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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Bluebird-Inspired Kids’ Birthday Party

Our little chickadee is turning one, so I’ve dreamed up a first-birthday party full of bold blue hues, soft pastels, and tiniest pinch of bird seed and lavender. Check out all of the details along with some tips on how to pull together for your own little chick…

blue bird first birthday for minted by kelli hall

blue bird first birthday for minted by kelli hallblue bird first birthday for minted by kelli hall

Click through for all of the bluebird birthday-party details

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DIY: Painted Hexagon Corkboard

As anyone with a preschool-aged kid can attest, the artwork piles up. I wanted to display some of my son’s favorites but they kept on falling down after I stuck a rolled-up piece of tape on the back. To solve the problem, I found some cork tiles and doctored them a bit so they’re a step up from your ordinary bulletin board. Here’s how:

diy cork board
hexagon cork tiles

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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New Minted Artists Talk Design Trends + Changing Careers

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 Christina OertelRobert Deem, and Sweta Modi.

Christina Oertel
Stratford, Wisconsin
Christina’s Website and Instagram @setandseries 

My first winning design for Minted: “San Fran Series

Day job: Graphic designer

My favorite part of the Minted experience so far: The optimism and encouragement the Minted community brings. The positive, meaningful feedback encourages me to keep pushing myself. The frequent challenges also are inspirational and allow me to experiment more as an artist.

Sources of inspiration: Traveling is my biggest inspiration. Trying new things and having my eyes opened to different places and people makes my heart soar. My day-to-day inspiration can be found in everything from fashion and makeup design to TED talks. And when all else fails, Pinterest always comes through with plenty of gorgeous visuals.

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DIY: Papier-Mache Swan Favors

Written by Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

Lately I’ve been loving everything and anything swan-related. When I was at a cake-decorating store recently, I spotted swan-shaped plastic moulds and had to buy them. They’re originally intended for melted chocolate, but instead I used papier mâché to make these DIY swan favors. Fill the hollow interior with confetti and treats so that when guests remove the back, they’ll have a fun surprise!

DIY Paper Mache Swan Favors | JulepDIY Paper Mache Swan Favors | Julep

Click through for full instructions …

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Minted Real Wedding: Maria & AJ in Honduras

Maria and AJ, who met during graduate school, invited their 160 guests to Indura Resort, a beautiful oceanside resort in the bride’s native Honduras, for their destination wedding. The Washington, DC-based couple chose “Olive Branches” by Carolyn Nicks as their invitation and incorporated their Honduran and Arabic backgrounds to create a celebration that reflected their cultures, life together as a couple, and shared love of travel and good food.

Minted Real Wedding Indura Resort Honduras

Bride and groom: Maria & AJ
Occupations: Pediatrician (Maria); medical student with a PhD in Engineering (AJ)
Based in: Washington, DC
Wedding dateDecember 19, 2015
Venue: Indura Resort, Tela, Honduras
Number of guests:  About 160
Minted wedding invitation: “Olive Branches” by Carolyn Nicks
Wedding planner: Gladys Reyna from Agendas y Eventos
Florist: Musa Flores y Eventos
Photographer: Lauren Fair Photography

Minted Real Wedding Indura Resort, Honduras

How did you and AJ meet?
We met when AJ was getting his PhD and I was in medical school. We don’t actually remember meeting. We had chatted a few times here and there but things really took off after our friend invited a group of us over to her house to cook Arabic food together. We started talking more and shortly after that he asked me out.

Tell us about the proposal!
I did not see it coming that day. I was actually post-call from a long 30-hour shift and had napped for a few hours. AJ and I were supposed to go to dinner with my mom, who was in town helping me move to a new apartment. My mom left my apartment presumably to get coffee and AJ came up carrying a bouquet of flowers. He said a lot of wonderful things and got down on one knee in my kitchen, which is fitting since our favorite activity to do together is cook. We then ran downstairs to tell my mom and she pretended she had no idea.

Shortly after, a black car arrived and he said we were still going to dinner but to a different place. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going. We got in the car and drove until we pulled up to a small corner restaurant that I recognized as the place where we had had our first date. I got out of the car and to my surprise my dad was standing in front of the restaurant. He had flown up from Honduras for the occasion. I had called him right after the proposal and he pretended to be home while in reality he was only a few blocks away. I took a few steps and, to my even bigger surprise, AJ’s mom and sister were also there, who had flown in from the Middle East. We all then celebrated and spent the weekend together.

Click through for more from Maria and AJ’s destination wedding

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DIY: Personalized Pencil Pouches

This year, make the back-to-school transition a bit more fun for your little ones by personalizing the items on their school-supply lists with iron-on letters or stickers. Adding some flair to their pencil pouches only took a few minutes and your kids will love it (Bonus: Personalizing their stuff will ensure their supplies won’t get mixed up with their classmates’).

diy pencil pouch
diy pencil pouches

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DIY: Watercolor Flower-Bouquet Wraps

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Summer is the perfect time to cut some fresh flowers and deliver a bouquet of pretty blooms to a friend. We’ve created a simple way to add a splash of color and whimsy to a bouquet of blooms with these DIY watercolor wraps. All you need: a watercolor set and some basic shapes painted on paper. Who knew your doodles could look so pretty?

Make these simple hand painted watercolor flower bouquet wraps.
Make these sweet DIY watercolor flower bouquet wraps to add a special touch.

Click through for the simple step-by-step instructions

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