Beach Must Have

Beach Must Have

We are SO excited to announce that our favorite beach blankets have arrived! (Seriously, we’ve been looking forward to this all year… it finally feels like SUMMER is happening, folks!) Here’s what we love about this blanket:

– they’re extra roomy (6 ft x 7 ft in size)

– they are lightweight (easy to pack)

– they’re made of the softest traditional Mexican materials – a blend of recycled cotton, acrylic and polyester (easy to wash)

– the sand (even pesky WET SAND) doesn’t stick to them, so packing up is always easy

– the colors are so bright and cheery!


See?  It doesn’t stick…  Love!



So fun and colorful too!


If you have a beach trip planned, this item is a MUST!  Available in a variety of colors, while supplies last.  Come by the store or call us to place your order today:  806-785-1195







Carry On Chico

Carry On Chico

Jon Hart Chicos are great – they’re the perfect size that you can use them for lots of things – makeup, charging cords, medications – the chico is VERY versatile.  You can’t have too many of them, so that makes it the perfect gift for anyone!

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite uses for the Jon Hart Chico – a dedicated “carry on” Chico!  This is one of my best tips for traveling by air because it makes packing so much easier.  I used to make list after list of what I needed to remember to pack, and inevitably I would forget something small that I wished I had.  Now, I keep all of my favorite little “in-flight” needs packed and ready to go in a Chico.  I never have to remember to pack “all the things” – I just have to replenish anything that I’ve used up and grab the bag and GO.

Here’s what I keep stocked in my “carry on” Chico:


  • tissues
  • ear buds
  • gum
  • Tide to go stick
  • ear plugs
  • lip balm
  • a pen (and usually sticky notes too)
  • cough drops
  • hand sanitizer
  • tea and honey

Handy, right?  I think so!  It’s actually a gift I love to give as well – and the concept doesn’t have to only be for frequent flyers.  You could fill a Chico with dance or cheerleading must-haves:  bobby pins, mini hair spray, lipstick, glitter, breath mints, etc. and hot stamp “team work” or “game face” on the outside.   You could also fill a Chico with orchestra needs:  extra strings, resin, a polishing cloth, etc.  That would be fun to stamp with “strings things”.  This would be a great idea for teachers too – they always need little “emergency kits” for the classroom… The possibilities are endless!

The Chico is available in lots of colors, and we can hot stamp a name, initials (or specific phrase like mine) in about 3 days.  It’s a great gift for $34 (and it would be even more cute if you pre-filled it with some of their favorite necessities before gifting it).  What do you think?  Who do you know that could enjoy a dedicated Chico?  Let us know – we’d love to hook you up with this clever gift idea!




Valentine’s Day Brunch for Dinner

Valentine’s Day Brunch for Dinner

For this semester’s Barque Team get-together, I thought it might be fun to have “Brunch for Dinner”.  The benefits would be twofold – a great way for my girls to sample a few of our food products (like buttermilk biscuit mix and local jams)… and second,  I thought it would be easy to cook on a weeknight!

In this post, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the invitation, party details, decorations, menu and party favors – plus an idea you can borrow to spark great conversation at your own Valentine’s Day gathering!

brunch invite

bday mantle

vintage vtines

Since I love Valentine’s Day, I thought that would be an easy theme to work with.  I utilized my collection of vintage Valentines to add a little interest to my mantle.


For the table, I used lots of layering – starting with a simple white tablecloth, then adding a length of sheer pink fabric (on clearance at Joann’s), followed by heart-shaped cut outs and doilies.  To finish it off, more vintage valentines strewn about (some on tiny easels) and a sprinkling of conversation heart candies.  For added ambiance, I combined a few tall white candles with strings of battery-operated, mini copper lights (a new arrival at the store).

vday table 3

bday table

For each place setting, alternating pink and red napkins (folded in the shape of a heart) were adorned with a hand-lettered doily as a place card.  The talented @kelseylaineholt (check her out on Instagram!) made them for us – as well as the food/drink labels – and they really made the tablescape swoon-worthy, don’t you think?

doiliesBefore guests got settled in, everyone was asked fill out 2 “Conversation Hearts”. This idea was inspired by Darcy Miller’s new book, Celebrate Everything – and it ended up being one of the favorite parts of the evening for all of us.  HERE is a link to a free printable with the instructions, which can easily be displayed in a basic 4×6 frame.

You can download the conversation heart templates HERE and HERE – just print them out on pastel colored cardstock and cut out by hand.convo hearts

We collected the completed hearts in a fish bowl, and they later became our dinner conversation starters!  It was really fun to try to guess who each heart belonged to – and it sparked great conversation!  We learned a lot about one another (and laughed a lot too).


The menu consisted of traditional breakfast food – eggs (heart-shaped of course), bacon, sausage, turkey bacon, buttermilk biscuits (see our tips for those here), local jams from Kelle B, fruit, yogurt (with heart sprinkles), and a modified version of Bobby Flay’s Rosemary and Pancetta Home Fries (from the cookbook Brunch at Bobby’s).  To be honest, I’ve made this recipe before and it was delicious, but I must have done something wrong this time – oops!  It didn’t work out as I had planned, so it became mashed the potatoes with rosemary and pancetta mixed in – sometimes you have to improvise!



