Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Printable Halloween party invitation

For our Vanitas Halloween party (check out the full explanation of our theme here) we recruited the talented Danielle Kroll to design an invitation. We wanted something that was both beautiful yet a tad creepy and I love what she came up with. I think it really captured the feel of our event. We printed it off on an off-white card stock.

Print off your own invitation here (all blank version and partially blank version)

Illustration by Danielle Kroll
Photography by Alpha Smoot
Florals by Sarah Winward
Props by Mary Lee
Art directed by Brittany Jepsen

Monday, September 29, 2014

Marie Antoinette costume recipe

Make a Marie Antoinette paper wig and make up tutorial
The ghoulish games continue with another costume idea for you: Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette is a perfect dress up option if you're into decadence and going over the top, which, of course, we are. This costume, along with the rest that we'll be showing has at least one DIY component to it. Here, it's obviously the dress. Ha! Wouldn't that be amazing?! No, it's the paper wig and the make-up tutorial. Much simpler! I had a ball creating this wig. See the full instructions below on how to make it.
Marie Antoinette paper wig and make up tutorial
Marie Antoinette costume recipe
The recipe for this one is simple if you're willing to spend some moo-lah on renting a costume or lots of time creating a dress. We worked with Hale Theater Archive Costumes, which has an amazing selection of costumes and props. Paul and I also rented costumes from them for a Jane Austen ball we attended earlier this ear and they were wonderful to work with.
Marie Antoinette paper wig and make up tutorial
crafting and art direction by Brittany Jepsen
make-up by Rubie Huber

This post is sponsored by the Hale Theater Costume Department. If you're local and wanting amazing costumes, go there! And they're amazing to work with! 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This week

This week I became an aunt! My brother and his wife, living in England, had a baby girl this week--Wynne Maguire. She's adorable and I can't wait to play the role of a cheek-smushing aunt and douse her in adorable frocks!

Also, this pic above is from the article from the NY Times. It marks the first time we ever shot in my house. Eeek. It was terrifying. We recently painted our walls white so I felt a bit more comfortable doing so. Our place still has a long way to go before I show you more.

This week on Lars:
I was featured in the NY Times
Halloween costumes are up! Try this one
Make a cake in the form of pancakes!
Birthday candle crown
Here's what I'm wearing this fall
Rad DIY projects with wire
The work of Louise Saxton
These Girls

Lars elsewhere:
How to style a messy bed
How to style with furs
What to wear to a wedding

Links of note:
Paul and I watched this movie last night and it was GORGEOUS!
Will these help me kick my sugar addiction?
I wanna try this!
Meta has the best travel photos!

Photo by Alan Blakely for the NYTimes. I wore this dress from Orla Kiely for the shoot. Isn't it gorgeous! The materials are beautiful. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

These Girls

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Featured in NY Times

Today I was featured in The New York Times in an article entitled, "When Blogging Becomes a Slog." The journalist, Steve Kurutz, based the thesis of the article on the couple from Young House Love, who put a hold on their blog because something started to feel a bit off. They had renovated 3 homes, published a book, produced a line with Target, and some readers started to call them out on not producing enough content or the quality not being what it once was. It had become too much and they needed a breather so they have put their blog on hold for awhile. Steve wondered if this is the first wave of bloggers reader to retire.

He wrote me and asked if I would participate in the article a couple of weeks ago. On this particular week I had had 4 large photoshoots, my inbox was exploding and I couldn't get on much to alleviate it, my house was a DISASTER with props and wardrobe for them all, and I hadn't had quality time with Paul. I came home from a shoot that week and all of a sudden I couldn't move. I just stared at the wall for a good chunk of time.

