and bags, her punch needle pieces highlight her botanical and abstract designs and her sense of colour have brought a modern, new life to an old technique.

She is the author of Punch Needle: Master the Art of Punch Needling Accessories for You and Your Home, which was published in April 2019. In 2020 she released a book on Visible Mending and she is currently working on her third book based on Embroidery.

A group of punch needled surfaces and artworks leaned against a white wall.

Becoming Arounna Khounnoraj

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

It’s hard to choose just one, I consider myself an artist first but being self employed I really rely on my self taught business skills and what I try to do with my writing and social media is to share with my followers the different ways I work and techniques they can apply to their own work.

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

I was born in Vientiane Laos, but came to Toronto, Canada with my family when I was four. Growing up in Toronto was a major influence. Even though I lived downtown in a very urban setting, Toronto is, nevertheless, a city of neighbourhoods that are very eclectic and diverse so I experienced a variety of cultures. It’s also a city with pockets of nature and I think that all combined, an environment like that helped me create work that is also eclectic but with an emphasis on natural things.

Of course family life was also influential. As immigrants we lived modestly and made much of what we needed and used. Food, clothing, repairing things ourselves when they are broken helped create a definite DIY mindset that has always stayed with me.

What did you dream of becoming when you were younger?

I grew up in a household with makers, not necessarily artists but definitely makers – using our hands. So, I don’t think it ever occurred to me to be anything else but a maker too.  I have always made things with my hands and it brought me the most joy so it only seemed natural to go to art school and follow a path of making art.

What sparked your interest in mending? 

When I was younger I would mend my clothes whether they needed it or not so I had some experience. But more recently, mending just kind of happened since it is really just an extension of the kind of hand work and stitch work that I was already doing. Studio work for me has always been about trying new things and new techniques, whether it was patchwork, appliqué or decorative stitching, it was already part of my studio practice. Having a family and kids especially, certainly gave me a new application for these activities. 

But also, I‘ve always been the kind of person who not only believes in an economy of means, but I hate to waste materials, both in my own studio and in life in general. So reuse, and by extension mending, is a  natural part of how I work. 

Arounna and her daughter in a light-filled living space.

What are three words to describe your style?

Natural, simple, organic

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

I started with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Ontario College of Art and then Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, then finished with a Masters from University of Waterloo. 

School has been very influential in shaping my current path. I worked in a variety of media, ceramics, multimedia sculpture and fibre arts, while at school and it is certainly there that I found the artistic interests and methodologies that continue to define my work. Jumping ahead a number of years when I started to make utilitarian work, especially products, I found that those disciplines and ways of working in a studio continued. I’ve always thought of our workplace as an art studio, a multidisciplinary space where artistic interests and vision could be applied to everyday things. Working with materials, details of design, surface decoration and use is not that far from what I was concerned with at school.

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? 

Not really, I’ve always been making things one way or another and finding a way to market them. The only real switch was from working in a studio art practice that entailed singular installation work in sculpture, to production work with textiles and printing.  That happened in a rather unplanned way with a residency that I accepted in a textile studio and simply being open to spending some time trying something different.  After I finished, I continued to work on smaller, more personal fabric based items concentrating on drawing and printing as forms of surface design. Although, differences aside, I think both have a lot in common in terms of artistic vision, and by the things that inform them – natural imagery, organic forms and belief in the handmade. 

What inspired you to become a textile artist?

A layout of craft supplies, punch needle projects, and art.

More than anything else, working with fabric was always an activity that I enjoyed and was always around me. I always had a connection to it, starting when I was young. As I grew older it became an even more important activity. I became aware that working with fabric was more than a personal activity. The very idea of sewing, or stitchwork is so related to the concept of women’s work and domestic work. I was always inspired by the ideas, the techniques,  and the continuity of the work as tradition. Seeing the work of others who take an idea and pass it on as something wonderful and beautiful is amazing, and being a part of that is inspiring.

