DIY: Modern Christmas Ornament Advent Calendar

Written by Olivia Kanaley

For the young and the young-at-heart, nothing quite tops the anticipation of Christmas morning. What’s more fun than counting down the days with an advent calendar? This one is easy to make and you can reuse it year after year.

• 1″ glass ball ornaments (24)
• 1/2″ brass cup hooks (24)
• 16″ x 20″ or larger piece of wood (we used a wood painting panel)
• Paint
• 1/4″ vinyl number stickers
• Foam brush
• Drill and 1/16″ drill bit
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Printed template (print on letter paper and tape together)


1. Print template on four sheets of letter paper, tape the edges together, and cut out. Center the template on top of the wood and tape in place. Using a pencil, mark the three corners of the triangle on the wood board.

2. Using the black dots on the template as a guide, pre-drill holes for the cup hooks (drill right through the paper template).

3. Remove template and use pencil dots as a guide to tape off the three sides of the tree.

4. Add number stickers 1-24 securely about 1/2″ below each of the pre-drilled holes. You can go in numerical order or randomly apply them.

5. Apply paint to taped off area and let dry completely.

6. Carefully remove the tape and vinyl numbers. Screw in cup hooks. Now you’re ready to add one ornament to your tree on each day of December to count down to Christmas.


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DIY: Fabric-Covered Christmas Tree Ornaments

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

This year, trim your tree with these easy-to-make handmade ornaments. I picked up these tree-shaped cardboard ornaments at my local craft store—they were plain and simple, and ready to be turned into something beautiful! All it took was some glue and pieces of fabric (I chose designs from Minted’s line of fabrics) to turn the plain ornaments into ones with personality! These would look beautiful on your tree, of course, but would also make a sweet gift topper. Keep reading for the easy step-by-step instructions.

Click through for the DIY instructions…

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DIY: Last-Minute Thanksgiving Decoration Idea

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Need a super fast and crazy simple Thanksgiving decor idea, pronto? We’ve got the perfect idea and all you need are foraged leaves and a paint pen, that’s it! Gather leaves and write down things you’re grateful for, then display them on your Thanksgiving table with some candles for a simple-yet-totally-personal centerpiece. You could even invite guests to write what they’re thankful for on the leaves, and the project takes mere minutes to make. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

DIY Quick Thanksgiving Decor Idea by alice & lois for Julep DIY Quick Thanksgiving Decor Idea by alice & lois for Julep

Click through for the step-by-step instructions…


DIY: Holiday Pom-Pom Garland

Looking for a quick way to decorate your house in time for Thanksgiving? This simple pom-pom garland will add a cheerful touch to your holiday. Best of all, it’s customizable, so you can personalize it with any festive, season-inspired message you like!

christmas garland
thanksgiving garland

Click through to download this free holiday pom-pom garland printable

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DIY: Candy Cornucopia

By Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

It’s almost Thanksgiving! If you don’t yet have a plan for your table decor, not to worry: These DIY cornucopia place settings are super quick to make and you can use any paper you have on hand. Fill them with colorful candies and you’ve got a bright and modern Thanksgiving table in no time.

Candy Cornucopia
Candy Cornucopia

Click through for step-by-step instructions … 

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Minted Real Wedding: Whitney & Kadmiel in Chicago

Ever wonder what a bridal gown expert chooses for her own wedding day? Whitney Harris, a bridal consultant at Vera Wang in Chicago, wore a stunning mermaid gown by the designer for her springtime wedding to Kadmiel Christmas. The couple exchanged vows before their 185 guests during an interfaith ceremony, followed by dinner and dancing in the ballroom, all held at the elegant Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago.

