Recipe: 3 Tasty Treats for Last-Minute Holiday Gifting

Guys! Christmas is this weekend! I feel like I had a mile-long to-do list last week, but thankfully, I’ve chipped away at it little by little, and I’m almost at the point where I can just relax. Most gifts are bought. There’s a wrapping station set up in the basement. And we’ve started making and delivering holiday treats to our friends and neighbors.

I usually have grand plans for my edible gifts and was dreaming up some fancy cinnamon-swirl bread sprinkled with Swedish pearl sugar to give this year. It was going to be epic. Not to mention a lot of work. Though I still might make a few loaves, we wound up switching gears and cranked out a bunch of really easy, really delicious treats the other day and delivered them to the long list of people we love (gotta get names crossed off that list!). So if you’re in the same predicament—wanting to make a tasty, homemade treat without having to slave away in the kitchen—then try one of these three simple holiday treat recipes. They all take less than an hour to make and only require six ingredients, max. Make just one or all three like we did and impress your friends and family members with your handiwork this year.

Need some yummy treats to take to friends and neighbors? These 3 super simple holiday recipes will save the day! Need some yummy treats to take to friends and neighbors? These 3 super simple holiday recipes will save the day!

Click through for the ingredients and instructions…

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DIY: No-Sew Fabric Gift Bag

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Half the fun of gift giving is presenting your in a prettily wrapped package. This year, I decided to make fabric gift bags that are made from repurposed materials and can be used again and again. I have a rather large-sized bin filled with scrap fabric, which is perfect for this project. Red-and-white patterned fabric and fusible hemming tape are all you need to whip up this no-sew gift bags. They take less than 10 minutes to make and you can fill them with holiday goodies and gifts.

DIY: No-Sew Fabric Gift Bag | alice & lois for minted
DIY: No-Sew Fabric Gift Bag | alice & lois for minted

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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DIY: Printable Reindeer Mask

Written by Kersey Campbell of  And We Play

If you’re looking for a fun holiday activity to keep your kiddos busy, they’ll love this fun reindeer mask craft. It’s really easy to make and you probably already have all of the supplies to make it around the house. That’s what I call a win-win craft.

Click through for the download and instructions

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Printable: City-Themed Gift Tags

Need a great gift idea? Look no further than your locale. No matter where you live you should be able to find someone who makes great chocolate, funny cards, or something equally as delightful. Package your favorite finds together and top the box with a tag letting the recipient know where the gift is coming from. Find out the contents of this Seattle box and download any of these printable gift tags below.

city gift boxes seattle gift box

Click through for the free printable gift tags


DIY: Modern Organic Wreath

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

‘Tis the season for creating simple, one-of-a-kind holiday decorations for your home. For the past few years we’ve made handmade wreaths and fell in love with the process—gathering bunches of evergreens, eucalyptus, and berries from our local florist (or foraging the materials!) to use (Tip: We like collecting scraps from the Christmas tree lot!).

While circular wreaths are classic and festive, today we’re demonstrating a modern take that incorporates driftwood from the beach to create a more organic, natural-looking shape.

DIY Modern Organic Wreath | alice & lois for minted
DIY Modern Organic Wreath | alice & lois for minted

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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2016 Valentine’s Day Challenge: Special Prizes and Guest Judge’s Pick

Announcing the Special Prizes and Guest Judge’s pick for our Nothing but Love Valentine’s Day Quickfire Design Challenge. Your fresh, unique Valentine’s Day designs made our hearts skip a beat. Congratulations to all the winners!


Guest Judge’s Pick by Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies 

Taco Truck by Itsy Belle Studio

Jenny Keller, a self taught baker, author, and stylist who is passionate for throwing over the top parties, is the creative mastermind behind Jenny Cookies.

When asked to pick her favorite design, Jenny said “I love the Taco Truck classroom Valentine card! The nostalgic valentine pun in text is funny and a theme I haven’t seen yet. The colors and design are fresh combined with genius placement of greeting. A perfect classroom Valentine card for boys or girls!”

