2012 Minted Top Model Engagement Photo Contest

We were thrilled to receive so many fantastic photos in our Facebook Top Model Engagement Photo Contest!  The look of true love is quite heart-warming, so we’re very excited to feature the winning couples in our new product assortment, including our newly-launched Save-the-Dates!

Congratulations to our lovely winners  who all exhibit how to take a great engagement photo.

1. Engagement photos should be a representation of the couple’s personality, which is why we love the quirky details in our winner Katherine DeJulius’ photo. Two pairs of well-worn cowboy boots and a custom made wooden ampersand perfectly capture the spirit of the couple. And the lo-fi quality of the photo taken on a vintage medium format camera gives the images a timeless feel that will surely become a special keepsake for the newlyweds.

2. A candid moment captured by photographer Katy Melling, shows the genuine affection between these two lovebirds (Katiuska Flynn). The sun dappled lighting and soft focus gives the photograph a dream like feel and transforms the everyday setting into a romantic hideaway.

3. The soaring arches and grandeur of the Boston Public Library offers a fantastic stage, where despite the very public setting, the focus is on the happy couple, Meagan Jennings & Adam Berg.  Choosing a location with sentimental value is the perfect way to put your stamp on your engagement photo.

We had so many great submissions that we couldn’t help but hand out runners’-up prizes to several lucky people, as well: Kirsten Fox, Danny Cuellar, Jenni Olson, Lauren Maxwell, Eliza Brown, Kristin Line, Dana Hanegraaf, Kaylee Graham, Ashley Barker, Sabrina Lemoine Brant, Natasha Uspensky, Monique Nguyen, Andrew Keller-Bradshaw, Ashley Kantro, Emma Metcalf, Katie Wakayama, Jennifer Cardall Jacobson, Charlene Echague, Donna Rucci, Ali Streim, Christina Sylvester, Sarah Knutson, and Jennifer Fotenhauer,

If you haven’t already, make sure to friend us on Facebook. We will keep up to date on top model contests and other chances to win Minted products!

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Welcome Home Moving Announcement Special Prize Winners

There couldn’t be a more perfect time to send a stylish note in the mail than to announce a change of address. It’s a great opportunity to go out on a limb and send your friends and family something light, fun, and full of personality. Check out the special prize winners from our Welcome Home Moving Announcement challenge below. Congratulations, moving Mintie winners!

And don’t worry — we know you’ve all been anxious for more winners and we hear you! Special prize winners for our graduation announcements, journals, and stationery will be coming very soon.

Out of the Box Award for a design that is highly creative

New Place, New Space” by kelli hall

We love how simple and yet how very clever Kelli’s “New Place, New Space” is. The clean design elements make her design so modern, while the lowercase Didot and missing “a” in space make a smart nod to our minimalist, Internet-infused world (ironically on an good old-fashioned paper announcement!).

Runner Ups (clockwise from top left): “Architect” by Sarah Brown | “Tear Sheet” by VOSS | “Pecil Us In” by Moglea | “On the Move” by Cheer Up Cherup | “Where We’re @” by kelli hall

Whimsy Award for the best fun or whimsical design

Mod Move” by Kristen Smith

Kristen’s first-place winner “Mod Move” was the immediate favorite for the best whimsical design. Every detail is so fun from the vintage suitcases to the vase balanced on top of it all to the patterned shadows under the wheels. We love the idea of living the kind of simple life where you can pack a few bags on the back of your Vespa and zip off to a new home!

Runner Ups: “The Burbs” by Pistols | “Bird Off the Wire” by Shindig | “Rolling On” by Kristen Smith | “Goldilocks” by Inky Livie

Independent Living Award for the best design to announce a move for someone living on their own

Me, Myself and I” by VOSS

You know the relief and independence that comes with moving on your own? Sara has captured it perfectly. Her bold letters in playful, imperfect blocks proudly announce a move for an individual. We appreciate the fun dash of culture in her De La Soul reference too.

