2012 Minted Baby & Kids Top Model Contest.

Kids are just too darn cute!! And boy did we have an overdose of cute when going through all of the submissions to the 2012 Minted Baby & Kids Top Model Contest. We are so thankful to everyone for sharing their loved ones with us and are thrilled to announce two winners who all perfectly capture the very best side of their too-cute-for-words kiddos. They will look smashing in any of our upcoming 2012 holiday cards or awesome birth announcements.

1. There’s no faking a real smile and these kids are clearly genuinely happy. We still love the idea of popping real furniture in an open field… the dried grass is rustic and homey, but the leopard chair is modern and unexpected. And of course, no family photo is complete without the “favored child”: your beloved pup! Congratulations to Tamika Garscia for submitting something so stunning!

2. Oh painted brick wall, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways: Your yellow is so bright and fresh, you are perfectly uneven, your uniform color makes any card design really pop, and you put the emphasis on what we really care about: our little ones. And those adorable little jeans, with that matching yellow tie, combined with a perfect look of interest and wonderment take this photo, submitted by Aubrey Hansen, of a very good looking young gentleman to another level.

There were so many great photos submitted, I just can’t help but share a few other favorites from the editor’s picks with you.

Editor’s Pick: How cute is this little baby all wrapped up in a knitted bundle? And how sweet are those little folded hands? Ooh and what about those pretty flowers? Submitted by Sangeeta H. Landau.

Editor’s Pick: What’s better than a baby in a basket? Two babies in a basket!! I will just never tire of the Moses basket shot. Submitted by Alison Danielson.

Editor’s Pick: A photo should really capture a moment… it’s very hard for a posed shot to compete with the serendipity of real life and the best kids photography gives a glimpse into your child’s personality! I love how natural her expression and hands are. And of course those pigtails don’t hurt the cuteness factor either. Submitted by: Rachael Boer Photography.

Editor’s Pick: I love this photo because it shows how matchy-matchy can look really good! It helps that the fleeces and hats couldn’t be any cooler. I love the background texture from the bright green grass and moss covered bench. Submitted by Casey Dué Hackney.

Editor’s Pick: This is just such a great, very natural family shot. The fact that the little girl isn’t staring right at the camera actually adds to the image’s charm. Everyone is perfectly accessorized without being over-styled. And the green of the grass is very fresh and relaxing. Submitted by: Betsy F. Chen.

Editor’s Pick: Anything can be a great back-drop… even a rusty ol’ truck! And, again, here we’re reminded that it’s more interesting if not everyone is staring straight at the lens. Doesn’t this family look both so real and so happy? Submitted by Heather Rasmussen.

Please note: There are many more winners! We will be in touch with all of you early next week. Thanks for your patience!

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2012 Minted Top Model Engagement Photo Contest

We were thrilled to receive so many fantastic photos in our Facebook Top Model Engagement Photo Contest!  The look of true love is quite heart-warming, so we’re very excited to feature the winning couples in our new product assortment, including our newly-launched Save-the-Dates!

Congratulations to our lovely winners  who all exhibit how to take a great engagement photo.

1. Engagement photos should be a representation of the couple’s personality, which is why we love the quirky details in our winner Katherine DeJulius’ photo. Two pairs of well-worn cowboy boots and a custom made wooden ampersand perfectly capture the spirit of the couple. And the lo-fi quality of the photo taken on a vintage medium format camera gives the images a timeless feel that will surely become a special keepsake for the newlyweds.

2. A candid moment captured by photographer Katy Melling, shows the genuine affection between these two lovebirds (Katiuska Flynn). The sun dappled lighting and soft focus gives the photograph a dream like feel and transforms the everyday setting into a romantic hideaway.

3. The soaring arches and grandeur of the Boston Public Library offers a fantastic stage, where despite the very public setting, the focus is on the happy couple, Meagan Jennings & Adam Berg.  Choosing a location with sentimental value is the perfect way to put your stamp on your engagement photo.

