Review: Designer Holiday Cards from Minted

This post is sponsored by All opinions are my own. 

Hello friends! Long time no blog. I hope you all are well! We have been busy around here making our house a home and prepping for a new addition to our family coming in February.

My kiddos couldn't be more excited! My son asks every morning if the baby is done growing yet. :)

So what brings me out of the woodworks this time? Well, firstly, I do love sharing with all of you here on the blog, seeing what you are doing. Between my new freelance work (which I love) and my growing family (which I love even more), this little blogging hobby of mine has just gotten a little lost most days.

And secondly, when Minted contacted me and asked if I'd review their holiday card collection... I couldn't resist. I love fun and fresh designs, and Minted has great designs for cards, personalized art prints, journals, and pretty much anything you could want to print.

I personally love sending and receiving photo cards, because I love seeing how we all change over the years, especially the kiddos. I have saved all of our holiday cards from the last 3-4 years and bring them all out with our Christmas decorations, so we have a sort of time-warp Christmas card display on our door where you can see babies getting all grown up! Love it.

So, I headed straight for the photo cards. The site is easy to navigate to find exactly what you want -- holiday cards, Christmas cards, New Years cards -- and once you're to the area you want, it's easy to narrow down the field by the number of pictures you want, flat vs folded, and even the photo orientation. I always end up falling in love with a card that has the photo turned the opposite direction of our one good everyone-smiling family photo, so I really love that feature!

You can also choose from their selection of shaped cards (most square/rectangle cards can be personalized to have the shape/edge style you want) and even choose a specific color, so your card will coordinate with your photo.

Snowflake Corners
I chose purple. It's kind of one of my new favorites :)

I insist on having my husband's input approval on our Christmas cards. [That's how we spend our Friday nights, me designing and him pretending he has an opinion ;)] He hates trying to choose a card that has someone else's face on it. So the Find It Fast feature was awesome! With Find It Fast, you just upload your picture and it puts it into the cards so you can easily browse through and see how your photo looks in many cards without having to actually go through the personalizing process for each one.

Using the Find It Fast feature
Minted has a global community of designers for their products, and the designers really cover their bases. For example, most cards come in multiple color schemes. It's disappointing to find a card design that you love and have the color of text blend in to your photo and disappear -- so with different color schemes that doesn't have to happen!

Gold Foil Pressed Card
I spent a lot of time just browsing the collection -- because the collection is HUGE! They have a great variety of designs and styles. They even have a section of cards that are foil pressed -- real shiny foil accenting your cards! So pretty. They also have cards specifically for newlyweds and new babies -- and even a few for dog lovers :)

One of my very favorite features of Minted is that most everything is customizable. I can be a little bit... particular... about some things design-wise so I love that I can change a saying or font easily. And if you are even more particular than I am, you can have Minted's designers help you with additional design tweaks.
Personalizing the Holiday Revelry card
And have you ever picked out a perfect card and then had the "Merry Christmas" end up right across someone's face? With the simple online design interface, you can move the text areas wherever you want and even change the font of certain text areas. And they have a great selection of classy and non-traditional fonts to really help your card be distinctive.

So, my final word: The selection of cards at Minted is a little pricier than you might find somewhere else, but the designs are stellar and not like you'll find most other places. If you want to impress everyone on your mailing list with a personalized, high-quality card with an awesome design, check them out! And if you sign up through this referral link, Minted will give you a $25 credit toward a purchase of $50 or more!

Happy holiday card season! :)

Family Rules Subway Art + free file download

Oh me, oh my! Where does the time go?!? I was plugging right along being a good little blogger and then... stuff happened. Beginning of summer fun stuff, freelance work stuff, no more school for hubby stuff, project stuff... You know, stuff. But I do love creating things and sharing them, so I'm really trying to keep up sharing things here.

Today, one of my favorite recent projects: a family rules subway-style wall plaque, custom made for my sister. And, I'm sharing the Silhouette Studio cutting file, too!

