Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: painter Natalie Groves, who lives with her husband and daughter in Exira, Iowa. 

Self-taught artist Natalie Groves (who got her start as a chalk artist at Trader Joe’s!) began painting with watercolors after she moved from Southern California to the rolling countryside of Exira, Iowa. Here, she shares a glimpse into her life in the country and opens up about juggling art, life, and motherhood.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I have loved drawing since childhood. When I was in my early 20s I worked for Trader Joe’s as their chalk artist. I received incredibly valuable on-the-job training: how to find my own personal style, how to consistently meet deadlines, how to listen, catch vision, and crank out artwork. When I moved from Santa Barbara, CA to Exira, IA with my husband, I started experimenting with watercolor. Eventually I met Meg Gleason of Moglea and started working in her letterpress studio. She encouraged me to enter a Minted art challenge! I am so glad she did.

Did you study art formally in school?
I am self taught, but I would love to study children’s book illustration someday.

Where do you currently reside? 
I live in the rolling countryside of Exira, IA. The city is an hour from us, but I love almost everything about living in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful views, lots of space, quiet, gardening, horses in the pasture, kittens on the deck, deer in the timber, simplicity. It’s quite perfect out here!

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I am a new mother—our daughter Navine (rhymes with ‘pine’) is 11 months old—so my day consists of caring for my family, home, and property. I think the only constant is that my husband and I always go to bed at the same time together, and he reads Scandinavian folk and fairytales to me until I fall asleep.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
I only paint when the house is clean and my daughter is sleeping… so not very often!

What was the best recent conversation you’ve had?
Any conversation with my little sister. She is a wise and incredibly funny young lady.

Please describe your last month in a word.

Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
I just started painting pet portraits! (Ed. note: See a recent cat portrait in the collage above.)  You can watch the process unfold on Instagram (@meadowtogrove).

What are you serious about?
Loving my husband and daughter.

How do you balance work and family time?
I am still experiencing the new struggle of self-sacrifice for my daughter. There are days when I get overwhelmed because I want to accomplish something, but we do baby stuff all day instead. When she snuggles me or I get to see her do something new I forget about my crashing art career. That is a dramatic way of saying I am so grateful to stay home with her. She tips the balancing scale.

How do you encourage creativity in your own child?
Navine already enjoys making noise on several different instruments. We read piles of books, explore outside and share new experiences. I can’t wait for her to be able to hold a crayon! Then we can make art together.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
A micron pen, a brown color pencil, and watercolor on hotpress watercolor paper. I also love working with Nupastel chalk.

When did you begin drawing and painting?
As soon as I could hold a pencil.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
Golden Age illustration. The line work is remarkable!

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Beatrix Potter, in her home.

How do you approach your art?
Very quietly with a paintbrush. I like to sneak up on it.

How would your describe your artistic style?
Illustrative, scientific.

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
Clean the house or weed the garden.

What are you working on now?
Drawing the Belgian draft horse that currently resides in our pasture.

What are some of your favorite Minted pieces?
“All is Quiet” by Jenni Kupelian: I love the color palette and the subject. The Icelandic pony is so sweet and the landscape is serene.

“Landscape of Triangles and Dots” by Yao Cheng: I like the texture of Yao’s painting. To me, it looks like a forest of triangles. Every person who visits our home comments on how much they like her piece.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
I am so thankful that Minted allows me to make a small living so that I can stay at home with our daughter and take care of our home and property. I spend about four hours a week painting! Barely anything! But because Minted does all the hard work, promotion, printing, shipping, and record keeping, I am able to paint and then sit back and enjoy my family and responsibilities.

