Meet a Minted Artist: Maja Cunningham

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: illustrator (and trained architect!) Maja Cunningham, who is currently based in Fort Worth, Texas.

Maja Cunningham grew up in former Yugoslavia and moved to the United States in 2000 as a war refugee. Here, she studied architecture, then recently began to create her own art while working as a full-time mother to her two-year-old son Jack. We chatted with Maja and asked her to share with us a glimpse into her art, work, and family life.

Maja Cunningham Artist Interview

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
My husband and I bought a house three months after our two-year-old son Jack was born, and as we were getting settled in, I realized we didn’t have any artwork for his room. My husband and I almost exclusively decorate with photographs and art from our travels. Jack was new and didn’t have any stamps in his passport yet so I decided to make something for him. “That’s One Fast Bike, Said The Cloud” was the very first framed piece in his room.

Did you study art formally in school?
I considered it briefly but architecture has always been my passion and calling, so art took a back seat. It was just biding its time though, of course.

Where do you currently reside? And why do you like living there?
We live outside Fort Worth, next door to my family. I came to United States as a refugee in summer of 2000 and stayed with my cousin’s family in Texas for several years. We have always lived either together or very close by. So when my husband and I decided to have a baby, I was finishing graduate school in Portland, Oregon. As much as we loved the Pacific Northwest we were missing two things: sunshine and family. Texas has always been good to us and there is something here that gives me the feeling of home. As only a refugee knows, when you find that feeling again, you hold on to it and never let go.

Meet a Minted Artist: Maja Cunningham Maja and Jack go over print proofs before nap time.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
Breakfast is a big deal, always has been. My husband’s schedule changes but he’s with us most mornings. After that, Jack and I go out: to the park, zoo, botanical garden, our backyard, museums, Target (on rainy days!). My cousin joins us most of the time. When we get back home we eat lunch and then we nap. Sometimes it’s just Jack but a lot of times I sneak in a nap, too. Running around with a toddler all morning is a workout because I wouldn’t otherwise. Other times I use nap time to work. Afternoons usually go by fast and they vary in location and activity as well. We spend a lot of time outside. I think that childhood surrounded by nature is the best way to grow up. And I find that my best art pieces are inspired by those moments or memories created during those times.

What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
Family and health come first, the rest always finds a way of flowing in between and around it. My husband works a lot so that I don’t have to until Jack is ready for school. But we always find time for each other. There was a time when I thought I could never give up architecture, but motherhood changes pretty much everything and you adjust. It’s a kind of adjustment that makes living and working a brand-new experience. Also, naps are a priority. Dishes, laundry, showers—not so much. Work happens when inspiration strikes and if that’s during, say, a playdate, then ideas might get scribbled on a chalkboard. All this to say, there are no more rules. We go with the flow and make happiness instead of to-do lists.

Please describe your last month in a word.
Sunshine

Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
I am working on a storybook for Jack. All my art work is essentially a painted story, so I’m very excited about this.

What are you serious about?
Keeping priorities in check. One can easily get carried away with distractions, but our family will always come first.

What things will you never take seriously?
Material things.

Meet a Minted Artist: Maja Cunningham

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
I’ve been sketching with pencil, ink, and markers for a very long time, they’re what I’m most comfortable with. But lately I’ve been going back to my school days where experimenting with materials was a daily exercise. So I’ve been trying watercolors, gouache, charcoal, collage—I love trying different textures. I know exactly what the end result is supposed to look like, so I experiment a lot until I reach my goal.

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I’ve enjoyed art for as long as I can remember. But I’ve only recently started producing actual art pieces. Before, it was always a part of a design process or just a sketch exercise. My subject matter was architecture or interior design, so the end result was quite different.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
Without thinking too much about it and getting lost I’d say Impressionism has always evoked my deepest appreciation for art. I could sit in front of a Monet, Degas, or Pissarro for days. The beauty and tranquility of those works is immeasurable.

How do you approach your art?
It all starts with a story, a memory, or even a silly tune I sing to Jack. The characters emerge from our outdoor adventures, a cartoon, or favorite toy. From there, I sketch an idea. Composition. Colors. Textures. It’s a kind of dance. All these elements move until everything is just right.