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

If I have to pick one, I suppose the piece(s) I’m most proud of in recent years are a series of little stools that John and I made together. He designed the wood stool specifically to fit a punch needle seat. We had always talked about collaborating on such a piece and it was great to see it happen.

Where do you find inspiration for new creations? 

I’m not sure I look for inspiration for new pieces. The possibilities for what I’m already inspired to do seems endless. I think every maker or artist becomes aware of different possibilities they could explore in their work. So, perhaps just new applications and working at larger scales. 

a patchwork project bag made by Arounna Khounnoraj

How do you make social connections in the creative realm?

Working in the studio on your own work is quite often so focused, and busy, that it’s sometimes hard to connect to other makers in real time. But having spent as much time at craft shows as I have, I’ve been able to meet a wide range of artists and makers that I find time to connect with, creating a soundboard for each other.

In addition, through social media I’ve been able to connect with so many people all over the world who work in similar activities as I am, or simply enjoy what I do. Social media has allowed me to connect with teaching opportunities, collaborations with others and enjoy the work of others.

How has social media influenced your work?

I cannot tell you how important social media is. It really works in partnership with other aspects of business and studio work. Most importantly it helps tell the story of who you are and what you do. And when it comes down to it,  to make connections, the narrative is really important.

Social media and studio work are definitely connected, but it is more than just documentation. I spend a fair amount of time creating work and instructional content not just for web sales but specifically for social media. Sometimes too much time. In the end, I can’t say that my work in terms of design has changed in response to social media, but it certainly has changed the way I work, and the success of a product.

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

When I just started our business I was still in art school mode, and I was looking at artists like Louise Bourgeois and Kiki Smith. But I remember seeing the show of makers from Gees Bend at the Whitney around 2002, and I was blown away. There are a number of people and studios I am fond of now like Mina Perhonen.

A collection of patchwork blocks made by Arounna Khounnoraj

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

I sometimes watch TV and movies when sewing, just something to have in the background. I’m fond of British Crime dramas and anything post apocalypse.

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

One piece of advice that I always try to remember is that if I like my work, I know that someone else will like it too. I think it’s a variation on trusting yourself regardless of how things are initially received, or how fast or slow work progresses. Trust yourself, trust your direction, just work hard at making the most of it. Not sure who sent that my way. 

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

We were fortunate enough to buy a storefront that had a small shop in the front and a small studio in the back and our home above. Over the years we renovated and expanded to include a sewing area where my mother and I have machines; a small shipping area, and studio space – printing and cutting table. There is also a quieter, more private studio space on the second floor for when I feel like stepping away from production. 

Since the pandemic, only family members are with me, and the showroom space has turned over to more work/organization space (and plants). It’s definitely quieter, but we’ve tried to maintain a degree of normalcy. 

A patchwork blanket made of indigo squares in various shades.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

There are a couple of things that influence my work. Firstly, having a diverse series of spaces that are specific to each task allows me to work efficiently, and gives me enough space to work at anything that comes to mind. Secondly, I live upstairs, so I don’t have to leave to work. Some might see this as potentially burdensome, but with young kids it was great, and it lets me be connected to work whenever I want, which I find both convenient and liberating actually, since I love to work.

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

I have a tendency to be a little impatient, but in a good way. Not sure if that’s a habit, but it means that if something is on my mind, if I have something to do or a design that needs development, I’ll just do it. I don’t like leaving things lingering, I’d rather finish things or make decisions as soon as I can. It means that things are always moving along, and seeing work in its final form, especially when I’m excited and happy about it, is really motivating. 

I also make sure that every day I have time to sit back and draw, whether analogue or on an iPad. I find it relaxing actually. Letting your mind just go, focusing on nothing else just for a little while can be very helpful to keep you in your groove, and suggest new ideas. As long as you have work on the table, there is always something to do.

What is a typical day like for you? 

