Brain Surgery and Equal Love Inspired Lauren Packard’s Art

You don’t often hear people say they’re grateful for brain surgery, but for Lauren Packard, this life-threatening experience served as inspiration to pursue her childhood passion of creating art. By day, she works as a New York City art teacher, and in her free time, she is a mixed-media artist in Brooklyn.

A member of the Minted Artist community since 2014, her painting “Lina y Challie” is featured in the August 2016 West Elm catalog. In this interview, the New York City artist and school teacher talks about the urge to create, encouraging her students’ individuality, and the celebration of gay marriage — the impetus for her prize-winning art print in the Minted X West Elm Challenge.

Lauren Packard’s painting “Lina y Challie” (shown above on the easel) is featured in the August 2016 West Elm catalog. Fellow winning art prints in the Minted X West Elm Art Challenge are featured clockwise from top left: “Aperature + Cellular” by Jennifer Morehead, “Malachite Reinterpreted” by Leslie M. Ward, and “Autumn” by Jennifer Morehead.

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Bluebird-Inspired Kids’ Birthday Party

Our little chickadee is turning one, so I’ve dreamed up a first-birthday party full of bold blue hues, soft pastels, and tiniest pinch of bird seed and lavender. Check out all of the details along with some tips on how to pull together for your own little chick…

blue bird first birthday for minted by kelli hall

blue bird first birthday for minted by kelli hall blue bird first birthday for minted by kelli hall

Click through for all of the bluebird birthday-party details

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DIY: Painted Hexagon Corkboard

As anyone with a preschool-aged kid can attest, the artwork piles up. I wanted to display some of my son’s favorites but they kept on falling down after I stuck a rolled-up piece of tape on the back. To solve the problem, I found some cork tiles and doctored them a bit so they’re a step up from your ordinary bulletin board. Here’s how:

diy cork board
hexagon cork tiles

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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New Minted Artists Talk Design Trends + Changing Careers

Every month we welcome some of our newer Minted artists to the community in the Welcome Wagon series. Hop on and learn some fun facts about Christina OertelRobert Deem, and Sweta Modi.

Christina Oertel
Stratford, Wisconsin
Christina’s Website and Instagram @setandseries 

My first winning design for Minted: ”San Fran Series

Day job: Graphic designer

My favorite part of the Minted experience so far: The optimism and encouragement the Minted community brings. The positive, meaningful feedback encourages me to keep pushing myself. The frequent challenges also are inspirational and allow me to experiment more as an artist.

Sources of inspiration: Traveling is my biggest inspiration. Trying new things and having my eyes opened to different places and people makes my heart soar. My day-to-day inspiration can be found in everything from fashion and makeup design to TED talks. And when all else fails, Pinterest always comes through with plenty of gorgeous visuals.

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DIY: Papier-Mache Swan Favors

Written by Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

Lately I’ve been loving everything and anything swan-related. When I was at a cake-decorating store recently, I spotted swan-shaped plastic moulds and had to buy them. They’re originally intended for melted chocolate, but instead I used papier mâché to make these DIY swan favors. Fill the hollow interior with confetti and treats so that when guests remove the back, they’ll have a fun surprise!

DIY Paper Mache Swan Favors | Julep DIY Paper Mache Swan Favors | Julep

Click through for full instructions …

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Minted Real Wedding: Maria & AJ in Honduras

Maria and AJ, who met during graduate school, invited their 160 guests to Indura Resort, a beautiful oceanside resort in the bride’s native Honduras, for their destination wedding. The Washington, DC-based couple chose “Olive Branches” by Carolyn Nicks as their invitation and incorporated their Honduran and Arabic backgrounds to create a celebration that reflected their cultures, life together as a couple, and shared love of travel and good food.

Minted Real Wedding Indura Resort Honduras

Bride and groom: Maria & AJ
Occupations: Pediatrician (Maria); medical student with a PhD in Engineering (AJ)
Based in: Washington, DC
Wedding dateDecember 19, 2015
Venue: Indura Resort, Tela, Honduras
Number of guests:  About 160
Minted wedding invitation: ”Olive Branches” by Carolyn Nicks
Wedding planner: Gladys Reyna from Agendas y Eventos
Florist: Musa Flores y Eventos
Photographer: Lauren Fair Photography

Minted Real Wedding Indura Resort, Honduras

How did you and AJ meet?
We met when AJ was getting his PhD and I was in medical school. We don’t actually remember meeting. We had chatted a few times here and there but things really took off after our friend invited a group of us over to her house to cook Arabic food together. We started talking more and shortly after that he asked me out.

