Search Results for: midsummer

goals + housekeeping + Life / Thursday, 8 Aug 2013

My mid-year resolutions

I read Designlovefest’s goals for 2013 last month and I thought, “hmmm, what a funny time to publish your goals for the year.” After a thoughtful bit I came to the realization that there’s no better time to make or review goals than now. Right NOW! Why only at the beginning of the year?! Why not continually remind yourself of your goals and work towards them? Though I am a blogger, and we’re notoriously shameless self-promoters, I’m usually too private to publish anything too personal in nature—goal setting is one of those–but I’ve come to learn that sometimes stating your thoughts in public holds you more accountable, thus making them more likely to happen. I’m all about making things happen.

I made a goal by the time I left Denmark last year that I wanted to make The House That Lars Built financially sustainable. Once we arrived in America in January I became open to the idea of getting a full-time job as part of the reason I pursued this blog full-time in the first place is because I couldn’t work in Denmark for the majority of the time that I lived there. This blog became my lifeline while I was there and it has now become my life and my major pursuit. I love blogging. I love coming up with concepts, executing the crafts and stories, collaborating with talented creatives, sharing them with you, and communicating with you.

Since moving back to America I’ve been flexible and open-minded about full-time employment if the right thing came along. I still am. Perhaps though, I’ve been so flexible and open-minded that I haven’t completely invested everything that I can into Lars. However, through a series of truly mystifying events–without getting too personal–I can’t help but be led to the conclusion that this blog is what I need to do once and for all. And by that I mean all of my collaborations, contributions with other blogs, side projects, teaching, etc. With that in mind, here are some of my goals to become a bigger, better, well-oiled blogging machine and person.