Depending on the day, after the kids are off to school, or virtual school, I usually do emails first thing. We do shipping two days out of the week so that pretty much structures our day for us. If it’s a non shipping day I’ll make lists of any orders. If anything needs to be made we’ll start that, otherwise I’ll either cut or print fabric or both for my mother who does a lot of the sewing, so we always have stock, as much as we can. Afternoons tend to be working on social media posts or photography, taking advantage of the afternoon light. Shipping days are similar except with a lot of packaging. When it’s not too busy I fit non production work in, working on new projects and finally, at the end of the day, a little drawing. 

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

My mum is a wonderful cook and I really wish I took more interest when I was younger to be as accomplished as her. The problem is that she was always happy cooking for us and I was happy letting her.

Someone stands on a bench holding a white punch needle blanket above their head. The punch needled parts are in lots of colors and look like confetti dots sprinkled throughout the blanket's surface.

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

My advice would be to not hold yourself back. Try everything even if it’s for one time only.  You will never know how it could add or change the way you work and it might enhance it for the better. Don’t feel you have to be an expert in one thing and only have to do that one thing forever. These days there is so much access to online help, courses and many great kits available.

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

Our business was financed by our part time jobs when we were starting.  Don’t worry if you have to have a job in order to finance your business, as you figure it out you will be less dependent. I would try to focus on not growing too fast, to really understand the work that you want to make and understand your audience. Knowing these two things are actually the most important business decisions you can make. If there’s equipment or material that you need that you can’t afford, think about renting it or borrowing from someone who does. If there is something that you can’t do right now, then try it a different way. The important thing is to work, try new things, but keep working.  When we started we did every craft show that we could. Some good, some not so good. But even a little income was good. Same for online. Be patient and learn to trust yourself, (and it is something we have to learn). Eventually you will find a rhythm and your income will start increasing. 

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

In terms of both inspiration and work, one of the defining aspects of my work has been its relationship to nature, working organically, and specifically, my love for botanical imagery. I have always been interested in plants and I think if I wasn’t making, I would like to learn more about botany.  I think somehow cataloging  them by painting/drawing or by photographing them.

floral punch needle pillow in warm oranges, pinks, yellows, and greens.

What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?

My 10 year goal is to try to move away from the constraints of production work and focus more on designing, perhaps working with other studios in creating my work.  For the work I do myself, I would like to do larger, more art based pieces that would allow me to slow down, focus, and really delve into a project.

 

7 Summer Sandal Trends for 2021

2

Summer sandals are as classic and iconic as watermelon on a hot summer day. A few weeks ago some of my readers were shocked to find out that I wear custom sandals with my initials… B J. Look, I didn’t choose my initials, okay? And I’m a big fan of wearing sandals in the summer.

I wanted to put together a list of all my favorite summer sandal trends for you. Even though they’re not customized with your initials, I hope wearing these sandals makes you feel very uniquely yourself!

beautiful wood floors from Stuga

My Favorite Summer Sandals

Platforms

I’ve been hesitant on the platforms because I’m now old enough to remember the platforms from the 90s and it kind of gives me the heebie jeebies. But, there have been some rad ones that have been shaking me out of it. I am living for Tevas—who knew comfortable could look so cool!

Colors

They can never go wrong in my book. The only drawback? I love finding a pair that work for almost every ensemble (RIP my closet and my wallet).

Simple

I tend to be more of a simple summer sandal kind of girl and there are lots of cute options that will fit with any outfit.

Prints

Animals, florals, graphics! So many cute options.

Square

Another 90s trend making a comeback that I was far less apprehensive about are square-toed summer sandals. Coming in a myriad of heel heights, the nostalgia of the square toe is offset by the sleek, simple straps perfect for date night or any special occasion.

White

Ok, Birkenstocks are totally back. In theory I’ve never been a fan because my feet are so slight I thought they wouldn’t fit well, but when I was in NYC in 2016 and my shoes fell apart, I decided to try them on. They were so comfortable it was heaven immediately. I prefer them in bright white and love the other white options. And white summer sandals? So perfectly fresh for the season!