Runner Ups: “City Living” by Jana Volfova | “New Beginnings” by Please Reply Designs | “Apartment Living” by Jennifer Long | “Pretty in Pink” by annie clark

Our First Place Award for the best design to announce a couple’s first home together

Ikat” by Palm Papers

Lauren never fails to impress with her super-chic, minimalist style. Her varying fonts add visual interest to the thin, white text. The yellow on yellow ikat pattern adds a bit of depth and texture to the design, without taking away from the message at all. It’s all about the Mr and Mrs in this design – just as a moving announcement for a new couple should be.

Runner Ups: “Home Front” by Kimberly FitzSimons | “Memory Lane” by lehan paper design | “First Home” by VOSS | “Love Nest” by Amber Barkley

Best over the top pretty design

bienvenue!” by Cecile Paper Lounge

Fine, beautiful florals and a lovely vintage key definitely make this design over-the-top-pretty. Cecile weaves a very intricate, but delicate image of leaves and flowers while the striking Villa Didot font provides a lovely balance. The containing borders and strong lines help the photo stand out in a very natural way.  And who doesn’t love a touch of French class?

Runner Ups: “Sweet Homeness” by Yolanda Mariak Chendak | “Moving Along” by Kelly Nasuta | “Flower Patch” by Sharon Rowan

Best classic with a twist design

Brand New” by annie clark

Annie strikes the perfect balance between modern and retro with “Brand New.” The slightly messy strokes in her pink background and her bold, angled “home” give the design so much energy. We love the balance between her thick text and her expanse of blank space.

Runner Ups: “We Are Home” by nikku | “A Bright Sunny Day” by My Playgroud | “Zipcode” by VOSS | “Pretty in Pink” by annie clark

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Vintage carriage inspired baby shower.

Can you tell we have babies on our mind over here?! As luck would have it we have yet another adorable baby shower inspired by a minted invitation to share with you. Camille Styles, the Austin-based event planner who you may know from her eponymous blog, used Vintage Carriage Baby Shower invitations by palm papers as the inspiration for her friend’s baby shower. I’ve recently begun using Pinterest to create inspiration boards for events… so helpful!  And Camille did just that; check out her French toiled inspiration board here.

Isn’t it fun how Camille changed the banner greeting from ‘IT’S A GIRL’ to ‘BONJOUR, BÉBÉ!’ Yet another example of how easy it is to make something your own by customizing with Minted! Instead of playing shower games (I’m also not a huge fan of them), Camille asked guests to write a piece of advice for the new mum and leave it in an apothecary jar. How cute is that?! It will be so fun to read through these. And don’t you think they would look nice mounted around photos from the shower in an album?

Now who doesn’t love homemade cut-out cookies and macaroons? Fête Accompli did all of the french-y nibbles.

The background was created by stringing up long strips of fabric behind the drinks bar. I love how it still lets light through.

After invites, I personally think flowers really make an event. These lovelies are by Merveille and I love how they are just a slight bit messy. Nibbles on the menu: endive with beets and oranges and grapes stuffed with chèvre and pistachios.

Lastly, Camille and her team created a favor board–such a cute idea and I love how it adds another visual element to the shower-scape. They covered a foam board with fabric and then pinned up little glassine packets of sweets. Check out their how-to here.

A big thank you to Camille Styles for sharing your lovely event with us and also to Mel from She-n-He who beautifully photographed all these pretty little details!!

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How to hang your Minted art.

So now your beautiful Minted art prints have arrived, you’ve gotten them framed, but how do you get them up on the wall? Read on for our step-by-step, how-to guide to arrange and hang your new art.
  • TAKE IT TO THE FLOOR. When working with multiple prints, first mark off how big your wall is on the floor with blue painter’s tape. Then, lay out the entire arrangement, framed on the floor. Keep re-arranging until you’ve found the perfect composition! You can also use our online inspiration board tool to help with this.

Image: HKHousewife.

  • MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE. Measure your wall and divide by half to find the wall’s center-point, width-wise. This is obviously helpful if you’re centering your collage and even if you’re not, it’s good to know where the natural middle is. You’ll want to hang your center piece first.

Image: HKHousewife.

  • PAPER TIME. When you think you’ve found the perfect composition, trace each frame onto kraft paper or even newspaper and if you can, photo copy the art in the exact size. If that’s too much trouble, you can just outline the size of the art. Using painter’s tape again, tape the arrangement onto the wall exactly as it would hang. This will really help you visualize the end result and make sure you’ve gotten it just right–feel free to move it around until it’s just so–the painter’s tape won’t hurt your walls.

