Mexican Blanket Invitation:  Behind the Scenes

Mexican Blanket Invitation: Behind the Scenes

A few years ago, I was walking into the grocery store behind a gentleman wearing this shirt. (Sorry it’s a terrible photo, but I was on the move.)

IMG_8024I loved the bright colors and how it reminded me of a Mexican blanket, and I immediately thought it would make a great invitation.  I re-created the look by using various widths of stripes and bright colors – adding a few “stitching” details to make the design look more like a textile.  While it’s a simple design, t’s the look I was going for – and it’s been a popular option at the store.  This “Mexican Blanket” design is available in two sizes – 6×9 and 5×7 – some are pre-packaged on our shelves (for customers who want to print their own), but  we can also print these as a custom job and change up the colors.

IMG_9144smWhat do you think?  Inspiration really is everywhere, friends.  Keep your eyes open!

No Spring Chicken Custom Invitation

No Spring Chicken Custom Invitation

This year I had the pleasure of designing the 50th birthday invitation for my friend Tony.  He’s been one of my favorite people for over a decade, and I wanted his invitation to reflect his fun personality!  Normally, when I think of Tony, I imagine all things green and shamrock-covered (he was born on St.Patty’s Day), but the inspiration for this event came from his love of chickens, the South, and all things vintage paper (we both collect antique paper decorations).

Tony’s party featured Southern comfort food and was hosted at a favorite local restaurants in Greensboro – Scrambled – so I thought these coordinating cocktail napkins would be the perfect addition. (PARTY IN THE HEN HOUSE!)

Sadly, I wasn’t unable to attend the festivities in person, but I’m honored to have played a small part in the fun.  It’s always feels good to celebrate loved ones by highlighting their style and letting it shine!

Congratulations on living half a century, Tony!

[ Design details:  This invitation incorporates bright, cheerful color like red, turquoise and yellow, but the fonts are eroded to give it a “vintage postcard” feel.  The chicken, of course, is a focal point, but the wording plays on it nicely – “He’s no spring chicken, but he’s still mighty fine!”… and even though you can’t tell in this photo, the back is a turquoise and white gingham pattern, keeping in the “Southern” theme.  The cocktail napkins are a natural color with red ink to match.]


Holiday Photo Cards:  Behind the Scenes

Holiday Photo Cards: Behind the Scenes

A few weeks ago, I sat down to sketch new holiday photo card ideas (hard to believe it’s already time for that again, isn’t it?).

Sometimes the end result is quite different than the original sketch, and sometimes they’re almost exactly alike.  This year, several designs ended up close to the original, so I thought it might be fun to share. It’s pretty interesting to see how an idea comes to life, don’t you think?  Can you spy the original sketch for each of these?


You can see all of our holiday photo card options HERE (use the code: EARLYBIRD to save 25% – sale ends November 14, 2015).

One of my favorite new cards this year is this one, simply because of the clever verse that @kelseylainee came up with:

selfies holiday cardFunny, right?  Everyone can appreciate a little pop culture humor during the holidays.

Happy holiday card season, friends!


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?


and this

and this

Cue the Confetti!

Cue the Confetti!

Have you heard the news?  Barque was just named Trendy Stationer of the Year by Stationery Trends Magazine!  We’re honored and excited and feel very blessed.


We love our customers and what we do every day, but it’s nice to be recognized by our peers in the paper industry too.  Our goal is to cultivate a modern love affair of paper in our community and customers.  No atter what you hear, paper is NOT going out of style.  In fact, in this age of technology, it leaves an even bigger impact!  You can only keep a test as long as you have that phone, friends.  Say it on paper instead (and makes someone’s day in the process).  Carry on paper people.  And cue the confetti!

National Stationery Show 2015 Recap

National Stationery Show 2015 Recap

Every May when I board a plane for NYC to attend the National Stationery Show, I get “first day of school” jitters.  I’m anxious to see what new products I discover, nervous that the trip will be worth the time and expense (plus time away from work), and downright excited for the show – and great restaurants!


This year I went with a slightly different focus in mind – instead of invitations, I was on the hunt for greeting cards – and lots of them.  After the “The Switch” last April, our greeting card sales have skyrocketed.  It’s wonderful news, but now the pressure is on.  We love when customers tell us we are their go-to place for cards – we just can’t let them down now!


This year’s show did not disappoint in the greeting card department – we found several new lines and had great response to sneak peeks we posted on Instagram (@barquegifts).  Here are a few discoveries that will make their way to our shelves over the next few months:









wimpyCards from:  Emily McDowell  /  Paper Bandit Press  /  Ladyfingers Letterpress  /  McBitterson’s  /  Farewell Paperie6.25 Paper Studio  /  Paper Bandit Press  /  Paisley Tree Press  /  Paisley Tree Press

Don’t you just love these Social Preparedness Kits from Egg Press?  The little fiberglass tray can be used as a catch-all once the stationery is gone.  Brilliant!


And this adorable onesie from Lionheart Prints?  Awe… (Also available in pink – coming soon).


NSS is such a great place for inspiration too!  I probably stared at this booth display wall from Smock for at least 10 minutes.


And finally, I ordered personalized stationery albums from Haute Papier.  Man oh man, the stock is high quality and really sharp – and colorful envelope and liner options really send it over the top!


My personal award for the Most Startling Card goes to this one from Ghost Academy… Yes, it pushes the envelope a bit (I shy away from the F word – my grandma shops with me!), but I just couldn’t stop laughing at it.  So of course it’s on order.


This trip was especially fun because my friend Christie from Stationery Academy joined me to walk the show. I told her it wouldn’t be a trip to NYC without good food, and she was more than happy to be on board with that.  For lunch on Saturday, we got our NYC pizza fix at John’s Pizzeria in Times Square, near our hotel.

Reservations for dinner at Saxon + Parole will definitely be happening again.  The food was delicious and the atmosphere/decor was very creative and fun.  (Our favorite dish of the night was a pot of chicken liver mousse, red currant, and pepper jelly served with toast – highly recommend it.) saxon

On Sunday after walking the show, Christie and I attended a lovely Stationery Academy Alumni Soiree at Kari Joy’s Apartment near Central Park – isn’t her balcony space charming?


That was such a fun night – laughing and chatting with stationery friends – now that’s a special group of ladies right there!

On Monday, Jennifer joined Christie and I for dinner at Gato – Bobby Flay’s restaurant.  It was amazing all around – fantastic food, a comfortable atmosphere and definitely a highlight of the entire trip.  (If you’re going, I recommend the roasted Octopus and Avocado Fava Bean Salad!)


Great cards, hanging with my paper peeps and amazing food?  Yep, I think this year’s trip to NSS was a success!