March 1, 2012

Paisley Princess

Well back again! I know, I know it’s been a while yet again… lots going on, too much to disclose on this little post but more to come I promise.

I want to talk about a love of mine, PAISLEY. I love paisley prints on just about anything and I really have no idea why? There just happens to be something about the shapes and free flowing doodles that always seems to catch my eye. I was watching HGTV recently and saw a program with designer Candice Olsen and she used a beautiful orange and rust color hued paisley fabric for the curtains in an Indian inspired family room. First of all I thought to myself, “Oh awesome she is using one of my favorite fabric patterns!” Secondly I thought to myself, “Wow I have no idea where most of my favorite design attractions originate from?”

So for my own education I did a little research on the origin of the paisley pattern and I thought I’d share a link to a very informative blog post about the history and origin of paisley from the Vale of Kashmir to India and into Europe through trade routes and back to our modern day more contemporary versions we see on everyday items such as bandannas.

Here is the blog that tells the great story of the classic kidney bean shape, to the ying-yang influence and the natural leaf with more geometric influences as the pattern evolves over the ages.

And now my favorite part pictures of paisley applications! Enjoy! Happy Thursday all!

Via Google ImagesVia Google Images

Paisley goes a bit more Contemporary (via google images)

Paisley PillowsImage Via Jillian Frances Blog

Image Via Jillian Frances Blog

December 15, 2011

Saying Goodbye to an Angel

We lost our beloved Ruca this week. She was laid to rest on Monday the 12th of December. She fought a brave battle with cancer and we couldn’t see her suffer through any more pain. It was a beautiful and unusually warm and sunny winter day the day she laid down to rest.  I wish I could write more about that day and about her as I truly could go on and on about what an amazing dog she was and what a great life she had.  I’d love to tell you how she taught me more about strength and patience and perseverance than I ever thought possible. And this post could be filled with funny stories of her long and happy life with Mark and with others and with me. And there are so many sweet memories of her unconditional love that I would love to share, but right now I can’t, it’s too fresh; I am heartbroken and I miss her. I missed her the second she was gone. I can’t bare to talk much more about it right now but I wanted to share a poem that I wrote this week as I was collecting my thoughts about her passing.

Paw Prints

Our pet’s lives are never long enough; there’s never enough time.

They are here for a just a glimmer, each one a sparkle in our life’s sky.

Ruca was our shooting star; she had such magic in her eyes.

She gave us more than we ever could; but I think she knows we tried.

Saying goodbye was the hardest day, we didn’t want to part;

But she is always with us now… she left paw prints on our hearts.

by  TCD

Rest easy baby girl. We will take care of all your boys for you.  We miss you so much and we will love you forever.

Ruca Stuart 10/4/99 ~ 12/12/11

PS~ Brutus says he loves you and he can’t wait to cuddle with you again someday. xoxo

December 6, 2011

Where’s the holiday cheer?

Well it’s about time I post something, I mean the last time I was on here it was warm and rainy….. oh wait it’s warm and rainy now! Yes it’s December and I am looking at 51 degrees on my weather report with grey skies and rain all day! Some of you might think, “What’s the problem? Nothing wrong with a short, mild winter?” Well the problem is I live in Maine! I expect snow and cold weather this time of year, in fact I enjoy it! I mean winter snow brings a white Christmas and wonderful cold weather activities like skiing, snowmobiling, snow shoeing,and  sledding!  Not to mention the cozy feeling you get when it’s super cold outside and you have no place to be but in front of your fireplace with a good book. If I wanted warm mild weather all year long, I’d move! (still may but that’s another story for another time) The point is, I am in New England now, and I like the four seasons! (Granted sometimes our winter can be extra long and drag itself into Spring creating a nasty mess! But I am trying not to think about that now!) It’s hard to get into the holiday sprint with all this gloomy weather outside so today I thought I’d share some holiday decoration pictures to help brighten up your day! Enjoy!




Great idea via



Yum! Via




Happy Holidays!

September 23, 2011

Sugar and Spice, Our Fly-in Experience

Well she’s done it again, Kelsey Martel Photography helped capture our very first crafts fair at this year’s International Seaplane Fly-in in Greenville, Maine. And per usual her shots are amazing! Thanks so much Kelsey!

Where we were: Selling our barnhouse brand products on the corner of Cottage Street and Lily Bay Rd. aka “The Hanson House!” big shout out to Carla and Bruce Hanson for letting us set up on their lawn! Thank you again.

