The Willard HomesteadThe Homestead, the Emporium and simple living on our funny farm.

  • It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time to think about getting dirty!

    It’s that time of the year again!

    So many are saying winter is lasting too long and they can’t wait until it’s over. I say it’s going by much too fast! There’s so much to do before spring arrives!
    First and foremost on the agenda is planning and preparing for the garden!

  • Dyeing fabrics.

    The making of a product here at the Homestead Emporium

    (This is a repost of an older blog post from when we were still back in BC, we’ve since moved to the prairies but not much has changed except our work space is completely different, and Alesia no longer cuts for me, but still works behind the scenes putting up all our etsy listings. I now have another helper, Heather, who does all our hyenacart listings and Julia has begun helping me with cutting now that she’s just about 13 years of age. She’s been waiting a VERY LONG TIME (in her short 13 years!) to be a bigger part of the business! I swear this girl is going to take over Homestead Emporium one day, so watch out!)

  • DSC_2893

    Let’s talk about- liners.

    When I posted about my thong liner being featured on regretsy, it was all in fun. However, in reading the many comments on both of the featured posts, about the thong liner, and WHY would anyone even need one, it’s caused me to realize that there seems to be a WHOLE lot of misconceptions about liners!

  • A Riainbow of Light Wrap Wing Pads.

    Disposable pads vs. cloth

    Disposable pads vs. cloth: There is no comparison.

  • Cloth Pads Canada

    I’ve decided to make the switch, now what?

    So you’ve decided that you’re finally going to do it!

    You’re going to make that big switch, the switch from disposable pads, to cloth pads.

    Now what?

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    My pad stash

    I’d like to share some of my thoughts, before I share pics.
    I contemplated making this post password protected. It’s not that I’m embarrassed in any way to share pics of my pad stash! It’s simply because I’m not naive.

  • Welcoming in the new year with a contest.

    *Contest is closed, we have our winners!

    Drum roll please…
    We have our winners!

    Kayla D on January 5, 2015 at 10:37 pm said:
    Oooh, I would love a package from you. I have several pads, and two sets of nursing pads—you make FANTASTIC stuff! Your pads and nursing pads are by far superior to other brands!!

    Heather B. on January 24, 2015 at 11:20 pm said:
    I love all of your products! I have one of (or perhaps THE) first quilt and it is one of my most treasured possessions! My kids are cuddled up with it as I speak.

    Congratulations Kayla D. & Heather B.!
    Email me at homesteademporium@gmail.com to claim your prize!
    ———————————————

    This new year is a different one for us at the Homestead Emporium. This new change with the FDA regulations set on cloth pad makers, changes quite a bit for us. Our main product line worldwide has always been our pads, and especially to our customers in the USA.

    However, we want to remind everyone that we’re not just all about pads.
    And with that, we’d like to offer you a chance to win a gift from us, open to all of you, world wide, including FREE shipping! Keep reading for details below!

    A Riainbow of Light Wrap Wing Pads.

    A Riainbow of Light Wrap Wing Pads.

    Since the beginning we’ve offered everything we could think of that was unique, and created with fabrics, to help our customers to live a healthier lifestyle.

    Homestead Emporium reusable cotton balls - cosmetic pads.

    Homestead Emporium reusable cotton balls – cosmetic pads.

    Our reusable cotton balls – cosmetic pads have always been a staple for many of our customers! While they may not be quite as creative as our line of pads, they are great for every day uses too numerous to count from cleaning off make up, to cleaning wounds, and some of our customers even use them for removing nail polish. I’ve even used them myself to patch an injured eye. You can’t get much gentler then bamboo velour for cleaning your skin or to aid in the healing process of ouchies.

    Hand Dyed Bamboo Velour Rainbow Quilt.

    Hand Dyed Bamboo Velour Rainbow Quilt.

    Our hand dyed bamboo velour quilts, another favourite luxury item of our awesome customers. What could be better then snuggling in the ultimate of softness?!
    Unlike their polyester fleece counterparts, bamboo velour blankets never make you overheated, but instead, simply cozy and warm.