My sister sent me a photo of a similar piece of art and asked if I could make her one like it. She didn't care which words or colors I used, just so long as it was a specific size to balance out the art she had hanging on the opposite wall.

Family are great clients to work for :)

I used the same reverse stencil process that I had used on previous canvas projects (which I haven't shared yet, shame!), with just a couple modifications for this since it is on MDF particleboard (cut to size at the store) instead of a canvas.  
1. Paint the canvas or board the color of the LETTERS. I had to do a couple coats of paint since the MDF was thirsty and soaked up a lot of the paint. 

2. Stick on the cut vinyl (or contact paper) letters, smoothing down all of the edges and burnishing really well with a credit card, popsicle stick, or other tool. 

3. Seal (optional) the edges of the vinyl letters with a coat of clear matte ModPodge or other sealant. I only do this if there are very thin portions, such as the serifs of the letters and the thin divider lines. It works like a dream to keep the edges crisp!

4. Paint over the letters in the BACKGROUND color. Mine took 3 coats, but I could have probably done it in two if I was patient and let each coat fully dry. 

5. Peel off the vinyl letters carefully to reveal your beautiful subway art!

I got creative and used a flat egg carton to prop my board up so that I could paint the front and the edges at the same time: 

We hung it with 3M picture hanging strips so that it would be both flat against the wall and secure, since it hangs by the ping-pong table:

Ready to make your own family rules subway art? I'd love to see!

Hop over here to download the Silhouette Studio file (.studio format)

File is for personal, non-commercial use only. Please subscribe to get more free printables and files!

A few notes about the file: 
It is sized to fit a board 14"x24". To cut all of the words, you will have to split it up into sections as your machine can handle. I split mine into 9" tall, since that is the width of my SD's cutting area. If you have a Cameo (lucky!), you can hopefully cut fewer wider strips.

The fonts of each section are listed in the file, and each piece of text is converted to path so you won't need each font. However, if you'd like to make an alteration, here are all of the fonts I used, linked to where you can download them. I have personally downloaded each font from each of the sites I link to, but, as always, you download at your own risk.
Let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for reading!

The Mama Mother, and Batik-Style Watercolor Card for Kids

Today is my last day of paying homage to the amazing moms of all kinds who have shaped my "mama schema" (read the post to understand what in the world that means :) and sharing simple handmade cards to deliver to these women who have been so influential in my life. Check out the final card tutorial at the bottom of the post: a batik-style watercolor card. 

The Mama Mother

The mama, the one who gave birth to me, raised me, and otherwise nurtured me in my childhood and allowed me to live to adulthood, even after I cut up the dresses she sewed for me AND her wedding pictures. 

If that isn't love, I don't know what is. 

My mother is amazing. She claims she wasn't a perfect mother, but we (all 8 of us kids) are grateful that she was just perfect enough for us and our imperfections, and now she can be the perfect grandmother.

See, Debra -- my camera-face is genetic!
I credit my love of creating and learning to my mother. She claims I was always creative, but as a child -- and now as an adult -- few things thrill me more than showing a creation to my mother and having her gush excitement and praise my work. My mother isn't the gushy type, but she has always encouraged me in whatever endeavors I have taken up, whether it was basketball or rocket science or poetry.

My mother loves learning, and always has. She was a teacher and a librarian, and she was always reading and sharing what she'd read -- a new novel, a new fact, a new joke from Reader's Digest. She would often wake me up to come see the meteor shower or watch a space shuttle launch, or enlist me in testing the experiment she'd read about how to keep flies out of the house or make a fun gadget from household items.

In addition to my amazing mother, I have an amazing mother-in-law. She was one of my biggest believers when I was a teenager, and I learn from her example every day. She is a wonderful example of how to be Christlike and still have a wicked sense of humor. ;)

Most women say that they wouldn't be as happy as I am living within blocks of both my mother and my mother-in-law, but I thank my lucky stars every day for the support and examples of my two moms. 