Meet a Minted Artist: Maja Cunningham  A storyboard for “Mrs. Edith Plans a Trip”

A great artist gets inspiration from anywhere—what are some of the most unusual sources of inspiration for you?
Mrs. Edith” emerged from a sewing box and a string of yarn. Literally. I see ideas in patterns, textures and colors—they are everywhere to me, I just need to open my eyes to them.

How would your describe your artistic style?
Playful

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
I move on. I have at least three projects I’m working on at any given time. If one is stalling, I give it time and air to breathe until it’s ready and I work on something else.

What are you working on now?
A moon series. Jack is obsessed with the moon. We go out almost every night to look at the moon and say goodnight, of course.

What color palettes have you been into lately?
Cool blues, greys, and browns.

What are some of your favorite Minted pieces?
Mornings Away” by Emily Jeffords will soon finds its way on my freshly painted wall! As well as Whitney Deal’sGoing for a Swim.” They both evoke a happy feeling, of freedom and serenity.

How do you encourage creativity in your own little one?
I believe that at an early age kids learn most from observing and trying things on their own. Under supervision, of course, but letting children be children. They have an innate ability to invent and create, and giving them time and space to experiment is the key. Providing a safe and diverse environment. Taking them out into the world rather than keeping them inside a classroom. There will be plenty time for that later.

Meet a Minted Artist: Maja CunninghamLittle Jack, paintbrush in hand, photobombs his mama’s portrait.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
I love comments and feedback. Since I work from home I miss that interaction I had in the architecture studio. The Minted community is my studio surrogate.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
Minted gave me a platform to become one! I never thought I could reach as many people with my art as I do now. It makes me so very happy to know that my art stories are finding a home all over the world and that children are waking up and growing up with them. There is no greater work satisfaction than that!

Please tell me more behind your Minted artist name “Llinella.
Llinella was a mistake, really. I was having a conversation with my husband about favorite cartoons. I grew up in former Yugoslavia and, later when the war started, in Germany. I watched a lot of European cartoons—French, Polish, Italian, there was a lot of Disney ones, too. But one of my most favorite ones was an Italian one called La Linea (“The Line”), with very simple animations of a man drawn as a white-outline silhouette on a blue background, walking on an infinite line of which he is a part. Facing obstacles and going around them. I found it so entertaining as a child. Decades later, when I attempted to remember the name of it, I called it falsely Llinella. It’s a made-up word but it comes with a story.


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

Inspiration
What inspires you: Nature
Favorite recent discovery: Inside Out  (Pixar movie)
Favorite place in the world: Home
Favorite charity: SOS Children’s Villages
Favorite movie: Gone With the Wind
Favorite colors: Black and white—not really colors but let’s not get too technical!
Fashion idol: Kate Moss
Favorite city: Rovinj, Croatia
Last stamp on your passport: Madrid, Spain
Song in your head: “Slow Motion” by PHOX
Favorite Instagrammer: @Meg_Nlo

Home
Favorite pieces of art in your home: Photographs taken when Jack was born
China: Broken!
Stationery: Oblation Paper & Press in Portland, OR
Pets: None yet but according to Jack, very soon
Favorite flowers: Tulips
Favorite gadgets: iPhone
Favorite drink: Mojito
Favorite dessert: Swiss or Belgian chocolate
Coffee-table book: The Sea Ranch by Donlyn Lyndon and Jim Alinder
Favorite snack: Sunflower seeds
What’s in your Netflix queue: Inside Out, Cars, and Despicable Me

Art
Favorite artist: Edgar Degas
Favorite works of art: “A Carriage at the Races,”, Degas; “Soleil Levant,” Claude Monet
Favorite art supply store: Utrecht
Favorite watercolor paints: Winsor & Newton
Favorite brushes: Raphael Kolinsky


More from Maja Cunningham:
• Maja’s Minted Store
• “Moon Balloon” Art Print
• “How About Jupiter” Art Print

More from Minted:
• Art Prints
Kids Wall Art
• Photography Prints

Photos: Courtesy of Maja Cunningham

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Minted Real Wedding: Angela & Brian in Aspen, CO

Angela Simmen and Brian Kelley, both resident physicians, first met while working in the same hospital. “We would catch each other’s eye while passing each other,” says Angela. After a romantic proposal during a ski trip to Colorado, the Michigan-based couple decided to host an intimate destination wedding and chose The Little Nell in Aspen for their celebration. Upon arrival, their 60 guests boarded a gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain to watch the couple exchange wedding vows, with stunning mountains views and changing leaves as their dramatic backdrop.