We tested out a recipe from the Forest Feast Gatherings Cookbook for the bar – Ruby Mimosa Punch – and it was quite tasty!

bar cart sm

brunch babes napsI think a party always needs a favor, and for this one, each of the girls received a ball cap (monogrammed with the Barque logo), a box of conversation hearts, a mini jar of Kelle B Jam, and a Butter London nail polish.  I love how the personalized tags turned out too!party favorsCorny or not, the tags are true – I really do love these girls!  They’re a great bunch, and I’m so blessed to have each one of them working with me.  The best part is I think they genuinely enjoy one other too – It’s not often you can work and play together and enjoy so much laughter.

staff pic smAren’t they they cutest?

teamI hope our Team “Dinner” inspires a few ideas for your own Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Brunch, and if it does, we’d love to know about it!  Tag us on Instagram  (@barquegifts) or email us photos – we love to see how our friends and customers throw a party!

















New Punny Valentines for 2017

New Punny Valentines for 2017

One of my favorite products to design are punny valentines, and I love to draw inspiration from my collection of vintage designs.  I found these at an antique store in Greensboro – aren’t they fun?  The fish is from the 1920’s!

IMG_5653sm(The inside of the fish says:  It’s not a fish tale that I love you)

This year, my mom came back with me after Christmas, so we did a little brainstorming session for this year’s punny valentines during the drive.  Ultimately, I decided on 5 new themes:  Texas, S’mores, Cactus, TexMex and Baking – all available on our website while supplies last.  Each package comes with 12 cards (3 of each of the 4 designs) and red or pink envelopes.






What do you think?  Which one is your favorite?


A Colorful Christmas

A Colorful Christmas

Y’all, this holiday season has been busy… which is great for business, but that also means that this girl is TIRED!

The sad truth is I was too worn out to put up all of my Christmas decorations this year.  As much as I love my Snow Village, garlands, nativity scenes and Santas, I didn’t have the time or the energy to do it.  I also didn’t want all the STUFF out.  When I put the decorations away, I’m always relieved that my house is clean and clutter-free…  so I decided to bring on all of that feel-good happiness a few weeks early.  The decorations were minimal, and I used a lot of rearranged everyday items, but it was a welcome change that I’ve enjoyed.  Below are a few of my favorite details  from this year’s “Colorful Christmas”:

The Mantle – I opted for retro bottle brush trees and a watercolor painting from my grandmother.  I had the hardest time finding “pastel” stockings, so I ended up spending an hour or so with my mom’s trusty Singer sewing machine to make my own.  They’re not pretty up close, but they’ll work for now.  (These trees are so fun – we even used them to dress up our lockers at the store this year.)dsc_1072sm


The combination of the colorful trees and bright pillows (borrowed from the guest room) make for a cheerful and cozy fireside spot (Lucy agrees).


My Tree – This year I went with a Nordmann Fir, adorned as usual with white lights and my colorful plastic balls.  It’s dog-friendly and easy – exactly what I needed!

dsc_1204smNostalgia – This is my favorite nativity.  For no good reason other than I’ve always loved it.  Since I’ve lived in this house, it’s been an amazing addition to my kitchen decor, mostly because I can keep it safe inside a cloche on the counter.

dsc_1221smA Paper Lover’s Nativity –  I bought this cardboard nativity a few years ago at an estate sale because it’s the same one my mom got from her mother. It fits perfectly on top of my grandmother’s mini piano.


A Bright Entry – A colorful ball ornament wreath and abstract painting by my grandmother at the door kicks off the colorful feel for this year’s decor!


Red/Green Books – Instead of packing up all my books, I decided to utilize the red and green ones for my entryway display.  One less thing to pack up, and a great way to use something I already have out.  It’s a win-win, right?


The Church – This new addition to my decorations has been a favorite – it’s a wooden church for holiday cards!  It checks all the boxes:  cute, useful, and efficient.


Behind the Scenes Nutcracker Madness

Behind the Scenes Nutcracker Madness

I love designing custom invitations for our customers’ events, but when they give me complete creative freedom, it’s a lot more fun.

I was recently challenged with creating a custom invitation for a Christmas Coffee.  Off the top of my head, I suggested a Nutcracker and stacked teacups, and my customer immediately said, “go for it”, so I did!  This design was really fun to make, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  It’s fun, colorful and very cheerful (as a party invitation should be).

From time to time I share a behind-the-scenes look at my design process, and since this design is becoming a favorite so far this year, I thought I’d share more. Take a look at the photo below.  Does he look familiar?  The inspiration for my Nutcracker on paper came from one my own collection.  This guy is one of my faves – I call him Señor Nutcracker.


Until a few years ago, I thought Nutcrackers were creepy, but then I stumbled upon a handful of them at am Estate Sale.  For some reason, I felt compelled to “save” them, and since then, they’re some of my favorite holiday finds.

After I created the Nutcracker and Cups invitation, I went a little “Nutcracker crazy” (hey, if inspiration strikes, you go with it).  I wondered how it would look to have a Nutcracker invade a “Christmas Fiesta” invitation… so I designed two more ideas.  Aren’t they fun?!   We now have two options for your next Mexican-themed Holiday party – a custom design that takes about a week AND an off-the-shelf design that takes 2-3 days to print.  Either way, it will put your guests in the mood for mistletoe and maracas!  Ole!


And then I just kept going and created this custom gift tag…


Ok, ok, I’m stopping!!!!  (PS- this gift tag is a sneak peek.  More details on our NEW custom gift tags coming soon!)