Chicago Wedding at The Blackstone Hotel

Bride and groom: Whitney Harris and Kadmiel Christmas
Occupations: Bridal Consultant at Vera Wang Chicago (Whitney); Owner and Managing Director of Adon Solutions (Kadmiel)
Based in: Chicago
Wedding date: March 21, 2015
Wedding venue: The Blackstone, A Renaissance Hotel, Chicago
Number of guests: 185
Minted wedding invitation: ”Dapper Amper“ by Snow and Ivy
Wedding gown: Vera Wang
Hair & makeup: Kate Johnson of Kate Johnson Artistry
Florist: Juliet Tan Floral Design
Decor: Art of Imagination (chuppah and lighting)
Cake: Sugar Hills Bakery
Photographer: Olivia Leigh Photographie

Chicago wedding at The Blackstone Hotel

How did you and Kadmiel meet?
We met at a fundraising event I was hosting in August 2011 and exchanged business cards.

Tell us about the proposal!
Kadmiel decided to propose at his 40th birthday celebration that I had planned for him (it wasn’t a surprise). It was a Gatsby-themed bash at the Public Hotel in Chicago. The proposal was a complete surprise—Kadmiel got down on one knee after he blew out his birthday candles and gave a speech in front of all our family and friends. I was stunned and had no clue he was planning to propose—I was very emotional and love that the speech and reaction was filmed on a friend’s phone.

Who made your wedding dress?
“Olympia” by Vera Wang, from the Spring 2015 collection. I also wore a veil that my grandmother wore on her wedding day 56 years ago. My grandmother, mother, and aunt have all worn it at their weddings.

What was the wedding-dress shopping process like?
I’m a bridal consultant and I made sure to consult my team! Most brides only consult family, friends, and their Pinterest board; I also had a team of colleagues to chat with about it.

Click through to read more of Whitney and Kadmiel’s wedding story


Design to Dish: Mini S’mores Pies

Like most of America, we have family coming in from all over the country this week to celebrate Thanksgiving. My mom texted everyone to figure out the menu, so we have a magnificent feast to look forward to: smoked turkey, stuffing, fresh-baked rolls, corn, carrots, green beans, cheesy broccoli and cauliflower, pomegranate salad, candied yams plus mashed potatoes plus mashed sweet potatoes, and more types of pie than I can count on one hand. With the deliciousness bar set so high, I’ve been trying to figure out what I can contribute. What I’m making? These mini s’mores pies—not only are they perfect sweet treat to conclude Thanksgiving dinner, they just might steal the whole Turkey Day show!

Mini S'mores Pies from @luluthebaker for @minted “Autumn Leaves” Thanksgiving cards by Four Wet Feet Studio | Mini S’mores Pies (recipe below)

Mini S'mores Pies for your Thanksgiving table, by @luluthebaker for @minted

Keep reading for this amazing mini pie recipe…


A Moody Color Palette for Your Thanksgiving Table

Written by Lauren Saylor of A Fabulous Fete

I’ve never been into the traditional holiday color palettes, so when fall comes along, the first thing I do is brainstorm how I can avoid having anything orange in my house (even the pumpkins we buy are never the traditional types!). Well, how the heck do you decorate your Thanksgiving table then? My advice: Get moody. And by that I mean with your color scheme, not with your roommate or spouse. This unexpected palette of matte black, wood tones, grey, copper, and lots of green creates a fall vibe at the table without looking like you brought home all of the orange and brown decorations from the Thanksgiving aisle at the grocery store. Here are my tips to achieve this look.

Thanksgiving Decor Tabletop Inspiration

Keep reading for Lauren’s advice on creative a moody Thanksgiving tablescape

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Q&A: How does food inspire your creativity?

At Minted, we believe inspiration is everywhere—you just have to look for it. With Thanksgiving a few days away, we’ve been thinking not only about challenging situations we’re thankful for but also, well, food.

For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, artists Rebecca Bowen, Ariel Rutland, and Ann Gardner share stories of how the simple act of enjoying food inspires them.

Rebecca Bowen
Dallas, Texas

I have a strong affinity for food. I mean, I really love food.