Espadrilles

I have always loved espadrilles and now you can find them in all the trends: colors, platforms, you name it!

More Summer Inspiration

If you’re looking for more summer fashion inspo, look no further than this collection of floral dresses in every color of the rainbow. Could there be anything more on-brand for a Lars Girl? Speaking of the Lars Girl, here are my picks for my favorite summer accessories.  I also put together some more of my favorite summer style inspired by Palm Springs vacations here, and for days when you just want to be cozy don’t forget my favorite everyday leisurewear!

There are lots of fun summer-themed printables, accessories, and projects in the shop, too!

Now, get out there and make the most of your remaining summer days!

Whenever you buy something from one of our affiliate links, we get a small commission in return. It costs you nothing, and it helps us keep bringing you these roundups! Win-win!

In the Mood for: Little Women

Which Little Women character are you?

Little Women was on our list of 50 creative and inspiring movies, and we’ve compiled some style inspiration for you based on the March sisters. Find your style picks below!

Meg

Meg March, the perfect example of fashion on a budget. With the right eye, you can fill your closet with classy pieces without breaking the bank! Below you will find our balance between comfort, price point, and glam:

And we can’t forget, Meg is also a supermom! Her love for children will always come before her love for fashion and luxury. Accessories like this pearl headband instantly glam up an outfit, while staying right out of the reach of a little Boo’s reach. Even in the middle of all your many mom duties, don’t forget to set aside time for romance! Put on this dainty statement necklace and hit the town with your true love! Take a note from Meg’s diary, little details like pom pom shoes and puff sleeves will take your wardrobe to the next level this year.

Jo

Jo, fiery, ambitious, and forever on the go. Below you will find items for the Modern Jo March:

If you are the tomboyish and passionate kindred spirit to Jo, we have curated this list with you in mind! Nothing can get in your way, you are sure to trade heels for sneakers, so we included our favorite pair in just the color scheme for you. For you and Jo, accessories are an after thought, but you don’t have to sacrifice sensibility for fashion – these geometric earrings will catch eyes at interviews and elevate your style with ease. We imagine Jo’s favorite current print trend would be leopard print, so this print necktie is just the touch. Of course you will need a good writing desk and a pencil case (you never know when the right story will hit you!) Even if these items seem a little girly, like this floral purse, don’t be fooled – this is all about function (maybe with some style tips taken from Meg.)

Beth

Oh Beth, the sweet and soft sister we could all learn to be more like. Beth’s list is all about comfort. If you’re a homebody, we have you covered:

This knit sweater has such a lovely bit of lace even the most selfless of us are tempted to slurge. Even in the middle of all your giving, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Have some fun this this cute sloth phone case, or these velvet hair bows! Your home is your sanctuary, so dress it up right in this subtle floral wallpaper. (We imagine Beth’s favorite current print trend would be florals.) Make memories with all your loved ones with this pastel polaroid camera!

Amy

For the bold artist in all of us, Amy’s list is full of color, shapes, and fun! We know even everyday items like hand soap and staplers can be masterpieces, as you’ll see below:

Refined, artsy, and stylish – our vision for Amy’s interior design style. We imagine Amy’s favorite current print trend would be abstract shapes, and are dying over this paint stroke light shade. For you Amy March Soul Sisters, we found this amazing purple chore coat (imagine your paint brushes in those pockets! Ah!) and these painted vases. Whether you have been to France yet or not, want to carry around this phone case everywhere you go? We say oui! You are art, dress like it with this floral sweater.

Which modern March Sister’s style are you drawn to the most? We would love to hear in the comments below!

If you loved this Little Women inspiration, check out more of our “in the mood for” style inspiration here. And if you love the book, check out our Little Women book club from January.