That is what we call burnout, folks. And that is when I got the email from the NY Times. So, of course, I say "Yes, I have something to contribute."
Everything I said in the article is true. There are definitely times when I work more than others, but I think that's the nature of life. There are times and seasons where more is required of us than usual. We all get burned out at some points. Parents, employees, caregivers, self-employed, bloggers or what not. I wish I could say that I want things to slow down, but I don't. And I do! Ugh, the dilemma! I just want to create beautiful things all the time and if I get more opportunities to do so with wonderful people I take them. The trick is learning when to say yes and when to say no and I'm still learning how to do both and invest time into things that are truly worthwhile for our family and my career.

Now, bloggers are a funny breed because we work on projects and then we force people to look at them by shouting it from the social media rooftops. By putting ourselves and our work out there we are subjecting ourselves to judgment, for better or for worse. I don't have the readership of Young House Love so I don't get nearly the amount of comments or critics...(thankfully?). You readers are amazingly supportive and encouraging and I am so grateful. Here's the thing, as much as I'm grateful for the people who read my blog, I don't feel guilty for not blogging one day or taking some time off. In fact, last year I took a whole month off. It was not intentional, it just happened. I had too much work that didn't involve blogging and I couldn't do both. Though I'm sure some of you noticed and wondered why, I'm going to venture to say that your life doesn't depend on me blogging. To say so would be an insult to your schedule and priorities. And vice versa, I don't expect you to comment on every single post or check up every single day (though my stats would say otherwise!).
I genuinely love what I do. I love bringing people together to produce gorgeous, eye-catching, soul-searching projects. I love (hopefully) inspiring you to cultivate your own "artful" life. This is not a gimmick. It's not something I do solely for money (if I did I would be very disappointed with my ROI!).

I love the blogging platform even though people are turning to all sorts of social media to fulfill the place that blogging once took. I love the opportunity to create and continue to strengthen this creative community from Provo, Utah. It's amazing that we can develop creativity no matter where we are.

I've been working hard for some time now to work on meaningful projects that also pay the rent and I'm pleased with the direction it's going. I'm just getting going! Perhaps one day I might get burned out to the point where I don't want to do this anymore. But again, I think that's a part of life. There are natural transition points in which we tackle something new while letting go of the old. I don't think it's something to feel guilty about. I do think it's something we should be aware of. I don't think we should unnecessarily overwork ourselves. I do think we can work smarter not harder. Every occupation and job goes through this period self-evaluation and hopefully it ends with what's best for you and your family.

At one point in my interview, Steve mentioned that he noticed that I didn't talk too much about personal things on the blog. Well, I used to! I used to tell more anecdotes and write essays but life has been so busy for the past 6 months or so that I haven't made time to sit down and just write. I love the depth that stories bring especially to a fun crafty blog like Lars so I do consider it an important element. However, I'm not going to vow to write one essay a week because I think it's an unimportant goal. Remember that one time I started a book club and didn't ever pursue it again? Or the time I vowed to complete 30 projects in 30 days? Yeah, I got to day 2. In both circumstances, it was just too much and really, once again, they weren't important goals.

So, am I burned out? Sometimes! And so are you! The trick is to focus on important goals.

The end.

These pictures have nothing to do with the article, but pictures of someone being burned out isn't very pretty so these are from a trip to the Provo Farmer's Market from this spring. I was going to more consistent styled shoots like these but felt silly modeling all these pictures of me ("but what? You're a blogger! That's what you guys do?! I know, I still can't muster up the gumption). That said, Melissa does wonders with a camera and can make you look very un-burned out! Thank you Melissa!

quilted floral skirt is vintage
shirt now on sale at J.Crew
photography by Melissa Leavitt

Vanitas Halloween costume recipe

Vanitas Halloween costume. Florals and ghoul.
It's officially fall and us DIY bloggers capitalize  work really well with holidays and the only one we have to work with is Halloween so...let the ghoulish games begin! I've got some really great things in store for you over the next few weeks. I've collaborated with the talented photographer Alpha Smoot, who's frequently in town from Brooklyn, floral designer Sarah Winward, hair stylist Aubrey Nelson, prop master Mary Lee, and make-up artist Rubie Huber to bring you some gorgeous and simple Halloween costume and party ideas.