Food has shaped all of my favorite vacations, childhood memories, holidays, family meals, and every party I’ve ever hosted or attended. The Food Channel is always on in my house, and my children and I are glued to it.

I’m never without a snack and a tasty beverage at arm’s reach. I cannot say that I am great at cooking, but I do love dreaming up my own creations. My mother just so happens to be the best cook on earth, meshing together her Italian heritage and my father’s Arabic side—we never had a bad meal.

My favorite pastime, aside from designing, is seeking out new restaurants. The whole experience of eating is exciting to me. It’s about eclectic atmospheres and well designed menus, colorful cocktails, and a wonderful aroma in the air. I especially love places that put a lot of creativity into their menu. Pairing unusual food groups in unique ways. I love spicy cocktails, and bacon hidden in my desserts.

Glamour” notebook by Rebecca Bowen

I tend to approach food as I do designs—there must always be something different or unusual thrown in. It must be true to itself yet somehow be set apart from the rest and it does not need to be clouded up with unnecessary ingredients. And like design, the food must be visually interesting. It must be beautiful enough to take a photo of and share it with the world.

Wine-Thirty” Cocktail Party Online Invitation by Rebecca Bowen

All About That Joy” holiday photo card by Rebecca Bowen

Ariel Rutland
Princeton, New Jersey

During the holiday season, I love to make lemon yogurt cake. It’s an old standby that gets me into the wintry spiritespecially when it’s time to dust the top with snowy powdered sugar, which is the perfect opportunity to turn out a festive sugary design.

For this powdered-sugar design, I took the wreath illustration I created for “Winter Joy Wreath” in Illustrator and printed it large on a standard printer paper. Then I painstakingly cut it out with an Exacto knife, and voila! It became a stencil. I laid the stencil over the cake and dusted the sugar on top then lifted off the stencil to reveal the design.

Winter Joy Wreath” self-launch A2 card by Ariel Rutland

Clockwise from top: “Merrily Christmas mini card” gift tag; “Winter Merry Bright” self-launch A2 card; “Geo New Year” self-launch A2 card; “Hanukkah paper cutout card

Ann Gardner
Irving, Texas

When I was young, the aroma of fresh-baked bread filled the house around the holidays. It was a signal that it was officially the holiday season. The time I spent with my mom in the kitchen brought out a love of creating from scratch. From homemade bread and cinnamon rolls to decorating holiday cookies, making things with my hands inspired me to create—and of course, enjoy the fruits of my labor.

A must-have baked good with my family during the holidays is fruitcake. I know what you’re thinking…fruitcake? But my mom’s is so good, chock-full of fruit and just enough batter to hold everything together. And so fresh and moist. Not your typical store-bought fruitcake. As I was working on holiday designs this year, her fruitcake popped into my head, and I saw that great photo of two kids making faces. It seemed like a perfect combination for a fun holiday design.

Holiday Fruitcakes” Christmas photo card by Ann Gardner

The Night Before” holiday photo cards by Ann Gardner

How does food, drink, or a particular meal inspire your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?

Published November 23, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


Contest: Minted Holiday “Pin Your Gift List” ($1,000 Prize)

The holidays are Minted’s favorite time of year, so let us help you celebrate the season and make your holiday shopping a little easier with a $1,000 Minted gift card. To enter our giveaway, all you need to do is recreate your #MintedHoliday Gift List on Pinterest.

How to Enter:

1. Follow @Minted on Pinterest for lots of creative holiday gift ideas and inspiration.

2. Create your own Pinterest board titled “My Minted Holiday Gift List.”

3. Pin at least 10 Minted items you’d love to give your loved ones (or yourself!), including the official Minted Holiday Gift List pin.

4. Confirm your entry by emailing with a link to your board.

This contest ends on Sunday, December 6, 2015. We’ll announce the winner with a special pin on the “Minted Holiday Gift List” Pinterest board by December 9. Official contest rules are hereMerry Pinning!