Meet a Minted Artist: Natalie Groves

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

Who inspires you: My husband
Favorite place in the world: Home
Favorite color: Light ochre
Fashion idol: I wish I knew how to dress!
Favorite city: Santa Barbara, CA
Last stamp on your passport: Italy
Song in your head: “White Foxes” by Susanne Sundfør

Favorite pieces of art in your home: “Cetti Warbler” and “The Night Bird Sings His Lullaby,” both commissioned pieces by UK-based artist Natasha Newton.
Stationery: Moglea
Pets: Cat
Favorite flowers: Hollyhocks, dahlias, zinnias, lilacs, peonies, and ranunculus
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Chad and Meg Gleason’s house
Favorite drink: Mulled wine
Favorite snack: Frozen banana, peanut butter, milk smoothie

More from Natalie Groves:
• Natalie’s Minted Store
• Natalie’s Blog
Natalie’s Instagram
• Recent Julep post featuring Natalie: “Has anything ever scared you so much it inspired you?”

Photos: Some Kinda Golden; cat portrait is courtesy of Natalie Groves


No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas for Halloween

Happy Halloween! If you waited until the last minute to purchase your Halloween candy and pumpkins (hand raised right here!), then skip the time-intensive carving and opt for one of these just-as-creative no-carve ideas instead.

No-Carve Halloween Pumpkin Ideas

1. Gold Confetti Pumpkins via Homey Oh My!

2. Sprinkle Donut Pumpkins via Studio DIY

3. Brushstroke Pumpkins via The Merrythought

4. Mummified Pumpkin via Better Homes and Gardens

5. Spider Web Pumpkins via Woman’s Day

6. Fall Foliage Pumpkins via Country Living


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Meet a Minted Artist: Kamala Nahas

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: photographer Kamala Nahas, who lives with her family in lives in Camarillo, California.

Kamala Nahas has always loved snapping photos, but it wasn’t until a trip to Arizona’s Antelope Canyon in 2011 that something clicked. She came home inspired and enrolled in classes to hone her technique; two years later, Kamala started her own photography business. Here, the Southern California-based shutterbug shares a glimpse into her life, process, and inspiration.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
I’ve loved snapping pictures for as long as I can remember, but I never took it seriously. About four years ago we took a family road trip to Lake Powell in Page, Arizona. I had just gotten a new camera and literally ditched my family to go on a six-hour photography tour in Antelope Canyon. This was the first time I completely immersed myself into photography and was smitten with the whole process. Looking back, that was the beginning for me. For years I’d taken pictures at holiday gatherings, on vacations, and at my kids’ school events. Even though people told me I “had an eye,” I think part of me was afraid of making a serious try at something I’d never really been trained to do. Brooks Institute is close to my home and they offer workshops for budding photographers. It’s nothing like attending the school itself, but participating in a few of the workshops in the years that followed the Antelope Canyon shoot allowed me to gain some technical knowledge and see how I stacked up. About two years ago I started a small portrait and event photography business: Tall Poppy Photography. I love it. Even though it’s been so much fun capturing special moments and connections between people, my heart has always been in nature and landscape photography. Last year, I finally got the courage to submit some photos to Minted and explore the more creative side of my work. I feel fortunate to be a part of this community and can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

Did you study photography formally in school?
Aside from six weeks of photography in community college and a workshop here and there, I’m self taught.

What are some of your own “rules” for living + working?
In all things:
Be Authentic
Stand Up For Yourself and Others
There’s Always More Than One Way
Take A Chance
Wing It
Get Lost, Get Messy, Sing Loudly, Dance

Please describe your last month in a word.

What are you serious about?
I’m super passionate about education and volunteer a good portion of my time in schools. I’m very serious about finding ways of reinventing our educational system to ensure our next generation is made up of thinkers, innovators, and makers with a global conscience. I’m also very serious about preparing grilled cheese sandwiches properly—crunchy on the outside, creamy in the middle, with a side of homemade tomato soup to dip the corners into.

What things will you never take seriously?
Road trips, chocolate, and mashed potatoes are all things that should never be taken seriously—even when they are bad, they are still good.