Lars Approved Brand Alert: Marimekko

Many of us are sprucing up our homes and planning to decorate for spring. Our Marimekko roundup highlights many home decor items that are perfect for new additions and finishing touches. You may even consider replacing some items like the old dish towels and oven mitts hanging sadly in the kitchen!

Marimekko for Your Kitchen and Dining

While we’re on the topic of oven mitts, choose from this oven mitt or this pot holder for pops of bright flowers in the kitchen. Or maybe you need a new set of dishtowels. The deep magenta and orange hues add a pleasant statement anywhere they hang.

Switch your current placemats to these bold prints. Add these plates or these and some glass tumblers or mugs to complete the table setting. The magic of Marimekko design is that there is no wrong combination of prints and colors! You can mix and match any design and surprise yourself in seeing that they somehow complement each other.

If you’re heading out for a picnic or plan to throw a party at home, make a theme out of Marimekko and use these paper napkins (1, 2, 3) as the source of your inspiration.

 

For Your Bedroom

Simple additions like wallpaper and new bedding create an entirely new atmosphere to a room. And we love a great accent wall! Use this striped wallpaper or floral mural to create a vibrant mood. Moreover, add these striped sheets on this comforter set and you will have encapsulated our Marimekko spirit.

 

Marimekko for the Minimalists

For those not so inclined to bold colors, Marimekko also offers neutral pieces that add the perfect amounts of pattern. There are cream colored hand towels or a chestnut colored polka dotted one, a beige polka dotted bath towel, an off-white and beige throw, a black and white floral bed sheet set, and these subtle pink vases (1, 2). Patterns and textures provide subtle accents in neutral pieces.

 

For the Everyday

Maybe you can’t make such dramatic changes at the moment. There are still ways to make big impacts with small changes. Switch up your bath towels for some red florals or red and pink stripes. You’ll feel like you rolled into Candyland! Or you can add these fun slippers to your everyday loungewear and carry a colorful tote bag on your weekly trips to the market. Switch up your makeup bag or create a smaller one for everyday use. Although we may have less reasons to go out these days, when the occasion arises, carry a chic clutch instead of a big purse.

Marimekko Dresses and Fashion

Embrace your inner Marimekko spirit and create your very own wonderland of vibrant colors and prints.

Marimekko Fabrics

One of my favorite parts of this bold Finnish brand is they also sell fabrics! This way you can give your home decor a fresh DIY makeover in full Marimekko style.

Palm Springs Style You Can’t Miss

The city really took off after the 1940s when the Golden Age actors of Hollywood wanted a retreat from the growing sprawl of Los Angeles. With all of that wealth coming to town, architects came along with it. William Krisel and John Porter Clark and Arthur Frey and Jack Meiselman and so many more created masterpieces and tract houses alike in this town. While you and I probably can’t commission the architecture gods to build us new homes, we can take cues from their style! It’s also a very real possibility to snag one of the homes for yourself if you’re in the market.

John Porter Clark home. The sky is bright blue, the house is modern and flat-roofed and brilliant white, and the foreground is beige gravelAlbert Frey home made of glass and steel tucked into the plants and rocks of Palm SpringsA white and black Jack Meiselman Home at sunset. Palm trees sway in the background, and the front yard is xeriscaped.

Color Reigns

The look of Palm Springs is one of openness and ease, minimalism with playful twists. With the pervasive sun and expansive sky, most of the homes in the area are painted white but you’ll be hard pressed to find a neutral-colored door. Pastels and neons reign! Hooray! There is this random house that isn’t one of the rat pack mansions or anything, but it has become famous because of #thatpinkdoor. A few cans of paint is all it takes for you to bring this Palm Springs styling tip home with ya! 

