DIY: Easy Balloon Garland

Life is a series of celebrations and if you, like me, enjoy the pomp and circumstance of party decorating, then this simple project is for you. All you need is a great color theme and about an hour to create this balloon garland—the fanciful cluster is the perfect party backdrop and livens up any area in need of a bright dose of color.

Supplies:
• Hand-held air pump
• Balloons
• Twine
• Scissors

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: 4-10 Non-Foil; 1-2 Foil

By Amy Schroeder, Senior Manager, Artist Content & Education

Today we get into the very top ranks in our “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge, including (drumroll…) announcing the top two entries, as determined by voters, in the foil category of the Challenge. We couldn’t be happier to congratulate the winners of this Challenge. We delight in your success!

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2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: 11-20 Non-foil; 3-6 Foil

By Christiane Pendarvis, VP Crowdsourcing Design & Operations 

The winners countdown continues for the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge. This is my first holiday season at Minted and I’ve been blown away by the quality of design produced by the community. Congratulations to all the winners!

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2016 Holiday Photo Card Challenge: 21-40 Non-Foil; 7-10 Foil

By Brady Wood

On April 4, we kicked off “Making Spirits Bright,” our ninth annual Holiday Photo Card Challenge. We asked the Minted community to create fresh, visionary designs that stand out on the mantel. And they did. We said, “There are no restrictions; we encourage you to be creative, take risks, and design cards that you and your friends would be proud to send.” As usual, our community surpassed our expectations.

This year, more than 500 artists submitted just over 5,000 designs, and their designs received a whopping 2,021,054 votes.

In our fine tradition, we’ll count down the top-ranked winners, as determined by voters. We’ll celebrate the winners from both the foil and non-foil categories of this challenge. Now, please help me congratulate the following artists on their remarkable work!

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2016 Religious Christmas Holiday Challenge: Top Winners

By Mariam Naficy

For the past several months, many Minted Artists have been heads-down, focused on creating the most beautiful, unique holiday card designs in the world. They’ve also been anxiously awaiting this blog post — the kickoff of our annual winner announcements for some of our most anticipated and celebrated Minted Design Challenges of the year.

The voters have spoken. Our guest judges — including Joanna and Chip Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, Paul “Sweet Paul” Lowe, and The Girls With Glasses — have made their picks. We’ll begin spilling the candy canes in just a moment.

For our ninth annual holiday card challenge season, we created something new: the “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” Religious Christmas Card Quickfire Challenge, our very first faith-based design challenge. We developed this challenge for people who are specifically looking for religious or spiritual Christmas greetings and designs. We’re excited to share your cards with this growing market of Minted customers.

I’m thrilled yet again by the quality and beauty of this year’s submissions. If you’ve read our winner announcements in previous years, you’ve heard me say this before, and I want to reiterate: the Minted Artist community continues to surpass our expectations in design for the most unique, cutting-edge holiday cards.

As always, I want to thank every artist who submitted a design, gave a critique, voted in a design poll, and shared festive posts in the Minted Community Facebook group to help fellow community members get in the holiday spirit. At the end of the day, the heart and soul of Minted centers around our global community of independent artists and how they treat each other. We are a community that thrives on kindness and helping each other grow and learn with constructive criticism, and we appreciate all of us maintaining that spirit.

Here are the top winners, as determined by voters, for the “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” Religious Christmas Photo Card Quickfire Challenge. Stay tuned for the start of the “Making Spirits Bright” Holiday Photo Card Challenge winners countdown tomorrow. Huge congrats to our first group of holiday winners!

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A Beginner’s Guide: Starting an Art Collection

Collecting art sounds like a daunting task, something that perhaps requires an art-history major, loads of disposable income, and jet-setting to the latest “it” art fair. Not to mention all the questions that come along with it: How do you know what’s good? Where do I look? How much should you pay? Rest assured and definitely don’t be intimidated—anyone can collect art, whether you’re bidding for Klees at Christie’s or thrifting at garage sales in search of an overlooked gem.

Ready to dive in and start your own art collection? Click through for our guide to starting an art collection you love (without breaking the bank).

How to Start an Art Collection

1. Browse a ton of art.
The best way to start your personal art collection is to figure out what types of art you like. Are there certain styles, colors, or subject matters that draw you in? Do you gravitate toward black-and-white photos, modern abstract paintings, Dutch-inspired still lifes? Note what you love.

Seeing art up close and personal, of course, is the best way to get acquainted with art. Visit local museums and galleries, attend MFA shows and exhibitions at nearby art schools, check out nearby First Fridays art strolls and chat with the exhibiting artists. In addition to browsing art in person, flip through art magazines at the bookstore and browse the many online resources for great (and affordable!) art: Minted, Etsy, 20×200, Artfully Walls, Saatchi Art, just to name a few.