Aspen Wedding at The Little Nell

Bride and groom: Angela Simmen & Brian Kelley
Occupations: Resident physicians (her = OB/GYN, him = surgery)
Based in: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Wedding date: September 26, 2015
Wedding venue: The Little Nell, Aspen, CO
Number of guests: 60
Minted wedding invitation: “Delicate Dots” by Ashley Hegarty
Wedding gown: “Cassidy” by Amy Kuschel
Wedding planner: Bluebird Productions
Florist: Prema
Cake: d’Elissious Cake Studio of Aspen
Photographer: Rachel Havel

Aspen Wedding at The Little Nell

How did you and Brian meet?
We would catch each other’s eye while passing each other in the hospital, but it was an epic Halloween party that finally brought us together!

Tell us about the proposal!
February 16, 2015! It happened on the gondola during a ski trip to Keystone, Colorado. We had the gondola to ourselves, and I noticed Brian was acting a little strange. Midway up the mountain, he got down on one knee. Of course, I bawled the rest of the way up. It was perfect. Our friends Russell and Lindsay had gotten in the gondola in front of us and were ready to snap engagement photos at the top of the mountain. We loved having them there to share that perfect day!

How did you find your wedding venue The Little Nell?
Courtesy of my amazing older sister, Jen. Brian and I knew we wanted a small destination wedding and Colorado appealed to us for so many reasons. My sister started looking online right away and sent me the link to The Little Nell five days after our engagement. We booked it within a week!

What was the wedding-dress shopping process like?
My mom Rosie and my sister planned a full two days of dress shopping in Atlanta. We never made it past the first shop, Kelly’s Closet, where I found my dress!

Aspen Wedding at The Little Nell

Click through to read more of Angela and Brian’s wedding story

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Download: February Desktop Wallpapers

Now that it’s February, freshen up your computer desktop with one of these two charming wallpaper designs by Minted artist and graphic designer Kristin Doversberger of Lorent & Leif.

February 2016 Desktop Wallpaper Download

Download: “Flower Pattern” Desktop Wallpaper (above)

February 2016 Desktop Wallpaper Download

Download: “Terrarium” Desktop Wallpaper (above)

Download instructions: Click on the download links above and the image will open in its own tab (depending on your browser, you might need to click again to make it full size), Next, drag the image to your desktop; for Macs, select System Preferences and then Desktop & Screen Saver; for PCs, right-click the picture and then click Set as Desktop Background.

Note: These designs are for personal use only and were created by Lorent & Leif for Minted.

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Behind the Design: “Adventure Awaits” Save the Date

Bangkok-based Minted designer Elly Liyana gives us the scoop on how her popular “Adventure Awaits” save-the-date came to be (so perfect for nature-loving couples!).

Woodland Save the Date Design Minted

What was the inspiration behind this design?
I was brainstorming ideas for a project I was working on and wanted to incorporate drawings of natural landscapes with some portrait illustrations. Then, since many couples are gravitating toward an outdoor or rustic wedding theme these days, I thought I might be able to also feature these landscapes in an upcoming wedding challenge.

Please describe your creative process, from initial idea to end result.
I visit wedding blogs to have a look at the kind of wedding styles that are trending at the moment. I immerse myself in the whole wedding vibe as if I am a bride-to-be! I look for what I would like and I write all my ideas on paper and then start playing around with watercolor.

What are some challenges you faced as you were designing?
I think the biggest challenge was trying to create something fresh yet still consistent with current trends. Also, I’m new to watercolor—I usually paint with oils so it took a lot of trial and error before I was truly happy with it. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try something new for the challenge.

What wedding trends do you love right now?
Nature never gets old. I’m also loving the modern abstract painting trend. I’m not an abstract painter but I appreciate the style because I know just how difficult it is to paint abstract art.

