5 Ideas for Throwing a Laid-Back Fourth of July Picnic

My favorite way to celebrate the Fourth and beat the heat? A simple outdoor picnic featuring a cool color scheme and even-colder drinks. So whether you’re planning a summer picnic or a casual backyard fete, these are my favorite tips for a simple outdoor soirée.

july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hall
july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hall
boxed blueberries, july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallPackage your favorite summer fruit in individual-size kraft boxes.

july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallFresh cherries make a simple snack.

1. Think finger foods.
You can make a terrific picnic with foods that require only two fingers to eat. Start with the healthy nibbles packaged in individual portions: summer fruit like blueberries and cherries, olives, cheese cubes, crackers, and so on. Then, round those out with heartier options such as open-face sandwiches, sliders, or a make-your-own bruschetta bar with baguette slices and a variety of toppings.

blueberry and rasperry ice cubes,july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallFrozen-berry ice cubes in patriotic colors

2. Keep drinks ice-cold.
Help guests beat the heat by making sure their drinks stay cold. Wrap beverage bottles in cloth napkins to insulate and keep them chilled; I also love freezing fresh berries in ice cubes for a quick cocktail cool-down.

july fourth mini picnic styled for minted by kelli hallLarge throw pillows are a comfy alternative to a picnic blanket.

sparkler and tag, july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hall

3. Add festive summer touches.
What’s July 4th without some sparkle? Be sure to pack sparklers (or small bottles of bubbles if you’ve got lots of younger kiddos in tow) for some post-picnic fun. Pro tip: Place the sparkers (handles down) in a container about half full of water; once they’ve been used, you can quickly extinguish them in the water.

july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallTie a simple tag on a sparkler stick with festive grosgrain ribbon.

bubbles and wand, july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallYour littlest guests will love a bottle of bubbles with a unique blowing wand. 

july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hall

4. Keep things packable and portable
When you’re planning a summer picnic, packing is key—here are some of my favorite tips and ideas:
• Wrap drink bottles in fabric napkins to keep drinks insulated (and looking pretty!).
• I also like to roll fabric napkins and a fabric table runner around drink bottles—it helps save on basket space and keeps them wrinkle-free.
• Recruit helpers: I usually ask two people to help carry all of the picnic items to the picnic (all in one trip!).

fabric wrapped bottle, july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallA simple napkin wrap keeps drinks cool and bottles pretty.

menu hand fan, july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallCool down with a paper-menu-turned-hand-fan.

5. Think double-duty.
Keep things efficient by choosing picnic items that will work double-duty:
• Beat the heat with paper-menu hand fans: Attach a wooden stick to the back of a menu card and wave away the humidity and bugs!
• I like to wrap flowers in a white paper lunch bag—it keeps the stems in place while packing your picnic and can be used as a bag for post-picnic rubbish.
• Decorate place settings with fruit to add a festive pop of color and also serve as a tasty snack.

july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallWrap flowers in a paper lunch bag that can be used later for rubbish.

july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallScatter cherries on the picnic table like edible confetti.

summer poppies, july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hallDecorate the picnic table with a simple mason-jar arrangement of one or two blooms, like poppies and Queen Anne’s lace.

july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hall

july fourth table styled for minted by kelli hall

“Watercolor Frame” invitation by Laura Condouris for Minted
“Cute Red Little Flowers” fabric napkins by Alexandra Dzh for Minted
“Breton Stripe” table runner by Melissa Selmin for Minted
Wooden cutlery
“Ombre” menu card by Dean Street for Minted
Hand-fan sticks
“Cool Cobalt” pillow by Kelli Hall for Minted
Mini buckets
Bubble wand
Bubble bottles
Picnic table
Picnic basket (similar)
“Enjoy” gift tags by Melanie Severin for Minted
Small modern cake stand from Minted
Wire basket (thrifted)
Kraft boxes from Minted
“Family Name” stickers by Jill Means for Minted
“Aviary & Ink” place cards by Kelli Hall for Minted
“Johannis” gift tags by Jack Knoebber for Minted
“Kite” party sign by Lena Barakat for Minted


“Dadmosa” Beer Cocktail for Father’s Day

Written by Sharon Garofalow of  Cupcakes and Cutlery

Skip the BBQ this Father’s Day and host a family brunch instead. And just because you’re hosting a morning event doesn’t mean you can’t include Dad’s favorite brew. Serve up some Dadmosas, the perfect beer-based brunch cocktail (that even non-beer lovers will enjoy!). Move over mimosas, there’s a new brunch beverage in town.