    Bamboo Velour Custom Quilt.

    Bamboo Velour Custom Quilt.

    I’ve been working on my own bamboo velour quilt for going on two years now. lol My children’s quilts, and customers quilts, always come first. I’m determined to finish my soon though so I can stop ‘borrowing’ the ones I made for my girls.

    Bamboo Velour Baby Quilt.

    Bamboo Velour Baby Quilt.

    Perhaps I’ll have time to make more baby size quilts now too.

    Baby booties & lil'shroom mittens.

    Baby booties & lil’shroom mittens.

    Baby booties and mitts!

    Dyeing fabrics.

    Dyeing fabrics.

    We hope to offer hand dyed fabrics very soon too, possibly at this upcoming Friday’s stocking on our hyenacart, and soon after, in our etsy shop.

    Stack of fluffy dyed goodness.

    Stack of fluffy previously dyed goodness.

    We have lots of other products I’ve been wanting to stock recently as well, but we just haven’t had enough time in a day to get it all done. Be on the look out soon for more of the following.

    Luxury Cloths

    LuxuryCloths

    Super soft tissues.

    Tissues

    Lots more nursing pads!

    nursing pads

    Pillows.

    Pillows

    VersaPads!
    Created not just to be a change pad, but to be used everywhere you’re trying to avoid big clean ups, like on your bed for night time feeds. In your toddlers bed when potty training.
    Those were the two main reasons I created the VersaPad, due to constantly changing bedding in the middle of the night, especially with our twins! Our VersaPads saved me SO much time and energy in the middle of the night!

    versapad

    And last but not least, our pacifier blankets.

    Poppetjie

    The Poppetjie.

    poppetjie2

    Our handy little blankie that saves you countless hours searching for the all elusive night time pacifier.

    DSC_3812

    Our cloth pads will always be our main product line, but we hope ALL our customers will continue to enjoy all the other products we’ve created just for your family, from ours.

    *To enter into our contest for a completely FREE gift package from Homestead Emporium, simply leave a comment here, AND subscribe to our blog!
    It’s easy to subscribe, simply visit our blog’s home page here: http://homesteademporium.com/blog/
    And enter your email address into our SUBSCRIBE option found near the top right corner.

    To increase your chances in winning, share our blog with your friends and come back and let us know where you shared in another comment! If we receive lots of comments, and links back, we’ll increase the odds of winning by sending out MORE gift packages to MORE winners!

    The winner(s) will receive a complimentary set of facial cloths, a small bar of homemade soap, and more!

  • This is me, not making resolutions.

    firesky

    Just last night I posted about how I don’t really make resolutions.

    However, I think our minds just can’t help but wander and ponder the topic of resolutions when the new year comes along, no matter how hard we might try not to!

    But here’s an example of why I don’t really do resolutions, no matter how much my mind may try to tell me I should do this one, or that one.

    My mind would like me to make a resolution to blog more regularly.
    However, what my mind does not realize is that it’s simply not that simple!
    It’s not as easy as just deciding, “I’m going to write more, because I really want to!”

    You see… in order for me to blog more often, I would have to figure out a way to create more hours in my day. I tend to be a painfully slow blogger… I’m not really sure why, I’m not sure if everyone is a slow blogger, or if I’m just special.

    A blog post can easily take me at LEAST an hour to put together. Quite often, if I’m blogging about a topic I need to research a little, or dig through my photos, it can easily take me 2 hours.

    So where, and how, can I just fit in 1 or 2+ hours of something extra into my daily routine?
    I’ve decided that the only way to do it would be to get up earlier then I do now.

    And thus begins my reason for not doing resolutions.