Please tell us about your family.
I’ve been married for twenty years to my first and only true love. We have three children. My oldest is my daughter Asha who is almost fifteen. She is my partner in crime and assists me in my business—I’m going to be pretty lost when she goes off to college in a couple years. My oldest son, Sassin, is twelve. He has a generous spirit and can generally be found playing soccer in real life or on the XBox. My youngest son is almost ten. His name is Samir and he is the character in the family. He is constantly building something or making something or experimenting with something or getting away with something. Our house is loud and messy, but we love each other a bunch and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Click through to read more from Minted artist Kamala Nahas

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Non-Photo Holiday Challenge: Guest Judge’s Pick

This holiday season, customers searching for a non-photo holiday-card design will be in for a treat! Our Minted community of artists dreamed up fresh holiday cards that feature strong typography, illustrations, and graphic design. Check out our guest judge’s pick!

We were so excited when Brittany Jepsen—designer, crafter, and stylist behind one our favorite blogs The House that Lars Built—signed up to help judge our “Winter Wonderland Non-Photo Holiday Challenge.” Brittany’s favorite holiday-card design? The cheery, bright-yellow “Bursts and Swirls” by Genna Cowsert. Which makes complete sense, since Brittany is all about color (she pioneered the fun Insta hashtag #dresstherainbow).

Bursts and Swirls” by Genna Cowsert

“Everything about ‘Bursts and Swirls’ by Genna Cowsert expresses the exuberance of the meaning of the card, from the bright yellow to the jubilant typography. It’s a non-traditional
color to ring in the new year, which is both refreshing and enthusiastic.

—Brittany Jepsen, blogger of  The House that Lars Built

Congratulations, Genna! Check out more non-photo holiday-card designs here and click through below to see more prize-winning holiday cards from this year’s collection.

More Winning Holiday-Card Designs:
• “Winter Wonderland” Non-Photo Holiday-Card Challenge: Special Prize Winners
• Holiday Photo-Card Challenge: 1st Place Winner
• Holiday Photo-Card Challenge: 2nd Place Winner
• Holiday Photo-Card Challenge: 3rd Place Winner

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“Joy to the Work” Holiday Challenge: Guest Judge’s Pick

This holiday season, companies across the country will be on the hunt for the perfect card to send to their customers and partners. So, we asked our Minted community of artists to dream up fresh, original holiday-card designs for businesses and corporations, and the results are in!

We were thrilled when Sophia Amoruso, founder of the online retailer Nasty Gal, signed up to be a guest judge for our “Joy to the Work” challenge. After all, who better to weigh in on holiday cards for the corporate world than one of our favorite #GIRLBOSSES? Sophia’s favorite? “Blooming Year” by lulu and isabelle.

Corporate Holiday Card Ideas | Minted and Nasty Gal Blooming Year” by lulu and isabelle

“I love the hand-drawn feel and colorful elements!”
—Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO, Nasty Gal

Congratulations, lulu and isabelle! Check out more corporate and busineess holiday-card designs here and click through below to see more prize-winning holiday cards from this year’s collection.

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Meet a Minted Artist: Marta Spendowska

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: artist and illustrator Marta Spendowska, who is from Poland and currently lives in Green Bay, WI.

Growing up in communist Poland, Marta Spendowska loved the arts but never imagined an artistic career would be possible. After moving to the United States in 2005, however, her dream became reality—she was able to study and work in design, illustration, and fine art. Here, Marta shares a glimpse into her life as a working artist.

Marta Spendowska (VERYMARTA) Artist Profile

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
Actually, I really thought I’d be a writer but after living in the States for some time, I started to feel like an island—my Polish was useless here and my English was OK but not perfect at all. I grew up with an amateur painter (my father) and have painted all my life, and after moving here, I specifically made a commitment to communicate visually. I think the decision came from a point of sadness about losing that special gift of eloquence. If I think about it now, I almost feel that I came back to painting out of unhappiness. But it was my best decision. I studied design and worked at few agencies as a designer and art director, then eventually started my own design business. Two years later, I transitioned into illustration and, finally, fine art.