Woodland Save the Date Design Minted

Tell us about your workspace.
My workspace is small and messy most of the time. My desk is next to a balcony—I prefer to paint during the day when there’s a good amount of sunlight. I’ve got a clear view of the city and the skyline from that spot, it’s relaxing.

How did you start designing for Minted?
My sister told me about Minted in 2009 and encouraged me to participate in the challenges; my first submission was for a wedding invitation challenge. It’s great to see how Minted has come such a long way, and how many of the wonderful designers have grown in their work. They truly inspire me to design more.

How does it feel knowing that couples from around the world are incorporating your save-the-date into their wedding?
It’s incredible! I’ve gotten some really sweet emails from brides-to-be saying that they have been looking for something like it for a long time and were so happy to have found it for their wedding. I’ve always wanted my art to reach a variety of people and it’s such a great feeling that my work is part of such a special occasion.


More from Elly Liyana:
• Elly’s Minted Store
Elly’s Website
Elly’s Instagram

More from Minted:
• Wedding Invitations
Save the Date Cards
• Wedding Websites

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Minted Elopement: Kim & George in Malibu, CA

After secretly tying the knot during a family vacation to the Oregon Coast, Kim Carey (who is a Minted designer herself!) and George Cox III returned home to Southern California and were surprised with an elopement dinner thrown by friends at the Malibu Cafe. The couples’ pals Lydia Campbell and Minted designer Renee Pulve planned a festive reception with bright pops of red and blue, all inspired by the couple’s retro style.

The couple: Kim Carey and George Cox III
Occupations: Pharmaceuticals Regulatory Affairs (Kim), Animation Production Coordinator (George)
Based in: Ventura, CA
Elopement date: September 5, 2015
Elopement location:
 Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Reception date: September 19, 2015
Reception location: Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch, Malibu, CA
Number of guests (reception): 10
Photographer (ceremony): Stephen Grossman
Photographer (reception): Renee Pulve
Reception party planners: Renee Pulve & Lydia Campbell
Dessert: Sprinkles Cupcakes

How did you and George meet?
I was looking for advice on buying a pen tablet for my computer. A friend put me in touch with George, who is a skilled digital artist.

Tell us about the proposal!
It was Christmas 2012 and George gave me a gift that was actually a puzzle to figure out. Gift #1 contained the hint “Will.” Gift #2 had the hint “You” and so on… For the last clue, he presented me with a blue topaz ring that I had picked out ages ago and thought he’d forgotten about.

Please tell us about your elopement!
We had a small, secret ceremony in Oregon with immediate family only. We had been looking for just the right place for over two years when George’s parents invited us to join them on their vacation to Oregon. When we realized that Ecola State Park was where they filmed The Goonies, we knew that was the spot. Then, our friends threw us a surprise “elopement dinner” at Malibu Cafe three weeks later.

1.  “Rustic Retro Surprise” wedding reception invitation, custom-designed by Renee Pulve/Smudge Design.

2. Mason jars were painted opaque white and filled with brightly colored paper blooms. “For the wedding ceremony, my sister cut a bouquet for me at an organic farm,” says Kim. “And then for the dinner party, my friend Lydia recreated the flowers in paper.” The dinner tables at Malibu Cafe were topped with black-and-white runners hand-sewn by Lydia to match the groom’s shirt.

3. The happy couple George and Kim. Their retro style inspired the party theme and invitation design.

4. Guests enjoyed colorful cupcakes from Sprinkles for dessert.

5. Renee and Lydia decorated the restaurant space with a colorful bunting banner that spelled out the newlyweds’ names. “Up Up and Away” bunting banner by Kelli Hall for Minted.

6. Blue handkerchiefs purchased from Hobby Lobby served as napkins at each place setting.

Where did you get your dress? 
I was looking for something retro and a little different to go with George’s retro style, and found my dress on Modcloth. I also created a fascinator to wear the day of the wedding that incorporated my late father’s “U.S.” pin from when he was in the Air Force in the 1960s.

What were some of your favorite reception details?
The invitation (a Renee Pulve original, designed to match our wedding attire), the Minted banner with our names, and the paper flowers. Lydia also sewed a table runner that matched George’s retro wedding shirt.

