You know all those snazzy photos of craft projects you pin to your “rainy day” board on Pinterest but may or may never get to and when you finally do, it may or may not end in a potential #PinterestFail? Hi, my name is Brittany Jepsen and I’m the person you’ve been looking to blame — well, one of them, anyway. I’m a crafts blogger, and I’ve been providing those ideas before Pinterest was even Pinterest. Since 2008, to be exact, when none of us even knew that one day anyone would want 3,379 ways to pose an Elf on a Shelf, heaven help us all.
I started on Blogspot; in the years since I’ve grown my brand and moved onto my own site, The House That Lars Built, where we offer up creative ideas for basically any holiday, and, if I’m being honest, any made-up holiday (yes, Donut Day is still a thing). Yes, I make my living from it. (My dad is still amazed.) In fact, I have over 10 million views a month and my top performing boards read something like a preschool syllabus: Crafts and DIYs, Halloween, Costume Parties, Christmas, Valentine’s Day.
My point being: I’m sorry. My goal was never to make you feel guilty or lower your self esteem. In fact, if I’m doing my job right, you won’t end up with a #PinterestFail at all! You should have a beautifully sculpted balloon arch with flowers organically spilling out of it for your baby shower.
But also, I’m going to be real with you: I’m not totally sorry. Because here’s the thing: Q4 was made for me. You have all the all-star holidays packed into three short months.
The absolute truth is that I’m not sure I can put into words the joy that comes from celebrating holidays to the max. Yes, I’m tired afterwards and want to hide in a closet and never come out ever again (but make sure to supply it with needles and some yarn because like Martha leaving prison, I, too, want a crocheted shawl moment). And maybe I say I’m done every year but really, what is life without the traditions, get-togethers, craft alongs, and memories? Who else is in charge of creating merriment and fabulous fun but ourselves? Like I always tell our readers, when you make things with your hands, you get in touch with your soul. And October through December is pretty much kumbaya crunch time combined with a dose of frenzy and a blasted budget.
Wanna hear a pathetic confession? I think about how I’m going to decorate my stair banister for Christmas every day of the year. Every. Single. Day. As you know by now, my excuse is that it’s my job, but if I’m honest with myself, it’s because I am in search of the perfectly decorated tree for that year. Honestly, just a stellar idea alone is an accomplishment for me. You could say it’s my life’s mission every year. Call me Indiana Jones, if he carried a glue gun in his holster and a craft knife in his pocket.
I have a few arbitrary stipulations for what constitutes the perfect garland: 1) it can’t be super popular (snooze alert!) 2) it can’t be something you can find in a store 3) it must create that drop of the jaw when you first see it.
No pressure, obviously.
For example, one year my sister and I used photography backdrop paper to create an oversized holly and berry garland. The next it was a braid of gold using butcher paper and lots of spray paint. This is actually the first year in a long time that I’ve been able to do one because we’ve been renovating our house for the past couple of years and you better believe I’m STOKED out of my mind to get down and dirty.
Here’s another confession: it’s not just Christmas garlands I’m thinking about. What, you thought that was it? It’s also things like what stockings will go with the garland (don’t ask me how many sets of stockings I have), what will my winter porch look like, should I hold a Christmas brunch this year? If so, do I need to send out invites or is text fine? (correct answer: invites, of course with a cute stamp, and a gold paint pen because…FANCY!). Then there’s how should I set the Christmas table? And do I need to make (you read that right–make, not buy) a new tablecloth because I accidentally dyed it during an Easter egg fiasco?
Don’t get me started on HALLOWEEN and THANKSGIVING!!!! Pumpkin decorating, fall porch, scary or autumnal?, bobbing for apples, Friendsgiving, homemade costumes, costume parties, trunk or treat, Canadian Thanksgiving, exterior decorations, lights this year? Did you hear my voice getting louder and louder and…
I know what you’re thinking. WHO ARE YOU?
I’m your worst Pinterest nightmare and this is my season to SHINE!
Brittany Watson Jepsen is the founder and creative director of The House That Lars Built, an award-winning website focused on artful living and making. She is the author of Craft the Rainbow and My Life in Color and her work has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, Vogue, Martha Stewart and more. She is the mother of Jasper and Felix and lives with her family in Provo, Utah. You can follow her at @houselarsbuilt and sign up for her newsletter for updates. Find all her projects on her Pinterest.com/HouseLarsBuilt.