DIY: Baby Shower Favor

By Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

When it comes to baby shower favors, we like to give little gifts with a lot of meaning, like these simple and sentimental fabric-wrapped votives. The candles are meant for guests to light once they get word mama is in labor and baby is on its way. This way, your loved ones can send their love and light to you both during delivery.

This DIY project is quick and easy to make: We paired Minted’s “Dotted Diamond” fabric with green yarn to keep the shower theme gender-neutral and modern, but you could use pink or blue ribbon to complement your party’s color scheme or the baby’s gender.


Click through for step-by-step instructions

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DIY: Fabric-Wrapped Bouquet

Spring is the perfect time to give fresh flowers since they’re so lush and abundant right now. Here’s a quick way make a simple grocery store bouquet a lot more special.

how to wrap flowers

Keep reading for the simple fabric-wrapping tutorial..

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DIY: How to Make Mini “Naked” Cakes

Spring flowers are blooming left and right, and what better way to celebrate the season than with a fun (and inexpensive!) dessert adorned in spring blooms? “Naked” (a.k.a. unfrosted) cakes are huge right now—I’ve created several variations and today, I wanted to share an easy tutorial on making miniature versions of this popular dessert. Once you’re done baking and assembling the mini cakes, decorate them with your favorite spring blossoms!

Click through for the step-by-step instructions

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Design to Dish: Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

pineapple cake mini whipped cream cupcakes“Pining for Pineapple” print by Joni Tyrrell; Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes (recipe below)

Pineapples had a very big year in 2014—the tropical fruit popped up on everything from clothing and home décor to party goods and wall art. It felt like not a single day went by without someone blogging about pineapples or sharing a pineapple-themed DIY project. Whether or not this pineapple trend will continue this year is debatable, but regardless, pineapples will always be popular in the kitchen.

Pineapple upside-down cake is an old-school favorite, it’s been a kitchen classic for over 50 years! These mini versions have all of the sweet, brown sugary goodness of the original, packed into a cute, single-serving size. They’d look great on a dessert table and the recipe makes enough to feed a crowd.

mini pineapple upside-down cupcakes

Keep reading for the recipe for these delicious mini cakes!

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DIY: Retro Paint Can Favors (with printable)

Written by Olivia Kanaley

Inspired by retro packaging designs, these printable labels are designed to fit mini paint cans that you can buy online. If your child’s next birthday bash will involve paints and palettes, fill these with pint-sized art supplies so guests can keep the creativity going at home. Or, if the paint’s finally dry in your new home, fill these with tasty treats for a clever housewarming favor. However you choose to use these, let the party begin!

Keep reading to download the printable and see full instructions

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Roundup: Artful Easter Eggs

Written by Olivia Kanaley

This time of year, egg decorating becomes an art form all its own. There are still a couple days before Easter, which means there’s still plenty of time to take an ordinary egg from mundane to masterpiece with one of these inspired ideas from around the web.

1. Avant-garde // Sweet Paul Magazine
2. Dip-dyed // Oh Joy
3. Indigo // tuts+
4. Gilded // Freutcake
5. Typographic // Lovely Indeed
6. Marbled // Varpunen

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Get to Know: Minted Artist Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia

It’s our birthday! Minted turns seven this week and, to celebrate, we’re featuring a series of blog posts dedicated to the ins and outs of our company, customers, and artists.

Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia, who lives in San Francisco, has been a part of our Minted artist community since the very beginning (she joined in June 2008, right after the company launched). Since then, she’s participated in countless challenges and won a ton of awards (111, to be exact!). We chatted with Kerry about the evolution of her career as a designer and artist, the things she’s inspired by, and what Minted means to her.

Minted Artist: Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia

You’ve been a part of Minted since the very beginning! How did you first hear about us?
I remember stumbling across a blog post about a Minted design challenge—it sounded so fun. I just wish I could remember who the blogger was so I can thank them! At the time I was a full-time stationery designer working with brides, mainly, on wedding invitations. I had just starting teaching myself Adobe Illustrator but was still designing in Quark, so Minted’s Illustrator/Photoshop file requirement was just the motivation I needed. I ended up submitting a handful of designs for the “Fabulous Thank-You Card Challenge.” Right away, I loved getting feedback on my designs and giving feedback as well. I received two editor’s picks awards from that challenge and was hooked!
[Ed note: See those editor’s picks wins below  [ 1 ]  from our archives!]