We had so many great submissions that we couldn’t help but hand out runners’-up prizes to several lucky people, as well: Kirsten Fox, Danny Cuellar, Jenni Olson, Lauren Maxwell, Eliza Brown, Kristin Line, Dana Hanegraaf, Kaylee Graham, Ashley Barker, Sabrina Lemoine Brant, Natasha Uspensky, Monique Nguyen, Andrew Keller-Bradshaw, Ashley Kantro, Emma Metcalf, Katie Wakayama, Jennifer Cardall Jacobson, Charlene Echague, Donna Rucci, Ali Streim, Christina Sylvester, Sarah Knutson, and Jennifer Fotenhauer,

If you haven’t already, make sure to friend us on Facebook. We will keep up to date on top model contests and other chances to win Minted products!

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How to frame your Minted art.

Framing your art can be a bit overwhelming and it can also cost you a fortune if you’re not careful. Here are some resources and things to keep in mind to keep the process simple and straightforward.
Image: Decor8

You will NEED:
  • FRAMES. Your local frame shop is always an option although it will likely be more expensive than purchasing your frames readymade. Smaller frames are considerably less expensive than larger frames.
  • MATS. One great idea is to buy your frames readymade (some online options are listed below)  and then get custom mats cut for them. This gets you the best of both worlds; a custom look at a reasonable price.
    • We are partial to white mats because it really lets your art shine and it gives a collage a unified look.
    • We also love beveled mats–they’re just so sigh-worthy elegant!
    • Archival mats will make sure your piece lasts forever and won’t yellow, but they also will add to cost.
    • Michael’s is a great option for custom mat cutting. See here for store locations.
  • GLASS OR GLASS REPLACEMENT. Plexiglass or acrylics instead of glass are great options for several reasons; they’re light so they’re much easier to hang and they’re shatter-proof so they’re safer in the event of an earthquake.
    • We especially recommend avoiding glass above beds, couches and in nurseries. Tap Plastics custom cuts plexiglass and Frame Destination offers a wide range of sizes and options.
    • A UV-coating is recommended for especially sunny areas to protect the colors in your print for bleaching. It does add significantly to the cost so we recommend it mostly for directly-exposed areas.

WHERE TO PURCHASE FRAMES ONLINE:

Pottery Barn.

One of the advantages of Pottery Barn is that they sell frames with pre-cut, beveled, archival quality mats and with plexiglass. They are a great option if you want a classy, really unified look. They also sell one large square frame.

They offer nice wood gallery frames in white, wood, or black  with mats sized for 5×7 ($20) and 8×10 ($23) art prints. Why not mix in a few of your personal photos in their 4×6 size ($16) to complete the wall? Their oversized frame for an 8×10 print measures 25×25 ($55). We love that this gives you three different sizes to work with, which is a great number.

Image: Minted art in Pottery Barn frames

Their Lee Gallery collection is a nice silver option.

This is a nice example of hanging art in an off-set arrangement with lots of movements. It’s very light handed and pretty! Image credit: Pottery Barn.

The Lee Gallery collection also offers oversized mat editions, which are pretty awesome, the total dimensions are 25×25 and it’s sized for an 8×10 print.

Image: Minted Art in a Pottery Barn frame

Pottery Barn also sells a 48″x48″ oversized, black square frame ($159) which will accommodate our 30″x40″ size and ALL of our square sizes with custom mats.

Plywerk.

So one revelatory thought is that you don’t actually need a frame; instead mount your art onto a piece of wood. We love this option because A. it’s green B. you don’t have to leave your house! C. they offer almost every size Minted carries. D. it’s super chic!

Plywerks will mail you a blank piece of wood. They offer three thicknesses: 1/2″ maple, 3/4″ bamboo and 1.5″ bamboo. Select the ‘with adhesive’ option and you will be able to mount your print right onto the board. The boards are just slightly smaller than the size of the print so you’ll use an exacto knife to trim it to a perfect edge.