Vertical image of a modern white home with a pink door, agave plants, and structural landscaping

Don’t Forget to Look Up

If you go visit Palm Springs, odds are you’ll be so busy looking at all of the fabulous architecture that you might not notice the sky. Who am I kidding – it’s huge and bluer than you’ve ever seen it before. You can’t miss it. The architects who polished this corner of desert into a gem certainly didn’t! It’s almost as if they designed with the sky as the centerpiece. Check out this picture from my good friend Frank’s house. Architect E. Stewart Williams wasn’t messing around – he was showcasing the skies. My favorite Palm Springs houses have windows that are higher than I’m used to seeing. They also have cantilevered sections and skylights. This stunning photograph of the Sunnylands Estate, AKA “Camp David of the West” shows how important the sky is to the design of the property. By the way, Obama and Xi Jinping hung out here a few years back. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me! 

Image of a house with a huge blue sky, topiary-style trees, modern flat roof, and a pink ramp leading into a flat blue pond.

Geometric Ease

Okay, thanks for humoring me while I ranted about the sky for a bit. A huge part of the appeal of Palm Springs is its ease. I just look at pictures and feel relaxed. The design is simple to understand; it’s all about straight lines and symmetry. I love this photo of a room at Twin Palms – the sunburnt orange color is definitely an homage to the earth tones outside. I love that color as a headboard! The symmetry of the room is so precise and uncomplicated that it looks good from every angle. Imagine having a wall of matching prints of identical size behind you for zoom calls! The exteriors of Desert Modernist homes tend to have breeze block and hardy plants that are almost impossible to kill. What’s not to love about that? 

If you’re looking to add some freshness to your space, try channeling the vibe of Palm Springs! Its simple color scheme, sky-inspired design, and linear geometry create such a feeling of comfort and relaxation. That’s exactly what I want right now!!

Shop Palm Springs-Inspired Decor

Shop Palm Springs-Inspired Fashion

Palm Springs-Inspired Accessories

Looking for more style guides? Don’t forget to check out our In the Mood For series! We’ve found fashion, home decor, and accessories inspired by Frida Kahlo, Josef Albers, The Queen’s Gambit, Andy Warhol, Alma Thomas, Monet, Wes Anderson, The Royal Wedding Anniversary, Jane Austen’s Emma, Iris Apfel, Little Women, Alexander GirardAnne of Green Gables, and Hamilton.

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

The MVP – A Puffy Sleeve Dress

Trend Alert!

This summer we have been honing in more than ever on the fashion of A Lars Girl. If there is one thing us Lars girls could fill our closets with forever (and wear nothing else) it would be a puffy sleeve dress.

The puffy sleeve dress has been the dress of 2020 and 2019, and it doesn’t look like the crazy times have halted its popularity. If anything, it’s made me realize how versatile this dress can be. If you’re a regular around here, you know that I love dresses and wear them almost exclusively. I can’t have enough flowy gowns. It’s so simple to throw on a dress. Outfit done. Despite the simplicity, there’s still so much room for variation and personalization. Patterns, silhouettes, accessories, and styling all get the chance to shine against the backdrop of a funky dress. The puff-sleeved variety is no exception.

puffy sleeve dress for summer parties

When your statement dress matches your tablescape? This is what (my) dreams are made of. This dress has been my go-to for months now and there are many similar ones on our list here!

Summer Paper Flower Wedding Bouquet Kit

A couple years ago, we posted a number of DIY paper flower wedding bouquets. Some of our past ones include this colorful Cinco de Mayo bouquet, a stunning white peony bouquet, and the royal wedding inspired bouquet. It was time for another wedding bouquet, as well as a kit! That’s right, you can buy all the materials in one place–our shop!

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

Wedding flowers are usually HUGELY expensive. They are gorgeous and undoubtedly worth the money if you can afford it. HOWEVER, not everyone has the cash for lavish floral decor, accessories, and bouquets. Then, at the end of the big day, most of the flowers get tossed and the ones you keep fade away much too quickly. I have even heard brides talk about coming home from a honeymoon to wilting flowers and feeling all the wedding and honeymoon hype slump down into post-wedding blues. How sad!