Happy Mother's Day to each of you -- be sure to give a mama a hug and tell her that she's important to you :) and then go make her a card...

Batik-Style Watercolor Card for Kids

All you need is white paper/cardstock, a white crayon, and watercolors.

Use the white crayon to draw a design or write on the cardstock.

And then set your child loose with the watercolors. Well, not completely loose. I gave mine strict instructions that he was NOT to use the black or brown. :)

Once the entire page is watercolored, let it dry and then cut it in half (hamburger style) and fold it to make a card.

Since the watercolors (and my child's preference toward the water part of the equation) made the paper curl, I folded another card and stuck it inside using double-stick tape to stabilize and straighten the curved corners.

I love this art style! We use it to help my children write thank-you notes, and even my 10-year-old niece likes it, and keeps asking me what the trick is :)

A very happy Mother's Day to you and yours -- you have a week, so make sure that you take advantage of this (over-commercialized) holiday to give the mothers in your life a little extra love!


The Village Mother, and a Kids-Can-Do Peekaboo Card

I'm still paying homage to the amazing moms of all kinds who have shaped my "mama schema" (read the post to understand what in the world that means :) and sharing simple handmade cards to deliver to these women who have been so influential in my life. Check out today's easy but awesome card tutorial at the bottom of the post: kids-can-do peekaboo art card. 

The Village Mother

A Village Mother is a woman who watches out for my kids, just because. Sometimes when I'm not able to be present (such as when my children go to their classes at church) and other times they take and entertain my children and save my sanity (so grateful for amazing aunts and cousins!)

sorry, Di, this was the only picture I had!
Village mothers take the form of teachers, friends, aunts, cousins, nieces, neighbors, and sisters. (In case you can't tell, I sure love my sisters an awful lot :) You find them at school, at church, around your neighborhood, pretty much anywhere. While my children are ultimately my responsibility, I am sure grateful for the village of support I have!

a few of my amazing nieces
These village mothers love my kids like I do -- they are the second mothers that my children will be remembering and appreciating when they are grown and have kids of their own (but hopefully before then, too).

Most importantly to me, the biggest village mothers in my life play and play and plaaaaay with my children -- reminding me that, in spite of whatever phase they are going through -- my kids are fun.

the best babysitters, er, I mean, sister-in-laws a girl could hope for :)
One of the greatest joys I have discovered since my son was born 3 1/2 years ago is the pure delight that comes from seeing someone else fall in love with my child. Seeing someone else enjoy my child reminds me how much I DO enjoy them, and how I should not just love but also enjoy my child.

So, here's to you, my village mothers! Your adoring fans have made you some awesome (if I do say so myself) cards...

Kids Can Do Peekaboo Cards

The Second Mother, and A Mixed Media Mother's Day Bouquet Card

As I introduced earlier, this week I'm paying homage to the amazing moms of all kinds who have shaped my "mama schema" (read the post to understand what in the world that means :) and sharing simple handmade cards to deliver to these women who have been so influential in my life. Check out today's easy but awesome card tutorial at the bottom of the post: mixed media mother's day bouquet. 

The Second Mother

A Second Mother is one of those women who takes you under her wing, who tells you that you matter, who cheers you on -- even though she has no biological or legal responsibility to do so.
Rusti, my second mom throughout high school, the one who didn't get mad when we had a frosting fight in her house. :)

Second mothers love you like you belong to them, whether that means adding you to their brood or making you their honorary first child.

Second mothers, much like all mothers, give you the advice that you need, even when you don't want it.
Miranda, my manager when I waited tables in high school. 