    One resolution of wanting to blog more then becomes a whole lo.oo.on.nn.ng list of even more resolutions. In order to keep a resolution to blog more, I will need to get up earlier. In order to get up earlier, I will either have to get to sleep earlier, or forfeit sleep. Since most nights I usually sleep no more then 6 or 7 hours, I’m thinking forfeiting 1 or 2 hours of that sleep may not be a great idea. I sew a lot, and cut a lot of fabric, and it wouldn’t be so wise to fall asleep at the machine or while slicing through some thick fabrics with my fingers nearby…

    *shudder*

    Now that I’ve most likely seared a horrible image into your mind (I have a wild visual imagination, I should know better),  you see why I don’t do resolutions.

    A resolution is not just ‘a’ resolution. It really seems like a pretty good set up for failure. Unless of course you’re one of those rare people who have all the time in the world to rearrange every other part of your day in order to fit in all these new resolutions.

    Nah… I didn’t think so.

    However, I’m also not one to give up on at least TRYING to attain something I feel is important to me.

    I enjoy writing. I enjoy connecting with others through my writing.
    Besides, my one word for this year is ‘fear’ (overcoming fear) and one of the fears I have is to write without readers.

    So… I guess I’m not setting myself up for a resolution in wanting to blog more, I’m just working through my one word! Yay me!

    How’s your second day of the New Year going?

  • New Years Resolutions

    Bunny in our Barnyard

    Bunny in our Barnyard

    I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions.

    Instead, each year I like to choose one word that I feel my life needs to put into focus. Last year my one word was “joy”.

    This year, before 2014 was even close to being over, I felt a nudging towards my new word for 2015. Fear.

    Actually, it’s more like two words. Overcoming Fear.

    All my life I’ve had much too many fears. It’s been sort of embedded into my daily routine. I won’t bother to share the whole list of fears I have, most of them are more ‘worries’ and not true ‘fears’ but those worries continually instill fear into me and I’ve grown rather weary of it.

    I figure if I’m not able to tackle ‘fear’ at the age of 43, soon to be 44, then I will most likely succumb to my fears the rest of my life. I’m simply not ok with that.

    The first step I took in overcoming ‘fear’ this late fall was to teach Adult Sunday School.

    That’s a big one for me. I’m an introvert extraordinaire. I enjoy conversations, one on one, possibly one on two, one on three. But to speak in front of a group of people, and not just speak, but TEACH, was a very big step for me.

    But I did it, and I survived!

    I kept reminding myself that it’s a lot like a visit to the dentist. I could sit and stew, and stress, over every detail ahead of time and freak myself out real good. Only to feel totally foolish once it was over and it wasn’t as bad as I had stressed myself out to think it would be.

    OR…

    I could simply study for the lesson I was teaching and not even allow myself to ponder on the fact that I would be speaking to a bunch of people, and everything that could possibly go wrong. Just focus on studying, learn what I needed to teach, and concentrate on how I was going to teach it.

    And that’s what I did. And I survived teaching a lesson. I taught Adult Sunday School twice actually.

    I quite enjoyed it.

    My next step to overcoming fear was to decide that this year I would participate in our church play. A speaking part even. Mind you, I only agreed to take on a very teeny tiny speaking part, but I was proud of myself regardless. I had never been in a play before (I don’t think being a part of the choir for Fiddler On the Roof many moons ago counts) so this was another big step for me.

    Again, I decided I could either fret and stress over being on stage in front of a church full of people and all the things that could go horribly wrong.

    Or…

    I could simply study my line and think about my part, and how I would pull off being an old scribe. An old man at that! I even made myself a beard out of a head of hair from a waldorf doll kit I have.

    It turned out to be fun. I got to spend a lot of extra time with our twins Shaylah and Julia who both LOVE to act, and, I got to show them that no matter how old you are, no matter how long you’ve lived with a bad habit (my fears), you are never too old to change your ways.

    And guess what?

    I survived! I think I actually did alright too.
    Enough so that I may agree to a slightly larger speaking part next year…

    So that’s me getting a jump start on overcoming fears for 2015!

    How about you? Do you have an resolutions, goals, or plans for 2015?