  1. Do not work for free or very little $. There are all types of bloggers out there: full-time, part-time bloggers, hobby bloggers, bloggers just dipping their toes in the blog world. Some bloggers don’t care if they get paid for their work because they may not need the income because they already have a financial support or are just doing it as a portfolio builder or whatever. I’m a full-time blogger meaning that this blog, as well as my other freelance blogging jobs, IS my income. I’ve even freed up some other freelance projects to focus solely on it. Up until recently I’ve been open to working for free thinking that the exposure I’ll get will be helpful to drive up my traffic, thus leading me towards more and more paid jobs. To be honest, this has been one reason why so many readers have come to my site–I used to say yes to every project that came my way. However, I’m beyond the point where that is attractive to me because frankly, there are mouths to feed! Companies are more and more realizing the power of bloggers, which is great, but all too often their new blogger-centric campaigns focus on working with many bloggers and spreading their resources too thin or not investing enough in the first place, so that they don’t adequately recompense them. Oftentimes, I’m offered a merchandise credit for about $20-50 for something that will take me 1-2 days of work, if not more, plus using my social media platform which I have built up over a period of years, plus my education, etc. Though I might love your necklace company, I’d prefer to pay off my student loans over wearing a $20 bauble necklace. (Here’s another thought about this topic on Alison’s blog). I know where these companies coming from, and if I were their marketing director, I might have even thought of the same approach. By stating these publicly, I hope that there’s a deeper understanding of what bloggers do and the potential that it can lead to for your company. Think of us a marketing consultants.*
  2. Work with the right companies. I’ve been lucky to work with some stellar companies these last few months that have actually paid me what I’m worth. GASP. Novel concept!  I can’t tell you the satisfaction that comes with that. I work better, I want to do a good job for you and put my energy into it. That said, I realize that not everyone has a big corporate budget. I also love working with small companies too so I do take each proposal case by case depending on if it’s a good fit or not. Ideally, I’m working with companies who want me to tell their story on my blog in my own voice. That includes thinking of concepts for them and carrying them out in either a craft project or a styled photoshoot (like what I did for MSN or Laura Ashley).
  3. Get a studio space here in Provo. I had one in Copenhagen with two of my favorite people and it was a real game changer. I’d love a beautiful warehouse with lots of light where I can collaborate with brilliant people. Does that exist in Provo? I can’t do it quite yet, but it’s on my mind. 
  4. Live in a home that I can photograph. Right now we live in a wonderful home with the most amazing landlords you’ve ever met in a great neighborhood with the best neighbors. That’s a lot of positive adjectives. The only downside is that I can’t photograph in my house. It’s too dark, too beige and we don’t have any furniture. I end up asking to borrow Michele’s house if I want to photograph a project in a home environment and I can’t do that forever! Ideally, we are buying this house and I’m styling different projects in it. I dream. In the mean time, I’d love a rental that has beautiful wood or white painted floors, white walls, lots of light and loads of charm.
  5. Redesign my blog. I’ve been talking about this for ages now and you’re probably sick of me making that reference. I’ve made minor changes all the way along, but I want a fancy one with some really great features (like a better comments section–I get way more comments on Facebook and Instie than I do here–there’s gotta be a better feature!).
  6. Do more videos. I’d love to collaborate with a film maker and do some beautiful videos.
  7. Work with a photographer on all of my shoots. I’ve been doing a lot of my own photographer, but let’s be honest, I’m not the best. I want to work with someone who is so good at their craft. 
  8. Do more styling/art directing. I LOVE this. I didn’t even know what these two job titles meant until I realized that I was doing them. For example, I LOVED doing this midsummer shoot with Ciara and Ashley. That is the ideal direction of this blog.
  9. I feel like I need a silly goal in here somewhere so…watch all 9 seasons of Gilmore Girls?  
  10. Spend QUALITY time with loved ones. I’m a classic workaholic. Living in Denmark taught me to enjoy time off away from work. I wasn’t very good at adhering to it, but the Danes are. My husband is. I realized that Americans have a very unhealthy attitude towards work. I don’t think you should ever be tied more to work than to your family. They should never own you. But that’s how it works. I think I’ll write a whole blog post about this sometime because I’ve got way more to say about it. When I got back from California a couple of weeks ago, I came to the realization that I’m totally out of balance when it comes to work/life. If I didn’t have to eat I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t go to the bathroom (true story), I would work from sun up to sun down. I made a goal to make breakfast with Paul, make dinner, enjoy quality concentrated time together every single day.
  11. Take time to read every day. Since working more on the computer every day, I’ve completely disregarded print. I used to love magazines and now I have a hard time sitting still to flip through one because I’m so obsessed with how many “likes” I get on Instagram. When did THIS happen?! I need to set aside time in the morning to read and study. 
  12. Make a million dollars. No explanation needed.
  13. Pay off my student loans. Just the thought of this is laughable right now because art school was Expensive (with a capital E!). Any rich benefactor out there want to help a girl out? I’ll pay you back in butterfly wrapping paper and oversized paper flowers.
  14. Get an ad network. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms associated with professional blogging, an ad network is what most of the major bloggers have to fund their blog. They work with companies to develop campaigns. I currently do not have an ad network, but that’s my goal. Actually, this is more of a blind goal because I don’t know too much about them other than that I hear it’s financially rewarding. So, I think I want this? Anyone out there have thoughts about it? Plus, I think I could rock it.
  15. Find an orchestra to play with here in Provo. Is there one? I need to practice again! 
  16. Exercise 3 times a week. I never thought of myself as stagnant, but turns out surfing the web is not a physical labor as it describes. Who knew?! Lately I’ve been going on walk/runs, but I’d LOVE to do something fun like Zumba or that barre thing I see people Instagramming. No idea…
  17. Collaborate with all these wonderful people around Provo. Guys, this town is insanely chock full of talent. I never knew it until I moved here and realized that there’s something in the water here that makes people talented, hard working, and beautiful. Seriously. If you’ve never heard of Provo, Utah, you’ll be seeing a lot more about it soon. The music scene is great, the food, the bloggers, and soon Google Fiber is on it’s way. Don’t really know what Google Fiber means for us other than fast internet and a big name, but I’d like to think there’s something potentially exciting.
  18. Get good furniture for my rental piece by piece. Seriously, I have an over abundance of beige going on here. 
  19. Get 300 people to take my paper flower making class on Skillshare. This is more of an immediate goal as it starts on the 27th. (If you want to help share the love, use this link:
  20. Do a paper flower making class tour when we go up the coast of California at the end of this week. I think I have one set for San Fran (are you down?!). 
Ok, are these goals or a wish list…both?! Did you make goals at the beginning of the year? Have you revisited them? What are your goals? I think it’s fun to help realize our goals together, so if there’s any way that I can help you make yours happen, let me know. And if you feel inclined to help me achieve me, let me know! Let’s do this together! 
photos by Amanda Thomsen

*That said, I also see the value in trades between fellow bloggers and collaborations. They can be mutually beneficial and viable. 

collaborations + DIY + Party + Projects + Scandinavia / Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013

Make a maypole

Midsummer is now behind us, but dancing around the maypole can be done all summer long. And you know what? This maypole is the EASIEST thing to make. Whenever it comes to actually having to construct something, I get really nervous and anxious–the same way I feel about cooking. I was really hesitant to make a maypole just for that reason, but with a little help from my friends at Home Depot, I think I came up with the easiest solution (with a nod to Martha’s maypole) that can be done by yourself for really cheap, which are my two requirements for most things in life.