When I was younger, my second mothers filled the gap between my own mother and my teenage brain -- telling me just what my mother had told me, but making it sound reasonable instead of unfair :)

Now that I'm "grown" (ha!), I am still finding second mothers who are watching out for me and allowing me (and my family) to become part of their families.
Yes, this is my best friend, Debra, and her mom, Sonja. Best family ever! :)

And, how lucky am I? One of my most influential second mothers later became my mother-in-law! (I think she is even as happy about the arrangement as I am ;)
My amazing mother--in-law and father-in-law

For the second mothers in your life, whip up a mixed media card... that looks like it took more time than it did :)

Mixed Media Mother's Day Bouquet Card

Just use what you have on hand... here's what I used:
  • blank card (mine is just a piece of standard sized cardstock cut in half, hamburger-style, and then folded in half again)
  • fabric scraps
  • buttons
  • washi tape
  • textured scrapbook paper
  • ribbon
  • black and yellow chenille stems (pipe cleaners)
  • glue -- I used a regular glue stick and a hot glue gun
Then, just start cutting and gluing...

  1. Draw your flower shapes on the back of the fabric and cut them out. 
  2. Stick on washi tape stems. 
  3. Fold a small (1-2 inch) piece of ribbon and stick the cut ends under the washi tape to form leaves. 
  4. Glue down the flowers. 
  5. Cut grass out of textured paper and glue it on. 
  6. Glue on buttons. 
And then, if you feel like something is missing, grab the pipe cleaners and create a tiny fuzzy bumblebee friend, by wrapping them around the tip of pencil:

And then adding another tiny piece of black pipe cleaner for antennae. Look at all that fuzzy goodness!

Glue it on, and you're done! (Once you write a nice note inside, of course!)

And now you can present your mother with a beautiful hand-picked bouquet that won't make her sneeze (or was I the only one who perpetually picked my mother bouquets of weeds she was allergic to? :)

The Grand Mother and Washi Tape Stripes Card

As I introduced earlier, this week I'm paying homage to the amazing moms of all kinds who have shaped my "mama schema" (read the post to understand what in the world that means :) and sharing simple handmade cards to deliver to these women who have been so influential in my life. Don't miss today's simple card tutorial at the end of the post: the easiest-ever washi tape card. 

(I had a different type of mother planned for today, but my husband's grandmother passed away last week and we attended her funeral today. And I knew I needed to make sure to recognize that there is just something special about the grandmothers. :)

The Grandest of Mothers

While my mother's mother lost her battle with breast cancer when my mother was only 16,  I was blessed to have a very close relationship with my paternal grandmother, Grandma Ruth, and I married into two amazing grandmothers. All three women were examples of faith and charity, of sticking with it even when times were tough. Two were widowed for many years, and one was plagued with health problems, but throughout everything, they each loved their families and found opportunities to serve and bless many lives. I treasure the memories and family heritage from each of these women, all of whom have passed on.

Since I can't today or on Mother's Day, if you can, give your grandma a hug from me. (Only maybe don't tell her it's from me since that might be weird.)

And then, round up some washi tape and go make the world's easiest diy greeting card.

Washi Tape Stripes Card

Seriously, cards do not get much easier than this.

Start with your blank card -- mine is a piece of cardstock cut in half (hamburger style) and then folded in half. Select 5 or so rolls of washi tape in coordinating colors/patterns.

Starting a few inches up from the edge of the card, line up a strip of tape with the other edge and press it firmly on the front of the card. Leave a tail (long or short - variety is up to you!) and fold it around to the inside of the card. We are decorating both the front and the inside of the card -- go us! :)

With the other colors/patterns of washi tape, continue placing strips of tape at varied heights and of varied lengths along the edge of the card, matching up the edges of the strips but not overlapping them.  Depending on the width of your tape, you may have a small gap at the end. I chose to match up the pattern and have that last stripe be a little bit wider, and then trim the excess tape.

If your original card is a darker color like mine, cut a rectangle of lighter color cardstock just smaller than the size of the card and stick it in the card with double stick tape, so that you can easily see your hand-written note.

See, SO EASY!! And it's adorable on the inside, too (just like yesterday's card :)

Have a happy day,
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