Tell us about your favorite Minted piece.
Right now my favorite piece is my art print “Dance” [ 2; pictured below ]. I was inspired by light shimmering and dancing on top of water. Abstract is my personal art aesthetic and I’ve been working with blue a lot lately (for example, “Currents” [ 5; pictured below] ), so I made a conscious decision not to use blue here, even though it would have been the logical choice. I really love the shimmery feeling of the piece, I feel like it all came together quite nicely.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kerry Doyle of Paper Dahlia

How has Minted influenced your journey as an artist?
It’s funny because I have a BFA in painting, but over the years I gravitated more towards design. I was feeling pretty comfortable in my design life when Minted announced “Untitled: The First-Ever Art Print Challenge.” Not really knowing what Minted was looking for, I entered a few designs (I don’t feel comfortable even calling them art now!) but didn’t receive any wins or picks. That stung a bit. But it was also a wake-up call to get real and dig a little deeper if I wanted to be successful. I’m still striving to do that and I am so thankful to the Minted artist community for their invaluable support. But what I truly value most are the friendships I’ve made along the way. I have an amazing group of Mintie friends that I can count on for support, advice, and laughs when we need them.

Tell us about your most recent collection. How has your artistic point of view changed over time?
When I was in art school, and for years after, I did representational art such as portraits. My artwork now is mostly non-representational and I believe participating in Minted’s challenges has been a great opportunity to experiment. That’s true of the stationery challenges, as well—I love trying new things in both areas, and the feedback I get from challenges is so helpful in letting me know if I’m on the right track or not. Lately, I’m all about simple, hand-drawn patterns and I love mixing repetitive patterns with organic elements. I love the haphazard quality of hand-drawn patterns, so perfectly imperfect.

How has being a Minted artist changed or enabled your business?
It’s hard to fully express everything in words. So many positive things have happened since I entered my first challenge. My earnings with Minted have continually increased—I’m no longer working with custom-design clients and now earn as much as I did when I had a full-time job, yet I’m able to spend more time with my family. That is a wonderful thing!

Minted Artist Kerry Doyle, Paper Dahlia

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Get to Know: Minted Customer Jennifer Fileccia

It’s our birthday! Minted turns seven this week and, to celebrate, we’re featuring a series of blog posts dedicated to the ins and outs of our company, customers, and artists.

We love learning about our customers and how they incorporate Minted into their lives, homes, and celebrations. So when we heard about longtime customer Jennifer Fileccia, who lives in Bristol, Conn., and has been a loyal Minted shopper since 2010, we were so tickled and wanted to learn more! We asked Jennifer to dish on all of her past Minted purchases (all 13 of ’em!), starting with her wedding save-the-dates in 2010 to, most recently, the invitations for her twin daughters’ first birthday party.

Minted Customer Profile

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Get to Know: Mariam Naficy, Founder & CEO of Minted

It’s our birthday! Minted turns seven this week and, to celebrate, we’re featuring a series of blog posts dedicated to the ins and outs of our company, customers, and artists.

Minted is celebrating our seventh birthday this week and, to mark the occasion, we sat down with founder and CEO Mariam Naficy to chat about the company’s humble beginnings, how she chooses her family’s annual holiday card (can you imagine how hard that must be?!), some of her favorite things (including the design she uses for her personal stationery!), and where the company is headed next.

Mariam Naficy, CEO & Founder of Minted

Minted is seven! Looking back, what are some Minted milestones you’re most proud of?
I started Minted on my own, in the attic of my home in San Francisco. When I started the company, I incorporated it as “PaperLove, LLC” so that I could buy myself some time to find a permanent name. Over the past eight years of building this business (I started working on the company the month my daughter was born, one year before we launched), I’ve realized that it’s the journey that will matter the most at the end. I’m most proud of the team and artist community that we have built at Minted, and our decisions that involve generosity to others:

• Although we’re not a large company, we realize how lucky we are and want to give back to our community. We’re very proud of our relationships with Every Mother Counts, an organization dedicated to saving the lives of women and girls in pregnancy and childbirth around the world, and with Plant-It 2020, a nonprofit that helps us plant seven times more trees than our paper products consume. We donate a generous portion of our revenue each year to these groups.

• During our first year, I hired a student named Melissa Kim (pictured below at far left) out of Stanford Business School to join the company as Director of Finance and Strategy. Three years later, I wanted to thank her for her commitment to Minted simply because it was the right thing to do: I asked her if she wanted to be known as a co-founder of the company, and she said “Yes!”

Mariam Naficy, Melissa Kim, Annie Clark | Minted

• We’ve identified very talented early-career individuals at Minted, rotated them throughout the company, grooming them and developing their skills. Pictured above (at far right) is Annie Clark—Annie started with us in 2008 as a customer service associate when she was let go from her job at a stationery store for participating in Minted challenges. I noticed she was hugely talented and began to work with her on more and more design projects, and over time, she has become our Associate Creative Director. Annie and I made assortment picks in every single challenge for more than five years together, and she has always been superb at remembering and advocating for emerging designers. Plus, she knows every cool place to shop and eat in San Francisco (lucky for me that our desks are still just a few feet apart!).

