2H Home & Outdoors

Quality handmade goods for life at home and in the outdoors

We're Back to Work!

Jayme RutledgeComment

After a very, very long year dominated by my pregnancy and the birth of our son Holt, we are BACK! 

I was so sick throughout my pregnancy that I was forced to take some time off from our business. After Holt was born, it took a few months to get into a routine and create time to update the website and fire up Instagram again. 

Frankly, it's still hard, but worth it! Holt, who's four months old today, is sitting in my lap as I type. He's figured out how to reach out and hit the keyboard. Text is being deleted and browser tabs are flying open everywhere, but I don't mind. He's a happy soul and quite a joy.

Aside from parenting and home improvements (posts about purchasing and fixing up our first home to come later), we're adding new items like crazy, including rolling pins and honey dippers, bottle openers and stoppers, new photography and frames

We have so much wood stacked up it'll take Zack months to use it up. New projects in progress are live edge side tables with turquoise and red hairpin legs and a wine bottle holder. I'm also going through dozens of photos I haven't had a chance to process yet. 

It's going to be a busy summer!

Art & Soul 2016: Wichita Falls

EventsJayme RutledgeComment
 Our booth at Art & Soul 2016 in Wichita Falls.

It was hot hot HOT this past weekend at Art & Soul 2016 in downtown Wichita Falls. Which is no surprise, really, being late June in Texas! It was a perfect weather for poolside lounging with salt-rimmed margaritas in hand...but alas, we were responsible adults (for the day, anyway). 

The show benefited the downtown development association, which is pushing for more locally-grown businesses and events in downtown Wichita Falls. Zack grew up in the surrounding area, so a lot of friends and family stopped by the booth. A couple of our good friends from Dallas also made the trip, too!

We crammed as much inventory as we could into our cars a la Beverly Hillbillies, but weren't able to bring as much inventory as usual. However, Zack debuted several new cutting boards he's been working on the past month. 

He's partial to creating with live edge wood, but that can create a lot of waste depending on the shape of the board. Instead of chunking those scraps, he cut them into strips and fashioned them into butcher block style cutting boards. A couple of them are end grain cutting boards, which tend to hide cuts and scratches from knives. They're not as hard on blades and won't have to be resurfaced as often. Professional chefs prefer them!   

 Mesquite table with turquoise starburst, top | Black walnut side table with hairpin legs, bottom.

Mesquite table with turquoise starburst, top | Black walnut side table with hairpin legs, bottom.

The awesome people across the street, Alley Cat Vintage, let me come in and soak up some blessed air-conditioning during the day. I was so relieved when the sun finally went down. As you can imagine, climbing into the shower later that night at our hotel was amazing! 

Anatomy of a Cutting Board

Jayme Rutledge2 Comments
Anatomy of a cutting board: A behind the scenes look at BandBDecor.com

If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen my first attempt at a gif, "Anatomy of a Cutting Board," or "How to Annoy Your Husband While He Works with Dangerous Power Tools" (clearly I am much better at clever titles than at gifs).

The gif was the result of a Saturday afternoon in Bowie, where Zack's mom and her husband own a nice piece of land with plenty of space to work. Zack and his younger brothers, Jarred and Quenton, brought out the table saw for some brotherly bonding sessions of wood cutting. 

These guys can't resist the siren call of power tools. I don't "do" power tools, but I do "do" cameras, so I thought I'd show you guys some "behind-the-scenes" snaps of Zack's latest cutting board designs.

anatomy of a cutting board.jpg

We're doing all this in preparation for the Art & Soul Festival in downtown Wichita Falls on Saturday, June 25, from 4pm - 10pm. It's a one-day festival featuring art, music, food, and shopping that benefits the city's downtown development.

The Downtown Proud organization is working to revitalize and bring new businesses to downtown, a goal worthy of supporting. We're excited to be included in the festival, especially since Zack grew up in the area.

We only have a few more weeks to create new inventory, and we're feeling the pressure. At least there isn't a wedding to finish planning. We're (officially) just an old married couple now.