Image: Pottery Barn.

  • JUST THE RIGHT HEIGHT. Next, decide the proper height from which to hang things. *Keep in mind* that most people hang things too high!! And consider whether or not your height is average… ideally you want to hang the center of the picture at the average person’s eye-level. So, if you’re really tall, this would be lower than what seems natural to you. The bottom should be no more than four feet off the ground. Hold your centerpiece against the wall to find the perfect place, keeping all of the above in mind, to hang this anchor piece. Make a small pencil mark at the top of the frame. A good rule is: 58″ from the floor to the center of the artwork. Other pieces will hang lower, higher or level, depending on the perfect arrangement you came up with! Also, when installing artwork over furniture, leave at least 8” between the base of the frame and the top of the furniture.
  • FIND THE NAIL HEIGHT. Next, turn the frame over and figure out how many inches from the top of the frame the hanging wire or hole is. Then measure that many inches down from the pencil mark and make an ‘X’ onto the kraft paper. This is where you’ll want to put your nail if you’re using just one. If you’re hanging with two nails, which we recommend for larger prints, then you’ll want to measure out an equal distance to either side of the ‘X’ and make two more ‘X’s for where your two nails should go.

Image: Pottery Barn.

  • SAVE YOUR WALLS. Place a strip of transparent tape over your ‘X’ to help prevent the plaster of your wall from splitting.
  • SAVE  YOUR FINGERS. It’s helpful to use a clothespin to hold the nail–place the clothespin perpendicular to the wall–and then hammer the nail in at a slight upward angle.
  • OOPSY DAISY. If you do mess up: fix mistakes on white wall with Spackle (sold at hardware stores) and a fingertip. Apply a tiny dot over a hole, then smooth with a damp paper towel. White toothpaste also does the trick!
  • LEVEL FOR PERFECTION. Rest a level on the top of the frame to straighten the frame just perfectly!
  • REPEAT. For multiple prints, you’ll want to repeat all of these steps, but instead of measuring from the center, you’ll want to measure from the other prints. A good rule of thumb is to hang all the images the same distance from one another. You can use a book’s spine to be the standard width or measure 2 or 3 inches.
  • KEEP IT THAT WAY. Buy double-sided sticky tape squares or rubber bumpers for the corners of your art pieces. There’s nothing more annoying than a crooked picture!!

Image: Dick Blick.

  • Also *remember* you don’t have to hang your art! Ledges are an awesome alternative. They simplify things quite a bit and offer ongoing, arranging flexibility. Plus, they also let you showcase books, cards, flowers, and other memorabilia alongside your art and photos.

Image: Pottery Barn. The Holman Ledge from Pottery Barn is pictured above. It’s available in white, black, and wood in 2′, 3′, and 4′ feet sizes.

Also, check out our other posts on how to select your Minted art and how to frame it.

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How to frame your Minted art.

Framing your art can be a bit overwhelming and it can also cost you a fortune if you’re not careful. Here are some resources and things to keep in mind to keep the process simple and straightforward.
Image: Decor8

You will NEED:
  • FRAMES. Your local frame shop is always an option although it will likely be more expensive than purchasing your frames readymade. Smaller frames are considerably less expensive than larger frames.
  • MATS. One great idea is to buy your frames readymade (some online options are listed below)  and then get custom mats cut for them. This gets you the best of both worlds; a custom look at a reasonable price.
    • We are partial to white mats because it really lets your art shine and it gives a collage a unified look.
    • We also love beveled mats–they’re just so sigh-worthy elegant!
    • Archival mats will make sure your piece lasts forever and won’t yellow, but they also will add to cost.
    • Michael’s is a great option for custom mat cutting. See here for store locations.
  • GLASS OR GLASS REPLACEMENT. Plexiglass or acrylics instead of glass are great options for several reasons; they’re light so they’re much easier to hang and they’re shatter-proof so they’re safer in the event of an earthquake.
    • We especially recommend avoiding glass above beds, couches and in nurseries. Tap Plastics custom cuts plexiglass and Frame Destination offers a wide range of sizes and options.
    • A UV-coating is recommended for especially sunny areas to protect the colors in your print for bleaching. It does add significantly to the cost so we recommend it mostly for directly-exposed areas.

