Natural Inspiration

At Honey BE Designs in Washougal, farm life, nature and family act as creative muses

Wayne Christensen sits with the family's new routing machine, which he operates through a computer. The router is used to create wooden cut-out words for signs or as stand-alone decor.

Tips for Fall Decorating

Christensen says it’s not hard to give your own home a bit of a fall-themed “sprucing up.” Here are a few of her decorating tricks and tips:

  • Finding items in nature that inspire you. Maybe that means bringing fresh greens inside to give your home a natural, fresh-smelling and original decoration.
  • Avoid trends. Instead of trying to copy the latest design fad, think about the styles you like and those that suit your home, furniture and color-scheme.
  • Get inspired. Find various pieces of artwork that inspire you and base your redecorating on those key items.
  • Learn how to DIY. If you like the rustic signs Honey BE Designs offers, look into creating your own. Christensen’s classes can get you started, with a pre-made design, but you can always branch out after that, creating signs for special occasions or personalized pieces for your own family.
  • Handcrafted signs made by Honey BE Designs owner Kendra Christensen.

    Bennett Christensen, 8, gives Olaf, the family's baby goat, kisses at the Christensen farm in Washougal, on Sept. 5. The family opens up their home to the community by hosting two shopping markets each year.

    Ellowyn Christensen, 4, pets one of the goats that lives on her family's farm in Washougal.

    The signs that make-up the Honey BE Kids collection hang in the Washougal-based business, located inside owner Kendra Christensen's family farmhouse.

    Bennett Christensen shows off his favorite sign at his family's Washougal farmhouse-based business, Honey BE Designs.

    Kendra Christensen has always had a desire to be creative.

    Recently, the Washougal mother of two, found a way to merge her creative abilities with her business sense, opening Honey BE Designs, a home decor business, inside the Washougal hills farmhouse she shares with her husband, Wayne, and children Bennett, 8, and Ellowyn, 4.

    The children’s initials represent the “B” and “E” in the family business’ name.

    “This really started as a small dream of mine,” Christensen said of Honey BE Designs. “Especially when we moved out to the farm. I had a vision of what I wanted it to be, and it’s really become more than what I ever could have dreamt it’d be. I’ve met so many amazing people in our community and so many who have been so supportive of our small business.”

    Christensen created Honey BE Designs more than a year ago, after she started to use reclaimed wood to make rustic “Welcome Home” arrows and signs.

    Since then, she has upped her sewing skills and now makes pillows out of Pendleton wool, to complement her assortment of handmade, hand-decorated signs.

    The Pendleton pillows highlight Christensen’s love of the local area, with hand-sewn “Washougal” and “Camas” and city coordinates displayed prominently. The signs have a variety of styles and sayings, such as “Blessed,” “Farmhouse” and “Live Simply.”

    Wayne Christensen has taught himself how to use software to operate the family’s new routing machine that produces word cutouts to add to the Honey BE Designs collection.

    “We definitely are modern farmhouse (themed) in a lot of ways,” Christensen said. “We still keep things a little rustic, but also kind of a classic feel. And we are always really inspired by the Pacific Northwest.”

    Honey BE Designs also offers a children’s line, featuring adventure pack bags, and signs with encouraging messages such as, “From little seeds grow mighty trees” and “Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move mountains.”

    Christensen’s home is always bustling, with two young children, a home-based business and an assortment of farm animals, including an alpaca; five goats, including two kids; 20 chickens and a livestock guard dog.

    The family invites the community to their farm and home twice a year — for a summer market as well as a winter holiday market.

    “We really encourage people to bring their families,” Christensen says. “We have the baby goats out and a food truck.”

    This year’s “Sip and Shop” holiday market will feature a variety of Honey BE products as well as Outlaw Coffee of Washougal. The holiday market is set for 3 to 7 p.m., Nov. 18, at the Honey BE Farm, 3417 S.E. 362nd Ave., Washougal.

    Christensen also opens her shop for sign-making classes. Fall-themed sign-making classes are scheduled to take place from 6 to 9 p.m., Sept. 29, and 2 to 5 p.m., Sept. 30. The classes cost $55 for the lessons and materials. Students will leave with their own handmade sign. Because Christensen makes the signs designs, participants need to pre-register online at honeybefarm.com, and select the sign they want to create.

    “(Participants) leave with a sign they created, and I’m able to teach them a few tips and tricks on how to get really nice, clean lines and encourage them to be creative,” Christensen said, adding that her business relies on customers who visit the farm for classes and events.

    “When they come out here, they say, ‘I just love it out here. It’s so peaceful,’ and they want to come relax and be creative,” she said. “So, our brand has really centered a lot around that — being out in the country, being able to be inspired by what’s around us and our farm.”

    Many customers purchased Honey BE items at the recent Camas Vintage and Art Faire, and have messaged Christensen with orders for custom pieces.

    While there are a few items available online, the business owner’s next big goal is to offer the majority of her products on the Honey BE Designs’ website, she said.

    “We’ve been so overwhelmed with the support of people that we’re just now trying to get online,” Christensen said.

    For more information, visit honeybefarm.com.

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