For the most unique, innovative design that you would only find at Minted
iguana be yours by Lori Wemple

Runners-up: Love Brings You Home by 24th and Dune, Hedgehugs by Kelly Nasuta, Ornate Love by Mansi

For the classroom valentine design that best uses one of Minted’s die-cut shapes
Kiss Emoji by Jody Wody

Runners-up: Sweet Cookie by Lehan Veenker, Hoot by Shari Margolin, Over the Rainbow by Baumbirdy

For the best valentine photo card design that offers those customers who didn’t end up sending holiday cards a fun, creative way to send out belated greetings
HO HO XO by Lauren Chism

Runners-up: Love for the Year by Erica Krystek, Late Merry by Heidi Lee Miller, Love Brings You Home by 24th and Dune

For the best sports-themed classroom valentine design
Baseball Hit by Allison Kizer

Runners-up: You’re a Catch by Anna Elizabeth Whinnery, Number One Foam Finger by Jackie Crawford

For the best design with elements that truly shine in foil
Spreading Our Love by Ana Sharpe

Runners-up: Magical Pegasus by peetie design, Nailing It by Laura Hankins, Heart of Gold by Karidy Walker

For the valentine photo card that uses clever wording to reinvent typical Valentine’s Day greetings
Hugs and Hearts by Laura Hankins

Runners-up: Spread Love by Lauren Chism, Love Struck by Sweta Modi

For the best valentine photo card design that is also a birth or pregnancy announcement
New Valentine by Ashley Rosenbaum

Runners-up: Love at First Sight by Shirley Lin Schneider, Our New Love by Melissa Casey, Valentine Baby by Mansi

For the classroom valentine design that best incorporates an activity that the recipient can engage in

We Connect! by Christina Novak

Runners-up: Heart Search by Oma N. Ramkhelawan, Fill My Heart with Joy by Mandy Porta, Wonderful Words by Jessie Steury

For the best valentine photo card design featuring multiple photos
Little Sweeties by Jennifer Lew

Runners-up: Elegant Valentine by Ana Sharpe, Glittered Hearts by Oma N. RamkhelawanHugs Upon Kisses by Lauren Chism

For the funniest classroom valentine design that is sure to make kids laugh out loud
Soda Pop by Guess What Design Studio

Runners-up: Whale Love by Laura Bolter Design, Kitten Around by Cara McGrady, Do Me a Flavor by Genna Cowsert

For the best classroom valentine design featuring one or more photos
Heart Glasses by Jessie Steury

Runner-up: Pretzel Lover by Grae Designs

For the most unique full bleed valentine photo card design
XO Side Note by Baumbirdy

Runners-up: xoxoxoxo by Melissa Casey, All Our Love by Sweetgrass Paper Company, xo fancy by Guess What Design Studio

For the best design that puts a name or other customizable text on a curvilinear path
Hanging Buddies by Gwen Bedat

Runners-up: Jean Jacket by Jody Wody, Thank You, My Friend by Rebekah Disch

For the best design from a designer winning for the first time
Love You Lots by Parrot Design Studio


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DIY: Mini Christmas Cardboard Houses

When I was little I remember being in awe of a friend’s mantle overflowing with Christmas putz houses all sparkly and lit up. It was a sight to behold and if Pinterest had existed then, a photo of that mantle would have been pinned over and over with the caption #christmasdecorgoals. Lately I’ve been seeing a resurgence of these mini Christmas themed houses popping up and remembering the fondness I had for them, I made my own (but with a limit on the glitter so they’re more my style). Here’s how you can do the same:

cardboard christmas houses
homemade christmas village

Click through for the step-by-step instructions…

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DIY: Holiday Room Spray

Written by Sharon Garofalow of  Cupcakes and Cutlery

The holidays are in full swing and the temperatures are dipping, making cozy nights at home a frequent occurrence. I love the different scents during the holidays, like the way my house smells after I’ve baked a batch of holiday cookies or the fresh pine scent after bringing home our Christmas tree. To make sure my house smell festive all season long, I made these holiday-themed room sprays to keep spirits bright and and conjure up that holiday feeling whenever I like.

