2018 Holiday Card Round-Up: Minted

It’s officially that time of the year again. Get everyone together for family photos, search through various stationery sites to find the perfect card and then find the best deal you can before ordering them (at least, that’s how I roll.) So without further ado, here are my top holiday card picks from Minted for 2018 and a little show and tell for my own holiday cards all the way at the bottom.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using one of my links Minted will pay me a small commission for sending buyers their way.

Photo Designs

The perfect way to showcase those family photos you had taken and show off the whole family’s smiles.

 I just LOVE LOVE the illustrated florals on this card! The red and pink flowers feel fresh and pretty intertwined with rich green foliage.   Holiday Garden by Angela Marzuki

I just LOVE LOVE the illustrated florals on this card! The red and pink flowers feel fresh and pretty intertwined with rich green foliage. Holiday Garden by Angela Marzuki

 What is a more classic and timeless holiday motif than the classic tartan?  Plaid Framed by Lea Delaveris

What is a more classic and timeless holiday motif than the classic tartan? Plaid Framed by Lea Delaveris

 Textured and rainbow colored text give this modern holiday card a fun and fresh feeling.  Fa La La La La by Paper Dahlia

Textured and rainbow colored text give this modern holiday card a fun and fresh feeling. Fa La La La La by Paper Dahlia

 Intricate swirls with berries and flower buds give this card the look of an illuminated manuscript.  Floral Joy by Joann James

Intricate swirls with berries and flower buds give this card the look of an illuminated manuscript. Floral Joy by Joann James

 Sprigs of leaf and flower bud graphics and a unique diamond photo frame give this illustrated card a one-of-a-kind feeling.  Periwinkle by Rebecca Daublin

Sprigs of leaf and flower bud graphics and a unique diamond photo frame give this illustrated card a one-of-a-kind feeling. Periwinkle by Rebecca Daublin

 Simplified and graphic, this card mixed digital printing for your two best photos and a luxe touch of letterpress.  Merry and Bold by Anna Kelder

Simplified and graphic, this card mixed digital printing for your two best photos and a luxe touch of letterpress. Merry and Bold by Anna Kelder


Real Foil-Pressed Designs

How can you resist the shine of real metallics and glitter!

 A touch of foil gives this typographic full-bleed photo a hint of shine while still leaving room for your best photograph.  All the Merry Things by AK Graphics

A touch of foil gives this typographic full-bleed photo a hint of shine while still leaving room for your best photograph. All the Merry Things by AK Graphics

 Delicate, thin strokes form the letters of Christmas and give this card an elegant sense of whimsy.  Sleigh Ride by Jill Means

Delicate, thin strokes form the letters of Christmas and give this card an elegant sense of whimsy. Sleigh Ride by Jill Means

 The perfect balance of decorative and simple, simple text “Joyful” has an inlay of delicate branches.  Inlay by Lauren Chism

The perfect balance of decorative and simple, simple text “Joyful” has an inlay of delicate branches. Inlay by Lauren Chism

 Gold dipped on the top and the bottom, this portrait photo card is elegant with just the right flash of shine.  Dipped by Itsy Belle Studio

Gold dipped on the top and the bottom, this portrait photo card is elegant with just the right flash of shine. Dipped by Itsy Belle Studio


Non-Photo Cards

Like the vintage cards of the past, non-photo cards have a special place in my heart. It’s like a small, one page picture book, a snapshot of the holiday season and a gemstone for your card display. Plus, you can always showcase your family photo on the back!

 What could feel more festive than a Christmas tree in bedecked in Scandinavian style and glitter?  Nordic Pine Tree by Paper Raven

What could feel more festive than a Christmas tree in bedecked in Scandinavian style and glitter? Nordic Pine Tree by Paper Raven

 Hand painted cozy winter knits bring the feeling of crisp winter air.  Nordic Knits by Eve Schultz

Hand painted cozy winter knits bring the feeling of crisp winter air. Nordic Knits by Eve Schultz

 Modern illustrated birds, leaves and berries give classic folk a new twist.  Folk by Genna Cowsert

Modern illustrated birds, leaves and berries give classic folk a new twist. Folk by Genna Cowsert

 Art nouveau style florals get luxe with fine type and swatch of gold foil.  Wintergarden by Kelli Hall

Art nouveau style florals get luxe with fine type and swatch of gold foil. Wintergarden by Kelli Hall

 Bold and modern this type filled tree is so cool!  Type Tree by Baumbirdy

Bold and modern this type filled tree is so cool! Type Tree by Baumbirdy

 Like an airmail envelope, this design has all the charm of the vintage postage stamps.  Sending Holiday Spirit by Green Hound Press

Like an airmail envelope, this design has all the charm of the vintage postage stamps. Sending Holiday Spirit by Green Hound Press


If you are feeling super loyal, you can see all of my cards available through Minted HERE.