WHERE TO PURCHASE FRAMES ONLINE:

Pottery Barn.

One of the advantages of Pottery Barn is that they sell frames with pre-cut, beveled, archival quality mats and with plexiglass. They are a great option if you want a classy, really unified look. They also sell one large square frame.

They offer nice wood gallery frames in white, wood, or black  with mats sized for 5×7 ($20) and 8×10 ($23) art prints. Why not mix in a few of your personal photos in their 4×6 size ($16) to complete the wall? Their oversized frame for an 8×10 print measures 25×25 ($55). We love that this gives you three different sizes to work with, which is a great number.

Image: Minted art in Pottery Barn frames

Their Lee Gallery collection is a nice silver option.

This is a nice example of hanging art in an off-set arrangement with lots of movements. It’s very light handed and pretty! Image credit: Pottery Barn.

The Lee Gallery collection also offers oversized mat editions, which are pretty awesome, the total dimensions are 25×25 and it’s sized for an 8×10 print.

Image: Minted Art in a Pottery Barn frame

Pottery Barn also sells a 48″x48″ oversized, black square frame ($159) which will accommodate our 30″x40″ size and ALL of our square sizes with custom mats.

Plywerk.

So one revelatory thought is that you don’t actually need a frame; instead mount your art onto a piece of wood. We love this option because A. it’s green B. you don’t have to leave your house! C. they offer almost every size Minted carries. D. it’s super chic!

Plywerks will mail you a blank piece of wood. They offer three thicknesses: 1/2″ maple, 3/4″ bamboo and 1.5″ bamboo. Select the ‘with adhesive’ option and you will be able to mount your print right onto the board. The boards are just slightly smaller than the size of the print so you’ll use an exacto knife to trim it to a perfect edge.

They offer the following sizes in portrait / landscape: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20, 30×40. (So all but our largest size: 44×60. They also sell the following non-photographic square sizes: 8×8, 30×30. Prices in these size from $10-$229.

Image: Minted art on Plywerk.

West Elm.

West Elm is a great option for frames with mats for our small to medium size art.

West Elm offers a nice selection of gallery frames in black, white lacquer and silver. Although, you can always do custom mats, their frames come with mats. Their 13″sq. frame holds a 5″ x 7″ photo with mat, their 14″ x 17″ frame holds a 8″ x 10″ photo with mat, their 16″ x 20″ frame holds 8″ x 10″ photo with mat. Although their 18″ sq. frame comes with a smaller mat, you could easily custom cut a mat for Minted’s 8″x8″ or 11″x11″ or 16″x16″ sizes. Their 18″ x 24″ frame with a custom mat could accomodate Minted’s 5″x7″, 8″x10″, 11″x14″, and 16″x20″ sizes. Prices range from $19-54. They also carry a larger line of frames in black and available in 8″x10″ ($19), 16″x20″ ($39), and 30″x40″ ($149) sizes. With custom mats, these frames are great for our: 5″x7″, 8″x10″, 11″x14″, and 16″x20″ prints.

Ikea.

The budget option, Ikea has an unbeatable price point for our smaller prints, starting at just $9.99 per frame, although you will need a custom mat. Make sure to ‘reinforce’ larger Ikea frames to avoid them coming apart. You can do this by using eyelet screws and wire (from your local hardware store) to hold the sides together. Although not actually available online, check out their Ribba collection.

Make sure to also check out our posts on how to select Minted art and how to hang Minted art.



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How to select your Minted art.

By far and away, and we know it’s a little cheesy, but the best way to buy art is to just pick what you love and what moves you. No advice is really better than that. But we do have a few tips below for how to put together the increasingly popular wall collage.
  • Minted’s inspiration boards are an incredible tool to let you both collect your favorites and also see how the pieces all work together… it’s so fun to go through the assortment and add your favorites and then use the shuffle feature to re-arrange them until they feel just right.

It’s very easy to start a Minted inspiration board… you need to create an account on the minted site first, and then you just click ‘add to board‘ in the upper right hand corner of each product detail page.

