Monday, November 30, 2009

Purple Banner Designs

In keeping with our Christmas gift hints for livestock people, here is another great idea for that little showman in your life!

Purple Banner Designs is a business created by Bethany Cooler, sister of Josh & Katie Ramsey of J3 Cattle. Bethany came up with this cute line of custom apparal for little showman. She has a variety of options including t-shirts and jackets that feature livestock.  (We've even got her a Brahman cutout to use!)

To order your Purple Banner Design, just go to Bethany's web site at You first choose what cutout you want (i.e. steer, tractor, Brahman, etc) then you choose the pattern you want from her extensive pattern gallery. Oh and let her know the size shirt you want. And that's it! It's' super easy and totally customized for you. Each shirt is hand-sewn by Bethany.

These shirts have been a huge hit recently on Steer Planet. They are so adorable, any little livestock person would love them! So order early for Christmas at

Congratulations Bethany on this very unique idea! I've already ordered 5 for my little Brahman cousins :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wild West Trailer Sales

In the past year we have started working on advertising campaigns for several of the nations leading trailer manufacturors and dealers. We've done work for Sundowner, Neckover, and now this month we are happy to create a new web site for Wild West Trailer Sales.

Wild West Trailer sales is based out of Lewiston, Idaho and builds their business on the philosophy of providing top of the line trailers at everyday low prices. They carry Sooner, Exiss, and Miley trailers exclusively, and chose these brands because these companies offer nearly 40 years of research and development by the founding fathers of aluminum horse and livestock trailers.

At Wild West Trailers, you'll find quality components, industry leading designs, and low price points give you some of the best built trailers in the industry that can last a life time. Wild West Trailers are eager to assist you in every aspect of your next trailer purchase. They also offer trailer service. Check out their web site for their featured products as well as updated specials.

Welcome Wild West Trailer Sales!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Salacoa Valley Farms - Georgia

If you love powerful Brangus breeding bulls, you will definitely want to check out the new web site that we recently designed for Salacoa Valley Farms of Fairmount, Georgia.

Salacoa Valley Farms is one of the nations leading registered Brangus ranches, and offers top of the line genetics matched with a great customer service program that is very popular amongst commercial producers in the southeast. As SVF's owner David Vaughan comments, “We have a long history of supplying seedstock to the beef industry and plan on having a lasting impact on the cattle business. We are dedicated to increasing market opportunity for SVF Genetics and profitability for our customers in the beef industry of tomorrow.”

I'm going to attempt to contain my excitement over RHD doing this web site, because I'll be the first to say that I love Brangus bulls. Plus, I've always known of the SVF program because they are a premier Brangus operation, and as everyone knows, RHD likes to work with only the best producers! I guess I particularly enjoy following the Brangus programs because some of our V8 Brahman genetics were used in the initial creation of Brangus cattle and even today lots of Brangus breeders use our Brahmans for Brangus breeding-up programs.

The ladies in the RHD web division did a great job on this web site, and it is full of information about the upcoming SVF sales, bulls, and donors. Serious beef producers will love visiting this web site! So I hope you will check it out at

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HRM Simmentals, Iowa

It's been a great pleasure working with the Henderson family of HRM Simmentals in Wiota, Iowa. This is an excellent family of good ol' cow people who believe in being progressive contributors to the beef industry as well as good stewards of the land and cattle resources they manage.

The HRM mission is to produce commercially targeted seed stock that excels in functionality, efficiency, end product merit and customer satisfaction. The cattle at HRM must calve easy, grow fast, rebreed annually and provide desirable carcass characteristics. They believe in production, performance, and profitability.

HRM Simmentals is a founding member of the Iowa Beef Connection, which is a cooperative marketing group that connects cattleman to profitable SimGenetics.

One look at the new HRM web site and it's easy to see how the Henderson's have been able to build a successful family business focusing on their practical cattle that fit the needs of the beef industry. We invite you to check it out at

Thanks to Mike and family for choosing Ranch House Designs!

Monday, November 23, 2009

American Music Awards

This morning I had a urge to get to the office a little early this Monday morning. No, not because I had a major pressing deadline or anything, but because I had made a list of a few MUST DOWNLOAD songs that I saw last night on the American Music Awards. So my iTunes account was working in overdrive this morning as I began searching for my favorite songs I saw on the show last night.

I love music, and I love watching the celebrities and seeing what's new, what they are wearing, who they are dating, etc. etc. So last night was a real treat for me to watch the few hours of the live show.