Where do you currently reside?
I’m in Green Bay, Wisconsin, right now due to my husband’s business, but we’re moving to South Carolina (hopefully Charleston) or North Carolina very soon.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
I love my routines, actually. I get up and work out (HIIT—high intensity interval training) or skip rope for 20 minutes (to sweat off the dreams). Then I drink 20 ounces of water, set my podcasts, boil an egg, boil water and brew organic coffee, eat the egg (with onion, cucumber, and salt), feed my chipmunks, light two incenses, drink coffee while scrolling through Instagram, and I’m all set to go. I check my email and agenda, and divide my work into commission-based and a fine-art time slots. I like to bike for 45 minutes at least every other day and I read a lot to relax in-between working. Dinner at 6 p.m., in bed at midnight. My husband also has his own business so we both have very solitary jobs until 6–7 p.m.

What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
I’ve always loved Björk, whose life, for me, is a perfect blend of incorporating art and work. I’m sure if I were a banker I would be miserable and I’d suffer being separated from my passions. My work spills into my life, my life spills into my work. There is no real life (or at least a fulfilling one) without my work and there is no work without my life—conscious, mindful, sometimes crazy, sometimes melancholic, but always interesting. I craft my life through working: painting, thinking, observing, feeling.

What does art mean to you?
Art is everything to me. I hope every piece I paint makes my collectors feel joyful and inspired every time they see it on their wall. This is the best job in the whole world.

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
I’ve loved watercolor all my life. Oil paint in Poland used to be expensive and hard to get so I reached for watercolors. I’ve always enjoyed it’s fluid nature. I’m currently working in mixed media, making my own pigments and mediums, so my fine art is moving beyond watercolors.

When did you begin painting?
When I was a toddler. I don’t remember ever not painting and drawing. My mom always said she was very glad to have given birth to a girl who was never bored or moody—all I needed was a set of watercolors.

Is there a movement in art history that speaks to you?
It has to be Fauvism for Matisse and Abstract Expressionism for Lee Krasner and few others.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be?
Virginia Woolf, Björk, Ewa Kuryluk.

What objects have been most significant to you lately?
I have a table at my home with old family pictures, notes from psychics or tarot readings, crystals, old Polish books. It’s a sacred corner.

Please describe your last month in one word.
Salt. (P.S. I’m writing these answers from Baltyk Sea in Poland where I’m staying until the end of September.)

Can you share an as-of-yet unrealized project with us?
A lot of my illustration work will finally see the light very soon—I work with many companies on their product lines and it always takes a long time to be released into the world. It’s mainly beauty brands hiring me for watercolor work. I’m also taking part in a three-person show this November at a Sacramento gallery, which excites me beyond belief.

What are you serious about?
My fine art career. Part of my focus is commercial illustration (I consider Minted one of my commercial illustration clients) and I love working on commissions for products and marketing campaigns, so this is important for sure. But I’m growing my fine art career right now, painting big and working on a noncommissioned-based work for galleries. I’m happy to say that my trajectory is rising fast.

How did you first hear about Minted? And when did you join?
I’m a Minted newbie. I joined during the last Domino challenge in October. I saw the call for submissions and noticed that a few of my colleagues were a part of Minted. Because Domino has always been one of my favorite magazines, I knew it was a perfect opportunity.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
The community! Since I joined I’ve connected with a lot of artists with similar careers, and we’ve created a sort of advisory group where we can discuss work with and outside of Minted. We share the ups and downs of the artistic career and it’s been amazingly fun and helpful.

Artist Profile: Marta Spendowska of VERYMARTA
Marta’s Favorite Things
We asked Marta to share her current favorite art, style, home décor inspirations.