But! Back to Zack's new designs, which are similar to the traditional "butcher block" cutting boards. He's been tracking down pretty specimens of black walnut, cherry, maple, and red oak, then cutting and gluing strips together to create a truly one-of-a-kind piece.

Sometimes he recuts and flips to show the end grain, too. The end result of all this work is sturdy, high-contrast cutting boards that fit into the modern farmhouse craze fueled by everyone's favorite DIY'ers, Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Take a look for yourself! Check them out here

And in case you're dying of curiosity to see my gif, well, who am I to deny you?

Easy Whipped Cream Recipe + Custom Wedding Cake Board

Cooking, EntertainingJayme RutledgeComment
Easy whipped cream recipe by BandBDecor.com

Cutting and serving boards have been a part of our shop for just over a year, and in that time we've had several custom requests, like a 3-foot charcuterie board for a corporate event planner in Colorado and an equally long crudites tray for a customer in Maine. 

But this is the first time we've been asked to create a custom wedding cake board. And really, it's about time someone thought of it (since we didn't)! This black walnut board is 17" in diameter (not including the handle).

Wedding cake board by BandBDecor.com

It will display the cake at the wedding of a lovely Dallas lady and her guy this fall. The board turned out so well we had to dress it up to show y'all. 

We picked up some mini pies from a bakery - no time to bake with all the wedding DIY going on - but I did make some homemade whipped cream.

Custom cake tray by BandBDecor.com

Making whipped cream at home is super easy to do, and the results are worth the extra effort. I thought I'd share my process with y'all.

The traditional pie topping can be whipped up a few different ways, but the easiest, in my opinion, is with a stand mixer. I admire traditional chefs who adhere to the old-fashioned hand whip method, but that ain't happening at Chez J'ayme (that's my Frenched-up name). 

And besides, I love an excuse to use my KitchenAid mixer. It makes me feel so competent in the kitchen!

Homemade Whipped Cream

First, gather up those three ingredients I mentioned: whipping cream, vanilla extract (imitation or not; your choice), and sugar.

These measurements yield a couple of cups, the perfect amount to top the mini pies.

1 cup heavy cream
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The cream should be as cold as possible, and it doesn't hurt to chill your bowl and whisk in the freezer ahead of time, too. 

Homemade whip cream recipe by BandBDecor.com

Pour all ingredients into the mixer bowl. If you haven't already, put on the whisk attachment and make sure the stand is securely locked. Choose a setting somewhere in the middle. Not too fast, and not too slow. I usually go with level six, myself. 

Now let the mixer do its magic. 

How to make homemade whip cream by BandBDecor.com

It takes around three minutes for my mixer to whip the cream into peaks, but I recommend keeping an eye on it and adjusting accordingly. When it has firmed up to your satisfaction, turn off the mixer and give it a good swirl with a spatula to test for thickness.

Go on, taste it! My rule is that I get to enjoy the extra whip on the spatula. And the whisk. And maybe the bowl. 

For a firmer consistency, like Cool Whip, put the whipped cream in the refrigerator for an hour. This trick is also useful if you don't have the time or forget to chill your bowl and whisk ahead of time.

I adore this whipped cream on top of my coffee. It's more flavorful than any creamer in the grocery store, or at Starbucks, in my opinion. And you can control how much sugar you want to put in it. 

What do you think of the cake board? Let us know in the comments below!

Dallas Flea Style is a Wrap!

EventsJayme Rutledge2 Comments

We're floored by the support and positive feedback we received at Saturday's Dallas Flea Style show at Fair Park. Thank YOU for the compliments, encouragement, suggestions, and sales. We couldn't have asked for a better day. We have so many ideas for new items, and can't wait to make them a reality. We are energized and motivated to CREATE!

The corner booth worked out well, so people could see the tables from both sides. Here's a closer look.

Dallas Flea Style 2

I also want to thank the Flea Style team for a great experience. We were both impressed with the new move to Fair Park and the kindness of the dedicated FS customers. We want to come back in the fall and hope Brittany and the FS team allow us to do so.

If you're at all interested in the "shop local" movement, Flea Style deserves your support. They have worked their fashionable fannies off to create a unique shopping experience that places a premium on makers meeting customers and fans face-to-face. 