So my first song download was "Empire State of Mine" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. I've been seeing this song in the top songs on iTunes but never actually heard it, becuase I listen to my iPod and not really a lot of radio anymore. I thought this song was awesome. First I wished that Sex and the City was still on, because I could just picture this song playing as a great ending to a show with Carrie and Big walking down some New York Street during Christmas. Then, I thought of the only person I know who actually DOES live in New York...Cari Rincker. If I lived in NYC, (which will never happen, I'm actually too intimidated by that big of a city to even travel there....) I could picture myself running in Central Park with that song playing in the background. I love the line "These streets will make you feel brand new; big lights will inspire you" - even though you could totally re-write that for our country living with something like the dirt roads and fresh air....because I would probably have a panic attack in NYC, but I do get my inspiration from living on the ranch.  Very cool song.

Next, I downloaded Bad Romance, Lady GaGa. If you saw her performance, all I have to say is W-O-W! How does she come up with her creativity!!! I don't understand how she just keeps coming out with these awesome songs, each one topping the other. Now Adam Lambert's performance, on the other hand, um....what was going on there? Same thing for Rihanna's outfit, first I thought, that outfit must be extremely uncomfortable with a thin strip of white material perfectly placed right over her crack. Then I she wearing underwear? But it was pretty cool when the laser's started going and it started hitting the spikes on her outfit.

I also loved the Black Eyed Peas performance. Since I recently colored my hair a little darker, I was happy to see Fergie going a little darker too. Oh another great one was Kelly Clarkson. I love that Already Gone song, and she sounded awesome. Did anyone else think Kate Hudson's boobs were going to fall out of her dress?

My biggest happiness of the night was for Taylor Swift. Everyone here at RHD is a big Taylor fan, and I just love her. Her sweet personality, her originality, her creativeness, and the fact that she is just so "real" makes her a great musician and a great young lady.

So my morning downloads....Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z), Half of my Heart (John Mayer/Taylor Swift), Bad Romance (Lady GaGa).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Card Favorites

If I had my way, I'd order about 25 different varieties of Christmas cards, because I have a small obsession with sending out holiday greeting cards. When we send out our cards at RHD, we usually order a bunch of different options because we can never decide on just one design. So we order like 10 different designs, 25 cards each, to reach our needed total. So when we became a catalog invitation dealer this year, of course I started thinking of all of the options we would have for our own holiday cards.  We are proud to offer custom holiday greeting cards from two different firms, Tiny Prints and EInvite.

So in order to quench my own obsession with favorite holiday cards, I'm going to be posting a few of my favorites on the blog between now and the holidays. If you are into holiday cards as much as me, maybe you will like some of these and can use Ranch House Invitations for your Christmas card needs. And, even if you aren't a holiday card giver, there are tons of great ideas for party invitations and graduation announcements and more!

Today's favorites are the Tiny Prints vintage designs, which I think are whimsical but yet almost "cowboy or western" so I think that is why I like them so much. Here are a few of my favorites.

If any of these spark your interest, these are just 4 of the thousands of cards available. All of the cards can be customized with 1 to 4 photos. There are tons of awesome ones like photo collages, folded cards, pop-ups and more. Click here to begin searching for your perfect 2009 Holiday Card!

Friday, November 20, 2009

November Favorite Ads

For our monthly favorite ad design contest at RHD, we were honored to have Matt Leo of California serving as our guest judge. Matt has been a long-time supporter of Ranch House Designs and the previous Two Girls Web Design. He and his wife Amanda live in California where they have one son, Brody. They are currently partners in Bright Leo Show Steers and very active in the California cattle business and especially the Angus breed.

Many people would know Matt for his real judging, which is cattle shows, however he is just as qualified to judge our ad design contest as he is to judge a show! In college, Matt was very involved in the ag media circles as he interned at the California Cattleman and also worked closely with the Pacific Showcase.

In summer 2001, I wanted to learn how to design print ads so I took an internship at The Showbox. I spent the first month designing piddly little black and white 1/4 page ads. During my last month, my own family (V8 Ranch) had an ad in The Showbox so Cherie said I could design it. I probably spent 40 hours working on this ad! I was so happy when it came out, literally ecstatic. Matt was one of the first people I showed the magazine too because I knew he had worked in the magazine field and I considered him an expert. His exact quote was "This looks terrible." This resulted in a very shocked look from me, followed by a meltdown ha ha. When I asked why, he said the photos were too small, the background was too busy, and the headline (which was supposed to say Congratulations V8 Juniors) looked like it says "Congratulations V8 Uniors" due to the font I had chosen and the text positioning.