Who inspires you: Currently Katarzyna Kobro (I’m reading her biography right now)
Favorite recent discovery: That I’m blessed—it’s a daily discovery.
Favorite city: Hopefully soon Charleston, SC  [ 1 ]
Favorite charity: Room to Read
Favorite movie: The sad and dark film The Hours directed by Stephen Daldry
Favorite colors: Fluorescent pink and orange. Maybe violet. But then also black and white.
Fashion idol: After watching the documentary Advanced Style, Debra Rapoport and Sarah-Jane Adams  [ 2 ]
Favorite place in the world: Baltyk Sea/Poland  [ 3 ]
Daily website read: I think it’s Instagram
Song in your head: Sia’s “Chandelier”
Favorite Instagram account: @themuseumofmodernart

Favorite art supply store: Jerry’s Artarama
Favorite watercolor paints: Winsor & Newton or M. Grahams
Favorite brushes: From Poland  [ 4 ]
Favorite artist: Henri Matisse and Jenny Saville
Favorite works of art: Right before my trip to Poland I saw Modern Rebels exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum and I loved seeing Lee Krasner’s “Milkweed” [ 5 ]. I have to say, nothing compares to seeing works in a museum instead of on a laptop screen.

Favorite pieces of art in your home: Old Catholic crosses from Lwòw—my grandfather gave them to my father, who gave them to me.
Stationery: I create my own line of greeting cards and I must say—I love them!  [ 6 ]
Pets: My dachshund Tapsiu and very soon my father’s Maltese CoCo
Favorite flowers: Wild plants
Favorite gadgets: My iPhone. Always and forever.
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Z Harvest Cafe in Green Bay
Favorite drink: Chocolate smoothies made by my husband or red wine
Coffee-table book: My own—I made a book interspersed family pictures with my illustrations and gave them to family members as gifts.
Favorite snack: 1 chopped tomato, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped avocado, olive oil, lots of balsamic vinegar, salt, and cracked pepper.
What’s in your Netflix queue? I cannot wait for the new season of Bates Motel! Also, these are awaiting me in my queue: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Still Alice, and a lot of old French movies.


Wedding Thank-You Card Etiquette

Thanking friends and family members not only for their thoughtful wedding gifts but for also being part of your special day is an absolutely essential pre- and post-wedding task (yes, engagement party and shower gifts require a thank-you card, too!). While a gracious note seems simple enough, there are some key things you need to keep in mind. To help you get it right, here are the answers to the most frequently asked wedding thank-you questions.

Wedding Thank You Card Etiquette and Ideas From top: “Woodland Initials” by Lehan Veenker; “Olive Branches” by
Carolyn Nicks; “Dahlia Bouquet” by Alethea and Ruth; “Woodland
” by Hooray Creative; and “Bookbinder” by Jennifer Wick

Who gets a thank-you note?
Everyone who has given you a gift at any of the wedding festivities (the engagement party, bridal shower, wedding).

How long do I have to write them?
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have a year’s grace period (sorry!). For gifts received during the engagement party and shower, send a thank you within two to three weeks of the festivities; for gifts sent before the wedding date, send a card as soon as possible but definitely before the wedding; for gifts given on the wedding day itself, mail a thank-you note within three months; and for gifts received after your wedding, send one within two to three weeks.

I want to feature a wedding portrait on the card but we haven’t gotten photos from our photographer yet. Can we wait until we’ve received them?
Your thank-you notes are a great opportunity to show off your first pictures together as husband and wife; however, if personalizing your thank-you cards with a wedding photo means missing your deadline, use an engagement photo instead.

What should we write?
Make sure your thank-you note feels warm and genuine (definitely avoid generic phrases and wording!). Address the gift giver by name and mention the present and what you’ll do with it, along with a personal detail. For example: “Thank you so much for the juicer, we’ve been wanting one for a while and have already come up with some new recipes! We’ll have to have you over for brunch soon so you can see it in action. And thank you for coming to our weddingwe loved dancing with you at the reception!”

Do text messages or in-person thank yous count?
While a face-to-face thank you is always important, a proper thank you must be on paper; texts and emails don’t count. Also, even though typing them out might be easier, wedding thank-you notes should always be hand-written.

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Minted Parties: Cardboard Box-Themed Birthday Party

Susan Hutchinson of the wonderful blog Fleurishing recently threw the most amazing party for her twins’ Henry and Marie’s third birthday. Her family was in the midst of a big move (read: totally surrounded by boxes!). But instead of skipping a party this year, she turned the boxes into a fabulous cardboard box-themed birthday bash. We asked her to share all of the party details.