Brunch cocktail idea with beer for Father's Day.

Click through to see just how easy this recipe is! 


5 Tips for Building Your Creative Brand Online

With loads of Internet tools and resources just waiting for your personal touch, developing a creative brand can seem at once exciting, full of possibilities… and overwhelming. Which is why we tapped industry experts to share their insights at the Minted headquarters for San Francisco’s Design Week 2016.

Photo by Tiffany Tran

On June 7, we hosted a lively panel discussion featuring Minted Creative Director (and one of our first Minted artists) Annie Clark, Chronicle Books Design Director Kristen Hewitt, and artist and jewelry designer Lisa Anderson Shaffer. Here are the top five takeaways; view the panel recording here.

1. Cohesiveness Is Key

Do you want to build a website and create social accounts for your creative business? If so, focus on creating a cohesive body of work to share online.

“A lot of new artists and designers are all over the map, and it’s hard to understand where their focus is or what style they want to bring to the table,” said Kristen Hewitt, Design Director at Chronicle Books. She advises that designers and artists present a sense of who they want to be and what they want to make. Showcase a clear, cohesive body of work to attract clients and help them understand your vision.

Minted Creative Director Annie Clark said it’s equally important to keep your portfolio fresh and up to date. “It’s not important to share everything you’ve ever done in your career online,” Annie said. For example, you can keep those works from when you dabbled in oil paint during art school offline if it’s not something that will be central to who you are now as an artist and what you will be selling.

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Printable: Father’s Day “Facts About My Dad” Worksheet

I always get a kick out of kids’ answers to questions about their parents, which is why we whipped up this fun “Dad Facts” printable just in time for Father’s Day. You’re guaranteed loads of laughs with minimal kid-participation required.

father's day printable

Click through to download our free Father’s Day printable

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Minted Real Wedding: Alyssa & Nic in Brooklyn

After more than seven years of dating, Alyssa and Nic (who first met on MySpace!) decided to make it official and tied the knot at the Brooklyn Courthouse with just their immediate family as witnesses. Later, they broke the happy news to friends and extended family by mailing marriage announcements (from Minted, natch!), then invited everyone to the Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg eight months later for a wedding reception and party. The celebration featured deep-red tones and French-themed details (a jazz band performed “La Vie en Rose” for the couple’s first dance; guests were given boxes of Ladurée macarons as favors) and the winery’s collection of vintage, mismatched china perfectly complemented the look.

Bride and groom: Alyssa Mozdzen & Nic diPierro
Occupations: Freelance IT tech, actor, and writer (Nic); literary agency assistant (Alyssa) and graduate student (she will be attending graduate school for writing in the fall)
Based in: Brooklyn, NY
Wedding ceremony: December 12, 2014 at the Brooklyn Courthouse
Wedding reception: August 9, 2015 at the Brooklyn Winery
Number of guests: About 130
Minted wedding invitation: “Johannis” by Jack Knoebber (letterpressed)
Wedding gown: Rembo Styling, purchased from VeKa Bridal in Brooklyn
Florist: Faye + Renee
Musicians: Avalon Jazz Band
Photographer: Bia Sampaio

Brooklyn Winery Wedding Minted Wedding Invitation

How did you and Nic meet? 
Through MySpace! We’ve been together a very long time…

Tell us about the proposal…
We’d been together for more than seven years before deciding to make it official, so there really wasn’t a formal proposal. Getting married was never really something either of us were dying to do. We’re supremely happy together, and knew we’d spend the rest of our lives together regardless of whether or not we were married. But after crunching the numbers and deciding we wanted that official security of marriage, we figured we might as well! My parents had already planned a visit to New York in December, so we got married while they were in town. Nic’s mom signed as our witness, and we didn’t tell anyone but our immediate families. We broke the news to all of our friends and extended family in late January by mailing marriage announcements (using Minted!). It made the whole reveal so much more personal than simply posting something on social media. We got so many texts and phone calls after people opened their mail and saw the good news!

How did you find your wedding venues?
The Brooklyn Courthouse was purely for convenience: we live within walking distance! And we found Brooklyn Winery after doing some research on Brooklyn venues that fit not only our budget, but our style and size. Plus, they make it so easy by providing the food, wine, and a day-of planner to help assist coordinating all your vendors.