First up, we're going with a vanitas theme. You remember "vanitas" from art history? (Or am I the nerd girl art history major?) Raise yer hand if you know what I'm talking about! Since we here at Lars go for an "artful life" we thought we'd bring up those (painful?) college days and remind you of the 16th/17th century Dutch still lifes that often used morbid imagery like skulls, decaying flowers and fruits, clocks, blown out candles, to convey the brevity of life and nearness of death. Being one part creepy and one part beautiful, vanitas was the perfect theme for our first simple costume. 

Here's the recipe: 
Vanitas Halloween costume recipe.
fresh flowers in hair
Vanitas Halloween costume recipe. Flowers, grey hair, make up, black dress.
flowers and butterflies in hair.
Vanitas Halloween costume recipe.
photography by Alpha Smoot
flowers by Sarah Winward
make up by Rubie Huber
hair by Aubrey Nelson
model and wardrobe by Kandyce Carroll of Ramblin Rose Cafe
additional wardrobe by Mary Lee
art directed by Brittany Jepsen

See how to get the make-up, hair, wardobe, flowers, below!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall floral fashion

You know what bums be out more than most things? Fall. It's pretty, but it means winter is near and that is what truly bums me out. What I can stand is how the floral trend continues to flourish. Like a toothpaste tube, I will squeeze every ounce out of it I can get before it's completely gone. I love so many of the floral patterns going on for the fall. Here are some of my favorite pieces to add to your wardrobes right now.

  1. Asos has the coolest botanical dresses like this one (and it comes in this size too)
  2. Ted Baker botanical floral top 
  3. J. Crew floral skirt.
  4. Florals AND pockets? It's perfect.
  5. Dutch baroque pants from J.Crew
  6. Dutch baroque sweatshirt from J.Crew (there's even a dress. I want them all!)
  7. Ted Baker has the most gorgeous floral prints like this slipper shoes!
  8. Floral wallpaper socks from my favorite Bonne Maison
  9. Black floral socks by Cath Kidston

DIY room to room: wire

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Birthday pancake cake

Monday, September 22, 2014

The work of Louise Saxton

I came upon the work of Melbourne-based artist Louise Saxton on Pinterest awhile back and I stopped dead in my tracks. I don't know if you can tell the scale of these works but it consists of hand embroidery and other found objects from around the house. Aren't they exquisite?

Heart Garden, made of reclaimed needlework, lace pins, nylon tulle
Major Tom 2010, made of reclaimed needlework, lace pins, nylon tulle
Weep, 2009
Last Gasp, made of reclaimed needlework, lace pins, nylon tulle

DIY birthday candle crown

You guys loved the birthday cake chandelier. Hooray! Well, continuing on the Lars birthday celebration, here's another for you, a birthday candle crown. Your birthday is no longer complete without it, right? Ashley nailed it again with this fun crown that your special birthday friend will love. 
photography by Trisha Zemp
crafting by Ashley Isenhour
styling by Brittany Jepsen

Get the full tutorial below!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

This week

This week the Internet was all abuzz with talk of Merrilee Liddiard's new kid's craft book, Playful, that I styled with Meta Coleman and photographed by Nicole Hill Gerulat. And thanks to you, it's #1 in paper crafts, puppetry, and toys! Above is one of the scenes of the cardboard rowhouse scene. Isn't it dreamy?! Wahoo! Is it conceited to give it away as gifts for baby showers? Because I kind of want everyone to see it! Order your own copy (on sale!) here.

This week we also made the raddest stop motion video and I can't wait to share it with you soon. Don't you love teasers?!