Cardboard Box-Themed Birthday Party IdeasSusan chose “Cardboard Box” invitation by Lehan Veenker for Minted for her twins’ birthday party.

Cardboard Box-Themed Birthday Party Ideas

This is genius! How did you come up with the birthday party theme?
We’re in the midst of a move and are surrounded by boxes! I honestly was leaning towards not doing anything this year. But then I had a light bulb moment and couldn’t believe my luck when I found the “Cardboard Box” invitation by Lehan Veenker for Minted—that sealed the deal, it was too perfect. It simply had to be done.

Where did the party take place?
At our (still empty) new place—an industrial loft in an old knitting mill factory (circa 1895).

How did you make those amazing cardboard structures?
My husband Parker made them—he’s amazing! I researched online and found some pretty cool ones, both commercial and homemade, as inspiration. Ours ended up being pretty unique, though, thanks to his imagination and brilliant engineering! It took him about three late nights after work to craft them. He reached a new level of rockstar daddy status.

Cardboard Box-Themed Birthday Party Ideas

How many guests attended?
We had about 10 adults and 13 kids… our closest friends and their children!

What were everyone’s reactions to the party?
The kids’ reactions were the best, of course—seeing their faces light up with delight was such a treat. The best part was when we passed out (washable) markers and told them to go wild decorating and drawing on the boxes.

Cardboard Box-Themed Birthday Party IdeasThe party menu included cardboard-colored snacks like graham crackers, square-shaped pretzels, and a homemade croquembouche that Susan made out of 200 donut holes!

Creative Kids' Birthday Party Ideas: Cardboard Box ThemeFor party favors, Susan gave each child in attendance a copy of the book Not a Box, about a clever rabbit with a knack for imagining brilliant cardboard creations.

Creative Kids' Birthday Party Ideas: Cardboard Box Theme

Photos: Courtesy of Susan Hutchinson of Fleurishing


What to Include on Your Wedding Website

The goal of every good wedding website: Give guests the details they need to prepare for your wedding—and get them pumped to join you for your celebration in the process. To help you pull it off, follow our handy guide to everything you should include on your wedding website.

Everything You Need to Include on Your Wedding Website

• A warm welcome and a photo
Welcome guests to your wedding website with a favorite of yourselves and a heartfelt message letting your guests know how ecstatic you are to see them. After all, this is probably one of the only times you’ll have all your loved ones gathered together in the same place at the same time.

• Wedding date, time, and location
Kind of a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many couples forget to include this vital wedding-day information.

• Schedule of events
Most guests just want to be told where they need to be and when, so be sure to include details on the ceremony and reception start times, as well as extra events like the after-party and morning-after brunch. But only include the events where everyone is welcome to avoid any unexpected drop-ins!

• Travel information and accommodations
Think about what you’d need to know in order to plan a trip and provide this info to your guests so they don’t have to do lots of legwork: lodging suggestions (and any negotiated hotel room rates); a list of local airports, train station, and car rental companies; maps and driving directions; public transportation information (including car services like Uber and Lyft); and venue parking details.

• Online RSVPs
These days, more couples are opting for online RSVPs instead of traditional mailed response cards, so choose a wedding website template that includes built-in RSVP management. (Bonus: You’ll save on reply cards and return postage!)

• Contact information
Let your guests know how to reach you if they have questions or want to send their congratulations.

• FAQs
It’s nice to have a catch-all section devoted to any questions guests may have. This is the place to include helpful notes on attire suggestions, whether children are invited (since some guests don’t know the ins and outs of envelope etiquette), a list of reputable local baby-sitting services, whether you will provide transportation to/from the celebration. Think about all the questions you ask when you go to other people’s weddings and try to include the answers to make life easier for your guests.

• “Our Story”
Chances are not all of your guests know how the two of you met and when you decided to get married, so devote a section of your website recounting your love story and the proposal.