B&B Decor at Dallas Flea Style

I will do my best to list the new items we debuted at the show. I have put the new tables on the website, but the photos are very informal (I'll add better pictures at a later date). Please bear with me over the next month. Our DIY wedding is the first weekend of April, and things are getting crazier by the moment. Dried flowers and burlap are a'flyin' everywhere.

However, even though we're knee-deep in wedding prep, that doesn't mean we're going AWOL. Feel free to reach out to us with questions or custom requests. We'll be shipping until March 30, and will close for our wedding and honeymoon March 31 - April 12. 

Meet Us at Dallas FleaStyle | Saturday, March 12!

EventsJayme RutledgeComment
Dallas FleaStyle

We are so pumped to be included in this spring's Dallas FleaStyle show! This is our inaugural showing but we hope to be included in more.

For the uninitiated, FleaStyle is formerly the Dallas Flea. I'd been to the Flea and bought several art pieces there but didn't realize I was applying to the same market until I recognized some of the vendors. 

The purpose of FleaStyle is to showcase a mix of local and regional vendors who sell handmade and vintage goods. That means everything from old-school duds to handmade soaps, purses, decor, art, etc.

The best part about markets like FleaStyle is the opportunity to observe and absorb the sheer amount of human creativity in under one roof. It'll be hard not to spend all our earnings (and hopefully that will be earnings plural)!

FleaStyle will be at the Fair Park Automobile Building one afternoon only -- Saturday, March 12 from 9am - 4pm. They haven't released the floor plan yet, so I'm not sure where we'll be. But judging by my memories from the State Fair, I don't think there's a bad spot in the place.

And I'm sharing a sneak peek of a new item we'll have at the show. I've been working on subway art for Dallas and Fort Worth. I finally wrapped up the Dallas piece, which is an 11x17 poster printed on lovely 60 lbs. paper

subway art dallas

It's a fun hybrid between subway art and old-fashioned bus roll. I will hopefully have a Fort Worth poster ready to go by show time. We hope to see you there!

The Best Ice Cream Punch: Redcoat Rally Punch Recipe

EntertainingJayme RutledgeComment
Redcoat Rally Punch by BandBDecor.com

Every Christmas, my mom digs out her best punch bowl for my favorite holiday tradition: ice cream punch. We sip it in fancy cups while opening gifts.

After this past Christmas, it occurred to me that I could enjoy this punch more than once a year. Seriously, the idea had never occurred to me before. 

I asked Mom for the recipe, and as it turns out the recipe was featured on a pamphlet Braum's gave out to customers one summer many moons ago. This particular punch is called "Redcoat Rally," which I assume has something to do with Fourth of July.

That's my best guess, anyway.

Here's what you need: 

  • 1 qt, 14 oz. pineapple juice (chilled)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6-oz. can frozen pink lemonade (defrosted)
  • 2-1/4 cups water
  • 1 qt. strawberry ice cream
  • 2-1/2 quarts ginger ale

Here's what you do:

  1. Break out your favorite punch bowl, ladle, and cups.  
  2. Mix together the first four ingredients (pineapple juice, sugar, frozen lemonade, and water).
  3. Next, add the ice cream and stir until blended.
  4. Here's the trick: Pour the ginger ale last. It helps melt the ice cream so it's ready for guests to enjoy a bit quicker.

That's it! Simple and delicious.

Birthday punch recipe by BandBDecor.com

I feel like I'm releasing a state secret by sharing this recipe. But it's too good not to revive this vintage concoction. To give you an idea of how much I love it, I don't care much for sweets or ice cream (salty snacks are my weakness), but I can't get enough of this punch.

I'm also not a fan of complicated recipes. As long as the ingredients are properly chilled beforehand, Redcoat Rally takes less than five minutes to whip up. Perfect for a birthday party or Easter Sunday brunch.

I was also looking for an excuse to break in the Moscow Mule mugs I got Zack for Christmas. They frost up so prettily when something cold and good is inside.

Also, a shout-out to Kathryn at Little h Creative who dyed and printed these vintage napkins! 