What was the wedding-dress shopping process like?
My mom came in from out of town and my sister (who lives in Brooklyn as well) joined me in searching for the perfect dress. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted because I knew exactly what I didn’t want: no strapless, no ball gown, no white—I really wanted a blue dress. We must have looked at about five or six different locations over a few days, but found this one at the first place we looked, Veka Bridal in Brooklyn. The designer was Rembo Styling and it fit everything on my wish list: vintage looking, simple, unique, and, most importantly, a lovely shade of light blue peeking out through the white lace.

And what about your accessories?
I carried a book-themed clutch by Kate Spade. Since I didn’t have a bouquet, I wanted my clutch to have some significance, and since I work in publishing, that clutch was perfect.

Click through for more from Alyssa and Nic’s Brooklyn wedding

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DIY: Playful Pineapple Crown

By Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

When I saw these mini pineapples at the dollar store, I knew they’d be the perfect addition to a tropical party this summer. The pineapple trend is still going strong, so why not fully embrace it and make this playful pink crown? It’s perfect for the guest of honor at a birthday party, bridal shower, or bachelorette party and you could even use other plastic fruits to make more tropical crowns for guests!

DIY Pineapple Crown | JulepDIY Pineapple Crown | Julep

Click through for full instructions …


DIY: Simple Paper-Flower Garland

If your flower garden is struggling a bit like mine is, I’ve got a solution for you—paper. Paper flowers can be used to decorate your house year-round without once watering them and they’re always in season. Here’s a way to make some eternal blooms with just a few supplies.

diy flower garland
diy birthday decorations

Click through for the easy step-by-step instructions

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15 Questions to Inspire Quality Art Critiques

By Nathan Bond & Amy Schroeder

Many Minted artists say peer critique is one of the most valuable aspects of our community and challenge process. After submitting your work to a challenge, Minted artists are encouraged to share feedback on other artists’ work and invite fellow community members to critique their own work.

We’ve found that when artists ask specific questions about their work, they are more likely to generate quality feedback. Armed with this constructive feedback, many Minted artists iterate their submissions or put the feedback in their back pocket for future projects.

We asked Nathan Bond, an art instructor at Parsons School of Design, to create the following list of prompts to inspire quality critiques. We recommend that you copy and paste the questions that resonate with you into the “Ask for Feedback” pop-up field after submitting your work.

Fossilized Rock” by Frooted Design

With more than 20 years of experience, Nathan said he created this list for a wide range of artwork, including paintings, drawings, and photography. “These questions focus on the fundamental elements of all works of art, regardless of genre or style,” he said. “I organized them in an order that develops similarly to how you would develop a formal critique, starting with the basic foundations of the image and developing toward the more interpretive aspects.”

15 Art Critique Prompt Questions

1. Does the composition effectively move the viewer’s eye around the image?

2. My intent with this composition is to take the viewer to ____________ location. Did your eye go there?

3. Are there any classic compositional errors? For example, is the subject matter too centered or too far off to one side? Are things cropped in an effective way? Is anything “kissing” the edge?

4. Is there good positive-negative space, and is it balanced and harmonious?

“Skyward Angles” limited edition print by Gabrial Reising


Printable: Father’s Day Beer Labels

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day by surprising him with his favorite brew repackaged with these festive “World’s Greatest” labels. It’s the perfect way to make your pops feel extra special this Father’s Day. Looking for more easy Father’s Day ideas? Check out our homemade salsa recipe with label printable and BBQ sauce printable.

Free Printable Father's Day Beer Label Free Printable Father's Day Beer Bottle Label

Click through for the free printable beer labels…


New Minted Artists Talk Picasso, Pizza, and Mentors

Every month we welcome some of our newer Minted artists to the community in the Welcome Wagon series. Hop on and learn some fun facts about Belia Simm, Seth Smith, and Stephanie Strouse.

Belia Simm
Fishkill, New York

Personal website: beliasimm.com
Instagram: @beliasimm
First winning design: “Name Initials” during the A is for Art challenge in August 2015.

Name Initials,” Belia’s first winning design for Minted

Which artist or designer would you like to invite to your home for dinner?
Pablo Picasso, since he was such well-rounded artist. He is famous for his paintings but he also did sculptures, sketching, printmaking, and even stage design. As an artist, my goal is to also have an extensive portfolio of quality, diverse work like he had.

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