Spotted "In the Wild" - the Basically wedding suite

I always get such a thrill when I find photos of my work “in the wild.” Particularly, beautifully styled and photographed wedding invitations. Lucky for me, I’ve found my Basically wedding invitation design for Minted in quite a few places.

Most recently, on May 17th, the All In One format was featured as part of a budget friendly weddings segment on Good Morning America. Squeee! How cool is that?! Super big thanks to Budget Savvy Bride for the product shout out!

There it is, in all it’s  shiny golden glory !

There it is, in all it’s shiny golden glory!

Here are another two real wedding featuring Basically in the classic black and gold foil invitation.

Rustic, farm wedding captured by  Dreamlove Photography

Rustic, farm wedding captured by Dreamlove Photography

An elegant and romantic wedding captured by  Rob Anzit Photography

An elegant and romantic wedding captured by Rob Anzit Photography

The “candy” color all-in-one format with gold foil styled and photographed by  Wild Cotton Photography.

The “candy” color all-in-one format with gold foil styled and photographed by Wild Cotton Photography.

A rose gold romantic wedding planned by  Blush + Bowties  and photographed by  Mango Studios.

A rose gold romantic wedding planned by Blush + Bowties and photographed by Mango Studios.

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.

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.

Sneak Peek! Elegant Peacock: a hand-illustrated wedding invitation

There seems to be a pretty strong trend in the wedding world of using peacock feathers as part of wedding decor as well as using one of nature's most elegant color combinations. Brides the world over are inspired by the rich jewel tones of the male peacock's finery and his majestic silhouette.



If you follow me on Instagram you may remember this pic, taken of some drawings I was working on.




Well, that peacock had been living inside my head for months. I had this vision for a peacock "themed" wedding invitation that was different than any I'd seen before but the problem was trying to get it from my head onto the computer without it looking cheesy. So I collected a bunch of peacock images to give me some ideas for composition and to get the details right.



[I'm working on source references now, hold tight!]


After the initial sketch, I used some tracing paper to clean up and further develop the illustration finally ending with finished drawing which I outlined using a fine point Sharpie. Using the magic of my scanner and Adobe Illustrator my sketch was in the computer and ready for "design-ification."

After some awesome community-suggested tweaks, Elegant Peacock was on it's way to an Editor's Pick. Woooo hoooo!



There is that little green star again!


While the full invitation suite hasn't launched quite yet, here's a sneak peek at what the whole thing will look like. 




While I anxiously await the launch of my Elegant Peacock invitation suite, I know there will be a whole collection of other amazing wedding designs to come. You can get a sneak peek of the other selected designs at the winner's page on Minted right now.



While this post contains some Affiliate links, I am really just super excited to show you the fruits of my hard work! If I make a little commission from some shopping via these links I'll consider it a generous bonus. Thanks for reading!

Modern Belle: a classy letterpress invitation

I am super excited to announce that one of my design entries for the first-ever letterpress wedding invitation challenge at Minted was chosen to be part of the Spring 2014 line!

Check it out! (I love that little green star.)


Living in the South (North Carolina is in "the South," right?) I know how the Southern ladies love their bright colors and fun patterns. I wanted to create a wedding invitation suite that would appeal to the "Southern Belle" that was at once classy and fun in a modern and not too sweet kind of way. In the end, I was inspired by the ever-popular chevron motif and challenged myself to create an invitation that would appeal to both the bride planning a breezy beach wedding as well as the bride planning a wedding on a sumptuous Southern plantation.

My vision looks a little like this inspiration board.



I've been working on the remaining elements of the suite, trying to keep it classy but still integrate the fun chevrons in each element. This is where I ended up.



The suite will be available in one, two and three-color versions giving you the ability to choose each color you'd like from Minted's palette of letterpress inks.

Pretty Awesome New Years Cards

The time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a whirlwind of activity. It's a wonder so many people manage to send out holiday cards that arrive before Christmas. I, however, am not one of those people. I'm no busier than a normal person, I just like how much easier it is to not add the holiday card dance to my plate. In order to avoid total Scroge-hood, I like to send Happy New Year cards. Maybe you're like me, maybe you missed the Christmas card train or maybe you want to spread cheer without being pigeon-holed into one of the religious holidays of December.

So my fellow procrastinating or non-denominational cheer sender, check out this crazy fun selection of New Year Cards.

The Classic in real foil(!) at Minted.com










What's that? You already sent your holiday cards? Then take a gander at these festive and fun new year party invitations.







*This is an affiliate post -- help me to help you and shop via these links, I have an ugly Christmas sweater I'm looking to buy ;)