If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know that I love to make custom cards! I’ve been making them for Christmas for years and I made one when my first son graduated high school. Now my middle son is about to graduate and I’m starting to think about custom cards again! I CANNOT think about him graduating yet. Ack! We already got his senior photos taken and it kills me! But I CAN think about cards…the key is to disconnect the two things in my brain! LOL! As I was thinking about making a custom grad card, I was contacted by Basic Invite and asked to take a look at their cards. I’m serious! These events actually overlapped! Of course, I went right to their site and let me say, “Wow!”Article about custom graduation cards at Basic Invite by Calm and Collected blogger, Jennifer Terry

I made that custom card above! LOL! It seemed fitting to use their cards to make a title photo for this post.  They have lots of photo graduation cards to choose from as well as customizable graduation invitations.  What I was impressed with was the scope of possibilities for customization. They have tons of color options that you can instantly preview online. Once you select a design you can change each element on the card (your photo, obviously and each line of text) so that you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail.Article about custom graduation cards at Basic Invite by Calm and Collected blogger, Jennifer Terry

Want to see the one I was playing with? It’s not a great photo, but I still like it: Graduation Card Calm & Collected made on Basic Invite's website

The school colors are maroon, black and white. I was able to make 2017 a muted maroon color. They have a LOT of fonts to choose from, too! Want to see how this card looked originally? 

This is not the card I’ll send. I’m thinking of taking him somewhere and snapping an artsy photo of him. He’s my creative child. He’s going to study animation in college, so I need a fitting artsy photo of him. No matter what photo I end up using, I like that I can customize my text to pop off of it.

Then I can choose an envelope color to match.  Basic Invite has over 40 different envelope colors. We can make this invitation stand out even before it is opened! And I don’t have to lick them!!! All of their envelopes are peel and seal! I hate licking envelopes. (Hey- I once read that licking a postage stamps adds 20 calories to your diet! On a terrible tangent…I looked this up to see if it was true and found that American stamps have 5.9 calories, but British commemorative stamps have 14.5! The more you know!)

And just so you know:  you can order just one card to preview it. I mean, I can see on the computer screen that I like how it looks, but I like that I can hold one and see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before I place my order.

Do you want to play, too? Basic Invite is offering my readers 15% off when you enter the code 15FF51. Let me know if you try them out!

Thanks for visiting Calm and Collected! Please pop over and follow my blog with Bloglovin.



So, I knew I wanted to make our Christmas cards on Minted.com. I also knew that even though I really like to do a collage of photos, this year I wanted one simple unique photo. We were going to visit my dad in Maine for Thanksgiving. They have a big field behind their house and beyond that is a lake. I thought it would be fun to have my dad and stepmom take a photo of us in the field with the lake in the background.

First my middle child, step mom, and I scoured the garage for different levels of things to sit on. (I think I could have convinced them to let me take their sofa outside if it hadn’t been kind of muddy!) So we found some foot stools, went out to the field and I lined everyone up for a test shot:

Notice the red everyone is wearing…it will become important later on…


Ummmm, where’s mom?


Pretty good, but dad’s eyes are closed.


I think we’ve found a winner!

Next I just needed to make a little adjustment…like removing all of the color from the photo except for the red…_0005Then I started to play with the photo on Minted!  Here are the card selections I narrowed it down to and how they look with my photo:mintedUltimately, I liked the one on the left best and here it is!minted final

And here is a photo of the photography crew with their grandchildren:_0006Incidentally my dad writes a blog, too. It is about his life since he was diagnosed with Multiple Myloma, an (as yet) untreatable form of cancer.  If you want to check that out here is a link: http://findingthepony.blogspot.com/

Those of you who know me know that I love Christmas cards.  I especially love giving and receiving photo cards!  I actually place all the photo cards that our family receives in an album. It’s fun to see how my friends and family have changed over the years.

Last year I made our Christmas cards on Minted.com.  Here is how they looked online:

card 2014I think they turned out gorgeous in person (though my photo doesn’t do it justice):


I was so happy with the whole process.  It was fun and easy to add my photos and personalize my card.  The hardest part was choosing a design!