2018 Holiday Card Round-Up: Zazzle


It’s officially that time of the year again. Get everyone together for family photos, search through various stationery sites to find the perfect card and then find the best deal you can before ordering them (at least, that’s how I roll.) Now that it’s Black Friday week, you can get Zazzle’s best deals of the year and up to 60% off! So without further ado, here are my top holiday card picks from Zazzle for 2018.

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using one of my links Zazzle will pay me a small commission for sending buyers their way.

 When you can’t pick just one photo for your cards a design like this is key! Three square photos are encircled by contemporary, illustrated pine boughs with simple and chic text.     Evergreen Pine by Paper Dahlia

When you can’t pick just one photo for your cards a design like this is key! Three square photos are encircled by contemporary, illustrated pine boughs with simple and chic text. Evergreen Pine by Paper Dahlia

 How could you resist these adorable, hand-painted winter and Christmas icons? They frame your vertical photograph so cheerfully!   Iconic Christmas Watercolor by Erika Firm

How could you resist these adorable, hand-painted winter and Christmas icons? They frame your vertical photograph so cheerfully! Iconic Christmas Watercolor by Erika Firm

 Bold fonts with ball terminals are so in right now and the swanky swashes feel super fun and hip. The candy rainbow of color is so sweet you can’t help but feel happy looking at this card.   Bold and Bright by Stacey Meacham

Bold fonts with ball terminals are so in right now and the swanky swashes feel super fun and hip. The candy rainbow of color is so sweet you can’t help but feel happy looking at this card. Bold and Bright by Stacey Meacham

 Classic plaid gets a charming update with this Christmas card made for those living in the South. Deep green and black plaid with a faux gold foil accent feels modern and refined.   Southern Christmas by Banter & Charm

Classic plaid gets a charming update with this Christmas card made for those living in the South. Deep green and black plaid with a faux gold foil accent feels modern and refined. Southern Christmas by Banter & Charm

 A festive alternative to the traditional holiday card, this pine wreath peace symbol is wrapped with colorful string lights and Christmas cheer.   Peace Wreath by Bah Humbug Design

A festive alternative to the traditional holiday card, this pine wreath peace symbol is wrapped with colorful string lights and Christmas cheer. Peace Wreath by Bah Humbug Design

 A fantastic way to announce a pregnancy, marriage or anything at all, this photo card feels sophisticated with elegant typography and festive with the little snowy accents.   Overjoyed by Lea Delaveris Design

A fantastic way to announce a pregnancy, marriage or anything at all, this photo card feels sophisticated with elegant typography and festive with the little snowy accents. Overjoyed by Lea Delaveris Design

 I love how modern and simple this design is while still giving the feeling of Christmas with a modern tree of paint strokes in a muted color palette.   Abstract Modern Art by Maison Yellow

I love how modern and simple this design is while still giving the feeling of Christmas with a modern tree of paint strokes in a muted color palette. Abstract Modern Art by Maison Yellow

 Something about the colors of this hand drawn frame of foliage feels so fresh and new while the whimsical strokes give it a cheerful and lighthearted feel. This holiday card seems like the kind you’d find in a hip, scandinavian-bohemian home full of natural wood, white walls and lots of plants.   Bramble by MontgomeryFest

Something about the colors of this hand drawn frame of foliage feels so fresh and new while the whimsical strokes give it a cheerful and lighthearted feel. This holiday card seems like the kind you’d find in a hip, scandinavian-bohemian home full of natural wood, white walls and lots of plants. Bramble by MontgomeryFest

 Simply beautiful, this holiday card puts your favorite photo in a wreath of cotton and greenery giving it a sweetly simple Southern vibe.   Southern Cotton Wreath by Fine and Dandy Paperie