I was crushed. Here I had spent all this time working on my first ad, which I thought looked simply amazing, and he ripped it apart. But this taught me a very valuable lesson that sticks with me even today. Matt's harsh critique forced me to really analyze and study basic design principles such as typography, layout, legibility, and the importance of big and sharp photos. Even today, nearly 10 years later, I often think of the "congratulations V8 uniors" ad and laugh at how far I've come! And sometimes when I flip through the magazines and see all those overwhelming, busy ads, I think that they need a good ol' conversation with Mr. Leo to set them straight about what really matters in good design.

So, here are this months winners, and we really thank Matt for taking the time to give his opinion! He picked out four favorites and commented that all of the ads were "Great Ads, very effective each client should be very proud!"

#1 Tusa- Very cool ad! I love the Lone Star state on center stage and all the counties faded in the background, thumbtacks on the state were neat too. Great colors !

#2 V8 – Great head shot of the Brahman. I like the white background. Everything stands out. There is a lot of class and tradition in the way the advertisment was worded.

#3 Colorado Conection / Sidwell Hay & Cattle- Looking at that ad makes me feel like I’m at home riding around the ranch. The sky the mountains and the use of colors ties the whole add together and makes you stop and want to read more.

#4Forgason- I love black and white ads, and this one is great, neat picture of the Brahman cattle, windmill in the background, and yet a strong statement that hits close to home for everyone. The picture made me feel like I was back in Texas!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Matador Ranch

This week we completed an awesome project for the historic Matador Ranch which is located in the Texas Panhandle about 90 miles from Lubbock. Matador Ranch is one of Texas' legendary ranches, founded in 1882, and privately owned and covers over 130,000 acres.

We had the pleasure of working with Matador to develop two brochures, one for their hunting program and one for their livestock program. It was a huge honor to work with such a legendary ranch that continues to expand and innovate after over 120 years in business.

Here is a thumbnail of one of the brochures we created, and we are so excited and honored to be working with this landmark Texas ranch.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Texas A&M University Cattle Sale - April 18, 2010

One of my best friends in the cattle business, or actually just in general, is Paul Maulsby, the Beef Center manager at Texas A&M University. When I was just starting my job at A&M in 2003, Paul was also a new staff member in the Department and we instantly bonded because we were both so passionate about working in the Department of Animal Science, and we both shared a huge interest in purebred cattle marketing and promotion. I remember sitting around the office for hours with Paul talking about how awesome it would be if Texas A&M offered a class in livestock merchandising like Oklahoma State or Michigan State, and how even more awesome it would be if one day Texas A&M could have a production sale like these other schools.

A couple of years ago, Paul instrumented bringing the livestock merchandising class to A&M Department of Animal Science. I was fortunate to be invited as a guest lecturer, and it was exciting to see Paul and my ideas come to fruition. 

Well now, 6 years later, Paul has accomplished probably his biggest goal to date at A&M, which is establishing a production sale for the TAMU Beef Center. If I had a dollar for every time Paul and I have talked about this idea, I'd have enough to retire from RHD. Every time I drive by the beef center and I see the excellent qualilty cow herd Paul has established at A&M, I feel so proud. Paul and his team have really taken the A&M cattle herd to the next level, and have a showcase operation that all former students can be excited about.

I met with Paul last week and Ranch House Designs will be handling all of the sale advertising and promotion for the "Spirit of Aggieland" Inaugural Cattle Sale which will be held April 18, 2010 at the TAMU Beef Center. I can hardly wait! Of course, more information on the sale will be forthcoming all spring, but here are some of the key points.

The sale will be held on Sunday, April 18, which is during the TAMU Parents Weekend activities. The Saddle and Sirloin banquet will be held on the night before, and so this will make a great activity to end a big weekend at A&M. The sale will include 65 head of primarily Simmental and Angus genetics. A select few show heifer prospects from other breeds will also be included through guest consignors. TAMU will also be offering a group of breeding bulls and herd sire prospects.

Guest consignors lined up to date will be several progressive breeders who support the Beef Center, including WW Simmentals of Missouri (the Walthalls), Lastovica Angus of Texas, Satree Angus of Texas, and V8 Ranch of Texas. More guest consignors are in the works.

Probably the neatest aspect of this sale will be the educational component for the students at A&M. Paul is establishing a mentor program where a former Aggie student will serve as mentors to the students, who will be the sale staff. So for example, I am the mentor for the students interested in advertising. While RHD will be actually doing the actual design work, we will be discussing with students and helping them learn the ins and outs of sale promotion and catalog design. There will be other mentors for hospitality, sale cattle preparation, sale clerking and settlement, photography, working the sale, etc.

