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!]

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.]


Let’s Flamingle!

Let’s Flamingle!

Earlier this year (after Market), we predicted that one of the HOT trends for 2016 was the flamingo… those pink feathered beauties were ALL OVER!… and we fell in love, so we jumped on the bandwagon.

Take a look at these NEW foam cups and koozies that just arrived!  They’re neon pink and perfect for the sunny weather!

{sleeve of 10 foam cups $7.99 + koozie $5.99 + flamingo picks $7.99 for a package of 24}

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.


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).



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!

End of Summer Fiesta

End of Summer Fiesta

To wrap up the summer, I thought it might be fun to throw an End of Summer Fiesta for the entire Barque team.  We’ve never had an official “office party” or anything, so this was new – but definitely fun and we will do it again!

A good fiesta has to start with colorful decorations, so I knew paper fans and tissue honeycomb would be an easy option to hang between the dining room and front door.

honeycomb fans

To start building the tablescape early in the week of the party, I layered a black tablecloth with a white knitted one on top.  Once I added a serape runner, it started to take on the festive vibe I was going for.  With the addition of a few chile/salsa cans from the grocery store, it really started to take shape.

fiesta table runner

A few days before the party, I made tissue paper napkin rings and menus.  You can see the tutorial for those here.

fiesta napkin rings

The day before the party, I emptied the cans and filled them with flowers – spray roses, dahlias, spider mums, stock, Billy balls and such.

salsa cans

fiesta flowers

For place cards, I printed the guest names on colored cardstock, cut them out, and used a scalloped Martha Stewart punch from Michael’s to create the lace detail at the bottom.

fiesta menu and napkin ring

For the Fiesta Menu, I decided to prepare dishes  from cookbooks we sell in the store.  That way, my entire team could have first hand experience with some of the recipes.

Starters – Tortilla Chips, Salsa, Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Soup & Salad – Green Chile Corn Chowder (Pioneer Woman) and Orange Cabbage Salad (The Forest Feast)

Main – Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce (Perini Ranch Cookbook) and Chimichurri, plus a Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad

Dessert – Dutch Oven Blackberry Cobbler with Buttermilk Lime Ice Cream (Sweet on Texas)

I’m not sure why the only photo I got was of the dessert, but it sure was tasty, so here ya go.  And I have to say that the Buttermilk Lime Ice Cream was worth the extra effort.  It was delicious!


Of course the bar cart was stocked with Citrus Water (water with lemons and limes), 3-Step Margaritas (they’re SO easy) and Corona.

fiesta bar cart

{The decorative flags on the bar cart were made with my Silhouette Cameo, but that was kind of a disaster.  One would cut perfectly and the next would be a train wreck – no reason why – so I’m kind of mad at my machine at the moment.}

fiesta bar cart

As a party favor, guests received tiny bottles of hot sauce with a fun gift tag.

hot sauce party favors

All in all, we had a great time – we had great conversation, enjoyed the food, and had such a good time.  Definitely going to do more of this “office party” thing in the future!

{If you want to see the inspiration behind this party, check out the Pinterest board here.}

Fiesta Tissue Napkin Rings

Fiesta Tissue Napkin Rings

As I’m planning an End of Summer Fiesta, so I thought it might be fun to create decorative napkin rings for it.  They were easy, and I like how they added more color to the tablescape.

To begin, you will need:

– scissors

– empty toilet paper rolls (or paper towel rolls)

– craft glue

– sheets of colored tissue paper


fiesta napkin rings

First, cut the empty toilet paper/paper towel cardboard tubes into rings approximately 2.5″ wide.

fiesta napkin ringsThen fold them in half and use the scissors to cut “fringe” on one side – approximately 1/4″ between cuts.fiesta napkin ringsfiesta napkin ringsNext, use the glue (sparingly) to attach the tissue strips one at a time to the cardboard tube.fiesta napkin ringsfiesta napkin ringsKeep adding layers of tissue until the entire cardboard tube is covered (approximately 4 layers).fiesta napkin ringsAfter gluing, use your fingers to gently “rough up” the fringe a bit – I think it looks better that way.fiesta menu and napkin ring{As you can tell, I repeated the same process for the menu, using longer tissue strips.}