You will need: 10 foot 3/4″ pole (I got a galvanized metal pipe for $1.59 from Home Depot), a metal circle that fits onto the top of it (I have no idea what the proper term is called, but show them the picture or go to the plumbing section), a wooden circle 8″ (mine is from Joann), nails (with a top that is wider than the 4 small holes in the metal circle), glue that holds metal, white spray paint, thumbtacks, ribbon (I got 18′ ribbon from Joann)

Step 1: Fit the metal circle onto the end of the pole. Make sure the circle is flush with the pole. Mine fit without sliding down, but if yours is sliding a bit, add some glue onto both the pole and circle and leave it to dry over night. 
Step 2: Add some glue onto the top of the metal circle and to the bottom of the wooden circle in the center that fits the width of the metal circle. Leave it to dry.
Step 3: When it’s all dry, add in the nails into the four small holes.
Step 4: Spray paint it all white. Let it sit over night.
Step 5: Find the center of the ribbon and center it onto the wooden circle. Tack both sides of the ribbon onto the circle.
Step 6: Take your next ribbon and do the same. Continue adding on more colors. Each side of the ribbon will be for one dancer.
Step 7: If you’re adding flowers, use a circle flower oasis from the craft store. Use wires to secure it onto thumb tacks.
Materials: 4′ rebar 1/2″, hammer
Step 1: Hammer the rebar into the ground. Here the ground was so hard we only got it in about 5″, but it was secure! 
Step 2: Slide the pole onto the rebar. If needed, dig the pole into the ground a bit too.

This Midsummer series was a collaboration between Ciara Richardson, the photographer, Ashley Beyer of Tinge Floral, and myself. To learn more about how to celebrate Swedish Midsummer, check out last week’s post. And once again, a huge thank you to my helpers: Audrey EllsworthMaurine Anderson, Carla da Silva, Maude Lee, Jenny Ellsworth 

Architecture + Life + Scandinavia / Monday, 17 Jun 2013

Gunillaberg part 3

I’m finally finishing off the Gunillaberg trip (see part one of the entrance, and two of the interiors). If you’re just joining in, my mom visited us in Copenhagen last September and we took a day trip to the summer home of floral artist/sculptor, Tage Andersen, in Sweden. The palace is the former home of the first Swedish representative to America and Mr. Andersen has turned it into his home and playground. It’s open to the public as an indoor/outdoor museum. He’s just opened up a brand new orangerie and I’m dying to go back to see it. Today I’m showing the more remote parts of the property: the gazebo, bathroom, cafe, and reflecting pool. Now, pick your chin from off the ground and let’s do this.

This gazebo is where Liesel and Rolph should have chosen for their 16 going on 17 number. Isn’t it subtly gorgeous with the monochromatic painting along the frieze? This is the site of my next paper flower workshop…I wish.

The pathway leading up to the palace and a close-up of the handmade twig table inside the gazebo. Plus, a little lake. You know.
This might be one of the most magical elements of the whole property: the reflecting pool and topiaries. This is when I really wish I knew how to take a photo. I saw a much better version on pinterest awhile back and can’t seem to find it again. Rats. 
Now, this is what I would DIE to see. Mr. Andersen planted 1,000 lilies (as described in the sign, below) on the outskirts of his property. Can you imagine? I die. Sadly, we visited in September so, no lilies to be seen, only a funky monkey wanna be that’s super crazy. Here’s somebody’s photo of the 1000 lilies in bloom
Before the trip, I talked to Monz, Mr. Andersen’s assistant, in the Copenhagen studio, and he told me to watch out for the bathroom. Why, you ask? Because THIS is it:

 Covered in hay.

The cafe is a tent-like structure…
…complete with a bird cage. I DIE.

Guys! Are you dying here with me? I mean, have you seen such beauty? Come on! In my dreams, I’m back again exploring the new orangerie and soaking in the wildflowers.

ALSO, did you know that there’s a tradition in Sweden for May Day that all the girls collect wildflowers, put them under their pillow, and then they supposedly dream about their husband? CRAZY! Swedes, is this for real? I read it somewhere on the web. Someone please confirm!

EDIT: My lovely Scandnavian commenters have told me that it’s for Midsummer, NOT May Day. But glad to see it’s confirmed. Thank you!

Take a look at part 1 and part 2