Ice cream punch recipe by BandBDecor.com

Adios, 2015!

Jayme RutledgeComment
2015 wrap up

It's mid-January and only now have I had a moment to reflect on 2015. Don't ever try to plan a wedding, work full-time and build a business all at once. I know, I know. I can hear a chorus of tiny violins.

Overall, 2015 was a year of revising goals and launching new ideas. During the first half of the year, my focus was on freelance writing and flipping on eBay. While I sold a print here and there on Etsy, the shop was pretty much dormant. We had stopped making and selling frames months ago. 

In April, Zack mentioned he wanted to do more woodworking again. He showed me pictures of cutting boards and cheese trays that featured a "live edge" (I admit I had no idea what a "live edge" was at the time) and said he had some designs in mind. Would I list them in the shop? Of course I said yes. 

He got to work, and our first cutting board sale happened in early May. To the little isle of Guam, of all places. When we received good feedback from that sale, it was an inspiring moment. When you buy from a micro business like ours, please know we appreciate every sale. 

Summer sales were promising enough that I decided to apply for Etsy Wholesale. First, however, we were required to have a website. I spent September building our little home on the web. If I've learned anything about websites, it's (a) let Squarespace do the coding for me (b) graphic design is harder than I thought and (c) there is not a point where I can stop and say "Ok, it's done."

Case in point: Blogging. I could post every day and it wouldn't be enough. My goal is to at least blog twice a month in 2016. 

 A glamorous behind-the-scenes look at a photo shoot for a blog. Nice toes!

A glamorous behind-the-scenes look at a photo shoot for a blog. Nice toes!

Blogging more often is at the top of my 2016 goal list. But back to 2015!

In October, we formally applied and were accepted to sell on Etsy Wholesale. Within the first month, we shipped three big wholesale orders. One to a Georgia farmers market, another to an online store in Michigan, and another to a new shop in Rhode Island.

In December, Zack and I sat down to talk about our goals moving forward. Based on a healthy amount of success and a busy holiday season, we decided to get serious about our little business.

Working for ourselves is what we want to do with our lives. It makes us happy and it fulfills us both creatively. I tend to shy away from public declarations due to a fear of failing. But as Tim Robbins says in Shawshank Redemption, "Get busy living or get busy dying."  

Moving forward meant closing down my sole proprietorship and forming a LLC (which isn't as intimidating as it's made out to be; do not waste your money buying a starter kit). The paperwork wrangling - from the state of Texas to the local bank - is ongoing. As one friend said, "That's so adult-y." 

Lastly, on New Year's Eve, we applied for a booth at Dallas FleaStyle. It's an amazing regional show that highlights handmade and vintage items. Just today we learned we made the cut! We also have plans to attend a show in Wichita Falls in the summer.

We have many more plans in the works. More details to come!

Quick Bedroom Revamp: Fill That Awkward Space at the End of the Bed

DecoratingJayme Rutledge2 Comments
Rustic mesquite table by BandBDecor.com

The foot of the bed can be a wasteland for whatever odd piece of furniture doesn't quite fit anywhere else in the house. Add a mountain of clothes, pillows and throws on top, and instead of intimate and restful, the space radiates stress and mess. 

The customer who commissioned this table had previously parked a pair of threadbare ottomans at the end of this king-sized bed. They were old, outdated, and a magnet for clutter. Their saggy appearance also detracted from the gorgeous mesquite headboard that serves as the bedroom's focal point.

Rustic table in mesquite by BandBDecor.com.

Our customer gave us three requirements: First, to make a piece that she would be proud of and thus feel motivated to keep free of clutter. The table shouldn't take up too much space, but yet complement the mesquite headboard and lamps the couple has collected over the years.

The build breakdown:

  • Top: 60" long, 3" thick mesquite slab
    • Preserved live edge
    • Natural, matte finish
  • Base: 18" tall x 48" long custom steel design
    • Painted oil rubbed bronze
    • Hammered detailing

We have a nearly identical base to the one above. It's 10" taller at 28" high and will eventually be a sofa table. We're probably going to use another lovely slab of mesquite for the top. If all goes well, it'll be one of the new pieces we'll have for the spring shows.

