A Day in the Life of Amy Carroll

Animals are the heart and soul of many of Amy Carroll’s photographs, including “Staredown,” a portrait of a bull that is one of Minted’s most popular limited edition prints. The Michigan photographer has weaved a life centered around family, animals, and creativity. As she shows in this video and in her own words on her Minted Artist Store, you can find Amy traveling abroad or exploring her backyard. “Beauty abounds,” she says. “Take time to see it.”

Portraits of Amy Carroll by Sam Vanderlist

“Staredown” limited edition print by Amy Carroll

8 AM-ish: We start our day roughly between 7:30 or 8 am each day. We co-sleep with our two-year-old son Mayer, so when he’s ready to get up, we get up and all start our day by fixing breakfast together. Our recent favorite is banana pancakes, which Mayer loves to help me make. I’ve been trying to be more cognitive of my time with my family and instead of hopping immediately on my phone or computer, spending quality time with Jeff and Mayer and enjoying a slower and more mindful start to our day.

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DIY: Clay Garden Markers

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

The first day of spring (a.k.a. vernal equinox) is right around the corner—March 20!—and to celebrate the new season, we’re hosting a little brunch for some of our girlfriends. We love adding a handmade touch to any get together, so for this gathering, we’re making these simple clay garden markers. Tied around a cloth napkin with a beautiful seed packet, they’re the perfect way to add a little pop to your table setting. Bonus: They also make the perfect spring party favor—your guests will enjoy planting the seeds, marking them with the clay stake, and watching them grow.

DIY Spring Place Setting Garden Marker | alice & lois for minted
DIY Spring Place Setting Garden Marker | alice & lois for minted

Click through for the simple step-by-step instructions…

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DIY: Giant Golden Shamrock

By Kathleen Ballos of  Snowdrop & Co

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up—do you usually decorate for the occasion? I have to say that normally I don’t do much, mostly because the majority of decorations available in stores aren’t quite my taste. This year though, I decided to make my own oversized four-leaf clover—it makes a big impact while still being a bit more subtle than some of the gaudier decorations I’ve seen.

DIY: Giant Golden Clover

Click through for the step-by-step instructions … 

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15 Minted Artists to Follow on Instagram

How did we narrow this list to 15? With Minted artists around the world creating beautiful Instagrams, it wasn’t easy, but we considered three things: compelling content, a cohesive look, and posting on the regular. This is just the tip of the creative iceberg—we want to hear your recommendations for other Minted artists to follow on Instagram. Share your suggestions in comments at the end of this article.

Patricia Varga
@parimastudio
Patricia’s Minted Artist Store
The abstract acrylic and new media artist shares the brushstrokes of her process
and takes you inside her Oxnard, California, studio.

Being bold #dscolor #bright #colorful #designinspo

A photo posted by parimastudio (@parimastudio) on

 


Annie Bunker Mertlich
@WildFieldPaperCo
Annie’s Minted Artist Store
Get a look up close at the artist and calligrapher’s elegant, nature-inspired work.

Packing orders all day! Love these kind of days!

A photo posted by Annie Bunker Mertlich (@wildfieldpaperco) on

 


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DIY: One-Step Mini Cake Stands

I know you’re doubting me right now. You read the title of the post and you’re not sure any DIY project could actually have only one step. But I assure you that this one does (if you don’t count buying the supplies as a step!). I’ve got the proof after the jump.

small cake stand diy
diy mini cake stand

Click through for this amazingly simple one-step cake stand project

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Meet a Minted Artist: Sarah Brown

As an “M”-level artist in Minted’s CMYK program, Sarah Brown has 125 winning designs on minted.com, but her success didn’t happen overnight. When she entered her first challenge, the 2009 Seasonal Save the Date Challenge, she submitted what she describes “a few terrible designs” and says she was mortified by the scores. “That experience really motivated me to become a better designer and to improve my skills,” she says, in hindsight. “Continuing to enter the design challenges is also a great incentive to keep your work fresh and try new things.”

Here, the designer from St. Joseph, Michigan, shares insights about her experience as a typography-driven designer, and her a-ha! moments along the way.

You’re a self-proclaimed typography enthusiast. When and how did this happen?
I’ve never considered myself a traditional artist—my drawing skills are pretty limited, and I’m generally too impatient for painting. Because of this, I struggled for a while as a designer to find my niche—there’s only so much you can do when you don’t paint or draw. After my first Minted winning design, “A Very Merry Christmas,” in 2010, it clicked with me that beautiful typography is an art form in itself. I received such a great response from that design from the community and consumers, and I began to focus on type-driven designs. I’ve tried to learn all I can about typography from books, online resources, and lots of trial and error.

Merry First Christmas” by Sarah Brown

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DIY: Mini Flower Press

Written by Olivia Kanaley

Even the smallest buds and blossoms don’t go unnoticed those first few weeks of spring, so why not make them last a little longer by drying them in a flower press. This mini, DIY version doesn’t take long to fill with seasonal sprigs—plus, it’s sized just right for use as a gift or favor; you can even tailor it to match your springtime gathering with a custom label.

Supplies:
Makes one flower press
• Two 4-inch plywood squares (1/8″ thick)
• Sandpaper
• Acrylic paint, water, brush, and rag
• Printed flower-press template
• Masking tape
• 3/16″ drill bit and drill
• Cardboard
• Printer paper
• Scissors
• Eight #10 flat washers
• Four #10-24 wing nuts
• Four #10-24 2.5″ machine screws
“Pressed Petals” custom label

Steps:

1. Lightly sand the wood pieces to remove any splinters and smooth edges. If desired, brush all sides of the wood pieces with diluted acrylic paint and wipe away excess with a rag. You can repeat to deepen the color. Set aside to dry completely.