Simply beautiful, this holiday card puts your favorite photo in a wreath of cotton and greenery giving it a sweetly simple Southern vibe. Southern Cotton Wreath by Fine and Dandy Paperie

 This nine photo card feels a little rustic with the kraft paper background and a little vintage with the Polaroid style photo frames. It’s a great choice when you can’t choose one photo or you never got around to a family portrait session and you’d rather use your best shots of the year from Instagram.   Kraft Memory Book by 2birdstone

This nine photo card feels a little rustic with the kraft paper background and a little vintage with the Polaroid style photo frames. It’s a great choice when you can’t choose one photo or you never got around to a family portrait session and you’d rather use your best shots of the year from Instagram. Kraft Memory Book by 2birdstone

Last but not least, here is a snippet of my entire 2018 Zazzle Holiday card collection. To see all of my designs shop HERE.

Welcome to my new home!

I finally got it together and finished my website. While its still a bit of a work in progress, it’s a heck of a lot better than nothing. Whoop whoop!

Zazzle Holiday 2016: Non-Traditional Style Card Round-Up

This selection of cards is perfect for the family or couple with a modern aesthetic and non-traditional edge. Do you have a pink tree? Do you decorate with all the colors of the rainbow because red and green just aren't fun enough? Then you'll love these fresh takes on the traditional Christmas card and still come away feeling joyful.

"Inline Peace Everything" by Hooray Creative

"Boho Joy Watercolor" by Paper Dahlia


"Holly Jolly" by Christina Novak Designs


"Modern Joy" by Hooray Creative

"Blue Floral Christmas" by Phrosné Ras Design



"Mid Century Ornaments" by 2birdstone


"Big Noel" by Andi Pahl


"Photo Tree" by 2birdstone


"Starlight" by Leah Busch Studio


"Fa La La" by Montgomery Fest


"Iconic Nativity Scene" by Becky Nimoy

Zazzle Holiday 2016: Classic Card Round-Up


I know it's still kind of early to be thinking about holiday cards but buying on Black Friday after Thanksgiving or Cyber Monday means you can get them for the best price. To help you get a jump on your card shopping and eliminate what can be a daunting search, I've collected my favorite, new this year, classic holiday cards available on Zazzle.

These designs are traditionally classic with a timeless sense of holiday spirit.
"Wonderful Year" by Banter & Charm

"Joyful Dots" by Paper Dahlia

"Modern Garland" by Maison Yellow

"Vintage Holly" by 2birdstone

"Poinsettia Pattern" by Becky Nimoy


"Typographic Ho Ho Ho" by Amber Barkley


"Holiday Branch" by Stacey Meacham


"Jingle All the Way" by Three Kisses Studio


"Traditions" by Fine and Dandy Paperie


"Festive Monogram" by Sandra Picco Design


"Holiday Blessings" by Sandra Picco Design


"Sprinkled Joy" by Jamber Creative


"Nutcracker Prince" by Origami Prints


"Elegant Evergreen" by k.becca


"Red Floral Roses" by Phrosné Ras Design


"Colorful Wishes" by Lea Delaveris Design


"Red Joy Dala Horse" by 2birdstone



"Fireside" by Fine and Dandy Paperie

Quality Product Photography Really Isn't That Hard

Do you think you have to buy styled stock photos to make your products look good? I'm here to tell you, you don't.

For a very long time I was intimidated by product photography and was convinced I couldn't get good results with my old camera and the random doodads around the house. This post is proof that it CAN be done!

Months ago I bought a set of napkins from Minted's home decor line of table linens of my pattern Dotty Chevron in the color "gulf coast." I was curious about the quality and I wanted a set. I even had a product shoot all planned out in my head to promote them.

By "all planned out" I mean I knew I wanted to use the mismatched English china that I collected while we lived in the UK and some gold cutlery that I got on super clearance from Sur la Table. Well, summer came and went and I still hadn't done anything. Last week, I finally decided it was time. After an hour of gathering my supplies and arranging everything just so, I went to turn on my camera and the batteries were dead.

#$%^&@!

After a minor tantrum, I decided to see what I could achieve using my little old iPhone 5. With a little editing in Instagram ... the photos turned out so much better than I ever thought they would!



Pretty, right?

