Minted News: Launching a New Artist Community Experience

One of the most exciting parts of our work here at Minted is supporting the creativity, personal development, and careers of the best independent artists in the world. We are here because of you—we love your creativity in exploring new design boundaries and your courage to put your vision out there for everyone to appreciate. Our brand is built around you, as an individual artist.

As you may have heard on previous conference calls and from other community members, we’re revamping the artist community section of our website over the course of 2015. We’re adding new features, tools, and services to make it easy for you to participate in our challenges, give and take feedback from other artists in our community, and build your brand and business on Minted.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the first phase of this redesign today. Here’s a quick tour of some of the redesigned features that are a part of this first phase:

  • Redesigned “Participate” section. Enjoy a new look and feel for the Participate section of the site, with a redesigned navigation to help new artists learn about our challenge process and the community.

  • Challenges page. Find all the open challenges to submit, critique and vote in one place—the Challenges page. You can also see upcoming challenges, recent winner announcements, and community events on the same page.

  • Synchronized calendar for Challenge deadlines and Community events. Keep track of all design challenges and community events in your Google calendar, Outlook, or any calendar of your choice. It will automatically update your calendar as we announce new challenges or update deadlines, or host events.

  • Challenge Home. Each design challenge on Minted will now have a new home where you can find all of the Challenge activity and information in one place. You’ll find the latest submissions, requests for feedback, open polls, information about the challenge and the prizes, and a leaderboard. You’ll be able to submit your designs, vote on designs, like designs, and finally see the winner announcements here as well. See, for example, our home page for the 2015 Holiday Cards Challenge.

  • Artist Dashboard. Brand-new is our artist Dashboard—this is your personalized starting point on Minted. Here, you’ll see your stats, recent submissions, announcements from Minted, and much more. The Dashboard will make it easy for you to see current challenges and voting, give feedback, and connect with other artists in the community. Find a link to your Dashboard by logging in to Minted and clicking on your name on the top right corner.

We hope these changes will help you create, promote, and enjoy your work on Minted. This is the first phase of a complete redesign of your artist community experience on Minted; we’ll be rolling out new features and improvements throughout the rest of this year. We’d love to hear your feedback on these new features, and how we may be able to improve them to better fit your needs. Please share your feedback here.

We are committed to providing you the best platform to develop, get exposure for your work, and have fun with likeminded creatives. We ask that you pay it forward by helping your fellow Minties with honest, constructive critiques, and support.

We’re heading to the National Stationery Show this weekend to demonstrate some of these features and collect feedback in person from some of our community members. We also have a community VoiceIt conference call scheduled for later this month, where you can ask questions and give us feedback. We look forward to hearing your thoughts! You can also check out some of the frequently asked questions from artists about the new community redesign.


Design to Dish: Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles

raspberry orange yogurt popsicles “Oh Popsicle” print by Kelly Ventura | Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles (recipe below)

This past weekend was a scorcher—it reached 80 degrees which, where we live, is pretty summery for this time of the year! We jumped into our bathing suits, ran through the sprinkler for an hour or so, and ate homemade popsicles in the sunshine. Kelly Ventura’s “Oh Popsicle” print inspired the homemade-popsicles idea and I made them with swirls of raspberry purée, orange juice, and Greek yogurt. They were a big hit with everyone in the family, young and old alike. Beautiful, delicious, easy to make, and good for you? Yes, please!

raspberry orange yogurt popsicles

Keep reading for this easy summery recipe…

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DIY: Four Clever Ways to Top a Gift

Sometimes you just don’t have a gift-wrap bow on hand. But instead of making an emergency ribbon run, rummage through your drawers at home or even your kid’s toy box—chances are you’ll find something in there that makes for a creative way to dress up a plain package.

gift wrap ideas

1. Birthday Cake (above):
Cut out an image of a birthday cake, paste it on top of the box, then add glue some (real) candles.

gift wrap ideas

2. Felt Balls:
Cover the top of the package entirely with glued-on felt balls for a colorful topper.

gift topper ideas

3. Ice Cream:
Tape on an ice cream shooter for a playful finish any kid would love.

how to wrap a present

4. Numbers:
Someone turning another year older? Simply stick on some number stickers and circle their age.


Happy Mother’s Day from Minted!

Mother’s Day is a special time at Minted—not only do we get to celebrate the wonderful women in our own lives, but also the amazing community of women that make Minted what it is. We asked our Minted community—our designers and artists, customers, and fans—to share a photo of themselves with their mama along with a fond memory or their best piece advice, and we were so moved by everyone’s submissions! Here’s just a snippet of the heart-warming entries we received; you can see all the submissions on Instagram via #mintedmoms.