Tell us about the proposal!
I did not see it coming that day. I was actually post-call from a long 30-hour shift and had napped for a few hours. AJ and I were supposed to go to dinner with my mom, who was in town helping me move to a new apartment. My mom left my apartment presumably to get coffee and AJ came up carrying a bouquet of flowers. He said a lot of wonderful things and got down on one knee in my kitchen, which is fitting since our favorite activity to do together is cook. We then ran downstairs to tell my mom and she pretended she had no idea.

Shortly after, a black car arrived and he said we were still going to dinner but to a different place. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going. We got in the car and drove until we pulled up to a small corner restaurant that I recognized as the place where we had had our first date. I got out of the car and to my surprise my dad was standing in front of the restaurant. He had flown up from Honduras for the occasion. I had called him right after the proposal and he pretended to be home while in reality he was only a few blocks away. I took a few steps and, to my even bigger surprise, AJ’s mom and sister were also there, who had flown in from the Middle East. We all then celebrated and spent the weekend together.

Click through for more from Maria and AJ’s destination wedding

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DIY: Personalized Pencil Pouches

This year, make the back-to-school transition a bit more fun for your little ones by personalizing the items on their school-supply lists with iron-on letters or stickers. Adding some flair to their pencil pouches only took a few minutes and your kids will love it (Bonus: Personalizing their stuff will ensure their supplies won’t get mixed up with their classmates’).

diy pencil pouch
diy pencil pouches

Click through for the project resources and details

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DIY: Watercolor Flower-Bouquet Wraps

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Summer is the perfect time to cut some fresh flowers and deliver a bouquet of pretty blooms to a friend. We’ve created a simple way to add a splash of color and whimsy to a bouquet of blooms with these DIY watercolor wraps. All you need: a watercolor set and some basic shapes painted on paper. Who knew your doodles could look so pretty?

Make these simple hand painted watercolor flower bouquet wraps.
Make these sweet DIY watercolor flower bouquet wraps to add a special touch.

Click through for the simple step-by-step instructions

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Minted Artists Connect Over Art and Community in Seattle

Photos by Lela Wulson

On August 11, Minted artists from around the Seattle area and as far away as Vancouver, Canada (Kelly Schmidt) met with CEO Mariam Naficy to connect in person with the people they’ve come to know well in the global creative online community.

Organized by Jan Kessel, the Minted Artist Seattle Meetup was one of Minted’s largest to date, bringing together nearly 20 artists. The artists met in the early evening at General Porpoise Doughnuts, a Capitol Hill coffee and doughnuts shop that moonlights by evening as an event space. Over conversation ranging from Minted Design Challenges to creative passion, they enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres catered by Bar Melusine, part of the Renee Erickson collection of restaurants.

Pictured from left: Catherine Hubert, Melanie Biehle, Minted CEO Mariam Naficy, Kelly Schmidt, Bri Davey, Sara Johnson, Allison Kincaid, Kelly Johnston, and Rachel Nanfelt of Alethea and Ruth. Rachel gave birth to a baby boy a few days after the meetup!

Jan said that although some of the artists were a bit nervous upon arrival, that feeling quickly evaporated. “Everyone shared details about their lives, both inside and outside of art and Minted,” the Bellingham, Washington, photographer said. “It was really interesting to hear everyone’s stories, what else they did in life, work, motherhood, and how participating in Minted was a priority.”

From left: Maria Estigoy of Arden Reed, Candice Leigh, and Jan Kessel

Jan said Mariam shared interesting stats about how Minted’s community critiquing system helps everyone achieve better designs and scores. The recent Spaces and Places Art Challenge was the first in which Jan actively participated in critiquing, both in asking for others’ help, and in offering my help to those who ask. “I found it deeply rewarding to help and be helped, and I really think my work is better for it. I learned from others who may see something slightly differently that I do,” she said.

“As the artist, you stare at something so long that it’s easy to lose perspective. The critique helps with fresh eyes, and a fresh point of view.”

Brandy Brown of Marabou Design and Melanie Biehle

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DIY: Champagne Coupe Place Cards

Written by Kathleen Ballos of Snowdrop & Co

I recently discovered a cake-decorating store in my neighborhood and I can’t get enough of all the adorable cake toppers they have in stock! I saw these mini champagne coupes and immediately bought them all—they came in both clear and gold, but I love the look of the gold ones filled with pink cotton candy. At 20 cents each, they are a super affordable way to dress up your table for an upcoming bridal shower, bachelorette party, or birthday party. Cheers!

Champagne Coupe Place Cards | Julep Champagne Coupe Place Cards | Julep

Click through for full instructions … 

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