Holiday Photo Card Challenge: Guest Judges’ Picks

It is with great pleasure that we announce our Guest Judges’ Picks for the this year’s Let it Snow! Holiday + New Year’s Photo Card Challenge. A big thank you to our guest judges Oma Blaise Ford of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, Jeffrey Alan Marks of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators, blogger Stephanie Morgan of Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Elaina Sullivan of Domino magazine for their stellar selections and for taking the time to comb through the thousands of photo-card entries that were submitted this year. In addition to being included in Minted’s 2014 holiday assortment, all of the winning designers will also receive an additional $500 prize. Congratulations! 

Oma Blaise Ford
Oma Blaise Ford is the Executive Editor for Better Homes and Gardens. Prior to taking up that post in 2011, she headed up the magazine’s Home Design department for nine years. When not busy wielding her editor’s pen and keyboard, she’s an inveterate dinner party host and can usually be found in the kitchen mixing up a casual meal and a great cocktail for friends.

“What can I say, I’m a sucker for that tag shape and I love the unexpected dark background for a holiday card,” says Ford of Snow & Ivy‘s Chalk & Holly card. “The design nicely frames the photo—I suspect it could even elevate a less than fabulous shot—and I love that it could be used as an oversize gift tag as well as traditional card. And the hole at the top just begs to be pinned to your bulletin board or strung on the tree, and not tossed in the recycle bin.”


Minted Parties: Savannah Guthrie’s Baby Shower

It’s not every day that you get to help decorate and style a baby shower for the co-anchor of the Today Show, so we jumped at the chance to decorate Savannah Guthrie’s baby shower. Since she’s such a talented anchorwoman (and also a voracious reader!), we decided on a newspaper theme with a lot of typography and gender-neutral details (she and her husband Mike Feldman decided to keep the gender a surprise!).

Shower date: June 30, 2014
Location: The Glasshouses
Minted party decor: Jen Wick’s Big Top Personalizable Party Decor and Marabou’s Modern Mint Party Decor
Photographer: Samantha Okazaki/TODAY
Florist: Blossom and Branch
Event planning: Minted and Rock Paper Scissors Events

Keep reading to see more fun details from Savannah’s baby shower.


Meet a Mintie: Max & Bunny

Name: Rebecca Hardie
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Bold, modern and colorful
Occupation: Max and Bunny founder and designer, Mintie

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I was in college, sitting in an accounting class and the professor had gone off on a tangent telling us to pursue our passions and I realized my passion was definitely not accounting; it was design. While the thought of doing hours of accounting homework made me cringe, I had been working for the student government creating posters for various activities on campus and loved doing that.

Where do you go for design inspiration?
Everywhere. I recently was at a wedding and was sitting in the most gorgeous 1860s church building with the most amazing stained glass windows and detailing throughout. I found myself sketching out designs and snapping pictures—I couldn’t help myself. I was also in Stockholm last winter and fell in love with Scandinavian design and drove my husband nuts taking an excessive amount of pictures of buildings, signs, streets, random objects and patterns.

How has moving to Richmond just recently influenced your work?
I’ve loved learning about Southern style and that has definitely rubbed off on me.

After being in the New York for several years, I had some clients tell me how this design would be perfect in the South whereas another design was too “city.” I couldn’t fully understand that until moving here and really getting immersed in a more Southern culture. I think it’s nearly impossible to experience something new and not have it influence your work. I also love how Richmond has both the old and the new – being rich in history and the new with a strong art community that is well-supported and seeks out all aspects of art from design to food to fashion.

What is your normal workflow or process like?
My process varies a bit from project to project, but typically I start by drawing out ideas. It helps me to get it down on paper and explore everything first, before creating on the computer. I’ve also found that I’m at my most creative in the afternoon and into the night—I’m definitely not a morning person.

As an independent designer, how do you self-motivate / stay on track?
I find the most success in setting little daily goals. I also like to try and balance it out. For example, after having several intense work days where I feel like all I’ve done is sit behind a computer for hours on end, I like to get out and find some inspiration. That may be going to the art museum for a couple hours, antiquing, or even just taking a long walk with the dog.

How did you hear about minted?
I have my own design company, Max & Bunny, and we have a booth at the National Stationery show every year. The Minted team approached me and I loved the crowdsouring idea and thought the camaraderie it created was infectious. Besides, the Minted team is so amazing, I jumped at the chance to be a part of that community. 

Tell me about one of your designs for sale on Minted and how it came together.
For the Color Zip holiday card, I was inspired taking a taxi home in New York City. While riding up the West Side Highway, the passing lights of cars and the cityscape blurred together creating a line of color that sparked the idea for that card.

What’s a cool DIY project you’ve worked on recently?
I love my YuDu desktop screen printer. It allows for easy at home screen-printing and I’ve done all sorts of projects on that — everything from invitations to t-shirts to baby onesies. It’s really fun and it makes for great homemade gifts.