• Wedding party information
Many couples opt to include a section with a brief bio of wedding-party members describing how they know each person.

• Registry
Printing registry information on your actual wedding invitation is usually not advised by etiquette experts, so your website is the perfect place to include these details (be sure to supply links that allow them to click through to shop).

• Sightseeing suggestions
If many of your guests are traveling to your city for the first time or if you’re hosting a destination wedding, then they will appreciate suggestions on local sights and attractions. Provide a helpful guide to the area by making a list of your and your groom’s favorite spots: restaurants, coffee shops, hair and nail salons, local tourist attractions. And if the area has special significance to you, let guests know! For example, if you met, went on your first date, or even got engaged near the wedding venue, those can be fun facts to share.

• Photos
If you had engagement photos taken, this is a great place to display them. But don’t go overboard: One of guests’ biggest gripes about wedding websites is the never-ending photo gallery. So pick the best ones from your engagement session and a few favorite snapshots of you and your fiancé, and you’re all set.

Ultimately, remember that your wedding website is a tool to make life easier for your guests. Choose a design that is easy to navigate (bonus points if it’s easy to read on mobile, too!); focus on their needs and try to anticipate any questions they may have. Your guests will sincerely appreciate it.

What to Include on Your Wedding Website


Meet a Minted Artist: Christine Llewellyn

A monthly series where we highlight a member of our talented Minted artist community. Featured this month: surface pattern and product designer Christine Joy Llewellyn, who lives in Brooklyn.

After getting her MBA, Christine Llewellyn worked as a marketing manager while taking creative classes on the side—everything from ceramics and printmaking to architectural drafting. She decided to pursue a creative career full-time and got her masters in industrial design, and launched her design studio Christine Joy Design in 2014.

Meet a Minted Artist: Christine Llewellyn

Please tell us more about yourself!
I’m originally from Flushing, NY, and attended college in Connecticut at Wesleyan University. After a few years of financial consulting, I went on to get my MBA from the University of Michigan. After business school, I worked as a marketing manager at a large financial services company; while I loved marketing, I found myself constantly searching for creative outlets. I spent hours after work taking continuing education courses—in ceramics, architectural drafting, space planning, printmaking. Basically, if a creative class was being offered nearby, I was signed up! Soon after, I decided to get a Masters of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and, in 2014, established Christine Joy Design.

Did you study art formally in school?
I took a few studio arts classes in college but felt pressure to major in something that might pave the way to a traditional career path. After college, I took advantage of being close to some wonderful New York City art schools and made it a point to enroll in as many creative continuing education classes as possible. When I decided to pursue my creative career full-time, I enrolled in the masters program at Pratt.

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I have very early memories of passing the time indoors with just a pencil and paper. I remember feeling complete happiness with crayons and paper, and being left alone to create things that came to my mind. I’ve always felt happiest and most at ease when I am creating.

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
I use many different ones, including pens, pencils, markers, and stamps. I’ve recently fallen in love with watercolor. It requires you to relinquish control—you have to go with the flow and let the pigment do what it wants on the paper. There’s something very liberating about that.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Christine Llewellyn at work
in her studio in this West Elm x Minted video.

What do you love about living in Brooklyn?
I currently live on the border of two vibrant Brooklyn neighborhoods: Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. They’re both relatively small and have a wonderful community feel to them. The neighborhoods are home to renowned educational and cultural institutions such as Pratt Institute and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which gives it a wonderful, artistic vibe and energy. Though there were many more artists residing in these neighborhoods in the past, there is still a good number of artists and other people in creative fields. And being a mother of two young kids, there are tons of parks and playgrounds, which makes it an awesome place to raise children.

Please tell us more about your family.
I have two sweet, curious, and rambunctious toddlers: 3 years old and 19 months old. I also have an amazingly supportive husband who has always encouraged me to find and pursue my passion and is a huge reason behind my establishing Christine Joy Design.

