Halloween Details

Halloween Details

I must admit, I’m a bit of a Fraidy Cat.  I can’t watch horror movies {accidentally saw 5 minutes of Children of the Corn when I was a kid and it haunted me for years}, and I’ve never been to a haunted house {no thank you, very much}… but I do love decorating for Halloween {even if it is pretty PG13}!

I thought it might share few details of my “frightfully delightful” Halloween decor to proof it doesn’t ALL have to be blood and gore and scary to be fun!

My mantle display is similar to last year, but I decided to ditch the colorful banner and add a few more crows and cobwebs.


I also recreated the “mercury glass” mirror this year.  The first time I did this project, I used single pane glass, which apparently wasn’t sturdy enough for the layers of paint I put on it (so it cracked – as you can see in the earlier photos).  This time I opted for double pane glass, which was perfectly sturdy for the DIY Mercury Project.


By the front door, I have my “bucket-o-brooms” displayed (in a wire milk carton).


In the entryway, I decorate a glittery black tree with Halloween ornaments.  {Don’t you love the vintage Jack-O-Lantern candy bucket?}

DSC_0799smI also framed a spooky “changing portrait” that I got from Haunted Memories { WARNING: Some of their portraits are super freaky, so proceed with caution.  I tried to pick the most “tame” option I could find… because I’m a scaredy cat!}



I also love this little surface with a variety of Halloween {and everyday} items.


On the guest room door, I’ve hung a wreath that I made from old book pages and a styrofoam wreath form.  This is a delicate decoration that requires extra TLC to maintain every year, but I still love it.


An extra section of garden fence, adorned with black feather boas and a few witch’s hats, serves as my “Hat Check”.


Here’s a closer look at the “Hat Check” tags – I saw these featured in a magazine several years ago, so I duplicated the idea {I’d be happy to give them credit for the idea, but I just can’t remember which magazine it was}.


Do you decorate for Halloween?  Do you prefer bloody and horrific over PG/PG13?  Let me know, I’m curious!

Football Mantle

Football Mantle

As soon as September arrived, I felt an itch to put up festive mantle decorations, but I wasn’t quite ready to deck it out for Halloween… so I went with a football theme!


For this project,  I started with the framed artwork on the mantle- normally, it’s a painting of bicycles – but since I enlarge a photo at Christmas to change it up, it made sense to try the same trick here too.  Mom scanned in my dad’s sophmore football photo and I had it printed at FedEx Office, then mounted it on foam core. (cost approximately $15)


I try to utilize items that I already have, but it’s fun to toss in a few new pieces too.  Since I couldn’t find a loving cup, I improvised with my champagne bucket and a vintage football that I found at the antique store last weekend.  The clipboard came from at an estate sale awhile back, and I just printed out the Texas Tech football schedule to put on it.  (The books I already had, of course, because I have book addiction – more evidence of that here and here.)


For the other side, I found a few treasures on ebay:  a youth football helmet ($11), a personal chalk board ($4) and a Texas Tech pennant (from concessions stand sales in the 70’s, brand new condition, $12).

UPDATE:  I had to correct the chalkboard play, as my football coach father was embarrassed that it wasn’t even “a real one”.  For the record, I asked him to send me a play to use, and he DID… they just weren’t very pretty.  My brother drew out a new play, and I think we’ve got a good compromise now:

A fresh coat of red paint on an old megaphone (who knows how long I’ve had that thing, maybe junior high?) add a nice pop of color to the left side of the fireplace.


For the right side, a folding stadium chair (from an estate sale for $5) and my bucket of fireplace tools (yes, it’s almost time for fires in the fireplace!) make themselves at home quite nicely.


So here I am, all ready for fall, and especially ready for football season!

How do you deck out your mantle for fall?  I’d love to hear!


Prettying up the Porch

Prettying up the Porch

Last summer  was my initial “investment” in the patio project.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I knew that I had to start somewhere, so the World Market Outdoor Furniture Sale was my first stop.  **TIP:  Apparently they have this sale annually,  mid-June to July, so if you plan ahead and watch for it, you can save BIG time.  I just happened upon the sale last year and a sales associate told me their goal is to have everything cleared out by July 4th.**

I ended up choosing this Catalina Occasional Deep Bench (it’s seriously deep – probably twin bed size!), Occasional Chair, Coffee Table and Side Table.  It took a little extra work to acquire the set (my local store didn’t have them all), but between my mom and I, we did it.  And even better, everything was 50-75% off because they were on sale (and some were store displays)!  {Retail value:  $600, Actual cost: $250}

Next up, I ordered a rug from Target {approximately $70}


This summer I decided to add COLOR.

First I bought a slipcover for the bench and chair cushions (the day the went on sale because I was watching for the email)!  Actually, I bought a few so I can change them out – red, turquoise and off white.


Then I mixed in a few colorful pillows and a lantern from Garden Ridge.

DSC_0007smOriginally, I thought some flameless candles from there would work too… but they melted after about 10 minutes in the heat.  So I went online and found these fab ones that are made specifically for the out of doors.  I like that they flicker, have an optional timer, and their glow isn’t that fake bright orange.

DSC_0016smI planted a few new flowers {in existing pots}, added a Patio Egg to keep the mesquitoes away and… DONE!


I know it will probably always be a work in progress, but at least it’s cheerful and it’s a good start.

Cheers to prettying up the porch.  Now I just need to have a porch party to break it in!

PS- If you like the succulent tower, I’ve got instructions for how to make one here.