I’m using Minted to make my cards again this year and I have to say…choosing a design is still the hardest part.  There are so many to choose from!  I do like that I can see a preview of my photo in several cards at once:

card 2014 2

I’m excited to get the jump on Christmas this year!  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and I’m already finishing up my Christmas cards!  AND this year I’m going to take advantage of Minted’s feature of Free Recipient Addressing.  They have lots of designs to make the outside of the envelope match the inside.

Stay tuned to see my chosen design!

I need to talk about graduation for a bit here.  My. first. baby. is. graduating! Ack! How can this be?!?!  I know I have joked about the teen years.  I even posted this on Facebook:

A scrapbook page I made for my teenage son.

A scrapbook page I made for my teenage son.

But now, we are done visiting colleges, he is finishing up his final classes and we are just a few weeks from graduation! I’m trying not to think about how I feel about that.  So I tried distracting myself with something I can control: ordering graduation announcements!  We chose not to order the cards they offered through the school.  They were very pricey and not at all personal.

Do you remember the Christmas Cards I ordered from Minted? I loved them, so Minted.com is where I headed to look for personalized graduation announcements.

Holy choices, Batman!!! They have some gorgeous, gorgeous options!  Here are some of my favorites so far:

A screenshot of a few of my favorite cards (so far!) on Minted.com

A screenshot of a few of my favorite cards (so far!) on Minted.com

I need the distraction of of playing with this for a few more days, but I want to post this right away to give you all time to use Minted’s coupon code!  They are offering 15% off graduation announcements until 5/11 with the code: CLASSOF2015 I’ll update this post with some of my samples and our chosen card in a few days.

UPDATE:  Jacob decided he wanted the “Triple Overlap” as seen above.  He wanted it to be blue, but we didn’t care for the shade of blue this card is offered in, so we went with a custom color and just asked them to use the blue that is one of the options for their “The Adventure Begins” card.  Here is how it turned out:

Final Grad Card

It occurs to me perhaps I should not put all his personal info out there, so I smudged, but you get the idea.

Still trying not to think about all of this!  Now I’ve distracted myself with sending these announcements out and planning a party for him…

I love Christmas cards!  Christmas cards are a great connection to the people in my life and in many a case they are the only connection to some of the people in my life!   I especially love photo cards.  I love seeing how my friends’ families have grown and changed over the years.  I actually keep a scrapbook of the photo cards I receive.

I started sending a version of a photo card when our first child was a baby.  I was an avid scrapbooker at the time, so I made an album page with some of the highlights of our year in photos.

My first scrapbook page Christmas Card

My first scrapbook page Christmas Card

Then we had the scrapbook page color copied and we folded the copies and sent them out as our cards.  This letter would go in my scrapbook and all the photo cards we receive that year would go in after it.  I kept up this form of Christmas card for years, but it was pretty time consuming.  Our family took a brief respite from sending cards for a few years. Last year my husband took over putting together a photo card, but I missed being involved.

This year I’ve found the perfect solution!  I was invited to take a look at Minted.  This site offers so many awesome cards that are way more than a step above color copies and they are faster and easier to put together than a scrapbook page!  Minted offers “Holiday Cards” and “Christmas Cards” from simple to elaborate. (I mostly explored the post card section because, honestly, that was more my price range.) And look at the difference in the paper they use:



I had so much fun playing with my photos in the different cards. They have an option you can click that allows you to see your photo in several cards at once.  See?:

Our Family Photo inserted into many cards at once.

Our Family Photo inserted into many cards at once.

You can zoom in on your photo and shift it around in the editor.  I don’t want to reveal the card I ultimately chose, but I will show you the runners-up!

I LOOOOOVE this card, but I really like to include more than one photo:


Here is the runner-up in the “more than one photo” category:

card 2

I did end up using the photos above, but I chose a very different card. Stay tuned- maybe I’ll share it when it arrives.

Frankly, I wrote this post because Minted asked me to (and they offered me a small credit toward anything on their site) , but I’m ordering the cards because I think they are cool and I can’t wait to see mine!