  • As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to pick one ‘favorite piece’ to anchor your gallery collection.
  • It’s helpful to have 2-3 larger pieces that balance out smaller pieces.
  • Although we do love mixing three or five sizes of prints, unity is also not the enemy. All one size can look really sophisticated, especially in a hall way.

Image: Pottery Barn. We love how the dark walls really make the prints pop!!

  • Depending upon how formal you want your collage to be, we recommend keeping one of the following consistent: size, subject, color or frame style/color. The more formal a collage you wish to create, the more of those elements you will want to have in common.

Image: West Elm by way of the bholder

Also make sure to check out Minted’s art collage created by Suzanne Shade for the ALTitude Design Conference, as well as our posts on ‘How to frame your Minted art‘ and ‘How to hang your Minted art.’

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Petit oiseau inspired baby shower.

I wanted to share a super chic baby shower, completely inspired by a minted invitation: petit oiseau by Cecile Paper Lounge.

The event was coordinated by Amy Nichols, who also happened to be my personal wedding planner. Linens pictured by La Tavola.

This dessert table by Amy really picks up on all the colors in the invite. Flowers by Laurel Designs.

Aren’t these glitter cake pops by Sweet Lauren Cakes stunning?

These cookies by Sugar Mama SF are the perfect take on the invitations!

The simple floral arrangements: hydrangeas and green berries are so sweet and very appropriate for a baby shower.

A little dyed sugar and a mint leaf ties in the shower colors with the drinks.

The food by Barbara Llewelyn Catering featured all type of finger-sized brunch items, like mini French toasts!

I just love these flower pomanders!

A big thank you to photographer Jihan Cerda for the amazing pictures of this lovely affair! And well done Amy –not surprisingly, this shower is absolute perfection!

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Design Mom’s Easter egg hunt.

Last year Gabby of Design Mom invited guests to her egg hunt with 2birdstone’s painted eggs easter card.

But I saved posting about it until this year so you’ll have some time to let Gabby’s genius inspire you to host a lovely egg hunt of your own!

A couple of ribbons goes a long way to making a basket truly special!

Gabby took advantage of all of the customization options Minted is more than happy to offer and changed the back of the card to be an invite.

Isn’t it so cute how she did the invite in French? The Blairs have been in France for a little over a year and they are loving it… and I’m loving living the experience vicariously through them.

Pretty macaroons fit right in with Easter colors!

The hunt also involved egg dyeing… I do like using both real and plastic eggs because it maximizes the fun all around!

And isn’t this gazebo just perfection?

I always say, the perfect party is inspired by the perfect invite! I love how the personalized Easter message is somewhat hidden (purple, lower left).

A big thank you to Design Mom for sharing all of her pretty pictures with us. I hope it got you in the mood to start planning your very own egg hunt! Here are a few more ‘egg-centric’ designs that would make for perfect egg hunt invites!

Striped Egg by B. Wise.

Wax resist by kelli hall.

Alla moda by chocomocacino.

Easter Kaleidoscope by the Social Type. Feel free to customize this design to make it a bit more of an invite by simply noting what you’d like in the ‘special instructions box’ when placing your order.

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Origami Easter Egg Cups

To celebrate the launch of our new Easter assortment we have a special gift with purchase. Included with every Easter order and any journals, personal stationery, birth announcements or skinny wraps, you’ll receive an Easter Craft Kit that includes 10 origami sheets and instructions for making  a bunny box and egg stand.

Check out the video tutorial below featuring resident office origami expert Tiffany to help you put together the perfect egg stand.

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Minted in Martha Stewart Weddings.

We were excited to see some Minted love in Martha Stewart Weddings latest issue.

The issue featured a very fun story about stationery from ‘A to Z.’ Per the usual, they did a very cute job with it.

We were featured under ‘W’ for Wraparound label. “Printed stickers that make addressing your envelopes both easy and cost-effective. The front contains the return address and the back bears your initials.” The story showcases J. Bartyn’s Sundance Wildflowers in the lower right hand corner. Check out all of our Skinny-Wrap TM labels here.

Cover photograph by Christopher Baker/Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2012. Copyright © 2012. Story photographs by Johnny Miller/Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring 2012. Copyright © 2012.

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