What were some of your fondest memories from the day? 
Having so many of our closest friends in one place.

Any advice for brides who are starting to plan their wedding?
Listen openly to people’s well-meaning advice, but in the end, do what is right for the two of you.

Additional Resources:
Retro starbursts in small jars: Hobby Lobby
Tabletop clipboard (holding photo of Kim and George): Michaels
Paper straws: Minted
Cupcake toppers (used on straws): Minted


More Minted Real Weddings:
Whitney & Kadmiel in Chicago
• Emily & David in Annapolis, MD
• Kelly & Andrew in San Clemente, CA
• Diane & Kaelem in Toronto
• Megan & Leo at Carondelet House, Los Angeles
• Leah & Mike at Los Poblanos, Albuquerque, NM
• Grace & Michael at Reif Estate Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
• Julia & Deric at Escala, Seattle
• Shelby & Douglas at Castle Hill, Keswick, VA

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Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: photographer Kaitlin Rebesco, who is currently based in Austin, Texas.

Fine art photographer (and newly certified yoga teacher!) Kaitlin Rebesco shares her current inspirations, how she overcomes artist’s block, and a glimpse into her daily life as a working artist.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

Quick! Tell us…
Digital or Film? Digital. But one of my goals for 2016 is to start shooting film!
Modern or Vintage? Both. Contrast is key.
Portraits or Nature? Nature
Landscapes or Still Life? Landscapes
Summer or Winter? Summer
City or Country? Both. I need to split my time between both types of environments in order to feel balanced.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
After college I spent a year working and traveling in Australia. I took photos obsessively during this time, wanting to document every new sight and experience. Upon returning to the States, I decided to pursue photography as more than a hobby. I took classes, built a portfolio, and applied to a professional photography program at a school in Paris. I studied photojournalism but, in the time since graduation, I’ve gravitated towards fine art photography. I enjoy that it allows for more creativity and abstract representation.

Did you study art formally in school?
I studied photojournalism at Spéos Photographic Institute in Paris. I have also taken many continuing education courses at the International Center of Photography and the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Where do you currently reside?
I am currently in Austin, TX. The warm weather was a huge draw for me; I couldn’t do another winter in New York! I also like that there are many state parks not too far outside of the city. It’s the best of both worlds. I often gather inspiration from my environment though, so, above all, I value change and I enjoy moving around. I will be leaving Austin at the end of January to spend two months in Costa Rica.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
This is something that I struggle with! I thrive within new environments and experiences, but keeping up with work and responsibilities can necessitate a schedule or routine. I try to mix up my routine as much as possible, but one constant that remains is a daily yoga practice. This has been life changing in many ways. But, as it relates to my creative work, I think it keeps me open and receptive to new ideas and inspiration. It’s funny, but photography and yoga are actually closely tied. While studying photojournalism, I realized that in order to be successful you have to be able to reach a sort of meditative state. As with yoga, the goal is to remain alert, aware, and present in the moment. If you let your mind wander, you can miss something.

What objects have been most significant to you lately?
Moving around so much has sort of made me an unintentional minimalist!

What are you serious about?
Finding meaningful work, feeling good about how I am spending my time, being grateful for what I have, not taking anyone or anything for granted, living thoughtfully/mindfully.

What things will you never take seriously?
That being said, I really don’t take anything too seriously.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
Photography, mixed media/collage

When did you begin taking photos?
In my early 20s.

How do you approach your art?
I guess at the most basic level it is an outlet, a release of energy. I find a lot of satisfaction in being able to create something that represents the way I see things.

How would your describe your artistic style?
Clean, contemporary, minimalist

What is your creative process like?
Often I start by going out and just shooting. I photograph whatever catches my eye and resonates with how I am feeling. Later I will go back over my images and look for patterns, connections. This might spark an idea for a series or a concept to explore.

How has your work changed over time?
My work has become much cleaner, more in line with my vision. When I first started shooting there was this gap between the types of photos I was taking and the types of photos I would like to hang on my wall. As time goes on, that gap gets smaller. Although it has not yet closed!

