Meet a Minted Artist: Naomi Ernest

A self-described “artist, photographer, and clandestine writer,” Naomi Ernest has carved out a unique niche for herself on Minted. Her paintings, drawings, and photographs are at once minimalist, personal, and whimsically mysterious. “I am very process-oriented, letting the various effects of tools, mediums, and techniques be integral to each piece,” she says. “I like my work to be uncomplicated at first glance, but the more you look at it, the more complexities you discover. Overall simplicity with interesting details.”

Here, the Ann Arbor, Michigan artist shares details behind the scenes of her life–from her five children to the ongoing project of rehabbing her farmhouse.

When did you know you were an artist?
Growing up, my parents were both artists-on-the-side; as a very young child, I wanted to be an artist and a writer. I remember thinking these things specifically at maybe 3 or 4 years old—well before I could write more than a word or two, when my paintings were unsteady brush marks in blue and red and yellow. Somewhere along the uncertainty of growing up, I lost these early convictions, and it took me decades of searching to rediscover and to implement them.

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The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Don’t you love it when a planned, routine project turns a corner, changes form, and, ultimately, becomes more interesting? That’s the case with this story. What started as the January edition of our #ArtistAdvice series (featuring Minted artists sharing their advice about work and creativity), evolved into this: an e-conversation between Jessica Williams and Rebecca Turner. Both are longtime artists in the Minted community. Both work from home. Both said, “Hey, wait a minute, I have more to say about this than just my advice.” And both want to hear your thoughts, so we’ll get to that at the end.

So, here we go. This is the start of what we hope becomes an ongoing discussion with the Minted artist community about what it means to work from home—the pros and cons and all the insights in-between.

Rebecca Turner burns midnight oil in South Bend, Indiana.

Amy Schroeder: How long have you worked from home, and why?
Jessica:
I’ve worked from home for almost three years. I previously worked full time in visual merchandising for Johnston & Murphy, and my freelance work built up to a point where I wasn’t able to do both. It was a scary leap to make, but completely worth it.

Rebecca: I’ve been working exclusively from home since 2010 and the birth of my first child. Before then, I worked full time at various “designy” jobs and freelanced on the side.

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Day in the Life of Meg Gleason of Moglea

By Meg Gleason

Meg Gleason is not your average Minted artist, but then again, there’s no such thing as “an average Minted artist.” The self-described designer, illustrator, and farm wife leads her fully staffed print shop, Moglea, in Audubon, Iowa, and somehow manages to raise two children and help run a family farm, raising cattle, hogs, corn, and soybeans. “The farm has been in the family for four generations,” she says.

Fiesta Turtleneck” limited edition print by Moglea

Meg joined the Minted community in 2009 and has 70 wins to her name. Designing for Minted challenges was how she got her career start and helped her gain confidence to launch her own letterpress stationery line. “The community provided me with invaluable feedback and encouragement at a pivotal moment in my career and they continue to do so,” she says. “Minted continually helps support and promote Moglea and I’m forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve had from Minted.”

Here she shares her day in the life. —Amy Schroeder

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Mariam Naficy Keynotes Alt Summit, Reveals Curator Stores

“Will knock your socks off” was a spot-on description for today’s opening keynote at Alt Summit Winter 2016. Minted Founder and CEO Mariam Naficy was in good creative company with her fellow keynote speakers in Salt Lake City, Utah—all of whom are Internet powerhouses: Sarah Michelle Gellar of Food Stirs, Jihan Zencirli of Geronimo Balloons, and Luvvie Ajayi of Awesomely Luvvi.

Mariam Naficy gives her keynote speech at Alt Summit on January 21, 2016.
Photo by Troy Williams of @SimplyTroy

Alt Summit is the most influential conference for lifestyle and design bloggers, small business owners, and social media personalities. The four-day summit features panels and workshops about creative problem-solving and empowerment, where up-and-comers can rub elbows with stars like Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow and artist Elle Luna.

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DIY: Rope-Wrapped Planters

Written by Sharon Garofalow of  Cupcakes and Cutlery

January, to me, means kicking off the new year with a fresh start. This involves cleaning out all the stuff I just don’t need anymore, as well as rearranging and restyling my house to change things up a bit. This easy, inexpensive DIY project is just what the doctor ordered after busting budgets during the holidays. These rope-wrapped planters will give your space a fresh look and are a great way to bring in more plants at the same time.