Click through for step-by-step instructions

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Take the Perfect Holiday-Card Photo (with your phone!)

How is it mid-December already? If you’ve been putting off your holiday cards (procrastinators, unite!), don’t fret—there’s still plenty of time to pull off a stylish Christmas card or holiday greeting. And if you weren’t able to book a professional family photo shoot, no worries. Just use your smartphone’s camera and follow these tips from professional photographer Edyta Szyszlo to stage a successful DIY shoot (no one will know the difference!).

Last Minute Christmas Cards: How to Get Great Family Photos with Your Phone

1. Find natural light.
Natural light allows for more even skin tones and better image quality. Avoid being “backlit,” which happens when the brightest light is behind you, and instead, seek shade (no more squinting eyes!). Also, be sure to ditch the flash (because let’s face it—no one looks good with a harsh light in their face!).

2. Phone a friend.
Ask a friend or family member to take your picture—smartphones have better image quality when using the forward-facing camera.

Last Minute Christmas Cards: How to Get Great Family Photos with Your Phone

3. Think: Selfies!
However, if you can’t recruit a friend to play photographer, then it’s perfectly fine to go the selfie route—they’re great for a fun, candid feel. Be sure the person with the longest arm is snapping the photo (or use a selfie stick!) and shoot from above for a more flattering look. Pro tip: Use the camera’s shutter shortcut for better hand positioning.

Click through for more cameraphone tips

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Meet a Minted Artist: Kimberly FitzSimons

Kimberly FitzSimons spent a decade working in investor relations and product management for leading Fortune 500 companies before becoming who she is today: a successful designer and parent of two girls. Like many of Minted artists’ success stories, Kimberly’s career transition didn’t happen overnight. As a self-taught designer, she built her creative path from the ground up and got her hands dirty with her own letterpress company before focusing solely on the design side of stationery. In this interview, Kimberly shares the wisdom she’s gained from working on Wall Street, connecting with the Minted artist community, and “learning how to fly” as a designer.

Kimberly’s style is timeless and refined with eye-catching type.

Minted: What did you study in school?
Kimberly FitzSimons:
Finance. I spent 10 years working as an investor relations consultant for several public companies and then led a product management team for a large financial technology company before giving it up to be a full-time mom and part-time graphic designer.

While I was planning my wedding in 2007, I fell in love with the letterpress printing method. Not long after my wedding, I enrolled in letterpress printing classes at the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College in Chicago. It was letterpress printing that ultimately jump-started my passion for design. I taught myself Illustrator so that I could have something to letterpress print in those classes. Eventually, in 2010, I bought a restored Vandercook (letterpress printing machine) and started a design and printing business for wedding stationery. My business grew very fast, and ultimately, I had to outsource the printing work to my commercial printing partner (Rohner Letterpress) and focus on design. My old Vandercook is still a workhorse and is now owned by Steel Petal Press in Chicago. I had a few very crazy but good years offering custom letterpress wedding stationery, but I closed my business in 2014 to focus on my family and concentrate on designs for Minted.

Fresh Christmas Wishes” holiday card by Kimberly FitzSimons

How has your former career in finance and tech shaped you as a designer?
All of my jobs within the finance and technology industries helped shape who I am today and how I think about my business. As an investor relations consultant, I worked with management teams of Fortune 500 companies and interacted with their large institutional shareholders. I learned so much about the financial markets and Wall Street, but I also learned very quickly how to ask questions, build relationships, and creatively spin a “story.” It was not always the easiest job, but it had it’s thrilling moments, like interacting with well-respected executives and helping companies plan their IPOs.

When I moved into product management for a financial technology company, I was able to use some of my previous market knowledge and relationship skills to help build and implement products for a web-based asset management and trading platform. One of my favorite parts of the job was brainstorming new product features with our engineering team in Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale, California). There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes to brainstorm, build, test, implement, and launch new products. It makes me truly appreciate all that the Minted Engineering and Product teams do for artists and their customers.