We will be featuring the sale in popular magazines starting in February, so keep your eyes out for this exciting event! Oh, and since it's Parents Weekend at A&M, it might be wise to go ahead and make your hotel reservations early!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sieren Swine Farm

We are happy to post a new web site for a great Iowa showpig family - the Sieren Family of Keota, Iowa. We have worked on the Sierens print advertising since 2007, and they recently took the big step on the Internet and got their very own web site.

Here's a fun fact....Boling FFA (my hometown) purchases pics from the Sierens....or at least I think they do. Because....Friday night when I was attending the big high school football showdown battle for a playoff spot, I went to the FFA concession stand to purchase my token hot dog, and Jason Guidry was spotted wearing a Sieren Show Pigs baseball cap. For those of you who may not put 2-and-2 together, Jason is one of the 3 ag teachers at Boling High School (my alma mater) and he is the very talented and very cool husband of RHD web udpates manager, Christa Guidry. Jason is the swine specialist at Boling FFA and takes his job very seriously. I know they purchase hogs from several places, including many RHD clients. I just thought it was cool to see Jason wearing the Sieren cap when I knew we would be posting their new web site very soon.

Sieren Swine Farm, is owned and operated by Jayme & Scott Sieren. The Sieren brothers grew up on a family-operated, diversified, commercial farm. The Sieren’s are currently involved in crop and livestock production, including corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, and sheep.

Currently the Sieren’s own & manage 300 cross-bred sows and a handful of purebreds. Litters are farrowed every 4 weeks which allows them to have show pigs available for any show. Looking for the next winner? Give Sierens a call!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Favorite Halloween Costumes

We are happy to announce the winners of our Favorite RHD Halloween Kids for 2009! Thanks to all of our clients who sent in photos of their adorable youngsters all dressed up for Halloween! We had so many great photos sent in, it was impossible to choose just one. So, we chose a cutest girl costume and favorite boy costume. RHD clients are the best, and we loved seeing all the photos!

Cutest Halloween Girl Costume: Avery Blunier

Miss Avery Blunnier, daughter of Julie Blunier and granddaughter of Bob Duis. Neice of Robbie and Chelsea Duis. Avery represents RHD client Duis Farms of Illinois. Avery's grandmother Duis hand-made this adorable teddy bear costume! How cute is this little angel!

Favorite Boy Halloween Costume: Heston Turner

Our favorite boy costume winner, Heston Turner, must have been so busy helping his dad Matt Turner with the shipping of all of their melatonin implants that he decided to take on a job as a UPS man to help with all of the deliveries! Heston is the son of Matt and Kristi Turner of Texas, and Heston represents RHD client

Congratulations to these winners, and thanks again to all of our clients who submitted all of the great Halloween photos! They really brightened all of our days!

Monday, November 9, 2009

We proudly introduce... RHD Boot Camp

We've been in the business for over 10 years now, and we've always been asked if we accept interns, or if people could come job shadow us, or if we could teach people how to design their own ads, or explain how to build and update a web site. Basically, people are always dying to know how it is we do what we do.

Well... here is your chance. We're at a point in our business where we feel confident enough to share our knowledge. We're ready to give you the tips and tools that we've learned over the past 10 years and help you learn what you want to know about graphic design and web design.

Ranch House Designs, Inc. is proud to introduce the RHD Boot Camp. Boot Camps are a one-on-one, all-day training seminar. We offer 2 different tracks for Boot Camp based on your interest — you choose: print design or web design. Of course we realize that we may have campers who are interested in both, and if you are, we can offer you a discount off of the price of the 2 camps.

Today is the official launch of RHD Boot Camp and also the launch of the web site If you're wanting the full-scoop on Boot Camps, be sure to check out the web site. The web site has detailed information about the Print Boot Camp and the Web Boot Camp and what you can expect. The bottom line is, come hang out at the RHD office for a day, visit with us, have lunch at the place of your choice, let us teach you everything we know, and you can take what you learn and run with it. It's your day and we'll do what you want.

We've already 'leaked' the information of our Boot Camps to a few people and we're overwhelmed by the positive response and interest. Take a look for yourself. We're currently booking Boot Camps for the remainder of 2009 and on into 2010. Why not pack your bags and come to the Texas Gulf Coast for a Boot Camp getaway? We're ready for you!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

October Web Update Winners

Congratulations to our October web update winners at Ranch House Designs! This month our average turnaround time was 3 hours.

Grand Champion October Web Updater: Dismukes Ranch

After that, we had a 4 way tie for Reserve. So we'll just list the remaining top updaters for October.

Gorman Milling
J3 Cattle
Stock Horse of Texas
Tusa Show Cattle
Williams Show Cattle

Remember it's super important to keep your web site updated. So keep your updates coming in to us and we'll do our best to get them done in the fastest turnaround possible!