A simple tutorial for making rope planters to refresh your home decor.

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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Cute Valentine’s Day Sweets For Kids

This Valentine’s Day, add a little treat to your child’s classroom valentines—these creative (and super easy!) ideas turn a simple card into an oh-so-sweet token of affection.

Superhero Valentines
A cute tag-shaped valentine turns a lollipop into a caped crusader!

• “Superhero Cape” classroom valentine cards
• Jawbreaker lollipops (any standard-size lollipop will work)

Thread a wrapped lollipop through the card’s pre-punched hole so that it looks like a superhero cape. (If the lollipop stick is smaller, tie the card to the stick with a piece of thin ribbon.)

Minted Classroom Valentines

Tic-Tac-Toe Valentines
Turn your classroom valentines into an interactive game of tic tac toe!

• “Shiny Love” foil classroom valentine cards
• Tic Tac Toe card backer (select the “tic tac toe” backer option after adding the valentines to your Minted shopping cart)
• Your favorite small candies in two colors
• Glassine bags
• Custom stickers

After adding your favorite Minted classroom valentines to your shopping cart, select our “Tic Tac Toe” backer to be printed on the back. Package the double-sided card and a handful of candy to play with in a glassine bag and seal it closed with a sticker.

Minted Classroom Valentines


More Valentine’s Day Ideas:
DIY: Valentine’s Day Doggie Bandana
• How To: Throw a Cookie-Decorating Party for Valentine’s Day
• DIY: No-Sew Valentine Treat Bags

More from Minted:
• Valentine’s Day Cards
• Classroom Valentines
• Valentine’s Day Stickers & Accessories

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Minted Elopement: Kim & George in Malibu, CA

After secretly tying the knot during a family vacation to the Oregon Coast, Kim Carey (who is a Minted designer herself!) and George Cox III returned home to Southern California and were surprised with an elopement dinner thrown by friends at the Malibu Cafe. The couples’ pals Lydia Campbell and Minted designer Renee Pulve planned a festive reception with bright pops of red and blue, all inspired by the couple’s retro style.

The couple: Kim Carey and George Cox III
Occupations: Pharmaceuticals Regulatory Affairs (Kim), Animation Production Coordinator (George)
Based in: Ventura, CA
Elopement date: September 5, 2015
Elopement location:
 Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Reception date: September 19, 2015
Reception location: Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch, Malibu, CA
Number of guests (reception): 10
Photographer (ceremony): Stephen Grossman
Photographer (reception): Renee Pulve
Reception party planners: Renee Pulve & Lydia Campbell
Dessert: Sprinkles Cupcakes

How did you and George meet?
I was looking for advice on buying a pen tablet for my computer. A friend put me in touch with George, who is a skilled digital artist.

Tell us about the proposal!
It was Christmas 2012 and George gave me a gift that was actually a puzzle to figure out. Gift #1 contained the hint “Will.” Gift #2 had the hint “You” and so on… For the last clue, he presented me with a blue topaz ring that I had picked out ages ago and thought he’d forgotten about.

Please tell us about your elopement!
We had a small, secret ceremony in Oregon with immediate family only. We had been looking for just the right place for over two years when George’s parents invited us to join them on their vacation to Oregon. When we realized that Ecola State Park was where they filmed The Goonies, we knew that was the spot. Then, our friends threw us a surprise “elopement dinner” at Malibu Cafe three weeks later.

1.  “Rustic Retro Surprise” wedding reception invitation, custom-designed by Renee Pulve/Smudge Design.

2. Mason jars were painted opaque white and filled with brightly colored paper blooms. “For the wedding ceremony, my sister cut a bouquet for me at an organic farm,” says Kim. “And then for the dinner party, my friend Lydia recreated the flowers in paper.” The dinner tables at Malibu Cafe were topped with black-and-white runners hand-sewn by Lydia to match the groom’s shirt.

3. The happy couple George and Kim. Their retro style inspired the party theme and invitation design.

4. Guests enjoyed colorful cupcakes from Sprinkles for dessert.

5. Renee and Lydia decorated the restaurant space with a colorful bunting banner that spelled out the newlyweds’ names. “Up Up and Away” bunting banner by Kelli Hall for Minted.

6. Blue handkerchiefs purchased from Hobby Lobby served as napkins at each place setting.

Where did you get your dress? 
I was looking for something retro and a little different to go with George’s retro style, and found my dress on Modcloth. I also created a fascinator to wear the day of the wedding that incorporated my late father’s “U.S.” pin from when he was in the Air Force in the 1960s.

