DIY: Modern Organic Wreath

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

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

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

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

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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

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

 

Guest Judge’s Pick by Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies 

Taco Truck by Itsy Belle Studio

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

We Connect! by Christina Novak

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


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

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


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

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


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

Runner-up: Pretzel Lover by Grae Designs


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

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


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

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


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

 

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DIY: Mini Christmas Cardboard Houses

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

cardboard christmas houses
homemade christmas village

Click through for the step-by-step instructions…

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DIY: Holiday Room Spray

Written by Sharon Garofalow of  Cupcakes and Cutlery

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

Click through for step-by-step instructions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click through for more cameraphone tips

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Meet a Minted Artist: Kimberly FitzSimons

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

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

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

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

Fresh Christmas Wishes” holiday card by Kimberly FitzSimons

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

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

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DIY: Golden Holly Drinking Glasses

Written by Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

Growing up, we had special Christmas drinking glasses that we used during the holiday season. My mom would pack away our plain glassware and swap in Christmas-themed ones instead—I loved it! I recently realized that I don’t have any holiday glasses of my own, so I decided to craft these festive ones decorated with golden sprigs of holly.

DIY Golden Holly Glasses | Julep
DIY Golden Holly Glasses | Julep

Click through for full step-by-step instructions … 

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Printable: Christmas Treat Labels

If you’re looking for a super easy-yet-stylish way to package up your homemade holiday treats this year, we’ve got you covered. Simply fill pint-size ice cream containers with your goodies and decorate with our printable treat labels featuring these wonderful and whimsical Christmas illustrations.

christmas treat labels
christmas cookie packaging

Click through to download these free printable labels

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2016 New Year’s Card Challenge: Special Prize Winners

We’re happy to announce the Special Prize winners of the The 2016 Cheers to a New Year! New Year Photo Card Challenge! Each year, more customers choose to send a New Year’s card to their loved ones to spread the holiday cheer in a festive way. We asked the Minted community to create fresh designs in celebration of the 2017 New Year ahead.

New Year, New Look Award

For the most unconventional, unique design in the challenge that you wouldn’t find on any other site.
Fireworks Frame by Iron Range Artery


Multi-Photo Award

For the best design that showcases multiple photos.
Staggered by Sara Hicks Malone


“2017” Award

For the best way of displaying the numbers “2017”.
A Bold New Year by fatfatin


Home is Where the Heart is Award

For the best design that showcases a specific state or location and could be used as a holiday card and/or moving announcement.
State of the Year by Sarah Brown


Funniest Award

For the best clever, witty or funny card.
Same Resolutions by Amy Payne


Copywriter Award

For the card that uses clever wording to reinvent the typical New Year’s greeting (e.g. not “Cheers” or “Happy New Years”).
Sunshine by Olivia Raufman


Classic Elegance Award

For the most elegant, timeless New Year’s design that will appeal to more traditional customers.
Elegant New Year by Amy Payne


Dress Up Your Envelope Award

This award is for the most creative envelope design that adds something extra special to the card.
naturally by Shannon


Festive Full-Bleed Award

For the best full-bleed photo card.
Modern Cheers by Kimberly FitzSimons


New Beginnings Award

For the best design that celebrates what’s new and exciting in someone’s life – whether they’re newly married or have a new baby, home or pet.
All Is New by Oscar & Emma


Get in Shape Award

For the design that best showcases one of Minted’s die-cut shapes in an original way.
bloom by Elly


Curvilinear Award

For the best design that puts a name on a curvilinear path.
Branched Border by Kelly Schmidt


Newbie Award

For the best design from a first-time entrant.
Party Banner by Julee London


Congratulations, winners!

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How The Presidential Election Has Impacted Holiday Card Greetings

As you receive holiday cards in the mailbox this season, check carefully: you might notice an interesting post-election trend. Minted, your source for stationery, art and home decor designed by independent artists, is also a cutting-edge analytics company with extraordinarily rich data regarding design trends, cultural trends, and anonymized consumer behavior.

In fact, as reported by Ellen Byron at the Wall Street Journal today, Minted Labs — the company’s research and analytics arm — unearthed interesting shifts in the holiday card greetings that consumers are choosing this year before and after the U.S. presidential election.

Use of the word “cheer” is down -14% compared to 2015 orders, and ”peace” and “hope” are up +14% and +9%, respectively, compared to 2015.

It’s fascinating to see the geographical differences when it comes to holiday card preferences this season. In Hawaii, “Mele Kalikimaka” and “Sand and Snow” are messages on photo cards in our top five sellers. In California, customers prefer “Happy Holidays,” while in Alabama, “Wonders of His Love” and “O Come Let Us Adore Him” are two religious greetings among the top five bestsellers. But what’s really interesting is the trend we’re seeing around non-photo cards. In Washington, D.C., one of our best-selling designs this year is “Floral Peace” by Baumbirdy, a non-photo card which depicts a peace sign created out of holiday greenery. This is the first time in our company’s history that a non-photo holiday card has been a top-seller. Typically, designs featuring photos on the front of the card dominate our holiday card sales. This is another example of how some customers are taking a more contemplative approach with their holiday card this year.

Minted Labs investigated the greeting trend when customers contacted the company after the election to ask if they could change the message on their recent holiday card orders to be more sensitive to the feelings of friends and family. In response, we took care of these customers and also created this special product page featuring holiday cards with “peace” messages. Customers may also customize their cards by choosing the perfect greeting to express themselves.

To learn more, please read Ellen Byron’s full Wall Street Journal story here.

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