Meet a Minted Artist: Susie Allen

“Nothing is too pedestrian or too weird to experiment with,” says Susie Allen, the Eastman, Georgia, designer and illustrator who uses a variety of materials and a mashup approach to creating her playful, eclectic stationery and art.

A graphic designer for a small printing company by day and a freelance illustrator by night, Allen shares how watercolors, list-making, and even vegetables inspire her work.

Newspaper Sailboat” is Susie Allen’s first-place winner on Minted. “I really love combining type and illustration, and I’m happy with the way this one integrated the two,” she says.

Portraits of Susie Allen by Stephanie Shadden

When did you begin painting and drawing?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, and I had a creative mom who supported me from the start. As a kid, I didn’t know what graphic design was, but I often gravitated toward projects that combined visual art and lettering. I made my own illustrated books and elaborate, crayon greeting cards for family members, with my own “logo” on the back with my initials, “LSA Greetings.”

Click through to learn more about Minted artist Susie Allen

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DIY: Portrait Place Cards

Sometimes place cards feel a bit stuffy, but if you take this fun “floating head” approach for your Thanksgiving table, guests will have a good laugh instead of grumbling that they’re not sitting in front of the rolls.

thanksgiving table ideas
place cards

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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Design to Dish: Spiced-Apple Pumpkin Bread

A few weeks ago, someone I follow on Instagram posted pictures of a harvest party they hosted, and it sounded like the dreamiest thing! My husband and I always say we need to start throwing an annual Fall party, but we just haven’t gotten around to kicking off the tradition. When we do, however, it will undoubtedly include all of the quintessential autumnal things a harvest party should have: hay bales, pumpkins, apple cider, crisp weather, cute invitations, and lots and lots of sweet and spicy baked goods. This yummy quick-bake bread combines my two favorite fall flavors—apple and pumpkin—plus an irresistible cinnamon sugar topping. Whether you’re hosting a delightful harvest party or just in the mood to bake, this spiced-apple pumpkin bread is a treat!

spiced cinnamon apple pumpkin bread recipeVintage Pumpkin Seeds Holiday Party Invitations by Karidy Walker | Spiced-Apple
Pumpkin Bread (recipe below)

spiced cinnamon apple pumpkin bread recipe

Keep reading for this sweet and spicy fall recipe…

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Does routine inspire or stifle your creativity?

When it comes to cultivating creative inspiration, it seems like there are two schools of thought: One, freeing the mind to let creativity happen when it happens, and two, scheduling yourself “creative thinking time” in order to make it happen.

Of course, there’s no “right” way to inspire creativity—it’s different for everyone—but there may be a best route for you. For this edition of #WhatInspiresMe, busy Minted artists Alexandra Nazari and Sarah Curry share how scheduling works for them.

Alexandra Nazari
Los Angeles
Minted Artist Store • alexnazari.xyz • Instagram: @AlexandraNazari

I think it’s a very romantic idea to think that artists don’t need some sort of routine. In practice, however, I’ve found that scheduling blocks of time is the best way for me to develop my work. I try to spend at least a few hours every other day at my studio. If I can’t make it there because I’m tired or unmotivated after a long day at my day job, I try to at least tackle some retouching or printing tasks. It’s sort of like working out—even if you can’t make it to the gym every day, there are still ample little ways to maintain your fitness.

If I’m on deadline and creatively stuck, I like to go for a long drive to clear my head. Also, turning off my cell phone is another great way to stay on task.

California Dreams” by Alexandra Nazari

Upside” by Alexandra Naziri


Sarah Curry
Santa Cruz, California
Minted Artist Store • Instagram: @sarahcurrydesign • Twitter: @pinksuitcase
Portraits of Sarah Curry by Blue Lace Photography 

I work full time as an art director, so I have to block out chunks of time during evenings and weekends to design stationery and work on other creative projects. My routine really depends on my available time and deadlines I have to meet.

On weekday evenings, after spending a good part of the day working on a computer, it really helps me to get outside to refocus and refuel my creative energy. On weekends when I have a little more time, I love experimenting with painting and photography, or grabbing my sketchbook and heading to the beach or a coffee shop. I feel like I get more ideas when I work on art that is tactile and exercises different parts of the brain. My Stamped Seashells fabric was the result of an experiment with seashells, sumi ink and kraft paper. Other experiments haven’t turned out as well but I always learn something in the process.

When time is limited or I’m trying to meet a deadline, it’s not uncommon for me to go straight to the computer to start designing or to work late into the night. These times can make for long days and lost sleep, but in the end I think it’s all worth it to do something I love.