What we sold: Our Farm Fresh Eggs, Homemade Pickled Products (pickled cucumbers, beans, and jalapenos) and Barnhouse Biscuits, organic homemade dog treats in 5 different varieties. Barnhouse Biscuits Original Recipe (Peanut Butter and Honey), Bar Harbor Bones (Pumpkin and Spice), Moosehead Muffins (Carob chip), Tumbledown Treats (Trail Mix) and our FLY-IN SPECIAL Banana Carob Chip, we also had a few packages of Lucky Dogz (a variety pack of all 5 treat types!)

What we learned: People love spicy! We sold all our spicy beans first and fast! Then came the spicy pickles and then the slightly sweet recipe. We had great responses to our packaging and “look” and the dogs who participated in the taste test all seemed pretty pleased with the dog biscuits! Kelsey’s photography was so well received there is talk that she may be selling her prints along with us next time!

Please enjoy some of my favorite photographs from our weekend!

Katahdin, Downtown Greenville, Maine

Farm Fresh Eggs

Dilly Beans and Business Cards

Pickle Labels

Barnhouse Brand Product Jars

Spicy Pickled Jalapenos

8 oz bag of Fly-in Specials

6 oz bag of Barnhouse Biscuits Original Recipe

9-11 Memorial Fly By

Mark and Tavia at the Fly-In 2011

We hope to see you there next year! Stay inspired!

September 22, 2011

This sparked my interest!

Today I want to talk about an inspiring idea that I love, fireplaces… not just fireplaces but fireplaces in kitchens.

A Recent Kitchen Remodel via Indisco

I was at work this morning (designing kitchens in case you didn’t know) and I happen to come across a colleague’s photo of a recent kitchen project he was working on, it was a cute little white painted kitchen and the piece DE resistance was a red brick fireplace! It definitely caught my eye and made me think about how amazing it would be to have a fireplace in my kitchen! (ah sigh! dream on…. maybe someday!) There is something so inviting about a fireplace, and with the amount of time people spend in the kitchen it is a very nice amenity to have, especially here in New England. A fireplace can be made of many different kinds of materials, concrete, brick, stone, etc. they are a welcomed addition to any style of architecture or interior design, in my opinion. Anyway back to my point, today I thought I’d share some other pictures I found of fireplaces in kitchens. Oooo just had a thought, pair a great stone fireplace with a sliding barn door in your kitchen/great room! Okay focus, here they are enjoy, I know I did!

I'm in love I think!

Amazing Wrought Iron Shelf too!

I'll take one!

Doubled sided, a whole new dimension

The unbelievable warmth

In older more traditional floor plans rooms are often separated and closed off from one another, what a gorgeous surprise to walk into an updated cape or farm house and find an original or added fireplace. Stay inspired and warm today!

Photos above from,,,,

September 7, 2011

Dog Treats and Pickles? Yup you read that right…

Moosehead Lake- Greenville, Maine

This weekend we will be traveling with our pack to the International Sea Plane Fly-in in Greenville, Maine on Moosehead Lake. We will be selling some of our living inspired barnhouse brand products at the local crafts fair. This is our first ever crafts fair and we are very excited to get started! The biscuits we have packaged for the fair are our Original Recipe Barnhouse Biscuits which is a peanut butter and honey based dog treat and our Tumbledown Treat which is our trail mix recipe with oats, cranberries, peanuts and Maine Blueberries. This treat is named for Tumbledown Mountain in Weld, Maine.

Weld, Maine

We hiked this mountain last summer with our lab, Boomer. We created this treat as an energy biscuit for active dogs. The hike was fairly tough and Boomer did great! He was so happy to make it to the top and find a beautiful fresh water pond that he was able to swim in. It was quite the reward for such a strenuous hike. We will be bringing two other types of biscuits with us as well; we couldn’t travel to Moosehead without our Moosehead Muffins which is a take on a chocolate chip cookie for dogs. We make our original peanut butter and honey treat and add carob chips for an authentic look! The carob is safe for our furry friends and they absolutely love these special treats.  And lastly because Fly-in happens but only once a year, we will have a special limited time Fly-in Recipe, a peanut butter and carob chip with banana treat. (Dog bone and airplane shapes just for this occasion)

We are also going to be selling our homemade pickles. The varieties we will have with us include our original “Simple Dills”, which is a kosher style pickle (basic garlic, onion and dill based recipe), our “All Dressed” pickles which is our mustard seed recipe, lighter dill flavor than the originals. We will also have a spicy pickle with us; called “All Dressed and Hott” these are a spicy version of the mustard seed recipe. Lastly we will have the “All Dressed and Slightly Sweet” which is a version of the mustard seed recipe that has a hint of sugar for a slightly sweeter and tangier taste. We have pickled green beans as well. The “Dilly Beans” are garlic, onion and dill based recipe, while my personal favorite, the “Spicy Beans” are dill based with a kick! These are great just as a snack or a garnish for Bloody Marys. Pair a couple of these beans with an “All dressed and Hott” Pickle and a slice of lime, and you’ve got yourself an amazing Bloody Mary for sure! All of our pickles have hang tags featuring photography from Kelsey Martel Photography. Her cupola series was shot especially for our business cards and product labels. We are excited to share her work with our customers!

