Shannon’s Bridal Shower

Shannon’s Bridal Shower

Over the past three years, we’ve had the pleasure of working this pretty special girl right here —> Shannon.  She’s always got a smile on her face and our customers love her as much as we do!

DSC_0217 smShe’s a great student, a hard worker, a thoughtful friend, and now – a beautiful Bride-to-Be.   Our team has watched Shannon’s relationship with Austin blossom from the beginning, and even though we’re sad to see her move on (we don’t want her to leave!!!!)… we ARE excited for this next chapter in her life!  So naturally, the Barque team wanted to send her off in style with a Bridal Shower.  I mean, parties are what we DO – of course we wanted to throw one for one for her!DSC_0084 smThe fantastic hand-lettering details were created by another talented Barque team member – Kelsey.  {find her on Instagram  @kelseylainee}.  Don’t you love this chalk sign?  She also did all the mini signs for our snacks.DSC_0050 sm

DSC_0066 smThe gorgeous strawberries were handmade by our resident Party Queen, Suzanne.  She’s pretty much a pro when it comes to party mechanics and details.  She was also kind enough to host the shower in her home – and it served as the perfect backdrop!

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DSC_0067 smWe purchased the bride’s favorite thumbprint cookies from Simply Decadent Bakery, and the Keesha made the Artichoke Lemon Pesto Dip (we carry it in the store and it’s a crowd favorite at parties).

DSC_0091 smFor the floral arrangements, we decided on a combination of simple white flowers and vegetable garden accents.  I had seen one similar to this from Southern Living awhile back, so I was anxious to try it for myself.  I made a few modifications to their tutorial here, but I love how it turned out!DSC_0087 smThe larger arrangement also had hints from the garden with various pops of color from carrots, brussels sprouts, orange beets, artichokes, kale, collard greens and radishes.

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DSC_0047 smShannon’s guests showered her with so many great things!

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DSC_0135 smDo you recognize any of these pretty ladies from the shop?  :)

DSC_0106 smNone of us wanted to play cliche “Bridal Shower Games”, so instead we opted for something PAPER related (shocking) – Milestone Mail for the happy couple!  Guests were asked to choose a milestone event, write it on the front of the envelope, then write them a blessing or word of encouragement to read when that milestone occurs.  It should be a fun way for her to remember these guests and how much they care for her – even years down the road!

DSC_0185 smThe hostesses of the shower gifted Shannon a big basket of kitchen goodies – and we made each item special with words of well wishes.

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DSC_0224 smWe ended the shower with a sweet photo of our “Barque twins” – aren’t they the cutest?  {By the way, Emory and Kelsey did some serious wrestling to get those balloons to cooperate – it was a windy day!}

Shannon, we are proud that you’ve spent the last three years working for us and we wish you nothing but happiness in this new chapter of your life!

Love, the Barque Team

[ If you’re planning a Shower soon, you might want to download our Shower Planning Sheet – this idea came from a customer who has throwing showers down pat!  Thank you for the great idea Tomi!]

What’s Trending for 2016

What’s Trending for 2016

At every Market, I enjoy spotting themes and trends – they seem to just reach out and grab me. I find it interesting how so many independent vendors can be “on” the same design trend at the same time. Sometimes it’s downright spooky!

Author Elizabeth Gilbert calls this phenomenon multiple discovery.

” To me, multiple discovery just looks like inspiration hedging its bets, fiddling with the dials, working two channels at the same time.  Inspiration is allowed to do that, if it wants to.  Inspiration is allowed to do whatever it wants to, in fact, and it is never obliged to justify its motives to any of us.  (As far as I’m concerned, we’re lucky that inspiration talks to us at all; it’s too much to ask that it also explain itself.)” – Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

(which by the way I highly recommend reading if you’re a creative type)

So, are you curious what trends I spotted at this January’s Gift Market? Here ya go, my friends!   Just remember, when you start noticing these on your own “in the wild”, you heard it here first!

+ flamingos, flamingos, flamingos!

{giant flamingo pool float by Sunnylife + feathered flamingo decorations by Creative Co-op + flamingo lights by Creative Co-op + talk all day card by Mr.Boddington’s Studio + inflatable flamingo drink holder by Sunnylife + you’re so fabulous card by J. Falkner + hello flamingo card set by Waste Not Paper + coral flamingo scarf by Tickled Pink}

+  gold foil (still) – on stationery, drinkware, greeting cards, home accessories – this isn’t a new trend, but it’s not going away soon!

{drinky tumbler by Easy Tiger + Yay! champagne glass by Easy Tiger + best decision card by Sugar Paper + Kate Spade 2016 agenda by Lifeguard Press}

+  gem/jewel/spirograph/geometric shapes – loving this look!