Gilded Brush” Foil-Pressed Holiday Card by Sarah Curry

Stamped Seashell” Table Runner by Sarah Curry


How about you—does a scheduled routine inspire or stifle your creativity? Share your answer in Comments below and on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe. We feature some of our favorite social shares in our Minted Fine Arts newsletter.

READ MORE #WHATINSPIRESME
Has anything ever scared you so much it’s inspired you?
Who’s your biggest creative influence?
When you need a quick creative pick-me-up, what do you do?

Published November 9, 2015 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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DIY: Simple Thanksgiving Place Setting

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

Now that its November, I’ve got holiday entertaining on my mind. I love hosting dinner parties but always wish I had more time to create a pretty “tablescape” for the meal. What usually ends up happening is that I spend the majority of time cleaning the house and preparing the food instead of decorating. But this year, I’m determined to carve out time to make some simple table decorations. My preference is to incorporate fresh flowers and greenery from my local flower mart and today, I’m sharing a quick and easy way to add a lovely natural element to your Thanksgiving place settings.

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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Announcing the Winner of our First Outside Art Challenge!

For the very first time, Minted is taking your art to the streets—our street! We hosted our first Outside Art Challenge in October 2015, and we were blown away with the number of fresh and modern submissions we received. Out of 342 submissions, we have one winner, 10 runners-up, and one Special Editors’ Prize.

We’re thrilled to announce that the winner, as voted by California voters, is “Wind in the City” by Yuke Li! “This is an image of wind passing by,” Yuke says. “When the wind blows, the dandelions fly.”

windinthecity.jpg

We just finished painting “Wind in the City” on Minted’s headquarters building this week. We are so excited to share it with all of you and our neighbors in San Francisco’s Jackson Square neighborhood, where indeed it can get windy! Check out the video below to see our blank wall turn into a beautiful canvas.

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DIY: Easy Fabric-Wallpapered Bookshelf

Written by Amy Ehmann of  Design Lotus

Creating a beautiful backdrop for a niche or bookcase can be fun, easy, and commitment-free. This fabric backer is affordable and makes a great alternative to permanent wallpaper. You can even try this in other areas of your home, like the back of a closet or lining the bottom of a drawer. If it gets dirty or you’re tired of it, you can easily peel the fabric off, give the wall a quick wipe down, and start fresh with a new fabric.

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas for Halloween

Happy Halloween! If you waited until the last minute to purchase your Halloween candy and pumpkins (hand raised right here!), then skip the time-intensive carving and opt for one of these just-as-creative no-carve ideas instead.

No-Carve Halloween Pumpkin Ideas

1. Gold Confetti Pumpkins via Homey Oh My!

2. Sprinkle Donut Pumpkins via Studio DIY

3. Brushstroke Pumpkins via The Merrythought

4. Mummified Pumpkin via Better Homes and Gardens

5. Spider Web Pumpkins via Woman’s Day

6. Fall Foliage Pumpkins via Country Living

 

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Chic Halloween Decor in One Easy Step

Written by Lauren Saylor of A Fabulous Fete

The older I get, the less I want to decorate my house in traditional Halloween colors. If we are going to have decorations up for weeks at a time, I want it to look great—after all, I’m going to look at it every day! So this month has been all about brainstorming chic ideas with a spooky twist, which lead me to my new secret weapon for Halloween decorating, beakers. They give off a creepy laboratory vibe when paired with moody colors and maybe a spider web or two. Here are a few ways you can update the bar for your Halloween bash if you grab just a few.

Halloween BarBeaker Cocktail Glasses

Resources:
• I ordered a few sets of beakers on Amazon: the cylinder shape and the flask shape.

Creative Halloween Ideas

Bar Styling IdeasAdd treats and snacks in the wide-mouth beakers.

Halloween CocktailsMix drinks and add stirrers and straws to turn them into the perfect Halloween cocktail glass.

Halloween Cocktail Ideas The larger pieces in the sets make perfect pitchers or vases for flowers!

BeakersBeaker Flower Arrangements

These beakers got my bar Halloween-ready with minimal effort. I did the same things I always do for guests, just in interesting containers! Great for any last minute decorating or putting that finishing touch on your decor.

 

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Last-Minute Halloween Costume: Julia Child

Have an aspiring culinary artist in your midst? Dressing up like Julia Child is actually super simple and you probably already have the items on hand. Throw in a Bob Fosse and Christopher Kimball and you have a complete PBS Saturday morning line-up.

easy halloween costume ideas

All you need is:
• A shirt dress or button-up shirt with pencil skirt
• Beaded necklace
• Apron
• Curly wig
• Props such as a whisk or baguette

julia child costume

Admittedly, this costume would work better on an older child or adult who wouldn’t yank the wig off instantaneously. I’m pretty sure Julia’s hair never looked that wild.

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