Here’s some sneak peaks of the products we’ll be featuring this weekend! Hope to see you there! Stay inspired!

Dog Treats Going in the oven!

Tumbledown Treats coming out of the oven!

Moosehead Muffins!

6 oz. bag of original recipe barnhouse biscuits

8 oz bag special "Fly-in" recipe, 6 oz. bag originals, spicy beans

Barnhouse Brand Products

Hang Tags on jars, photography by Kelsey Martel Photography

September 1, 2011

Creatvity is inspiring

I love creative ideas. You know that moment where you see something and say “now why didn’t I think to do that?” I love those moments because it means that you are exposed to someone else’s creative thought and it can open up a whole new world of creative thoughts; an inspiring circle of ideas.

Today I am taken with the idea of repurposing things. It all started when I was pouring my morning coffee in my kitchen on my way to work; I looked up and saw one of my favorite things, a big, old, red oil well marker from the Gulf of Mexico, that hangs on the turquoisey-blue wall in my kitchen, and I thought to myself, “Wow I love that sign.” It’s old, it’s worn, it’s graphic, it has a history, and now it is an interesting piece of art in my kitchen that makes me smile. The red color is so nice against the blue wall, I really couldn’t imagine having anything else in its place. Now I don’t know the whole story behind the item very well as it came with Mark when he moved in but I know that it definitely works great in our kitchen and it’s one of my favorite pieces that he owned and brought along with him, a little perk of doubling household goods I guess! By repurposing the marker as art, it has prolonged the life of the item, given it a new job and brought a much needed accent color to my kitchen. I thought I would search for some other inspiring ideas on repurposing things and share them with you! Let me tell you there are so many fabulous ideas out there, I could only pick a few to share but wow take a look at some of these interesting pieces and maybe you’ll be inspired to go home and turn your old drum set into storage ottomans or something! Stay inspired!
Ideas for great design features in and around your home….

Ladder Bookshelf, who knew? Poetichome did!

Glass Bottles as Pendent Lights, yess please! Thank you!

Old Barn Doors used in Interior, to die for!!!!

Via Heart of Light

This idea for using old wine boxes as garden planters is great.  It’s a great way to keep your favorite herbs separate from each other if you like and not too far away. Here’s another thought, use some wrought iron brackets and attach them directly to your home under your kitchen windows like window boxes!  It definitely adds an interesting and unique vintage charm to gardening!

Repurposed Items in the Kitchen, my favorite room!

Genius! Via DesignConsignOakPark

Old crates as Kitchen Shelving Source Poetichome

Ideas for sprucing up our old suitcases, even something for our four legged friends! Well the little ones maybe!

Suitcase Chairs via Maybe Design

Suit case ottomans with built in storage! Via Maybe Design

Now go do something creative and good luck!

August 26, 2011

She’s got “the look”- Profiling a local photographer

A picture’s worth a thousand words they say, I guess I could agree with that, but what is amazing to me is when a picture leaves you speechless. There are some photographers that just have it; a gift, a talent for seeing things through different eyes. They can take an ordinary object or scene and present it to their audience in such a way that it conjures up an emotional response, makes a definite impression and expresses meaning to the viewer, and that is a definite gift. We now live in a technological world; we can capture a moment on our cell phones and have it uploaded to facebook or twitter in a matter of seconds to share with others. A photograph helps to slow things down, imprint a memory, give us a tangible piece of the past, and we often rely on these for comfort that not all from our past is gone and forgotten but it lives on in our memories and in that photograh. We seek out professional photographers to help capture some of the most important moments in our lives, weddings, births, moments of transition, graduations, etc. and we do so because those people have that gift of vision; they have the look; they can see past the basics of what is happening on the other side of their lens and really capture emotion, movement and expression. Photography is an art and like many mixed media artists each photographer is unique in the way they capture their subject.  Here in Portland we are blessed to have some amazing artists in the photography business.