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
I go in search of inspiration. Ideally this would involve travel or exploring a new place (even just a new neighborhood within my current city). Otherwise visiting a museum, gallery, or discovering new art and artists on the internet. I could spend hours looking at images on Pinterest, Instagram, and Flickr.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
I really appreciate the open line of communication between Minted and the artists. It feels more personal and ongoing, and it’s clear that the company’s intent is to build a community.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
It’s about partnership, and it also signifies how the internet is creating new possibilities for working artists in terms of exposure and reach.

What are some of your favorite Minted pieces?
There are so many great pieces to choose from! As you can probably tell from my selections I am attracted to abstract figures and forms, clean compositions, splashes of color…
“Form” by Lauren Packard
“Morning River” by Lauren Adams
“Drawing 264 – Gesturing Man” by Derek Overfield
“As You Are” by Karen Kaul
“Composed” by Amelie Conger
“Embrace” by R Studio
“Going for a Swim” by Whitney Deal

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

Katlin’s Favorite Things
We asked Kaitlin’s to share her current favorite art and home inspirations.

Last stamp on your passport: Costa Rica
Favorite pieces of art in your home: A vintage photograph of the construction of the Sydney Opera House
Favorite gadget: iPad
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Juiceland
Favorite drink: Water/juice/tea
Favorite artist: I have hundreds of favorite artists! Really, there are too many to count. Ranging from iconic artists to contemporary artists whose work I’ve mainly discovered via the internet. Nils Udo, Picasso, Matisse, Ellsworth Kelly, Saul Leiter, Marco Tirelli, Wyatt Kahn, Esther Ruiz, Gerhard Richter, John Baldessari, Andy Denzler, Henri Cartier-Bresson…
Favorite works of art: Again, too many too count.
Favorite camera gadget: Remote shutter release


More from Kaitlin Rebesco:
• Kaitlin’s Minted Store
• Kaitlin’s website
• Kaitlin’s Instagram

More from Minted:
• Art Prints
• Photography Prints
Maps & Landmarks Art Prints

Photos: Courtesy of Kaitlin Rebesco

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Download: January Desktop Wallpapers

A new year, a new desktop wallpaper! Start 2016 off right with a desktop wallpaper refresh—we love these two versions by Minted artist and graphic designer Kristin Doversberger of Lorent & Leif. Cheers to a fabulous 2016!

Download: January 2016 Desktop Wallpapers

Download: “A New Adventure Awaits” Desktop Wallpaper (above)

Free January 2016 Desktop Wallpapers

Download: “Gilt” Desktop Wallpaper (above)

Download instructions: Click on the download links above and the image will open in its own tab (depending on your browser, you might need to click again to make it full size), Next, drag the image to your desktop; for Macs, select System Preferences and then Desktop & Screen Saver; for PCs, right-click the picture and then click Set as Desktop Background.

Note: These designs are for personal use only and were created by Lorent & Leif for Minted.


More From Lorent & Leif:
• Lorent & Leif’s Minted Store
• Lorent & Leif’s Instagram

More From Minted:
• Gift Tags
• New Year Photo Cards
Photo Calendars

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How I Holiday: Easy Christmas Greenery Centerpieces

Today we’re sharing a holiday-themed guest post from Melanie Severin, a Minted artist and graphic designer based in Lloydminster, Alberta.

Easy Christmas Centerpiece Idea: Fresh Greenery

Name: Melanie Severin
Where you’re based: Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada
How long you’ve been with Minted: Since 2011

From Melanie:  One of my favorite holiday traditions is getting together with the women in my family to make table centerpieces with fresh greenery. This DIY is simple enough to get the kids involved and make wonderful teacher gifts.

Read on for the step-by-step instructions...

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How To Display Your Holiday Cards: Fabric Cork Board

Chances are you’ve received lots of holiday cards from loved ones in the mail by now. Instead of letting them pile up on the kitchen counter, show ’em off by displaying them on this clever fabric-covered cork board. This easy DIY project was created for us by the lovely Melissa Fallon of the fabulous blog Design Eat Repeat; it’s designed to look like a cute envelope with its heart-shaped seal (which also makes it perfect for Valentine’s Day—just keep it up until February rolls around, then swap out the holiday cards for valentines!).

How To Display Holiday Cards: Fabric-Covered Cork Board

Click through for the 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.

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