How do you encourage creativity in your own children?
I’d say they encourage creativity in me! I’m amazed by the level of creativity my kids display on a daily basis. It’s so refreshing to see the wonderful things that happen when you aren’t bogged down by expectations, societal pressures, and other creativity-stifling constructs and do what you truly are drawn to do. By watching them construct, deconstruct, make messes, and just have loads of fun is a huge inspiration for me.

Meet a Minted Artist: Christine Llewellyn  Christine Llewellyn of Christine Joy Design in her studio.

How did you first hear about Minted?
After deciding to launch Christine Joy Design in 2014, I decided to exhibit at Surtex, an art licensing trade show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. I had sort of a “go big or go home” mindset and the fact that it took place right here in New York City made exhibiting there a no-brainer for me. A few people from Minted approached my booth and encouraged me to submit to an upcoming art challenge. Thankfully I did and won an Editor’s Pick.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
I am amazed daily by the spirit of generosity present in this community. There are so many talented artists at various levels in their career who share their unique perspective and knowledge. We all value each other’s opinions and make it a point to support each other in any way we can. It’s amazing that Minted has created such a wonderful platform for so many artists from around the globe to connect and form both professional and personal bonds.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
As an independent artist, it’s really hard to get your name out there and get exposure. Minted has given me the platform to reach a much wider audience than I would have ever thought of reaching on my own. I never dreamt that I would have prints for sale at West Elm just a year after launching my business, but Minted made it possible. I definitely would’ve told you you were crazy if you told me this was going to happen so quickly.

What are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by my kids and their unabashed sense of wonder and excitement at things most adults either ignore or take for granted. I am inspired by my time living abroad in The Republic of Congo, Denmark, and Greece. I love beautifully and thoughtfully designed objects. I am constantly on the look out for interesting textiles, colors, and patterns that might inform my next work.

How would your describe your artistic style?
My style is bold, elegant, playful, and globally inspired. There are rhythmic elements in my work and there is a fair amount of pattern repetition and various repeated geometric shapes.

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
Going for a walk usually helps. In New York City there’s just so much to be inspired by that it’s hard to go out and not find inspiration. I also find my level of creativity is directly related to how much I am connecting with the music I am listening to. If I find I’m having a block, I try to find “new” music that might motivate to create and come up with something different and interesting.

Meet a Minted Artist: Christine Llewellyn
Christine’s Favorite Things
We asked Christine to share her current favorite art, style, and home décor inspirations.

Who inspires you: My mom. Being a working mother of four, she is a superhero to me. I have my hands full and only have two!
Favorite place in the world: Antigua, West Indies [ 1 ]
Favorite charity: Make-a-Wish Foundation
Favorite colors: Pink and teal
Favorite city: Copenhagen [ 6 ]
Last stamp on your passport: Antigua, West Indies
Daily website read: I love reading about architecture and real estate and make it a point to check out Curbed and Brownstoner daily.
Song in your head: “Afro Blue” by Robert Glasper
Favorite Instagrammer: @satsukishibuya

Favorite pieces of art in your home: My daughter’s crayon drawings in our living room. I love that she is SO proud of her work and aptly calls that portion of the room her “exhibition area.”
Coffee-table book: Remix by Jeanine Hayes and Bryan Mason of AphroChic [ 2 ]
Pets: Bobby! He’s our 5 year old chihuahua, spaniel, Pekingese mix.
Favorite drink: A glass of red wine after a long day of toddler chasing  [ 3 ]
Favorite snack: Chocolate-covered pretzels  [ 4 ]
Favorite flowers: Orchids [ 7 ]
Stationery: Moglea  [ 8 ]
Favorite gadgets: My Wacom Cintiq tablet
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Madiba in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Favorite dessert: Malva pudding

Favorite artist: I love the illustration work of local Brooklyn artist Sean Qualls [ 5 ]
Favorite art supply store: Blick
Favorite watercolor paints: Winsor & Newton professional watercolor tubes  [ 9 ]
Favorite brushes: Princeton Artist Brush Co.  [ 10 ]
Other art-related favorites: I love a good nice quality watercolor paper. My favorite is Arches cold press.