Custom mesquite table by BandBDecor.com

A custom piece built to your specifications adds value that mass produced furniture can't offer. Being surrounded by pieces you love and cherish changes the atmosphere of a home and gives new meaning to the phrase personal space.

At the end of our bed is a trunk Zack built using old wooden bleachers salvaged from his hometown's high school. We've laughed about how many butts must've sat on that wood over the decades. Or at least I laughed. I think Zack was a little disturbed by the mental image.

But joking aside, most of his family watched basketball games and cheered at pep rallies sitting on those bleachers, so it means something to him. And that's what's important.

What do you have at the end of your bed? Share your ideas!

How to Make a Simple Charcuterie Board

Entertaining, CookingJayme Rutledge4 Comments
How to make a simple charcuterie board, dessert tray or appetizer tray for your next gathering or party by BandBDecor.com.

When I first heard of charcuterie, I wondered if I was pronouncing it right (shar-coo-tur-ee) and prematurely dismissed it as too French and too fancy for my kitchen skills. How wrong I was! 

A gorgeous serving board piled high with meats, cheeses, crackers, and bread not only looks amazing on a table, it creates a natural gathering spot for guests to gab and eat. 

 My combo cheese & charcuterie board. Meats: salame, capocollo, calabrese. Cheeses: Muenster, Wensleydale.

My combo cheese & charcuterie board. Meats: salame, capocollo, calabrese. Cheeses: Muenster, Wensleydale.

Charcuterie - which simply means meat - can be as complicated or as simple as you like. If you choose to do dry-cured meats (like salame), putting together a charcuterie board doesn't require any actual cooking. You just need some know-how in the meat section at the grocery store and an eye for pretty arrangements.

Once you have the meats chosen, assembly is quick and easy, but the final result looks like you spent hours preparing for your guests. Which, of course, you did! Right? 

Finding charcuterie doesn't require a specialty butcher. A trip to Central Market or even your local neighborhood grocery will suffice. I've found that most urban Walmart and Target groceries usually have a small but sufficient specialty meat and cheese section. 

How to style a cheese board or charcuterie board by BandBDecor.com

For my board, I chose three Italian meats: salame, capocollo, and calabrese. The meats are thinly sliced, but still flavorful. They're also relatively common sandwich additions, so those with pickier palates aren't too timid to try them. 

Thin slices also make it easier for guests to fold onto water crackers or crusty chunks of bread. You can buy the meats pre-sliced in the package, so you don't have a flag down a butcher at the store.

The fun part - deciding what spreads and cheeses to use - comes next. I love Trader Joe's truffle mustard with smoked Gruyere on wheat bread with capocollo or salame. On this board, I have Muenster (it's Zack's favorite) and a crumbly, mild Wensleydale. 

Mixing regions is probably frowned upon by purists, but I am the reigning queen of substitution - much to Zack's chagrin.

If you're stumped on what cheese to select, pick one each mild, medium and sharp. Guests will enjoy mixing different flavor combinations. My solid go-tos are Gruyere, Gouda, and cheddar.

However, taking risks can result in delicious mistakes. Once, I accidentally bought a Wensleydale cheese without realizing it had a blend of apples and blackcurrants. I experimented and discovered an excellent way to eat it is on crackers drizzled with maple syrup. More, please!

How to make a simple charcuterie board, dessert tray or appetizer tray for your next gathering or party by BandBDecor.com.

I also use trays to serve small desserts, like individual slices of cheesecake or even different flavors of chocolate. The mini torte tray above has a matching glass cloche. It's so tiny and cute! 

You don't have to wait for a special occasion to do a charcuterie board or cheese board. I had just finished snapping photos of this spread when Zack came home from work. Instead of cooking dinner, he was happy to graze off the table. It was more than enough to satisfy two people. 

Oh - one last thing! Pickled vegetables are also popular complements to charcuterie and cheese boards. I have an easy recipe for amazing bread and butter pickles I'll share soon.

What do you put on your charcuterie and cheese boards? Let me know!