Friday, November 6, 2009

November Blog Discount - Display Banners

The "blog specials" have been a huge hit with our blog readers -- last month many of you took advantage of the special on business cards. Thismonth, the "Blog Special" is a 10% discount on your design fee for a display banner.

Our display banners are printed on all-weather-resistant vinyl and include full color digital graphics. All sizes are available but the most popular sizes are 4x4, 3x5, 4x8 and 5x10, depending on how you will be displaying the banner. They will have gromments in the corners ready for hanging. With Denver and major stock shows in Texas coming up, now is a great time to purchase a banner.

Here are a couple of ideas of how you could use a display banner:
  • Barn sign or farm sign (like the A Cut Above or Burke banners below). Hang it in your barn, or at your farm entrance during special times of the year like your private treaty sale. These usually have your business name and contact info. These are non-dated so you can use them year after year.
  • Winners Banners - We just wrapped up a few of these for the Tusa's and Brinning's. Pick your favorite winner or your biggest winner and have a 4x4 banner made that you can proudly hang in your barn. These  usually have a big photo from the show along with the award you won and the show name. These make a great keepsake you can treasure forever.
  • Sire Banner - With Denver coming up, if you already know you'll be displaying a bull....get a jump start on things and save a little money in your promotion expenses.
Display banners would make a great Christmas present! So give us a call today and save 10% on display banners and signage.

Our non-ag related clients can also benefit from display banners! The possibilities are endless!

Ranch House Designs is known for the best display banners in the business! Last year in Denver we designed more banners than anyone else in the yards! So give us a call, mention the "Blog Special" 10% discount and talk to Tricia at 979-532-9141 or email

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bar-Nel Ranch

Exciting things are going on at Bar-Nel Ranch in Franklin, Texas! Barney and LaNelle Allen along with their grandson Brandon have recently updated their web site with a fresh look and updated information.

The Allen's have been in the Brahman business for over 30 years. In 2001, one of their dreams came true when they bred and exhibited the International Champion Brahman Bull. They operate two cow herds: a Registered American Brahman herd, and a Certified F1 (Brahman and Angus) herd.They raise about 40 - 50 F1 calves and 40-50 registered Brahman calves every year.

The Allen's ranch is located in Franklin, Texas, which is about halfway between Houston and Dallas. They will be consigning a small group of Brahman females to the Blue Ribbon Brahman Sale held on November 18th.

We hope you will visit and see what's new and exciting going on at the -N- Ranch!

Top Secret Project — Coming Monday 11/9

Big things are happening at RHD.

We've been working on a new development at RHD and we're just about ready to share our big secret project with you! Rachel and I have been working and planning for about 3 months on a new endeavor for RHD and we're in the final stages before we will launch our project and share it with you.

Be sure and check back Monday, November 9, for the unveiling of our newest project at Ranch House Designs. We will announce our news on the blog. We are so excited to share it with you and can't wait to hear your feedback.

Stay tuned!

Colburn Cattle

Last week we posted a new web site for west coast show cattle breeders Colburn Cattle of Visalia, California. The Colburn program began in 1992 when parents Ron & Lisa Colburn began buying show heifers for their sons Tyler and Ryan. As their interest in cattle grew, so did the breeding program, which was initially based on their two oldest sons' show heifers. Today, the Colburn cowherd includes approximately 300 head of breeding females.

In 2003, the Colburn Family developed a partnership with Kevin and Christy McKinzie of McKinzie Cattle, to produce top quality cattle for the youth in today’s highly competitive junior livestock arenas. This partnership has built one of California`s most functional show cattle facilities where junior showmen can learn all aspects of the livestock industry. From daily care of show steers to Embryo transfer to AI, this program has many opportunities for the youth of today.

November is a busy month for the Colburn crew -- with  the Central Valley Showcase on November 7, Champions Choice Cattle Camp on November 14-15 and the Triple Threat Female Sale and Show on November 21.  Ranch House Designs also created the catalog for Triple Threat, which can be viewed online at  

We hope you will take a minute to view the new Colburn site at

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blueville Nursery

We are very happy to present our first ever landscaping and garden web site -- for Blueville Nursery of Manhattan, Kansas.

The Blueville Nursery team has been Manhattan's complete landscape company since 1962. Their business includes landscaping, irrigation, maintenance, nursery, Fort Riley and eroision control. They also operate a "Garden Store", pictured here, which is a landscape store that is open year round. Most all of the products offered in their garden store are grown at their own nursery. During the Christmas season, you can find the Garden Store loaded with freshly cut Christmas trees and poinsettias. They also maintain the landscaping at the historic Fort Riley base.

Welcome Blueville Nursery!