{geometric votive and candle holders by Creative Co-op + light fixture by Creative Co-op + art print by Read Between the Lines}

Holiday Foam Cup Inspiration 

Holiday Foam Cup Inspiration 

Sometimes you never know when inspiration will strike, and this year the designs for our two most popular foam cups were sparked at random.  Often people ask “How we come up with these things?”, so I thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes look.As I was breezing through the grocery store to grab lunch one afternoon, I saw this apron.  I immediately thought it would be fun to have cups that say “Team Naughty”, but to be fair, you would also need some that say “Team Nice”.  So we developed a mixed pack of cups (with 5 of each), so partivipants can choose which “side” they want to be on.  It makes getting a party beverage interactive AND  a great conversation starter! Our most popular foam cups this season was a nod to pop culture – and it sold out as quickly as we predicted it would!  With all the  “Whip/ Nae Nae” craze this year, I though it would be fun to put the idea on a cup.  After seeing an image on Facebook with a horse-drawn carriage with the lyrics, my creative juices started taking over…  And once I started creating the artwork in Adobe Illustrator, it just seemed funny to have Santa at the reigns – so I added him! Fun, right?

Thanksgiving Dinner Game Plan

Thanksgiving Dinner Game Plan

I love planning a holiday meal.  As new food magazine issues emerge on the shelves, I start collecting them – and scouring them – using page flags and sticky notes to mark interesting recipes.

I’m lucky that my family is laid back when it comes to holiday meals.  They usually leave the menu up to me, and I love the responsibility – it lets me get a little creative!

A decision on the protein comes first – turkey, ham, duck, Cornish game hen, seafood?  From there I plan the sides carefully… and yes, I write it all down on one big list.  (Normally I make a list of possible sides and then mark them off based on relevance to the protein.)  Once I’ve narrowed down my sides and desserts (the two hardest categories to whittle down), I make a shopping list.  I go through the ingredients in each recipe and check it with items I have on hand.  If I need something, it goes on the shopping list – with amounts needed jotted out to the side.  So, if for example, I need butter for the green beans, butter for the mashed potatoes and butter for the dessert – I might have a side note of 1/2 cup + 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons… Before heading to the store, I do the math so I buy the right amount of each ingredient.

**My Holiday Grocery Shopping Trick – Buying in bulk (especially when everyone else is) can be a waiting game.  Instead, plan out your shopping list early and conquer it by making more frequent, quick stops during the week leading up to the holiday.  Plan to buy 10 items or less so you can go through the Express Lane – it’s a breeze and you’ll have all you need in no time, without having to wait 30-45 minutes in a long register line! **

I’ve made TWO free printables to help you with your Thanksgiving Dinner planning and shopping – just click on these links to download a thanksgiving menu planning and a thanksgiving shopping list.

Another clever idea for your holiday (and everyday) entertaining is to keep a Cooking Journal.  I got this one years ago at Anthropologie, but any journal or notebook will do.  In my food journal,  I keep track of menus for holidays and other special get-togethers.  It’s kind of like in the movie High Fidelity when John Cusack’s character reorganized his record collection in chronological order.  If I remember that we loved the potatoes from last Easter but our favorite turkey was from Christmas 3 years ago, I can mix and match to create a better menu for the next holiday.  It’s a good way to keep beloved recipes close at hand (if they’re well received I jot down the recipe in the book) – and I love to look back on what went over well and what didn’t.

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Here’s a peek inside my cooking journal.  I make notes of the event, date of the meal, who was in attendance and where the dinner was for future reference.  I also include a rating out to the side of experimental dishes – stars if we loved the dish and X’s if we hated it… keeps us from repeating culinary mistakes.  In this journal, I also experiment on recipes I’ve had and want to duplicate or recipes I’ve thrown together and liked.  It’s where I keep track of my culinary adventures (and misadventures too).

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I would recommend a cooking journal to any aspiring foodie… in fact, if you know a foodie who doesn’t have one, it might be a great Christmas gift idea.

It’s back to Thanksgiving dinner plans for me.  Happy Thursday!

New Fall Stationery?  Check.

New Fall Stationery? Check.

buffalo check stationery

Buffalo check, in fact.

This summer we basked in the glory of cabana stripes, but as we transition into fall – we knew it was time to switch things up a bit.  The design inspiration for this collection came from a few different sources.  First, the current series of Target commercials.  They’re just so… PLAID (and fun)!  In fact, once we noticed their commercials, we started seeing plaids/checks everywhere (including Glamour magazine and this great calendar from 1 Canoe 2).

1Canoe2 Calendar

A simple plaid or check pattern is perfect for fall.  It reminds us of flannel shirts, cozy wool blankets by a bonfire, or a stunning statement jacket.

Can you dig it?  If so, pick up your initial for just $12 (10 cards and envelopes), and if you need a quick gift – add a matching Le Pen for just $1.99!

buffalo check stationery

Want to see the Target commercials that got our creative juices flowing?

this http://ispot.tv/a/AY7Q

and this http://ispot.tv/a/ALWd

and this http://ispot.tv/a/ALOz