I am a big fan of "behind the scenes" pictures, especially styled product photos so let me give you a little breakdown of the steps I took to get this final image and show you how not intimidating taking these photos really is.

See? My rather unremarkable set-up of the dresser top on on a window seat, counter cleaner and paper towel to remove dust, a desk chair to stand on, cold coffee posing as tea, extra cups and plates, ugly dead grass outside window, and pile of bed pillows on old chair. Normally, my camera and tripod would be here too but I didn't use them for this one.



































PLEASE NOTE: I am not a photographer. I am not trained in any of this stuff. I just know what I think looks good, what works for me and went with that.

1. Light: Decide what kind of light you want. It was an overcast but not dark day outside which is good for diffused natural light. I didn't use any other light sources. I probably should have propped up some white poster board on my chair to bounce light back into the scene from the bottom. It may have avoided that dark shadowing at the bottom of everything -- oh well!

2. Location: Set up near a North facing window. A photographer I talked to at the Maker's Summit last year told me Northern windows have the best and most consistent indirect light. Using that trick has worked for me so far.

If you have a camera, use a tripod! The tripod is going to be your best friend and keep you from constantly having to adjust your focus and position and give you a consistent frame to work within. I'd also recommend a remote trigger because if you drink too much coffee like me, it can be hard to push the shutter button without moving the camera. You can also try the technique of "push and hold," where you hold down the shutter button for a half second after pushing it to help eliminate any jerking motion that can move the camera.

3. Background: Use a backdrop that gives you the "feel" you want your photo to convey. I used a marble top from an antique dresser of ours (so heavy!) and moved it to the window where I wanted to shoot. Marble makes me think of high-end, clean, kitchens, which is a good backdrop for napkins and tea, no? Plus it reminded me of this humorous post.


4. Product: Think about the product you're photographing. How is it used? What are the characteristics a person using it would be looking for? In the case of these napkins, the pattern is most important with the function and feel second. I made sure to arrange them in a way that shows their potential use and the "feel" the fabric. Having three folded with some cutlery on them gives a sense of how they'll look at a set table while the unfolded one draped across the serving tray gives a sense of the fabric's texture and unfolded size.

5. Accessories: Set the scene with your accessories. Where would you find this product in real life? Gather items that have a variety of textures. A mix of matte, shiny*, metal, wood, stone, and fabric feel visually interesting and realistic. Since I had this lovely gold cutlery, I wanted to tie in more gold so I grabbed china pieces with metallic gold rims, floral elements and in soft, spring colors. I also pulled out two flower shaped brass candlesticks that I'd nabbed from a thrift store last year. In hindsight the candlesticks are not practical with this scene and could be eliminated altogether or replaced with something else more fitting, like a pretty tea tin, tea bags or sugar and cream servers.

*If you use shiny and reflective props, check that your reflection isn't distracting or obvious and for the love of Pete, wear clothes!

I realized, after posting this first photo on Instagram, that it was missing a key component. If you are photographing food related items, for heaven's sake, use food or drink in the photo. How stupid does it look to have tea cups with no tea? Also,  I didn't love this composition so I switched to a horizontal instead of the square and incorporated more items and a buttered English muffin for good measure.

6. Composition: First arrange your main product in an interesting way and NOT dead-center (unless that's the look you want). Then sprinkle in your accessory items. I stood on a chair and looked down on the layout so see how items were overlapping and where the visual weight was. Rearrange your items until you get a composition that you like. Use your camera (or in my case, phone) and take some test photos. Look at them in the frame, is your arrangement too centered? Is there a visual path for your eye to travel through the entire image with an emphasis on the main product you are trying to showcase? Are there any weird empty spots or edges where an object is not partially out of the frame or just barely touching? (See how there is an object going off each edge of this photo?) Move stuff around until you get a composition that is visually balanced but not too symmetric.

It's easy to get wrapped up in the adding of things and clutter up your composition so once you've got everything the way you like it, take the Coco Chanel approach to accessories, “before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off,” and remove one accessory item before settling on a final composition.

7. Take Lots of Shots: More than you think you'll need. I always take a ton of photos, rearrange stuff and take a ton more. Make sure you zoom in on your photos now and then to check your camera's focus is on target. There is nothing worse that taking a gazillion photos and when you go to process them you realize they're out of focus or focused on the wrong thing.