I have recently been putting together some marketing type items (more to come on that later) and I needed some specific images for some business cards I was working on. I wanted a variety of pictures containing cupolas and weathervanes and for help with my project I turned to Kelsey Martel Photography. Kelsey Martel is local photographer based out of South Portland (but willing to travel) and she is one of those special people with “the gift”, “the look”, “the vision”, whatever you want to call it, she’s got it. Whether she is capturing a small decorative detail at a wedding that might otherwise go unnoticed or slowing down time if only for a second when photographing a precious baby or carefree toddler, her work showcases her talent to capture moments in a refreshing way. I have had the privilege of knowing Kelsey on a personal level and because of our relationship I have acquired numerous amazing photographs of my pets and some of my most favorite landscapes around Moosehead Lake and Pine Point Beach here in Maine. Kelsey’s work is creative and original and I was so happy that she was willing to help me yet again with another project! If you have never seen her work, take some time to check out her business information page on facebook at!/pages/Kelsey-Martel-Photography/146100255404891 or email her at for more information on photographing your next event.

So without further a due here are some of the shots from our “Cupola Hunt” enjoy!

The picture below is my favorite from our day out on the hunt! The copper weathervane against the blue sky is stunning.

Ah barns! I think you know how I feel about these buildings! I am in love with this place.

August 19, 2011

It’s not you, it’s me…..

So much for all my lofty promises! Well I suppose we are on the verge of  breaking up now because I didn’t hold up my end of the deal? Well let me first say I’m sorry and try to salvage what we have left. I am asking for your forgiveness and I’ll try to explain myself for what it is worth! I mean second chances happen, right?
Well in the past few months a lot has gone on in the “barnhouse” and without boring you with every miniscule detail I’ll just run down a few of the big ones to help catch you up on the latest. In June Mark went to Africa for two weeks, a great experience for him and such a wonderful opportunity thanks to the military!


Unfortunately right before he left we found out that Ruca, our female 11-year-old english mastiff, has cancer. This news was devastating as we both have had delusional dreams of our beloved pets out living us and always being around. After careful research covering all our options we decided to let Ruca live out the remains of her beautiful life in style and comfort and without surgery. At almost 12 years old we could not ask her to undergo all that it would entail to try to remove the cancer, which has likely spread at this point anyway. So we cried, we talked, we treated her like she was somehow different for a couple of days and then we realized, she is an amazing dog who has no idea she has cancer;  so we decided let’s make the most of the time we all have left together and continue to spoil the heck out of our princess pup!  And that’s what we have been trying to do!

Hmmm what else is happening? Well we had a great week of family visits from Mark’s daughter and mother, Willow and Marge. We got to play tourist in our town a bit, which was a blast! And we also snuck in a trip to one of our favorite places on earth, Mount Desert Island! Some pictures below are from our trip!  We hosted a great cookout with both our friends and families.

Congrats Steve and Lauren!

We had a wedding to attend, busy work schedules and not to mention everyday clean up around the house!  (the dogs are shedding bad!) Plus summer is the time for lots of little projects;  we renovated our den room with new flooring, new paint on the walls and trim and “new-to-us” furniture. The project was exciting and turned out to be quite the transformation! We are very pleased with the results, and next on to painting the bedroom!

Some more big news in the world of animal chaos aka “our life,” our chickens have begun laying eggs!!! It started with 3 to 4 a day and now we are up to 10 a day! That’s more eggs that we can eat, I mean at first Mark was cooking eggs for breakfast everyday, then we were making quiches and searching for any recipes that were egg based that we could find. Finally we realized that yard fresh eggs are pretty much the bomb and maybe we should ask if anyone would like to buy any? Right away we had interest from friends and co-workers who wanted to place an order for our eggs! So now we are business people for real! Well I mean we aren’t breaking any records but it is nice to get a little something back to help pay for chicken feed and pine shavings! Plus a bonus, we have an almost never-ending supply of breakfast!

Sandy Beach Acadia National Park

Well there they are, all my excuses why I haven’t held up my end of the deal. I know, I know, excuses are like… well you know what they are like but hey I through the cancer card in there in hopes for a sympathy vote! So what do you say, will you come back to this blog for more reading however unimportant, irrelevant or infrequent these posts may be? I hope we can work this out because I really enjoy what we have….. do you think you can ever forgive me? I sure do hope so! Haha!

I hope summer is going well for everyone, unfortunately it seems to be flying by per usual… so please enjoy some Acadia National Park beauty on this glorious Friday! Happy Weekend All! Stay Inspired!