1. @goosenpumpkin: Anytime spent with my mom, my sister and all our kids (8 between the two of us) is a great time. Lots of noise, Grammy cooking up a storm and playing with the kids in between it all. She is pure joy. I have never met anyone harder working, more generous, more gracious or more self-sacrificing than my mom. She is adored by everyone blessed enough to know her and, obviously, just beautiful; inside and out.

2. @smile_peace_love_creative: My mother, my guardian angel, has inspired me to follow my dreams. Her words, and her grandson, that she never had the chance to meet, have inspired me to move forward in my life.  With her passion for life prominent in my memory, I strive to push myself and follow my dreams.

3. @HolliejngAround the time this photo was taken, I remember being bullied by some kids in the neighborhood. I came home crying and my mom gave me a cuddle, some M&Ms, and taught me one of life’s most important lessons: Chocolate makes everything better!

4. @DjFalconer: One of my favorite pictures ever. Me with my Mom, my Grandmother, & my Great-Grandmother {1979}. Everyday, but especially on Mother’s Day, I feel incredibly lucky to have had them set a shining example of what it means to be the world to your children.

5. @maraboudesign: I attribute all my success to my mother’s moral & intellectual guidance. She is the epitome of grace, style & beauty. Her mother passed away when she was only 3yrs old, and my grandfather never married again. Though she never experience the security of having a mother’s love, she never allowed her loss of that bond prevent her from being the best mom a girl could wish for.

6. @Mothershrummer: Introducing my mom to a “selfie” and her smile when she sees us together! [Especially sweet] when they have dementia…. These are the moments!!

7. @jan_vilkin_kessel: My Mom-mother of 4 outstanding individuals:), was the Mom that all the other kids wanted. “I wish my Mom was like your Mom”, they all said. Everyone was always welcome at our house. My Mom was an outstanding mother, and a wonderful human being. She was a friend to everyone.

8. @leslieannjones: Even at the beach, a mom’s work is never done. So thankful for this lady and all that she’s sacrificed for me over the years. Thirty years later, and she’s still helping me to stand.

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Get to Know: Kiana Mosley

Minted Artist Q&A: Kiana Mosley

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we chatted with Minted artist—and mother of three!—Kiana Mosley, who’s been a part of the Minted community since 2012. She currently lives in Eugene, Ore., but will be moving back to Hawaii (where she’s originally from) in June with her three children Mahlia (11), Khalil (7), and Ayanna (5) [ see photo 1 below ]. Here, Kiana shares her inspirations, what Minted has meant to her as an artist and working mother, and her idea of the perfect Mother’s Day (hint: it involves ice cream!).

How did you first hear about Minted?
I saw a gorgeous wedding invitation on Pinterest back in 2011 or 2012 and signed up for the Minted newsletter; later, I found out they were seeking fine artists, as well!

What mediums do you most enjoy working with?
I really love all mediums, as well as more experimental mediums and tools. Most prevalent in my current work is watercolors, but I also have a very deep affection for oils and acrylic.

Who are some of your favorite Minted artists?
I really love everything Kelly Ventura does—she is definitely my Minted idol! I own Kelly’s piece “Meena.” I’m also a fan of Emily Jeffords’ gorgeous landscapes; her pieces—like this one—remind me of breathtaking coastal sunsets. And Annie Seaton’s impressionistic surfers (like “Surfer Bae 1“) just sing to my ocean-loving heart.

What does Minted mean to you as a working mother and artist?
Minted has been instrumental in my career, especially in such a competitive and saturated new art market. And Minted’s support, marketing, and commitment to community reflect my personal values, as well. There are many other artists who share some of the same challenges I face, so being around people who “get it” is a big encouragement and relief. I’ve always felt very safe and encouraged in their care and platform.

How do you balance work and family time?
Um, sporadically! Well, my studio/office hours have to coincide with the children’s school hours, but I’m technically always in and out of the studio (which is easy since my studio is in my home!). The challenge is trying not to work sometimes.

How would you like to spend Mother’s Day?
I would love to spend Mother’s Day with my keiki outside, perhaps at the park having a delicious picnic, followed by a trip to get ice cream!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 
My grandmother gave me the best advice, not so much through words, but through her constant encouragement and support to develop my skill in the visual and performing arts.

How do you encourage creativity in your own children?
I always have art supplies on hand, but if we run out (which isn’t very often!), we look for alternative or natural mediums to play with. We love designer Justina Blakeney’s “Face the Foliage” pieces
[ 2 ]
where she creates beautiful portraits out of leaves and flowers. Children are just so naturally creative, they don’t need much help—my kids’ abilities to role play or come up with unique and imaginative scenarios is just incredible and inspiring, and reminiscent of my own childhood! It creates a wellspring within myself as I watch them learn, grow, and create—they constantly inspire their mama and I tell them so! When we share encouragement, we all grow.