Click through for more tips on buying art and starting your own art collection

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4 Minted Artists Headline Minted’s First Live Art Night

On August 25, we hosted the first Live Art Night at Minted Local, our new pop-up store in the heart of San Francisco. Featuring Amy Hall, Monica Loos, Katja Ollendorff, and Laura Rodil, more than 100 attendees watched as the four Minted artists brought their paintings and drawings to life in real time.

All four artists said they were initially nervous about painting in public, but their nerves were quickly put at ease. “The store was so warm and inviting,” Amy said. “The whole experience was beyond anything that I had imagined, and was super fun.” Laura added that she loved talking to people about her artwork and process and received great feedback.

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DIY: Fabric-Covered Pencil Cup

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  alice & lois

Now that back to school is in full swing around our house, I wanted to freshen up my own desk to help me get more organized. To corral all of my loose pens and pencils, I made this fabric-covered pencil cup with leftover scrap fabric from another project. I love how the black-and-white patterned prints really add a graphic pop to my little office area.

DIY Fabric-Covered Pencil Cup
DIY Fabric-Covered Pencil Cup

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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Meet a Minted Artist: Lauren Adams

Lauren Adams studied visual and studio art at Fairmont State University, painted en plein air for many years, and has since transitioned to abstract, large-scale works by rolling out raw canvas and painting directly onto the surface with acrylics. The West Virginia-based painter took some time to discuss her work, creative process, and a typical day in the life of a working artist.

Meet a Minted Artist Lauren Adams

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
It’s been a long, winding path that started in college. My work has been through several phases over the last 15 years. The changes have been quite a process, but what I am always most interested in reflecting on is how the work is still connected. I spent most of my time in college studying the figure through live model gesture drawing/painting (met my future husband—Minted artist Derek Overfield in a figure-drawing course!). Upon graduating university, I worked for years on plein air painting, directly observing the landscape as opposed to the figure. In 2011, I began doing small, more expressive studies on paper and then decided I wanted to translate them to canvas. I wanted to grow the scale of my work plus emphasize the expression of the landscape and experiences felt (versus on-location observation), so I moved back into the studio and utilized one of the methods that I had touched on in school, but hadn’t spent much time with—stained canvas painting, only on a primed substrate. The possibilities felt limitless and I’ve loved it ever since! All of these phases involve embracing the physical work of painting: the gesture of your entire body, your engagement with the process. A celebration of life.

Did you study art formally in school?
Yes, I hold a BA Interdisciplinary Degree in Studio Art and French along with a BFA in Visual Art.

Where do you currently reside?
I live in North-Central West Virginia, in the Allegheny Plateau. It’s great because we have quick access to many beautiful lakes and rivers along with gorgeous views of ancient mountains, yet are still within a day trip to cities like Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
A typical day starts with coffee and a small breakfast, a bit of morning reading, and reviewing my plan for the day. If there are urgent emails or client questions, I will get to those first. Personally, I find that once those most pressing things are completed, I can then focus easier on my work, without distractions. I will spend the rest of the day painting, either inside (accompanied by my cat) or outside if the weather is decent enough (not too much rain in the forecast). Then dinner with my husband and some exercise. The evenings will be packing any orders, answering other emails that have come through, ordering supplies we have run out of, or sometimes an additional painting session in the summer when it stays light out later. Then it’s time for some rest, with Netflix or reading.

What are some of your own “rules” for living and working?
I don’t know if it qualifies as a rule, but I attempt to keep my daily focus on gratitude. It seems to help with everything else.

Please describe your last month in a word.
Exploration

What are you serious about?
Painting

What are some keys to balancing work and life?
I think sometimes you have to understand that there is no perfect balance—certainly not every day. And maybe that’s okay. I’m guilty of over-planning and it took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that I will never be able to schedule that “perfect balance” in my life. Shifts will happen and certain seasons will come and go. I personally try to watch out for self-care, making sure I am getting fairly consistent exercise, eating healthy foods (for the most part!), and working on maintaining a positive attitude.

Click through to read more from Minted artist Lauren Adams

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Brain Surgery and Equal Love Inspired Lauren Packard’s Art

You don’t often hear people say they’re grateful for brain surgery, but for Lauren Packard, this life-threatening experience served as inspiration to pursue her childhood passion of creating art. By day, she works as a New York City art teacher, and in her free time, she is a mixed-media artist in Brooklyn.

A member of the Minted Artist community since 2014, her painting “Lina y Challie” is featured in the August 2016 West Elm catalog. In this interview, the New York City artist and school teacher talks about the urge to create, encouraging her students’ individuality, and the celebration of gay marriage — the impetus for her prize-winning art print in the Minted X West Elm Challenge.

Lauren Packard’s painting “Lina y Challie” (shown above on the easel) is featured in the August 2016 West Elm catalog. Fellow winning art prints in the Minted X West Elm Art Challenge are featured clockwise from top left: “Aperature + Cellular” by Jennifer Morehead, “Malachite Reinterpreted” by Leslie M. Ward, and “Autumn” by Jennifer Morehead.

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