“The Switch”

“The Switch”

Even though it’s been a long time coming (almost 2 years in my head), the transformation (aka – “The Switch”)  from being Calligraphy Etc. to Barque happened VERY quickly.  Yes, it took a lot of pre-planning, but once we got the ball rolling, the entire project was completed from Saturday afternoon(move out) to Thursday evening (preview party for family and friends).  Needless to say, there were a LOT of fantastic worker bees that made that happen, but now that it’s all done, the store is exactly as I had imagined it.  Actually, it’s even better.  I might need some serious sleeping in over the next few days to get caught up, but at least now I can rest knowing that the hard part is done.  I’ve been brainstorming about “The Switch” for so long it’s hard to believe it’s actually a reality!

Here are a few before pics of the store:


Note, I always hated the slat wall and super high ceilings and high bay lights (yuck), but since the purchase of the store (and move to this location) happened in less than 2 months, I didn’t have much choice but to just go with it.

DSC_0867The invitation room before – way too utilitarian and not a very good use of the floor space, especially since now we do more custom invitation than packaged ones.

DSC_0861Our “kitchen corner” before.

A few during:

DSC_0895I couldn’t believe we were able to move all of contents of the store OUT – it was crazy!

DSC_0919The contractors starting to install the wooden “clouds”

DSC_0926One of my favorite moments – the “wood walls” going up!  I had collected several pieces of antique wood for them to mix in with the pickled wood the clouds were made of.  I’m seriously considering having this done in my dining room next!

DSC_0963Isn’t she beautiful?  I’m in love.


And finally…. After!

DSC_1056I LOVE the new feel of the store with the changes – it’s homey, and inviting, and much more interesting… and I think it’s much more ME!  In fact, the best compliment I’ve been getting is how much more this looks like me and my home.  That just makes my heart happy.  Spy that bakery case?  It’s full of fresh baked dog treats!  We’re the only store in Lubbock to offer them.

DSC_1018The fixture about our register is the same one I have in my kitchen.  Thought I might as well have it in my “second home” too!

DSC_1068Check out those fabulous new invitation shelves (made from scratch by my super awesome granddad) – they use less floor space and actually hold more than what we had before – and they’re on wheels!

DSC_1061“Kitchen corner” no more!  I think our White Wing Label and Jon Hart displays are so much more appealing in this space!

DSC_1008This makes me happy.  And it makes me love coming to work even more than I did before, because it’s really MINE.

A big thank you to my amazing team of girls (who worked like crazy, even juggling school, to make this happen during the week), my supportive family for their prayers and help, my grandparents for their mad skills at making shelves and other necessary installations, friends who have listened to me drone on endlessly about store ideas, Hasco Commercial Construction for the actual manual labor and to God for the amazing opportunity to live my dream.

Feeling extremely blessed,




So this new name, Barque, how do you say it?  [bahrk] – sounds like a dog’s bark or bark on a tree.

Now then, what does it mean?

According to the dictionary, it’s a sailing vessel, which is but for our purposes, Barque is a combination of things we love – paper, dogs and cooking.  It’s a pretty random combination, but it about sums up ME.

Paper (think bark on trees) + Dog’s bark + the “que” nods to French influence (and cooking). So in a vague and round about way, Barque encompasses our new focus: gifts, events on paper and puppy love.  Our goal is provide a unique selection of products and services, and I can pretty much guarantee that there’s not an existing store like it!

Below is our branding board, to help convey the style we’re going for with the new name and look, if you’re interested:


Why Change? Why Now?

whyI know what you’re here for.  You have two questions:  Why change? and Why now?

I’ll answer that in a bit, but first, let me back up and give you a little background (in a nutshell).

My love affair of paper began with my college job at Calligraphy Etc. (back when it was in Memphis Place Mall).  Designing an invitation for a friend led to my first job as graphic designer in Dallas, and seven years later , when I was offered the opportunity to buy the store, I went for it.   Three weeks later, not to mention a bunch of hoops to jump through and numerous prayers uplifted, it happened.   I officially became a store owner, and it was a dream come true.   (Honestly, as hokey as it sounds, on my last day as an employee, I remember looking back and telling myself that someday I would like to have a store like that.)

So now, answers.

WHY I would choose to “change” a store that has served Lubbock successfully for almost 30 years?

– It’s NOT the same store it was 30 years ago

– It’s not even the same store I bought 6 years go

– I have poured so much into this business that it’s started to reflect ME, and my gut tells me that this is the right thing to do.


– I’m trying to plan ahead so that we can be around for another 30 years.  Yes, it’s a scary change (and truthfully bittersweet), but the art of calligraphy is fading, and most people are under the impression that all we do is offer calligraphy classes or sell calligraphy supplies (in fact, 7 out of 10 asked).  That’s the loss of a LOT of potential customers who think they don’t need what we have to offer.  I hate to think that we’re losing them simply because they don’t know what we actually DO.  I think if we change it now, we have a real chance to still be around- even when no one knows what calligraphy is anymore. (Don’t think that will happen?  Ask your kids what an 8-track is!  I’m trying to get us ahead of the curve.)

So much has changed since I took over the store in 2008, but my love of the store has stayed the same.  Don’t worry, even though the name is changing, we are still rooted in our past.  We have the privilege of helping customers with life’s biggest milestones (hence the new tagline “life’s defining moments”) – from weddings to births of babies, birthday, retirement and everything in between.  My team and I get to be a part of it!

We’re excited to continue serving you, and we know you will be pleasantly surprised with some of the changes we’ve made.  Thanks for your loyal support, as well as your encouragement and affirmation that what we have to offer makes life easier for you.

Also, thanks for hanging in there with us.  I’m putting my heart on the line with this one, so I hope you like it!

Oh, and if you haven’t heard yet, the store’s official new name is Barque (more on that to come).