What were some of your favorite reception details?
The invitation (a Renee Pulve original, designed to match our wedding attire), the Minted banner with our names, and the paper flowers. Lydia also sewed a table runner that matched George’s retro wedding shirt.

What were some of your fondest memories from the day? 
Having so many of our closest friends in one place.

Any advice for brides who are starting to plan their wedding?
Listen openly to people’s well-meaning advice, but in the end, do what is right for the two of you.

Additional Resources:
Retro starbursts in small jars: Hobby Lobby
Tabletop clipboard (holding photo of Kim and George): Michaels
Paper straws: Minted
Cupcake toppers (used on straws): Minted


More Minted Real Weddings:
Whitney & Kadmiel in Chicago
• Emily & David in Annapolis, MD
• Kelly & Andrew in San Clemente, CA
• Diane & Kaelem in Toronto
• Megan & Leo at Carondelet House, Los Angeles
• Leah & Mike at Los Poblanos, Albuquerque, NM
• Grace & Michael at Reif Estate Winery, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
• Julia & Deric at Escala, Seattle
• Shelby & Douglas at Castle Hill, Keswick, VA

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DIY: Valentine’s Day Dog Bandana

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for humans! Show your favorite furry friend some love with this adorable doggie bandana (since some of us—me included!—have four-legged soul mates). And this gift is as simple as it is cute: You’ll be turning a rolled-up dinner napkin into a posh pup accessory.

Click through for the simple step-by-step instructions

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DIY: Iron-on Valentine Treat Bags

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

For Valentine’s Day this year, my daughter decided she wants to host a treat-making party for her girlfriends, and these easy-to-make cotton goody bags will be perfect for stashing the finished treats. All you need are basic muslin bags, double-stick fusible paper, an iron, and some fabric scraps (this is a great way to use up leftovers from previous projects!).  Keep reading for the full tutorial.

DIY Valentine Treat Bag | alice & lois for minted
DIY Valentine Treat Bag | alice & lois for minted

Read more for the full tutorial

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How to: Host a Sweet Cookie-Decorating Party

Want a surefire way to delight a group of kids this Valentine’s Day? Encourage them to play with their food! We dreamed up this bold and bright cookie-decorating party with a sweet modern theme; recreate it at home this Valentine’s Day by following our steps below.


Step 1: Invite Your Guests
Set the tone for your cookie-decorating party with a bold and bright invitation. Think: modern typography, graphic lines, and loads of saturated color. We adore this “In Love” invitation by Kim Dietrich Elam.

Step 2: Pre-Bake the Cookies
Store-bought dough is perfect for this (that’s what we used), but if you’d like to make your own dough from scratch, we love this sugar-cookie recipe from Julep contributor Melissa Bahen of Lulu the Baker. Pre-bake the cookies ahead of time for your party; estimate three to six cookies for each child to decorate (you’ll pack up the extras for them to enjoy later).

Condiment squeeze bottles are much easier for kids to use
(and are way less messy!) than icing piping bags.

Step 3: Prep the Cookie Decorations
Here’s what you’ll need:
• Royal icing and condiment bottles
We made ours using this royal-icing recipe; add flavors and colors to the icing to your liking, then pour the icing into squeeze bottles and label each with a flavor sticker.
• Sprinkles/candy/other cookie embellishments and paint palette trays
Plastic paint palettes are a clever way to neatly corral all your cookie embellishments in one place.

Tip: If you have young kids, you can pre-frost the cookies by flooding them with a layer of royal icing (above) and allowing them to set in advance. The kids can then use the icing bottles to “glue” on cookie decorations like sprinkles and candy.

Letter-shaped cookie cutters will help the little decorators find their seat.

Step 4: Set Up
Before everyone arrives:
• Cover your tabletop with a playful table linen that complements the overall party vibe. We used “Golden Triangle” by Cindy Lackey. Alternatively, you could cut rectangles of wrapping paper to make placemats (so easy to clean up, too!).
• Stack the pre-baked cookies on a tray in the center of the table.
• Set out individual cookie-decorating embellishments at each place setting (the paint palettes also work perfectly for mixing icing and sprinkles!)
• Set out a cookie cutter in each child’s initial. They make the perfect place marker and take-home gift for future baking adventures.

Click through to read the rest of our cookie-decorating party ideas

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