The 2013 Holiday Card Collection at Minted has LAUNCHED!

While many of you were sitting poolside/seaside/barside with fruity drinks and cold beers many of us "computer artsy" folk huddled up to our screens, sweat dripping down our backs, perched under over-worked ceiling fans attempting to choke down hot cocoa while Burl Ives assailed our ear drums and tortured our spouses/roommates/partners/neighbors. Christmas always comes early for the stationer/illustrator/graphic designer and it's hard to "get in the spirit" but somehow we managed. 

Now that it is nearing the official first day of fall, there is a slight chill in the air, and pumpkin spice lattes are flowing in the 'Bucks -- it's officially time to show off all the hard work and design agony of the past two, four, err ... six months. Let me introduce you to  ::trumpets blasting, angels singing:: Minted's 2013 holiday card collection!!

Exclusively created by Minted's global community of independent designers, this year's batch is better than ever before. With a new assortment, Minted also launches real foil-pressed holiday cards! Your holiday card is sure to sparkle, shine, and standout from the rest with Minted's new, real foil-pressed cards! You can even see the shimmer using their "See It Move" feature.

Here are a few of my personal favorites but you're welcome to browse the many pages of top-notch design and find the "One" for you. 

(Plus, if you click my any of these affiliate links and then make a purchase you'll be well-ahead in the holiday spirit of giving by helping me earn a few bucks! Sounds like a win-win if you ask me.)

Now for the self-plug and for my moms, here are my new designs for the 2013 season.

If you're just not feeling the holidays yet, fine. Have a gander at the awesome Halloween cards and party invitations. You can even get 15% off if you use the code SPOOKY2013. 

There, feeling better now? Good.

Office Chair Make-over Quickie

 Nothing satisfies the DIY heart as quickly as changing the fabric of a chair. This office chair is no exception! In need of a comfy chair for my art table, I nabbed this office bad boy at my local GCF Store for the sale price of $5.99 plus tax. It has a nice "sit" to it and is slightly bouncy given the shape. The back is soft too and the right height. The chair's only negative was that scratchy, drab, office-blue upholstery.

I set off for a fabric pick-me-up at this awesome local fabric store called The Cloth Barn. It is a veritable fabric haven and I've found myself wandering the racks for many an hour. If you ever hear audible "Oohs" and "Awws" among the bolts, it's me. Coincidental, if I am ever reported missing, look for me there first. Anyway, there is a remnant room that is always good for a rummage and that's where I found a 3/4 yard piece of thick, upholstery weight, grey and yellow ikat. (I don't know about you, but I love a good ikat). It was a whopping $3 per yard.

Score! (Cody the dog is equally excited)

For that seamless look, this chair has a panel on the back that snaps in with four plastic plug thingies. Once I snapped those off the rest of dis-assembly was a cinch. Before recovering I didn't bother removing the existing fabric and just stapled my fabric over the top. The yardage wasn't quite big enough to center the main ikat element and leave enough fabric for all the necessary pieces so I opted for an off-center set up that allowed alignment between the top cushion and the bottom. I probably just lost all you OCD perfectionists out there but please bear with me to the end?

After a moment of hesitance I remembered this re-do was about quick frugality and one must not fret about the whole symmetry thing.

After many staples, the cushions were complete and I was on to the back panel with my fingers crossed that I had enough fabric left to cover it. BARELY. The panel is metal and the fabric had been stretched and anchored with metal hooks and my last scrap was not big enough. What to do, what to do?

Hot glue gun.

Tenuous moments and burned fingers later, the last bit of fabric somehow managed to cover the back panel. A quick assembly and BOOM. I have one snazzy work chair. Bye, bye drab office blues!

Ain't she a beaut?!
(See, the off centered pattern works just fine since both the top and bottom cushion are matched up. 
I told you it'd all work out!)

Project budget:  roughly $10.00
chair - $6ish
fabric - $3ish
staples and hot glue - $0 (already had these)

At home next to my messy art desk.

Note: I briefly considered spray painting the chair frame but the gray powder coating works well enough with the fabric and I worried about the potential of paint rubbing off into the carpet and making me a nasty mess. So I opted to leave it as is.

Minted: Wall Art for Awesome Babies

I don't know about you, but when Spring rolls around I get antsy for change. Not major life-changing change, but aesthetic change. I'm happy to banish the grey skies and cold temperatures for a brighter and sunnier point of view which, for me, translates to adding more color to my life and my living space. Occasionally this means I put some sort of bright color in my hair but more often it means I buy art.

Maybe it's the art school kid in me but I am a bit of an art junkie. I give myself a small monthly budget for buying art from independent artists which means I spend way too much time trolling the web for budget friendly originals and prints from relatively unknown artists. Over the last year I've found that Minted has an ever-growing selection of outstanding art prints available in a variety of sizes, prices and color options. Some of them are even customizable and make great gifts! Plus, they are all created by Minted's infamous global community of designers! (Of which, I am lucky enough to be one.)

A color that has really grabbed my attention lately is pink, but not super sweet pastel pink. I'm really digging bright pinks, especially when paired with darker, sophisticated colors. While I am not inclined to base a room in my (temporary, sigh) home around pink but I am an equal opportunity color appreciator so I still have fun designing the "idea." Using Minted's groovy new inspiration board builder tool, I've matched up some pink-ish prints to curate a collection that is both sweet AND smart yet doesn't scream "Princess Party." This is the kind of art that would be perfect for a baby girl's room yet is adult enough to "grow up" as she does. Shoot, she may even take them to her future dorm room!