  • In Menstrual Pad News

    There’s been a whole lot of talk in the past month over the FDA vs. cloth pad makers news that has hit the internet. I posted about this on our facebook page, but felt I should post separately on our blog in more detail, since we’ve had a lot of people asking about it and what it means for our business.
     
    In recent news, it’s been realized that the FDA has listed cloth menstrual pads as a ‘medical device’ and there is a high yearly fee imposed on companies wanting to sell cloth menstrual pads within, and to, the USA. I’ve heard that this is not new news, however, it IS new to us, and to many other wahm (work at home mom) pad makers. 
     
    Our company is in Canada, and cloth pads are not in the ‘medical device’ category here. I never DREAMED that cloth menstrual pads would be considered a ‘medical device’ in the USA. I realize that is my own ‘fault’, and I am fine with taking that responsibility and blame for not knowing. Ignorance is not bliss. I have always admitted that I am a creator/designer first, and a business woman second, and this is where my business skills have obviously lacked.
     
    The fee is quite high, it is close to $4,000.00 US and over $4,000.00 in CDN funds YEARLY. It has been said that the fee will also be raised annually. The fee is the same for anyone deemed a small business. A business is classified small if it makes less then 100 million a year. Personally, I feel if that’s a small business classification, then perhaps they need a micro-business classification, or even a ‘home business’ classification with a limited number of employees/contract workers, etc.. But there’s so many things I could say about all this and how I feel about this law/rule, but it would take me hours to write and it would turn into a rant, so I won’t bother. I’m sure every woman who uses cloth pads already has lots they could say about all of this!
    If we decide to pay the fees to sell our cloth menstrual pads to the US 
    *(it’s important to note that we can still sell our other products to the US),
    we will need to save the funds, as we have never put our family into debt for the business and I’m not sure I want to now. Creating more debt for ourselves goes against the simple lifestyle we are trying to create for our family and the reason we have made the move halfway across country to a homestead. Our goal is to get OUT of debt! We’ve acquired enough debt the last several years between 3 moves in one year to finally see our dream realized, our own homestead, and hours spent working towards an adoption that never happened (I lost a lot of work hours during that time, our business was in the red for the first time ever, for 2013, because of it). There comes a point where we must say, enough is enough.
    Unfortunately, this means that for 2015, we are unable to sell our cloth pads to our customers in the USA.
    blogpads
    I also need to consider how this would impact pricing, for ALL our customers worldwide, and the pros and cons of it all. We do DESIRE to sell and ship our menstrual pads to the USA, but I just don’t see how it will be possible any time soon, as long as this huge fee stands in the way.
    What a small business must consider when deciding on whether or not to pay this fee, is not just the initial pay out cost that you see upfront. When we took into account just how many pads I would have to sew, how many fabric cuts our daughters would have to cut, how many listings our listings helper would have to put into the shops, and how many hours of time our packaging helper would have to spend packaging orders, and then the time I would be spending shipping those orders, NOT TO MENTION, the cost of ALL those supplies to make those menstrual pads possible… well… that adds up to more then DOUBLE the actual initial fee.
    That’s a lot of money, and that’s a lot of hours of work.
    All that time is time spent away from my other duties, as a wife, a mother, and as a homesteader.
    All those extra hours towards ONE fee, goes completely against all we are working towards as a family, and as a business. My goal as a woman has never been to become a CEO of a huge corporation. Our goal with this family business has always been to earn a second income to support our family, our homestead dreams, and to create an income for any of our children who would like to be a part of the family business. We’ve always chosen to pay good wages to all who work with us. This business has never been, nor will it ever be, a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. It’s an outlet for my (and now our children’s) creativity, in which we can all be paid a fair wage for our efforts. It’s always been about Time Well Spent and about enjoying our work.
     
    We truly appreciate our USA customers, and would never want to loose them, so we are taking this all one step at a time. Right now, most of the work is overseen by me, and all of the designing, sewing, dyeing, photography etc. is done by me. I am only one person. I am also my children’s homeschool teacher and more importantly, I am their mom. We have a homestead to run along with farm animals, and a very large garden to care for each year, and all the work that comes with that and processing our foods etc.. 