When using a real camera (not a phone) play with the F-Stop and white balance and how much light you are allowing in for each photo. If you can get your lighting spot on while you take the photos you'll eliminate a lot of post-processing time. Keep in mind that your camera settings will need to change as the natural light in your space changes.

When using your phone, tap different areas of the image to see how that affects the overall lighting until you get a look that you want.

8. Edit: Get those photos off your camera and onto your computer and look at them at the size you want them to be viewed. Is your image framed the way you want? Are there any weird little blemishes you can edit out? How's the overall color of the photo? I felt my image was a little dark and cold so I lightened it using Instagram's brightness and warmth filters. A light touch is best when editing your photos this way because it's easy to change the colors of your product and then it's no longer representational of the real thing, which is obviously super bad for product photography.

While this may still seem super overwhelming, it's really a trial and error process and once you get past the "I can't possibly do this" phase into the "wow, I actually made this look good" phase you'll start to see how easy it is to take your own high-quality product photos without a lot of fancy gear and equipment.

Now get out there and give it a shot! If I can do it, I promise you can too.

Minted Art: Zebraba Tile

I'm excited to share that one of my recently launched art prints with Minted has been featured in an email highlighting the Pop Art movement as well as on the gallery wall of a very stylish beauty blogger. I'm pleased to introduce Zebraba Tile ...

shown in daffodil yellow, see more colors here

In this piece I've combined three of my favorite things: animal subject matter, the contrast of black and white, and repeating pattern. It kind of reminds me of an ink blot but with a tangible subject matter.

Pop Art email from Minted

Look at this beautifully feminine gallery wall by Teresa of Money Can Buy Lipstick! I love all those blush pink tones. Is it any wonder Pantone choose a soft pink shade as one of its Color of the Year picks for 2016?

photo from Money Can Buy Lipstick, see more soft pink prints here


All of the links above to Minted are affiliate links. I believe in the quality of Minted's prints and I'm confident in sharing their products with you. If you purchase from one of my links I will make a couple bucks, help a sister out?

"Rings" in HGTV Magazine

Big news! One of my very first art prints for sale through Minted, "Rings," is hanging very prominently in a home in this November's issue of HGTV Magazine!


I am pretty stoked to see it, not just in a beautiful home that I could live in, but in the leading full-page spread for the home's tour and again in the background of the portrait of the family. Whoop whoop!


"Rings" is part of a series of four pieces, see them all in my shop.



I love that they tuned this print on its side, it looks so good that way!


Big thanks go out to the Breen family, HGTV Magazine, stylist Christina Wressell and photographer Lisa Romerein; you have no idea how awesome you made my week.


**All Minted links are affiliate links, if you shop via my link I'll get a couple bucks**

Minted Art: Aquamarine No. 2

I opened my email to a happy surprise and saw that Minted featured one of my art prints, Aquamarine No. 2, in their email about color theory and what an analogous color scheme is.








I am particularly fond of this particular color pairing and find myself gravitating toward it often.

The other print in this series is Aquamarine No. 1 and can be found here:


All of the links above are affiliate links. I believe in the quality of Minted's prints and I'm confident in sharing their products with you. If you purchase from one of my links I will make a couple bucks for my copy & paste troubles.

Making Art That Sells: Bootcamp 2015 for February

Well folks, I actually completed the February final assignment for MATS Bootcamp. Man, did I have a hard time submitting the final though ...

Our warm-up exercise was to draw a scene that could be found on a vintage plate. You know, those happy little scenes that are right in the middle of your Grandma's china? I did some internet searching (By the way, how do I not have any plates with scenes in the middle? I thought I spent too much money in Stoke on Trent not to) and found a couple on eBay that spoke to me.




Some sketching led to this ...


Obviously, I feel confident in my sketching and drawing abilities. The line quality is varied and loose and errors don't bother me. 

The final assignment called for "painting on a round piece of wood" and that's where I got really tight and hesitant. I am pretty terrible at painting figural things. No, really terrible. It's so hard! The last time I painted an object/thing has to have been in college, which is practically 13 years ago. I'm pretty sure I was no good at it then either. I supposed I could have opted to do a digital version and mock it up to look like it's on wood, but where's the challenge in that? I may as well work on my weaknesses.

So, here it is. In all it's awful glory.


Guess I'll stick to my day job.