• We decided early on that we would always under-promise and over-deliver to our community, our employees, and our investors. We have never rolled back a promise to the independent artists in our community and we never will—they are at the center of our mission and our company. Here’s an early photo (below) of me with Amy Ehmann of Design Lotus, who I consider one of the ‘godmothers’ of the Minted community.

What’s coming down the Minted pike that really excites you?
The artists in our community continually awe us with their talent—we really feel there is no form of content or design that they cannot tackle successfully. We know our artists have incredible style and taste, and we’re very excited about how their designs can be brought to decorate the home.

How in the world do you decide which holiday card design to send for yourself and your family?
It’s agonizing—I spend so much time shaping the holiday assortment, and then to pick only one… it’s like choosing between children you love. I typically don’t choose “full bleed photo” cards, though—I like cards with a significant design component, I feel that they’re more differentiated.

You have two young children. What does work/life balance look like in your own life?
It is difficult—the truth is that I had to sacrifice a huge amount of my time with my children to build a great company and be a responsible leader to our team. However, I still manage to spend the same amount of time with my kids as other working mothers throughout the country, who are working just as hard as I am—about 60% of moms in the U.S. work to support their families. I get a huge amount of help from my husband, who has always been extremely supportive and progressive, and my parents, who moved to the Bay Area once our children were born and who spend two nights each week at our house.

Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day would be a sunny day in San Francisco. I would head over the Golden Gate Bridge with my family, stop at the San Rafael Farmer’s Market, have brunch at Farmshop at the Larkspur Country Mart, and then window-shop at the cute shops there. We’d come back to the city and my husband and I would trade off for some personal time. I’d go for a five-mile run starting near Fort Mason, going all the way to Fort Point and back with beautiful Golden Gate views. Ideally, the day would end with a “date night” where my husband and I go try a restaurant in San Francisco—we like small, casual restaurants and we love to eat! Our rainy-day version would probably involve taking the kids to SFMOMA with their notepads so they can sketch as they make their way through the museum; then, we’d end up up at the café on the top floor for a nice, leisurely lunch.

Interview: Mariam Naficy, Founder and CEO of Minted
Mariam’s Favorite Things
We asked Mariam to share her current favorite art, style, fashion, and home décor inspirations.

Her Inspiration
Who inspires you: My dad, for his equal parts intelligence and kindness
Favorite places in the world: Big Sur, CA; Williamstown, MA (Go Ephs!); and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Favorite charity: I serve on the board of Every Mother Counts, which was founded by Christy Turlington Burns. Earlier this month, I flew to Tanzania to run the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon with Christy and our EMC team to commemorate the five-year anniversary of our organization;
I snapped this photo of local women as I ran by during Mile 9.  [ 1 ]
Favorite works of art: Almost anything made by Helen Frankenthaler or Robert Motherwell  [ 2 ]
Favorite poet or poem: “The Road Less Traveled” by Robert Frost
Favorite colors: This changes every few weeks, but right now on my pinboard at work I have this gold, grey, and coral-colored swatch that I love.
Fashion idol: Christy Turlington! (And this is before I started working with her at EMC!)
Daily website read: Medium, The Information

Her Style
T-shirt: J. Crew  [ 3 ]
Day bag: Lo & Sons (Style: The O.M.G.)  [ 4 ]
Favorite accessory: Inexpensive beaded necklaces
Favorite designers: Zero + Maria Cornejo
Favorite boutiques: Steven Alan, Intermix
Shoes: Right now, any type of clog from the brand No. 6  [ 5 ]
Sneakers: I wear sneakers to work a lot and I love the distressed versions by Golden Goose.
Shopping mecca: Abbot Kinney in Venice, CA; Fillmore Street in San Francisco

Her Home
Favorite piece of art in your home: This piece of art that my son made at school—I love how it looks like primitive art.  [ 6 ]
China: I love this brand Mud Australia—I’m slowly building my collection.  [ 7 ]
Stationery: Minted (of course!)—my favorite is “Wanderlust Wreath” by Grace Cobb in gold foil.  [ 8 ]
Favorite apps to play with my kids: Human Body, Elevate, Paper
Favorite apps of my own: Uber, MapMyRun, Ted Talks, Dropbox
Favorite drink: Cappuccino from Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters on Union Street  [ 9 ]
Favorite dessert: Persian sherbet called faludeh
Favorite healthy pursuit: Long-distance running or yoga
Favorite snack: Anything with seaweed—seaweed sheets, seaweed-wrapped crackers, sushi, etc.
Favorite flowers: Peonies  [ 10 ]
Favorite shows to DVR: I have very little time to watch TV, but I do watch Downton Abbey!

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