    20140908-095736.jpg 

    I love our home business, and I love the homestead lifestyle we have created! 
    Even with all it’s busyness, I wouldn’t have it any other way! It is a very peaceful ‘chaos’, this lifestyle that we live. 

    However, due to that busyness, it’s simply not possible to add that much extra work, simply to pay ONE fee, to our daily lives. Perhaps one day, as our girls grow up and take over more responsibility within the business, this will change. Elsa is almost 17, Shaylah and Julia are now 15. I’ve often shared that Julia would like to take over managing the business one day. We’ve already discussed that when that day comes, we may be able to restructure the business to pay the yearly fee. It’s a definite possibility, just not in the near future, while she is still in highschool. She graduates in just a year and a half. From there, we’ll see what happens. 
     
    This has not be an easy decision for us. It’s actually quite scary! Up to this point our US customers have been a VERY large part of our business. This income is needed by our family & our homestead. It is not a ‘hobby’. However, as stressful as it may seem right now, we are looking at making it an EXCITING time for our business, our homestead, and most of all, for our customers! Everything in life that can cause stress, can also be turned around for good, with the right attitude and perseverance. We CAN learn, and we CAN grow through difficult times and changes. We have an entire world of possibilities, and we feel our US customers will continue to shop with us for all the other products we have to offer AND all the new ideas and creations we come up with too! We’re already looking into selling our hand dyed fabrics, spending more time making our undies for women and children (along with a new pattern!), and a whole long list of possibilities that just keeps growing!
     
    That is what we plan to do with this business in 2015, keep growing. Despite this temporary set back, we WILL continue and learn along the way!
     
    On the business side of things, I’ve seen some not-so-nice general comments pointed towards wahm’s who didn’t know about all this in regards to the FDA, and that’s just not necessary. I can guarantee you that any, and ALL wahm’s who were unaware, are beating themselves up badly enough right now. They (we) need your encouragement to help decide which way to go with this big step.
     
    I could go on and on about my opinions about these fees and the category of ‘medical device’ that the USA FDA has set on cloth menstrual pads, and even their classification of ‘small business’, however, I’m not going to. I will mention that if you have opinions about these fees, don’t just talk about it. Look into what YOU can do to help change this. Since we’re not in the US, we’re limited as to what we can do. However, if you ARE in the US, ask around about what you can do! I know there is at least one petition you can sign, here:
    If you do a google search, I’m sure you can find other things that can be done to help change this. If you know of something your fellow US cloth pads users can do, feel free to share it in a comment here on our blog! Band together and make the change! 

    For those of us cloth pad users in Canada, it’s a VERY exciting time for us! 
    Have you heard of the Dragon’s Den? Surely you have! It’s one of my favourite Canadian shows!
    Cloth menstrual pads will soon be featured on the Dragon’s Den, by our fellow cloth pad maker, TreeHugger! I am SO VERY excited for Crystal and Scott, the hard working couple behind TreeHugger Cloth Pads! Jan. 28th, and the airing of their turn on the Dragon’s Den, can not come quickly enough for me! Be sure to watch, we sure will! They’ve been posting regular updates and reminders on their facebook page.
    It’s SO exciting to see cloth menstrual pads being given so much attention, and this episode is sure to bring cloth pads into a whole new light in Canada! Very exciting times for sure!
    To close, I would just like to say that we really do value you, our customers. From the US, here in Canada, and all around the world. You have ALL made us what we are today, and it’s something we are very grateful for. We’re proud of this business, and we’re proud to serve you. Without all of you, our business, and our lifestyle, wouldn’t be possible!
    Thank you!
    From the Homestead Emporium Family 

    If you’d like to hear more about our business, our homestead, and our family, be sure to stop by the blog again. We’d love to have you visit!
    Come ‘like’ our facebook page as well!
    We post updates & visit with our customers and friends often.
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