Do you get feedback from your kids before submitting art for design challenges?
Yes, sometimes! But they aren’t very critical, they just say they love everything, the little loves! So I really have to look as objectively as I can at a piece before entering.

Kiana’s Favorite Things
We asked Kiana to share her current favorite art, style, and home décor inspirations.

Who inspires you: I’m inspired by people who help others with their gifts.
Favorite place in the world: Though I’ve never been, Thailand looks like heaven on earth.
Favorite charity: Waves for Water, Casa, ICAF, Boys & Girls Club
Favorite movie: The Princess Bride
Favorite colors: All the colors! But I do tend to gravitate toward muted tones and earthy pastels.
Fashion idol: Donna Karan
Daily website read: The Jealous Curator and The Jungalow. Does Pinterest count?
Song in your head: “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan
Favorite Instagrammer: Ooh, that’s a tough one! You have to check out photographers @john_hook and @masonrosephoto. Then, there’s also @happymundane and his visual treats! Gah, don’t make me choose!

Where do you live: Soon, back where I was born, Hawaii.
Favorite pieces of art in your home: I have a few, but one true treasure is a painting by my father. He did it in the ’80s and was too poor to buy canvas, so he would stretch bed sheets over hand-built stretcher bars, and then gesso the crap out of it until he could pile on the textural oil paint!
China: Simple. White. Minimalist.
Stationery: Floral watercolor (of course!)
Pets: Soon! I plan to adopt a dog and a hedgehog.
Favorite gadgets: iPhone and my Mac computer
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Currently Cafe 440 and Mame Sushi in Eugene
Favorite drink: Coconut mocha
Favorite dessert: Shave ice [ 3 ]. Macarons and ice cream. Chocolate.
Favorite snack: Candied ginger and black licorice
Favorite flowers: Tuberose [ 4 ], plumeria, and stargazer lilies
What’s in your Netflix queue? Umbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Once Upon a Time, The Goldbergs
Coffee-table book: Flower by Andrew Zuckerman [ 5 ], Creative Block, The Art Book

Favorite artist: Henri Matisse, Helen Frankenthaler, Rothko
Favorite art supply store: Oregon Art Supply, Jerry’s, Michael’s
Favorite watercolor paints: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus Fine Art Watercolors  [ 6 ]
Favorite brushes: Various sumi brushes and artisan handmade brushes such as Rosemary & Co.
Favorite paper: Arches watercolor paper (cold and hot press)

More from Kiana Mosley:
Kiana’s Minted Store
Kiana’s Instagram
• “Spotlight – Fan Palm” art print
“Spotlight – Sago Palm” art print

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DIY: Personalized Flower Wrap (Perfect for Mother’s Day!)

If you’re giving your mama a bouquet of fresh-picked blooms this Mother’s Day, take your gift to the next level by ditching the generic packaging and presenting the flowers in a personalized flower wrap. In your best penmanship, hand-letter a meaningful quote, poem, song lyric, or compliment to express your gratitude and love.

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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DIY: Gift-Card Envelope (Free Printable!)

By Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of Alice & Lois

Now that the end of the school year is in sight, it’s time to start thinking about ways to thank your children’s teachers. Last year, I asked my kid’s teachers what types of gifts they appreciate most and the answer was unanimous—gift cards (yep, no more mugs, notepads, and personalized desk accessories, please). I know, gift cards can be so impersonal. But we took care of that problem by designing this mod-inspired gift-card holder to add a personal touch to your thank you.

Keep reading for the free printable and tutorial


DIY: Screen-Printed Felt Flags

Written by Olivia Kanaley

These collegiate-inspired felt flags are a noteworthy way to celebrate your favorite graduate. And in the spirit of learning, I thought I’d explore a new-to-me printing technique and break it down into a handful of easy steps. This project is more involved than our usual DIYs but if you’ve every been curious about screen printing, this is the perfect introduction. Make several “Congrats” flags to wave at the commencement ceremony or DIY them for a festive wedding send-off.

Click through for the step-by-step instructions


Get to Know: Jill Means and Her Daughter Ali

Graphic designer Jill Means is a longtime member of our Minted community—she entered her first design challenge way back in 2010. She lives in Lodi, Calif., with her husband Scott and their five children—Sydney (18), Ali (16), Connor (15), Ryan (13), and Natalie (9)  [ see photo 1 below ]. Each of her kids has caught the design bug in their own way, including daughter Ali, who has submitted several of her own pieces to Minted’s challenges. To celebrate Mother’s Day, we chatted with this Minted mother-daughter duo to talk about balancing work and family, fostering creativity in your children, and what the Means kids are planning to do for Mom this Mother’s Day (so sweet!).