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.A bride in a white dress against a pink background holds a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

But why not make something that will be just as beautiful and will last so much longer? Our paper flower wedding bouquet kit is unique, breathtaking, and won’t wilt. Honestly, if you keep it away from water and out of flames, this baby should last forever!

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

Make Your Own Paper Wedding Bouquet

We have the perfect paper wedding bouquet kit ready for anyone who wants to make their own flowers. To help you get started, we gathered the materials for you (including a lovely ribbon to tie everything together!) so that there’s one less thing to think about as you plan your wedding.

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

We understand that it’s not easy to find the right materials in the correct colors and amounts. It turns out that lots of these materials (I’m looking at you, crepe paper) only come in bulk! Getting started and gathering the materials is probably the hardest part, so we took care of that for you! By buying our kit, you’ll save a lot of time, headache, and money, as well as templates and instructional videos.

A bride in a white dress against a pink background holds a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.

If you’re not confident about how your paper flower wedding bouquet will turn out, ask a friend and/or family member for help and have a bouquet-making party! The point is, enjoy your time planning while making something meaningful for your special day. This bouquet will become such a meaningful memento of your wedding and the memory of making it will be even more meaningful!

Look for this kit in our shop to make your own, and tag us with #LarsPaperFlowers

 

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.

2020 Trend Alert: Embroidered Everything

The feel-good factor is just as important as a principle of design because when it is present, people notice. Embroidered work feels personal and intimate, tying the owner to the piece. It also carries with it emotion that otherwise would be lost in a different medium. Would Katherine Kelly care so much about that hanky if it was screenprinted? Not a chance! That hanky reminded her of her mother and represented a central theme of the movie – that old things, however quaint, could be replaced by modernity. 

Luckily enough for us, people love embroidery way too much to let it slip away into memory. We are some of those people!! Care to check? Search our website for the word “embroidery” – I did and counted the results until I got to sixty and decided that was enough. We have written about embroidery in sixty different blog posts. If you are a newbie to fabric arts, check out our results for some inspiration and even a tutorial on basic stitches.

embroidered fashion trend 2020

If you, like us, are fully on the embroidery train, don’t wait for someone to give you a hanky! With some help from the Lars team, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite embroidered items for purchase that we have compiled below. Feel free to peruse, and if you dare, shop!!! If you’d rather make your own embroidered item, go for it! From simple stitches to complex masterpieces, embroidery shines on everything.

Embroidered Fashion

 

Accessories

 

Embroidered home decor

 

All mood board photo sources can be found here on our Pinterest!

Christmas gifts for women

Christmas gifts for women

This was a fun list to make. Every single item on it is on my personal wishlist. Santa, please and thank you?!

  1. Fair Isle Sweater–How stoked am I that fair isle sweaters are back and better than ever?! Loving them! This one is perfection. I just got mine in the mail!
  2. Flower sweater–It was sold out on the original website so I had to do some scouring for it. It’s perfection!
  3. Stripe eye mask–Yellow and pink are my JAM! I LOVE this color combo so much. They even have this stripe on pjs, bottle warmer, and more.
  4. Hand bag leather strap--I’ve been wanting a bag with a fun strap to boot. I am DIGGING this one so much!
  5. Handbag–It’s about time I invest in another handbag. I have this thing where I don’t switch mine out so I don’t lose things as often. Not sure if that technique actually works because I lose things all the time, but at least I need something new. This one is both grown up and fun!
  6. Mary Janes–Hooray! Mary Janes are back. Give me a lovely colored flat any day!
  7. Colorful socks–Why is it that we always need socks? These ones are a fun punch of color!
  8. Corduroy flower pillows–I think I’m going to attempt to make my own some time, but these are tempting to me because the colors are so good. And corduroy?! Come on!
  9. Color block beanie–Perfection in a cap. Love the colors!
  10. Floral rain coat–Again, perfection.
  11. Hair bow–Love this for the holidays. Nothing more elegant!