Oh and a little shout to my love… Happy 2 Year Anniversary Mark! Here’s to many more filled with dogs, cats, chickens and laughs! Love you!

The Bubbles at Jordan Pond Acadia National Park

Bubble Rock, South Bubble Mountain Acadia National Park

Jordan Pond from South Bubble Acadia National Park

View from top of Cadillac Mtn Acadia National Park

Sandy Beach Acadia National Park

Maine's Beautiful Rocky Coast Loop Road Acadia National Park

June 18, 2011

Procrastination Station

Hi my name is Tavia and I have a problem. All together now, “Hi Tavia!”

Ah yes… I can poke fun use common 12 step program references, but no matter how you slice it, I am a bit of procrastinator. I admit it. There is something engrained within me as a person that allows me to fairly easily put things off. The funny thing is I can clearly see the benefits in not procrastinating, I know that in the end getting things checked off your To Do List makes the rest of the day seem more carefree. I understand that if I do the dishes now, I won’t have to do them later and when someone calls and says they are going to stop by for a visit I won’t have to rush to load the dishwasher, I get it but the fact of the matter is I just work better under pressure. I don’t know why or what has caused me to be like this but it is a tested pattern of behavior. Even in college when I would see others working on projects the moment they were assigned, I would think “I’ll do it later.” And then when later came and I was rushing around gathering research for a paper, or materials for a design board, my friends who were much better at time management were relaxing watching some hit reality TV show and boy was I envious of their free time and stress less demeanor. But, I always got it done and for some reason I was given a gift of knocking out amazing work under the gun. I just work better that way. I have 10 plus page research papers written and printed out hours, no minutes before they were due that were graded A plus work. So I guess the learned behavior is such that I can pull it off, why change what has worked for you???

Any way I am here to say that this blog has suffered from my procrastination problem and I am going to try to reconcile what I have done. Here’s the thing, procrastination when it comes to school work is one thing because ultimately you have a due date, a deadline when it must be completed, and you are working against the clock so to speak. And that is when I am on point. With this blog there is no deadline, no timeline to follow I can just sort of pick away at it with no real consequence or feeling of defeat that normally drives me to do well. For instance I have a notebook full of “blog idea” lists, ideas for topics of what to write about, pictures to show, things to cover and I continually add to the list, but if none of the articles get written, what good is the list? It will just grow and grow but nothing will be shared. Don’t get me wrong life is busy and things happen I can’t expect to follow strict deadline for a “hobby” type blog while I am working full time, caring for 4 dogs, 2 cats, 13 chickens, and trying to pick away at all that is involved with starting a business (wow- could they make that any harder? but that is for another post, I’ll put it on the list) my point is, I can’t promise you 5 posts a week but I am going to try and post more regularly for sure, I am thinking once to twice a week to start and we’ll see how that goes.

Common sign of a true procrastinator is excuses and I am about to add more excuses to the list here. One excuse is navigating this word press site, for some reason all the computers I have access to are entirely too slow or lack the power to handle this site very well and that makes for writing a post a bit of a challenge. What might take someone with a Mac Book Pro an hour, is taking me 4 hours! Completely frustrating but I am working on a few solutions. Other great excuse and convenient timing for this post is that Mark is deployed on a short trip for a couple weeks which means I am holding down the fort so to speak all by my lonesome, don’t get me wrong, it’s not hard work and I am not trying to compare myself to military wives out there who handle groves of children, their households, work and pets, those women are truly inspiring (and probably don’t even recognize the word procrastinate! What is that?) but I am just saying my routine is off. Lastly you can factor in a small room remodel that involved painting out old faux wood paneling, (yes we painted each individual groove! thanks for the help Mark and Dad) a sick cat which lead to a cat surgery and a not so great diagnosis for our ole’ baby girl Ruca and things have just gotten away from me a little. There I am done, that is it. Those are all my excuses. Pheww! Excuses and procrastination go hand in hand so naturally I am used it but hope you made it through the list and are still with me. Wow it’s a good thing I work in a field of the design world that is driven by timelines, order dates and time management, otherwise where would I find the pressure I need to thrive!? Haha

So where am I going with this post, well good question…. I just needed everyone to know that I have the best intentions to continue this blog and move forward with our business even though my last few posts have been a little few and far between. Sometimes life and our “problems” move in a direction that makes those goals seem far away and distant, but there is always the ultimate deadline to consider, so make the most of the time you have and follow your dreams even if you get off track here and there (see how I just suddenly wrapped up this post with an inspirational talk, intended to inspire mostly me)…..and every once and while put those dishes off until tomorrow, it’s good for you!