2. Layer the printed template over the two wood pieces and secure all three layers together using pieces of masking tape. Drill four holes using the template as a guide (it’s OK to drill through the paper).

3. Using a pair of scissors and the printed template, cut cardboard into 3.5″ hexagons. You will need 7 for each flower press. Repeat this process with computer paper—you will need 10 printer-paper hexagons for each flower press. Stack the cardboard and paper pieces so that two paper hexagons are between each cardboard hexagon. When you use the flower press, place flowers and leaves between these pieces of paper.

4. Place a washer on each of the four machine screws and insert each into the four holes on one of the wood pieces.

5. Add the stack of cardboard and paper from Step 4 and the top wood piece.

6. Finally, add another washer on each of the screws, followed by a wing nut. Finish with a custom label.

Tips:
• The easiest way to load and unload the flower press is to loosen all the wing nuts gently and remove one of the screws. You should be able to slide out the stack of paper and cardboard to add flowers and greenery.
• Flowers with less bulk, like hydrangea blossoms or violets, tend to work best.
• Flowers should be left in the press for about one week. Drying time can vary depending on flowers and environment.

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Q and A: Ever Thought About Your Creative Turnoffs?

For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, we’re taking a bit of a departure from our usual process of spotlighting artists’ sources of inspiration. Today we’re talking about inspiration killers. Minted artists Elliot Whalen and Christian Bennin share both sides of the coin—what does and doesn’t inspire them—so, really, this is a “double issue” edition.

Elliot Whalen
San Francisco
Elliot’s Minted Artist Store

I prefer not to dwell on things that drain my inspiration, but while we’re on the subject, I can list a few. To start, I’m not saying I’m Superman, but I do take up all my vitality from the sun, absorbing its energies and converting them to creative inspiration. I love natural light and fresh air. In fact, I just assumed a one-minute power pose in the morning sun to write this feature.

IceSCREAM” custom art print by WHALEN

In a similar vein, cramped and cluttered spaces make me claustrophobic. Not literally, but in a creative sense. I get cabin fever easily. Growing up in Southern California near the beach, I spent a lot of time outside, which became a major inspiration in my art. I drew waves, surfboard designs, and beach landscapes in my school notebooks. And a few years ago I moved to San Francisco, which has the perfect blend of bustling city, creativity, and all the outdoor adventures you could want just 20 minutes away.

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Download: March Desktop Wallpapers

Spring is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get a head start on some spring cleaning. And that applies to your digital space, too. Breathe new life into your computer desktop with one of these two season-inspired wallpaper designs by Minted artist and graphic designer Kristin Doversberger of Lorent & Leif.

March 2016 Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper

Download: “Cherry Blossoms” Desktop Wallpaper (above)

March 2016 Downloadable Desktop Wallpaper

Download: “Trees” Desktop Wallpaper (above)

Download instructions: Click on the download links above and the image will open in its own tab (depending on your browser, you might need to click again to make it full size), Next, drag the image to your desktop; for Macs, select System Preferences and then Desktop & Screen Saver; for PCs, right-click the picture and then click Set as Desktop Background.

Note: These designs are for personal use only and were created by Lorent & Leif for Minted.


More From Lorent & Leif:
• Lorent & Leif’s Minted Store
• Lorent & Leif’s Instagram

More From Minted:
• Gift Tags
Easter Cards
• Photo Calendars

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How To: Host the Prettiest Spring Brunch

Spring is in the air! My favorite way to celebrate the season? By hosting a brunch for friends, with a pretty palette inspired by glowy honey golds and delicate spring blossoms. Want to host your own spring-inspired fête? Keep reading for my tips on welcoming the season with a simple, freshly styled table.


spring pollen and rose quartz inspired brunch table by kelli hall

1. Set the tone with table linens.
A striped table linen offers the perfect graphic counterpoint to feminine blooms—after all, it’s about simplicity and balance. I like a linen with an asymmetrical, relaxed drape. To be completely honest, this tablecloth had a raw edge, which I don’t mind at all: I simply trimmed some yardage from one of my favorite patterned fabrics and tossed it on the table. Add cloth napkins with painted cherry blossoms and you’ve got a fresh, pretty table.

spring pollen and rose quartz inspired brunch table by kelli hall, copper piping place card holder

2. Add simple (and cheap!) table accessories.
Place cards can work for even the smallest of gatherings and add a special touch to a relaxed table. The key is easy presentation: Here, I repurposed simple copper pipe caps to hold a each place card (check back later this week for the copper place-card holder DIY). As for the napkins? I threaded the cloth napkins through a gold-toned purse ring. Napkin rings feel fresh again and these purse findings make the perfect linen bundle (and cost less than a dollar per ring!). Unsure if gold and copper can play well together? Of course they can—mixed metallics make for an decidedly informal feel.

spring pollen and rose quartz inspired brunch table by kelli hall

3. Choose double-duty menu items.
To save both time and money, think about how your food can double as decor. Jewel-like honey pots, ruby-hued grapefruit slices, and soft meringue icing on a cake all taste as delicious as they look.

spring pollen and rose quartz inspired brunch table by kelli hallRuby-hued grapefruit adds a pop of color to the table.

spring pollen and rose quartz inspired brunch table by kelli hallHoney jar favors will give your spring table a soft, amber glow.

Click through for more tips on hosting a spring brunch

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