This week on Lars:
DIY birthday cake chandelier
A new back to school playlist with some fun oversized props!
Crafting with the kids
Projects with cork
Playful came out and it's #1 in paper crafts on Amazon!
This Girl

Lars elsewhere:
5 fun wedding favors on Brooklyn Bride
Perfect grey walls
13 perfect hallway mirrors on Interior Collective

Must reads:
I need to learn to say "absolutely" more. And other great career tips.
I needed this giant spool of thread for the Bak 2 Skool playlist!
You know I love scissors. These ones are on my list!
I've been pinning some rad Halloween costumes. Take a look to get some ideas!
Oh Happy Day always has some clever and cute Halloween costumes for kids
Turn balloons into your favorite emojis!
Gorgeous watercolor lunch bags
I wanna see this!

photo by Nicole Hill Gerulat
prop styling by Meta Coleman 
wardrobe styling by me
photo from Merrilee Liddiard's new book Playful
hair by Kamra Christensen

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Playful is out!

Playful, a kid's craft book by Merrilee Liddiard, is now out! Fun projects to make with and for your kids.
K, you really gotta get on Instagram because I've been sharing up a storm the release of Merrilee Liddiard's, Playful, a book that she wrote and I styled with Meta Coleman with photography by Nicole Hill Gerulat published by STC Craft, a division of Abrams Books.

Merrilee has become a good friend since making it last year and I'm so proud of her and excited to see where this takes her. Her work is impeccable. She has a true love of crafting for kids and this book is evidence of that with the clever and simple projects she created that are perfect for a rainy day. Her work as a professional illustrator is sprinkled throughout the book with darling illustrations here and there.

This was a true collaboration in every sense of the word. I was brought on as the wardrobe stylist and Meta did the props but we worked hand in hand and relied on each other for opinions and back up. The world of kids is one I never thought I would enter pre having kids but I've loved getting to know the world a bit better. I mean, how can you know when it turns out like this?! I found so many wonderful clothing companies that I wish I could keep for my own kids some day.

I think we created a book that captures what it's like to be a child. There's color and whimsy and cute details.

This is one of my favorite scenes with the Brooklyn row houses. We initially tried to get it as the cover of the book, but then there turned out to be so many other favorites.

Could you die over these sweet little girls? Merrilee shows how to make these adorable wooden face necklaces and we matched the hair. And the adorable clothing from Wunway Kids was perfection. Wunway became a go-to source for much of the book because they nail their style. Meta knocked it out of the park with the stacked books. 

These little lovebirds genuinely love each other. Aren't they the sweetest?! I had Merrilee draw on some bird details onto her tights to reflect the cardboard bird costume.

This one might be my favorite. Of course, I say that to all of them though. The party scene was so much fun to create. Meta opened up her home for much of the shoot and this one was in her little girl's room with the amazing chalkboard wall. I love the drama created with the blackboard. It was a wonderful way to show off the cardboard tiger pinata. And, this was also the birth of the famous balloon arch. I knew I wanted to do some type of installation with balloons and I gathered a whole lot to go crazy with it. I hadn't yet perfected the technique so by the time it was ready to shoot much of the balloons were gone--they hadn't stuck to the wall or to each other. But at least a few of them stayed and it was just enough to create a festive look. And I love all the bright clothing with shops like Wolf and Rita, Zara, Wunway, gorgeous leather shoes from Nathalie Verlinden, and some of Meta's vintage pieces.

This bird pattern from Wolf and Rita is one of my all-time favorites!

Ohmyword. The kids in this scene are too much (especially little Nohea, second from right!). We used Goat Milk's awesome white basics to create this puppet parade scene as well as some adorable wellies from Polarn O. Pyret.

And if you don't think that's magical enough, take a look at the trailer for the book done by Jenner Brown and styled by Meta Coleman and Merrilee Liddiard. 

Are you dying?! 

But these are just a few of the images from the book. You'll need to run and grab it for yourself! Playful is now available at book stores near you or you can get a copy on Amazon here (and it's on sale!!!).

I thought you might like some sources on where I got the clothing so here you go: