Monday, January 23, 2012

Goat Love: Part 2

I've always loved workshops, studios, places where people create. I especially love when people create right in their homes, so that the tools of their trade and the fruits of their labour are all around.
There's a beauty to the order that people create when they make lots of any one thing: socks, toys, candles, or in this case, soap! Homemade shelves, systems to keep track of what's what, handwritten labels, and baskets and bins of their products characterize the home workplace.

 When you walk into the home of Opeongo Mountain Meadow Soap, the first thing that hits you is the beautiful scent of lavender, and the many other essential oils that go into making Laurie and Jack's beautiful soaps. This is a special scent for me, as we gave away their soap as favours at our wedding.

Their house is simple, warm, and inviting; cats come to greet us, heat radiates from the woodstove, and baskets of onions and garlic adorn the kitchen wall. This home has all the charm and quirks of a house built by hand, and we feel welcome as soon as we enter.

I ask to use the washroom, and am directed through a snowdrift to the outdoor privy. Did I mention that it was -25 degrees Celsius when we visited? It gives a whole new meaning to the expression "freezing your ass off"...
Perhaps my admiration of home-studios comes from a deep-seated desire to have one myself. The dream of working in jeans, having lunch in my own kitchen, sitting to work in the light from a window to craft something useful and beautiful and unique with my hands is almost too dear to me to dare express it out loud.

 I love to ask about the leap the artist took to start a home business, and the answer is often the same: "We had no idea it would get this busy. We just wanted to use up our extra goat milk/wool/wood". A hobby turns into a livelihood in small steps, and most craftspeople I speak to seem incredulous that they're actually doing it.
I get daunted by the details: Could I? Should I? What if I don't make any money? This is foolish...I have a great career! It would be crazy to not use my university degree.

Then I think of the fleetingness of time, and the relative shortness of this life here on earth, and I wonder...maybe I should just give it a try with no expectations, and see what happens. Maybe someday I could be the incredulous one, wondering how my little hobby grew into a successful little business!

I am inspired by these craftspeople who spend the day working in their home, heating up soup for lunch, petting their cat now and then, coming up with innovative ways to use the space they have. They help me to keep dreaming when I become too serious, and give me hope that someday, I might just try it myself.

Do you work out of your home, or dream about it? Tell me a bit about it in the comments section!


  1. The last two springs I've had the idea to do a type of community agriculture thing where people pay a small subscription to my garden and then get goodies from it. I've not done it and probably won't. My good friends get freebies and in the late summer when I've got too much goodness and not enough time to process it all, I donate it to the local homeless shelter. I think that's better than making money on it which is probably why I've never pursued the idea.

  2. I too, have always fantasized about a work from home studio as a creative outlet and *gasp* maybe even making some money at it! Just recently I've been inspired to take the plunge (this started with reading Amanda Soule!) and opened my own Etsy shop in December. Still scared, still without much money, but having lots of fun when I actually have a chance to create between taking care of my new baby and homeschooling two older ones! Here's a link to my little site
    Hope you find inspiration from others as I have!

  3. I think you could do it and keep your current job for the time being, if you started small at first. Especially this summer when you have time are so creative, you surely could sell things through Etsy....GO FOR IT! You have a nice blog following and that might help to get you started as well. Good luck and follow your dreams. By the way, it is 80 degrees Farenheit here today...very, freaky winter....we are sweating our _ _ _ off.

  4. I don't know if being a homeschooling mum counts as working from home but if it does then yay! I have to say that while my 'job' is stressful and difficult at times, I really wouldn't swap it. Not just because I love being with my boys, because I do, but because I get to opt out of so much hassle and have free choice over what I do. This year we are setting up our farm and a big reason we can do that is because I am at home with the boys, so I will be joint Mama/Educator/Farmer! This is a long way from my training in English Literature but if feels right. It feels like this is life I'm supposed to be leading. I know this isn't exactly what you are talking about but just thought I'd comment anyway!

  5. It's like you were reading my mind. I have been hit lately by the urge to "Get on with something", take the plunge and start earning my keep with something I love. The kids are getting older and I feel at a bit of a loss as to "What's next?". I've given myself 6 months to figure things out, will it be expanding my beekeeping, adding to our small farm ( Dairy goats maybe?) photography?, writing? Glad to know I'm not alone in my thoughts.

  6. I "kind of" work out of my home. But I'm also in the hospital a lot :) Although I'm not a full-time doula yet, I've been shocked at how quickly the business has taken off and become successful as a second income. I'm still hesitant to take the big leap though, and try to rely on it to pay the bills. I do feel like some things are fate though - something drew me to work with birthing women, and I seem to have a knack for it, so it works! "You can always regret staying put, but you will never regret taking a chance"

  7. I gave up my teaching career at the university just before my daughter was born, with the same list of self-doubts--will I stretch us too much financially, am I wasting my education, etc. I don't yet make money from the work I do here at home, but I've found I do save us a lot! And really what it comes down to for me is time. As you said, we only get one life, and I'd rather spend it working for my family even if it means I don't make another dime ;) When we bought our farm I had no idea how to do any of the things I do now on a regular basis. I feel that dreams tend to manifest at just the right time somehow. If it's time for your dream of working from home to be a reality, you'll feel it deep inside. You just need the courage to be true to yourself despite the doubts (your own or those imposed by others). That's what I've learned so far anyway...

    1. P.S. Beautiful photos! And I love the look of that soap!

  8. We home school so whatever I do will have to kind of be home based. I have just started an etsy store selling my felted dolls and we will see how that goes. I am writing again, which I had stopped for a while. I was an artist by trade pre-children ( I was a professional ballet dancer), so I feel like whatever I do next has to be creative, it is in my nature. I can't imagine it any other way. I believe you just have to jump in with both feet sometimes, take the risk, put the energy out there and see what happens.

    On a side note, this place looks amazing! We may just have to take a day trip down and check it out.
    Jennifer @ dark blue dragon

  9. I love working from home and would not change it for the world. It does mean a very carefully planned budget. And for me it also means having my hands in a few different, nutritionist, writer, blogger, creator for our new, hopefully one day successful toy shop, and homemaker.

    My husband also works from home, he is an artist and also makes the toys I create for our toy shop.

    I have dreams of a little country shop run out of our home selling handmade wooden toys, handmade soap (getting started on this soon), knitted goods, art created by my husband, fresh eggs from our chickens...yes, must keep dreaming and following the path of the journey we have in our minds and hearts.

    Believe in your dreams, but more importantly believe that anything is possible.

  10. We, too, had Jack and Laurie's soaps for wedding favours! I loved working with Laurie and Jack this past autumn. They are such creative people. I really enjoyed goat-chasing! That was probably my favourite part of my job. Take care and keep on creating.

  11. Gorgeous photos! I can smell the lavendar through the computer ;)


This space is a creative outlet for a busy mama; I warmly embrace your comments and feedback, as well as questions/requests for details. I do check them daily and will respond where appropriate! Thank you for visiting the Knitty Gritty Homestead!