They offer the following sizes in portrait / landscape: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, 16×20, 30×40. (So all but our largest size: 44×60. They also sell the following non-photographic square sizes: 8×8, 30×30. Prices in these size from $10-$229.

Image: Minted art on Plywerk.

West Elm.

West Elm is a great option for frames with mats for our small to medium size art.

West Elm offers a nice selection of gallery frames in black, white lacquer and silver. Although, you can always do custom mats, their frames come with mats. Their 13″sq. frame holds a 5″ x 7″ photo with mat, their 14″ x 17″ frame holds a 8″ x 10″ photo with mat, their 16″ x 20″ frame holds 8″ x 10″ photo with mat. Although their 18″ sq. frame comes with a smaller mat, you could easily custom cut a mat for Minted’s 8″x8″ or 11″x11″ or 16″x16″ sizes. Their 18″ x 24″ frame with a custom mat could accomodate Minted’s 5″x7″, 8″x10″, 11″x14″, and 16″x20″ sizes. Prices range from $19-54. They also carry a larger line of frames in black and available in 8″x10″ ($19), 16″x20″ ($39), and 30″x40″ ($149) sizes. With custom mats, these frames are great for our: 5″x7″, 8″x10″, 11″x14″, and 16″x20″ prints.

Ikea.

The budget option, Ikea has an unbeatable price point for our smaller prints, starting at just $9.99 per frame, although you will need a custom mat. Make sure to ‘reinforce’ larger Ikea frames to avoid them coming apart. You can do this by using eyelet screws and wire (from your local hardware store) to hold the sides together. Although not actually available online, check out their Ribba collection.

Make sure to also check out our posts on how to select Minted art and how to hang Minted art.



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Design Mom’s Easter egg hunt.

Last year Gabby of Design Mom invited guests to her egg hunt with 2birdstone’s painted eggs easter card.

But I saved posting about it until this year so you’ll have some time to let Gabby’s genius inspire you to host a lovely egg hunt of your own!

A couple of ribbons goes a long way to making a basket truly special!

Gabby took advantage of all of the customization options Minted is more than happy to offer and changed the back of the card to be an invite.

Isn’t it so cute how she did the invite in French? The Blairs have been in France for a little over a year and they are loving it… and I’m loving living the experience vicariously through them.

Pretty macaroons fit right in with Easter colors!

The hunt also involved egg dyeing… I do like using both real and plastic eggs because it maximizes the fun all around!

And isn’t this gazebo just perfection?

I always say, the perfect party is inspired by the perfect invite! I love how the personalized Easter message is somewhat hidden (purple, lower left).

A big thank you to Design Mom for sharing all of her pretty pictures with us. I hope it got you in the mood to start planning your very own egg hunt! Here are a few more ‘egg-centric’ designs that would make for perfect egg hunt invites!

Striped Egg by B. Wise.

Wax resist by kelli hall.

Alla moda by chocomocacino.

Easter Kaleidoscope by the Social Type. Feel free to customize this design to make it a bit more of an invite by simply noting what you’d like in the ‘special instructions box’ when placing your order.

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Origami Easter Egg Cups

To celebrate the launch of our new Easter assortment we have a special gift with purchase. Included with every Easter order and any journals, personal stationery, birth announcements or skinny wraps, you’ll receive an Easter Craft Kit that includes 10 origami sheets and instructions for making  a bunny box and egg stand.

Check out the video tutorial below featuring resident office origami expert Tiffany to help you put together the perfect egg stand.

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Thank You Minties

Being obsessed with great design and beautiful paper, you’d think the biggest perk of my job here at Minted would be my ever expanding stationery collection. It is quite lovely. However, the very best part of my job is getting to correspond with the immensely talented designers who comprise the Minted Community. In December when you’d think holiday cards would be old news to us, Jen and I were positively giddy to open all of the fun cards and thoughtful treats that came our way. Thank you so much for thinking of Minted this holiday season!

Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus created this design for us during our first ever Minted t-shirt challenge in Spring of 2010. She used bits and pieces from winning Minted designs to create the heart. We were so excited to receive letterpress prints from Amy for everyone on the team this year and even more impressed when we heard Meg Gleason of Moglea printed them herself at her letterpress in Iowa. You can see some fun behind the scenes photos on Meg’s blog.

I did a bit of decorating with designer cards at my apartment. They were by far the most unique cards I received this year and look beautiful all together. I may never take them down.

Kelli Hall sent us this folded version of her “Statement Wreath” holiday card, doubling as a birth announcement. Inside is an adorable photo of her family’s newest addition. Jack Knoebber of jackmove sent us a non-photo version of “Etched,” Jenna Lyons’ favorite holiday card of the season. We were delighted to open a small box from Megan Davis of toast & laurel to find a sweet muslin bag with her perfectly Texan holiday card. She also included this sparkly jingle bell.

Hailey Myziuk of Hello Hailey sent us her “Good Tidings” holiday card with a photo of Mucha, her cat. His whiskers are adorable! We love Wendy Fessler’s rounded corner card and the fantastic photo of her daughters. On the back she included some great shots from a trip to San Francisco and a lovely note. We were big fans of her Wolverine stamp on the matching red envelope.

Liz Libré of Linda and Harriett sent us her “Handlettered Merry Christmas” with hand drawn Christmas trees and stars as accents. This card looks great in yellow and we really appreciate the personalized touch. Cécile Kotsch of Cécile Paper Lounge sent us a beautiful photo card that was similar to her “Magie de Noel” design in a captivating purple. Her very cute little one matches perfectly.

Emily Ranneby knows us far too well. The way to our hearts is truly through our stomachs and we could not get enough of the Swedish chocolates she sent our way. They were so yummy and we loved the type driven packaging design. These were the perfect complement to her scripty holiday cards.

Thank you so much Minties! We hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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Minted Goes to Alt

Minted is so happy to be a sponsor of the Alt. conference this year. Mariam asked the creative team to come up with a unique and seriously cute take away to be included in the gift bags for the attendants. We decided on a mini gallery kit, the perfect introduction to Minted’s new art prints. We hand stamped 550 muslin bags, included a collection of 3 art prints, and added mini clothes pins and twine so that people could create their own displays.


It was a lot of fun to see our lovely art prints in person and we couldn’t resist coming up with a few more creative options to display the pieces:

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GIVEAWAY: One pass to ALTitude Design Summit.

We are giving away a FREE pass to the astounding, amazing, awesome ALTitude Design Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, next week: January 18th–21st! The conference is now completely *sold out* so this may be the only way for you to attend!

This year we’re very proud to be a sponsor of this amazing event and will be camped out in the lounge all day Thursday. If you’re lucky enough to already be attending, please stop by, meet us and see our lovely stationery and art in person!

TO ENTER TO WIN: Please leave a comment with the name of your blog and your favorite design for sale on minted!! One winner will be chosen at random on Thursday at NOON PST. Good luck!

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Meet a Mintie: Linda & Harriett.

Happy week-of Christmas everyone! This monday morning, I bring you a fine treat: a Meet a Mintie with Liz from Linda & Harriett. Liz is a relatively new member of our community, but boy did she get into our holiday challenge, submitting several stunners!

First things, first! Who’s Linda and who’s Harriett?
My mom’s name was Linda & my middle name is Harriett, also the name of my great grandmother. When I was thinking of names for my business, my husband mentioned using these names because they’re pretty old-fashioned unique names & obviously mean a lot to me. As a result, I get called Linda a lot. But I never mind because it reminds me of my mom, who passed away when I was 17.