And here are more Christmas gifts for women

You can see our previous holiday gift guides here:

Holiday decorations
Advent calendars 
Christmas gifts for kids
Christmas gifts for Men

Stay tuned for more gift guides including one for men, crafters, kids, design/craft books, and more! 

Face Mask Quilted Coat

1

It all started when I was going on lots of walks with my three month old. Hate to say it, but a lot of people don’t know how to use the trash can! So, being the earth-loving girl that I am, I thought it would be better to PUT THEM TO USE! I mean, they’re perfectly useable! If you’re only wearing it once, it might as well go on the body!  Coat made from face masks

And just think, if they’re doing a great job of shielding viruses, think of what they would do when protecting your body! It’s like armor really.

Coat made from face masks

I removed all the wire from the nose area (I’ll be turning that into a project too, stay tuned!) as well as the elastics (hair ties coming soon!). I attached them to some infusible interfacing and then sewed them together to form a piece of fabric. But, it also needed a little something extra. RIBBON AND COLOR! We finished off the edges with some grosgrain ribbon in yellow, greens, and pinks. Coat made from face masksCoat made from face masks

On that note, I know a lot of you are going to want the same thing soooooooo, I’ve opened up a new company called Burlington Covid Factory where I’ll make coats from YOUR masks. Just send me your discarded face masks (or of your loved ones’) and we’ll flip it around in less than a week. Can you imagine the meaning behind each coat?

Coat made from face masks Coat made from face masks

Lastly, Happy April Fools Day!

Hint Hint Hubby: Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Husbands! Boyfriends! Significant others! We are talking to you. We assume your lady did her job and sent you over to our complete Valentine’s Day Gift Guide. Using this guide will allow you to surprise her AND find a gift you already know she will love! We have categorized our gift ideas to help you narrow down the search. What will make Valentine’s Day extra special this year for your true love?

For sentimental value

Heart jewelry is a natural direction to go when gift hunting for your Valentine. To make your gift long-lasting and unforgettable make sure to find jewelry she will love to wear all year long! These earrings and this necklace are simple and minimal, and she won’t want to take them off! Pair it with a fragrance you’ll both love and your upcoming date nights are sure to be extra special!

For the hostess

Does your wife love to host amazing parties? These gifts will know you took time to think of what she would love most. Bring a hint of romance to every party with this agate cheeseboard made of amethyst, February’s gemstone. Putting your flowers into a new amazing vase this year will instantly level up the gift.

For everyday

Sometimes the best gifts are the simple ones, that she can use every single day! Above you’ll find a floral thermos, a portable charger, a new passport cover (maybe to tell her about an upcoming trip, eh? 😉 and more – all in colors she will swoon over!

For the hopeless romantic

Flowers she can keep forever (they are dried!) romantic vases and perfumes that hint of Paris – the city of love. Make this Valentine’s Day feel like her favorite romantic movie with these gifts.

Surprise her! Unique and unexpected gifts

Your Valentine will never expect a fun gift like this heart-shaped waffle maker – Even better, use it to make her breakfast in bed! And bring her this monogrammed mug with her initial!

For a well-deserved spa day

Offer to watch the kids for a couple hours and let your wife try out all of these self-care items – like this luxurious waffle robe, or this silk pillowcase. Write a sweet love note in this bar of fancy soap. She’ll love you forever for it.

How to wrap your gift

When it comes to gift-giving, it’s really the details that make it special. Taking extra time and care your wrap your gift will pay off, we promise she will notice! Below you’ll find our special Valentine’s Day wrapping paper, and some of our favorite gift wrap items. Your lady will be thanking you before she has even opened her present!

Find our full Valentine’s Day wrapping paper collection here! And to include a fun valentine card with your gift, click here!

Phew, now that we’ve gone over the big stuff, time to get a card, head on over to our shop to pick one out! 

Good luck!