Just in case you needed a little more help styling a little girl's room ... LayBabyLay is my favorite baby/kid blog, basically because her nursery inspiration boards are so fun and so full of freshness! Wouldn't you know it, I found an inspiration board that would totally work with the art I've curated above! The bright, sweetness of the pink plays so well with the darker, more sophisticated navy. I'd venture to say even a dark forest green would work just as well.

So whether you want to update your nursery with a colorful, personalized print or looking to fill in the space above your couch, don't miss out and browse through Minted's unique and fresh variety of Wall Art

I am an affiliate of

It's Baby Season

Is your bestie knocked up? I don't know about you, but I feel like I've reached that "stage" in life where it feels like many of my friends are welcoming cute, little genetic mash-ups (some call them babies) into the world. Are you desperately searching Pinterest for baby shower ideas? Lucky for the procreating world, their friends and family, Minted is stocked with some of the most darling and chic ready-made party decor items on the market to make that baby shower its absolute best!

Everything is beautifully coordinated, from the invitations to the welcome banner to the drink flags, thanks to the immensely talented stable of designers at Minted's disposal. So don't despair, you too can create a baby shower scene worth re-pinning! Minted has the talent and the paper, you have the muscle and the wallet. The hardest part is going to be deciding which set to use ...

Check out some of my favorite baby shower inspiration boards, all featuring assorted Minted designs.

Color Block by Natasha, see more unique baby shower invitations
Color Block board by Natasha. See more unique baby shower invitations

Bebe by Natasha, see more custom Minted baby shower invitations
Bebe board by Natasha. See more custom Minted baby shower invitations

Hooray! by Maria Anna C, see more Minted baby shower invitations
Hooray! board by Maria Anna C. See more Minted baby shower invitations

Making Faces by Ann Gardner, see more Minted
Making Faces board by Ann Gardner. See more Minted

This is a affiliate post.

Something Old, Something New Wedding Invitation Challenge

Is open for voting! This challenge focused on designing for different cultures, religions and traditions. There are a ton of great submissions that will allow for brides and grooms around the world to find the perfect invitation for their event. Go now, and let your rating finger do the talking.

wedding invitations - Lucky Horseshoe
wedding invitations - Lucky Horseshoe

wedding invitations - A Comic Book Love Story
wedding invitations - A Comic Book Love Story

wedding invitations - Sales Pitch
wedding invitations - Sales Pitch

wedding invitations - Coral Beach
wedding invitations - Coral Beach

Head Over Heels Wedding Invitation Challenge

Is open for voting! There are many brilliant designs to rate, everything from the perfect rustic barn wedding invitation to clean and modern ones perfect for a wedding in a science museum. Go now, and let your opinion be known.

wedding invitations - Seaglass Floral
wedding invitations - Seaglass Floral

wedding invitations - Bistro Board
wedding invitations - Bistro Board
wedding invitations - Graphic Photo
wedding invitations - Graphic Photo
wedding invitations - Certified Wed
wedding invitations - Certified Wed

Minted has announced the winners and editor's picks for the Quickfire Children's Stationery challenge. There are many great designs and they'll be for sale just in time for holiday season gift giving! Check them out here.

Two of my designs were selected as editor's picks; "Simple Badge" and "Chic Stripes" have made the cut and will be available for purchase this holiday season.

Quickfire Holiday Minibook and New Year Cards

The winners of Minted's last holiday challenge of the year have been announced and one of my New Year designs has been selected as an editor's pick. Yacht Club was lots of fun for me and really pushed my comfort zone with a more creative approach to typography. It's nice to be rewarded with an editor's pick and $100! The winners and other editor's picks are all beautiful, so if you never get around to sending that Christmas card don't despair. There are plenty of great designs for ringing in 2012!

Yacht Club was also selected as a runner-up in the special prize category of "Best Bold Typography Design." So I must be doing something right, right? See the rest of the very deserving special prize winners here.

Sending Good Cheer for 2011

A non-traditional holiday color to be sure but Pantone's 2011 color
of the year
, Honeysuckle, makes a joyful statement.

It's that time of year again! While the rest of the world enjoyed their summer drinking ice cold lemonade and thinking of sand and sun, the world's holiday card designers have locked themselves in their offices. Listening to holiday music and drinking hot cocoa (maybe wearing a woolly hat and scarf for added effect) they attempted to get into the holiday spirit to produce the coming season's best Christmas and holiday stationery designs.

I was lucky enough to have one of my designs selected for sale this season. Minted's Sending Good Cheer challenge was a huge one and produced the best holiday card assortment I've seen yet. "Christmas Cafe" was my best work thus far and one of those designs that just "happened" without much work or thought, it just came pouring out of my stylus and onto the screen. I remember the biggest issue I had with it was what kind of edge to use overlapping the photo, not my normal conundrum with typography. I was so excited about this particular design that I forced my poor husband to "come look!" over five times and each time he played along like a good sport.

So with great pride and a big, silly grin, I ask you to "come look!"

"Christmas Cafe" scored in the top 30 designs of nearly 2250 and was also selected as a runner-up in the special prizes categories of "Best Type-Driven Design" and "Best Retro or Vintage Design." See the rest of the very deserving special prize winners here.

The Typography Business Card Challenge

Minted has finally announced the winners and boy are they well deserving! You can marvel over them here.

Two of my designs were selected as editor's picks; "Ladylike" and "Color Wash" have made the cut and will be available for purchase in the coming months.

"Ladylike" was also selected as a runner-up in the special prizes category of "Best Over-the-Top Pretty Design." Check out the rest of the special prize winners here.