How did L&H get its start?
I started Linda & Harriett as a custom stamped invitation business. I made rubber stamps & used them for people’s invitations & personalized stationery. It was a lot of work & a lot of hand-work, but there’s something so gratifying about putting ink to paper for an immediate result – and one that changes depending on that moment of contact – the pressure of your hands, the ink saturation, the paper, the rotation of the stamp – it all adds up to something slightly different each time. It’s fun, and I’ve just gotten back into it again.

I’ve moved away from the custom work & now concentrate on a few key products that I really love from start to finish – namely, our calendars. I love creating them, selling them & giving them as gifts. I stand by them 100% and I’ll keep doing them as long as that’s the case. Cutting back on our line has also freed up time for other projects, like creating designs for Minted!

As you know, I’ve been purchasing your calendars for five years and counting now and am a HUGE fan. How do you go about designing it each year?
My process for our annual letterpress calendar, which I’ve been doing since 2008, starts in January of the prior year and is by far my favorite project. In my sketchbook, I list all 12 months & over several weeks, I take notes on what I want to do for each month. The summer months are usually the first to fill up with ideas. I’m a total sucker for sea life images – whales, crabs, sailfish, anchors, seagulls. I could do June, July and August twenty times over each year. But back to the process. So I take notes & sketch possible layouts in January. The next few months are spent sketching the images & month titles. The last part is deciding on colors. I tape Pantone swatches in my sketch book next to the months to make sure I’m not overusing or missing a color or duplicating colors in back to back months. This is the part that definitely takes me the longest. I hem & haw over colors so much that sometimes I spend most of the day deciding on a shade of blue. I’m not really that picky of a person, but when it comes to my colors, I’m crazy. We go to print by April and debut the calendar at the National Stationery Show in May.

Speaking of the National Stationery Show, that is where I met you! Natasha told me about Minted while I was still in the thick of custom work, so it didn’t feel like the right time since I was busy with my own clients & production schedule and couldn’t imagine taking on more. Cutting back on custom work over the past year freed up some time, and I submitted my first designs this May for the Holiday Card Challenge. Sometimes I feel like I work in a vacuum a bit, so getting immediate feedback in comments & then later in sales is particularly fun for me. And I have to admit, I do love a good challenge!

I loved meeting you for the first time–I am such a big calendar fan that I was quite starstruck. What is your favorite design for sale on minted now?

My favorite design of mine on Minted right now is my Handlettered Merry Christmas card. I ordered it as my company holiday card (non photo, citron green color — so cool!) and will use it as our family Christmas card, too, with a big photo of Griffin, my one year old son. I like that it’s simple enough to let the photo shine, but has personality in the loose lettering. It feels light-hearted – and to me, that seems like the perfect sentiment for the season.

How is your letterpress work different than designing for minted’s flat printing?
Designing for flat printing is a bit different than letterpress. Letterpress printing gets more expensive with each color you add, so I typically use one or two colors, sometimes three and almost never four. And even though I can use more than three colors for flat printing, my designs for Minted have so far rarely exceeded two colors. I can’t help it:) I also think that when you’re using photos, it’s best to limit the number of colors in your design. Too much can be too much.

How does your new son Griffin fit into your work / life / balance?
When I was pregnant with Griffin over a year ago, I started anticipating work life with a baby. I realized pretty quickly that my time was about to turn to gold & I didn’t want to waste it. So with that in mind, I cut back on things in my business that I didn’t enjoy & didn’t have faith to grow. I cut back on a lot, actually. It was risky, but I am so happy I did because it’s allowed me a whole day off a week to hang out with Griffin and has given me more time for other projects, such as designing for Minted! So really, Griffin brought me to Minted:)

Isn't little Griffin's bum adorable on her Merry Merry giftag?

And we’re so glad he did!! Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season Liz!! Thank you for letting us get to know you a little better. Keep in touch with Liz over on her blog here.

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