Jill Means and Ali Means

Jill, you’re a longtime Minted designer—how did you first hear about us?
Jill: I had been recommending Minted to people who approached me to do their wedding invitations and other stationery projects that I didn’t have time to take on. One day, I was browsing Minted’s website and thought, “Maybe I should submit something for a design challenge—just for fun!” Now more of my income comes from stationery design than my corporate design.

How do you balance work and family time? 
Jill: This is the question I get most often. It’s never perfect. Sometimes I’m scrambling to meet a deadline or working on a school project with the kids late into the night. My husband is very supportive and my kids have become very self-reliant in ways to allow me to work more. They also know that the extra income I make allows us take some fun family trips!

Right now I try to get most of my designing done from my home office while the kids are at school. After school, we have a lot of sports and activities happening (usually at the same time!); then, I sometimes do more work at night. I don’t work on Sundays, which gives me a day to breathe and plan for the week ahead. My family and faith always come first, but design is something I just can’t quit, no matter how busy my life gets. It’s a part of me, I’d do it even if I wasn’t paid for it.

Is your mother also design-oriented? Does it run in the family?
Jill: My mom isn’t a designer, but she is creative in different ways. She’s a retired teacher and has always encouraged me in every thing I do. I credit her as my first client. When I was very young, around five years old, she asked me to draw a banana tree for a project she was working on. I didn’t even know what a banana tree looked like—I think my drawing looked like an apple tree with bananas instead of apples. But when I handed her my illustration, she told me how wonderful it was and what an amazing artist I was becoming. I believed her and have had confidence in my artistic skills ever since.

It sounds like several of your children have inherited your design genes! Please tell us more.
Jill: Yes! I’m teaching Sydney a little bit of photography, Ali does hand lettering and painting, and Connor comes up with ideas for designs. He sketched out the concept for my Candy Cane Banner holiday-party invitation [ 2 ], I executed it in Illustrator, and it won second place in a Minted challenge! I shared the prize money and commission with him! My son Ryan is taking a graphic design class at school and Natalie does a lot of drawing (mostly of dolphins!), so they’ve all caught the design bug in some way.

Do you and Ali work on projects together?
Jill: Right now Ali is busy with school, sports, and activities so she isn’t doing a lot of her own work, but she paints a lot of the backgrounds and elements I’ve used in my designs [ 3 & 4 ]. Ali painted the background in my “School of Fish” classroom valentine [ 5 ] and right now she’s doing some lettering, watercolors, and paper marbling for some holiday designs I’m working on this month.

Get to Know: Minted Designer Jill Means and Her Daughter Ali

Ali, what grade are you in? And what’s your favorite subject?
Ali: I’m a junior at Tokay High School and my favorite subjects in high school have been AP Environmental Science, Ceramics, and French.

What careers are you considering once you’re done with school?
Ali: I would really like to follow my mom’s footsteps as a graphic designer. I’m so glad she started teaching and encouraging me early so I can feel more prepared and confident as I pursue design!

Jill, how do you encourage creativity in your own children?
Jill: I try to teach them that creativity is not something you have or you don’t, it’s a skill you learn and develop your whole life. Creativity is more than just art, it’s a way of thinking, whether it’s approaching a challenge, staying on a budget, or packing a suitcase. We also try to do new things and go new places to give them lots of experiences to fill their “creativity bucket.”

Ali, how does your mom inspire you?
Ali: She is always striving to help and make time for me and my four other siblings. Her love and dedication is something I really try to emulate. She’s understanding, funny, beautiful, and my best friend. I love her designs and she has really helped me to appreciate simplicity and balance in art.

What are you and your siblings doing for your mom for Mother’s Day?
Ali: On Mother’s Day, me and my siblings wake up early to prepare a yummy breakfast with my dad that we enjoy as a family. Everyone makes cards and little gifts to make her feel special and appreciated.

Most important thing/best advice you learned from your mom?
Ali: One of the most important things my mom has taught me is to set goals and focus on priorities. She works hard and makes sure to spend her time meaningfully with our family. She carefully plans her projects and work hours in a way that suits her and our family. Some of that time is also spent teaching and helping me to become a better designer—it’s a time I cherish and will remember.

More from Jill Means:
Jill’s Minted Store
Crash Course Creative (Jill’s blog)
“Candy Cane Banner” holiday-party invitation  [ 2 ]
• “School of Fish” classroom valentine  [ 5 ]

Photos: All courtesy of Jill Means and Minted


DIY: Mother’s Day Candy Boxes

These small divided boxes (I found ’em in the dollar section at Target!) are the perfect containers to fill with your mom’s favorite candy this Mother’s Day. Top them off with our free printable Mother’s Day labels and you’ve got yourself the perfect little gift for the sweetest mama around.

mother's day handmade gift
mother's day candy boxes

Click through for the printable Mother’s Day labels