Do you have any fun party planning or decorating tips you can share with us?
I love sending my guests home with personalized party favors, like notecards with their name on them because it really is something that makes someone feel special. Also, decorations don’t have to be expensive or purchased to be beautiful.  You can do so much with tissue paper, kraft paper, and a little time.

Favorite pen? Favorite notebook?
Both are from MUJI—I’m in love!


Meet a Mintie: Penelope Poppy

Name: Nicole Armstrong
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Watercolor style marker with black line art
Occupation: Elias/Savion Advertising Graphic Designer and Mintie

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
Since I was little, I loved to color and draw. My mom would tell you it all started when I won my first coloring contest when I was 4 years old. It was a Christmas contest, and I won a teddy bear wearing a Santa hat. After receiving the bear, I immediately cut his hat off and thought it would look better on me, though it was too small. I still have “Teddy” (I know, so original), sans hat, to this day!

Throughout my grade school and high school years,, I took every art class there was.
I wasn’t really familiar with “design,” but I knew I loved being creative. Turns out, I was pretty good at it.


Meet a Mintie: Cadence Paige Design

Name: Paige Rothhaar
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Layers of detail and inspired whimsy.
Occupation: Graphic Design Professional at Fahlgren Mortine, Mintie, Mother to two.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I went into college with the notion of becoming a nutritionist but as soon as I realized how much chemistry was involved, I quickly changed my major to art education. It wasn’t until I had finished a study abroad in Italy that I realized that my future might be in graphic design. We had to keep a sketchbook/journal to receive credit for the course. We were expected to do studies of famous architecture and works by the great masters, but I was more fascinated by the details that usually go unnoticed in the art history world. I sketched intricate patterns that were hammered into Roman armor, geometric shapes on Etruscan vases, even patterns found on the coffins of Egyptian mummies. I also drew various coats of arms you’d see on buildings around Florence, which were basically an early form of branding for wealthy families. When I turned in my sketchbook at the end of the trip, my professor thought that I might really enjoy graphic arts and suggested I make it my concentration. Her instincts were right and that’s exactly what I did the following semester.  


Rebecca Minkoff’s Baby Shower

We were honored to get to style and decorate designer Rebecca Minkoff’s baby shower for her second little one on the way. Any great event starts with a great venue. And even though it’s a bit off the beaten track, Fitzarraldo in Brooklyn was rustic, chic perfection. After you’ve secured a date and venue, what’s next? Why, the invitations, of course! The great thing about planning an event for a designer is I could simply pull up her site and ended up finding inspiration in the ‘tortora’ color of this bag

Keep reading to see more beautiful details from Rebecca’s baby shower.

Shower date: June 7th, 2014
Location: Fitzcarraldo
Minted baby shower invitation: Simply Baby by Penelope Poppy
Minted party decor: Simply Baby by Penelope Poppy
Photographer: Sara Wight Photography
Florist: Cristina Lozito
Event planning: Minted and Rock Paper Scissors Events

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Meet a Mintie: Robin Ott

Name: Robin Ott
Location: Orrville, Ohio
Years with Minted: 4
Expertise: Mid-century meets organic. Equally adept at painting and drawing.
Occupation: Watch designer turned freelance graphic designer, Mintie, Mom to two little ones.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
My high school was fortunate to have an ambitious art instructor, who introduced his students to so many opportunities related to the arts. He often invited local artists to visit and share their real-life work experiences with our class. I remember very specifically when my “ah-ha” moment occurred after a freelance, graphic designer came to our class and shared her story. I remember thinking that would be my “dream job”. Twenty years later, I still can’t believe my dream came true. Anytime I get discouraged or in a creative rut, I remind myself that I’m living my dream.

I went to school for Computer Animation at the Art Institute of Dallas. My 3-D training and feminine style helped me land a job at Fossil, Inc. designing watches and accessories. I collaborated with other designers on brands like Armani, DKNY and Nike. It was so much fun that it didn’t even seem to be “work”. I returned to Ohio and started my freelance business in 2003, and I slowly transitioned to graphic design, forming several long-lasting relationships with clients that I still work with today. 


Meet a Mintie: Katharine Watson

We are very excited to be bringing back an old favorite, our ‘Meet a Mintie‘ designer interview series. Look for these ‘get to know a designer’ features every other Friday going forward! And let us know if there is anyone you want us to feature. We’d love to hear from you!

Name: Katharine Watson
Location: Hyde Park, Vermont
Years with Minted: 3.5
Niche: Bringing a modern twist to traditional textile designs with block printing.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I think I’ve always known, it has just been something I’ve loved to do since I was very little. But it wasn’t until college, when I sold my first painting at a coffee shop, that I realized you could actually make a living as an artist. That was a very exciting day!